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Aurealis Awards, Redux

In case you haven't seen this, Rosaleen Love has written an article on the Aurealis Award nominated stories.

Love is the author of the recent collection, the Traveling Tide, released by Aqueduct Press out of the States, and has been publishing short fiction for somewhere close to twenty-five years now. It's fine stuff, if you've never read it, and the latter work has a concern about the environment running through it. Anyhow, Love also teaches creative writing out in the University circle of Victoria--a fact that I found out, once, when someone who was in her class ended up at this blog from one of her lectures. What I'm trying to say before you click the link, however, is that Love knows what she's talking about, and has a lot of experience in the field.

You'll find it interesting, perhaps, to compare it to my article on the Aurealis Award Nominations, mostly because there's a lot of similarities in the opinions on the fiction. About the only author we disagree upon is Margo Lanagan, but for the rest, I tend to think we're on the same page, and she talks about a lot of things that I didn't have space for in the other piece. Plus, who can't warm to anyone who writes, "Where is the science fiction in this story? Ah, it must be the brain implant that makes naked blonde white women sex slaves of big black brutal African men. I just didn’t warm to the characters, the plot, the ending, the racism, the sexism, the sadism, the grammar, or the sentences in this story."

Comments

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girliejones
Feb. 12th, 2007 12:52 am (UTC)
that's not my favourite bit, clsoe, but not it
benpeek
Feb. 12th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
what's your fav?
girliejones
Feb. 12th, 2007 12:55 am (UTC)
ahh you'll know it when you see it
blzblack
Feb. 12th, 2007 01:46 am (UTC)
Interesting discussions. I did compare the two.

I wasn't convinced that Battersby's repetition of a common historical bit is a flaw. Now Battersby's work may be flawed. I haven't read it. But it seems to me, you could do a whole anthology surrounding a historical fact and still make each story fresh. But later in praise Anna Tambour, you mention no overlap in any regard of her work. So I take it that repetition of any element is a flaw for you?

Love seems like a sharp reader; however, I actually prefer your critical analysis of the Conyers (sp?) story. The string of things she doesn't warm to doesn't give me insight into the work itself.
benpeek
Feb. 12th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)

see, to me, in two pieces that total, i dunno, six thousand words, maybe, the repetition is a flaw. the area of medicine and pregnancy has been around for a long, long time. if you're repeating yourself at this kind of word length, it means you're badly researched, and that you're not going to any length to expand upon it.

generally speaking, however, for myself, repetition is a flaw. i like originality. i like to see writers doing new things. if you're doing the same thing, again and again, where's the creativity in that? where's the decision to push yourself? it's not a hard thing to do one thing, and its not particularly interesting, either.

that said, there is kinds of repition that can be interesting. thematic is the easy one. but where you're actually repeating content? nah.

the conyers comment made me laugh.
blzblack
Feb. 12th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC)
I like orginality myself, but I've been hitting, for example, depression from multiple angles--from the perceivers, from the suffers, from the inflictors (sp?). And in each of these there are innumerable ways to be affected and to affect. I don't think any one story could ever completely cover the topic--even a lifetime of such work. You see people try to attack a subject, to come to grips with it, and yet it may still elude them.

You may be right that the new piece isn't covering new territory, but from what little I know about the pieces (what you said), one sounds like it is the affected party while the other is the one who is doing it to himself. That is, Battersby is showing the effects of suicide in one while trying to get inside the head of a suicide in the other. Or did I misunderstand?

But maybe in the end he still failed to cover new territory?

I'm speaking out of my ass as I've read neither.
benpeek
Feb. 12th, 2007 03:22 am (UTC)
in the case of battersby i think you've missed the point. one of the influences in his work is the death of his first wife shortly after childbirth. in the two pieces listed, there is information listed about the history of childbirth, and that historical info doubles up. the influence can be found in his work in general--a lot of it is about grief, and other pieces, such as 'father muetre and the flesh', which is in the next datlow/link/grant year's best returns to childbirth/child related dramas. that's if you want to check out his stuff.

anyhow, i don't think battersby is coming at it from new angles, and in the case of this story, it's simply a bad piece of fiction--but its hard to discuss it with you, since you've not read the stuff. but anyhow: you are right that you can come from a lot of different angles and do different things, but you can't do this if you're repeating the same information, because that's the same thing and the same angle.
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