Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis: Awards, Novels, and Podcasts

Apparently there have been some excellent aurora australis in the skies recently, but winter where I live obscures them behind grey, grey skies. At least good things are happening in the NZ and Australian SFF scene, so that’s some compensation.

blue-elephantThe World Fantasy Awards ballot came out, with Kaaron Warren appearing in the Short Fiction category for her “Death’s Door Café” (from Shadows and Tall Trees 2014) while the Collection category features two Australians: Angela Slatter for The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings (from Tartarus Press), and Janeen Webb for Death at the Blue Elephant (from Ticonderoga).

Additionally, it was remiss of me not to mention, in the last column, that Amal El-Mohtar’s “The Truth About Owls” won the Locus Award for Best Short Story. While El-Mohtar is not Australian, the story appeared in Twelfth Planet Press’ Kaleidoscope, so there’s a connection of a sort….

While we’re on the topic, entries have opened for the Aurealis Awards, Australia’s juried science fiction, fantasy and horror awards. So if you’ve had an Australian appear in your anthology or magazine in 2015, do submit it!

lament-afterlifePotential award nominees for next year: new books! Lisa L Hannett’s Lament for the Afterlife is coming from ChiZine Publications at the end of July: “The greys are coming and they are already here”—but we’re not sure whether the greys are even real.

War provides great scope for fiction, as demonstrated in two examples this month: in Patty Jansen’s sequel to Shifting Reality, Shifting Infinity, a single man’s escape signals the beginning of war; for the world of Jack Hanson’s Cry Havoc (Cohesion Press), set in 2410, joining the military may well include meeting aliens and fighting with intelligent dinosaurs.

NZ-based publisher Splashdown has several new releases to check out. Grace Bridges’ Mariah’s Dream is set fifty years from now in an Ireland that’s got no green left, and focuses on Mariah and her friends as they set out to green Ireland once more. There are a few short stories set in this world, as well, that you can read for free via that link. Rebecca D Bruner presents Welcome, Earthborn Brother, about a young boy whose mother refuses to tell him about his father—and then goes missing; Barbara Hartzler brings a school-based adventure in The Nexis Secret where of course “seems like any other snooty prep school” turns out to be far from the truth.

Letters-TiptreeIn anthology news, David McDonald will be appearing in nEvermore! Tales of Murder, Mystery and the Macabre created in homage to Edgar Allan Poe. His story “Sympathetic Impulses” will sit with stories from Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Tanith Lee, and Margaret Atwood. And while the book itself was released earlier this year, Robert Hood’s collection of ghost stories, Peripheral Visions, was launched by Garth Nix in July.

Non-fictionally, Twelfth Planet Press has released the cover image for the non-fiction collection Letters to Tiptree (edited by Alisa Krasnostein and myself); it’s available for pre-order at the moment and will be released in August, for Alice Sheldon’s centenary birthday.

Back at home, the CSFG (Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild) is releasing their latest anthology in October. Called The Never Never Land, it features stories from Cat Sparks, Thoraiya Dyer, Darren Goossens and a whole bunch of interesting authors. I’m a bit tardy in flagging the table of contents but it’s recently got more notice again because the launch was announced—it’s in October because that’s when the Canberra folk hold their annual convention, Conflux. GenreCon in Brisbane is also coming up—and July saw the NSW Speculative Fiction Festival take place, directed by Cat Sparks.

panel-panorama 2

(Photo: Tehani Wessely. Jane McCredie, Executive Director of the NSW Writers’ Centre, is speaking.)

You know what else we have in the south? Podcasts. Lots of them. For example, there’s Galactic Chat; the most recent episode features Trent Jamieson, whose Day Boy I mentioned in the last column. AntipodeanSF does the AntiSF Radio Show while the Priori Podcast—an audio version of Emily Craven’s fantasy novel—has only just begun, so it’s a good time to get on that train (it includes a gag reel!). I do a podcast too: it’s called Galactic Suburbia, and we (there’s three of us) talk SFF publishing and feminism and… stuff. But we probably don’t ramble as much as Jonathan Strahan and Gary K Wolfe over at Coode Street; admittedly their most recent episodes are interviews with Samuel R Delany and Michael Swanwick (!). Delving back into history, the Terra Incognita podcast is now available at poddirectory. In NZ, Zeus Pod looks at Doctor Who; Writers Block isn’t specifically specfic but looks at writing in general, including interviews with authors and how to market your book. ETA: how could I have forgotten The Writer and the Critic?? In-depth, spoiler-filled analysis of a couple of novels every month.

Finally, if you’ve got something that you’d like me to include in an upcoming column, please drop me a line!

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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