Madmen, Cities and Saints…

Have you ever been to Ambergris? Described, and believe me I quote, as “Funny, bawdy, profane, tragic, and sometimes heartbreaking” Jeff Vandermeer’s City of Saints and Madmen is a mosaic novel, a shattered mirror of story, myth and mystery the kind of which you rarely stumble across. In all honesty it’s the kind of book that shouldn’t work. It should be terrible. It’s not. It’s actually strange and rich and wonderful. It’s just been published by Bantam in a cool new edition, which you should definitely check out. And, if that dip into the heady whirlpool of Amergris enchants and beguiles, get ready for Shriek: An Afterword which follows in August.

Ditmar nominations announced

Conjure, the 45th National Australian Science Fiction Convention, has released the nominees for the 2006 Australian National Science Fiction Achievement ‘Ditmar’ Awards. Voting is open until 11 April 2006. The deadline for postal ballots is 4 April 2006.

• Magic or Madness, Justine Larbalestier, Razorbill (March 17, 2005)
• Drowned Wednesday, Garth Nix, Harpercollins Pub Ltd (May 31, 2005)
• Midnighters 2: Touching Darkness, Scott Westerfeld, Eos (March 1, 2005)
• Peeps, Scott Westerfeld, Razorbill (August 25, 2005)
• Uglies, Scott Westerfeld, Simon Pulse (February 8, 2005)
• Geodesica: Ascent, Sean Williams & Shane Dix, Ace (January 25, 2005)
• No Award

• Passing of the Minotaurs, Rjurik Davidson, April 2005
• The Red Priest’s Homecoming, Dirk Flinhart, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #17
• Countless Screaming Argonauts, Chris Lawson, Realms of Fantasy
• The Memory of Breathing, Lynn Triffitt (Battersby), Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #17
• The Grinding House, Kaaron Warren, The Grinding House, CSFG Publishing
• No Award

• Summa Seltzer Missive, Deborah Biancotti, Ticonderoga Online #6
• Leviathan, Simon Brown, Eidolon SF: Online
• Once Giants Roamed the Earth, Rosaleen Love, Daikaju!, Agog Press
• Matricide, Lucy Sussex, SciFiction
• Fresh Young Widow, Kaaron Warren, The Grinding House, CSFG Publishing
• No Award

• Shadowed Realms, Angela Challis & Shane Jiraiya Cummings,
• Years Best Australian SF & Fantasy, Bill Congreve & Michelle Marquardt, MirrorDanse
• Daikaiju! Giant Monster Tales, Robert Hood & Robin Penn, Agog! Press
• A Tour Guide in Utopia, Lucy Sussex, MirrorDanse Books
• The Grinding House, Kaaron Warren, ed. Donna Maree Hanson, , CSFG Publishing
• No Award

• The Blood Debt-cover, Greg Bridges, The Blood Debt, Sean Williams (HarperCollins Australia)
• The Grinding House – cover, Robin Evans, The Grinding House, Kaaron Warren, ed. Donna Maree Hanson, CSFG
• Australian Speculative Fiction: A Genre Overview – cover, Nick Stathopoulos, Australian Speculative Fiction – A Genre Overview; Donna Hanson
• Fell #3, Ben Templesmith, Image Comics, Warren Ellis, Ben Templesmith
• No Award

• Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Writer/reviewer, Horror Scope
• Bruce Gillespie, Writer/reviewer, Steam Engine Time and Science Fiction Commentary , *brg*, Earl Kemp’s ezines
• Stephanie Gunn, Writer/reviewer, Horror Scope
• Martin Livings, Skeletor_Hordak, LiveJournal web comic
• Bill Wright, Interstellar Ramjet Scoop, Published by Bill Wright
• No Award

• Dick Jenssen , Artwork in American fan Earl Kemp’s ezines eI20 (June 2005) and eI23 (Dec 2005), Published via
• Dick Jenssen, Ditmar Graphics (cover illustrations), IRS (5 issues, 2005) published by Bill Wright
• Elaine Kemp, ConSensual a Trois interior artwork, ConSensual a Trois, April 2005
• Shane Parker, Conflux Poster Art, Conflux
• No Award

• Edwina Harvey, The Australian Science Fiction Bullsheet, Website and Newsletter
• Alisa Krasnostein, ASIF!: Australian Specfic In Focus,
• Tony Plank, Inkspillers website,
• Conflux Committee, Conflux 2, Conflux 2 convention
• Continuum Committee, Continuum 3, Continuum 3 convention
• No Award

• Horrorscope, Shane Jiraiya Cummings et. al.,
• Ticonderoga Online, Russell B Farr, website
• ASif! Australian Spec Fic in Focus, Alisa Krasnostein,
• Interstellar Ramjet Scoop, Bill Wright (ed), Interstellar Ramjet Scoop
• No Award

• Ferocious Minds: Polymathy and the New Enlightenment, Damien Broderick, Wildside Press
• Australian Speculative Fiction: a genre overview, Donna Maree Hanson
• Aus Speculative Fiction
• Divided Kingdom: King Kong vs Godzilla, Robert Hood, King Kong is Back: Benbella Books
• Body Parts, Chris Lawson, Borderlands
• PK Dick: The Exhilaration and the Terror, Rosaleen Love, Borderlands
• The 2005 Snapshot Australian Speculative Fiction writers, editors, publishers, Ben Peek,
• No Award

• Lyn Battersby/Triffit
• Rjurik Davidson
• Justine Larbalestier
• Karen Miller
• No Award

• Damien Broderick and Wilson de Silva and Kylie Ahern, COSMOS Magazine, COSMOS magazine
• Robert Dobson, Robert Hoge, Kate Eltham, Heather Gammage, Clarion South 2005, Clarion South Workshop
• Donna Maree Hanson, Australian Speculative Fiction: a genre overview, Australian Spec. Fiction Project
• Michael Rymer, Screenwriting and directing, Battlestar Galactica, Season 2.0, Sci-Fi Channel
• Jonathan Strahan, for co-editing Best Short Novels: 2005 (SFBC), Science Fiction: Best of 2004 (ibooks), and Fantasy: Best of 2004 (ibooks)
• No Award

• Donna Maree Hanson, Australian Speculative Fiction: A Genre Overview
• Alisa Krasonstein, ASif! Australian Spec Fic in Focus webzine
• No Award

I want to complain and whine, I do. It’s been a long, stressful week and things aren’t going to settle down for a week or two, is my guess. I’d intended to whine, but in an amazing feat of self-control, I’ve decided instead to tell you what’s good right now. First, three weeks ago my eldest daughter Jessica started school. She has an intellectual disability, and this was her first start in a mainstream school. As you can imagine, we were damn nervous about it, but determined to give her the best chance we could, and so far it’s working. With minor hiccups, she’s settling in, making friends and doing ok. Not much else that’s happening could blemish that. Second, I delivered Best Short Novels: 2006. I think it’s a good book, though I have no distance on these things. I do know that Andrew Wheeler and the team at the Book Club are a pleasure to deal with. Professional, on the ball, and good in most every way. Third, I received the dvds of the first half of season 2 of Battlestar Galactica, which was so cool I actually learned how to download the next seven eps by bit torrent. Fourth, I’m reading Justina Robson’s very cool and very good fun new novel. Fourth, despite a major hiccup, The Starry Rift, my young adult SF anthology should be delivered mid-week (if I can get the intro done) and it rocks. Fifth, a new Eels cd was released last week, and it’s swell. Sixth, some very cool people have decided to put their faith in me to do some more work, more on which later.

There is another thing that I’ve come to appreciate this past week. I fell into editing anthologies, almost by chance it seemed. I was disappointed when the first set I did, in Australia, weren’t renewed. I was grateful to Bob Silverberg, Karen Haber, Byron Preiss, and Marty Greenberg for letting me get involved with their year’s best SF and year’s best fantasy, and insanely happy when the Book Club let me do Best Short Novels. Now what I realise is this: I love it. I love editing a year’s best volume. It can be a royal pain in the ass at times, and the deadlines should be for short order cooks, not editors, but it’s a beautiful thing. You read millions of words of fiction, some shitty, some some golden, and you sift out the gold, assemble it in a book, and give it to readers. It’s a very personal thing. I’m very lucky.