The market wants Science Fiction for younger readers

… Apparently. According to various agent sites.


The Far Horizon is a book I started writing when I was reading fiction to my kids every night. I noticed that there was an awful lot of fantasy for younger readers, but no science fiction.

I wanted to write a story that highlighted a child’s perspective on life in space. How cool would it be to explore a space station, to get into trouble for doing so, and to see and overhear things that no one expected you to hear? In books, life in space is almost exclusively the domain of serious adults. Playful children have little place there. But when we consider settlement in space, there will inevitably be children.

This book is about that experience. It is about kicking against the clique mentality of closed communities, about making friends where you never thought you would find any. While I wrote this with readers of 8-13 years in age in mind, I also slipped in some references that adults might enjoy.

The great cover was designed by Olivia Kernot, and proofreading was done by my editor buddy Simon Petrie at ASIM.

So, if the market wants SF for younger readers, show me!

Clicking on the image will take you to the Amazon Kindle link for this book. A link for Smashwords is in the window to the right.


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)

Some writerly news and updates

A lot of people have been checking back for information on the ASIM slush workshop. It will definitely go ahead. I’m working out details, which will be announced when issue 50 has gone to print. We’re currently working hard to make that happen. Also, people have asked me if they have to be a subscriber to submit. No, you don’t, but there will be special offers, so why shouldn’t you subscribe or pick up a PDF issue?

I am in the process of preparing a collection of published stories for release as ebook. Some of the stories may be familiar to you. Others have been published in overseas pirnt venues or online magazines that have since folded. Here is the table of contents:

Highway (Infinitas Newsletter)
Bigger Fish (Fantastic Wonder Stories)
Black Dragon (The Edge of Propinquity)
Mass Extinction (Antipodean SF)
Legal Aliens (Semaphore SF)
Little Boy Lost (Midnight Echo)
The Ten Days of Madness (Antipodean SF)
From the Parrot’s Mouth (Beyond Centauri)
Metal Dragon (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine)
Never on a Birthday (Byzarium)
Out of Here (MBrane SF)
Raven’s Call (Realms)
Taking Back the Words (Ticon4)
The Only One He Ever Feared (Fly In Amber)
The Weed Eaters (The Fat Man at the End of the World)
Straight through the Heart (ZineWest)
To Look at the Sky (Semaphore SF)
The Invisible Fleas of the Galaxy (MBrane SF)

Last but not least, I will have a story in the Tales for Canterbury anthology to raise money for the earthquake victims of Christchurch, New Zealand. List of contributors here.

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

Dead Red Heart: Australian vampire tales

ETA: 15 April 2011 – this book is now available!

What business does a hard SF writer have to write a vampire tale? Good question, but Ticonderoga Publications editor Russell Farr liked my story Quarantine enough to include it in the press’ monster (both in size and subject) anthology Dead Red Heart. ToC and the amazing cover below:

The stories

“The Tide”, Martin Livings and friends
“Mutiny on the Scarborough”, Shona Husk
“Sun Falls”, Angela Slatter
“Such is Life”, Jeremy Sadler
“Apologetoi”, Chris Lawson
“Punishment of the Sun”, Alan Baxter
“Red Delicious”, Felicity Dowker
“Just a Matter of Economics”, Yvonne Eve Walus
“Quarantine”, Patty Jansen
“Out of the Grave”, Amanda Pillar
“Desert Blood”, Marty Young
“Thin Air”, Simon Brown
“Kissed by the Sun”, Jodi Cleghorn
“Black Heart”, Joanna Fay
“Renfield’s Wife”, Damon Cavalchini
“Listening to Tracy”, Jen White
“Breaking the Drought”, Jay Caselberg
“Children of the Cane”, Jason Nahrung
“The Sea at Night”, Joanne Anderton
“Sky in the Morning”, Sonia Marcon
“Taking it for the Team”, Tracie McBride
“All that Glisters”, Pete Kempshall
“The Rider”, Martin Livings
“Vitality”, George Ivanoff
“Coming Home”, Kathryn Hore
“The Little Red Man”, Ray Gates
“Deathborn Light”, Helen Stubbs
“The Life Stealer”, Donna Maree Hanson
“Behind the Black Mask”, Jacob Edwards
“Interview with the Jiangshi”, Anne Mok
“White and Red in the Black”, Lisa L Hannett
“Lady Yang’s Lament”, Penelope Love

Order your copy here

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 47 released

Well, actually, this has been in the wild since Worldcon, but copies have now been posted to subscribers.

If you don’t subscribe, why not? Get your copy here.

Table of contents:

Dig up the vote – Patrick S. Tomlinson
Dog – Stephen Watts
Killing time – Felicity Pulman
The Ship’s Doctor – Charlotte Nash
Hyu Kul and the Broth of Stone – Tam McDonald
Acid – Debi Carroll
Leeching tinnitus – John Philips
The backdated romance – Ferrett Steinmetz

Edited by yours truly.

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 46 released

That’s right, there is a new issue out. On the website, the ASIM webmaster says:

We’ve got premium fiction by John Dixon & Adam Browne, Christopher Green, Jason Fischer, Amanda J. Spedding, Patty Jansen, Simon Petrie, Felicity Dowker, Anna Tambour, Pete Kempshall, and Paul Haines.

Plus simply priceless new poetry by K.S. Conlon, and Grant Stone. Andrew J. McKiernan fleshes out the issue with cover and interior art worth the cost of admission alone.

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. It’s right on the money.

Yup, that’s my story Metal Dragon in there.

ASIM 45 released

You will probably know that I work for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. We have just released issue number 45, which is available in print and PDF from this site

If you like varied short stories, or want to submit to the magazine, go and buy an issue, or a subscription. We will also have a stand at Worldcon.

Table of Contents:

ASIM #45
Edited by … Jacob Edwards

Shaping Lily … Deborah Kalin
Amor Vincit Omnia … K J Parker
Count (Baron) Dracula and Baron (Count) Frankenstein … Stephen Marley
Dead of the Day … Simon Messingham
They’d Love to Come and Meet Us, But They’re Only CGI … Tom Holt

Overlooked … Jacob Edwards
Who’s That Knocking? … Eric Frank Russell

The Man Who Invented Time Travel … Graeme Garden