< News after 04-Dec-98 12:00
News before 15-Jul-98 12:10 >

Dreaming Down-Under Signing
Following the launch of Jack Dann and Janeen Webb's new anthology Dreaming Down-Under at Melbourne's Slow Glass Bookshop, the recently opened Borders Superstore (Jam Factory, Chapel St. South Yarra) will host a mass signing with spotlight readings at 1:30pm on Sunday 13 December 1998.

Lucy Sussex Workshop Announced
Lucy Sussex will conduct a writers' workshop on "Writing Sex and Death in Fantasy, Science Fiction, Gothic and Horror" on 17 & 24 November and 1 December 1998 from 6.30-8.30pm at the Victorian Writers' Centre. For more information call (03) 9415 1077, e-mail, or check the Centre website.

Kidd Delivers New Novels
Paul Kidd has completed new fantasy novel White Plume Mountain for role playing game publisher, TSR. The novel, the first in a new series of "Greyhawk" shared world novels and Kidd's third for TSR, will be published in October 1999. Kidd will have two other fantasy novels, A Whisper of Wings and Rats of Acomar, published by Vision Publishing during 1999.

SFWA Changes Membership Criteria
Newly-announced changes to the membership criteria for the professional US-based science fiction writers' association SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), will make more Australian writers eligible to join, but seem unlikely to impact on any move to form a local writer's association.

Newly-announced changes to the membership criteria for the professional US-based science fiction writers' association SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), will make more Australian writers eligible to join, but seem unlikely to impact on any move to form a local writer's association.

SFWA members voted in a September 1998 referendum to extend the eligiblity criteria for active SFWA membership to include sales to professional non-US based English language publications, as well as to online publications. This means that sales to HarperCollins Australia or Pan Macmillan, or to Omni Online and Event Horizon, now count towards the number of sales required by a writer to qualify for SFWA membership.

This decision will only affect writers who have sold science fiction or fantasy novels to major local publishers, or who have sold short fiction to overseas magazines, or to anthologies published by major local publishers. The minimum requirement for full SFWA membership is the professional publication (acceptance and payment) of three short stories or one full-length fiction book. For a periodical to be considered "professional" for the purposes of the SFWA it must meet four criteria:

  1. It must be published on a regular basis, i.e. no fewer than three issues within one year of the publication of the qualifying story;

  2. it must have a minimum paid circulation of 2,000 copies per issue;

  3. it must be in the English language and be published in North America; and

  4. it must pay at least $.03 per word.

Book publishers must appear in Literary Market Place. Currently, there are no Australian periodicals which meet the necessary requirements to qualify for SFWA membership, and requirements for online publications have yet to be made public.

No change was made to the eligiblity criteria for the Nebula Awards.

Given that domestically published short fiction remains ineligible, and that the SFWA principally focusses on assisting its members to work in the US marketplace, it seems unlikely that this recent decision will impact on recent moves to form an Australian writer's organisation.


McMullen Sells New Novels to Tor
Sean McMullen has sold two new SF novels, Souls in the Great Machine and The Miocene Arrow, to Jenna Felice at Tor. Souls in the Great Machine will be published in June 1999, to coincide with the paperback edition of The Centurion's Empire, with The Miocene Arrow to follow later.

Blackford, Ikin and McMullen Deliver History
Russell Blackford, Van Ikin and Sean McMullen have delivered Strange Constellations, a history of Australian SF, to Greenwood Publishing for a June 1999 publication.

Sussex Teaches at Clarion
Lucy Sussex spent July in Seattle teaching at the Clarion West sf workshop, a six-week writing experience that had this year as instructors (in order): Paul Park, George R. R. Martin, Connie Willis, Lucy, Gardner Dozois and Carol Emshwiller.


SUSSEX TEACHES AT CLARION (Return to News Archive)

Lucy Sussex spent July in Seattle teaching at the Clarion West sf workshop, a six-week writing experience that had this year as instructors (in order): Paul Park, George R. R. Martin, Connie Willis, Lucy, Gardner Dozois and Carol Emshwiller.

She comments:

"The fourth week at Clarion (I was warned) was when the students got emotional and ratty. Such was hardly surprising, given that they would have had a month of living away from home, writing and critiquing intensively. I brought comfort food (Violet Crumble) for all of us, but after flying from Southern to Northern hemisphere was in no mood to be sympathetic.

The students included a pit boss at a Mississippi Casino, a ski patroller, a doctor, various teachers, technical writers and computer workers. The youngest was 28. Not one of them was untalented. Despite the warnings, they all proved stable, cheerful, hardworking and tolerant of the Kiwi-Oz accent. In fact, they were the best creative writing students I have ever taught. I felt privileged to have encountered them.

I also did a gig at Elliott Bay Books, in which I read a story about `Waltzing Matilda'. As I wasn't sure the audience would know the song, Dave Howells of Alexandria Digital Literature sang it beforehand in a beautiful trained tenor. Never have I sold so many books at one sitting before, My Lady Tongue being especially in demand. I had a wonderful time and got spoiled rotten."

Photo by R.S.Blum ©1998.

Left to Right: J.A.Deveaux, John Phillip Olsen, Chiara Shah, Michael Bateman, Ruth Nestvold, Diana Rowland, Tamela Viglione, Christyna Ivers, Karen Fishler, Ellen Levy Finch, Daniel Abraham, Lucy Sussex, Eric Witchey, Susan H. Fry, and R.S.Blum


Masson Sells Fantasy Trilogy to Transworld
Sophie Masson has sold a new fantasy trilogy set in medieval France to Louise Thurtell at Transworld Publishers. The Knight of the Pool, first volume in The Lay Lines trilogy, will be published in November in paperback.

Arthurian Conference Announced
Grail Quest, a new festival on the Arthurian legend in popular culture, will be held at Sydney University, 10-14 June 1999. Likely attendees include Jack Dann, Paul Collins, Sean McMullen, Kate Forsyth, Rowena Cory-Lindquist, Isobelle Carmody, Sara Douglass, Caiseal Mor and Sophie Masson. More information, including a call for papers, can be found at the Grail Quest website.

Douglass and Jacoby Novels Scheduled in UK
HarperCollins UK will publish The Axis Trilogy by Sara Douglass over the next six months. BattleAxe is scheduled to appear in September, with Enchanter in January 1999 and Starman in April 1999. Gollancz will publish Voice of the Demon by Kate Jacoby (Tracey Oliphant) in March 1999. It is the sequel to Exile's Return, the first book in the "Elita" series.

Tor to Publish Isobelle Carmody
Isobelle Carmody has sold the first three volumes of her Obernewtyn series of fantasy novels to Jenna A. Felice at Tor. Tor will publish Obernewtyn, The Farseekers, and Ashling. There was no mention of Tor publishing the remainder of the series at this time.

Routley Delivers Final Novel in Trilogy to Avon
Jane Routley delivered Aramaya, final volume in the trilogy which includes Mageheart and Fire Angel, to Jennifer Brehl at Avon for a 1999 publication.

Williams and Dix Publication Dates Set
The Prodigal Sun, Volume 1 of The Evergence Trilogy by Sean Williams and Shane Dix will be published by Ace Books in the USA and HarperCollins Australia in paperback in December 1999. The second volume will follow some time in the next millennium.

Broderick & Barnes Sell Novels to HarperCollins Australia
Damien Broderick and Rory Barnes have sold two new novels, Stuck in Fast Forward and The Book of Revelation to HarperCollins Australia for 1999 publication.


Damien Broderick and Rory Barnes have sold two new collaborative novels, Stuck in Fast Forward and The Book of Revelation to Laura Harris at HarperCollins Australia for a September 1999 publication in paperback.

The first novel, Stuck in Fast Forward, is a humorous young adult science fiction novel. Broderick describes it as being "about a 14-year-old girl's difficulties with her mad father (but is he?), her younger sister (or is that her elder sister?), and the total destruction of the world, the galaxy and history as we know it.

The second novel, The Book of Revelation, is a humorous adult novel that might be science fiction but might not, and that is described by Broderick as a "novel of the uncanny, the recent past and near future, those little grey guys, and the Scionetics cult". It is based on Broderick's novella "The Womb", which will be published in Jack Dann and Janeen Webb's anthology Dreaming Down Under, due from HarperCollins Australia in November 1998.

This new deal means that Broderick will have five books published in the twelve months between November 1998 and November 1999. The first book will be the science fiction anthology Not the Only Planet, published by travel book publisher Lonely Planet in November 1998. It will be published in trade paperback in the UK, the US, Australia and France. The second book will be the recently announced popular science book The Last Mortal Generation, which will be published by New Holland Books in May 1999. This will be followed by a reprint anthology of Australian science fiction co-edited with David Hartwell for Tor Books, which should be published mid-1999, and then the two new collaborative novels from HarperCollins Australia in September.

HarperCollins Australia also recently published a new young adult SF novel, Horsehead Boy, by Rory Barnes. It is the first volume of the Horsehead Trilogy, and the two sequels Horsehead Man and Horsehead Soup should be published in 1999.

Damien Broderick, a novelist and critic, is an Associate of the Department of English and Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. His most recent books include The White Abacus, winner of the Aurealis and Ditmar Awards for Best Science Fiction Novel of 1997, popular science book The Spike, and young adult novel Zones (co-written with Rory Barnes).


Children's Book Council Award Winners
The Children's Book Council of Australia has announced the winners of the 1998 Book of the Year Awards. Catherine Jinks, winner of the 1998 Aurealis Award, wins with her novel Eye to Eye.

The 1998 Children's Book Council of Australia has announced the winners of the 1998 Book of the Year in the Picture Book, Younger Reader, and Older Reader categories. The Winner of the Eve Pownall Award for Non-Fiction was also announced.

The winners were:


Jinks, Catherine Eye To Eye (Penguin Books Australia: Puffin)

Metzenthen, David Gilbert's Ghost Train (Scholastic Australia)
Winton, Tim Lockie Leonard, Legend (Pan Macmillan)


Forrestal, Elaine Someone Like Me (Penguin Books Australia: Puffin)

Hirsch, Odo (illus Andrew McLean) Antonio S and the Mystery of Theodore Guzman (Allen & Unwin: A Little Ark Book)
Wrightson, Patricia (illus David Cox) Rattler's Place (Penguin Books Australia: Puffin: Ausie Bites series)


Morimoto, Junko (trans Isao Morimoto) The Two Bullies (Random House Australia: A Mark Macleod Book)

McLean, Andrew (text Janet McLean) Josh (Allen & Unwin: A Little Ark Book)
Whatley, Bruce and Smith, Rosie Detective Donut and the Wild Goose Chase (HarperCollins)


Nicholson, John A Home among the Gum Trees - The Story of Australian Houses (Allen & Unwin)

Toft, Kim Michelle and Sheather, Allan (illus Kim Michelle Toft) One Less Fish (UQP: Jam Roll) Dolan, Beth Cathy Freeman (Heinemann)

The CBC judges for the fiction categories this year were: Ernie Tucker (NSW); Jan Sismey (ACT); Jo Goodman (Vic); Diana Montgomery (NT); Anne Freier (QLD); Sue Van Every (SA); Maureen Mann (Tas); and Jill Midolo (WA). The judges for the Eve Pownall Award were: Patricia Bland (SA); Katharine England (SA); Angela Sullivan (SA); and Lyn Wilkinson (SA).


Goodman to Launch the Blues
Alison Goodman will be attending the 1998 Brisbane Writers Festival (3 - 6 September 1998), where she will be launching her new young adult science fiction novel, Singing the Dogstar Blues, which will be published by HarperCollins in September.

Shaun Tan wins Crichton Award
Shaun Tan has won the 1998 Crichton Award for his work on The Viewer (Lothian, 1997), a picture book written by Gary Crew and illustrated by Tan. The Crichton Award is presented annually by the Victorian Branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia to new picture book illustrators. The prize of $1,000, which is to be shared with a yet-to-be-announced co-winner, will be presented in November.

Editorial Changes at Altair
Altair Publications announced the departure of editor Jason Bleckly for "artistic reasons" on 9 August 1998. Bleckly was one of the founding editors of Altair: Alternative Airings of Speculative Fiction, along with Robert N. Stephenson, Rob Bleckly, Jim Deed and Andrew Collings, and worked on the first two issues of the magazine.

Dann Back in Oz, and on the Festival Circuit
Jack Dann has just returned from a successful author tour of the US, promoting his new novel The Silent. He will be attending the inaugural Book Lovers' Weekend, an event sponsored by Dymock's Booksellers and The West Australian Newspaper on the weekend of August 21-23 in Perth, and will be at the Melbourne Writer's Festival, commencing 25 August 1998.

Andrew Whitmore Sells Novels to HarperCollins
Andrew Whitmore has sold two fantasy novels in the "Countenance Divine" sequence to HarperCollins Australia. The first volume, Fireflaught, is an extensively revised version of his earlier novel Fortress of Eternity, and will be published in March 1999.

Final Turner Novel to Tor
George Turner's final novel, Down There in Darkness, has sold to David Hartwell at Tor. The novel, which was completed by Turner prior to his death in 1997, will be published in hardcover in May 1999.

Robert Hood Sells New Novel
Robert Hood has sold new novel, Backstreets, to Hodder Headline for a 1999 publication.

Robert Hood has sold Backstreets, a young adult novel, to Hodder Headline. The novel,will be marketed as mainstream, but contain some genre elements. It explores aspects of grief over the sudden and violent loss of a loved one, and is based on the recent death of Hood's young son, Luke.

Hood describes the novel as being about "Kel a 17-year-old whose best friend Bryce is killed when the car they are driving is crushed by an out-of-control truck. Kel wakes from a coma to find that Bryce is dead, while his dreams fill with visions of his friend. He is also aware of other, more shadowy figures lurking at the edges of his dreams and his consciousness. While on an excursion to see Macbeth, Kel spies someone through the bus window that looks like Bryce. He becomes obsessed with the idea that Bryce is somewhere in the City and begins a search for his friend that takes him into the backstreets. Gradually he withdraws from his normal life, losing himself in the shadows. In his mind Bryce and the 'shadowy figures' from his dreams are ghosts, part of a sub-cultural society of dead youths that exists just out of view. He wants to find it...

Backstreets is to be published by Hodder Headling in May/June 1999.


Annual Recommended Reading Lists
Each year, Gardner Dozois, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling compile prestigious collections of the best science fiction, fantasy and horror short fiction. See how Australians have featured this year.


Each year St. Martin's Press publishes volumes of short fiction, containing respectively the year's best short science fiction selected by Gardner Dozois', and the year's best fantasy short fiction selected by Terri Windling and the year's best horror short fiction selected by Ellen Datlow. The books contain approximately 250,000 words of short fiction, detailed overviews of the year, and recommended reading lists.

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois includes three stories by Australian writers: "Reasons to be Cheerful" (Interzone) and "Yeyuka" (Meanjin, Vol.55, No.1) by Greg Egan, and "The Masque of Agamemnon" (Eidolon SF:Online) by Sean Williams & Simon Brown. Dozois' recommended reading list includes:

Russell Blackford Lucent Carbon Eidolon 25/26
Simon Brown Love and Paris Eidolon 25/26
Jack Dann & Michael Swanwick Ships Lethal Kisses
Stephen Dedman The Dance that Everyone Must Do Tales of the Unanticipated #18
  Tour de Force Asimov's
Terry Dowling No Hearts to be Broken Interzone
  The Maiden Death Destination Unknown
Greg Egan Orphanogenesis Interzone
Peter Friend Seventeen Views of Mount Taranaki Aurealis 18
Alison Goodman Dead Spydyrs Eidolon 24
Rick Kennett The View From Stickney Crater Aurealis 18
Rosaleen Love Alexander's Feats Eidolon 25/26
Dirk Strasser The Dark Under the Skin Eidolon 25/26
Lucy Sussex Merlusine The Horns of Elfland
Janeen Webb &
Jack Dann
Niagara Falling Black Mist and Other Japanese Futures
Sean Williams Love and Mandarins Eidolon 25/26
  White Christmas Eidolon 12
Aboriginal SF

The Year's Best Fantasy: Eleventh Annual Collection edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling does not include any work by Australians, though it does feature a poem by American writer Christopher Jones, from Southerly. Windling gives a positive review of Stephen Dedman's The Art of Arrow Cutting (Tor) in her introduction. Datlow and Windling's recommended reading list includes:

Stephen Dedman Christmas at the Chushingura Cafe Space and Time 87
  The Dance that Everyone Must Do Tales of the Unanticipated #18
  Salvation Wetbones #2
Peter Friend Seventeen Views of Mount Taranaki Aurealis 18
C.S. Fuqua Undertaker II: Drowning Cyber-Psychos AOD 7
Rick Kennett &
Paul Collins
The Wilcroft Inheritance Gothic Ghosts
Michael Pryor Time to Burn Aurealis 18

Datlow notes in her introduction that Eidolon 25/26 was not considered for the 1997 volume, but will be considered next year. The Year's Best Fantasy: Twelfth Annual Collection will feature Terry Dowling's "Jenny Come to Play" and Rick Kennett's "Due South" from Eidolon 25/26.


HarperCollins Appoints New Editors
HarperCollins Publishers Australia have hired two new editors, Belinda Lee and Rod Morrison. They will work for Laura Harris, HarperCollins' Commissioning Editor in popular and non-fiction. This follows the recent departure of Anna McFarlane, who moved to Pan Macmillan, where she is a senior editor.

Tasmanian wins George Turner Prize
New writer Tansey Rayner Roberts has won the
inaugural George Turner Prize for her comic fantasy, Splashdance Silver, to be published by Transworld in September.


Tasmanian writer Tansy Rayner Roberts has won the 1998 George Turner Prize for Science Fiction and Fantasy for her comic fantasy novel, Splashdance Silver. The prize, which was announced by Transworld's publisher Shona Martyn at PhanCon on 11 July, included publication and a $10,000 advance.

Transworld, who will publish Splashdance Silver under their Bantam imprint in September, have signed Roberts for two more novels set in the same universe. The prize was judged by Peter Nicholls, bookseller Karen Miller and Transworld editor Louise Thurtell. Runners-up were: Tom Dullemond's The Final Arcanum, Elaine Edwards' Tales of Gwalthalion: Garden of Thorns, Narelle Harris's Witching Ways, Edwina Harvey's Boyfriend Wanted (No Experience Necessary), Luke Kendall's Leeth, Kim Matheson's Betrayer, Leslie Joseph Petersen's Supplejack and Joel Shepherd's Callisto.

Transworld has an option on the runners-up, and will announce which books, if any, it will pick up by September. Entry forms for the 1999 George Turner Prize will be available from Transworld shortly. Organisers are currently considering presenting separate science fiction and fantasy prizes in 1999.



I have been writing stories for as long as I can remember, and I started my first novel just after my fourteenth birthday. It was mostly terrible as I had been reading epic fantasy (of the Eddings/ Dragonlance/ anything-with-quests variety) for less than a year, and was terribly impressed with it all. I worked on this novel throughout high school and came to the conclusion, about three or four chapters away from the end, that it represented just about everything that I was now bored with in modern fantasy. So it got put into a drawer. My next novel - I was at college by this time - was more humorous in nature (a detective story set in Hobart with lots of magic and similar complications). This one was not bad, except for the plot, which started out mediocre and just couldn't be helped really. Also during college, I wrote a novel in six weeks about an assassin in deep space.

When I started university, I started thinking about my original epic fantasy novel (one of a planned series of twelve, naturally) and about all the things which were really bad about it. I cut out all the characters I hated (you know, the ones only created in order to die at some dramatic point). There were a few characters I was still very attached to, and I resolved to give them a better environment to work in. By this time, the only fantasy I was reading was that which took the genre in interesting and unusual directions-like Terry Pratchett, Simon R. Green (read Deathstalker! It's brilliant!) and other writers who combined genres. And at some stage in those early weeks of first year uni, Mocklore came to life.

On and off, Splashdance Silver took about 18 months to write. I heard about the George Turner Prize about three months before I was due to be finished (and the deadline coincided). The rest is history (except for the bit where I nearly decided not to bother, but my wonderful partner took me firmly by the elbow and made me post the damn manuscript).

I'm twenty now, and I'm very glad that I'm being published before I had to leave University and get a 'proper' job. This is much more fun.

Let me tell you about Kassa Daggersharp. She's a sweet girl really. She always means well, even when she's manipulating people to within an inch of their lives. But she can be very, very scary. The daughter of a renowned Pirate King and an ex-witch, she really can't help herself. She has to have things her own way, and if that involves sharp swords, major explosions, plagues of magic and flying sheep, then so be it. Splashdance Silver is entirely her book-or it would have been, if it wasn't for the Lady Emperor Talle. She was the scheming courtesan who made herself the first female Emperor of Mocklore, and was not supposed to be a main character. She was a villainess, a foil for the heroine and a temptation for my lovely anti-hero, Aragon Silversword. But somewhere along the way, she began to take over. My editor, Louise Thurtell, recognised this star quality instantly, and urged me to put more scenes with Talle in (and more, and more). And so instead of having one dangerous female as my main character, I have two, both used to having their own way. But one of them has to win.

Transworld have hooked me up for two more Mocklore books. The next, Liquid Gold, is about what happens when someone dies in the wrong place, at the wrong time. It has many of the characters from the first book in it, and quite a few new ones. It should be published late next year. The third in the series, Soapy Ballads, is about the daily machinations of The Smug Family, a crystal-ball soap opera for witches. Expect lots of gods, magical explosions, terrifying scenery and nearly true love (which is much more interesting than the real thing, when you get right down to it).

The best thing about winning the George Turner Prize is not just the money and not just being published, it's also having the immense support of the wonderful people at Transworld. I was very impressed with the way they have handled this competition, particularly getting booksellers and writers involved on the selection committee, rather than just people in publishing.


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