I would like to take this moment to announce that I have created a new award. It has not been an easy decision to make and I have thought long and hard about it. I have had meetings. I have met with boards of directors. I have spoken to publicity people. It has taken all of hour to realise that there is a gap in the Australian Award System currently not being serviced during Statue Season.
Many of you, I am sure, are ecstatic to hear I have decided do to something about it. We in Australian Speculative Fiction love our statues and while it is true that we have the thirteen statues in the Aurealis Awards, another thirteen the Ditmars, seven in the Tin Ducks, and a sad and single, lonely Australian Shadows statue (but what a statue! Clearly it is the Statue of Statues)... anyhow, while it is true that we currently give out thirty-four statues, this is clearly not enough. There are authors and editors and artists and bar staff who are not getting the proper recognition that they deserve. And so, with a heavy, heavy sense of duty, I have stepped up, and created awards to fill in the gaps. Firstly, I have used the seven categories of the Tin Ducks as my template, as I might better avoid a sense of excess or overloading, though I am sure everyone reading this well understands that the Statue Season is dangerously undernourished here. At any rate, the first award is the Copper Bird, which will be awarded in South Australian writers of Speculative Fiction who produce work of excellence. The second is the Dirt Fish, awarded to Speculative Fiction authors in the Northern Territory. It is made from mud, I am afraid, but this is apt, since the Northern Territory is not yet a State, and once such a status is bequeathed to them, they may move to a metal or lowly wood. Our third award is the Iron Spider for those writers in Queensland. In NSW, there shall be a slight change, and the award will be known as the Bronze House, to better appeal to those authors in this State, while in the ACT, the awards will be known as Silver Flies. In Victoria, the new award shall be known as the Jade Cow, and lastly, and certainly finally, since they are but a little island hanging off the main, Tasmanian authors shall be awarded the Wooden Ass.
Please, please, there is no need for applause. I do this out of duty. Out of love.
Now, I am sure, there are some of you who are reading this, and thinking, eighty-two? But, Ben, thirty-four was an excessive number. Surely this is regionalism taken to an insane level? Well, no. As you can see with the Tin Ducks, awards that recognise writers based on State ensure that everyone gets a fair shake of the stick. Well, nearly everyone. There will always be those authors who are simply not part of the community and who don't go to the parties and who think awards should be based on literary merit, rather than friendship, but to them I say pish posh. That's right: pish posh. Don't they know that the Australian Speculative fiction scene has been built upon on a fair go and mateship? Those fabulous buzzwords of Australianness under which this country was
I will hear it not!
Affordable statues for all!