The Writer and the Critic: Episode 27

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!

Bouncing back refreshed and rejuvenated from their Moving House hiatus, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond launch into an almost inevitable post-move discussion about books, hoarding books, culling books, having enough books to fill a garage and too many to ever read in one lifetime, whether any of this should possibly be seen as A Problem Which Must Be Remedied, and how digital books might save the world, or at least their storage-related sanity. Just saying.

They then, with much girding of loins, move on to tackle the two books up for discussion this month: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (beginning at 14:15) and House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (43.25). Kirstyn warns about the dangers of broken noses while Ian references this interview with David Foster Wallace by Charlie Rose.

Infinite Jest and House of Leaves

If you’ve skipped ahead to avoid spoilers, please come back at 1:25:15 for some brief final remarks.

There will be another brief break in April while Ian and his lovely Jules bring their second child into the world, but The Writer and the Critic will be back again in May. Promise! For that episode, Ian has recommended Some Kind of Fairytale by Graham Joyce, while Kirstyn has chosen Feed by M.T. Anderson. Read ahead and join in the spoilerific fun!

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And Ditmar Makes Three!

Late last night the 2013 Ditmar ballot was announced and, considering that Perfections was unexpectedly rushed into a pre-Christmas publishing date late year, I’m honestly quite surprised to see it in the Best Novel category. I wasn’t sure enough people would have had time to read, let alone nominate, it but I’m delighted that they did.

Of course, being as the Ditmars are not separated into different categories by genre, this nomination is all Perfections is likely to see — because MARGO LANAGAN and KATE FORSYTH. Honestly, Sea Hearts and Bitter Greens were two of the best books I read last year and if one — or both! a tie! a most deserved tie! — of those doesn’t take away a Ditmar, I’ll be flabbergasted to the point of hat-eating. If you’ve not read them, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice.  This is the contemporary fantasy genre at its very, very best. Just being on a short list with those two novels is a high honour indeed.

(And, oh look, there’s Jason Nahrung as well. Salvage getting another nod this time, which I tremendously proud to see. But still, you know, LANAGAN and FORSYTH.)

I’m also very happy to see The Writer and the Critic on the ballot for Best Fan Publication in Any Medium. I really love doing this podcast and, after the recent Moving House Hiatus, we’re about to get back in the saddle. A new episode has already been recorded and will be up in the next couple of days.

The full ballot for the 2013 Ditmar Awards is as follows:

Best Novel:

  • Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
  • Bitter Greens, Kate Forsyth (Random House Australia)
  • Suited (The Veiled Worlds 2), Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)
  • Salvage, Jason Nahrung (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Perfections, Kirstyn McDermott (Xoum)
  • The Corpse-Rat King, Lee Battersby (Angry Robot)

Best Novella or Novelette

  • ‘Flight 404′, Simon Petrie, in Flight 404/The Hunt for Red Leicester (Peggy Bright Books)
  • ‘Significant Dust’, Margo Lanagan, in Cracklescape (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • ‘Sky’, Kaaron Warren, in Through Splintered Walls (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Short Story

  • ‘Sanaa’s Army’, Joanne Anderton, in Bloodstones (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • ‘The Wisdom of Ants’, Thoraiya Dyer, in Clarkesworld 75
  • ‘The Bone Chime Song’, Joanne Anderton, in Light Touch Paper Stand Clear (Peggy Bright Books)
  • ‘Oracle’s Tower’, Faith Mudge, in To Spin a Darker Stair (FableCroft Publishing)

Best Collected Work

  • Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Epilogue, edited by Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Light Touch Paper Stand Clear, edited by Edwina Harvey and Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
  • Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, edited by Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011, edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)

Best Artwork

  • Cover art, Nick Stathopoulos, for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56 (ASIM Collective)
  • Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, for Midnight and Moonshine (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Illustrations, Adam Browne, for Pyrotechnicon (Coeur de Lion Publishing)
  • Cover art and illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, for To Spin a Darker Stair (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Cover art, Les Petersen, for Light Touch Paper Stand Clear (Peggy Bright Books)

Best Fan Writer

  • Alex Pierce, for body of work including reviews in Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work including reviews in Not If You Were The Last Short Story On Earth
  • Grant Watson, for body of work including the ‘Who50′ series in The Angriest
  • Sean Wright, for body of work including reviews in Adventures of a Bookonaut

Best Fan Artist

  • Kathleen Jennings, for body of work including The Dalek Game and The Tamsyn Webb Sketchbook

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Alex Pierce
  • Antipodean SF, Ion Newcombe
  • The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Snapshot 2012, Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung et. al.
  • Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, Alisa Krasnostein, Tehani Wessely, et. al.
  • Galactic Chat, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Sean Wright

Best New Talent

  • David McDonald
  • Faith Mudge
  • Steve Cameron
  • Stacey Larner

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, and Tehani Wessely, for review of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh, in ASIF
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for ‘Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy. Let’s Unpack That.’, in tor.com
  • David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely, for the ‘New Who in Conversation’ series
  • Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, for ‘The Year in Review’, in The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011
  • Rjurik Davidson, for ‘An Illusion in the Game for Survival’, a review of Reamde by Neal Stephenson, in The Age

The official Ditmar ballot paper, including postal address information, may be downloaded as a PDF format file.

Once voting opens, votes will be accepted via email to: ditmars@sf.org.au

However, if possible, please vote online at ditmars.sf.org.au/2013

Postal ballots will be distributed in the near future.

Voting for the Ditmar Award is conducted in accordance with the rules specified at http://wiki.sf.org.au/Ditmar_rules, and is open to members of Conflux 9 (including supporting members) and to members of Continuum 8 who were eligible to vote in the 2011 Award. Voting in all award categories is by the optional preferential system, and each eligible individual may vote only once. All ballots (including emailed ballots) should include the name and address of the voter. If you have questions regarding the ballot or voting procedure, please email: ditmars@sf.org.au.

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Australian Shadows Award 2012 Finalists

AHWASo I go off to Melbourne for a weekend of D&D and podcasting and while I’m away the finalists for the Australian Shadows Award are announced. Most wonderfully, Perfections managed to land a berth in the Novel category — up against Lee Battersby and some guy name Nahrung. Yep, me and Jason, together again on an awards short list. This could get interesting …

Congratulations to one and all, but especially to the remarkable Kaaron Warren who managed an impressive five finalist spots — one for her Twelve Planets collection, Through Splintered Walls, and one for each of the four stories contained within it. Very well deserved!

The Australian Shadows Award will be announced on 12 April and the full short list is as follows:

NOVEL:

  • Lee Battersby, The Corpse Rat King (Angry Robot)
  • Kirstyn McDermott, Perfections (Xoum)
  • Jason Nahrung, Blood and Dust (Xoum)

LONG FICTION:

  • Daniel I Russell, “Critique” (Dark Continents)
  • Robert Hood, “Escena de un Asesinato” (Exotic Gothic 4, PS Publishing)
  • Kaaron Warren, “Sky” (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)

SHORT FICTION:

  • Felicity Dowker, “To Wish on a Clockwork Heart” (Bread and Circuses, Ticonderoga Publications)Jason Fischer, Pigroot Flat (Midnight Echo 8, AHWA)
  • Martin Livings, “Birthday Suit” (Living with the Dead, Dark Prints Press)
  • Andrew J McKiernan, “They Don’t Know that We Know What They Know” (Midnight Echo 8, AHWA)
  • Kaaron Warren, “Creek” (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Kaaron Warren, “Mountain” (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Kaaron Warren, “Road” (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Marty Young, “A Monstrous Touch” (Dangers Untold, Alliteration Ink)

COLLECTION:

  • Felicity Dowker, Bread and Circuses (Ticonderoga)
  • Martin Livings, Living With the Dead (Dark Prints Press)
  • Kaaron Warren, Through Splintered Walls (Twelfth Planet Press)

EDITED PUBLICATION:

  • Cthulu Unbound 3, eds David Conyers and Brian M Sammons (Permuted Press)
  • Surviving the End, ed Craig Bezant (Dark Prints Press)
  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2011, eds. Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)

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Aurealis Awards Finalists Announced

Aurealis AwardsThe Aurealis Awards finalists for 2012 were announced overnight and I’m so happy and honoured to discover that my second book, Perfections, is in the running for Best Horror Novel.* As are two works by my very own, very clever husband, Jason NahrungBlood and Dust and Salvage. Rounding out the long form horror category is Bloody Waters by Melbourne author, artist and graphic novelist, Jason Franks. Yep, it’s  me against All The Jasons.

The Aurealis list as a whole is actually one of the best I’ve seen in a while, with many works I’ve already read and loved making the cut, as well as others which continue to glare balefully at me from the To Be Read shelf. And, of course, there’s a whole bunch more I really want to get my hands on now, which goes to show the power of an award nomination. Interestingly, it’s also a very well-rounded list in terms of the market — there are inclusions from big publishers, small/boutique presses and digital publishers/imprints, as well as several self-published works, with publication originating both within Australia and overseas. All in all, it’s tremendously heartening to see such depth and scope being enjoyed by Australian speculative fiction.

The winners of the Aurealis Awards will be announced at ceremony hosted by SpecFaction in North Sydney on 18 May. Tickets are available at an early bird price of $30 until 31 March, after which the price goes up to $35. It will be a wonderful night, with much carousing and celebrating and catching up to be done. Please come along if you can, even if you’ve never been before and don’t know anyone. We’re a friendly and welcoming bunch, I promise!

Congratulations to all the 2012 Aurealis Award finalists:

FANTASY NOVEL

  • Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth (Random House Australia)
  • Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (Tor UK)
  • Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
  • Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier (HarperVoyager)

FANTASY SHORT STORY

  • ‘Sanaa’s Army’ by Joanne Anderton (Bloodstones, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • ‘The Stone Witch’ by Isobelle Carmody (Under My Hat, Random House)
  • ‘First They Came’ by Deborah Kalin (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 55)
  • ‘Bajazzle’ by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • ‘The Isles of the Sun’ by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)

SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • Suited by Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)
  • The Last City by Nina D’Aleo (Momentum)
  • And All The Stars by Andrea K Host (self-published)
  • The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina (Walker Books)
  • Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (Harper Collins)

SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

  • ‘Visitors’ by James Bradley (Review of Australian Fiction)
  • ‘Significant Dust’ by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • ‘Beyond Winter’s Shadow’ by Greg Mellor (Wild Chrome, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • ‘The Trouble with Memes’ by Greg Mellor (Wild Chrome, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • ‘The Lighthouse Keepers’ Club’ by Kaaron Warren (Exotic Gothic 4, PS Publishing)

HORROR NOVEL

  • Bloody Waters by Jason Franks (Possible Press)
  • Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott (Xoum)
  • Blood and Dust by Jason Nahrung (Xoum)
  • Salvage by Jason Nahrung (Twelfth Planet Press)

HORROR SHORT STORY

  • ‘Sanaa’s Army’ by Joanne Anderton (Bloodstones, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • ‘Elyora’ by Jodi Cleghorn (Rabbit Hole Special Issue, Review of Australian Fiction)
  • ‘To Wish Upon a Clockwork Heart’ by Felicity Dowker (Bread and Circuses, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • ‘Escena de un Asesinato’ by Robert Hood (Exotic Gothic 4, PS Publishing)
  • ‘Sky’ by Kaaron Warren (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)

YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

  • Dead, Actually by Kaz Delaney (Allen & Unwin)
  • And All The Stars by Andrea K. Host (self-published)
  • The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Amberlin Kwaymullina (Walker Books)
  • Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
  • Into That Forest by Louis Nowra (Allen & Unwin)

YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

  • ‘Stilled Lifes x 11’ by Justin D’Ath (Trust Me Too, Ford Street Publishing)
  • ‘The Wisdom of the Ants’ by Thoraiya Dyer (Clarkesworld)
  • ‘Rats’ by Jack Heath (Trust Me Too, Ford Street Publishing)
  • ‘The Statues of Melbourne’ by Jack Nicholls (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56)
  • ‘The Worry Man’ by Adrienne Tam (self-published)

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)

  • Brotherband: The Hunters by John Flanagan (Random House Australia)
  • Princess Betony and the Unicorn by Pamela Freeman (Walker Books)
  • The Silver Door by Emily Rodda (Scholastic)
  • Irina the Wolf Queen by Leah Swann (Xoum Publishing)

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)

  • Little Elephants by Graeme Base (author and illustrator) (Viking Penguin)
  • The Boy Who Grew Into a Tree by Gary Crew (author) and Ross Watkins (illustrator) (Penguin Group Australia)
  • In the Beech Forest by Gary Crew (author) and Den Scheer (illustrator) (Ford Street Publishing)
  • Inside the World of Tom Roberts by Mark Wilson (author and illustrator) (Lothian Children’s Books)

ILLUSTRATED BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • Blue by Pat Grant (author and illustrator) (Top Shelf Comix)
  • It Shines and Shakes and Laughs by Tim Molloy (author and illustrator) (Milk Shadow Books)
  • Changing Ways #2 by Justin Randall (author and illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)

ANTHOLOGY

  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011 edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Bloodstones edited by Amanda Pillar (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 6 edited by Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade Books)
  • Under My Hat edited by Jonathan Strahan (Random House)
  • Edge of Infinity edited by Jonathan Strahan (Solaris Books)

COLLECTION

  • That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote by K. J. Bishop (self-published)
  • Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody (Allen & Unwin)
  • Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Living With the Dead by Martin Livings (Dark Prints Press)
  • Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren (Twelfth Planet Press)

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* Why yes, it appears that it does take an award nomination to rouse me from my post-relocation avoidance of the internet. I’ll try to be a bit more active around these parts from now on, but as I have a fairly gruelling — if mostly self-imposed — workload this year, I’m not making any promises!

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