Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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Secret Society Block Vote! (the Ditmars--It's All About the Politics)

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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