2008 Aurealis Awards and my work – Eligibility and nominations

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 I’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:

  1. The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 2
  2. The Starry Rift: Tales of New Tomorrows
  3. The Jack Vance Reader (with Terry Dowling)
  4. Eclipse Two: New Science Fiction and Fantasy
  5. 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.

Eclipse Two

I am about to send of the final submission file for Eclipse Two to the publisher. It has been through as many ups and downs as any book that I’ve worked on, but at the end of the day I’m very happy with it. This really is the science fiction volume in the Eclipse series, with just two real fantasy stories in the book. That was partly deliberate, and partly circumstance. I have real favorites, but am very happy with all of the stories. There’s a new ‘Virga’ novelette by Karl Schroeder, the first new Wormwood story from Terry Dowling in 17 years, as well as tales of galactic empires, superheroes, alien intelligences, time travel, and even a call for help on Facebook.

Eclipse Two will be published in October by Night Shade, and I think we’re going to have a launch of some kind at the Calgary World Fantasy Convention. For the moment, though, here’s the close-to-final table of contents (there is one contractual issue to resolve, but I’m hopeful that’ll work out).

  1. The Hero, Karl Schroeder
  2. Turing’s Apples, Stephen Baxter
  3. Invisible Empire of Ascending Light, Ken Scholes
  4. Michael Laurits is: Drowning, Paul Cornell
  5. Elevator, Nancy Kress
  6. The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm, Daryl Gregory
  7. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, David Moles
  8. The Rabbi’s Hobby, Peter S. Beagle
  9. The Seventh Expression of the Robot General, Jeffrey Ford
  10. Skin Deep, Richard Parks
  11. Ex Cathedra, Tony Daniel
  12. Truth Window: A Tale of the Bedlam Rose, Terry Dowling
  13. We Haven’t Got There Yet, Harry Turtledove
  14. Fury, Alastair Reynolds

Well, this has been a weekend.  It’s the first one in a couple where we’ve not had a lot on in terms of activities, but I’ve had it down as the time when I’d hoped to finish both Godlike Machines and Eclipse Two, as well as do some other stuff.  As I write this, it’s about 4pm on a rainy Perth Sunday.  It deluged earlier, while Marianne and the girls were out at the girls’ football practice game.  While they were out I checked in with Terry Dowling about his new Wormwood story, with consultation from Lou Anders bought the first story for Conquering Swords, bought a final story for another project, and pretty much laid both anthologies to rest.  Just as soon as I’ve signed off on the final details, I’ll post tables of contents etc here.  I am, at the end of the day, happy with both books and am getting ready to move into that phase of things when I worry about what everyone else will think.  The introduction’s are done (I don’t overlike them, but I never do), the stories are picked (I like them, and love some of them), and I’m ready for them to off and become books.

I had meant to blog more about some books I’ve been reading.   As I’ve mentioned here, I read and loved Ken Scholes’ Lamentation.  Loved it enough, in fact, to have started harrassing him to let me have a sneek look at the second book (I can’t wait a year for it).  I’ve also started two other books – Greg Bear’s City at the End of Time and John Scalzi’s Zoe’s Tale. More on those as I progress.

And from here? Well, in three weeks Marianne’s brother and his family arrive to stay with us for two weeks. It should be a lot of fun, but first we need to empty a large room that’s been stacked with boxes since we moved in here six years so that they have some hope of having somewhere to sleep.  That should occupy the next two weeks. At exactly the same time I have to write a resume and job application – I work for the  public service and it’s time to apply for my job again.  This is the first time in 19 years I’ve faced a full job interview, and I’m a tad nervous.  However, that should be resolved by the time the family get here.  They head home on July 17, I think, and then two weeks later I get on a plane for the US. So, it’s house and job, family and holiday, then panel preparation and travel.  In the background, reading for the year’s best is picking up.  As always, interesting times.  Hmm.  Must remember to ask Sharyn for a galley of her Firebirds antho – what else would I want to read when flying across America?

Introducing Eclipse Two…

I am stumped about what to say in the introduction to Eclipse Two, and it’s all Jeff VanderMeer’s fault. See? That sounds like I must be bugged by, or annoyed with, Jeff.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Some people you talk to confirm your thoughts, beliefs and actions. Other people challenge them. Both are valuable, in different ways. They help you learn about yourself.

Jeff has challenged what I think about anthology editing over the past eight months or so, in a good way.  I’ve found myself asking why do I do that, or do I want to do it that way?  One thing I’ve been going round and round on is interstitial material, introductions, etc.  Truth in advertising is important. The cover, the blurb, the introduction and so on should all give you a good idea of what the book is like and what the collective group who’ve worked on that book are attempting to achieve.  Otherwise people get confused, annoyed, upset.

The thing with Eclipse is that those things are purposefully in flux.  Eclipse One was it’s own book.  I’m happy with it, and proud of it.  Eclipse Two is a quite different book. It’s had a different genesis, and I’ve been learning about anthology editing while working on it.  I need to work out how to encompass that, in less than a thousand words.

There are two things I’d add. First,  I’m grateful to Jeff for the interactions we’ve had on the subject of anthologies.  We don’t always agree, but I learn more about why I think what I do when we are in touch.  It’s a dialog I’m Iooking forward to continuing.  Second, while I’ve been tempted to skimp on intros, they’re important.  Readers learn more about the book they’re about to read from them, and scholars looking back at the field tend to use them as primary source material (which is way disturbing).

So, on to the intro. Eclipse Two gets finished this weekend.  I’ll report back when  I send it in.

SF Signal

Well, I just did another Mind Meld for the SF Signal folks. This time we were asked ‘Who Are Tomorrow’s Genre Stars’? you can read the discussion over on SF Signal. I think it’s interesting how we’ve all interpreted the idea of new, up and coming, and genre star.   For my own money, there are a bunch of writers I don’t mention over much because I think they are stars now; they have commercial success etc. For example, Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times Bestseller who has been publishing for over a decade and is well-established in the field. He’s one of today’s stars.  Same thing for Charlie Stross.  A question I want to ponder for a while is not ‘who are tomorrow’s genre stars’, but ‘who will still be being read in twenty years’?  I can see Westerfeld and Stross being active and widely read then. But who else?