AustLit logo
Best Australian Long Fiction
Subcategory of Ditmar Awards
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

History

The category for Best Australian Long Fiction (sometimes presented as 'Australian Novel or Anthology') came into being in 1978, when the previous category (Best Australian Fiction) was split into Best Australian Long Fiction and Best Australian Short Fiction.

Although the terminology fluctuated somewhat from the mid-1980s, this particular award was awarded until 1999, after which it was succeeded by the two separate awards for 'Best Novel' and 'Best Collected Work'.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 1999

winner y separately published work icon The Resurrected Man Sean Williams , Pymble : HarperCollins Australia , 1998 Z414391 1998 single work novel science fiction crime

The year is 2069. D-mat offers fast, cheap travel, plus the potential to turn humanity into a race of godlike starfarers. But new technology has a dark side - d-mat allows a killer to perpetrate a series of vicious attacks without leaving a victim. Detective Marylin Blaylock is on the case ... a case where the murdered women all resemble her. (Publisher's blurb, back cover).

Year: 1998

winner y separately published work icon The White Abacus Damien Broderick , New York (City) : Avon Books , 1997 Z516730 1997 single work novel science fiction

'Long before William Shakespeare, tales were told of the Dane Ameleth whose noble father was murdered by the uncle who swiftly weds new widow Gerutha. Must Ameleth repay this crime by killing his uncle? The White Abacus dares to reconfigure the best known version of the classic tale, Shakespeare's Hamlet, to create a futuristic revenge drama with an entirely different outcome. Telmah is an inventive genius. Ophelia is no sobbing suicide but rather the impressive Warrior Rose, who shockingly revises the fate of her lover.

'In this exotic future history, the galaxy is open to anyone who passes through a hex gate, whether hu (augmented human) or ai (artificial mind). Telmah's close friend is the ai Ratio, newly embodied to the Real. Like all members of his asteroid tribe, Telmah is forbidden to use the hex transport system, since that would doom his rebirth.

'Out of this agonizing dilemma comes a feverish pursuit of truth and duty, love and near-madness, in an endlessly startling future where nothing turns out the way you expect.

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 1997

winner y separately published work icon The Scarlet Rider Lucy Sussex , New York (City) : Forge , 1996 Z126450 1996 single work novel mystery fantasy

Young historian Melvina Kirksley is hired by an all-female publishing company to discover who wrote The Scarlet Rider, Or, A Mystery of the Gold-Diggings. The novel had originally been serialized anonymously in an 1860s newspaper. As she gets closer to the heart of the mystery, she feels the past come alive and begins to question her own identity, both now... and then.


Colin Steel writes in 2001: 'Melvina becomes increasingly estranged from her medical student boyfriend (a not-quite-convincing relationship) and her best friends, but new relationships are formed with a publisher, genealogists and a descendant of one of the real-life Victorian characters. On a number of levels Sussex peels away the past to reveal its links to the present. As the darker forces of Melvina's "possession" become apparent, the innocent academic research becomes a matter of life and death' (SF Commentary No 77, p.55).

Year: 1996

winner y separately published work icon Mirrorsun Rising Sean McMullen , North Adelaide : Aphelion Publications , 1995 Z280542 1995 single work novel science fiction 'Set in a far-future Australia where electricity has been outlawed and society is overviewed by human-powered computers (largely driven by librarians), restricted quasi-medieval guilds struggle for supremacy and to discover the secret of the past. This gradual understanding of past technologies, such as exploring the role of the orbiting space platforms, accelerates in the second volume (Colin Steele, SF Commentary No 77, p.53).



Year: 1995

winner y separately published work icon Permutation City Greg Egan , St Leonards : Allen and Unwin , 1994 Z455855 1994 single work novel science fiction (taught in 2 units) 'In Permutation City Egan has said that his main goal was "to take the idea of conscious software - whether it's some kind of scanned human duplicate, or some AI created from scratch - and push it to its logical conclusion'." The story involves human identities being 'loaded into computer memory banks where they become virtual people' (Colin Steele, SF Commentary No 77, p.53).
X