Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a speculative fiction author. Her two novels, Map of Power and Sea as Mirror, were short-listed in Australia for the Aurealis Award and Sea as Mirror was shortlisted in America for the James Tiptree Jr. Award. A co-edited volume entitled Women of Other Worlds won the William Atheling Jr. Award for contributions to Australian science fiction and she has contributed short fiction to award winning anthologies.

For over twenty years, she has taught at universities in Perth and completed her doctorate in evolutionary theory and feminist science fiction at UWA. During her doctorate studies she was awarded an ArtsWA Creative Development Fellowship and spent a year working at SymbioticA, the science/art collective at UWA. Currently, she is writing her third novel and has been awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship at UWA. She is also a committee member of the Australian Animal Studies Group and is investigating recent stories about whales and dolphins and human culture as part of her academic work.

Her research interests overlap with her creative writing projects and include science narratives and the construction of scientific authority, art and science, relationships with non-human others and feminist science studies and cyborg theory.

Blog Posts

Telling Futures

Posted on 5 March 2013 by Tess Williams

The relationship between reality and science fiction has a long history. The political surveillance of George Orwell’s 1984 is translated into the fish-bowl-observation TV show Big Brother. Star Trek fans know that the original USS Enterprise shared personnel with NASA when Communications Officer Uhuru (Nichelle Nichols) was employed to recruit minorities for the space program in the 1970s. In 2002, the film Minority Report – based on a Philip K. Dick novel – showcased current research into computer development and crowd control technology. More recently James Cameron’s film Avatar makes strong appeals to a rising environmental awareness and successfully pits indigenous ecowarriors against a high-tech military-industrial force on the imaginary planet of Pandora. So, when we think of shaping tomorrow’s world, science fiction stories often have an importance beyond simple entertainment value. They are a way we engage with the world and current issues, and they can tell us a lot about ourselves and our relationships with each other, the environment and science and technology.

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Meating a wicked problem

Posted on 24 February 2013 by Tess Williams

Meat is an integral part of human diet in most countries, but the vast majority of people who eat meat in Westernised cultures avoid direct participation in the processes of killing and preparing dead animals. This has led to extensive ethical discussion in academic journals and ongoing scrutiny of the subject in the media. Debate tends to polarize into blame and defensiveness as vegans/vegetarians face of against meat eaters in bitter arguments, and criticism of slaughter practices in the Australian press is often deflected onto other cultures and places.

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