What is speculative fiction and what can it offer the world? Aliya Whiteley’s work has been described as “stark, poetic and forthright”, and certainly not easily classified. We talk to her about how established ideas of gender can be challenged, the questions she explores in her fiction, the relationship her books have to the natural landscape and the merits of small presses.
Since recording this episode, Unsung Stories has gone on to win the 2018 British Fantasy Award for Best Independent Press! Huge congratulations to the team at Unsung, who have published some fantastic fiction in the last few years (titles mentioned in this episode are tagged below).
Texts and authors referenced in this episode include:
- Alan Garner
- The Hairy Hands (folktale)
- The White Plague by Frank Herbert
- Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
- Dawn by Octavia E. Butler
- Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
- The Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore
- Watchmen by Alan Moore
- The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood
- A Cold Season by Alison Littlewood
- Metronome by Oliver Langmead (Unsung)
- Dark Star by Oliver Langmead (Unsung)
Aliya Whiteley was born in Devon in 1974, and currently lives in West Sussex, UK. She writes unpredictable novels, novellas, and short stories and has been published in places such as The Guardian, Interzone, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Black Static, Strange Horizons, and anthologies such as Unsung Stories’ 2084 and Lonely Planet’s Better than Fiction I and II.
She has been shortlisted for a Shirley Jackson Award, British Fantasy and British Science Fiction awards, the John W Campbell Award, and a James Tiptree Jr award. She also writes a regular column for Interzone and reviews films, books and TV at Den of Geek.