Monthly Archives: January 2010

Aurealis Awards Judges Reports

The reports from the Aurealis Awards Judging Panels are now up. With so many Twelfth Planet Press works shortlisted, I had to go read!

On New Ceres Nights:
The imaginative flair and broad appeal of so many of this volume’s stories is testament to the skill of its authors—a mix of both the new and the
well loved voices of the Australian speculative fiction community.

On A Book of Endings:
This is an outstanding debut by a strong and original voice. This collection of Deborah Biancotti’s stories features a cast of credible female leads whose dilemmas unfold in haunting and immersive stories of dark dystopias barely a step sideways from the urban grit of the familiar everyday.
Demonstrating truly captivating and masterful prose, each story in this collection is a gem.

On Horn (shortlisted in two categories):
This was a standout of the year and a breath of fresh air, but generated much debate in our judging panel, some of which was a consequence of trying to compare a novella against traditional fantasy epics. In the end, the merits of this short work won out. The world building is excellent, and we loved the hardboiled feel and language. The combination of classic fantasy being subverted by classic noir grittiness is original and well executed. It was wonderful to explore the possibility of unicorns as malevolent and depraved creatures who need to be stopped by a gun toting, hard drinking, fast talking PI.

Horn, with its hard boiled language and female detective gives us a book that, while short, is scary, disturbing and horrifying. The idea of turning the supernatural creature of the unicorn – which usually resonates with such a strong image of innocence – into a subject of horror, is original and sinister.

On Siren Beat:
Jaded, all-but-immortal guardian figures who help the cops solve the metaphysical cases have been done to death, so a story in this genre has to be good to be a finalist. Strong characters, with clear, distinct voices and a plot that blended real and fantastic elements in a believable alternative Hobart. Sex, desire, death: all the classics, poured from one of those Smirnoff reality-altering bottles.

On Shiny stories:
Sue Isle, ‘Paper Dragons’, Shiny #5, Twelfth Planet Press
There is excellent use of the Australian setting in this post-apocalyptic tale that connects the ‘present’ with the future.

Tansy Rayner Roberts, ‘Like Us’, Shiny #5, Twelfth Planet Press
Well crafted and surely a cautionary tale about the deceptiveness of appearances.

Some fantastic comments here, and a lot to be very pleased about. I’m delighted to have worked on each of these contributions, even if only in a small way. Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors and works – a massive achievement!

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One week on…

Baby is one week old today! Seems both longer and shorter, which is weird. Came home from hospital on Tuesday, and have done very little since! After him behaving very well in hospital in terms of sleeping, we had a very unsettled night on Tuesday night, and then he slept ALL day Wednesday, which was a worry to me. However, last two nights he’s been awesome, with two to three hours between feeds and settling straight back down in between. I’m not getting any catch up sleep during the day though (partly my fault, partly noisy family!) but I’m sure we’ll get better at that too. Today we had a day with lots of awake time, which was also lovely – it’s nice to see the baby’s eyes sometimes! He’s very placid, barely cries, but is alert and interested in what’s going on around him (when he’s actually awake!).

His big brother and sister are quite besotted, with Master Seven being the best kid ever. Miss Four is pretty good, but a little less understanding, which is to be expected. Mum and Dad think the new family member is pretty alright too :) All well!

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Here’s the baby!

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Ratbag baby

This bub likes to be difficult! He’s spent much of the past 18 hours in an incubator under lights due to jaundice, the ratbag. He’s fine, but the paediatrician wanted to treat him to ensure all stayed well. I’ve had him out plenty, for long feeds and sneaky cuddles (he’s a VERY cuddly bub!) and the good news is, he’s been quite happy in the incubator, stretched out like he’s on a sunbed or something! He’s a cruisey little man :)

Had visits from the Batt family (who endured a false fire alarm and subsequent lockdown of the ward!) and and kids yesterday, which was lovely. I felt bad though, cos I know people don’t come to see me, they come to cuddle the baby, and they couldn’t yesterday! :) Hubby and kids also came a couple of times, all looking a bit weary – perhaps missing mum being there to enforce naps and bedtimes!

The staff are starting to ask when I’m thinking about going home, and while obviously some of that is dependent on bub’s test results today, regardless, I’d like to stay one more night I think – it’s nice to be just able to enjoy the baby and quiet time together without worrying about chores and big kids and all :) Might be a bit selfish of me, but I know it’s the last chance I’ll get!

This photo taken by very proud big sister yesterday!

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Baby’s first day..

Bub is doing really well! After the small health scare he gave us, he reacted really well to the treatment and by 11pm, was fine. Night midwife and I decided we didn’t like the idea of pushing artificial milk down his neck, so I expressed what I could and we got that into him, and then we started to try to get him to attach. It was weird, as both the other two latched on first go, and feeding was never a drama, so I really didn’t have any strategies for getting bub to feed! Luckily, the midwife was brilliant, and between us, he eventually got the idea and had a good long feed. He’s not looked back!

Not a lot of sleep that first night. Got untied from the bed first thing in the morning, and despite shakiness and pain, managed to shower on my own and face the day. First visitors hubby and kids, and the kids finally got a chance to cuddle bub. After they left, workmate Cheryl and her daughter Jenn (who is our main babysitter) arrived, which was lovely. They crossed over with aunty Gene & uncle Rex, who stayed for a good chat. I was just about falling asleep on them by the time they left though, and bub and I both had a solid two hour nap then.

The afternoon saw the foly return, along with Miss Four’s best friend’s family, who all needed cuddles. When they all left, we had a bit of quiet until arrived to shockle the baby and enjoy the live Twitter party for the Aurealis Awards announcements. Sadly, none of Twelfth Planet Press’s seven nomination managed a win, but we were pleased for friends who did win their categories, and still delighted for making it onto so many shortlists. We may have talked a lot too!

Then we managed a couple of blocks of three hours or so sleep, which was lovely! Fingers crossed that sort of behaviour continues!

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