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Award-winning Graphic Novel Banned
From Hell, Australian artist Eddie Campbell's 1993, 1995 and 2000 Eisner Award-winning collaboration with internationally acclaimed writer Alan Moore, is now officially a Banned Book in this country, despite the imminent release of a film based on the novel and starring Johnny Depp.

Allegedly acting on a March 2000 complaint by a Perth-based customs officer about a scene depicting the medical dissection of a murder victim in "The Best of All Tailors", Chapter 10 of the 600+ page graphic novel as serialised in Mad Love/Kitchen Sink Press' From Hell #7, the Office of Film & Literature Classification ruled on October 3 that the novel contravenes Regulation 4(1A)(a) of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations.

The OFLC's Guidelines for the Classification of Publications, based on Regulation 4A of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations in force under the Customs Act 1901, provides for "Refused Classification", which allows for the prohibition of the import or sale of publications and any other goods that:
  • describe, depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified; or
  • promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence
  • On the basis of this ruling, copies of the magazine in question were seized from Perth's Quality Comics on October 20, and the entire novel is now banned from import or sale in Australia. The novel is, however, available for mail order from Amazon and other international merchants.

    27-Oct-00: Following negotiation with the OFLC—apparently based on the issue of the context of the offensive material—Customs will be re-submitting the book in its entirety for reclassification.

    The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, named for American comic artist, writer and critic Will Eisner (1917–), are the premiere awards in the industry. From Hell, an alternative telling of the Jack the Ripper story, was awarded the Eisner for Best Serialised Story in 1993, Best Writer (Moore) in 1995 and Best Graphic Album: Reprint in 2000.


    More Aussies in Anti-SF 32
    Flash-fiction specialists Antipodean SF have rolled Issue 32 from the digital presses, featuring over 80% Australian content, including stories from Brent Lillie and Brendan Carson.

    Anti-SF's fiction is all less than about five hundred words in length, and its refreshingly regular publishing schedule serves up these frequent and frequently entertaining bite-sized bursts of prose to a story-starved local readership.

    The complete table of contents for the latest issue is: All but the last are by Australians.


    Ditmar 2000 Update
    The Ditmar 2000 subcommittee have announced clarifications to the rules which will govern the delayed Australian Science Fiction ("Ditmar") Awards for work published in 1999. Most notably, the subcommittee have decided to accept nominations from "anyone you like"—providing the nomination is legitimate under the new rules approved at the national convention in April—which could see work by Greg Egan on the ballot for the first time since he won both the Long and Short Fiction awards in 1995.

    Egan withdrew his work from eligibility in perpetuity over dissatisfaction with the rules and procedures governing the awards, and the precedent was used by three other prominent authors to withdraw their own work from the first round of the Ditmar 2000 nominations, since abandoned. The subcommittee appear to have taken the view that authors cannot withdraw work from eligibility unilaterally, which leaves Egan's Hugo-nominated novella "Border Guards" and novel Teranesia eligible for nomination in the new round.

    Secondly, it has been clarified that nominations must be made on a paper copy of the official nomination form, recently distributed with Swancon 2001 Progress Report and to be made available from Slow Glass (Melbourne), Pulp Fiction (Brisbane) and Galaxy (Sydney) in the near future. Electronic nominations will not be accepted.

    Finally, the deadline for nominations has been extended to the 31st of October 2000 to allow for the initial delay in distributing the paper forms.


    Locus local coverage barely 6 months behind!
    Photographer Catriona Sparks' group portrait taken after the relaunch of mega-anthology Dreaming Down Under at Swancon 2000 in April has appeared in the October issue of Locus, the genre's premiere news magazine.

    Swancon 2000, Australia's National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, included Locus editor and publisher Charles N Brown among its list of guests, so perhaps the snapshot brought back happy memories. The photographer herself privately suggests that the presence of hotshot author Sean Williams draped across a desk may have contributed to the saleability of the photo. In any case, the group shot provides a quick "who's who" of some of the country's finest for an international readership, which can't be bad.

    Pictured (left to right) are: (back) Paul Collins, Terry Dowling, Jack Dann, Cecily Scutt, Russell Blackford, Damien Broderick; (front) Chris Lawson, Robert Hood, Tess Williams, Stephen Dedman; (reclining) Sean Williams.


    Genre Authors at BWF 2000
    A number of Australian genre authors including Garth Nix, Isobelle Carmody, Cory Daniells and George Turner prizewinners Tansy Ranyer Roberts and Maxine McArthur, will be appearing as guests of the Brisbane Writer's Festival, at the Queensland Cultural Centre and other venues around the city from 18 – 22 October, 2000.

    The extensive list of over 130 guests also includes authors Gillian Rubinstein, Peter Carey, Gary Crew and Venero Armanno alongside novelists and writers from all fields of literature, journalists in all media, poets, playwrights, traditional indigenous storytellers, academics, editors, publishers, literary agents, art directors, politicians, visiting authors from the UK and China, a handful of secondary school students, a graffiti expert, cartoonist Michael Leunig, actor Bryan Brown and Rob Serduik from the local genre bookshop Pulp Fiction.

    According to the organisers, "the BWF prides itself on producing a program that embraces as many forms of writing as possible, bringing together an eclectic range of writers addressing issues and topics that stir the hearts and minds of participants and audiences alike."

    "The 2000 program will embrace writing and reading in all their forms and explore the places where literature and other artforms meet.

    "BWF is a festival that entertains, moves and stimulates. It is an event that is continually evolving and expanding. Most of all it is fun."

    The festival opens at 7:00pm on Wednesday 18 October with a $77/head black tie "Gala Awards Dinner" at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.


    Williams Continues Headline-hogging Excesses
    Fresh from his appearance at the National Young Writers’ Festival, Sean Williams has announced that as of 1-October-2000 he had no less than nine new books in the pipeline.

    The nine books in question are:

    • Evergence: A Dark Imbalance US (called Evergence 3: The Dark Imbalance in its HarperCollins Australia edition) is due from Ace in March 2001.
    • The new series co-written with Shane Dix has yet to be scheduled, but Ace has committed to three titles: Crown of Thorns, Orphans of Earth and Nature of Gravity. Details for other territories will be announced when they are available.
    • Sean's solo fantasy series, supported by the Australia Council Literature Fund, is also yet to be scheduled, but again three titles are expected: The Stone Mage & the Sea, The Sky Warden & the Sun and The Weavers in the Web. HarperCollins Australia will be publishing them locally, first in trade paperback and then in mass-market paperback. Publication in the UK and US is still being negotiated.
    • FPR Books in the UK (which reissued Metal Fatigue in a stunning hardcover in 1999) has bought two full-length collections of short stories, tentatively titled Ghosts of the Fall and A View Before Dying.
    Sean has completed writing on the first book of each new series, leaving four books to write over the coming couple of years. He also intends to spend that time researching his next solo SF novel, Widow of Opportunity, also supported by the Australia Council.

    Further, Sean has a number of planned republications in the works, including a number of other titles from FPR Books—the Evergence series and The Resurrected Man in hardcover—foreign language editions of the Evergence series in Russia and the Czech Republic, and a translation of Metal Fatigue into Polish.


    Williams Sells Fantasy Trilogy to HarperCollins Australia
    Sean Williams has sold a trilogy of young adult fantasy novels—The Stone Mage and the Sea, The Sky Warden and the Sun, and an as yet untitled third book—to HarperCollins Australia following an auction conducted by agent Richard Curtis. The first book The Stone Mage and the Sea is completed and will be published by HarperCollins Australia in trade paperback in 2001. The trilogy is being written with the assistance of a grant from the Australia Council, as reported here in October 1999.

    McMullen Snr Delivers; McMullen Jnr on the Move
    Sean McMullen delivered new novel Eyes of the Calculor, third (or fourth depending on where you started) in the Mirrorsun sequence to Tor Books in August for a 2001 publication. Meanwhile, Catherine McMullen did her first signing at Andromeda Bookshop in the UK, participated in her first panel at Fantasycon in Birmingham, and had her third professional story "Angel on the Wall" published by Interzone.

    Artrage Exhibition for WA genre artist
    Tom Annear's GIGO, an exhibition of "digitally generated environments" digitally printed on photographic paper, opens 4pm Wednesday, 4th October 2000, at The Photography Gallery of WA, 53 James St, Northbridge, and will remain open as part of Perth's Artrage Festival from 11am-5pm Tues-Sun until 20th October.

    Tom considers himself a "genre professional", in that his practice resides wholly within a speculative fictional framework. He cites Gibson, Jablokov and Cherryh, amongst others, as influences.

    The GIGO Press Release reads:

    "He’s built virtual environments and made large, digital prints of them.

    These places are definitely not what you’d expect. They’re strange and unsettling with a strong whiff of science fiction.

    Maybe this is where we’ll all be living...

    This is the first public showing of works that have been in development for two years.

    They are digitally constructed environments printed onto photographic paper using a new digital exposure process; making photographic prints direct from the computer without needing a camera.

    Annear graduated twelve years ago from Curtin as a jeweller and has worked as a jeweller, teacher and sculptor since then.

    He has been working with digital design and manufacture since 1995. These works have evolved from a need to see accurate images of things before they are made [simulation] and a desire to see these simulated objects in larger contexts.

    Artist’s Statement

    “I work cinematically – there’s a context, an internal movie set, for the places I make. These ‘sets’ have lighting, weather and characters.

    They’re built from geometry in a 3d Cartesian grid.

    They get skinned over with layers of materials made from scanned bits of metal and leather, photographs and weird-named digital surfaces like ‘phong’, ‘blinn’ and ‘lambert’ [named after the geeks who invented them].

    They have lights installed and adjusted, fog and atmosphere produced and finally, after appalling amounts of adjusting and tweaking, they get rendered into a version that can be transferred onto paper.

    The rendering, even on a fast computer, takes up to three days of processing.

    Much of the sensibility comes from science fiction; the serious, speculative, scientific and distopian end of science fiction.

    A surprising amount of good science fiction written within the last ten years has been accurately prophetic of major changes we see around us today.”

    I am interested in predicting the kind of world my kids will inhabit.


    AntipodeanSF 31 hits the wires
    Despite domain name problems which left the site inaccessible earlier in the week, Ion Newcombe's AntipodeanSF 31 was posted to the web yesterday, featuring six new genre short shorts.

    Australia's most consistent genre webzine, this latest AntipodeanSF features four pieces of "flash fiction" by Australians:

    Also included are two stories by Americans—"Happy 40th, Liam" by Ray Van Horn Jr and "Pookie Bear" by Robert Nirre—and the regular editorial "Ionospherics" in which Ion discusses technical changes to the site for text-only and handheld browsers.

    Ion encourages direct feedback to the authors, and each story includes a "mailto" link to the author.


    Stephen Dedman Update
    Stephen's bibliography now includes six months of new information, and his appearances section details a forthcoming US trip to promote his work and Australian SF in general.

    Ticonderoga Online Goes Quarterly
    Ticonderoga On-line, one of Australia's premier web-based semi-prozines, will be changing to a quarterly format, according to the editorial of Issue 3 (15-September) and press releases from the publisher.

    Over the next 3 months, several major changes will take place to the site, according to editor/publisher Russell Farr. Writer Chris Lawson has agreed to contribute a regular column, "Counter-intuitive", highlighting interesting developments in science. Fan and Playwright Grant Watson's "Mutant Tube" column will touch on just about everything and anything. Reviewers Marianne de Courtenay and Jonathan Strahan have agreed to contribute regular review columns. The first instalment of each of these will be on-line by the end of September. Ticonderoga aims to publish 4 stories each quarter.

    The first full quarterly issue is scheduled for December 2000. Until then the site will remain in a fluid state of redesign. Check the site for updates.


    Hugo Awards Eligibility
    The business meeting of Chicon 2000, the 2000 World Science Fiction Convention held in Chicago, has passed a resolution extending the eligibility of works published outside the US for one year, allowing non-US worked published in 1999 to be eligible for the 2001 Hugo Awards to be presented at the Millennium Philcon. This is a one-time resolution that will not necessarily be incorporated into the permanent Hugo rules.

    Adelaide Convention First in Years
    ConVex is the first fan-run sf convention to be held in Adelaide for some years—since HongCon in 1992, the organisers believe.

    According to Juliette Woods, one of ConVex's principal organisers along with partner Damien Warman, the small, one-day convention organised on behalf of the long-running science fiction discussion group Critical Mass hopes to attract both long-time fans and newcomers. The emphasis will be on written sf, and particularly Australian work.

    The convention will consist of talks by notable Adelaide fans including John Foyster, Jeff Harris and Roman Orszanski, as well as panel discussions including "Is this the Golden Age of Oz SF?", "Good Written SF of the 1990s", and "Science and Science Fiction—Is There Any Connection?". Metropolis and Things To Come will be screened on Thursday 28th in association with the Adelaide University Film Society. Guest of honour Sean Williams is an Adelaide local.

    The Convention will take place at the SA Writers' Centre, Level 2, 187 Rundle Street on Saturday September 30th, 2000 from 10:00-17:00. Entry is $10.

    The convention's website was down at the time of writing, but it should be available after about the 17th of September. For more information, the organisers suggest contacting them via email or phoning on (08) 8267 5374.


    Ditmar Award Nomination Form v2.0 released
    Ditmar 2000, the Swancon 2000 awards subcommittee, have announced the release of an online version of the official form for the second round of nominations in the Australian Science Fiction Achievement Awards for work published in 1999.

    The Nomination Form, although provided first in this electronic form, must be printed, filled in and posted, avoiding the online nomination process that caused problems for the subcommittee during the abortive first round of nominations earlier in the year. The form includes the new Ditmar rules as passed by the Business Meeting in April and which Ditmar 2000 have chosen to use as a guide, although the rules aren't binding retrospectively

    The Categories for the 2000 Ditmar Awards will now be:
    • Best Novel
    • Best Novella or Novelette
    • Best Short Story
    • Best Collected Work
    • Best Artwork
    • Best Fan Writer
    • Best Fan Artist
    • Best Fan Production
    The William Atheling Jr. Award for Criticism or Review will also be awarded.

    This "preview release" of the form will be followed shortly by a paper version, to accompany the next Swancon 26 progress report.

    Keen Ditmar nominators who'd like to refresh their memories of the eligible work from last year can check out Marc Ortlieb's excellent Australian Science Fiction List for 1999.


    Technical problems plague
    For the last two weeks, since its 01-September relaunch, the new has been unavailable at the commonly-used "" address.

    The popularisation of the web has led to a number of common understandings which have no basis in the facts of the net. One of these is the belief that all website addresses necessarily begin with "www." Unfortunately, the new website was an unknowing victim of that popular belief, for the first two weeks of its life.

    Pre and post relaunch testing of the new "" website was, through a technical oversight, limited to the "" url. Unlike the more popular "" address promoted by earlier versions of the website, the "" address had been correctly redirected from the domain's name server (the machine responsible for answering queries to the domain asking about IP addresses--the raw numbers, like, which identify each machine on the internet). This led to a large number of potential visitors getting error messages when they tried to visit the relaunched site.

    The errors in the domain name service entries were corrected late on Wednesday 13-September and will spend some time percolating through the arcane interstices of the internet name system. Website visitors can expect normal service to resume any week now.


    Shaun Tan update
    Shaun Tan's latest picture book The Lost Thing was launched on August 23 at Readings bookstore in Carlton, Melbourne, attracting a small throng of enthusiastic locals.'s delayed coverage includes some examples of the artwork.

    The Lost Thing, which Shaun spent a year writing and illustrating, tells the story of a boy who finds a bizarre creature on the beach and tries to find a place for it within the strange bureaucratic metropolis in which he lives.

    John Marsden was present to deliver a short speech, praising the work as an intriguing and multilayered story which moves far beyond the usual expectations of the picture book as a genre exclusively for children.

    In a busy visit to Melbourne, Shaun read from and discussed The Lost Thing at The Little Bookroom as part of Book Week, and demonstrated some illustration techniques at Books Illustrated during the Wicked Festival. And his success continues: in Canberra on August 18 his last picture book Memorial, with Gary Crew, was awarded the title of Honour Book at the Children's Book Council (CBC) awards for 1999.


    Power Failure Keeps Crowds From New Site
    A power failure affecting the Perth suburb of Rivervale kept the newly relaunched offline for most of its first day live.

    Site visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the new website were disappointed today when they received "site not available" messages from the address. Although the new website is located on equipment other than long-time host, the persistence of internet DNS names means that browsers will be directed through the old website for up to several weeks. Also affected was's community email discussion list, the eidolist.

    (02/09/00) Relaunched
    The evening of Friday 1st September, the first day of the Southern Spring, saw the Perth relaunch of, one of Australia's oldest and best-known science fiction websites, online since 1995.

    Cold and rain kept many at home, but despite a few technical glitches with the video programme the informal event was a success, bringing together a large number of Australian genre professionals and friends, including the "special interstate guest" Brendan Carson, locals Stephen Dedman, Shaun Tan and Carol Ryles, and a strong contingent of other "Mount Lawley Mafia" regulars.

    Eidolon's Jeremy Byrne promised great things for the new in the coming months, with the addition of "community involvement" features into the site, which is being repositioned as an Australian SF portal and news resource. Changes include an interactive shared annotation system, the introduction of a regular sitenews update mailout, and limited ecommerce functions.


    New Egan Novel Scheduled
    Greg Egan's new novel, Schild's Ladder, has been scheduled to appear from Orion/Gollancz in June 2001. Meanwhile, Egan's novella "Border Guards" has been nominated for a Hugo Award. The 1999 Hugo Awards will be announced at a ceremony to be held at Chicon 2000, the 2000 WorldCon, at 8pm on Saturday, 2 September 2000.

    Webb Sells First Novel
    Janeen Webb has sold her first novel, young adult fantasy Sailing to Atlantis, to HarperCollins Australia for a February, 2001 publication. The as-yet-untitled book is the first volume of The Sinbad Chronicles.

    Marillier Sells New Series and Delivers Novel
    Juliet Marillier has sold world rights to an as yet untitled historical fantasy series set in Orkney and Norway in the Viking age to Cate Paterson at Pan Macmillan Australia. Marillier also delivered the third and final book in her Sevenwaters Trilogy, Child of the Prophecy, to Pan Macmillan Australia for a 2001 publication. Marillier will have short story "Otherling" in a special publication by HarperCollins UK as part of a promotion to mark the fifth anniverary of the Voyager imprint.

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