A Chronos nomination!

I guess I’m officially a Victorian now …

I’ve only just caught up with the nominations for the 2011 Chronos awards, which recognise achievement within Victoria’s speculative fiction community. It’s a popularly nominated award, voted upon by members of the year’s national convention. Voting rights can also be bought for $5 for non-convention members. This year’s natcon is Continuum 8, in June, in Melbourne, and it’s going to be a hoot with Kelly Link and Alison Goodman as writer guests of honour.

Anyhow, a look at the shortlists shows I’ve been nominated as a fan writer, which is very cool. But allow me to be partisan for a moment and say just how happy I am to see the late Paul Haines on the list for both his collection, The Last Days of Kali Yuga, and his absolutely unforgettable story ‘The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt’. Fuck but he’s missed, and when you read these yarns, you realise just what a talent we’ve lost.

Chronos finalists

Best Long Fiction
Black Glass, Meg Mundell (Scribe Publications)
Mole Hunt, Paul Collins (Ford Street Publishing)
The Key to Starveldt, Foz Meadows (Ford Street Publishing)
The Last Days of Kali Yuga, Paul Haines (Brimstone Press)
Scape e-zine, edited by Peta Freestone
Changing Yesterday, Sean McMullen (Ford Street Publishing)
Thief of Lives, Lucy Sussex (Twelfth Planet Press)
No Award

Best Short Fiction
Neverspring, Peta Freestone (in M-BRANE SF #25)
The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt, Paul Haines (in The Last Days of Kali Yuga)
Gamer’s Challenge, George Ivanoff (by Ford Street Publishing)
One Last Interruption Before We Begin, Stephanie Lai (in Steampowered II: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories)
So Sad, the Lighthouse Keeper, Steve Cameron (in Anywhere But Earth)
No Award

Best Fan Writer
Jason Nahrung
Alexandra Pierce
Peta Freestone
No Award

Best Fan Artist
Nalini Haynes
Marta Tesoro
Rebecca Ing
Rachel Holkner
No Award

Best Fan Written Work
Dear Space Diary, Sam Mellor (Blog – Fiction)
Tiptree, and a collection of her short stories, Alexandra Pierce (in Randomly Yours, Alex)
Interview with Meg Mundell, Nalini Haynes (in Dark Matter 3)
No Award

Best Fan Artwork
Girl Torque, Nalini Haynes (Cover for Dark Matter 3)
Dangerous Penguins, Marta Tesoro
Blue Locks, Rebecca Ing (Scape 2)
No Award

Best Fan Publication
The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Alexandra Pierce
Bad Film Diaries, Grant Watson
Dark Matter, edited by Nalini Haynes
No Award

Best Achievement
Trailer for Gamer’s Challenge, Henry Gibbens (Ford Street Publishing)
Continuum 7 Opening Ceremony Video, Rachel Holkner (Continuum 7)
Conquilt, Rachel Holkner and Jeanette Holkner (Continuum 7)

No award is to be presented for Best Artwork due to insufficient nominations being received.

  • More information about the Chronos awards and voting procedure can be found here.
  • Vale Paul Haines

    On Monday, I was sitting in the dappled shade of a park enjoying a lovely late-morning chat at Adelaide Writers Festival with some of my fellows. And then the phones beeped and vibrated, and the word arrived that Paul Haines had died.

    Around us, the bon homie continued, and I found myself asking how it could. Where was the silence? The announcement? The respect?

    How could the audience — an audience of writers and readers and publishers — not be shaken by this news? Not be struck mute and sombre as were we?

    There was no such silence on the internet, which has been carrying tributes on Facebook and Twitter and on blogs, showing just how much impact Paul had in his too-short career. His too-short life.

    I knew Paul as a writer of wonderful and daring and confronting fiction. Fearless in fiction, fearless in life. His documentation of his long and brutal fight with cancer, the hopes and the setbacks and the sorrows for the wife and daughter and family to be left behind, have touched hearts and minds well outside the speculative fiction community who proudly claimed him as one of ours. His writing career was just taking off, suggesting the delivery of the wonderful promise that anyone who’s read his short fiction would recognise.

    I’m glad I got to know him, however briefly. I’ve drawn strength from his honest, challenging prose and warmth from his company, and I will miss him and lament the stories he might’ve given us. I feel terrible for his family, to have lost such a personality, such a person.

    One of my favourite moments: reading his story ‘Doof Doof Doof’ at work and bursting out laughing, chuckling all the way through. I’ll always thank him for that.

    The Thirteen O’Clock blog has posted a wonderfully detailed overview of Paul’s work. There is some small comfort in having that legacy. But there are times when this life and death thing seems far too cruel for words.

    There’s a memorial service on Saturday and I expect it will be crowded. We will try to remember the good stuff, the Doof Doof Doof, and try not to rail too much at this wolf that is cancer, that has ripped yet another chunk out of our light.

    Aussies on long list for the Stoker Awards

    An awesome showing of Australian talent on the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards, recognising excellence in horror publishing. Fingers crossed they progress to become nominees!

    Kaaron Warren for her short story ‘All You Do Is Breathe’ in Blood and Other Cravings.

    Jack Dann as editor (with Nick Gevers) for Ghosts by Gaslight.

    Paul Haines for his collection, The Last Days of Kali Yuga.

    Rocky Wood for his non-fiction Stephen King: A Literary Companion.

    Kyla Ward for her poetry collection, The Land of Bad Dreams.

    Apologies for anyone I’ve missed!

    Haines, Huf and then, thankfully, some good writerly news

    x6 collection of novellasThis post from Paul Haines is truly gutting. A talented writer, without a doubt, the kind I’ve used as a benchmark when writing a story — would Haines (I always think of him as Haines, though I call him Paul to his face; I don’t know why that is) shy from writing this, I ask, when I’m up to the icky bit? Hell, no, as long as it’s making sense. The news that cancer has forestalled his writing career just as it was about to break out of the short story box is horrible; the news that it might be imminently fatal is so much worse. Father, husband, friend … this life thing is a cruel roulette wheel, and I can only hope — wish, pray — that Haines can beat the odds. Haines has three collections of short stories out, and you can find his most excellent novella ‘Wives’ in an anthology called X6. Read them, and rail.

    YOU might not have heard of Liz Huf if you live outside of Central Queensland, but we’ve lost someone special with the passing of Liz Huf, from cancer. Liz, who won a Johnno Award for her contribution to Queensland literature, helped to found and then run the literary magazine, Idiom23, at what is now Central Queensland University, for more than 20 years. She organised writing retreats in CQ was also an editor and documentary film maker. More than that, she was one of the good guys, softly spoken, interested and ever helpful. She was, the Gympie Times‘ Uncle Jim notwithstanding, my first fiction editor, in the fledgling magazine Yapunya and then Idiom23, which I contributed to as a BA student. I remember her fondly, and know that she’ll be sorely missed. You can read an obituary here.

    And now for some good news:

    The Nix family have proven a potent combination in the animated film business, as this news article at Locus shows. The Missing Key has already bagged an impressive array of awards. First Shaun Tan, now Garth Nix: there’s something in the water, all right.

    Food for thought: Josephine Pennicott writes about the value of perseverance, a word I’m thinking of having tattooed on my forehead, or perhaps just pinning to the wall above the computer.

    Emerging Writers Festival: the fun ‘slide’ of writing

    Finally dragged my carcass down to the Emerging Writers Festival last night, thanks to Kirstyn being on a panel about speculative fiction and then the urging of EWF party animal Alex Adsett to see Not Your Nana’s Slide Night.

    The panel went well if quietly, moderated by Rjurik Davidson with Alison Croggon (her Gift still ranks as one of my favourite fantasy books), Kirstyn and Paul Haines (his Last Days of Kali Yuga collection is out now, get it while you can because the publisher has folded*). There was talk of breaking taboos and other-worldly examinations of our own, and process. Apparently, Twitter commentaries are the new meter of popularity (?) for events: certainly, they illustrate how different people will home in on different things, and hear them differently.

    The slide night at the Trades Hall, complete with bar, was a cracker. Nine writers talked to a series of 20 slides, each slide on screen for 20 seconds, and the diversity was wonderful and entertaining indeed. A dry-witted introduction to Scotland, a crayon-ish exploration of a small town devoted to museums (lost clothing, body discardations, bicycles in a bus masquerading as a museum of transport), a holiday in Barcelona bouncing off America’s Next Supermodel, Indian food, suggestions for what should’ve been Melbourne’s Fed Square, drawings from time spent in Asia… and so on. Some funny, some poignant, some informative: all entertaining. I mentioned there was a bar, didn’t I? A superb locus for the atmosphere of the event.

    Folks we met were rapt in how egalitarian and warm the festival has been (it’s not over yet) and I saw plenty of evidence of that (good luck with that SF novel, Trish; with that creative writing course, James); I really must make the effort to get to more events next year and enjoy the bonhomie.

    Last Days of Kali Yuga by Paul Haines* There a reported 300 copies of Kali in the wild. Look to a bookstore near you. The good news is, for those with an e-reader, the book is available in e-format (Amazon, Smashwords, et al)! This is Haines’ third collection, it includes the awesome novella Wives and a despairingly good new yarn about a man on a bridge with a child. I thought I’d be able to flit through the collection quickly, having read his previous two, but his writing just won’t let you do that. You read one par, then two, and then you’re stuck, dragged into a very human story with just the right amount of fractured reality to entrance and bedevil.