Welcome to 2018 and Ditmar reminder

Hi all,

Welcome to 2018 – I hope your speculative fiction year is both happy and productive.

I suspect I am not alone in using the new year to try and develop a sense of renewed purpose in my writing (including this website). Best of luck to everyone!

Don’t forget that the Ditmar award nomination process is currently open. The Ditmars are the Australian speculative fiction voted awards. If you loved a piece of Australian speculative fiction during 2017, why not get in and nominate it?

If you want to remind yourself of what happened in 2017, there is a very excellent Ditmar eligibility wiki kept here.

I loved books like Nexus by Deborah Biancotti, Margo Lanagan and Scott Westerfeld, Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks, Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer and Corpselight by Angela Slatter in the novel section.

In the novella section, all the novellas by Tansy Rayner Roberts were excellent. If I had to pick one, I’d probably go with The Bromancers but it would be a line ball call.

There were some very excellent publications during 2017 – feel free to give a shout out to some of your favourites in the comments.

Great publishing news!

I had some exciting news a couple of weeks back. Dimension6, an excellent Australian speculative fiction magazine, accepted my novella, The Reclaimers, for publication.

The Reclaimers is a secondary world fantasy, where a magical weapon of mass destruction has left a world impacted by magical waste. The only use of magic now allowed is reclaiming, absorbing the magical waste to allow crops to grow, and people to not get sick. The story revolves around two reclaimers as they make their way around the edges of society where they are still tolerated.

I’ve had this novella kicking around for some time, but could never get it quite right. There also aren’t that many venues that take novellas, especially from little known authors. So, the story languished – sitting on my hard drive, enduring a little tinkering now and then but not really going anywhere.

And then, earlier this year, I decided I might self-publish it. I liked the story but I had got it into my head that no one would publish it. But only I had looked at it – and if I was going to self publish, I needed an external perspective. So, I put a call out for beta-readers and three people answered that call.

Ion “Nuke” Newcombe is the editor of Antipodean SF, who have published some of my flash fiction. Nuke gave some high level comments, and encouraged me to shop the story around before considering self-publishing. I’m very grateful for that friendly push – without it, I probably wouldn’t have made the effort to submit The Reclaimers to Dimension6!

Rhonda Selg also answered the call. Rhonda went through and provided some excellent, thought provoking comments that really helped sharpen the story. Rhonda has recently released her own book, Filigree Rings and other Fae things, which I’d encourage everyone to check out!

And finally, Kathryn Flaherty. Kathryn went above and beyond, and provided some of the most detailed comments anyone ever has for one of my stories. This feedback was invaluable, and really improved the quality of the story. If The Reclaimers is of publishable quality, it is in a large part because of Kathryn’s feedback. Kathryn recently had a flash fiction piece published at Antipodean SF, and also occasionally blogs.

If you eventually read and like The Reclaimers, it will be because of the excellent work of these three beta readers. If you don’t like it, you can definitely still blame me!

The Reclaimers is slated for release in Dimension6 in April 2018. I have nothing but appreciation for the most excellent Keith Stevenson, editor and publisher at Coeur de Lion (the creators of Dimension6) for the faith he has shown in my story.

Dimension6 Issue 12 out now

The latest issue of Dimension6 is out now, a free Australian magazine of speculative fiction. You can get your copy at the Couer de Lion website, or download a copy here.

Issue 12 features:

‘The Curious Child’ by Paul Speller

Cats are not the only things that shouldn’t be too curious.

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‘Correlation’ by Paul Stephanus

Perspective is everything, even when it comes to garbage disposal.

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‘The Gods of Mwaia’ by Bryce Stephens

Renai just wanted some land for his family; he nearly lost everything.

‘Narration Blues’ stars in the AntiSF radio show Abnorba

My recently published flash fiction piece ‘Narration Blues’ was included in the AntiSF radio show this week (the show is codenamed Abnorba).  The editor, Ion ‘Nuke’ Newcombe, runs the radio show out of Nambucca Heads on 2NVR Nambucca Valley Radio. Fortunately for everyone in the rest of the world Nuke provides the radio show as a podcast.

Nuke encourages authors to narrate their own stories, so you get to hear my dulcet tones. I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to decide whether that is a good thing.

Latest Dimension6 (Issue 11)

The latest Dimension6 is out now (Issue 11). An excellent Australian (free) magazine with great speculative fiction. Well worth checking out. This quarter there are stories by Nathan Burrage, Simon Petrie, Robert Stephenson and J Ashley Smith.

You can find links to the magazine here.

New story “Narration Blues” published on AntipodeanSF

One of my flash fiction pieces, titled “Narration Blues”, is in the latest addition of AntipodeanSF, an Australian publication.

It cannot be denied that “Narration Blues” is a silly story. I was listening to the voice over at the start of a fantasy television series, and I thought to myself “gee this is a lot of backstory – lucky they got the right person”. What if the hero died? Didn’t quite finish the quest? Gave up to become a carrot farmer? All that wasted destiny…

“Narration Blues” is the result.

As always, many thanks to Ion “Nuke” Newcombe, the editor of AntipodeanSF, for his support of my work. This is the 11th flash fiction piece that Nuke has published of mine, for which I am very grateful.

Aurealis Award results 2016

Congratulations to everyone who won an Aurealis Award this year. The Aurealis Awards are Australia’s premier judged awards, covering most areas of speculative fiction. The results are reproduced below, and the judges report makes interesting reading for those interested in the Australian scene.

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

When the Lyrebird Calls, Kim Kane (Allen & Unwin)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK

Negative Space, Ryan K Lindsay (Dark Horse Comics)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“Pretty Jennie Greenteeth”, Leife Shallcross (Strange Little Girls, Belladonna Publishing)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

“Flame Trees”, TR Napper (Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2016)

BEST HORROR NOVELLA

“Burnt Sugar”, Kirstyn McDermott (Dreaming in the Dark, PS Australia)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

“Where the Pelican Builds Her Nest”, Thoraiya Dyer (In Your Face, FableCroft Publishing)

BEST FANTASY NOVELLA

“Forfeit”, Andrea K Höst (The Towers, the Moon, self-published)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

“Of Sight, of Mind, of Heart”, Samantha Murray (Clarkesworld #122)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA

“Salto Mortal”, Nick T Chan (Lightspeed #73)

BEST COLLECTION

A Feast of Sorrows, Angela Slatter (Prime Books)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 2015, Julia Rios and Alisa Krasnostein (eds.) (Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact, Alison Goodman (HarperCollins Publishers)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

The Grief Hole, Kaaron Warren (IFWG Publishing Australia)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

Nevernight, Jay Kristoff (Harper Voyager)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Gemina: Illuminae Files 2, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

THE CONVENORS’ AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE

The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower, Kate Forsyth (FableCroft Publishing)

 

Dimension6 issue 10

Dimension6 is a free speculative fiction magazine, produced by Coeur de Lion Publishing.

This website is an affiliate of Dimension6, where you can download each issue.

Issue 10 is just out, and features:

‘The Other City’ by Rjurik Davidson
It was the time of life when everything falls apart. He had to get out of the city. But where would he end up?

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‘Glide’ by Natalie J E Potts
There are lots of species of Australian fauna that want to kill you. We just found one more.

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‘The Seven Voyages of Captain Cook’ by Craig Cormick
Cook was a Company man on a voyage of exploration. The son that accompanied him was dead. And wanted him dead too.

2017 Ditmar nominations

The Ditmars are the primary voted awards for Australian speculative fiction (as opposed to the Aurealis Awards, which is a juried award). The 2017 ballot is out, and available for voting for any eligible member of the national convention (this year held in Melbourne at Continuum 13 – the 56th National Science Fiction Convention).

The ballot is filled with some wonderful people, and my warmest congratulations go to everyone who received a nomination. I especially wanted to note that a story published in AntipodeanSF (which has published many of my flash fiction pieces) made the ballot for Best Short Story. Congratulations Edwina (author) and Nuke (editor)!

I also noted that Dimension6, the free magazine published by Keith Stevenson, published 2 of the novella/novelette nominations – a fantastic effort showing Keith’s excellent eye for talent.

http://wiki.sf.org.au/2017_Ditmar_preliminary_ballot

Best Novel

  • The Grief Hole, Kaaron Warren, IFWG Publishing Australia.
  • The Lyre Thief, Jennifer Fallon, HarperCollins.
  • Squid’s Grief, D.K. Mok, D.K. Mok.
  • Vigil, Angela Slatter, Jo Fletcher Books.
  • The Wizardry of Jewish Women, Gillian Polack, Satalyte Publishing.

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “All the Colours of the Tomato”, Simon Petrie, in Dimension6 9.
  • “By the Laws of Crab and Woman”, Jason Fischer, in Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 17, Issue 6.
  • “Did We Break the End of the World?”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Defying Doomsday, Twelfth Planet Press.
  • “Finnegan’s Field”, Angela Slatter, in Tor.com.
  • “Glass Slipper Scandal”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Sheep Might Fly.
  • “Going Viral”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Dimension6 8.

Best Short Story

  • “Flame Trees”, T.R. Napper, in Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2016.
  • “No Fat Chicks”, Cat Sparks, in In Your Face, FableCroft Publishing.
  • “There’s No Place Like Home”, Edwina Harvey, in AntipodeanSF 221.

Best Collected Work

  • Crow Shine by Alan Baxter, Ticonderoga Publications.
  • Defying Doomsday, Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench, Twelfth Planet Press.
  • Dreaming in the Dark, Jack Dann, PS Publishing.
  • In Your Face, Tehani Wessely, FableCroft Publishing.

Best Artwork

  • cover and internal artwork, Adam Browne, for The Tame Animals of Saturn, Peggy Bright Books.
  • illustration, Shauna O’Meara, for Lackington’s 12.

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • 2016 Australian SF Snapshot, Greg Chapman, Tehani Croft, Tsana Dolichva, Marisol Dunham, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Stephanie Gunn, Ju Landéesse, David McDonald, Belle McQuattie, Matthew Morrison, Alex Pierce, Rivqa Rafael, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs and Matthew Summers.
  • The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Earl Grey Editing Services (blog), Elizabeth Fitzgerald.
  • Galactic Chat, Alexandra Pierce, David McDonald, Sarah Parker, Helen Stubbs, Mark Webb, and Sean Wright.
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts.
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond.

Best Fan Writer

  • James ‘Jocko’ Allen, for body of work.
  • Aidan Doyle, for body of work.
  • Bruce Gillespie, for body of work.
  • Foz Meadows, for body of work.
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work.

Best Fan Artist

  • Kathleen Jennings, for body of work, including Illustration Friday series.

Best New Talent

  • T R Napper
  • Marlee Jane Ward

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Kat Clay for essays and reviews in Weird Fiction Review
  • Tehani Croft & Marisol Dunham, for Revisiting Pern: the great McCaffrey reread review series.
  • Tsana Dolichva, for reviews, in Tsana’s Reads and Reviews.
  • Kate Forsyth, for The Rebirth of Rapunzel: a mythic biography of the maiden in the tower, FableCroft Publishing.
  • Alexandra Pierce, for reviews, in Randomly Yours, Alex.
  • Gillian Polack, for History and Fiction: Writers, their Research, Worlds and Stories, Peter Lang.

Needed – Beta Readers!

Recently, I’ve been working on a novella titled The Reclaimers. It is a fantasy, sitting at about 26,000 words. I’ve reached the stage where I’d like to recruit a couple of beta readers.

What I’m looking for is a couple of people who’d like to read some or all of the novella, and provide some feedback. It could involve anything from just reading the first couple of chapters and giving me a sense of whether you would read on (and why), through to reading the whole thing and providing some detailed comments.

I’m open to a range of readers. Don’t worry if you’re not a writer and don’t feel like you could provide “expert” advice. While detailed, expert feedback is very valuable, so is getting feedback from a reader who can just say whether something is working for them or not, even if you can’t pinpoint exactly why.

A few broad points about the novella to help you decide whether to volunteer:

  • It is a secondary world fantasy – no Earth historical settings!
  • There is a female protagonist and references to her having a same-sex romance in her past. Not being female and not having had a same-sex romance in my past, I would love to get a perspective on the main character and how authentic she feels from someone with more credibility than me.
  • There is violence. And swearing. It’s not quite grimdark (the violence isn’t graphic enough for that), but it certainly leans in that direction. If that’s not your cup of tea, then hold back!

If you’re interested, please email me directly at: mark (at) markwebb (dot) name or leave a comment below.