Small Presses Bloom in 2001

For the conscientious voter in the Australian genre's annual popular awards, the "Ditmars", the task of covering everything in the short fiction field has become a lot harder in the last couple of years. With the closure of Altair, Eidolon's print-publishing hiatus and the disruptions caused by the sale of Aurealis, we're seeing a change in the way Australian genre short fiction reaches its readership. An ever-growing community of "new writers"—perhaps inspired by the World SF Convention in Melbourne at the end of 1999, perhaps encouraged through the growing number of genre-related mailing lists and websites, perhaps finally convinced by the manifest success of their more established colleagues on the international scene—is creating its own outlets.

Pictured (left to right) are: (back) Scot Snow, Laurton McGurk, Jade Todd, Elaine Kemp, Rob Hood, Stephen Dedman, Cat Sparks, Lewis Morley; (front) Cathy Cupitt, Sue Isle, Claire McKenna.
photo: © 2001 Catriona Sparks / Jeremy Byrne

Consensual Launch The annual National SF Convention—held in Perth for the two years since the Melbourne Worldcon, and set to return to Melbourne in 2002—has always provided a focus for small press activity, and this year's NatCon played host to the launch of two small press anthologies—Consensual and Tarts of the New Millennium—while its own Souvenir Book included a number of previously unpublished genre short stories. Only a couple of weeks before, the Canberra Science Fiction Guild produced its own anthology, Nor of Human, and launched it at its own writers' workshop.

Mitch: Tarts of the New Millennium Launch

Recent Small Press "Anthologies": TARTS OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM LAUNCH
Pictured (left to right) are: (back) Lyndall Thomas, Robin Pen, Sean Williams, Shay Telfer, Rob Hood, Deborah Biancotti, Martin Livings; (middle) Russell Farr, David Yeates, Danny Heap, Grant Watson, Zara Baxter, Shaun Tan; (front) Cat Sparks, Mitch?
photo: © 2001 Catriona Sparks / Chuck McKenzie

The lists below demonstrates the breadth of the short-fiction oriented small press in Australia today and might help you keep up, but with the ongoing entry of organisations like the Sydney Futurist Alliance and the nascent Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Co-Op and the cross-over of "fanzines" into webzines, Print On Demand magazines and anthologies (see 1 and 2), it seems likely to become more and more difficult to be certain you've seen it all.

Current Small Press Markets:
  • AGOG
    Premiere anthology due June 2002 (see news item). print anthology
  • Antipodean SF
    Publishing monthly (see news item). webzine
  • Aurealis
    Next issue (#27/28) due August 2001; currently for sale (see news item). print magazine
  • Eidolon
    Next issue (#31) due November 2001 (see news item). print magazine
  • Goblin Muse
    Horror specialist; issue #8 due April 2001. webzine
  • Orb
    Third issue (#2) was due in September 2000. print magazine
  • Potato Monkey
    First issue now available (see news item). print magazine
  • Redsine
    Issue #5 published April 2001; has announced a return to print through POD publisher Cosmos Books (see news item). webzine
  • Winedark Sea
    One print issue, July 2000. print magazine
(After Russell McNair's Publications Update, April 26th 2001.)

The trend seems likely to continue, with several small press ventures set to launch at the Melbourne NatCon in 2002, and new "writers' convention" Write (C)on planning to cover topics including markets, writing courses and self-publishing, and aiming to publish its proceedings in an anthology for entry in the Victorian Fellowship of Australian Writers awards in 2002. We can only try to keep up.

To help keep track of what's new in the Australian genre scene, your best bet for many years has been Marc Ortlieb's Australian Science Fiction lists. Now, has added a Books In Print feature to provide comprehensive details on books and magazines as they're released (short stories to follow). If you can read both, you should recognise every name on the Ditmar Ballot for 2001—well, two out of three, at least.


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