February 8th, 2007


Australian Speculative Fiction Stupidity, Post #2346.

Today's post about Australian Speculative Fiction comes from Ben Payne (benpayne), who was the director of last year's Aurealis Awards, but will not be this year, because the organisers have decided that, "The director will not be permitted to review or blog on eligible work."

It's good to see that the Middle Management are looking after the Aurealis Award processes. I mean it: if they weren't there, we might have to deal with someone having an opinion. That'd be terrible. An opinion. Could you imagine it? The director of the awards might actually say, "I didn't really like that story," because he/she actually read it. Other people might say, "No, I liked it," and then people might talk about the story itself. Someone who hasn't read it might actually read it. Could you imagine? People talking about fiction! That would completely and utterly undermine the validity and importance of the award. An award is only good when no one says a thing about it, and it can stand there, on its pedestal, as a beacon of judgmental light that none should show any public opinion about.

It's especially important to silence directors (and maybe judges--can we silence judges soon, cause they piss me off most of all)... anyhow, it's especially important to silence, I say, silence people with opinions because that might ruin the idea of group mentality (or group think, as some might call it). It might suggest that we're all not one happy group of people who agree on the quality of fiction that is produced. There's been a bit of dissent about that lately, with review sites, and annoying authors who think that if they can read it, they can say what they want with a fuck you attitude, and I miss those days when anyone involved in the Australian Arts scene would sit around and say, "Yeah, it was shit, but I'm not saying that publicly. Might upset someone, you know?" I miss that silence that was bought around by reviewers who would only review things they liked, or give little nods to their friends, because that meant we were all a community and that means so much to me--I mean, I just can't say how much it means to me, and I'm glad we're silencing people.

It's especially important to silence people because that's professional. It's professional to have no opinion that might suggest that there was more than one opinion going around. A unified front must be observed. We can't have people realising that a group of people are made up of individuals, and if a director of an award ceremony has a different opinion, that should be silenced at all cost, because that reveals that. Individualism must be stamped out! And since it's a volunteer position, it must be stamped out even more, because there's nothing like driving away the outspoken, publicly minded, intelligent people who dedicate their time to this cause to ensure that it is safe and in good hands. No one needs those people. What you need are the people who scream professionalism to you as a way to silence you whenever you state an opinion. Those people are the people you can trust. Those people are the people you want leading us into the future.

Yes, the Aurealis Awards are safe, yet again, due to the Fantastic Queensland Middle Management. I'm so glad. The Aurealis Awards mean so much to me and it is moments like this that make me realise my faith has been placed in a fine, upstanding organisation, of who I could never find fault in.

Praise be.

Move Under Ground

A couple of weeks back I posted about Nick Mamatas' (nihilistic_kid) Under My Roof and, ultimately, his first novel, Move Under Ground. Well, turns out that Mamatas has released it under the Creative Commons act online, "I decided to release it under a Creative Commons license for a number of reasons. The first is simply that I wish my novel to be more widely read. The second is that I am currently a student at Western Connecticut University's MFA program in Professional Writing, and this site is a project for its class on publishing technologies. The third is a bit more mercenary: if you like this book, perhaps you'd like to buy either the hardcover or the trade paperback. You may also wish to check out my most recent book, a novel for young people called Under My Roof, which is about neighborhood-level nuclear proliferation."

Which means, of course, that the book is now free. Which is cool, because it's a Lovecraft meets Jack Kerouac beat novel about the end of the world, and I dug it.


The Australian Journal for Critical Review of Speculative Fiction

Call for Papers

The Australian Journal for Critical Review of Speculative Fiction invites submissions of essays for its premier issue, to be published late in 2007. The Australian Journal for Critical Review of Speculative Fiction will be an accredited, peer-assessed electronic journal distributed via pdf.

Essays from 3,000 to 5,000 words.

We are interested in rigorous critical examinations of any facet of literature or other media within the speculative fiction genre. We would like to see works which look at aspects of the long history of science fiction, fantasy and horror, as well as those which deal with recent works and movements within the field. We welcome critical work on speculative fiction throughout the world.

Please submit essay proposals including a 400-word abstract, and a bio detailing your academic and/or critical background. Do not submit complete essays unless requested.

Proposals may be emailed to: critreviewspecfic@gmail.com

Deadline for papers: September 1, 2007

The Australian Journal for Critical Review of Speculative Fiction will be published by Twelfth Planet Press, and administered by the AJCRSR Board, consisting of Ms Alisa Krasnostein, Dr Kathryn Linge, Dr Benjamin Payne, Dr Benjamin Peek and Ms Tansy Rayner Roberts.

Updates will be kept on this blog.

Because it'll be fun.