• Karen

Spotlight on Pat Cadigan

Updated: Sep 10, 2018

Pat was a wonderful Guest of Honour at Fantasycon 2017 and I wanted to share with you how great she is with some of the information we put together for, and at, that event.


Award winning writer, Pat Cadigan has been creating thought provoking #ScienceFiction and #Fantasy for the last four decades. Her short story Angel, was a finalist for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and the World Fantasy Award.  It won the Locus Award in 1988. Her collection Patterns also won a Locus in 1990.


A founder member of what we’ve come to know of as the cyberpunk movement,  Pat’s novel, Synners won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1992 and she repeated the triumph with Fools in 1995. She was the first writer to win the award twice.

Pat’s short fiction has appeared in several of the world’s best Science Fiction and Fantasy magazines, including Asimovs.


In 2013, she won the Hugo Award and the Locus Award for her short story, The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi. This also won the Seiun Award in 2015.


Reading Pat Cadigan


Pat’s writing explores what it is to be human. Her characters are restless, yearning for  transformation and change. They live in communities that have adapted to new surroundings, but seem strange to us at first, because our experiences are different to theirs.


In 2008, Pat’s second Tales from the Big Dark story: In The Translation was published by Newcon Press in the Myth – Understanding anthology. This was an alternative perspective on the alien abduction. In the story, the abductees of many different worlds have developed an interstellar society of their own, processing new abductees who have limited memories of their former lives into functioning members of their rootless civilization.


I read Pat’s story, The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi in 2014, for the Foundation Masterclasses organized by Tony Keen, in the Greenwich Observatory.   It was part of the thirtieth edition of The Year’s Best Science Fiction, edited by the late Gardner Dozois.


There’s something about how Pat manages to show readers what it is to be different. In this case, the story is set in Jupiter orbit and all the characters are altered humans, adapted for living in microgravity so as to better manage their work. These Sushi have become an unintentional underclass, looked down upon by other humans, demonstrating a way in which people can and do.


The story is told in an uncompromising first person narration that has a colloquial pattern all of its own. Reading it is a glimpse into the Sushi society and its differences to our own. To start with, this a struggle, but the reward is palpable. This is a story that couldn’t have been written any other way. If it had, and allowances had been made to make it more accessible, we wouldn’t get the lesson. The writer wants us to feel the distance of time and culture. Only then, can we understand the message – a parallel of and reflection on our own society. Being patient and tolerant of people who are different to us isn’t enough. We have to bridge the gap and open our minds and hearts, we need to get out of comfort zones and put away familiar things.   


In 2015, Pat was one of the guest tutors of the Foundation Masterclass and I had the unique opportunity of discussing her story again with her and a new group of fellow students, examining the conveyed meaning and intention side by side with the author.   


Despite a need for change in their lives, Pat’s characters there’s an underlying sense of positivity about humanity. She describes us as adaptable and resilient, capable of finding ways to survive and thrive in changing circumstances.


At Fantasycon 2017 she was interviewed by Ian Whates from Newcon Press. Here is the recorded interview.


Pat Cadigan’s blog can be found here

Here is an Amazon affiliate link to Pat's Amazon page, if you use this to buy books we get a small commission, but it does not cost you any extra. 


Leave us a comment below if you have read any of Pat's work and let us know if you enjoyed it.