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This'll Probably Shock And/Or Upset

Ben Payne (benpayne) has taken up the job of the Aurealis Award Convener. Possibly because he was drunk when asked, or because they thought he was me, and it'd be funny to put me in charge of this. Humour: it's a strange thing. Besides which, there is a history of people confusing him for me, or me for him... er, however it works. In the last couple of years, I've been listed as the editor of Potato Monkey, had people query me about submitting to Aurealis and once, in a bar in Canberra, was told by an editor how much she loved one of my stories, how she thought I showed a lot of ability, talent, and that I was really quite cute, too. She expected to hear the name Ben Payne again and again. I just smiled, took her money, and told her I was gay. And just yesterday I had an email asking me how I'd become the Convener of the Aurealis Award. There's more, but I won't go on, since there's no real point to this little bit. I just think it's funny, is all. Incidently, over the weekend, Ben was hospitalised after being glassed in a bar brawl by a bunch of angry writers. He's always getting the dirty end of the stick.

At the moment, however, he is looking for judges in the Aurealis Awards this year. He says, "We are looking for people with a broad knowledge of the field, who are interested in judging books and stories written in one of our five categories (science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult and children) during the coming year.

"These are voluntary, unpaid positions. Judges must be willing to commit a substantial amount of time to reading those books which are applicable to their category, and to discussing the books' merits with other judges via email.

"Anybody interested, or with questions, should write to me at director@aurealisawards.com.
"

One of the big problems with the local scene here is that it's insular. It doesn't reach outside its tiny little barriers a whole lot and, one might even argue, that it doesn't try to. That's another comment for another time, however. Despite my opinions of awards, and my criticisms of the Golden Shower in particular, I do think it is possible to use the award to take the scene and work within it outside these barriers, but it needs people from the outside coming in. Always has. I know a lot of people in different scenes in different countries read this blog. I know some of you are even familiar with the work that has won previous Aurealis Awards. Way I figure, if some of you have an interest in judging awards, or just getting yourself involved in this kind of thing, and you have a knowledge of speculative fiction, this might be your ticket. Plus, you get a whole heap of free fiction, free Australian fiction even, so you can be a tourist in the exotic world that is so pretty in the commercials for a year, only, you know, with books.

No one asked me to do this. Likely, Ben is probably calling me a cunt from his hospital bed, and wondering what he's going to do when his pretty face heals all up. What's that thing in Britain right now? Happy Slapping? Anyway:The Aurealis Award site is here. Check it, email Ben, do whatever if it strikes your interest.