23 January 2009

Aurealis Awards

SF zine called Aurealis has been around a while, fading in and out of the scene but managing to hang in there. Over the years it has had some nice stories in it. One that I particularly remember was about a tree that was permitted to grow first through the windows and then throughout the entire house. An editor told me that they received a lot of flack because of that story. People felt that, nice as it was, it didn't really belong in an SF zine.

These days we might argue that it was magic realism. The magic was not in any events or weirdness in the story and yet it was magical. The magic lay not in any of the events in themselves, but in the kind of character that would let a tree take over his house. It is reminiscent of something like Tohby Riddle's The Singing Hat – a children's picture book, Sol Silverstein's The Giving Tree, or even some Dr Seuss books if the creatures were replaced with humans.

One of the legacies of the Aurealis zine is the Aurealis awards. The point of these awards is to recognise achievement in the different genres of speculative fiction, such as fantasy, horror and young adult. This is different from the Australian Ditmar awards which recognise only SF&F, and the Australian Book Council awards that only look at childrens' fiction.

Anyone can nominate a work, but to be considered by the judges enough copies have to be supplied to them.

In few days, the 24th of January, the winners will be announced at a special gala awards ceremony. For more details of this, see


Here is a list of the finalists:

best science fiction novel
K A Bedford, Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait, Edge
Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
Marianne de Pierres, Chaos Space, Book Two of the
Sentients of Orion, Orbit
Simon Haynes, Hal Spacejock: No Free Lunch,
Fremantle Press
Kim Westwood, The Daughters of Moab, HarperVoyager
Sean Williams, Earth Ascendant, Astropolis Book Two, Orbit

best science fiction short story
Simon Brown, ‘The Empire’, Dreaming Again, HarperVoyager
Nathan Burrage, ‘Black and Bitter, Thanks’, The Workers’
Paradise, Ticonderoga Publications
Trent Jamieson, ‘Delivery’, Cosmos, #21
Margo Lanagan, ‘The Fifth Star in the Southern Cross’,
Dreaming Again, HarperVoyager
Tansy Rayner Roberts, ‘Fleshy’, 2012, Twelfth Planet Press

best fantasy novel
Alison Goodman, The Two Pearls of Wisdom, HarperCollins
Sylvia Kelso, Amberlight, Juno Books
Margo Lanagan, Tender Morsels, Allen & Unwin
Juliet Marillier, Heir to Sevenwaters, Macmillan Australia
Karen Miller, The Riven Kingdom, Godspeaker Book Two,

best fantasy short story
Thoraiya Dyer, ‘Night Heron’s Curse’, Andromeda
Spaceways Inflight Magazine, #37
Karen Maric, ‘The Last Deflowerer’, Andromeda Spaceways
Inflight Magazine, #32
Angela Slatter, ‘Dresses, Three’, Shimmer , Vol 2 #4
Cat Sparks, ‘Sammarynda Deep’, Paper Cities,
Senses 5 Press
Kim Westwood, ‘Nightship’, Dreaming Again, HarperVoyager

best horror novel
Jack Dann, The Economy of Light, PS Publishing
Nick Gadd, Ghostlines, Scribe Publications
John Harwood, The Séance, Jonathan Cape

best horror short story
Lee Battersby, ‘In From the Snow’, Dreaming Again,
Deborah Biancotti, ‘Pale Dark Soldier’, Midnight Echo, #1
Trent Jamieson, ‘Day Boy’, Murky Depths, #4
Kirstyn McDermott, ‘Painlessness’, Greatest Uncommon
Denominator (GUD), #2
Ian McHugh, ‘Bitter Dreams’, L Ron Hubbard Presents
Writers of the Future, Vol XXIV

best anthology
Bill Congreve & Michelle Marquardt (editors), The Year’s
Best Australian Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fourth Annual
Volume, MirrorDanse Books
Jack Dann (editor), Dreaming Again, HarperVoyager
Jonathan Strahan (editor), The Starry Rift, Viking Children’s

best collection
Robert Hood, Creeping in Reptile Flesh, Altair Australia
Sean Williams & Russell B Farr (editor), Magic Dirt: The Best
of Sean Williams, Ticonderoga Publications

best young adult long fiction
Isobelle Carmody, The Stone Key, Obernewtyn Chronicles,
Volume Five, Penguin/Viking
David Cornish, Lamplighter , Monster Blood Tattoo Book Two,
Omnibus Books
Alison Goodman, The Two Pearls of Wisdom, HarperCollins
Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock, Penguin/Viking
Sean Williams, The Changeling, The Changeling series
Book One, Angus & Robertson

best young adult short fiction
Deborah Biancotti, ‘The Tailor of Time’, Clockwork Phoenix,
Norilana Books
Dirk Flinthart, ‘This Is Not My Story’, Andromeda Spaceways
Inflight Magazine, #37
Trent Jamieson, ‘Cracks’, Shiny, #2
Kevin MacLean, ‘Eye of the Beholder’, Misspelled,
DAW Books

best illustrated book/graphic novel
Steve Hunt & David Richardson, The Cloudchasers,
ABC Books
Shaun Tan, Tales from Outer Suburbia, Allen & Unwin
Colin Thompson, The Floods Family Files, Random House
Julie Watts, The Art of Graeme Base, Penguin/Viking

best children’s (8-12 years) long fiction
Simon Higgins, Moonshadow, Eye of the Beast,
Random House Australia
Sophie Masson, Thomas Trew and the Island of Ghosts,
Hodder Children’s
Emily Rodda, The Wizard of Rondo, Omnibus Books
Carole Wilkinson, Dragon Dawn, Black Dog Books
Sean Williams, The Changeling and The Dust Devils,
The Changeling series Books One and Two,
Angus & Robertson

best children’s (8-12 years) illustrated
work/picture book

Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg & Kim Gamble, Tashi and
the Phoenix, Allen & Unwin
Richard Harland & Laura Peterson (illustrator), Escape! ,
Under Siege, Race to the Ruins, The Heavy Crown, The Wolf
Kingdom series, Omnibus Books
Ian Irvine & David Cornish (illustrator), Thorn Castle, Giant’s
Lair , Black Crypt, Wizardry Crag, The Sorcerer’s Tower series,
Omnibus Books
Sally Morgan with Ezekiel, Ambelin and Blaze Kwaymullina
& Adam Hill (illustrator), Curly and the Fent, Random House
Richard Tulloch & Terry Denton (illustrator), Twisted Tales,
Random House Australia

* * *

Some names are more familiar than others, but it's good to see someone like Sally Morgan, who is famous mainly for her book My Place a kind of mainstream work (“Kind of?” you ask. “Is it or isn't it?” Well, it's not genre, but it's not about mainstream culture, either.)

Another thing that is good to see here is the mix of big and small publishers.

If I may express a personal preference, Go ASIM! (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine).

And how about Terry Denton! My kids have love his work.

There are some terrific titles on the list, too.

Well done to all this lot.

Click here for the results as they are posted on Twitter
Or on this post's header.


  1. If you have a look at the Aurealis website (http://www.aurealis.com.au) you will see that Aurealis magazine is currently publishing strong Australian content. Three issues in 2008 and with luck four in 2009. Aurealis mag and Fantastic Queensland work together to ensure the awards night is one of celebration for all Australian SF. I had the pleasure of presenting two awards at the ceremony.
    Perhaps you'd like to update your blog?
    Sincerely yours
    Stuart Mayne
    Editor, Aurealis magazine

  2. Cool! My efforts to blog about the Aurealis Awards are certainly teaching me something about double checking my facts instead of relying on memory and gossip (especially memory). By way of apology I'm adding the Aurealis website to my blog roll so that I will always remember to check it properly in future.

    I'm sort of embarrassed about the mistake, and sort of pleased at the same time that Aurealis is in fact still going.

    Morva Shepley.