Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand Nominates “Babylon’s Song” for Sir Julius Vogel Award in the Best Novella Category

Awards and award nominations are precarious things for authors. Most of us don’t work or write or imagine fiction for the glorious prospect of plaques and trophies. And we often work under the auspices of receiving little to no recognition for what we do. Yet what writer hasn’t dreamed of winning an award for his or her hard-earned work?

For writers like Woelf Dietrich, whose goal is to produce his best writing, having accomplished a story at the height of one’s ability is often reward enough. This makes the added thrill of being nominated for a prestigious award humbling and exciting beyond belief.

In a field and industry that garners little acknowledgment, much rejection, and sparse approval, it is truly a rare and wonderful honor to celebrate the recognition of a colleague, author, and friend like Woelf Dietrich for his tireless efforts writing “Babylon’s Song”now nominated for New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award.

In Dietrich’s own words:

“Babylon’s Song” is special to me. I invested a lot of emotion and time in writing the story of Samantha Babylon. I created her alongside Abel Medea for “The Last Devil,” my original submission for Interspecies. In “The Last Devil” we see her fully realized, at the top of her game as a cold-hearted slaughterer of aliens. “Babylon’s Song” tells the story of her origins and the events that set her future path. “The Last Devil,” is being developed into a novel and will be published by Kōsa Press.

Working with Dietrich over the years, I can tell you that you’d be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated, thoughtful writer, one who gives abundantly to his peers and colleagues. It has been my honor and privilege to have the opportunity to publish some of his best work represented by “Babylon’s Song” in Interspecies and 2017’s publication of Armistice (in which you’ll find seven spellbinding sci-fi tales from Woelf).

Working closely with Dietrich as his publisher during the developmental stages of “Babylon’s Song” as we, together with co-authors Dana Leipold and Elaine Chao, rendered a science fiction saga from our mutual imaginings and into fruition, I learned much about him. Woelf worked and rewrote tirelessly, pushing not only for publishable quality but beyond that to the very best of his ability.

This story represents collaboration, imagination, and some of Woelf’s best work to date. Reading Samantha’s arduous sojourn, the language, the universal human emotion depicted, the setting, and the sci-fi elements of alien-occupied New Zealand—all lend themselves to capturing a reader’s imagination with awe and wonder.

The last time I read the story, even though I’d read it countless times, I found myself forgetting I was reading a story, the plight of Samantha Babylon captivated my mind—a true achievement for a skilled writer and worthy of award nominations.

And you, kind reader, have an opportunity to help Dietrich’s “Babylon’s Song” get on the final ballot as I explain below. But first here’s some…

Notable 2016 Recipients of the Vogel Award

Octavia Cade
Winner of Best Novella/Novelette: The Ghost of Matter

From her website: “I have a PhD in science communication, and I’m currently researching seagrass restoration, focusing on the New Zealand species Zostera muelleri.

“I’m also a writer – you can read my stories at Strange Horizons, Cosmos, and a number of other places. I mostly write short SFF. If you’re looking for something of mine to read, I reckon the best thing I’ve ever done is a short (free!) novel called The August Birds, wherein science history gets mixed up with speculative fiction.”

Lee Murray
Winner Best Short Story: “The Thief’s Tale”

From her website: “Lee Murray is an award-winning writer of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. She lives with her family in the Land of the Long White Cloud where she conjures up stories for readers of all ages from her office on the porch.”

“Whitney is a thief. A good one. Like a mosquito she comes in quietly, first anaesthetising, then feeding, and finally leaving before her prey know any better. It’s a strategy which has worked for her 22 times in the past. But when she lands in Refuge, a discovery at an estate sale opens the door to other possibilities.” – From the story’s Amazon book description. Find Murray’s work on Amazon and on her website here.

Jean Gilbert (ed) & Chad Dick (ed)
Best Collected Work: Write Off Line 2015: The Earth We Knew

“The Earth We Knew… A sunlight auction, a campervan, a sandstorm, viruses, aliens, video games, and spaceships: what do they all have in common? Welcome to Write Off Line 2015, where New Zealand secondary school students let their imagination take us on a science fiction adventure, through stories and poems of fear, humour, and the unknown. Come and travel the Universe, and look back at The Earth We Knew.” – From the collection’s Amazon book description.

Paul Tobin (ed)
Best Professional Production/Publication:
White Cloud Worlds Anthology 3

From the White Cloud Worlds website: “White Cloud Worlds is an award-winning series of art books that showcase stunning science fiction and fantasy artwork from New Zealand, ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’.

“These visually rich publications explore the worlds created by more than 80 artists whose work has been featured by acclaimed companies such as; Weta Workshop, Valve, Blizzard Entertainment, Wizards of the Coast, Dark Horse Comics, Paizo Publishing, Fantasy Flight Games, Gnomon Workshop and Spectrum Fantastic Art.”

Help Woelf Get Short-Listed For the Vogel Award

Nominees with the most nominations get short-listed for the final ballot. If you read and liked “Babylon’s Song,” we hope you’ll contribute a nomination using this form.

Here’s all the information you’ll need to fill out the form:

Title of work: “Babylon’s Song”

Name of Author: Woelf Dietrich

Category: Best Novella or Novelette

Publisher: Kōsa Press

Other information: “Babylon’s Song” appears in the collection Interspecies.

Thank you for your kind participation and your readership.

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M. J. Kelley

Publisher
M. J. is an award-winning short fiction writer and author of a forthcoming nonfiction book. He loves science fiction, humor, & literary fiction and is the director of Write Draft Critique: the Virtual Writer Workshop.

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