2020 Ditmar Awards

Last year’s Ditmar trophy

The results of the 2020 Ditmar Awards were released on September 18, livetweeted Elizabeth Fitzgerald.

The Ditmar Award is Australia’s oldest and best-known science fiction, fantasy and horror award, presented annually at the Australian NatCon since 1969.

This year’s NatCon, Swancon 2020 in Perth, was cancelled due to the pandemic and the award winners were announced online.

Best Novel

  • The Year of the Fruit Cake, Gillian Polack, IFWG Publishing Australia.

Best Short Fiction

  • “Whom My Soul Loves”, Rivqa Rafael, in Strange Horizons, 11 November 2019.

Best Collected Work

  • Collision, J.S. Breukelaar, Meerkat Press.

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

[Joint Award]

  • Be The Serpent podcast, Alexandra Rowland, Jennifer Mace and Freya Marske.
  • SF Commentary, Bruce Gillespie.

Best Fan Writer

  • Elizabeth Fitzgerald, for reviews in Skiffy and Fanty.

Best New Talent

  • Freya Marske.

William Atheling Jr. Award for Criticism or Review

  • Grant Watson, for reviews on FictionMachine.

Note: There were insufficient nominations for the Best Artwork and Best Fan Artist categories, therefore no awards were given.

[Via Ansible.]

2020 Ditmar Preliminary Ballot

The preliminary ballot for the Australian SF (“Ditmar”) Awards for 20202 has been made available for comment and correction before becoming final.

The nominees are award-eligible works and persons first nominated by fans and members of the Australian NatCon which have been compiled into a ballot by a sub-committee elected at the previous National SF Convention business meeting.

The awards will be presented at the 2020 Ditmar Awards ceremony, hosted by Swancon (April 24-26, 2021 in Perth, Australia.)

The Final ballot will have a “No Award” option in each category.

Best Novel

  • Claiming T-Mo, Eugen Bacon, Meerkat Press.
  • The Year of the Fruit Cake, Gillian Polack, IFWG Publishing Australia.

Best Short Fiction

  • “into bones like oil”, Kaaron Warren, in Into Bones like Oil, Meerkat Press.
  • “Whom My Soul Loves”, Rivqa Rafael, in Strange Horizons, 11 November 2019.

Best Collected Work

  • Collision, J.S. Breukelaar, Meerkat Press.

Best Artwork

INSUFFICIENT NOMINATIONS

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • Be The Serpent podcast, Alexandra Rowland, Jennifer Mace and Freya Marske.
  • SF Commentary, Bruce Gillespie.

Best Fan Writer

  • Bruce Gillespie, for writing in SF Commentary and ANZAPA articles.
  • Elizabeth Fitzgerald, for reviews in Skiffy and Fanty.

Best Fan Artist

INSUFFICIENT NOMINATIONS

Best New Talent

  • Freya Marske

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Eugen Bacon, for Writing Speculative Fiction, Red Globe Press.
  • Grant Watson, reviews on FictionMachine.

Pixel Scroll 2/23/20 Old Possum’s Scroll Of Practically Universal Robotic Cats

(1) DITMAR NOMINATIONS OPEN. Nominations for the 2020 Australian SF (“Ditmar”) awards are open until one minute before midnight Perth time on Sunday, March 1, 2020 (ie. 11.59 p.m., GMT+8). The current rules, including Award categories can be found at: here.

You must include your name with any nomination. Nominations will be accepted only from natural persons active in fandom, or from full or supporting members of Swancon 2020, the 2020 Australian National SF Convention.

A partial and unofficial eligibility list, to which everyone is encouraged to add, can be found here.

(2) NAACP IMAGE AWARDS. Genre triumphed: “Jordan Peele and Lupita Nyong’o Win Big for Us at NAACP Image Awards”ComicBook.com has the story.

After many thought Lupita Nyongo’o and Jordan Peele were snubbed from Oscar nominations this year for their work on Us, the duo ended up winning big at the NAACP Image Awards. By the time the annual gala was over Saturday night, Peele had won Outstanding Writing In A Motion Picture while Nyong’o won Outstanding Actress In A Motion Picture.

…Despite receiving zero nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards, the Peele-directed horror flick also managed to win big elsewhere this awards season. Peele won Best Director at this summer’s Saturn Awards while Nyong’o won Best Actress with the Hollywood Critics Association and more. As a whole, the movie’s biggest award came during the Critics’ Choice Awards, where it won Best Sci-fi/Horror movie.

(3) ORIGINAL COMICS ART ON THE BLOCK. Heritage Auctions is in the internet bidding phase of its 2020 March 5 – 8 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction – Dallas #7224. This Spider-Man cover has already been bid up to $135,000.

John Romita Sr. Amazing Spider-Man #51 Cover Kingpin Original Art (Marvel, 1967). One of the finest Amazing Spider-Man covers we have ever had! It was the Kingpin’s very first cover appearance, and it set the image of the character in many fan’s heads for decades to come….

(4) SEND THE TARDIS TO DUBLIN. Nicholas Whyte wishes Doctor Who spent more time in Ireland – like any at all. He has written a rundown on the Irishness of the TV show, book adaptations, audio dramas, and comics. You might say there is more green in Tom Baker’s trademark scarf than the rest of the show combined.

It is a sad fact that up to the present day (choosing my words *very* carefully here), not a single second of TV screen time on the show, or any of its spinoffs, has been set in Ireland. Indeed, hitherto the Doctor spent more televised time in Hungary than on the Emerald Isle (special prize if you know what story I am referring to). A couple of confused characters do wonder if Gallifrey, the home planet of the Time Lords, may be in Ireland, but that’s as close as we get.

However, the real life relationship between Doctor Who and Ireland is much stronger. Tenth Doctor David Tennant’s grandmother was from Northern Ireland – his grandfather was a professional footballer, whose record of 57 goals for Derry City in a single season still stands. Lalla Ward, who played the second incarnation of Romana and was briefly married to Fourth Doctor Tom Baker, is the daughter of the 7th Viscount Bangor; their family home was Castle Ward in County Down, better known to Game of Thrones fans as Winterfell.

And lucky kids in Belfast and Derry were thrilled one day in 1978 when the Fourth Doctor himself turned up at their school…

(5) CHEWHACKA. ComicBook.com points readers to a video that teaches how “Disneyland Guests Unlock Secret ‘Chewbacca Mode’ on Millenium Falcon Ride, and You Can Too”.

…The hack has to be done like an old video game cheat code. You need to make certain inputs by a certain time in order to bring “Chewie mode” online. Here is a video and written instruction from the FreshBaked YouTube Channel, which specializes in Disneyland tips and tricks:

(6) TRIBBLES BY THE NUMBERS. Although now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall, that wasn’t enough. Ars Technica learned that scientists wanted the answer to yet another question: “Physics undergrads crunched numbers for Star Trek’s tribble problem”.

Chalk this one up to fun scientific papers we inexplicably missed last year. A group of undergraduates at the University of Leicester in the UK calculated the growth rate of the fictional Star Trek critters known as tribbles. They published their results in a short paper in the university’s undergraduate-centric Journal of Physics Special Topics, estimating just how long it would take for there to be enough tribbles to fill up the USS Enterprise….

(7) VENUSIAN ROVER DESIGN CHALLENGE. NASA is summoning the public to help create new technology for a mission to a “hellish” planet: “Exploring Hell: Avoiding Obstacles on a Clockwork Rover”.

…Imagine a world hot enough to turn lead into a puddle, where the atmospheric pressure can crush a nuclear-powered submarine. Now imagine sending a rover to explore that world. 

Venus, ancient sister of Earth with a planetary environment just this side of hellish, has been visited by a handful of probes since the early days of space flight.  Of the many missions to our celestial neighbor, only about a dozen have made contact with the surface of the planet. The longest-lived landers only managed to function for a couple of hours before succumbing to the relentlessly oppressive heat and pressure.

… Current, state-of-the-art, military-grade electronics fail at approximately 125°C, so mission scientists at JPL have taken their design cues from a different source: automatons and clockwork operations. Powered by wind, the AREE mission concept is intended to spend months, not minutes, exploring the landscape of our sister world. Built of advanced alloys, AREE will be able to collect valuable long-term longitudinal scientific data utilizing both indirect and direct sensors.

As the rover explores the surface of Venus, collecting and relaying data to an orbiter overhead, it must also detect obstacles in its path like rocks, crevices, and steep terrain. To assist AREE on its groundbreaking mission concept, JPL needs an equally groundbreaking obstacle avoidance sensor, one that does not rely on vulnerable electronic systems. For that reason, JPL is turning to the global community of innovators and inventors to design this novel avoidance sensor for AREE. JPL is interested in all approaches, regardless of technical maturity.

This sensor will be the primary mechanism by which the potential rover would detect and navigates through dangerous situations during its operational life. By sensing obstacles such as rocks, crevices, and inclines, the rover would then navigate around the obstruction, enabling the rover to continue to explore the surface of Venus and collect more observational data.

CNN assures everyone:

Don’t have an engineering degree? Doesn’t matter. Never seen a spacecraft in real life? No problem.

“JPL is interested in all approaches, regardless of technical maturity,” NASA said.

The 1st-place winner of the design contest will get up to $15,000, the 2nd-place winner will get up to $10,000, and the 3rd-place winner will get $5,000.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • February 23, 1935 The Phantom Empire premiered.  It was a Western serial film with elements of SF and musical theater as well. It was directed by Otto Brower and B. Reeves Eason. It starred the singing cowboy himself Gene Autry along with Frankie Darro and Betsy King Ross. In 1940, a feature film edited from the serial was released as either Radio Ranch or Men with Steel Faces. It was a box office success earning back its seventy-five thousand dollar budget.  The very few audience members who gave it a rating at Rotten Tomatoes didn’t like it hence the 27% rating there. You can see the first chapter here.
  • February 23, 1954 Rocky Jones, Space Ranger premiered. This was the first science fiction television show to be entirely pre-filmed (instead of being televised live as was the case with Captain Video, Buck Rogers and Tom Corbett.) It was also the first to use sets of unusual good quality, live location shoots, and rather decent special effects. Rocky Jones was played by Richard Crane. It was created by Roland D. Reed and written by Warren Wilson, Arthur Hoerl and Marianne Mosner, with Hollingsworth Morse being the director. It lasted but two seasons as it never really caught on with the public. Story wise, it actually had a great deal of continuity built into it, unlike almost all of the other series at the time. Its thirty-nine episodes, each twenty-five minutes in length, aired originally between February 23rd and November 16th, 1954. You can see the first episode here.
  • February 23, 1978 Quark was slotted in on NBC as a mid-season replacement series. Yes, the pilot aired on May 7, 1977, so technically that it’s birthday but let’s skip past that please. It was created by Buck Henry, co-creator of Get Smart. The series starred Richard Benjamin, Tim Thomerson, Richard Kelton, Tricia Barnstable and Cyb Barnstable. It specialized in satirizing popular SF series and films — the Wiki article states that three episodes were based upon actualTrek episodes, though that can’t be confirmed. It lasted but eight episodes beating Space Rangers by two episodes in longevity. You can see the first episode here. here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 23, 1564 Christopher Marlowe. Author of Doctor Faustus (or The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus.  Elizabeth Bear made him a character in her Stratford Man series which is Ink and Steel and Hell and Earth novels which I highly recommend. If you’ve not read them, the Green Man review is here. (Died 1593.)
  • Born February 23, 1915 Jon Hall. Frank Raymond in Invisible Agent and The Invisible Man’s Revenge. He was also the creator and star of the Ramar of the Jungle series. And he directed and starred in The Beach Girls and the Monster and The Navy vs. the Night Monsters. (Died 1979.)
  • Born February 23, 1930 Gerry Davis. Mid-Sixties story editor on Doctor Who where he created companion Jamie McCrimmon and co-created the Cybermen along with unofficial scientific adviser Dr. Kit Pedler. They would create the Doomwatch series that ran in the Sixties on BBC. Davis briefly returned to writing for the series, penning the first script for Revenge of the Cybermen, though his script was largely abandoned by editor Robert Holmes. In 1989 he and Terry Nation, who created the Daleks, made a failed bid to take over production of the series and reformat it for the American market. (Died 1991.)
  • Born February 23, 1932 Majel Barrett. No doubt best remembered for being  Nurse Christine Chapel and Lwaxana Troi as well as for being the voice of most of the ship computer interfaces throughout the series. I’ll note that she was originally cast as Number One in the unused Pilot but the male studio heads hated the idea of a female in that role. Early Puppies obviously. (Died 2008.)
  • Born February 23, 1965 Jacob Weisman, 55. Founder, Tachyon Publications, which you really should go look at as they’ve published every great author I’d care to read. Seriously Tidhar, Beagle and Yolen are among their newest releases! He also edited (with Beagle) The New Voices of Fantasy which I highly recommend as most excellent reading.
  • Born February 23, 1983 Emily Blunt, 37. Her most direct connection to the genre is as Elise Sellas in the Adjustment Bureau film based off Dick’s “Adjustment Team” story. Mind, she’s been in quite a number of other genre films including The WolfmanGulliver’s Travels, Gnomeo & Juliet, The Muppets, Looper, Edge of Tomorrow, Into the Woods, The Huntsman: Winter’s WarThe Strange Case of Sherlock Holmes & Arthur Conan Doyle, and Mary Poppins Returns.
  • Born February 23, 2002 Emilia Jones, 18. I’m reasonably sure this is the youngest Birthday individual that I’ve done.  She shows up on Doctor Who as Merry Gejelh, The Queen of Years, in the “The Rings of Akhaten”, an Eleventh Doctor story. At nine years of age, she’s made her acting debut in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as an unnamed English Girl. She’s Young Beth in the horror film Ghostland. She’s currently in Residue, an SF horror series you can find on Netflix. 

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • And let’s catch up with Tom Gauld –

(11) LEAP BEER. On February 29 Ology Brewing Company in Tallahassee, Florida will combine the debut of their Tropical Habitat beer – “inspired by the Southern Reach trilogy” – with a book signing by Jeff VanderMeer.

To honor our friendship with Jeff VanderMeer, Tallahassee resident and author of the Southern Reach Trilogy, we are releasing Tropical Habitat, a tropical, otherworldly Hazy Double IPA at a special Book Signing and Meet & Greet event alongside the release of three other beers (Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Barrel-Aged American Sour, and Fruit Beer).

A portion of Tropical Habitat sales (both cans and tap pours) will benefit the Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge (The Salamander Project) and honor the setting of the trilogy book series and one of our team’s favorite places – the North Florida Coast.

(12) BEHIND THE VEIL. Cora Buhlert put up another evaluation of a Retro-eligible work: “Retro Review: ‘The Veil of Astellar’ by Leigh Brackett”. BEWARE SPOILERS.

Uncommon for Leigh Brackett, “The Veil of Astellar” begins with a framing story about a manuscript found inside a message rocket sent to the Interworld Space Authority headquarters on Mars. This manuscript offers an explanation of the space phenomenon called “the Veil” which comes out of nowhere and swallows spaceships in the asteroid belt. The space police officers are initially sceptical about the account, but eventually manage to determine that it is authentic. Furthermore, the much feared Veil has vanished and the message inside the rocket explains why….

(13) HEARTFIELD CLASS. Cat Rambo shared “Highlights from Writing Interactive Fiction,” taught online by Kate Heartfield.  Thread starts here.

(14) QUINN AGAIN, BEGIN AGAIN. A.V.Club: “DC Universe’s Harley Quinn is coming back for another season in April”.

We’re going through a Harley Quinnaissance at the moment, even if Birds Of Preydidn’t light up the box office, and it looks like DC Universe is eager to keep it going. As announced on Twitter, the streaming service (which still exists and has yet to be swallowed up by HBO Max!) will already be getting a new season of the Harley Quinn animated series in April. The first season just premiered at the end of 2019, so this will be a surprisingly short wait for a chance to hear more DC comic book characters say “fuck” and get beat up in surprisingly violent ways. Also, maybe this time Harley and Poison Ivy will end up together? Or maybe they won’t and that’s okay too? Either way, DC Universe has to hold onto something that fans want to see, or else HBO Max will just quietly roll up and take over. Then Harley Quinn’s going to have to hang out with the Friendsinstead of Poison Ivy, and nobody wants that.

(15) IF YOU DON’T SLING THE LINGO. BBC asks: “Dubs or subs? Parasite renews debate on how to watch foreign films”.

The South Korean dark comedy film Parasite had a historic awards season sweep – and in the process, reignited the debate over whether subtitles or dubbing is the best way to watch a movie that isn’t in your native language.

As director Bong Joon Ho accepted the first-ever best foreign language picture Golden Globe for a South Korean film, he said: “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Fast forward a month, and he was making history again, accepting the best picture award once more at the Oscars. Parasite’s Oscar win introduced it to a broad US audience – but not everyone was in favour of watching the award winner in its original language.

Dubbing takes the stress out of enjoying a foreign film, some argued, and performances are meant to be heard, not read. The angered response from subtitle fans ranged from accusations of racism to pointing out the needs of deaf viewers.

How you watch a foreign film is a clearly personal matter, tangled in pet peeves and accessibility. But as foreign flicks are gaining more screen time before American audiences, here’s a deeper dive into how we got here, and where the industry is headed.

In the early days of film, on-screen text was far from a “one-inch barrier” – it was the only way to express dialogue. Title cards were the precursor to subtitles, and they, too, were controversial in a way that mirrors the modern debate.

Stage actors would try to hide their work in silent film as many felt the lack of sound diminished the quality of the performance, Professor Marsha McKeever, academic director of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, told the BBC.

(16) THE CALL OF THE UNWILD. Yours truly used to live a few blocks from where this happened: “Wild bear roams streets of California neighbourhood” (video). The bears didn’t come down to our block, but coyotes, skunks, and possums did.

A wild bear has been sedated and captured after it was seen roaming in a residential area in Monrovia, California.

The 28.3 stone (180kg) elderly female walked through residential areas close to Angeles National Forest.

A mild California winter could be a possible reason for the sighting, as warmer weather causes bears to leave their dens in search of food.

(17) HOMEMADE ASTRONAUT AND ROUND EARTH SKEPTIC DIES. The earth may not be flat, but now he is: “‘Mad’ Mike Hughes dies after crash-landing homemade rocket”.

A US daredevil pilot has been killed during an attempted launch of a homemade rocket in the Californian desert.

“Mad” Mike Hughes, 64, crash-landed his steam-powered rocket shortly after take-off near Barstow on Saturday.

A video on social media shows a rocket being fired into the sky before plummeting to the ground nearby.

Hughes was well-known for his belief that the Earth was flat. He hoped to prove his theory by going to space.

Video at TMZ.

(18) SEEKER. BrainPickings’ Maria Popova delves into Brian Greene’s book Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe: “Until the End of Time: Physicist Brian Greene on the Poetry of Existence and the Wellspring of Meaning in Our Ephemeral Lives Amid an Impartial Universe”.

…Although science is Greene’s raw material in this fathoming — its histories, its theories, its triumphs, its blind spots — he emerges, as one inevitably does in contemplating these colossal questions, a testament to Einstein’s conviction that “every true theorist is a kind of tamed metaphysicist.”

(19) TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCE. Jeffrey Lyles succumbs to the Hasbro advertising — “Check out the incredible trailer for Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy: Siege” – at Lyles Movie Files.

I’ve been impressed with my ability to not get sucked into Hasbro’s Transformers’ Siege line. Those figures really look impressive, but I’m trying to keep my Transformers purchases to the Masterpiece line. But now with the release of Netflix’s Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy trailer, I’m thinking my resolve is about to crumble especially given how good this series looks.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit goes o File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

2019 Ditmar Awards

The winners of the Australian SF (“Ditmar”) Awards for 2019 were presented at the 2019 Australian National SF Convention, (Continuum 15) in Melbourne on June 8.

Best Novel

  • City of Lies (Poison Wars 1), Sam Hawke, Tom Doherty Associates.

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “Cabaret of Monsters”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Cabaret of Monsters, The Creature Court.

Best Short Story

  • “The Heart of Owl Abbas”, Kathleen Jennings, in Tor.com.

Best Collected Work

  • Mother of Invention, Rivqa Rafael and Tansy Rayner Roberts, Twelfth Planet Press.

Best Artwork

  • Cover art, Likhain, for Mother of Invention, Twelfth Planet Press.

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • Earl Grey Editing, Elizabeth Fitzgerald.

Best Fan Writer

  • Liz Barr, for writing in squiddishly.

Best New Talent

  • Sam Hawke

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Cat Sparks, for “The 21st Century Catastrophe: Hyper-capitalism and Severe Climate Change in Science Fiction” PhD exegesis.

OTHER AWARDS PRESENTED AT CEREMONY

Peter McNamara Achievement Award for Lifetime Achievement and Contribution towards Australian Speculative Fiction

  • Kaaron Warren

Chandler Award for Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction

  • Alan Stewart

2018 Ditmar Awards Preliminary Ballot

The preliminary ballot for the Australian SF (“Ditmar”) Awards for 2019 has been made available for comment and correction before becoming final.

The nominees are award-eligible works and persons first nominated by fans and members of the Australian NatCon which have been compiled into a ballot by a sub-committee elected at the previous National SF Convention business meeting.

The Ditmars will be presented at the 2019 Australian National SF Convention, (Continuum 15) in Melbourne, June 7-10, 2019.

The following section details the contents of the preliminary ballot. (Note that the final ballot will include a “No Award” option in each category.

Best Novel

  • Devouring Dark, Alan Baxter, Grey Matter Press.
  • The Subjugate, Amanda Bridgeman, Angry Robot.
  • Faerie Apocalypse, Jason Franks, IFWG Publishing Australia.
  • City of Lies (Poison Wars 1), Sam Hawke, Tom Doherty Associates.
  • The Beast’s Heart, Leife Shallcross, Hodder & Stoughton.
  • Tide of Stone, Kaaron Warren, Omnium Gatherum.

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “Triquetra”, Kirstyn McDermott, in Triquetra, Tor.com
  • “Cabaret of Monsters”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Cabaret of Monsters, The Creature Court.
  • “The Dragon’s Child”, Janeen Webb, in The Dragon’s Child, PS Publishing.

Best Short Story

  • “The Art of Broken Things”, Joanne Anderton, in Mother of Invention, Twelfth Planet Press.
  • “A Man Totally Alone”, Robert Hood, The Mammoth Book of Halloween Stories: Terrifying Tales Set on the Scariest Night of the Year!, Skyhorse Publishing.
  • “The Heart of Owl Abbas”, Kathleen Jennings, in Tor.com.
  • “Junkyard Kraken”, D.K. Mok, in Mother of Invention, Twelfth Planet Press.

Best Collected Work

  • Sword and Sonnet, edited by Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones and E. Catherine Tobler, Ate Bit Bear.
  • Mountains of the Mind, Gillian Polack, Shooting Star Press.
  • Mother of Invention, Rivqa Rafael and Tansy Rayner Roberts, Twelfth Planet Press.
  • A Hand of Knaves, Leife Shallcross and Chris Large, CSFG Publishing.
  • Tales from the Inner City, Shaun Tan, Allen & Unwin.

Best Artwork

  • Cover art, Likhain, for Mother of Invention, Twelfth Planet Press.
  • Cover and internal illustrations, Shauna O’Meara, for A Hand of Knaves, CSFG Publishing.

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • Earl Grey Editing, Elizabeth Fitzgerald.
  • Pratchat, Elizabeth Flux, Ben McKenzie, Splendid Chaps Productions.
  • SF Commentary, Bruce Gillespie.
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts.

Best Fan Writer

  • Liz Barr, for writing in squiddishly.
  • Bruce Gillespie, for writing in SF Commentary and ANZAPA articles.

Best Fan Artist

INSUFFICIENT NOMINATIONS FOR ANY FAN ARTIST

Best New Talent

  • Elizabeth Fitzgerald
  • Sam Hawke
  • Bren MacDibble (aka Cally Black)
  • Leife Shallcross

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Damien Broderick, for Pscience Fiction, McFarland.
  • Damien Broderick, for Consciousness and Science Fiction, Springer.
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for Gentlewomen of the Press, Sheep Might Fly.
  • Cat Sparks, for “The 21st Century Catastrophe: Hyper-capitalism and Severe Climate Change in Science Fiction” PhD exegesis.

Best Fannish Cat

Let us return now to those thrilling days of yesteryear when Australian fans were called upon to vote for the “Best Fannish Cat” in the Ditmar Awards.

The earliest of these two forgotten episodes in SJW credential history occurred in 1991. The nominees were:

1991: Suncon, Brisbane

Best Fannish Cat

  • Apple Blossom, humans: Elaine Cochrane & Bruce Gillespie
  • Constantinople, human: Phil Wlodarczyk
  • Emma Peel, human: Terry Frost
  • Godzilla, humans: Ian Gunn & Karen Pender-Gunn
  • Honey, humans: Gerald [Smith] & Womble
  • Satan, human: Phil Wlodarczyk
  • Truffle, humans: Mark Loney & Michelle Muijsert
  • Typo, human: Roger Weddall

Typo won the award.

“It’s a long story,” recalls Bruce Gillespie. “The person who was Chair of the convention in Brisbane stuffed up many aspects of the convention. She was also part of a non-Melbourne group who believed that every aspect of the Ditmars was a cruel plot by Melbourne fans to keep all the Ditmars for themselves. So she allowed members of the convention to vote for the categories as well as the items in the categories. Irresistible bait to Melbourne fans in general — who ganged up to include Best Fannish Cat in the categories.”

Bruce Gillespie holding his cane toad Ditmars. Photo by Janice Gelb.

Marc Ortlieb says that wasn’t the only mischief fans got up to at Suncon. “That was the year that things got really silly. The NatCon was in Brisbane and, as a joke, Mark Loney created stuffed cane toads to present at the ceremony, with the real Ditmars to be presented at the closing ceremony. The cane toads were presented, but the real Ditmars weren’t ready.” The real ones would be distributed later at a Nova Mob club meeting.

Even though the award was a put-on, “Best Fannish Cat” made such an indelible impression on Australian fanhistory that the category would be revived in a future round of Ditmars.

As Gillespie sees it, “The list of nominees was regarded as so exemplary that the category was repeated (once) in a later set of the Ditmars. Apple Blossom was our nominee in 1991, and Flicker was our nominee in the much later Ditmars. Neither won, but the winners were very popular cats who had been met by many Melbourne fans. The general effect was to confirm the suspicion of Perth fans that Melbourne fans ‘did not take the Ditmars seriously’.”

Roger Weddall, owner of the winning cat, Typo, was elected the DUFF delegate in 1992. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with lymphoma shortly before leaving for North America, and ended up cutting short his trip after attending Magicon. He died a few months later. Thus it really was with affection that in 1993 someone drafted “A Modest Proposal for the [Swancon 18] Business Meeting” urging the creation of the “Roger Weddall Memorial Ditmar Controversy” and crediting him with some of these shenanigans:

It happens without warning, under no man’s control. None can predict where it will strike or how often. Yes it’s the Ditmar Controversy! It is time to take the guesswork out and have a permanent, official Ditmar Controversy each year and every year. Let us not leave it to chance and ConCom whim to arrange a proper and fitting controversy but instead let us make a firm and binding commitment for now and forever to have

The
Roger Weddall
Memorial Ditmar
Controversy

In honour of Fandom’s best Ditmar Controversers, the man who brought you the best Fannish Cat, Cane Toads and other Ditmar atrocities,

Vote Yes!

At the 1993 Natcon Business meeting

However, there are Aussie fans for whom these memories of the ’91 Ditmars are not bathed in a golden glow. A 2005 Swancon XXX progress report solicited nominations for the Tin Duck Award (a genuine, annual award) with the warning – “Please do not invent new categories. (e.g. No Best Fannish Cat. We’ve heard it before, and it wasn’t funny the first time.)”

But with the passage of time nostalgia kicked in. Dudcon 3, the 2010 Australian National Science Fiction Convention revived Best Fannish Cat as a special committee award. The less facetious eligibility rules included requirements that nominees be “natural members of the species Felis Catus,” and be alive and resident in Australia at the time of the nomination.

Aerin

Thoraiya Dyer unsuccessfully advanced her cat, Aerin, as a candidate by forcing it to be photographed in a Darth Vader costume.

Instead, these cats made the finals:

Tabby Allen

He is a big, lazy, neutered Tom, who just hangs around the house and sleeps on Genevieve’s bed. Sometimes he lays on the couch with us while we watch Doctor Who, but I cannot claim any other great fannish activity.

– James Allen

Felix Blackford

His real breeding name is Mystical Prince Felix, but he answers to Fifi. If fannish credentials other than his owning us are required, I will point out that the last line of the bio that Damien Broderick wrote for my story in the current Cosmos is: “She devotes her life to Mystical Prince Felix, a truly enormous Ragdoll cat.”
– Jenny Blackford

Peri Peri Canavan

Named for being orange with attitude, just like the sauce.
Is a firm believer in First Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevensies, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner and Supper.
Knows that a library chair is a great place to nap.
Enjoys a good SF TV show/film/book because it means an available lap.
Can time travel, if the time involved is dinner time.
Stomach is larger on the inside than the outside.
– Trudi Canavan

Flicker Gillespie

Origin: derelict building in Collingwood.
Official description: black domestic shorthair.
Fannish credentials: How many fannish cats know their fathers? Flicker is father of Harry and Sampson Gillespie, as well as Miss Smith Endacott and Rascal Taylor. Now that his fathering days have been cut short, Flicker will sit on any visiting fannish lap that stays still for more than a few seconds.
– Elaine Cochrane

Pazuzu Sparks

Named for the Exorcist’s demon,
He meows ’cause he’s endlessly dreamin’
Of food and the flap
Which he knows is a trap
Set up by that bad Nemo”s schemin’

His nemesis one day will pay
But meanwhile he spends all the day
Knowing instead
That fridge, pantry and bed
Are all his, and that that way they’ll stay.

So he’ll crash at a run through the door,
Spread litter all over the floor,
Scrounge every crumb,
Bite my elbow and thumb
then curl up with Foyle and his war.
– Robert Hood

(The verse is by Robert Hood the Australian writer – not our Rev. Bob.)

Voters chose Peri Peri Canavan as the Best Fannish Cat of 2010.

Peri Peri Canacan, the Best Fannish Cat of 2010

2018 Ditmar Awards

The Australian SF (“Ditmar”) Awards for 2018 were presented at the 2018 Australian National SF Convention, (Swancon 43), in Perth on April 1.

Best Novel

  • Crossroads of Canopy, Thoraiya Dyer, Tor.

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “Girl Reporter”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Girl Reporter, Book Smugglers Publishing.

Best Short Story

  • “A Pearl Beyond Price”, Janeen Webb in Cthulhu Deep Down-Under Vol 1, IFWG Publishing Australia.

Best Collected Work

  • Ecopunk!, Cat Sparks and Liz Grzyb, Ticonderoga Publications.

Best Artwork

  • cover art, Lewis Morley, for Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body, Peggy Bright Books.

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • SF Commentary, edited by Bruce Gillespie.

Best Fan Writer

  • Stephanie Lai, for writing at No Award.

Best Fan Artist

  • Shauna O’Meara, for “How to Bee” (based on the novel by Bren MacDibble).

Best New Talent

  • Stephanie Lai

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Ambelin Kwaymullina, for “Reflecting on Indigenous Worlds, Indigenous Futurisms and Artificial Intelligence”, Twelfth Planet Press.

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth for the story.]

2018 Ditmar Awards Preliminary Ballot

The preliminary ballot for the Australian SF (“Ditmar”) Awards for 2018 has been made available for comment and correction before becoming final.

The nominees are award-eligible works and persons first nominated by fans and members of the Australian NatCon which have been compiled into a ballot by a sub-committee elected at the previous National SF Convention business meeting.

The Ditmars will be presented at the 2018 Australian National SF Convention, (Swancon 43) in Perth, March 29 – April 2, 2018.

Best Novel

  • Corpselight, Angela Slatter, Hachette Australia.
  • Crossroads of Canopy, Thoraiya Dyer, Tor.
  • How to Bee, Bren McDibble, Allen & Unwin.
  • In the Dark Spaces, Cally Black, Hardie Grant Egmont.
  • Lotus Blue, Cat Sparks, Skyhorse Publishing.

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “Island Green”, Shauna O’Meara, in Ecopunk! Ticonderoga Publications.
  • “Girl Reporter”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Girl Reporter, Book Smugglers Publishing.
  • “Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body”, Simon Petrie, in Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body, Peggy Bright Books.
  • “Monkey Business”, Janeen Webb, in Ecopunk!, Ticonderoga Publications.
  • “My Sister’s Ghost”, Kate Forsyth and Kim Wilkins, in The Silver Well, Ticonderoga Publications.

Best Short Story

  • “A Harem of Six Legs”, Edwina Harvey, in An Eclectic Collection of Stuff and Things, Peggy Bright Books.
  • “Mr Mycelium”, Claire McKenna, in Ecopunk!, Ticonderoga Publications.
  • “A Pearl Beyond Price”, Janeen Webb in Cthulhu Deep Down-Under Vol 1, IFWG Publishing Australia.
  • “Prayers to Broken Stone”, Cat Sparks, in Kaleidotrope, Spring 2017.
  • “Trivalent” by Rivqa Rafael, in Ecopunk!, Ticonderoga Publications.

Best Collected Work

  • An Eclectic Collection of Stuff and Things by Edwina Harvey, Peggy Bright Books.
  • Ecopunk!, Cat Sparks and Liz Grzyb, Ticonderoga Publications.
  • The Silver Well, Kate Forsyth and Kim Wilkins, Ticonderoga Publications.
  • Singing My Sister Down and other stories by Margo Lanagan, Allen & Unwin.

Best Artwork

  • cover art, Lewis Morley, for Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body, Peggy Bright Books.
  • The Grief Hole Illustrated: An Artist’s Sketchbook Companion to Kaaron Warren’s Supernatural Thriller, Keely Van Order, IFWG Publishing Australia.

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • Earl Grey Editing (blog), Elizabeth Fitzgerald.
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts.
  • No Award (blog), Liz Barr and Stephanie Lai.
  • SF Commentary, edited by Bruce Gillespie.
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond.

Best Fan Writer

  • Liz Barr, for writing at No Award.
  • Leigh Edmonds, for writing in iOTA.
  • Elizabeth Fitzgerald, for writing at Earl Grey Editing.
  • Stephanie Lai, for writing at No Award.

Best Fan Artist

  • Shauna O’Meara, for “How to Bee” (based on the novel by Bren MacDibble).

Best New Talent

  • Clarie G. Coleman
  • Stephanie Lai

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Liz Barr, for Star Trek: Discovery reviews, in No Award.
  • Russell Blackford, for Science Fiction and the Moral Imagination, Springer.
  • Ambelin Kwaymullina, for “Reflecting on Indigenous Worlds, Indigenous Futurisms and Artificial Intelligence”, Twelfth Planet Press.
  • Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal, for Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, Twelfth Planet Press.
  • Cat Sparks, for “Science fiction and climate fiction: contemporary literatures of purpose”, in Ecopunk! Speculative tales of radical futures, Ticonderoga Publications.

[Via Locus Online.]

2017 Ditmar Awards

The 2017 Australian SF (“Ditmar”) Awards for 2017 were presented June 11 at Continuum 13 in Melbourne.

Best Novel

  • The Grief Hole, Kaaron Warren, IFWG Publishing Australia.

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “Did We Break the End of the World?”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Defying Doomsday, Twelfth Planet Press.

Best Short Story

  • “No Fat Chicks”, Cat Sparks, in In Your Face, FableCroft Publishing.

Best Collected Work

(tie)

  • Defying Doomsday, Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench, Twelfth Planet Press.
  • Dreaming in the Dark, Jack Dann, PS Publishing.

Best Artwork

  • illustration, Shauna O’Meara, for Lackington’s 12.

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • 2016 Australian SF Snapshot, Greg Chapman, Tehani Croft, Tsana Dolichva, Marisol Dunham, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Stephanie Gunn, Ju Landéesse, David McDonald, Belle McQuattie, Matthew Morrison, Alex Pierce, Rivqa Rafael, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs and Matthew Summers.

Best Fan Writer

  • Foz Meadows, for body of work.

Best Fan Artist

[No award in category — the only nominee, Kathleen Jennings, withdrew.]

Best New Talent

  • Marlee Jane Ward

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Kate Forsyth, for The Rebirth of Rapunzel: a mythic biography of the maiden in the tower, FableCroft Publishing.

Other Awards Presented

A. Bertram Chandler Award

  • Bill Wright, who has been in fandom for 59 years

Peter McNamara Achievement Award

  • Rose Mitchell

2017 Ditmar Awards Final Ballot

The final ballot for the Australian SF (“Ditmar”) Awards for 2017 has been released. It differs from the preliminary ballot (run here a few days ago) only in the addition of Ian Mond to the finalists for the William Atheling Jr. Award for Criticism or Review. (Congratulations, Mondyboy!)

Voting is now open to members of Continuum 13, the 2017 Australian National Convention, and to members of Contact 2016 who were eligible to vote in the 2016 Award. The voting deadline is May 14.

The Ditmars will be presented at Continuum 13 in Melbourne

Best Novel

  • The Grief Hole, Kaaron Warren, IFWG Publishing Australia.
  • The Lyre Thief, Jennifer Fallon, HarperCollins.
  • Squid’s Grief, D.K. Mok, D.K. Mok.
  • Vigil, Angela Slatter, Jo Fletcher Books.
  • The Wizardry of Jewish Women, Gillian Polack, Satalyte Publishing.

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “All the Colours of the Tomato”, Simon Petrie, in Dimension6 9.
  • “By the Laws of Crab and Woman”, Jason Fischer, in Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 17, Issue 6.
  • “Did We Break the End of the World?”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Defying Doomsday, Twelfth Planet Press.
  • “Finnegan’s Field”, Angela Slatter, in Tor.com.
  • “Glass Slipper Scandal”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Sheep Might Fly.
  • “Going Viral”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Dimension6 8.

Best Short Story

  • “Flame Trees”, T.R. Napper, in Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2016.
  • “No Fat Chicks”, Cat Sparks, in In Your Face, FableCroft Publishing.
  • “There’s No Place Like Home”, Edwina Harvey, in AntipodeanSF 221.

Best Collected Work

  • Crow Shine by Alan Baxter, Ticonderoga Publications.
  • Defying Doomsday, Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench, Twelfth Planet Press.
  • Dreaming in the Dark, Jack Dann, PS Publishing.
  • In Your Face, Tehani Wessely, FableCroft Publishing.

Best Artwork

  • cover and internal artwork, Adam Browne, for The Tame Animals of Saturn, Peggy Bright Books.
  • illustration, Shauna O’Meara, for Lackington’s 12.

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • 2016 Australian SF Snapshot, Greg Chapman, Tehani Croft, Tsana Dolichva, Marisol Dunham, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Stephanie Gunn, Ju Landéesse, David McDonald, Belle McQuattie, Matthew Morrison, Alex Pierce, Rivqa Rafael, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs and Matthew Summers.
  • The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Earl Grey Editing Services (blog), Elizabeth Fitzgerald.
  • Galactic Chat, Alexandra Pierce, David McDonald, Sarah Parker, Helen Stubbs, Mark Webb, and Sean Wright.
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts.
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond.

Best Fan Writer

  • James ‘Jocko’ Allen, for body of work.
  • Aidan Doyle, for body of work.
  • Bruce Gillespie, for body of work.
  • Foz Meadows, for body of work.
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work.

Best Fan Artist

  • Kathleen Jennings, for body of work, including Illustration Friday series.

Best New Talent

  • T R Napper
  • Marlee Jane Ward

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Kat Clay for essays and reviews in Weird Fiction Review
  • Tehani Croft & Marisol Dunham, for Revisiting Pern: the great McCaffrey reread review series.
  • Tsana Dolichva, for reviews, in Tsana’s Reads and Reviews.
  • Kate Forsyth, for The Rebirth of Rapunzel: a mythic biography of the maiden in the tower, FableCroft Publishing.
  • Ian Mond, for reviews, in The Hysterical Hamster.
  • Alexandra Pierce, for reviews, in Randomly Yours, Alex.
  • Gillian Polack, for History and Fiction: Writers, their Research, Worlds and Stories, Peter Lang.