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


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)


“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)


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)


“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)


Book of the Dead, Greig Beck (Momentum)

Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (Allen & Unwin)

Obsidian, Alan Baxter (HarperVoyager)


“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)


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)


“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)


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)


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)


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)


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)

Aurealis Awards 2013

Had a fantastic time at the Aurealis Awards last night, lots of catching up with people, lots of excellent speculative fiction rewarded, lots of alcohol imbibed by others making me seem more interesting than I actually am. Who can ask for more?

The remote summary dejour is looking at Sean the Bookonaut’s Storify record of any given event, and this year’s Aurealis Awards is no different. You can find the summary here.

But now for some more personal reflections on the evening.

I got a chance to catch up with Nuke from Antipodean SF where I received the first ever face to face acceptance of a story that Nuke has ever given for my recently submitted piece Hindsight is a Bitch. It’s one of the shortest short stories I’ve ever written. Thanks Nuke! I could see Nuke was busily running around with his recorder, so we can expect lots of sound bites from various speculative fiction luminaries in future editions of the Antipodean SF podcast.

I also caught up with Rick (Patrick Keuning), a similar stage writer to me who was recently published in the excellent In Fabula-Divino anthology. You can follow Rick’s writing exploits on his website.

I had a good chance to chat with Jason Nahrung (whose excellent Blood and Dust and Salvage were up for best horror novel) and Kirstyn McDermott (whose excellent Perfections won best horror novel). While I was very pleased for Kirstyn’s win, I’d kind of been hoping for some kind of tie between her and Jason – I loved Blood and Dust especially. The only solution to my dilemma is for everyone reading this to immediately go out and buy all of Jason and Kirstyn’s work. If they can’t have joint awards, they should be able to console themselves by healthy joint bank balances. Go on, buy the books already! (1)

Lots of other brief conversations, including hearing about the contractual trickiness of being a creative writing academic by Lisa L. Hannett, finding an unexpected day job connection with Keith Stevenson, meeting Thoraiya Dyer in the flesh then utterly failing to talk to her properly (she was whisked away by Nuke for an Antipodean SF interview), picking up my copy of Robert Hood’s latest book after they ran out at Conflux and swapping high school sports war stories with Kirstyn McDermott and Jason Franks.

The ceremony itself was good. Scott Westerfeld was an excellent MC, giving a great introductory speech and keeping things moving at a fair clip. At last year’s awards, nearly everyone got up and said “oh dear I haven’t prepared anything, this is so unexpected”, which I think detracted from the ceremony. This year most people seemed to have learnt from that experience, because there were many more short, gracious and most of all prepared acceptances. I particularly liked Jonathan Strahan’s “insert winning publication here” speech which someone read out for him in absentia (he had three of the 5 nominations in that category). Margo Lanagan’s shout out to her husband was also a highlight.

The ceremony also included the screening of a short film by Nick Stathopoulos and director Ryan Cauchi, “It Grows” which was very entertaining.

So, I’ve listed the short lists below with the winning entry highlighted in green. I’ve included in the commentary links to any reviews I’ve done on works (it seems I am woefully under-read in award nomination worthy Australian speculative fiction this year!).


(1) Actually, I don’t think I quite have the readership to send Scrouge McDuck level money in their direction. I’ll have to think of a Plan B.

Edit 22/5/2013:

Some excellent photos of the event by Cat Sparx here.


Best Science Fiction Novel

Best Science Fiction Short Story

Best Fantasy Novel

Best Fantasy Short Story

Best Horror Novel

Best Horror Short Story

Best Young Adult Novel

Young Adult Short Story

  • “Stilled Lifes x 11″, Justin D’Ath (Trust Me Too)
  • “The Wisdom of Ants”, Thoraiya Dyer (Clarkesworld 12/12)
  • “Rats”, Jack Heath (Trust Me Too)
  • “The Statues of Melbourne”, Jack Nicholls (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56)
  • “The Worry Man”, Adrienne Tam (self-published)

Best Collection

  • The Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote, K.J. Bishop (self-published)
  • Metro Winds, Isobelle Carmody (Allen & Unwin)
  • Midnight and Moonshine, Lisa L. Hanett & Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga)
  • Living With the Dead, Martin Livings (Dark Prints)
  • Through Splintered Walls, Kaaron Warren (Twelfth Planet) (My review of Through Splintered Walls)

Best Anthology

  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011, Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene, eds. (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Bloodstones, Amanda Pillar, ed. (Ticonderoga)
  • The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 6, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Night Shade)
  • Under My Hat, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Random House)
  • Edge of Infinity, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris)

Best Children’s Fiction (told primarily through words)

Best Children’s Fiction (told primarily through pictures)

Best Illustrated Book/Graphic Novel

There was also the Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award, which this year went to Kate Eltham who has been active in speculative fiction for some time, especially in Queensland. The Kris Hembury Encouragement Award went to Laura Goodin.

So… many… award… lists…

Work has kept me a bit busy over the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t had a lot of time to add to the blog. In that time, three different sets of Australian award nominations have come out (in chronological order of release):

  1. 2012 Aurealis Awards
  2. 2012 Australian Shadow Awards
  3. 2013 Ditmars

I’m not going to repeat all the nominations here (follow the links above), but I did want to draw out a few highlights.

Firstly, Kirstyn McDermott and Jason Nahrung have cemented their place as the Australian speculative fiction writing power couple by securing nominations in all three awards. In previous posts I’ve expressed my love for their recent work, PerfectionsBlood and Dust and SalvageAll three appear in this year’s awards, which is especially impressive considering Perfections and Blood and Dust were only released just before Christmas 2012.

Secondly, Sean Wright (or Sean the Bookonaut) is up for several Ditmars in the fan writing/publications sections. Sean is an excellent contributor to the Australian speculative fiction scene, made even more impressive by the fact that he does it all from a secret (1) rural South Australian location with dodgy internet connections. If you’ve not come across his work before, it is well worth your time to track down his site and podcast.

Thirdly, Antipodean SF (who published a few of my flash fiction pieces last year) are up for best fan publication in the Ditmars. It is amazing how many established writers I talk to who say “Oh, yes – Antipodean SF is where I got my first story published”. Ion Newcombe is an excellent editor and generous contributor to the Australian speculative fiction scene. If you’ve never seen Antipodean SF, I’d encourage you to check the site out. (2)

Finally, I really enjoyed Kaaron Warren‘s collection Through Splintered Walls last year. I can see the stories from this book (and the collection itself) sprinkled all through these awards list. A fantastic book, well worth checking out.

I’ve decided that after I’ve finished my current reading, I’m going to make a concerted effort to plug some of the gaps in my Australian reading using these award lists as a guide. What about you? Have you read much of the work doing the rounds in this year’s awards season? Anything stand out?


(1) The secret thing may not be entirely factually accurate

(2) I help out preparing the e-Book edition of Antipodean SF each month, so I’m not entirely without bias here.

Aurealis Awards 2012 – a wrap up

In my ongoing quest to learn more about the speculative fiction world, I went along to the Aurealis Awards here in Sydney, at the lovely Independent Theatre in North Sydney. I’ve just got home, so I thought I might write up a few thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind.

I’ll say at the outset that I went along not knowing anyone. There are a few Sydney/NSW based authors who I’ve seen at some events around Sydney (Richard Harland, Kate Forsyth, Margo Lanagan, Alan Baxter) and may have even exchanged some words with (usually along the lines of “could I just squeeze past you to get to the bar” sure, but they are still words!).

So I very much appreciate the people who took some time to say hello – in particular Kathleen Jennings who was very generous with her time pre-show and I finally got to meet face to face with Ion “Nuke” Newcombe, who has edited and published my stories in Antipodean SF. It was great talking with both of you!

The ceremony itself was interesting, with some special effects introducing each of the categories and some masterful MCing by Kate Forsyth. It started on time and moved along at a fair clip. Upfront there was a slideshow of pictures (which got a few laughs – some in-jokes there that I, as a newcomer to the industry, didn’t really get).

I was surprised at the number of recipients who weren’t there to receive their awards, but I guess travel around Australia isn’t always easy. I was also surprised at the number of people who hadn’t prepared anything to say in the case that they won. It’s very self effacing, but I bet there will be a few people who wake up tomorrow terribly regretful that they forgot to thank someone important.

I won’t go through all the speeches etc, but I will highlight a couple of moments.

  • Favourite reaction of the night – Kim Westwood when she won best Science Fiction Novel (‘Fuck!’).
  • Most moving speech – a short note read out on behalf of Paul Haines’ family on his posthumous award for Best Horror Short Story.
  • Funnest recipient of the night – Lisa Hannett upon winning her second award of the night, and having nothing more to say!
  • Most obviously chuffed – Tom Taylor, who gave a very exuberant speech.
  • Best “thanks” – I liked that Lisa Hannett mentioned one of her first editors, who helped her get a 18,000 word short story that she’d written down to 5,000 words and taught her a lot about writing short stories in the process.

Tehani Wessely (judging convenor) made some comments on the field, which I found interesting. In particular, she spoke about the rise of self published work and what impact that might have on entry criteria for future awards given the workload it creates on the volunteer judging panels.

After the ceremony I spoke with Nuke for a bit, but found that most people had settled into pretty tight knit groups of people they already knew (and fair enough too – I imagine people living in different cities don’t often get a chance to catch up face to face).

There were a couple of people that I saw in the crowd that I wish I’d had a chance to say hello to. Kirstyn McDermott, one of the hosts of my favourite podcast at the moment The Writer and the Critic. Also, Jason Nahrung was there who is one of my favourite Australian authors. Finally, the three hosts of the Galactic Suburbia (who won the Peter McNamara Convenor’s Award) were also in the crowd. Still, I’m sure there will be other events!

So, all in all it was an interesting experience and great to be at one of these events that I usually only hear about second hand through podcasts etc.

For those that might not have seen them already, the results in the order they were announced:

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)

  • City of Lies by Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)

  • Sounds Spooky by Christopher Cheng (author) and Sarah Davis (illustrator) (Random House Australia)


  • “Nation of the Night” by Sue Isle (Nightsiders, Twelfth Planet Press)


  • Only Ever Always by Penni Russon (Allen & Unwin)
A tie!
  • Hidden by Mirranda Burton (author and illustrator ) (Black Pepper)
  • The Deep: Here be Dragons by Tom Taylor (author) and James Brouwer (illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)


  • Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa Hannett (Ticonderoga Publications)


  • Ghosts by Gaslight edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers (HarperVoyager)


Another tie!

  • “The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt” by Paul Haines (The Last Days of Kali Yuga, Brimstone Press)
  • “The Short Go: a Future in Eight Seconds” by Lisa L. Hannett (Bluegrass Symphony, Ticonderoga Publications)


  • No shortlisted or winning novel


  • “Fruit of the Pipal Tree” by Thoraiya Dyer (After the Rain, FableCroft Publishing)


  • Ember and Ash by Pamela Freeman (Hachette)


  • “Rains of la Strange” by Robert N Stephenson (Anywhere but Earth, Coeur de Lion)


  • The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood (HarperVoyager)

Peter McNamara Conveynors’ Award

  • Galactic Suburbia podcast (Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts)
Kris Hembury Encouragement Award for Emerging Artists
  • Emily Craven