Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! Since our last installment, the weather is getting chilly in most parts and New Zealand has had a wee earthquake. And Australia has cut a bunch of funding to the arts, so that’s fun. ANYWAY: there’s also a whole bunch of story submission-opening-periods ahead, plus a new award and announcements of new collections of stories!
Last month it was remiss of me not to mention that indie press Fablecroft opened their reading period for SF novels aimed at middle-grade and the younger end of young adult. They are “explicitly not looking for dystopian stories; rather, we seek books with interesting extrapolations on our present world and/or challenging ideas (appropriate to the readership) about possible or potential futures.” They will also soon be opening for submissions to an anthology called Monsterful—but that’s not til July, so get writing but not submitting.
Given Twelfth Planet Press’ Defying Doomsday crowdfunding campaign was successful, they too are open for story subs. The closing date is 1 July Australian Eastern time (so be careful, non-Aussie/NZers! We are further into the future than you!), and the main requirement is that at least one of the protagonists “must be a character with disability, such as physical impairments, chronic illnesses, mental illnesses and/or neurodiverse.” I’m really looking forward to this anthology, so get cracking with those excellent stories.
Also from Twelfth Planet Press and co-edited by your truly is Letters to Tiptree, an anthology of letters to James Tiptree Jr/Raccoona Sheldon/Alice Sheldon. The open submission period for this closes on June 8, so you better be quick if you want to contribute! You can either write a 1000-2000 word letter, or a briefer response reflecting on such questions as ‘Does it make a different, reading Tiptree’s work, knowing that Tiptree was Alice Sheldon?’ Letters to Tiptree will be published in August, to commemorate Alice Sheldon’s 100th birthday.
Over in Kiwi-land, an anthology of women’s comics is being put together by Rae Joyce, Sarah Laing and Indira Neville. You can only submit if you are a New Zealand woman, but it’s the sort of project that will be really worth following, because it’s not just an anthology of comics (awesome as that can be). No: as the submission guidelines explain, once you submit three pages of comics for the editors to see, you’ll be asked to send three words “to be shared with another contributor who will use them however they like to create a new comic. You in turn will receive three words to do the same.” How cool is that as a way to collaborate and create?
On the magazine front, Review of Australian Fiction’s most recent issue features Tansy Rayner Roberts and Stephanie Lai, which is an intriguing combination. Roberts’ piece is called “Fake Geek Girl”—she has a Hugo for her fanwriting, as well as many fiction awards, so this sounds like a marvellous collision of worlds. Lai also writes an excellent blog, No Award; her piece is “The Dàn Dàn Miàn of the Apocalypse.”
A veritable raft of short story collections have been released and announced recently. Already published is a short story collection from Carla Billighurst, whose self-published Halibut, Herring and You has the added bonus of an adorable penguin on the cover. I’ve not read Billighurst’s fiction, but Nike Sulway (winner of the 2014 Tiptree Award) saying that “Carla is one of my favourite as-yet-undiscovered writers” is one serious commendation.
Forthcoming: a new Garth Nix short story collection, in June, which is AWESOME news and includes the novella To Hold the Bridge, in the Old Kingdom series that began with Sabriel twenty years ago and recently had a prequel in Clariel. I cannot get enough of that series so YAY.
Fablecroft has announced a Dirk Flinthart collection (he recently won an Aurealis for the short story “Vanilla”). The only thing that makes me grumpy about that is that it’s not scheduled to come out until September. Oh, also, Fablecroft’s press release teases that this collection won’t include Flinthart’s series of short stories about the Red Priest—because it may soon see its own project. The Red Priest is where I first met Flinthart’s work, in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (quite a while ago now), so I’m dead curious to see where Flinthart imagines him now. I think Fablecroft may be getting more of my cash soon.
In novels, Kiwi-Canadian author M. Darusha Wehm has recently had a novel, Children of Arkadia, come out from Bundoran Press. Arkadia is one of four space stations Jupiter; humans and AI intermingle, but serious sacrifices may be required to ensure survival… if that sounds like your thing, go, read a sample.
Finally: a new award! Being trialled this year, the Sara Douglass Book Series Award is looking to recognise book series that ended between 2011 and 2014. As mentioned way back in the introduction to this series, Sara Douglass was one of the first Australian fantasy authors to be picked up by Voyager, and her fantasy series have had a significant impact on Australian fantasy ever since—so it’s entirely awesome that this award should be named in her honour. This award, which will be conferred as part of the Aurealis Awards (but won’t actually be one… like the Campbell isn’t a Hugo) will not be annual, although the periodicity is yet to be advised. The coordinators point out that this award is because “there are book series that are greater as a whole than the sum of their parts” and I am really, really pleased that something like this exists. Not that I am volunteering to judge it. Oh no. (Also, how weird is the word ‘series’? How does one even pluralise that? And how is it that ‘pluralise’ is apparently a real word?)
And that’s what New Zealand and Australia are dishing for May. Aren’t you glad we’re here?
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.