yearsbest2015

My bittersweet (and Ditmar Award-winning!) post-revolutionary fairytale “A Hedge of Yellow Roses” has been selected for the 2015 Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror! The book is edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene and is available for preorder now from Ticonderoga Publications.

It has a great cross-section of current Australian writers, and if you’re looking to get a survey of what’s happening here then it’s not a bad place to start!

  • Joanne Anderton, “2B”
  • Alan Baxter, “The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner”
  • Deborah Biancotti, “Look How Cold My Hands Are”
  • Stephen Dedman, “Oh, Have You Seen The Devil”
  • Erol Engin, “The Events at Callan Park”
  • Jason Fischer, “The Dog Pit”
  • Dirk Flinthart, “In the Blood”
  • Kimberley Gaal, “In Sheep’s Clothing”
  • Stephanie Gunn, “The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth”
  • Lisa Hannett, “Consorting With Filth”
  • Robert Hood, “Double Speak”
  • Kathleen Jennings, “A Hedge of Yellow Roses”
  • Maree Kimberley, “Ninehearts”
  • Jay Kristoff, “Sleepless”
  • Martin Livings, “El Caballo Muerte”
  • Danny Lovecraft, “Reminiscences of Herbert West”
  • Kirstyn McDermott, “Self, Contained”
  • Sally McLennan, “ Mr Schmidt’s Dead Pet Emporium”
  • DK Mok, “Almost Days”
  • Faith Mudge, “Blueblood”
  • Samantha Murray, “Half Past”
  • Jason Nahrung, “Night Blooming”
  • Garth Nix, “The Company of Women”
  • Anthony Panegyres, “Lady Killer”
  • Rivqa Rafael, “Beyond the Factory Wall”
  • Deborah Sheldon, “Perfect Little Stitches”
  • Angela Slatter, “Bluebeard’s Daughter”
  • Cat Sparks, “Dragon Girl”
  • Lucy Sussex, “Angelito”
  • Anna Tambour, “Tap”
  • Kaaron Warren, “Mine Intercom”
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Illustration Friday: Scary

Pen and ink. The shading is added digitally, but next time I would do it with watercolour – I enjoy the fluidity of it for single-colour work.

I enjoy stories where someone (character or audience) is shrunk to doll-size – whether Diana Wynne Jones’ Magicians of Caprona or Doctor Who’s “Night Terrors”, E. Nesbit’s “The Town in the Library in the Town in the Library”, the opening scenes of Babe or any number of others. They are usually intended to be scary, but I don’t find them so. I enjoy the fantasy – a fascination with small details, the coffee cans full of beads and the plaster ham in Beatrix Potter’s A Tale of Two Bad Mice, the giant Oreo in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. However, the best of them capture that dollshouse disproportion, where the scale of everything is always slightly off. Although it doesn’t scare me I find it beautifully unsettling.

After recently reading some M.R.James and watching Paranormal Activity 3, I am realising it is that gradual discomfort, the perpetual off-kilter sensation that I like best about horror. Sustained eeriness, rather than fright. The eternal unspoken whispering, the phenomenon which hints at but never fully grants an explanation. The serious scary stories which I like best are those which gradually and casually build to some subtle fright, and then never resolve it fully: I like the stories of the characters to be finished, for good or ill, but I do not want all questions to be answered – one reason that I don’t care for strong occult overtones in books I read in order to make myself scared of the sound of the wind. If all ghosts are identified, diagnosed and laid to rest, then that is as bad as ending a fantasy with “it was all a dream”. No, a little wonder and thrilling fear should stay in the world.

In other news: Delia Sherman’s Freedom Maze is loose on the world, and I did the cover and it has Delia’s words inside and Gregory Maguire’s words on top of it, and I am possibly a little excited.

Pocket Villain - Auction

Paul Haines, Australian horror author, having been diagnosed with bowel cancer, had sections of his bowel removed and enduring six months worth of chemotherapy, has recently discovered he has spots on his liver. Paul has met this news by reloading his guns and is going to fight it with two other forms of chemotherapy for cancers like his, combined with a monoclonal antibody called Avastin. Avastin, however is not part of Medicare or the private health system’s funding at this stage. It costs $20,000 to do it. Money that he doesn’t have.

So the Aus Spec Fic community is raising money through donations and the ART THAT SCARES YOU auction, live at [info]artscaresyou from 14-28 August. There are Jane Yolen poems, anthologies, early Shaun Tan originals, signed books and anthologies and more being added over the two weeks.

You even have the opportunity to get a Kathleen original! A very small villain, with villainous disguises (vampire, ninja, invisible man). Original pen and ink on 5.5x9cm card.

Pocket villain to scale - Auction

(The superhero paperdoll in the background (not part of the auction :) is from a printout of the self-portrait paperdoll from my first moleskine exchange contribution).

Bidding information is here.

WARNING: Some of the contributions and posts are dark, horrific (in the sense of genre) and/or visceral (in the sense of, well, viscera), so if you aren’t into that but want to help and get some art, read the post headers before you click through to particular offerings.

17/08/08 ETA:

Newsflash: Artscaresyou has now added an index of auction items, which should make the process of choosing (and bidding!) much easier.

For your viewing pleasure:

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