In the second half of 2013, Deborah Biancotti made one of those throwaway comments that piqued my interest and set my creative brain rolling. The biggest advantage of operating a boutique press is that the projects I choose to publish can evolve from idea to fruition far more quickly than for a major publisher, and also that I’m the only one I have to talk into doing things! Thanks to Deb’s comment, within a week I had the title and tentative table of contents in hand for what I plan to be an annual series.
Focus 2012: highlights of Australian short fiction reprints an exclusive selection of Australian stories that have been recognised as the best of the best – stories shortlisted for and winning major national and international awards. We looked at the Hugo, World Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, BSFA, WSFA, Aurealis, Ditmar, Chronos, Tin Duck and other relevant genre awards lists to select stories and artwork (by the incredibly talented Kathleen Jennings, appearing on several awards lists for 2012 including the prestigious World Fantasy Awards) to include in the inaugural volume.
And what an amazing table of contents we ended up with: Joanne Anderton, Thoraiya Dyer, Robert Hood, Kathleen Jennings, Margo Lanagan, Martin Livings, Jason Nahrung and Kaaron Warren, most of whom I have been fortunate enough to work with in the past, all of whom create brilliant work. Interestingly, several of the 2012 stories fall on the darker side of the speculative fiction spectrum, and a number of them are novelette length pieces, which of course means that while the selection is elite, you are getting hefty chunk of reading nonetheless! And of course, the quality of the inclusions is incomparable.
Focus 2012 is deliberately an ebook-only publication – we wanted to make it a readily accessible price-point, and to make it easily available internationally, to showcase the highlights of Australian speculative fiction for the year. And while the nature of the selections means the book comes out quite late in the year (we want to wait until all the major international awards shortlists are announced), that means it can act as a refresher for readers who may have not come across publications in the year they first appeared.
With the Focus series, we look forward to introducing readers to the astonishingly good work being produced by Australian speculative fiction creators for many years to come.
Focus 2012: highlights of Australian short fiction is available from your preferred ebook retail platform: find it for US$4.99 on Kindle, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords and more!