SCIENCE FICTION WRITER, SCIENTIFIC ILLUSTRATOR, ARTIST
WRITING: Russell Kightley has been writing sci-fi stories since 2014. His books are philosophical science fiction with a slice of satire and a twist of time travel. Often, they explore the nature of consciousness and reality. That sounds heavy, but they’re written in a light and easy style, often with wordplay. The short story collections, Café Street and Global Replace are a great way to sample them.
His first interest in the craft came from reading John Gardner's The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers in a cafe in Palo Alto in the early 80s. Writing during the following thirty years was mainly scripting for videos and captions for graphics. Only in his late fifties did he feel he had enough to say to actually write fiction.
PERSONAL: Russell Kightley lives in Canberra, the capital of Australia, with his wife, an astrophysicist, and his younger daughter, a science student. His elder daughter is a well-known model. Ollie the shih-tzu lives with him and features in some of the stories.
A LIFE IN ART: Russell Kightley was drawing from about age seven. One of his earliest surviving pictures, a pencil and wash of a church, features in Yesterday Makers. He studied graphic design in the late 70s at Nene College, after spending two years at Birmingham Dental School. In 1981, he started in traditional hospital-based medical illustration at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, using pen and ink and watercolour, well before computers became commonplace in design. Then came a long stint in university-based medical video production (including two years at Stanford University in the early '80s). During the mid-80s, he used a very high-end digital paint system (the Quantel Paintbox) for video graphics. The Paintbox introduced him to the digitising pen and tablet, and so he used a computer pen long before a mouse. In 1997 he received a Graduate Diploma in Electronic Arts from the Australian National University.
ART AWARDS: Qualia's Jungle won the E. G. Harvey Award for Australian SciFi Art 2016.
FILM AWARDS: His first was a CINE Golden Eagle in 1984 while working at Stanford. 39 more awards followed for the videos he worked on. 35 of those were for videos that he directed, including Gold at Worldfest Houston, and Silver at the British Medical Association.
GRAPHICS: Published everywhere, from Playboy to Nature. In Scientific American, New Scientist, and the BMJ. On the BBC and in Reader's Digest. On the NASA site. In the Richard Dawkins book The Greatest Show on Earth. In newspapers and museums, on websites, in trade shows, and as posters in schools (BioCam). You can see all of his scientific graphics and animations at scientific.pictures.
FOLLOW HIM ON THESE AUTHOR SITES