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Australianness in the World.

Did you go to the Australian Speculative Fiction Panel at WFC?

Well, if so, you might have heard my opinions read out by someone less accented (or, alternatively, more accented) than I, because I answered some questions beforehand for Jeff VanderMeer, as he reckoned he was going to use them a bit in the panel. I think the questions and answers are going up on his blog in a bit, or they'll end up here, either way, so you'll get a chance to read them. Meanwhile, there is a brief rundown of the panel here, and I think we'll all be in agreement that Deb (deborahb) missed an opportunity by not calling me a crack addict in another country to a room full of people.

However, if you went to that panel and you're curious about the local scene over here, Project Pulp (blindsidepubs) currently has The Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, Volume One, as this week's pick, where you can all buy said book and make Jon rich like a Nazi. Yes. Like a Nazi. Indeed, here is what he wrote about the collection today:

The Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy.

2005 Edition; Edited by Bill Congreve & Michelle Marquardt
Hardcover - $26.95 (usually $29.95); Paperback - $16.25 (usually $17.95)

You'll find the traditional, the street-smart, the amusing, and the adventurous. From urban fantasy to the myths, dreams, and warriors of the future; from the death of the nation to its rebirth; this collection plots a course across the works of the leading writers and dynamic newcomers.

Stories that share a common desire to explore mankind in a moment on the edge. This is the joy of the written word as it was meant to be: inventive and challenging.

Supplementing the fiction is the editors' insightful summation of the field in Australia, and a list of recommended reading, making this volume a valuable resource as well as a one stop, definitive volume of the best in Australian speculative fiction today.

The American edition doesn't come with Margo Lanagan's now World Fantasy Award winning 'Singing My Sister Down', however. You can buy the Australian version here. That said, you can find Margo's story reprinted in the Datlow, Link, and Grant edited Year's Best, so if you've that, there's no repeating here.


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Nov. 8th, 2005 01:11 am (UTC)
Weird. How come she's not in the US version?

Nov. 8th, 2005 02:18 am (UTC)
something to do with the rights, i believe. from what i understand, the publisher has the rights to the stories, or the rights to where they get reprinted, or some such thing. you'd have to ask bill or margo for a more detailed answer.
Nov. 8th, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
Fair enough. I guess Margo probably needs the publicity less than the other authors, in any case, given recent awards!

Nov. 8th, 2005 02:50 am (UTC)
i guess in this kind of collection, margo's award fame might actually bring people to it. anthologies tend to work that way for me, at least.
Nov. 8th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's a shame from that angle.

Hopefully Deb's con panel will stir up some good publicity for it... it sounds like there's an interest in Australian writers out there...

If only they'd stop playing it down though... instead of saying "there's no golden age or renaissance" they should be saying "Australian SF is bigger than Jesus":)

or something...

Nov. 8th, 2005 05:02 am (UTC)

the problem with golden ages and renaissances is that they are pretty much something you can only pick once you're out of them, i suspect.
Nov. 8th, 2005 05:30 am (UTC)
Plus, one man's golden age is another man's golden shower...

still, it's fun to hyperbolise....

I'd go so far as to say that before this year, Australian science fiction and fantasy didn't even *exist*...

Then again I also think everyone on a panel at an international con should try to incorporate the phrase "if I might compare myself to Christ for a moment" with a straight face...

you can see why i don't get put on panels...

Nov. 8th, 2005 05:39 am (UTC)
well, you're not far from the truth. i read something on claire mckenna's blog a while back about how she thought the golden age was over, and that no one got famous, the energy was gone, and so forth. kinda the opposite of my opinion for what's happening on my side of things, but that's just me, i guess.

one day i'll be on a panel and i'll say, 'if i could compare myself to christ for a moment,' and go from there. just for you. of course, i once called all editors crack addicts on a panel, so, you know, that sort of stuff isn't much a stretch for me.
Nov. 8th, 2005 03:53 pm (UTC)
Plus, one man's golden age is another man's golden shower...

A case in point.
Nov. 8th, 2005 08:42 pm (UTC)
that's a fairly typical opinion for the csfg anthologies, though. and like most scenes, we have our fair share of crap holding up the good stuff.
Nov. 8th, 2005 11:15 pm (UTC)
Youch! Ah well... que sera sera...

Yup, that's me, if I run out of plot I just make my characters explode:) Certainly no metaphoric shit going on there... just blow 'em up!

(actually, given the rest of the review, I'm not too upset by those comments... it's less painful to get a bad review if you tend to disagree with the reviewer's other comments)

I think he's a bit off the mark in using CSFG publications as a barometer of Australian talent... with all respect to the CSFG... I quite liked Encounters... but it's primarily a showcase for newer writers from a local group...

It'd be like me saying "I'd heard that there was some good music coming out of England, but then I popped in to the local pub in Dorchester, and heard a couple of bands that were decidedly average..."

(no I don't know what a Dorchester is..)

Nov. 8th, 2005 01:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah but Ben, people expect that from you. Now if you stood up and said, "All editors are Christ", that might get a response.

Golden Ages are bollocks. It's a hyped up thing used by people who either don't or should know better to sell more books. Why can't people just say that the scene is healthy right about now and leave it at that?
Nov. 8th, 2005 08:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah but Ben, people expect that from you. Now if you stood up and said, "All editors are Christ", that might get a response.

i figure the response would be laughter ;)
Nov. 8th, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC)
I didn't use the word golden age. I used the word renaissance, specifically because I do think that there are a number of really amazing writers in Australia coming up through the ranks, and that these writers are in some cases in communication with one another and riffing off one another. I could be wrong. In any case, it's the depth of the Australian field and the possibilities of the next 10 years that I'm talking about.

Ben--you should post your answers.

Nov. 8th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Stuff
In any case, it's the depth of the Australian field and the possibilities of the next 10 years that I'm talking about.

in that we're in agreement, i think.

Ben--you should post your answers.

Nov. 8th, 2005 11:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Stuff
Jeff, i agree with you totally.

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