Tag Archives: angela slatter

Friday Linkway (with bonus Muppets)

My plan was for today’s Friday links to be all about the SF gateway, but in breaking news, the World Fantasy nominations were released, and I’m SO EXCITED that Alisa Krasnostein has her first nomination! It’s for Best Non-Professional Achievement (some day she will be able to start paying herself and it will be Best Professional!) and I love that it is for Twelfth Planet Press rather than all the volunteer work she does in the community for projects like ASif & Swancon – much though I appreciate her work in that area, TPP is her future and for it to be the reason she has her first WF nomination is fabulous.

Congrats to all the nominees – I’m particularly delighted by the diverse and exciting novel shortlist, but also crowing over Rachel Swirsky’s novella “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window,” Jonathan Strahan’s anthology “Swords and Dark Magic,” and Angela Slatter’s exceptional collection, Sourdough and Other Stories. Also, extra congrats to Charles A Tan & Lavie Tidhar for their nods in the same category as Alisa, for Bibliophile Stalker and the World SF blog respectively.

But now, links!

I haven’t spotted quite as much analysis as I had expected about the significance of the SF Gateway, but here are some key posts from the last week or so:

The Announcement
Nicola Griffith on being one of the Gateway authors.
Cheryl Morgan on The Gateway Opens
io9 presents a vid of authors talking about their favourite out-of-print SF classics
Over at the Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan & Gary interview John Clute about the SF Encyclopedia, and how it ties into the SF Gateway project.

And now some more random linkage:

Chris Alpha of The Ood Cast has been writing a season by season recap of Doctor Who, in haiku. Oh yes, he has.

Apologies for the LJ links at this time of great LJ unreliability, but these ones are worth it. Michelle Sagara talks about how to be a good panellist at a convention, and what not to do.

Catherynne Valente is delighted by the sheer writerfantasy of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.

Cheryl Morgan is republishing Linda Nagata’s SF novels as e-books.

Diana Peterfreund blogs about choosing surnames for your fictional characters.

Mary Robinette Kowal continues her interesting blog series on the writerly/practical use of Google Plus: in this case, how to teach a class using Google Hangouts.

Night of Necklaces, Day of Ferries

I felt like such a jet-setter, getting on a plane yesterday morning for a single night in Sydney for the Aurealis Awards. I arrived in the early afternoon and met up with Tehani, Helen and baby Max at the airport so we could taxi in to the hotel together. It felt so decadent to hang out and chat with friends I normally don’t get to see more than once every few years – twice within a month!

We went down to the hotel restaurant for a (very) early dinner, correctly guessing it would be our last chance to eat for the night. Some familiar faces were already down there, with the same idea, and we added a table on the end of theirs – and as more and more people arrived, kept doing so, until we had at least 20 people there, and the table had turned into a long L-shape!

Then of course we all had to disappear to frock up, as the new arrivals were looking increasingly glamorous.

The Aurealis Awards were held at the Independent Theatre, a lovely venue only a few minute’s stagger (a bit longer in high heels, but I was wearing flats, hehehe) from the hotel. We met and mingled at the cocktail party (sponsored by HarperCollins), many of us marvelling at how utterly weird it was to be together again so soon after Swancon – when we’re used to an 18 month separation! Of course there were people there who hadn’t been at Swancon, too, so it was a general crowd of happy reunions, gossip and hugging. With champagne. I had lots of lovely conversations with lots of adorable people, though the highlight for me was getting to meet IN PERSON the amazing Nicola, who has edited all three of the Creature Court books with me, one way or another. To get to talk to her in person about the choices we made and how much we love each other’s work was very, very cool.

And oh, the fashions! We are a gorgeously dressed bunch. Tehani referred to it as the ‘night of necklaces,’ and there was certainly some spectacular jewellery on display. Kirstyn wins the prize, of course, for her bird skull necklace that made people go ooh, and then, erkhhhh when they looked more closely…

The theatre itself was the perfect size for an event like this – grand but cozy at the same time, if that makes sense? Tehani and I decided to start a trend by sitting in the front row, since we knew I had to go on stage at some point to present (and we knew Helen would be going up too, but more on that later!). Spec Faction deserve a huge amount of kudos for the event – it ran smoothly, with any dramas rendered pretty much invisible to the rest of us. Cat had put together a hilarious and touching montage of Aurealis Awards photographs (the overall theme was people we knew looking overheated, a bit drunk and terribly happy) which broke the ice marvellously, and there was a really good vibe in the theatre, all that community spirit stuff.

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Norma is Judging You

Something of great interest to the Galactic Suburbia crew this year was the launch of what is officially known as the Norma K Hemming award, but which we in our podcastly wisdom prefer to affectionately refer to the NAWWWMA (imagine the occerest accent imaginable) because it makes an award feel more iconic to have a one word name. Like the Hugos, or the Ditmars, or Cher.

Whoa, what would you give a Cher Award for? Big hair?

Also, if you called it a ‘Hemming’ for short it might be a touch more dignified, but also renders invisible the fact that it’s named after a woman, something still very rare in our field. ‘Norma’ is hard to miss.

The Norma is designed to mark excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability, in speculative fiction works by Australians, or in Australia – the last one being a new addition for the second year of the award. As a longtime Tiptree fangirl, I am excited for us to have our own award to celebrate themes of diversity. I know that it seems at times as if there are so many awards that it’s hardly worth having any more, but something like the Norma has different criteria to something which is more generically looking for the “best” of a given category, and may work to expand people’s definitions of what good speculative fiction actually is.

“Win a Norma” certainly got added to my longlist of career wishes, along with “get nominated for a Tiptree,” “win a Tiptree” and “get to judge the Tiptree.” Like any award, though, it doesn’t matter what pretty rhetoric goes with it, its true significance can’t be seen until you’re a decade in and can look back and see just how interesting a list of winners it is. I look forward to that.

Norma Hemming herself was a fan and writer in the Australian scene. I love this iconic picture of her – more than any other details about her life, this makes me feel like she’s a person I know. After all, you can’t function in fandom without having a killer bitchface scowl, right? Not sure what she’s thinking when the camera snapped, but I like to think it’s something along the lines of “I am so judging you right now.” Or possibly “Where’s my jetpack?”

The 2010 Norma was given posthumously to Maria Quinn for The Gene Thieves (HarperCollins). Entries are now open for the 2011 award (works published in 2010). Anyone can submit works, though the need to supply 4 copies to the judges is probably going to limit nominators to authors and publishers. I always think it’s a bit of a shame to be so rigid about such matters – while you don’t want judges to feel obliged to purchase a lot of material themselves as used to happen in the olden days of Aurealis judging, at the same time I think it’s good if suggestions are encouraged from a wider range of people, and there’s something to be said for hunting and gathering as being an essential part of a judge’s duties…

So what novels or stories would you recommend to be Norma-worthy? I know that my first thoughts go to two stories by Thoraiya Dyer published by Twelfth Planet Press this year – “Yowie” from Sprawl and “Edward Teach” from the new TPP Double. “Teach” in particular has a lot to say about race and culture, and how alienating it can be for a Jewish or Muslim teen growing up in Australia – and that’s before the story gets to all the crunchy genderswapping. I also think that Glitter Rose, particularly the original story “Mama Ailon” would be worth considering, for what it has to say about pregnancy and motherhood. I had to think about this one – certainly in general fiction, dealing with such themes is hardly an exceptional exploration of gender roles, but because female biology is so often ignored or disregarded in fantasy and science fiction, I think it counts. I’d also point out that Angela Slatter’s Sourdough and Other Stories does a great deal to explore gender roles in fairy tales, and particularly to look at the portrayal of female characters in those stories. In novels, Karen Healey’s Guardian of the Dead has lots of crunchy themes of diversity, including a very rare and sympathetic portrayal of an asexual character – the first time I’ve seen this in a YA novel!

I’m sure I’ve missed lots. What else is there?

Galactic Suburbia Episode 21

New Episode now available for streaming, direct download or from iTunes!

In which we work, play, shake up our format a little (gasp!) and cover the life & death of magazines, the changing face of the industry, respect for non fiction, sexual harassment, rants, reboots and as usual, books, books and more books. Also a few sneaky clues about what Twelfth Planet Press is publishing next year!


Realms of Fantasy is back, again…

Escape Pod Expands:
“We have been pushing to expand what Escape Pod does, adding an SF blog and distributing our stories via magazine format. We’re also becoming a pro market, and hope to keep paying our authors pro rates well into 2011 if the donations make it possible.”

Cheryl Morgan talks about paying for reviews as semipro

On the Cooks Source scandal and seeing stuff on the internet as ‘public domain’

Jim C Hines on reporting sexual harassment in SF/F

Old men complaining?
When you get older, do you by consequence lose your sense of wonder? Just simply because you’ve read everything? And is/should all SF be aimed/written for the 60 year old man?
Jason Sanford responds

New Buffy Reboot

New Friend of the Podcast: The Writer & the Critic (Mondy & Kirstyn)

Rambly Discussion
Books that aren’t marketed as being a part of a series…
Publishing, deadlines, and attitudes thereto…
Chat, rants and backpedalling…

What Culture have we Consumed?
Alex: Blameless, Gail Carriger; The Devil in Mr Pussy, Paul Haines; Women of Other Worlds, ed. Helen Merrick and Tess Williams; Bold as Love, Gwyneth Jones; Day of the Triffids (2009 BBC production)
Alisa: works too hard, and also FRINGE
Tansy: To Write Like a Woman, Joanna Russ; Marianne, the Magus & the Manticore by Sheri S Tepper; Sourdough & Other Stories, Angela Slatter; China Mountain Zhang, Maureen McHugh, Mists of Avalon movie

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Best Australian Short Spec Fic 2010

We’ll be posting our Best Of The Year lists over at Last Short Story shortly – which means it’s time to put together my Australian list!

2010 was a great year for short fiction – a lot more fantasy and slipstream than SF, especially on Australian shores. Plenty of Aussie authors were getting published, both locally and overseas, and there were a few excellent single author collections from Kaaron Warren, Marianne De Pierres and two from Angela Slatter – though with the exception of Sourdough, they were mostly reprints. It’s certainly nice to see more Australian women having their work collected, something that has been a shameful omission in previous years.

My Absolute Favourite Spec Fic stories by Australian Authors in 2010 were:

Margo Lanagan, “The Miracle Aquilina,” Wings of Fire
Thoraiya Dyer, “Yowie,” Sprawl
Elizabeth Carroll, “The Duke of Vertumn’s Fingerling,” Strange Horizons

Also Highly Recommended:

Peter M Ball, Bleed, Twelfth Planet Press
Peter M Ball, “One Saturday Night, With Angel,” Sprawl
Thoraiya Dyer, “The Company Articles of Edward Teach,” The Company Articles of Edward Teach/The Angalien Apocalypse
Dirk Flinthart, “The Best Dog in the World,” Worlds Next Door
Margo Lanagan, “A Thousand Flowers,” Zombies vs. Unicorns
Garth Nix, “To Hold the Bridge,” Legends of Australian Fantasy
Angela Slatter, “Lost Things,” Sourdough and Other Stories
Angela Slatter, “Lavender & Lychgates,” Sourdough and Other Stories
Angela Slatter, “Under the Mountain,” Sourdough and Other Stories
Angela Slatter & LL Hannett, “The February Dragon,” Scary Kisses
Cat Sparks, “All the Love in the World,” Sprawl
Kim Wilkins, “Crown of Rowan,” Legends of Australian Fantasy

Honourable Mentions:

Peter M Ball, “L’esprit de L’escalier,” Apex
Peter M Ball, “The Clockwork Goat and the Smokestack Magi,” Shimmer
Deborah Biancotti, “Never Going Home,” Sprawl
Simon Brown, “Sweep,” Sprawl
Stephanie Burgis,** “Speaking English,” Belong
Stephanie Campisi, “How to Select a Durian at Footscray Market,” Sprawl
Marianne De Pierres, “Mama Ailon,” Glitter Rose
Paul Haines, “Her Gallant Needs,” Sprawl
Jennifer Moore,** “United,” Belong
Angela Slatter, “The Dead Ones Don’t Hurt You,” The Girl With No Hands
Angela Slatter, “Brisneyland By Night,” Sprawl
Angela Slatter, “The Shadow Tree,” Sourdough & Other Stories
Angela Slatter, “Dibblespin,” Sourdough & Other Stories
Angela Slatter, “The Story of Ink,” Sourdough & Other Stories
Angela Slatter, “The Bones Remember Everything,” Sourdough & Other Stories
Anna Tambour, “Dreadnought Neptune,” Asimov’s
Kaaron Warren, “Hive of Glass,” Baggage
Kaaron Warren, “Sins of the Ancestors,” Dead Sea Fruit
Scott Westerfeld, “Innoculata,” Zombies vs. Unicorns

** not actually Australian authors but published in an Australian anthology.

Sourdough & Other Stories, by Angela Slatter

Like Diana Comet, this is a collection which really doesn’t call to have the individual stories reviewed. Sourdough is about three steps closer to being a mosaic novel than Diana Comet is, and while a few of the stories have been published elsewhere (though the majority are new to this collection) the collection is stronger as a whole than any of its individual parts.

Angela Slatter’s short fiction tends towards fairytale concepts – often interrogating the ‘happy ever after’ and ‘romantic’ sensibilities associated with those tales to reveal the sticky, mean and bitter undercurrents that run through them. The first few stories very much follow in that tradition – but as the book continues, the stories begin to build upon each other, with characters crossing from one story to another, and whole narratives occuring in bits and pieces. The effect is a build up of tensions and investment from the reader, and it made the last few stories in particular really engrossing. The world that serves as background to these stories begins as a fairly generic ‘place where fairytales happen’ but later expands to include familiar buildings, cities and historical events. It might emerge only piece by piece, but it takes on a very real quality.

What I noticed most was that every story was narrated in first person by a different female character. Most of these were quite young, though a few were mothers. The effect was rather interesting – I’m used to more of a variety of character types in anthologies and collections, particularly with first person stories. It meant this was very much a story about women, particularly the plucky young girl/princess archetype who is so prevalent in fairytales. Slatter’s young women are as a group far more damaged, brittle and endangered than the shiny Disney heroines people might expect, and I liked the fact that we often got to see stories from more than one perspective, as many of the protagonists return older and/or wiser in later stories.

I very much liked “The Shadow Tree,” “Dibblespin,” “The Story of Ink” and “The Bones Remember Everything,” but my absolute favourites were “Lost Things,” “Lavender and Lychgates,” and “Under the Mountain.”

This is a beautifully packaged book which calls to be appreciated and re-read for the many layers that lie within.

The Internet is Full of Tansy

Angela Slatter includes me in her drive-by interview series.

New Power and Majesty reviews at ASiF and Fangtastic Fiction.

The recently relaunched Galaxy Bookshop blog asks me some crunchy questions about books and hosts a guest post from me about the writing of Power and Majesty.

I also wrote a post for the Voyager blog, about how I created the place names for my fantasy city.

One last reminder about the Tansy podcast goodness for this month: I read “Fleshy” for TISF, Tehani Wessely reads my story “Relentless Adaptations” from the upcoming suburban fantasy anthology “Sprawl,” and I chat with Alisa and Alex about boots and many many et ceteras over at Galactic Suburbia Episode 12.