Thoughts on the Aurealis Awards Nominations

Yesterday, the finalists for the Aurealis Awards were announced, and as usual I took the opportunity to see how in touch I am with what is happening in Aussie spec fic. The results were mixed!


The Undivided by Jennifer Fallon (HarperVoyager)

Ember and Ash by Pamela Freeman (Hachette)

Stormlord’s Exile by Glenda Larke (HarperVoyager)

Debris by Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)

The Shattered City by Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperVoyager)

Thoughts: I have read one, own another and and plan on buying a third. Two I had never heard of – not a great start for my self evaluation! I saw a few people mentioning the fact that it is all female authors. I am not sure of the significance of this, I just think it comes down to the fact we are blessed with a lot of amazingly talented women in Aussie Spec Fic.


“Fruit of the Pipal Tree” by Thoraiya Dyer (After the Rain, FableCroft Publishing)

“The Proving of Smollett Standforth” by Margo Lanagan (Ghosts by Gaslight, HarperVoyager)

“Into the Clouds on High” by Margo Lanagan (Yellowcake, Allen & Unwin)

“Reading Coffee” by Anthony Panegyres (Overland)

“The Dark Night of Anton Weiss” by D.C. White (More Scary Kisses, Ticonderoga Publications)

Thoughts: Wow, I dipped out on this one. I haven’t read any of them!


Machine Man by Max Barry (Scribe Publications)

Children of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy (HarperVoyager)

The Waterboys by Peter Docker (Fremantle Press)

Black Glass by Meg Mundell (Scribe Publications)

The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood (HarperVoyager)

Thoughts: One of these is on my TBR pile. Does that count?


“Flowers in the Shadow of the Garden” by Joanne Anderton (Hope, Kayelle Press)

“Desert Madonna” by Robert Hood (Anywhere but Earth, Couer de Lion)

“SIBO” by Penelope Love (Anywhere but Earth, Couer de Lion)

“Dead Low” by Cat Sparks (Midnight Echo)

“Rains of la Strange” by Robert N Stephenson (Anywhere but Earth, Couer de Lion)

Thoughts: Very strong showing by Anywhere But Earth, which reinforces my belief that Couer de Lion really know what they are doing, definitely in the top three Aussie boutique presses. I am in the middle of reading AbE and there hasn’t been a dud story yet. That issue of Midnight Echo is on my TBR pile, will have to read it before the awards.



The Broken Ones by Stephen M. Irwin (Hachette)

The Business of Death by Trent Jamieson (Hachette)

Thoughts: I haven’t read either of the Honourable Mentions, but doesn’t say much for the year in horror that there were no submission thought worthy of inclusion on the list. Saying that, I think it is a great thing that the jury were willing to make such a tough call and shows that the awards mean something and have to be earned. No winners by default (the two sweetest words in the English language, eh, Homer?).


“And the Dead Shall Outnumber the Living” by Deborah Biancotti (Ishtar, Gilgamesh Press)

“The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt” by Paul Haines (The Last Days of Kali YugaBrimstone Press)

“The Short Go: a Future in Eight Seconds” by Lisa L. Hannett (Bluegrass Symphony, Ticonderoga Publications)

“Mulberry Boys” by Margo Lanagan (Blood and Other Cravings, Tor)

“The Coffin Maker’s Daughter” by Angela Slatter (A Book of Horrors, Quercus)

Thoughts: The only one I have read is the Paul Haines one, but the others will have to be pretty damn good to beat it. The first time I read it I felt like I had been punched in the guts, I had to take a break from the anthology and gather my thoughts. Of course, the other writers are pretty damn good in their own right, too!


Shift by Em Bailey (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Secrets of Carrick: Tantony by Ananda Braxton-Smith (black dog books)

The Shattering by Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin)

Black Glass by Meg Mundell (Scribe Publications)

Only Ever Always by Penni Russon (Allen & Unwin)

Thoughts: Even though I’m not a young adult (*sobs*) two of these are on my TBR pile, which means they have garnered sufficient word of mouth to reach even me.


“Nation of the Night” by Sue Isle (Nightsiders, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Finishing School” by Kathleen Jennings (Steampunk! An anthology of fantastically rich and strange stories, Candlewick Press)

“Seventy-Two Derwents” by Cate Kennedy (The Wicked Wood – Tales from the Tower Volume 2, Allen and Unwin)

“One Window” by Martine Murray (The Wilful Eye: Tales from the Tower Volume 1, Allen and Unwin)

“The Patrician” by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Love and Romanpunk, Twelfth Planet Press)

Thoughts: Again, there are two on this that have generated enough buzz that I will be seeking them out.

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)

The Outcasts by John Flanagan (Random House Australia)

The Paradise Trap by Catherine Jinks (Allen & Unwin)

“It Began with a Tingle” by Thalia Kalkapsakis (Headspinners, Allen & Unwin)

The Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahan (Allen & Unwin)

City of Lies by Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)

Thoughts: I don’t feel too bad about not having read any as it isn’t my normal field.

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)

The Ghost of Annabel Spoon by Aaron Blabey (author and illustrator) (Penguin/ Viking Books)

Sounds Spooky by Christopher Cheng (author) and Sarah Davis (illustrator) (Random House Australia)

The Last Viking by Norman Jorgensen (author) and James Foley (illustrator) (Fremantle Press)

The Deep: Here be Dragons by Tom Taylor (author) and James Brouwer (illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)

Vampyre by Margaret Wild (author) and Andrew Yeo (illustrator) (Walker Books)

Thoughts: See above


Hidden by Mirranda Burton (author and illustrator ) (Black Pepper)

Torn by Andrew Constant (author) and Joh James (illustrator ), additional illustrators Nicola Scott, Emily Smith (Gestalt Publishing)

Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops (author and illustrator) (Pecksniff Press)

The Eldritch Kid: Whiskey and Hate by Christian Read (author) and Michael Maier (illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)

The Deep: Here be Dragons by Tom Taylor (author) and James Brouwer (illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)

Thoughts: Haven’t read a graphic novel for ages.


Ghosts by Gaslight edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers (HarperVoyager)

Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2010 edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)

Ishtar edited by Amanda Pillar and KV Taylor (Gilgamesh Press)

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 5 edited by Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade Books)

Life on Mars edited by Jonathan Strahan (Viking)

Thoughts: Not surprised to see any of them on there, really.


Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti (Twelfth Planet Press)

Last Days of Kali Yuga by Paul Haines (Brimstone Press)

Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa Hannett (Ticonderoga Publications)

Nightsiders by Sue Isle (Twelfth Planet Press)

Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Twelfth Planet Press)

Thoughts: The only one on the list I have read is Kali Yuga but, even putting sentiment aside, I have to say that it is one of the best collections I have ever read, any serious fan of horror needs to own it. Two of the others are on my to buy list for April (oh to have more money) while the other two are ones I have heard great things about.

Verdict: With the exception of the Horror Novel category, what a strong field! It is going to be tough to pick in a lot of the categories, which is a good sign. I was a little bit disappointed that I hadn’t read so many, but that just helps me decide on my next purchases.

Twelfth Planet Press just keep going from strength to strength, which just goes to show that last year was no fluke, and while Coeur de Lion don’t have the same frequency as other presses they certainly know how to pick stories.

And, this isn’t some big fish in a small pond type list, there are a lot of books on here that are as good, if not better, than anything coming out internationally, or have had international success and recognition.

Now I can’t wait for the results!

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