The Writer and the Critic: Episode 3

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!

Here are the show notes:

This episode of The Writer and the Critic, Ian Mond and Kirstyn McDermott speak briefly about listener feedback, in particular Cheryl Morgan’s musings about spoilers and the lack thereof in this podcast. They summarily decide to lift the ban on spoilers to allow more open discussion of all aspects of the books they are reviewing, including … gasp … endings and plot twists! Ian promises not to put his hands over his hands and make annoying humming noises while doing so.


Ahem. Don’t say you were never warned.

They also talk about the forthcoming Twelve Planets from Twelfth Planet Press and why a series of collections featuring Australian female spec fic writers is far from being a silly gesture. (And it’s not just because Kirstyn is writing one of those collections!)

Still on the topic of gender, the soon-to-be controversial guidelines of a new horror anthology from Ticonderoga Press are thrown on the autopsy table, with much made of the request for stories with a “masculine tone”.

This month books up for discussion are The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (recommended by Ian) and The City and The City by China Mieville (Kirstyn’s choice), both joint winners of last year’s Hugo Award for Best Novel. A review by Jonathan McCalmont by The Windup Girl is possibly badly paraphrased by Ian.

The City and the City / The Windup Girl

We hope you enjoy the podcast!

Next month, The Writer and the Critic travels into the world beyond Kirstyn’s dining room to feature a special guest: Melbourne writer of all things dark and deliciously nasty, Felicity Dowker. Yes, that’s right, a travelling podcast. Hey, it’s a niche and we’re claiming it. Felicity has chosen Death Most Definite by Trent Jamieson for Ian and Kirstyn to read.

Ian’s recommended book for March is Last Days by Brian Evenson, while Kirstyn has picked White Cat by Holly Black.

And don’t forget, The Writer and the Critic has now adopted more of a book club approach to its discussion and will assume its listeners have either read the books in question or don’t care if they find out that the protagonist dies in a horrible rice threshing machine accident on the second to last page. There will almost certainly be spoilers, so you are encouraged to read the chosen titles ahead of time. It’ll be much more fun that way and Ian and Kirstyn won’t get near as many death threats!


Chronos Awards now open for nominations

The 2011 Chronos Awards for excellence in science fiction, fantasy & horror in Victoria will be presented at Continuum 7 here in Melbourne over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June. All nominated works must have been published during the 2010 calendar year by a resident of the state of Victoria.

The key dates for the 2011 Chronos Awards are:

  • Nominations Open:  Sunday 23 January 2011
  • Nominations Close:  Sunday 27 March 2011
  • Voting Opens:  Sunday 3 April 2011
  • Voting Closes:  Sunday 15 May 2011
  • Awards Announced:  Continuum 7, 10-13 June 2011 (exact date/time TBA).

Click here for more information and to lodge a nomination.

If you need a refresher on eligible works published in 2010, the Continuum Foundation wiki has provided quite a comprehensive list.

And in the Blowing My Own Shiny Trumpet department, I have the following works eligible for a nomination:

Best Long Fiction category:

  • Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott (Pan Macmillan Australia).

Best Short Fiction category:

  • “Monsters Among Us” by Kirstyn McDermott in Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears, edited by Angela Challis and Marty Young (Brimstone Press).
  • “She Said” by Kirstyn McDermott in Scenes from the Second Storey, edited by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall (Morrigan Books). [Note: this is my personal favourite of the three published last year and, I think, one of the best stories I’ve written.]
  • “We All Fall Down” by Kirstyn McDermott, Aurealis 44.

If you’ve read and enjoyed any of the above and decide to nominate them for a Chronos Award . . . well, that would be lovely. 🙂

ETA: Also eligible for nomination in the Best Fan Publication in any Medium category is The Writer and the Critic podcast which is produced by Ian Mond and myself. The first two episodes aired in 2010. If you haven’t listened to those yet, you should. We’re clever and funny and very often silly. And we love books.

Twelve Planets (and two reviews)

Twelfth Planet Press

This is something I’ve necessarily been keeping under my hat for a while, but now I am very proud to report the following update regarding the Twelve Planets series forthcoming from Twelve Planets Press:

Who Are the Twelve Planets?

Margo Lanagan, Lucy Sussex, Rosaleen Love, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Deborah Biancotti, Kaaron Warren, Cat Sparks, Sue Isle, Kirstyn McDermott, Narrelle M Harris, Thoraiya Dyer, Stephanie Campisi.

What Are the Twelve Planets?

The Twelve Planets are twelve boutique collections by some of Australia’s finest short story writers. Varied across genre and style, each collection will offer four short stories and a unique glimpse into worlds fashioned by some of our favourite storytellers. Each author has taken the brief of 4 stories and up to 40 000 words in their own direction. Some are quartet suites of linked stories. Others are tasters of the range and style of the writer. Each release will bring something unexpected to our subscriber’s mailboxes.

When Are the Twelve Planets

The Twelve Planets will spread over 2011 and 2012, with six books released between February and November each year. The first three titles will be Nightsiders by Sue Isle (March), Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts (May) and the third collection will be by Lucy Sussex (July).

How to Receive the Twelve Planets

The Twelve Planets will be available for purchase in several ways:

  • Single collections will be priced at $20/$23 International each including postage.
  • A season’s pass will offer the three collections of the season for $50/$65 International including postage and each sent out on release.
  • Full subscriptions to the series are $180/$215 International including postage and each sent out on release.

More information relating to upgrades, ebooks and distribution will be made available in due course. Please visit the Twelfth Planet Press website for more details.

In other news, two short stories of mine have garnered brief but satisfying mentions in reviews this month.

Scenes from the Second Storey (edited by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall) received a lengthy and very positive write-up on HorrorScope in which Shane Jiraiya Cummings notes:

She Said” by Kirstyn McDermott is another standout, an almost painfully personal sketch of an artist, Josh, and his girlfriend, Mallory. There are strong surrealistic touches in this story, but unlike other, more bizarre tales, “She Said” is held together with well-realised characters and an internally consistent world. As McDermott says in her afterword, this story is about “masochistic muses”. There is a thread of need pervading this story, and that neediness feels dirty, both for the characters and the reader. Darkness doesn’t get much more personal than this.

Also in Horrorscope, the anthology Macabre (edited By Angela Challis and Marty Young) is highly recommended by Tony Owens who says of my piece:

Kirstyn McDermott’s story of Melbourne goths and a nasty little secret, “Monsters Among Us”, has the virtue of sounding like the author had eavesdropped on a real group of people. The dialogue has an exciting verisimiltude that is sometimes lacking in dark fiction.

And that’s probably more than enough preening for one day! Back to the bunker, McDermott.

Writers on Rafts!

Writers on Rafts is an initiative of Queensland Writers Centre and author Rebecca Sparrow to raise money for the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal.

Enter Writers on Rafts to win fabulous prizes donated by more than 150 Australian  authors, including Kate Morton, Morris Gleitzman, Di Morrissey, Nick Earls, Tara Moss, Mem Fox, John Birmingham, Jessica Rudd, PM Newton and many more. You could win an author visit to your school or book club, or a manuscript assessment from a top literary
agent or publisher. You could be immortalised in print with a character named after you, or read your way through a stack of signed books.

Prizes are available in four categories. To enter, simply choose the categories you’d like to enter and follow the links to purchase a ticket.

Purchase as many tickets as you like, in as many categories as you want!

Every ticket is one chance to win for a lucky person in every state and territory.

Every dollar goes directly to the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal to help victims of the Queensland floods.

The QWC’s goal is to raise $20,000 through Writers On Rafts.

Writers on Rafts

More Scary Kisses

More Scary Kisses

I’m locked in the bunker trying to get my second novel finished over the next couple of months, but the release of this cover from More Scary Kisses was too beautiful not to post. Not only do I have a short story in the forthcoming anthology but so does my beloved husband, Jason Nahrung. Our first shard TOC . . . all together now: aaawww!


More Scary Kisses is edited by Liz Grzyb and will be published in April 2011 by Ticonderoga Publications, with a launch at SwanCon 29. The full Table of Contents are as follows:

Heather Albano – “The Dark Season”
Annette Backshall – “Hunting Rabbits”
Liz Coley – “Marriage of Convenience”
Dayle A. Dermatis – “Matchmaker”
Roxanne Dent – “Miss Luella’s Magic Shop”
Felicity Dowker – “Berries & Incense”
Donna Maree Hanson – “Phantom Love”
Martin Livings & Talie Helene – “The Last Gig of Jimmy Rucker”
Kirstyn McDermott – “Frostbitten”
Nicole R. Murphy – “The Protector’s Last Mission”
Jason Nahrung – “Resurrection in Red”
Amanda Pillar – “Philomena and the Blond God”
Carol Ryles – “Snake Charmer”
Fraser Sherman – “Sword of Darcy”
Eric Steele – “3am”
Frank Summers – “Dances with Werewolves”
DC White – “The Dark Night of Anton Weiss”

Right. Back to the bunker then.