Best Australian SF Writing redux

I just received a review copy of Rob Gerrand’s anthology The Best Australian Science Fiction Writing: A Fifty Year Collection, which reprints thirty stories published between 1955 and 2001. The pedants amongst us can’t help but note that makes it a 46 year collection, but who’s counting? The contents of the book are:

1. Infant Prodigy, Frank Bryning
2. The Cage, A. Bertram Chandler
3. Debt of Lassor, Norma Hemming
4. The Doorway, Wynne N. Whiteford
5. Parky, David Boutland (writing as David Rome)
6. All Laced Up, A. Bertram Chandler (writing as George Whitely)
7. The Case of the Perjured Planet, John Baxter & Ron Smith (writing as Martin Loran)
8. There is a Crooked Man, Jack Wodhams
9. The Final Weapon, Damien Broderick
10. Dancing Gerontius, Lee Harding
11. The Man of Slow Feeling, Michael Wilding
12. Re-Deem the Time, David Lake
13. In a Petri Dish Upstairs, George Turner
14. The Chance, Peter Carey
15. The Paradigm, Randal Flynn
16. Inhabiting the Interspaces, Philippa Maddern
17. Odd Man Search, Cherry Wilder
18. The Government in Exile, Paul Collins
19. The Total Devotion Machine, Rosaleen Love
20. The Caress, Greg Egan
21. Red Ochre, Lucy Sussex
22. The Soap Bubble, Sean Williams
23. Angel Thing, Petrina Smith
24. The Sword of God, Russell Blackford
25. Niagara Falling, Jack Dann & Janeen Webb
26. A Walk-on Part in the War, Stephen Dedman
27. He Tried to Catch the Light, Terry Dowling
28. The Boy Who Didn’t Yearn, Margo Lanagan
29. The Diamond Pit, Jack Dann
30. Tower of Wings, Sean McMullen

Just to give you an idea of the spread of the stories, 10% were originally published in the ’50s, 23% were originally published in the ’60s, 23% were originally published in the ’70s, 7% were originally published in the ’80s, 27% were originally published in the ’90s, and 10% were originally published in the ’00s. That’s not something that’s really important, but I was interested to see the breakdown.

Also, to let vile prejudice speak it’s name, I was a little surprised to see no stories at all from either Eidolon or Aurealis. I thought there might be. Still, this is a book I need to read – it’s 615 pages long – and absorb. I’ll definitely be reviewing it, and blogging about it more too. Hmmm.

Buttermilk fairytales

Back in 1997 I co-edited a book for HarperCollins Australia and was lucky enough to have the fabulously wonderful Anna McFarlane as my editor. She was terrific to work for, great fun to talk to, and possessed of much better taste that your humble correspondent. When someone is as good at what they do as Anna they inevitably move on to bigger and better things, and Pan Macmillan were sensible enough to recognize this, and she now works for that venerable firm in a suitably senior position.

I mention this because several years ago, not long after joining Pan, Anna recommended a book Feeling Sorry for Celia to Marianne and I, and when Anna suggests you check something out you really should. The book was every bit as good as she suggested, so when I was in the city on Sunday with Jessica and Sophie and noticed that the author of Feeling Sorry for Celia had a new book out, I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes, described as ‘a fairy tale for grown-ups,’ I didn’t hesitate to hand over actual cash money for a copy. I’ve just started it, and it looks like it’s going to be great. It actually, in the 10 pages I’ve read, reminds me of what I think a Kelly Link novel might be like, should she write one. Now, it almost certainly won’t be like that – it’ll probably be just like a very good Jaclyn Moriarty novel – but Anna’s in the acknowledgements which is a good sign.