In the absence of writing news from me – I’m still on a break, though I am tinkering with some small projects – I just wanted to draw some last minute attention to a few bits of attention-worthy news.
Winter’s Tale Kickstarter
Twelfth Planet Press are in the final hours of a kickstarter for their first illustrated children’s book – Winter’s Tale, written by Nike Sulway and illustrated by Shauna O’Meara. This is a middle-grade suburban fantasy about a magical journey of self-discovery for Winter, a non-binary child.
I love the idea of showing kids different expressions of selfhood through the lens of fantasy stories, which was the genre I always paid the most attention to when I was growing up. I believe it helps kids to know that there are gender expressions beyond the binary out in the world, and this is a beautiful way to show that.
And it doesn’t hurt that the book is gorgeously illustrated by my good mate Shauna O’Meara, whose playing card image accompanied my story in A Hand of Knaves last year. I had the privilege of looking over Shauna’s shoulder while she was working on the pencils for some of these pictures – she never mentioned exactly what they were for until after the book’s announcement – and I know how fabulous they are.
The Kickstarter is about to finish and could use a few more patrons. If this sounds like something you’d be interested for in the new reader in your life, you’ve got just a short time to help them get across the line.
Unnatural Order Kickstarter
CSFG’s upcoming anthology Unnatural Order has already funded on Kickstarter, but the team are hard at work trying to secure stretch goals of extra payments for the contributors.There’s one week left to run and I would encourage you to support the project to give Australian writers a boost.
As you know, I’m a huge fan of the CSFG anthologies. Apart from the fact that I’ve been published in two previous volumes, I love that they are a wild showcase of new and emerging Australian speculative fiction writers. In any given volume, you’ll get science fiction, weird fantasy, alternate history, horror and even (very occasionally) poetry.
In the hands of editors Alis Franklin and Lyss Wickramasinghe, this collection of tales about monsters, aliens and other decidedly inhuman entities is a guaranteed good time. If you have any doubts about what to expect, this great interview with the editors should give you a clear picture of their tastes.
Just a reminder too, that contributions to the anthology are now open to all Australian residents and Australians living overseas (as well as CSFG members anywhere). The deadline for stories is 31 October.
Out with the Campbells, in with the Astounding Award
For any of you not steeped in the politics of the international speculative fiction scene, Best New Writer Award-winning author Jeannette Ng gave a blistering acceptance speech at the 2019 Hugo Awards ceremony a couple of weeks ago, in which she correctly denounced the man for whom the award is named, John W. Campbell, as a fascist.
The speech is short, blunt, and long overdue: I encourage you to read it here.
In light of the speech, and the conversation that has followed in its wake, the award’s sponsors at Analog Magazine have today announced that in future, the prize will be renamed to the Astounding Award.
I’m very pleased this has happened. As was the case with the bust of the notoriously racist H P Lovecraft being replaced a few years ago as the prize for the World Fantasy Award, no person should have to have recognition of their contribution to their chosen field marred by association with someone who would done their best to keep them from that field, as Campbell most certainly did to women and writers of colour back during his editorial heyday of the 1950’s.
If you’re wondering exactly what it was that Campbell did, this essay by Alis Franklin covers the main points. (None of these are in particular dispute, by the way. Campbell really was a good old-fashioned white supremacist, eugenics-loving fascist, and the field is far better for taking overt steps away from the direction in which he steered it).
(For full disclosure, I have in the past declared myself a bit of a fan of Campbell, based on my fondness for his short story ‘Who Goes There?’ I didn’t know a thing about the man himself at the time, and am perfectly content to shun his memory henceforth. Besides which, I’m more a fan of John Carpenter’s film interpretation of the story, The Thing (1982), which is one of my favourite movies of all time. So Campbell himself can get bent).