The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.
Born in Melbourne in 1944, Damien Broderick attended Monash University where he co-edited the student newspaper Lot's Wife. He holds a PhD from Deakin University in the comparative semiotics of science and literature, with particular attention to science fiction. He had a brief career in journalism before becoming a full-time writer, mainly of science fiction. Broderick's strong Catholic upbringing and his hunger for SF were the two major influences in his early life that propelled him into a career as a fiction writer. He has become one of the leading writers of Australian SF, which can stand for science fiction or Broderick's preferred term, speculative fiction. His work has been widely anthologised in Australian and overseas publications.
Among Broderick's many published works are the novels Sorcerer's World (1970), The Dreaming Dragons (1980), The Judas Mandala (1982), Transmitters (1984), The Dark Between the Stars (1991) and The Book of Revelation (1999). His novels depend on complex plots involving several forms of time travel and parallel or altered realities. The Dreaming Dragons was runner-up in the worldwide John W Campbell Memorial Prize for science fiction. The White Abacus (1997) is a futuristic version of Shakespeare's Hamlet. He has collaborated with Rory Barnes, a colleague from Monash student days, on several publications including Valencies (1983) and Zones (1997).
His non-fiction includes The Architecture of Babel (1994), which gives his view of post-structuralist literary and cultural theory, finding it to be in tension with the philosophy of scientific realism. A stronger critique of this theory can be found in Theory and Its Discontents (1997). He has also written The Spike : Accelerating into the Unimaginable Future (1997), a closely argued exposition about how our lives are being changed by rapidly advancing technologies and The Last Mortal Generation (1999).
Broderick, who has been awarded many fellowships and writing grants has been described as 'the enfant terrible' of Australian SF, taking the genre to the boundaries of its imaginative potential.
yK-MachinesNew York (City):Thunder's Mouth Press,2006Z12897652006single work novel science fiction
'A twenty-something student from a world not quite the same as ours, August Seebeck tumbled into a vastly larger universe, and learned that he and his turbulent siblings, and the breathtaking Lune and others still stranger, are Players in the Contest of Worlds. They are mysteriously transformed humans whose ancient task is an enigmatic battle with the dread, passionate K-Machines. Now crisis deepens. Empowered with a potent killing device of his own, August finds himself flung from world to world in a brutal and baffling game, with entire universes at stake and very little idea of the rules. Only two things are clear: his beloved Lune is not who she seemed, and August's pivotal role is no chance accident.'
yTranscensionNew York (State):Tor,2002Z9795002002single work novel science fiction
'Starting with Vernor Vinge's concept of the Technological Singularity (the moment when machines begin to evolve without human assistance or restraint), Broderick takes three people at the end of this century toward the technological/biological apocalypse, beginning with Abdel-Malik, a Lebanese-born judge. In 2004, Malik is murdered, reanimated about 70 years later, and now rules on the fate of humans in an era when the race has given control of its destiny to the Aleph, a godlike, continuously evolving AI. Amanda, a near-thirtysomething adolescent who plays a great violin, can hack into any communications system and was caught breaking into a mag-lev freighter terminal with her boyfriend Vik as part of a failed attempt to hitch a ride on these superfast underground trains. Malik confines her to her home, takes away her communications and Mall visitation privileges, but Amanda hacks through and, using robot bees, gets the attention of Mathewmark, a product of a severely isolated, kind of latter-day–Mennonite compound in which all technology is banned. Mathewmark agrees to help Amanda and Vik sneak down a mag-lev ventilator shaft inside the compound, but ends up almost dying when their plans go awry. Malik rules that Amanda must take care of Mathewmark, whose brain is now rebuilt of computer circuitry and has extraordinary abilities that lead them to discover the apocalyptic event the Aleph has planned to take everyone to the next evolutionary step.'
'Deep time: the ultimate frontier, tomorrow's most romantic landscape. Our sun is vast, sullen wheel hanging at the horizon. Beings walk the dying world in its red light, but few are human. Robots return from the edges of the galaxy to mourn their lost ancestors. Mages weave plots, their science so advanced it is indistinguishable from magic. In the vastness of eternity, Earth is but a star.'
'Only science fantasy knows the paths into this dark realm. A remarkable blend of myth, science and pure dark imagination, science fantasy is a genre still little known to science fiction enthusiasts or critics. Here, for the first time, many of its key tales are gathered, together with new essays that illuminate their strange power and provide a treasury of superb, unusual entertainment.' (Source: Publisher's blurb)