Apr 30, 2012

Grant Watson seeking contributors for Doubleplusgood

 

unclesam (2)Grant Watson, award-winning Australian playwright, science fiction critic and co-host of Bad Film Diaries.  Wants you in all your slavering fan glory.

He’s compiling a fanzine and he wants you to contribute.  Think not of what you could do for doubleplusgood but …hey… um you get the picture.

Here’s the lowdown:

 

In the next month or two I will launch an all-new fanzine (fan magazine, like a real magazine only with more enthusiasm and none of us get paid), Doubleplusgood. It's a general fanzine of science fiction, fantasy and horror, whether in books, comics, films, television dramas, theatre, board and videogames - there is quite simply not a medium I am not interested in covering in this 'zine.

Doubleplusgood will be available online as a free PDF, and also in print at a small price simply to cover the cost of printing and postage.

I'm looking for contributions. So if you would like to send me something for publication…[read on]


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20% Off–Bread and Circuses by Felicity Dowker

bread-and-circuses-webTiconderoga Press has announced that eager readers can pre-order Felicity Dowker’s Bread and Circuses from Indie Books Online.

Bread and Circuses is Felicity’s debut collection. The Writer and The Critic did an interview with Felicity in which talk of this collection came up. The interview can be found here.

Felicity won the 2009 Ditmar for Best New Talent and has been an Aurealis and Australian Shadows Award finalist.

Felicity is contributing editor to the excellent Dark Fantasy weblog Thirteen O’Clock.

It’s wonderful to see Bread and Circuses nearing publication.  Congrats to Russell and Felicity.

The link for pre-order is here.


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Apr 29, 2012

Book Review–The Return Man by V.M. Zito

rtm

The Return Man is V.M.Zito’s debut novel.  It’s a curious, entertaining mix of zombie apocalyptic fiction and military thriller.

The story

A contagion  has rendered half the US a dead zone where zombies roam free.

Our protagonist Henry Marco is the Return Man. He’s paid by relatives or friends of the “zombified”, living in the safe states of the US, to “return” them or kill their zombie form.

Zombies retain some memory of their previous lives, “emotional geography” Marco calls it and it enables him to track zombies with a few clues about their former lives.

So Marco kills the dead, “again” and collects personal affects to send to the relatives as proof of job done.  His brother in law runs the operation from safe side while Marco also searches for the one zombie he can’t locate, his wife.

The catalyst for the book’s plot is the discovery by politicians in the Safe States, that there was a scientist working on a cure for the contagion.  Unfortunately he was working at a medical corrections facility in the heart of zombie territory.  Marco is the man chosen to lead a special forces team into the facility and retrieve what information they can, written or biological. 

Of course,  all is not what it seems.

Fresh Zombies

Zombies are effectively mainstream; possibly not as mainstream as Vampires, but they are no longer just the fare of B grade horror theatres or cult followings.  That V.M. Zito has given us a fresh story and a compelling take on the zombie says something about his skill. It will be interesting to see what he tackles next.

I like that he’s chosen to go with the slow zombie, rather than the steroid infused super zombies that are featured in the Resident Evil franchise.  To me, a slow and relentless walking dead is far more horrific and helps set the tone of the book.  Marco is a survivor, but he’s being stretched thin, he can out run and outthink his zombie adversaries but he’s just one man and the dead are relentless.

The Return Man is equal parts gruesome zombie horror and thriller.  As soon as we have a good grounding in who Marco is and what his life entails, the book sets off at a blistering pace, never giving the reader a chance to catch their breath.  There are plenty of explosions and gruesome scenes that would delight a movie art department.

It finishes with some nice and unexpected twists at the end, some good misdirection on Zito’s behalf.

The only issue I had was with some of Zito’s characterisation, and then it was only some of the supporting cast.  The most army sergeant who assists Marco, Ken Wu, struck me as a little two dimensional, a little stereotypical but not enough to disrupt my enjoyment.

Oh and if your looking for strong female characters, you’d best look elsewhere, this is a boys own adventure.

Staggering relentlessly to a movie screen near you.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a version of The Return Man on the big screen. It has the right balance of horror and action.  It  appeals to the sense that American is in decline, once again an underdog.  It’s a tale of the individual against the many, dead or alive.

If you like intelligent Zombie fiction, of the 28 Days Later variety I think you’ll enjoy The Return Man.

This book was provided to me by the publisher at no cost.


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Ridley Scott talking and the creative process

Hat Tip to Neil Lindley for this interview

It’s fascinating to hear Scott talk about his creative process, storyboarding the days shots, while he’s being driven to the set. He wanders off question a bit but still worth a watch.


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Cover Candy–Epilogue from FableCroft

Epilogue-Cover-195x300

To the left is the cover of FableCroft’s Epilogue.  The artist is the amazing Amanda Rainey,

What’s Epilogue?

Editor Tehani Wessely put out a call for submissions last year on the following idea:

The world is ending: climate change, natural disaster, war and disease threaten to destroy all we know. Predictions of the future are bleak. But does the apocalypse really mean the end of the world? Is there no hope for a future that follows?

FableCroft Publishing is seeking speculative fiction stories on the theme “Apocalypse Hope”. The stories must in some way address the idea that after the apocalypse (whatever and wherever in your universe that might be), there is a future for the peoples who survive it. The rest is up to your imagination.

After the Apocalypse would have been a really cool title but unfortunately it had already been snagged by another author.  Tehani commenced a media campaign to name the book and “Epilogue” was the result.

Who’s in it?

The table of contents can be found here.

But just to throw some names in the air:

Joanne Anderton, Steve Cameron,Thoraiya Dyer, Dirk Flinthart, Jason Nahrung and Tansy Rayner Roberts

Pre-Order special:

The book will be released at Continuum 8, but you can get a couple of dollars off the price here.


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Get in quick - E-Book Giveaway

Viral-Anomaly

Australian author Jason Fischer is giving away 10 packs of the Viral Series above.  So if you go and ask him nicely here he will give you one pack- the entire novella series (4 novellas) in epub format. But be quick.

The conditions: You have to get in quick and he would really appreciate it if  you would rate or write a review if you are so inclined.

If you feel like paying, the kindle versions are available at half price.  You can find links to the books here

What’s Viral?

Four linked novella’s by Steven Saville and an invited author (Jason’s one of these).  Checkout the individual blurbs for each of the books here.


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Galactic Suburbia Episode 58

galsubjokeIn this Episode the Galactic Suburbanites Hugo & Ditmar nominated Galactic Suburbanites cover the Ditmar shortlist which features quite a lot of Tansy in both the Professional and Fan Categories.  Indeed this year’s Ditmars feature projects by all three of the show’s hosts.

There’s also mention of Deb Biancotti making the Shirley Jackson shortlist for a work that’s being considered for both a Ditmar and an Aurealis award.  It’s always good to see different awards structures come to the same conclusion.

There was also a good discussion on writers or creatives changing direction or mediums and how they can be damned if the do and damned if they don’t.  Case in point Stephenie Meyer who’d be labelled as a one trick pony if she stayed writing vampire fiction and labelled as a failure when she moves into making movies.

As always, worth a listen.

As always you can download here (about 30 mb) or stream from the thingywhatsit below

 
And welcome to those new readers that have started following the blog via the widget.

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Apr 28, 2012

I will be discussing the Ditmar shortlist

but not today.  Some may have wondered if  my relative silence was as a result of a head injury after the fainting fit induced by being nominated for 2 Ditmars, it was thankfully not the case.  Though I did have a rather sleepless night which wasn’t  good considering Friday was my first day back at work.

But work is good, work means the likelihood of getting to Continuum 8 is greater.  So expect some sporadic quietness around these parts as I jump upon any paying work.

I do intend to do a post on each of the Ditmar Categories in the lead up to the event.  There’s some great people and product in that list and I have read a great deal of them in the past year, so feel invested in the awards already.  So tomorrow or the next day.

I am celebrating my wife's 39 and 12 months birthday this weekend which will also take up much of my time.

But before I go check out Trent Jamieson’s release details for the sequel to Roil(sadly not on the list despite my nominating efforts).

Trent Jamison talks Night’s Engines

NightsEngines-144dpi-198x300The Nightbound Land has been with me since around 1999 and since then I’ve been married, moved house several times, changed jobs, sold short stories and, eventually, novels. It’s one of those projects that I should have perhaps let go long before it sold, but I never could.

I’ve learnt almost everything I know about writing books by writing these. And, to be honest, delivering Night’s Engines put me in a bit of a spin at the end of 2011. There’s so many books I want to write, so many different things that I am working on, but when I delivered that book – my fifth in two years – it really felt like I’d pulled a big chunk of my heart out of my chest and dropped it on my desk. To say it was hard to get going on things again is an understatement. Which isn’t to say that I haven’t been writing, but there’s been a rather large element of aimlessness to it.

Read On….

Oh and expect a review of The Return Man by V.M. Zito and Westwood’s, The Courier's New Bicycle in the coming week.


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Apr 26, 2012

Ditmar Awards Ballot 2012 released

Hot off the presses:

The Ditmar subcommittee are pleased to announce the ballot for the Australian SF (“Ditmar”) Award for 2012. Voting is now open, and will remain open for at least 30 days.

The 2012 ballot is as follows:

Best Novel
* The Shattered City (Creature Court 2), Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperCollins)
* Burn Bright, Marianne de Pierres (Random House Australia)
* Mistification, Kaaron Warren (Angry Robot Books)
* The Courier’s New Bicycle, Kim Westwood (HarperCollins)
* Debris (The Veiled Worlds 1), Jo Anderton (Angry Robot Books)

Best Novella or Novelette
* “The Sleeping and the Dead”, Cat Sparks, in Ishtar (Gilgamesh Press)
* “Above”, Stephanie Campisi, in Above/Below (Twelfth Planet Press)
* “The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt”, Paul Haines, in The Last Days of Kali Yuga(Brimstone Press)
* “And the Dead Shall Outnumber the Living”, Deborah Biancotti, in Ishtar (Gilgamesh Press)
* “Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Love and Romanpunk (Twelfth Planet Press)
* “Below”, Ben Peek, in Above/Below (Twelfth Planet Press)

[Read More]

Thanks to the hard working team of volunteers that had to count up nominations.  I will be commenting on the field of nominees tomorrow.


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Apr 25, 2012

eBook Review–Them by Adrian Deans

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Them, published by Really Blue Books, is Adrian Deans second published novel.  It’s the story of Rob Lasetter, the fictional descendant of the very real historical figure of Harold Bell Lasseter.

The Marketing Copy

Rob Lasseter is the great grandson of a legendary explorer. His prized possession is an old parchment, which is thought to be a map showing the location of the fabulous reef of gold. Unfortunately, however, there are no points of external reference on the map. The only words are ‘You are here’, next to an X, but Lasseter doesn’t know where X is – he doesn’t know where to start looking.

Inspired by the strange disappearance of the White Haired girl, and the receipt of a letter addressed in his own handwriting from a place he had never been, Lasseter (with his friend Miles, who claims to be dead) embarks upon an odyssey into the centre of Australia and has some very strange adventures. Lasseter thinks he is looking for gold, but instead he finds something far more interesting. An Australian story of pan-cosmic enormity.

I don’t know how I feel about Them.  Parts of it had me laughing when I shouldn’t have been, other parts had me cringing. At all times, though, I was faintly aware that I might be missing some point that Adrian was hinting at; that he was being very clever and I was missing the signposts. Then again maybe it was the nature of the novel where realities and characters alter at different points.

There was misogyny from the main character early on which didn’t endear me:

Things were going pretty well for Lauren and me. We’d been living together for nearly a year and were to be married in the spring. We were 100% fully compatible, with much more in common than the average couple. We both like sex and too much wine. She even likes football, and, for a woman, is blessed with uncommon wit.

imageBut I was willing to keep reading, plenty of good books with absolute dicks as the protagonist.  The description of office politics was interesting as well and again I wasn’t entirely sure if Deans was being playful, I am sure that there will be guys that will read about the “Lesbian Network” and nod in agreement. What I am not sure whether Deans is having a go or playing with the reader.

I did enjoy the pop culture references and the digs at Tolkien.

As realities alter and Lasseter travels to more simplified realities, more stark in their conflicts, we have some veiled commentary on the city and country divide.

“We call it The Cause. It’s a war against the Eggheads ‒ the fuckin’ smartarses in Sydney and Melbourne who reckon they’re born to rule!”

I must have looked confused because she attempted to clarify.

“The Eggheads tried to tell us that their votes were worth more than our votes coz they had fuckin’ degrees an’ shit. Doesn’t mean they know how to run a fuckin’ cuntry!”

All well and good, and I enjoyed the poems of Darian Sande (with apologies to Banjo Paterson I'm sure).  Being dragged off to a Feminazi internment camp called OZschwitz though had me cringing.   Was Deans taking things to an extreme, to point out the ridiculous nature of extremes .  Having fun with the reader?  Leading the reader or just telling a story?

It’s a reality hopping ride that could be about the nature of reality, a quest novel, or just about Rob Lasseter getting the life he wanted.  It’s well written, but not a book that I could give to friends without some reservations and not one that I am entirely sure that I have understood. 

I can say it’s different and if you want to stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone give it a crack.

This book was provided at no cost to myself by the publisher


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Mid week reflections

 

Lest We Forget

Today is ANZAC day in Australia and New Zealand our specific day of remembrance where we honour the fallen and reflect on the stupidity of war, and perhaps the fact the generation after generation we never seem to learn that politicians and profiteering assholes have managed to refine manipulation of one’s nationalism to their own ends. 

It struck me this morning that Australia is still engaged in a war to liberate Afghanistan and yet we lock Afghani refugees up in internment camps.  Why? Because we are suspicious of the Other?  We see them as queue jumpers in a non existent queue?  Because we see them as bludging off our welfare? 

It also strikes me as ironic, that many of the people I have met that criticise refugees, are recipients of middle class welfare that successive governments hand out to keep the voters happy. 

What really annoys me is that there doesn’t appear to be any historical evidence to back up these fears, quite the contrary, there appears to be ample evidence that refugees and immigrants to this country go above and beyond, often in the face of hostility to make Australia a better place.  No, what history does reveal is that when faced by the Other we are suspicious, fearful and treat them like shit.

Consider this research by  Dr June Factor, for an upcoming book called Forgotten Soldiers.

Honour the fallen, celebrate the living, learn from history.

Historical Segue

This wonderful post by Daniel Abraham says almost everything I want to say about the “historical defence” proffered when Epic Fantasy is criticised for its racism or sexism.

The “but that’s the way it was back then” defence that is used by people whose understanding of history is more informed by the reading of epic fantasy or their emersion in fantasy roleplaying games than actual historical reading and or research.

Go read it

A bludging segue

The comments surrounding the axing of the Premiers Literary Awards in Queensland that I mentioned awhile back still get under my skin.  The whole writers living off hand outs and needing to get a real job (all this coming from aforementioned recipients of middleclass welfare) crap.

So I decided to raise Myke Cole as an example of a writer, who’s life story will fuck everyone of those bludging writer myths and misconceptions sideways put this anti intellectual rubbish in its place.  Myke’s enjoying some success with his writing, and pursuing writing as his focus.  He’s American but I am sure I could name at least 10 authors off the top of my head who are successful, but still need to work other jobs or be supported by a significant other or live on the poverty line, living in Australia.

After reading One Year In, I reflect on how lucky I am that I live in a safe place, surviving on casual work that allows me to write at my leisure.


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Cover Candy - Shine Light by Marianne de Pierres

The third in the Night Creatures series (Burn Bright, Angel Arias).  Its marketed as young adult, but having read Burn Bright I tend to think that it transcends marketing categorisation.

There’s interesting sci-fi, dystopic, social commentary elements to the series that should interest any fan of speculative fiction.

And of course its written by Marianne de Pierres who I find brings a special something to every genre she decides to explore.

 


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Apr 23, 2012

NAFF Race results 2012 iz in

imagesThe results are in and I ran second.

Congratulations to John and Sarah Parker who will be attending NatCon/Continuum 8 as NAFF delegates.

I would like to thank Sue Ann Barber for administering the race and any other committee or sub committee members involved, volunteering is often a thankless or under appreciated aspect of major events.

I would also dearly love to thank Tansy, Alex and Alisa who nominated me and spruiked me.  Being so highly thought of by these three wonderful women brings a tear to my eye.

I would love to thank those that chipped in and voted.  I know who some of you are, but not all. 

I feel somewhat invested in the process and the event and so I will doing my darnedest to attend, with the intention of doing everything I said I would as a NAFF delegate.  It will depend on what work I can obtain but fingers crossed.


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Seeing different frontiers

Joyce Chng has written an interesting post on being A straddler between worlds that deserves your attention. 

It’s an interesting look at how writers from post colonial societies are expected to act, and what they are expected to write about to be accepted by the literary scene both at home and abroad.

To quote another article she links to in her post:

Let’s start with my last name. It immediately signifies that I am not white. I am ethnic Chinese, my forebears immigrants from China. So, am I supposed to write literary fiction about tumultuous struggles out of Communist China or craft a tale about mother-daughter relationships ala Joy Luck Club? I write speculative fiction—genre fiction isn’t well received by local publishers. I can’t force myself to write literary fiction. It isn’t me.

When you think Genre might not be respected in Australia by the wider literary scene, spare a thought for our northern cousins.

She also signal boosts a peerbacker project called We See a Different Frontier a special issue/anthology of colonialism-themed speculative fiction from outside the first-world viewpoint, co-edited by Fabio Fernandes and published by The Future Fire.

Worth checking out and perhaps pitching in.


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Housekeeping - Small Press Publisher added

dragonJust some house keeping to let my readers know that I have added another Small Press listing to my page.

This addition comes from the West.

Dragonfall Press are another small book publisher based in Perth, Western Australia, specialising in fantasy and science fiction.

They aim to discover and promote Australian and New Zealand authors. Commencing in 2010, they hope to release four or five books a year.

The sell hardcopy and ebook versions on their site and through external outlets like Amazon and Smashwords


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Apr 22, 2012

End of the week reading

This post was going to be titled Sunday morning reads, but well that horse bolted.  No, despite not having done to much these holidays they have flown by astonishingly fast.

Well I did start a second manuscript but it seems no matter how hard I have tried, my reading and blogging has dropped off.  Below are some links that I should have posted earlier:

 

GenreCon is go

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Co-ordinated by Peter M Ball and backed by the Australian Writers Marketplace - 

GenreCon is a three-day convention for Australian fans and professionals working within the fields of romance, mystery, science fiction, crime, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and more.

One part party, one part celebration, one part professional development: GenreCon is the place to be if you’re an aspiring or established writer with a penchant for the types of fiction that get relegated to their own corner of the bookstore.

It will run from the 2nd to 4th of November in Parramatta, NSW.

International guests include best-selling fantasy author Joe Abercrombie, literary agent Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown New York, and co-founder of romance review site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Sarah Wendell.

Check out details here

Antipodean Epub

antiThe Antipodean Speculative Fiction (AntiSF )site has produced an epub version of their latest issue, which is great new for us who don’t like reading on the laptop or who aren’t connected 24/7

You can grab the issue here.  I note it has been converted be regular commenter to this blog – Mark Webb.

 

Pathways to Publication

wlfAll you lucky Victorians will have a chance to see and listen to podcaster and  Dark Fantasy/ Horror author Kirstyn McDermott when she appears at the Williamstown Literary Festival at 2pm on Saturday 5 May, 2012, as part of the “Pathways to Publication” panel.

You can download the festival program guide here


Final day for NAFF sponsorship

I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference

Apr 21, 2012

The Writer & The Critic Episode 18

Ah, the Kirstyn and Mondy show.  I could listen to these two talk about gardening1 and I would be happy, such is their rapport. 

This episode starts with some interesting gender discussions prompted by listener Mark Webb.  Mondy plays the unwitting male perfectly 2 ,asking those questions that some male listeners may be thinking but are too afraid to ask, for fear of looking stupid.

The discussion proper is on

morgenstern_effinger

You can download here or stream  below:


1. Not a big fan, like vegetable gardening but hate mowing lawns

2.Taking one for the team


Only one more day of me hassling you for funding

I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference.

Apr 20, 2012

Galactic Chat interviews Kate Forsyth

GCLogoThe latest Galactic Chat is up featuring the wonderful Kate Forsyth.  Below are the show notes:

Sean interviews best selling and award-winning author of more than twenty books, Kate Forsyth,. They discuss Kate's latest book Bitter Greens - a wonderful book mixing the historical with the fantastic.  A retelling of the Rapunzel story, Bitter Greens gives life to the memory of Charlotte-rose de la Force, Rapunzel's original author, who has until now been largely lost to history.  The discussion also covers the sanitizing of fairy tales for modern audiences and the resurgence of the original darker tales.

Kate can be found at her website and sometimes on Twitter.

You can download the show here or stream from the embedded player below.

 

 

And while you are at it, why not check out the rest of the Galactic Chat range coming to you at the very reasonable price of nothing but our blood sweat and tears.

 


Only 2 days of my relentless panhandling left

I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference


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Apr 19, 2012

Guest Posting– Me at Australian Women Writers

Elizabeth Lhuede was kind enough to asking me to contribute to a guest post over at the Australian Women Writers blog.  I am one of the small handful of male authors/bloggers participating in the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012 and Elizabeth wanted a male participants perspective.

So head on over to Australian Women Writers and check out my words of wisdom:

One of the first male book bloggers to sign up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge was Sean Wright, well known as @SeanDBlogonaut on Twitter, and author of the blog Adventures of a Bookonaut. Sean kindly agreed to discuss why he signed up, his experience of gender bias and his journey with the challenge so far.

Sean Wright:

I am really enjoying being involved in the Australian Women’s Writing Challenge this year and appreciate the chance to speak to others interested in the challenge.  I’ll discuss why I chose to join the challenge and what I have observed about women writing in Australian speculative fiction that might be different to men.

Why did I decide to enter?

It was a culmination of things.  Last year I began listening to the wonderful feminist podcast Galactic Suburbia, three women, each with a unique place in the speculative fiction landscape - Alisa Krasnostein, a small press publisher from Western Australia, Tansy Rayner Roberts, an author from Tasmania and Alexandra Pierce, a reviewer from Victoria. 

Their approach to promoting feminism (indirect and conversational) got me thinking about my own reading and resulted in me completing a…[read more]

And if you’re a bloke who reads Australian speculative fiction I challenge you to participate, rewarding the authors you love with a review here and there and countering gender bias at the same time.


Only 4 days left

I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference.


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Apr 18, 2012

Steampunk from Bethesda

or as they like to call it Neo Victorian.

It’s described as a first person stealth action game.

The Setting

The game is set in a world that blends both the past, future, and things in-between, of our reality. Nobles ride in carriages, masses of man-eating rats lurk in the dark gutters, the sound of automated factories can be heard in the distance, and towering war-machines prowl the cobbled streets.

The economy of the world, which is going well into its industrial age, is booming with the success of a useful, multipurpose fuel: Whale oil. Locations include the desolate Isles, the mighty Pandyssian Continent, and the city of Dunwall. [source]

But hey if that description doesn’t get your cogs spinning check out the cinematic trailer below.

H/T to Alan Baxter


I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference


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Apr 17, 2012

Fass +Prometheus

I must admit I am both excited and a little unnerved by this viral short for the new Prometheus movie.  For those of you who don’t know Prometheus is like a prequel to the Alien franchise.

Fassbender plays David 8 the latest Weyland Android. Unlike Guy Pierce he’s actually in the movie (Fassbender) it’s a bit of marketing genius for the main show don’t you think?


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Cover Candy - Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren

 

Amanda Rainey has done another fantastic job on this Twelve Planets book cover. 

It’s a little while till we get it (the book), but seeing the cover and having encountered Warren’s work before I think its an excellent choice.

TPP has released the back cover blurb:

Country road, city street, mountain, creek.
These are stories inspired by the beauty, the danger, the cruelty, emptiness, loneliness and perfection of the Australian landscape.

Canadian Horror writer Gemma Files gave it this intro:

Every Warren story is a trip with no map… If you are bent on opening this book, therefore, remember: Keep your eyes open, accept all of what it has to offer without qualm, and beware the only thing I can promise you is that you will be taken where you may not want to go.

For Kaaron Warren, while many things, is very much not your Mum; she owes you nothing except the words on the page, this open door into four very different someplaces else through which she will escort you, then take her leave, without a single glance back. And it will be entirely contingent on you to get yourself back out.

The book will be launched  at Continuum in early June, which segues nicely into my panhandling on the NAFF race:

I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference.


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Shooting the Poo - Episode 13

batman-bw-millerDon’t let the name fool you this podcast is actually filled with some pretty detailed analysis of comic book history and in particular Frank Miller and Mark Millar.

  Ian Mond plays the wide eyed noob asking all the silly questions that Neckbeards would scoff at, while Dave and Mitch demonstrate that they have been reading comics for far too long are erudite scholars of the Graphic novel format.

Warning the do drop the F bomb regularly and aren’t averse to using the C word.

Episode 13


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Apr 16, 2012

Introducing Scape

Light-BannerScape is a free e-zine of YA speculative fiction.  A resource for both readers and writers of young adult Specfic. It’s been active since April 2011 with three issues produced so far.

The publication team is made up of experienced volunteers and as of 2012 they pay semi-professional rates for fiction.

Issue 3 features 2 poems from the talented Ken Liu and 4 shorts stories from other contributors.  The website also houses a blog that includes reviews and interviews.

Ian Mond who alerted me to this wonderful source for developing young fans of the genre, remarked how good the website looks.  I have to agree, its slick and professional and above all streamlined.

But hey you can check it out for yourself.


I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference.


Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to read more? You can subscribe to the blog through a reader,by Email or Follow me on twitter.

Apr 15, 2012

Voting & Nominating

 

We the people

unclesam (1)You may have noticed that there’s a nifty little  badge in the boxes on the right hand side of the blog.  I am entered in the Sydney Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blog 2012 Competition.  My atrocious spellen and gramma should prevent me from winning the judged section. 

All is not lost, however, as they have a people’s choice section which you may vote in if you so choose. So if you are doing nothing this morning knock yerself out.


Ditmars

churchsignIn other nominating news; today is the last day that you can nominate peeps for the Ditmars. 

The list of eligibles is here.  The nominations forms are here

It’s participation that makes the awards worthwhile.  So get your nominatin’ on.

 


Obligatory NAFF Begging

I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference.

Apr 14, 2012

Ditmar Eligibles–How I got my boyfriend to read comics.

>>>Transmission Interrupted<<<

Ditmar Nomination Closure Warning

Just a post to let you know that if you intended to nominate any of the folks on this fine list here.  Then tomorrow is your last chance.  Well you have till 11.59pm.

Nomination forms can be found here

>>> resuming normal bloggage<<<

I am partial to the odd comic now and again as I may have mentioned.  So I offer up for your perusal

How I got my boyfriend to read comics.

how-i-got-my-boyfriend-to-read-comicsProducing approximately 11 issues last year this podcast is the brainchild of Zoe who along partner Chris viciously dissect the comics world. Yes that’s right women read and enjoy comics.

Even if you’re not into comics it might be worth a try.

You can find the blog and links to mp3’s here.

 


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Ditmar nomination period closes tomorrow

Just a post to let you know that if you intended to nominate any of the folks on this fine list here.  Then tomorrow is your last chance.  Well you have till 11.59pm.

Nomination forms can be found here

I did want to cover some more fan sites that are eligible for nomination but time has got away from me.

Still I will try and sneak in a couple, and if you a reading this after the nomination period closes well at least you will have discovered some more fan produced material.

Eclecticism e-zine

I offer you the Eclectism e-zine, a free quarterly publication of Horror and Dark Fantasy.  Craig Bezant, the editor has the issues loaded on to the Issu service which makes reading this pdf online a fairly pleasant process.  The production quality is professional as you will see.

 


Thankfully you can still sponsor me for NAFF

I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference.


Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to read more? You can subscribe to the blog through a reader,by Email or Follow me on twitter.

Apr 12, 2012

Episode 57 of the Hugo Award Nominated Galactic Suburbia

 

galsubjoke

Another episode full of crunchy goodness but now with added Hugo.  In this episode Tansy, Alisa and Alex squee over their Hugo nomination. Which is then followed by discussion of the other Hugo nominations.

Then it’s on to the Hunger Games and the inherent unfairness of how the movie is ‘make it or break it’ for films with female protagonists that don’t get their tops off, but any number of movie flops with male protagonists is alright.

The purge of literary awards by Chairman "’Can do anything he wants because Queensland's only got one house of parliament” Campbell gets a mention as well.

Plus lots of other really cool stuff what happened on the internets. 

Oh and they mention me in my running for NAFF funding – woot!  Should I attach to my blog banner “As mentioned on the Hugo award nominated Galactic Suburbia.”?

You can download the crunch here or stream below.


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Support Speculative Fiction Writing in the Philippines

(H/T to Charles Tan.)

phillipEdited by the multi award winning Dean Francis Alfar, Philippines Speculative Fiction Volumes 1 & 2 are digital reprints of a now long running anthology series, that started in 2005.

This is a piece of speculative fiction history that you may not have had access to, due to small print runs and geographical restrictions.  Take a chance and check out some unique perspectives.

Volume 1 is retailing at .99c via Amazon

The copy:

A courtesan who secretly controls flame; A baby that eats soil; A professor tasked with proving the masculinity of a national hero; A quest to create a kite that reaches the stars.

Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 1 is the first of several anthologies that showcases the rich variety of Philippine literature: between these covers you will find magic realism next to science fiction, traditional fantasy beside slipstream, and imaginary worlds rubbing shoulders with alternate Philippine history --demonstrating that the literature of the fantastic is alive and well in the Philippines.


Stories from this series have been included in the Honorable Mentions list from The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror edited by Ellen Datlow and Kelly Link & Gavin Grant.


"[I] have been impressed with the quality of the fiction and the scope of it -- quiet, personal stories of the fantastic, real science fiction, tales based on traditional Philippine folklore and mythology, structurally experimental pieces, and humorous commentaries on life in the 21st century." - World Fantasy Award-winning author Jeffrey Ford


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Outcast Chronicles coming soon

The lovely and extremely hard working Rowena Cory Daniells has emerged from the writing oubliette to inform us that Amazon has some special offers surrounding her Outcast Chronicles series, the first of which is released in June.

You can check the info here Amazon offer on Outcast Chronicles…:

If you haven’t read Rowena’s King Rolen’s Kin trilogy you should be flayed alive  you should track them down.  I did a review of The Kings Bastard here.  Seriously fast paced fantasy adventure.

As far as I know Rowena doesn’t have an Australian publisher ( the wonderful Solaris publishes her work), but you should be able to pick up from Booktopia, Pulp Fiction in Brisbane or Notions Unlimited in Melbourne or any half decent bricks and mortar store.

Below are the covers of the new trilogy by the talented Clint Langley.



I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference.


Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to read more? You can subscribe to the blog through a reader,by Email or Follow me on twitter.

Apr 11, 2012

The Tin Duck Awards 2012

Please visit Stephanie Gunn’s blog for a listing of the Awards handed out at this years Tin Ducks.

Best WA Fan Production: Villaincon produced by John Parker.

Best WA Fan Written Work : Reviews at ASif! by Stephanie Gunn.

[more]


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Implicit racism in Game of Thrones

There’s been some recent talk of racism in Game of Thrones – Saladin Ahmed wrote and article for Salon which, as one would expect, received a whole lot of ‘blinded by privilege’ commenters. 

I was alerted to the article by  Sofia Samatar, a fantasy author herself, posting on racism and fandom (well worth reading the article for its criticism  of Harry Potter and subsequent links to crunchy goodness).

I was discussing this with my cousin who has HBOGo and she alerted me to the whopper of a ‘racefail’ that occurs in Episode 2 of Season 2 with the character of Salladhor Saan.

Back to the source

Now, we all readily appreciate that adapting a book to the small screen necessitates some changes, scenes and characters will be cut or changed.  Here is an excerpt from Clash of Kings on which the scene I am talking about takes its inspiration.

 

The other[Saan] shrugged. “The walls are high and strong, but who will man them? They are building scorpions and spitfires, oh, yes, but the men in the golden cloaks are too few and too green, and there are no others. A swift strike, like a hawk plummeting at a hare, and the great city will be ours. Grant us wind to fill our sails, and your king could sit upon his Iron Throne by evenfall on the morrow. We could dress the dwarf in motley and prick his little cheeks with the points of our spears to make him dance for us, and mayhaps your goodly king would make me a gift of the beautiful Queen Cersei to warm my bed for a night. I have been too long away from my wives, and all in his service.”- A Clash of Kings

Now note, to this point I don’t recall Salladhor Saan’s race being mentioned.  Owing to privilege I assume him to be white.  On checking the text and pre-TV series materials he is indeed described as having white hair and blue eyes and coming from Lys, whose people are noted to be of fair colouring.  Indeed the other Lysene character Doreah, who serves the Daenerys is directly contrasted with her fellow ‘olive skinned’ handmaidens in the text.

And so you might ask?  What is wrong with making Salladhor black?  To which I reply – not a damn thing.  If you need a textual justification for it, Lys is a free city and Saan a pirate prince so out of all the homogenous societies of Westeros it’s one of the most likely to be multi cultural. 

No, what floored me is that the writers of the show did the following:

Transcription from season two [credit to my cousin]

Davos and Salladhor Saan are walking along the beach with Davos’ son Matthos.  Davos has just goading Salladhor into helping Stanis, saying that it will be hard but the rewards will be great, gold and fame and an easy and safe retirement.

Salladhor: [pondering] “Salladhor Saan is a good name for songs. One thing.[pause] I want the Queen.

Davos: [perplexed] :”Queen?”

Salladhor:[with conviction] “Cersei. I want her. I will sail with your fleet all thirty of your ships; and if we don’t drown at the bottom of Blackwater bay I will fuck this blonde queen and I will fuck her well.

Matthos: [Aghast at the suggestion from this savage buccaneer] “This war is not about you, we are not attacking King’s landing so you can rape the queen.”

Salladhor:[As if explaining to a child] I am not going to Rape her, I am going to fuck her.

Matthos: “As if she would just let you”

Salladhor:”You don’t know how persuasive I am.  I never tried to fuck you [reaches for Matthos’ groin]

Are you seeing it yet?

Contrast the book excerpt – a conversation between two white men in a bar.  The tone is jovial.  Saan is being vulgar but there is no hint that getting the queen is a driving ambition.

with

A black man who is making sexual possession of the queen a condition of his signing on.  He’s quite forceful about it too, underlining it with reference to racial features like blonde queen.  With the GoT Saan it’s all about the sex.

The “Black man rapes white woman trope” writ large, underlined and emphasised.

This in a country where black men were hung for raping white women, often without evidence or charge, while black women were routinely raped by white men out of self gratification and as a tool of subjugation and terror.

Implicit Racism?

I have to believe that the writers were just blindly fumbling – “How can we add some edge to this character? Oh let’s make him sexually menacing.” because the other option leads to despair. 

It’s great to see Lucian Msamati getting some more work and his performance in the role is excellent given the 2-3 minutes of screen time.  But it would be nice for him to be given that role without the terrible over sexed dialogue, and racist stereotyping.

What purpose does changing the original tone of the conversation do? Will Saan be more than a minor character?  Or will the audience just be left with:

“oh yeah he was that black guy who just wanted to rape/f*ck that hot blonde chick”

Your thoughts?


I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference.


Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to read more? You can subscribe to the blog through a reader,by Email or Follow me on twitter.

Apr 10, 2012

Have you Ditmared yet?

By which I mean have you nominated your favourite, novels, short stories and critical works, fan publications?  Well you have until Sunday to do so.

>>GO HERE NOW<<

My plan was to do a few more Ditmar posts in order to raise the profile of some excellent people and publications, because one of the biggest excuses people offer for not nominating is lack of knowledge in the field. 

That being said, no one on the face of the planet could have enough knowledge of the field of eligible nominees to be able to give a comprehensive assessment on their own.

We need to rely on the wisdom of the crowd so to speak, a cacophony of voices and opinions. 

Participate it’s free.

antiAnd in this post I would like to present Antipodean SF entered in the Best Fan Publication section. 

Antipodean SF is an online resource housing fiction, reviews and news on Speculative Fiction down under.  It releases one issue a month at www.antisf.com.au and past issues can be accessed via the National Library of Australia Archive here.

The current issue includes works of fiction, reviews and a link to their audio casts.


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Damnation and Dames Giveaway

Damnation-Dames-ed-Grzyb-Pillar-web-197x300Damnation and Dames – Sixteen Stunning Tales Of Paranormal Noir was launched at Swancon over the Easter Weekend.

In celebration of its release,there is a giveaway running at Goodreads.  Click here to enter the draw to win a great collection.

Check out this post for the TOC.

If you really can’t wait you can order it from here

 

 


I am not a politician, you can trust me

I have been nominated to run in this years fan fund for the National Science Fiction Convention to be held in Melbourne.

If you appreciate the work that I do in Australian Speculative Fiction Fandom and you have a spare $5, you can vote for me here and help send me to the National Conference.


Did you enjoy this review? Would you like to read more? You can subscribe to the blog through a reader,by Email or Follow me on twitter.

Apr 9, 2012

It’s Anomaly by Jason “ A pun for every occasion” Fischer

I have been keenly awaiting the release of Jason’s novella with Steven Saville since Jason mentioned it ages ago and I fell in love with the cover. 

The Viral series of which Anomaly is book two, has been under an exclusivity agreement with B&N, meaning that I couldn’t purchase it.  Thankfully its out now on Amazon. 

The copy:

A journalist stumbles across a deadly secret. Aid doctors find themselves on the new warfront, where the truth is fluid, and life is cheap. A company man has to make a brutal decision that could affect millions.


Welcome to Viral, a series of political thrillers set all over the globe. The CIA is up to no good, subverting humanitarian aid programs to further its own ends. Five writers explore this theme from different angles, and it’s foot-to-the-floor action.

 



Thrillers are one of the hottest properties on the Kindle, or so I have been informed by my wholly unscientific reading of such things on the internets.  So it should do well.

Bravo  Jason  oh and Steven.


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Apr 8, 2012

Book Review–Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

bitter

I had always been a great talker and teller of tales.

This is the first line of Bitter Greens, Kate Forsyth’s marvellous retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale and it drew me in immediately.

Bitter Greens is a well woven tale that draws together the magic and darkness of the original Rapunzel with an equally enchanting and historically faithful account of the tale’s first author, the enigmatic Charlotte-rose de la Force.  If you thought women at the Court of the Sun King were pure decoration, think again.

Fairy tales for children?

If you have grown up on Disney fairy tales you could be forgiven for thinking perhaps, that a novel about a fairy tale would be for young adult readers.  That would be a mistake.  No doubt many a young adult reader would love it but Bitter Greens is mature in tone, and quite dark in places.  If you’re not comfortable with rape and violence toward women you might want to skip this one.

But the sorceress had smiled and bent down, taking Margherita’s hand in both of her own, soft white and perfumed.  She lifted Margherita’s hand to her mouth and bit off the tip of her left ring finger. Margherita screamed.

That being said it is a wonderful tale of redemption, courage and healing.  The return to the darker telling of the tale gives it more power and returns this fairy tale to one of its core purposes, an instructive tale that readers can draw strength and confidence from.

A three for one deal

We get three narratives in the novel.  That of Charlotte-rose, as she is imprisoned by the Sun King in a convent, forced to convert to Catholicism.  Charlotte-rose’ tale is told through revealing snippets of her past both scandalous and exciting.  We learn of Margherita, the Rapunzel of the piece, who is stolen from her parents and imprisoned by the sorceress - in the end a tale of great courage.  We also come to understand the sorceress and the terrible life events that shaped her warped outlook.

History given life

There is much to love about Bitter Greens.  As a student of history I am ashamed to say I knew nothing of Charlotte-rose.  Forsyth’s presentation of Charlotte-rose’ narrative and the history in which it is embedded makes me want to know more.  Forsyth has done her homework and made what is so often a dry list of facts, tantalisingly vibrant and real.

The issue with fairy tale retellings is, of course, that unless you have lived a particularly deprived childhood, you’ll have come across them, if not in little books of tales for children, in the ever pervasive Disney retellings.  Forsyth manages, though both structure and imagination, to keep the reader in suspense using our knowledge of later versions of the tale against us.  How many of you are expecting the prince to save her?

Plausible evil

Too often are the witches of our tales  evil in a dress, a caricature for the audience to boo and hiss at.  The sorceress, the venetian courtesan Selena Leonelli is a complex character, her actions are sadistic and evil, but also understandable and psychologically plausible. It’s almost impossible not to have sympathy for her in one instance and revile her in the next.

Something for everyone

Lovers of historical fiction will appreciate the research that Forsyth has put into the book.  Fairy tale aficionados will no doubt applaud her return to the original tale. The general reader will appreciate Forsyth’s skill in making you care for her characters and keep you on edge with both surprise and dread as you fear for their safety.

 

This book was provided to me by the author at no cost.


awwc2012

This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012.  Please check out this page for more great writing from Australian women.

 

 


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