Ditmar Awards

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The Australian Science Fiction Achievement Awards

In 1982, the Australian Natcon, Tschaicon, was billed as "the First Australasian SF Convention", and the Ditmar Awards presented that year were, at least in theory, Australasian awards.

The name arose via a joke. At a committee meeting to decide the name of the proposed award, lengthy discussions had gotten around to considering people the award might be named after. Someone suggested that a person thus honoured might be persuaded to fund the awards. Dick (Martin James Ditmar) Jenssen seized an opportunity to relieve tedium by hazarding that he, himself, would be willing to pay for the awards if they were named "Ditmar" awards. What, he was asked, is a Ditmar? "Digital Integrating and Tabulating Mechanism for the Advancement of Research", he told them. (His offer was accepted, and he subsequently found himself paying for the awards for some years longer than he'd anticipated.)

In 2002, and again in 2010, Ditmar received a Ditmar. Another instance of a fan receiving an award named after themselves may have been when Forrest J Ackerman received a Big Heart Award. (That award, previously known as the E. Everett Evans Big Heart Award, was renamed the Forrest J Ackerman Big Heart Award.)

Nowadays, the awards process for the Ditmar Awards involves separate rounds for nominations and votes, but back in 1970 there was just a single round of voting. Also, a points system was used to determine winners that year.

William Atheling, Jr. Award

Nowadays, the [William Atheling, Jr. Award|[William Atheling, Jr. Award for Criticism or Review]] is classified as a Ditmar Award. However, there was a time when the constitution governing the Australian Natcons referred to it as a separate award. It is still classified as a "special award". The history of nominations for the award indicates that it has not always been restricted to Australians. In 1989, the last year in which there was a Ditmar Award for International Fiction, there were published eligibility criteria for the William Atheling Jr Award that required the work to have been published in Australia, but did not require the author to be Australian.

Ditmar Award for Best Fannish Cat

In 1991, a Ditmar Award for Best Fannish Cat was presented at SunCon (in Brisbane, Australia). The Business Meeting at that convention voted to demote the award from a Ditmar Award to a Special Award of the Convention. However, that decision was reversed at the Business Meeting of the following Australian Natcon. A subsequent award for Best Fannish Cat, presented at Dudcon III in 2010, was announced as not being a Ditmar Award, but rather a Special Award of the Convention.

Special Awards

Convention reports from 1971 indicate that the two Special Awards presented in 1970 were considered to be Ditmar Awards.

Some Other Awards

The Ditmar Awards should not be confused with the Melbourne Science Fiction Club Achievement Award nor the Peter McNamara Achievement Award nor the Pat Terry Award for Humour in SF.

1977: Best International SF: The Space Machine by Christopher Priest, Best Australian Fanzine: Science Fiction Commentary by Bruce Gillespie, Best Australian SF: Walkers of the Sky by David Lake, Extra Committee Award for Best Australian Short SF: "The Ins and Outs of the Hadhya City Sate" by Phillippa Maddern. William Atheling Award: George Turner.

Award Website(IA) Search: Fanac, Fan, Pro, SFE, Wikipedia, Reasonator 1982
Also involved: Advention '85 - Alan Stewart - Australia - Brett McBean - Brisbane - Contact2016
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