Monday, May 01, 2006

Hairless, Reviewed, a Name Named, and Names Not Named

I shaved my beard the other day - on a whim. For the first time in nearly seven years I don't have a beard or a moustache. I feel naked. I keep repeating, I am not my facial hair, I am not my facial hair. But what if I am?

My unwriting has continued apace - some days I've unwritten as much as a thousand words, a few of them were verbs, they're never easy to unwrite, verbs have teeth.

Continuing the untheme, I just had a story unaccepted, and a less than wonderful review of my story in ASIM 22. You can read it here.

Even more reason to buy the magazine, dear reader. You can nod your head and say, "Yes, that reviewer got it right." The review has lovely things to say about some of the stories, well most of the stories, and having read ASIM 22 I'd have to agree, though not with his assessment of Shane Jiraiya Cummings' tale, I thought it a pretty neat piece of flash fiction. It's a great issue - worth the price of admission for the Adam Browne and Lee Battersby stories alone - Tansy Rayner Roberts, the issue's ed., should be proud.

Talking of Tansy, she's having a great year. I've just read an excellent short of hers in the Outcast Anthology - in my opinion one of the best of the CSfG anthologies to date. "Holding out for a Hero" is an utterly charming tale that plays a neat riff off Moorcock's Eternal Champion multiverse stuff, and Westerns. It also manages to combine humour with an oddly touching sense of pathos. Tansy also has a story coming out in the new AGOG anthology - an anthology that has one of the best TOC I've seen, and is sure to show the depth of talent that this country has at the moment. A mixture of old and new guard, it's enough to get this little black duck of a freshly shaved short story writer nervous - too many damn good short story writers these days.

There's been a lot of talk about the quality of Australian SF short fiction, whether there were too many markets, not enough markets, or whether or not we were actually even producing quality fiction. I get the feeling that the next few anthologies, Eidolon, Agog, and Cock (amongst others) are going to answer that definitively*. We've got some seriously good writers out there who have grown in both confidence and skill, and that has come, at least in part, from having markets like ASIM, Aurealis, Shadowed Realms, and Ticonderoga Online, regularly producing issues, and giving writers the space to grow, to fail sometimes, but then move on.

I'm not going to name names, because the problem is there's too many good names now, too many people I'm sure I'd leave out. Which is cool. I like that problem. It means there's always going to be stories to look forward to, to get passionate about, and chatter about.

*Whether or not it needs a definitive answer is another thing. And, of course these things, ebb and flow.

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