Aurora Australis: Monsters, Reporters, and Knaves

Welcome to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand!

Australians have been thrashing the English in cricket, while New Zealanders have been treating their guests from the West Indies likewise. Cricket’s a long-term game; even those of us who love it also have time for reading…

Obsidio, the final volume in the Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, will be out from Allen & Unwin in March of 2018! Which is a horribly long time away but at least we have a cover! It looks like it follows a new set of characters, again facing similar corporate issues as in the first two books. Given the quality of the first two, and the wonderful range of ‘found’ material to tell the story, this is sure to be a wild ride to end on.

Subterranean Press have picked up a ...

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: Riddles, Promises, and Threads

Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! Southern Australia has just taken a turn towards winter, it’s nearly time for the Australian National Science Fiction Convention (Continuum, in Melbourne), and—despite not being in Europe—Australia did okay in the annual Eurovision Song Contest. And we have books! And covers! And TV! And awards! A few new books this month… like Rachel Nightingale’s fantasy novel Harlequin’s Riddle is coming soon from Odyssey Books. It’s about the Commedia dell’Arte, in the vein of Erin Morgernstern’s The Night Circus. Mina has a missing older brother and, it transpires, a gift for storytelling—she can call visions into being with her stories. She joins a troupe of Travelling Players and, of course, mysterious things unfold… Then there’s Paula Weston’s The Undercurrent, coming from Text Publishing in July. Julianne De Marchi has an electrical undercurrent ...

Aurora Australis: Riddles, Promises, and Threads

Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! Southern Australia has just taken a turn towards winter, it’s nearly time for the Australian National Science Fiction Convention (Continuum, in Melbourne), and—despite not being in Europe—Australia did okay in the annual Eurovision Song Contest. And we have books! And covers! And TV! And awards! A few new books this month… like Rachel Nightingale’s fantasy novel Harlequin’s Riddle is coming soon from Odyssey Books. It’s about the Commedia dell’Arte, in the vein of Erin Morgernstern’s The Night Circus. Mina has a missing older brother and, it transpires, a gift for storytelling—she can call visions into being with her stories. She joins a troupe of Travelling Players and, of course, mysterious things unfold… Then there’s Paula Weston’s The Undercurrent, coming from Text Publishing in July. Julianne De Marchi has an electrical undercurrent ...

Aurora Australis: New Releases, Upcoming Anthologies, and Awards Season!

Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! There’s been unexpected snow in some parts of the country while others are on track for their driest April ever; arguments over what “Australian values” are; and anticipation of the federal government’s budget (due in May). Meanwhile we’ve got new books, books turning into television and film, and awards galore… Ticonderoga Publications has announced the table of contents for their next anthology, Ecopunk! Edited by Liz Grzyb and Cat Sparks, featuring writers Jane Rawson, Jason Nahrung, Rivqa Rafael, and Matthew Chrulew, among others. It’s described as “19 optimistic tales, selected by two award-winning editors, showing how humanity can survive and flourish, despite the looming uncertainty from climate change”—which sounds like something very appropriate for the times. Ben Peek has a new novella coming out, set before the events of The Godless. ...

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: Anthologies, Novels, and Adaptations

auroraausnov Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! Stories are being sold, stories are being added to series(es), stories are turning into films, gender diverse pronouns are being used, funds are sought… publishing in Australia and New Zealand is always exciting. The NZ magazine Capricious is currently crowd-funding for an issue specifically devoted to stories using only gender diverse pronouns. The aim is for a double-length issue, meaning about eight stories plus author interviews, scheduled for publication in late 2017, and paying US professional author rates. Submissions are open until late February, so check out the full guidelines here. Go! Support! Consider story ideas! at-the-edgeRolling Ridges, a New Zealand film production company, is running a crowd-funding campaign to bring author EG Wilson’s short story “12-36” to life. Published earlier this year in the anthology At the Edge, “12-36” tells ...
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Springing into Aurora Australis

AuroraAustralis-October Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! It’s officially spring in the temperate parts of the Southern Hemisphere, while in the tropical parts of Australia it’s that delightful period sometimes called the build-up where it’s getting hotter and more humid but there’s not much rain to relieve the tension. In my old hometown of Darwin, October was the month for going troppo (ie mad)… Hachette Australia and New Zealand has just launched The Realm, an online community for science fiction, horror and fantasy readers. Hachette says that its goal is to be a place for readers to “discover new talent, engage with a range of SFF content and interact with fellow fans.” At the moment it’s on Facebook and Twitter; a dedicated web page should be coming in October. I’m really hoping that they highlight their excellent Australian ...
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Aurora Australis: Sampling Every Sub-Genre

Art by Sebastian Ciaffaglione Welcome back to Aurora Australis! This month we’re talking about climate change, superheroes, new novels, and some awards news. It’s the middle of the year and Australia and New Zealand are doing interesting things in speculative fiction as always. Despite what our government seems to think, many Australians are aware of and concerned about the effects of climate change. One of the people writing about that is Cat Sparks, writer, editor and publisher. She’s currently undertaking a PhD on climate change fiction, and her debut novel will focus on those issues. She’s over here at SFF World talking about climate change fiction (I won’t use cli-fi, I won’t I won’t), while her novel Lotus Blue, published by Talos, is available for pre-order and will be out in early 2017. Not content with that, Sparks is also teaming up with editor Liz Grzyb and publisher Ticonderoga to present an anthology ...
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Aurora Australis: A Quiet Spring

crowshine-crop It was a quiet April for speculative fiction in Australia and New Zealand. I can only think that the exhaustion of the Aurealis Awards and Ditmars and all of the exciting news from March has sent a bunch of authors and publishers scurrying into their (invasive, feral) rabbitholes to recuperate. Nonetheless, a few brave souls were still making some waves… The Australian Shadows Awards were announced via Facebook on the Australian Horror Writers’ Association page. Winners included Rob Hood for Best Collected Work, Kaaron Warren for Best Short Story, and Alan Baxter received the Paul Haines Award for Long Fiction. David McDonald finally got to sharecastaways-cover some exciting news: that his new book is a Guardians of the Galaxy one! In Castaways, McDonald writes that the Guardians have become just that and consequently go their separate ways, but then need to reunite to save the planet. McDonald also says ...
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Alphabetical Aurora Australis

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Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! This month let’s recapping the news alphabetically, from the Aurealis Awards to some publishing news from Tansy Rayner Roberts!

Aurealis Awards were awarded on Good Friday at Contact, this year’s Australian national convention. That link includes a picture of the very pretty trophies as well as all the info you need about who won what – like Deborah Kalin, Garth Nix, and Trent Jamieson each snagging two of the pretties (Jamieson for the same book!).

toaster-on-marsDarrell Pitt: Text Publishing is bringing Pitt’s YA novel A Toaster on Mars out in late May. Described as being for fans of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, it follows special agent Blake Carter at the Planetary Bureau of Investigation whose life is going from bad to worse and then his daughter gets kidnapped.

Ditmars: ...

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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: 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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Aurora Australis: Scaring the World, Surviving Apocalypses

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Ticonderoga Press

In which Aussies and Kiwis are amongst the best in the world at speculative fiction–we win at surviving the apocalypse–there are new books and a new magazine AND Australians are contributing to the Gollancz Festival. Don’t say we don’t contribute our fair share!

Here’s what’s coming up next month in the world of Australian (and New Zealand) spec fic.

New Anthologies!

Ticonderoga Press recently announced their 2014 anthology, continuing their best Australian (and NZ) fantasy and horror series. The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2014 includes work from Kaaron Warren, Alan Baxter, Janeen Webb, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Angela Slatter, Cat Sparks… it’s just generally an awesome line-up. Additionally, Fablecroft has also recently released their table of contents for Focus 2014: Highlights of Australian Short Fiction with work from Dirk Flinthart, Deborah Biancotti and Thoraiya Dyer (i.e. another excellent line-up).

Other Australians appearing in Year’s Bests: Lisa ...

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Letters to Tiptree

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In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Alice Sheldon’s birth, and in recognition of the enormous influence of both Tiptree and Sheldon on the field, Twelfth Planet Press is publishing a selection of thoughtful letters written by science fiction and fantasy’s writers, editors, critics and fans to celebrate her, to recognise her work, and maybe in some cases to finish conversations set aside nearly thirty years ago.

Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce, is available for pre-order from Twelfth Planet Press and publishes later this month. Below, read an excerpt from the collection—Brit Mandelo’s letter to Tiptree thanks the author for her “compelling stories, sharp critiques, and on a more intimate, personal level, a difficult and complex relationship to gender and the performance of self.”

 

 

 

Dear James/Alice (and sometimes Raccoona),

 

The two of us could not ever have spoken, given ...

Aurora Australis: Awards, Novels, and Podcasts

Aurora Australis from Goats Bluff, Tasmania (Photo: James Garlick)

Apparently there have been some excellent aurora australis in the skies recently, but winter where I live obscures them behind grey, grey skies. At least good things are happening in the NZ and Australian SFF scene, so that’s some compensation.

blue-elephantThe World Fantasy Awards ballot came out, with Kaaron Warren appearing in the Short Fiction category for her “Death’s Door Café” (from Shadows and Tall Trees 2014) while the Collection category features two Australians: Angela Slatter for The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings (from Tartarus Press), and Janeen Webb for Death at the Blue Elephant (from Ticonderoga).

Additionally, it was remiss of me not to mention, in the last column, that Amal El-Mohtar’s “The Truth About Owls” won the Locus Award for Best Short Story. While El-Mohtar is not Australian, the story appeared in Twelfth Planet Press’ Kaleidoscope, so there’s a connection of a sort….

While we’re on ...

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