Late SF additions to the calendar

Sean Williams,  a guest at WestWordsFest

Sean Williams, a guest at WestWordsFest

Two events on this weekend in NSW have just been added to the 2017 literary events calendar.

Both running September 15 to 17, they are: WestWordsFest in Dubbo, and Sorcery to Spaceships in Armidale. Both look fab!

  • I’m always keen to hear about literary festivals to add to the calendar, in whatever genre. Drop me a line if it’s not already listed!
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    Keeping up, when the future is now

    wind-powered greenhouse in victoria

    Image: reneweconomy.com.au

    One of the hardest parts about writing a near-future novel is keeping ahead of the news, but that’s not always a bad thing. For instance, here’s a news article about an awesome project in Victoria: a massive glasshouse for growing vegetables that will be totally powered by an adjacent wind farm. Extra rehab points for being built on the site of an old gold mine!

    Meanwhile, the federal government and the Queensland government appear intent on dropping their dacks for Adani’s Carmichael coal minean unconscionable project by any metric you want to apply.

    And here I am, with a mosaic novel* set in near-future Queensland (mainly Brisbane) in which the Galilee coal mines feature prominently — as stranded assets, now being converted into, you guessed it, giant greenhouses. (One of the three stories involving Galilee has been selected for the Ecopunk! anthology, coming from Ticonderoga Publications — the TOC looks amazing!)

    It’d be really neat to have to rewrite the stories because the governments in question grew some social conscience (and economic nous) and canned the entire idea (I can hear the Asia-Pacific nations who are begging the world to stop building coal-fired power stations from here), but I can’t see that happening.

    It’s a bit like the narrative spike I copped when BP (boo! not forgiven for Deepwater Horizon) pulled out of exploration in the Great Australian Bight, only to be replaced by Chevron. And so the battle, and the story, goes on …

    * mosaic novel = a fictional work made up of interconnected short stories; the form has many names (composite novel and novel-in-stories are just two of the more common ones, but I prefer mosaic)
     

    Dreaming in the Dark: seeing the light in Brisbane

    dreaming in the dark

    A reminder, friends: I’m chuffed to be attending the Brisbane launch of the Dreaming in the Dark anthology, edited by Jack Dann and published by UK-based PS Publishing. Still gotta pinch myself when I look at the contributors to this epic tome of Aussie speculative fiction.

    So yes, it’s worth a party with contributors (edited to add more — huzzah!) Veny Armanno, Paul Brandon, Kirstyn McDermott, Angela Slatter, Janeen Webb, Kim Wilkins and me in attendance; Paul and Sarah Calderwood will provide some musical atmosphere; Jack will do his thing; the book will be launched and you’ll be able to get your copy signed by a third of the contributors in one fell swoop!

    Please join us, at Dymocks Brisbane in Albert St, on Thursday 8 December from 6pm. It’s free, but RSVPs are being taken here.

    Dreaming in the Dark: shining a light on Australian speculative fiction

    dreaming in the darkThis is an exciting anthology of Australian speculative fiction. Back in 1998, Jack Dann and Janeen Webb put together Dreaming Down Under, an anthology that helped shine a light on the speculative fiction talent in Australia. Then, in 2010, Jack revisited the field in Dreaming Again: 35 yarns, of which I was privileged to have contributed one. And now he’s combined with PS Publishing to produce a new taster of established and up-and-coming writers: Dreaming in the Dark. Check out the contributors list below! Here’s the link to order this gorgeous tome. Launches are in the works, but why not get your order in while it’s hot? The signed, slipcased editions are limited to 200 and they look pretty darn fancy.

    Introduction: Welcome to the Golden Age: an Introduction of Sorts
    JACK DANN

    Sing, My Murdered Darlings
    SEAN WILLIAMS

    Falling Angel
    PAUL BRANDON

    Martian Triptych
    JAMES BRADLEY

    Northerner’s Farewell
    RJURIK DAVIDSON

    Midnight in the Graffiti Tunnel
    TERRY DOWLING

    A Right Pretty Mate
    LISA L. HANNETT

    Eromon No More
    JASON NAHRUNG

    Luv Story
    KIM WESTWOOD

    The Luminarium Tower
    SEAN MCMULLEN

    Neither Time Nor Tears
    ANGELA SLATTER

    His Shining Day
    RICHARD HARLAND

    The Liquid Palace
    ADAM BROWNE

    Heat Treatment
    VENERO ARMANNO

    Snowflakes All the Way Down
    ROSALEEN LOVE

    Served Cold
    ALAN BAXTER

    The Dog Who’d Been Dead
    ANNA TAMBOUR

    Fade to Grey
    JANEEN WEBB

    All Those Superpowers and What Are They Good For?
    GARTH NIX

    Burnt Sugar
    KIRSTYN MCDERMOTT

    In Hornhead Wood
    KIM WILKINS

    Moonshine
    SIMON BROWN

    Good things come in threes

    Herewith, three groovy recent outings that put a smile on my dial:

    totes80s21. Totally 80s. Sure, the tour is well over now, but I enjoyed this greatest hits parade far more than I thought I would. Great to see Real Life’s David Sterry, for starters; Wa Wa Nee brought the keytar; Katrina of the Waves rocked out. The main draw, though, was ticking off a bucket list item to finally see Berlin‘s Terri Nunn in action. The set list for Berlin: No More Words, Metro, Masquerade, Animal (yes, still making vibrant music!), Dancing in Berlin, Take My Breath Away, Sex (I’m a). Such a happy vibe, I was smiling from the moment the second song of the night, Safety Dance, got the crowd grooving.

    2. Ghostbusters. The remake. Seen it twice now and it’s very cool. The climax feels a little pedestrian (maybe that was just the echo of the original) but to see these four women work together so capably — not an arse shot in the whole movie — is such a delight. Sign me up to the Holtzman fan club. I like what the flick said and how it said it and I had a lot of fun at the same time. Neat cameos, too.


     
    3. Pokemon Go. I blame/thank my wife. She loaded it on my phone. And then I went to the city and saw the augmented reality overlay the game provides and it was, like, wow. And then last night we’re parking (because Ballarat turned on the wind machine) and we’re surrounded by other people parking because there are three PokeStops with lures and the critters are spawning like crazy and it’s fun and it’s kind of communal fun — I haven’t seen that much life in that street on a Monday night ever. I also like that public art and graffiti and historic sites are PokeStops so these sites are drawn to your attention. How much attention you pay as they spin and disgorge goodies and critters is up to you.

    Anyway. Today is a day to consider some good things and share the word. May you too count good things.

    In Your Face – speculative fiction with bite!

    in your face anthologyIn Your Face, an anthology of confronting speculative fiction from FableCroft Publishing, will soon be in the wild (next month!)! This volume contains 22 stories from some of Australia’s biggest hitters in the genre (Sean Williams, Kaaron Warren, Angela Slatter and more!), as well as some lesser known writers such as myself, and they’re packing a punch.

    Says a review in Aurealis, “some of these stories are confronting, even shocking in the subjects they tackle head-on … In Your Face is a truly rewarding and affecting experience”.

    My yarn, A House in the Blue, is a reaction to the shitful health policies championed by the thankfully dead Abbott government (we note the Turnbull government’s similarity to its predecessor) and is no doubt all too familiar to readers in the United States. It is set in the climate-change affected future Brisbane introduced in 2014’s Watermarks. The sad thing about my story is that I think I’ve underplayed the situation, but I guess only time will tell.

    There is a Goodreads contest running until June 30 offering a free copy, or you can read more here (or preorder at the online bookstore of your choice, pretty much). The countdown continues!

    Aurealis Awards finalists announced

    aurealis awards logoThe Aurealis Awards for Australian speculative fiction will be awarded on Good Friday, March 25, in Brisbane as part of the national science fiction convention, Contact. Tickets are now on sale (with, apparently, convention members to get a discount).

    It’s a pretty cool event, bringing the community together, and being held as part of the convention should mean extra vibe as well as, one hopes, a packed room. (It’s great to see the awards organisers in WA and the nat con collaborating this way, especially since there is the Swancon convention in Perth also at Easter.)

    The finalists were announced yesterday, with several new categories, one of the most exciting being the Sara Douglass Book Series Award. The list of finalists is here (note: my wife is in there!). There’s a bucket of cold water for the horror novel category — I know, sad! the judges’ comments will make interesting reading on that one!* — but elsewhere a pretty darn strong field of contenders.

    Just making it to the short list is a big achievement, so congratulations all — let’s party!


    *I’m hoping for a tie between Lisa Hannett’s Lament for the Afterlife and Trent Jamieson’s Day Boy because both these rock in their own way. Read them regardless!