2012 Ditmar Award finalists announced

We’re definitely deep in award season now. This year’s NatCon, Conflux 9, has released the shortlists of finalists for the 2012 Ditmar Awards. Congratulations to all the nominees!

The Ditmar subcommittee are pleased to announce the ballot for the
Australian SF (“Ditmar”) Award for 2013. Voting has now opened, and will
remain open until one minute before midnight AEST (ie. 11.59pm, GMT+11), Thursday, 25th of April, 2013.

Note – every category also contains the option to vote no award should be granted, as per the Ditmar rules.

The 2013 ballot is as follows:

Best Novel
* Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
* Bitter Greens, Kate Forsyth (Random House Australia)
* Suited (The Veiled Worlds 2), Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)
* Salvage, Jason Nahrung (Twelfth Planet Press)
* Perfections, Kirstyn McDermott (Xoum)
* The Corpse-Rat King, Lee Battersby (Angry Robot)

Best Novella or Novelette
* “Flight 404”, Simon Petrie, in Flight 404/The Hunt for Red Leicester
(Peggy Bright Books)
* “Significant Dust”, Margo Lanagan, in Cracklescape (Twelfth Planet
* “Sky”, Kaaron Warren, in Through Splintered Walls (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Short Story
* “Sanaa’s Army”, Joanne Anderton, in Bloodstones (Ticonderoga
* “The Wisdom of Ants”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Clarkesworld 75
* “The Bone Chime Song”, Joanne Anderton, in Light Touch Paper Stand
Clear (Peggy Bright Books)
* “Oracle’s Tower”, Faith Mudge, in To Spin a Darker Stair (FableCroft

Best Collected Work
* Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth
Planet Press)
* Epilogue, edited by Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)
* Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren, edited by Alisa Krasnostein
(Twelfth Planet Press)
* Light Touch Paper Stand Clear, edited by Edwina Harvey and Simon
Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
* Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, edited
by Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications)
* The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011, edited by Liz
Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)

Best Artwork
* Cover art, Nick Stathopoulos, for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight
Magazine 56 (ASIM Collective)
* Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, for Midnight and Moonshine (Ticonderoga
* Illustrations, Adam Browne, for Pyrotechnicon (Coeur de Lion
* Cover art and illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, for To Spin a Darker
Stair (FableCroft Publishing)
* Cover art, Les Petersen, for Light Touch Paper Stand Clear (Peggy
Bright Books)

Best Fan Writer
* Alex Pierce, for body of work including reviews in Australian
Speculative Fiction in Focus
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work including reviews in Not If You
Were The Last Short Story On Earth
* Grant Watson, for body of work including the “Who50” series in The
* Sean Wright, for body of work including reviews in Adventures of a

Best Fan Artist
* Kathleen Jennings, for body of work including “The Dalek Game” and
“The Tamsyn Webb Sketchbook”

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium
* The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
* Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Alex
* Antipodean SF, Ion Newcombe
* The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
* Snapshot 2012, Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung et. al.
* Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, Alisa Krasnostein, Tehani
Wessely, et. al.
* Galactic Chat, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Sean Wright

Best New Talent
* David McDonald
* Faith Mudge
* Steve Cameron
* Stacey Larner

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review
* Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, and Tehani Wessely, for review of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh, in ASIF
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for “Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy.
Let’s Unpack That.”, in tor.com
* David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely, for the “New Who in Conversation” series
* Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, for “The Year in Review”, in The Year’s
Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011
* Rjurik Davidson, for “An Illusion in the Game for Survival”, a review
of Reamde by Neal Stephenson, in The Age

The official ballot paper, including postal address information, may be
downloaded as a PDF format file from:


Once voting opens, votes will be accepted via email to:


However, if possible, please vote online at:


Postal ballots will be distributed in the near future.

Voting for the Ditmar Award is conducted in accordance with the rules
specified at http://wiki.sf.org.au/Ditmar_rules, and is open to members
of Conflux 9 (including supporting members) and to members of
Continuum 8 who were eligible to vote in the 2011 Award. Voting in all
award categories is by the optional preferential system, and each
eligible individual may vote only once. All ballots (including emailed
ballots) should include the name and address of the voter. If you have
questions regarding the ballot or voting procedure, please email


This year, everyone who votes in the Ditmar Awards will go in the running for some cool prizes – so make sure you have your say on what you think was the best science fiction/fantasy/horror related work by an Australian to grace the world in 2012!

If you’re not yet eligible to vote, join Conflux 9 now! Membership form available on the tab above.

Australian Shadows Awards Finalists 2012

The Australian Horror Writers’ Association has released the list of finalists for the 2012 Australian Shadows Awards, celebrating Australian horror. Here’s the full list – congratulations to everyone who made the list!

Edited Publication

  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011 – Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene
  • Surviving the End – Craig Bezant
  • Cthulhu Unbound 3 – David Conyers

 Collected Work

Living with the Dead – Martin Livings
  • Through Splintered Walls – Kaaron Warren
  • Bread and Circuses – Felicity Dowker

Short Fiction

  • ‘To Wish on a Clockwork Heart’ – Felicity Dowker
’A Monstrous Touch’ – Marty Young
’Birthday Suit’ – Martin Livings
’Mountain’ – Kaaron Warren
’Creek’ – Kaaron Warren
’Road’ – Kaaron Warren
’They Don’t Know That We Know What They Know’ – Andrew J McKiernan
’Pigroot Flat’ – Jason Fischer

Long Fiction

’Sky’ – Kaaron Warren
’Critique’ – Daniel I Russell
  • ‘Escana De Un Asesinato’ – Robert Hood


  • Perfections – Kirstyn McDermott
  • Blood and Dust – Jason Nahrung
  • The Corpse Rat King – Lee Battersby


2012 Aurealis Awards‐Finalists

The 2012 Aurealis Awards Finalists have been announced over at http://www.aurealisawards.com/ Here’s the full list. Congratulations to everyone who made the finalist lists!


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 (PanMacmillan Australia)

Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier (HarperVoyager)


“Sanaa’s Army” by Joanne Anderton (Bloodstones, Ticonderoga Publications)

“The Stone Witch” by Isobelle Carmody (Under My Hat, RandomHouse)

“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)


Suited by Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)

The Last City by Nina D’Aleo (Momentum)

And All The Stars by Andrea K Host (self-published)

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina (Walker Books)

Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)



“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 (WildChrome, Ticonderoga Publications)

“The Lighthouse Keepers’ Club” by Kaaron Warren (Exotic Gothic 4, PS Publishing)


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)


“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)

“Escenade un Asesinato” by Robert Hood (Exotic Gothic 4, PS Publishing)

“Sky” by Kaaron Warren (Through Splintered Walls, Twelfth Planet Press)


Dead, Actually by Kaz Delaney (Allen & Unwin)

And All The Stars by Andrea K. Host (self-published)

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Amberlin Kwaymullina (Walker Books)

Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)

Into That Forest by Louis Nowra (Allen & Unwin)


“Stilled Lifes x11” 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)

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 (NightShade 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)


Interview with horror author Joseph D’Lacey

Joseph D’Lacey is the author of several horror novels, including Meat, Blood Fugue, Garbage Man and, most recently, Black Feathers, which is out from Angry Robot next month. We recently reviewed Black Feathers here and now we’re very happy to present this chat we had with Joseph, where he talks about his projects, the nature of horror and more.

Thirteen O’Clock: Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself, your work and how you got into writing?

Joseph D’Lacey: Well, I’ve always been a writer at heart. When I was in my teens, I used to write  to ‘empty my head’ but in my late twenties and early thirties, the desire to write fiction became a focused endeavour. I’ve written Erotica, Humour and Science Fiction with varying success but I think most people see me as a horror writer. That may change as I make my first forays into Fantasy, a genre that suddenly has a great attraction for me.

meatToC: You’re probably best known for the novel, Meat, that got you possibly one of the best cover quotes an author could hope for: “Joseph D’Lacey rocks!” – Stephen King. (Seriously, what horror writer wouldn’t kill for that endorsement?) Meat discusses a society completely beholden to a meat trade, the book billed as an “eco-horror novel”. Black Feathers covers similar ecological ground with a strong Mother Earth vibe at its core. Can you tell us a bit about your personal philosophies and the messages you want to share with your fiction?

JDL: For me a novel isn’t a planned excursion. It’s more of an adventure with no map. An idea or theme will fascinate me enough that I want to explore it. Fiction allows me to do this.

I know people think I have ‘very serious agendas’ but I don’t really. Evangelism is a pain in the backside, let’s face it, and it doesn’t work unless it’s enforced. That’s not my aim at all.

If there’s a message in my work, the message is intended for me. As far as readers are concerned, I exist for their entertainment. But if they step away from my work with similar feelings to those I had when writing, or if they see things a little differently as a result, I’ll only ever be happy about that.

I don’t really have personal philosophies – never believed in anything long enough for that! – but the way I see the world seems to be based on my experiences. In the nineties I was a British and European gold medallist in Tai Chi Straight Sword forms. Later on, I trained to first dan in Ki Aikido. I’ve been very positively influenced by many kinds of meditation since my twenties and have been a practising acupuncturist for the last seventeen years. I’ve experienced a couple of vision quests in the Welsh hills and had several other very instructive experiences with the land. I suppose, taken together, you can broadly see what interests me and a good deal of that must come across in my work.

Specifically in terms of writing fiction, though, far more important than all that personal gubbins, is to tell a good story. Story has to come first.

ToC: You say on your website that you stopped eating animals as a direct result of researching and writing Meat. Where else, and to what other life decisions, has your fiction research led you?

JDL: Honestly, I try to avoid researching books as much as I can. I usually end up checking the odd fact or two after I’ve finished the first draft but that’s about it. Meat was a very definite exception to that rule because, for it to be an authentic treatment of the subject matter, I really had to understand the background.

I suppose things are usually the other way around for me. As though my ‘research’ into life is what ends up in my fiction.

That said, there are elements of shamanism in Black Feathers and a particular sequence that involves a psychotropic plant to expand consciousness for the purpose of visionary experience. The more I think about that and the more I write about it, the more I want to experience it for myself. The potential of human consciousness seems so vast and yet we appear to utilise so little of it. Right now I’m looking into the use of Ayahuasca as a way of responsibly and effectively expanding awareness – it would be great to try to experience that in the next year or two.

No doubt such pursuits will end up in story somewhere along the line.

ToC: What appeals to you most about horror as a genre? What other genres do you enjoy writing and/or reading?

black_feathersJDL: I’ve loved writing horror because it allows me to step over boundaries, at least mentally. The great thing about the genre is that it lays out the human landscape like a freshly dissected corpse. That openness to scrutiny invites horror writers to get their hands filthy in taboo and terror. Horror is ‘anything goes’ territory.

This brings with it condemnation from those who don’t get it; as if horror is no better than a gallon of gore, sloshed onto the page without any care or craft whatsoever. True, there’s material like that out there, but some of the best books ever written either contain or hang entirely on elements of horror. But to stay on the positives, horror lets me be me on the page – I owe it a lot for that.

One of Horror’s faces – just one of the many – arises from the inevitability of darkness in a human life; superficially, the darkness when the sun goes down or we turn out the light at bedtime but, at deeper levels, the darkness in our own psyches; that potential for us to break down or transgress. Fundamentally, it is born from the darkness of that ultimate unknown: the gate of mortality.

This aspect of horror allows us to journey into night; to prepare, in waking, for dreams and in life for what may follow it. This invaluable facet of horror is nothing to do with genre. It is a gift which permits us to tread that dark path none of us wish to travel but the one we must all, eventually, take: the final road into darkness that will mark our severance from everything familiar and our leap into the void.

In short, horror is practise for death.

Personally speaking, I think I’m going to need a lot of practice!

Other genres? Er…comedy…

ToC: You’ve been published by a variety of publishers of varying size. Do you deliberately seek this variance in publishing or is it simply a product of trying to find the right home for particular books?

JDL: The idea of seeking variance is lovely; it implies a writer has a choice about who publishes him or her. I wish that had been my experience but it hasn’t; far from it.

blood_fugueI’ve been turned down by most of the UK’s literary agencies and publishers at one time or another. The nearest I get to having a say in who publishes me is who I don’t submit work to – and there aren’t many of those!

I doubt my publishing ‘past’ is much different from anyone else’s really; it shows which houses finally noticed me after all the years spent searching for a way in. If there is a difference, it might be that my primary publisher, Beautiful Books, went out of business in 2011, leaving me no choice but to start looking elsewhere for my next projects. They’d already rejected the novel I wrote to follow Garbage Man, so, between 2009 and 2012, I had almost no work published at all, anywhere.

Happily, things have really picked up since then.

ToC: There’s a page on your website called “Interpreting the language of my dead father”, which is a short, but very brave post. It seems that you were planning to expand on that, but have yet to do so. Can you expand on that idea at all?

JDL: My parents’ marriage ended when I was two. I lived with my mum after that, far away from the destructive influences of my dad. It led me to spend a lot of time wondering who he was. When I got to an age at which I began to wonder who I was, I assumed my father held the key. So began many years of investigation, spent orbiting my father. He died a few years ago but the way he spoke and the things he used to say remain with me. Writing about them is wonderful. I’ll be adding more posts to that blog category as time goes by.

ToC: You have a book out called Splinters, a short fiction collection of Horror, SF and Fantasy. Do you write a lot of short fiction? Do you prefer the novel length?

I used to write a lot more short fiction. I viewed it as a kind of apprenticeship, I think, and it remains a great way to try out quirks in style that are too risky in longer projects.

Although I’m focused almost exclusively on novels now, I think my favourite written form is the novella. Magic happens there. I try to write one or two of those a year, if I can, but it tends to depend on workload – they’re not what the industry wants to pay a living wage for.

ToC: Who are some of your favourite writers and inspirations? Any particular favourite books?

JDL: Authors, top of my head: Margaret Atwood, DBC Pierre, Michel Faber, David Mitchell, Cormac McCarthy, James Herriot, Douglas Adams, Roald Dahl, Iain Banks, Clive Barker, Stephen Donaldson.

Books: The Hitchhiker’s Guide series, Oryx and Crake, The Great and Secret Show, The Road, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever.

ToC: What’s next for Joseph D’Lacey?

JDL: Right now, I’m writing a chapbook for the This Is Horror series. It’s called Roadkill. After that it’s the rewrite of The Book of The Crowman. In between, there’s one of those ‘projects I can’t talk about’ and writing a story for my daughter.

I’ve got more Fantasy featuring young protagonists planned and still haven’t written the grimmest, most disturbing Horror novel of all time, though it’s there, festering in a rarely visited sub-level of my mind.

We’d like to thank Joseph for giving some time to Thirteen O’Clock for this interview. Find out more at his website – http://josephdlacey.wordpress.com/


Midnight Echo to distribute Cemetery Dance Publications

Midnight Echo magazine is now the official Australian distributor of Cemetery Dance Publications, the world’s leading specialty press publisher of horror and dark suspense.

“Cemetery Dance Publications is thrilled to be working with our friends at Midnight Echo to make it easier and more affordable for collectors and readers in Australia to order our books.” Brian Freeman, Managing Editor, Cemetery Dance Publications

Readers can visit the Midnight Shop page on the ME website to see all the titles now available, or to place a pre-order for upcoming books: http://midnightechomagazine.com/the-new-midnight-shop/.

“For those living in Australia, this deal means you no longer have to pay the expensive international shipping costs when you order CD books. And don’t forget that you can also order the latest copy of Dark Discoveries magazine from us, too,” ME Executive Editor Marty Young said.

Midnight Echo has also released details and the Table of Contents for its next issue, #9.

Cover art by Mel Gannon
Interior art by Greg Chapman

The Table of Contents:


Changeling by Jonathan Maberry

Black Train Blues by James A Moore

Black Peter by Martin Livings

The Road by Amanda J Spedding

Coffee Rings by Kristin Dearborn

The Wee Folk by JG Faherty

From the Forebears by Steven Gepp

Little Boy, Little Girl, Lost in the Woods by Mark Patrick Lynch

The Fathomed Wreck to See by Alan Baxter


ganesh by Talie Helene


Allure of the Ancients: The Key to His Kingdom – story by Mark Farrugia, illustrations by Greg Chapman

Special Features

The Mythology of Mid-World by Robin Furth (non-fiction)
Russian Field of Mysteries by Tony Vilgotsky (non-fiction)
An Interview with Jonathan Maberry
An Interview with Mel Gannon

Regular Features

A Word from the AHWA President – Geoff Brown
Tartarus – Danny Lovecraft (poetry column)
Pix and Panels – Mark Farrugia (comic column)
Black Roads, Dark Highways #4 – Andrew McKiernan (column)
Sinister Reads (all the latest releases from AHWA members)

Pre-orders for the limited print edition are now being taken. Please visit www.midnightechomagazine.com for full details.