Pre-order Epilogue – tales of hope after the apocalypse

epilogue - tales of hope after the apocalypseFableCroft has opened pre-orders on Epilogue, an anthology of stories about finding hope in the aftermath of the apocalypse. It’s exciting to read that the anthology is to be launched at Continuum in June, where Twelfth Planet Press should also be letting my Australian Gothic Salvage loose on the public as well.

Another title being launched at Continuum is Bread and Circuses (also available for pre-order), an anthology by the inimitable Felicity Dowker. Nom nom nom!

There are some old hands and new chums in the table of contents of Epilogue, which should make for some interesting and perhaps atypical reading for stories in this setting. Epilogue costs $20 including postage.

Also worth pointing out is that FableCroft has put After the Rain on special for $15 inc postage; it includes my cyberpunk yarn ‘Wet Work’.

And here’s a clue to one of the themes of my ‘Epilogue’ story, ‘Mornington Ride':


Ditmar shortlists announced

The shortlists for the Ditmar awards, fan nominated and fan voted, have been announced. Interesting to note that, outside of the novel realm, small press dominate almost exclusively, and that fan publications has four podcasts to one paper newsletter; the Atheling, too, is heavy on the blogs. Hilarious and also exemplary is that Robin Penn’s ‘Ballad of the Unrequited Ditmar’ is in there, summarising pointedly yet with tongue in cheek a stoush in the community about, wonderfully, the Ditmars. The novels show a wide spread of genres and the novellas are particularly strong, showing perhaps a resurgence in the form. With e-publishing’s growth, I’d expect that to continue. The winners will be announced at Continuum 8 in Melbourne in June. Here’s the shortlist:

Best Novel

  • The Shattered City (Creature Court 2), Tansy Rayner Roberts
    (HarperCollins)
  • Burn Bright, Marianne de Pierres (Random House Australia)
  • Mistification, Kaaron Warren (Angry Robot Books)
  • The Courier’s New Bicycle, Kim Westwood (HarperCollins)
  • Debris (The Veiled Worlds 1), Jo Anderton (Angry Robot Books)
  • Best Novella or Novelette

  • “The Sleeping and the Dead”, Cat Sparks, in Ishtar (Gilgamesh Press)
  • “Above”, Stephanie Campisi, in Above/Below (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt”, Paul Haines, in The Last Days
    of Kali Yuga
    (Brimstone Press)
  • “And the Dead Shall Outnumber the Living”, Deborah Biancotti, in
    Ishtar (Gilgamesh Press)
  • “Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in
    Love and Romanpunk (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Below”, Ben Peek, in Above/Below (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Best Short Story

  • “Breaking the Ice”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Cosmos 37
  • “Alchemy”, Lucy Sussex, in Thief of Lives (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Last Gig of Jimmy Rucker”, Martin Livings and Talie Helene, in
    More Scary Kisses (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • “All You Can Do Is Breathe”, Kaaron Warren, in Blood and Other
    Cravings
    (Tor)
  • “Bad Power”, Deborah Biancotti, in Bad Power (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Patrician”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Love and Romanpunk (Twelfth
    Planet Press)
  • Best Collected Work

  • The Last Days of Kali Yuga by Paul Haines, edited by Angela Challis
    (Brimstone Press)
  • Nightsiders by Sue Isle, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet
    Press)
  • Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth
    Planet Press)
  • Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts, edited by Alisa
    Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Ishtar, edited by Amanda Pillar and K. V. Taylor (Gilgamesh Press)
  • Best Artwork

  • “Finishing School”, Kathleen Jennings, in Steampunk!: An Anthology of
    Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories
    (Candlewick Press)
  • Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, for The Freedom Maze (Small Beer Press)
  • Best Fan Writer

  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work including reviews in Australian
    Speculative Fiction in Focus!
    and Not If You Were The Last Short Story
    On Earth
  • Alexandra Pierce, for body of work including reviews in Australian
    Speculative Fiction in Focus!
    , Not If You Were The Last Short Story On
    Earth
    , and Randomly Yours, Alex
  • Robin Pen, for “The Ballad of the Unrequited Ditmar”
  • Sean Wright, for body of work including “Authors and Social Media”
    series in Adventures of a Bookonaut
  • Bruce Gillespie, for body of work including “The Golden Age of
    Fanzines is Now”, and SF Commentary 81 & 82
  • Best Fan Artist

  • Rebecca Ing, for work in Scape
  • Lisa Rye, for “Steampunk Portal” series
  • Dick Jenssen, for body of work including work in IRS, Steam Engine
    Time, SF Commentary
    and Scratchpad
  • Kathleen Jennings, for work in Errantry (tanaudel.wordpress.com)
    including “The Dalek Game”
  • Rhianna Williams, for work in Nullas Anxietas Convention Programme Book
  • Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • SF Commentary, edited by Bruce Gillespie
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
  • The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Galactic Chat, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Sean Wright
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Alex
    Pierce
  • Best New Talent

  • Steve Cameron
  • Alan Baxter
  • Joanne Anderton
  • William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, for “2010: The Year in Review”, in The
    Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2010
    (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Damien Broderick and Van Ikin, for editing Warriors of the Tao: The
    Best of Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature
    (Borgo Press)
  • David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely for “Reviewing
    New Who” series, in A Conversational Life
  • Alexandra Pierce and Tehani Wessely, for reviews of Vorkosigan Saga,
    in Randomly Yours, Alex
  • Russell Blackford, for “Currently reading: Jonathan Strange and Mr
    Norrell by Susanna Clarke”, in Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
  • It’s down the Rabbit Hole at Emerging Writers Festival

    emerging writers festival logoThe Emerging Writers Festival is going down the Rabbit Hole, and I’ll be one of your guides. Peter Ball is hosting in Brisbane, Rachel Edwards in Tassie and Patrick O’Duffy gets to stay in his pyjamas with the online team. The event is the brainchild of the Queensland Writers Centre where it’s been run a couple of times now, with another one in November. It aims to provide the impetus to write 30,000 in, gasp, three days. Bookings are limited to 20 at each site and open on April 30. It’s free.


    Deb Biancotti on Shirley Jackson Award shortlist

    ishtar stories by kaaron warren, cat sparks and deborah biancotti

    Wonderful to see Aussie Deborah Biancotti on the shortlist of the Shirley Jackson Awards for her novella ‘And the Dead Shall Outnumber the Living’ from the Ishtar anthology. The awards recognise excellence in horror and dark fantasy. It’s also pleasing to see Aussie co-production Ghosts by Gaslight on the shortlist for anthologies; it’s edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers. Winners are to be announced on July 15.

    Going metal at MICF: Andrew O’Neill and Steve Hughes

    andrew o'neillEnglish comedian Andrew O’Neill wears green heels, jeans tight enough to show off an enviable pair of pins, black top, red lipstick and nail polish. His Melbourne International Comedy Festival show is entitled Alternative but the core theme is one of how easily he can be distracted: by the internet, by television, by shiny things. The show is filled with distractions — zany asides, mostly — and littered with pop and metal references. He has a Dr Who tattoo. He’s witty and intelligent and he has something to say and doesn’t mind coming out and saying it — about the class divide, about hipster appropriation of culture, about societal constraints on being who you want to be; in his case, he’s a lover of heavy metal, an overt transvestite, an athiest with a grudging respect for the Norse gods (just in case).

    His own spruiker and roadie, he’s playing the suitably metal Pony, a small, slightly smelly club tricked out in red and black with an upstairs performance space cosy enough for the full house to appreciate his boss eye sight gag. The gig ends with a bit of a singalong in ‘Jesus was a Cockney’. Lovely dovely.


    We gladly paid to see O’Neill; the tickets to Steve Hughes were complimentaries for review purposes.


    steve hughes Hughes is another metal head, but where O’Neill wears heels and talks about the outdated and outlandish vision of what it means to be male, the Aussie comedian, now relocated to the UK, still thinks a man should steer clear of Starbuck’s, pull up his pants, grow a beard and not act like a faggot. Or a poofter. Yes, such people still exist, and they can fill the Melbourne Town Hall. It’s a strange world, Hughes says repeatedly, and listening to the chortles and guffaws as he harangues and postulates for 90 minutes, I can’t agree more.

    What starts out as amusing anecdotes, deftly told in Aussie vernacular, descends into a diatribe of sometimes contradictory pseudo-spirituality, anti-establishment, pro-drugs anti-police conspiracy theory with all the subtlety of a bludgeon.

    Clearly, Hughes’s take on the Big Issues isn’t for me. And I think, if I’ve interpreted the psychobabble rightly, Hughes will understand if I say it’s not me, it’s them.

    Submissions open for Queensland Literary Awards, and other writerly news

    queensland literary awards logoBehind the 8-ball on this news: submissions are open for the Queensland Literary Awards — these are the community-based awards put together in quick time after newly elected premier Campbell Newman scrapped the government-supported awards in short order after this ascension. Subs close May 6, and winners are due to be announced on September 5.

    Awards on offer are:
    Fiction Book Award
    Emerging Queensland Author – Manuscript Award (UQP will be offered publishing rights for the winning MS)
    Unpublished Indigenous Writer – David Unaipon Award (UQP will be offered publishing rights for the winning MS)
    Non-Fiction Book Award History Book Award
    Children’s Book Award
    Young Adult Book Award
    Science Writer Award
    Poetry Collection – Judith Wright Calanthe Award
    Australian Short Story Collection – Steele Rudd Award
    Literary or Media Work Advancing Public Debate – The Harry Williams Award
    Film Script Award
    Drama Script (Stage) Award
    Television Script Award


    This piece in The Age by Jane Sullivan helps to explain why what the Australian newspaper brands the ‘vocal minority’ — a new collective noun for writers, apparently — got so vocal about Newman’s ill’conceived and poorly executed move.

  • Amazon sniffing around in Australia? That’ll save some postage. But it might cause a fresh cold sweat for bricks and mortar shops …
  • Speaking of Amazon, here’s an article about how Amazon is a happy hunting ground for knock-off merchants, as opposed to simple plagiarists.
  • Affirm Press seeks writers for its Slow Guides to Brisbane and Melbourne.
  • Check out the Ellen Datlow news, as reported at 13 O’Clock: a bunch of Aussies made her honourable mentions list, and a couple even made the print-book shortlist — Margo Lanagan flies the Southern Cross in the actual TOC of selected yarns — and the venerable US editor is on the prowl for this year’s best horror yarns. Send ‘em in!
  • GenreCon for Sydney in November

    From the Queensland Writers Centre bulletin, a great event for genre writers:

    The Australian Writer’s Marketplace is proud to announce GenreCon!

    Rydges Paramatta, November 2-4th 2012

    GenreCon is a three-day convention for Australian fans and professionals working within the fields of romance, mystery, science fiction, crime, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and more. One part party, one part celebration, one part professional development: GenreCon is the place to be if you’re an aspiring or established writer with a penchant for the types of fiction that get relegated to their own corner of the bookstore. Featuring international guests Joe Abercrombie (Writer, The First Law Trilogy, Best Served Cold, The Heroes), Sarah Wendell (co-founder, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books), and Ginger Clark (Literary Agent, Curtis Brown).

    For more information, visit GenreCon.com.au. Early bird rates available to the first 50 registrations.

    The event looks to have a strong industry and networking focus, and the ticketing system includes mention of pitching opportunities.

    MICF: Sarah Kendall and Daniel Kitson

    It was the night for intelligent comedy at last night’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival outing, with pre-show drinks at Cabinet and a pleasant dinner break at Time Off in Fed Square where Massive Attack and Joy Division albums were on the stereo. Oh yes.

    sarah kendall First up was Sarah Kendall at the Victoria Hotel. Kendall, 35 (there’s some laughs in that), resident in the UK for the past 12 years, tells us she’s that woman with the screaming toddler on the jet plane. Her Persona show reveals a dry delivery and acid wit — and incredibly expressive eyes — as she explores the world her daughter is growing up in. Some subjects covered are pole dancing, banana innuendo, depictions of women in advertising and, most wonderfully, a nighty-night sequel to the ugly duckling fairytale in which growing up to be pretty is not the answer to being bullied and marginalised.

    daniel kitsonAfter dinner, with ‘Disorder’ still whispering in my mind, we headed down to the Arts Centre for UK comedian Daniel Kitson. Kitson’s mission in Where Once Was Wonder is to share his thoughts on the meaning of life, exemplified in three stories, taking 90 minutes. Intellectually arrogant, confronting and very bloody funny, Kitson is an unreliable narrator but sure knows how to string a yarn together. Suspense, divergence, segue, meta references and ‘denial’ river puns, all combine for a superlative performance.

    He makes the audience complicit, whether about vegetarianism, ideology, typecasting or the bleeding obvious. ‘I’ve got a lisp, don’t know if you’d noticed. I’m very brave.’ Or words to that effect.

    By the end of the show, he’s undercut the diatribe he espoused at the beginning; he’s shared thoughts about image and personality and character, about certainty and uncertainty and seizing moments and living with principles and undermining those principles when it’s convenient or easy to do so; the audience is highly amused and guilty and guiltily amused.

    A dangerous pair, Kendall and Kitson; though chalk and cheese in delivery, they both manage to get the message across amid the laughter. Brilliant stuff.

    WriteFest windows of opportunity, and other writerly news

    Bundaberg’s WriteFest is a great event, one of those fairly intimate occasions when everyone’s just chilled out yet totally keen. This year the organisers have upped the ante, offering a workshop with Louise Cusack — her writing advice is always worth it — as well as the chance to get feedback from Allen & Unwin’s Rachael Donovan on how to improve a submission to a publisher, and a chance to talk to Clan Destine Press’s Lindy Cameron about a manuscript. But you want to be quick: applications for the feedback sessions close on Sunday April 15. Check out the website: there’s plenty more on, including two workshops with Marianne de Pierres and seminars on many things writerly. WriteFest is held on May 19.

  • Michael Hauge provides insight into story structure and the rules of engagement for hero and ‘reflection character’.
  • The horror of having a book go to print without its opening line, and a constructive way of dealing with the misdeed, courtesy of Kirstyn McDermott.
  • I’ve recently had cause to chinwag with a.rawlings, this year’s Arts Queensland poet in residence hosted by Queensland Poetry Festival, and was again struck by the power of the written word when read out loud. I found her poem, ‘a hoosh a ha’, inside her collection Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists, and then this clip on YouTube of her performing the piece. It’s a gorgeous book, beautifully laid out, but to hear those words out loud: wow. To complete the narrative circle of this post, it’s worth the mention that one of Louise Cusack’s suggestions for improving self-editing is to read the work out loud. Advice I really wish I’d take more often, because it really does highlight awkwardness, errors and repetition.


  • Callout to Queensland authors of 2011, and other writerly news

    queensland writers centre logoQueensland Writers Centre is compiling a booklet, Books from our Backyard, of Queensland authors to have had a book published in 2011. Must be first edition, paper or e-book, with ISBN and cover image. Details at the website.

    Also, the centre has compiled a website of reaction to the summary cancellation of the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards by incoming premier Campbell Newman. The centre is looking to salvage something from the debacle and provides some avenues for reaction to the move. A separate push is underway to establish the Queensland Literary Awards.

  • In award news, and much more positive all round, Aussies Jonathan Strahan and the gang from Galactic Suburbia podcast have made the shortlist for the Hugo Awards — Strahan twice, for best short form editor and also his co-hosted Notes from Coode St podcast. Way to go!
  • The Blood-Red Pencil hosts two posts about the life of agents, including their changing role in an industry where self-publishing is no longer the path of last resort.
  • At the Lair, Sean Williams and Karen Miller talk joining Forces with the Star Wars franchise.
  • In Lisa Hannett’s Tuesday Therapy (it’s been a busy week), Kim Falconer offers some down-to-earth advice about setting goals and achieving them despite all the good advice. In today’s Theraphy, Angela Slatters offers excellent advice about both offering and receiving favours of a literary nature.
  • Looking ahead: Swancon 2013 has announced a guest list of Gail Simone, Charles Stross, John Birmingham and Lucy Sussex. w00t!

  • Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Creature Court series is pushing into overseas markets — great to see a publisher investing in local talent.
  • And finally, this piece from Call My Agent! about the cultural cringe and Australian novels. I’d like to think that the efforts of our fantasy, crime and romance writers, in particular, are changing the apparent reluctance of readers to buy locally … This post riffs off a previous one about why it’s hard to get an Aussie novel published, which kicked along a meme about ‘what Australian book have you bought recently’. You don’t buy local just because it is local, of course, but because it’s local and good: it’s that last part that has had buyers doubting, but they’re out of excuses these days. Now it’s how to raise awareness in an ever-crowded market place.
  • Late addition: I’ve been meaning to add 20c to this excellent post about the value of a book cover over at Patrick O’Duffy’s place, but that’s gonna have to wait for another day. When you see the amount of quality info Angry Robot has packed onto that back cover … wow. The absence of a back cover on an e-book — that requirement that the browser has picked up that info on the web page — is an interesting quandary that I haven’t got around to pondering in any meaningful way. Patrick, it’s up to you!