Profile of K.J. Bishop

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Kirsten Bishop, who writes as K.J. Bishop, was born in Melbourne, Australia. After finishing a BA in English at the University of Melbourne, she worked in web design, computer graphics and digital imaging. She began writing fiction when she was 25. She has published one novel, The Etched City, and a number of short stories. Though now concentrating on writing, she continues to work as a freelance artist.

2004 William L. Crawford Award for Best First Novel, Winner
2004 IHG Award for Best First Novel, Nominee
2004 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel, Nominee
2004 Ditmar Award for Best Novel, Winner
2004 Ditmar Award for Best New Talent, Winner
2004 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, Nominee



The Etched City
  •   Prime Books, Canton Ohio USA. ISBN 1-894815-22-X (tpb), Feb 2003.
  •   TOR UK, London UK. ISBN 1405041609 (tpb), Jan 2004.
  •   Spectra, New York USA. ISBN 0-553-38291-8 (tpb), ISBN 0-553-90083-8 (ebk), Dec 2004.
The Etched City (Serbian Translation by Mia ivković)
  •   Moć Knije, Belgrade Serbia and Montenegro. ISBN 86-83509-49-4 (pbk), 2004.

Short Stories & Novellas

The Art of Dying
The Love of Beauty
The Memorial Page
On the Origins of the Fragrant Hill
Beach Rubble
Maldoror Abroad (Short Version)
Maldoror Abroad (Full Version)
  •   The Alsiso Project, ed. Andrew Hook Jan 2004, Elastic Press, ISBN 0-9543747-5-4 (tpb)
We the Enclosed
  •   Leviathan 4, ed. Forrest Aguirre forthcoming Nov 2004, Nightshade Books, ISBN 1892389827 (hb), ISBN 1892389797 (lhb)


Gary Whitehouse
Green Man Review

With its balance of gritty realism, sly humor, gruesomely violent action, and philosophical inquiry into the soul of humankind, The Etched City lands itself solidly in the realm of top speculative fiction. To call it a promising debut would be an understatement.

Cameron Woodhead
The Age (Melbourne)

a dark fantasy debut of rare quality. Her gift for startling metaphor, the bizarre moral dimension to her narrative and the assurance of her imagination make The Etched City a compelling read, reminiscent of the baroque fantasias of Michael Moorcock Bishop's talent as a writer vastly exceeds what is required for superior genre fiction.

James Sallis
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

an ambitious and casually brilliant debut, erudite, lavishly written. Its unique blend of multiculturalism, political savvy, and hardnosed realism tempered by rebounding dreams and the possibility of redemptive art cries out for a new nomenclature. Though it borrows from both, this is neither heroic fantasy nor romance-fantasy chockfull of magic swords, witches, and wizards unaware. It's fantasy as high literature, our world skewed to a hard right angle Like all great novels, hers holds up a mirror to the world, a mirror by turns reflecting true and distorting, scooping up the world's grace along with its garbage, tripping the light fantastic over tightropes and slack wires, courting dailyness and the wonders ever beneath.

Dave Golder
SFX Magazine

An Hieronymous Bosch painting in novel form, The Etched City is a very rare beast indeed; a fantasy novel that's refreshingly new and different … 5 stars

Tim Pratt

The plot, with its stories-within-stories and its offhand descriptions of wonders and prodigies, brings to mind the works of Italo Calvino and Jorge Luis Borges, and Bishop's prose, at its best, justifies those comparisons as well.

Gahan Wilson
Realms of Fantasy

The Etched City is a very pleasantly contradictory novel in a wide variety of ways. It is thoroughly unpretentious but unafraid to delve deeply into all manner of mysteries. It features a cast of hard-bitten loners who, for all their bitterness and fatigue, are still passionately full of life.

Don D'Amassa

This one works on multiple levels the story can be read as a straightforward adventure, or as a genuine literary treat.

Publisher's Weekly

Combine equal parts of Stephen King's Dark Tower series and China Mille's Perdido Street Station, throw in a dash of Aubrey Beardsley and J.K. Huysmans, and you'll get some idea of this disturbing, decadent first novel from Australian author Bishop this grim tale should strongly appeal to aficionados of literate dark fantasy.

Rick Kleffel
The Agony Column

Bishop's first novel, The Etched City, carries with it the confidence of years of writing. Her authority is unshakeable, her prose offers the proper mix of lyricism and cynicism, and her vision of a mundane but very different reality is enchanting.

Iain Emsley
Revolution Science Fiction

Bishop develops her characters from cyphers into stones dropped into the centre of a pond. As the concentric ripples spread, so does the chaos. Once the meniscus of supposed order has moved, it releases a flurry of life and energy, allowing Bishop to draw out larger themes and develop them with a rarely matched panache. Influences range from Baudelaire to Oscar Wilde and the modern fantasists, with shades of Hieronymous Bosch. 8/10.

John Klima
Electric Velocipede

It is a rare occasion when a debut novel is this mature. The writing is on par with established authors like Jeffrey Ford and Tim Powers. From its opening pages, I was completely entranced by the world Bishop created for her characters Gwynn and Raule Time and again I found myself staying up late because I couldn't stop reading. Perfect for readers of Jeffrey Ford, Jeff VanderMeer, and China Mille. This is the most stunning debut I've read since A Scattering Of Jades by Alexander Irvine. Bishop is a writer to watch.

Mike Don
Dreamberry Wine

Bishop's prose is elegant, wonderfully stylish, and capable of carrying abrupt pace-changes; from fast and bloody gunplay to pages-long philosophical conversations on the nature of religious belief and the function of Art. This one will haunt you.

Paula Guran
Dark Echo

memorable imagery, voluptuous language, rich characters, and phantasmagoric vision reveal a new star among writers of the new weird definitely a must-read for lovers of literate dark fantasy.

Matthew Cheney
The Mumpsimus

The Etched City takes place in a vivid world, one described in prose that often soars and reminds you of what the English language is capable of accomplishing There is much I love about this novel, but perhaps what I found most remarkable is something I find many of even the best novels lack: a profound, transcendental empathy.

Lorien Kaye
The Age (Melbourne)

There is so much to revel in here, both the imagery and the philosophy, that the reader inhabits the dark fantasy world as wholly as the characters. Speculative fiction at its very best.

Michael Moorcock
The Guardian

In New Worlds (1964) Ballard said that speculative fiction would never achieve maturity until it possessed the moral authority of a literature won from experience. His observation was the nearest thing we had to a policy or a movement. Without doubt, Bishop's fiction has earned that authority.

William Thompson

This is a challenging novel, both in the themes and questions it subtly poses, and the metaphors it disguises indivisibly amidst beauty and monstrosity An amazing first novel, not only for the skill of writing, complexity and richness of invention it displays, but also for the themes it is willing to confront.

Faren Miller
New York Review of Science Fiction

Like a novelist of old, Bishop deals with the vagaries of cities, the church, men and women-in short, the human condition while as a fantasist she pays equal attention to the inhuman, or the pull of the fantastic on our minds: dreams of heaven, lost powers and faith regained, a perfect society, amoral metamorphosis. Worldly, magical, and slyly subversive with regard to transcendence, The Etched City is a remarkably sophisticated debut by a writer of great promise.

Sharon Gosling

This is an extraordinary book, and so much more than just a well-written tale. With her first novel, K.J. Bishop exhibits a deftness of pen sadly lacking from most new fantasy fiction. Her prose is absorbing, beautiful and, above all, intelligent 9/10.

John Berlyne

A vivid, elegant, disturbing and challenging work, it represents the latest from the stable of writers who have come to be referred to as the New Weird. Bishop joins authors such as China Mille and Jeff Vandermeer, whose writing has transcended conventional genre labels and carried Fantasy and Science Fiction into the realms of respectable literature. And Bishop's novel is very respectable indeed. K.J. Bishop is an important addition to the New Weird movement and The Etched City catapults her deservedly on to its A list.

Cheryl Morgan
Emerald City

If K.J. Bishop asks you to come and see her etchings, beware, for she is an alchemist and transformation is on her mind.

Gareth Wilson
Falcata Times

the whole power of the tale keeps the reader gripped and makes this a debut that I believe you just can't miss. If you've loved works by authors such as Mille, Irvine, Erikson and even VanderMeer then this is a book that will have pride and place on your shelf and one that will be read a large number of times.

Jeff VanderMeer

Bishop has written an accomplished and brave first novel that doesn't pull punches. The novel gets stranger and more strangely beautiful as it progresses, until the reader is completely trapped by it (in a blissful way). The praise on the back of the book from Jeffrey Ford, Liz Williams, and others is well-deserved.