I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again, but let me start out with a caveat: Yes, I am nominated for a Ditmar Award this year, in the Best New Talent category. Of course I would love your vote and, if you do vote for me, you’re a great person and you have my heartfelt gratitude. You’re also one of the cool kids. But this post is bigger than that, so I just wanted to get that out of the way early.

Here’s the meat of this post:

If you are eligible to vote in the Ditmar Awards, you MUST vote in the Ditmar Awards.

The Ditmars are a popular vote award, which means they’re a popularity contest. While we’d love to think that only the best work gets recognised, and while that certainly is a part of it, it’s naive to think that there are not other factors at play. People voting for their friends, or voting against people they don’t like, or getting together with pals and discussing who they’re going to vote for in order to consolidate their efforts and so on. Yes, it’s a type of corruption, to a degree. But it’s exactly how popular vote awards always have worked and always will. That’s just a simple fact. I know the committee in charge does all they can to make the process as fair and transparent as possible, but the very nature of the beast can’t be changed.

The only way to lessen the impact of that kind of activity and increase the likelihood that the awards are a balanced and fair expression of talent and worth is to have as big a pool of voters as possible so the activities of any dedicated and active few don’t dominate or skew anything. Therefore:

If you are eligible to vote in the Ditmar Awards, you MUST vote in the Ditmar Awards.

EDIT: Following this post I got a couple of messages which basically questioned whether it was directed at anyone or group in particular. It’s not. It’s directed at everyone. Myself included. I’ve chatted with friends about the awards and said, “So, you gonna vote for me then?” *wink, wink* They may or may not vote for me, but that’s potentially corrupting the result. We all talk about the awards, talk about voting and so on. That’s why I said above about how that’s just how popular vote awards work and you can’t change the nature of the beast. You can, by adding your voice, make that beast a lot fairer and a better example of merit. If you did think this was all about you, I can only ask: Narcissist much?

Eligibility to vote comes from being a member of this year’s Continuum convention in June (where the Awards will be given) or being a member of last year’s NatCon, which was SwanCon in Perth.

If you weren’t at SwanCon last year and can’t get to Continuum this year, but you want your voice heard, you can buy a supporting membership of Continuum here: http://continuum.org.au/join/ which entitles you to vote, as per the Ditmar rules. (You also get a copy of the convention handbook, your name printed in the members list (optional) and access to the Continuum members email list.)

Voting is incredibly easy, and the preferred voting method is via the online form. I just made my votes and it took less than five minutes. It’s as simple as filling in your name and email, typing a few numbers in a few boxes and clicking Save. You do that here: http://ditmars.sf.org.au/2012

Other voting options are:

The official ballot paper, including postal address information, may be downloaded as a PDF format file from: http://ditmars.sf.org.au/2012/2012_Ditmar_ballot.pdf

And votes will be accepted via email to: [email protected]

I’ll reprint below the full shortlist, so you can study that and think about what/who to vote for. If you’re not sure about any particular category, just don’t vote in that category, but don’t let that stop you from voting at all. If there’s any category that you have an opinion on, vote in it!

No one can complain about the results of a popular award if they were eligible to vote and didn’t. Only as many voters as possible will give anything like a balanced and fair view in keeping with the broader view of the community and fandom. So, hop to it!

Here’s the full shortlist for all categories:

Best Novel
* The Shattered City (Creature Court 2), Tansy Rayner Roberts (HarperCollins)
* Burn Bright, Marianne de Pierres (Random House Australia)
* Mistification, Kaaron Warren (Angry Robot Books)
* The Courier’s New Bicycle, Kim Westwood (HarperCollins)
* Debris (The Veiled Worlds 1), Jo Anderton (Angry Robot Books)

Best Novella or Novelette
* “The Sleeping and the Dead”, Cat Sparks, in Ishtar (Gilgamesh Press)
* “Above”, Stephanie Campisi, in Above/Below (Twelfth Planet Press)
* “The Past is a Bridge Best Left Burnt”, Paul Haines, in The Last Days of Kali Yuga (Brimstone Press)
* “And the Dead Shall Outnumber the Living”, Deborah Biancotti, in Ishtar (Gilgamesh Press)
* “Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Love and Romanpunk (Twelfth Planet Press)
* “Below”, Ben Peek, in Above/Below (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Short Story
* “Breaking the Ice”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Cosmos 37
* “Alchemy”, Lucy Sussex, in Thief of Lives (Twelfth Planet Press)
* “The Last Gig of Jimmy Rucker”, Martin Livings and Talie Helene, in More Scary Kisses (Ticonderoga Publications)
* “All You Can Do Is Breathe”, Kaaron Warren, in Blood and Other Cravings (Tor)
* “Bad Power”, Deborah Biancotti, in Bad Power (Twelfth Planet Press)
* “The Patrician”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Love and Romanpunk (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Collected Work
* The Last Days of Kali Yuga by Paul Haines, edited by Angela Challis (Brimstone Press)
* Nightsiders by Sue Isle, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
* Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
* Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
* Ishtar, edited by Amanda Pillar and K. V. Taylor (Gilgamesh Press)

Best Artwork
* “Finishing School”, Kathleen Jennings, in Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories (Candlewick Press)
* Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, for The Freedom Maze (Small Beer Press)

Best Fan Writer
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work including reviews in Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus! and Not If You Were The Last Short Story On Earth
* Alexandra Pierce, for body of work including reviews in Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus!, Not If You Were The Last Short Story On Earth, and Randomly Yours, Alex
* Robin Pen, for “The Ballad of the Unrequited Ditmar”
* Sean Wright, for body of work including “Authors and Social Media” series in Adventures of a Bookonaut
* Bruce Gillespie, for body of work including “The Golden Age of Fanzines is Now”, and SF Commentary 81 & 82

Best Fan Artist
* Rebecca Ing, for work in Scape
* Lisa Rye, for “Steampunk Portal” series
* Dick Jenssen, for body of work including work in IRS, Steam Engine Time, SF Commentary and Scratchpad
* Kathleen Jennings, for work in Errantry (tanaudel.wordpress.com) including “The Dalek Game”
* Rhianna Williams, for work in Nullas Anxietas Convention Programme Book

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium
* SF Commentary, edited by Bruce Gillespie
* The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
* The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
* Galactic Chat, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Sean Wright
* Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Alex Pierce

Best New Talent
* Steve Cameron
* Alan Baxter
* Joanne Anderton

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review
* Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, for “2010: The Year in Review”, in The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2010 (Ticonderoga Publications)
* Damien Broderick and Van Ikin, for editing Warriors of the Tao: The Best of Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature (Borgo Press)
* David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely for “Reviewing New Who” series, in A Conversational Life
* Alexandra Pierce and Tehani Wessely, for reviews of Vorkosigan Saga, in Randomly Yours, Alex
* Russell Blackford, for “Currently reading: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke”, in Metamagician and the Hellfire Club