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2014 Aurealis Awards – shortlist

I’m a bit late to the party, but the Aurealis Award shortlist for 2014 was recently announced. The announcement article can be found here, but for your convenience the shortlist is replicated below.

The Aurealis Awards are Australia’s premier speculative fiction awards, and are judged rather than decided through a popular vote. My first reaction is one of surprise at how few of the finalists I have actually read. I will attempt to remedy that, at least partially, over the next few months.

2014 Aurealis Awards – Finalists

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

Fireborn, Keri Arthur (Hachette Australia)

This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

The Lascar’s Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette Australia)

Dreamer’s Pool, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)

Daughters of the Storm, Kim Wilkins (Harlequin Enterprises Australia)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

“The Oud”, Thoraiya Dyer (Long Hidden, Crossed Genres Publications)

“Teratogen”, Deborah Kalin (Cemetery Dance, #71, May 2014)

“The Ghost of Hephaestus”, Charlotte Nash (Phantazein, FableCroft Publications)

“St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls”, Angela Slatter (The Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 9, Issue 3)

“The Badger Bride”, Angela Slatter (Strange Tales IV, Tartarus Press)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Aurora: Meridian, Amanda Bridgeman (Momentum)

Nil By Mouth, LynC (Satalyte)

The White List, Nina D’Aleo (Momentum)

Peacemaker, Marianne de Pierres (Angry Robot)

This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

Foresight, Graham Storrs (Momentum)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

“The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)

“Wine, Women and Stars”, Thoraiya Dyer (Analog Vol CXXXIV nos 1&2 Jan/Feb)

“The Glorious Aerybeth”, Jason Fischer (OnSpec, 11 Sep 2014)

“Dellinger”, Charlotte Nash (Use Only As Directed, Peggy Bright Books)

“Happy Go Lucky”, Garth Nix (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

Book of the Dead, Greig Beck (Momentum)

Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (Allen & Unwin)

Obsidian, Alan Baxter (HarperVoyager)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

“The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)

“Skinsuit”, James Bradley (Island Magazine 137)

“By the Moon’s Good Grace”, Kirstyn McDermott (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 12, Issue 3)

“Shay Corsham Worsted”, Garth Nix (Fearful Symmetries, Chizine)

“Home and Hearth”, Angela Slatter (Spectral Press)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

The Astrologer’s Daughter, Rebecca Lim (Text Publishing)

Afterworld, Lynnette Lounsbury (Allen & Unwin)

The Cracks in the Kingdom, Jaclyn Moriarty (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Clariel, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

The Haunting of Lily Frost, Nova Weetman (UQP)

Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“In Hades”, Goldie Alexander (Celapene Press)

“Falling Leaves”, Liz Argall (Apex Magazine)

“The Fuller and the Bogle”, David Cornish (Tales from the Half-Continent, Omnibus Books)

“Vanilla”, Dirk Flinthart (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Signature”, Faith Mudge (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

Slaves of Socorro: Brotherband #4, John Flanagan (Random House Australia)

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, Karen Foxlee (Hot Key Books)

The Last Viking Returns, Norman Jorgensen and James Foley (ILL.) (Fremantle Press)

Withering-by-Sea, Judith Rossell (ABC Books)

Sunker’s Deep: The Hidden #2, Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)

Shadow Sister: Dragon Keeper #5, Carole Wilkinson (Black Dog Books)

BEST COLLECTION

The Female Factory, Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter (Twelfth Planet Press)

Secret Lives, Rosaleen Love (Twelfth Planet Press)

Angel Dust, Ian McHugh (Ticonderoga Publications)

Difficult Second Album: more stories of Xenobiology, Space Elevators, and Bats Out Of Hell, Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)

The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Angela Slatter (Tartarus Press)

Black-Winged Angels, Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Kisses by Clockwork, Liz Grzyb (Ed) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Eds), (Twelfth Planet Press)

Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction, Dominica Malcolm (Ed) (Solarwyrm Press)

Reach for Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)

Fearsome Magics, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)

Phantazein, Tehani Wessely (Ed) (FableCroft Publishing)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL/ILLUSTRATED WORK

Left Hand Path #1, Jason Franks & Paul Abstruse (Winter City Productions)

Awkwood, Jase Harper (Milk Shadow Books)

“A Small Wild Magic”, Kathleen Jennings (Monstrous Affections, Candlewick Press)

Mr Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye, Tim Molloy (Milk Shadow Books)

The Game, Shane W Smith (Deeper Meanings Publishing)

Australian Women Writers Reading Challenge – 2015

aww-badge-2015And here I go once again, diving into the wonderful world of the Australian Women Writers challenge for 2015. 2014 was a bit of a dip for me, unlike previous years I was reading and reviewing right up until the end of the year (and maybe an insy-winsy bit into 2015). But this year I have a good feeling. With that in mind, I’m still going to attempt the Franklin challenge with a small twist – read 10 books and try to review all 10. I should stray outside the speculative fiction realm – it would probably be good for me. But I suspect that I won’t.

So, if you have any suggestions for books to read or authors to check out, let me know in the comments below. And hopefully I’ll have my first review up very soon.

Zeroes – news

I usually leave news items to people that are better at it than me, like Sean Wright and Alex Pierce for instance. But one piece of recent Australian speculative fiction news has got me very excited, and I just had to share.

Long time readers of the blog might recall that I have a slight literary crush on the writing of Australian author Deb Biancotti, in particular her collection Bad PowerI also loved her other collection The Book of Endings. And don’t get me started on her contribution to Ishtar. I have long bemoaned the fact that she hasn’t published anything for a while, and I have been particularly interested in how she might extend her take on super powers into the novel format.

So imagine my delight when I recently read that Biancotti has co-authored a trilogy with fellow Australians Margo Lanagan and Scott Westerfeld. The announcements can be found here, here and here:

The first book is due out in September 2015, and I am all excitement. You can probably assume I will review the book.

As a side note, I was very interested to read about the writing process when three authors collaborate. Especially as it seemed to involve a significant investment of time at the local pub!

It’s available for pre-order at Amazon (but only in hardback at the moment).

Ditmars preliminary ballot – Galactic Chat!

The preliminary ballot for the Ditmars (Australian SF awards – a voted award not jury picked) has come out and I’m very pleased to say that Galactic Chat has been nominated for the Best Fan Publication in Any Medium category.

For new readers of the blog, I am a minor contributor to the Galactic Chat podcast, which aims to interview the people that make up the Australian speculative fiction scene. The podcast is led by Sean Wright (who is also nominated for a bunch of other stuff around his fan writing), and also includes contributions from Helen Stubbs, David McDonald, Alexandra Pierce and Sarah Parker.

In 2014 I conducted two interviews. The first was with Ion Newcombe, the publisher of AntipodeanSF (which recently published its 200th issue) and the second was with agent extraordinaire Alex Adsett. I am very proud of both interviews – it was great to speak with such fascinating people and I’d like to take the chance once again to thank them both for subjecting themselves to my incessant questioning!

The full Ditmar ballot can be found here, and I’ve reproduced the list below (accurate as at 14/2/2014) with links to the embarrassingly few nominated books that I’ve reviewed on this site. I’d like to give a particular shout out to Sean Wright for his well deserved nominations, fellow podcaster Helen Stubbs for her Best New Talent nomination and other fellow podcaster Alex Pierce for her many nominations!

I should also note that I was interviewed for the 2014 Snapshot, which is a very deserving entry in the Best Fan Publication in any Medium category.

Best Novel

  • The Lascar’s Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette)
  • Bound (Alex Caine 1), Alan Baxter (Voyager)
  • Clariel, Garth Nix (HarperCollins)
  • Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule 1), Trudi Canavan (Hachette Australia)
  • The Godless (Children 1), Ben Peek (Tor UK)

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “The Ghost of Hephaestus”, Charlotte Nash, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • “The Legend Trap”, Sean Williams, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Darkness in Clara”, Alan Baxter, in SQ Mag 14 (IFWG Publishing Australia)
  • “St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls”, Angela Slatter, in Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 9, Issue 3 (Review of Australian Fiction)
  • “The Female Factory”, Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, in The Female Factory (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Escapement”, Stephanie Gunn, in Kisses by Clockwork (Ticonderoga Publications)

Best Short Story

  • “Bahamut”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • “Vanilla”, Dirk Flinthart, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Cookie Cutter Superhero”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Seventh Relic”, Cat Sparks, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • “Signature”, Faith Mudge, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Collected Work

  • Kaleidoscope, Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013, Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Phantazein, Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)

Best Artwork

  • Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, in Black-Winged Angels (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, of Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, in The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings (Tartarus Press)

Best Fan Writer

  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work
  • Tsana Dolichva, for body of work
  • Bruce Gillespie, for body of work
  • Katharine Stubbs, for body of work
  • Alexandra Pierce for body of work
  • Grant Watson, for body of work
  • Sean Wright, for body of work

Best Fan Artist

  • Nalini Haynes, for body of work, including “Interstellar Park Ranger Bond, Jaime Bond”, “Gabba and Slave Lay-off: Star Wars explains Australian politics”, “The Driver”, and “Unmasked” in Dark Matter Zine
  • Kathleen Jennings, for body of work, including Fakecon art and Illustration Friday series
  • Nick Stathopoulos, for movie poster of It Grows!

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • Snapshot 2014, Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely, and Sean Wright
  • It Grows!, Nick Stathopoulos
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Andrew Finch
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
  • Galactic Chat, Sean Wright, Helen Stubbs, David McDonald, Alexandra Pierce, Sarah Parker, and Mark Webb

Best New Talent

  • Helen Stubbs
  • Shauna O’Meara
  • Michelle Goldsmith

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Reviews in The Angriest, Grant Watson
  • The Eddings Reread series, Tehani Wessely, Jo Anderton, and Alexandra Pierce, in A Conversational Life
  • Reviews in Adventures of a Bookonaut, Sean Wright
  • “Does Sex Make Science Fiction Soft?”, in Uncanny Magazine 1, Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • Reviews in FictionMachine, Grant Watson
  • The Reviewing New Who series, David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely

Authentic Empathy now available in Antipodean SF – Issue 200!

I have a new story published and online today! Authentic Empathy is the 10th story I’ve had published at the long term online magazine AntipodeanSF, and to make it even better, it is in the bumper issue 200.

AntipodeanSF was started back in February 1998 by Ion “Nuke” Newcombe as a venue for using the new-to-most-of-us technology of the internet to bring a wider range of stories to the masses. The stories were pitched at 500 words long (flash fiction) because that’s the most Nuke felt people could read in one hit on the flickering CRT screens that were the norm at the time.

17 years later, he is publishing issue 200 and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it. Nuke has been excellent to me – taking the time to not only publish but edit my stories. But more than that, I’ve been astonished at what a wide array of Australian writers had early publication credits with AntipodeanSF. Nuke is a stalwart of the Australian speculative fiction scene, and if you haven’t had a chance to check out AntipodeanSF, make now the time that you introduce yourself to its bite-sized delights!

Issue 200 is a bit different from most. Rather than the 6 – 10 flash fiction pieces Nuke usually publishes, he has gone back to people who had early AntipodeanSF publishing success and asked them to provide a new story. The issue contains 22 stories from authors who owe Nuke a debt of gratitude, and as a bonus he has included (in most cases) the first story that the author had published on AntipodeanSF. In my case, that story was called Shipwrecked, which came from my wondering about why Earth may have never been visited by extraterrestrial life.

My new work, Authentic Empathy, is a short piece that was inspired by some questions I’ve always had about what would really happen if AIs were introduced to the world.

If you’re interested in hearing more about AntipodeanSF, I recently interviewed Nuke for the Galactic Chat podcast.

So, go get my story here and if you’re interested in seeing more of my flash fiction, see my bibliography page or my self-published collection of the flash fiction (A Flash in the Pan?)that has previously been published at AntipodeanSF.

(I should note that for the last couple of years I have been producing the simple eBook editions of AntipodeanSF, so when you combine that work with the fact that Nuke has published my work, you can see that I’m a little biased!)

Dimension 6 – Issue 3 available now

The latest edition of Keith Stephenson’s excellent Dimension6 is now available. I’m an affiliate site for Dimension6 so you can download the issue here in either .mobi or .epub format, or you can go to the Dimension6 website to do the same.

This issue features stories by Robert Hood, Steve Cameron and Cat Sparks. Sparks and Hood both won Ditmars this year for their fiction, so the magazine is well worth checking out. Especially considering the price!

Authentic Empathy to be published on Antipodean SF

Nuke, the editor over at Antipodean SF, recently put a call out for stories to include in the upcoming 200th issue. He asked for people that had previously published in the magazine, and was particularly interested in people whose first publication was in Antipodean SF.

I ticked those boxes. My first ever publication was a story called Shipwrecked which was published in issue 163 back in January 2012.

Given that I met the criteria, I put in a submission and was very pleased when Nuke accepted my submission for the flash fiction piece Authentic EmpathyAuthentic Empathy will be my 10th story published in Antipodean, and I remain very grateful to Nuke for all the support he has given my work over the last couple of years.

In September 2014 Antipodean is at issue 195, so issue 200 won’t come around until next February. I’ll be very interested to see what else Nuke does for the anniversary.

A full list of my published stories can be found on my bibliography page.

Galactic Chat interview – Alex Adsett

Long term gentle readers of the blog are aware of my dalliance with the Galactic Chat podcast, interviewing the occasional unsuspecting member of the Australian speculative fiction community before their agent tells them it is a bad idea.

Well, this fortnight I decided to skip the middle-person and went straight to interviewing an agent, on the premise that presumably she wouldn’t have anyone to warn her. “Who agents the agents?” I thought to myself. “She’ll never see it coming. It’s fool proof.”

I then may or may not have let out a maniacal cackle.

Alex Adsett, of Alex Adsett Publishing Services, was kind enough to fall into my trap come on the podcast and answer all kinds of questions relating to what’s interesting in the Australian speculative fiction scene, when an author needs an agent and some tips when considering contracts, amongst many other topics.

She was articulate, knowledgeable, engaging and passionate in her advocation for her authors. Sounds like everything someone might look for in an agent.

The interview is online now – you can find it on the Galactic Chat website under episode 55, on iTunes or wherever good podcasts are sold.

Do yourself a favour and check it out.

Galactic Chat – Ion Newcombe interview

Regular blog lurkers will know that I have been helping out with the Galactic Chat podcast, interviewing the occasional unsuspecting member of the Australian speculative fiction community when they can’t think of an excuse to get out of it quick enough.

Ion “Nuke” Newcombe is the latest victim of my interviewing technique. Nuke is the editor in chief of the Australian online magazine Antipodean SF and a long time supporter of the speculative fiction scene. Full disclosure: Nuke has published some of my flash fiction and has been both an inspiration and provided valuable support to my writing, making it doubly fun to be interviewing him.

Antipodean SF has been going since 1998, and Nuke has some fascinating insights into trends that have happened in the SF scene over that time. He also has some great insights into the world of flash fiction. Check out the show notes for more details, then get your listening ears on.

Many thanks to Nuke for not only putting up with my questions, but providing such an interesting and wide ranging set of answers!

2014 Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot

The Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot (the Snapshot) is something that has happened every couple of years over the last 10 years or so. Basically, a group of bloggers get together and try to interview as many people as they can in the Australian speculative fiction field in a fortnight. Each interviewee is asked 5 questions, mostly tailored to them but with a couple of common elements.

In the 2014 Snapshot, I was fortunate to be interviewer Jason Nahrung’s final interview (edit 23/8/2014: actually he snuck one extra in after me – but I was his final interview at the time I wrote the original post!)  in what must have been an absolute mad scramble. In fact, pop over to Jason’s blog and read a much better description of the Snapshot process . Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Welcome back. Now I’m going to direct you back over to Jason’s blog to read his interview with me. I know – making you go all the way over there and back, just to make you go all the way over there again. I am a cruel and fickle friend, make no mistake.

While answering the fiendish questions Jason posed, I realised this is the first time I’ve been interviewed because of my involvement in the field. It was an odd sensation.

I understand that links to the collected Snapshot interviews will be archived at the SF Signal website. I’ll provide a more precise link once it becomes available.

Edit 19/8/2014

The full list of all 2014 Snapshot interviews is now up on the SF Signal website right here.