Thursday, 21 March 2013

Aurealis Awards Shortlist

It's that time of year again when the Aurealis Awards Shortlist is announced! You can read the official press release here (pdf file) and I am reproducing the list with some commentary below. Links go to my reviews where those exist.

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth (Random House Australia)
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (Tor UK)
Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier (HarperVoyager)

Wow, so it's a big change for me from last year where I had read all the shortlisted fantasy novels to only having read one this year. I really loved Winter Be My Shield, though, so it's easy to root for it. I swear I will get around to reading Sea Hearts sooooooooooon. It's on my actual physical TBR shelf like three metres away from me!

“Sanaa’s Army” by Joanne Anderton (Bloodstones, Ticonderoga Publications)
“The Stone Witch” by Isobelle Carmody (Under My Hat, Random House)
“First They Came” by Deborah Kalin (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 55) 
“Bajazzle” by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)
“The Isles of the Sun” by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press)

In this case (as you'd be able to guess from my reviews) of the stories I've read I'm hoping "First They Came..." takes the award. Nothing against Margo, of course, but I was really taken by Deborah Kalin's piece.

Suited by Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)
The Last City by Nina D’Aleo (Momentum)
And All The Stars by Andrea K Höst (self published)
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina (Walker Books)
Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (Harper Collins)

Whew, at least I've read most of the science fiction novel shortlist! I also have The Last City sitting on my ereaders waiting for me to get around to it (and it's just moved up the list, of course). I haven't heard much about The Rook, though, so I'll have to check it out.

I'm a bit surprised to see Ambelin Kwaymullina on the SF shortlist (although I'm glad she made the YA one) because it was a fairly borderline book in terms of SF or F. I would have put it with (post-apocalyptic) Fantasy (with superpowers). Same with Suited. I strongly feel Anderton's series is fantasy and just because it has structured magic, doesn't make it less magic. Nothing against either book, I liked them both a lot, but they are not, in my opinion, science fiction (but no less deserving of awards generally for it).

On a somewhat record breaking note, this is the second time Andrea K Höst has had a book shortlisted, making it only the second time a self-published book has made the Aurealis shortlist (the other was her Silence of Medair in 2010). I think it would be exciting if it won in one of its categories (it's also shortlisted below for YA novel) and it would be interesting to see how the (Australian) publishing industry reacted to such a win.

“Visitors” by James Bradley (Review of Australian Fiction )
“Significant Dust” by Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape, Twelfth Planet Press) 
“Beyond Winter's Shadow” by Greg Mellor (Wild Chrome, Ticonderoga Publications)
“The Trouble with Memes” by Greg Mellor (Wild Chrome, Ticonderoga Publications)
“The Lighthouse Keepers' Club” by Kaaron Warren (Exotic Gothic 4, PS Publishing)

"Significant Dust" was my favourite story in Cracklescape, so yay for it's shortlisting. I haven't read the others.

Bloody Waters by Jason Franks (Possible Press)
Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott (Xoum)
Blood and Dust by Jason Nahrung (Xoum)
Salvage by Jason Nahrung (Twelfth Planet Press)

Well this category is mostly TBR for me. I recently acquired Perfections and Blood and Dust is already on my to buy list. Hadn't heard of Bloody Waters but (particularly in light of my horror reading challenge) I'll have to take a look. I enjoy Salvage and I believe it made it into the novel category by dint of being slightly longer than an official novella (it was published as a novella).

“Sanaa's Army” by Joanne Anderton (Bloodstones, Ticonderoga Publications)
“Elyora” by Jodi Cleghorn ( Rabbit Hole Special Issue, Review of Australian Fiction)
“To Wish Upon a Clockwork Heart” by Felicity Dowker (Bread and Circuses, Ticonderoga Publications)
“Escena de un Asesinato" by Robert Hood (Exotic Gothic 4, PS Publishing)
“Sky” by Kaaron Warren (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)

Again, I've only read one in this category. It's interesting though, that while I really enjoyed Kaaron Warren's collection (which is shortlisted in the collection category), "Sky" was my least favourite story. It was, however, the most substantial of the lot, so I can see why it beat out its siblings.

Dead, Actually by Kaz Delaney (Allen & Unwin)
And All The Stars by Andrea K Höst (self published)
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina (Walker Books)
Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
Into That Forest by Louis Nowra (Allen & Unwin)

I think it really speaks for the quality of all of these books, that three of them appear shortlisted in other categories as well. I will definitely be having a look at the two I know less about.

“Stilled Lifes x 11” by Justin D’Ath (Trust Me Too, Ford Street Publishing)
“The Wisdom of the Ants” by Thoraiya Dyer (Clarkesworld)
“Rats” by Jack Heath (Trust Me Too, Ford Street Publishing)
“The Statues of Melbourne” by Jack Nicholls (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56)
“The Worry Man” by Adrienne Tam (self published)

Oh, another self published shortlistee. Interesting. I believe this is the first self-published short story to be shortlisted (someone please correct me if I'm wrong)!

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words) 
Brotherband: The Hunters by John Flanagan (Random House Australia)
Princess Betony and the Unicorn by Pamela Freeman (Walker Books)
The Silver Door by Emily Rodda (Scholastic)
Irina the Wolf Queen by Leah Swann (Xoum Publishing)

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures) 
Little Elephants by Graeme Base (author and illustrator) (Viking Penguin)
The Boy Who Grew Into a Tree by Gary Crew (author) and Ross Watkins (illustrator) (Penguin Group Australia)
In the Beech Forest by Gary Crew (author) and Den Scheer (illustrator) (Ford Street Publishing)
Inside the World of Tom Roberts by Mark Wilson (author and illustrator) (Lothian Children’s Books)

Blue by Pat Grant (author and illustrator) (Top Shelf Comix)
It Shines and Shakes and Laughs by Tim Molloy ( author and illustrator) (Milk Shadow Books)
Changing Ways #2 by Justin Randall ( author and illustrator) (Gestalt Publishing)

The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011 edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)
Bloodstones edited by Amanda Pillar (Ticonderoga Publications)
The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 6 edited by Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade Books)
Under My Hat edited by Jonathan Strahan (Random House)
Edge of Infinity edited by Jonathan Strahan (Solaris Books)

That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote by K. J. Bishop (self published)
Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody (Allen & Unwin)
Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)
Living With the Dead by Martin Livings (Dark Prints Press)
Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren (Twelfth Planet Press)

Did anyone else notice that in (almost?) every category that Twelfth Planet Press published a work, they received a shortlisting? An impressive record.

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