Aurealis Awards

1995 Shortlist and Winners

Division A: Science Fiction

Best Novel

  • Winner: Distress by Greg Egan (Millennium)
  • Mirrorsun Rising by Sean McMullen (Aphelion)
  • Set Piece by Kate Orman (Virgin)
  • The Unknown Soldier by Sean Williams and Shane Dix (Aphelion)

Best Short Story

  • Winner: "Luminous" by Greg Egan (Asimov’s September 1995)
  • "From Whom all Blessings Flow" by Stephen Dedman (Asimov’s April 1995)
  • "Mr Volition" by Greg Egan (Interzone #100)
  • "Wang’s Carpets" by Greg Egan (New Legends, Legend/Random House)
  • "A Map of the Mines of Barnath" by Sean Williams (Eidolon #16)

Judges: Martin Livings, Graham South, Jonathan Strahan

Division B: Fantasy

Best Novel

  • Winner: Sabriel by Garth Nix (Moonstone/HarperCollins)
  • The House of Balthus by David Brooks (Allen & Unwin)
  • Battle-Axe by Sara Douglass (HarperCollins)
  • Mus of Kerbridge by Paul Kidd (TSR)
  • The Last Wizard by Tony Shillitoe (Pan Macmillan)

Best Short Story

  • Winner: "Harvest Bay" by Karen Attard (Eidolon #19)
  • "Angel Thing" by Petrina Smith (She’s Fantastical, Sybylla)
  • "Sail On, Sail On" by John T Stolarczyk (Aurealis #15)
  • "The Blue Stream" by Kaaron Warren (Aurealis #14)
  • "On the Other Side of Paradise" by Andrew Whitmore (Eidolon #17/18)

Judges: Bill Congreve, Martin Livings, Sean Williams

Division C: Horror

Best Novel

  • Winner: An Intimate Knowledge of the Night by Terry Dowling (Aphelion)
  • My Beautiful Friend by Venero Armanno (Arrow/Random House)
  • The House of Balthus by David Brooks (Allen & Unwin)
  • The White Garden by Carmel Bird (UQP)
  • The River Ophelia by Justine Ettler (Picador/Pan Macmillan)

Best Short Story

  • Winner: "Olympia" by Francis Payne (Olympia, Bambada Press)
  • "Scaring the Train" by Terry Dowling (The Man Who Lost Red, MirrorDanse)
  • "Entropy" by Leanne Frahm (She’s Fantastical, Sybylla)
  • "Rock and Roll has to Die" by Philip Nielsen (Dark House, Mammoth/Reed)
  • "Skin Holes" by Kaaron Warren (Strange Fruit, Penguin)

Judges: Leigh Blackmore, Bill Congreve, Steve Proposch

Division D: Young Adult

Best Novel

  • Joint Winner: Sabriel by Garth Nix (Moonstone/HarperCollins)
  • Joint Winner: Deucalion by Brian Caswell (UQP)
  • Witch Bank by Cathy Jinks (Puffin/Penguin)
  • The Third Day, the Frost by John Marsden (Pan Macmillan)
  • Ashling by Isobelle Carmody (Viking/Penguin)

Best Short Story

No Award

Judges: Pam MacIntyre, Sean McMullen, Lucy Sussex

1995 Aurealis Awards Judges’ Reports

Science Fiction

There were numerous worthy works of science fiction published in 1995 and thus available for the judges’ consideration. Authors such as Sean Williams, Stephen Dedman, Karen Attard and others show the continuing strength of the genre in Australia. However our task was made relatively easy by the outstanding work of Greg Egan who has very deservedly won both the novel and short story awards. His work exemplifies the best of SF, providing the reader with stories which are not only engrossing but apply realistic extrapolations of cutting edge science which challenge the day-to-day paradigms we all take for granted. We would also like to make special mention of Dealers In Light and Darkness by Cherry Wilder, An Intimate Knowledge of the Night by Terry Dowling, and She’s Fantastical edited by Lucy Sussex and Judith Raphael Buckrich, which were ineligible for the Aurealis Awards for Science Fiction, but stood out as works of particular excellence in their respective fields.

Fantasy

1995 was arguably the strongest year to date for Australian fantasy with around two dozen novels published in the adult and young adult categories. With strong crossover interest, both categories were considered for this award. We also recognised a wider definition of fantasy than the usual sword and sorcery variants.

In the field of entertaining novels, no single work stood out. Judging was close. In Mus of Kerbridge, Paul Kidd remembered that his first responsibility is to entertain the reader. Sara Douglass delivered a big story and promises more. The House of Balthus was beautifully written, atmospheric, plotless, yet with narrative drive. Tony Shillitoe’s The Last Wizard is a nearly perfect coming of age fantasy. The award finally went to Garth Nix’s Sabriel for its steam-age civilisation in conflict with an anarchic culture driven by creatures from various levels of the afterlife.

Judging was conducted by listing the works with a rank of 1 to 5, and then adding the points. This allowed for every judges’ opinion to be counted for.

The judges also recommend to the reader Caisel Mor’s Celtic The Circle and the Cross and Julie Haydon’s romantic Lines Upon the Skin, and to next year’s judges, Jack Dann’s The Memory Cathedral, as it was impossible to get copies of this novel to all the judges in time.

Horror

While not all the stories and novels considered for the Aurealis Awards were published specifically as horror, it is gratifying to know the quality of the stories was so consistently high, a fact which made the judges’ lives all the more difficult.

In the novel category there was, perhaps, the thinnest choice available, with major publishing houses maintaining a very conservative position for the most part. The River Ophelia broke this worrying trend in the best possible way but, while it has some very dark moments and some real fear, it was not published as horror, a fact which, more than anything else, saw it losing out to genre material. My Beautiful Friend, on the other hand, is a portent of better things to come. Published by the highly respected Random house, it is a ghost story of the highest order and the most exciting horror release of last year. Unfortunately it has a few glaring faults which the judges could not look past. Terry Dowling’s An Intimate Knowledge of the Night was the eventual winner of this category, a controversial decision, if for no other reason than it is barely a novel in any true sense.

In the short story category the wealth of excellent material made any decision extremely difficult. "Olympia", by Francis Payne, won more for its heart and an absolute refusal to flinch than for any literary quality. Of course, a killer plot never goes astray. One really notable story which didn’t quite make the short list, Renny Willins’ Don’t Move, from Bloodsongs #4 is definitely worth a closer look.

Young Adult

In 1995 the number of quality short stories eligible for this award was limited. Most material tended to be marginal as SF, fantasy or horror. The few works suitable for consideration were not felt to be sufficiently outstanding to merit a prize. Therefore, the judges decided on a "No Award" in this category. In contrast, the Best Novel category had a number of high quality works eligible. However it was noted that the packaging tended to be far below the quality of the texts, the covers being at best adequate and at worst poor and amateurish. Two novels in particular stood out: Garth Nix’s Sabriel and Brian Caswell’s Deucalion. Sabriel impressed for being a highly original, smoothly written and innovative blend of fantasy and horror. Deucalion was more science fictional, a sophisticated and politically subversive narrative with obvious parallels to the colonisation of Australia. These novels were highly different, but of such merit that it was decided to award the prize jointly to them.

 
Last Updated: 25/03/2005