Candour, Clute and Forgetting

Science fiction’s most famous critic John Clute reviews Theodora Goss’s first short story collection, In the Forest of Forgetting, in the latest instalment of Excessive Candour, his column at Clute rightly praises Goss’s fine collection, placing it in the same group as Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts, Glen Hirshberg’s The Two Sams and Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners as “one the finest collections of short fiction from a member of that class of authors of the 21st century who are comfortable here.” You can read the stories Pip and the Fairies, Sleeping With Bears, and The Rapid Advance of Sorrow online. Do so, then go buy a copy.

There are many interesting things Clute says in the review (go read it), but I particularly found myself nodding my head when it came to the idea that many collections could do with tighter selection criteria. For all the quality of many of the books coming out, I find that more and more to be true. Reading many of these books, I find myself asking ‘would Jim Turner have done that’? It’s a worthwhile question.

The Peter McNamara Award

There are two awards that carry the name of my late friend, Peter McNamara. The first, the Peter McNamara Convenor’s Award for Excellence is presented annually by the administrators of the Aurealis Awards. The second, The Peter McNamara Achievement Award, is presented annually by a private group headed by Robert Stephenson.

Each year members of the Australian science fiction community are asked to nominate those individuals who have made an oustanding contribution to Australian science fiction. A judge is then appointed, who makes the final decision as to who will receive the award.

This year, as the previous recipient, I was asked to present the award as part of the 2006 Ditmar Awards ceremony, held at Conjure over the long weekend. As you can see from the photo at right, the award was presented to my friend Peter Nicholls, who richly deserved it. You can see some of the many reasons why here. The award was accepted on Peter’s behalf by Jenny Blackford.

The award recipients to date are:

2006: Peter Nicholls
2005: Jonathan Strahan
2004: Jack Dann
2003: Stephanie Smith
2002: Paul Collins