PRECIOUS THINGS: ANNA TAMBOUR

Let’s make one thing clear: if you’ve assembled a list of best speculative fiction authors in Australia, and Anna Tambour isn’t on it, you’ve either not read her or you’re wrong.

Anna is, quite simply, one of the most original and fascinating speculative voices this country has ever produced. Her novels and collections, such as Monterra’s Deliciosa and Other Stories, and Spotted Lily, have garnered fans everywhere they’ve touched, and awards lie up to throw nominations at her. her 2013 novel Crandolin, for example, was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award. Her most recent publication is her 2015 collection The Finest Ass in the Universe. As with all her works, it’s a sublime treat.

Despite all this, (and the fact you can find her online at her website here), Anna remains one of the most humble and self-effacing people I’ve ever met. When I asked her for a bio, she sent me this:

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PRECIOUS THINGS: DONNA MAREE HANSON

Okay, I’m sick at home, and a whole bunch of my creative friends like this Precious Things idea, and they’ve sent me their spiels already. Sooooooooooo…… that’s enough of an excuse to pop another one up for our reading pleasure, isn’t it?

 

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Donna Maree Hanson is a Canberra-based writer of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and under the pseudonym Dani Kristoff, paranormal romance. Her dark fantasy series (which some reviewers have called ‘grim dark’), Dragon Wine, is published by Momentum Books (Pan Macmillan’s digital imprint). In April 2015, she was awarded the A. Bertram Chandler Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction’ for her work in running science fiction conventions, publishing and broader SF community contribution. Donna also writes young adult science fiction, with Rayessa and the Space Pirates and Rae and Essa’s Space Adventures out with Escape Publishing. In 2016, Donna  commenced her PhD candidature researching Feminism in Popular Romance. Her first Indie published book, Argenterra, was publishing in late April 2016. Argenterra is the first in an epic fantasy series (the Silverlands) suitable for adult and young adult readers. You can find out more about Donna at her website, but for now, here is the story of her literary treasure.

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PRECIOUS THINGS

This year, I’m starting a new interview series on the blog. I’m asking fellow authors, artists, creators, and just generally cool people I know, one simple question:

What is your most precious literary treasure?

So, this is Precious Things. Some of the coolest people I know, telling the stories behind some of the coolest things they have: the literary artefacts that helped make them the creators they are.

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SEE YOU IN 2017, FOLKS

Well, my darlings, that’s me for the year. I’m outta here, to spend the next 10 days in a drunken stupor relaxing with my family, my hobbies, my air-conditioning, and my platter of Christmas nibblies.

What do I plan in 2017? A return to writing, with a vengeance. 2016 was a lost year in too many ways, and the loss of my writing was amongst the most painful difficulties I went through. No more, I say.

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EVERYTHING GOES BETTER WITH BOOKS

Back in the long-distant past, my best friend Seanie and I bought each other a second-hand book for Christmas each year, because we were skint and it was a fun way to do it. The idea was to find a book that the other party would never buy for himself, but open opening the gift would say “Oh, yes. perfect!”

When Luscious rejoined Christmas a couple of years back, we revived the tradition. It was a nice way to do something individual, and thoughtful, and bought into our mutual bibliophilia. Last year, we included Ms 15 and Master 12, and made it a Secret Santa.

And this year, we expanded, drawing in our adult children and their partners, and organising things so that each couple contributed something for our two grandchildren, so that they ended up with the biggest swag of all. I assigned a name to each family member. We stuck to a $20 limit. Every book had to be second hand, and conform to the gift-giving “perfect!” philosophy that Seanie and I set 25 years ago. 

Last night, we gathered at our house. I make a bucket of eggnog, Luscious made a bucket of macaroni cheese, everyone added to a bucket of chips and dip and nibblies and chocolate. And we settled in to receive our books. 

So here we are: three generations of Triffbatts, with our Secret Santa books. This is how traditions start.

2016 ADDENDUM: THE YEAR I GOT INK

After delays, cancellations, and general faffing about, I finally received my birthday present yesterday.

I think it looks rather natty myself.

It’s my first tattoo, at the age of 46, and as I can’t afford a sports car, and I have no intention of having an affair with my secretary, this is about as mid-life crisisish as I’m likely to get. Of course, if you’re going to permanently scar yourself, the image should have some meaning, and this is no different.

I’ve always been a huge fan of The Prisoner, the TV show from which the image and quote are taken. The show is a meditation in individuality, personal choice, and the right to privacy in a world where the compromises you make in order to survive threaten the very notion of your right to exist as a discrete being. After most of an adult life spent trying to balance some sort of artistic career with the soul-destroying conformity of various Governmental jobs, the quote speaks for itself: it’s a reminder to me of the need to constantly assert my individuality in the face of overwhelming conformity. It’s cost me a great deal over the years: happiness, job satisfaction, advancement, and stress. But it’s the message that I cling to, because I’m more than another faceless bureaucrat, and my worth to the Universe is greater.

The penny farthing is, to me, a bumblebee: the least efficient, most nonsensical design for achieving its primary goal, but one that works outside of all logic and reason. It’s the physical manifestation of a wonderful Doctor Who line, spoken many years ago by the Third Doctor– A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.

So, there we have it: thanks to my darling Luscious, the kids, and our good friends Kris and Kim, I’m a marked man. My physical nature is changed forever. And I’m rather pleased.