Sunday, March 30, 2003

More exciting SF and fantasy news for Tasmanians: I am officially down to run two Adult Ed courses in the winter term this year: a long one on writing SF and Fantasy stories to sell and a shorter one on reading Australian SF & Fantasy authors. Hope to see some of you there.

I think the course guide comes out on the 17th May.

Well, the Aurealis Awards winners have been announced. The most exciting of these for me is the Peter McNamara Convenors Award, which was given to Robbie Matthews for his important contribution to local genre publishing both with the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Yay Robbie!

It's nice to see the Canberra anthologies (Nor of Human and Machinations) recognised along with my favourite Inflight Magazine, and that the publishing of these is seen as important to the australian small press scene. Also nice for Robbie to be recognised for all his hard work and inspiring huge gangs of people to work together towards a common goal: publishing science fiction and fantasy!

Another great book I read earlier this year was the latest Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake book, Narcissus in Chains. I’ve resisted buying this one for a while (trying not to buy books unless I’m actually desperate for something to read, in the hope of keeping within my newly miniscule budget) but could resist no longer. Having read and enjoyed the book more than I thought I would (I loved the previous one, Obsidian Butterfly, because it broke the mould and I was dubious about returning to the old ‘I love a vampire _and_ a werewolf’ format, but was pleasantly surprised. A fellow writer recently referred to the Anita Blake books as ‘good trash’ -- true, of course, but it’s surprisingly hard to find good trash these days. These books are a cross between swaggering detective fiction (of the Marlowe/Spenser variety, only with a chick at the helm) and the sultriest US soap. It’s a lot easier to like Anita now she’s tossed away her previous uptight attitude towards sex, and this book demonstrates that a little more than most. Very proud of the fact that I managed not to blush when a workmate picked this book up and glanced at the contents: it’s not often you get caught reading vampire porn in the workplace!

Anyway,this month I was inspired to go back and re-read Anita’s previous adventures in order, which means I’ve been compulsively reading every spare minute I get. I’m up to Burnt Offerings, with only two more to go, and have just realised that my copy of Obsidian Butterfly is missing. Aargh!

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Attention Tasmanians! The Readers and Writers festival is doing an SF weekend in Hobart this weekend coming! Saturday 22 and Sunday 22 March. Sean Williams, Cory Daniells, Kate Forsyth, Maxine McArthur, Marianne De Pierres & Dirk Flinthart are all coming down for it. We’ll have discussion panels (starting from 10 am) & SF movies (Soylent Green and Westworld, apparently) showing throughout the weekend at the State Cinema! This is something to be supported, since it’s unprecedented for our local lit festival to devote so much time and energy (not to mention money) towards genre fiction! Let’s hope this is the first of many.

Programmme follows:

Friday 21 March 7:30pm at the Atrium Bar in the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Davey Street Hobart. Pope Alice will launch the 2003 Readers‚ & Writers‚ Festival. You're invited to come along to meet Pope Alice and other participating visiting and local writers.

Saturday 22 March 9am. Starting from Salamanca. All colour & Movement in a cavalcade with Pope Alice and the Lord Mayor of Hobart, Alderman Rob Valentine, travelling to the State Cinema, Elizabeth Street, North Hobart.

Then tickets go on sale at 9:30am at the State Cinema, Elizabeth Street, North Hobart for a day of Sci-fi and Fantasy. $5 entry gets you in to hear the writers and see a great film!
10am Pure Speculation with Kate Forsyth, Maxine McArthur, Sean Williams, and Marianne De Pierres.
11am Is the future so fantastic? with Tansy Rayner-Roberts, Dirk Flintart, and Marianne De Pierres.
12.30pm Screening of the classic film, Soylent Green.

Saturday 22 March 2-4pm in the Bond Store at the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Macquarie St, Hobart. A Special Event. Blank & Free Readings with Kate Forsyth, Cory Daniells, Maxine McArthur, Marianne De Pierres. Blank & Free is Free!

Sunday 23 March. The Sci-fi and Fantasy continue! Tickets go on sale at 9:30am at the State Cinema, North Hobart $5 entry gets you in to hear the writers and see the film!
10am The Good, the Bad & the Artificial (Truth & Morality in Space!) with Luke Roberts (-aka Pope Alice), Sean Williams and Cory Daniells.
11am Reaching My Audience with Cory Daniells, Maxine McArthur, and Kate Forsyth.
12.30pm Screening of the classic sci-fi film, West World.

I haven’t mentioned it so far (I don’t think) but I did finish Mocklore #3 and get it out of the house in mid February -- such a relief! I had to photocopy it six times (there’s a day of my life I’ll never get back) and post it out to my fellow RoR members. I have six manuscripts sitting by my desk to critique, then we all meet up in the Blue Mountains in April (first weekend in April, very soon!) to exchange views and hopefully make each other’s books better.

I’ve read two of the six so far -- one was reeeelllllly long, though, so I think I’m on track. The next one up is something of a treat for me since it’s one of Maxine McArthur’s which I read and loved in first draft form and get to read again now that it’s been reworked from a present-day Japanese robot murder mystery into a futuristic Japanese robot murder mystery. Finchy (my live-in good SF detector) has pronounced it good, so I’m looking forward to it.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

I’ve been remiss in keeping up this weblog lately, but can’t let slide the exciting nomination list for the Ditmars this year. Not only have Chuck and I been recognised for AustrAlien Absurdities, an anthology we’re very proud of, but Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine has also scored a nomination in the same category: Best Australian Collected Work.

Actually, the category I’m most excited about is the Professional Artwork category. I adore Dion Hamill’s cover for AA, and feel at least a part sense of ownership since Chuck and I put a lot of effort into coming up with the perfect image for our book cover (although, of course it was Dion who brought our ideas to life). On the other hand, there are also Les Petersen’s four astounding covers for ASIM!

Interestingly, ASIM is also nominated for a Tin Duck -- while we wouldn’t identify ourselves as a WA production (only since we are a truly national co-op, something so new that they had to design extra paperwork for us to register) we have more WA members than any other state, and are printed there, so we certainly won’t refuse an award nomination if they think we qualify!

It was nice to see such a long list of nominated novels in the Ditmars, too. Especially nice to see Maxine McArthur recognised for Time Past! It was published quite early in 2002 and could have easily slipped through the net, but I was very glad to see that the book made it to the Ditmar nominations, if not the Aurealis Awards.