Posts Tagged ‘interactive publications’

Interview regarding Yellowcake Summer in IP Enews 59

August 12, 2013 Leave a comment

[Guy Salvidge talks about his sequel to Yellowcake Springs, Yellowcake Summer, with David Reiter.]

DR: Yellowcake Summer is the sequel to your first IP title,Yellowcake Springs. Did you plan to write a sequel from the outset, or did it occur to you after you’d written the first book?

GS: I originally intended Yellowcake Springs to be a standalone title, but I found that after completing it the main characters were still kicking around in my head, wanting another chance. In particular, I had a clear idea of how I wanted Jeremy to develop from the ‘second string’ character that he is in the first novel to one of the major players in Yellowcake Summer.Furthermore, as the ‘Belt region of the Yellowcake universe is based on my own home in the Avon Valley, I found myself inspired by some specific settings, such as those that became Ley Farm and The Rusty Swan.

DR: Did the writing of the first book make it easier to get into the second? Did you learn anything from the reviews of Yellowcake Springs?

GS: Yellowcake Springs was certainly a breakthrough novel for me and it gave me confidence to start working on the sequel soon after publication. A number of people expressed their empathy for Rion’s plight in particular, so I made sure to keep him as the ‘moral centre’ of the sequel. Reviews of Yellowcake Springs were almost uniformly positive so I decided to stick to pretty much the same formula for Yellowcake Summer. The books can probably be seen as two halves of one longer, and now completed, story.

DR: The dystopian novel has been a popular sub-genre for some time. How much of this has to do with our fascination with doomsday stories and our uncertainty about the future?

GS: Dystopias are very much in vogue these days and it isn’t hard to see why. Fears about climate change, terrorism, food and water security and humanitarian crises are played out in dystopian stories of various kinds. It’s our way as writers and readers of expressing our discontent with the present course our civilisation seems to be taking. Growing up, I was fascinated with nuclear war and after-the-bomb scenarios, but it wasn’t until I watched An Inconvenient Truth in 2006 that I realised that climate change would be to my generation what nuclear war had been to that of my parents.

DR: Both novels are set in Western Australia. What strategies did you adopt to make their themes more universal?

GS: In my twenties I was leery of writing about Australian settings. My first published novel, The Kingdom of Four Rivers, was set hundreds of years into the future in a jungle-infested China, for example. On reflection, however, I realised that a certain verisimilitude would always be missing in constructing such settings, so I decided to set Yellowcake Springs in a world I personally knew. It was around this time that I also began to read a lot of Southern US fiction, which is almost always imbued with a strong sense of place and stubborn regionality. I realised then that I ought to be proud of my own regionality myself. Insofar as the themes in these or any novels can be said to be universal, I felt that the plight of my characters would be reasonably relatable to a non-Australian audience.

DR: Your ‘day job’ is teaching. Are your colleagues and students aware of your other life, and, if so, how do they respond to Guy Salvidge, the author?

GS: They certainly are! Some of my students like to remind me about how much they can find out about me on Google, which seems to be as accurate a measure of fame as any these days. As I teach English for a living, I find that the fact that I actively write stories gives me a certain credibility with students too. Some of my colleagues are quite enthusiastic about my work and a number of them have supported me over the years in various ways. But, for staff and students alike, my primary role as author is in disabusing them of the notion that I am (or very soon will be) a millionaire. I’m not in a position to retire from teaching just yet!


April 26, 2013 Leave a comment

FROM THE BLOGguy's ksp author pic

Friday 26th April / posted by Rhian Todhunter


Literary prize-winner Guy Salvidge is a busy man.

With two stories being published this year, a sequel underway, and plans to start a crime novel in the near future – writer in residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre, Guy Salvidge joins me to treat us to a live reading and look at his busy schedule.


Yellowcake Springs is on the 2012 Norma K Hemming Award shortlist!

May 3, 2012 6 comments


Some very exciting news: the shortlist for the Norma K Hemming Award is out and Yellowcake Springs is one of the nine novels chosen. The Award is for a work of speculative fiction published in Australia that addresses themes of race, class, gender, sexuality and/or disability, so I guess it’s the literary spec-fic award to the Aurealis’ popular award. It’s an awesome shortlist and I’m stoked on a number of levels to be on it. For a start, I’m on the same page with the late, great Sara Douglass – probably Australia’s most popular and successful fantasy author of the last 15 years. There’s there’s the fact that I’m the only male on the shortlist. Does this mean anything? I guess I don’t know, but I’m pleased that my work is considered as transcending gender boundaries (and there’s a bit of gender bending in Yellowcake Springs). And lastly, look at the publishers: HarperCollins dominates this list with 5/9 titles, and the other three aside from my own are from established small presses Ticonderoga, Twelfth Planet and Scribe. That leaves little old IP punching well above its weight, and little old me chuffed to rate a mention.

Here’s the full shortlist:

Black Glass novel by Meg Mundell published by Scribe Publications (Brunswick VIC)

Bluegrass Symphony collection by Lisa L Hannett published by Ticonderoga Publications (Perth, WA)

The Devil’s Diadem novel by Sara Douglass (1957 – 2011) published by HarperCollins

Eona novel by Alison Goodman published by HarperCollins

Hindsight novel by A A Bell published by HarperCollins

Nightsiders novel by Sue Isle published by Twelfth Planet Press (Perth, WA)

Road to the Soul novel by Kim Falconer published by HarperCollins

The Shattered City novel by Tansy Rayner Roberts published by HarperCollins

Yellowcake Springs novel by Guy Salvidge published by Interactive Publications

The winner of the 2012 Norma K Hemming Award will be announced at Continuum 8,  this year’s National SF Convention, to be held in Melbourne on the weekend of June 8-11.

Workshops and Events in 2012

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m lucky enough to have been asked to attend a number of events over the course of 2012. I’ll add to this list as other opportunities arise, but it looks like 2012 might be a fun year.

 2nd March – IP’s Summer Gala Weekend, part one, at the Kookaburra Café at Paddington in Brisbane from 7pm. This is an event to meet IP authors, hear them read from their work, and I presume generally to have a good time. You need to book with IP if you want to attend this. Email them at for more information.

4th March, IP’s Summer Gala Weekend, part two. Gala Performance at the Performance Studio, 4MBS Classic-FM, 384 Old Cleveland Road, Coorparoo, Brisbane at 2pm. Free event, with refreshments, but bookings are essential.

16th April, 2012 Write-a-Rama  at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in Greenmount, Western Australia. I have been asked to present a workshop for young writers (aged 10-15), entitled “The Nuts and Bolts of Writing.”

More details here:

22nd September, Avon Valley Writers’ Festival in Northam, Western Australia. I will be presenting a workshop at the Northam library on this day as part of the festival. More info on this a little later in the year.

Book Review – The Taste of Apple by James Laidler

July 18, 2011 1 comment

The Taste of Apple is Australian writer James Laidler’s debut, a verse novel about the life and times of young Pedro Jones. It won the Best First Book category in Interactive Publications’ IP Picks Awards 2010 and was published by IP the same year. Firstly, you might be wondering what kind of beast a ‘verse novel’ is. I’d never read one myself, but I remember having a creative writing tutor once, Alan Wearne, who had written a number of them. Basically it’s a novel with characters, a narrative, visual description, and all the things you’d normally expect from a novel, except that it’s set out as a series of poems. The resultant work, in this case, is breezy, engaging and frequently heartmoving. I strongly recommend that you give The Taste of Apple a try.

Pedro Jones is a young man in nineties Melbourne trying to come to terms with his mixed Filipino and White Australian heritage. His unhappy family life is fractured forever, on Christmas Eve, when his father leaves the family to live in another part of Victoria. Pedro’s mother Imee, alone and impoverished, is left to raise Pedro with only her Catholic faith to guide her. They have to more to the seedy apartment block Eden Towers to survive.  Pedro meets Juan “Johnnie” Lazzaro, a young East Timorese man whose family life and personal circumstances are even more dire than Pedro’s. The boys become best friends, busking together on the streets of Melbourne and drowning their sorrows in alcohol.

The Taste of Apple is a dark book in many ways, but it’s never depressing, due to the optimistic tone and uplifting spirit herein. There are a number of shocking twists along the way, which I’ll try not to spoil here, but suffice to say that this is definitely a novel, even if it is set in verse, not a book of poems in the ordinary sense. As the narrative progresses, Pedro becomes drawn into the East Timor liberation movement, as he discovers that Johnnie himself is a survivor of the Dili massacre. Here we meet a colorful and memorable cast of characters, some of the strongest in the book. Pedro also learns about the healing power of gardening as he attempts to put his past, and specifically his absent father, behind him.

I doubt I’ve enjoyed reading a book this year as much as I enjoyed reading The Taste of Apple. The pages practically turn themselves; I’d challenge anyone to start reading this and not finish it. You can buy it from online sellers such as Amazon or The Book Depository. There is also an enhanced edition which you can read more about on the author’s website. I look forward to James Laidler’s next book with interest.

Some publicity regarding Yellowcake Springs

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment

So it seems a news story is doing the rounds about this year’s IP Picks awards. I was very surprised to see that this article had been syndicated by Reuters, and thus had turned up in unlikely places such as the Straits Times in Singapore, as well as the normal Australian media outlets such as ABC News, Yahoo etc. Here’s the article on Reuters:

(Reuters Life!) – A novel set in a future where an unchecked global population has created an apocalypse took the top fiction prize in Australia’s IP Picks unpublished book awards on Wednesday.

The awards, now in their 11th year, are aimed at giving unpublished writers from Australia and New Zealand a chance to break into the increasingly cut-throat literary world, with publication the top prize for books in five categories.

“As usual, the judges were hard pressed to find a clear winner,” said David Reiter, director, Interactive Publications (IP), the Queensland-based publisher that hands out the awards.

“They felt that at least five or six of the shortlisted entries were publishable or very close to being publishable.”

Guy Salvidge’s “Yellowcake Springs,” in which all but the elite are suffering through a slow, painful apocalypse, is set against what the judges called “a frighteningly plausible Australian future.”

The rest of the article is here:

Yellowcake Springs wins Best Fiction in IP Picks 2011!

February 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Here it is, my big news. My second novel Yellowcake Springs has won First Prize in the Best Fiction category of Interactive Publications’ IP Picks Awards 2011. This means that the novel will be published by IP later in the year. Here’s what the judges had to say about Yellowcake Springs:

Best Fiction | Winner

Guy Salvidge: Yellowcake Springs

Welcome to Yellowcake Springs; a pristine, friendly, secure community of citizens involved in the maintenance of one of Western Australia’s CIQ Sinocorp nuclear reactor facilities. You have nothing to fear inside the heavily-guarded community, nestled in the quiet streets between the radiation Red Zone and the razor-wired fences. Raise a family. Go to the park. Watch the sun set between the cooling towers. Lament the desperate lives of the lost ones living in the darklands outside the community, where overpopulation and starvation have created a lawless world. Feel lucky. You belong to CIQ Sinocorp now.

Author Guy Salvidge leads the reader through a time where an unchecked global population has created a slow, painful apocalypse for all but the elite. Inside Yellowcake Springs, the protection of CIQ Sinocorp provides security, employment and endless leisure in the constructed worlds of Controlled Dreaming State, where citizens using avatars can abandon their inhibitions and responsibilities. Inside the amber zone, Sylvia enjoys a carefree if mundane existence as an advertising consultant with her husband David, whose radical environmentalist interests provide endless gossip for her co-workers. In Controlled Dreaming State she meets Rion, a stranger from beyond the gates.

Outside Yellowcake Springs, Rion wanders a wasteland gripped by disease, famine and crime. His only chance to escape the darklands is through an affair with Sylvia, a woman from the inside. As he heads toward Yellowcake Springs, Ryan unwittingly becomes tangled in the sordid plans of Misanthropos; an environmental terrorist group whose plan to lower the earth’s population and destabilise CIQ Sinocorp will cost many innocent lives.

At the heart of the facility, Jiang Wei begins his training in the Controlled Waking State, the brainchild of Sinocorp employee Yang Po. Wei finds himself helpless to the whims of Yang Po’s experiments, which see Wei’s body and mind enslaved to the control of the corporation.
As Wei, Sylvia and Rion’s lives converge in Yellowcake Springs, Salvidge’s novel promises devastation and terror against the backdrop of a frighteningly plausible Australian future. [CP]

You can read the report on the winners in the other categories and the read of IP’s latest newsletter here.

Book Review – Memento Mori by Daniel King

December 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Memento Mori is Perth writer Daniel King’s first collection of short stories. Published by Interactive Publications, it was Highly Commended in the Best Fiction category of  IP Picks 2010. This collection represents more than two decades of work in the short fiction form, with the earliest of these stories having been published in 1986. Despite the range in publication dates, King’s work demonstrates a remarkable consistency in approach and theme, and as such Memento Mori reads almost like a patchwork novel, each story a square of fabric in the overall quilt.

The earliest stories contained in this volume, “Tim’s Howse” and “Myths of the K-Mart”, both feature narrators grappling with some sort of mental illness. In “Tim’s Howse”, Jim’s world begins to fracture when he discovers something ‘behind’ the jigsaw pieces he has been assembling, whereas in “Myths of the K-Mart” Mark is entranced by the ‘maze game’ that threatens to consume his mundane reality at any moment. While interesting experiments, neither of these stories demonstrate the clarity of King’s mature work.

The title story, “Memento Mori”, is more representative of King’s ouevre. In it, Professor Ken Rivers grapples with his domineering’s wife desire for him to submit to cosmetic surgery, and finds himself increasingly retreating into the confines of his dresser. The plot thickens when both Rivers and his wife magically regain their youth, with unexpected and unpleasant consequences. This story also features the first of King’s metafictional games in this volume, in which a poem, also titled ‘Memento Mori’ and written by ‘D.K.’, informs the narrative as a whole. King’s technique is to take what initially seem like straightforward ideas, such as the quest to regain youth through cosmetic surgery, and push them through to often harrowing extremes. What begin as little more than thought experiments, often explicitly stated as such by the protagonists,  quickly provide unexpected and often violent consequences.

Two stories, “Martial Arts” and “Venerean Arts”, help to illustrate the shifting nature of reality immanent in these stories. In the former, Dan and Coria both study Taekwondo, and Dan is writing a story, ‘Martial Arts’, which is supposed to be about martial arts but mainly features a series of giant gas tanks. It goes without saying that the gas tanks end up making an appearance in Dan King’s reality. In “Venerean Arts”, Daniel has recently broken up with his girlfriend Mimi, but the estranged couple still see each other at Taekwondo. To heal the dispute with his former partner, Daniel seeks to formulate a ‘Venerean Arts’ where pleasure, rather than pain, will be the underlying principle.

It was here, upon finishing this pair of stories, that I was reminded of J. G. Ballard’s seminal work of ‘condensed novels’ The Atrocity Exhibition. There and here, names of characters are subject to change from one story to the next, but the nature of the relationships seems much the same. One of the singular joys of reading is that it creates a portal into the mind of another person, or persons, but in drastically condensed form. Reading these stories in the space of twenty-four hours creates a dizzying snapshot of the author’s mode of thinking through recurring themes.

One of my favourite stories in Memento Mori was “A Dream Holiday”, in which Ian and Lydia decide to take their next holiday at an airport. Figuring that they can have all the experiences of travelling without the associated risks, the couple end up retreating into a closet and then into their own minds in a manner that I found to be deeply Ballardian. A similar progression is at work in “Significant Other”, in which Matt realises that he actually doesn’t need his partner Elsie to return for him to experience the best of her.

King’s work could be regarded as speculative fiction of a kind, but it is only in a handful of stories that these elements are particularly noticeable. One such story is “I Turn You On”, in which the nine year-old narrator discovers that his reality is not our own. Something odd is also at work in “Open to the Sky”, in which strange telescopes stand between the protagonists and comprehension of their place in the universe.

Memento Mori‘s final story, “Catenary”, is also one of the best. In it, Mr King donates several hundred dollars a week to various charitable organisations and helps to save a couple from a wrecked car. His good deeds are counterbalanced, however, by the fact that he keeps another man, Will, prisoner in his dungeon. This story poses the question of whether it is better to maim the masses and aid an individual or vice versa most elegantly.

You can read more about Daniel King and his work here and here.