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janeen webb

Over coming weeks we'll have a series of mini interviews ("minterviews" if you will) with some of the awesome writers in our forthcoming Ecopunk! (check it out on kickstarter

Next up is Janeen Webb. Janeen is a multiple award winning author, editor and critic who has written or edited ten books and over a hundred essays and stories. Her short story collection, Death At The Blue Elephant, was short listed for the 2015 World Fantasy Award. Janeen is a recipient of the World Fantasy Award, the Peter MacNamara SF Achievement Award, the Aurealis Award, and the Ditmar Award. She holds a PhD in literature from the University of Newcastle, and divides her time between Melbourne and a small farm overlooking the sea near Wilson's Promontory, Australia.

1. Tell us a little about your Ecopunk! story, and the inspiration behind it. 

I'm sitting in a Melbourne cafe, sipping my usual latte, trying to imagine a world without coffee - uncomfortably aware that the sheer volume of water it takes to produce a single cup could well render coffee crops unsustainable in a post climate-change environment. My Ecopunk! story, "Monkey Business", turns on the defence of just such a crop, but it's not just about the coffee - it's about the escalating conflict between food security and bio diversity.

"Monkey Business" begins when Brunelli - coffee lover, kick-ass woman warrior, wildlife defender par excellence - rescues a baby capuchin monkey in the course of her battle protect a precious patch of rainforest against systematic deforestation. The inspiration for this scenario is partly autobiographical, in that, when I lived in South-East Asia, I adopted and raised an orphaned baby gibbon (the smallest of the apes), whose mother had died in just such a circumstance. It also stems from my growing sense of alarm that ongoing habitat destruction is pushing so many creatures - including the gentle orang utans - to the brink of extinction. I don't want to imagine a world without them. But I have no illusions about the probable outcome - in a neo-liberal global economy, money always wins: the trick will be to find a way to make the production of the cash crops that are so valuable to private businesses contingent upon the survival of bio diverse wildlife. It's worth a try. That's where Brunelli comes in ....

2. What science fictional technology do you wish we had now?

There are so many things I wish we had. What happened to the personal jet packs we were promised when we were kids? But the thing I most long for is a time machine - or at least a reliable matter transmitter, or a variation on the sf technology that would provide instantaneous transport. I think about it every time I join the queue for yet another expensive, exhausting long haul flight. There's never a time machine when you need one. And I need one.

3. With all these scary climate events happening at the moment, it's sometimes hard to see some light. What gives you the most hope for humanity and the world?

At a time when our leaders are governing more for the party room than for the people, it's the people who give me hope. It's the grass roots movements we see everywhere, the vibrant responses of people who value life in all its myriad forms: the people who give their time to providing humanitarian aid, to wildlife rescue, to gardening heirloom crops and creating seed banks. If a group of amateur astronomers can find a new planet (and they did), maybe, collectively, we can find a way to save this one.


Ecopunk! - speculative tales of radical futures contains 19 optimistic tales, selected by two award-winning editors, showing how humanity can survive and flourish, despite the looming uncertainty from climate change. The incredible line-up includes some of Australia's best science fiction writers.

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