2016 Natcon in Brisbane: the year we make Contact

badge for contact2016 Contact2016, the 55th Australian National Science Fiction Convention, will be held in Brisbane at Easter — w00t! Last con there was Conjure in 2006, so it’s a double anniversary (55 and 10, if you get my meaning).

At this point, you can sign up to the Twitter/Facebook/mailing list stuff to keep in, well, contact. The con, by the way, is not true to label: there is plenty of fantasy, horror and all that associated good stuff on offer at a nat con.

March, the weather can go either way in Bris (this little new-Victorian is melting in the old home state as he writes), so plan for accommodation with a fridge if you don’t want the chocky eggs to melt!

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Winds of Change is launched

winds of change anthology

Hurrah! The anthology Winds of Change, published by CSFG in Canberra, was launched at the weekend at Conflux. Sadly, I couldn’t be there to join in the drinking celebration, but Alan Baxter was, and his report is here. Sounds like a fab launch, and a fab con. My story, ‘Wraiths’, is in the anthology, rubbing shoulders with old pals and new. I’m looking forward to reading it.*

Meanwhile, Conflux has opened memberships for 2013. Yes, it’s a ways off, but that’s because it will be the National Convention in that year, just after Anzac Day. Nalo Hopkinson, whose writing I adore and need to get more of, is one of the guest of honours, among others whose writing I also admire. Conflux always puts on a great con, so I’ve already bought my membership. At $140, they’re as cheap as they’re gonna be this month. Check it out.

*I am a judge for the Aurealis Awards. This comment is the personal opinion of the writer, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team.

now listen here

Keith Stevenson has kindly made a podcast of my short story Smoking, Waiting for the Dawn, at Terra Incognita. It’s up now. The story is the latest in a monthly series that includes Sean Williams reading an unpublished short story and Cat Sparks reading her The Bride Price. I’m looking forward to next month’s story, by Trent Jamieson.

Smoking … was published in Dreaming Again last year. The collection won a Ditmar (for best collection) at the National Science Fiction Convention in Adelaide earlier this month. Cat Sparks also won a Ditmar, and Sean Williams was deservedly awarded the Peter McNamara award for being an all-round awesome dude. This year’s Ditmars were hard to fault, in fact, with very deserving winners across the board. I was quite chuffed to see Rob Hood, Margo Lanagan and Kirstyn McDermott land theirs, and took delight in the awarding of the William Atheling Jnr award for criticism or review go to Kim Wilkins for a superb, scholarly article about genre bias. The full list of winners can be read here.

Ditmars announced

So the Ditmar nominations have been announced. How Alison Goodman’s Aurealis-winning Two Pearls of Wisdom failed to garner a best novel nomination is beyond me. Well, not really. Clearly, she needs more voting blocs in her corner.

Here’s the list posted by the committee (with, I hope, the original typos and misspellings corrected; apologies if I’ve missed any) that will be voted on by members of the natcon in Adelaide next month (with members of last year’s also eligible). I’ve got a bunch of pals on this list. I hope they do well.

Best Novel
———-
Fivefold, Nathan Burrage
Hal Spacejock: No Free Lunch, Simon Haynes
Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan
How to Ditch Your Fairy, Justine Larbalestier
Daughters of Moab, Kim Westwood
Earth Ascendant, Sean Williams

Best Novella
———–
Soft Viscosity, David Conyers
Night Heron’s Curse, Thoraiya Dyer
Angel Rising, Dirk Flinthart
Creeping in Reptile Flesh, Robert Hood
Painlessness, Kirstyn McDermott

Best Short Story
—————
Pale Dark Soldier, Deb Biancotti
This Is Not My Story, Dirk Flinthart
The Goosle, Margo Lanagan
Her Collection of Intimacy, Paul Haines
Moments of Dying, Rob Hood
Sammarynda Deep, Cat Sparks
Ass-Hat Magic Spider, Scott Westerfeld

Best Collected Work
——————
Dreaming Again, edited Jack Dann
Canterbury 2100, edited Dirk Flinthart
2012, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Ben Payne
Midnight Echo, edited by Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
Black: Australian Dark Culture Magazine, edited Angela Challis
Creeping In Reptile Flesh, Robert Hood
The Starry Rift, edited Jonathan Strahan

Best Artwork
————
Aurealis #40 cover, Adam Duncan
The Last Realm, Book 1 – Dragonscarpe, Michael Dutkiewics
gallery in Black Box, Andrew McKiernan
Creeping In Reptile Flesh cover, Cat Sparks
Cover of 2012, Cat Sparks
Tales from Outer Suburbia, Shaun Tan

Best Fan Writer
————–
Craig Bezant for Horrorscope
Edwina Harvey for Australian Science Fiction Bullsheet
Rob Hood for Undead Backbrain
Chuck McKenzie for Horrorscope
Mark Smith-Briggs for Horrorscope
Brenton Tonlinson, Horrorscope

Best Fan Artist
————–
Rachel Holkner, for Gumble Soft toy and other works
Nancy Lorenz for body of work
Andrew McKiernan for body of work
Tansy Rayner Roberts for Daleks are a girl’s best friend
David Schembri for body of work
Cat Sparks for Scary Food Cookbook
Anna Tambour, Box of Noses and other works

Best Fan Publication
——————
Horrorscope, Brimstone Press
Scary Food Cookbook, edited by Cat Sparks
Asif! (Australian Speculative Fiction In Focus)
Australian SF Bullsheet

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review
———————————————-
Dark Suspense: The End of the Line by Shane Jiraiya Cummings (in
Black: Australian Dark Culture Magazine #3)
George A. Romero: Master of the Living Dead by Robert Hood (in Black:
Australian Dark Culture Magazine #2)
Bad Film Diaries – Sometimes the Brand Burns: Tim Burton and the
Planet of the Apes, Grant Watson (in Borderlands #10)
“Popular genres and the Australian literary community: the case of
fantasy fiction,” Journal of Australian Studies, Kim Wilkins

Best Achievement
—————-
Angela Challis for Black: Australian Dark Culture Magazine and Brimstone Press.
Marty Young and the AHWA Committe for promoting horror through the
Australian Horror Writers Association
Talie Helene for her work as AHWA News Editor
Steve Clark for Tasmaniac Productions
Damien Broderick for fiction editing in Cosmos Magazine
James Doig for preserving colonial Australian horror fiction and his
anthologies Australian Gothic and Australian Nightmares.
The Gunny Project: A tribute to Ian Gunn 1959-1998, Jocko and K’Rin,
presented MSFC

Best New Talent
—————
Peter M. Ball
Felicity Dowker
Jason Fischer
Gary Kemble
Amanda Pillar