Corey J. White is the author of Repo Virtual and The VoidWitch Saga –Killing Gravity, Void Black Shadow, and Static Ruin – published by Tor.com Publishing. He studied writing at Griffith University on the Gold Coast, and is now based in Melbourne, Australia. Find him on twitter at @cjwhite or on instagram at @coreyj.white.
1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?
My debut novel, Repo Virtual, was published in April. It’s a standalone cyberpunk novel about a ragtag group that are tricked into stealing the world’s first strong AI, the former operative turned private eye who’s been tasked with tracking the thieves down, and what they do once they realise it’s not a virus or a tool that they’ve stolen, but a sentient being.
In writing it, I had two main focuses. For one, I wanted to explore ideas around the personhood of non-biological intelligences, and our responsibilities to a sentient race that we might create. And second, I wanted to write a truly 21st Century cyberpunk story, completely free of nostalgia or the sort of retro-futuristic aesthetic that makes up so much of today’s cyberpunk.
2. What has been the best publishing experience of your career so far?
I still feel like my writing career is fledgling, so every new experience is exciting. Recently it was great emailing back and forth with the narrator of the audiobook for Repo Virtual, and hearing him bring the book to life in a totally new way.
And touring the Tor offices in New York with my editor was a low-key Charlie and the Chocolate Factory experience for this sci-fi nerd. The first time, they were still in the Flatiron Building, which is iconic enough on its own, but also knowing how many fantastic books have been worked on in that place felt kinda special. Publishing might be a business, but it’s not without its magic.
3. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge?
Marlee Jane Ward’s Orphancorp trilogy of novellas finished up last year with Prisoncorp, which was just as sharply written, brutally dystopian, and heartfelt as the books that preceded it. The series is both distinctly Australian and (sadly) global in the way Ward has woven real issues into the stories – issues like for-profit prisons, precarious labour, immigration detention, and more. I’m biased, but I still think more people should read these books.
I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings, which is out in July through Tor.com Publishing. It’s weird, unique, beautiful, and horrifying – so basically exactly what you’d expect from Jennings.
And there are plenty of other great writers doing great work in Australia, like Cat Sparks, Alan Baxter, Alison Evans, Christopher Ruz, and Emma Osborne, just to name a few.