The Writer and the Critic: Episode 52

The latest episode of our podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from the website or via subscription from iTunes. Feedback is most welcome!

On this episode of The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, spend a mercifully few brief minutes talking about kittens and stolen skeletons before diving straight into the two books which are up for discussion: The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing [9:00] and Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler [55:40].

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If you’ve skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at 1:36:25 for final remarks, including some corrections regarding the Aurealis Awards as well as information for Patreon supporters about how to vote for the upcoming Patron’s Choice episode.

Next month, Kirstyn and Ian will be looking at pair of novels which have spent a loooooong time on the New York Times Bestseller list:

Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

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The Writer and the Critic: Episode 51

The latest episode of our podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from the website or via subscription from iTunes. Feedback is most welcome!

This month on The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, turn their attention to the 2015 Aurealis Awards which were announced in late March 2016. Sadly, there was no shortlist for the Best Horror Novel this year, although the category was won by Trent Jamieson’s most excellent Day Boy, a book which was previously discussed on this podcast. There is much lamenting and some gnashing of teeth as Kirstyn and Ian spend a little time talking about Australia horror fiction and the ramifications of juried awards like the Aurealis failing to produce a shortlist. You can read the judges’ report for the Best Horror Novel category, along with reports for all the others, in the Aurealis Awards program booklet.

The two books up for discussion this month are both Aurealis Award winners: In the Skin of a Monster by Kathryn Barker which won Best Young Adult Novel [24:50] and A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay [56:00] which took home the award for Best Children’s Fiction.

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If you’ve skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at 1:29:20 for final remarks, including information for Patreon supporters about how to nominate and vote for the upcoming Patron’s Choice episode.

Next month, Kirstyn and Ian will endeavour to fill a couple of large holes in their literary lives by finally getting around to reading novels by two beloved and critically acclaimed authors who have somehow slipped by them. Don’t worry, they are currently hanging their heads in shame.

Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

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The Writer and the Critic: Episode 50

The latest episode of our podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from the website or via subscription from iTunes. Feedback is most welcome!

It’s the 50th Episode of The Writer and the Critic and to celebrate, your hosts Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, have made a list of 50 of their favourite books. This is not a Best Books list or even an Important Books list … it’s simply a bunch of beloved books that have made an impact on them over their lives.

But first … some feedback. Bouncing off a most excellent email from one of their listeners, Kirstyn and Ian discuss the issue of systemic bias in the publishing industry, of which the last episode of this podcast inadvertently provided a problematic example, and the need for more diversity in all aspects of publishing, including the forms we preference. Novels are not the be all and end all, people, and it’s good to be reminded of this.

Discussion of the Writer and Critic Fab 50 begins at 19:20. No spoilers!

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Next month Kirstyn and Ian will be chatting about the recently announced Aurealis Awards and discussing two of the winners:

Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

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The Writer and the Critic: Episode 49

The latest episode of our podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from the website or via subscription from iTunes. Feedback is most welcome!

This month on The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, offer some brief words of gratitude to the lovely and generous folks who have so far supported the podcast on Patreon. Ian and Kirstyn love you all to bits and pieces!

They then dive straight into a meldy – but definitely not moldy! – discussion of both the books at hand Afro SF: Science Fiction by African Writers edited by Ivor W. Hartmann and The Sea Is Ours: Tales from Steampunk Southeast Asia edited by Jaymee Goh & Joyce Chng [5:20]. Because the books are both anthologies, there are precious few, if any, spoilers of individual stories so you may listen without fear!

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(The cat anthology that Kirstyn couldn’t remember the name of during the discussion was Twists of the Tale edited by Ellen Datlow. Purry, furry fun!)

If you did skip ahead, please come back at 1:23:50 for final remarks. Next month will be the 50th Epsiode of The Writer and the Critic. Who knew they would make it so far? (Ian. Ian knew.) To celebrate, Kirstyn and Ian have decided to each make a list of 25 of their favourite books which will hopefully combine without overlap to form a Writer and Critic Fab 50. Don’t fret, dear listeners, they will only be spending a minute or two on each book. You won’t need to set aside a whole weekend to listen.😉

Please join us for some 50th Episode spoiler-free shenanigans!

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Aurealis Awards Shortlists

The Dark, Issue 10, November 2015The shortlists for the 2015 Aurealis Awards have been announced and I’m delighted to see that a story of mine has been included in the Best Horror Short Story category. “Self, Contained” was published in The Dark last year and you can read it online here.

The awards will be announced on Friday, 25 March 2016, during a ceremony at the Hotel Jen, Brisbane. More information can be found at the Aurealis website. I’ll be there, attending Contact 2016, so please say hello if you run into me either at the ceremony itself or during the rest of the convention. Hot tip: I’ll probably be spending a lot of time in the bar.

The shortlists as a whole make a might fine — if ambitious, considering the number of titles! — reading list. I will just say that I’m more than a little sad, and somewhat perplexed, about the lack of a shortlist for Best Horror Novel. The judges report for that category will make for interesting reading, methinks.


BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

  • A Week Without Tuesday, Angelica Banks (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Cut-Out, Jack Heath (Allen & Unwin)
  • A Single Stone, Meg McKinlay (Walker Books Australia)
  • Bella and the Wandering House, Meg McKinlay (Fremantle Press)
  • The Mapmaker Chronicles: Prisoner of the Black Hawk, A.L. Tait (Hachette Australia)


BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK

  • The Undertaker Morton Stone Vol.1, Gary Chaloner, Ben Templesmith, and Ashley Wood (Gestalt)
  • The Diemenois, Jamie Clennett (Hunter Publishers)
  • Unmasked Vol.1: Going Straight is No Way to Die, Christian Read (Gestalt)
  • The Singing Bones, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)
  • Fly the Colour Fantastica, various authors (Veriko Operative)


BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

  • “In Sheep’s Clothing”, Kimberly Gaal (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #61)
  • “The Nexus Tree”, Kimberly Gaal (The Never Never Land, CSFG)
  • “The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Heart of the Labyrinth”, DK Mok (In Memory: A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett, Sorin Suciu)
  • “Blueblood”, Faith Mudge (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Welcome to Orphancorp, Marlee Jane Ward (Seizure)


BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

  • “Bullets”, Joanne Anderton (In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep, AHWA)
  • “Consorting with Filth”, Lisa L Hannett (Blurring the Line, Cohesion Press)
  • “Heirloom Pieces”, Lisa L Hannett (Apex Magazine, Apex Publications)
  • “The Briskwater Mare”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Breaking Windows”, Tracie McBride (Aurealis #84)
  • “Self, Contained”, Kirstyn McDermott (The Dark, TDM Press)


BEST HORROR NOVELLA

  • “Night Shift”, Dirk Flinthart (Striking Fire, FableCroft Publishing)
  • “The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Wages of Honey”, Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Sleepless”, Jay Kristoff (Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, Penguin)
  • “Ripper”, Angela Slatter (Horrorology, Jo Fletcher Books)


BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

  • “The Giant’s Lady”, Rowena Cory Daniells (Legends 2, Newcon Press)
  • “The Jellyfish Collector”, Michelle Goldsmith (Review of Australian Fiction Vol. 13 Issue 6)
  • “A Shot of Salt Water”, Lisa L Hannett (The Dark, TDM Press)
  • “Almost Days”, DK Mok (Insert Title Here, FableCroft Publishing)
  • “Blueblood”, Faith Mudge (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • “Husk and Sheaf”, Suzanne Willis (SQ Mag 22, IFWG Publishing Australia)


BEST FANTASY NOVELLA

  • “Lodloc and The Bear”, Steve Cameron (Dimension6, coeur de lion)
  • “Defy the Grey Kings”, Jason Fischer (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Firkin Press)
  • “Broken Glass”, Stephanie Gunn (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • “The Flowers that Bloom Where Blood Touches the Earth”, Stephanie Gunn (Bloodlines, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • “Haunting Matilda”, Dmetri Kakmi (Cthulhu: Deep Down Under, Horror Australis)
  • “Of Sorrow and Such”, Angela Slatter (Tor.com)


BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

  • “2B”, Joanne Anderton (Insert Title Here, Fablecroft)
  • “The Marriage of the Corn King”, Claire McKenna (Cosmos)
  • “Alchemy and Ice”, Charlotte Nash (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #61)
  • “Witnessing”, Kaaron Warren (The Canary Press Story Magazine #6)
  • “All the Wrong Places”, Sean Williams (Meeting Infinity, Solaris)


BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA

  • “Blood and Ink”, Jack Bridges, Prizm Books
  • “The Molenstraat Music Festival”, Sean Monaghan (Asimov’s Science Fiction)
  • “By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers”, Garth Nix (Old Venus, Random House)


BEST COLLECTION

  • The Abandonment of Grace and Everything Thereafter, Shane Jiraiya Cummings (Brimstone Press)
  • Striking Fire, Dirk Flinthart (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Cherry Crow Children, Deborah Kalin (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Fading, Carole Nomarhas (self-published)
  • The Finest Ass in the Universe, Anna Tambour (Ticonderoga Publications)


BEST ANTHOLOGY

  • 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 Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 9, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) (Solaris)
  • Focus 2014: highlights of Australian short fiction, Tehani Wessely (ed.) (FableCroft Publishing)


BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

  • In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)
  • Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman (HarperCollins)
  • The Fire Sermon, Francesca Haig (HarperVoyager)
  • Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)
  • Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Hush, Skye Melki-Wagner (Penguin Random House Australia)


BEST HORROR NOVEL

No Shortlist Released


BEST FANTASY NOVEL

  • In The Skin of a Monster, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)
  • Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman (HarperCollins)
  • Day Boy,Trent Jamieson (Text Publishing)
  • The Dagger’s Path, Glenda Larke (Hachette Australia)
  • Tower Of Thorns, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Skin, Ilka Tampke (Text Publishing)


BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • Crossed, Evelyn Blackwell (self-published)
  • Clade, James Bradley (Penguin)
  • Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)
  • Their Fractured Light, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)
  • Renegade, Joel Shepherd (Kindle Direct)
  • Twinmaker: Fall, Sean Williams (Allen & Unwin)


SARA DOUGLASS BOOK SERIES AWARD

  • The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin [The King’s Bastard (2010), The Uncrowned King (2010), The Usurper (2010), The King’s Man (2012), King Breaker (2013)], Rowena Cory Daniells (Solaris Press)
  • The Watergivers [The Last Stormlord (2009), Stormlord Rising (2010), Stormlord’s Exile (2011)], Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)
  • The Lumatere Chronicles [Finnikin of the Rock (2008), Froi of the Exiles (2011), Quintana of Charyn (2012)], Melina Marchetta (Penguin Random House)
  • Sevenwaters [Daughter of the Forest (2000), Son of the Shadows (2001), Child of the Prophecy (2002), Heir to Sevenwaters (2009), Seer of Sevenwaters (2011), Flame of Sevenwaters (2013)], Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • The Laws of Magic [Blaze Of Glory (2007), Heart Of Gold (2007), Word Of Honour (2008),  Time Of Trial (2009), Moment Of Truth (2010), Hour Of Need (2011)], Michael Pryor (Random House Australia)
  • Creature Court [Power and Majesty (2010), Shattered City (2011), Reign of Beasts (2012)], Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)
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The Writer and the Critic: Episode 48

The latest episode of our podcast is now available for direct download and streaming from the website or via subscription from iTunes. Feedback is most welcome!

*** Breaking news! The Writer and the Critic is now on Patreon! There are all sorts of exciting milestone goals and rewards for patrons with pledges starting at just $1.00 per podcast. If you enjoy the podcast and can spare some change, Ian and Kirstyn would be immensely grateful for your support. They might even be able to afford to upgrade the increasingly unreliable equipment which would be lovely. All episodes will continue to be published monthly free of charge to the public … though there might be some special behind-the-scenes moments made available to patrons only from time to time. Many heartfelt thanks in advance! ***

This month on The Writer and the Critic your hosts, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, briefly discuss an article by Damian Walter that served as inspiration for the “literary vs genre” theme of this episode before moving on to the featured books: House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill [12:10] and Slade House by David Mitchell [44:10].

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During the course of the discussion, mention is made of the following reviews:

If you’ve skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at 1:11:25 for some possibly controversial final remarks plus more details about how you can support The Writer and the Critic via Patreon.

Next month, there will be two anthologies up for discussion:

Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

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“Mary, Mary” makes the Year’s Best

The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2016Lovely news! My short story “Mary, Mary” is going to be reprinted in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2016, edited by Paula Guran. It’s looks to be fantastic anthology this year, with a stellar line up that include some of my favourite Australian authors — Angela Slatter, Lisa L. Hannett and Kaaron Warren. I’m already slavering to read this book!

“Mary, Mary” is based on the life of Mary Wollstonecraft who was among the first avowedly feminist authors in England and who would also give birth — in tragic circumstances — to a little girl who would grow up to be Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. Both Marys were smart, fiery, passionate and utterly fascinating women but it always saddened me a little that the work of Mary Wollstonecraft has been so overshadowed by her daughter’s legacy. “Mary, Mary” is one of the best stories that I’ve written recently and was first published in Cranky Ladies of History from FableCroft Publishing. My deepest thanks to both Tehani Wessely and Tansy Rayner Roberts, my most UNcranky editors, for giving me the both the inspiration and opportunity to bring it into being. It’s not a story I would have even thought of writing without them.

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