Above is a link to a survey currently being run by Russell B. Farr (punkrocker1991). I did it about a month ago, but didn't take it as seriously as Russ would have liked, and got bitched at for it. Frankly, the survey reads like another moment where the local scene here asks why they haven't gotten an international audience, and who isn't tired of that question now? Given that the primary international markets listed in comparison are magazines such as Fantasy and Science Fiction and Asimov's, I suspect that that reasons have more to do with distribution, the time those magazines were created, and the fact that there is nothing to equal the long standing publishing run that they have. Generally speaking, I find that comparing the books and magazines produced here to the big markets overseas is just the wrong comparison, and one of my complaints for the survey was that it didn't accurately represent the international independent presses that I believe are more comparable, in terms of sales, standards, and pay rates. There is no Polyphony, no Paraspheres, no books printed through Lulu (Twenty Epics and the RageMachine stuff, for example), no FarThing, none of the countless publications that, to my mind, are more comparable to the scene here.
Likewise, I find it problematic--to say the least--that Australian speculative fiction is treated as if it is an entirely different subset of fiction from genres such as fantasy, science fiction, and whatever else is there. That's really part of the problem with the local mind frame here, I think. It is as if it is always trying to find out a way in which the word Australian has a weight that somehow makes it different to the speculative fiction throughout the world. It is like being an Australian writer is cause for being, somehow, treated differently--though no one is quite sure for what reason or how it should be done. To give Russell at TiconderogaOnline credit, he has decided that the answer is to treat Australian authors as if they are endangered animals in a zoo, and offers you the chance to sponsor his contributors:
Have you ever wanted to be a patron of the arts?
Starting from December 2006 TiconderogaOnline are inviting individuals, groups, organisations and businesses an exclusive opportunity to be patrons of literature.
TiconderogaOnline offers a range of quality fiction and non-fiction completely free of charge to our readers. We remain firmly committed to continuing this practice. Delivering this level of quality costs us money paying writers, web hosting fees, in postage and promoting the site.
Yes, you can have a plaque, saying you sponsored an author. Can't you just see authors with a bit of self respect lining up for this experience? And readers--don't you just want to sponsor an author? Get your photo taken. Pet them. Ask them if they can do a trick.
What's even better, is you can have three different kinds of sponsorship: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The price is scaled accordingly at $88, $66 and $55, so you can decide, based on name quality--or perhaps even by reading the story beforehand--how much you like it or the person and how much you want to pay. Don't like the author or the story that much, but would still like to feel good for helping poor Australian speculative fiction? Then pay less.
There are times that I think the main problem with the local scene here is that it just doesn't have any respect for itself. Not all the time. Not every person. Just occasionally. Anyhow, despite my reservations with the sponsorship, and while I don't think the survey properly represents the international scene and the place of the Australian small press market in it, I'm linking it.
'Cause you can win free shit.
Who doesn't like that.