Tag Archives: news

Dimension6 launches

Dimension6

I’m very excited to see a new speculative fiction magazine launch in Australia. It’s Dimension6, Keith Stevenson’s latest venture through his publishing house Coeur de Lion.

Long time readers might recall that I interviewed Keith for GalacticChat a few months back. Keith is a mainstay of the Australian speculative fiction scene and one of its true innovators. I’m excited to see what he’ll do with Dimension6.

Go and check it out – can’t argue with the price (free!).

This website is also an affiliate for Dimension6 – you can download each issue’s copy from this page.

Galactic Chat – 2014 season off and running

After a bit of a hiatus over the summer break, the Galactic Chat podcast is off and running again for 2014.

David McDonald kicked off the  year with a fascinating interview with one of my favourite authors, Kaaron Warren. Warren is a stalwart of the Australian horror scene, with some truly disturbing tales. I’ve reviewed a few of her works over the last couple of years, including Through Splintered Walls, Mistification and IshtarIt’s a great listen.

Alex Pierce then moves the year along with an interview with Tehani Wessley. Wessely is the principal of Fablecroft, a small independent press here in Australia. While Galactic Chat tends to focus on authors, I love the interviews with people involved in other aspects of the publishing world. Well worth a listen, especially if you’re keen on understanding the Australian speculative fiction publishing scene.

At the time of writing this post, Wessely’s Pozible project Cranky Ladies of History, is still active here.

To top off this brilliant start to the broadcasting year, Sean, our stalwart leader and driving force behind Galactic Chat, has started  a Facebook competition where you can win copies of Jonathan Strahan’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year. Go to our Facebook page for details.

If you like to keep up with the Australian speculative fiction scene, Galactic Chat is the place to do it. Do your ears a favour and download one of the podcasts.

(You could even vote for it in the Ditmars, but only if you want to :-)

 

Short story sale – Robot and Raygun

Well, good news in the Webb household as I celebrate my first short story sale for actual money. Wefting the Warp is a 4,300 word science fiction story and has been bought by Robot and Rayguna new UK based online and print magazine. From their blurb:

Robot and Raygun features all kinds of science fiction, from post apocalyptic worlds to starships travelling through the voids of space and all that lies between.  It is our aim to help fire your imagination and to envision the many futures that lay before us.

Each issue is made up of a selection of short stories to help you discover great new writers of science fiction.

R&R put out their first edition in March 2014, and my story appears in Issue 2, April 2014 which has just been released.

It is a great feeling to have someone like your work enough to pay for it. This is also my first short story length piece to be published (previous publications have been flash fiction).

As always, my bibliography page has details on where you can find all my published work.

Several people have given editorial feedback on the story, and to them I’d like to offer my sincerest thanks. The story wouldn’t have made it without you.

Ditmar eligibility 2014

The Ditmar awards are the Australian national awards for speculative fiction that are voted on by members of the speculative fiction community. The awards are usually attached to the National Convention, which is being held this year in Melbourne at Continuum X.

The nomination process for the 2014 Ditmars is open until 30th March, and can be found at this online form.

Follow the following link to a wiki site that contains a pretty comprehensive list of works that are eligible for the Ditmars. Well worth a look if you’re stuck trying to remember what culture you consumed last year.

Some artists agonise over whether to publicise their own eligibility for awards, concerned that it may be considered crude and self serving by the community at large. I hold no such sensibilities, so here goes.

Best Short Story

I have two stories that are eligible under the short story category:

You can still read both stories online in the Antipodean SF archive site – just follow the links.

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

Last year I was lucky enough to be involved with Galactic Chat, a podcast which interviews people involved in the Australian speculative fiction scene. It was (and continues to be) a great experience. Sean Wright is the anchor that holds the podcast together, and I’d love to see him (and all my podcast colleagues) get acknowledged for the work that they do.

  • Galactic Chat Podcast, Sean Wright, Alex Pierce, Helen Stubbs, David McDonald, Mark Webb and Sarah Parker

Best Fan Writer

Well, theoretically you could nominate me for this award as well. But I’ve been looking through the eligibility list and frankly there are a lot more talented, and prolific, fan writers out there. But for completeness:

William Atheling Jr Award for Review or Criticism

I was quite happy with my reviews as a part of the 2013 Australian Women Writers’ Reading Challenge. So, if you wanted to nominate me for anything here:

That’s about it for my contributions to the field in 2013, meagre as they were. Stand by for more posts about excellent stuff I’ve seen and enjoyed elsewhere in the Australian scene. And get voting!

2013 Australian Women Writers’ challenge – wrap up

Well, another year another Australian Women Writers’ challenge.

The 2013 Australian Women Writers’ Challenge was another great experience. Challenging the lack of critical attention for Australian women authors is a worthy cause and once again I had the chance to expand my exposure to interesting authors.

In 2013 I undertook the Franklin challenge (read 10 books, review at least 6) and all those books were in the speculative fiction field.

2013 was not a great reading year for me – I did not get through many books at all. However I was able to meet my challenge goal, with reviews posted for the following books:

  1. Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott - complete: review here
  2. A Trifle Dead by Livia Day - complete: review here
  3. Suited by Jo Anderton - complete: review here
  4. Dark Space by Marianne de Pierres - complete: review here
  5. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina - complete: review here
  6. Black Glass by Meg Mundell - complete: review here
  7. The Accidental Sorcerer by K. E. Mills - complete: review here
  8. Asymmetry by Thoraiya Dyer - complete: review here
  9. New Ceres Nights edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Tehani Wessely - complete: review here
  10. Caution: Contains Small Parts by Kirstyn McDermott – complete: review here
  11. Witches Incorporated by K. E. Mills – complete: review here
  12. Wizard Squared by K. E. Mills – complete: review here
  13. Wizard Undercover by K. E. Mills – complete: review here

Highlights for me included Perfections by Kirsten McDermott (I’m a big fan of her work) and discovering the New Ceres shared world project (that was undertaken several years back). There were quite a few books that I’d planned to read in 2013 that I’ll have to carry forward to 2014 (including Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa L. HannettThe Ambassador’s Mission by Trudi Canavan, Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth and Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier to name a few).

I’ll be supporting the 2014 challenge (stand by for my commencement post) and I’d encourage everyone to pick up a speculative fiction book by an Australian Women author and give it a go.

Very poorly updated blog

Hi all and happy new year.

This blog has been very quiet of late. In the last 2 months I’ve changed jobs and taken the family off on holiday for a few weeks, and I’m afraid that has left very little time for blogging.

On the plus side, I have a pile of books that I’ve read which I’ll hopefully be posting reviews for over the next couple of weeks, including the last of my 2013 Australian Women Writers’ challenge books (a series by K. E. Mills) as well as some other Australian books by Jason Franks, Dirk Flinthart and Jason Nahrung.

I’ve also been indulging my nostalgia by reading a lot of the Wild Card series of books.

I’ll  be giving some updates on my own writing (which has suffered from a lack of attention in 2013) and plans for 2014.

I hope everyone has had a great festive season – look forward to catching up with people in 2014!

Very short flash fiction piece

Hi all. Antipodean SF has been kind enough to publish another one of my flash fiction pieces. This one is a very short piece called Hindsight is a Bitch and it comes in at around 100 words (I said short, didn’t I?).

You can also read it on the ePub or mobi version of issue 185 available at the e-Reader page of the Antipodean SF website.

I originally wrote this very short story for an online competition, but submitted it to Antipodean SF when I inexplicably failed to win. I hope you enjoy.

Have you been keeping up with Galactic Chat?

Sean Wright has been interviewing up a storm lately on Galactic Chat, a podcast that I (too) occasionally help out with.

Since I last posted about Galactic Chat there have been a LOT of new episodes. Sean is an interviewing machine, there is no doubt about it. Interviews have included:

  • Episode 29: Narelle Harris (horror and romance writer) chats to Alex
  • Episode 30: Tansy Rayner Roberts (fantasy writer) chats to Sean
  • Episode 31: Tracey O’Hara (paranormal thriller writer) chats to Helen Stubbs
  • Episode 32: Stephen Ormsby chats to Sean about his new publishing venture, Satalyte Publishing
  • Episode 33: Sean Williams (New York Times best selling speculative fiction writer) chats to Sean
  • Episode 34: Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (Filipino speculative fiction writer) chats to Sean
  • Episode 35: Julia Rios (fiction editor for Strange Horizons, host and producer of the Outer Alliance Podcast) chats to Sean
  • Episode 36: Devin Madson (self published author) chats to Sean

You’ll notice the heavy load that Sean is lifting. I’ve only done two interviews since the podcast was rebooted – both were excellent fun, but I’m going to have to pick up my game!

So, listen, subscribe, comment – the podcast is a ball to do and we’d love to have more audience participation!

If there is anyone in the Australian speculative fiction scene that you’d like to see us interview on Galactic Chat, leave a comment here or on the Galactic Chat website.

Supporting the Kaleidoscope Pozible campaign

Over the last couple of years, I’ve quite enjoyed a lot of the work coming out of the Australian small press publisher Twelfth Planet Press. TPP have published some genuinely interesting books and taken some risks while investigating innovative forms of modern reading (for example, their Twelve Planets series).

So when I heard that Alisa Kranostein, the principal behind TPP, was dipping her toe in the crowd funding wading pool, I was keen to support them. A bit of a blurb for the campaign follows (from their Pozible campaign page) :

Kaleidoscope is an anthology of diverse contemporary YA fantasy & science fiction stories, which will be edited by Julia Rios and Alisa Krasnostein, and published by Twelfth Planet Press. Too often popular culture and media defaults to a very narrow cross section of the world’s populace. We believe that people of all kinds want to see themselves reflected in stories. We also believe that readers actively enjoy reading stories about people who aren’t exactly like them. We want see more stories featuring people who don’t always get the spotlight, so we’re gathering a wonderful variety of:

* YA fantasy stories [Update: As of 10/23 we are also open to science fiction]
* Set in the modern world
* Featuring teen protagonists from diverse backgrounds

The main characters in Kaleidoscope stories will be part of the QUILTBAG, neuro-diverse, disabled, from non-Western cultures, people of color, or in some other way not the typical straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied characters we see all over the place.

That said, these aren’t going to be issue stories. The focus here is contemporary fantasy, and while the characters’ backgrounds will necessarily affect how they engage with the world, we’re not going to have a collection of “Very Special Episode” stories about kids coming to terms with their sexuality/disability/mental illness/cultural identity, etc. We want to see protagonists from all sorts of backgrounds being the heroes of their own journeys.

It sounds like a great book, and while I’m not really a YA reader I love to see this kind of focus on diversity and on non-US/UK based publishers using new media to source funding for interesting initiatives.

So, if the premise of the anthology looks interesting or you just want to support Australian small press publishing, I’d really encourage you to head on over to the Kaleidoscope Pozible campaign page and pledge. At the time of writing, there are only 5 days to go in the campaign (deadline 31 October 2013 for those of you reading <echoey-voice>FROM THE FUTURE</echoey-voice>).

Go on. You know you want to.

Edit 1/11/2013

The campaign has finished, and the funding goal was met so Kaleidoscope will be going ahead. Congratulations to everyone behind the project and well done.

GenreCon 2013 – a running post

So, I’ll be keeping a running post of my experiences at GenreCon this weekend, just adding bits as the muse takes me (and time permits).

10/10/2013 – travel

I flew in last night (Thursday) and made my way to the hotel. Entirely predictably, they had lost my reservation so my first 1/2 hour was spent standing at the check in counter while a variety of people tried to work out what had went wrong. In the end they gave me an upgraded room for the convention price, so I can’t complain too much. My room looks out over the river, it is all very nice.

11/10/2013 – lunchtime

I attending the Grammar Crash Course workshop with Chris Lynch this morning after taking a nice walk along the river. The workshop was good – my command of the English language is OK, but I went to school at that period in the 70s and 80s where you didn’t actually have the rules of grammar drilled into you, so I don’t tend to get far past the “verbs are doing words” stage when asked to name the components of language. Refreshers are always welcome.

The workshop was good, lots of practical exercises designed to make you really think about language. Met some nice people too – all very pleasant.

Now eating lunch before going to officially “check in” to the convention (they didn’t have my name badge ready earlier). Then I have an afternoon of writing planned before going along to the opening ceremony later this evening.

11/10/2013 – opening ceremony

The opening ceremony was a great chance to catch up with some people I’ve met at previous conferences, as well as some new people. The formal part of the ceremony was short, but drinking and chatting continued late into the evening. A good start to the conference.

12/10/2013 – morning tea

After being a few minutes late to the first session (a plenary session titled The Power of Genre Fiction with keynote presentations by Kathryn Fox, John Birmingham and Anne Gracie) all talking about different aspects of community and genre fiction. I found Birmingham’s presentation resonated most with me (he was reflecting on his accidental fall into speculative fiction), but all three speakers had powerful personal experiences to draw on. I think I said this last year, but I remain impressed by the strong community and business savvy of the romance writing community. I wish the speculative fiction had a similarly coordinated arrangement!

Next was morning tea. I think GenreCon is very clever to build food into the mechanics of the convention. It keeps everyone together through the breaks and keeps a certain momentum to the convention. In fact I was having such interesting conversations that I was late leaving, only to find that the workshop I wanted to attend (on character arcs) was popular enough to be “sold out”. The other two workshops (essentially public speaking and book trailers) looked OK, but are far enough from my current development needs that I’ve decided to go  and have a cup of tea at the cafe downstairs, add this entry to the blog and get some writing in.

More later!

12/10/2013 – afternoon

Afternoon sessions were very interesting. Great panel discussion titled Understanding Other Genres (and stealing the best bits) with Patrick O’Duffy, Sandy Curtis, Kate Cuthburt and Kim Wilkins. In depth discussion of cross over/hybrid stories and how they get marketed/classified. Seemed to be general agreement that “centre” of a genre gets you better sales, but that the centre is a moving target.

Followed by a panel called The Juggling Act with Chuck Wendig, Gracie McGregor and Lisa L. Hannett discussing the challenges of balancing the demands of writing with all other aspects of life. This panel, and a few other comments through the con, have given me a lot of food for thought re: my own writing schedule. I have not been prioritising writing as much as I’d like in the last 12 months – there have been a variety of work and family issues that have required more of my focus. But I would like to spend more time with my writing, and I think I’m going to need to make some more radical changes to my schedule if I’m going to achieve that.

Last for the afternoon was an interview with Irish crime writer John Connolly. I’m not really familiar with John’s work, but he is a very interesting speaker and had some great reflections on what it takes to be a full time writer. One of his strongest points was related to the need to finish everything you start, even if it is crap. This made me somewhat guilty about my novel manuscript was has lain unloved and only 2/3rds done at the bottom of my laptop for over a year now. I think it is about time I dragged it out into the light of day again.

12/10/2013 – evening

This year I went to the convention banquet, titled Cutlasses and Kimonos. I did not get dressed up, but there were many spectacular costumes to be seen on display (I was by far in the minority). Had a great evening chatting with some very cool and interesting people (hi Chris, Jess, Alison and Alexander), where much wine was consumed (included pirate raids launched on other tables as the alcohol supplies dwindled)  and I heard about some great projects people are undertaking. It is inspiring to listen to great writers talk about their craft, I had a good time.

One of the international guests of honour, Chuck Wendig, did a very funny speech discussing 25 reasons why he loves genre fiction, and then there was an excellent Q&A with Wendig afterwards (including the best question I’ve heard in a long time – and I paraphrase: “Chuck, writers use a variety of tools in their craft. Which writer do you think is the biggest tool in the industry?”)

I did flag a little before everyone else though, so headed off to bed not long after the party moved downstairs to the bar.

13/10/2013 – morning

Day started with a great plenary session on the Future of Genre Fiction with Peter Armstrong, Alex Adsett and Anita Heiss. All three were very good. Armstrong gave some interesting historical context around the use of serialisation in publishing in the 1800s, and the opportunities that some of the recent changes in electronic publishing provided to revive the art. He was (minority) spruiking his own technology platform, but he kept the sales pitch to an absolute minimum and there was a lot of food for thought.

Adsett talked a lot about contracts and how conditions are changing in the industry. I went to her workshop on contracts which expanded on the theme, so more on that later.

Anita Heiss talked about her own journey and how she essentially created her own sub-genre (“Koori Chic Lit”). Very inspiring stuff.

Alex Adsett’s workshop on contracts and copyright was very informative. Some of the detail I’d seen last year at her presentation, however it was great to get a reminder and also see how things are solidifying in the digital publishing space. I remain impressed with Adsett – she obviously has a passion for genre and seems to be establishing herself as an agent to watch in our space. Great focus on things like reversion of rights clauses in contracts and going into contracts with your eyes open, even if you don’t feel in a position to negotiate. Seems like a good person to have in your corner.

13/10/2013 – afternoon

My last two panels for the convention were Thinking Like a Pro (Aimee Lindorf, John Connolly, Valerie Parv and Keri Arthur) and Uncommon Apprenticeships (Meg Vann, Lea Scott, Siboney Duff and Kim Wilkins). Both dealt with issues of how to approach the business of writing, including the participants journeys to publication. Thinking Like a Pro had three very well established authors who had made writing their full time job. Uncommon Apprenticeships panel members were not full time writers, but all very well established, and focused on different support mechanisms available to writers (grants etc) as well as individual journeys.

Overall

Once again I really enjoyed GenreCon. While spec fic conventions are great in a lot of ways, I don’t always come back recharged and re-enthused for my writing. The fan element of those events, while great, don’t generally inspire me to write. Both this and last year’s GenreCon, with their focus more on the professional side of the writing game, have recharged my batteries. I also find that I meet all kinds of really interesting people working on some really cool stuff, which is inspiring in itself.

I’m not sure when the next GenreCon will be, but I’ll be lining up to get my tickets pretty early.