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Aurealis Awards 2005

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Lee Battersby
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 03:44 am:   

Good news: my story 'Pater Familias' from issue 3 of Shadowed Realms (www.shadowedrealms.com.au) has been shortlisted in the Horror category of this year's Aurealis Awards.

Awards are to be held February 25th in my favourite Australian city, Brisbane. My wife Lyn (who has scored a nomination in the SF category for her brilliant story 'The Memory of Breathing' from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine issue 17) and I will be making the trip to attend.

Any excuse.
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AT
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 03:29 pm:   

Hip hip!
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 03:39 pm:   

Two hips! Always handy when you need to walk... :-)

Any excuse for a bad joke and a trip to Brisbane.
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AT
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2005 - 04:36 pm:   

Does a hippocampus or stay in a hotel?
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, December 17, 2005 - 02:38 am:   

congrats, lee.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Sunday, December 18, 2005 - 06:13 am:   

Hippos don't campus: you know how hard it is to get leisure suits in that size? Besides, it's a *bitch* to mince when you've got 4 flat feet...

How does every conversation I have end up being about water animals of suspect sexuality?

On a serious note: Ben, I'm buggered if I can work out how "Johnny Cash" didn't score a gong. Easily one of the best Oz stories of the year. Somewhere, three judges have missed the bleeding obvious...
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Trent Jamieson
Posted on Monday, December 19, 2005 - 01:49 am:   

Hey Lee,

Congrats on the shortlisting, to you and Lyn both.

See you in Brisbane.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Monday, December 19, 2005 - 02:41 am:   

Can't wait to catch up, Trent. Brisbane is pretty much our favourite city in the whole wide world (well, of those we've visited, anyway) and if it wasn't for the children we'd propably be living there by now. Any excuse to get back is a good one.

Should we put some money aside in order to snaffle a copy of Reserved For Travelling Shows?
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, December 19, 2005 - 09:22 pm:   

hey lee--

i'm not fussed about nominations. awards are for different cats than me. if the publicity didn't help me keep a profile, i'd just skip sending my work to it. that said, having read a chunk of the nominations now, i can see how 'johnny cash' didn't fit to the judges tastes. i'm not surprised at all.
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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 02:03 am:   

Hi Lee (and anyone else with an opinion)

I already gave my conga rats at the office:-) I don't think I've read any of the stories on the fantasy shortlist this year, but I've read most of the horror short story list. Did the fantasy list get locked into traditional fantasy this year? It seems like that horror judges picked up the urban fantasy, although Pater Familias is definitely a horror story.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 03:39 am:   

I'm not sure: I've not read a lot of the Aussie stuff this year: mainly what's come down the pipe for reviewing or stuff I've already subscribed to, or on the net. Been a bit busy. I rarely agree with awards list, even when it comes to my own stuff- I generally think I've published better than any one that gets the nod.

Given how much I get paid for most of my work, I do like it when my name appears on an awards list or a Recommended Reading list or the like. I have a rant regarding the notion of reward versus payment that I'll commit to paper one of these days. Call me shallow, but if I was only in it for the "just the work" side of things, I wouldn't bother sending out. I purr if you rub my ego the right way...
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Ben Payne
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 12:33 pm:   

Geoff, I haven't read all of the fantasy shortlist, but The Heart of Saturday Night isn't traditional fantasy... you can read it online at the lenox avenue site (www.lenoxave.com) I think...

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Ben Payne
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 12:35 pm:   

Lee, congrats (and Trent too!). Lee, I haven't read Pater Familias yet.... it slipped under my radar... I suppose now I should:-)

I actually thought Ben's best story this year was Dream of a Russian Princess, though I admired Johnny Cash for its experiment.

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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 01:20 pm:   

geoff: the fantasy stuff isn't all trad. as ben points out, adam brown's piece isn't, and rosaleen love's is rosaleeen love, which has never been swords and princesses. dirk flintheart's bit is, however.

lee: rewards are a funny thing. a lot of people don't see the people behind awards, i guess, but it's all i see in relation to it. since i tend to view reviews, comments, and everything else that comes from people as just subjective, and just take the good and ignore the bad, i can't get worked up much about awards. i don't know what it means in the scheme of things--there's certainly nothing wrong with liking awards, but to each their own.

ben: thanks, man. i thought everything i published was a bit ordinary this year, which is maybe just how i look at it. but i was pleased to get 'the examination of a chinese made roman toga' into print. it was a long haul to get that somewhere. comedy sucks to sell.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Friday, December 23, 2005 - 03:23 am:   

Awards *are* subjective, of course, but to me they're another form of feedback that what I'm doing, I'm doing well. (I need all that type of feedback I can get. Most days it just seems that what I do disappears with a dull 'whoomph' while everybody stampedes towards the latest Traci Harding travesty).

I have to say, I'm always a little sceptical of an author who says s/he doesn't care about anyone's opinion. I can never quite work out why they put the story in the envelope in the first place if they don't care what others think of it. Which is not in relation to our awards commentary, but just a general thing: there's a local fellow bugging the shit out of me at the moment on just that subject...

"Examination" was a good piece, Ben. I like that you're setting out to stretch your own personal writing boundaries. It's something Luscious and I talk a lot about, and I enjoy it when I can see another writer with a similar belief.
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Shane Jiraiya Cummings
Posted on Friday, December 23, 2005 - 07:09 am:   

Lee,

I agree with your sentiments about recognition and caring. If a writer were satisfied simply with their work for its own sake, then they wouldn't look to be published by others.

Awards are similar, but by the same token, writers don't always seek to enter an award whereas they do seek publication in the first instance, so I can understand some writers wanting to be published but not being too fussed about winning awards.

Personally (being competitive) I think awards are cool, but I accept they're are incredibly subjective.

I don't know who's stuck in your craw over the 'don't care' attitude, but recently I've learned a sagely piece of advice which I'm taking to heart (aside from 'snakes on a plane' which no one else seems to get): eagles don't catch flies.

Soar high - I hope you win that Aurealis award.
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Ben Payne
Posted on Friday, December 23, 2005 - 01:25 pm:   

Lee: Worth mentioning too is the fact that pretty much everyone who's given me feedback on ASIM #18 has listed Murderworld as a favorite.

Ben: I enjoyed Roman Toga too. I agree with Lee it was cool to read something from you with a different feel (mind you I find that your work covers a fairly broad range of styles anyhow)

Shane: So flies are good or bad?

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ben peek
Posted on Friday, December 23, 2005 - 08:45 pm:   

lee: there's a difference, i reckon, between awards and feedback from people, as shane says. an award seeks to put some sort of judgement on a story, a rightness or wrongness to it, if you kind of follow me there. the problem with that, of course, is it's never that simple. the idea of 'the best' is ridiculous, and the judging process is subjective, compromised, and a dozen other things that just strip away any weight the statement of saying 'this story is the best of the year'. whenever i give the idea of an award any serious thought, i just end up wondering why anyone would bother after all these things.

but to each their own, y'know? my opinion is my opinion. i certainly don't deprive people their enjoyment of awards. it's nice for the recognition.

i do like finding readers, though. one of the joys with the blog/fiction is that it draws in people from outside the local scene. which is all good. i write for the cultural conversation and it gets onsided without others :-)

ben (and lee): i didn't reckon the toga story stretched me much. heh. it's got a similar tone to johnny cash, r, though a little more nicer, like tom baker, i think. but i tried to write about religion without slapping the usual suspects, and i even wanted to give a positive spin on the potential of organised religion. so i dig that.

stretching boundaries are good, though. standing still never got no one anything but dead grass beneath the feet.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Monday, December 26, 2005 - 04:08 am:   

I certainly understand with what you say about awards, Ben. I enjoy them, and I certainly enjoy the party after the Aurealis Awards (no kids with me THIS year, Mister barman sir....). But I'm also aware of the attitudes of some of those around me: Greg Egan, for one, has a pretty famous attitude towards them. And as you say, it's the readers who are the core target, the ones you want to see coming bck again.

Murderworld, eh? I've had no feedback at all, so it's cool that people like it.



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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 02:27 am:   

I've come back into this late, but it's good to hear that the fantasy category wasn't all trad. I had this suspicion that a lot of Australians hadn't really caught up with all the urban fantasy that was happening in the world, and would prefer to classify it as horror. Hence the unusual horror list this year for the AAs. Perhaps it's more illustrative of the fact that nobody's publishing much horror by Australian writers.

As to the awards themselves, yeah they are subjective, but when you make it onto a short list or you, shudder, actually win one, we'll I think any writer is entitled to feel pleased about that. It's all part of the rich and ridiculous game that we play.

And because they are so subjective -- we seem all agreed on that one -- then I think an equally fun part of the game is to be able to say what you don't like about the shortlists and what you would have prefered to see upon them.

So, given this is Lee's board, here's my subjective comment about the AAs. Pater Familias is a very fine horror story from Lee. I read that story in MS and Lee knows how good I think it is, but it ain't one of Lee's Father Muerte stories. It hasn't got the depth of plot, the wonderful background, nor the quite remarkable characterisation of a Father Muerte story. And why there isn't a Father Muerte on either the fantasy or horror AA lists is way beyond my (albeit very subjective) understanding.

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Lee Battersby
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 03:47 am:   

Part of the fun in trying to do something effective in under 1000 words (the word limit for Shadowed Realms) is trying to create that level of complexity in such a short space of time. With the Muerte stories, of course, I'm not bounded by any sort of limit, so I have a much freer reign. And now (he shudders to mention this in public) I've finally come up with the hook for a Muerte novel, well, all I need are the weird research books...

Shadowed Realms, of course, is publishing rather a lot of Horror by Australians, as is Dark Animus, but right now they're the only ones. That's fine by me-- I don't write a huge amount of horror, and I need those other markets :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 09:23 pm:   

And why there isn't a Father Muerte on either the fantasy or horror AA lists is way beyond my (albeit very subjective) understanding.

i'm not touching that idea of awards, but i've read a couple of the muerte stories now, and while i think they're an interesting collection of scenes, i don't think they work as a whole. the other thing i found, when i read the 'the flesh' the other day, is that while i understood it and could follow it and all, it wasn't until i read 'the rain' that certain parts of the world its set in gelled together for me.

so maybe other people find that? i tend to think the stories'll work together as a collection well, but maybe to people reading only the most recent, they don't get the longer payoff.

just imo of course.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 04:32 am:   

I think you're very possibly, right Ben. I certainly don't bother spending much time trawling over past ground in the stories, and I am aiming for a collection of them sometime in the future. If you read them out of order, or miss one or two along the way, then perhaps you might struggle with some of the references. At the moment, though, they've all been published in Aurealis, so they're easy enough to collect.

How the fuck did you manage to read 'The Flesh', though? I haven't received a copy, I didn't even know the bugger of an issue was out!!!
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 04:55 am:   

i don't much know if you need to repeat the info every story. that'd probably just get convulted. but i didn't get the whole hell kind of thing in 'the flesh'. i had to read 'the rain' for that. i haven't read the first two, either, so it might be i've missed a few more things.

How the fuck did you manage to read 'The Flesh', though? I haven't received a copy, I didn't even know the bugger of an issue was out!!!

i'm important?

nah, i got sent a copy cause i'm reviewing the aurealis award stories for strange horizons.(assuming niall doesn't think the review blows, i guess, and in which case i'm not.) so i got a copy send down to me cause, y'know, the issue hasn't been published yet...

which of course is why it has two stories that are up for an award in it. naturally.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 03:09 pm:   

Oh, don't get me started on the ridiculousness of having an annual award that closes its submissions in the middle of November...
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 10:45 pm:   

the november thing doesn't bother me. it just needs a clear cut off point, is all.
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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 05:39 pm:   

What, the Father Muerte stories are too complex? Heaven forbid. The last thing we need are any more Australans who want to write complex stories.

I think the true art in the FM stories is what Lee leaves unsaid, and the fact that you get this glimpse into a world that appears to be much much bigger than the story you are reading. So many short stories, and I think particularly a lot of the recent Aurealis stories, seem only as big as the story itself (what you read is all you get). You never get the feeling that there's a whole world happening in the background that you'd like to know more about.

Re November cut-off. I thought it was odd that Aurealis 33/34/35 arrived too late for last year's awards, but issue 36 was eligible for the 2005 awards and still hasn't made it public. Given it's now January, that looks like a 2006 publication to me. But hell it probably doesn't make any difference anyway. It's just inconsistent.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 07:53 pm:   

I just don't see why we need to have a November cut-off at all. It leads to these inconsistencies, when a calendar year is simple, and is easy to keep track of. If it's published, it's eligible. The end. Why make it needlessly complicated?

Thanks for the kind words on Muerte, Geoff. I enjoy writing them (and if Ben & Rob are nice, they'll accept the 4th in the series, which is with them at the moment). As I become older and crustier, the stories I write get longer and more tangled. Anybody hoping for a 'My First' Muerte story is likely to be disappointed. Whilst I can understand a reader's confusion if they come in mid-series (and thanks Ben, for highlighting my story for a bashing on the LJ), I still think people get enough to create their own sense of backstory. Sometimes it seems like readers, and some editors, particularly locally, don't want to work for a story. They want it all upfront, so they can make a simple decision.

I'm looking forward to the day when an editor starts to put bracket-notes into a Muerte story, a la the Merry Marvel editors in my spandex-comics reading days :-)

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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 08:32 pm:   

geoff:

What, the Father Muerte stories are too complex?

actually, that's not what i said. what i said is if you go to the stories late in the series, lee doesn't spend time retelling you what has been told in the first. thus, you're likely to miss information that'll help you decipher it. that doesn't actually make it unreadable (or complex) but is just a statement. i read 'the flesh' one way, but after reading 'the rain' would have read it another. it's no biggee.

and lee, that wasn't a bashing on the blog, man. i liked the piece, after all. watching me dismantle a story that doesn't work is an entirely different process. students call it an enema.

:-)
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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 10:42 pm:   

Ah, Ben, I guess I get that point now. But I wouldn't know what to say about it because I've read the first two stories in the order they were published.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 11:12 pm:   

You're obviously not working them hard enough, Ben. Enemas are suposed to leave you feeling relaxed and calm.

Unless, of course, you tutor under a name that begins with 'Mistress' :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 11:32 pm:   

well, there is the purging first. then after the purge, when allt he hate is gone, and people realise i am right (for i am) then they become relaxed and calm and kneel before me...

er.

yes. why not.
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 11:34 pm:   

You know, Mistress Peek actually has a kind of ring to it...
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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 11:59 pm:   

Did anyone mention the word 'potty'?
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, January 01, 2006 - 01:35 am:   

geoff, you're just lowering the tone of this with all your smut ;)
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Lee Battersby
Posted on Monday, January 02, 2006 - 03:06 pm:   

Yes, highbrow guys like Ben and I aren't used to such talk :-)

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