Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand. This month we check in with a few upcoming anthologies, including Jonathan Strahan’s fourth installment in the Infinity Project. We also look at some new releases from Aussie and Kiwi authors, plus awards season is upon us!
Firstly, I mentioned this in the last column but it’s live now so it bears repeating: Twelfth Planet Press is crowdfunding an anthology of apocalypse-survival fiction that focuses on disabled characters, called Defying Doomsday. It’s running until May 1 (Australian time), so go show your love by throwing money its way! If they hit their stretch goal, there will also be an audiobook, which is an excellent ambition—especially given the focus of the stories. And the only way to get a hardback version of the anthology is by supporting the campaign; who doesn’t want exclusive swag? Defying Doomsday will have an open-reading period, when it gets funded.
Tiny Owl Workshop is currently accepting submissions to their utterly intriguing collaborative world, The Lane of Unusual Traders. They are looking for flash and short fiction telling the story of Midlfell; there are thirteen “story lots” available in Stage 2. You’ve got until May 1 for the flash and May 31 for the longer-but-still short stuff.
In other anthology news, Jonathan Strahan has announced the table of contents for his fourth Infinity anthology, this one called Meeting Infinity. It’s got a magnificent line-up; South Australian lad Sean Williams is in company with the likes of Nancy Kress, James S.A Corey, and Aliette de Bodard. It’s not out until December, which I think is excessively mean given how awesome the set of authors is. Something of a consolation is that Strahan is already scheming for Infinity 5, so while it too is a long way off, at least there are things to look forward to.
Speaking of things to look forward to: a new Trent Jamieson novel! Coming out from Text Publishing, Day Boy takes the idea of vampires, sets it in a ‘post-traumatic’ future, and turns into an examination of “what it may mean to become a man” (or remain one). I’ve loved a lot of Jamieson’s work, and I’m really pleased to see him publishing a new novel. Even if it’s not out until June.
Text Publishing is publishing some really interesting things at the moment, and in May they’ve got a new novel from Bernard Beckett, a New Zealand author whose Genesis was so utterly gripping that I had to read it in one sitting. Even though that meant staying up horribly late on a school night. Lullaby sees Rene having to make decisions about his twin brother’s fate, as Theo lies unconscious with “massively disrupted brain function.” The teaser from Text suggests that Theo can only be saved by a download of Rene’s mind; I am wildly curious to see how Beckett addresses cyberpunk issues of humanity and identity.
Finally, Hachette—through their imprint Lothian Children’s Books—has announced The Fyrelit Tragedy, a four-book series set in a secondary world about a pair of brothers that opens with their parents five years dead, and their sister just kidnapped and naturally needing rescuing. It’s written by a brother and sister team, in Alison and Nicholas Lochel.
To round the month out: awards! So many awards! First, the domestic. Mid-March saw the release of the shortlist for the Norma K Hemming Award. This Australian award seeks to recognise publications that “focus on topics of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability in speculative fiction,” and five works were on this year’s shortlist. The Norma is awarded at the Australian National Convention each year, along with the fan-voted Ditmars and other special awards. This year it was Swancon 40, held in Perth over Easter, and the Norma went to Paddy O’Reilly for her book The Wonders. Other winners were Donna Maree Hanson, with the A. Bertram Chandler Award (lifetime achievement), while Ditmars went to Trudi Canavan and Glenda Larke (tie for Best Novel), Sean Williams (novella/novelette), and Cat Sparks (short story).
In New Zealand at the same time, the Sir Julius Vogel Awards were given out, with Paul Mannering winning Best Novel, Juliet Marillier winning Best Youth Novel, and Celine Murray and Lee Murray getting the short fiction nods. Back in Australia, Twelfth Planet Press’ Kaleidoscope won the Ditmar for Best Collected Work, which launches us into the international sphere because it also got listed on the Tiptree Awards Honors List.
In Hugo Awards news, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine was nominated for the first time for Best Semi-Prozine, while Galactic Suburbia (of which I am one third) received its fourth nomination for Best Fancast. It was a very exciting weekend!
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.