Getting into writing – an interview with Ion “Nuke” Newcombe of Antipodean SF


Nuke is the editor and publisher of AntipodeanSF, Australia’s longest running online speculative fiction magazine, regularly issued since January 1998. He has been a zealous reader and occasional writer of science fiction, fantasy and horror since his childhood in the 1960s.

“Nuke”, lives in the New South Wales North Coast holiday destination of Nambucca Heads, where he is self-employed in IT training, computer support, desktop publishing, editing, writing, and website implementation. He is also the resident tech-head, skeptic, and Vice President of community radio station 2NVR, where he produces a number of shows including The AntipodeanSF Radio Show.

Why did you start your publication?

I’d been a traditional editor of a magazine for a car club, an amateur radio group, and a computer user group beforehand, and the advent of the internet brought with it the opportunity to investigate publishing online, bringing together my electronic/IT skills with the desktop publishing skills I’d already learnt.

I also reckoned that computer screens around that time really weren’t up to the job of displaying long & wordy stories. Unlike the displays of today, those early screens were low resolution and flickery, not easy on the reader’s eyes, so I decided to aim at short-short stories (now known as flash fiction) that could be read quickly and easily.

The third motivation was to get Australia “on the map” with electronic online publication, and to feature Aussie authors who may perhaps have been otherwise unknown, or perhaps could tell a good flash story, but needed a little editorial help.

What is the most gratifying element of publishing the written word?

Positive feedback from both authors and readers about the quality of the stories.

What are your happiest memories in your writing/publishing career?

The positive interactions with so many authors over the years, subsequently meeting those authors at conventions, and the friendships and links made within the genre.

I also fondly recall the time when I was approached by the National Library of Australia for permission to archive the magazine in perpetuity because it was of “cultural significance” here in Australia.

I’m also proud of the magazine’s first foray into audio production, way back in the year 2000, well before podcasting, when we featured a few stories online for download in mp3 format. Since then the magazine has an associated podcast, “The AntiSF Radio Show”.

Finally, many Aussie authors, and a good proportion of those now relatively well-known in the speculative fiction genre, were first “discovered” and published by AntipodeanSF.

How do you handle success and failure?

Success and failure both generate the same response from me – just keep on publishing the magazine, keep on interacting with authors, keep editing, and promoting. I think it’s important to just keep on working at it.

What makes you edit when you’re exhausted and your fingers ache?

Consistency is so important. I try to keep ahead of the submission queue as much as I can, and attempt to have at least 4-6 months of stories scheduled and ready for future issues. Getting behind on my deadlines is not an option.

What is your advice to young and new writers?

Simple — keep on writing, keep on reading, keep on submitting.

Are you a traditionalist or a digital? (paper or eBook)

AntipodeanSF is a digital magazine, monthly, shunning the dead trees and ink approach.


AntipodeanSF Magazine:

The AntiSF Radio Show: (or at itunes and many other podcasting aggregator sites)

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