The Ditmars… Or Were They?!

Controversy is stirring across the interlobe regarding the results of this year’s Ditmar awards.

I have been manipulating the Ditmars behind the scenes for years without incident, so it upsets me to hear the current negativity toward this year’s winners, who stole the awards fairly and squarely.

What many people don’t realise is that there is a long and distinguished history of this brazen thievery. When I attended my first Ditmar award ceremony in 1969, A Bertram Chandler spent several hours laughing devilishly into his cup of absinthe regarding the political chicanery he’d gone through to ensure his novel False Fatherland won what was at that time a fairly useless award. And in 1973 Isaac Asimov, having picked up his first Ditmar for Best International Fiction, a highly coveted award for US writers, was spotted leaving the ceremony and slipping a “quiet tenner” to a young Bruce Gillespie with the words “Next year make it Niven”.

Of course, I realised immediately that this kind of bribery and ingratiation was much easier than trusting in the fates or the eleven or twelve voters, so set about a long process of discovery in finding out whose “wheels” I needed to “oil” in order to gain a casting vote.

The controversialists who have maligned this year’s awards are mistaken about one thing in particular; organising a convention is little use in manipulating the results of an award. Anybody who has ever met a convention chair will know that they are nothing more than brainless figureheads, not capable of public mind-control of any kind. Anybody who has spent any time with Alisa will have seen her minders wiping the drool from her chin following her delivery of ten minutes’ monologue from the autocue. No… if ruling the Ditmars were as simple as running a Con, our results would have been much more predictable, without such aberrations as Shaun Tan’s Tales from Outer Suburbia winning in Adelaide (where he is publicly despised and often pelted with puppies) or Margo Lanagan winning for Black Juice despite her dishonourable withdrawal from the Con Committee for corrupting the minds of local children.

If you really want to know who is running the show in each and every Ditmar Award since at least 1972, you need to look at one and one thing only: Who won Best Fan Artist?

Now you know who the playmakers are and now you know who to bribe.

Of course some of you will still try to win by writing the best work or publishing it and promoting it well!


Editorial note: Look, I have no problem with complaining about who won the Ditmars. It’s a long and lovely tradition. I once made a six-foot-macrame-doll to illustrate my objections to Cat Sparks winning a gong. Diversity of opinion is a fine thing.

But let us at least make our conspiracy theories *interesting*. We’re supposed to be artists, after all.

Good night and God bless.

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4 Responses to The Ditmars… Or Were They?!

  1. You, sir, are a liar and a cad. A. Bertram Chandler never drank absinthe.

    I still hold fond memories of the macrame Cat, though.

    • Ben says:

      Sometimes when I look back I wonder what would have happened if the macrame Cat had replaced the real Cat. But that could never have happened…. could it??

  2. Dave Cake says:

    As Ditmar committee chair I’d just like to strenuously deny these allegations, and quite unrelatedly thank you for your custom *wink*.

  3. simonpetrie says:

    So this sort of thing has been going on since at least 1969? Isn’t that conveniently close to the first of the so-called “moon landings”, and suspiciously soon after Harold Holt’s “disappearance”? Hmm. I wonder.

    … Nah, couldn’t be.

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