Apr 26, 2014

Ditmar Prelim Ballot 2014

So the prelim ballot has been announced for this year’s Ditmars.  So barring any mis-categorisations or ineligibilities this is what it should look like for voting.

Best Novel

  • Ink Black Magic, Tansy Rayner Roberts (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead, Robert Hood (Wildside Press)
  • The Beckoning, Paul Collins (Damnation Books)
  • Trucksong, Andrew Macrae (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • The Only Game in the Galaxy (The Maximus Black Files 3), Paul Collins (Ford Street Publishing)

A noticeable absentee is Aurealis winner Lexicon by Max Barry, but other than that it’s a good spread of small and independent publishers.


Best Novella or Novelette

  • "Prickle Moon", Juliet Marillier, in Prickle Moon (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • "The Year of Ancient Ghosts", Kim Wilkins, in The Year of Ancient Ghosts (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • "By Bone-Light", Juliet Marillier, in Prickle Moon (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • "The Home for Broken Dolls", Kirstyn McDermott, in Caution: Contains Small Parts (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • "What Amanda Wants", Kirstyn McDermott, in Caution: Contains Small Parts (Twelfth Planet Press)

Ticonderoga and Twelfth Planet Press have cornered this field.  Due no doubt to the excellent work of Marillier, McDermott and Wilkins, but also because this seems to me to be the area where small to medium independent presses can really shine.  I haven’t read any of the Prickle Moon stories but I have read the Wilkins and one of the McDermott’s.  For me it’s probably the Wilkins after my fan boi gushing over the entire collection, but I have been saving The Home for Broken Dolls so it’s possible it could change.


Best Short Story

  • "Mah Song", Joanne Anderton, in The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories (FableCroft Publishing)
  • "Air, Water and the Grove", Kaaron Warren, in The Lowest Heaven (Jurassic London)
  • "Seven Days in Paris", Thoraiya Dyer, in Asymmetry (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • "Scarp", Cat Sparks, in The Bride Price (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • "Not the Worst of Sins", Alan Baxter, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies 133 (Firkin Press)
  • "Cold White Daughter", Tansy Rayner Roberts, in One Small Step (FableCroft Publishing)

I have read three of these.  Might have to chase down the Baxter and the Warren.  But just on those that I have read, it’s a really strong field.


Best Collected Work

  • The Back of the Back of Beyond, Edwina Harvey, edited by Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
  • Asymmetry , Thoraiya Dyer, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Caution: Contains Small Parts, Kirstyn McDermott, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, Joanne Anderton, edited by Tehani Wesseley and Kaaron Warren (FableCroft Publishing)
  • The Bride Price, Cat Sparks, edited by Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications)

A category I am almost across, I own all the collections and have either read part of or all of them.  Really, really difficult choices here.  I really like the Sparks.  Feels to some degree like comparing apples with oranges and pears.  The Back of … is a comedic piece, Asymmetry and Caution are 4 story collections and The Bride Price and The Bone Chime… are larger collections.


Best Artwork

  • Cover art, Eleanor Clarke, for The Back of the Back of Beyond by Edwina Harvey (Peggy Bright Books)
  • Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, for Eclipse Online (Nightshade Books)
  • Cover art, Shauna O'Meara, for Next' edited by Simon Petrie and Rob Porteous (CSFG Publishing)
  • Cover art, Cat Sparks, for The Bride Price by Cat Sparks (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Rules of Summer, Shaun Tan (Hachette Australia)
  • Cover art, Pia Ravenari, for Prickle Moon by Juliet Marillier (Ticonderoga Publications)

To my mind this is a very good field.  For the past couple of years this has been Kathleen Jennings category, but this year I feel that we have some really strong competition.


Best Fan Writer

  • Tsana Dolichva, for body of work, including reviews and interviews in Tsana's Reads and Reviews
  • Sean Wright, for body of work, including reviews in Adventures of a Bookonaut
  • Grant Watson, for body of work, including reviews in The Angriest
  • Foz Meadows, for body of work, including reviews in Shattersnipe: Malcontent & Rainbows
  • Alexandra Pierce, for body of work, including reviews in Randomly Yours, Alex
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work, including essays and reviews at www.tansyr.com

I am really honoured to be included here.  Tsana has been a bit of a reviews workhorse this year and I am very happy for her to be included.  Grant is a silent achiever, steadily putting out interesting content.  Then we get Foz, Tansy and Alex.  Alex is one of my favourite reviewers (check out the Bond series she has been doing with her husband).  Tansy and Foz are the real workhorses when it comes to non-reviewing thinky goodness.  I think it will come down to these two, depending on what your definition of fan writing is.


Best Fan Artist

  • Nalini Haynes, for body of work, including "Defender of the Faith", "The Suck Fairy", "Doctor Who vampire" and "The Last Cyberman" in Dark Matter
  • Kathleen Jennings, for body of work, including "Illustration Friday"
  • Dick Jenssen, for body of work, including cover art for Interstellar Ramjet Scoop and SF Commentary

Most of this artwork should be online.  I encourage you to go out and view it.  History favours Jennings, but I know Haynes has really put effort into her website this year.


Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • Dark Matter Zine, Nalini Haynes
  • SF Commentary, Bruce Gillespie
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
  • Galactic Chat Podcast, Sean Wright, Alex Pierce, Helen Stubbs, David McDonald, and Mark Webb
  • The Coode Street Podcast, Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts

I think this is almost identical to last year’s ballot, bar some personnel changes in Galactic Chat.  Who do I think will take it out…? Well considering we have three Hugo nominated casts on the category, there would be some skewing toward them (to be fair they are great shows). SF Commentary keeps us in touch with Zines of the past so their might be some sentimental folk who appreciate the format and the work Bruce does.  Nalini has made her website a one stop shop for SpecFic reviews, panels and articles, so she’s my pick for a dark horse.  To the crew at Galactic Chat, thanks for your work, it’s been a pleasure working with you (and fingers crossed).


Best New Talent

  • Michelle Goldsmith
  • Zena Shapter
  • Faith Mudge
  • Jo Spurrier
  • Stacey Larner

How do you evaluate this section?  I know all of the people here (some more than others) all worthy in some way.


William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Reviews in Randomly Yours, Alex, Alexandra Pierce
  • "Things Invisible: Human and Ab-Human in Two of Hodgson's Carnacki stories", Leigh Blackmore, in Sargasso: The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies #1 edited by Sam Gafford (Ulthar Press)
  • Galactic Suburbia Episode 87: Saga Spoilerific Book Club, Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • The Reviewing New Who series, David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely
  • "A Puppet's Parody of Joy: Dolls, Puppets and Mannikins as Diabolical Other", Leigh Blackmore, in Ramsey Campbell: Critical Essays on the Master of Modern Horror edited by Gary William Crawford (Scarecrow Press)
  • "That was then, this is now: how my perceptions have changed", George Ivanoff, in Doctor Who and Race edited by Lindy Orthia (Intellect Books)

I really love the make-up of this category, in that it’s more critical in nature.  I am happy that its more about articles or focussed pieces because that’s personally what I like to see here.


Thanks to all who participated, thanks to those who nominated me and the team at Galactic Chat.  See y’all at Continuum.


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