2020 Snapshot: Rjurik Davidson

Rjurik Davidson is a writer and speaker. He has written short stories, essays, reviews and screenplays. Rjurik writes imaginative fiction, speculative fiction, science fiction, surrealism, magic realism and fantasy. His unique and radical speculative fiction has seen him nominated for or win a number of awards. He has been compared with China Mieville, J.G. Ballard, Jeff Vandermeer, Ursula K. Le Guin and Samuel R. Delany. He is also an accomplished professional and educational writer.

His novel, Unwrapped Sky, was published by Tor Books in April 2014. Sci Fi Now claims it can “go toe-to-toe with China Miéville’s best.” Kirkus Reviews calls it “Impressively imagined and densely detailed.” Newtown Review of Books says it’s “one volume you cannot ignore.”

His novel, The Stars Askewwas released in 2016. Kirkuk reviews says, “there’s no doubting the quality of the imagination on display here.” Smash dragons says it’s “a story that both delights and challenges your thinking.” Pop Mythology says, “The Stars Askew does not disappoint.”

Rjurik’s screenplay The Uncertainty Principle(co-written with Ben Chessell) is currently in development.

Rjurik teaches literature and creative writing. He is available for workshops on request. Rjurik has lived in Australia, France. The US, and Finland.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

My latest story is called “Benjamin, 2073” on tor.com (https://www.tor.com/2020/05/13/benjamin-2073-rjurik-davidson/). It’s a story about a woman with muscular dystrophy who is trying to clone and reintroduce the thylacine into the wild. It’s an “ambiguous utopia”, in the vein of Ursula K. Le Guin’s. The woman is of course personally invested in the project and funds are running out. It’s a mediation on extinction, the environmental catastrophe, grief and hope.

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

I love short stories and I love publishing them. So the best experiences have usually been when Tor.com or earlier Scifiction published those. They perhaps haven’t been read as much as my novels, but in some ways they’re condensed versions of the same themes (though my best extended work is definitely The Stars Askew. That was the book I set out to write the first time around. I have a new collection coming out with Twelfth Planet Press next year, and working with Alisa Krasnostein has been good. She challenges me and encourages me to to my best work, living up to my intentions to be a progressive and radical, writer — environmentalist, feminist, and so on. It all sure beats working in film, where you can strive to get a project happening for years and nothing comes of it.

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

There have been so many good new Australian writers, and really, it depends on your taste. I feel like I’m going to leave someone out if I list any of them, so all I’ll say is, this is a great little speculative fiction community, which deserves much greater exposure than it gets. We’re off at the bottom of the world, but it’s always in the liminal zones or the interstices that the best work is done. We have the advantage of being both inside and outside mainstream “Anglo” culture (a bit like the Irish have always been). This gives you the advantage of seeing from the inside and the outside at once. I am pleased to see some indigenous voices coming through too. So check us out.

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