Saturday, December 31, 2016

Recommended Short Stories from my 2016 Reading

I read 130 stories this year, including many fabulous ones. This list is always a mixed bag in terms of the variety of genre – some are what Graham Greene would call ‘entertainments’ and others not. But if they’re on the list, I loved them. It's a bit of an unusual list in that it's just the short stories I've read this year rather than those published in 2016. As I'm not a critic or reviewer, I feel no pressure to read the very latest. 

I could have added plenty more from At the Edge too, but I’m always hesitant with publications I’ve works in.

 I’m now 50 stories in to That Glimpse of Truth. 

Several other recommended reads from Rogues can be found in last year's list.  

Happy to provide further comment on any stories listed below. 

28 Fantastic Short Stories from my 2016 Reading: A Celebration of Short Stories. 

‘Steam Girl’ Dylan Horrocks (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)                                                                           

‘What we Found’ Geoff Ryman (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)                                                                                 

‘Restoration’ Robert Shearman (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)                                                                                 

‘Wakefield’ E.L Doctorow (All the Time in the World)                                              

‘Edgemont Drive’ E.L Doctorow (All the Time in the World)                                      

‘Gimpel the Fool’ Isaac Bashevis Singer (That Glimpse of Truth: 100 of the Finest Stories Ever Written ed. David Miller)                                                                      

‘Guests of the Nation’ Frank O’Connor (That Glimpse of Truth: 100 of the Finest Stories Ever Written ed. David Miller)                                                               

‘A House on the Plains’ E.L Doctorow (All the Time in the World)                          

‘White Lines on a Green Field’ Catherynne M. Valente (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)                                              

‘The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives’ Lisa Tuttle (Rogues ed. George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois)                                                                                                                            

‘How the Marquis Got his Coat Back’ Neil Gaiman (Rogues ed. George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois)                                                                                                

‘Relic’ Jeffrey Ford (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)                                                                                                                
‘The Invasion of Venus’ Stephen Baxter (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)

‘Assimilation’ E. L Doctorow (All the Time in the World)                                           

The Caravan to Nowhere’ Phyllis Eisenstein (Rogues ed. George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois)                                                                                                               

‘The Dala Horse’ Michael Swanwick (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)                                                              

‘After the Apocalypse’ Maureen F. McHugh (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)                                                           

‘Fleet-Footed Hester’ George Gissing (That Glimpse of Truth: 100 of the Finest Stories Ever Written ed. David Miller)                                                                            

‘A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong’ K. J. Parker (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)                                                       

‘The Paper Menagerie’ Ken Liu (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)  

‘Street Furniture’ Joanne Anderton (At the Edge Ed. Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray)                                                                               

‘The Urge’ Carlington Black (At the Edge Ed. Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray)           
‘The Island at the End of the World’ Paul Mannering (At the Edge Ed. Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray)                                                                                                          
‘Catastrophic Disruption of the Head’ Margo Lanagan (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)                                             

‘Underbridge’ Peter Beagle (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Six ed Jonathan Strahan)                                                                                       

‘The Badger Bride’ Angela Slatter (Live Reading)                                                        

‘Hurt Me’ M.L.N. Hanover (Songs of Love and Death Ed. George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois)                                                                                                  

‘The Rocking–Horse Winner’ D. H Lawrence (That Glimpse of Truth: 100 of the Finest Stories Ever Written ed. David Miller)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Writers [on Writing]: Jane Smiley

Yes, I thought, a novel is a spot where language, movement, feeling, and thought gel for a moment, through the agency of, let's say, a particular volunteer, but it is not an object or a possession. It is an act of love.

Jane Smiley, A Reluctant Muse Embraces His Task and Everything Changes

Thursday, September 29, 2016

UFC article in The Guardian, some background info. and additional comments

My opinion piece in The Guardian on Mr McGowan's promise to legalise cage fighting if elected was always going to cause a stir. Any writer taking on an industrial behemoth like the UFC expects this. I actually admire the athletes and what they are capable of, but this is about more than that - it's about people's long term health, the human cost and the cost to the community.

I'd like to personally thank Robert Reid from the Australian Medical Association (WA) for his ongoing support, communication and information; the editor of The Guardian, Lucy Clark for her work on the piece, and my wife for the medical papers on concussion and brain disease (not linked to the article).

This was a relatively long piece for The Guardian. I'd like to thank them for publishing it - it's a brave move as the UFC and MMA lobbies have passionate fans.

With this genre there are cuts due to word limits (the subtitle was The Guardian's too). I respect their decisions as they know the medium and the nature of the internet far better than I do. I've supplied some dot points below.

  • my wife is a rehab doctor who has worked in Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and also studies it. I didn't mention this in the article but I have room to here. She directed me to numerous articles on the subject of concussion and brain atrophy and also brain trauma. Doctors in the ABI ward are deeply disappointed by McGowan's promise. I've just listed a couple of medical research articles that my wife sent me, which are worth pursuing - but there is a heap out there on the long term effects of brain trauma and concussion: 
  1.  David E. Ross, Alfred L. Ochs, Jan M. Seabaugh, Michael F. DeMark, CaroleR. Shrader, Jennifer H. Marwitz & Michael D. Havranek for the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative have written about progressive brain atrophy in patients after mild traumatic brain injury
  2. James H. Cole, PhD, Robert Leech, PhD, and David J. Sharp, PhD, for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative have written about the prediction of brain accelerated atrophy after traumatic brain injury  
  • MMA causes brain damage. There is brain shrinkage in both boxing and MMA (boxing slightly higher), but what most articles (outside of medical journals) don't cover is that concussion also has strong links to brain atrophy in the long run. I'm not concentrating on deaths, I'm concerned about the human cost in the long run and the cost to the community. 
  • Concussion has been strongly linked to long term brain disease and long term brain atrophy.  The danger is that these effects appear years, often decades, later ( the medical and neurological journals are clear on this - the two papers referred to earlier are a good start if you're interested in the latest research). MMA has more blows to already unconscious people than any other sport: an incredibly high average of 2.6 head strikes to already unconscious fighters. 
  • Without the Cage, the MMA is currently on the wane here in WA. It has not gone underground. It's just dwindling.
  • I'm not the one calling for a ban on the cage (the subtitle of the article is misleading) - I can't as cage fighting is already illegal in WA. Opposition Leader, Mr McGowan, however, has promised to make it legal if elected. This comes after meetings in Perth with the UFC executive Tom Wright. Wright has also assured a UFC fight in Perth if the sport is legalised. I'm calling on McGowan to not legalise the cage.
  • The move to legalise the cage over East just fuelled the sport. The fact is the less people involved the better for all. So the 'Safety' call regarding a cage is not at all true.
  • I do care about a range of other issues like the environment,  a more compassionate refugee policy, egalitarian values, wildlife, education, the arts etc. I've chosen to write about this as I've an uncle who worked with 'punch drunks' as a GP (boxing), my wife works in medical rehab... and most importantly, I don't want McGowan introducing a bloodline-injection into the sport via his promise to legitimise the cage. He's trying to pull the wool over our eyes. 
  • McGowan's actions, fuelled by business interests and UFC dollars, run contrary to Labor's traditional prioritisation of Health. The Australian Medical Association strongly condemn the move. The science on concussion and the sport is irrefutable - both short term and long term. The figures over East condemn the move. AMA (WA) and its President Dr Andrew Miller justifiably condemn the move.
I appreciate that this topic may polarise people. Conversation and debate and dialogue are always welcome. I'm happy for all your comments to be put up over at The Guardian but I won't be open for comment here as I rarely view my blog and won't have the time to reply. All the aforementioned points are just to provide further context for those interested. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Interview with Angela Slatter about my latest story 'Crossing' in At the Edge, Reviews of At the Edge and Thanks

Interview with Angela Slatter about my latest story 'Crossing' in At the Edge ; reviews of At the Edge by Alisha Tyson of The New Zealand Listener and Angela Oliver of NZ booksellers ; interview from the Editors, Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray & Thanks &  Current Reads.

I've read four stories so far by World Fantasy and multiple Aurealis Award winning author, Angela Slatter. All four are very good and three of them: 'The Coffin-Maker's Daughter', 'The Hall of Lost Footsteps' (co-written with Sara Douglass) and 'The Badger Bride' are superb. And I've also a number of Slatter's collections on the shelves awaiting to be read (a couple by the lethal Lisa L Hannett & Angela Slatter combo).

I feel of late that Angela Slatter has had influence on everything I've been in: we shared a story home in the anthology The Year's Best Australian Fantasy & Horror, 2011 Ed. Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene. One of my stories 'Reading Coffee' was mentioned alongside her story 'Brisneyland by Night' (which I'll have to read) as two  recommended Australian stories recently at Fossick Book Reviews, and Angela Slatter has played a role in the last two anthologies I've had works in: she wrote the back cover blurb for Bloodlines Ed. Amanda Pillar, and then moved to the inside pages with a beautiful foreword for the anthology At the Edge Ed. Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray.

And there's a little more irony, I just attended an honorary dinner for Angela at the KSP centre here in Perth, where she read aloud her exquisite tale 'The Badger Bride'.

Angela Slatter has been conducting individual interviews with all the writers in At the Edge, which makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in reading or writing or for those simply intrigued by the genesis of stories.

My interview with Angela Slatter on my latest story 'Crossing' can be found here: (interview link)

And for all the other interviews so far:(link)

I'm yet to read Angela Slatter's recently released novel Vigil. It's available in all good bookstores and online too. If it's anything like her short work, I think it would be more than worth the read. 

More on At the Edge

I was fortunate to have 'Crossing' mentioned alongside a few other great stories as a standout in a couple of reviews, and an editors' interview. Naturally all reading is subjective and so far I'm finding something to appreciate and admire in each individual story:

Angela Oliver's celebratory review at the I Love Books: NZ Booksellers blog includes a mention of 'Crossing' as one of Oliver's standout tales, along with 'Narco' by Michelle Child, 'Street Furniture' by Joanne Anderton, 'Hood of Bone' by Debbie Cowens,  'Call of the Sea' by Eileen Mueller and 'Responsibility' by Octavia Cade.

Here are a few of the stand-out tales in my opinion...

We also have ‘Crossing,’ by Anthony Panegyres, a ghost story with a difference. Poignant, bittersweet and something of a lesson in letting go of the past, it tells of Jane Self, separated by a cruel twist of fate from her husband and desperately seeking closure.
And I've been informed by the editor Lee Murray, along with book afficianado and friend, Jasmine Yee, and the lovely Juliet Marrillier that The Listener is a respected publication and a long standing household name in the Land of the Long White Cloud. I've pasted the review by Alisha Tyson below (congrats to other writers mentioned: Carlington Black, Phillip Mann, David Stevens):

And an interview where the editors of At the Edge (Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray) comment on their personal favourites here (briefer mention here) at Ragnarok Publications.


I'd like to thank my writing group: Daniel Simpson, Annette Ong, Jolleh Ashbar and Laurie Steed for their feedback on the story along with Stephanie Gunn, who I traded stories with. And I'd also like to thank two of my former very talented creative writing students last year: Kate Enright and Paige Spence, for their love of the story, which led to me sending it out.  Whether or not the gifted duo pursue writing, I believe they'll both have bright futures. Kate and Paige's passion for the craft made them a pleasure to teach.  

Currently Reading: The Maze by Panos Karnezis (shades of Grahame Greene and Gabriel Garcia Marquez); and also the collection All the Time in the World by the wonderful E.L Dottorow; and naturally, the anthology At the Edge. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Writers [on Writing]: Carol Shields

The imaginative side of fiction writing is always hard to describe to non writers, those tunnels in the unconscious, those flitting responses to what might have been, what possibly could be. 

Carol Shields, Opting for Invention over the Injury of Invasion

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Writers [on Writing]: William Saroyan

My uncle, Terry Pitsikas, introduced me to the Armenian-American writer, William Saroyan, back when I was in high school. His work still resonates with me.

How do you write? My answer is that I start with the trees and keep right on straight ahead.
                          William Saroyan, Starting with a Tree and Finally Getting to the Death of a Brother


Friday, June 3, 2016

Interviewed here by the lovely Louisa Loder; Latest Read: East of Eden and Latest Story

The lovely Louisa Loder manages to get me rambling away.  For the interview see the below text or the click on the link.

A lot of writers I know are intimidated by the short form, as though there is some kind of magical ‘short story formula’ lurking around that they’re not grasping. Which elements would you say are essential to any short story? 

I think there are some generic formulae used – especially by the pulpier, more formulaic writers who adhere to all the rules. There’s certainly readers after that type of story, so I suppose there’s a place for it too. At the opposite end are experimental abstract montages on paper.

I personally appreciate a wide variety of stories, but I’ll confess that the overly tight and highly-paced stories don’t always gel well with me. There are plenty of myths out there about narrative rules and what a short story ‘must be’ – often, unfortunately, these myths are propagated from short story writers who believe what they do is a rule for all. There are a myriad of ways to write a strong short story. Some writers, for instance, merely suggest a sense of place, others, such as Steinbeck, fleshed it out. I’m an avid short story reader, especially the longer type, and I’m relieved that there’s such wonderful diversity of style and structure out there.

A few examples, which highlight the great variety and reasons that ‘rules’ need to be broken are the wonderful stories ‘Fossil Figures’ by Joyce Carol Oates and ‘Troll Bridge’ by Neil Gaiman, which really cover entire lifespans within the confined space of a short story. I tried to do the same with my recent story ‘Lady Killer’ in Bloodlines ed. Amanda Pillar. And then, when you contrast these stories with Brodkey’s famed story ‘Innocence’, which is a long short story, almost entirely consisting of a highly detailed cunnulingus scene, then you see the great breadth that the genre offers. The before mentioned are all long stories and the manner Brodkey’s ‘Innocence’ plays with time and structure is a complete contrast to Oates’and Gaiman’s.

With ‘Submerging’ (The Best Australian Stories 2014. Ed. Amanda Lohrey and Overland 214), I tried to have a conventional narrative (events of the day), then I endeavoured to change the prose in the latter part to fit a more poetic, punchier, narrative that explores the adolescent protagonist’s life up to that point.

I think all this means that any narrative or language convention can be moulded or shaped or changed for the benefit of the story.

I’ve read wonderfully rich stories from Karen Russell, John Steinbeck and Angela Carter, satirical over-the- top stories by Will Self and George Saunders, the more ethereal, suggested worlds of Margo Lanagan and Lisa H Hannett, detailed realist stories of Richard Yates. I’ve read short story writers who use plenty of imagery (Steinbeck would have been lost without detailed sensory imagery) and those who don’t use any at all. Yet all these writers’ stories have worked wonderfully in their own right.

Essential elements is a tough one. I won’t cower away from the question though but feel free to ignore or be critical of what I am including here…I think a sense of place, even if it’s a vague sense, works well for me. Well drawn characters are important. And I prefer stories with an element of change, whether it’s subtle or dramatic – it may even be suggested in an open-ending. There also has to be at least one of the following elements at play: unveiling, connection-disconnection, conflict.

What’s the best thing about writing speculative fiction? Is there a genre you’d like to try, but haven’t dabbled in as yet? 

I suppose I don’t see my own work as falling distinctly into any field. I’ve written realist stories, contemporary climate change stories, steampunk, historical fiction, historical fantasies, gently satirical sci-fi, magical realism, straight realist. The list would be ongoing. I don’t quite know what the next story out in At the Edge ed. Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts would be classified as, the same applies for stories coming out next year.

It’s intriguing, and incredibly myopic, when you see stories boxed or blacklisted when you read comments relating to awards. For me a lot of great fiction blends genre and can’t be tightly boxed.

I’ve written as much realist work as speculative and to be honest many of my favourite short story writers: Karen Russell, George Saunders, John Steinbeck, John Cheever, Will Self, Haruki Murakami and Joyce Carol Oates, aren’t always as well appreciated by the genre field as they deserve – although Joyce Carol Oates and Haruki Murakami have made very strong inroads. All the before-listed writers have written fiction that could easily be classed as speculative. And on the flipside, other writers I adore like Robert Shearman, Jeffrey Ford, Graham Joyce and Nalo Hopkinson (I’ve also recently discovered Geoff Ryman too – and wow) deserve greater respect from the ‘literary critics’. It’s all changing of course. There’s a cross over occurring and hopefully great prose and stories are what’s at the forefront, regardless of genre. When you read the fantastical collection, the superb The Long Valley by John Steinbeck, it’s apparent that the crossover was actually always there. And if you think of Victorian texts like The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dracula and Frankenstein, you can’t ignore that speculative fiction has always been an integral part of literature. The difference was that for a while, there appeared to be a shunning of one field by the other. Now with writers like Kelly Link, Haruki Murakami, Karen Russell and Michael Chabon being short listed or winning major awards on both sides of the spectrum: speculative and ‘Lit’; good writing, regardless of the speculative elements and genre it can be boxed in, is beginning to be truly recognised. This can only bode well for the future of fiction in general.

Regarding speculative fiction, there’s so much more opportunity for an exploration of the human condition through transforming realist elements relating to place and character into the fantastic. Shifting us outside of our natural environs and seeing how we all function is an integral part of the genre, whether its satirical, symbolic, allegorical or simply to enhance reader interest. The layers that occur with an altered place or being are what draws me to writers like Karen Russell and George Saunders and Nalo Hopkinson.

What inspired you to start writing? Do you have any tips for people who want to get started, but aren’t sure how to go about it? 

As an adult I really started writing late in my 30s. But on reflection, I realise that I did write back in highschool and when I was in first year uni. I even dabbled in primary school. I recall winning the best story prize in my Yr 1 class at Glencoe Primary school, which consisted of a class photo that I was absent from. More importantly, I was always an avid reader. I was fortunate. The first two stories I wrote in my 30s found homes. After listening to advice from two well-known editors and anthologists (I won’t mention the two editors by name as it feels like name dropping) at a breakfast here in Perth, about aiming as high as possible, I sent my third story ‘Reading Coffee’ off to Overland, which is a journal I esteem. That story was published and I received professional pay. It went on to be short listed for an Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story and reprinted in The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror, 2011. Ed Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene. That gave me a world of confidence.

And Julienne Van Loon and Deborah Hunn also gave me confidence when I did a postgraduate university course in Writing. Having people truly believe in your ability helps no end. I think writers should try to celebrate every success too – we’re a self-critical bunch.

Other than aiming high and celebrating your triumphant moments, my best advice regarding the craft is to read. Read for enjoyment but also read to write. And read outside of your comfort zone too, which means reading broadly. Being stuck in the one genre of reading may limit your development. I’ve never met a decent writer who wasn’t well-read.

Other tips are to speak to writers. Reading on the craft can help too but keep in mind that it’s a subjective field. Because Stephen King or Janet Burroway write about their thoughts on the craft it does not mean that it’s law. I’ll never forget Kurt Vonnegut rabbitting on about never using a semi-colon in A Man Without a Country and then, on the very last page of the book, there was a semi-colon, purposefully and appropriately placed, in all its glory. Stephen King dislikes adverbs but he uses them. Neil Gaiman says to find your voice and stick with it yet I know other writers who change their voice radically for the benefit of the piece, Nalo Hopkinson, Robert Shearman and Karen Russell are fine examples. The point is that advice and tips help but you need to work out what works for you and then continuously build on that talent.

I personally always like having two works on the go. It keep me fresh. But that’s just me. I think it’s because my attention span is limited at the best of times.

And I only write a couple of long short stories a year due to work. I do think that care counts. I do hear the occasional speculative fiction writer spout vast numbers of publications yet their homes are questionable – and often the most they’ve been paid for a story is $200 or so. We don’t write short stories for money but you do want to know that there is either a reading audience of some kind or that they will be studied by others. I’d personally vouch for quality over quantity. Kicking 150 goals in an Amateur League is very different from kicking goals in the professional AFL. I’m sure there are writers out there with multiple collections but I’d rather wait for a couple of superb collections like Karen Russell’s over reading sixty stories of varying quality.

Oh, and finally, writing takes work. Give a piece wait time. Come back to it. I’ve been on Cloud Nine with a draft, then waited, and then read it again, to think that the story is a criminal act against the arts. That’s part of the craft, falling from Cloud Nine into the Abyss, and then finding ways to climb back out of it. The bright side is that your editing will vastly improve your piece. Murder parts, rework other parts. And be open to criticism. Self-doubt is a writer’s ally.

You’re a veritable machine when it comes to short stories, with your work appearing in premier publications. What advice do you have for writers looking to expand their writing ‘resume’? 

Thank you for the very kind words. I think of myself as more of a minnow. I’m under no illusions – I have a lot to learn and a long way to go. I think every writer benefits from ongoing learning. But I’ll admit that having stories published in Overland twice, Meanjin and Best Australian Stories in a short space of time (Sep 2011-Nov 2014) gave me a lot of confidence. The pay was rewarding too. Having said that I’m my own biggest critic and cringe when I read my early drafts, and even when I read stories that have been published. I’m learning to let go and move on.

I do love being published in spec-fic anthologies too. Think I’m up to seven at present. Ticonderoga Publications have been especially good to me.

Similar to my previous response, choose the journals that you truly respect. I submitted my stories cold to Overland and Meanjin – so having the stories find homes there was truly rewarding. I was an unknown from isolated Perth (I’m still an unknown from isolated Perth) and I was glad, in a way, that I’d never met any of the readers or editors. It means that you’ve earnt your place. Professional payment does help. Having said that I’ve had several stories published for much less than these journals offer.

My submission process has changed a bit – I have been given the early ‘heads-up’ to submit to spec-fic anthologies of late but I also see that as an opportunity earnt. Your story still has to earn its place but at least it means that at least once a year, I’ll write for a specific genre. I’ve also made some good friends in the spec-fic field: editors, fellow writers, and readers. The field here in Australia, from my limited perspective, appears to be very welcoming, inclusive and friendly. At least it’s not at all like that extreme right that’s trying to influence things over in the US with their bullish discourse AKA the Sad and Rabid Puppies – or is that simply juvenile puppy behavior from immature brats? Some of their points may be valid, free speech is integral, the issue, however, with these right-wing groups is that they they appear to lack the ideals of inclusivity and they are also part of the rail-roading that they seem so against.

I can’t really comment on self-publishing, I barely blog – and I’m not overly open and personal when I do – and I certainly don’t have an author page on facebook. Each to their own though.

What can we expect next from you? 

Next up is a story called ‘Crossing’ in an anthology of Antipodean spec-fic called At the Edge ed Lee Murray & Dan Rabarts. There are a couple of long stories in the pipeline and a couple of novellettes/ long short stories out next year but I can’t yet officially announce the news as their contents haven’t been finalised.

Workwise, I always have a couple on the go. I’m on the third draft of a novel and I’ve just written two long stories.

After I finish the next novel draft, I’ll tinker away with a couple of short story ideas. Presently, I only write a couple a year at most. I have a demanding job, which I love, so I see the holidays as an opportunity to write. I’m producing much more than I’d ever thought, which is a rewarding bonus.

Latest Read and Latest Publication (not part of the interview)

Latest Read: East of Eden by John Steinbeck. An utterly intoxicating melodrama, which explores American identity. It's humorous in parts, yet also moving, reflective, considered and visionary. The critics are right – the sporadic intrusion of the first person narrator doesn't quite suit. Still, I don't believe it impacts on the overall quality of the novel.  Superb

Latest story: The anthology At the Edge ed. Lee Murray & Dan Rabarts, which contains my latest story 'Crossing' will be launched at Au Contraire in Wellington this weekend. I look forward to reading it myself. It will be sold at various bookstores and will also be available from Amazon Books and Book Depository.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Celebrating Australian Short Spec Fic at Swancon; and Bloodlines ed. Amanda Pillar wins an Aurealis Award

 Australian short spec-fic panel: a celebration

Where: Swan Con Panel at the Pan Pacific Hotel

When:  8:30 - 9:30 Easter Sunday

Panelists: Anthony Panegyres, Liz Grzyb, Stephen Dedman, Guy Salvidge, Leonard Goulds

I'm both host and a panelist in this celebration of short spec-fic down under. We'll have great book giveaways, including Aurealis Award winning and short-listed anthologies. I anticipate that like last year we'll have an audience led discussion. We'll most likely cover recommended reads, recommended writers, the market, the craft, the submission process, payment, publication houses and journals. The list goes on. Come along for an informative and fun night. Feel free to field questions too - we encourage it.

Bloodlines ed. Amanda Pillar wins the Aurealis Award for Best Anthology!

Bloodlines ed. Amanda Pillar (which I've a story in) won the best anthology category at the Aurealis Awards!

Here's the impressive list of world-class finalists:

Hear Me Roar, Liz Grzyb (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2014, Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (eds.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Meeting Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (ed.), (Solaris)

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 9, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) (Solaris)

Focus 2014: highlights of Australian short fiction, Tehani Wessely (ed.) (FableCroft Publishing)

Congrats to Amanda Pillar along with the 16 writers, who all contributed to the award:
  • Joanne Anderton "Unnamed Children"
  • Alan Baxter "Old Promise New Blood"
  • Nathan Burrage "The Ties of Blood, Hair and Bone"
  • Dirk Flinthart "In The Blood"
  • Rebecca Fung "In the Heart of the City"
  • Stephanie Gunn "The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth"
  • Kelly Hoolihan "The Stone and the Sheath"
  • Kathleen Jennings "The Tangled Streets"
  • Pete Kempshall "Azimuth"
  • Martin Livings "A Red Mist"
  • Seanan McGuire "Into the Green" (also writes as Mira Grant)
  • Anthony Panegyres "Lady Killer"
  • Jane Percival "The Mysterious Mr Montague"
  • Paul Starkey "The Tenderness of Monsters"
  • Lyn Thorne-Adder "Lifeblood of the City"
  • S. Zanne "Seeing Red"
The complete Aurealis Award Winning List is below (congrats again to all the winners and finalists). Here in Perth we had a fantastic time at the Pan Pacific Hotel, where the great gang at Swancon had it streamed live from Brisbane on a big screen (with food and alcohol catered for). Wonderful night and it felt as if we were almost there.

A Single Stone, Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia) 

The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)                  

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Bullets”, Joanne Anderton (In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep, AHWA)

“The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press) 

“The Giant’s Lady”, Rowena Cory Daniells (Legends 2, Newcon Press) 

“Defy the Grey Kings”, Jason Fischer (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Firkin Press) 

“All the Wrong Places”, Sean Williams (Meeting Infinity, Solaris)

“By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers”, Garth Nix (Old Venus, Random House)

To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin) 

Bloodlines, Amanda Pillar (ed.) (Ticonderoga Publications) 

In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin) 

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)

Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing) 

Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin) 

The Watergivers [The Last Stormlord (2009), Stormlord Rising (2010), Stormlord’s Exile (2011)], Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)

Letters to Tiptree, Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)