2020 Australian Shadows Awards

The Australasian Horror Writers Association announced the 2020 Australian Shadows Awards winners today.

The juried award is given in eight categories for work by an Australasian author that has horror/dark fiction content either as a focal point or an integral element of the work, and the intent of the work must be to disturb or inspire fear in the reader. Eligible genres/sub-genres include horror, dark fiction, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

POETRY

  • This Soundless Murk by Hester J Rook (The Future Fire)

NON-FICTION

  • Exploration of Menstruation in Horror and Dark Fiction by Tabatha Wood

GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • Hellblazer: Rise and Fall, by Tom Taylor & Darick Robertson (DC Comics)

EDITED WORKS

  • Midnight Echo issue 15, (ed. Lee Murray, AHWA)

COLLECTED WORKS

  • The Heart is a Mirror for Sinners by Angela Slatter (PS Publishing)

SHORT FICTION

  •  “Brumation” by Anthony Ferguson (Midnight Echo Issue 15, ed. Lee Murray, AHWA)

LONG FICTION

  •  “By Touch and By Glance” by Lisa L Hannett (Songs for Dark Seasons, Ticonderoga Publications)

NOVEL

  • Deception Pass by Matthew Tait (Dark Crib)

2020 Australian Shadows Awards Finalists

The Australasian Horror Writers Association announced the shortlists for the 2020 Australian Shadows Awards today.

The juried award is given in eight categories for work by an Australasian author that has horror/dark fiction content either as a focal point or an integral element of the work, and the intent of the work must be to disturb or inspire fear in the reader. Eligible genres/sub-genres include horror, dark fiction, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

The winners will be announced in an online Awards Ceremony on Friday June 11, starting at 8.30pm AEST via the official AHWA Facebook page, and simultaneously on Twitter via @AustHorror.

The 2020 Australian Shadows Awards finalists are:

POETRY

  • Deadway by KS Nikakis (Journey: Seeking the Sacred, Spirit and Soul in the Australian Wilderness, SOV Media)
  • This Soundless Murk by Hester J Rook (The Future Fire)
  • The King of Eyes by PS Cottier (Monstrous, Interactive Press)
  • Mouthing Off by PS Cottier (Monstrous, Interactive Press)
  • The Tongueless Dead by Leigh Blackmore (Spectral Realms 13)

NON-FICTION

  • Exploration of Menstruation in Horror and Dark Fiction by Tabatha Wood
  • Queer Vampires in Modern Cinema by Tabatha Wood
  • Cthulu in California by Emmet O’Cuana
  • What Makes Good Horror by Tim Hawken
  • Phantasmagoria and the Earliest Forms of Horror Storytelling by Maria Lewis
  • Sandalwood and Jade: The Weird and Fantastic Verse of Lin Carter by Leigh Blackmore

GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • Hellblazer: Rise and Fall, by Tom Taylor & Darick Robertson (DC Comics)
  • DCeased: Unkillables, by Tom Taylor & Karl Mostert (DC Comics)
  • The Mycelium Complex, by Daniel Reed
  • Redback Armageddon, by Nathan Grixti  (Self-published)
  • Undad Volume Three, by: Katie Walsh-Smith, Miranda Richardson, Big Tim Stiles, Ryan Lindsay, Shane W Smith / Illustrators: Mitchell Collins, Simon Robins (Self-published)

EDITED WORKS

  • Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women, (ed. Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn, Omnium Gatherum)
  • Hadithi & the State of Black Speculative Fiction (ed. Eugen Bacon and Milton Davis, Luna Press Publishing)
  • Midnight Echo issue 15, (ed. Lee Murray, AHWA)
  • Black Dogs, Black Tales – Where the Dogs Don’t Die, (ed. Tabatha Wood and Cassie Hart, Things in the Well)
  • Trickster’s Treats 4 – Coming, Buried or Not! (ed. Louise Zedda-Sampson and Geneve Flynn, Things in The Well)

COLLECTED WORKS

  • The Heart is a Mirror for Sinners by Angela Slatter (PS Publishing)
  • Behind the Midnight Blinds by Marty Young (Things in the Well)
  • Red New Day by Angela Slatter (Brain Jar Press)
  • Bleak Precision by Greg Chapman (Self-published)
  • Grotesque by Lee Murray (Things in the Well)

SHORT FICTION

  • “Vision Thing” by Matthew R Davis (Black Dogs, Black Tales ed. Tabatha Wood & Cassie Hart, Things in the Well)
  • “Let Shadows Slip Through” by Kali Napier (New Gothic Review 2, pub. Ian McMahon)
  • “Brumation” by Anthony Ferguson (Midnight Echo Issue 15, ed. Lee Murray, AHWA)
  • “The Bone Fairy” by Martin Livings (Midnight Echo Issue 15, ed. Lee Murray, AHWA)
  • “Hideous Armature” by Joanne Anderton (Midnight Echo Issue 15, ed. Lee Murray, AHWA)
  • “Needles” by Kali Napier (The Dark #62, pub. Sean Wallace)

LONG FICTION

  • “New Wine” by Angela Slatter (Cursed, Titan Books)
  • “By Touch and By Glance” by Lisa L Hannett (Songs for Dark Seasons, Ticonderoga Publications)
  • The Attic Tragedy by Joseph Ashley-Smith (Meerkat Press)
  • “Barralang, pop. 63” by Deborah Sheldon (Dimension6 #19, Coeur De Lion Publishing)
  • “Kua Hinga Te Kauri” by Dan Rabarts (Outback Horrors Down Under, ed Steve Dillon, Things in the Well Press)

NOVEL

  • The Crying Forest by Venero Armanno (IFWG Publishing, Australia)
  • Gutterbreed by Marty Young (Eclectic Trio)
  • Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings (Picador)
  • Deception Pass by Matthew Tait (Dark Crib)

[Thanks to JJ for the story.]

2019 Australian Shadows Awards

The Australasian Horror Writers Association announced the winners of the 2019 Australian Shadows Awards on June 6.

The Australian Shadows Awards celebrate the finest in horror and dark fiction published by an Australasian within the calendar year. Works are judged on the overall effect of a work—the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance. Eligible genres/sub-genres include horror, dark fiction, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

COLLECTED WORKS

  • Served Cold by Alan Baxter

EDITED WORKS

  • Midnight Echo #14 edited by Deborah Sheldon

GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • DCeased written by Tom Taylor

THE ROCKY WOOD AWARD FOR NON-FICTION AND CRITICISM

  • The Danse Macabre by Kyla Lee Ward

PAUL HAINES AWARD FOR LONG FICTION

  • Supermassive Black Mass by Matthew R. Davis

 POETRY

  • Taxonomy of Captured Roses by Hester J. Rook

SHORT FICTION

  • Steadfast Shadowsong by Matthew R. Davis

NOVEL

  • Shepherd by Catherine Jinks

Australian Shadows Awards
2019 Finalists

The Australasian Horror Writers Association announced the shortlists for the Australian Shadows Awards 2019 today. The juried award is given in seven categories for work by an Australasian author that has horror/dark fiction content either as a focal point or an integral element of the work, and the intent of the work must be to disturb or inspire fear in the reader. Eligible genres/sub-genres include horror, dark fiction, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

COLLECTED WORKS

  • Collision: Stories by J.S. Breukelaar
  • Figments and Fragments by Deborah Sheldon
  • Served Cold by Alan Baxter

EDITED WORKS

  • Beside the Seaside: Tales from the Day-Tripper edited by Steve Dillon
  • Trickster’s Treats #3 – the Seven Deadly Sins Edition edited by Marie O’Regan and Lee Murray
  • Midnight Echo #14 edited by Deborah Sheldon

GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • The Eldritch Kid: The Bone War written by Christian D. Read
  • Matinee written by Emmett O’Cuana
  • Geebung Polo Club written by Shauna O’Meara (adapted from a Banjo Patterson poem)
  • DCeased written by Tom Taylor

THE ROCKY WOOD AWARD FOR NON-FICTION AND CRITICISM

  • Suffer the Little Children by Kris Ashton
  • Horror and the paranormal, chapter 8 of Writing Speculative Fiction by Eugen Bacon
  • The Danse Macabre by Kyla Lee Ward
  • Horror Movies That Mean Something and Childhood Trauma Manifested by Maria Lewis

PAUL HAINES AWARD FOR LONG FICTION

  • Supermassive Black Mass by Matthew R. Davis
  • The Neverwhere Line by Matthew J. Morrison
  • Out of Darkness by Chris Mason
  • Enemy of My Enemy by Rick Kennett
  • 1862 by C.J. Halbard

 POETRY

  • Brine and Vanishings by Hester J. Rook
  • Taxonomy of Captured Roses by Hester J. Rook
  • Please Do Not Feed the Animals by Anne Casey
  • Separation by Jay Caselberg
  • Ode to a Black Hole by Charles Lovecraft
  • Boat of a Million Years by Kyla Lee Ward

SHORT FICTION

  • Steadfast Shadowsong by Matthew R. Davis
  • Vivienne & Agnes by Chris Mason
  • The Ocean Hushed the Stones by Alan Baxter
  • Ava Rune by J.S. Breukelaar

NOVEL

  • Fusion by Kate Richards
  • Shepherd by Catherine Jinks
  • The Flower and the Serpent by Madeleine D’Este

[Via SFFANZ.]

Australian Shadows Awards 2018

Australasian Horror Writers Association announced the winners of the Australian Shadows Awards 2018 on June 8 at Continuum 15: Other Worlds.

The juried award is given for work by an Australasian author that has horror/dark fiction content either as a focal point or an integral element of the work, and the intent of the work must be to disturb or inspire fear in the reader. Eligible genres/sub-genres include horror, dark fiction, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Best Collected Work

  • Exploring Dark Fiction #2 A Primer to Kaaron Warren, Shadows on the Wall by Steven Paulsen

Best Edited Work

  • Hellhole An Anthology of Subterranean Horror – ed. Lee Murray

Best Graphic Novel

  • The Demon Hell Is Earth written by Andrew Constant

Best Novel

  • Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren

Best Poetry

  • Revenants of the Antipodes by Kyla Lee Ward

Short Fiction

  • Riptide by Dan Rabarts.

The Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction

  • The Black Sea by Chris Mason

Australian Shadows Awards 2018 Finalists

On May 2 the Australasian Horror Writers Association announced the shortlists for the Australian Shadows Awards 2018.

The juried award is given in seven categories for work by an Australasian author that has horror/dark fiction content either as a focal point or an integral element of the work, and the intent of the work must be to disturb or inspire fear in the reader. Eligible genres/sub-genres include horror, dark fiction, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

The finalists were selected by judging panels from 183 submitted works. Winners will be announced at Continuum 15: Other Worlds.

Best Collected Work

  • Bones by Andrew Cull
  • The Dalziel Files by Brian Craddock
  • Exploring Dark Fiction #2 A Primer to Kaaron Warren, Shadows on the Wall by Steven Paulsen
  • Beneath the Ferny Tree by David Schembri

Best Edited Work

  • Cthulhu Land of the Long White Cloud & Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume II – eds. Steve Proposch, Christopher Sequeira, Bryce Stevens
  • Hellhole An Anthology of Subterranean Horror – ed. Lee Murray
  • Behind the Mask – ed. Steve Dillon

Best Graphic Novel

The judges of the Graphic Novel category unanimously agreed on a winner but no shortlist will provided this year.

Best Novel

  • Devouring Dark by Alan Baxter
  • Contrition by Deborah Sheldon
  • Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren
  • Teeth of the Wolf by Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray

Best Poetry

  • Your Mortician Knows by Bee Nielsen
  • Matinee by Hester J. Rock
  • Polarity by Jay Caselberg
  • Revenants of the Antipodes by Kyla Lee Ward
  • The Middle of the Night by Rebecca Fraser.

The Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism

Several of the non-fiction entries received were excellent short form pieces, with great writing, quality research, and bravery shown in addressing the various subject matter. The judges felt that none were of sufficient depth or length to qualify for the Rocky Wood Award.

Short Fiction

  • Planned and Expected by Piper Mejia
  • Slither by Jason Nahrung
  • The Ward of Tindalos by Debbie & Matt Cowens
  • The House of jack’s Girls by Lee Battersby
  • Riptide by Dan Rabarts.

The Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction

  • Time and Tide by Robert Hood
  • Love Thee Better by Kaaron Warren
  • The Black Sea by Chris Mason
  • Thylacines by Deborah Sheldon

[Via Locus Online.]

Australian Shadows Awards 2017


On June 9 the Australasian Horror Writers Association announced the Australian Shadows Awards 2017 at Continuum XIV: Conjugation.

The juried award is given in seven categories for work by an Australasian author that has horror/dark fiction content either as a focal point or an integral element of the work, and the intent of the work must be to disturb or inspire fear in the reader. Eligible genres/sub-genres include horror, dark fiction, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

The Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism

  • The Body Horror Book, Claire Fitzpatrick. (Oscillate Wildly Press)

Best Written Work in a Comic/Graphic Novel

No Award.

Best Edited Work

  • Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume 1, Steve Proposch, Christopher Sequeira & Bryce Stevens. (IFWG Publishing)

Best Collected Work

  • Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories, Deborah Sheldon. (IFWG Publishing)

Short Fiction

  • The Banksia Boys, Matthew J Morrison. (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #66)

The Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction

  • Ismail’s Expulsion, Brian Craddock. (Between the Tracks, Things in the Well)

Best Novel

    • Corpselight (Verity Fassbinder Book 2), Angela Slatter. (Jo Fletcher Books)

Australian Shadows Awards 2017 Finalists

On May 9 the Australasian Horror Writers Association announced the shortlists for the Australian Shadows Awards 2017.

The juried award is given in seven categories for work by an Australasian author that has horror/dark fiction content either as a focal point or an integral element of the work, and the intent of the work must be to disturb or inspire fear in the reader. Eligible genres/sub-genres include horror, dark fiction, dark fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

The finalists were selected by judging panels from 183 submitted works. Winners will be announced on June 9 at Continuum XIV: Conjugation.

The Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism

  • 101 Weird Writers #46 – Ry?nosuke Akutagawa, Kat Clay. (Weird Fiction Review)
  • Literary Serial Killer Fiction: The Evolution of a Genre, William Cook. (Victoria University, Wellington NZ)
  • The Body Horror Book, Claire Fitzpatrick. (Oscillate Wildly Press)
  • It Follows is the Millennial STD Parable of Our Time, Maria Lewis. (SBS)
  • A Shared Ambition: Horror Writers in Horror Fiction, Kyla Lee Ward. (AHWA, Midnight Echo #12)

Best Written Work in a Comic/Graphic Novel

No Award.

Best Edited Work

  • Midnight Echo #12, Shane Jiraiya Cummings & Anthony P Ferguson. (AHWA)
  • Below the Stairs – Tales from the Cellar, Steven Dillon. (Things in the Well)
  • Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume 1, Steve Proposch, Christopher Sequeira & Bryce Stevens. (IFWG Publishing)

Best Collected Work

  • Singing My Sister Down and Other Stories, Margo Lanagan. (Allen & Unwin)
  • Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories, Deborah Sheldon. (IFWG Publishing)

Short Fiction

  • Outside a Drifter, Lisa L. Hannett. (Looming Low Vol.1, Dim Shores Press)
  • The Hand Walker, Rue Karney. (Pacific Monsters, Fox Spirit Press)
  • The Circle Line, Martin Livings. (Between the Tracks, Things in the Well)
  • The Banksia Boys, Matthew J Morrison. (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #66)
  • The Little Mermaid, in Passing, Angela Slatter. (The Review of Australian Fiction, April 2017)
  • The Big Reveal, David Stevens. (Kaleidotrope)

The Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction

  • Ismail’s Expulsion, Brian Craddock. (Between the Tracks, Things in the Well)
  • Hope and Walker, Andrew Cull. (Vermillion2One)
  • This Impossible Gift, Matthew R Davis. (Midnight Echo #12, AHWA)
  • No Good Deed, Angela Slatter. (New Fears, Titan Books)
  • Furtherest, Kaaron Warren. (Dark Screams Vol.7, Cemetery Dance)
  • Eden in the End, Ashlee Scheuerman. (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing)

Best Novel

  • Aletheia, J.S. Breukelaar. (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Slithers, W.W. Mortensen. (Self Published)
  • Soon, Lois Murphy. (Transit Lounge)
  • Corpselight (Verity Fassbinder Book 2), Angela Slatter. (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • Providence Place, Matthew Tait. (Dark Crib Publications)

Pixel Scroll 2/8/18 I’ve Got A Plan So Cunning You Could Put A Scroll On It And Call It A Pixel

(1) 4SJ. At the Classic Horror Film Board, the webmaster’s reminiscence about Forrest J Ackerman prompted a #MeToo response from Lucy Chase Williams, and since then “Forrest J Ackerman’s #MeToo Moment …” has generated 561 comments.

Speaking of “failures” (!), I guess this is the time to remind the boys here of #MeToo. I and other young women like me were subjected to a different kind of “Forry worship.” How differently would any of you have felt, when all you wanted was to talk about monsters with the “over eager editor” of your favorite monster magazine, if your Uncle Forry had forced wet kisses on you? If he had put his hands all over you, pinching your “naughty bottom” and squeezing your “boobies”? If he had enthusiastically related with a big grin how he wanted to strip off your clothes with everybody watching? And if, in the face of your total refusal of any of his attentions every single time you saw him in person, he never didn’t try again, and again, and again? And if for years, in between those times, he mailed you letters with pornographic photos, and original stories about how naughty you were, and how he wanted to hurt and abuse you, yet all the while make you weep and beg for more? And if he continued that behavior, despite written and verbal demands to cease, entirely unabashed for more than two decades? No, I can’t forget him either — or how he turned my childhood love of monsters into something adult and truly monstrous.

(2) STAUNCH PRIZE. Earl Grey Editing reports on an interesting new non-sff award:

Not strictly SFF or romance, but still within genre, The Staunch Prize has been created to honour crime thrillers where no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered. The shortlist will be announced in September and the winner will be announced on 25 November.

(3) STAR GORGE. Michael Cavna has a roundup of all the current Star Wars projects, with the news being that Disney is also planning a streaming Star Wars TV series for fans who just want more after Solo, Episode IX, the Rian Johnson trilogy, and the Benioff and Weiss trilogy: “A guide to every Star Wars movie and TV show that’s planned right now”.

  1. Potential spinoffs of other characters

Talk continues to swirl around Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Boba Fett getting their own films, according to such outlets as the Hollywood Reporter. At this point of galloping Disney expansion, who’s to say that each won’t one day get his own TV trilogy?

  1. The streaming TV series

Iger’s new announcement comes just several months after he first said a live-action Star Wars series would happen. Expect that TV menu to grow at a significant rate, as Disney gets set to launch its own entertainment streaming services by next year.

(4) MILSF KICKSTARTER. M. C. A. Hogarth says, “I stealth launched my newest Kickstarter yesterday to see if I could keep it from blowing past the goal, but it overfunded anyway. So I guess I’ll advertise it? laugh It’s fluffy first contact sf” — “Either Side of the Strand Print Edition”:

MilSF with an all female crew, in an “Old Star Trek” vein! Because we all love first contact stories, with octopuses.

Having already hit $1,241, when the original goal was $500, Hogarth is far into stretch goal territory —

So, some stretch goals! Just in case, even though this is only a week!

  • $750 – I do a bookmark, and everyone who gets a physical reward will receive it!
  • $1000 – the audiobook! This should open an audiobook reward level (details for that when/if it happens)
  • Over $1000 – I will wiggle a lot! And then tuck that money away to pay for the final Stardancer novel (currently in revision).

But Jaguar! You say. Why are your stretch goals so modest! Why don’t you do Alysha plushes! We would totally be on board with Alysha plushes! And Stardancer t-shirts!

Because, dear backers, I don’t want to fall down on this job for you, and that means humble goals. *bows*

I admit Alysha plushes would be adorbs though.

(5) NEW SFF PODCAST. MilSF Authors JR Handley and Chris Winder have unveiled they latest joint project; the Sci-Fi Shenanigans Podcast. JR and Chris are US veterans (US Army and USMC respectively) that focus on producing MilSF stories. They have released five episodes in the last 2 weeks:

(6) LEAVE THE WHISTLE UNBLOWN. Joe Sherry continues picking contenders in the “2018 Nerds of a Feather Hugo Awards Longlist, Part 4: Institutional Categories”. Although the criteria he gives below disregard the actual rules for the Best Fanzine category, most of his picks are eligible anyway – no harm, no foul.

This time we are looking at what are, for lack of a better term, the “nonfiction and institutional categories”: Best Related Work, Best Semiprozine, Best Fanzine and Best Fancast. Now, those who follow this blog know how cranky The G can get on the subject of certain categories and their bizarre eligibility guidelines–and we’ve got two of them today (Best Semiprozine and Best Fancast). Nevertheless, I will do my best to stay calm and stick to the rules, frustrating as they can be. I reserve the right, will, however, get a little snarky and passive-aggressive in the process.
There are, however, some sticky issues that made putting this list together a bit difficult. Knowing what does or does not constitute a “fanzine” in the era of blogs, for example–and given that we may already be on the downward slide of that era, it only promises to get more difficult as time passes. Nevertheless, we have tried to create clear and consistent guidelines for inclusion in this category. Thus, to qualify, a fanzine: (1) must be a fan venture (i.e. must not generate a significant amount of money, or pay professional rates for work); (2) must publish a lot of content in a given year; and (3) must publish “award worthy” content. We did not discount single-author blogs from consideration, but criterion #2 makes it difficult for most single-author blogs to  merit consideration. Consequently, while a couple made it, most did not–including some very good ones.

(7) SHADOW NOMINATIONS. The Australasian Horror Writers Association reminds that nominations are open for the Australian Shadow Awards until February 28. See eligibility and submission guidelines at the link.

The Australian Shadows Awards celebrate the finest in horror and dark fiction published by an Australasian within the calendar year. Works are judged on the overall effect of a work—the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance.

[Via Earl Grey Editing.]

(8) BARLOW OBIT. John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), died February 7. NPR paid tribute:“Cyber-Libertarian And Pioneer John Perry Barlow Dies At Age 70”.

A founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and former lyricist for the Grateful Dead, John Perry Barlow, has died at the age of 70, according to a statement issued by the Foundation.

Barlow was a poet, essayist, Internet pioneer and prominent cyber-libertarian. He co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1990 after realizing that the government was ill-equipped to understand what he called the “legal, technical, and metaphorical nature of datacrime.” He said believed that “everyone’s liberties would become at risk.”

Barlow described the founding of the EFF after receiving a visit from an FBI agent in April 1990 seeking to find out whether he was a member of “a dread band of info-terrorists.” Shortly thereafter, Barlow and Mitch Kapor, the creator of Lotus 1-2-3, organized a series of dinners with leaders of the computer industry for discussions that would lead to the creation of the EFF.

And the BBC remembers

In 1996, he wrote the widely quoted Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, which asked governments of the world to stop meddling in the affairs of net-centred communities.

“You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather,” he wrote.

(9) POLCHINSKI OBIT. Multiverse theorist Joseph Polchinski died February 2 reports the New York Times.

Joseph Polchinski, one of the most creative physicists of his generation, whose work helped lay the mathematical foundation for the controversial proposition that our universe is only one in an almost endless assemblage that cosmologists call the “multiverse,” died on Friday at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 63. He had been treated for brain cancer since late 2015.

Dr. Polchinski was a giant force in the development of string theory, the ambitious attempt to achieve a “theory of everything,” which envisions the fundamental particles of nature as tiny wriggling strings. The theory has brought forth ideas and calculations that have opened new fields of study and new visions of a universe that is weirder and richer than astronomers had dreamed.

…After months of treatment [for cancer], Dr. Polchinski put his energy into writing his memoir, which he posted on the internet.

“I have not achieved my early science-fiction goals, nor explained why there is something rather than nothing,” he wrote in an epilogue, “but I have had an impact on the most fundamental questions of science.”

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 8, 1958Teenage Monster premiered at your local drive-in.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born February 8, 1828 – Jules Verne
  • Born February 8, 1908 — William Hartnell, the first Doctor Who.
  • Born February 8, 1942 – Stephen Hawking
  • Born February 8, 1969 – Mary Robinette Kowal

(12) KOWAL CELEBRATES. As part of her celebration Kowal pointed to a free read short story, “The Worshipful Society of Glovers” that came out last year in Uncanny Magazine. And on her blog she told about how she developed that story:

To begin… When I was writing Without a Summer I was looking at historical guilds as models for the Coldmongers. In the process, I ran across the Worshipful Company of Glovers, which is a real livery company that has been in existence since 1349. Kinda awesome, right?

(13) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian finds Yoda remains in character even in this mundane situation, in Off the Mark.

(14) RETRO COMICS. Edmonton’s Hugo Book Club took a deep dive into the comic books that were published in 1942 and are eligible for the Retro-Hugos this summer. They suggest that in terms of Best Graphic Story “Some of the most exemplary works are little-remembered by the modern reader,” and encourage Hugo voters to consider a wide range of lesser-known works.

In 1942, the modern American comic book was still in its infancy. Sequential art published on pulp paper with gaudy CMYK illustrations was hitting the shelves at a furious pace, led by the success of best-selling books like Captain Marvel, The Spirit, and Archie. But for every Mort Meskin, Basil Wolverton or Jack Cole working in 1942, there were dozens more, often filling pages with inflexible five- and six-panel layouts, stilted dialogue, and rigidly posed figures….

Prior to 2018, the only time there was a Retro Hugo for Best Graphic Story was in 2016, when the Retro Hugos for 1941 were awarded. That ceremony saw Batman #1 take the trophy ahead of Captain Marvel and The Spirt, both of which are superior comic books. Joe Simon’s superb first 12 issues of Blue Bolt didn’t even make the final ballot.

Batman as a character may have had more popular appeal in the long-term, but those early stories are not as dynamic or innovative as The Spirit. Batman may have some science fiction elements today, but in 1940 Blue Bolt told better science fiction stories. Batman may be more popular today, but in 1940 Captain Marvel was the leading comic book character….

(15) STACKS OF FUN. The G takes “Altered Carbon, Episodes 1-3” for a test drive at Nerds of a Feather.

Netflix’s new science fiction show, Altered Carbon, is based on a novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan. It’s basically a mashup of neo-cyberpunk, detective noir, milSF and techno thriller. Since I have particular interests in the first two parts of that equation, Altered Carbon looked to be right up my alley. So I decided to commit to 3 episodes, after which point I’d take stock. Three episodes in and I like it enough to continue. It’s not quite as good as I’d hoped, however.

Takeshi Kovacs is, or rather was, a kind of super soldier known as an envoy. Envoys were part of an insurrection against the hegemonic polity, the Protectorate. The insurrection failed and the envoys were “put in ice.” However, in the future your mind, memories and soul are stored on a “stack”–a kind of hard drive that is surgically inserted into your body. As long as the stack isn’t damaged, it can be taken out of a dead body and inserted into a new “sleeve” (i.e. a body). Religious types refuse to be re-sleeved, believing that it prevents the soul from ascending to heaven. Pretty much everyone else who can afford to do it, does.

(16) BUNDLE TIME. The latest Storybundle is The Black Narratives Bundle, curated by Terah Edun:

This month is groundbreaking for many reasons, it represents a clarion call to support and uphold cultural heritage, but more than that Black History Month is a time to celebrate accomplishments of the past and the future. From the moment I was asked to curate the Black Narratives bundle, I knew this one was going to be special. I didn’t want to just reach out to authors who were the pillars of the diverse speculative fiction community, but also the ingénues who were becoming stars in their own right.

(17) CANON TO THE LEFT OF THEM, CANON TO THE RIGHT OF THEM. Entertainment Weekly says “Firefly canon to expand with series of original books”.

It may sound like something out of science-fiction, but it’s true: More Firefly stories are on the way.

EW can exclusively report that Titan Books and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products have teamed up to publish an original range of new fiction tying in to Joss Whedon’s beloved but short-lived TV series Firefly. The books will be official titles within the Firefly canon, with Whedon serving as consulting editor. The first book is due in the fall.

(18) DON’T YOU JUST TELESCOPE IT? At NPR, “How To Pack A Space Telescope” (text and time-lapse video).

As complicated as it as to launch and operate a telescope in space, it’s almost as complex to move a space telescope around here on Earth.

For the past 9 months or so, NASA has been testing the James Webb Space Telescope in a giant cryogenic chamber at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The $8.8 billion Webb telescope is the most powerful telescope NASA has ever built.

(19) SLICE OF LIFE. BBC tells about “Bodyhackers: Bold, inspiring and terrifying”.

Jesika Foxx has permanently purple eyeballs, and an elf-like ear. Her husband, Russ, has a pair of horns under his skin.

Stelarc, a 72-year-old Australian, has an ear on his arm. Soon he hopes to attach a small microphone to it so people can, via the internet, listen to whatever it hears.

Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow – yes, that’s his legal name – has the chip from his Sydney travel card implanted into his hand.

I met all these people during BodyHacking Con, in Austin, Texas.

Over the past three years, the event has become something of a pilgrimage for those involved in the biohacking scene – a broad spectrum of technologists, trans-humanists and performance artists. This year it also attracted the presence of the US military.

(20) FAUX COMPETITION. There should be a contest to caption this photo. My entry: “John Scalzi about to make one of his famous frozen garbage burritos.”

(21) SHARKE’S SECOND BITE. Shadow Clarke juror Maureen Kincaid Speller continues her self-introduction.

I find it difficult to talk about how I write critically because it is a thing I’ve learned mostly by doing. There was never a moment when I actively decided that I would become a literary critic. Rather, my critical practice came into being over a long period of time. Even now it is a work in progress. I always feel I could do better, and I’m forever trying to work out how.

What do I do? I read. And then I write about what I’ve read. It is as simple and as complicated as that. In ‘Plato’s Pharmacy’, an exploration of meaning in Plato’s ‘Phaedrus’, Derrida focuses on the word ‘pharmakon’, paradoxical because it means both ‘remedy’ and ‘poison’. Plato sought to argue that speech was superior to writing because it required an act of memory, an act which was weakened by the use of writing. Derrida prompts us to ask whether writing is a remedy, in that it helps you remember things; or a poison in that it enables you to forget things? And I am going to argue that critical writing is both poison and remedy, depending on how you use it.

(22) VENOM. Marvel’s Venom teaser trailer:

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, M.C.A. Hogarth, Dann, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat  Eldridge, Olav Rokne, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]

2016 Australian Shadows Awards

The 2016 Australian Shadows Awards winners were announced by the Australian Horror Writers Asssociation on March 29.

The awards honor “the best published works of horror fiction written or edited by an Australian/New Zealand/Oceania resident in the previous calendar year.” Judges determine the shortlists and winners in each category. (The Shadows Awards judges were not listed on the AHWA website.)

BEST SHORT FICTION (Up to 7,500 words)

  • HIS SHINING DAY by RICHARD HARLAND (PS Publishing)

BEST COLLECTED WORKS (3 or more short stories by a single author)

  • CROW SHINE by ALAN BAXTER (Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST EDITED WORK (3 or more short stories by two (2) or more authors; edited by one or more editors)

  • DEAD OF NIGHT Edited by SHANE JIRAIYA CUMMINGS (Published by the AHWA)

BEST NOVEL (At least 40,000 words)

  • THE GRIEF HOLE by KAARON WARREN (IFWG Publishing Australia)

PAUL HAINES AWARD FOR LONG FICTION (Between 7,501 to 39,999 words)

  • TIPUNA TAPU by DAN RABARTS (Clan Destine Press)

Due to insufficient entries, the 2016 awards dropped the Comics/Graphic Novels category and The Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism.

Today, July 10, the Australasian Horror Writers Association (‘AHWA’) announced plans to add a brand new category to the Australian Shadows Awards:

The award, simply known as the President’s Award, will be an open category where members of the Australasian Horror Writers Association (‘AHWA’) will be able to nominate a member who has not only gone out of their way to promote their work, but assisted with the horror genre in general, as well as enhanced the public perception, reputation and awareness of the Australasian Horror Writers Association in general.

All nominations will be assessed by the AHWA Committee who will cast a vote on the overall winner of the category.

Also, AHWA today released the winners of its 2017 Flash and Short Story Competition.

FLASH AND SHORT STORY COMPETITION

Short Story Winner:

  • “Fish” by Chrisi Reardon

Short Story Runner-Up:

  • “Byzantium” by Joshua Kemp

Flash Fiction Winner:

  • “Elizabeth” by Xanthe Knox.

Flash Fiction Runner-Up:

  • “Rambling Man: by Andrew Cull

Both the winner and runner up will receive a Certificate of Achievement in the 2017 competition. The winners will get a hand crafted trophy by Danny Wale at GoreFx.

JUDGES

The Flash and Short Story competition judges for 2017 were.

  • Maree Kimberley (2016 short story winner)
  • Glenn H. Mitchell (2016 flash fiction winner)
  • Deborah Sheldon (2016 short story runner-up)