Beyond the awards event horizon

3 04 2018

This weekend just past has been a bit of an Australasian spec-fic awards logjam, with the Aurealis, Ditmar, and Tin Duck awards all presented at this year’s Swancon in Perth, and the Sir Julius Vogel Awards presented at Conclave 3 in Auckland. (In a wider context, it was also the weekend in which the British Science Fiction Association Awards were announced, and the Hugo finalists announced. So a busy weekend all around.)

It’s always good to see talented friends and colleagues achieve award recognition, and this past weekend has seen plenty of examples of that. (There are also, of course, plenty of examples of people whose talents haven’t been recognised this time around, whether at the award or the nomination level, and that too is a staple of the awards process.)

There are numerous awards over the past weekend that have gone to people I admire and respect, but there are two in particular I want to highlight. First, I’m thrilled to note that this year’s A Bertram Chandler Award for Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction went, on Sunday night, to my friend, editor, and sometime collaborator Edwina Harvey, for her professional and fannish accomplishments over the past four decades or so; and second, I’m delighted that the winner of this year’s Ditmar Award for Best Professional Artwork went to Lewis Morley, for the cover artwork for Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body.


And then there’s this:


which, as it happens, is the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novella / Novelette, which came my way for Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body.

I’ll just note that it’s never a good policy to retire to one’s hotel room just to ‘rest one’s eyes briefly’ an hour and a half before an awards ceremony, because inevitably a nap happens … fortunately the presenters re-announced the award, once I had actually turned up. I’m told it made good theatre, as these things go, but I did feel excessively foolish for sleeping through my own award.

Still, I got the suspiciously pointy object through airport security and home intact, so I suppose all’s well … and the New Zealand cons are always great fun. It’s a trek to get there, but I’ve always been glad I’ve gone. A highlight this year was having readers specifically seek me out to tell me how much they enjoyed Matters Arising, which in its own way is better than any award.


All the Colours of the Shortlist, episode 2

14 04 2017

It’s come to my attention that the Ditmar Awards ballot has been announced. Here’s the Best Novella / Novelette category:

  • “All the Colours of the Tomato”, Simon Petrie, in Dimension6 9.
  • “By the Laws of Crab and Woman”, Jason Fischer, in Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 17, Issue 6.
  • “Did We Break the End of the World?”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Defying Doomsday, Twelfth Planet Press.
  • “Finnegan’s Field”, Angela Slatter, in
  • “Glass Slipper Scandal”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Sheep Might Fly.
  • “Going Viral”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Dimension6 8.

(As a side note, all but one of these stories are also vying for an Aurealis Award.)

It’s great, also, to see Adam Browne’s wonderful artwork for The Tame Animals of Saturn in the running for Best Artwork, and elsewhere there’s a heavy presence of other CSFG members and appearances by talented friends such as Edwina Harvey. I wish everyone the best of luck.

It’s that time of year again …

16 02 2017

… which it usually is, at this time of year.

I speak, of course, of awards-nomination season.

I haven’t produced much, myself, of awardish eligibility this year past: just one novelette (‘All the Colours of the Tomato’, in Dimension6 issue 9, which is a free download, and therefore excellent value for money) and one (very) short story (‘Jumping to Conclusions’, in AntipodeanSF issue 219; also free to read). It also seems appropriate to tout Adam Browne’s almost-uncategorisable illustrated-novella-length work The Tame Animals of Saturn (published by Peggy Bright Books), for which I did the typesetting.


In Australia, the Ditmar Awards are open until 11th March 2017: a full(ish) list of eligible works is on the Ditmar website here, and nominations can be made here. According to the rules, you must be a natural person, active in fandom, or a member of this year’s Australian Natcon, or possibly a cat, in order to nominate.

In New Zealand, the Sir Julius Vogel Awards are open until 31st March 2017: this site is the online nomination form, but if that link doesn’t work, there’s also the opportunity to send in nominations by email, as detailed on the main SJV webpage (ie the first link in this paragraph). Anyone can nominate, possibly even small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

And the Hugos are open as well, until 17th March 2017. You need to be a member of last year’s, this year’s, or next year’s Worldcon in order to nominate for these.

It should go without saying that you should only nominate work that you genuinely loved; and, naturally, it’s important that it be your individual decision, because that helps to ensure the diversity and the depth of the ballot. If you’re going to nominate, try to read as widely as possible from the material eligible for a given award, and don’t restrict yourself to any one list of recommendations.

In other matters arising

7 04 2015

Life goes on, even in the midst of a Hugo nominations maelstrom, and here in the Antipodes, the synchronised Australian and NZ natcons — neither of which I was able to attend — have seen the parcelling out of Ditmar, Sir Julius Vogel, and other awards, under considerably less contentious circumstances than have attended the Hugo noms.  The Ditmar summary can be seen here, and the SJVs here. (Yes, I know the ‘Ditmar’ link isn’t to an official results page, but it’s a source I trust, in the apparent absence of the official page at this time.)

Hearty congratulations to all the winners — I’m especially pleased to see, on the NZ side, SJVs go to Paul Mannering for his marvellously daffy novel Engines of Empathy (thoroughly recommended), to Lee Murray for her short story ‘Inside Ferndale’, and to A J Fitzwater for her well-deserved Best New Talent award. (A J has a novella — the cover story, in fact, in the upcoming ASIM 61, which has been upcoming for so long that I’m sure it’s starting to seem like the Cathedral of Chalesm. But the issue is, honestly, almost complete …) And there’s a long list of good names on the Ditmar sheet as well, but I’d like to single out the hardworking and multi-talented Donna Maree Hanson who has claimed the A Bertram Chandler award this year.

Shortlistings: a dual perspective

27 04 2014

1. I have somehow, tangentially, and in connection with the work of others more talented than I (hi, Edwina; hi, Shauna), found my name among those listed on the 2014 Ditmar Ballot, the preliminary form of which was released yesterday. The best of luck to all those listed!

2. The call has recently gone out for the latest crop of Aurealis Awards judges. I’ve served on AA judging panels in 2008 (SF Novel), 2009 (Anthology and Collection), 2010 and 2013 (Fantasy Short Story, those last two occasions); I’ll be sitting this one out, but I can recommend the judging process to anyone who is seriously interested in the Australian speculative fiction scene and who thinks they might have something to offer. It’s hard work: there’s a lot of reading involved, and this reading tends to fall disproportionately close to the deadline, despite the best efforts of those organising — but I do not think there is a better way of taking the pulse of the genre. And it’s nice to be able to feel a personal stake in the recognition of excellence in whatever category you happen to be judging. Plus, of course, it’s not a solitary activity — you’re a member of a panel, and generally speaking at least one panellist will have prior experience of the judging process and can act as mentor. The flip side is that there can only be one winner (or, in the event of a tie, two), and often there are very many deserving candidates: it’s a delicate balance, and necessarily, in the end, a somewhat subjective one. A different panel would possibly pick a slightly different shortlist, perhaps even a different winner. But that’s the awards process. Judges are human. You can make a difference. If you want to, and you have the time (particularly towards December and January, when in the more demanding categories it can get hectic), give it a go. But don’t leave it too long — I believe they’re looking to get expressions of interest in by the 30th of April.

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.

A partial, partisan list of Ditmar-eligible stories (and SJV too)

19 02 2013

The following stories* are those I’ve edited last year (in most cases, for Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear with Edwina Harvey, or for ASIM 54):

Ditmar-eligible stories (online nomination form here):

Joanne Anderton, ‘The Bone Chime Song’ (short story, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)
Adam Browne, ‘The D____d’ (short story, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)
Sue Bursztynski, ‘Midwinter Night’ (short story, ASIM 54)
Sue Bursztynski, ‘Five Ways to Start a War’ (short story, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)
C A L, ‘The Iron Lighthouse’ (short story, ASIM 54)
Belinda Crawford, ‘Lex Talionis’ (short story, ASIM 54)
Katherine Cummings, ‘The Travelling Salesman and the Farmer’s Daughter’ (short story, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)
Tamlyn Dreaver, ‘Petting the Tiger’ (short story, ASIM 54)
Thoraiya Dyer, ‘Faet’s Fire’ (short story, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)
Jacob Edwards, ‘Yet Another Kill Hitler Story’ (short story, ASIM 56)
Dirk Flinthart, ‘Head Shot’ (short story, ASIM 54)
Edwina Harvey, ‘HG’ (novelette, ASIM 54)
Kathleen Jennings, ‘Kindling’ (short story, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)
Dave Luckett, ‘History: Theory and Practice’ (short story, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)
Ian McHugh, ‘The Godbreaker and Unggubudh the Mountain’ (short story novelette, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)
Sean McMullen, ‘Hard Cases’ (short story, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)
Robert Porteous, ‘Roasted’ (short story, ASIM 54)
Robert Porteous, ‘The Subjunctive Case’ (novelette, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)
Kent Purvis, ‘Going Fourth’ (short story, ASIM 54)
Nigel Read, ‘The Bridge’ (novelette, ASIM 56)
Nike Sulway, ‘The Fox’s Child’ (short story,ASIM 54)
Anna Tambour, ‘Murder at the Tip’ (short story, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)

Other Ditmar-eligible stuff:

‘Nine Lines: A Nail Clipping from the Hitchhiker’s Thumb?’, Jacob Edwards’ speculations on a possible ‘lost and found’ fragment attributed to Douglas Adams, in ASIM 54
Greg Hughes’ and Kathleen Jennings’ internal illustrations for ASIM 56
Lewis Morley’s illustrations (front cover and all internals) for ASIM 54
Lewis Morley’s front cover illustrations (novella double: two front covers, one with artfully-incorporated barcode) for Flight 404 / The Hunt for Red Leicester
Nick Stathopoulos’ front cover illustration (the birthday cake) for the tenth-anniversary issue, ASIM 56

Sir Julius Vogel-eligible stories (details for email nomination process here):

Ripley Patton, ‘Mary Had a Unicorn’ (short story, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear)
Ripley Patton, Ghost Hand (YA novel)** (Ripley has informed me that she’s no longer eligible for the SJVs)
Dan Rabarts, ‘Paint By Numbers’ (short story, ASIM 55)
Grant Stone, ‘Better Phones’ (short story, ASIM 56)
M Darusha Wehm, ‘Modern Love’ (short story, ASIM 54)

Finally, it would be churlish not to point out that my own stories from last year are eligible for both the Ditmars and the SJVs:

The Man Who …‘ (short story, Redstone SF)
‘Sky Pie’ (short story, Jupiter Magazine)
Cruisy‘ (short story, Ticon4)
A Night to Remember‘ (novelette written in extreme haste for the SpecFicNZ blogging week, and hosted as a serial on various SpecFicNZ members’ websites and blogs)
‘The Hunt for Red Leicester’
and ‘Flight 404’ (two novellas, published by Peggy Bright Books)

If any of the above have tickled your fancy, have moved you, or have stuck in your craw (in a good way), please nominate them.


* And some non-stories as well–nonfic and artwork–because such things are also worthy of awards

** OK, I didn’t edit that one, but I did do the e-book layout for it