Monday, 16 February 2015

Ditmar Ballot (Shortlist) 2015

I mentioned yesterday that the preliminary Ditmar ballot had been released and it has now turned into an official ballot. You can see it here and I've reproduced it below. You can vote here if you're eligible.

Links below are to my reviews where they exist or the thing itself if applicable. I should also add the disclaimer that I was a last-minute judge on the Aurealis panel for Collections and anthologies. Because of the last-minute-ness, I reviewed some of the eligible works last year before being drafted and it should be noted that those reviews are entirely my own opinion and do not reflect the opinion of the judging panel. The same is true of my comments on individual stories below, which should not be construed with my feelings on the anthologies/collections they come from.

Best Novel

  • The Lascar's Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette)
  • Bound (Alex Caine 1), Alan Baxter (Voyager)
  • Clariel, Garth Nix (HarperCollins)
  • Thief's Magic (Millennium's Rule 1), Trudi Canavan (Hachette Australia)
  • The Godless (Children 1), Ben Peek (Tor UK)
  • No Award 
I've read two and a half of these (the half being the Peek) and do have Thief's Magic waiting on my TBR. Shall have to try to get to it in time. Haven't read any of the books in that Nix series, either. I've heard a lot about it, but from my own point of view, it's a complete unknown quantity.

Best Novella or Novelette

  • "The Ghost of Hephaestus", Charlotte Nash, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • "The Legend Trap", Sean Williams, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • "The Darkness in Clara", Alan Baxter, in SQ Mag 14 (IFWG Publishing Australia)
  • "St Dymphna's School for Poison Girls", Angela Slatter, in Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 9, Issue 3 (Review of Australian Fiction)
  • "The Female Factory", Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, in The Female Factory (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • "Escapement", Stephanie Gunn, in Kisses by Clockwork (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • No Award 
An interestingly diverse shortlist, good to see so many different publications represented. A list heavily skewed towards feminist themes, which is interesting, and all a bit dark too. I have a good idea of which story I'll put first (the Gunn), but ranking the others will be a challenge.

Best Short Story

  • "Bahamut", Thoraiya Dyer, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • "Vanilla", Dirk Flinthart, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • "Cookie Cutter Superhero", Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • "The Seventh Relic", Cat Sparks, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • "Signature", Faith Mudge, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • No Award 
A bit less diversity in the source publications for this one. However, there is a spread from humorous to more serious, so that's nice to see. Some of these will be difficult to rank.

Best Collected Work

  • Kaleidoscope, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013, edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Phantazein, edited by Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)
  • No Award 
A disappointingly short shortlist here. There were so many strong anthologies and collections put out in 2014 I would have hoped more of them might have been widely-enough read to have made the shortlist. Not that these books aren't deserving, of course. (I haven't read the Best Of, actually, since it wasn't submitted to the Aurealis Awards for whatever reason.) Or perhaps the issue was too many equally ranked books in a strong fourth place. In any case, stand-by for the Aurealis shortlist to be released in a couple of weeks.

Best Artwork

  • Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, in Black-Winged Angels (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, of Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, in The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings (Tartarus Press)
  • No Award 
Hmm, I wonder what artist will win? I'm quite fond of the Phantazein cover, so I think that will be getting my first vote. I'll have to take a closer look at the other two to decide which I like more.

Best Fan Writer

  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work
  • Tsana Dolichva, for body of work
  • Bruce Gillespie, for body of work
  • Katharine Stubbs, for body of work
  • Alexandra Pierce for body of work
  • Grant Watson, for body of work
  • Sean Wright, for body of work
  • No Award 
I surprisingly long category and one I am a part of, which is always exciting.

Best Fan Artist

  • Nalini Haynes, for body of work, including "Interstellar Park Ranger Bond, Jaime Bond", "Gabba and Slave Lay-off: Star Wars explains Australian politics", "The Driver", and "Unmasked" in Dark Matter Zine
  • Kathleen Jennings, for body of work, including Fakecon art and Illustration Friday series
  • Nick Stathopoulos, for movie poster of It Grows!
  • No Award 
Quite similar to last year's shortlist, albeit with different art work.

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • Snapshot 2014, Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely, and Sean Wright
  • It Grows!, Nick Stathopoulos
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Andrew Finch
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
  • Galactic Chat, Sean Wright, Helen Stubbs, David McDonald, Alexandra Pierce, Sarah Parker, and Mark Webb
  • No Award 
So obviously I'm going to be biased towards Snapshot 2014 here, since I was a part of it. It Grows! is a movie that I haven't seen, and the other three shortlistees are all great podcasts.

Best New Talent

  • Helen Stubbs
  • Shauna O'Meara
  • Michelle Goldsmith
  • No Award 

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Reviews in The Angriest, Grant Watson
  • The Eddings Reread series, Tehani Wessely, Jo Anderton, and Alexandra Pierce, in A Conversational Life
  • Reviews in Adventures of a Bookonaut, Sean Wright
  • "Does Sex Make Science Fiction Soft?", in Uncanny Magazine 1, Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • Reviews in FictionMachine, Grant Watson
  • The Reviewing New Who series, David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely
  • No Award


  1. Sorry,haven't read any of them. We do have a copy of Clariel in my school library, but I am rereading the others first. Must admit I'm rather disappointed that Eleanor Clarke's gorgeous cover for ASIM 60 didn't make it :-( although Kathleen Jennings is a wonderful artist. Oh, well. Congrats to all those on the list, including yourself!

    You do realise you could have reviewed the AA books as long as you put in a disclaimer to say it was just your own opinion? We were told that was okay, though in the end I only reviewed one. Too much else to do. Like read about fifty entries for the children's section, though admittedly not over fifty days.

    1. Thanks :-)

      And yeah, I know I can review with a disclaimer, but I had so many books to read quickly that the desire to review them wore off soon enough. I have made notes though and I think I'll review some of them after the awards ceremony.