Monday, April 13, 2015

Swancon 40 Panels (Natcon) and Aurealis Award Winners

 On Friday (3rd April) I attended the launch of Insert Title Here ed. Tehani Wessely. It has a stellar contents but for me the real pleasure was seeing my long time writing buddy, Daniel Simpson's story in it. It was also the launch of The Cherry Crow Children by Deborah Kalin - the twelfth and final volume in The Twelve Planets Series, which has aided placing female writers of short spec-fic in Australia on the map. All twelve in the collection are well worth reading. 

On Saturday I participated in two Panels. The first 'What Makes a Good Story - Everything and anything you want to know about the genre short story – questions from the audience welcomed!' was one of the most fun panels I've been on. I was both the panel host and a participant, which I was apprehensive about but the audience's enthusiasm and all four of the other panelists' willingness (Juliet Marrilier, Stephen Dedman, Stephanie Gunn and Louisa Loder) made it a breeze.  
The discussion went everywhere and the audience helped it along with strong, relevant questions. We spoke about the quality of three Australian spec-fic publication houses: Ticonderoga Publications, Twelfth Planet Press and Fablecroft; along with the craft itself and some outstanding exponents of short spec-fic in this country. The Twelve Planet Series was praised for raising the profile of female spec-fic writers not only in Australia but also on a global level, and Ticonderoga's annual The Year's Best Australian Fantasy & Horror was also commended for not only its eclectic stories but also for the  recommended reading list at the end of the anthology, which allows for readers to explore more works within the field.

A few authors we praised that I recall include: Lisa L Hannett, Angela Slatter, Margo Lanagan, Shirley Jackson, Karen Russell, Kaaron Warren, Kirstyn McDermott, Lee Battersby, Thoraiya Dyer, Robert G. Cook, Angela Carter and John Steinbeck (yes, his short stories are 'spec-fic' - try 'Johnny Bear' to start with). 

With regards to the craft we said that it's best to learn some basic 'rules' but it's the great writers who also know how to break them. It sounds like contrary advice but it rang true for all the panelists. So the gist is: learn the rules and then learn how to break them.
To celebrate the genre we gave away some fantastic anthologies and collections - all of which I can personally recommend to any reader of short spec-fic. These included: The Year's Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2011 ed Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene, The Year's Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2013 ed Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene, Kisses by Clockwork ed Liz Grzyb, Dreaming of Djinn ed Liz Grzyb, Prickle Moon by Juliet Marrilier, The Female Factory by Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter, Assymetry by Thoraiya Dyer, Kaleidoscope ed Alisa Krasnostein & Julia Rios, Insert Title Here ed Tehani Wessely, and The Best Australian Stories 2014 ed Amanda Lohrey

The second panel on Crit Groups was very intimate and the audience were predominantly (if not entirely) writers and editors from all over Australia. It was so interactive it eventuated into more of a direct conversation with those in attendance. Personally, it was a pleasure meeting Helen Stubbs and Keith Stevenson for the first time on the crit-panel (along with my mate Carol Ryles). I'd like to also thank Daniel Simpson, Laurie Steed and Vassili Hatzidakis for coming along to their first con (and for the extra support). 

The Aurealis Awards 2014 provide some excellent reading. Angela Slatter did incredibly well but all of the finalists are winners as far as I'm concerned.

Fireborn, Keri Arthur (Hachette Australia)
This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)
The Lascar’s Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette Australia)
Dreamer’s Pool, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia) – WINNER
Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)
Daughters of the Storm, Kim Wilkins (Harlequin Enterprises Australia)

“The Oud”, Thoraiya Dyer (Long Hidden, Crossed Genres Publications)
“Teratogen”, Deb Kalin (Cemetery Dance, #71, May 2014)
“The Ghost of Hephaestus”, Charlotte Nash (Phantazein, FableCroft Publications)
“St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls”, Angela Slatter (The Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 9, Issue 3) – WINNER
“The Badger Bride”, Angela Slatter (Strange Tales IV, Tartarus Press)

Aurora: Meridian, Amanda Bridgeman (Momentum)
Nil By Mouth, LynC (Satalyte)
The White List, Nina D’Aleo (Momentum)
Peacemaker, Marianne de Pierres (Angry Robot) – WINNER
This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)
Foresight, Graham Storrs (Momentum)

“The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)
“Wine, Women and Stars”, Thoraiya Dyer (Analog Vol CXXXIV nos 1&2 Jan/Feb) – WINNER
“The Glorious Aerybeth”, Jason Fisher (OnSpec, 11 Sep 2014)
“Dellinger”, Charlotte Nash (Use Only As Directed, Peggy Bright Books)
“Happy Go Lucky”, Garth Nix (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

Book of the Dead, Greig Beck (Momentum)
Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (Allen & Unwin) – WINNER
Obsidian, Alan Baxter (HarperVoyager)

“The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)
“Skinsuit”, James Bradley (Island Magazine 137)
“By the Moon’s Good Grace”, Kirstyn McDermott (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 12, Issue 3)
“Shay Corsham Worsted”, Garth Nix (Fearful Symmetries, Chizine)
“Home and Hearth”, Angela Slatter (Spectral Press) – WINNER

The Astrologer’s Daughter, Rebecca Lim (Text Publishing)
Afterworld, Lynnette Lounsbury (Allen & Unwin)
The Cracks in the Kingdom, Jaclyn Moriarty (Pan Macmillan Australia) – WINNER
Clariel, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)
The Haunting of Lily Frost, Nova Weetman (UQP)
Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)

“In Hades”, Goldie Alexander (Celapene Press)
“Falling Leaves”, Liz Argyll (Apex Magazine)
“The Fuller and the Bogle”, David Cornish (Tales from the Half-Continent, Omnibus Books)
“Vanilla”, Dirk Flinthart (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press) – WINNER
“Signature”, Faith Mudge (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

Slaves of Socorro: Brotherband #4, John Flanagan (Random House Australia)
Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, Karen Foxlee (Hot Key Books)
The Last Viking Returns, Norman Jorgensen and James Foley (ILL.) (Fremantle Press)
Withering-by-Sea, Judith Rossell (ABC Books)
Sunker’s Deep: The Hidden #2, Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)
Shadow Sister: Dragon Keeper #5, Carole Wilkinson (Black Dog Books)  – WINNER

The Female Factory, Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter (Twelfth Planet Press) – WINNER
Secret Lives, Rosaleen Love (Twelfth Planet Press)
Angel Dust, Ian McHugh (Ticonderoga Publications)
Difficult Second Album: more stories of Xenobiology, Space Elevators, and Bats Out Of Hell, Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Angela Slatter (Tartarus Press)
Black-Winged Angels, Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)

Kisses by Clockwork, Liz Grzyb (Ed) (Ticonderoga Publications)
Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Eds), (Twelfth Planet Press) – WINNER
Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction, Dominica Malcolm (Ed) (Solarwyrm Press)
Reach for Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)
Fearsome Magics, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)
Phantazein, Tehani Wessely (Ed) ( FableCroft Publishing)

Left Hand Path #1, Jason Franks & Paul Abstruse (Winter City Productions)
Awkwood, Jase Harper (Milk Shadow Books)
“A Small Wild Magic”, Kathleen Jennings (Monstrous Affections, Candlewick Press)
Mr Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye, Tim Molloy (Milk Shadow Books) – WINNER
The Game, Shane W Smith (Deeper Meanings Publishing)

The Night Terrace team received the Convenors’ Award for Excellence.

Currently Reading: Just finished The Princess Bride by William Goldman. I'll soon start The Roving Party by Rohan Wilson.