Monthly Archives: March 2012

New Who in Conversation: The Shakespeare Code/Gridlock (S03E02/03)

David is coming to New Who for the first time, having loved Classic Who as a kid. Tehani is a recent convert, and ploughed through Seasons 1 to 6 (so far) in just a few weeks after becoming addicted thanks to Matt Smith – she’s rewatching to keep up with David! Tansy is the expert in the team, with a history in Doctor Who fandom that goes WAY back, and a passion for Doctor Who that inspires us all. We’re going to work our way through New Who, using season openers and closers, and Hugo shortlisted episodes, as our blogging points. Just for fun!

“The Shakespeare Code” – Season three, episode two

The Doctor – David Tennant

Martha Jones – Freema Agyeman

Shakespeare – Dean Lennox Kelly

So, Martha’s first adventure and we get Shakespeare! There’s a lot to like about this episode. Ten is clearly enjoying himself on this one, and Martha does well for her first time travelling, don’t you think? Asking the important questions for us not in TV-land and getting timey-wimey explanations in return.

Yes I like that Martha has a very down to earth and practical approach to time travel, and while she has just as much sense of wonder as Rose, there’s a bit more of – I don’t know, is it snobbish to say she feels more intellectual in how she takes in history? Less giggling, more cynical nodding.

I don’t think it’s snobbish – true, maybe, but just another way to identify the differences between the companions I guess. Martha is better educated and a little more worldly than Rose, so showing Martha reacting quite differently to how we saw Rose reacting is reasonable.

I also think it’s important that Martha raises the race question early, and that the Doctor answers it – it’s a little glib for him to suggest she just walk around like she own the place, because he’s speaking from white male privilege, but at the same time it is important to note that there were people of colour (if not as many as now) in British history, and it’s only a century of whitewashed movies and television that makes us think otherwise. Important that the race issue is addressed in the time travel stories, because pretending Martha isn’t black would be bizarre. I rather like her “not exactly white, in case you haven’t noticed” line because, let’s face it, the Doctor probably WOULDN’T think about that sort of thing.

That’s something I did wonder about, wouldn’t Martha have stood out a little more than she did, not only because of her colour but because of what she was wearing? I would have thought both would have excited more reaction than they did. I’m quite happy to admit to be speaking from a lack of knowledge here, but I would have thought that London circa Shakespeare’s time would be pretty homogeneous so I’d love to be pointed to some sources that talk about the history we don’t see usually see in movies and TV, and perhaps our readers would like to as well (this is something I also wondered when watching the one episode of Merlin I’ve managed to catch)?


I believe that there were certainly more faces of colour around in England in historical times than we are led to expect from 100 years of very whitewashed TV. Not common perhaps – but not especially extraordinary. I assume Shakespeare had to have met at least one black person in his life because, Othello. I did think it was cute that they framed Martha as Shakespeare’s ‘dark lady,’ one of the figures he wrote so many sonnets to.

[ooh look, a source – and a discussion of a book on Shakespeare & Race] Continue reading


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Goodreads Giveaway! To Spin a Darker Stair

Goodreads Book Giveaway

To Spin a Darker Stair by Tehani Wessely

To Spin a Darker Stair

by Tehani Wessely

Giveaway ends March 31, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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Aurealis Awards Shortlists

2011 Aurealis Awards finalists announced

 SpecFaction NSW, organisers of the 2010 and 2011 Aurealis Awards, are delighted to announce the finalists for the 2011 Aurealis Awards.

Judging Co-ordinator, Tehani Wessely, said that with over 700 entries across the thirteen categories, the judges had a difficult job.

“Overall, the judges agreed that entries were of a high standard. In a number of the categories the judges informed us they had trouble coming down to a shortlist of five, with many worthy entries just missing out on being included.”

“The Horror Novel category was a disappointment, with a small number of entries for 2011, but we had record entries in almost all other categories.”

“I’d like to thank all the judges for their time and effort judging of these awards.”

Winners of the 2011 Aurealis Awards and the Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award for Excellence will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony, on the evening of Saturday 12 May at the Independent Theatre, North Sydney. Details of the evening and a link to the online booking website are available at

An after party will be held at Rydges, North Sydney, following the awards presentations.  Accommodation is available at Rydges for $149 (room only) or $174 (including full buffet breakfast).  To take advantage of these rates please use the code ‘Aurealis’ when making your booking.

For further information about the awards please contact the convenors at

The 2011 Aurealis Awards are sponsored by HarperVoyager and Cosmos Magazine and proudly supported by Galaxy Bookshop.

2011 Aurealis Awards – Finalists


The Undivided by Jennifer Fallon (HarperVoyager)

Ember and Ash by Pamela Freeman (Hachette)

Stormlord’s Exile by Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)

Debris by Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)

The Shattered City by Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)


“Fruit of the Pipal Tree” by Thoraiya Dyer (After the Rain, FableCroft Publishing)

“The Proving of Smollett Standforth” by Margo Lanagan (Ghosts by Gaslight, HarperVoyager)

“Into the Clouds on High” by Margo Lanagan (Yellowcake, Allen & Unwin)

“Reading Coffee” by Anthony Panegyres (Overland)

“The Dark Night of Anton Weiss” by D.C. White (More Scary Kisses, Ticonderoga Publications)


Machine Man by Max Barry (Scribe Publications)

Children of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy (HarperVoyager)

The Waterboys by Peter Docker (Fremantle Press)

Black Glass by Meg Mundell (Scribe Publications)

The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood (HarperVoyager)


“Flowers in the Shadow of the Garden” by Joanne Anderton (Hope, Kayelle Press)

“Desert Madonna” by Robert Hood (Anywhere but Earth, Couer de Lion)

“SIBO” by Penelope Love (Anywhere but Earth, Couer de Lion)

“Dead Low” by Cat Sparks (Midnight Echo)

“Rains of la Strange” by Robert N Stephenson (Anywhere but Earth, Couer de Lion)



The Broken Ones by Stephen M. Irwin (Hachette)

The Business of Death by Trent Jamieson (Hachette)


“And the Dead Shall Outnumber the Living” by Deborah Biancotti (Ishtar, Gilgamesh Press)

“The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt” by Paul Haines (The Last Days of Kali YugaBrimstone Press)

“The Short Go: a Future in Eight Seconds” by Lisa L. Hannett (Bluegrass Symphony, Ticonderoga Publications)

“Mulberry Boys” by Margo Lanagan (Blood and Other Cravings, Tor)

“The Coffin Maker’s Daughter” by Angela Slatter (A Book of Horrors, Quercus)


Shift by Em Bailey (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Secrets of Carrick: Tantony by Ananda Braxton-Smith (black dog books)

The Shattering by Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin)

Black Glass by Meg Mundell (Scribe Publications)

Only Ever Always by Penni Russon (Allen & Unwin)


“Nation of the Night” by Sue Isle (Nightsiders, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Finishing School” by Kathleen Jennings (Steampunk! An anthology of fantastically rich and strange stories, Candlewick Press)

“Seventy-Two Derwents” by Cate Kennedy (The Wicked Wood – Tales from the Tower Volume 2, Allen and Unwin)

“One Window” by Martine Murray (The Wilful Eye: Tales from the Tower Volume 1, Allen and Unwin)

“The Patrician” by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Love and Romanpunk, Twelfth Planet Press)

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)

The Outcasts by John Flanagan (Random House Australia)

The Paradise Trap by Catherine Jinks (Allen & Unwin)

“It Began with a Tingle” by Thalia Kalkapsakis (Headspinners, Allen & Unwin)

The Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahan (Allen & Unwin)

City of Lies by Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)

The Ghost of Annabel Spoon by Aaron Blabey (author and illustrator) (Penguin/ Viking Books)

Sounds Spooky by Christopher Cheng (author) and Sarah Davis (illustrator) (Random House Australia)

The Last Viking by Norman Jorgensen (author) and James Foley (illustrator) (Fremantle Press)

The Deep: Here be Dragons by Tom Taylor (author) and James Brouwer (illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)

Vampyre by Margaret Wild (author) and Andrew Yeo (illustrator) (Walker Books)


Hidden by Mirranda Burton (author and illustrator ) (Black Pepper)

Torn by Andrew Constant (author) and Joh James (illustrator ), additional illustrators Nicola Scott, Emily Smith (Gestalt Publishing)

Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops (author and illustrator) (Pecksniff Press)

The Eldritch Kid: Whiskey and Hate by Christian Read (author) and Michael Maier (illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)

The Deep: Here be Dragons by Tom Taylor (author) and James Brouwer (illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)


Ghosts by Gaslight edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers (HarperVoyager)

Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2010 edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)

Ishtar edited by Amanda Pillar and KV Taylor (Gilgamesh Press)

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 5 edited by Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade Books)
Life on Mars edited by Jonathan Strahan (Viking)


Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti (Twelfth Planet Press)

Last Days of Kali Yuga by Paul Haines (Brimstone Press)

Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa Hannett (Ticonderoga Publications)

Nightsiders by Sue Isle (Twelfth Planet Press)

Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Twelfth Planet Press)


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Last chance to pre-order To Spin a Darker Stair!

I opened a parcel at work today, expecting it to be one of a zillion Fishpond books I’d ordered, and stared in some bewilderment at the cover of the gorgeous little book that came out – this was MY book, which is not printed yet! How did Fishpond get it?! And finally the penny dropped and I realised it was my proof copy of To Spin A Darker Stair! It’s a great conceit for me to call it MY book, because the credit for this beautiful little gift book belongs fully with the authors (Catherynne M Valente and Faith Mudge), the artist (Kathleen Jennings), and the designer (Amanda Rainey) – I did very little to make this book come to life. It is so pretty, and little and CUTE!

There’s only a few hours left to pre-order your copy of To Spin A Darker Stair, which will be released at Swancon at Easter. RRP will be $8.95, but I’ve had a limited pre-order special for just $7.95 (INCLUDING POSTAGE!). As a special bonus, all pre-orders go in the draw to win the very excellent new novel from Margo Lanagan, Sea Hearts. Pre-order here!


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It’s Ditmar nominating time!

The nomination period for the Ditmar awards is now open. All works must have been published for the first time in 2011 to be eligible. There’s a quite comprehensive list of eligible works for all categories over here – if there are things missing, you can add to it, cos it’s a wiki 🙂

Once you’ve figured out what you’d like to nominate, head over here and do it! Just about everyone is eligible to nominate (to vote on the final shortlists, you have to be a Natcon member from 2011 or for 2012, but no such restrictions for nomination).

For reference, I’ve listed below things that FableCroft or me are eligible for – I do encourage you to go look at that lovely big list of eligible works though, because there was some brilliant stuff put out last year!

After the Rain is eligible for Best Collected Work, as are all the stories it contains (all Best Short Story category):

from the dry heart to the sea by joanne anderton

powerplant by dave luckett

daughters of the deluge by lyn battersby

when the bone men come by peter cooper

the birth of water cities by angela rega

wet work by jason nahrung

fruit of the pipal tree by thoraiya dyer

europe after the rain by lee battersby

heaven by jo langdon

visitors by peter m ball

mouseskin by kathleen jennings

offerings by suzanne j willis

the shadow on the city of my sky by robert hoge

my flood husband by sally newham

eschaton and coda by dirk flinthart

And the cover art for the book, by Gaston Locanto, is certainly eligible for Best Artwork.

In other categories, I am eligible for Best Fan Writer, and for the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism and Review, both the blog series on the Vorkosigan Saga that Alex Pierce and I did, and the ongoing “Reviewing New Who” series (David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts and me) are eligible.

I also contributed to the Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus reviews site (as a writer and maintainer) and to the Natcon Fifty Souvenir Book (layout and design by Amanda Rainey, contributors = fandom), both of which are eligible for Best Fan Publication.

It would be remiss of me to not recommend to you a couple of my favourites from the past year:

Joanne Anderton is eligible for Best New Talent (and well and truly deserves it, for my mind – her debut novel, Debris, is excellent (and also eligible in the Novel category!).

Kathleen Jennings is also eligible for Best New Talent, and her artwork on the cover of The Freedom Maze and in the graphic story “Finishing School” from Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories are both eligible for Best Artwork. In a really clever trick, Kathleen is also eligible for Best Fan Artist, particularly for her very cool series “The Dalek Game“.

That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed a big stack of other work this year, and I will be nominating accordingly, but PLEASE check out the eligibles for yourself and NOMINATE!


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