Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis: There’s More to Life Than Anthologies

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 Flinthart, Kirstyn McDermott, Kaaron Warren and Alan Baxter.

at-the-edge_front-coverSecondly, coming in June is Paper Road Press’ At the Edge. It will feature stories from Joanne Anderton, Paul Mannering, Jodi Cleghorn, Martin Livings and a bunch of other New Zealand and Australian authors. It’s being edited by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray.

Thirdly, the table of contents for the tenth volume of Jonathan Strahan’s pick of the best short fiction of the year was recently released. It features Nike Sulway (Australian) and Tamsyn Muir (NZ), as well as Elizabeth Bear, Alastair Reynolds, Catherynne Valente and a raft of other exciting names. Strahan has also been teasing with mention of two other anthologies due out this eyar: Drowned Worlds and Bridging Infinity, both from Solaris Books. Stay tuned for covers and tables of contents! (And, as if he’s not busy enough, Strahan has ALSO also let it be known that he has TWO MORE anthologies with Solaris to announce in the near future…)

america-nocturneFourthly, Cohesion Press’ forthcoming Hunters does what the title says, presenting stories about those who hunt monsters. The line-up includes James A Moore, Christine Morgan, and Patrick Freivald. Meanwhile, they’re also presenting American Nocturne, which collects short stories from Hank Schwaeble, in what is described as “a merging of Sin City and LA Confidential, with a touch of Twilight Zone.”

Finally, not an Australian publication, but Paula Guran’s Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2016 features a few Australians and New Zealanders: by my reckoning, Lisa L Hannett, Kirstyn McDermott, Tansyn Muir, Angela Slatter and Kaaron Warren. There are some other people in it too. In case you care.

FeastofSorrows_Cov_V01-682x1024Speaking of Angela Slatter, it’s a terrible long way away, but she has a new collection coming out in October, this time from Prime Books. The cover for A Feast of Sorrows has been revealed and it’s lovely. The book will feature twelve of Slatter’s fairy tales, and two new novellas. HOORAY new work! While we’re waiting, Tartarus Press is doing a paperback edition of Slatter’s The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings (winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection in 2015) in the next month or so, with the lovely hardback version sold out. And she’s also had a short story published in this very venue: Finnegan’s Field is totally creepy and worth reading. Excitingly, Slatter will also be the Established Writer-in-Residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard for June and July of this year, where she’ll get to both work on her own writing and attend writing sessions and consult with KSP members on their writing, too.

And speaking of collections, Grant Stone has a new one out right now: Everything is Fine. I think the title is lying, since the blurb reads in part: “A house at the edge of a prehistoric valley. A suitcase that can take you to 1980. A payphone that lets you call the dead.” This collection has fourteen previously published stories, and six new ones.

And speaking of short fiction at Tor.com (which I was, earlier), Jennifer Fallon has a short piece up: First Kill confronts the question of whether assassins can have ethics. And while Joe Abercrombie himself doesn’t have the honour of being a New Zealander or Australian, his recent story for Tor.com, Two’s Company, was edited by how-does-he-do-it-all Jonathan Strahan.

CZHnQP8UsAAuzIpThere are non-anthologies coming out too. Honest. Peter Friend delivers a ‘you choose which way’ book, Deadline Delivery – like the old ‘choose your own adventure’ stories, only you make a decision at the end of each chapter. In this book, you are a courier in a post-apocalytpic world, facing numerous dangers, all of which are likely to ruin your day and your chances of making your deliveries. Amanda Pillar’s Captive is due out in mid February from Momentum; it’s a novella set in the world of Graced. Mentioned in a previous column, Paul Mannering’s novel, Pieces of Fate, has previously appeared as an e-book; now Paper Road Press are undertaking a Kickstarter campaign to get it in to print. Head on over to throw some money their way. And Text Publishing is publishing a debut novel from Meg Caddy, called Waer, in which some humans are able to take the form of wolves and the arrival of an unexpected waer throws a previously-persection free community into disarray.

bound-ragnarokIt already exists in Australian and NZ, but Alan Baxter’s Alex Caine trilogy is now being published in the rest of the world, courtesy of Ragnarok Publishing. Caine, who has been making a living fighting in illegal cage matches aided by his ability to see opponents’ moves before they make them, is drawn into a world of magic and power by someone who somehow knows his secret. It’s scheduled to come out later this year, in the northern hemisphere’s autumn.

If you like to be read to, have I got an exciting announcement! Tansy Rayner Roberts (one third of the Galactic Suburbia podcast, Hugo Award winning fan writer, and fantasy author) has started a podcast called Sheep Might Fly in which she reads to you! Reads her own fiction, no less! If you’re wondering why she would do such a crazy thing, she has explained herself here.

Finally, awards season is definitely gearing up. The Aurealis Awards will be presented at the Australian National Convention, this year at Easter in Brisbane. As well as awards determined by juries, the convenors of each panel determine the Convenors’ Award for Excellence, for achievements in speculate fiction that don’t fit neat categories. This year there are nine nominees, including non fiction (a collection of interviews, a collection of reviews, essays on Doctor Who companions, and letters written to James Tiptree Jr); a computer game; interactive fiction; two TV shows; and a fiction/music/artwork performance recorded at a convention last year. Stay tuned to discover who wins…

Then there’s The Indie Book Awards, presented by the Australian Independent Booksellers. They recently released their shortlists for 2015, and while by my reckoning only the Young Adult list contains a speculative work (Cloudwish by Fiona Wood), plus Shaun Tan’s The Singing Bones on the Children’s Shortlist, it’s a really interesting representation of Australian fiction from last year. The winners will be announced in March.

Got something I should know about? Drop me a line.

Alexandra Pierce reads, teaches, blogs, podcasts, cooks, knits, runs, eats, sleeps, and observes the stars. Not necessarily in that order of priority. She is a Christian, a feminist, and an Australian. She can be found at her website, and on the Galactic Suburbia podcast.

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