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.


A short list of shortlists

17 02 2018

Within the last 48 hours, the shortlists for the three major Australian and New Zealand speculative fiction awards have been announced. In chronological (and, conveniently, alphabetical) order of announcement, these are:

the Aurealis Awards shortlist

the Ditmar Awards preliminary ballot

and the Sir Julius Vogel Awards ballot.

I’m absolutely stunned to be able to announce that my Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body (Peggy Bright Books, 2017, edited by Edwina Harvey with cover artwork by Lewis Morley) has been shortlisted in a ‘Best Novella / Novelette’ category for all three awards.

I’m equally excited about the truly awesome array of talented Aussie and Kiwi spec-fic writers and creators documented in the lists: Alan Baxter, Grace Bridges, AC Buchanan, Nathan Burrage, Jan Butterworth, Octavia Cade, Adam Christopher, Thoraiya Dyer, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, AJ Fitzwater, Liz Grzyb, Donna Maree Hanson, JC Hart, Edwina Harvey, Talie Helene, Pamela Jeffs, Jay Kristoff, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Bren MacDibble (aka Cally Black), Lyn McConchie, Claire McKenna, DK Mok, Sean Monaghan, Lewis Morley, Lee Murray, Shauna O’Meara, Dan Rabarts, Rivqa Rafael, Robin Shortt, Darian Smith, J Ashley Smith, Cat Sparks, Keith Stevenson, Douglas A Van Belle, Keely Van Order, Marlee Jane Ward, Kaaron Warren, Janeen Webb, Darusha Wehm and, in fact, so many more. Best of luck to all concerned!

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.

I always thought the SJV was a tracked vehicle from the Captain Scarlet series, until …

10 11 2014

New Zealand’s fan-based speculative fiction awards, the Sir Julius Vogel Awards, are currently accepting nominations, as detailed here. The nominations close on 31st January 2015. If you’re interested in nominating work for the SJVs — and you don’t have to be a New Zealander, nor resident in NZ, just ‘a natural person active in fandom’ as I believe the expression has it, in order to nominate — the requirements for placing a nomination are given on this page of the SFFANZ website. If you’ve read or viewed or listened to something memorable and / or moving by a Kiwi creator over the past year, and the item was first published or aired or unleashed onto an unsuspecting universe in the 2014 calendar year, I’d heartily encourage you to nominate that item. If you’ve read ten such things, there’s nothing to stop you nominating them all. The strength of the awards depends on the motivation of a wide and well-versed public: the more diversity there is on the ballot, the more representative is the ultimate award. So read widely, nominate wisely.

With the above in mind, the following list summarises eligible items with which I have been associated:


From Use Only As Directed (all eligible for Best Short Story):

‘Fetch Me Down My Gun’, by Lyn McConchie

‘Always Falling Up’, by Grant Stone [at 7300 words, this is a long short story, but it is categorically a short story according to the definition]

‘Uncle Darwin’s Bazooka’, by Douglas A. Van Belle

‘Home Sick’, by M. Darusha Wehm


From Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (all eligible for Best Short Story, unless otherwise indicated):

‘Alecia in the Mechwurm’, by Sean Monaghan, writing as Michael Shone (in ASIM 59)

‘Dada’, by Cerberus (Dan Rabarts, Grant Stone, and Matthew Sanborn Smith) (in ASIM 60)

‘Double Team’, by Sean Monaghan (in ASIM 61, upcoming, expected release in December) [this is a novelette, and so is eligible for Best Novella / Novelette]

‘Long’s Confandabulous Clockwork Circus and Carnival, and Cats of Many Persuasions’, by A. J. Fitzwater (in ASIM 61, upcoming, expected release in December) [this is a novella, and so is eligible for Best Novella / Novelette]


From Difficult Second Album: more stories of Xenobiology, Space Elevators, and Bats Out Of Hell, by Simon Petrie (all eligible for Best Short Story, unless otherwise indicated):


‘Fixing a Hole’

‘Buying a Ray Gun’



‘Elevator Pitch’ [this is a novella, and so is eligible for Best Novella / Novelette]

[and Difficult Second Album itself — edited by Edwina Harvey and published by Peggy Bright Books — is eligible for Best Collected Work]


If any of the above have particularly spoken to you, I’d encourage you to nominate them. But I’d also encourage you to nominate anything else that takes your fancy, in the interests of diversity: there’s a lot of good stuff out there …

If time permits …

14 07 2013

… before the expiry of my hotel wifi connection, I’ll squeak in this quick update on events at Au Contraire 2.

Regeneration_342_520I got in early on Con Crud, coming down with something throat-nasty on the Friday night. But I managed to get to the launch of Regeneration, the new Random Static anthology in which, miraculously, I have a story. I’ve only read two of the shortest contributions so far–Matt Cowens’ and Grace Bridges’–but if they’re any indication of the antho’s overall quality, it promises to be a corker read. (Hopefully I didn’t give throat-nasty to too many of the good and the great of NZ specfic gathered at the launch …)


And I was at hand for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards, where I was delighted to act as proxy acceptor for Les Petersen’s SJV award for Best Professional Artwork, for the cover of thePeggy Bright Books Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear anthology co-edited by Edwina Harvey and me last year.

'Flight 404' cover (artwork by Lewis Morley)

And I can also report that the SJV award for Best Novella / Novelette went to ‘Flight 404’, cover shown above. Pretty damn happy about that, actually. (Even if I am now tasked with having to get not one, but two robust and pointy awards trophies through airport security. They will, needless to say, be in checked baggage rather than carry-on.)


There’s more to add, of course, about the opportunity to once again meet friends in fandom, to make new acquaintances, and to generally soak in what might be called the vibe of the thing, but if I write too much the wifi will cut off before I can post so I’ll leave it at this for now. Also, I have to sleep before needing to waken in three-and-a-half hours, to catch a woefully early flight out of Wellington.

But — and I suspect you know the voice in which this should be intoned — ‘I’ll be back’.

A couple of quick snippets of updatery

5 07 2013


1. Reader, you may recollect as how in a recent post I mentioned a competition being run by Donna Hanson, to give away a copy of her Rayessa and the Space Pirates e-book novella?

Well. It appears as how I have, quite inadvertently, gone and won that very competition. Which, on one level is terrific … but, since I already have a copy of the e-book (given to me as a review copy: you can read the review here), this means I now have a spare. So I’m donating my prize. If you want to be in it to win it, leave a comment with sufficient identifying detail to convince me you’re not a spammer, and, through an appropriate dice-or-coin-based randomisation technique, I will select a winner. (I believe the e-book is available in both epub and mobi formats, but if that turns out not to be the case, I’ll edit this.)

So as to produce a quick result, I’ll close the competition at 11.59 pm (AEST) on Saturday the 6th of July. (That’s approximately 27 hours from now, for a given value of ‘now’ that probably bears no relation to the ‘now’ you’re currently experiencing.) So don’t delay!

UPDATE: The competition has now closed. The winner is Cat Sheely, who has been notified of her good fortune. [The result was decided on the basis of three coin tosses (envisaging each pair of contestants in a ‘pool match’); a single d6 roll would have sufficed, but my bag of dice were not where I thought they would be. For reference, the coin employed was a 2009 Australian $2 coin.]



2. And the suggestion of ‘don’t delay’ allows me to segue seamlessly into a last-minute reminder for anyone who’s a member of SFFANZ, or who is attending Au Contraire 2013, to get their votes in for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. Email votes are still accepted until July 10th (as are postal votes, but it’d be a close-run thing to be snailmailing it now); votes at the convention close on July 12th. And there’s a lot of good stuff on the ballot. (The link details the methods available for voting.) If you’re eligible to vote, please do so, whatever you decide to vote for.