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!

Snapshot 2014: Australia’s speculative fiction scene

2014 aussie spec fiction snapshot
The Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot has taken place four times in the past 10 years. In 2005, Ben Peek spent a frantic week interviewing 43 people in the Australian spec fic scene, and since then, it’s grown every time, now taking a team of interviewers working together to accomplish!

In the lead up to the World Science Fiction Convention in London, I will be part of this team blogging interviews for Snapshot 2014: Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright.

Last time, in 2012, the Snapshot covered nearly 160 members of the Australian speculative fiction community – can we top that this year?

To read the interviews hot off the press, check these blogs daily from July 28 to August 10, 2014, or look for the round up on SF Signal when it’s all done:

And you can find the past Snapshots at the following links: 2005, 2007,  2010 and 2012.

Salvage, and Blood and Dust, finalists in the Aurealis Awards!

Happy dancing here in the shadow of Wendouree Tor with the word that both Salvage and Blood and Dust are finalists for the Aurealis Awards’ best horror novel of 2012, AND Kirstyn’s Perfections is also in the running! Yes, we’re going head to head!

This is my first short-listing in the AAs — The Darkness Within was highly commended in a year when there was no short-list — so it’s a hell of a thrill to have two, quite disparate titles listed.

The fourth book in the finalists’ list is by fellow Victorian Jason Franks, who I met earlier this year at Oz Horror Con. He’s very cool and very passionate about his craft, so I’m looking forward to tracking down his Bloody Waters — it’s his first novel, following some well-received graphic novels. Nice, eh?

Indeed, the Aurealis finalists make for an excellent recommended reading list.

Another thrill is to see other writers by my publishers Xoum and Twelfth Planet Press making an impression on the lists.

And check out the science fiction novel section — SIX titles in a category usually a bit light on, and offering a whole lot of variety.

Interesting, too, to see self-published works making the short-lists, and the number of multiple nominations — Margo Lanagan, Jonathan Strahan, Jo Anderton and Kaaron Warren in the thick of it, amongst others. Wow, it’s a quality field all over. Congratulations, y’all!

The awards will be presented in Sydney on May 18.

Aurealis Awards finalists 2012

FANTASY NOVEL

  • Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth (Random House Australia)
  • Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (Tor UK)
  • Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
  • Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier (HarperVoyager)
  • FANTASY SHORT STORY

  • ‘Sanaa’s Army’ by Joanne Anderton (Bloodstones, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • ‘The Stone Witch’ by Isobelle Carmody (Under My Hat, Random House)
  • ‘First They Came’ by Deborah Kalin (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 55)
  • ‘Bajazzle’ by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • ‘The Isles of the Sun’ by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • Suited by Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)
  • The Last City by Nina D’Aleo (Momentum)
  • And All The Stars by Andrea K Host (self-published)
  • The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina (Walker Books)
  • Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (Harper Collins)
  • SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

  • ‘Visitors’ by James Bradley (Review of Australian Fiction)
  • ‘Significant Dust’ by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • ‘Beyond Winter’s Shadow’ by Greg Mellor (Wild Chrome, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • ‘The Trouble with Memes’ by Greg Mellor (Wild Chrome, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • ‘The Lighthouse Keepers’ Club’ by Kaaron Warren (Exotic Gothic 4, PS Publishing)
  • HORROR NOVEL

  • Bloody Waters by Jason Franks (Possible Press)
  • Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott (Xoum)
  • Blood and Dust by Jason Nahrung (Xoum)
  • Salvage by Jason Nahrung (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • HORROR SHORT STORY

  • ‘Sanaa’s Army’ by Joanne Anderton (Bloodstones, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • ‘Elyora’ by Jodi Cleghorn (Rabbit Hole Special Issue, Review of Australian Fiction)
  • ‘To Wish Upon a Clockwork Heart’ by Felicity Dowker (Bread and Circuses, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • ‘Escena de un Asesinato’ by Robert Hood (Exotic Gothic 4, PS Publishing)
  • ‘Sky’ by Kaaron Warren (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

  • Dead, Actually by Kaz Delaney (Allen & Unwin)
  • And All The Stars by Andrea K. Host (self-published)
  • The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Amberlin Kwaymullina (Walker Books)
  • Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
  • Into That Forest by Louis Nowra (Allen & Unwin)
  • YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

  • ‘Stilled Lifes x 11’ by Justin D’Ath (Trust Me Too, Ford Street Publishing)
  • ‘The Wisdom of the Ants’ by Thoraiya Dyer (Clarkesworld)
  • ‘Rats’ by Jack Heath (Trust Me Too, Ford Street Publishing)
  • ‘The Statues of Melbourne’ by Jack Nicholls (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56)
  • ‘The Worry Man’ by Adrienne Tam (self-published)
  • CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)

  • Brotherband: The Hunters by John Flanagan (Random House Australia)
  • Princess Betony and the Unicorn by Pamela Freeman (Walker Books)
  • The Silver Door by Emily Rodda (Scholastic)
  • Irina the Wolf Queen by Leah Swann (Xoum Publishing)
  • CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)

  • Little Elephants by Graeme Base (author and illustrator) (Viking Penguin)
  • The Boy Who Grew Into a Tree by Gary Crew (author) and Ross Watkins (illustrator) (Penguin Group Australia)
  • In the Beech Forest by Gary Crew (author) and Den Scheer (illustrator) (Ford Street Publishing)
  • Inside the World of Tom Roberts by Mark Wilson (author and illustrator) (Lothian Children’s Books)
  • ILLUSTRATED BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • Blue by Pat Grant (author and illustrator) (Top Shelf Comix)
  • It Shines and Shakes and Laughs by Tim Molloy (author and illustrator) (Milk Shadow Books)
  • Changing Ways #2 by Justin Randall (author and illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)
  • ANTHOLOGY

  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011 edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Bloodstones edited by Amanda Pillar (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 6 edited by Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade Books)
  • Under My Hat edited by Jonathan Strahan (Random House)
  • Edge of Infinity edited by Jonathan Strahan (Solaris Books)
  • COLLECTION

  • That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote by K. J. Bishop (self-published)
  • Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody (Allen & Unwin)
  • Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Living With the Dead by Martin Livings (Dark Prints Press)
  • Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren (Twelfth Planet Press)

    -#-

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    Snapshot 2012: Australia’s speculative fiction scene

    australian speculative fiction snapshot 2012 logo
    The Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot has taken place three times over the past eight years. In 2005, Ben Peek spent a frantic week interviewing 43 people in the Australian spec fic scene, and since then, it’s grown every time, now taking a team of interviewers working together to accomplish! In the lead up to Continuum 8 in Melbourne, I will join Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright in blogging interviews conducted over the past couple of weeks. To read the interviews hot off the press, check these blogs below daily from today to 7 June 2012.

    As we celebrate the breadth and depth of the Australian spec fic scene, 2012 Snapshot is also a bittersweet time and we take the opportunity to remember two well-loved members of the community who sadly passed away in the past year; Paul Haines and Sara Douglass.

    You can find the past three Snapshots at the following links: 2005, 2007 and 2010.

    Aurealis Awards: catching up with the tribe

    We are home from Sydney, having feted our peers in the speculative fiction community at last night’s Aurealis Awards. Once again, organisers SpecFaction NSW put on a smooth show with plenty of time to mingle at Rydges North Sydney before and after, with a gettogether at the nearby gorgeous awards venue The Independent theatre as well.

    I recognised writers and publishers from all states and the ACT in the crowd that pretty much filled the theatre with a veritable who’s who, which once again demonstrated the generosity and openness of the community.

    The audience saw a virtual passing of the torch from HarperVoyager stalwart editor Stephanie Smith to the new top ed in the hot seat, the much respected Deonie Fiford.

    The late Sara Douglass and Paul Haines were in our thoughts, and it was wonderful to see Haines’s rivetting story ‘The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt’ score a win. His widows, Jules, sent a lovely acceptance message read by Cat Sparks which addressed the importance of writing to Paul and the value he placed on the spec fic community.

    Sean the Bookonaut provides a storified rundown of the awards

    Scott Westerfeld, Kim Westwood and — by iPhone, via Alan Baxter — Robert N Stephenson provided some of the other memorable speeches, and Kate Forsyth was the most delightful host one could ask for.

    I think it was a tie between Sean Williams and Marty Young for having the shirt most people wanted to own… but that might just have been at our breakfast table. Robert Hood should be in the running for a Ditmar next year for ‘best use of a cow in a science fiction slideshow’.

    I believe the awards will be held in Sydney for a third year next year — bring it on!

    Pictures of the night by Cat Sparks

    AUREALIS AWARD WINNERS FOR WORKS PUBLISHED IN 2011

    Children’s fiction told primarily through words: City of Lies by Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)
    Children’s fiction told primarily through pictures: Sounds Spooky by Christopher Cheng (author) and Sarah Davis (illustrator) (Random House Australia)
    Young Adult Short Story: ‘Nation of the Night’ by Sue Isle (Nightsiders, Twelfth Planet Press)
    Young Adult Novel: Only Ever Always by Penni Russon (Allen & Unwin)
    Illustrated Book/Graphic Novel: TIE Hidden by Mirranda Burton (author and illustrator) (Black Pepper)
    The Deep: Here be Dragons by Tom Taylor (author) and James Brouwer (illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)
    Collection: Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa L Hannett (Ticonderoga Publications)
    Anthology: Ghosts by Gaslight edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers (HarperVoyager)
    Horror Short Story: TIE ‘The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt’ by Paul Haines (The Last Days of Kali Yuga, Brimstone Press)
    ‘The Short Go: a Future in Eight Seconds’ by Lisa L Hannett (Bluegrass Symphony, Ticonderoga Publications)
    Horror Novel: No winner or shortlist.
    Fantasy Short Story: ‘Fruit of the Pipal Tree’ by Thoraiya Dyer (After the Rain, FableCroft Publishing)
    Fantasy Novel: Ember and Ash by Pamela Freeman (Hachette)
    Science Fiction Short Story: ‘Rains of la Strange’ by Robert N Stephenson (Anywhere but Earth, Coeur de Lion)
    Science Fiction Novel: The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood (HarperCollins)
    Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award: Galactic Suburbia podcast –- Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Andrew Finch (producer)
    Kris Hembury Encouragement Award: Emily Craven of Adelaide

    Ditmar Award nominations open

    The Aussie spec fic fan-voted Ditmar Awards are now open for nominations, using a handy online form, post or email — see the rules page for details about who and how. There’s also a massive list of eligible works that is admittedly not totally comprehensive but is a fine place to start for memory jogging! The awards will be presented at Continuum in Melbourne in June. Electronic nominations close on April 15.

    Continuum: sex, violence, vampires

    vampire circus movie poster

    It’s almost Continuum time, the great gathering of the clan in Melbourne to celebrate all things speculative and often fictional, and there will be vampires. On Saturday, I’ll be talking sex and the undead with Emily Derango, Narrelle Harris and Peter Marz. On Sunday, I’ll be discussing the role of the rest of the supernatural horde in the ‘vampire circus’ (but are they invited guests, or are they gate crashers?), with a bumper panel of Narrelle, Kirstyn McDermott, Heath Miller and Julia Svaganovic.

    Also on Sunday, I’ll be giving a wee reading, though whether it’s sex from More Scary Kisses or violence from Dead Red Heart I haven’t decided yet.

    The official guests for the convention are Catherynne M Valente, who had most interesting things to say about writing, publishing and moral sensibilities at last year’s Worldcon, and local Dave Freer, who certainly knows his way around the publishing landscape (a sense of direction being a valuable asset when one lives on an island).

    Also worth noting is that A. Friday night attendance is FREE and B. the Conquilt, bearing 100 signatures from Worldcon attendees including, well, all of the folks below, comes up for auction on ebay on Friday night, closing on June 20.

    Alan Baxter, Alastair Reynolds, Alisa Krasnostein, Alison Croggon, Amanda Pillar, Andrew J. McKiernan, Angie Rega, Bill Congreve, Bob Eggleton, Carrie Vaughn, Cat Sparks, Catherynne M. Valente, Charles Stross, China Mieville, Chris Miles (an associate of H. I. Larry), Chuck McKenzie, Cory Doctorow, Deborah Biancotti, Delia Sherman, Dirk Flinthart, Duncan Lay, Fiona McIntosh, Foz Meadows, Gail Carriger, Garth Nix, George Ivanoff, George R. R. Martin, Gillian Polack, Glenda Larke, Grace Duggan, Howard Tayler, Ian Irvine, Ian Nichols, Jane Routley, Jason Nahrung, Jay Lake, Jean Johnson, Jenner, Jennifer Fallon, Jetse de Vries, John Scalzi, Jonathan Strahan, Juliet Marillier, K. A. Bedford, K. J. Taylor, Kaaron Warren, Kaja Foglio, Karen Haber, Karen Healey, Kate Elliot, Kate Paulk, Kathleen Jennings, Keith Stevenson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Kirstyn McDermott, Kyla Ward, Lara Morgan, Leanne Hall, Lisa L. Hannett, Lucy Sussex, Marianne de Pierres, Mary Victoria, Matthew Hughes, Michael Pryor, Michelle Marquardt, Narrelle M. Harris, Nick Stathopoulos, Nicole R. Murphy, Paul Collins, Paul Cornell, Paul Haines, Peter M. Ball, Peter V. Brett, Phil Foglio, Richard Harland, Rjurik Davidson, Rob Shearman, Robert Hood, Robert Silverberg, Russell B. Farr, Russell Blackford, Russell Kirkpatrick, Seanan McGuire, Shane Jiraya Cummings, Shaun Tan, Sue Bursztynski, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Tehani Wessely, Tracey O’Hara, Trent Jamieson, Trudi Canavan.