Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Voting Thoughts 3

There are two more categories I’d like to cover before voting for both the Ditmars and the Tin Ducks close this weekend. First up is the Ditmar for Best Collected Work.

This is one of the two categories for which I’m pushing my own product. Scenes From the Second Storey (edited by Amanda Pillar and myself, Morrigan Books) came out at WorldCon last year and has garnered uniformly positive and enthusiastic reviews in the months since. An anthology that features a stellar line up of writers all at the top of their respective games, I’m very proud of it and everyone who was involved. So if you wanted to throw it a vote or two…

But the competition is stiff this year, with some equally worthy contenders out there. The biggest – in page count and stature! – is Macabre (ed. Angela Challis and Marty Young, Brimstone Press). A history of Australian horror writing, it’s jammed with gems and recently made the final ballot for the Stoker Awards, no mean feat for an Aussie book in a stateside award.

I’ve already mentioned Cthulhu’s Dark Cults (ed. David Conyers, Chaosium) in relation to one of my tips for Best Novella, and the same reasons for voting in that category apply here – I loved the Call of Cthulhu game back in the old days, and the stories in this anthology are a lovely blast of nostalgia.

I’d also like to mention Scary Kisses (ed. Liz Grzyb, Ticonderoga) for showing you can do paranormal romance without selling out, and Sprawl (ed. Alisa Krasnostein, Twelfth Planet Press) for a fine collection of stories that distils the more disturbing side of life in the Australian burbs. Both are great reads and worth considering.

Things get more complex, when it comes to the Best Short Story noms, if only because my short list… well, isn’t. I’m not putting any of my own shorts into this category, preferring to concentrate on the Tin Ducks for that particular area. I am, however, going to nominate everyone who contributed to Scenes From the Second Storey. They are:

Dream Machine by David Conyers
She Said by Kirstyn McDermott
The Blind Man by Felicity Dowker
I’ve Seen The Man by Paul Haines
The Desert Song by Andrew J. McKiernan
Home by Martin Livings (also eligible for the Tin Ducks)
It’s All Over by L.J. Hayward
Temptation by Trent Jamieson
Out by Stephen Dedman
Ego by Robert Hood
Seven by Stephanie Campisi
Purity by Kaaron Warren
The Piano Song by Cat Sparks

I’m quite, quite serious when I say there’s not a single dud in the entire book. Anyone on that list who gets a nomination will truly have deserved it.

Aside from the above, however, there’s a wide field to choose from. Stories I’ve particularly enjoyed are:

Bread and Circuses by Felicity Dowker: a love story that transcends the grave, managing to be romantic and disturbing simultaneously.

The King’s Accord by Alan Baxter: a tale of political intrigue that asks how far is too far where the greater good is concerned. Wonderful ending.

The School Bus by Jason Fischer: not many stories have lingered in my mind after reading as long as this one did. Chilling.

Lollo by Martin Livings: What’s scarier than aliens, clowns or creepy dolls? A creepy alien clown doll. Easily the best story in the Close Encounters of the Urban Kind anthology. Also eligible for the Tin Ducks in the Best Professional Short Written Work category.

A Bagful of Arrows by Mark Farrugia: A story I got to see evolve through the AHWA critique group, growing into a tight, clever yarn.

Darwin’s Daughter by Christopher Green: it’s difficult to pick any one of Chris’s stories as a favourite – he’s that good. Darwin’s Daughter melds an intelligent concept with emotional punch.

And that’s it for my recommendations – for what they’re worth. If you’re thinking of voting, get in before Sunday. Details and voting forms are here for the Ditmars, and here for the Tin Ducks.


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