As you may have noticed, I am a sucker for free fiction online. There was a time, when Irena Rašeta and me were doing NOSF.net a lot more zealously and when it was not that easy to find legal free fiction online. Sometimes, doing the Thursday Reader, was a real nightmare. Now, it’s an altogether different nightmare – so much stuff, so little time. Recommendations are more important than ever. So let me introduce you to Keith Stevenson, the man behind Dimension6, a very cool new project of free online SF.
How did Dimension6 come about and why now?
A lot of different things coming together led me to Dimension6. The last couple of projects I’d worked on – Anywhere But Earth and Pyrotechnicon – both took a couple of years from start to finish I was after a bit of instant gratification for a change The whole process for Dimension6 from initial read to publication only takes 12 weeks!
I’d also had a lot of fun in the past with the Terra Incognita Speculative Fiction Podcast (www.tisf.com.au). This was a series of podcasts by authors reading their published stories. TISF was about archiving and preserving short stories that are – by there very nature – transitory: they’re published then they’re gone. Like TISF, Dimension6 is instantly accessible and will be available now and into the future. There’s no ‘going out of print’ in the digital age.
The other aspect of TISF I liked was the fact it was free. This was about promoting Australian authors and writing without a paywall. That really appealed to me, ensuring maximum access to author’s work. It’s also true (as Cory Doctorow would tell you) that giving stuff away for free is a good tactic for an author. It increases the chance of being read and it increases the chance that people will seek out and potentially buy something else you wrote, because they are predisposed to you. Dimension6 is about promoting the authors who appear in it and, by extension, coeur de lion. Making it free is the best way to do that.
Why three stories per issue?
Well, coeur de lion is a one person operation. I do all the story selection and editing and layout and publish Dimension6. Three stories an issue is a manageable number to make sure I have enough time to meet my publication deadline. And it allows me downtime between issues to focus on my own writing.
Did you get any feedback on Issue #1?
A lot of people tweeted about it and we have a mailing list which is growing and growing. We also have a lot of other individuals and groups who are making Dimension6 available through mirror sites. Being free means it’s easy for people to do that.
Is Australian speculative fiction well appreciated in Australia or do Australians prefer American authors?
I think like any other country what people really want are good stories. They don’t really care where the author comes from. It’s true to say that Australian speculative fiction is up there with the best from any other country you care to mention and we have a lot of world class authors like Sean Williams, Trudi Canavan, Garth Nix, Margo Lanagan (and I could go on and on).
Having said that, there is a core Australian speculative fiction community that is very supportive of local authors and want to see them succeed. Coeur de lion has always been a part of that and Dimension6 is just one way that we contribute to that support.
Do you take submissions only from Australian authors?
Our focus is on Australia but like everyone else we want the best stories possible, so why limit ourselves? All or submission information is on the website at www.coeurdelion.com.au and we open again for subs in November.
What do you like about the stories in Issue #2?
It’s a great mix of stories from established and relatively new Australian authors. Each one builds a compelling world against which the action is set, and each one lives past its final sentence. Memorable stories are what Dimension6 is all about.
What is coeur de lion publishing?
We’re an independent Australian press started in 2005 out of a simple desire to find and promote original Australian speculative fiction to as wide an audience as possible. So far, we’ve published three anthologies, a collection by Terry Dowling and a novel by Adam Browne. I’m proud of all the titles we’ve produced but I guess our proudest moment so far was when Margo Lanagan won the World Fantasy Award for her novella ‘Sea-Hearts’ which appeared in our book X6 – a novellanthology. You can find out more at www.coeurdelion.com.au.
Keith Stevenson is speculative fiction writer, editor, reviewer, publisher and podcaster who was born in Scotland but emigrated to Australia in 1990. From 1999 he was submissions manager for Aurealis Magazine – Australian Fantasy and Science Fiction and later became editor of the magazine from 2001 to the end of 2004. During that time he was also organising convenor of the Aurealis Awards for several years and has since served as a judge on a number of occasions. In 2005 he formed coeur de lion publishing with fellow Melbourne-based writer Andrew Macrae. In 2007 he became science fiction and horror reviewer for Aurealis Magazine. In 2008 he commenced the Terra Incognita Australian Speculative Fiction Podcast. In 2014 he launched Dimension6 magazine and became a speculative fiction reviewer for the Newtown Review of Books. He lives in Sydney with his partner.