An overview?

I spent this morning attending what I considered to be a very successful interview with the Department of Justice’s Public Affairs team. No doubt more on this will follow in upcoming weeks.

Following this, I popped into Fantastic Planet to pick up Chuck McKenzie’s collection, Confessions of a Pod Person, and the newly released Australian Speculative Fiction: A Genre Overview, edited by Donna Marie Hanson.

I haven’t had a look at Chuck’s book yet, although I’ve previously read a few of the stories. However, while on the train I did give the Genre Overview book a good sweep through.

It professes to be a comprehensive (although not exhaustive) overview of Aussie spec fic novelists, short story writers, illustrators, and publications …

Shadowed Realms is Australia’s professional horror publication which pays 8c/word, and is one of an elite handful of worldwide SFWA/HWA professional markets with a readership in the tens of thousands.

… the Genre Overview covers for-the-love (non-paying) zines like Mitch? and Antipodean SF, and even the markets which have fallen by the way in the last five years, such as Redsine and Altair magazine …

Shadowed Realms has published eight reliable bimonthly issues thus far and has featured the biggest names in the genre, sometimes in the one issue – including Poppy Z Brite, Terry Dowling, Richard Harland, Robert Hood, Stephen Dedman, Lee Battersby, Trent Jamieson, Paul Haines, and Martin Livings. The next issue is the special ‘Redback’ edition featuring female talent such as KJ Bishop, Kaaron Warren, Cat Sparks, and more.

… also mentioned in the Genre Overview are an assortment of anthologies involving Australians, published both here and overseas – which includes such efforts as The Devil in Brisbane, the Consensual anthos, and the notable Agog! series, as well as mentioning forthcoming anthologies such as Cock, edited by Stevenson and MacRae …

Following on from Shadowed Realms, Angela Challis and I released Shadow Box, a ground-breaking charity e-anthology featuring seventy authors, including award-winners, to incredibly positive reviews. Under the banner of Brimstone Press, we’ve also announced a number of forthcoming projects such as Macabre: The New Era in Australian Horror, The Book of Shadows, and Black Box.

… Australian Speculative Fiction: A Genre Overview, with a foreword by Dr. Van Ikin, is without doubt the most comprehensive and indispensable guide to Aussie spec fic, and will undoubtedly be quoted by international readers and critics as the definitive resource on Australian writing, illustrating, and editing talent of the last five years.

But wait! I can’t seem to find any mention of Shadowed Realms, Australia’s professional zine, anywhere in the book? I must be mistaken, right? Given the established track record over eight solid issues, the thousands of dollars we’ve pumped into new and established talent, and the countless hours we’ve invested in not just editing, but also promoting Shadowed Realms at every convention and every opportunity this year, surely Shadowed Realms would at least turn up in an appendix at the back somewhere? But what about all the work we’ve done with anthologies, and the release of Shadow Box, and all the other publications on the way? Surely just some of this work will be noticed or acknowledged?

Nope.

To say I feel slighted is an understatement. Fuming? Closer.

If this is how we’re perceived by the Australian speculative fiction community, then perhaps it’s time to sever ties and shut down operations.

PS. Ticonderoga Online, another distinguished WA webzine which has published some fine work (including mine) over the last few years, has been placed next to Shadowed Realms in the book – in sporting terms, we’re positioned ‘left right out’.

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