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Best Australian SF of 2004

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Ben Payne
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 10:29 pm:   

Hi all,


I posted this elsewhere, but thought some folk here might be interested too...maybe...


I made this list more to get discussion going, and to promote the scene, than because I'm any kind of expert, cos I'm not! although i have read most of the local sf published this year, so if nothing else, i'm embedded:-)

quoting of self begins....now.


Well, with 2004 over I thought it
might be opportune to start some discussion on the stories
by Australian authors we all enjoyed this last year.

With that in mind, I've gone into geeky listmaking mode and
come up with my imaginary best of anthology for 2004 for you
to love, despise or ignore...

Statement of bias: I'm a member of ASIM and future Aurealis
editor, although i had nothing to do with the fiction in
either this year, really. But add grains of salt where you
see fit.

Also, note that I haven't considered
material published late in 2003, such as Forever Shores,
Oceans of the Mind or Geoff Maloney's collection, all of
which contain good stories...

anyway, my imaginary running order (as opposed to preference
order) would be:

Home by the Sea... Cat Sparks (Orb)
Nothing Like the Sun... Stephen Dedman (Brutarian)
Come to Daddy... Brendan Duffy (Agog!)
The Final Battle... Scott Robinson (Encounters)
Father Muerte and the Rain... Lee Battersby (Aurealis)
R... Ben Peek (Agog!)
Number 3 Raw Place... Deborah Biancotti (Agog!)
Absolution... Barbara Robson (ASIM)
Anabiosis... Trent Jamieson (Ticonderoga Online)
The Last Days of Kali Yuga... Paul Haines (NFG)
The Interminable Suffering of Mysertious Mr Wu... Rjurik
Davidson (Aurealis)
The Superb Grace of the Steel Beam, the Delicacy of
Reinforced Concrete... Andrew Macrae (Orb)
Inside the Mountain... Grace Dugan (Agog!)
The Art of Suffering... Martin Livings (Ticonderoga Online)
Stick This Down Your Spike... Snare (Aurealis)

All my humble opinion, of course.

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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 05:44 am:   

Have you read "Clownette" by Terry Dowling on the SCIFICTION website? I consider it one of the best horror stories of the year. Also, Simon Brown's "Water Babies" in Agog! and Margo Lanagan's "Singing My Sister Down" from her Black Juice collection. I've taken all three for YBFH #18.
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JV
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 05:48 am:   

"Singing My Sister Down" is the best story in Black Juice. I think it's a good collection.

JeffV
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Jonathan
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 08:19 am:   

Hi Ben

Did you look at any overseas publications by Australians at all? I note that most, if not all, of the stories you mention are published domestically. In addition to the stories you mention, Jack Dann, Damien Broderick, Russell Blackford and others all published good work overseas.

Jonathan
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 05:47 am:   

"Just attended the Aurealis Awards and "Singing My Sister Down" won for best YA short story and won the Golden Aurealis--kind of best in show for short works.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 05:48 am:   

Ben,
Nice meeting you this evening.:-)
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 01:08 pm:   

"In addition to the stories you mention, Jack Dann, Damien Broderick, Russell Blackford and others all published good work overseas."

So did that Caselberg guy, even if I do say so myself...
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Ben Payne
Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 05:27 pm:   

Ellen and Jonathan,

Thanks... I knew of a large number of stories in OS publications... though there a few I didn't get copies of... but I knew there'd be some I'd miss! I'll have to read Clownette... Jonathan, where were the Broderick and Blackford stories published?

Ellen, great to meet you too on Saturday... it was a fantastic evening!

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Ben Payne
Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 05:31 pm:   

Jay,

I really dug your story Iridescence, in The Third Alternative, which I almost included on my list, but bumped for something else at the last minute:-(

Although, as Jonathan has remarked elsewhere, i also would write a slightly different list depending what day I wrote it!
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 09:45 pm:   

Ben, thanks much for saying so. Might I also suggest having a look at "Herd Mentality" in ReVisions from Daw, edited by Isaac Szpindal and Julie Czerneda.
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Jonathan
Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 02:53 pm:   

Hey Jay - I certainly didn't mean to not mention your work. The great thing about the SF scene in Australia is that there's so much happening, in so many different places. The only problem is it's a struggle for any one person to cover it all, which is why I'll be interested to see Bill Congreve's year's best. - Jonathan
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Jonathan
Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 02:55 pm:   

Ben - The Broderick stories appeared in an anthology by George Zebrowski - Synergy SF. The Blackford was in a Greg Benford anthology, Microcosms, I think. Several Australians had stories in Tekno anthologies this year. Dedman, Dann, Webb and others in Conqueror Fanastic, Blackford in one or two. I even saw a Marian Plumridge story over at www.infinityplus.co.uk. - J
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Raymond Williams
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 05:29 pm:   

Hi All,
I know this is off topic but I was wondering if anyone could suggest any good Australian SF authors I am compiling a case study to see what Australians SF writes prefer to write about and what Australian SF readers prefer to read about.

All thoughts and comments are welcome.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 07:55 pm:   

Sean Williams
Terry Dowling
Margo Lanagan
Rjurik Davidson
Bill Congreve

for starters
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Minz
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 06:33 am:   

First and foremost: George Turner. Get thee hence and read him.

You should also get copies of CENTAURUS and DREAMING DOWN UNDER (the first is a "best of Aussie" retrospective antho, the second an all-orig Aussie antho).

In terms of Aussie reading, they read more per capita than any other English-speaking nation (at least, I've been told that by someone I trust). If by SF, you mean SF/F/H, their tastes are closer to Americans than are the Brits, or even Canadians, imnsho (although Canadians and Aussies may be closer in tastes). And Big Fat Fantasy is the be-all, end-all of what sells Down Under (it's about the only thing the main publishing houses will put out in novel form, so it's sort of self-fulfilling that way). But what novels are being published in Oz is far from the whole picture of Aussie SF. There are a number of wonderful Aussie SF writers who can't get novels published in Oz (at least by the big houses in Oz), but can in the US (best example would be Sean McMullen, who's won ten or more sf awards in Oz for his short fiction, but is only published in US, by Tor--actually Tor does achieve some ANZ distribution for Sean).

To add to Ellen's list:
Sean McMullen
Greg Egan
Stephen Dedman
Garth Nix
Paul Collins
Isobelle Carmody
Cherry Wilder
Rosaleen Love
Russell Blackford
Lucy Sussex
Peter Nicholls (though his two decades in UK certainly affected him)
The flip side to Peter is Jack Dann, who is still unabashedly American, but his past decade of living DOwn Under is creeping into his writing some, imo.

BFF writers (All are Antipodean, though some are actually Kiwi, rather than Aussie):
Sara Douglas
Jennifer Fallon
Trudi Canavan
Ian Irvine (although he's written SF, he's known for Fantasy)
Penelope Love
Jane Routley
Simon Brown

I'm certain there are more, but that's about what I can come up with off the top of my head. The two anthologies are really your best bets for taking a survey of Aussie SF.
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Raymond Williams
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 02:51 pm:   

Thanks heap for this information.
This will certainly give me a good jump on things.


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Ben Payne
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 09:09 pm:   

Hi Raymond,

Bill Congreve is publishing a Year's Best of Australian short SF this year, if you're interested in short fiction. Most of the novelists are covered in the lists above...should probably add Kirsten Bishop to that list if you're talking fantasy...

In terms of short fiction there are a lot of new writers worth checking out. I believe there are a few writers bringing out short story collections this year; Stephen Dedman, Lee Battersby, Paul Haines, Kaaron Warren. All worth checking out. Ben Peek is a young writer with a novel coming out next year (I think). Most of these are being published by Prime. Also, check out Deborah Biancotti, whose work is always among the more interesting coming out. And Brendan Duffy.

Okay, i'll shut up now... obviously I read a lot of local sf. If you want more info on any of these you can email me.

Cheers

Ben

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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 10:00 pm:   

hey raymond

you might wanna check out this site http://www.tabula-rasa.info/Snapshot/ which has a whole lot of australians being interviewed and promoting their stuff. it's a mix of small press and big press authors and editors, so it might be of help.

as minz said, however, you really got to look outside australia for some authors. it's just where the publishers are--i once heard it explained to me that part of the reason for this is because australia is actually a commonwealth market, so we're considered part of the british publishing arm. someone more knowledgable can probably clear that up, though.

also, you might wish to consider anna tambour and peter carey's stuff. not all carey's stuff will fall under spec fic, but some of it will, and i think a few (the unusual life of tristan smith?) were nominated for the sf awards.
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Raymond Williams
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 05:08 pm:   

Cheers Ben Payne & Ben Peek
Yeah by SF I mean SF/F/H.
I will not only be doing an overall comparison but a break down of each genre as they are all very different in their own right
And I donít want to represent one genre more then another and in the end give incorrect facts and figures.

Thanks for the tip Iíll make sure I check publishers outside Australia as well.

On separate new is anyone going to conjure next year or has been to one before
http://www.conjure.org.au/ I only found out about it a month ago and was thinking of going but wanted other peoples thought before
decide.


Thanks Again
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Ben Payne
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 07:56 pm:   

Raymond,

I'll certainly be at Conjure, and while I missed this year's natcon I've been to several in the past and they're definitely worthwhile... australian sf fans and writers are a in the main very friendly and welcoming...

imho it's well worth it if you're interested in the field

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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - 02:55 am:   

And then there's always little me. Much published in short fiction in Australia (and occasionally elsewhere) and forgettable it would seem. Sniff:-) I had a collection out from Prime Books way back sometime in early 2004. "Tales from the Crypto-Tank" or something like that. Even I'm having difficulty remembering it these days
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Trent Jamieson
Posted on Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - 12:54 am:   

Geoff,

Hardly forgettable. I can't speak for anyone else, but your work has been a continuing source of inspiration for me.

Trent
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - 08:46 am:   

I covered it in 03, which was the copyright date, Geoff. And I've enjoyed your work ;-)
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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2006 - 02:43 am:   

Thanks Ellen, Trent, just me having a go at some of my countrypeople. I get published frequently, but a lot of people in Australia just don't get what I try to do, so it seems they quickly forget about what I have done.

Ellen, you got me on a technicality. Mea Culpa. Yes, it was late 2003 for "Crypto-System" but we didn't see any copies in Australian until early 2004. So I cheated:-)

And there I was thinking that I was a lone soul treading the backwaters of Nightshade, posting obscure messages into oblivion as a kind of therapy. I mean that. I actually find reading the posts and occasionally posting back on Nightshade is quite therapeutic.

That was so nice of both of you to respond.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2006 - 06:39 pm:   

You can't hide around here :-)
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Ben Payne
Posted on Friday, January 20, 2006 - 12:21 am:   

Geoff, your work is always worthy of mention. It's unfortunate that works published in December often seem more easily to slip under the radar of peoples' years best lists, other than those as thorough as Ellen...

Tales of the Crypto System is well worth the price of entry, for anyone shopping for a good colllection.

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Ben Payne
Posted on Friday, January 20, 2006 - 12:26 am:   

The revival of this thread is a timely reminder that I meant to post my favorite stories of this year...

Okay, for the last couple of years I've compiled my own imaginary Years' Best anthologies, more to generate discussion and for my own reference rather than because my critical opinion holds any weight.

Insert the usual disclaimers, blah de blah, bias, agendas, blah de blee, I published some of these and I know half the authors so whatever you do don't believe a word I say...

Don't be offended if you're not there... there were lots of good stories I left out.

Anyhow, this year I probably haven't read quite as comprehensively as last year, although I think I've still covered a lot of what's been published. My imaginary anthology this year (in imaginary running order) would run something like this:


Father Muerte and the Flesh... Lee Battersby (Aurealis #36)
How Green Was Their Love... Tess Williams (Borderlands #4)
Dream of a Russian Princess... Ben Peek (Ticonderoga Online #3)
Monochrome for Two... Dirk Flinthart (ASIM 20)
Matricide... Lucy Sussex (SciFiction)
Summa Seltzer Missive... Deborah Biancotti (Ticonderoga Online #6)
Other... Bob Franklin (Borderlands #5)
Big Day... Chris Barnes (Daikaiju)
Static Song... Stephen Dedman (ASIM 18)
Between the Covers... K.J. Bishop (The Devil in Brisbane)
Macchiato Lane... Cat Sparks (Ticonderoga Online #5)
Like a Bug Underfoot... Chuck McKenzie (Daikaiju)
Terning tha Weel... Kim Westwood (Aurealis #30)
The Heart of Saturday Night... Adam Browne (Lenox Ave)
Fruit and Mirrors... Tansy Rayner Roberts (Aurealis #36)
The Memory of Breathing... Lyn Triffit (ASIM 17)

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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Monday, January 23, 2006 - 02:24 am:   

Ellen, I think that more than once you have proven the world is a small place!

Ben, that's a nice list. I agree with 50% of it and I can honestly say I haven't read the other half. I would have added others. Pick your favourite Kaaron Warren story or your favourite Trent Jamieson.

And, yes, someone else who has put a FM story by Lee on the list. I don't know why the FM stories aren't appearing on lists all over the place. They tweak all my buttons. Somebody said they were complex. We'll they are but Lee's not writing like Dostoyevsky.
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John Thiel
Posted on Monday, January 23, 2006 - 06:55 am:   

What could be better than sf set in Australia? Hmmmm....awwwww....FARSCAPE.

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