It’s Ditmar time again, so get nominating

Firstly, I would direct your attention to this post, which I wrote last year and which is just as relevant now as it was then. Bear in mind that the links in that post are old, so make sure you use the links in this post. Anyway, this post is to point out that the Ditmar Awards are now officially open for nominations and will remain open until one minute before midnight Canberra time on Wednesday, 20th of March, 2013 (ie. 11.59pm, GMT+10). I will list at the end of the post all my eligible work, in case you were thinking of slinging a nomination my way. And, if you weren’t, you can read a lot of my eligible work online, so maybe you’d like to have a read and then sling a nomination my way. I’d be very grateful.

I’ll certainly be thinking hard about what’s moved me this year and making my nominations. You read that post I linked above, right? Well, then you must nominate, just as you must vote. You can nominate work if you’re a “natural persons active in fandom, or from full or supporting members of Conflux 9, the 2013 Australian National SF Convention. Where a nominator may not be known to the Ditmar subcommittee, the nominator should provide the name of someone known to the subcommittee who can vouch for the nominator’s eligibility. Convention attendance or membership of an SF club are among the criteria which qualify a person as “active in fandom”, but are not the only qualifying criteria. If in doubt, nominate and mention your qualifying criteria.”

What does that mean? Well, if you’re even vaguely active in the Australian scene, you can nominate. So get your nominations in!

The current rules, including Award categories can be found at:

A partial and unofficial eligibility list, to which everyone is encouraged to add, can be found here:

While online nominations are preferred, nominations can be made in a number of ways:

1. online, via this form:

2. via email to; or

3. by post to:

6 Florence Road

So that’s the official stuff. Now for the personal stuff. As promised, here are my eligible works this year.

Best Novella or Novelette
(Novella or Novelette: A Novella or Novelette is any work of sf/f/h of 7,500 to 40,000 words.)

The Darkest Shade of Grey“, by Alan Baxter, published by The Red Penny Papers.

You can read this entire novelette online for free at Red Penny Papers, or buy it as an ebook for just $1.99. I’m really proud of this piece and it has particular personal resonance for me for other reasons that I won’t go into here. But I would really love to see it get a bit of attention on the ballot. If you nominate nothing else, I’d love you to nominate this one (assuming you’ve read and enjoyed it, of course!)

Then there are my eligible short fiction works. Some of these are available to read online too, so if the title is a link, click it to read it.

Best Short Story
(Short Story: A Short Story is any work of sf/f/h less than 7,500 words.)

“Burning, Always Burning”, Alan Baxter and Felicity Dowker, in Damnation and Dames, Ticonderoga Publications.

“Cephalopoda Obsessia”, Alan Baxter, in Bloodstones, Ticonderoga Publications.

Crossroads and Carousels“, Alan Baxter, in The Red Penny Papers, Fall 2012.

“Fear is the Sin”, Alan Baxter, in From Stage Door Shadows, eMergent Publishing.

“In the Name of the Father”, Alan Baxter, in The One That Got Away, Dark Prints Press.

Salvage in the Void“, Alan Baxter, in Kasma SF Magazine.

“The Everywhere And The Always”, Alan Baxter, in Mythic Resonance, The Specusphere and Esstee Media.

The Goodbye Message“, Alan Baxter, in ticon4, April 2, 2012.

Tiny Lives“, Alan Baxter, in Daily Science Fiction, December 25th, 2012.

I’ve also just noticed that my name crops up in a couple of other places on the eligibility list. So those are here:

Best Fan Writer
Fan Writer and Fan Artist: These awards are made to writers or artists for a work or body of work first published, released, or made available for public viewing in the eligible calendar year. The writer or artist must have received no payment other than contributor copies and other incidentals (coffee mug, t-shirt, poster, etc.)

Alan Baxter, for body of work including reviews in Thirteen O’Clock.

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review
The William Atheling Jr Award: The William Atheling Jr Award is for the writing or editing of a work or a group of related works of criticism or review pertaining to the genres of science fiction, fantasy, or horror.

Alan Baxter, for review of A Haunting of Ghosts by Maynard Sims, in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig, in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (movie), in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of Dredd (movie), in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of El Orfanto (movie), in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of Ishtar edited by Amada Pillar and K.V. Taylor, in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of Killeroo Gangwar by Darren Close and Paul Abstruse, in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig, in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of Rope by Martin Livings, in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan, in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood, in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of The Last Days of Kali Yuga by Paul Haines, in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of The List, Volume 1 by Paul Bedford, Henry Pop and Tom Bonin, in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of The Sixsmiths by J. Marc Schmidt and Jason Franks, in Thirteen O’Clock.
Alan Baxter, for review of Vaudeville by Greg Chapman, in Thirteen O’Clock.

I’m not entirely sure why all my Thirteen O’Clock reviews are listed separately, but that’s just how that particular award works, I guess. As they’re on the eligibility list, I’ve included them here.

So there it is. The reason to vote, all the links you need and my work that’s eligible. Here ends the Ditmar Award rant and promotion for now. Like last year’s post says, in order to make this award as fair and relevant as possible, we need as big a nominating and voting pool as possible. So, if you’re eligible, please get involved.


Urban Occult anthology available for pre-order, with special offer

UrbanOccultEbook-LoresMy story, A Time For Redemption, is included in this anthology of urban occult stories. It’s due for official release around the start of April, but the publisher, Anachron Press, is offering a special deal for the first 50 pre-orders that will see you getting more for your buck. Here are the deets:

Urban Occult Limited Pre-Order

Limited to 50.

Behind urban life, weird and horrific things fester.

The whispers and chills of things long gone… the promise of power from the darkness… the seduction of those that lie in the shadows… the occult is all around us: in town houses, in mansions, and in your very own street.

Editor Colin F. Barnes collected together fifteen stories by a cast of critically acclaimed authors from around the globe who look into the stygian gloom, explore the dark corners of our houses, and peer into the abyss of human temptation.

Featuring stories by: Gary McMahon, Ren Warom, Gary Fry, Mark West, K.T. Davies, Nerine Dorman, Alan Baxter, Adam Millard, Julie Travis, Jason Andrew, James Brogden, A.A Garrison, Jennifer Williams, Sarah Anne Langton, and Chris Barnham.

Special Pre-Order Edition Limited to 50.

This pre-order edition means you will get the book at least a week to two weeks ahead of general release and:

A FREE ebook version (for any eReader)

and A FREE ebook of Day of Demons. (eBooks will be emailed to you on the 4th of March).

Just £9.99 (+£2.99 shipping anywhere in the world).

Pre-Order here:

That’s a pretty sweet deal for just thirteen of your moneypounds. Hop to it.


Dreaming of Djinn cover revealed

dreaming-of-djinn-webCheck out that beautiful cover art, revealed yesterday by Ticonderoga Publications for the new Arabian Nights inspired anthology Dreaming of Djinn, edxited by Liz Grzyb. I am never disappointed with the cover art from Ticonderoga, and they’ve excelled themselves once again. I’m especially pleased as I have a story in this book, due out around April. People are always talking about not judging a book by its cover and, ironically, that applies to pretty much everything except books. It’s right to not judge people by their appearance, for example, or the quality of a home by the building it’s in. But people do, quite rightly, judge books by their covers. That’s what covers are for. They’re the first port of call for a prospective buyer. If the cover looks good, they’ll pick up the book and read the back cover blurb. If that grabs them, they’ll maybe thumb through a page or two. Then they’ll buy the book. If they’re buying on recommendation anyway, the cover is less important, but bad covers still do put people off.

In this day and age of mass production and awful, homogenous graphic art that makes all books look the same, it’s great to see something with some real artistic value and quality design going on. In this case, the artwork is from Ukraine artist, Nadiia Starovoitova, and the design is by Ticonderoga’s own Russell B Farr.

My story in this one is about a young woman with challenges in her life, not least of which being a father who won’t let her grow up. Then she meets someone connected with the Djinn. My story is called On A Crooked Leg Lightly and I’m very proud it was accepted for this book. Look who else is in there:

  • Marilag Angway “Shadow Dancer”
  • Cherith Baldry “The Green Rose”
  • Alan Baxter “On A Crooked Leg Lightly”
  • Jenny Blackford “The Quiet Realm of the Dark Queen”
  • Jetse de Vries “Djinni Djinni Dream Dream”
  • Thoraiya Dyer “The Saint George Hotel”
  • Joshua Gage “The Dancer of Smoke”
  • Richard Harland “The Tale of the Arrow Girl”
  • Faith Mudge “The Oblivion Box”
  • Havva Murat “Harmony Thicket and the Persian Shoes”
  • Charlotte Nash “Parvaz”
  • Anthony Panegyres “Oleander: An Ottoman Tale”
  • Dan Rabarts “Silver, Sharp as Silk”
  • Angela Rega “The Belly Dancing Crimes of Ms Sahara Desserts”
  • Jenny Schwartz “The Pearl Flower Harvest”
  • Barb Siples “The Sultan’s Debt”
  • Pia Van Ravestein “Street Dancer”
  • DC White “A Dash of Djinn and Tonic”

Dreaming of Djinn features 18 incredible tales of romantic Orientalism. The book will be available in April and you can pre-order it here.


Bloodstones contributor copies arrived

BloodstonesLook at this beautiful tome. It’s the Bloodstones anthology from Ticonderoga Publications, edited by the awesomely talented Amanda Pillar. You can tell she’s awesomely talented because she picked one of my stories to be in this book. And all the others, of course. Bloodstones is an anthology of short fiction using unusual creatures, myths and legends in dark, urban fantasy settings. And let’s be honest, that kind of brief is right up my flagpole. My story is called Cephalopoda Obsessia and it’s my little cephalopod overlord homage. I won’t say any more than that.

The book has a great line-up of authors (I’ll post the full list below) and boasts a broad range of subject matter. From the back cover blurb, we’re told we’ll encounter ancient Greek monsters, lamia, gorgons and kraken, as well as the Malay toyol and dukun, Chinese xiannu, Haitian voodoo, ghosts, Cthulhu, selkies and (get this!) the Philippino Alan. That one really has me interested. I mean, I’ll be honest, I have no fucking idea what half the stuff on that list is. But there’s a monster called an Alan? Sign me up!

The forward is by the very talented author, Seanan Maguire, and she says really lovely things about the anthology. Things like, “There was not a story in this book that did not surprise and delight me…” and “…a map to a whole new realm of horror.” Shit, yeah, I like the sound of that. So I can’t wait to get my teeth into this one. You can get your copy from, or all the usual Amazon type places.

Here’s the full list of 17 stories:

  • Joanne Anderton, “Sanaa’s Army”
  • Alan Baxter, “Cephalopoda Obsessia”
  • Jenny Blackford, “A Moveable Feast”
  • Vivian Caethe, “Skin”
  • MD Curelas, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”
  • Thoraiya Dyer, “Surviving Film”
  • Dirk Flinthart, “The Bull in Winter”
  • Stephanie Gunn, “The Skin of the World”
  • Richard Harland, “A Mother’s Love”
  • Pete Kempshall, “Dead Inside”
  • Penny Love, “A Small Bad Thing”
  • Karen Maric, “Embracing the Invisible”
  • Christine Morgan, “Ferreau’s Curse”
  • Nicole Murphy, “Euryale”
  • Kat Otis, “And the Dead Shall be Raised Incorruptible”
  • Dan Rabarts, “The Bone Plate”
  • Erin Underwood, “The Foam Born”


Wild Chrome by Greg Mellor – review

TITLEGreg Mellor is a relatively new voice in Australian science fiction, but his debut collection from Ticonderoga Publications places him firmly in the upper echelons of SF writers at work today. Wild Chrome is a collection of 21 short stories, ten of them new and original to the collection and the other eleven reprints from such august publications as Clarkesworld, Cosmos, Aurealis and more.

Mellor has a background in astrophysics and is one of those writers who can dream big ideas and back them up with believable and potentially realisable science. His stories play mostly around the ideas of the post-human singularity, the arguably inevitable conjoining of humanity and technology, which opens up all kinds of questions about mortality and our place in the universe.

Mellor manages to keep an entirely human aspect in all his work, however big or deep the subject matter. That is, unless it’s one of his stories from the point of view of an alien species, and then he manages to write a very convincing non-human.

Not every story in this book hits the mark dead on, but all the stories are imaginative and entertaining, really nailing the excitement and wonder that we should expect from science fiction. And some of the stories are nothing less than brilliant. I’m looking forward to anything else Greg Mellor writes, but he’s set himself a high bar with this collection.