Dimension6 Issue 14 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.

My novella length story, ‘The Reclaimers’, appeared in Issue 13 of Dimension6, so you know the editor has excellent taste. Well worth checking out.

Issue 14 features:

‘#WhiteWitch’ by Shauna O’Meara

Facing danger at the top of the world? You need #WhiteWitch.

_________________________________

‘All in Green’ by Adele Gardner

Rappo and Finn were joined in life like no-one else. But what if one should face death?

_________________________________

‘In The Nexsphere’ by Doug Bost

It’s the next big thing in tech. Maybe you should read the user manual first.

_________________________________

‘The Giant’s Servant’ by Trent Jamieson

Did you know giants come in all shapes and sizes?


 

The Reclaimers – out now in Dimension6 #13

Well, it has finally happened. My novella, “The Reclaimers”, is available in issue 13 of Dimension6.

I’m very excited to have this novella see the light of day. Regular readers might recall my post when the story was first accepted by Keith Stevenson. In that post I talked about some of the history of the story, and thanked a few people who helped along the way. Go back and have a read of that post if you’re interested. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

A little blurb to whet your appetite:

Ulanda wanders along the edge of civilisation, cleansing border towns of a deadly residue that lingers from the magical weapons of mass destruction that ended the war. It’s the only job still allowed for the paranormally-inclined and life is adequate, until an old girlfriend appears with a questing opportunity that Ulanda knows she absolutely should refuse…

Or the much more succinct:

Wizard garbage disposers – the pay stinks but the hours… yeah, they’re pretty bad too.

Not only will you get to read “The Reclaimers”, but you’ll also get to read two other excellent stories by Emilie Collyer and Robert Stephenson:

‘Reckoning’ by Emilie Collyer
The Earth was broken. Gia was broken. Could they save each other?

‘Water for Antiques’ by Robert Stephenson
Dravid couldn’t believe his luck. Maybe he was right not to.

And how much will these three stories cost you? Well, inexplicably Keith gives away Dimension6 absolutely free! Now you can’t ask better than that.

Go to the Dimension6 page at Coeur de Lion Publishing, or you can even get the issue here (this site is an affiliate for D6). I hope you enjoy reading “The Reclaimers” and would love to hear from you with feedback (good or bad!).

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.

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.

_________________________________

‘Correlation’ by Paul Stephanus

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

_________________________________

‘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.

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?

_________________________________

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

_________________________________

‘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.

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.

Publication – Narration Blues

Some excellent news over the summer, when Ion ‘Nuke’ Newcombe, the editor of Antipodean SF, picked up one of my flash fiction pieces, called ‘Narration Blues’.

‘Narration Blues’ will feature in issue 226 of Antipodean SF, due out in May 2017.

This will be the 11th flash fiction piece I’ve published in Antipodean SF, and I remain very grateful that Nuke has been such a big supporter of my work.

Updated fiction collection – A Flash in the Pan?

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been maintaining a collection of my flash fiction called A Flash in the Pan?. Generally this collection has been my flash fiction pieces that have been published in Antipodean SF. It is a self published book, primarily to keep all my short fiction in the one spot.

I first published the book in 2012, and did an update in 2014 with a few extra flash fiction pieces. Well, I’ve updated it again to include a couple of extra stories that were published in 2014 and 2015.

I’ve included “Authentic Empathy”, which was my flash fiction story for the 200th edition of Antipodean SF, “Wefting the Warp”, an approximately 4,000 word science fiction short story, and “Showdown”, an approx. 5,000 word fantasy featuring kobolds. It takes the amount of fiction in the book up to about 14,000 words – short enough to read quickly!

As with the last couple of editions, I’ve included an authors note after each story to give a little bit of background.

So, have you ever wonder why aliens don’t visit Earth? Or what coffee a demon likes to drink? Or how bureaucracy could really screw up a grand space adventure? A Flash in the Pan? is a collection of speculative flash fiction and short stories that answers these questions and more.

Available through Smashwords for free, and all the distribution portals that Smashwords connects with.

Australian SF Awards Part 2 – The Ditmar Awards

Both of the major SF awards in Australia are happening towards the start of the year, so I thought I might signal boost both sets of shortlists. In this second post, I’ll be focusing on the Ditmar Awards (you can see my thoughts on the Aurealis Awards in Part 1 of this series).

The Ditmar awards are Australia’s national popular vote awards for speculative fiction. Where the Aurealis awards (which are judged not voted on) focus on written work and divide the genre up into extensive sub-categories, the Ditmar awards keep the genres together and award only on length (best novel, novella, short story, collected work etc). There are also several awards for non-written contributions to the SF categories (e.g. best fan writer, artwork, fan publication in any medium etc).

The Ditmars are given out at the Australian national SF convention (which is this year Contact 2016 in Brisbane). The rules for the awards can be found on the Ditmar wiki. Details of the 2016 ceremony can be found on the Contact website. Voting is due to finish on 18 March 2016, with the voting form here.

To nominate a work, you have to be “known to fandom”, but to actually vote in the final ballot one needs to purchase a membership at the national convention (or have been a member of the previous year’s national convention).  I can see how this makes the voting process administratively easier (and is in line with the voting practices in overseas awards), but it does seem to work to restrict voting to those that can afford the financial outlay (a supporting membership of Contact 2016 costs $40).

Why does this matter? The Ditmars suffer from the same weaknesses that other voted awards do – namely the voting process is only robust if you get a large, representative sample of people to nominate and vote. There is always the chance that the Ditmar’s become less representative of the best work of the year, and more representative of famous/popular content creators. While not conclusive, I find it interesting that I recognise nearly all of the names on the Ditmar ballot, but there are a lot of names that are new to me on the Aurealis awards ballot. I do wonder if removing or reducing the financial barriers to participation in the voting process might improve the inclusiveness of the results. Having said that, the nomination process is broader, so perhaps not!

It is good to have awards for non-fiction contributions to the Australian speculative fiction scene. As well as the categories listed below, there are two other awards that are usually given out at the Ditmar award ceremony. From the Contact 2016 website:

Norma K. Hemming Award
The Norma K. Hemming Award marks excellence in the exploration of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability, and is awarded by the Australian Science Fiction Foundation (ASFF). Nominations close in the second week of December in the year preceding the respective NatCon.

A. Bertram Chandler Award
Australia’s top fan award, the Chandler is awarded by the ASFF for outstanding achievement in science fiction. Unlike the Ditmars, this award is decided upon by a jury appointed by the Foundation. Nominations for the Chandler Award are always open.

More information about the Norma K. Hemming Award and the A. Bertram Chandler Award can be found on the ASFF website.

All in all, the Ditmars represent a wonderful chance for the established Australian SF community to come together. I’ve attended a couple of ceremonies in the past, and they have always been uplifting affairs. In 2014, I was even fortunate enough to be on a podcasting team that won the Best Fan Publication in Any Medium award, which was a huge honour. Between the Ditmar and the Aurealis awards shortlists, you can get an excellent sense of where the action is in the Australian scene – and I commend it to you.

2016 Ditmar Ballot contents

The following section details the contents of the preliminary ballot. (Note that the final ballot will include a “No Award” option in each category.

Best Novel

  • The Dagger’s Path, Glenda Larke (Orbit)
  • Day Boy, Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)
  • Graced, Amanda Pillar (Momentum)
  • Lament for the Afterlife, Lisa L. Hannett (ChiZine Publications)
  • Zeroes, Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti (Simon and Schuster)

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood”, Deborah Kalin, in Cherry Crow Children (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Fake Geek Girl”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Review of Australian Fiction, volume 14, issue 4 (Review of Australian Fiction)
  • “Hot Rods”, Cat Sparks, in Lightspeed Science Fiction & Fantasy 58 (Lightspeed Science Fiction & Fantasy)
  • “The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin, in Cherry Crow Children (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Of Sorrow and Such”, Angela Slatter (Tor.com)
  • “The Wages of Honey”, Deborah Kalin, in Cherry Crow Children (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Short Story

  • “2B”, Joanne Anderton, in Insert Title Here (FableCroft Publishing)
  • “The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner”, Alan Baxter, in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2015 (Fantasy & Science Fiction)
  • “A Hedge of Yellow Roses”, Kathleen Jennings, in Hear Me Roar (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • “Look how cold my hands are”, Deborah Biancotti, in Cranky Ladies of History (FableCroft Publishing)

Best Collected Work

  • Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (Ticonderoga Publications))
  • Cherry Crow Children, Deborah Kalin, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Cranky Ladies of History, edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories, Robert Hood (IFWG Publishing Australia)

Best Artwork

  • Cover art, Rovina Cai, for “Tom, Thom” (Tor.com)
  • Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, for Bloodlines (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Cover and internal artwork, Kathleen Jennings, for Cranky Ladies of History (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Cover, Shauna O’Meara, for The Never Never Land
  • Illustrations, Shaun Tan, in The Singing Bone (Allen & Unwin)

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • The Angriest, Grant Watson
  • The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • SF Commentary, Bruce Gillespie
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond

Best Fan Writer

  • Tsana Dolichva, for body of work
  • Foz Meadows, for body of work
  • Ian Mond, for body of work
  • Alexandra Pierce for body of work
  • Katharine Stubbs, for body of work
  • Grant Watson, for body of work

Best Fan Artist

  • Kathleen Jennings, for body of work, including Illustration Friday series
  • Belinda Morris, for body of work, including Belinda Illustrates

Best New Talent

  • Rivqa Rafael
  • T R Napper
  • DK Mok
  • Liz Barr

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • The Rereading the Empire Trilogy series, Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • The Reviewing New Who series, David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely
  • “Sara Kingdom dies at the end”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Companion Piece (Mad Norwegian Press)
  • “SF Women of the 20th Century”, Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • The Squeeing over Supergirl series, David McDonald, and Tehani Wessely