I havent really commented on the Ditmar nomination ballot yet but I am really proud to see New Ceres Issue 2 make the Best Collected Work category. That looks like a pretty tough category this year and I don't remotely expect to win.
However, taking a step back, I'm very proud of this issue of New Ceres. As well as Best Collected Work, New Ceres Issue 2 just made the Tin Ducks ballot, Lucy Sussex's "Mist and Murder" made the Sir Julius Vogel Awards short list and Stephen Dedman's "Sufficiently Advanced" made the Tin Ducks shortlist.
In celebration, I thought I might offer this issue for the special price of $3 from now till the Ditmars Awards ceremony.
And in case you needed greater incentive to purchase your very own pdf copy of this zine, let me tell you what it's about.
Lucy Sussex picks up the thread from Tansy Rayner Roberts' La Duchesse story from Issue 1 in "Mist and Murder". Pepin and La Duchesse get called out to privately investigate a ghostly apparition and end up getting involved in a murder case. Sussex picks up Roberts' characters as though they were her own and runs off with them. (And might I say, fans of the Pepin/La Duchesse team should look out for Issue 3 where Roberts picks them up again and then does very very very naughty things with them.)
Stephen Dedman takes us into the world of the brothels on New Ceres and how they work the system to use their technological advances whilst still flying under the governmental radar. What I love about "Sufficiently Advanced" is how easily Dedman slides into the New Ceres world - he captures the coffee houses and the atmosphere perfectly. Plus, he's just a wee bit naughty with the way he couples the sexual worker with female liberation.
Jay Lake has a really moving piece called "Tower to the Sun" about the final moments of one member of the Golden Monks and how he plays the political game, right up to the very end.
And finally, Cat Sparks brings us "The Bride Price". It's my personal favourite of Sparks' work from last year. When I read it the first time, it made me cry. It's the story of one New Ceresian man shopping for his bride - offplanet and looking over girls bred specifically to be rich men's wives and still have some maturing to do. It's his ride home though, back to New Ceres, where he really learns something about life and maybe about love. (I secretly hope Sparks will write a sequel to this one day).
Alex Pierce turns her hand to a fictional review in her "Theatre Review" in the Prosperine Times. She beautifully captures the Prosperine High Society whilst delivering a quite comical retelling of the Shakesperian performance.
And for the next two weeks, you can check these stories out for the lowdown bargain price of $3: