Back in 1999, when I was an unpublished wannabe with my finger on the pulse, I heard about an Aussie speculative fiction anthology to top all Aussie speculative fiction anthologies: Dreaming Down Under, edited by Jack Dann and Janeen Webb. Oh, how I wanted to have a story in that anthology, but it was invitation-only and if anyone in the local industry knew me at all it was as an illustrator, or as the art director of Aurealis magazine.
Still, I went to the launch and got nearly every story in my copy signed by it’s creator. Dreaming Down Under went on to win the 1999 World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology and the stories within it appeared in Year’s Best anthologies and won oodles of awards for themselves.
Eight or so years later I get a phone call from Jack inviting me to contribute a story to the follow-up anthology: Dreaming Again. Suddenly I was the excitable wannabe again, bouncing around the house. But I hadn’t written a short story in years, being all caught up in time-consuming Big Honking Fantasy Trilogies. I had ideas, though. There are always ideas, buzzing around like blowflies waiting to be caught.
Getting that story out and then beaten into shape wasn’t easy, what with all the troubles we had last year, but every time I felt like giving up I thought of Jack, and how I didn’t want to let him down. So out came “The Lost Property Room”.
Now Dreaming Again is out and about, gathering some great reviews, including in The Australian, and it was pick of the week in The Age. The launch is fast approaching. It will be held at Conflux 5, the science fiction and fantasy convention I mentioned in a previous post, at 9pm on Friday 3rd October. I’ll be there, along with plenty of other contributors, helping Jack celebrate the release of another fabulous anthology.