Western Australian science fiction writer makes national short list

Western Australian author Simon Haynes has been short listed for a national Aurealis award for Hal Spacejock: No Free Lunch (Fremantle Press). Haynes’ story is one of five recognized in the category of best science fiction novel.

Haynes said it meant a lot to see one of his novels included in Australia’s most highly regarded speculative fiction award.

“I was very pleased to see Hal Spacejock: No Free Lunch on the list because it is rare for comedy to be recognised with awards, whether you’re talking about books, movies or TV.

“Being funny is risky and demanding because there is nothing worse than a lame joke so I’m glad the judges enjoyed the book enough to short list it,” said Haynes.

Haynes said without the Aurealis and Ditmar awards there’d be no recognition for dozens of Australian speculative fiction writers, many of whom produced world-class novels.

“If you think it’s hard for humour to make it onto an Aurealis short list, you should try getting speculative fiction onto the short list for a literature prize – in some quarters that would be like nominating Benny Hill for an Oscar,” said Haynes.

Hal Spacejock: No free lunch is the fourth book in the series. Haynes gained international attention earlier this year when he released the first Hal Spacejock novel as a free online book.

“The free novel has been extremely popular and readers from the US and UK keep emailing me, crying out for a Hal Spacejock fix,” said Haynes who will release the fifth Hal Spacejock novel in November 2009.

Other 13th Annual Aurealis Award nominees include Isobelle Carmody, Melina Marchetta, Shaun Tan, Sally Morgan and Emily Rodda.

The winners of all thirteen categories will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane on Saturday 24 January 2009.

Hal Spacejock 1 can be downloaded free at: http://www.spacejock.com.au/

The author is available for interview.

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