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The Past | The Previous

The Future, the Past, the Now.

So: my review of the Aurealis Award Finalists will run on the 30/31st* on Strange Horizons (sh_reviews), and that'll prove interesting, maybe. If for nothing else it's been a good experience for me in exploring a critical voice that is a mix of what I have here on the blog and my academic voice.

That is not the point of this post, however. Rather, as I was filling out the info sheet and looking for isbns, I came across the fact that the anthology Forever Shores, edited by Peter McNamara and Margaret Winch, is still in print. You can even buy it off Amazon.com, which is pretty cool if you're in another country (they have a copy left). Obviously, I've got a story in this, and it's called 'Dr Who? (or The Day I Learnt to Love Tom Baker)' which if anyone knows my opinion of Dr Who will find pretty funny. I once heard the story explained as it about being trapped in fandom, which is a much more intelligent than I thought when I wrote it, it must be said, and which I now say, "Yes, trapped in fandom. Exactly. It's also about a boy who has never seen his father's face." Anyhow, besides me, the book features authors like Terry Dowling, Margo Lanagan, Isobelle Carmody, Leanna Frahm, and Lucy Sussex (indeed, Sussex's story, 'Frozen Charolettes', was reprinted in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, volume seventeen), and a bunch of others, and I've always thought it was a strong collection.

That may not sound like much of an endorsement, considering I'm in it, but the truth is, sometimes, even when you've written what you consider a strong story (and it is bought for a collection or magazine), you can't always say that the collection or magazine it appeared in is good. Sometimes that's because you haven't read it, other times because it's just ordinary and, of course, sometimes because it's just awful. Sometimes you're in an awful collection with an awful story you regret publishing, even. I've done that once or twice, and I'm aiming to not do it again, but I've appeared in places that are ordinary and don't appeal to my personal tastes, and likely I'll be in a few more, that being the nature of the world and taste being taste and everything. And, while I'm being honest, it should probably be said that my story in Forever Shores is simply solid. It won't rock your world, if your world has ever been rocked by something I wrote. It's a comedy and hopefully you'll get some laughs and then move on to the larger, more impressive stories.

Forever Shores, however, never seemed to really catch on in the local scene down here, and I've never been sure as to why not. Sure, the cover kinda blows, but can that explain it? Maybe there's no explanation. Maybe it's just one of those things. Still, it was surprising, given that this was McNamara and Winch's last project due to illness, and that they were well thought of, having produced the magazine Aphelion and the anthology Alien Shores, which many considered to be an important book in the early nineties, breaking a lot of new authors. It was certainly my first exposure to the scene, that collection, and made appaearing in their last book really fine for me. But still, given all that, Forever Shores appeared to fly beneath a lot of radars, and there never appeared to be much conversation or buzz about it (though stories in it did pick up a few Ditmars and Aurealis nominations and wins). Maybe there was and this just passed me by, but still, here I am, typing this blog entry, and besides which, the book came out in 2004. We all know that publishing has the memory of a goldfish, so it's good to remind people of books out there still in print that are worth picking up.

Anyhow, like I said, I think the book is quite a strong collection, worth the purchase if you're interested in Australian fantasy, and it manages to show quite a diverse range of stories under that genre branch. Of course, it also has a story by me, and lets face it, this is my blog, and in my blog, you can't get enough of my fiction.




* Depending on your timezone, I guess.

Comments

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oldcharliebrown
Jan. 23rd, 2006 01:27 am (UTC)
It could be because of lack of marketing, which would go far to explain why it's gone under the radar.
benpeek
Jan. 23rd, 2006 01:32 am (UTC)
yeah, could've been. unlike like most local books, however, it got into chain stores and such round here, and it had a lot of anticpation for it got released. but ah well. s'not really my problem, since i'm neither publisher nor editors and not responsible. but i thought the book was deserving of a better reputation, like so many, i guess.
dmw
Jan. 23rd, 2006 03:59 am (UTC)
I heartily endorse this product and/or service.

Also, <molly>do yourself a favour</molly> and pick up a copy of Wonder years (alas not on Amazon: maybe Bill Congreve knows where you can get it...), edited by McNamara and featuring stories by, um, Terry Dowling, Margo Lanagan, Isobelle Carmody, Leanne Frahm, and Lucy Sussex.
benpeek
Jan. 23rd, 2006 04:05 am (UTC)
i've a copy of WONDER YEARS from, i guess around 2004, actually. i think you can still buy copies of it from bill. it's not a bad book. an interesting collection.
ex_benpayne119
Jan. 23rd, 2006 07:17 am (UTC)
I was one of those who didn't really get into Forever Shores. It had some good stuff in it, but also some forgettable stuff, and not many of the stories have stayed with me over time. The Broderick story, for instance, did nothing for me, and the Dowling story I tried to read six times before finally giving up...

I also find it hard to evaluate books that are half-new, half-reprints...

It did share the best collection Ditmar with Agog, though, so it wasn't like no-one noticed it...

benpeek
Jan. 23rd, 2006 10:24 am (UTC)
the dowling didn't do much for me, but i think it's mostly because i haven't read two of the tyson books, so i was a bit lost. but for a lot of people who were into it, i figure that it was quite event worthy, and important, which in itself made me wonder why the book didn't get more discussion. i dunno, like you said, it did get noticed, and maybe i just missed it all. it's been a while, after all. but... i dunno. just always seemed to me like it deserved a bit more. of course, there's the situation where many books that are deserving slip off the radar and don't leave a mark, so this is nothing new.

just the morning thought as i post, i guess.
ex_benpayne119
Jan. 23rd, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I hadn't read the earlier Tyson stuff either, so maybe that's why I couldn't get into it. I haven't talked to anybody who had read the early stuff to find out their thoughts...
danjite
Jan. 24th, 2006 10:38 am (UTC)
Found you via a lovely wry (true) comment in douglain's lj. Then checked out your info page, saw no common friends and no common (posted lj) interests with me and decided on that basis to add you out of statistical necessity.

'Allo!
benpeek
Jan. 24th, 2006 11:33 am (UTC)
well, welcome to the blog anymore, man.

upfront, i should probably say that for about the next six weeks or so, this thing isn't going to be as interesting as it usually is. or so i suspect. i'm in the last six weeks of my phd so it's all about that. but stick round, cause i'll start up setting people in no time :)
danjite
Jan. 24th, 2006 01:46 pm (UTC)
Good luck on the next six weeks.

Dissertation grind time?
Prepping for orals?
Either way, good luck!

If you are prepping for the other type of exam, you may need this.

See you in March...
benpeek
Jan. 25th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
nah, it's not an exam time thing. it's actually the submission of my phd so it can be read and hated or read and loved and me awarded a doctorate i'll do very little with. so it's six weeks to clean and finish up everything.
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