A Conversation with Thoraiya Dyer
Thanks for taking the time to let our readers and our team learn more about you and your work. Mike and I love your story in this month’s issue, “White Lies”. Would you mind telling us about your inspiration?
My inspiration was a slew of people taking sick days off from work and then getting caught by their bosses on Facebook putting up photos of the fish they caught, the parties they went to, themselves skydiving or whatever. I thought: If people keep tweeting or status updating every thought and every moment of every day, they won’t be able to lie at all anymore. Disaster! Hahaha.
My understanding is that you are a veterinarian. Does your work inspire your writing? What sort of animal protection endeavors are you associated, and how do you see the future of these issues, both in your native Australia and world-wide?
I think my degree gave me a really good scientific grounding (yes, they even made us do physics. Like I’ll ever need to know how to build my own x-ray machine, haha) and the work has taught me so much about human-animal relationships, and about human nature in general, I think. It doesn’t matter if you’re the richest person in the world or the poorest, a dog’s loyalty can bring you to tears, a cat’s companionship can calm you and the sight of a smuggler’s suitcase crammed with dead and suffocating birds can make you want to break something.
I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t want to free all the lab animals (the rules regarding which are incredibly strict in this country, as they should be). But I want life to be as stress-less and pain-free for domesticated animals as it possibly can be (we are wielding our consumer power in this direction, I think, which is awesome), and I desperately want the preservation of biodiversity.
It is admirable to optimistically and manically try to save individually endangered species – if I had millions of dollars I would donate them towards efforts to save the Tasmanian Devil, the Ganges River dolphin, the New Zealand kakapo and others. But I think the most long-term useful thing to do is set aside areas where we humans simply aren’t allowed to go, and that’s why overpopulation keeps me awake at night.
Your website features some information on your pursuit of excellence in archery. Tell us about how this pursuit impacts other parts of your life, and who are your favorite archers of literature, legend and history?
Unfortunately, I haven’t shot more than a few dozen arrows since the Small One was born. Thanks for the cruel and painful reminder of this gaping temporary hole in my life. (KIDDING!) Since I listed all my favourite archers on my website, I’ve read The Hunger Games trilogy, which I absolutely love, and Katniss Everdeen should go on my list. But if they get the archery wrong in the movie, I’ll be the annoying one at conventions blowing it all out of proportion, haha.
You’ve mentioned before that you came to science fiction and fantasy, at least in part, through the influence of your mother. Have you been introducing your own off-spring to the genre? If so, what do they like?
The Small One is a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy picture books like “Stella to Earth” by Simon Puttock and “Lettice and the Fairy Ball” by Mandy Stanley. She is fascinated by the Harry Potter concept, owns a small broomstick, pestered her father into making her a turned wooden wand, points at bald strangers from her perch in the shopping trolley and shouts, “that man looks just like Voldemort!” – but I’ve told her she’s not allowed to read the books or see the movies until she is older.
Right now she is obsessed by the Dreaming Narrative series from Working Title Press. I expected her to find some of the plot twists of these Aboriginal stories distressing (“and then he changed into a stinging ant, and stung the monster on its lips until it clubbed itself to death, and then he changed into a man and threw the monster’s dead body on the fire”! etc) but she thinks they are the BEST EVA.
Australia is known to have a thriving specfic scene, but like many countries, there are good writers who have yet to acquire international recognition. Are there some Australian authors that you’d like to recommend to our international group of strangers?
A dangerous question. If I start, I might never stop. Here goes nothing.
If you love science fiction, you can’t go wrong with “When We Have Wings” by Claire Corbett. If you love horror, Kaaron Warren is your woman. Paul Haines is your man. And you probably already know about Margo Lanagan. If you love fantasy, you must try Tansy Rayner Roberts, Pamela Freeman and Juliet Marillier; history buffs, see “The Priestess and the Slave,” by Jenny Blackford.
Finally, if short stories are your thing, you might want to subscribe to the Twelve Planets series from Twelfth Planet Press, pick up “Tales from the Crypto-System” by Geoff Maloney, or hunt down everything ever published by Peter M Ball.
Tell us about “The Birds, the Bees, and Thylacine”.
Haven’t we all read science fiction stories where we go to an alien planet and destroy some innocent life form out of ignorance? (I can think of a good one I read just last week, “This Peaceful State of War” from WOTF 27, by Patty Jansen, who is another Redstone author).
Well. The extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger/thylacine is that story.
My imagination wanted to walk about in a wild world where thylacines could still be heard at dusk. The characters wandered out of the woods to go on that journey with me. The novelette is about extinction, but also about choices. Can you choose to be a pacifist in a world driven by natural selection without selecting yourself out of existence?
It seems that more and more people are catching on to your excellent writing and clever tales. This must be good for business. Tell us about what you have available (online, in print, etc.), what you’ve been working on, and what we can expect in the future.
Aww, shucks. Thank you. Really, ASIM #51 (in which “the Bird, the Bees and Thylacine” appears) is the best issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine that I’ve had the pleasure of perusing. I understand international postage is scary, but just try it once, you won’t regret it, and you might even end up subscribing! (http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/ )
“The Company Articles of Edward Teach,” a time-travelling pirate story which picked me up a couple of Aussie awards, is one half of a (pretty darn cool) novella double from Twelfth Planet Press (http://www.twelfthplanetpress.com/store-items/the-company-articles-of-edward-teachangaelien-apocalypse ).
For free online fiction, see the left-hand column on the home page of my website (http://www.thoraiyadyer.com); you can find links to my stories in Cosmos, Nature, Zahir and elsewhere.
In future, I’ll add the link to a story I’ve sold to Apex (http://apex-magazine.com/ ), which was an extremely squee-worthy moment, and also to a collection of my original fiction being published by Twelfth Planet Press (http://www.twelfthplanetpress.com/ ) as part of their Twelve Planets series. Huzzah!
Thank you for the opportunity to publish your excellent story, and we look forward to working with you again in the future.