Interview with Kyron Mallett, the writer of Equilibrium (2008)
Interviewer: Kyron thanks for giving up some of your time for this interview.
Mallett: I’ve never been interviewed before – so it’s a bit of a thrill for me!
Interviewer: First let’s talk about your new audio story, Equilibrium? What did you think of the end result?
Mallett: Lighthope and crew did a marvelous job. They really made the story come alive and they should be congratulated for allowing beginning writers to cut their teeth.
Interviewer: Could you just tell us a little about what its all about?
Mallett: Well, it’s set in colonial Sydney Town somewhere between 1790 and 1800. The settlers have been displacing and eradicating the indigenous peoples from the immediate area but then something starts to attack them, firstly at the more isolated outposts.
Interviewer: What, drunken bunyips?
Mallett: (Ignoring the last statement) I tried to capture the natural human fear of a foreign environment. The Europeans are newcomers and they have no idea what lurks in the outback. The Aboriginals on the other hand are portrayed as being in tune with the environment and are aware that highly elusive and dangerous creatures exist.
Interviewer: The Quinkins?
Mallett: Yes they are mythological creatures, really associated with tribes up North, but I took a little creative license.
Interviewer: Just a bit?
Mallett: Well my generation was probably the first to grow up with an appreciation for Aboriginal art and stories as mainstream entertainment and educational tools. Stories like the rainbow serpent, which is a beautiful creation myth, imprinted on our brains. The Quinkins are basically two species of ‘dreamtime’ creatures: the timara are as tall as trees, dark and thin, gentle and shy; the imjin are small, almost opaque cave dwellers, bestial and carnivorous; the imjin traditionally steal Aboriginal children to make them into themselves and the timara have been known to steal them back. I have the Doctor explain their differences through natural selection – their respective shapes provide them with camouflage in their natural environments, the forest and the caves.
Interviewer: You can’t see Aboriginals getting upset at your use of these mythical creatures?
Mallett: Well no more than Scandinavians might get upset about the latest issue of The Mighty Thor! The main theme of the story is the tragedy of the clash of cultures. The story depicts most (not all) Europeans as elitist, crass and just downright racist to be honest. Abaroo is the central character of the story, not the Doctor. He carries the weight of the invasion and the Dreamer’s plans for “his” people on his shoulders, and eventually strikes the winning blow. I’m not one for posturing and being PC all the time, just for the sake of it. The story comes right from the heart and I’m sure, given a wide enough audience, I would be denounced by many whites as a bleeding heart liberal and probably a traitor! The invasion is a story not often told, at least not from both sides. There’s an excellent documentary series on at the moment here in Australia, which attempts to tell the history of Australia from the point of view of the native peoples for the first time. I understand my work is entertainment and the other is scholarship, but it is coming from the same place in essence. It’s a Doctor Who story and there has to be a monster, or at least a surreal situation, but at the heart of it was the desire to explore the clash of cultures. I could have made some creature up but I think historical Doctor Who at least, should be anchored in cultural reality and to do any less would have been cheating the audience. I think it’s clear that on so many levels the native cultures were a hundred times more sophisticated and enlightened than that of the invaders. They didn’t live in perfect equilibrium with the environment but they came very close to it and they had a respect for it, which we are only nurturing now when its almost too late, and arguably only out of desperation.
Interviewer: Tell me more about the Dreamer?
Mallett: Well aside from European culture, the Dreamer is the villain of the piece. He’s a gestalt entity, in actual fact a consciousness that is the sum total of an adjacent universe. I think the suggestion is that the meditation ceremonies of the Aboriginals allowed him to connect with our universe and break open a peep hole. Originally his universe was like ours, full of dust and hydrogen and planets and nebulas etc. Eventually all the beings that existed in it were absorbed into a single mind and became him… or it. His idea is to make the natives of the Southern continent blend into a group mind so they can join him. Perhaps he’s lonely? So both their physical and mental lives have to be entirely balanced, living in equilibrium with the surrounding environment. Over millennia he begins to teach them how to achieve this feat. Then the Europeans come and mess up his pet project and he animates the last creatures from a past age called the Quinkins (the timara and the imjin) to wipe them out. Only the Doctor turns up and throws a spanner into the works. The Doctor and particularly Moria, are vital from a narrative perspective as they really represent us as listeners. We can see how badly the Europeans are behaving and we can see the unfolding tragedy through their eyes.
Interviewer: Getting away from the audio story now… this isn’t the first Doctor Who story you’ve written is it?
Mallett: No, I’ve published about 30 odd on the net.
Interviewer: But you’re not just a fan fiction writer?
Mallett: Well I hope not. I’ve actually worn many hats in my life and I'll wear more.
Interviewer: You seem to have a predeliction for historical stories?
Mallett: How could there not be. I do favor the historical stories a bit. Still there’s nothing like the “small band of humans trapped in a isolated outpost under siege by amoral aliens storyline”, every now and again!
Interviewer: Well thank you for your time. I’m sure we all look forward to your future creative endeavors.
Mallett: There's more to come I’m sure.