Monthly Archives: August 2011

Emerging Writers’ Festival – Digital Writers: taking your words online

August 31, 2011

I’ve been invited to be a guest speaker at an Emerging Writers’ Festival event in Brisbane called Digital Writers: taking your words online. It’s a very exciting idea, but it needs some funding and the whole project is currently being crowdsourced. You can support the event simply by buying a ticket to attend. Here’s the event explained:

On 15 October, the Emerging Writers’ Festival want to run a mini-conference called Digital Writers: taking your words online. The event will equip writers with ideas and inspiration about sharing their work and words with audiences online. Panel discussions full of practical advice will explore how to write for online audiences, and where the opportunities are in the digital space. Our talented line-up of writers will share how they use new technologies to create, to market and to make money by their writing.

From blogging and tweeting to online journalism, and everything in between, Digital Writers is an event for writers wanting to use the online space to take their writing to the next level.

The line up of speakers are experts in online writing, publishing and marketing, including:

Sophie Black, Editor,
Andrew McMillen, Freelance Journalist
Jason Nelson, digital and hypermedia poet
Simon Groth, novelist & If:Book Director
Alan Baxter, spec. fiction author
Karen Pickering, commentator & editor
Christy Dena, Director, Universe Creation 101
Lisa Dempster, blogger & festival director
Daniel Donahoo, writer, blogger & geek

& more to be announced

As you can see, it’s a cool idea and very useful for writers both established and emerging. I’m honoured to have been asked to be a part of it and really hope it can all go ahead. So, how do you help to make it happen? Simple. Just by paying a few dollars in support or pledging now with $45 which will buy you a ticket to attend. All the details are here: You’ll also find a video there, and that video includes a moment of me in my garden. That alone must be worth the visit, right?

Support writing and writing events in Australia by getting involved. Just a few dollars and you’re earning the good karma. For every dollar pledged, a good thing will happen to you.*

*This is not a guarantee, but it is my fervent hope.


The One That Got Away – ToC announced

August 30, 2011

TOTGAI am really excited to be announcing this one. I’ve got a story forthcoming in the crime/mystery anthology, The One That Got Away, from Dark Prints Press, edited by Craig Bezant. I’m excited for several reasons. Of course, it’s always fantastic to sell a story, especially to a publisher like Dark Prints. It’s also a great concept:

Too often our crime-solving heroes do just that – solve crimes. But what about the ones who get away – the grifters who con and don’t get caught, the criminals who play cat-and-mouse games with the law only to disappear into the unknown? What goes through their minds, or the minds of their victims and pursuers? What legends do they leave behind, both inspirational and terrifying?

Pretty cool, huh? But I’m mostly excited by the other fantastic authors I’ll be sharing this anthology with:

(Note: The following contributor list does not represent the final content order in the anthology.)

Lawrence Block – ‘Catch and Release’
Chris Simms – ‘Gaffed’
Will Elliot – ‘Hungry Man’
Deborah Sheldon – ‘Garland Cove’
Zane Lovitt – ‘Kahraman’
Cameron Ashley – ‘Whole Lotta Julio’
Vanessa Skye – ‘The Piece’
Brooke Maggs – ‘My Wife and I’
Alan Baxter – ‘In the Name of the Father’
Brian G Ross – ‘A Rhyme for the Crime’
Kathryn Hore – ‘Late Night Train’
Andrew Nette – ‘Two Blind Cats’

Yeah, that’s right. Have another look. Check out those names. The book is due out in early 2012 and pre-orders can be made at the website from September 1st. It will be available in print and ebook simultaneously. All the details can be found here.

Excuse me while I Snoopy dance.


Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror: Recommended Reading List

August 24, 2011

Year's BestI’m am still bouncing around and Snoopy Dancing because I have a story reprinted in the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror from Ticonderoga Publications. It’s going to be an awesome book and is out just about any time now. As part of the release celebration, editors Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene have assembled a Recommended Reading List for stories that didn’t quite make it into the collection, but are equally worthy. It’s always the case with collections like this – there are so many worthy stories and only a certain amount can be edited together into a book. It’s become normal now for these editors to also release a list of other stories they would have included if space, money, etc. had allowed.

So here’s the Recommended Reading List for Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2010. I’ve read most of these and they are all excellent!

Deborah Biancotti, “Home Turf” Baggage
Jenny Blackford, “Adam” Kaleidotrope #9
Simon Brown, “Sweep” Sprawl
Mary Elizabeth Burroughs, “The Flinchfield Dance” Black Static #17
Steve Cameron, “Ghost Of The Heart” Festive Fear
Stephanie Campisi, “Seven” Scenes From The Second Storey
Matthew Chrulew, “The Nullabor Wave” World’s Next Door
Bill Congreve, “The Traps of Tumut” Souls Along The Meridian
Rjurik Davidson, “The Cinema Of Coming Attractions” The Library of Forgotten Books
Stephen Dedman, “For Those In Peril On The Sea” Haunted Legends
Felicity Dowker, “From Little Things” Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #43
Felicity Dowker, “The House On Juniper Road” Worlds Next Door
Felicity Dowker, “Bread And Circuses” Scary Kisses
Will Elliott, “Dhayban” Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears
Mark Farrugia, “A Bag Full Of Arrows” Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #48
Jason Fischer, “The House Of Nameless” Writers of the Future Vol. xxvi
Bob Franklin, “Take The Free Tour” Under Stones
Christopher Green, “Jumbuck” Aurealis #44
Paul Haines, “Her Gallant Needs” Sprawl
Lisa L Hannett, “Singing Breath Into The Dead” Music For Another World
Lisa L Hannett, “Commonplace Sacrifices” On Spec
Lisa L Hannett, “Tiny Drops” Midnight Echo #4
Richard Harland, “Shakti” Tales of the Talisman
Richard Harland, “The Fear” Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears
Narrelle M Harris, “The Truth About Brains” Best New Zombie Tales: Volume 2
Robert Hood, “Wasting Matilda” The Mammoth Book Of The Zombie Apocalypse
George Ivanoff, “Trees” Short & Scary
Trent Jamieson, “The Driver’s Assistant” Ticon4
Pete Kempshall, “Dead Letter Drop” Close Encounters of the Urban Kind
Pete Kempshall, “Signature Walk” Sprawl
Martin Livings, “Lollo” Close Encounters of the Urban Kind
Penelope Love, “Border Crossing” Belong
Geoffrey Maloney & Andrew Bakery, “Sleeping Dogs” Midnight Echo #4
Tracie McBride, “Lest We Forget” (audio) Spectrum Collection
Kirstyn McDermott, “Monsters Among Us” Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears
Andrew J McKiernan, “All The Clowns In Clown Town” Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears
Simon Petrie, “Running Lizard” Rare Unsigned Copy: tales of Rocketry, Ineptitude, and Giant Mutant Vegetables
Michael Radburn, “They Own The Night” Festive Fear
Janeen Samuel, “My Brother Quentin” Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #44
Angela Slatter, “A Porcelain Soul” Sourdough and other stories
Angela Slatter, “Gallowberries” Sourdough and other stories
Angela Slatter, “The Dead Ones Don’t Hurt You” The Girl With No Hands and other tales
Cat Sparks, “All the Love in the World” Sprawl
Grant Stone, “Dead Air” (poem) Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #46
Lucy Sussex, “Albert & Victoria/Slow Dreams” Baggage
Anna Tambour, “Gnawer Of The Moon Seeks Summit Of Paradise” Sprawl
Kaaron Warren, “Sins Of The Ancestors” Dead Sea Fruit
Kaaron Warren, “The Coral Gatherer” Dead Sea Fruit
Kaaron Warren, “Hive Of Glass” Baggage
David Witteveen, “Perfect Skin” Cthulhu’s Dark Cults

Meanwhile, here’s a reminder of the stories that are in the collection:

RJ Astruc: “Johnny and Babushka”
Peter M Ball: “L’esprit de L’escalier”
Alan Baxter: “The King’s Accord”
Jenny Blackford: “Mirror”
Gitte Christensen: “A Sweet Story”
Matthew Chrulew: “Schubert By Candlelight”
Bill Congreve: “Ghia Likes Food”
Rjurik Davidson: “Lovers In Caeli-Amur”
Felicity Dowker: “After the Jump”
Dale Elvy: “Night Shift”
Jason Fischer: “The School Bus”
Dirk Flinthart: “Walker”
Bob Franklin: “Children’s Story”
Christopher Green: “Where We Go To Be Made Lighter”
Paul Haines: “High Tide At Hot Water Beach”
L.L. Hannett: “Soil From My Fingers”
Stephen Irwin: “Hive”
Gary Kemble: “Feast Or Famine”
Pete Kempshall: “Brave Face”
Tessa Kum: “Acception”
Martin Livings: “Home”
Maxine McArthur: “A Pearling Tale”
Kirstyn McDermott: “She Said”
Andrew McKiernan: “The Memory Of Water”
Ben Peek: “White Crocodile Jazz”
Simon Petrie: “Dark Rendezvous”
Lezli Robyn: “Anne-droid of Green Gables”
Angela Rega: “Slow Cookin’ ”
Angela Slatter: “The Bone Mother”
Angela Slatter & LL Hannett: “The February Dragon”
Grant Stone: “Wood”
Kaaron Warren: “That Girl”
Janeen Webb: “Manifest Destiny”

The Year’s Best should be hitting the stores any day now, and can be ordered through a number of online stores (including

2011 Hugo Award winners

August 21, 2011

The Oscars of the SF world, the Hugos, are awarded at Worldcon every year. They’ve just been announced for 2011 at Renovation in Reno, Nevada. The winners of the 2011 Hugo Awards are:

BEST NOVEL: Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)

BEST NOVELLA: The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)

BEST NOVELETTE: “The Emperor of Mars” by Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s, June 2010; also in audio)

BEST SHORT STORY: “For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s, September 2010)

BEST RELATED WORK: Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea (Mad Norwegian)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY: Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM: Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM: Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang”, written by Steven Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)




BEST SEMIPROZINE: Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan, Sean Wallace; podcast directed by Kate Baker

BEST FANZINE: The Drink Tank, edited by Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon

BEST FAN WRITER: Claire Brialey



I thought there were a few givens in this year’s nominations, and I was wrong on almost every count. Inception was always going to win. Huge congratulations to the winners and to all the other nominees.


Winds Of Change launch at Conflux

August 19, 2011

My short story, Dream Shadow, is going to be published in the new anthology from CSFG Publishing, Winds Of Change. It looks like it’s shaping up to be a great anthology and it now has an official launch.

Here are the details:

Friday, September 30th, 2011 at 7pm

Conflux Science Fiction Convention
Launceston Room
Quality Hotel, Woden

That’s in Canberra, of course. So if any of you are likely to be around the area, do drop in. I’ll be there, along with a number of the contributing authors, and we may even do a bit of reading.

Of course, that’s just the start of the whole Conflux convention, so make a journey to the nation’s capital and stick around for the whole Con. It’s one of my favourites and I’ll be there all weekend.

A bit of Australia and New Zealand at Worldcon

August 17, 2011

I mentioned here before about the wonderful generosity of Bob Kuhn, reading a selection of work from Australian and New Zealand authors at Worldcon in Reno. Well, it’s this weekend.

There are now a few more people on the bill and it looks like being two really cool reading sessions. I’m so pleased to be included in this. Here’s the schedule:

SATURDAY 10 am: Angela Slatter, Kylie Chan, Lisa Hannett, Fiona McIntosh and Mary Victoria.

SUNDAY 2 pm: Alan Baxter, Kim Falconer, Helen Lowe, Nicole Murphy and Gillian Polack.

Bob’s a great voice artist, you can learn more about him here.

So if you’re going to Reno for Worldcon this weekend, I’m very jealous. But while you’re there, catch some great Aussie and Kiwi spec fic, read by a great Australian voice artist.


The August Australian Speculative Fiction Blog Carnival

August 15, 2011

Nicole Murphy has collected a fantastic array of links to keep you busy all week. The August Australian Spec Fic blog carnival is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. So big it’s in two parts.

Part the first is here.

Part the second is here.

Enjoy and share!


“The 7 Garages of Kevin Simpson” at Pseudopod

August 14, 2011

I’ve talked here before about how much I love short fiction podcasts. Probably my favourite podcast of all is Pseudopod, the sound of horror! So you can imagine how excited I am that Pseudopod are podcasting one of my stories. It’s an original too, not a reprint, so this will be a new yarn for everyone.

This story came about due to a passing comment at a con. The small and intimate Freecon that happens every year in Sydney, to be exact. A mention was made of an old SF fan who had seven garages full of stuff, that his family new nothing about until after his death. I thought that was a great premise for a story, so I changed the names and wrote it. Of course, the fan had all kinds of junk in the garages and I’ve made it into a horror story, but the genesis of the idea is fact. I always like it when things like that happen.

So have a listen and see what you think. You can find the story here –

EDIT: If you’d prefer to read the text, I’ve posted the story here. But seriously, listen to the podcast. And then donate some money to Pseudopod via their Feed The Pod link, to make sure they can keep paying authors and providing great, free horror podcasts.


Practicing Jedi overlooked on 2011 Australian Census

August 14, 2011

Practicing Jedi have been overlooked on the Australian Census. Then again, pretty much everything has been overlooked on the latest census, but the Jedi issue is more important than you might realise.

YodaIt’s important to me that statistics are as accurate as possible. After all, 76% of statistics are made up on the spot, including that one. But I’m a stats nerd, so when we have a census, we need it to be as close to truth as possible. With that in mind, I entreated my minions on Twitter to make sure they did the right thing on census night. If you have no religion, I told them from a lectern of self-recognised authority, make sure you put No Religion. Don’t mess up the stats by putting something stupid like Jedi or Pastafarian (bless His Noodly Appendage). I was very quickly corrected by a number of minions. It doesn’t matter, they said, because putting Jedi would automatically get counted as No Religion anyway. I was outraged. What about the actual practicing Jedi out there? Suddenly their voice is not being heard.

Apparently the reason for this is because Jedi or Jediism (and who doesn’t love a word with a double i?) has not been legally decreed as an official religion. This pisses me off. Who are the Australian government, or anyone else for that matter, to tell us what our religion can be? In the 2001 New Zealand census there were more Jedi than Buddhists or Hindus. Of course, most of those 1.5% of respondents were being smartarses, but a small number may well associate very personally with Jediism. And good for them.

The biggest “officially recognised” religion in Australia is based on “the belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.” That’s the definition of Christianity from the Urban Dictionary and it’s pretty bloody bang on.

Jedi ChurchThe NZ based Jedi Church states: “The Jedi Church believes that there is one all powerful force that binds all things in the universe together. The Jedi religion is something innate inside everyone of us, the Jedi Church believes that our sense of morality is innate. So quiet your mind and listen to the force within you!”

Screw the “official recognition”, I know which one of those makes more sense to me. And which one is likely to be the cause of far fewer wars, oppression and suffering.

I don’t follow any religion. On the census I put No Religion to make sure the stats were accurate from my input. But the stats are way off because the things people choose to believe in aren’t recognised. If someone can be counted for believing in a self-fathering Jewish zombie, someone else should be counted for believing in the Force. If someone puts Jedi and gets counted as No Religion, there’s a problem. Imagine putting Catholic or Muslim and getting counted as No Religion. It’s the same thing. And the belief of Jediism is no less reasonable than Catholicism or Islam. Just because they’ve been around since medieval times doesn’t make them somehow more valid. It makes them medieval. And we’ve all seen where that leads us.

So not only did the Australian Bureau of Statistics give me no place note down my dog on the census form, even though he’s a very important member of my family, or let me note that I ride a motorcycle, stating that only cars count for some reason, they’re also telling me what I can believe. It’s one thing to recognise a religion for legal purposes. As far as I’m concerned all organised religions should be declared businesses and pay tax as such. Tax exemption for believing in an imaginary friend is really only something that should apply to pocket money for children. But legality aside, if I choose to believe in something, that’s entirely my choice. If the ABS want a true snapshot of the nation, they should accept all belief systems, not just a handful they think are worthy through some arbitrary decision. If they want to include religion on the census they need to make a proper job of it.


NPR Top 100 Science-Fiction & Fantasy Books

August 12, 2011

This is an interesting list. I saw it retweeted by Neil Gaiman on Twitter, and his words were wise: “Don’t worry about the numbers, just read the books.” I couldn’t agree more.

More than 60,000 ballots were cast in the NPR annual summer reader’s survey. Below is a list of the top 100 winners. How many have you read?

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin

6. 1984, by George Orwell

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick

22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke

25. The Stand, by Stephen King

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks

55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman

57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett

61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb

70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne

73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore

74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin

79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov

95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson

96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis



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Alan Baxter, Author

Author of horror, dark fantasy & sci-fi. Kung Fu instructor. Personal Trainer. Motorcyclist. Dog lover. Gamer. Heavy metal fan. Britstralian. Zetetic.

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