2018 Sara Douglass Book Series Award Finalists

The 2018 Sara Douglass Book Series Award shortlist was released on March 3.

The award is given periodically; this year the eligible series were those ending in 2015-2017 with a book that individually could have been considered for an Aurealis Award (i.e, a work of speculative fiction written by an Australian citizen or permanent resident.) The series may be in any speculative genre within the extended bounds of science fiction, fantasy or horror.

The Sara Douglass Book Series Award is not an Aurealis Award, but a separate, special award given by the same ruling body.

The judges for the 2018 award, Katharine Stubbs, Stephanie Gunn, Tehani Croft, and Ju Landeesse, considered more than fifty book series entered, with series numbering two to eight individual books. and publication dates spanning thirty years, totalling over 150 works. 

The Sara Douglass Book Series award is designed to recognise that there are book series that are greater as a whole than the sum of their parts – that is, the judges were looking for series that tell a story across the series, rather than just using the same characters/setting across loosely connected books. The judges believe that shortlisted works will be best enjoyed read in succession, with an arc that begins in the first book and is completed in the last. Excellence of writing was of the highest consideration, along with sound speculative elements, quality worldbuilding, fascinating characters and engaging storytelling. 

  • Blackthorn & Grim [Dreamer’s Pool (2014), Tower of Thorns (2015), Den of Wolves (2016)], Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Captive Prince [Captive Prince (2014), Prince’s Gambit (2014), Kings Rising (2016)], C S Pacat (Penguin Random House)
  • Electric Empire [The Diabolical Miss Hyde (2015), The Devious Dr Jekyll (2015), The Dastardly Miss Lizzie (2017)], Viola Carr (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Fire Sermon [The Fire Sermon (2015), The Map of Bones (2016), The Forever Ship (2017)], Francesca Haig (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Zeroes [Zeroes (2015), Swarm (2016), Nexus (2017)], Deborah Biancotti, Margo Lanagan & Scott Westerfeld (Allen & Unwin)

The Award is named for one of Australia’s best-known speculative fiction writers.

Sara Douglass was the flagship author of the HarperVoyager Australian line, which launched the careers of many of our most popular writers, and paved the way for the vibrant and diverse speculative fiction scene Australia has today.

The 2018 Sara Douglass Book Series Award, Aurealis Awards, and the Convenors’ Award for Excellence winners will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony in Melbourne on May 4.

2018 Aurealis Awards Finalists

The finalists for the 2018 Aurealis Awards were announced February 19 by the Continuum Foundation (ConFound). The award recognizes the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.

The winners of the Aurealis Awards, as well as the Sara Douglass Book Series Award, and the Convenors’ Award for Excellence will be announced at a ceremony in Melbourne on Saturday May 4.

2018 Aurealis Awards – Finalists

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

  • The Relic of the Blue Dragon, Rebecca Lim (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Slightly Alarming Tales of the Whispering Wars, Jaclyn Moriarty (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Endsister, Penni Russon (Allen & Unwin)
  • Secret Guardians, Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)
  • Ting Ting the Ghosthunter, Gabrielle Wang (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • Ottilie Colter and the Narroway Hunt, Rhiannon Williams (Hardie Grant Egmont)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK

  • Deathship Jenny, Rob O’Connor (self-published)
  • Cicada, Shaun Tan (Hachette Australia)
  • Tales from The Inner City, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

  • “A Robot Like Me”, Lee Cope (Mother of Invention, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Moon Collector”, D K Mok (Under the Full Moon’s Light, Owl Hollow Press)
  • “The Sea-Maker of Darmid Bay”, Shauna O’Meara (Interzone #277, TTA Press)
  • “Eight-Step Koan”, Anya Ow (Sword and Sonnet, Ate Bit Bear)
  • “For Weirdless Days and Weary Nights”, Deborah Sheldon (Breach #08)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

  • “The Offering”, Michael Gardner (Aurealis #112)
  • “Slither”,  Jason Nahrung (Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume 2, IFWG Publishing Australia)
  • “By Kindle Light”,  Jessica Nelson-Tyers (Antipodean SF #235)
  • “Hit and Rot”, Jessica Nelson-Tyers (Breach #08)
  • “Sub-Urban”, Alfie Simpson (Breach #07)
  • “The Further Shore”, J Ashley Smith (Bourbon Penn #15)

BEST HORROR NOVELLA

  • “Andromeda Ascends”, Matthew R Davis (Beneath the Waves – Tales from the Deep, Things In The Well)
  • “Kopura Rising”, David Kuraria (Cthulhu: Land of the Long White Cloud, IFWG Publishing Australia)
  • “The Black Sea”, Chris Mason (Beneath the Waves – Tales from the Deep, Things In The Well)
  • Triquetra, Kirstyn McDermott (Tor.com)
  • “With This Needle I Thee Thread”, Angela Rega (Aurum, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Crisis Apparition, Kaaron Warren (Dark Moon Books)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

  • “Crying Demon”, Alan Baxter (Suspended in Dusk 2, Grey Matter Press)
  • “Army Men”, Juliet Marillier (Of Gods and Globes, Lancelot Schaubert)
  • “The Further Shore”, J Ashley Smith (Bourbon Penn #15)
  • “Child of the Emptyness”, Amanda J Spedding (Grimdark Magazine #17)
  • “A Moment’s Peace”, Dave Versace (A Hand of Knaves, CSFG Publishing)
  • “Heartwood, Sapwood, Spring”, Suzanne J Willis (Sword and Sonnet, Ate Bit Bear)

BEST FANTASY NOVELLA

  • “This Side of the Wall”, Michael Gardner (Metaphorosis Magazine, January 2018)
  • “Beautiful”, Juliet Marillier (Aurum, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • “The Staff in the Stone”, Garth Nix (The Book of Magic, Penguin Random House)
  • Merry Happy Valkyrie, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Dressmaker and the Colonel’s Coat”, David Versace (Mnemo’s Memory and Other Fantastic Tales, self-published)
  • The Dragon’s Child, Janeen Webb (PS Publishing)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

  • “The Sixes, The Wisdom and the Wasp”, E J Delaney (Escape Pod)
  • “The Fallen”, Pamela Jeffs (Red Hour, Four Ink Press)
  • “On the Consequences of Clinically-Inhibited Maturation in the Common Sydney Octopus”, Simon Petrie & Edwina Harvey (A Hand of Knaves, CSFG)
  • “A Fair Wind off Baracoa”, Robert Porteous (Hand of Knaves, CSFG)
  • “The Astronaut”, Jen White (Aurealis)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA

  • “I Almost Went To The Library Last Night”, Joanne Anderton (Aurum, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • The Starling Requiem, Jodi Cleghorn (eMergent Publishing)
  • Icefall, Stephanie Gunn (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Pinion”, Stephanie Gunn (Aurum, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • “Singles’ Day”, Samantha Murray (Interzone #277, TTA Press)
  • Static Ruin, Corey J White (Tor.com)

BEST COLLECTION

  • Not Quite the End of the World Just Yet, Peter M Ball (Brain Jar Press)
  • Phantom Limbs, Margo Lanagan (PS Publishing)
  • Tales from The Inner City, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)
  • Exploring Dark Short Fiction #2: A Primer to Kaaron Warren, Kaaron Warren (Dark Moon Books)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

  • Sword and Sonnet, Aiden Doyle, Rachael K Jones & E Catherine Tobler (Ate Bit Bear)
  • Aurum, Russell B Farr (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Mother of Invention, Rivqa Rafael & Tansy Rayner Roberts (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Infinity’s End, Jonathan Strahan (Solaris)
  • The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year, Jonathan Strahan (Solaris)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

  • Small Spaces, Sarah Epstein (Walker Books Australia)
  • Lifel1k3, Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)
  • Catching Teller Crow, Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina (Allen & Unwin)
  • His Name was Walter, Emily Rodda (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • A Curse of Ash and Embers, Jo Spurrier (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Impostors, Scott Westerfeld (Allen & Unwin)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

  • The Bus on Thursday, Shirley Barrett (Allen & Unwin)
  • Years of the Wolf, Craig Cormick (IFWG Publishing Australia)
  • Tide of Stone, Kaaron Warren (Omnium Gatherum)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

  • Devouring Dark, Alan Baxter (Grey Matter Press)
  • Lady Helen and the Dark Days Deceit, Alison Goodman (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • City of Lies, Sam Hawke (Penguin Random House)
  • Lightning Tracks, Alethea Kinsela (Plainspeak Publishing)
  • The Witch Who Courted Death, Maria Lewis (Hachette Australia)
  • We Ride the Storm, Devin Madson (self-published)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • Scales of Empire, Kylie Chan (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Obsidio, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)
  • Lifel1k3, Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)
  • Dyschronia, Jennifer Mills (Picador Australia)
  • A Superior Spectre, Angela Meyer (Ventura Press)
  • The Second Cure, Margaret Morgan (Penguin Random House)

Pixel Scroll 12/6/18 By Grabthar’s Pixel, By The Scrolls Of Warvan, You Shall Be File’d

(1) SNAPPY JACKETS. BookRiot lists its choices for “The Best Book Covers of 2018”. Lots of genre book covers here. Two examples:

I love a cover with a flipped image, this one showing a well-dressed man and woman on one side and a bowler hat-wearing man bicycling on the other side. The colors and rainy arc of tree branches in the London mist makes me think of Mary Poppins (that scene with Mr. Banks, anyone?) and then all I want to do is put this book into my eyeballs.

—Aimee Miles

Any time someone mentions this book—which is often because it’s awesome—the cover vividly pops into my brain. It’s like a movie poster for a blockbuster that you just can’t wait to see, and then after you see it you put the poster up on your bedroom wall!

—Jamie Canaves

(2) ATMOSPHERICS. Out today, the Game of Thrones “Official Tease: Dragonstone.”

Fire and ice. The final season of Game of Thrones begins this April.

 

(3) AUREALIS AWARDS DEADLINE. Tehani Croft, Judging Coordinator of the Aurealis Awards, reminds everyone that entries close at midnight, Friday, December 7:

It’s important to remember that ALL eligible Australian work published for the first time between January 1 and December 31, 2018, must be entered by midnight on December 7even work intended for publication after the December 7 cut off.

When entries are made, you will receive an auto response from our system to acknowledge receipt (please check your spam folder if this does not arrive) – this is the only requirement for entries to be valid. Details regarding payment (for long form entries) and submission will follow in the coming week.

Thank you to everyone who has already submitted entries this year – the judges have appreciated a consistent flow of entries in a timely manner, which has helped avoid an end-of-year bottleneck.

(4) FOURTH ALLEGATION AGAINST TYSON. Buzzfeed News adds a new charge: “Nobody Believed Neil deGrasse Tyson’s First Accuser. Now There Are Three More.”

…Now a fourth woman has told BuzzFeed News her experience of sexual harassment from Tyson. In January 2010, she recalled, she joined her then-boyfriend at a holiday party for employees of the American Museum of Natural History. Tyson, its most famous employee, drunkenly approached her, she said, making sexual jokes and propositioning her to join him alone in his office. In a 2014 email shared with BuzzFeed News, she described the incident to her own employer in order to shoot down a proposed collaboration with Tyson….

(5) MORTAL PETER JACKSON. The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy renders his verdict: “‘Mortal Engines’: Film Review”.

A fantastical bit of steampunk sci-fi runs to a considerable extent on fumes in Mortal Engines, an action-loaded tale of adventure and combat set in a future that takes its design cues entirely from the past. Based on the initial book in a series of four by British author Philip Reeve, the first of them published in 2001, this new effort by Peter Jackson’s Wingnut Films is certainly lavish and expensive looking but never thoroughly locks in to capture the imagination or sweep you off to a new world where you particularly want to spend time. It’s combat-heavy, but not in an especially enthralling way, spelling an uncertain commercial future in the U.S. at least; foreign results could be significantly better.

One thing the film does have going for it is a resilient female lead, Hester Shaw (Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar), a survivor of childhood violence compelled to take revenge on her mother’s killer. Another is a bizarre form of conquest that’s illustrated in the extensive opening action sequence, in which one mobile society — in this case, a condensed version of London — races on giant treads across a rough wasteland in pursuit of a smaller, rag-tag community in order to literally gobble it up. There’s a milder, less demented Mad Max quality to the set-piece that decidedly rivets the attention, even if the sheer physics of it seem more than a bit preposterous; it’s akin to a huge garbage truck consuming a lawn mower.

(6) APPS AND TRAPS. Etelka Lehoczky says “Surrealism Meets Sci-Fi In ‘Parallel Lives'” in a review of this collection of short comics stories by O. Schrauwen and Eric Reynolds.

Parallel Lines is loosely a work of sci-fi. Most of its characters live at some time in the future, and all make use of rarified technologies. One woman communicates with a hologrammatic friend and lives in a coffin-sized pod. A team of explorers wend their way through outer space in a shimmering cubical ship. Schrauwen’s father Armand turns up in the book: He uses something called a Bomann Kühlbox T5000 to beam his face and voice to the future. (He finds it a frustrating experience, as the futurians ignore him in favor of seeking out exotic new ways of “leisuring.”) Schrauwen himself makes an appearance, too, in a first-person story of alien abduction that toys unsettlingly with the tropes of that genre.

(7) WHAT’S WRONG WITH WOKE “WHO”? [Item by Olav Rokne.] Lucy Jones of the Independent uses Doctor Who’s more inclusive storytelling — and the resultant backlash — as a framework to examine what it means to be “politically correct.” Her conclusion is pretty close to what most people on File 770 have been saying all along: that there’s nothing incorrect about telling stories that fully represent the diversity of society. “Doctor Who backlash shows why it’s time to bin the phrase ‘politically correct’”.

Words have consequences, and, in the rise of populism, these ones certainly have had, so instead of writing it off, I wanted to delve deeper into the Doctor Who criticism and try to understand what these swathes of shocked people online were outraged by, and if it had anything valuable to say about how people feel about changing societal and cultural norms.

(8) ARMITAGE OBIT. Peter Armitage (1940 – 2018): British actor, died December 4, aged 78. Screen appearances include Jack the Ripper (both episodes, 1988), Chimera (one episode, 1991), The Indiana Jones Chronicles (one episode, 1993), The Second Coming (both episodes, 2003), Magic Grandad (four episodes, 2003).

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]

  • Born December 6, 1911 – Ejler Jakobsson, Writer and Editor born in Finland who emigrated to the U.S. as a teenager. Several short fiction works co-written with his wife Edith were published in the horror pulps in the late 1930s, and they co-edited two one-off magazines entitled The Octopus and The Scorpion. When Super Science Stories was revived briefly in 1949, he was editor for that two year run – with Damon Knight as his assistant. In 1969, he took over Galaxy and If, succeeding Frederik Pohl. With the assistance of Judy-Lynn and Lester del Rey, he worked to make the magazines more contemporary. Under his auspices, several Best of anthologies for both If and Galaxy were published, and Galaxy was a three-time finalist for the Hugo Award. (Died 1984.)
  • Born December 6, 1924 – Wally Cox, Actor and Comedian. Who can resist the voice of the Underdog series, which ran from 1964 to 1967? I certainly can’t. He also appeared in the films Babes in Toyland,  Quarantined, and Once Upon a Mattress, and had guest parts in The Twilight Zone, Mission: Impossible, Lost in Space, Get Smart, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., and Night Gallery. Interestingly, he had a lifelong close friendship from childhood with Marlon Brando (Died 1974.)
  • Born December 6, 1938 – Patrick Bachau, 80, Actor, Writer, and Producer from Belgium who had parts in French-speaking genre films before crossing the ditch where he became known to genre fans for his four-year role as Sydney on The Pretender. He also played a main role in the miniseries Kindred: The Embraced, had guest parts in episodes of Alias, The Dead Zone, and Earth 2, and had roles in Jennifer Connelly’s genre film debut Phenomena, The Cell, Serpent’s Lair, Vampires: The Turning, the execrable The Rapture, and 2012: We Were Warned.
  • Born December 6, 1948 – JoBeth Williams, 70, Oscar-nominated Actor and Producer who graduated from university intending to become a child psychologist, but instead caught the acting bug. Genre fans will remember her for her Saturn-nominated role in Poltergeist and its sequel. Other genre films include The Day After, Endangered Species, Switch, TiMER, It Came from the Sky, and The World Beyond. She also played Marge Slayton in From the Earth to the Moon.
  • Born December 6, 1953 – Tom Hulce, 65, Oscar-nominated Actor of Stage and Screen and Producer. His first genre role was in a highly-praised performance as the lead in the American Playhouse broadcast of The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket, about a young boy who discovers that he can fly. Although the bulk of his career has been in the theater, his most notable genre film role was as Henry Clerval in Kenneth Branagh’s Saturn-nominated Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. He was nominated for an Annie Award for his voice performance of Quasimodo in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and appeared in the films Stranger than Fiction and Jumper.
  • Born December 6, 1962 – Colin Salmon, 56, Actor from England who is best known for playing M’s Deputy Chief of Staff in three James Bond films, and as James “One” Shade in the Resident Evil film series. He has had roles in films including Alien vs. Predator, Tales from the Crypt, Punisher: War Zone, Annihilation: Earth, and Space Island One, and on television series including Arrow, Limitless, and the obligatory Doctor Who appearance (with David Tennant). He had a main role in the British series Hex, and currently plays General Zod in the Krypton series.
  • Born December 6, 1969 – Torri Higginson, 49, Actor and Producer who is almost certainly best known for her Saturn-nominated main role for four seasons as Dr. Elizabeth Weir on Stargate: Atlantis – but, like JJ, you may experience the lightbulb going on when you hear that her earliest genre role was as the female lead in Shatner’s TekWar series. She also had a main role in the supernatural series Inhuman Condition, and a recurring role in the deep space mystery series Dark Matter. Other appearances include Stephen King’s Storm of the Century, Stonehenge Apocalypse, The Cult, and episodes of Highlander: The Raven and The (new) Outer Limits.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Brevity puts a smart weapon in Captain Kirk’s hands – or is that a smartass weapon?

(11) THEY’RE IN A RABBIT STEW. BBC One has put out a trailer for its adaptation of Watership Down. It will be released on Netflix on December 23, the day after it debuts on BBC One.

(12) MORAL EQUIVALENT OF WAR. M. Harold Page expounds on internet culture in “Worldbuilding Once and Future Fake News: Not Really A Review of Singer & Brooking’s LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media at Black Gate.

I’ve been reading LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media by Singer and Brooking. It describes the emerging world of Internet “news” where news passes from person-to-person on social media, no source is uncontroversially trustworthy, and where both information warriors and click-bait farmers are uninterested in the truth, except as a way of making untruths more plausible.

In this world, what determines a narrative’s success is not veracity but rather: Simplicity; Resonance; and Novelty.

Just switch the arena to “rumor” and this looks awfully like a greatly accelerated version of the pre-modern — especially Medieval and Renaissance — milieus we use as inspiration for Fantasy worldbuilding.  Keep the rumor but return the tech, and it’s also a good jumping-off point for building a Space Opera future. Stay with me and I’ll explain. But first, back to the smoking ruins of Limoges.

(13) THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON. Nature reports a Chinese spacecraft will soon make the first visit: “Journey to the far side of the Moon” [PDF file].

Early in the New Year, if all goes well, the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e-4 will arrive where no craft has been before: the far side of the Moon. The mission is scheduled to launch from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province on 8 December. The craft, comprising a lander and a rover, will then enter the Moon’s orbit, before touching down on the surface.

If the landing is successful, the mission’s main job will be to investigate this side of the lunar surface, which is peppered with many small craters. The lander will also conduct the first radio astronomy experiments from the far side of the Moon — and the first investigations to see whether plants will grow in the low-gravity lunar environment…

(14) MORE MUPPET MUSIC. Lyndsey Parker, in the Yahoo! Entertainment story, “Paul Williams unearths lost ‘Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas’ Muppet soundtrack: ‘One of my favorite things I’ve ever done'”, says that Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, which hasn’t been seen since its broadcast on HBO in 1977, is about to be released in theaters later this month.  Paul Williams talks about his song “When The River Meets The Sea,” which was played at Jim Henson’s funeral in 1990 and which he thinks is one of his best works.

When songwriting legend Paul Williams met Muppets mastermind Jim Henson in 1976, after appearing on The Muppet Show, the fateful encounter led to a long and fruitful musical partnership, highlighted by Williams’s Oscar-nominated theme for The Muppet Movie, “Rainbow Connection.”

But it all started with the 1977 HBO cult classic Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, which will be screened in theaters nationwide for the first time ever this month, on Dec. 9 and 16. And incredibly, Williams’s twangy Emmet Otter soundtrack has finally been officially released, just in time for this holiday season, with a previously unreleased song, “Born in a Trunk,” that didn’t make it to air.

(15) FRUIT FLIES LIKE A… MARULA? NPR reveals “When And Where Fruit Flies First Bugged Humans”.

A study published Thursday suggests Drosophila melanogaster first shacked up with humans when the insects flew into the elaborately painted caves of ancient people living in southern Africa.

That’s according to a report published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

Scientists say the flies would have been following the alluring smell of stored marula fruit, which were collected and stored by cave-dwelling people in Africa. This tasty yellow fruit was a staple in the region in those days — and was also the fruit that wild flies apparently evolved to depend on in nearby forests.

The humble fruit fly now lives with humans all over the planet and is one of the world’s most studied creatures. For more than a century, biology and medical laboratories have depended on this fly — one scientist notes that at least nine times, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded for research on Drosophila….

(16) STONE FAT: Harder to lose than cellulite! “Fossil preserves ‘sea monster’ blubber and skin”.

Scientists have identified fossilised blubber from an ancient marine reptile that lived 180 million years ago.

Blubber is a thick layer of fat found under the skin of modern marine mammals such as whales.

Its discovery in this ancient “sea monster” – an ichthyosaur – appears to confirm the animal was warm-blooded, a rarity in reptiles.

The preserved skin is smooth, like that of whales or dolphins. It had lost the scales characteristic of its ancestors.

The ichthyosaur’s outer layer is still somewhat flexible and retains evidence of the animal’s camouflage pattern.

The reptile was counter-shaded – darker on the upper side and light on the underside. This counter-balances the shading effects of natural light, making the animal more difficult to see.

(17) NO LONGER SF. Remember to tip your avatar: “Japanese cafe uses robots controlled by paralysed people”.

A cafe staffed by robot waiters controlled remotely by paralysed people has opened in Tokyo, Japan.

A total of 10 people with a variety of conditions that restrict their movement have helped control robots in the Dawn Ver cafe.

The robot’s controllers earned 1,000 yen (£7) per hour – the standard rate of pay for waiting staff in Japan.

It is hoped the project will give more independence to people with disabilities.

(18) A WORD FROM SOMEBODY’S SPONSOR. We’ve come a long way from the one-room schoolhouse. I suppose in another generation they’ll be saying we’ve come a long way from the one-robot schoolroom.

The Belgian company Zora Bots is currently conquering the world with its unique solution especially designed for humanoid robots. Now, Zora Bots is about to change the way education system prepares the future generations to the ongoing technology revolution. In Belgium, a new step has just been made in that field with the support of Zora solutions. Comitted in an ambitious digitilization program, the town of Ostend (West Flanders) becomes today the first smart city in Europe to equip all its secondary schools with a humanoid robot. That means no student in secondary cycle will be deprived of having his first coding experience with a robot.

(19) MAKING A POINT: BBC tells about “The Indian restaurants that serve only half a glass of water”.

At the pure vegetarian Kalinga restaurant, a couple have just been seated when a waiter approaches their table and asks if they want water.

“I said yes and he gave me half a glass of water,” says Gauripuja Mangeshkar. “I was wondering if I was being singled out, but then I saw that he had only poured half a glass for my husband too.”

For a moment, Ms Mangeshkar did wonder whether her glass was half full or half empty, but the reason why she was served less water was not really existential.

Nearly 400 restaurants in Pune have adopted this measure to reduce water use, ever since the civic authorities announced cuts in supply a month ago.

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth, JJ, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Steve Green, Daniel Dern, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

Pixel Scroll 5/31/18 The Pixel That Parsed The Hornets Nest

(1) ANOTHER CAT AND SFF STORY TO LOVE. Huge news for Cat Valente:

Deadline has the story: “Universal Options ‘Space Opera’ For Marc Platt & Colin Trevorrow To Produce”.

Universal Pictures has optioned Catherynne M. Valente’s  science fiction novel Space Opera, which Marc Platt will produce for his Universal-based Marc Platt Productions with Adam Siegel, along with Colin Trevorrow producing.

(2) BOOK SALES STATS. Data Guy has posted the slides from the “2018 SFWA Nebula Conference Presentation” at Author Earnings.

(3) KNOW YOUR BEARDS. Camestros Felapton challenges you in the “Puzzle Corner: Help Timothy Spot the Author”.

Poor Timothy is still having problems with human faces. I don’t know what fraction of science-fiction authors have beards but I’d guess 30%? Sometimes feels like more!

Can you match the beard-style (numbered) to the author (lettered) so Tim can tell which is which?

(4) BREAKING IN. Congratulations, Buzz Dixon! He told Facebook readers —

I finally cracked Analog after 50 years of trying!

(Not that Buzz hasn’t enjoyed a highly successful writing career in the meantime.)

The Astounding/Analog Companion has posted “A Q&A with Buzz Dixon”:

Analog Editor: What is the story behind “While You Sleep, Computer Mice Earn Their Keep”?

Buzz Dixon: Often I’ll hear an idiom or phrase and think to myself, “What does that mean literally?” In this case, the phrase was “computer mouse,” and I asked myself how mice could actually interact with a computer. Immediately the old fairy tale of “The Cobbler and the Elves” popped into mind.

AE: How did this story germinate? Was there a spark of inspiration, or did it come to you slowly?

BD: If the Computer Mice represent the force of order, then the wild female rat represents the force of chaos. I remember reading Robert Chilson’s “Ecological Niche” in the December 1970 issue of Analog when I was in high school and was struck with his portrayal of wildlife finding a way to be both wild and alive even in the middle of an extremely complex technology. Once I had my opposing points of view, the actual writing went very quickly.

(5) CAT RAMBO. On Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, “My Favorite Bit: Cat Rambo talks about HEARTS OF TABAT”.

One of my favorite pieces of the most recent fantasy novel, Hearts of Tabat, didn’t actually get into the final version, which was a set of chapter headers defining which Trade God each chapter belonged to. The Trade Gods of the city of Tabat embody various economic forces of one size or another, ranging from the large Anbo and Enba (Supply & Demand) to the more particular, like Zampri, who oversees Advertising, or Uhkephelmi, God of Small Mistakes.

(6) FORENSICS. Kristine Kathryn Rusch teases apart a major news story about embezzlement at a literary agency in “Business Musings: An Agent Nightmare Revealed”.

…To the greatest extent possible.

In other words, my friends, Donadio & Olson does not have the financial resources to make up for a theft of $3.4 million, let alone any more potential losses that the forensic accountant might turn up.

The complaint alleges that Webb stole money as far back as 2011. However, according to Law360, he worked for the company since 1999. Did he start this behavior then? Or after Candida Donadio died? (Which seems likely. Agencies go off the rails when their founders leave or die.)

It’s pretty easy to steal from writers’ estates. I worked with a number of them on some projects in 2015 and 2016, and with one exception, the agencies or the organizations in charge of the estates didn’t give a crap about resale, about payment, about anything. Most of them weren’t even familiar with the story I wanted to reprint, and only one of them had an author’s preferred version that they sent to me. (I asked.)

I probably could have reprinted those stories and never paid any of the estates. I probably would not have been caught in most cases. And that’s rather minor theft.

Now, imagine what’s going on with estates like [Mario] Puzo’s, which includes all of the monies still coming in from the movies, from licensing, from the books (which are still in print). These are multimillion dollar ventures, handled every year by Donadio & Olson, with no one overseeing the day to day running of the finances.

Oh, my. The money was simply there for the taking.

The thing is, Donadio & Olson is a “reputable” agency. The New York Post used the word “prestigious” in describing the agency. Donadio & Olson was, until last week, a gold-standard agency, one that most young writers might have aspired to have as representatives….

Then she shares some firsthand experiences.

Sadly, I am not surprised by any of this. As I have blogged about before, literary agencies are not regulated. Prestigious agencies embezzle. I’ve personally had one of the biggest boutique agencies in the world embezzle from me. (And I suspect they still are, although I can’t prove it. But there are licensed properties—tie-ins—that I wrote whose royalty statements I cannot get my hands on because no one at the licensor will cooperate with me. The books have been in print for 25-30 years and I have never seen a dime in royalties. Ever.) I’ve also had one of the biggest fraudsters in the industry steal from me. I speak from hard-earned life lessons here.

(7) AUREALIS AWARDS TAKING ENTRIES. The Aurealis Awards, “Australia’s premier awards for speculative fiction,” is taking entries until December 7.

The awards  are for works created by an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and published for the first time in 2018.

Full guidelines and a FAQ can be found on the Aurealis Awards website.

We strongly encourage publishers and authors to enter all works published in the first half of the year by August 2018, then subsequent publications as they are released; our judges appreciate having time to consider each entry carefully.

The same group is also running the Sara Douglass Book Series Award for series ending between 2015-2017, this year. Entries for this special award close on August 31, 2018. More information is available at the link.

Finalists of all award categories will be announced early in 2019 and winners announced at a ceremony to take place in Melbourne in the first half of the year. For more information contact the judging coordinator Tehani Croft at aajudges@gmail.com

(8) ASTRONAUT OBIT. Donald H. Peterson passed away May 27 reports the Washington Post: “Donald Peterson Sr., who spacewalked from the shuttle Challenger, dies at 84”.

Mr. Peterson’s avid consumption of science fiction in his childhood drove his interest in aviation and space.”

In 1983 he told a reporter:

‘Back when I was a kid, there was no space program,’ Peterson said in an interview. ‘In fact, I was old enough to know about airplanes before there were jet airplanes.

‘My earliest interest came from science fiction. I read a lot of things as a kid, but I read some science fiction and got interested. As I got older, I started reading real things

A trading card featuring Peterson:

(9) IN A SOCIAL MEDIA FAR, FAR AWAY. (Found with the help of Nicholas Whyte.)

(10) COMICS TO BE PRESERVED. Michael Cavna, the Washington Post’s “Comic Riffs” columnist, says that the Library of Congress has acquired most of Steven Geppi’s comics collection, including most of the contents of the Baltimore-based Geppi Entertainment Museum, which will close after this weekend: “Library of Congress acquires its largest donation of comic books ever”.

The impressive acquisition, which is set to be announced Wednesday, comes courtesy of Baltimore-based collector and entrepreneur Stephen A. Geppi, who is donating more than 3,000 items from his holdings, many spanning the eight-decade history of the American comic-book industry. His Mickey Mouse storyboards are from the Jazz Age animated short “Plane Crazy,” which was inspired by Charles Lindbergh. Other items include printing blocks from Richard Outcault’s fin-de-siecle comic-strip character the Yellow Kid, Beatles memorabilia and a No. 2 Brownie camera model F from Eastman Kodak, the library says.

The donation — which the library says it is valuing “in the millions” — was born out of months of conversations between Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, a champion of giving the public new ways to view the library’s scope, and Geppi, who opened Geppi’s Entertainment Museum in Baltimore in 2006.

(11) BUTLER AT HOME. From Pasadena Weekly — “Octavia Butler’s Pasadena connections informed her stellar science-fiction writing career”.

The Crown City played a major part in her development, both for its major role in the space race via Caltech, JPL and the Carnegie Observatories, and because of the fact it was racially integrated long before much of the nation. Her archives are collected at the Huntington Library in San Marino, having formed the basis of a popular exhibition in 2017 and remaining one of the hottest collections for researchers there.

“Pasadena was a major inspiration, and part of that has to do with JPL being in her backyard, right over the hill and being so close to the space race and growing up with that had to have piqued her interest,” says Theresa Russell, assistant curator of literary collections at the library. “I think Butler felt it was a very diverse place. She talks about her novels not just being filled with black people, but people of all colors. There were white, black, Asian students at Caltech, and it seemed natural to her that the future would be the world she was seeing, filled with diversity.”

Russell also notes that the Pasadena area or a version of it appears in some of Butler’s works. Her novel “Kindred” offers a particularly strong example, as it focused on a writer living in Altadena amid an early career as a writer, and the novel “Mind of My Mind” features a city called Forsyth that was modeled after Pasadena. Yet Russell notes that the dystopian novel “Parable of the Sower” has the most intriguing connections of all to the City of Roses.

(12) STORIES THAT ADMIT THEY ARE ABOUT POLITICS. The Kickstarter for Cat Rambo’s “IF THIS GOES ON – Political SF Anthology” has raised $3,736 of $10,000 at this writing, with 28 days to go.

Looking at the state of the world today, we are clearly at a nexus of inflection points. Global relations and power structures are changing more rapidly than they have since the cold war. The divide between the haves and have nots is broadening and we are at the start of a new gilded age of robber barons and crippling poverty. Racial, social, and class relations are stretched to a point of breaking. Global climate change threatens to remake our planet.

The choices we make today; the policies of our governments and the values that we, as people, embrace are going to shape our world for decades to come. Or break it.

IF THIS GOES ON asks a very straightforward question – what happens if things continue to be like this and what happens next?

We asked thirty writers to put their minds to it and show us what the future may hold a generation or more from today. To show us the promise of a better world if we embrace our better angels or the cost of our failures if we give in to the demons of divisiveness, if we allow politicians and pundits to redefine truth, and if we continue to ignore the warnings all around us.

Truth matters, stories matter.

The full Table of Contents, organized alphabetically by the author’s last name is:

  • Cyd Athens – Welcome to Gray
  • Steven Barnes – The Dayveil Gambit
  • Rachel Chimits – Dead Wings
  • Paul Crenshaw – Bulletproof Tattoos
  • Beth Dawkins – Tasting Bleach and Decay in the City of Dust
  • Andy Duncan – Mr. Percy’s Shortcut
  • Chris Kluwe – The Machine
  • Kitty-Lydia Dye – Three Data Units
  • Scott Edelman – The Stranded Time Traveler Embraces the Inevitable
  • Judy Helfrich – A Pocketful of Dolphins
  • Langley Hyde – Call and Answer
  • Gregory Jeffers – All the Good Dogs Have Been Eaten
  • Jamie Lackey – Fine
  • Jack Lothian – Good Pupils
  • Nick Mamatas – Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than The Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness
  • Lynette Mejía – A Gardener’s Guide to the Apocalypse
  • Aimee Ogden – Twelve Histories Scrawled in the Sky
  • Sarah Pinsker – That Our Flag Was Still There
  • Conor Powers-Smith – The Sinking Tide
  • Zandra Renwick – Making Happy
  • Kathy Schilbach – Counting the Days
  • Nisi Shawl – King Harvest Will Surely Come
  • Priya Sridhar – Mustard Seeds and the Elephants Foot
  • Marie L Vibbert – Free Wi-Fi
  • Calie Voorhis – The Editor’s Eyes
  • Tiffany E. Wilson – One Shot
  • James Wood – Discobolos
  • Sylvia Spruck Wrigley – Choose Your Own Adventure
  • E. Lily Yu – Green Glass: A Love Story
  • Hal Y. Zhang – But for Grace

Cover art by Bernard Lee. Design by Michael Altmann.

(13) BUY PROP FOR NEVER-MADE TREK MOVIE. Motherboard says this model for the starship Enterprise is going on the auction block with a starting bid of $40,000.

A rare, redesigned version of the starship Enterprise NCC-1701 will go on auction in L.A. (and online) Thursday, with bidding starting at $40,000. The model was designed by Ralph McQuarrie and Ken Adam in 1976 for the ill-fated film Star Trek: Planet of the Titans, which was the first plan for a motion picture after the original series was cancelled. But after months of writing and rewriting the script, it was ultimately shelved, and the redesigned Enterprise was shelved with it. Shortly after, Paramount began working with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry on what would eventually become Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The model would have changed the iconic look of NCC-1701. The model did appear briefly (though not as the Enterprise) in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s two-part episode “The Best of Both Worlds.” It was in the Starfleet armada which was destroyed by the Borg in the Battle of Wolf 359.

(14) HOT TIP: PLASTICS. NASA now has a combination plastic recycler and 3-D printer to test on the International Space Station. The Tethers Unlimited, Inc. device is about the size of a mini-fridge and was built as part of the Small Business Innovation Research program. It was certification tested at the Tethers Unlimited lab in Bothell WA and at Huntsville AL’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The plan is to deliver it to the ISS on a SpaceX Dragon supply run later this year.

Quoting the GeekWire article: “Tethers Unlimited delivers 3-D printer and recycler combo to NASA for space station”.

The Refabricator uses a process called “Positrusion” for recycling plastic parts into fresh filament for 3-D printing.

“Traditional plastics recycling and 3-D printer filament manufacturing techniques involve grinding and extrusion steps that could pose safety concerns on the ISS and often require a lot of adjustment to keep them running reliably,” [Tethers Unlimited CEO Rob] Hoyt explained.

“To create a recycling system that is safe and doesn’t demand a lot of astronaut time, we developed a new method for recycling plastic parts into 3-D printer filament, and integrated it together with a 3-D printer to create a highly automated recycling-and-manufacturing system,” he said.

(15) WATER WATER EVERYWHERE. BBC reports “Two different forms of water isolated for first time”. Not polywater (a hoax) let alone ice-nine (though both have been topics of sf stories), but physics-level differences leading to different chemical behavior.

Scientists have isolated the two different forms of water molecule for the first time.

Water molecules were known to exist as two distinct “isomers”, or types, based on their slightly different properties at the atomic level.

By separating out the two isomers, researchers were able to show that they behave differently in the way that they undergo chemical reactions.

The work appears in Nature Communications.

(16) EARLY INFLUENCES. At Postscripts to Darkness “PSTD Author Interview: Mike Allen”.

Whether they are historical or contemporary, who are some of the writers whose work has been most influential on, or important to, your own, and what have you taken from their writing?

I think it all boils down to Poe and Tolkien, the first is probably kind of obvious, the second I imagine less so for any readers out there that might know me only through my creative work.

Those two writers set me on the path. A well-meaning third grade teacher read “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven” to our class for Halloween, and while the other kids just giggled it away I was traumatized, with night terrors that lasted for years. Yet instead of staying away from all things horror, I became consumed with morbid curiosity, constantly coming back to this type of story-telling that held so much power over me, leading me to devour stuff by H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Peter Straub and Clive Barker.

With Barker, my favorite writer when I was in my teens, I experienced a paradigm change. I became a gleeful participant in the land of imaginary horrors, rather than a frightened victim. I ended up consuming so much horror that I essentially inoculated myself from the night terrors.

I would bet the idea that I’m best known for horror stories would be a big shock to 10-year-old me. Around 4thgrade or so my dad made me read The Lord of the Rings, because he thought it was the greatest novel ever written and because he was sure I would like it. On that second part, absolutely, he was right. Maybe the first one, too? But anyway, I developed this hunger for all things Tolkien. We lived at the time in Wise, Virginia, a coal town high in the Appalachians. There was no bookstore. There were a couple of other kids who liked fantasy, but didn’t share my obsessive need for it, or at least not my precise interests — as I recall, one buddy was a huge Larry Niven fan.

(17) FELINES AND FANTASY. Can you believe it? Long before the idea was codified by File 770, authors independently recognized the association of cats and SFF. For example, see these Martha Wells LiveJournal posts.

(18) SFWA EMERGENCY FUND. Hey, I didn’t know that.

(19) SILVERBERG ADAPTED AS OPERA. This is from an interview with composer Emily Howard by Richard Fairman in the May 26 Financial Times (behind a paywall).

Howard, 39, tells how she was working with her librettist, Selena Dmitrijevic, on a story about a person being shunned by society.  A draft scenario, in which that character was arrested and sentenced to being ‘invisible,’ was already well advanced when they discovered it came from a short story that Dmitrijevic had on her shelf at home, Robert Silverberg’s ”To See The Invisible Man.’

There is a strong flavour of Kafka, or perhaps Margaret Atwood.  ‘In our opera you never know exactly what the Invisible’s crime was,’ says Howard.  ‘We assume we are dealing with some authoritarian regime, where society is forced to operate within very narrow parameters of human behaviour.  It is a wonderfully constructed story, because it opens with the Invisible’s crime of coldness, and then(when the Invisible is apprehended for trying to help another Invisible in distress) closes with the crime of warmth.’

Note that Silverberg’s ‘Invisible Man’ has become the gender-neural ‘Invisible.’  It is one of Howard’s most eye-catching ideas that the role of this person is to be sung by two singers:  a soporano and a bass.  When the Invisible is alone, they will sing it together, but out in society, where he/she is unable to be themselves, only one voice will be heard.

To See The Invisible is going to be performed at the Aldeburgh Festival  from June 8-11.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Bill, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Tehani Croft, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer.]

2017 Aurealis Awards

The 2017 Aurealis Awards were announced at the Australian National Convention in Perth on March 31.

2017 Aurealis Awards

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

  • Nevermoor, Jessica Townsend (Hachette Australia)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK

  • Changing Ways book 3, Justin Randall (Gestalt)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

  • Girl Reporter, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Book Smugglers)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

  • “Old Growth”, J Ashley Smith (SQ Mag 31, IFWG Publishing Australia)

BEST HORROR NOVELLA

  • “The Stairwell”, Chris Mason (Below The Stairs – Tales from the Cellar, Things In The Well)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

  • “The Curse is Come Upon Me, Cried”, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Please Look After This Angel & Other Winged Stories, self-published)

BEST FANTASY NOVELLA

  • In Shadows We Fall, Devin Madson (self-published)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

  • “Conversations with an Armoury” Garth Nix (Infinity Wars, Solaris)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA

  • Girl Reporter, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Book Smugglers)

BEST COLLECTION

  • The Silver Well, Kate Forsyth & Kim Wilkins (Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

  • Infinity Wars, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) (Rebellion/Solaris)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

  • In The Dark Spaces, Cally Black (Hardie Grant Egmont)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

  • Soon, Lois Murphy (Transit Lounge)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

  • Godsgrave, Jay Kristoff (HarperCollins Publishers)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • From the Wreck, Jane Rawson (Transit Lounge)

THE CONVENORS’ AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE

  • The Fictional Mother by Tansy Rayner Roberts

2017 Aurealis Awards Finalists

The 2017 Aurealis Awards shortlist has been announced by the Western Australian Science Fiction Foundation.

Judging coordinator Tehani Croft said there were over 800 submissions.

We continue to be impressed by the breadth of entries, with publishers from all over the world ensuring the work of their creators is considered. This year the judges read more than 800 entries across the fifteen categories. It’s very pleasing to see publishers of all types featured among the finalists this year, with small publishers and self-published work finding a place alongside the majors.

Click on the link to see the members of the judging panels.

The Aurealis Award winners and the recipient of the Convenors’ Award for Excellence will be announced at a ceremony at the Australian National Convention in Perth on March 31.

2017 Aurealis Awards Finalists

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

  • How to Bee, Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone, Jaclyn Moriarty (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Shop at Hoopers Bend, Emily Rodda (HarperCollins Australia)
  • The Exile, Jo Sandhu (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • Accidental Heroes, Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)
  • Nevermoor, Jessica Townsend (Hachette Australia)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK

  • Action Tank, Mike Barry (Mike Barry Was Here)
  • Changing Ways book 3, Justin Randall (Gestalt)
  • Dungzilla, James Foley (Fremantle Press)
  • Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts, Craig Phillips (Allen & Unwin)
  • Home Time, Campbell Whyte (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • Tintinnabula, Margo Lanagan & Rovina Cai (ill.) (Little Hare)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

  • “One Small Step”, Amie Kaufman (Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, HarperCollins Australia)
  • “I Can See the Ending”, Will Kostakis (Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, HarperCollins Australia)
  • “Competition Entry #349”, Jaclyn Moriarty (Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, HarperCollins Australia)
  • “First Casualty” Michael Pryor (Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, HarperCollins Australia)
  • Girl Reporter, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Book Smugglers)
  • “Oona Underground”, Lili Wilkinson (Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, HarperCollins Australia)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

  • “Reef”, Kat Clay (SQ Mag 31, IFWG Publishing Australia)
  • “Outside, a Drifter”, Lisa L Hannett (Looming Low, Dim Shores)
  • “Angel Hair”, Deborah Sheldon (Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories, IFWG Publishing Australia)
  • “The Endless Below”, Alfie Simpson (Breach Issue #02)
  • “Old Growth”, J Ashley Smith (SQ Mag 31, IFWG Publishing Australia)
  • “On the Line”, J Ashley Smith (Midnight Echo 12, Australasian Horror Writers Association)

BEST HORROR NOVELLA

  • The Mailman, Jeremy Bates (Ghillinnein Books)
  • Hope and Walker, Andrew Cull (Vermillion Press)
  • “Grind”, Michael Grey (Pacific Monsters, Fox Spirit Books)
  • “The Stairwell”, Chris Mason (Below The Stairs – Tales from the Cellar, Things In The Well)
  • “No Good Deed”, Angela Slatter (New Fears 1, Titan Books)
  • “Furtherest”, Kaaron Warren (Dark Screams Volume 7, Cemetery Dance)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

  • “Hamelin’s Graves”, Freya Marske (Andromeda Spaceways Magazine #69)
  • “The Curse is Come Upon Me, Cried”, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Please Look After This Angel & Other Winged Stories, self-published)
  • “The Little Mermaid, in Passing”, Angela Slatter (Review of Australian Fiction Vol 22 Issue 1)
  • “Duplicity”, J Ashley Smith (Dimension6 #11)
  • “The Rainmaker Goddess, Hallowed Shaz”, Marlee Jane Ward (Feminartsy)
  • “Oona Underground”, Lili Wilkinson (Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, HarperCollins Australia).

BEST FANTASY NOVELLA

  • The Book Club, Alan Baxter (PS Publishing)
  • “Remnants”, Nathan Burrage (Dimension6 #11, Coer de Lion)
  • “The Cunning Woman’s Daughter”, Kate Forsyth & Kim Wilkins (The Silver Well, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • In Shadows We Fall, Devin Madson (self-published)
  • “Braid”, Kirstyn McDermott (Review of Australian Fiction Vol 24 Issue 1)
  • Humanity for Beginners, Faith Mudge (Less Than Three Press)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

  • “The Missing Years”, Lyn Battersby (Andromeda Spaceways Magazine #66)
  • “A Little Faith”, Aiki Flinthart (Like a Woman, Mirren Hogan)
  • “Cards and Steel Hearts”, Pamela Jeffs (Lawless Lands: Tales from the Weird Frontier, Falstaff Books)
  • “One Small Step”, Amie Kaufman (Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, HarperCollins Australia)
  • “Conversations with an Armoury” Garth Nix (Infinity Wars, Solaris)
  • “Hurk + Dav”, Arthur Robinson (Breach Issue #01)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA

  • “This Silent Sea”, Stephanie Gunn (Review of Australian Fiction Vol 24 Issue 6)
  • “I Can See the Ending”, Will Kostakis (Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, HarperCollins Australia)
  • “The Wandering Library”, DK Mok (Ecopunk!, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • “Island Green”, Shauna O’Meara (Ecopunk!, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body, Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
  • Girl Reporter, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Book Smugglers)

BEST COLLECTION

  • The Birdcage Heart & Other Strange Tales, Peter M Ball (Brain Jar Press)
  • The Silver Well, Kate Forsyth & Kim Wilkins (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Beneath the Floating City, Donna Maree Hanson (self-published)
  • Singing My Sister Down and Other Stories, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
  • Please Look After This Angel & Other Winged Stories, Tansy Rayner Roberts (self-published)
  • Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories, Deborah Sheldon (IFWG Publishing Australia)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

  • Midnight Echo #12, Shane Jiraiya Cummings & Anthony Ferguson (eds.) (Australasian Horror Writers Association)
  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2015, Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene (eds.) (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Dimension6: Annual Collection 2017, Keith Stevenson (ed.) (coeur de lion publishing)
  • Infinity Wars, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) (Rebellion/Solaris)
  • The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 11, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) (Rebellion/Solaris)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

  • In The Dark Spaces, Cally Black (Hardie Grant Egmont)
  • Ida, Alison Evans (Echo, Bonnier Publishing Australia)
  • Frogkisser!, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)
  • This Mortal Coil, Emily Suvada (Puffin UK)
  • Psynode, Marlee Jane Ward (Seizure)
  • The Undercurrent, Paula Weston (Text Publishing)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

  • Aletheia, J S Breukelaar (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Who’s Afraid Too?, Maria Lewis (Hachette Australia)
  • Soon, Lois Murphy (Transit Lounge)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

  • Crossroads of Canopy, Thoraiya Dyer (Tor Books)
  • Gwen, Goldie Goldbloom (Fremantle Press)
  • Cassandra, Kathryn Gossow (Odyssey Books)
  • Godsgrave, Jay Kristoff (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Gap Year In Ghost Town, Michael Pryor (Allen & Unwin)
  • Wellside, Robin Shortt (Candlemark & Gleam)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • Closing Down, Sally Abbott (Hachette Australia)
  • Terra Nullius, Claire G Coleman (Hachette Australia)
  • Year of the Orphan, Daniel Findlay (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • An Uncertain Grace, Krissy Kneen (Text Publishing)
  • From the Wreck, Jane Rawson (Transit Lounge)
  • Lotus Blue, Cat Sparks (Skyhorse)

[Thanks to JJ for the story.]

Pixel Scroll 7/17/17 All Along The Scrolltower Pixels Kept The View

(1) BY PIXEL AND PAPER. The Dublin in 2019 Worldcon bid tells what its publications policy will be for PR’s and the Souvenir Book.

So what should we do about our progress reports?

I note that for some people this is an access issue, and therefore, we will be having hard copies available for anyone who selects them as an access issue. To be clear, Progress Reports are complimentary and we’d like to send them to anyone who needs them for an access issue. Just tick the box please.

We will be sending them out electronically of course if you allow us to.

I noted that some people still liked them, as a historical document or just because they enjoy reading hard copy, and that is very cool, and the Dublin 2019 team will be making sure that anyone who wants a hard copy progress report can get one. There will be a charge of €10 Ten Euro for this.

I hope all of you are OK with this decision and support us in it.

This does not affect our plans for our Souvenir book which we plan to offer in hard copy to all members, full and supporting, and which we are happy to mail to anyone who doesn’t pick it up at con.

(2) HELP PABLO GO THE DISTANCE. Leigh Ann Hildebrand has launched a Generosity.com appeal to send Pablo Vasquez to Helsinki for Worldcon 75. The goal is $1,100. Here’s the pitch:

Bringing NASFiC to San Juan, Puerto Rico was great thing — and one of the prime movers behind that successful bid and con has been Pablo Vazquez. I was really looking forward to congratulating Pablo at the con in Helsinki and to hearing all about that NASFiC.

And then Pablo told me he wouldn’t be joining fans in Helsinki this year.

Money’s tight for Pablo; he’s been prioritizing travel and preparations for this historic and awesome NASFiC. Now he finds himself short of funds for his last travel expenses. He’s got accommodations and a membership covered, but his fixed-cost airfare and incidental expenses are beyond his means this summer.

This is where my fellow fans come in. Help me get Pablo to Helsinki! Here’s what he needs:

$600 for the air fare (it’s a fixed cost, ’cause he knows a guy.)

$500 for food, travel incidentals, walkin’ around money and buying a round. That may seem like a lot, but food in Finland is not cheap, and there’s no con suite this year, so he can’t live on Doritos and free sodas. 🙂

(3) SFF FILM FESTIVAL. Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in partnership with SIFF is now accepting entries for the 2018 Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival (SFFSFF).

The festival will accept animated or live-action submissions of original science fiction or fantasy stories (examples: futuristic stories, space adventure, technological speculation, social experiments, utopia and dystopia, sword and sorcery, folklore, urban fantasy, magic, and mythic adventure).

A nationally recognized panel of distinguished film, television, literature, and science fiction industry professionals, peers, and film critics will review qualifying submissions to determine the winners of the Grand Prize, Second Place, Third Place, and the Douglas Trumbull Award for Best Visual Effects. Festival films will also be eligible for the Audience Favorite award.

In order to qualify, submitted films must have been completed after December 31, 2012, and must not exceed 15 minutes. Films that exceed 15 minutes may still be considered for festival inclusion but will not be eligible for awards.

See the link for guidelines, deadlines and fees.

(5) WHAT ARE THEY WATCHING? Adam-Troy Castro sighed on Facebook:

Over the past few years I have encountered Harry Potter fans who were abusive bullies, Star Trek fans who were against diversity, and now Doctor Who fans who were close-minded and unkind.

It’s like none of them were paying any attention at all.

I am looking forward to the emergence of Batman fans who are in favor of crime.

Since the targets of Castro’s comment might miss the point, Matthew M. Foster restated the message more explicitly:

The second is that people don’t see theme. SF is about space ships and explosions. Fantasy is about swords. The actual thing trying to be conveyed is missed far more often than not. The light was brought to this in a “funny” way to our little lit community by Brad and the Pups a few years back when Star Trek was pointed out to be first and foremost, about adventure and action–about combat in space. From the same group, there was a great deal of discussion in which they confused the theme with something incidental to the story because the incidental thing was not part of their normal life. So, if a story happened to have someone gay in it, then the story must be about sexual preference. If the story had a Black lead, then the theme must be about race. These are people that are big fans of science fiction, and they couldn’t see the themes.

(6) MAD PENIUS CLUB. And right on time, here’s Dave Freer’s death-kiss for the Thirteenth Doctor.

The trouble with this is it’s a judgement call, and especially inside the various bubbles (New York Publishing, Hollywood, and in the UK the Beeb’s little Guardian-and-Birkenstock club) they’re often so distant and unconnected with audiences outside their bubble that they assume they think like them and will respond like them. Which is why they have flops like the Ghostbusters remake, because they assumed the audience for the movie was just dying for a feminist version, with lots of man-kicking. Dr Who is trying much the same thing with a female Doctor. It could work because that audience is already pretty much restricted to inside their bubble. Still, with a new writer, and female lead after 12 male ones… She’ll have to be a good actress, and he’ll have to be a better writer. I expect we’ll see a long sequence of designated victim minorities cast in the role in future, until the show dies. I doubt we’ll ever see another white hetero male, but maybe that’s just me being cynical.

(7) HEADWRITER CANON. Prospect’s James Cooray Smith declares: “Uncomfortable with a female Doctor Who? It’s time to admit your real motives”.

…Steven Moffat, Doctor Who’s Executive Producer from 2010 to 2017, used to make a habit, when asked if there was ever going to be a female Doctor, of throwing the question back to the audience. He’d ask for a show of hands as to who did and didn’t like the idea. Even half a decade ago, those audiences would be roughly balanced into pros and antis—although, as he noted, the proportion of “likes” was exponentially increasing every time he passed the question back.

In the last few years, the idea has gone from almost universally disliked to “Why hasn’t this happened already?”

Laying the canonical foundations

Moffat has played no small part in that himself. The first lines of dialogue given to Matt Smith’s Doctor, the first lines of Moffat’s era, see the newly regenerated Doctor, who cannot see his own face, wondering if he’s now female. A year later in “The Doctor’s Wife,” produced by Moffat and written by Neil Gaiman, the Doctor comments of a dead Time Lord friend The Corsair, “He didn’t feel himself unless he had a tattoo. Or herself, a couple of times”.

Three years after that, Moffat cast Michelle Gomez as ‘Missy’, the Doctor’s oldest friend and arch enemy, a character previously only played by male actors and usually referred to as the Master. A year after that—just to make sure that no one regarded Missy as an exception that proves the rule—Moffat had Ken Bones’ recurring Time Lord character The General regenerate into T’Nia Miller, changing sex and ethnicity simultaneously. Other Time Lords in the series treated this as momentarily distracting but thoroughly routine.

It now seems daft to say that such groundwork needed to be done: after all, the character of the doctor is an alien who merely looks human. But the series itself had never hinted that the idea was possible before 2010. Now, any viewer who has seen an episode with Missy in knows the Doctor’s own people can, and do, change sex. No one can pretend the idea isn’t part of the series, no matter how much they may want to. Moffat’s careful layering over years shows up any objections to the series having a female lead for what they are.

(8) NEVERTHELESS. Alison Scott has a shirt she would love to sell you. I bought one for my daughter. (U.K. orders here; U.S. orders here.)

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • July 17, 1955 — Disneyland Park opened in Anaheim, California
  • July 17, 1967 — Contact with Surveyor 4 lost 2.5 minutes before Moon touchdown.
  • July 17, 1987 Robocop, released on this day
  • July 17, 1988 – Debut of the sci-fi telefilm Out of Time…starring Bill Maher…yes that Bill Maher.
  • July 17, 1992 — Honey, I Blew Up The Kid in theaters.

(10) COMIC SECTION. Andrew Porter noticed Zippy the Pinhead mentioned d Emshwiller.

(11) READING PLEASURE. Look for the SF pulps! Photos of old newsstands.

(12) ADAM WEST REMEMBERED. “Family Guy pays tribute to Adam West with nine-minute highlight reel” – from Entertainment Weekly.

As famous as he was for playing Batman — and he was very famous for that — Adam West was also known to another generation of fans for his wacky work on Family Guy. The late actor, who popped up and scored in more than 100 episodes as Mayor Adam West, left a colorful, indelible imprint on the animated Fox comedy — as well as on its producers and fans.

 

(13) WORLDCON PROGRAM. Worldcon 75 put its draft program schedule online today.

There are three ways to view the programme schedule DRAFT:

(14) HAUNTED HELSINKI. Adrienne Foster has arranged a “Ghost walking tour of Helsinki” for the convenience of Worldcon 75 members. It will be an English-speaking tour at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, 9 August 2017.

Once again, those interested in reserving a spot on the tour need to be a member of Meetup.com and join Bay Area Ghost Hunters. Joining is free on both counts, but the fee for the ghost walk is to cover the cost of the tour operator. Yes, it was deliberate putting the “prere…gistration” fee in U.S. dollars and the “at-the-door” cost in euros.

As the 75th World Science Fiction Convention (aka Worldcon 75) rolls around again, it gives me another opportunity to arrange a ghost walk of its host city, Helsinki. Yes, that’s in Finland. Ghost walks are one of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling and it’s always a lot more fun to do them with like-minded companions. To make it even more attractive to the many members who don’t speak Finnish, the tour operator has an English-speaking tour available.

Although this has been timed for the convenience of Worldcon 75 members, all BAGH members are welcome to participate. If anyone just happens to have coinciding travel plans to Helsinki, please join us.

In addition to ghost stories, guests on these tours learn a lot about the history of the locale, particularly some of its macabre past. It even starts at a hotel that is a converted prison.

(15) MINGLE LIKE TINGLE. Is this going to be an “I am Spartacus” kind of thing?

(16) AUREALIS AWARDS. The 2017 Aurealis Awards are now open for nominations. Eligible works must be created by an Australian citizen, or permanent resident, and published for the first time this year.

(17) VENUS AND MARS. David D. Levine’s second novel, Arabella and the Battle of Venus, sequel to the Andre Norton Award winning Arabella of Mars, comes out this week.

The thrilling adventures of Arabella Ashby continue in Arabella and the Battle of Venus, the second book in Hugo-winning author David D. Levine’s swashbuckling sci-fi, alternate history series!

Arabella’s wedding plans to marry Captain Singh of the Honorable Mars Trading Company are interrupted when her fiancé is captured by the French and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on swampy Venus. Now, Arabella must find passage to an enemy-controlled planet in the middle of a war, bribe or fight her way past vicious guards, and rescue her Captain.

To do this she must enlist the help of the dashing privateer, Daniel Fox of the Touchstone and build her own clockwork navigational automaton in order to get to Venus before the dread French general, Joseph Fouché, the Executioner of Lyon.

Once on Venus, Arabella, Singh, and Fox soon discover that Napoleon has designed a secret weapon, one that could subjugate the entire solar system if they can’t discover a way to stop Fouché, and the entire French army, from completing their emperor’s mandate.

Levine will be doing a book tour:

He is currently drafting the final book in the trilogy, currently titled Arabella and the Winds of Phobos but may end up being called Arabella the Traitor of Mars.

(18) NEWCOMERS TO THE HEARTH. Fireside Fiction is undergoing a change of management, with Brian J. White stepping down. Pablo Defendini is taking over as publisher and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry as managing editor. Julia Rios and Mikki Kendall are also joining the team.

White is leaving to focus on his work as a journalist.

As many of you know, I work at a newspaper. And that work has been consuming more and more of my time lately, with both the volume and the importance of the news rising in a way we’ve never experienced in this country. And it comes alongside a level of furious, violent antipathy toward the press that is somehow both wildly shocking and banally predictable.

Fireside has been the labor of love of my life, and it kills me to step away. But I am a journalist, first and always, and I need to focus my energy on the work we are doing. A lot of people have made fun of the earnestness of the Washington Post’s Democracy Dies in Darkness slogan, but it is true, and I won’t let the light go out.

Mikki Kendall has been signed on as editor to lead the follow-up to last year’s #BlackSpecFic report, which White says will be out soon. [Hat tip to Earl Grey Loose-leaf Links #43.]

(19) THE COOLEST. Arthur C. Clarke would be proud, as the search for extra-terrestrial life turns to ice worlds.

Chris McKay has fallen out of love with Mars. The red, dusty, corroded world no longer holds the allure it once did.

“I was obsessed with life on Mars for many years,” confesses the Nasa planetary scientist, who has spent most of his career searching for signs of life on the red planet.

“It’s seduction at the highest level,” he says. “I’m abandoning my first love and going after this other one that’s shown me what I wanted to see.”

The new object of McKay’s affections is Enceladus, the ice-encrusted moon of Saturn. Investigated by the joint Nasa and European Space Agency (Esa) Cassini space probe, the moon is spewing out plumes of water from its south pole – most likely from a liquid ocean several kilometres beneath the surface. Cassini has found this water contains all the vital ingredients for life as we know it: carbon, nitrogen and a readily available source of energy in the form of hydrogen.

“I think this is it,” says McKay. “From an astrobiology point of view, this is the most interesting story.”

(20) SO BAD IT’S GOOD. Marshall Ryan Maresca extols the antique virtues of the 1980s movie: “ELECTRIC DREAMS: A Bad Movie I’ve Watched Many, Many, MANY Times”.

The Eighties got a lot of mileage out of the idea that computers were magic.  I mean, the fundamental principle of Weird Science is that Wyatt has, like, a 386 with a 14.4 modem and a scanner, which he can connect to the Pentagon and make a goddamn genie with it.  Most Hollywood movies today still let computers be magical, but not to the same degree.  And few movies go as full out crazy with the idea as Electric Dreams.

For those not in the know, Electric Dreams is a relatively small, simple movie, in which an architect named Miles (he might be an engineer—something to do with buildings) lives in the downstairs part of a duplex, below gorgeous cellist Virginia Madsen.  And he gets himself a computer so he can design an earthquake brick.  So far, all normal.

It turns into a love triangle with Wyatt and a sentient PC as rivals.

(21) THE LATTER DAY LAFFERTY. Adri’s Book Reviews praises “Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty”.

As in any good mystery, it soon becomes clear that there are shady things lurking in the past of each and every crew member, as well as the traditional untrustworthy AI. Six Wakes builds its narrative through an omniscient third person narrator which switches between character viewpoints, as well as flashbacks to the crews’ lives in the lead up to being selected for the ship. Each crew member knows the others have volunteered for the mission because they are convicted criminals who will be pardoned upon arrival, but they have been told their crimes must remain confidential. From the ship’s doctor who was one of the original people cloned when the technology began, to the AI tech who has been on the verge of a breakdown since waking, to the shady machinations of the captain and the security officer, Six Wakes uses a small cast to great effect, with the world of the clones coming across as claustrophobic and restrictive even in background chapters set on Earth, thanks to both the Codicls as well as the inequalities and power struggles that arise from a society of functionally immortal beings. Six Wakes’ characters aren’t likeable in a traditional sense but I found them generally sympathetic, and the backgrounds go a long way towards making that balance work.

(22) A BOY AND HIS HORSE. The British Museum blog asks “The Dothraki and the Scythians: a game of clones?”

The Dothraki in Game of Thrones are represented as feared and ferocious warriors. Jorah Mormont describes their culture as one that values power and follows strength above all, and there is no greater way to demonstrate power and strength according to the Dothraki than through war. Like their fictional counterparts, the Scythians were pretty terrifying in battle. The Greek historian Herodotus writes that Scythians drank the blood of the men they killed and kept their scalps as trophies and skulls as drinking cups. While we should probably take Herodotus with a pinch of salt, by all accounts they were pretty brutal! The Dothraki also like decapitating their defeated enemies – guards known as the jaqqa rhan, or mercy men, use heavy axes to do this.

The Scythians and the Dothraki fight on horseback and are excellent archers. They both use curved (or composite) bows to maximise the range and the damage of their arrows. As Jorah Mormont says of the Dothraki, ‘they are better riders than any knight, utterly fearless, and their bows outrange ours.’

(23) THE NEXT STAGE. The Verge has learned that “The Twilight Zone is being adapted into a stage play” in London.

The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling’s landmark sci-fi anthology series about technological paranoia, creeping dread in 1960s America, and monsters and weirdos of all sorts, will be adapted as a stage play, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed this morning.

The play will debut in a limited run at London’s Almeida Theatre this December, with a script from Anne Washburn. Washburn’s best-known play is her 2012 Off-Broadway work Mr. Burns, which is about a traveling theater troupe in post-apocalyptic America that performs episodes of The Simpsons from memory. The play will be directed by Olivier-winner Richard Jones, who is best known for the 1990 London run of Sondheim’s Into the Woods, as well as the short-lived 1997 Titanic musical on Broadway, and has also directed several operas and Shakespeare productions.

(24) LIADEN UPDATE. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s 81st joint project — Due Diligence (Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Book 24) – was released July 10. The pair was also recently profiled by Maine’s statewide newspaper the Portland Press Herald“Welcome to the universe of Maine writers Sharon Lee and Steve Miller”.

For Maine writers Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, all it took to launch a brand-new universe was a single sentence.

The opening line for what would become “Agent of Change,” the inaugural volume of their Liaden Universe space opera series, was “The man who was not Terrence O’Grady had come quietly.”

It’s not quite “Call me Ishmael,” but something about typing those 10 words back in 1984 made Lee say to her husband, “I have a novel here.” And there was sufficient inspiration on the page for Miller to say, “I’m sorry, but I think you have a series.”

Both were right. Reached by phone at their Maine coon cat-friendly home in Winslow, surrounded by oil paintings, prints, book cover and other science fiction and fantasy artwork, Miller remembered, “We sat down that night and fleshed out the basic idea for the first seven books.” Four years later, in 1988, their collaborative debut was published in paperback by DelRey.

Since then, Lee, 64, and Miller, 66, have published 20 Liaden Universe novels and nearly five dozen related short stories. Baen Books published their latest hardcover novel, “The Gathering Edge,” in May.

.And they’ll be Guests of Honor at ConFluence from August 4-6.

(25) YOU WOULD BE RIGHT.

(26) PLASTIC IS NOT FANTASTIC. Jewish Business News has the story behind the commercial: “Mayim Bialik and Hodor From ‘Game of Thrones’ In New SodaStream’s Funny Viral Video”.

Following Jewish celebrity Scarlett Johansson’s campaign for the Israeli beverage company SodaStream, the Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik is the new face proudly representing the company new campaign in a Viral Video.

Features Mayim Bialik as an anthropologist, recalling her first encounter with the Homo-schlepien played by Kristian Nairn known as Hodor from “Game of Thrones.” The story reflects the devastating effect of single-use plastic bottles on Humanity. A habit that is hazardous to Earth and no longer exist in the future.

In this funny story, the Museum of UnNatural History features encounters between Mayim and the last tribe of plastic dependent species, the Homo-schlepien.

The shooting of the campaign was brought forward while Bialik had to rest her vocal chords for one month due to a medical advice. “This campaign has a powerful message and one that needed to be told before I went on vocal rest,” said Mayim Bialik.

 

[Thanks to JJ, Bill, Steve Miller, David Levine, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

2016 Aurealis Award Winners

The winners of the 2016 Aurealis Awards were announced at the Australian National Convention in Perth on April 14.

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

  • When the Lyrebird Calls, Kim Kane (Allen & Unwin)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK

  • Negative Space, Ryan K Lindsay (Dark Horse Comics)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

  • “Pretty Jennie Greenteeth”, Leife Shallcross (Strange Little Girls, Belladonna Publishing)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

  • “Flame Trees”, TR Napper (Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2016)

BEST HORROR NOVELLA

  • “Burnt Sugar”, Kirstyn McDermott (Dreaming in the Dark, PS Australia)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

  • “Where the Pelican Builds Her Nest”, Thoraiya Dyer (In Your Face, FableCroft Publishing)

BEST FANTASY NOVELLA

  • “Forfeit”, Andrea K Höst (The Towers, the Moon, self-published)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

  • “Of Sight, of Mind, of Heart”, Samantha Murray (Clarkesworld #122)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA

  • “Salto Mortal”, Nick T Chan (Lightspeed #73)

BEST COLLECTION

  • A Feast of Sorrows, Angela Slatter (Prime Books)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

  • Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 2015, Julia Rios and Alisa Krasnostein (eds.) (Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

  • Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact, Alison Goodman (HarperCollins Publishers)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

  • The Grief Hole, Kaaron Warren (IFWG Publishing Australia)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

  • Nevernight, Jay Kristoff (Harper Voyager)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • Gemina: Illuminae Files 2, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

THE CONVENORS’ AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE

  • The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower, Kate Forsyth (FableCroft Publishing)

A bulletin listing the all the judges, the award criteria, and selected award statistics can be downloaded here.

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh for the story.]

2016 Aurealis Awards Finalists

The 2016 Aurealis Awards shortlist has been announced by the Western Australian Science Fiction Foundation. Judging coordinator Katharine Stubbs reports there were over 800 entries across the 15 categories. Click on the link to see the members of the judging panels.

The Aurealis Award winners and the recipient of the Convenors’ Award for Excellence will be announced at a ceremony at the Australian National Convention in Perth on April 14.

2016 Aurealis Awards – Finalists

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

  • Blueberry Pancakes Forever, Angelica Banks (Allen & Unwin)
  • Magrit, Lee Battersby (Walker Books Australia)
  • Somebody Stop Ivy Pocket, Caleb Crisp (Bloomsbury)
  • The Turners, Mick Elliott (Hachette Australia)
  • When the Lyrebird Calls, Kim Kane (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Hungry Isle, Emily Rodda (Omnibus Books)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK

  • Mechanica, Lance Balchin (Five Mile)
  • BROBOT, James Foley (Fremantle Press)
  • Negative Space, Ryan K Lindsay (Dark Horse Comics)
  • The Spider King, Josh Vann (self-published)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

  • “A Right Pretty Mate”, Lisa L Hannett (Dreaming in the Dark)
  • “Dune Time”, Jack Nicholls (Tor.com)
  • “No One Here is Going to Save You”, Shauna O’Meara (In Your Face, FableCroft Publishing)
  • “Did We Break the End of the World?”, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Defying Doomsday, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Pretty Jennie Greenteeth”, Leife Shallcross (Strange Little Girls, Belladonna Publishing)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

  • “Non Zero Sum”, RPL Johnson (SNAFU: Hunters, Cohesion Press)
  • “Flame Trees”, TR Napper (Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2016)
  • “Penny for a Match, Mister?”, Garth Nix (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
  • “The Red Forest”, Angela Slatter (Winter Children and Other Chilling Tales, PS Publishing)
  • “68 Days”, Kaaron Warren (Tomorrow’s Cthulhu, Broken Eye Books)
  • “Life, or Whatever Passes For It”, Durand Welsh (Peel Back the Skin, Grey Matter Press)

BEST HORROR NOVELLA

  • “Box of Bones”, Jeremy Bates (Ghillinnein Books)
  • “Served Cold”, Alan Baxter (Dreaming in the Dark, PS Publishing)
  • “Waking in Winter”, Deborah Biancotti (PS Publishing)
  • “Burnt Sugar”, Kirstyn McDermott (Dreaming in the Dark, PS Publishing)
  • “Pan”, Christopher Ruz (Andromeda Spaceways Magazine #62)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

  • “Watercress Soup”, Tamlyn Dreaver (Andromeda Spaceways Magazine #65)
  • “Where the Pelican Builds Her Nest”, Thoraiya Dyer (In Your Face, FableCroft Publishing)
  • “Dune Time”, Jack Nicholls (Tor.com)
  • “Penny for a Match, Mister?”, Garth Nix (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
  • “The Lighthouse at Cape Defeat”, David Versace (Aurealis #89)
  • “The Cartographer’s Price”, Suzanne Willis (Mythic Delirium Issue 3.1)

BEST FANTASY NOVELLA

  • “Raven’s First Flight”, Alan Baxter (SNAFU: Black Ops, Cohesion Press)
  • “By the Laws of Crab and Woman”, Jason Fischer (Review of Australian Fiction)
  • “Forfeit”, Andrea K. Höst (The Towers, the Moon, self-published)
  • The Bonobo’s Dream, Rose Mulready (Seizure Press)
  • “Burnt Sugar”, Kirstyn McDermott (Dreaming in the Dark, PS Publishing)
  • “Finnegan’s Field”, Angela Slatter (Tor.com)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

  • “Trainspotting in Winesburg”, Jack Dann (Concentration, PS Publishing)
  • “The Baby Eaters”, Ian McHugh (Asimov’s Science Fiction 40/1)
  • “The Autumn Dog Cannot Live to Spring”, Claire McKenna (In Your Face, Fablecroft)
  • “Of Sight, of Mind, of Heart”, Samantha Murray (Clarkesworld #122)
  • “68 Days”, Kaaron Warren (Tomorrow’s Cthulu, Broken Eye Books)
  • “The Least of Things”, Jen White (Aurealis #94)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA

  • Waking in Winter, Deborah Biancotti (PS Publishing)
  • “Salto Mortal”, Nick T Chan (Lightspeed #73)
  • “Going Viral”, Thoraiya Dyer (Dimension6 #8, coeur de lion)
  • The Bonobo’s Dream, Rose Mulready (Seizure Press)
  • “All the Colours of the Tomato”, Simon Petrie (Dimension6 #9, coeur de lion)
  • “Did We Break the End of the World?”, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Defying Doomsday, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST COLLECTION

  • Crow Shine, Alan Baxter (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Concentration, Jack Dann (PS Publishing)
  • A Feast of Sorrows, Angela Slatter (Prime)
  • Winter Children, Angela Slatter (PS Publishing)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

  • Dreaming in the Dark, Jack Dann (ed.) (PS Publishing Australia)
  • Defying Doomsday, Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench (eds.) (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Year’s Best YA Speculative fiction 2015, Julia Rios and Alisa Krasnostein (eds.) (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 10, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) (Solaris)
  • In Your Face, Tehani Wessely (ed.) (Fablecroft Publishing)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

  • Elegy, Jane Abbott (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • The Bone Queen, Alison Croggon (Penguin Books Australia)
  • The Other Side of Summer by Emily Gale (Penguin Random House Australia)
  • Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Gemima: Illuminae Files 2, Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)
  • Goldenhand, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

  • Fear is the Rider,  Kenneth Cook (Text Publishing)
  • My Sister Rosa, Justine Larbalestier (Allen & Unwin)
  • The Grief Hole, Kaaron Warren (IFWG Publishing Australia)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

  • Nevernight, Jay Kristoff (Harper Voyager)
  • Fall of the Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette Australia)
  • Den of Wolves, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • Vigil, Angela Slatter (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • Road to Winter, Mark Smith (Text Publishing)
  • Sisters of the Fire, Kim Wilkins (Harlequin Australia)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • Watershed, Jane Abbott (Penguin Random House)
  • Confluence, SK Dunstall (Ace Books)
  • Gemima: Illuminae Files 2, Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)
  • Squid’s Grief, DK Mok (self-published)
  • Stiletto, Daniel O’Malley (Harper Collins Publishers)
  • Threader, Rebekah Turner (Harlequin Australia)

Convenors’ Award for Excellence Nominees

The Convenors’ Award for Excellence is awarded at the discretion of the convenors for a particular achievement in speculative fiction or related areas in that year that cannot otherwise by judged for the Aurealis Awards.

This award can be given to a work of non-fiction, artwork, film, television, electronic or multimedia work, or one that brings credit or attention to the speculative fiction genres.

The convenors consider all eligible entries, but there is no shortlist generated, and only the winner is presented at the ceremony. The eligible nominations received for the award are:

This year’s nominees are:

  • Claire Fitzpatrick – “Why Do People Like Horror Movies?”[Aurealis]

Writing non-fiction is a passion of mine, which I am hoping to turn into a serious academic career. It is my joy and pleasure to research horror and explore its various avenues. I am hoping you will see the dedication I put into my article, and the seriousness of my intent to educate people on horror.

  • Claire Fitzpatrick – “Dark Fantasy Versus Horror: Why Are Their Differences Important? And Which Genre Should You Introduce to Your Children First?”[Aurealis] 

Horror can also be for children! Childhood is scary. Kids live in a world of insane giants, they are generally powerless, and Horror teaches children the ability to recognise fear with themselves, which can be helpful in times of stress. I wrote this piece for my daughter – she’s 4 and loves scary stories. Horror is good for the soul.

  • Claire Fitzpatrick – “Body Horror And The Horror Aesthetic” [Aurealis] 

Body horror is a genre that transcends pure fear and manifests in a physical form. It delves into or most primal instincts as human beings. Body horror—which describes creations deemed ‘outside of nature’—is seen as some hideous deformity, but it’s extremely beautiful. I love to write about body horror – indeed, body horror is my passion. This article explains body horror, and why it’s such an interesting branch of horror.

  • Elizabeth Fitzgerald – Earl Grey Editing [http://earlgreyediting.com.au/] 

As well as working as an editor, Elizabeth is a prolific reviewer who has produced many reviews of Australian works. She also writes a regular collection of “loose leaf links”, which collect links relevant to writers, readers and publishers, focusing on topics such as conventions, equity, awards and competitions. All of this work combines to create a valuable contribution to the Australian speculative fiction field.

  • Felicity Banks – Scarlet Sails

A rollicking pirate adventure where you choose what kind of pirate you are.

  • Kate Forsyth – The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower [FableCroft Publishing]

Showcasing an astonishing level of research in a highly readable and engaging form, The Rebirth of Rapunzel delves into the mythology of the Rapunzel fairy tale and examines the historical and storytelling background to the piece. Packaged with several related articles and other pieces, the book is both a factual exploration of a fictional creation and a beautiful reading experience in and of itself. Non-fiction collection

  • Nalini Haynes – Dark Matter Zine [http://www.darkmatterzine.com/]

For the past 6 years Dark Matter Zine has published interviews and panel discussions featuring science fiction and fantasy authors and publishers as well as reviews of science fiction and fantasy stories and articles about conventions, events and science fiction and fantasy culture. To date Dark Matter Zine has over 109 podcasts, 94 videos, 90 guest blogs and over 1300 reviews. As blogger-in-residence for the ACT Writers Centre I have also featured SFF authors in interviews for the mainstream community. Webzine

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Pixel Scroll 9/12/16 A Friend of the Pixel is a Friend of Mine

(1) NEWS AND VERSE. Ursula K. LeGuin told her blog readers about a recent medical problem:

I’m sorry about not keeping up my blog posts, but everything got interrupted for me this summer when my congenital heart murmur (leaky valve) finally began to exact its toll. I spent a few days in hospital, have been home now for three weeks. Doing fine but not doing very much — and that looks to be the way it will be for a while.

The notice is followed by a poem about her cat, which you wouldn’t want to miss.

(2) COMPETE FOR AUREALIS AWARD. Entries for 2016 Aurealis Awards are open now. Click on the link to get a copy of the entry form — https://aurealisawards.org/entry-forms/

How do I enter a work into the Aurealis Awards process, and where do I send my entry form?

For all regular categories, you must enter using this online entry form by December 7 2016 and supply a copy of the work(s) entered to each judge in the relevant category/categories by December 31, 2016. Once you have formally submitted an entry via the online form, the coordinator will contact you with the postal addresses for the relevant judges and details for electronic submissions. Entries will not be considered unless the entry fee is paid (if applicable – does not apply to short fiction or Children’s entries).

For entries to the Convenors’ Award for Excellence, you must enter using this online entry form by December 31, 2016.

What works are eligible?

Any work of speculative fiction written by an Australian citizen of permanent resident and published for the first time between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2016 is eligible to be entered.

(3) STEPPING FORWARD. Mary Robinette Kowal will oversee Nebula Conference 2017 program.

(4) FUTURE IMPACT. Adam Frank says the news about Proxima Centauri is important – “Why the discovery of an earth-like planet is such a big deal” on NPR.

After all, when the Wright Brothers lifted their rickety plane off the sands of Kitty Hawk, the rest of the world was just out buying their eggs, milk and toilet paper. On that day who knew — or could imagine — that decades into the future millions of people would be sitting in giant jet-planes watching Direct TV and soaring five miles above the planet’s surface.

I’m telling you this because two weeks ago a threshold of discovery was crossed when astronomers announced they found a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri — the sun’s closest neighbor.

Now, you may have heard that news — but did you really hear the news?

(5) CANSMOF SCHOLARSHIPS TO SMOFCON AVAILABLE. CanSMOF Inc. is offering up to three scholarships for convention runners to be used towards the cost of attending SMOFCon 34, to be held in Chicago, December 2-4, 2016. SMOFCon is the annual convention about organizing Science Fiction conventions.

The first Scholarship of up to 500 CAD is open to a Canadian citizen or resident involved in running conventions with a preference for those who have not previously attended a SMOFCon.

The second scholarship of up to 1000 CAD is open to anyone not residing in North America*, involved in running conventions with a preference for those who have not previously attended a SMOFCon.

The third scholarship of up to 500 CAD is open to anyone involved in running conventions, regardless of their place of residence with a preference for those who have not previously attended a SMOFCon. T

he submission deadline is September 18th, 2016 SST (UTC-11). To apply for a scholarship, follow this link: https://goo.gl/forms/l7mun84SZrcTomOw2

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.

the-blob

  • September 12, 1958: The Blob absorbs theatres!
  • September 12, 1993: Chris Carter’s The X-Files aired.

(7) TWEAKING GEORGE. George Lucas has tried to overwrite all original prints with his CGI additions, but some fans prefer the vintage original: “Star Wars superfans restore unmolested 1977 print, distribute illegally online”.

As reported by Ars Technica, a restored version of the original 35mm print of 1977’s Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode  IV: A New Hope) has hit the web.

A restoration of the pre-special edition of the film — thought by many to have been permanently altered by Lucas himself — was accomplished by a small group of Star Wars purists called Team Negative 1.

The new restoration doesn’t have the blessing of Lucas or current rights holder Disney, and represents the original version of the film that was officially disowned by Lucas in 2004, when he said in an interview with the Today show, “The special edition, that’s the one I wanted out there. The other movie” … “to me, it doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s like this is the movie I wanted it to be, and I’m sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it.”

How exactly Team Negative 1 acquired the original print is a mystery, with Lucasfilm having claimed that all original 1977 negatives were given the special edition CGI treatment.

(8) HALLOWEEN STAMPS. A set of stamps with four different Jack-O-Lanterns will be issued late this month in anticipation of Halloween.

usps2016_jackolanternhalloween

According to USPS.com:

Jack-O-Lanterns – In the spirit of Halloween, the Postal Service issues these delightfully eerie stamps featuring photographs of four different jack-o’-lanterns.  These creatively carved pumpkins have been symbols of Halloween in the United States since the late 19th century, not long after celebrations of the holiday began here. These are the first Halloween-themed stamps issued by the Postal Service. Paul Montanari designed and carved the pumpkins under the art direction of Derry Noyes of Washington, DC.  Sally Anderson-Bruce photographed the lit Jack-O’-Lanterns used on the stamps.

Stamp News Now says the first day issue will be September 29 in Anoka, MN

The first day site, Anoka is known as “the Halloween Capital of the World” because it hosted one of the first Halloween parades in 1920, and still holds several Halloween parades.

(9) ANOTHER DUCK IN THE WALL. SFWA President Cat Rambo, having spoken at a conference in China, is now enjoying the essential tourist experiences and sharing them on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

From last night – real Peking duck.

A post shared by Cat Rambo (@specfic) on

View this post on Instagram

On the Great Wall!

A post shared by Cat Rambo (@specfic) on

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]