Share this
Like us on facebook
For the latest news and reviews.




For the latest additions to the Usual Questions project, and other posts about writing see the Facebook page:


Damien Broderick

answers the Usual Questions

Photograph, Damien Broderick, courtesy the author

Damien Broderick

Damien Broderick is an Australian SF writer currently living in the U.S.A. He did his Ph.D. on a science fiction-related subject.

Broderick's The Judas Mandala has been credited with the first appearance of the term "virtual reality", in 1982 ( entry/ virtual_reality).

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

Fans are fun people, sparky and clever, but mostly I've been affected by meeting editors and other writers, some I've known for years only via the interwebs, like Charlie Stross, or amazingly generous people like Joe and Gay Haldeman (who put me up in Florida more than 30 years ago when I was brain-stunned during my first US trip) and John Douglas and Ginjer Buchanan who did likewise in Manhattan, lending me a machine to finish my third novel. Wonderful humans!

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

I was challenged by a brilliant woman poet visiting with an old pal. She was in a scathing mood, and as a direct result of her comments I changed the sex of a major character in The Judas Mandala, which made all the difference.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

No single favorite, and the names and stories change by the day or the mood. I still love early A E van Vogt, which horrifies my more tasteful friends but I don't care. Arthur Clarke, Sturgeon, Cordwainer Smith, Joanna Russ, John Crowley. Some of John Barth's novels are astonishing, although others leave me high and dry. I'd give anything to be able to return and re-read Tom Disch's The Pressure Of Time, but he never finished it so it hasn't been published; only scraps. Yet in a way that's all we ever write: scraps and patches, fragments of a dream wrestled into reality.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

An expert elevator mechanic.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

The taxi driver who took me to Brisbane airport and sneezed juicily all the time. I was sick as a dog with flu for two weeks.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

A small portable wormhole.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

You know that famous declaration by James Joyce's alter ego Stephen Dedalus? "I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race." Well, there's no race but the human species, and our conscience and consciousness is largely created by all the people who have ever spoken and written and worked and laughed and loved and hated, but something like that. And not by my science fiction alone, but in my books about science and parascience, about the prospect of indefinite healthy longevity, about the Singularity, about understanding... everything. That would be joyful as well as important.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

I'm fascinated by the lure of polymathy-the absurd hunger to know everything-which nabbed me as a small child and found imaginative form in van Vogt's invented applied science of Nexialism. It's hard to find a university Chair or corporate Chief Know-All position as a Nexialist, so it's just as well that sf lets us play with ideas and images and even pays us a pittance to do it, sometimes even enough to scrape by. (Luckily, my dear wife Barbara, genius tax lawyer and permaculture gardener, makes enough to ensure that neither of us really has to "scrape by." But wealth is not why most of us got into this game, is it? We wanted to find out how things work-rainbows, cities, stars, the human heart-and write it down. So that's what I do.

submitted by Damien Broderick

20 Aug 2013

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: Melbourne 1944
Resides: San Antonio, Texas.
Bibliography/Awards:About 60 books so far, written, co-written, and edited. Please see

Web site: No website at the moment, no Facebook, it's spawn of the devil.


For posts about Melbourne events, places, news, reviews, giveaways, see our Facebook Page: