To the Hugo, the spoils

24 08 2015

The 2015 Hugo awards have come and gone, and I’m at peace with the results. Hearty congratulations to Lightspeed, who took out the semiprozine category (well ahead of ASIM, according to the detailed breakdown of voting). The commemorative award to Jay Lake was truly moving; it was terrific to see Galactic Suburbia, Julie Dillon, and Journey Planet (for example) get their awards; and this must, surely, be the first time in the Hugos’ history when the only pro-fiction authors awarded have been non-Anglophone (Cixin Liu for Best Novel and Thomas Olde Heuvelt for Best Novelette).

Obviously, there’s still a lot of vitriol in certain quarters. No-awarding in five categories will have that effect on some people. But at the End of the Day, it’s time we moved on, yeah? The Hugos have emerged with dignity intact, and the fans have spoken.

Message ends.


Hugo nominations: Fan, incoming, 3, 2, 1 …

5 04 2015

The 2015 Hugo award nominations have been announced, and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine is shortlisted among those in the ‘Best Semiprozine’ category. A Hugo nomination is, of course, marvellous recognition for the achievements of a little Australian-based magazine, which has played its part in starting the careers of a great many local and overseas specfic authors, and which has given many members of the Andromeda Spaceways team, myself included, a great deal of useful experience in the tasks associated with publishing. As a member of the ASIM team, I ought to feel considerable pride in the nomination; and yet I cannot, not as I should. For it appears we did not get there under our own steam, but as one of the recommendations listed on the ‘Sad Puppies 3’ slate.

Lest this be seen as mere coincidence, I don’t see how it can be. ASIM‘s never been Hugo-shortlisted before, not even in the wake of the 2010 Worldcon in Melbourne. And 51 of the 60 ‘serving suggestions’ on the Sad Puppies 3 slate have found their way onto the Hugo ballot. All of Sad Puppies’ recommendations for Novella, Novelette, Related Work, Graphic Story, Long Form Editor, Short Form Editor, Professional Artist, Fanzine, Fancast, and John W Campbell Award got through to the ballot; there was no category in which some Sad Puppies rec did not get through. There is, of course, other stuff on the ballot as well; but it’s damned hard to see this as anything other than a disappointing exercise in tribalism, and as something, therefore, which immeasurably cheapens the ballot for anyone who finds themselves on it through such means.

There were three ‘slate’ recommendations for the semiprozine category: ASIM, Abyss & Apex, and Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show. I cannot help but feel that OSC’s IGMS was probably, for reasons of hierarchy and politics, the first preference of the slate organisers, and that ASIM and Abyss & Apex were there perhaps merely to lend some semblance of impartiality to the Sad Puppies’ list of recommendations, and may have owed as much to their position in the alphabet — you don’t have to trawl far through Ralan’s to find us — as to their merits as purveyors of fine speculative fiction. (I mean no disrespect at all to Abyss & Apex through this conjecture, by the way, and would point you towards that magazine’s own gracious and measured response to the current imbroglio, which is well worth reading. As, indeed, is the magazine.) Like ASIM, Abyss & Apex made it through to the ballot; IGMS missed out.

There’s always this problem with fan-based awards: each friend a potential vote; the drive to the formation of alliances, cliques, blocs. And it’s not so difficult to cross that line from recommendation to apparent organisation; but it’s disastrous for fandom when it happens. Because how do you fight a bloc, except with another bloc?

Of course, on one level, all that Sad Puppies 3 have done is to put up a ‘list of recommendations’, which is not so far from what I (and a million-and-one other fans) have done in advance of various upcoming award seasons. But I always take care (I hope) to point out that interested parties should only vote in accordance with their own wishes, and for things that they themselves have read, or viewed, and personally enjoyed. Because that’s what the vote is supposed to be. Anything else is drifting into a mockery. I’ve been fortunate to have been the recipient of two fan-based awards to date (the Sir Julius Vogel Awards, for 2009 and 2013): I didn’t court them; I cherish them; and I would feel as cheated as, I’m sure, would my competitors, if I discovered that my success in either of those categories had arisen through bloc voting. And the SJVs are, let’s face it, small beer up against the Hugos. (Delicious beer nonetheless. Kiwis are excellent brewmasters.)

So ASIM is on the Hugo ballot. We at the magazine have known about this for about ten days’ time, and have long since sent through the acceptance. But because none of us are exactly active in US fandom, we only became aware of the Sad Puppies connection very late in the piece — in fact, a scant three days before the nominations were made public, and well after all the dust had settled on the nomination process itself. ASIM was never informed about our inclusion on the Sad Puppies 3 slate — if we had been, I very strongly suspect our response would have been a resounding ‘Hell, No’ — and there was no time, nor any point, in looking to remove ourselves once we did get there.

My own take on this is that a Sad Puppies vote for ASIM is a ‘pity-sex’ vote. This doesn’t benefit the magazine, doesn’t benefit fandom, not one bit. Fans who are eligible to vote should only endorse ASIM (which, btw, will be included in some form in the Hugo voters’ packet) if they’ve read and enjoyed the magazine, and judged it worthy of the award against the current competition. That’s what voting is supposed to be about. Sometimes we forget that.

Also in the slow-off-the-mark department:

30 11 2014

… a couple of further announcements.


First, it gives me great pleasure to announce that no less than four of the stories from Next, last year’s CSFG anthology (which Rob Porteous and I co-edited) have made it into the Table of Contents for the 2013 Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror anthology edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, and published by Ticonderoga Publications.

The four stories are Claire McKenna‘s ‘The Ninety Two’, Angela Rega‘s ‘Almost Beautiful’, Nicky Rowlands‘ ‘On The Wall’, and Janeen Webb‘s ‘Hell Is Where The Heart Is’. It’s wonderful to see these stories get the recognition they deserve; it’s a pity there couldn’t be room in the Year’s Best TOC for all of the Next stories, but of course them’s the breaks, and four stories making the cut is a very nice affirmation for Next as well as for the authors so chosen.


The other item of business is to unveil what I hope will be on sale in the final week or so of 2014: Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine issue 61, which I have (it seems) been editing for much too long, and which is now almost through the process of layout. The issue of ASIM comprises the following (listed by author order, not in TOC order):

David Barber, ‘A Critic Reviews Pioneer 10’ (poem)
Mark Bondurant, ‘Dry Run’
Fred Coppersmith, “When Jane Was Nine’
A J Fitzwater, ‘Long’s Confandabulous Clockwork Circus And Carnival, and Cats of Many Persuasions’
Kimberley Gaal, ‘In Sheep’s Clothing’
Sinthia J Higgen-Bottom, ‘The First Of His Kind’
Kathleen Jennings, ‘An Apocalypse in Six Genres’ (poem)
Ambelin Kwaymullina, ‘Continuum X Guest of Honour Speech’ (nonfiction)
Rich Larson, ‘Seachange’
Sean Monaghan, ‘Double Team’
Charlotte Nash, ‘Alchemy and Ice’
Patrice Sarath, ‘Bad Dog’
George S Walker, ‘Empty Nesting Velocity’
Sean Williams, ‘Immaterial Progress’

It goes almost without saying that all of the above are excellent. Plus there are illustrations by the redoubtable triumvirate of Lewis Morley, Shauna O’Meara, and SpAE.

I’ll provide an update (and a cover pic) when it’s released to the wild.

Single boots

24 06 2013

… uh, that probably should read ‘Signal Boost’.

Just a few quick mentionages, of things I’ve been meaning to mention:

(1) For those of you who are of a writerly persuasion and who can claim any kind of connection to the Gold Coast (that’s the bit of Australian geography, not the Kim Stanley Robinson novel), even if, like yours truly, it’s merely that you’ve once visited it, there is now a Gold Coast-themed anthology in the works, to be edited by two of the fabulously talented authors from Next: Helen Stubbs and CSFG’s own Elizabeth Fitzgerald. You can read about the Gold Coast antho, and learn what they’re looking for in submissions, here.

(2) ASIM‘s tenth anniversary edition, issue 56, has been out in e-book format for awhile now, from the ASIM website as well as from Wizard’s Tower, but it’s currently also available from Amazon’s Kindle store.

(3) The upcoming second book in Ripley Patton‘s YA series ‘The PSS Chronicles’–viz. ‘Ghost Hold‘, the sequel to last year’s ‘Ghost Hand‘, now has cover art and a first chapter that you can feast your eyes upon.

The SJV ballot has been announced

23 04 2013

The ballot for this year’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards has been announced.


I’m tickled pink to see two stories from ASIM on it, in the Best Short Story category:

“Hope is the thing with feathers”, Lee Murray, Royal Society of New Zealand

“Dying for the Record”, A. J. Ponder,  Arc/ The Tomorrow Paper

“Paint By Numbers”, Dan Rabarts,  Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, issue 55

“Wearing the Star Cloak”, Darian Smith, Wily Writers audible fiction

“Better Phones”, Grant Stone, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, issue 56


And the Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear artwork gets a look-in, in the Best Artwork category:

Les Petersen, for the Cover of Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear (Edited by Edwina Harvey and Simon Petrie), Peggy Bright Books

Matt Cowens, for the Cover for Steam Pressed Shorts (by Matt and Debbie Cowens), Steam Press


And the line-up for the Best Novella / Novelette category is:

Flight 404, Simon Petrie, Peggy Bright Books (Appears in Flight 404/The Hunt for Red Leicester)

Fire, Escape, M. Darusha Wehm, Self Published (

The Hunt for Red Leicester, Simon Petrie, Peggy Bright Books (Appears in Flight 404/The Hunt for Red Leicester)


If you use the link at the top of the post, there are links to much of the content. I haven’t included these for brevity (and a lack of time right now), but those interested in making an informed choice (and if you’re eligible to vote, this should be you) are encouraged to check them out. I’m honoured to be up against Darusha, I’m impressed with the number of contributions from SpecFicNZ members, and I wish everyone nominated the very best of luck.

The 2013 Ditmar Award ballot has been announced …

27 03 2013

… and ‘Flight 404’ is on it, in the Best Novella / Novelette category, in the distinctly daunting company of Kaaron Warren’s ‘Sky’ and Margo Lanagan’s ‘Significant Dust’.

Space has also been found on the ballot paper for Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear in the Best Collected Work category, for Les Petersen’s wonderful cover art, and for Jo Anderton’s chilling ‘The Bone Chime Song’ in the Best Short Story category. The Best Artwork category also includes Nick Stathopoulos’s brilliant cover for ASIM‘s tenth anniversary issue.

The full ballot is online here, with a link to an online voting form and instructions for postal and email voting. Voting closes at 11.59 pm AEST, Thursday 25th March, and is only open to full or supporting members of the 2012 (Continuum 8) or 2013 (Conflux 9) Natcons.

It’s an impressively diverse ballot, and I wish the best of luck to all those shortlisted.

The leopard doesn’t fall far from the tree

20 02 2013

Over at David McDonald’s ‘Ebon Shores’ website, my colleague and co-conspirator Edwina Harvey is spilling the beans on ASIM‘s trade secrets shedding some useful insights into the process of editing, the process of writing, and the meaning of life. Well worth a read, if you ask me.