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The Ditmar nominations have been released.

If--and perish the thought--you don't remember what the Ditmars are, they are the last, and the longest running, of the Australian Awards. Thirteen statues are given out. In recent years, the Ditmars have, I reckon, been dominated by groups of people who feel that the Aurealis Awards have not been accurate in their representation of what has been published by (and usually in) Australia. Given the debate that surrounded flash fiction at the time of the Aurealis Awards, it shouldn't be surprising then, that the ezine, Shadowed Realms, and it's publisher and editor, Angela Challis, and sometimes editor and partner of the Challis, Shane Jiraiya Cummings, look as if, this year, they have gotten organised as the strongest of the voting blocks. After all, given the complaining about a lack of flash fiction represented, and flash fiction from Shadowed Realms in particular, to find that they have three nominations in the short fiction field this year is telling. (Perhaps wisely, Cummings himself does not appear on this section.) Given that Challis and Cummings are also supporters of horror, and can be argued to be part of the new Emerging Horror Writer voice in the country, it shouldn't also be surprising to see that the rest of the list is dominated by the darker side of fiction. The novels, in fact, are all horror but one--Dugan's The Silver Road. This voting display also continues through to the Horrorscope crew--of which Cummings is the editor--being nominated strongly in each category. This kind of thing is hardly new for any kind of popular vote award, so before you think that I'm having a go, calm down. I like the politics--it interests me. The politics are what makes the Ditmars interesting. Of course, things like this render the award useless as any measure of quality, but given that Cummings has publicly stated that he is going to be involved in the Aurealis Awards and Australian Shadows this year, I suspect that what we have seen here is the start of a new power push by those who are involved and support Brimstone Press. The second new force to emerge is that of Alisa Krasnostein, which is unsurprising, given how much new work she has produced this year, though she doesn't appear in the fiction categories; and of course, the old favourites, such as the Mt Lawley List, the Borderlands Crew, and the Melbourne Mob, continue to make themselves felt, though this year some of them do so without the strength as previously.

Of course, none of that explains how I ended up on the nomination form.


Carnies. Martin Livings, Lothian
Prismatic. Edwina Grey, Lothian
The Mother. Brett McBean, Lothian
The Pilo Family Circus. Will Elliot, ABC Books
The Silver Road. Grace Dugan, Penguin


Aftermath. David Conyers, Agog! Ripping Reads, Agog! Press
The Dead of Winter. Stephen Dedman, Weird Tales, #339
The Devil in Mr Pussy (Or how I found God inside my wife). Paul Haines, C0ck, Couer de Lion Publishing
The Souls of Dead Soldiers are for Blackbirds, Not Little Boys. Ben Peek, Agog! Ripping Reads, Agog! Press
Under the Red Sun. Ben Peek, Fantasy Magazine #4, Prime Books
World’s Whackiest Upper Atmosphere Re-Entry Disasters Dating Game. Brendan Duffy, Agog! Ripping Reads, Agog! Press
(Fifth place nomination a tie)

Short Story

Burning from the Inside. Paul Haines, Doorways for the Dispossessed, Prime Books
Cold. Kirstyn McDermott, Shadowed Realms #9
Honeymoon. Adam Browne and John Dixon, C0ck, Couer de Lion Publishing
Surrender 1: Rope Artist. Deborah Biancotti, Shadowed Realms #9
The Bat's Boudoir. Kyla Ward, Shadowed Realms #9
The Fear of White. Rjurik Davidson, Borderlands #7
(Fifth place nomination a tie)

Collected Work

Agog! Ripping Reads edited by Cat Sparks. Agog! Press
C0ck edited by Keith Stevenson & Andrew Macrae
Doorways to the Dispossessed edited by Paul Haines and Geoffrey Maloney, Prime Books
The Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy Vol.2 edited by Bill Congreve & Michelle Marquardt, Mirrordanse Books
Eidolon I edited by Jonathan Strahan and Jeremy Byrne, Eidolon Books


26Lies/1Truth, cover art by Andrew MacRae, Wheatland Press
Agog! Ripping Reads, cover art by Cat Sparks, Agog! Press
Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century cover art by Cat Sparks, Wesleyan University Press
The Devoured Earth, cover art by Greg Bridges, HarperCollins Press
The Arrival, cover art by Sean Tan, Lothian

Fan Writer

Stephanie Gunn
Shane Jiraiya Cummings
Danny Oz
Miranda Siemienowicz
Mark Smith-Briggs
Matthew Tait
(Fifth place nomination a tie)

Fan Artist

Christopher Johnstone
Jon Swaby

Fan Production

ASif website, Alisa Krasnostein – Executive Editor
Inkspillers website, Tony Plank
Outland, Directed by John Richards
Tabula Rasa website, David Carroll
The Bullsheet website & ezine, Edwina Harvey & Ted Scribner


AntipodeanSF, editor Ion Newcombe
ASIF – Australian Specfic in Focus, editor Alisa Krasnostein
Captain's Log, Austrek clubzine
Ethel the Aardvark, MSFC clubzine
HorrorScope, editor Shane Jiraiya Cummings

Professional Achievement

Angelia Challis for establishing Brimstone Press as a mass market publisher
Bill Congreve for Mirrordanse Press and 2 issues of the Australian Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy
Russell B Farr for Ticonderoga Publications
Gary Kemble for work on ABC’s Articulate and promoting the genre through radio and other mediums
Alisa Krasnostein for providing new paying markets for readers and writers of both fiction/ non fiction, art as well as forums for reviews/interviews within the speculative fiction genre, enhancing the profile of Australian speculative fiction.
Justine Larbalestier, for editing Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century

Fan Achievement

Marty Young for his work establishing and promoting the Australian Horror Writers Association
Alisa Krasnostein for establishing ASIf
Tony Plank for establishing and maintaining the Inkspillers website

New Talent

Stephanie Campisi
David Conyers
Shane Jiraiya Cummings
Alisa Krasnostein
Brett McBean

The William Atheling Jr Award

Miranda Siemienowicz for her review of Paraspheres appearing in Horrorscope
Justine Larbalestier for Daughters of Earth: The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction
Robert Hood for Man and Super-Monster: A History of Daikaiju Eiga and its Metaphorical Undercurrents. Borderlands #7
Grant Watson for Bad Film Diaries - Sink or Swim: The Truth Behind Waterworld. Borderlands #8
Kathryn Linge for her review Through Soft Air, ASif


Awards. You know how much I love them.

Last year, I tried to get out of the Ditmar I was nominated for (the Atheling). I figured that would be easy, but apparently, there's a bunch of people out there who think that once you're nominated, you have no control over your fiction, so it wasn't. Then, I decided that I would withdraw from the Aurealis Awards in 2006, because I planned to write an essay about them, and I figured that that would be easy, too. But it wasn't. It wasn't because editors and publishers have an invested interest in awards. It wasn't because Cat Sparks (catsparx), the editor and publisher of Agog! Ripping Reads, wants 'The Souls of Dead Soldiers are for Blackbirds, Not Little Boys', to be up for contention. We had a couple of conversations about it. I was told that I was being selfish, then threatened with violence, and threatened and threatened. Now, books don't happen in a vacuum, and the truth of the matter is people like Cat put a whole lot of more work into getting fiction out there than I do. I just write it--I don't edit it, I don't publish it, and I don't go around to cons and sell it at my publishers table. Cat does a fuckload more work than me and, yeah, I just assumed she--and all publishers/editors--didn't care about awards like me. But I was wrong. Way wrong. So I said, "I won't change the Aurealis thing--I'm going to do a full on version of it this year, and I'd more interested in that than any kind of award. However, I won't say anything about the Ditmars--if it gets up there, it can stay, and if it wins you can go up there, accept it, and keep the statue on her mantle."*

Which is exactly what I said, because, lets face it, I didn't think it would happen.

But the joke's on me, because I am. Twice. So both will stay there, because I said sure to that, and that'll be my new public stance on awards, to save me getting emails from editors and publishers in the future. Also, I will thank the people who voted, because I'm not impolite, and I figure it's got to be hard to vote for me within Australia at times.

* If there was cash, though, I'd be keeping that... Yeah, this completely mercenary thought doesn't bother me at all.


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Apr. 3rd, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
But wouldn't the awards look good on your cv?

(and your introduction letters, if you still need to send them out.)

Sure you don't need to actually keep the awards, but the recognition would further your writing career surely.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)
i honestly don't think they do much, unless we're talking something like a booker. but on this level, no, i doubt it.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 05:59 am (UTC)
Might help with grant applications. "Award-winning" never hurts in such instances, even if they've never heard of the award.

Just sayin'...
Apr. 3rd, 2007 06:06 am (UTC)
that's why on grant applications, i am dr peek :P
Apr. 3rd, 2007 12:08 pm (UTC)
Dr Peek? that sounds so very very very rude.

congrats on the nom, oh fellow unicorn hater.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 12:17 pm (UTC)
the games are what makes the degree. i would've thought you'd known this already ;)

thanks--and to you, and yours.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 01:22 am (UTC)
Should I be happy because I'm not in a block, or sad that no-one invited me?
Apr. 3rd, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
a little bit of both ;)
Apr. 3rd, 2007 01:25 am (UTC)
the bit about me threratening violence is true.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 01:31 am (UTC)
i would never lie about that...
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
it was completely believable
Apr. 3rd, 2007 01:33 am (UTC)
apparently, there's a bunch of people out there who think that once you're nominated, you have no control over your fiction, so it wasn't.

No, there are a bunch of people who think that you have no control over their opinions about your fiction.

Not saying either side is right, but you might not want to be so dismissive.

I figure it's got to be hard to vote for me within Australia at times.

Its exactly as easy as to vote for anyone else.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
to me, awards and opinions aren't the same thing, but today, i'm just not up for the argument for it, so whatever. it's all good.

and yes, you are quite right about the ease of voting for others.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:34 am (UTC)
No, they aren't the same thing either - but nor are awards obviously an aspect of the work that the author has any control over. Both sides are defensible, and the reality is historical factors come into peoples position.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
I find it interesting that you effectively posit a conspiracy theory where Shane Jiraiya Cummings controls the majority of nominations on almost every ballot. Why not look at a feminist conspiracy, afterall, the three Shadowed Realms stories came from the "all women" issue (and Biancotti has enjoyed much prior Ditmar success).

If this was a fix put in by Cummings, I want him doing my numbers next year.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 01:45 am (UTC)
it's not a conspiracy. it's simply an observation based off comments left by him and angela after the aurealis awards. don't you find it awful convenient that after all that THREE flash fiction stories made it up there, and that the horrorscope crew are all represented across the board?

good on them for getting organised. if they want a voice, let it be heard. but to think that this just 'happened' is a bit silly.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:23 am (UTC)
Cat Sparks is all across the board, too, but I don't see you suggesting she got organised.

Horror is represented strongly on the ballot, but there is more to Australian Horror than Challis and Cummings. Could it not be that the Australian Horror Writers Association is emerging as a power bloc, ready to nominate anything Horror-related, and that Cummings and Challis have made the ballot based on this?

I'm not suggesting that there hasn't been some organisation in this ballot, but would suggest that, lacking proof otherwise, this has been of an informal nature generated through an overall push from the AHWA members to elevate the status of horror in Australia, an agenda that has also been publicly announced.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:31 am (UTC)
i doubt cat needs to get organised at all these days. maybe in the first year, but there was the clarion borg for that.

anyhow, indeed, you might be right that it's AHWA. challis and cummings are part of that as well, so i figure saying its that block is really just shifting the figureheads around. i pick people, you pick a title. in the end we're probably talking about the same group of people, and that is, people who have an agenda to promote horror. however, given that shadowed realms scored those three noms, and that it's challis and cummings' pet promotion to push flash, i'm going to keep calling it the challis and cummings power bloc :)

but in fairness, i see nothing wrong with your theory. it's the same as mine, mostly.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:44 am (UTC)
Two differences:

my theory relies on a group of like-minded folk nominating relevant work in numbers sufficient that some make the ballot -- yours attributes this to two people actively organising this to occur;
your theory could be considered defamatory.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
you think me saying two people organising votes is defamatory? dude. that's what politics is all about.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)
Just tossing in my 2c worth: I've watched the Ditmars for years, and even administered them once. (OK, twice. In one year. Ha!) It doesn't look like a bloc vote to me, just an overall trend towards horror combined with the ease of people being able to read online fiction compared to most of the print stuff.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 05:09 am (UTC)
i dunno, man, only three of those pieces were online. i've been watching it for a while, too, and i reckon it's a bloc demonstration. not that we'll ever know for sure, though.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 03:15 am (UTC)
I have a theory too to explain the dominance of horror works.

Apr. 3rd, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
Apr. 3rd, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)
Cat Sparks is all across the board, too, but I don't see you suggesting she got organised.

Hey, if you didn't nominate me can I have that fiver back???
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
If there's a feminist conspiracy, then where's my farkin Redback story nomination, huh? huh?
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:12 am (UTC)
Uh huh.

3 Agog! stories in the novella category, plus Collected Work, plus two nominations for Artwork, and you want more nominations?
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
she wants that personalised fiction nom :)
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:17 am (UTC)
You know what I want, Russ. I want a nomination for my writing :-)
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)
then edit and illustrate less and write more ;)
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
Geez Sparks do I gotta do everything for you? Didn't I tell you all those years ago not to become an editor? You could be missing out on the Hugo ballot by now if you hadda listened ;)
Apr. 3rd, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
yeah Russ, you did. But hey, if you don't listen to your own advice then why should I???
Apr. 3rd, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
Cos I'm not a writer. Those who can't write edit, it's the new rule I just made up.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
I'm not even gonna dignify this one with a bad joke.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:02 am (UTC)
Well, I'm pissed off, Ben. I hadn't realised BOTH your stories would be in the novella category. In fact I was hoping any entry by you would be in the short story slot. Why hadn't you just cut some of the words out so that would be the case? Eh? Why? Why?

BTW, you should get your arse down here to Melbourne for Convergence 2 and be on the panel with me about awards. Keith Stevenson is organising, so go on, it'd be fun. My first ever panel too.

Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:05 am (UTC)
BTW, you should get your arse down here to Melbourne for Convergence 2 and be on the panel with me about awards.

no fucking way :)

anyhow, don't worry about the novella category, dude. you're on home ground. it's yours.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:08 am (UTC)
Dunno about homeground -- Duffy is too. I won my Ditmars when it was in Hobart. I wasn't there, and had so little faith in winning I hadn't lined up anyone to do an acceptance for me. Lucky for me there's a Cat Sparks.

And the panel would be great! Imagine the heat! I can see DeNiro and Kilmer crossing the room with guns blazing as Pacino fires from beneath the desk. Aw, Ben, come on, this IS the time!
Apr. 3rd, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)
a lot of people like mr. pussy--i like it. it gets my complete, non-existing vote.

anyhow, nah. i'm aiming to go to world fantasy in november, so i need to save my cash. which is really an excuse, i know, cause i could get away with doing it on the cheap, so it remains 'no fucking way' :)
Apr. 3rd, 2007 12:13 pm (UTC)
there's TOTALLY a feminist conspiracy. how else would my feminist antho get nominated twice?

there's already a backlash cause why else would the title of it be so mangled in its William Atheling listing? Hmmmm?

and everyone know dr peek is a big ole feminazi.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 12:17 pm (UTC)
it's the boots i wear, innit?
Apr. 3rd, 2007 12:20 pm (UTC)
that and the brass knuckles. wearing the feminist colours of green white and purple adds to the effect. but are those blood stains really necessary?
Apr. 3rd, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC)
it's the style in these parts.
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Ben Peek

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