Charlotte’s Army

I’m going to do something silly. Out of all the works I could promote, I’m going to promote a self-published work for the Ditmar Awards.


Because I’m silly.

But also because it’s the damn most fun thing I’ve published this year.

And I did sell it, but the publisher folded.

It’s a novella, so markets for those are very limited, except in electronic form.

So there. Here is an excerpt from Charlotte’s Army. Download the entire 23,000 words temporarily free from Smashwords.

* * *

It was 4.06am ship time when the emergency bell went off in the corridor. In the few seconds it took me to jump out of bed and into my pants, I realised that the ringing bell signified a medical emergency and furthermore, that I wasn’t on duty. But I threw on my shirt and went outside anyway. In the corridor, Julia almost crashed into me.
‘Charlie! You’re going the wrong way. Not the hospital, the docking bay.’
I ran after her. ‘Docking bay?’
‘A shuttle came in from the Forward. Stab wound. A bad one.’
No. Another one.
We ran into the docking area, where a number of dock personnel and medical grunts already waited. The screen of the airlock camera, showed the shuttle already in place. Lights flashed. Flight assistance personnel were manoeuvring the ramp into place. A few nurses waited with trolleys. Dr Spencer was there, too, in full gown and gloves.
There were some low metallic noises, a squeak and the airlock hissed open. Two flight personnel ran out, carrying a stretcher with a blanket-covered form, which they put on the trolley the nurses had pushed up the ramp.
The whole scene passed in quiet, grim efficiency. Walking back to the hospital behind the patient, I tried to see the soldier’s face, but an oxygen mask covered it. Dark curls peeped from between insulating covers.
Into the operating theatre, the blankets came off.
His skin was pale and clammy. He was breathing irregularly. He had a deep gash in his stomach. The onboard medbot had done a reasonable job at stemming the bleeding, but this would require surgery. Dr Spencer spotted me and gestured me over to assist while he repaired the wound.
I worked in detached efficiency.
Later, after a tasteless breakfast and too-hot coffee, fatigue and shock hit. Another construct injured by his comrades. This one Landau, our pride stock, the recipients of the most advanced leadership modules. What ailed them?


Ditmar Award pimpage

It’s that time of year again. Nominations for the Ditmar Awards are due. Since it is totally accepted, nay, expected that you perform a great deal of self-pimpage, I shall do so here.

My eligible works are listed below, with their original place of publication and/or their Amazon links. I am planning to do some give-aways or specials of a number of these works before 15 April, when nominations close. Watch this space.

Don’t forget to nominate.

Australians and Australian residents can nominate here

My eligible works for 2011

Watcher’s Web
The Far Horizon
Fire & Ice
Dust & Rain

Charlotte’s Army Click here to download for free on Smashwords for a limited time
His Name In Lights – Universe Annex of the Grantville Gazette
This Peaceful State of War – Writers of the Future vol. 27

Short stories:
Where the Plains Merge with The Sky – Scape
Quarantine – Dead Red Heart
Party, with Echoes – Redstone SF
Poor Man’s Travel – Anywhere But Earth

Collected work
Out of Here – collected short stories

I’m also in my second (and last) year of eligibility as Best New Talent

I’m shortlisted for the Ditmar Awards

If you’re going to Swancon, I have a short story collection I’d like you to look at before voting in the Ditmar Awards, where I’m listed for Best New Talent.

I’ll release the collection some time next month under the title Out of Here, but here is a free preview, minus the introduction and the cover an excellent Aussie SFF artist is doing for me.

Download the file here (DOC format)

in which we jump on the Ditmar nominations bandwagon

Some fellow writers or editors will recognise the feeling:

Nominations are due for an award, in this case the Ditmar Award for Australian speculative fiction. Immediately, a lot of people jump on blogs listing their achievements in a kind of nominate-me-nominate-me extravaganza. I look at it, and find the whole process somewhat distasteful.

But, some say, you need to remind people what they can vote for, because otherwise you’re forgotten. Also true, probably.

With awards that are decided by popular vote, such as the Ditmars, there is an element of networking (schmoozing, if you like) that will undoubtedly help winners get across the line. Personally, I think this networking takes place throughout the year. In other words, if an award is really determined by popularity as much as everyone says, the award is decided throughout the year, and if you have to start reminding people of your achievements when nominations are due, you’ve probably missed the boat.

Still, I acknowledge that I find self-nomination slightly distasteful, as well as I recognise that it may be a necessary evil.

Hence this post. I’m going to start off by nominating some works by others I’ve enjoyed this year. These are people, collected works, stories and novels I’ve already nominated.

Nomination for the Ditmar Awards is open to anyone in Australia who is—in their words—active in fandom. In practice, if you’re a writer, a reader and take part in the SFF community, and you live in Australia, you can nominate. Eligible works are those published in Australia written by Australians or Australian residents. Voting on the shortlist takes place at Swancon. Precise details here:

Here are some things I’ve enjoyed this year:
Gillian Polack’s Baggage anthology, and especially the stories Acceptance by Tessa Kum and Albert & Victoria/Slow Dreams by Lucy Sussex
Simon Petrie’s Rare Unsigned Copy and especially his story Running Lizard
The laughing girl from Bora Fanong: a tale of colonial Venus by John Dixon and Adam Browne in ASIM 46
Free Falling by Mark Weller in ASIM 48
Latency by Simon Petrie in Aurealis 43
Stormlord Rising by Glenda Larke (I’ve read very few novels published in 2010)
The art and cover designs by Andrew McKiernan and Russell Farr
Reviews at ticon4, HorrorScope and A Writer Goes On A Journey

So go and nominate your favourites.

Oh yes, I have a few things on this list:

Short stories:
Metal Dragon (ASIM 46)
Little Boy Lost (Midnight Echo 4)
Trassi udang (Belong Anthology)
To look at the sky (Semaphore SF)

Apparently I’m also eligible for the Best New Talent category

Hugo nominations ahoy!

I’ll be going to Worldcon, and have paid for my membership, and can vote and nominate for the Hugos.

I believe strongly that voting is private. I will not use my nomination to make a statement, and frankly I’m getting tired of people doing just that.

I haven’t been writing much recently, because I’ve been reading suggested stories and novellas I hadn’t yet read. My question is this: why do we see the same little group of works mentioned again and again by the same people who are mostly each other’s friends? Surely there is more to good fiction than that? Surely this is why voting is private?

I am involved with a magazine that’s eligible for best semiprozine. Does that mean I’ll nominate them? That’s private and should remain that way.

However, it’s impossible of course for any one person to have read everything, but I want to make sure everyone who nominates considers the widest possible set of candidates.

I’m tired of hearing about the same old, same old recommended by the same old. What else should we be considering? It must have been published in 2009. Put your suggestions in the comments below.