Extended bio of Russell Blackford

Russell Blackford is a Newcastle (NSW)-based writer, philosopher and critic who has been active in science fiction fandom since 1979. He earned first class honours degrees in Arts and Law, a Master of Bioethics, a PhD on the supposed return to myth in contemporary literature and, in 2008, a second PhD in philosophy relating to the social and legal response to human enhancement. For several years, until December 2009, he taught part-time in the School of Philosophy and Bioethics at Monash University. He now holds an honorary research appointment at the University of Newcastle.

Dr Blackford writes both fiction and non-fiction. He is co-author of Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction (Greenwood Press, 1999), along with Van Ikin and Sean McMullen, and author of Hyperdreams: Damien Broderick’s Spacetime Fiction(Nimrod Publications, 1998).

He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Evolution and Technology and an editorial consultant to Science Fiction Studies. In the past, he has been a guest editor of the British critical SF journal Foundation (with his wife, Jenny Blackford) and a member of the editorial collective of Australian Science Fiction Review.

Russell has written for magazines and journals such as Quadrant and Meanjin. He has an international profile in debates about the role of religion and technologies of human enhancement, and in 2004 he was appointed by the Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technologies as its first Visions of Utopia fellow.

After having his first short story published in 1982, he published a novel, The Temping of the Witch King (Corey & Collins, 1983), and later edited a short story collection, Urban Fantasies (Ebony Books, 1985) with David King.

Russell Blackford pays special attention to the rhythm of his writing and was thrilled when Jack Dann (acclaimed editor of anthologies Dreaming Down Under and Dreaming Againfeaturing Australian authors) commented on it when his work was read aloud. Much of it is in the science fiction genre but he has had success with fantasy narratives, in particular his frequently anthologised short story “The Sword of God” (1996).

His fiction often contains horror elements, but they are always hybridised with science fiction or fantasy. His latest publications include the Terminator 2 novels, Dark Futures(ibooks, 2003) and Times of Trouble (ibooks, 2003). Kong Reborn (ibooks 2005) is based on the classic 1933 film King Kong, updating and modernising the story of the giant gorilla in a world of computers, cloning and genetic engineering.

His most recent books are 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists (co-edited with Udo Schuklenk; Wiley-Blackwell, 2009); Freedom of Religion and the Secular State (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012); 50 Great Myths About Atheism (co-authored with Udo Schuklenk; Wiley-Blackwell, 2013); and Humanity Enhanced: Genetic Choice and the Challenge for Liberal Democracies (MIT Press, 2014). With Damien Broderick, he is currently editing Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds (under contract to Wiley-Blackwell).