sci-fi bias

This has been eating at me since I read it on Saturday. Check this opening line to a review of Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s Pashazade: “PASHAZADE was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, which means it is science-fiction, but crosses into the crime genre so deftly it is hard to put down.”

I can’t help wonder if the author of said review really holds such a bias against science fiction or just wasn’t thinking when she wrote that. To me, this sentence suggests that science fiction is boring, crime isn’t, but SF with a strong crime inflection is okay because it isn’t strictly SF. Which further suggests the reviewer needs to get out more.

You can read the review here and let me know if I’m being way too sensitive.

Meanwhile, might I suggest two Australian novels of 2007 as a starting point to delving into exciting, thought-provoking science fiction: Sean Williams’ Saturn Returns and Marianne de Pierres’ Dark Space. Very different books, but just as engaging, and both with sequels listed in this year’s Aurealis Awards for best science fiction novel.
Or there’s this year’s debut novel by Kim Westwood, Daughters of Moab, with prose so gorgeous it’ll have even the most snobbish reader drooling. Surely.

Aurealis Awards

The Aurealis Awards’ list of finalists have been announced and it’s very exciting. Some highlights include seeing Sean Williams in four categories and Trent Jamieson in three, and a bunch of stories from Dreaming Again — and the anthology itself — being nominated.

There’s a summary story here and the full details here.

I was a judge on the horror division so can’t say too much, except I feel the finalists’ list, from what I know of the stories involved, is a very strong one. The ceremony on January 24 coincides with the running of the Clarion South writers workshop; having some of the tutors and the Clarion young guns at the ceremony should add some extra energy to the night.

I’m glad I wasn’t on the fantasy novel panel. Trying to decide on a winner when the field includes Two Pearls of Wisdom and Tender Morsels would’ve been way too hard! (Read my review of Tender Morsels and Two Pearls.) 

I’d encourage anyone interested in Australian spec fic to attend the awards. There’ll be plenty of writers from around the country there, and no doubt some agents and publishers as well.