Some of you might remember last year when I introduced you to Drusilla, the Ditmar Diprotodon. This time-travelling spokesmammal of Australian SF has apparently remained in our time-stream, mostly for the fiction. Rumours of the secret megafauna invasion are still largely exaggerated and (for now) she is an ambassador of literature and peace. Today, she joins me on the Fisch-blog to talk about all things Ditmar.
JF: Hi Drusilla the Ditmar Diprotodon, thanks for stopping by.
DDD: My pleasure, Jason. Thanks for the huge bushel of vegetation.
JF: I’d do the same for any of my guests. Now, my sources tell me that you’re a passionate advocate of the Ditmar Awards.
DDD: Indeed. I think it’s wonderful to reward creative minds. We had a similar popular-vote award back in the Pleistocene Epoch, “The Mammal’s Choice Award”. Though our categories were more along the lines of Best Survivor, Species Viability, Most Effective Predator and the like. We still had a Fan Art category though.
JF: Megafauna are nothing if not organised. So, Drusilla, do you know who you are nominating in this year’s Ditmar Awards?
DDD: Oh yes! I’ve perused the 2013 Ditmar Eligibility List and cobbled together a list of my favourite books, novellas, short stories and even some reviews and podcasts that I got into last year. The beauty of the Ditmar is that I can nominate as many things in as many categories as I like. You don’t dilute or divide your nomination by doing so.
JF: So, if you were a creative type nominating your own work (which is okay to do) it doesn’t hurt you at all to list other works in the same category?
DDD: Indeed. You’re a mug if you don’t. I think that this mechanism effectively neutralises any self-touting – by the time the self-nominations are tallied up, the real results would come from the additional “I also liked this stuff” nominations.
JF: So, you’re saying the system works?
DDD: I know the Ditmars are not without their own controversies. Nary a year goes by without some sort of battle royale about the results, accusations of bloc voting, all of that drama. It reminds me in many ways of the “Mammal’s Choice Award” of 50,000 BCE. Brutor the Marsupial Lion was accused by many of rigging the vote for Most Effective Predator, but it turned out he really was the Most Effective Predator, as numerous corpses attested to.
JF: So do you think there was bloc voting, both now and then?
DDD: Probably. But that’s the law of the savana. No doubt many of Brutor’s relatives put their paws to the ballot, but it was probably a statistical blip when compared to the other terrified votes. At least the result was accurate! The Ditmar nomination process resembles a circus of touting and enormous lists of eligible works, but I think it’s a necessary process. After the initial flurry of activity, the overall numbers would float to the surface, and then the most representative value appears on that final ballot paper.
JF: I heard mention that you were frustrated by one of the rules?
DDD: Yes. As a fan, I was stymied by rule 4.1 “Nominations will be accepted only from natural persons active in fandom”. Stupid homo sapiens, of course you try to keep the fun all to yourselves. But ultimately I got around it by signing up to each Natcon, and I quote “or from full or supporting members of the national convention of the year of the award.”
JF: That’s clever.
DDD: [munching sounds]
JF: We need another wheelbarrow of lettuce in here.
Here is the official Ditmar spiel for those who are interested:
Nominations for the 2013 Australian SF (“Ditmar”) awards are now open
and will remain open until one minute before midnight Canberra time on
Wednesday, 20th of March, 2013 (ie. 11.59pm, GMT+10). Likewise, postal
nominations must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, 20th March, 2013.
The current rules, including Award categories can be found at:
You must include your name with any nomination. Nominations will be
accepted only from natural persons active in fandom, or from full or
supporting members of Conflux 9, the 2013 Australian National SF
Convention. Where a nominator may not be known to the Ditmar
subcommittee, the nominator should provide the name of someone known to
the subcommittee who can vouch for the nominator’s eligibility.
Convention attendance or membership of an SF club are among the criteria
which qualify a person as “active in fandom”, but are not the only
qualifying criteria. If in doubt, nominate and mention your qualifying
You may nominate as many times in as many Award categories as you like,
although you may only nominate a particular person, work or achievement
once. The Ditmar subcommittee, which is organised under the auspices the
Standing Committee of the Natcon Business Meeting, will rule on
situations where eligibility is unclear. A partial and unofficial
eligibility list, to which everyone is encouraged to add, can be found here:
While online nominations are preferred, nominations can be made in a
number of ways:
1. online, via this form:
2. via email to email@example.com; or
3. by post to:
6 Florence Road
NEDLANDS WA 6009
So make sure you nominate to get your favourite Australian work for the year 2012 onto the ballot.