2020 Snapshot: David Versace

David Versace lives with his family in Canberra, where he is a member of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild . His work appears in the anthologies Next, At the Edge and A Hand of Knaves, among other places. He’s a veteran tabletop roleplaying gamer, a novice bass guitarist and an occasional public servant.

His short story “The Lighthouse at Cape Defeat” was a 2016 Aurealis Award Best Fantasy Short Story finalist and features in his short story collection Mnemo’s Memory and Other Fantastic Tales. In 2018 he was nominated twice but the geometric progression ends there.

He can be found online at www.davidversace.com where you can get his book and read over one hundred stories if you’d like.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

Almost exactly one year ago I published my 100th consecutive weekly #Fridayflashfiction story – 100 straight weeks of thousand-word stories, one every Friday for a bit over two years. It was an incredibly satisfying milestone to hit, but by the end I was running on fumes and it was only sheer bloody-mindedness that got me across the line. I’d begun on a course of medication for anxiety and depression a few weeks earlier so my brain equilibrium was out the window right then. Once I posted that last story, I put the project on hiatus and decided to take a little break. It was only supposed to be for a month or so, but (here I wave my hand vaguely in the direction of droughts, bushfires, worldwide pandemic, police brutality protests and my father’s death) here we are.

The good news is that I’ve started writing again. I’m  planning to have fun with a novella about rival airship captains, surly dragons and rebellion. And I will be posting new flash fiction stories very soon. At some point I plan to put together a collection of the flash stories, but first I have to go back and see how many of them actually make any sense…

2. What has been the best publishing experience of your career so far?

I’m going to cheat and give two answers here: my “Achievement Unlocked” proudest moment and my “Wow, how did that happen?” one. Getting nominated for two Aurealis Awards last year for different stories was an amazing compliment I still can’t quite wrap my head around. I didn’t win but I am fiercely proud of both those stories and I am grateful that the jury saw fit to recognise them.

But my sneaky second answer is that when one of those stories, “A Moment’s Peace”, was published in A Hand of Knaves, the editors commissioned an illustration to go with it, which I did not know until just before the book went to print. I don’t know if I can adequately describe the joy of seeing Shauna O’Meara artwork next to your name! But feast your eyes! It’s delightful! (Well, delightfully sinister, and what more can you ask?)

3. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge? 

I’ve fallen off the reading wagon something fierce in the last year, but there’s so much great stuff coming out that it’s impossible to keep up with. Across the pond I’ve been enjoying Dan Rabart’s fun Children of Bane series of comical fantasy misadventures, Lee Murray’s fantastic military monster-fighting Taine McKenna stories, and then they have their grimy New Zealand urban crime-fantasy series called Path of Ra together. Octavia Cade’s novel-length expansion of her great conservationist-conspiracy SF short story The Stone Weta is in my reading queue and I can’t wait to dig into it. Jason Fischer and Jason Franks have combined forces to create Argonautica Press (get it?) to reprint their old material, and I can heartily recommend everything both those guys put their names to (especially Jason Fischer’s adaptation of the classic Australian ponies-and-bloodshed poem The Geebung Polo Club, illustrated by Shauna O’Meara!) Tim Napper has been writing some amazing near-future Asian-Australian cyberpunk/noir SF over the last few years, which was recently collected in Neon Leviathan. And, before this list gets too long (too late!), one of the stranger delights of my reading last year was Lee Cope’s The Ferryman’s Apprentice, a weird fantasy about death, duty and moving on from being a shitty teenager, which is serialised on their website.

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