The administrators of the Aurealis Awards have announced the judges, rules, etc for the 2008 Aurealis Awards. There have been a handful of changes, several of which impact directly on me and the work Iâ€™ve been doing.
The first thing I noticed when looking at their website was how much the awards have grown over the years. From what was a reasonably modest affair when I was a judge, the awards now involve 45 judges on nine different juries covering 13 different categories. This year the administrators have chosen to:
- drop the Golden Aurealis Award (a kind of best of the best award); and
- add a Best Illustrated Book/Graphic Novel and a Best Collection/Anthology category.
Both of these developments are, for different reasons, quite welcome. There is a change, though, that concerns me somewhat. This year the administrators will not permit electronic submissions. I’ve been trying to work out what this means for me, if I wish to nominate the books that I’ve worked on, and all of the relevant original stories that feature in them. This year I have, I think, four anthologies and one single author collection eligible for the Best Collection/Anthology category. These are:
- The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 2
- The Starry Rift: Tales of New Tomorrows
- The Jack Vance Reader (with Terry Dowling)
- Eclipse Two: New Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Godlike Machines
A quick count shows that these five books include 36 original stories, seven of which were written by Australians and are eligible for the awards. They are all science fiction stories, which simplifies things. Under the rules I am invited to provide a copy of each book to each relevant judge – in effect five copies per relevant judging panel. I think I’m required to submit:
- Anthology/Collection jury — 25 books, five copies of each of five books
- Science fiction short story jury – 15 books, five copies of The Starry Rift, Eclipse Two, and Godlike Machines.
- Young adult jury – five copies of The Starry Rift, a young adult anthology containing several stories by Australians.
- Horror – five copies of The Starry Rift, which contains a story that could be considered horror.
- Children’s – five copies of The Starry Rift, a young adult anthology containing several stories by Australians which potentially crosses over.
That’s a total of fifty (55) books, which comprise:
- 5 copies of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 2
- 5 copies of The Jack Vance Reader (with Terry Dowling)
- 25 copies of The Starry Rift: Tales of New Tomorrows
- 10 copies of Eclipse Two: New Science Fiction and Fantasy
- 10 copies of Godlike Machines
As much as I would like to support the awards, and am eager to support the writers who have worked for me, that extends beyond my available resources (and, I think, in the case of The Starry Rift, far beyond what’s reasonable, even if you omit the Children’s jury and only submit 15 copies).
I’m considering what the right course of action is from here. I’m happy, on request, to provide any Aurealis Awards juror with an electronic copy of any work that I’ve been involved with during 2008. Please email me if you would like a copy emailed to you. I will also pass this information on to my various publishers. I would say, though, that at this stage I can not guarantee that any of my books or the stories contained in them will actually be submitted for consideration. I would also ask that the Aurealis Awards administrators consider the impost they are putting upon publishers, editors etc when they remove the option of submitting works electronically.
Amended to add:
After a little further thought, I think the only rational course of action is to abandon the Anthology/Collected Work and Children’s categories. I believe I can supply print outs, so that means providing six stories (four shorts and two novellas) to the short SF jury, three short stories to the young adult jury, and one story for the horror jury. That’s still printing out 50 stories and paying to mail fifteen packages across Australia, but I’ll at least consider doing this.