Steven Paulsen's

Australian SF News

With every edition of Scoop my approach is to keep collecting news right up until the publishing deadline. This way Scoop is always as up-to-date as possible, but when I email the final copy to Perth I always worry that there won't be anything much to include in the next issue. Oh, ye of little faith. We really are in a growth phase for genre fiction in this country. This issue has news aplenty. Hodder Headline are launching a new Australian Young Adult SF/Fantasy line, HarperCollins have launched a new Australian adult SF line and I'm delighted to announce the publication of my own first book. On the Web News front the new Eidolon Home Page is now clearly the premier SF Internet site in Australia. Thanks to everyone who sent news to Scoop, keep it up. Special thanks to Justin Ackroyd of Slow Glass Books whose knowledge and experience has filled a gulf in this column more than once.
Steven Paulsen

People & Events

Peter Goldsworthy discussed his work and read from his controversial new novel, Wish, in Melbourne on Tuesday 14 November at Budinski's Theatre of Exile in Carlton and was featured in the ABC's 7.30 Report on January 12.

Lucy Sussex read extracts from her forthcoming novel The Scarlet Rider at the "Montsalvat Spoken Word Festival" on December 3, which reportedly went down well.

Terry Dowling read his story "Scaring The Train" on the Sunday morning of the SF event which featured Harlan Ellison and Jack Dann at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum (Jan 5-7).

Graeme Hague was featured in a Herald Sun "Sunday magazine" feature on January 28. Apparently, the Sunday Herald Sun "approached four of Australia's leading publishing houses to find out who they considered to be the bright, rising stars of Australian Literature." It is interesting to note that the other three writers nominated are generally associated with the mainstream literary markets.

The Herald Sun also featured Robert Hood's horror/crime story "Dead in the Glamour of Moonlight" from the crime anthology Moonlight Becomes You, and included an introduction detailing much of his work in the field.

As part of the St Kilda Writer's Festival (February 10-18), the "Shortworks" program of Theatreworks incorporated Andrew Linday's "The Man Who's Making Angels in the Lake", a small cluster of bizarre, fantastic, slightly futuristic monologues.

Michael Stephens, author of the children's book, Ghost Train, was one of the guests at the Sydney Writers' Festival in January.

Gary Crew's new horror/dark fantasy picture book Caleb (ERA Publications), illustrated by Steve Woolman, was launched by Gail Parr, past president of the Children's Book Council, at The Book Garden in Brisbane on Sunday 18 February.

Paul Collins held a launch for his latest four books (The Wizard's Torment, The Government in Exile, Strange Fruit and Selling Your Fiction and Poetry Made Easy) at The Ivy in Melbourne on Friday 23 February. It was attended by over 240 people including a number of other SF writers.

This year's Children's Book Council of Australia Conference (May 3-6) in Brisbane features a number of local writers who are recognised for their genre fiction. "Keynote Speakers" include Gary Crew and Gillian Rubinstein, while the "Concurrent Speakers" feature Isobelle Carmody, Bill Condon, Robert Hood, Catherine Jinks, Sophie Masson and Glynn Parry. Rob Hood's and Bill Condon's new series of children's horror books will be launched at the conference.

Sean McMullen was featured with Jack Dann and Harlan Ellison in an article entitled "Writers and the Internet" in Internet Australasia, March 1996.

As part of the Youth Literature program at St Martins in Melbourne this year, there will be a special event on Saturday September 7 called "Putting Science into Fiction". It is billed as a whole day of talks, workshops and inspiration for young adult SF fans. The event will be held at Scienceworks and will cost $20 to attend. It will feature authors Brian Caswell, Margo Lanagan, Kerry Greenwood and Michael Pryor. Whaleroad by Kerry Greenwood and The Mask of Galen by Michael Pryor, both part of the new Hodder Headline SF/Fantasy series, will be launched at the event. For more information contact Agnes Nieuwenhuizen, Victorian Youth Literature Officer, on (039) 820 1236.

The 1996 Youth Literature Program also includes its normal program of Sunday afternoon "Bookgigs", which feature a novel blend of literature and performance focussing on a particular writer and book. The audience, actors and director are involved in informal discussion with the author throughout. This year's program features the following genre-related events. March 24th: Margaret Clark and her latest book in the "Hair-Raisers" horror series, Bite Your Head Off (Random House). July 28th: Garth Nix and Sabriel (HarperCollins). The cost to attend is $8.00. Contact details as above. Writing workshops will be held in conjunction with these events for young writers ages 12 to 18-ish. The cost to attend a workshop is $18, or $20 for both events if pre-booked.

Melbourne radio listeners have a new weekly genre radio program, Spectrum, broadcasting on MDR 97.1 FM. The first one hour show went to air at 10am on Saturday 23rd March and covered the Aurealis Awards and included a round-up of the Australian scene. The second show featured an interview with Dirk Strasser. The schedule includes Steve Proposch (27th April), fantasy poet Mary Louise Stevens (4th May), plus Paul Collins and Sean McMullen shortly thereafter. From time to time I will also appear with short interviews with various SF personalities. Spectrum is hosted by John Weeks who can be contacted on (039) 754 6735.

The 1996 Festival of the Imagination held in Perth over Easter was a great success. This year there was a significant contingent of local SF writers in attendance. On the guest list were Simon Brown, Jack Dann, Stephen Dedman, Sara Douglass, Terry Dowling, Sean McMullen, Phillippa Maddern and Janeen Webb. Some of the many other writers and editors on hand were: Bill Congreve, Dave Luckett, Robin Pen, Steve Proposch, Sean Williams, Tess Williams (no relation), and almost the entire Eidolon team, including myself.

Awards & Recognition

The final ballot for the 1995 Hugo Awards, to be presented at LA Con 3, has been announced. Greg Egan's stories "Luminous" and "TAP" have been nominated in the Best Novellete category, while Ian Gunn has been nominated for Best Fan Artist. The Convention Commitee also released the final ballot for the Retro-Hugo's (Hugo Awards for works published in 1946, had the award existed at that time), and A. Bertram Chandler's "Giant Killer" was nominated in the Best Novella category.

Also on the international science fiction award front, Greg Egan's novel, Permutation City was shortlisted for the Philip K. Dick Award (an award for the best SF novel originally published in the USA in paperback). The award was won by Bruce Bethke's Headcrash.

Terry Dowling's story, "Scaring the Train'' (The Man Who Lost Red, MirrorDanse) reached the preliminary ballot for the 1996 Bram Stoker award in the "Superior Achievement in a Novelette or Novella" category.

The high profile Locus 1995 Recommended Reading List features a number of Australians, although the only Australian novel on the list is Sean McMullen's Ditmar-winning Mirrorsun Rising. There are two Australian books in the "collections" category: Our Lady of Chernobyl and Axiomatic by Greg Egan. Greg Egan features numerous times in the "novelettes" category with the following stories: "Luminous" (Asimov's 9/95), "TAP" (Asimov's 11/95), "Silver Fire" (Interzone 12/95) and "Wang's Carpets" (New Legends). Unfortunately there were no Australian short stories listed this year.

The Aurealis Awards were held in conjunction with the launch of Dirk Strasser's new novel Equinox (Pan Macmillan) at Justin Ackroyd's Slow Glass Books in Melbourne on Friday 22 March. There were around fifty people on hand to celebrate the event, including numerous writers such as: Rosaleen Love, Lucy Sussex, Rick Kennett, Julie Haydon, Damien Broderick, Michael Pryor, Garth Nix, Francis Payne, Steve Proposch, Sean McMullen, Dirk Strasser and Stephen Higgins. Division-A (Science Fiction, judged by Martin Livings, Graham South and Jonathan Strahan) winners were: Best Novel-Distress by Greg Egan; Best Short Story-"Luminous" (Asimov's Sept 95) by Greg Egan. Division-B (Fantasy, judged by Bill Congreve, Martin Livings and Sean Williams) winners were: Best Novel-Sabriel by Garth Nix; Best Short Story-"Harvest Bay" (Eidolon 19) by Karen Attard. Division-C (Horror, judged by Leigh Blackmore, Bill Congreve and Steve Proposch) winners were: Best Novel-An Intimate Knowledge of the Night by Terry Dowling; Best Short Story-"Olympia" (Bambada Press chapbook) by Francis Payne. Division-D (Young Adult, judged by Pam MacIntyre, Sean McMullen and Lucy Sussex) winners were: Best Novel (dead heat)-Sabriel by Garth Nix and Deucalion by Brian Caswell; Best Short Story-No Award.

The 1995 Australian National Science Fiction ("Ditmar") Awards went to: Best Long Fiction-Mirrorsun Rising by Sean McMullen; Best Short Fiction-"Schrodinger's Fridge" (Aurealis #15) by Ian Gunn; Best Publication-Eidolon edited by Jeremy Byrne, Richard Scriven and Jonathan Strahan; Best Artwork:-Shaun Tan for the cover art for Eidolon 19. The William Atheling Jnr Award for SF criticism went to: "The Hunt for Australian Horror Fiction" (The Scream Factory #16) by Bill Congreve, Sean McMullen and myself. Greg Egan withdrew all his works from eligibility for this year's Ditmar awards.

Borderline genre books won both of the 1995 WA Young Readers Book Awards. Undone (Penguin) by Paul Jennings won the primary section and Tomorrow, When the War Began (Pan Macmillan) by John Marsden won the secondary section.

Justine Larbalestier has been appointed as one of the judges for this year's James Tiptree, Jr Award for the best science fiction and fantasy dealing with gender.

The results are just out for the inaugural John W. Statham Memorial Science Fiction and Fantasy short story competition. The winner of the $2000 dollar prize was "Seventeen Views of Mount Taranaki" by Peter Friend (New Zealand). The winners of the $200 runner up prizes were Paul Avery and Justin D'Ath. Honourable mentions went to Janet Woods, James Verran, Damon Quinn and Tess Williams.


Simon Brown's first novel, Privateer, a space opera, has been published in paperback by HarperCollins ($12.95). Privateer was officially launched, along with Sara Douglass' second book, Enchanter, at The Festival of the Imagination (Swancon 21) in Perth April 4-8.

MirrorDanse Books have published a short collection of stories by Leanne Frahm. It includes: "Ithaca Week", "Olive Truffles" (Eidolon 5), "The Lamadium Affair" (Eidolon 10), a novella entitled "Borderline" and "On the Turn" (Shadows #9). Also included are a complete bibliography and an interview conducted by Lucy Sussex. It is available from MirrorDanse and specialty book stores ($11.95). MirrorDanse is planning several other single-author collections, including collections by Bill Congreve, Rob Hood and Simon Brown.

Eidolon Publications produced its first book, a collection of essays by Robin Pen from the first five years of Eidolon entitled The Secret Life of Rubber-Suit Monsters ($13.95).

D (HarperCollins, $12.95) by Marcus Gibson, is a psychological suspense/ horror horror novel. It is the winner of the Nescafe Big Break Competition, and was published in paperback in late December.

Peter Goldsworthy's new novel, Wish (Angus & Robertson, $17.95), is genetic/biology based science fiction story which deals with the moral issues of sexual relations between humans and non-humans.

G. M. Hague's new horror blockbuster, Voices of Evil ($12.95), was published in paperback by Pan Macmillan in January. It is a ghost story based on the ANZACs' invasion of Gallipoli. Hague's earlier works Ghost Beyond Earth and A Place to Fear have been repackaged to match the new book.

Sherry Anne Jacobs (writing as Shannah Jay) reports that her novel, Quest: Book One of the Chronicles of Tenebrak, was reprinted by Pan Macmillan last year. The fourth and final book in the Tenebrak series, The Price of Wisdom, is scheduled for publication in July.

The Time Traveller (1996 Version) by John Loughman is a 2 CD concept album based on the time travel experience which comes with a booklet that includes the entire tale.

Martin Middleton's first fantasy novel, Circle of Light, has been released in the UK by Pan Macmillan. It has a new cover and appears to have a fairly high profile promotion.

Olympia, a novella by Melbourne writer Francis Payne, was published as a limited edition chapbook by Bambada Press Publications ($6.95) in December 1995.

Letters to Francesca (Allen and Unwin, $14.95) is a novel by Tim Richards which crosses over the borders of fantasy and magic realism. Richards was previously a staff writer on both Fast Forward and Full Frontal.

Melbourne writer Jane Routley has a new fantasy novel, Mage Heart, scheduled for July release in hardcover from William Morrow/Avon in the USA.

Pan Macmillan released Dirk Strasser's new fantasy novel, Equinox ($13.95), The Second Book of Ascension, in March. Strasser's first novel in the series, Zenith, has been accepted for publication in German and Czech.

Lucy Sussex's forthcoming novel, now titled The Scarlet Rider, will be distributed in Australia by Pan Macmillan, and is due out around July 1996.

George Turner's early SF novels, Vaneglory and Yesterday's Men have been published in paperback the USA by Avon books and will probably be available soon in Australia.

Sean Williams' and Shane Dix's next book of the "Cogal" from Aphelion (previously titled Galine Four) will now be called The Dying Light. The third book in the series (formerly Everlife) is also to be retitled.

Dim is a new fantasy novel by local writer Caroline Window.

Pan Macmillan have made a new foray into horror with The Site ($12.95) by J Radford Keir. The book is described as a chilling supernatural thriller in the tradition of the X Files. The book has been advertised nationally on FM radio. J Radford Keir is an Australian writer who has published mainstream novels in the UK and US under various pseudonyms.

Children's Books

The latest book in the "Hair-Raisers" horror series from Random House, Bite Your Head Off ($7.95), was released in March. This book has been published as by Margaret Clark, rather than under her pseudonym "Lee Striker" which was used for the first four books in the series.

HarperTrophy, HarperCollins USA's young adult imprint, has paid an advance of $US 50,000 for North American rights to two books by Garth Nix: Sabriel and Shade's Children. His earlier fantasy novel The Ragwitch was published in the US and UK in January by Tor.

HarperCollins Australia's "Moonstone" series continues with the release of two new books in March: The Gifting ($9.95), a fantasy by Sophie Masson, and The Tapestry Warriors ($9.95), the third and final book in the "Torin" series by Cherry Wilder. The Broken Wheel, the first young adult genre novel from well-known crime writer Kerry Greenwood, was published by HarperCollins in May along with Myfanwy's Demon by Louise Katz.

Roses of Blood (A&R Bluegum, 1995) by Jeffrey Johnson-Abdelmalik is a young adult horror novel which I missed listing when it came out late last year.

John Marsden's near future novel of Australia invaded, The Third Day, the Frost, the final in the trilogy which began with Tomorrow When the War Began and The Dead of the Night, has been published in paperback by Pan Macmillan ($9.95).

Hodder and Stoughton Australia are launching a new line of Australian fantasy novels for teenagers. Lucy Sussex and Justin Ackroyd are reading for the line and Lucy is also the series' structural editor. The first four books will be: Whaleroad by Kerry Greenwood, Tooth of Dragon, Eye of Newt by Sue Isle, The Mask of Galen by Michael Pryor, and Beyond the Hanging Wall by Sara Douglass (set in the same world as her Axis books).

Gillian Rubinstein's award-winning young adult fantasy novel, Foxspell, has now been released in an abridged version on audio cassette by ABC Audio ($19.95).

Penguin have published a horror novel, The Devil Latch (Viking, TPB, $14.95), by Sonia Hartnett, who is well known for her no-nonsense young adult novels.

Finally, I am very pleased to report I have sold a children's horror book to Lothian which will be published in June as part of their "After Dark" series. Shaun Tan will illustrate it with 8-10 full page black and white internal illustrations and a colour cover. The book will be called The Stray Cat and is loosely based on a short story ("Stray Cat") which was previously published in EOD issue #7.


Dreamweavers (Puffin, $14.95), Paul Collins' newest anthology from Penguin, will be published in June/July this year and contains the following original Australian fantasy stories for young adult readers: Tony Shillitoe's "The Innkeeper"; Melinda Ross' "The Scribe of a Hundred Lies"; Sean McMullen's "Lucky Jonglar"; Jane Routley's "The Empty Quarter"; Roger Wilcox's "The Weakest Link"; Cadmus Evans' "Sunchosen"; Shannah Jay's "Walk the Wildwoods"; Howard Goldsmith's and Paul Collins' "Dreamweaver"; Isobelle Carmody's "The Keystone"; Beverley Macdonald's "Princess Melodia and the White Catherine"; Russell Blackford's "The Sword of God"; Ian Robinson's "The Crypt of Fleeting Hope"; and Keith Taylor's "At the Edge of the Sea".

Bonescribes (MirrorDanse), edited by Bill Congreve and Robert Hood, is an anthology of the Best Australian Horror for 1995. It includes the following stories: "Dead Set" by Garry Disher; "Conservatory" by Carmel Bird; "The Lady of Situations" by Stephen Dedman; "What the Stone of Ciparri Says" by Francis Payne; "Blind Seeking the Blind" by K J McKenzie; "Entropy" by Leanne Frahm; "Dead in the Glamour of Moonlight" by Robert Hood; "Souls Along the Meridian" by Jacci Olson; "Don't Move" by Renny Williams; and "The Corpse" by Bill Congreve. The book includes a recommended reading list of Australian horror novels and short stories and the William Atheling Award winning article "The Hunt for Australian Horror Fiction" by Bill Congreve, Sean McMullen and myself.

Short Stories

Stephen Dedman has sold three short-short stories: "Sarcophagus", "Silver Futures" and "Your Own Light-Hearted Friend" to the US anthology, 365 Scary Stories. Another story "Upon the Midnight Clear" will appear in a future Bloodsongs. Stephen's latest short story sales overseas are "Suckerbait" to Bones, a new US horror magazine which should be out in August, and "Tourist Trade" to SF Age.

Terry Dowling's new story "The Ichneumon and the Dormeuse" (which roughly translated means "The little hunter and the sleeping woman") appeared in Interzone 106. His Ditmar Award winning story "The Last Elephant" was included in the Fabulous at Fifty (Pascoe Publishing, $24.95) anthology published late last year, which collected the best stories from the first fifty issues of Australian Short Stories. Watch out early in 1997 for Destination Unknown edited by Peter Crowther, which will include another new story by Terry called "The Only Fire". Finally, Terry's story, "Scaring the Train", originally published in The Man Who Lost Red (MirrorDanse), will be reprinted in the prestigious The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Ninth Annual Collection edited by Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling, and Best New Horror 7, edited by Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell.

Charles L Grant has bought "The Willcroft Inheritance" by Rick Kennett and Paul Collins for his forthcoming anthology Gothic Ghosts (TOR).

Sean McMullen's new story "The Slow Famine" appeared in Interzone 107. This is the third story of Sean's to appear in the magazine and was published along with an interview which I conducted with him earlier this year.

I'm pleased to report I have sold one of my own stories, "In The Light Of The Lamp" (originally published in Terror Australis: Best Australian Horror, Hodder and Stoughton) to a US anthology, The Cthulhu Cycle (Chaosium) edited by Robert M Price.

Townsville-based writer R G Riel has sold a short story, "God in his Heaven", to the US SF magazine Tomorrow.

This edition of Scoop sees the return of Keith Taylor. As well as appearing in Paul Collins' new anthology listed above, Keith has also sold two news stories to the British editor, Mike Ashley. A novelette, "The Castles of Testing", will appear in an Arthurian anthology called The Grail Chronicles, and a short story called "The White Doe" will appear in a yet to be titled children's fantasy anthology.

Web News

Australia in 1999

This is the Home Page for the Australian bid for the 57th World Science Fiction Convention in 1999. Web browsers can find everything about the bid here (and in case you were wondering, our chances look pretty good). There is news and a history of the bid, how we are bidding, committee information, an Aussiecon memory book of the 1975 and 1985 World SF Conventions in Melbourne, and lots more. A list of over 100 Australian SF writers includes a few home pages and bibliographic entries for many of the other writers.

Eidolon SF Online

The new Eidolon site is up and running, and I am pleased to report that it is now, without doubt, the premier Australian SF site on the Web. Check it out! To review the site in its entirety would constitute a feature article in its own right, but just to give you some idea of its scope I thought it would be valuable to peek behind some of the buttons. Eidolon Publications: here browsers will find information on every back issues of Eidolon magazine, including cover graphics, complete contents lists, and in many cases much of the actual contents of the magazine. Not everything is here, yet, but the guys are working on it. SF & F News: shucks, what can I say? Billed as the latest and most complete source for SF & F in Australia, this is the on-line version of this column, including colour photographs. SF & F Links: just what it says, an ever-growing collection of links (including detailed reviews of the sites) which are updated regularly. Links to world-wide SF/F/H, in print, on film and on television, plus links to every worthwhile site containing Australian information. Australian Science Fiction: this is huge (and growing)! Under "Australian Authors" you'll find home pages for Stephen Dedman, Terry Dowling, Greg Egan, Sean McMullen and Sean Williams (with many more authors due to be added in the near future). The author home pages include biographies, photographs, bibliographies, interviews, news, book reviews (including cover illustrations), fiction (five Brown stories, seven Dowling stories, five Egan stories, five McMullen stories and a Williams so far), and non-fiction (including a complete run of McMullen's "Australian Content" essay series). Under "Australian Publishers", besides another link the to Eidolon Publications pages, you'll find home pages for MirrorDanse, Aphelion and Bambada (under construction), with Chimaera (Aurealis) to be added in the near future. Finally, under "Bibliographies" you'll find Sean McMullen's complete bibliography of Australian SF/F (currently being updated from various other sources), all stored in a database which allows browsers to click on any of the hundreds of Australian authors listed and be presented with a dynamic bibliographic list of novels and short stories. On top of all this there is The Eidolon Mailing List which includes information about how to join Eidolon's discussion group, and Letters of Comment which covers what's being said about SF Online and allows browsers to leave their own comments. Really, this site is huge. I heartily commend it to any SF fan with Web access. Even though this new Eidolon site will probably never finish growing, it is more comprehensive now than anything else currently on offer in Australia.

Originally appeared pp. 100-106, Eidolon 21, April 1996.
Copyright © 1996 Steven Paulsen.
Reprinted with kind permission of the author.