Tansy's Novel of the Year: Black Sheep, by Ben Peek
A science fiction novel that is about something. This is the book that should have got people talking about Australian SF this year, and the lack of distribution and promotion both within Australia and overseas has been disappointing. This one's crunchy, people, don't miss out on it.
Aw, isn't that nice? Remember, buying copies and talking about it makes her wrong.
She also noted 'John Wayne', from Aurealis #37 as one of her favourites during the year, while she also put down 'Excerpts from Books Fifty Years From Now', from Overland 188, as part of her recommended reading list. 'John Wayne' scored a spot on Alisa Krasnostein's (girliejones) recommended reading list, and 'Excerpts' on Alex's (random_alex).
Me, personally, I thought 'John Wayne' was one of the weakest pieces I had out during the year, but you can never ask me about these things--they're all dead by the time they hit print. All I see are the mistakes. In that story, it was the dialogue. I did like 'Excerpts', but mostly because I thought the collaging style worked nicely in it, but the downside was if you don't gel with that straight away, it was a cold piece. It was a cold piece even if you do gel, I think, but that's why it's short. A lot of people seemed to have disliked the end of 'Black Betty', which I find funny, since it's about pirates, and it's riffing on the Akutagawa piece, 'In A Bamboo Grove,' and how else was it going to end, really? But that's how it is with those kind of endings, I suppose. It's my M. Night Shyamalan moment. In fact, I feel ripped off by the endings of most of his films, too. Not that I haven't watched any since Unbreakable. 'Possession', which I thought was the most successful, in terms of characterisation--the piece exists on that--seems to have come and gone without much of a trace for people, which happens. I do wish I could go back and smooth out some of those stylistic ticks I put in, thinking they were working at the time, though, but what the fuck, hey?
And lets not speak of Black Sheep. I can't even look at that without thanking myself that the guy who wrote it is dead now, dead I tell you. I killed him with a spoon. A sharp one.
This, I suppose, is why you don't ask authors what they think, but write ups are kind of boring if you're not the author involved, and I'm fairly comfortable about my own work that I can talk about what I like and don't, what I thought worked and didn't. Everyone's appreciation is going to be different, that's for sure.
Of course, now that you've read that, you can go over at Fantasy Magazine, where a poll is being held for which story you liked the most during the year. You could vote for Possession, if you so feel the urge. You could vote for something else, if you want.
It's all cool.