Aurora Australis: Superheroes, Merfolk, and Corporate Insects

Welcome to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! In Australia, there’s been controversy over which national politicians are actual dual citizens or not (thus invalidating their election as members of parliament), and we voted yes in the optional-postal-survey on marriage equality; we’re now waiting for our politicians to make it law. You would think that a poll about the Australian bird of the year would be less controversial, but that’s before you factor in an obsession with the bin chicken (aka Australian White Ibis) and how seriously some people take getting swooped by magpies.

Anyway, onto the publishing news!

Author James Bradley and artist Melanie Cook have teamed up to create The Death of Neutrino Man. It’s a brief comic taking a look at the life and experiences of one B-list superhero, Neutrino Man, from gaining powers to the world changing ...

Aurora Australis: Mixing Genres and Outrunning Robots

Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! There’s been a cyclone off the Queensland coast causing floods on the east coast. Daylight savings is about to end in the eastern states. To either joy or consternation, it’s nearly men’s Australian Rules football season again; we just had the inaugural women’s national season. And of course, there’s new books to talk in the speculative fiction scene… Hachette is publishing Victoria Carless’ debut YA novel The Dream Walker in June, and it’s intriguing not least because the genre isn’t entirely clear from the blurb. But “Lucy’s nightlife… is filled with dreams that just don’t seem to belong to her at all… [and] when the fish stop biting, like they did when her mum was still around, Lucy realises she isn’t the only one with a secret” sounds entirely enchanting. Also coming ...

Aurora Australis: Cleverman, Crowdfunding, and Kudos

From ABC's upcoming series CLEVERMAN This month we’re mostly on about crowdfunding, trilogies, and awards shortlists. There’s some other stuff too, because you just can’t stop the anthologies. Or Cleverman. Who is Cleverman? A few weeks ago I couldn’t have answered. But then there was this incredibly exciting announcement: that Cleverman is coming to the ABC (the Australian national broadcaster)—but only after it debuts at the Berlin International Film Festival. It’s also been picked up by the Sundance Channel (I have no idea how widespread that is…). Why is this so exciting? Because Cleverman is an Indigenous Australian superhero. As someone connected to the project has pointed out, “Australia has no real experience of genre TV, so the fact that the ABC Indigenous Department embraced this is pretty radical for free-to-air.” And in case you need big names as an extra drawcard, Cleverman’s got Iain Glen—you might know him from Game of Thrones...
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Aurora Australis: There’s More to Life Than Anthologies

Art by Emma Weakley This month we are overjoyed by anthologies, glum about waiting for books to arrive (but excited that they exist), and mildly anticipatory about the 2016 awards season. All but the last is pretty standard… one of these days I’m going to chart emotions over the year based on awards shortlists/announcements… But first up, a plethora of anthologies! Firstly, Fablecroft’s Pozible campaign (the Australian version of Kickstarter) got off to a great start in January, being fully funded within just twelve hours. At the time of writing it was funded to three times its initial target, meaning that authors will be getting more than initially assigned. In mid-January, they announced a preliminary table of contents, including reprints from Paul Haines (“Wives” is one of the most horrific stories I’ve ever read, so it’s perfect for this anthology) and Angela Slatter, as well as original fictions from Tansy Rayner Roberts, Dirk ...
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Aurora Australis: A Bite of Tucker and a Beer

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The sun burns hotly thro’ the gums
As down the road old Rogan comes—
The hatter from the lonely hut
Beside the track to Woollybutt.
He likes to spend his Christmas with us here. He says a man gets sort of strange
Living alone without a change,
Gets sort of settled in his way;
And so he comes each Christmas day
To share a bite of tucker and a beer. –CJ Dennis, “A Bush Christmas” (originally published 1934)

While this poem doesn’t reflect Christmas for all Australians (after all, not all of us celebrate Christmas, and most of us don’t live in the bush), the weather at least is a sight closer to reality for most of us than “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” Anyway, it’s the start of a new calendar year, and there’s plenty happening in the publishing world. Something I missed a bit earlier in ...

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