Monthly Archives: June 2009

Year’s Best Honorable Mentions 2009

Finally got my hands on a copy of The Year’s Best Science Fiction Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois. Yay for all the Aussies!

In the Summation, Dozois says of Andromeda Spaceways:

The fiction in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, anoher collective-run magazine, one with a rotating editorial staff, which published its full six issues this year, tends to be somewhat livelier (than On Spec), and there were worthwhile stories this year by Sarah Totton, Dirk Flinthart, Geoffrey Maloney, Aliette de Bodard, Lyn Battersby and others.

Dozois notes "… New Ceres seems to have died; at least, I’m no longer able to get them…" (we’ll be delighted to provide him with the anthology and the new ‘zine issue this year!) and that "There’s also a Web site dedicated to YA fantasy and SF, Shiny (

Jonathan Strahan’s collections Eclipse Two and The Starry Rift get repeated and very positive attention throughout the Summation and Honorable Mentions, along with four reprints in the book itself. Jack Dann’s Dreaming Again is also much praised, with one reprint as well.

Of 2012, Dozois says:

2012 (Twelfth Planet Press), edited by Alisa Krasnestein (sic) and Ben Payne, delivers a smaller proportion of substantial work (than Seeds of Change), although there are still worthwhile stories here by Sean McMullen and Simon Brown.

The HMs section is hard to read on the fly, but here’s some that jumped out at me! Congrats to all, and apologies if I missed anyone – happy to check to see if you’re there if you like!

CONTENTS (either Australian Authors or Australian publications!):
Greg Egan, Crystal Nights (from Interzone)
Garth Nix, Old Friends (from Dreaming Again)
Stephen Baxter, Turing’s Apples (from Eclipse Two)
Karl Schroeder, The Hero (from Eclipse Two)
Paul McAuley, Incomes (from The Starry Rift)
Daryl Georgy, The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm (Eclipse Two)

Peter M Ball, The Last Great House of Isla Tortuga (Dreaming Again)
Peter M Ball, On Finding the Photographs of My Former Loves (Fantasy, June 2)
Lee Battersby, In From the Snow (Dreaming Again)
Deborah Biancotti, Watertight Lies (2012)
Jenny Blackford, Trolls’ Night Out (Dreaming Again)
Russell Blackford, Manannan’s Children (Dreaming Again)
Simon Brown, The Empire (Dreaming Again)
Simon Brown, Oh, Russia (2012)
Isobelle Carmody, Perchance to Dream (Dreaming Again)
A Bertram Chandler, Grimes and the Gaijin Daimyo (Dreaming Again)
Paul Collins, Lure (Dreaming Again)
Rowena Cory Daniells. Purgatory (Dreaming Again)
Jack Dann, Under the Shadow of Jonah (Postscripts 15)
Cecilia Dart-Thornton, The Lanes of Camberwell (Dreaming Again
Rjurik Davidson, Twilight in Caeli-Amur (Dreaming Again)
Stephen Dedman, Lost Arts (Dreaming Again)
Stephen Dedman, Teeth (Clarkesworld, March)
Terry Dowling, The Fooley (Dreaming Again)
Terry Dowling, Truth Window: A Tale of the Bedlam Rose (Eclipse Two)
Brendan Duffy, The Green Man (Postscripts 16
Greg Egan, Lost Continent (The Starry Rift)
Jason Fischer, Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh (Dreaming Again)
Ben Francisco & Chris Lynch, This is My Blood (Dreaming Again)
Richard Harland, A Guided Tour in the Kingdom of the Dead (Dreaming Again)
Margo Lanagan, The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross (Dreaming Again)
Margo Lanagan, An Honest Day’s Work (The Starry Rift)
Margo Lanagan, Night of the Firstlings (Eclipse Two)
Sean McMullen, The Constant Past (Dreaming Again)
Sean McMullen, Oblivion (2012)
Sean McMullen, The Twilight Year (F&SF, January)
Garth Nix, Beyond the Sea Gate of the Scholar-Pirates of Sarskoe (Fast Ships, Black Sails)
Garth Nix, Infestation (The Starry Rift)
Cat Sparks, Palisade (Clockwork Phoenix)
Lucy Sussex, Ardant Clouds (Del Rey Book of SF)
Janeen Webb, Paradise Designed (Dreaming Again)
Scott Westerfeld, Ass-Hatt Magic Spider (The Starry Rift)

Sarah Totten, The Stone Man (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine – incorrectly attributed to #37, it’s actually from #33)
Ted Chiang, Exhalation (Eclipse Two) – had to note this one, cos it’s just so darn good! But Eclipse Two and The Starry Rift had a bunch more non-Aussie authors HMed as well.

Whew. Back to work now!


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Locus Awards 2009

Congratulations to all winners and commiserations to nominees:

Science Fiction Novel: Anathem, Neal Stephenson (Atlantic UK, Morrow)

Fantasy Novel: Lavinia, Ursula K. Le Guin (Harcourt)

First Novel: Singularity’s Ring, Paul Melko (Tor)

Young-Adult Book: The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, Bloomsbury)

Novella: "Pretty Monsters", Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters)

Novelette: "Pump Six", Paolo Bacigalupi (Pump Six and Other Stories)

Short Story: "Exhalation", Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two)

Anthology: The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin’s)

Collection: Pump Six and Other Stories, Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books)

Non-Fiction/Art Book: P. Craig Russell, Coraline: The Graphic Novel, Neil Gaiman, adapted and illustrated by P. Craig Russell (HarperCollins)

Editor: Ellen Datlow

Artist: Michael Whelan

Magazine: F&SF

Publisher: Tor

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Now that’s fun to watch :)

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Aurealis Awards open for nominations

The reading period for the Aurealis Awards has opened. Nominate now!


The Aurealis Awards 2009 are for works of speculative fiction by authors, editors and illustrators, who are Australian citizens or permanent residents , first published in English between 1 November 2008 and 31 October 2009.

Works must be formally entered in the awards process to be considered for an Aurealis Award. Go to the online entry form.

The earlier our judges receive the work, the more time they will have to give it the consideration it deserves.

Once a work is entered, you will receive an email acknowledging the entry, and a copy of the judges’ addresses to submit entries for our judges’ consideration.

Entries will be judged solely on their own merits as perceived by the judges.

There is no fee to enter works for the awards, and anyone may enter a work into the Aurealis Awards process. But in entering a work, you undertake to supply one copy of the work to each of the judges of the relevant category/categories – i.e. you’ll need to supply a minimum of five copies of the work entered.

A list of entries appears on the Aurealis Awards website and is progressively updated during the year. Only formally entered works will be considered for the awards.

Entry deadline

Entry forms, AND copies of entered works must be received by the coordinator and relevant judges by midnight EST, Saturday 31 October 2009.

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Mini Reviews #8

I’ve been fairly crook over the past couple of weeks, and have moved house! Despite both those things (or perhaps even because of them, as I’ve needed stress relief!), I’ve managed to trawl through a heap of books! Three reviews off to Fiction Focus, and a fair few owed to ASIF over the coming weeks:

Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold – Well, THAT was a day lost! I simply couldn’t tear myself away from this book very long at all! Excellent writing, characters and plot, and although a *touch* more predictable than The Curse of Chalion was, it still held me thoroughly hooked, and I loved it. This is what I’ve been MISSING in my fantasy!

, PC Cast and Kristen Cast, 307pp – This is book three of the House of Night series. I read book 1 but missed book 2, but it didn’t really matter. The Casts are pretty good about recapping without boring, which I’m fairly impressed with. Of all the YA vampire (soft) porn about these days, I recommend this series as one of the better ones. I like the premise, I like the characters, and there’s a reasonable plot too. A *little* adolescent in places, but given the target audience, that’s okay!

Bloodhound (Beka Cooper Book 2), Tamora Pierce, 552pp – This book is very hard to gauge. On one hand, it was a fairly good story. On the other, I don’t think it was told as well as a) I would have expected or b) as well as it could have been. I loved Pierce’s Lioness Quartet when I was 15, and can still reread without too much cringe. Bloodhound has the same elements, in a less privileged setting, with a more complex character I think, but it doesn’t have the same grab. Part of this is the writing style. Bloodhound is told through Beka’s diary entries, and this means that the reader is continually distanced from the events, and knocked out of the story by odd changes in story tense (many of which simply felt like poor writing). I have no idea why Pierce would have used this diary technique, as a first person narration would have worked FAR more effectively. I like what Pierce does with gender and sexuality in her books, but I think she’s done herself a disservice with style. Possibly better than some of the Circle of Magic books, but not equal to Lioness.

Dead and Gone, Charlaine Harris, 312pp – Interesting repackaging of the covers to go with the popularity and success of the new TV series "True Blood". I think this is better than the previous book. Some issues that bother me with these series books are the cast of thousands that continues to grow, and the ever changing "politics" and relationships – can’t Sookie just enjoy one relationship? This one has a pretty decent plot though, and I enjoyed reading it.

The Twilight Zone: The Monsters are Due on Maple Street    Serling/Kneece/Ellis    Graphic Novel                   
The Twilight Zone: The After Hours    Serling/Kneece/Isaacs    Graphic Novel                   
The Twilight Zone: The Odyssey of Flight 33    Serling/Kneece/McHargue    Graphic Novel                   
The Twilight Zone: Walking Distance    Serling/Kneece/Grabe    Graphic Novel   
I reviewed these for Fiction Focus – quite enjoyed them, although certainly not something I’d generally pick up. Recommend for fans of original Twilight Zone, but don’t go looking for anything new here except format – these are squarely revisiting original series episodes.
Nation, Terry Pratchett, 404pp – This was a wonderful reading experience. Pure Pratchett genius, although less manically overt than some of the Discworld books, but deeply thought-provoking while at the same time being a great read and even laugh out loud funny at times. Well worth it!

The Edge of the World: Book One of Terra Incognita, Kevin J Anderson, 574pp – An overpopulated cast of characters makes for a bit of confusion in the plot of this massive fat fantasy, but Anderson also manages to draw the reader in and make you want to know what happens next. I’m not sure all the characterisations worked for me, and much of the plot seemed overly contrived (although I wouldn’t be surprised if this aspect improves in subsequent books), but it was an interesting new high fantasy world.

Heritage of the Xandim: Chronicles of the Xandim Volume One
, Maggie Furey, 408pp – I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I was a huge fan of the original Aurian series some years ago, and although I recognise the flaws of those books, they were a good read. I wasn’t sure how I’d go with this one, with the benefit of a lot more books and years under my belt, but this was actually better than the Artifacts of Power books in many ways – more mature plotting and writing, interesting characters, and an enjoyable read. I look forward to the next one.

New Moon, Stephenie Meyer, 563pp – I decided to reread this after watching Twilight. I really enjoyed it when I read it the first time (it was the first I read of the series), and there was still a lot about it that I enjoyed this time. The writing is woeful, the premise is shonky, but the richness of adolescent emotion is what makes this book, and it overshadows all the other rubbish. I don’t agree with the subtext of the books, but I can certainly see what the kids love about it.

Curse the Dawn, Karen Chance, 386pp – Better than the last one, with a lot more character development and plot movement. Still falling prey to the perennial problem of bigger and better bad guys equalling bigger and better powers for the goodies, but a fun read.

Zoe’s Tale, John Scalzi, 406pp – Pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this, given it’s really just a retelling of The Last Colony. Much more YA, but a great yarn, with some laugh out loud and tear jerking moments.

Fray, Joss Whedon – I hadn’t realised this was a continuation of Joss’s slayer world. I had imagined it to be something different, but I thought it worked really well, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Joss rulez .

Beguilement: The Sharing Knife Volume One, Lois McMaster Bujold, 361pp – An interesting and unusual fantasy that’s primarily a romance between two unlikely protagonists. I really enjoyed this, but not sure where Bujold will take it.

Legacy: The Sharing Knife Volume Two
, Lois McMaster Bujold, 348pp – I don’t think the Sharing Knife books are as good as Bujold’s scifi. They are almost romance rather than fantasy, and while that’s not a bad thing, they just don’t have the wonderful depth of the Vorkosigan books. Still, I’m enjoying the stories and have just ordered the next two.

Pick of the bunch would have to be Nation by Terry Pratchett and I highly recommend it. However there were some other excellent books in this batch and I’ve been enjoying my reading thoroughly.


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