Cherry Crow Children: rich pickings

cherry crow children by deborah kalin
Cherry Crow Children is the twelfth of the Twelve Planets series published by Twelfth Planet Press, with a thirteenth and final volume to come. This most recent volume, by Deborah Kalin, is well worth the wait.

Kalin is a fellow Melbourne writer with two fantasy novels and a handful of short fiction to her name; this volume of four stories is a strong addition to her bibliography.

These stories are of endings, and of secrets, and of quests, each situated in isolated and harsh settings that encourage a certain bloodymindedness and limited vision. To go delving in these locales is to risk much. Discovering can be dangerous, even lethal. Perhaps best not to explore this terrain if one is feeling blue.

In ‘The Wages of Honey’, a man looks for his cousin in a fractured mountain village; ‘The Briskwater Mare’ has a young woman tied to her fate for the apparent good of a town; ‘The Miseducation of Mara Lys’ tells of clockmakers and the price paid for pursuing their secret workings; and the titular story is one of a forest folk who risk the wilds for a crop of drug flowers.

Australian women writers challenge 2015The settings are engagingly, succinctly drawn, with customs and seasons and economies adding depth to the worlds as the characters navigate the social currents. One cannot help but rail with Kalin’s protagonists as they are caught in the eddies. The stories draw longer, the worlds deeper and darker; the forest denizens of the eponymous final story are wild and amazing.

As each story unveils its mysteries, as each protagonist pushes the boundaries and pays the price for their investigation, the assured prose is the measured constant.

This twelfth of the Twelve is a high point in a consistently high field.

Perfections, now in paperback

Perfections by Kirstyn McDermottKirstyn’s novel, Perfections, is being printed in paperback and digital copies by Twelfth Planet Press, and is being launched this weekend at Continuum (I may wear my top hat). Read all about it here.

Also at Continuum, I’ll be helping Rosaleen Love launch her latest collection, the newest addition to the Twelve Planets series (now 13!), The Secret Lives of Books. It’s very clever, slightly eclectic in style, and altogether wonderful. Yes, damn it, I think a top hat is well in order!

2013 Aurealis Awards finalists announced

caution contains small parts by kirstyn mcdermottJust got back from Heathcote — oh, bliss — to the list of finalists in the Aurealis Awards for the best Aussie spec fic published last year. There is Snoopy dancing here in Ballaratia, for Kirstyn has landed nominations for her novella ‘The Home for Broken Dolls’ and the collection in which it appears, Caution: Contains Small Parts. The full finalists list is below (lifted from the press release). Interesting to see the genre blurring with some nominations for the same piece in multiple categories, although YA is an umbrella term in its own right, so that’s not so unusual. Plus a few self-published titles, showing someone’s taken time and effort to do the business. Winners will be announced a right royal good time in Canberra on April 5, a real highlight of the year. Tickets are on sale now.

aurealis awards logoDISCLAIMER: I was a judge in the awards this year, of SF short stories. Nothing written here should be taken as anything other than an announcement of the finalists.

In other awards news, nominations are open [edit: Ditmars open on Feb 23] in both the Ditmars and the Chronos, being publicly voted national and Victorian awards respectively. Winners of both will be announced at Continuum in June.

Aurealis Awards 2013 Finalists

BEST ILLUSTRATED BOOK OR GRAPHIC NOVEL
Savage Bitch by Steve Carter and Antoinette Rydyr (Scar Studios)
Mr Unpronounceable Adventures by Tim Molloy (Milk Shadow Books)
Burger Force by Jackie Ryan (self-published)
Peaceful Tomorrows Volume Two by Shane W Smith (Zetabella Publishing)
The Deep Vol. 2: The Vanishing Island by Tom Taylor and James Brouwer (Gestalt Publishing)

BEST CHILDREN’S BOOK
Kingdom of the Lost, book 2: Cloud Road by Isobelle Carmody (Penguin Group Australia)
Refuge by Jackie French (Harper Collins)
Song for a Scarlet Runner by Julie Hunt (Allen & Unwin)
The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie by Kirsty Murray (Allen & Unwin)
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan (Hachette Australia)
Ice Breaker: The Hidden 1 by Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT FICTION
‘Mah Song’ by Joanne Anderton (The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, FableCroft Publishing)
‘By Bone-light; by Juliet Marillier (Prickle Moon, Ticonderoga Publications)
‘Morning Star’ by D.K. Mok (One Small Step, an anthology of discoveries, FableCroft Publishing)
‘The Year of Ancient Ghosts’ by Kim Wilkins (The Year of Ancient Ghosts, Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
The Big Dry by Tony Davies (Harper Collins)
Hunting by Andrea Host (self-published)
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)
Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near (Random House Australia)
The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn (University of Queensland Press)

BEST HORROR SHORT FICTION
‘Fencelines’ by Joanne Anderton (The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, FableCroft Publishing)
‘The Sleepover’ by Terry Dowling (Exotic Gothic 5, PS Publishing)
‘The Home for Broken Dolls’ by Kirstyn McDermott (Caution: Contains Small Parts, Twelfth Planet Press)
‘The Human Moth’ by Kaaron Warren (The Grimscribe’s Puppets, Miskatonic Press)
‘The Year of Ancient Ghosts’ by Kim Wilkins (The Year of Ancient Ghosts, Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST HORROR NOVEL
The Marching Dead by Lee Battersby (Angry Robot Books)
The First Bird by Greig Beck (Momentum)
Path of Night by Dirk Flinthart (FableCroft Publishing)
Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near (Random House Australia)

BEST FANTASY SHORT FICTION
‘The Last Stormdancer’ by Jay Kristoff (Thomas Dunne Books)
‘The Touch of the Taniwha’ by Tracie McBride (Fish, Dagan Books)
‘Cold, Cold War’ by Ian McHugh (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Scott H Andrews)
‘Short Circuit’ by Kirstie Olley (Oomph: a little super goes a long way, Crossed Genres)
‘The Year of Ancient Ghosts’ by Kim Wilkins (The Year of Ancient Ghosts, Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL
Lexicon by Max Barry (Hachette Australia)
A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan (self-published)
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)
Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix (Jill Grinberg Literary Management)
Ink Black Magic by Tansy Rayner Roberts (FableCroft Publishing)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT FICTION
‘The Last Tiger’ by Joanne Anderton (Daily Science Fiction)
‘Mah Song’ by Joanne Anderton (The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, FableCroft Publishing)
‘Seven Days in Paris’ by Thoraiya Dyer (Asymmetry, Twelfth Planet Press)
‘Version 4.3.0.1’ by Lucy Stone (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #57)
‘Air, Water and the Grove’ by Kaaron Warren (The Lowest Heaven, Pandemonium Press)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
Lexicon by Max Barry (Hachette)
Trucksong by Andrew Macrae (Twelfth Planet Press)
A Wrong Turn At The Office Of Unmade Lists by Jane Rawson (Transit Lounge)
True Path by Graham Storrs (Momentum)
Rupetta by Nike Sulway (Tartarus Press)

BEST ANTHOLOGY
The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2012 by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Eds), (Ticonderoga Publications)
One Small Step, an anthology Of discoveries by Tehani Wessely (Ed) (FableCroft Publishing)
Dreaming Of Djinn by Liz Grzyb (Ed) (Ticonderoga Publications)
The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Of The Year: Volume Seven by Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Night Shade Books)
Focus 2012: Highlights Of Australian Short Fiction by Tehani Wessely (Ed) (FableCroft Publishing)

BEST COLLECTION
The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories by Joanne Anderton (FableCroft Publishing)
Asymmetry by Thoraiya Dyer (Twelfth Planet Press)
Caution: Contains Small Parts by Kirstyn McDermott (Twelfth Planet Press)
The Bride Price by Cat Sparks (Ticonderoga Publications)
The Year of Ancient Ghosts by Kim Wilkins (Ticonderoga Publications)

Trucksong — haz music!

trucksong by andrew macraeFriend Andrew Macrae launched his novel Trucksong last night — an excellent, crowded launch with psychedelic David Lynchian underpinnings — and in the spirit of multimedia shenanigans, has a soundtrack to go with it! The book is a postapocalyptic tale of a fella in the Australian wilderness looking for a kidnapped woman with an INTELLIGENT TRUCK for an ally. Mad Max on cyberpunk steroidsd or what? The soundtrack sounds like just the thing for a Nullarbor road trip. Here’s hoping Andy gets plenty of mileage from Trucksong!

Caution: Contains Small Parts, by Kirstyn McDermott — we have launch!

caution contains small parts by kirstyn mcdermottIt’s a little over two weeks until the launch of Kirstyn’s Caution: Contains Small Parts. Why, yes, I have had a preview read, and yes, it rocks in that unsettling McDermott mode that recently snared an Australian Shadows and an Aurealis Award for best horror novel. The collection is a sharp, four-story title in the ongoing, and quite stunning, Twelfth Planet Press Twelve Planets series.

Also at the launch, we’ll be lifting a belated glass to Kirstyn’s award-winning Perfections and my award-not-wining Blood and Dust, both of which came out very late last year.

Caution: Contains Small Parts launch: Sunday, 9 June, at 6pm, as part of Continuum 9 @ Ether, lower level, 285 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne.

The collection is available for pre-order, or you can get a Twelve Planets subscription deal. The book will be on sale at the launch, naturally, where the author will happily sign copies.

A reading from Salvage at MWF

Twelfth Planet Press held a showcase at Melbourne Writers Festival. Terry Shepherd filmed it. I was first cab off the rank, combining with Talie Helene on simply wonderful musical accompaniment. The reading is the near-drowning scene from Salvage, and things could only go up from there, really! (It was a shame the sound tech was a little slow to turn on our mics; the only glitch in an otherwise awesome effort from the MWF team.)

Terry has also posted video of the other readings, featuring writers of the Twelve Planets series working the audience over with laughs, suspense and intrigue: a wonderful showcase indeed of the range of stories being brought to the page by this remarkable series from Alisa Krasnostein’s press.

Alisa couldn’t be present on the night, having to be in Perth to collect a small business achievement award, so at least now she can see what we got up to!

You can watch Showcase readings from:

  • Deborah Biancotti
  • Narrelle M Harris
  • Rosaleen Love
  • Kirstyn McDermott
  • Cat Sparks
  • Lucy Sussex
  • Kaaron Warren
  • While at Terry’s YouTube channel, check out Terry’s short films and creative advertising.