Worlds Within You – Worldbuilding Workshop with Jason Fischer, 16th April

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I’m running a world-building workshop during National Youth Week for any budding creatives. The workshop is at the Woodcroft Library on 16th April, from 6:30-8pm. I’m told there will be pizza, and we’re going to go berserk with the butcher’s paper, lego and plasticine. I’ll be passing on my knowledge of how to make up a fantasy world for stories and comics, and you better believe there’s going to be some amateur cartography :-)

Workshop is suitable for 10-15 year olds, let anyone know south of Adelaide who may be keen.

2014 Aurealis Awards Finalists Announced

Last night, the conveners released their shortlist for the 2014 Aurealis Awards. Seems it’s time to crack open the Tia Maria and put on some footy franks, because one of my stories is up for a gong! Up for Best Science Fiction Short Story is my pulpy SF piece “The Glorious Aerybeth”, which appeared in Canada’s OnSpec Magazine last year.

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I find myself sharing this shortlist with many wonderful friends and colleagues, and am always tickled pink when I sneak onto one of these things. It’s a little surreal to get some recognition for my science fiction, as I’m typically a fantasy or horror writer. Added bonus, I’m sharing a shortlist with Garth Nix, whose writing I have idolised for years! He is one of the writers who first inspired me to pick up the pen, which makes this a very cool moment.

“Winners of the 2014 Aurealis Awards and the Convenors’ Award for Excellence will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony, on the evening of Saturday 11 April at the University House, Canberra. Details of the evening and a link to the online booking website are available at www.aurealisawards.org

Complete Aurealis shortlist is as follows:

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

Fireborn, Keri Arthur (Hachette Australia)

This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

The Lascar’s Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette Australia)

Dreamer’s Pool, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)

Daughters of the Storm, Kim Wilkins (Harlequin Enterprises Australia)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

“The Oud”, Thoraiya Dyer (Long Hidden, Crossed Genres Publications)

“Teratogen”, Deborah Kalin (Cemetery Dance, #71, May 2014)

“The Ghost of Hephaestus”, Charlotte Nash (Phantazein, FableCroft Publications)

“St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls”, Angela Slatter (The Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 9, Issue 3)

“The Badger Bride”, Angela Slatter (Strange Tales IV, Tartarus Press)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Aurora: Meridian, Amanda Bridgeman (Momentum)

Nil By Mouth, LynC (Satalyte)

The White List, Nina D’Aleo (Momentum)

Peacemaker, Marianne de Pierres (Angry Robot)

This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

Foresight, Graham Storrs (Momentum)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

“The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)

“Wine, Women and Stars”, Thoraiya Dyer (Analog Vol CXXXIV nos 1&2 Jan/Feb)

“The Glorious Aerybeth”, Jason Fischer (OnSpec, 11 Sep 2014)

“Dellinger”, Charlotte Nash (Use Only As Directed, Peggy Bright Books)

“Happy Go Lucky”, Garth Nix (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

Book of the Dead, Greig Beck (Momentum)

Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (Allen & Unwin)

Obsidian, Alan Baxter (HarperVoyager)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

“The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)

“Skinsuit”, James Bradley (Island Magazine 137)

“By the Moon’s Good Grace”, Kirstyn McDermott (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 12, Issue 3)

“Shay Corsham Worsted”, Garth Nix (Fearful Symmetries, Chizine)

“Home and Hearth”, Angela Slatter (Spectral Press)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

The Astrologer’s Daughter, Rebecca Lim (Text Publishing)

Afterworld, Lynnette Lounsbury (Allen & Unwin)

The Cracks in the Kingdom, Jaclyn Moriarty (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Clariel, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

The Haunting of Lily Frost, Nova Weetman (UQP)

Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“In Hades”, Goldie Alexander (Celapene Press)

“Falling Leaves”, Liz Argall (Apex Magazine)

“The Fuller and the Bogle”, David Cornish (Tales from the Half-Continent, Omnibus Books)

“Vanilla”, Dirk Flinthart (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Signature”, Faith Mudge (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

Slaves of Socorro: Brotherband #4, John Flanagan (Random House Australia)

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, Karen Foxlee (Hot Key Books)

The Last Viking Returns, Norman Jorgensen and James Foley (ILL.) (Fremantle Press)

Withering-by-Sea, Judith Rossell (ABC Books)

Sunker’s Deep: The Hidden #2, Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)

Shadow Sister: Dragon Keeper #5, Carole Wilkinson (Black Dog Books)

BEST COLLECTION

The Female Factory, Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter (Twelfth Planet Press)

Secret Lives, Rosaleen Love (Twelfth Planet Press)

Angel Dust, Ian McHugh (Ticonderoga Publications)

Difficult Second Album: more stories of Xenobiology, Space Elevators, and Bats Out Of Hell, Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)

The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Angela Slatter (Tartarus Press)

Black-Winged Angels, Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Kisses by Clockwork, Liz Grzyb (Ed) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Eds), (Twelfth Planet Press)

Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction, Dominica Malcolm (Ed) (Solarwyrm Press)

Reach for Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)

Fearsome Magics, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)

Phantazein, Tehani Wessely (Ed) (FableCroft Publishing)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL/ILLUSTRATED WORK

Left Hand Path #1, Jason Franks & Paul Abstruse (Winter City Productions)

Awkwood, Jase Harper (Milk Shadow Books)

“A Small Wild Magic”, Kathleen Jennings (Monstrous Affections, Candlewick Press)

Mr Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye, Tim Molloy (Milk Shadow Books)

The Game, Shane W Smith (Deeper Meanings Publishing)

(original post here – http://aurealisawards.org/2015/02/27/announcement-2014-aurealis-awards-shortlist/)

 

Stuff and Nonsense, the February Edition

Here’s some stuff that’s been going on in the House of Fisch:

  • Logan and I have started going to his lego group again – an amazing activity for kids on the spectrum. To see such a big group of these kids sit together and play happily is wonderful.
  • Have wrapped up study for clinical coding (through work) and sat my 2nd exam. Fingers crossed that I passed this resit exam (failed the first one by 2%, need 80% correct to pass. If I don’t scrape through this time, I might just go loco!
  • Enjoying the fact that a pizza shop has opened DIRECTLY ACROSS THE ROAD FROM MY HOUSE. They do amazing Yiros pizzas, King prawn pizzas, Moroccan lamb, you name it. Goodbye, pants.
  • Have re-enrolled in the Advanced Diploma of Professional Writing through Adelaide College of the Arts – I’ve only been doing this course since about 2001! Is meant to take four years. I’ve got one year left. So yeah, extracting a digit to get this shizzle DONE.
  • Guitar lessons are going well! Am working on Eagle Rock at the moment – when my fingers behave, it sounds good.

 

No Plan Survives Contact With the Enemy

At the end of 2013, I started a novel, wrote the first 45% in a blaze of clattering keys – then shelved it for a year. Real Life and Study got in the way of things, and just when I pulled my nose out of the books, a couple of opportunities to write commissioned short pieces landed on my desk. Once those were squared away, I got back into my novel (empty earth thriller yet to be named).

The best news is, it’s falling out of my head just as quickly as when I first started it, which tells me the idea holds water. Early on, I’d cobbled together a thorough outline, detailing what each chapter would do to contribute to the story arc as a whole…

…which I’ve already started deviating from. I’ve changed horses midstream, and you know what? It’s okay.

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No plan survives contact with the enemy. In this case, the enemy is my squirrelly writer hind-brain, which churns and burps out words into my fingers, which I then type with and wait a minute I’ve said too much.

Anyhow, I can’t think of a time when I’ve been 100% faithful to my outlines, even while the 1st draft word vomit is splattering all over the page. Safe to say, I’m probably not alone here – author Fiona McIntosh is also a notorious pantser, whose planning of her fantasy works involved a synopsis/outline she rarely kept to, a rough world map, and an idea of which famous actor resembled which of her characters.

She would then proceed to write some of the greatest page-turning works I’ve encountered. The Quickening books honestly kept me up into the small hours, despite the fact that they were pantsers of the highest order.

I’d like to think of my outlines as a plan – and the beauty of plans is that if Plan A isn’t working, there is a Plan B, Plan C etc. In my own process, it works best to let that writer goblin trapped in my subconscious write what flows best – keeps it interesting, and keeps the story itself honest. If that means my writer goblin pisses all over my intended finish line, hey, I’m cool with that.

“Well, of course the Space Goats are going to form an alliance with the Tin Can Cartel. They’ve both been attacked by the Shenanigans Society, and their differences aren’t that hard to overcome in the face of a shared enemy.” - Jason’s Writer Goblin, about 2 in the morning.

So if anyone wants me, I’ll be standing over this half-finished idea, watching my word-vomit fall upon it in a pleasing manner.

Namaste,

Fisch.

Meet Fang Fischer

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We have flies in Australia. Many, many flies. Consequently, many spiders. Both of these things are wrong, and usually arrive in tandem with summer, when our sun becomes a Flaming Bastard Murderball and tries to kill us all.

In an attempt to at least limit the flies, I have adopted two venus fly traps, Fang #1 and Fang #2. May you murder many flies in a gruesome fashion.

Leaving Facebook, and the Art of Distracting from Distraction

Hey folks!

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I pulled the plug on the old Facebook account. Not a permanent move, but I’m definitely going to keep it switched off for the rest of the financial year.

Since doing this, I’ve blown the dust from my yet-to-be-named thriller novel and cranked out another four chapters. I wrote the first half of the novel about this time last year, and it’s been good to dive back into the work. Finding that I still have interest in the central premise of the story tells me it most likely holds water. I think 2 or 3 months of this level of productivity should see the first draft conquered and begging for mercy :-)

I must say that I admire creatives who are able to multi-task. Artists who can focus on their social media presence, engage with people, skirt the rabbit-hole of general Internettery and actually accomplish things.

Me, not so much. The last time I wrote a book, I was writing full-time on an arts grant while parenting at home. It turned out the only thing that helped me get my daily word-count down was to lock my modem in the car. That way, if I genuinely needed it, I could go out and hook up the internet again, but it was a bit of a pain in the arse. So I didn’t bother, and usually defaulted to productive work.

Fastforward to 2015. Given that half of the Fischer house now runs on Wifi, I can’t exactly hide the modem everytime I want to write. So I’ve decided to examine my reasons for procrastinating, and eliminate one or two of the biggest timewasters instead.

Happy with the results so far. I did love the community I found on FB, but too much of a good thing meant Fisch Not Writing. So I’m going cold turkey, and will revisit how I use Facebook in July. One idea I had was giving Mrs Fischer the power of the password so I check it only once a week. A more extreme solution involves foregoing all technology and living under the house until I resemble Gollum.

Onward!

Another review of The Glorious Aerybeth (from On Spec #97)

And what a review! Eamonn Murphy from SF Crows Nest had this to say about my story:

‘The Glorious Aerybeth’ by Jason Fischer is one of those superb Science Fiction stories that you come across once in a blue moon. The Glorious Aerybeth, named after the Empress, is a gigantic organic starship fuelled by flesh and blood which it obtains by scouring the surface of planets and eating every living thing thereon. The race that crews it has a ruthless, hierarchical society. The Empress has an interest in archaeology and has sent our hero, Gannet, to halt the ship’s operations and investigate the planet it’s about to scour. Captain Orace resents this as he has a quota to fill and shareholders to keep satisfied. Combining an original premise, fascinating aliens with an intriguing culture and a few neat plot twists, this is an excellent piece of work. It’s the best hard Science Fiction short story I’ve read this year and should be up for awards.”

Thanks Eamonn! We aim to please – this review has really made my day :-)

The rest of the review can be read at the following link:

http://sfcrowsnest.org.uk/on-spec-the-canadian-magazine-of-the-fantastic-vol-26-no-2-97-magazine-review/

Goodbye Facebook!

(lifted from my Facebook page)

Well, I’ve come to the realisation that I am wasting too much time online. Like a distracted bowerbird faced with too many shiny things, I hop about and gather rubbish for my nest and effectively do fuck all.

Because I don’t possess any self-discipline whatsoever, I’ve decided to deactivate this facebook account in a couple of days. I’ll leave it turned off for the rest of the financial year, and try to lift my game writing-wise. There are entire books need writing after all!

I’ll still be reachable on my email mail@jasonfischer.com.au, and will float around on Goodreads and occasionally Twitter. I blame all of you for being brilliant, witty and far too interesting :-)

Reviews of “The Glorious Aerybeth”

Some reviews have started to hit the net following the publication of my story “The Glorious Aerybeth” in On Spec magazine, issue #97. Reviewer Colleen Chen from Tangent Online says:

“During my first read-through of this story, I was completely confused. It introduces a race of beings and a sort of technology with little that readers can identify with. During my second read, though, I became engrossed in the intricacies of this world Fischer has built. I wasn’t sure of my interpretation, but I also noted embedded within the story a possible connection to Earth’s future seen from an alien standpoint that I found fascinating.

I did think that the aliens here seemed a bit too much like humans in terms of emotions and behavior, which seemed odd given how physically different they are from humans, but then again if they’d been any more alien I couldn’t have found a place to begin to relate. Overall, a rich story with a protagonist whose character is wonderfully flawed, giving us a glimpse into a xenopsychology as relating to a completely foreign culture.”

Full review can be read here: http://www.tangentonline.com/print–quarterly-reviewsmenu-261/on-spec-reviewsmenu-73/2560-on-spec-97-summer-2014

Over at Locus Online, here’s what reviewer Lois Tilton had to say:

“The characters here belong to an alien species obsessed with personal status, as measured by their plumage, and their technology is biological. Gannet is a high-status ship-breeder who has suffered a career setback, for which he is sent on a mission to report on the possibility of alien life that may have been discovered by the eponymous blood-ship. Gannet’s people and their creations are not very nice.

This one could have read as either horror or humor, but the humor prevails, making it difficult to take the horrific aspects of the tale seriously. Those not overly-sensitive should find it imaginatively entertaining.”

The rest of her short story reviews can be read here: http://www.locusmag.com/Reviews/#onspec2014su

Many thanks folks! Reviewing is a hard road to hoe, and it amazes me just how much material the average reviewer actually gets through. You’re the unsung heroes of publishing :-)