Aurealis Awards 2012 – Winners

The 2012 Aurealis Award Winners were announced last night in the gala awards night presentation at The Independent Theatre in North Sydney. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees. A full list all short lists is below, with the winners in bold.


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)

The Rook by Daniel O’Malle y(HarperCollins)


“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)


Hunger by Melvin Burgess – review


By Melvin Burgess

Published by Hammer

ISBN: 978-0099576648

You may remember that recently Halinka Orszulok reviewed the first of the new Hammer novellas, The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson. Hunger by Melvin Burgess is another in the same series. It’s a fine artefact of a book, hardcovered and dust-jacketed. From the blurb it sounds intriguing. A shame then, that it’s actually rubbish.

I don’t know Melvin Burgess’s work but he has a good reputation of writing YA fiction where the characters do controversial things like have sex and take drugs. Which is great, because that’s exactly what young people do and I’m glad Burgess tackles those things and it sounds like he does a great job of it. But he does a terrible job of horror.

The book annoyed me from the outset. It starts with a Prologue of about a page and half. Then Chapter 1 follows exactly after the events of the prologue – there’s not even a scene break. Why the hell is that a prologue? It’s the first page and a half of Chapter 1.

So a pointless prologue had me off-side, but it was a cool idea of young Beth waking up covered in dirt with no recollection of where she had been or why she was so grubby. It’s a really cool opening premise in which Burgess really ramps up the tension. The trouble is, it seems like all he really had was that great opening idea and he just phones in the rest of the story from there on.

There is some great writing, but so much of the book is like a first draft. It feels rushed, like Burgess was working to a terrible deadline and all the editors were on holiday. There are several jarring switches of point of view in mid-page, where we jump from one character’s head to another, sometimes mid-paragraph. Then there are dodgy omniscient narrator moments, where the flow is broken by the author jumping in and out with things the characters couldn’t know. This is just simple bad writing. It could all have been tidied up with good editing.

Without giving away too much of the story (though I don’t recommend you read this anyway) Beth’s troubles stem from her connection to a particularly nasty demon and his ghoulish assistants, who come and go through the book. There are some great ideas at work here, but they’re ruined by some ridiculous, almost comical, action scenes. And if they’re not comical, they’re non-sensical. Like the bit where the kids are thoroughly beaten by the demon and his monster – the beast is literally sitting on top of Beth – then they run away for no reason, leaving Beth and her friends to fight on another day.

Then there are moments when mad, slavering beasts are running around and jumping on cars in broad daylight, but luckily no one seems to be around to notice. Seriously, you could be forgiven for thinking that Beth and her friends live in a world where there are no people whatsoever except for themselves and a handful of secondary characters vaguely relevant to the story.

There’s no talk of missed uni classes or explanations of strange absences. For that matter, there’s no real continuation of fear. These kids are literally being hunted by a demon and his various beasts, and they act scared for a moment here and there, then they sit around and have a laugh and a joke with pizza and a movie. At one point they all go out and get pissed just for a laugh. And that in itself leads to another absurd encounter in one of the few scenes where other people are plainly evident, right up until there’s something weird they might spot. Then no one is around. Anywhere. At all.

So, sadly, after a great opening and a really good build of initial tension, utter nonsense ensues for nearly 300 pages.

There’s even a bit towards the end where one big beastie (who has been in the fray since nearly the beginning) is all rabid and deadly in the final scene, then suddenly in the ground and immobilised and we’ve had no mention at all of how he was beaten. None at all.

I really wanted to like this book and it could have been far more interesting if it had been better written and better edited, but by the two thirds mark I was only ploughing through to the end for a sense of closure, and because it’s quite short anyway.



2013 Ditmar Award winners announced

The winners of the 2013 Ditmar Awards, for Australian SF, have been announced at Conflux 9, the 52nd Australian NatCon. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees. All the nominees are listed below, with the winner in each category separated as the first item on the list. Great to see Aussie horror taking the wins in open genre categories!

Best Novel

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

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “Sky”, Kaaron Warren (Through Splintered Walls)
  • “Significant Dust”, Margo Lanagan (Cracklescape)
  • “Flight 404”, Simon Petrie (Flight 404/The Hunt for Red Leicester)

Best Short Story

  • “The Wisdom of Ants”, Thoraiya Dyer (Clarkesworld 12/12)
  • “The Bone Chime Song”, Joanne Anderton (Light Touch Paper Stand Clear)
  • “Sanaa’s Army”, Joanne Anderton (Bloodstones)
  • “Oracle’s Tower”, Faith Mudge (To Spin a Darker Stair)

Best Collected Work

  • Through Splintered Walls, Kaaron Warren (Twelfth Planet)
  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011, Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene, eds. (Ticonderoga)
  • Midnight and Moonshine, Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga)
  • Light Touch Paper Stand Clear, Edwina Harvey & Simon Petrie, eds. (Peggy Bright Books)
  • Cracklescape, Margo Lanagan (Twelfth Planet)
  • Epilogue, Tehani Wessely, ed. (FableCroft)

Best Artwork

  • 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)
  • Cover art, Les Petersen, for Light Touch Paper Stand Clear (Peggy Bright Books)
  • Cover art, Nick Stathopoulos, for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56 (ASIM Collective)

Best Fan Writer

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

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
  • Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, Alisa Krasnostein, Tehani Wessely, et. al.
  • Galactic Chat, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Sean Wright
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Alex Pierce
  • Snapshot 2012, Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung et. al.
  • Antipodean SF, Ion Newcombe
  • The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe

Best New Talent

  • David McDonald
  • Steve Cameron
  • Stacey Larner
  • Faith Mudge

William Atheling Jr. Award for Criticism or Review

  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for “Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy. Let’s Unpack That.” (
  • Rjurik Davidson, for “An Illusion in the Game for Survival”, a review of Reamde by Neal Stephenson (The Age)
  • Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, for “The Year in Review” (The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011)
  • Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, and Tehani Wessely, for review of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh (Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus)
  • David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely, for the “New Who in Conversation” series