Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis: Reprints, Retellings, and Recolonisations

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

Australia and New Zealand have had their respective national science fiction conventions; the Cadbury chocolate factory in Tasmania got hit by a ransomware attack; and the Australian 2016 census data is being analysed, resulting in this video about Australia as 100 people. Oh, also we have new books—actual and promised—and more awards news.

Claire G Coleman’s debut is coming out in August from Hachette; it was written during her black&write! 2016 fellowship. It’s called Terra Nullius—which, for the non-Australians reading, is a loaded term for Australians, since that was part of the claim made by the British when they arrived here: that the land was owned by no one. It’s a wonderfully chosen title, since in the book Coleman imagines a near future Australia that is about to be colonised once again: “The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to have a nation of peace, and to bring the savages into line.” Coleman identifies with the South Coast Noongar people, and I’m really excited to see what this book does with ideas of Australia and colonisation and the future in general.

Leife Shallcross’ The Beast’s Heart was recently acquired by Hodder and Stoughton’s Hodderscape, as the one manuscript they grabbed out of the Open Submissions period (over 1400 submissions!). It’s due out in May 2018, and is a take on the Beauty and the Beast tale from the perspective of the Beast. It’s described as “the epitome of psychological depth and descriptive beauty,” so that’s one to be looking forward to with great anticipation. Shallcross is also going to be involved in a new anthology coming from CSFG (the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild). Called A Hand of Knaves, its intention is to explore the “rogues, thieves, pirates and ne’er-do-wells” of speculative fiction. Submissions will open on August 1, to Australian residents, ex-pats, and members of CSFG. Details at the link above; the rest of us have to wait a while to consume it, I guess.

Kate Forsyth’s Vasilisa the Wise & Other Tales of Brave Girls will be published by Serenity Press in 2018. The collection includes seven stories that retell little-known fairy tales with women at their heart; one of the stories will be about Charlotte-Rose de la Force, who was the author of many of the fairy tales still told and retold today (and featured in Forsyth’s novel Bitter Greens). The book will be illustrated by Australian Lorena Carrington and promises to be an exquisite object.

More on Kate Forsyth: she’s collaborating with Kim Wilkins (on words) and Kathleen Jennings (illustrations) in a collection called The Silver Well, with stories set in Cerne Abbas, Dorset. The collection is set to be published by Ticonderoga in November this year with an introduction by Lisa L Hannett. More details as they come to hand! This one also promises to be a delightful object.

Yet MORE tantalising news comes via Jonathan Strahan: he’s sold a new hard science fiction anthology to Solaris/Rebellion. To be called Mission: Critical, it will be out in mid-2019 and that’s just too far away. Again, more details as they come to hand… I’m looking forward to seeing a table of contents, and a cover, and ordering information….

Want to help something become real? Stephen Kok is crowdfunding to make his steampunk fantasy graphic novel, Word Smith, a real object. The comic revolves around Victoria, who can craft physical manifestations of words that evoke the emotion associated with them; there’s also a dragon and airships! Check out the link to see examples of the artwork.

Andromeda Spaceways Magazine have just released a teaser for the table of contents for their 2016’s Best Stories; it includes Christopher Ruz, Melanie Rees, Paul Starr and Janet K Nicolson, among others.

Aaaand more awards! The New Zealand fan-voted awards, the Sir Julius Vogels, came out about a month ago: winners in the regular categories include Lee Murray, Jean Gilbert and William Dresden, Octavia Cade, Dan Rabarts, and Emma Weakley. Special Awards went to Eileen Mueller (Best New Talent), Lee Murray (Services to SFFH) and Lynelle Howell (Services to Fandom).

Over the sea in Australia, the fan-voted Ditmars were announced at the Australian national convention. Winners included Kaaron Warren, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Cat Sparks, Shauna O’Meara, Foz Meadows, Marlee Jane Ward and Kate Forsyth. The not-the-Ditmars were presented to Rose Mitchell (Peter McNamara Achievement Award) and Bill Wright (A Bertram Chandler Award for Outstanding Achievement in Science Fiction).

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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