Welcome to (Un)Natural Selection, the tenth issue of The Quarry, Macquarie University’s undergraduate creative writing journal!
Natural selection evokes images of evolution, of progress and of change. But what of the (un)natural? Not just unnatural, but (un)natural? A state of being where the natural and the unnatural cannot be separated, but rather exist alongside each other, in spite of each other, or because of each other. Human augmentation, cosmetic surgery, gene splicing, forced evolution, global warming, environmental disasters are mix-ups of body and nature, science and technology: the human impact on ecosystems and climate—the world we live in doesn’t fit into neat categories of natural and unnatural. (Un)Natural is a way of keeping the lines blurred.
As the saying goes: life finds a way. Even if those ways aren’t ‘natural’. This tenth issue of the The Quarry is packed with stories where characters struggle to survive in future landscapes, or fight on in a changed world. There are stories with twisted dating-contest shows; that explore the consequences of deities interfering with mortals; and where children can only be brought into the world upon application. Questions are asked: when most of our body is machine, is it still our body? Would we still be human? How advanced does artificial intelligence have to be for it to fall in love?
In our non-fiction, ‘survival of the fittest’—natural selection’s big catch phrase—kicks Teresa Peni off on a journey self-exploration, fitting in and knowing yourself. But what about that other big change: climate change. That unnatural warming of the Earth and rising of the seas is at the core of Rima Marten’s Planet Earth, Red Earth.
Drama, action, romance, horror, science-fiction and fantasy have all found their place in the world that is The Quarry’s tenth issue. What we have is a range of writing best suited to survive amongst the theme of (Un)Natural Selection. So sink your teeth into this (un)naturally spectacular selection we’ve prepared for you.
Editorial by Ryan Hunter and Sarah Joseph.