Aurora Australis

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. In it, Bueralan and his group of mercenaries “make new allies and meet old adversaries.” The third novel in Peek’s Children series is due out in mid-June, so “Saboteurs” is nicely timed.

Marlee Jane Ward won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for YA Fiction with Welcome to Orphancorp, along with other shortlistings. It followed a week in the life of an adolescent in an industrial orphanage, and the small rebellions that are possible in that setting. The follow-up, Psynode, is out in May from Seizure Press.

Killing Gravity by Corey J White is out on May 9th in the US, and June 27th in Australia, from Tor.com. It’s a “thrilling science fiction space adventure debut” novella and the sequel has also been acquired by Tor.com. They follow the story of Mars Xi, “an experimental psychic supersoldier who escaped the MEPHISTO labs and now lives on the run”.

Infinity Wars, edited by Jonathan Strahan, now has a table of contents and cover copy: it includes Garth Nix, Elizabeth Bear, Aliette deBodard, Peter Watts, and other very fine names. It’s due in September.

In the non-fiction world, Twelfth Planet Press’ book in honour of Octavia Butler, Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler, has announced their contributors: it will include 48 original letters and essays from people including Rebecca J Holden, Nisi Shawl, Gerry Canavan, and Steven Barnes. It’s due out in June, and is edited by myself and Mimi Mondal.

In sad news, Twelfth Planet Press will no longer be publishing their YA Year’s Best.

If you’re looking for new venues for publishing—or new publishers to check out—Writer’s Edit is moving into fantasy fiction. Their new imprint Talem Press will publish ‘stories that empower’, promising exciting, adventurous fantasy books with a focus on female agency. Their first novel is set to be the debut novel from their Founding Editor, Helen Scheuerer. Heart of Mist is the first of the Oremere Chronicles, and will be released in August 2017.

There are two books-into-screen adaptations announcements this month, which is more than we’ve seen in… ages, actually. Sweet Potato Films will be collaborating with Angela Slatter on adapting Slatter’s Tor.com novellette “Finnegan’s Field”. And Maria Lewis has signed a production deal to bring Who’s Afraid? to the small screen. As announced by Alex Adsett Publishing Services, Queensland’s Hoodlum Entertainment has optioned the novel; there’s no word yet on filming or release dates. Meanwhile, although it’s not originally from a book, we’re getting excited about the second season of Cleverman finally making it to our screens…

I mentioned awards, didn’t I? Well! The Ditmar ballot (Australian fan-voted awards) has been released, and voting has opened; finalists for the Sir Julius Vogel Award (NZ fan-voted awards) have also been announced. As you may already know, the Hugo Award shortlist has also been announced: the Australian presence includes Jonathan Strahan for Best Professional Editor Short Form and for his Coode St Podcast (with Gary Wolfe); Galactic Suburbia gets a nod in the Fancast category too (Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and myself); while Foz Meadows is nominated for Best Fan Writer.

We’ve also got winners this month, because the Aurealis Award winners (Australian juried awards) were presented over Easter. There were a lot of worthy winners, of course, with names including Kate Forsyth, Kirstyn McDermott, Kaaron Warren, Angela Slatter, Thorayia Dyer… and a whole bunch more interesting people. It’s well worth checking out all of the shortlists, as well as the winners, to get a sense of some of best Australian fantasy, horror and science fiction in 2016.

Speaking of Hugo nominees, in exciting news, the Australian national convention for this year—Continuum, in Melbourne in June—has recently announced Likhain as a second Guest of Honour (the first announced was Seanan McGuire). And in further convention news, Donna Maree Hanson is the GUFF (Get-Up-and-over Fan Fund) representative this year, heading to Helsinki in August.

Let me know if you’ve got Australian or New Zealand news…

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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