Good morning all. The plan today is simple. Achieve two things. First, organise everything for the trip to Melbourne.  I think I’ve been in some kind of denial about it, so I’ve done precious little. On the other hand, all I really need to do is organise clothes and electronics for six days and a bunch of events, and pack it. I’ll do that today (must not forget the Berocca).  Tomorrow I’ll help Marianne pack for the girls, and reconfirm everything (must not forget to pick up the tux and double check the calendar).

While I may podcast today, the other big thing is to decide if I go to World Fantasy or not. Today is the crunch day. I have bookings being held. I suspect if I lose them, any chance of finding acceptable flights go with them. I have no idea as to the right decision. Every permutation makes me anxious, so it may come down to the toss of a coin (I kid you not).

Meanwhile, Aussiecon departure in 48hrs.  Yay!


If you follow my twitterings (and, really, why would you?) you’ll have noticed that I’m in the midst of planning a trip to Columbus, Ohio for World Fantasy in October.  You’ll also have noticed that I don’t seem to be enjoying it, and you might just wonder why?

Well, it’s complicated. A portion of it has to do with being a ‘person of size’ to use the South West vernacular. I’m tall and overweight. This means leg room and seat width, especially on long flights, are critical. I’ve spent more than one hideously uncomfortable 14hr trans-Pacific with the edge of a metal entertainment unit digging into my shin and, frankly, I’m never going to do that again.  So I spend too much time obsessing about that.

I also have friends who I see to rarely, and a trip to World Fantasy provides a chance to stop and visit. There’s the Locus crew (Liza, Kirsten, Amelia, Carolyn, Fran, etc), Bob & Karen, EllenK, and others in Oakland/SF, and there’s Gary in Chicago. Visiting either city is very attractive to me, and choosing one over the other is always hard.

And then there’s the airlines, with costs, routes, and other things. I could bore you witless on aspects of luggage, seating preference, etc etc.  They all add up to a lot of decisions, and all of them contribute directly to either making you more comfortable, your trip easier, or make your trip impact on others less.  You get all of that into ny head, and it goes round and round and round. After a while, staying home can seem like the best (easiest) option.

Oh, and I come from a family of worriers. :)

Planes don’t fly there any more…

This morning is the kind of morning where, if I allowed myself to, I could become angry at the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Why? Well, it’s Friday of the week before WorldCon. If you were to go burrowing through the back-pages of this blog you’d find that periodically over the years, this is the day when I’d be on a plane already, headed for Sydney and then Oakland.

I’d be landing at SFO to be met by Charles and whomever drove him over that day (Jenny, Amelia, Liza, someone). Most likely he’d meet me holding a copy of the pages of the latest issue of Locus, which he’d thrust into my hands so I could get a sneak peek. Although the *only* thing I could possibly want would be a shower, Charles would nonetheless have lunch planned and shopping and whatever else (dr’s appts, buying gas, anything), as we drove around the Bay.

Eventually I’d end up clomping down the stairs to the dreaded murphy bed and a weekend or so of sitting around and talking and drinking and laughing and reading, of a little shopping, some restaurants, and such. I think that time – the days before WorldCon – are my “happy place”. I have such fond, fond memories of them. The parties we’d have, the things we’d do, which were at least as much the attraction of going to the US as any convention we might have gone to.

Those days are gone. I have friends in the Bay Area who I love to see, and the house is still there too, but that all ended in July 2008. The conventions are emptier now, the trips to the US a little less exciting, and I get angry that it didn’t have to have happened so soon. I wish I were on that plane….

World Fantasy Awards nominations

The 2009 World Fantasy Awards ballot for 2010 has been announced and I am stunned to be on the ballot. My sincere thanks to all. Also my roaring congratulations to all of my fellow nominees:

Blood of Ambrose
, James Enge (Pyr)
The Red Tree, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
The City & The City, China Miéville (Macmillan UK/ Del Rey)
Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland)
In Great Waters, Kit Whitfield (Jonathan Cape UK/Del Rey)

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, Kage Baker (Subterranean)
“The Lion’s Den”, Steven Duffy (Nemonymous Nine: Cern Zoo)
The Night Cache, Andy Duncan (PS)
“Sea-Hearts”, Margo Lanagan (X6 )
“Everland”, Paul Witcover (Everland and Other Stories)

Short Story
“I Needs Must Part, the Policeman Said”, Richard Bowes (F&SF 12/09)
“The Pelican Bar”, Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse Three)
“A Journal of Certain Events of Scientific Interest from the First Survey Voyage of the Southern Waters by HMS Ocelot, As Observed by Professor Thaddeus Boswell, DPhil, MSc, or, A Lullaby”, Helen Keeble (Strange Horizons 6/09)
“Singing on a Star”, Ellen Klages (Firebirds Soaring)
“The Persistence of Memory, or This Space for Sale”, Paul Park (Postscripts 20/21: Edison’s Frankenstein )
“In Waiting”, R.B. Russell (Putting the Pieces in Place)
“Light on the Water”, Genevieve Valentine (Fantasy 10/09)

Poe,  Ellen Datlow, ed. (Solaris)
Songs of The Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Subterranean/Voyager)
Exotic Gothic 3: Strange Visitations, Danel Olson, ed. (Ash-Tree)
Eclipse Three, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Night Shade)
American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny: From Poe to the Pulps/From the 1940s to Now, Peter Straub, ed. (Library of America)
The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology, Gordon Van Gelder, ed. (Tachyon)

We Never Talk About My Brother, Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon)
Fugue State, Brian Evenson (Coffee House)
There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (Penguin)
Northwest Passages, Barbara Roden (Prime)
Everland and Other Stories, Paul Witcover (PS)
The Very Best of Gene Wolfe/The Best of Gene Wolfe, Gene Wolfe (PS /Tor)

John Jude Palencar
John Picacio
Charles Vess
Jason Zerrillo
Sam Weber

Special Award – Professional
Peter & Nicky Crowther for PS Publishing
Ellen Datlow for editing anthologies
Hayao Miyazaki for Ponyo
Barbara & Christopher Roden for Ash-Tree Press
Jonathan Strahan for editing anthologies
Jacob & Rina Weisman for Tachyon Publications

Special Award – Non-Professional
John Berlyne for Powers: Secret Histories
Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting, & Sean Wallace for Clarkesworld
Susan Marie Groppi for Strange Horizons
John Klima for Electric Velocipede
Bob Colby, B. Diane Martin, David Shaw and Eric M. Van for Readercon
Ray Russell & Rosalie Parker for Tartarus Press

Australians in the World Fantasy Awards

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about the World Fantasy Awards, when she asked me who was the first Australian to win the award? It gave me pause, if only because it’s something I’d expect myself to know.  It motivated me to do a little detective work and go looking through the thirty-four year history of the award.

From my cursory inspection, ten Australians have been nominated for the World Fantasy Award in six categories for a total of seventeen nominations and seven wins. The first Australian work to be nominated for the World Fantasy Award was Peter Carey for his novel Illywhacker in 1986. The first Australians to win were Jack Dann and Janeen Webb, who won for Best Anthology in 1996 for Dreaming Down Under.  The other recipients of the Award are Margo Lanagan (Best Collection for Black Juice, Best Short Story for “Singing My Sister Down”, and Best Novel for Tender Morsels) and Shaun Tan (Best Artist three times).

The full list of Australian World Fantasy Award nominees is below:

1986: Novel: Peter Carey, Illywhacker
1996: Anthology: She’s Fantastical, Lucy Sussex & Judith Raphael Buckrich, eds.
1996: Short Story: “Angel Thing”, Petrina Smith
1999: Anthology: Dreaming Down-Under, Jack Dann & Janeen Webb eds. **
2001: Collection: Blackwater Days, Terry Dowling
2001: Short Story: “The Saltimbanques”, Terry Dowling
2001: Artist: Shaun Tan **
2002: Collection: The Essential Ellison, Harlan Ellison, Terry Dowling with Richard Delap & Gil Lamont, eds.
2004: Anthology: Gathering the Bones, Jack Dann, Ramsey Campbell & Dennis Etchison, eds.
2004: Novel: The Etched City, K.J. Bishop
2005: Short Story: “Singing My Sister Down”, Margo Lanagan **
2005: Collection: Black Juice, Margo Lanagan **
2007: Collection: Red Spikes, Margo Lanagan
2007: Artist: Shaun Tan **
2009: Collection: Tales from Outer Suburbia, Shaun Tan
2009: Artist: Shaun Tan **
2009: Novel: Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan**
** denotes winner