Matthew Chrulew lives in Sydney where he plays basketball in the men’s over 30s comp at the Brickpit on Thursday nights – come along! His short fiction has appeared in Antennae, Pseudopod, Canterbury 2100, Macabre: A Journey Through Australian Horror, and elsewhere. His end-times burlesque novella The Angælien Apocalypse (Twelfth Planet Press) was a finalist in the 2010 Aurealis Awards. Other stories have been shortlisted in the Australian Shadows Award and reprinted in year’s bests. He blogs at matthewchrulew.wordpress.com/
I was fascinated to read about the “Black Paintings” tour that you have recently been involved in, and its intersection of different creative expressions. Can you tell us a little more about it, how you got involved and what you took away from it?
I had interviewed Trash from The Red Paintings a while back for some of my academic work. They are a sci-fi art-rock band who have always had visual artists paint as part of their live shows. I wanted to see how writing might relate to this combination of music and painting, and they were kind enough to have me along as part of their tour last summer. Some notes on the shows are on my blog, starting from: http://matthewchrulew.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/writing-experiment-the-black-paintings-tour/ It was a demanding and joyful trial, and I’m developing the ideas and prose that emerged into a longer work about anesthesia and synesthesia.
You were a member of the inaugural Clarion South workshop in 2004. How much of an impact did that have on your writing career? Is it something you would recommend to other writers?
If a writer ever has the opportunity to spend six weeks writing, critiquing, and hanging out with cool people, then I would certainly recommend they take it. My career is still, well, careering, but Clarion gave me friendships and skills and ideas that enrich my life and work.
After the success of last year’s novella double with Thoraiya Dyer, “The Company Articles of Edward Teach/The Angaelien Apocalypse”, is the novella a form that you plan on returning to soon? Or do you have other works that you are focussing on in the short term?
It’s academic essays and books that seem to have the highest priority these days. But when fiction becomes an option again there are a range of half-formed things waiting. These include more Angælien stories, though with entirely different tones; more cannibalism and detached heads too; the experimental work The Black Paintings; and my long-suffering postapocalyptic novel about mammoths.
What Australian works have you loved recently?
Terry Dowling’s Clowns at Midnight is a wonderful work of cerebral horror that deserves a wider readership. It was a pleasure to read horror short fiction for the AAs this last year, and Talie Helene has selected for the forthcoming Ticonderoga Year’s Best many that could easily have made the shortlist. Lisa Hannett’s Bluegrass Symphony is an exemplary short story collection. I encourage everyone to buy six copies of Adam Browne’s forthcoming novel from Coeur de Lion: one for each bodily sense and the other for your linguometer. And while the author is Iranian, it was published in Australia so I say it counts: Reza Negarestani’s hybrid theory-horror novel Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials.
Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?
The rise of self-promotional spamming as a way of life.
This interview was conducted as part of the 2012 Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot. In the lead up to Continuum 8 in Melbourne, we will be blogging interviews for Snapshot 2012 conducted by Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright. To read the interviews hot off the press, check these blogs daily from June 1 to June 7, 2012.