Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis: February was the BEST Month

So much exciting stuff is happening! I always thought of February as the Tuesday of the year (you know it’s the worst day of the week), but turns out no! Not this year, not in Australia/NZ.

First, mea culpa: I missed out of the announcement of Traci Harding’s AWOL, the final book in the Timekeeper trilogy, which came out at the end of January. Whoops! I know people have been looking forward to this…sorry.

Non-fictionally, Karen Burnham’s study of Greg Egan (out from University of Illinois Press) has been shortlisted for a BSFA Award for 2014, for Best Short Fiction. I am such an Egan fangirl, how did I not know this book existed?? Not that I can possibly read it until I catch up with his entire back catalogue, which is going to take FOREVER.

Kaleidoscope Year's Best 2013In the small press zone, Twelfth Planet Press will be doing a crowdfunding campaign for Defying Doomsday as of April 1. An anthology of apocalypse survival fiction with a focus on disabled characters, it will be edited by Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench and is due out mid-2016. They’ll also be holding an open submission period. Additionally, TPP has announced a new imprint—Kaleidoscope—for their YA brand. The first book under that banner is a YA Best of 2013. It’s just out, and includes such gems as Juliet Marillier, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Joanne Anderton, and Angela Slatter amongst the Aussies, plus such minor internationals as Neil Gaiman and Ken Liu. Speaking of reprints, Fablecroft has brought Glenda Larke’s Havenstar (her very first novel) to the ebook format, which is a massive win for Larke fans. And Satalyte Publishing featured women in February, releasing books from Gillian Polack, Kelly Modulon, Sally Odgers and Deborah Sheldon. They’re also releasing a collection of KJ Taylor’s short work (by pre-order only), and Jack Dann’s The Rebel: Second Chance.

Escape Publishing Escape Publishing—Harlequin’s digital-first arm—has made a round of announcements, and some of their April releases are relevant to our interests: Rebekah Turner’s Chaos Broken, third in the Chronicles of Applecross trilogy; the final book in Ros Baxter’s New Earth series, called The Envoy; and Dani Kristoff’s Spiritbound. It will be a big month, especially for people hanging out for conclusions! And a bit later on, in June, Hachette has some exciting releases: Nalini Singh’s next Psy-Changeling book, Shards of Hope, which is described as “rich, dark, sumptuous and evocative” and follows two Arrows, conspiracy, and a whole bunch of treachery. Then, possibly not precisely speculative but sitting just slightly on the edge, is MK Hume’s new Arthurian series, the Tintagel Cycle. I haven’t read a new Arthurian series for ages; I did overdose on them a while ago, so I wonder if I’m distant enough to go back….

And this links to Text Publishing’s debut novel from Ilka Tampke coming this March, called Skin, which is set just before the Roman invasion of Iron Age Britain and features Taliesin and a child abandoned at birth. Jane Higgins’ sequel to The Bridge also publishes in March; it’s called Havoc. Two months later, Text is releasing something completely different: Krissy Kneen’s The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine (“an amazing literary sci-fi superhero sex romp”—the genre-mash to crown them all?).

She Walks in ShadowStone Skin Press’ Letters to Lovecraft is now available for pre-order, and one of the writers responding to HP Lovecraft’s essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature” is Australia’s Angela Slatter. I am not a horror fan—having my skin crawl or waking from a nightmare is very low on my list of pleasures (so low it’s not actually ON the list)—but the concept for this anthology is neat. Not that I will be reading it. Sorry, Angela et al. Slatter is also featuring on this very website; she’s one of the first authors to be featured in’s venture into novellas, with Of Sorrow and Such. AND she’s in the anthology She Walks in Shadows, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R Stiles (open to pre-orders soon), along with compatriot Penelope Love!

Companion Piece (mentioned in the last Aurora Australis) showed that Australians like their Doctor Who very much; BBC Books’ Doctor Who: Time Trips includes Australian author Trudi Canavan writing about the Third Doctor. And vaguely-kinda connected: Obverse Books has recently released an anthology wherein authors were invited to imagine a world where a godly figure of some sort (not really the Doctor, but sort of) changed history as they saw fit. Faction Paradox: Liberating Earth, edited by Kate Orman (Australian) and featuring nine “Playing for Time” stories (or parts thereof? It’s hard to tell from the TOC) by her, also includes Australian Tansy Rayner Roberts with “Life of Julia”—a new Romanpunk story! I’m so excited.

Peripheral VisionsIn acquisition news, Maria Lewis has a werewolf urban fantasy series called Who’s Afraid? that’s been picked up in a two-book deal by Piatkus. Meanwhile, IFWG Publishing Australia will be publishing the complete catalogue of Robert Hood’s ghost stories in two volumes, called Peripheral Visions. See previous comment about horror really not working for me, but it’s really exciting to see Hood’s work across a long career collected in one place.

Providing new venues for authors, Australian publisher Five Mile Press—established in 1991 and publishing a variety of genre—has recently launched Echo Publishing. Gary Kemble’s supernatural investigative thriller Skin Deep is set to be the first book off the rank. Hachette Australia has announced the launch of an audio list under the international Hachette Audio imprint; hopefully they’ll include some of their awesome genre stuff in their list in the near future.

And finally, awards news! Shortlists for the fan-voted speculative fiction awards in New Zealand (the Sir Julius Vogels) and Australia (the Ditmars) have been released. Both lists recognise professional and fan achievements; the shortlists include nominees from both big publishers and local press. And the shortlist for Australia’s juried awards (the Aurealis Awards). Congrats to everyone on the lists!

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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