In which birthdays and small press are discussed

It’s not really speculative fiction related, but the NSW Writers Centre turned 25 recently and had their birthday party today. I don’t go along to as many Writer Centre events as I should – I’m hoping when the kids are a bit older there might be more opportunities. But I have been to some excellent functions there over the years, and I’m a fully paid up member, so it would seem churlish not to spruik their birthday and encourage any NSW readers to join up!

As mentioned in previous posts, Aurora Australis is Alex Pierce’s monthly round up of Australian and New Zealand speculative fiction news published at The October edition is out now, and well worth checking out if you like keeping up on the goings on of the Australian scene.

I was particularly sad to see that the Australian small press Fablecroft was going on indefinite hiatus. I don’t know Tehani (the owner) well at all, but I have observed her efforts and impact on the Australian SF scene, and it has been profound. She has brought many books into the world that deserved to be there, and never would have been without her efforts. Fablecroft will be missed.

Speaking of Australian small press, Twelfth Planet Press (a Western Australian based press) has had a run of award love for their anthology Letters to Tiptree, a work designed to showcase the impact that James Tiptree Jr (aka Alice Sheldon) had on the SF community in the year that would have marked her 100th birthday. In a similar vein, they have just announced a new project, Letters to Butler, designed to honour legendary SF writer Octavia Butler. They have sent out an open call for submissions, so if you have been impacted by Butler’s work it might be worth checking out.

I’m feeling a little short on news this months, so I’ll send this out into the ether now. Feel free to add in any more in the comments!

In which roundups, pleasing publication news and awards are contemplated

Hi all, I hope this blog post finds you well.

Aurora Australis is Alex Pierce’s monthly round up of Australian and New Zealand speculative fiction news, in particular focusing on publishing news, published at The September edition is out now, and well worth checking out if you like keeping up on the goings on of the Australian scene. While there are a few names I know listed this month, it is always pleasing to see a lot of names I don’t know – says good things about the health of the antipodean scene. Special shout out and congratulations to Zena Shapter for the announcement that her novel, Towards White, has been picked up  by the discerning people at IFWG Publishing Australia (Zena and I occasionally attend the same writing group, and I always get a kick out of seeing good news about people I have taken tea with!). Cat Sparks is also listed, as having released the cover of her new novel to the world.

Speaking of people it is a pleasure to take tea with, the very excellent Thoraiya Dyer’s upcoming novel, Crossroads of Canopy (book one in the Titan’s Forest trilogy), is now available for pre-order at Amazon (and other fine book retailers I’m sure). I’ve put my preorder in, and going off the quality of Thoraiya’s previous work, I’m very much looking forward to this as a post Christmas read (due out at the end of January 2017).

A reminder that submissions for the Aurealis Awards are open (and closing 7 December 2016), for works published in 2016. The Aurealis Awards are an Australian award which are judged by a panel (as opposed to the Ditmars, which are a popular vote). The awards are very prestigious in Australian circles, and there is a positively plethorific phalanx of 2016 judges lined up for the various categories, including the very excellent Rivqa Rafael, Robert Hood, Kirstyn McDermott and Ion Newcombe.

Tansy Rayner Roberts has been cleaning up her Patreon space, with new reward levels and goals. Roberts is one of the more innovative authors doing the rounds at the moment, and I’ve never regretted throwing my small amount of monthly support in her general direction. Well worth checking out.

The Coode St Podcast has had a run of really interesting interviews over the last few weeks, including Kelly Robson, Alastair Reynolds and Connie Willis, some of which were sourced at the recent world SF convention. The podcast is worth checking out if you’re interested in the history of the field and how it influences current writers.

I’ll publish the final part of my short story “Showdown” next week. What will I do after that? It’s easy to resist giving hints when I don’t know myself… In the meantime, feel free to catch up on parts 1, 2, 3 and 4!

In which a random sampling of topics is covered

Hi all. Hope this blog post finds you well.

The 2016 Australian Speculative Fiction Snapshot just completed. Yours truly was interviewed, but don’t let that put you off checking out the whole shebang. The Snapshot is an excellent rounding up of what’s going on in the Australian scene – well worth checking out who’s doing what.

Note: at the time of writing, the 2016 front page linked into above does not have all of the interviews listed. Hopefully it will be up to date by the time you read this.

The Hugo awards were announced this weekend at WorldCon over in Kansas City. In yet another year of controversial nomination and voting practices, I was sad to see so many “no award” wins. I must admit that seeing the Hugos become an idealogical battleground in a away that artificially distorts voting patterns has made me a bit “meh” about them, so I haven’t paid as much attention to the shortlist/final awards as I might have in previous years. In previous years I have bought supporting memberships of the relevant convention so I could vote, but this year I couldn’t really be bothered. And that’s a shame.

It’s been great to see The Writer and the Critic podcast get back into its monthly groove. I’ve just listened to the latest episode, and while neither of the books interested me too much going in, the broader discussion about books that achieve longevity on best seller lists was quite interesting. Hopefully they’ll get back to more speculative fiction content though.

You may have noticed that I’ve started to republish one of my old stories on the website, over 5 parts. No real reason, just felt like it really. Part 1 of “Showdown” can be found here, and I’ll publish the last sections over the next few weeks.

I’ve almost finished the first draft of a novella length work – looking like it is going to come in at about 26k – 27k words. I’ll ship it around to a few venues, but if I don’t get much traction I might serially publish it as well. It’d be nice to get the publication credit somewhere, but I must admit that has been concerning me less lately. In this case, putting the words out there might just be the push I need to build up a bit more momentum. Anyway, still a fair bit of editing to do so I don’t have to make up my mind for a little while.

And finally, if you’re interested in general Australian SF news you should check out Alex Pierce’s column at Alex is much better informed than me – as her latest column demonstrates!

General ramblings – Part 2

I know, I know. I’m going to have to come up with a better line of blog posts than this. You’re all busy people, and you can’t afford to have your time wasted by some stream of consciousness malarky by a blog writer obviously running out of things to say. I mean, come on. This first paragraph alone has taken seconds off your life. And seconds can be the difference between success and failure, life and death, pancakes and burnt, inedible frisbees.

I read a good review of an advanced copy of Vigil by Angela Slatter over on Alex Pierce’s blog. I remember the short story that the novel is based around, from the anthology Sprawl. It was excellent, so I’ve pre-ordered the novel. Go and read Alex’s blog post then think about doing the same, unless you’re visiting this blog from the future, in which case just buy the damn book already.

Speaking of Alex, she also runs a great series of posts over on focusing on Australian and New Zealand speculative fiction called Aurora Australis. It’s a great way to keep up with author and publishing news from the antipodes, well worth adding to your monthly reading list.

David McDonald, who I did some parallel podcasting with a couple of years back, is going from strength to strength in the tie in novel space. He recently posted a teaser cover with Captain America on it, so that has to be a good sign. Great guy and all round good egg – well worth checking out his work.

My daughter’s love of the Teen Titan Go! series has morphed into a desire to own some of the comic books of the same name. We ventured into the city today, and my little girl got her first proper comic books. I could never really afford comic books growing up – pre-internet it was a bit difficult to know where to start, and south-west Sydney wasn’t exactly nerd heaven. Besides, the unrelenting cost! I never could have afforded to follow a series, even if I could have found a reliable source. I’m hoping my daughter might have better luck falling in love with this branch of the speculative fiction tree than I did. And Teen Titans seems like a good place to start.

Well, I hope you’re all doing better than me on the interesting culture news front. If you’re engaged with something fascinating, make sure you drop me a line and let me know.