Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis: The Past, the Now, the Future

Welcome back to Aurora Australis, your go-to column for book news from Australia and New Zealand! This time we celebrate the immediate past and look forward with slightly unbecoming drool to the delights of the next few months… all the way up to January 2016.

Immediate Past

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This month was an exciting one, with some goodly novels arriving: Lament for the Afterlife, from Lisa L Hannet and ChiZine and the highly-anticipated Zeroes from the power team of Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti. And boding very well for the future, September gave us the news that Angela Slatter and Kathleen Jennings have signed on with Alex Adsett Publishing Services together. Together Slatter and Jennings have created some wonderful words+pictures combinations, so the idea that this means their work may more easily find homes fills me with joy.

As I write this, Conflux – Canberra’s annual convention – is underway (the first weekend in October). This year the guests include Isobelle Carmody (of The Obernewtyn Chronicles, and many other novels – thirty, at last count) and Tehani Wessely (operating FableCroft Publishing, she’s the editor of such anthologies as Cranky Ladies of History and Phantazein). At this convention Fablecroft will be launching Dirk Flinthart’s Striking Fire; it includes six stories original to the collection as well as, of course, a bunch of older work. As far as I can tell this is Flinthart’s first collection, so I’m very excited to see a whole bunch of his stories in one place. It will be interested to see how (or whether) his authorial voice has altered over the years of story telling.

Conflux is also hosting a pre-launch party for Bloodlines from Ticonderoga Publications, which will come out properly at the end of October. Edited by Amanda Pillar, it has sixteen stories
from authors such as Kathleen Jennings (who also did the cover art), Seanan McGuire, Dirk Flinthart, and Alan Baxter.

Finally, Capricious – the new NZ literary speculative fiction magazine (plus hedgehogs) – has released its first issue. It’s got work from AJ Fitzwater, Sean Moaghan, Sabrina Amaya Hoke and Bogi Takács.

Near Future

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ALSO in October, and filed under ‘how exactly did I miss hearing about this,’ is the release of Marianne de Pierres’ Mythmaker, from Angry Robot. It’s the second in the Peacemaker series, a science fiction/western mash up featuring Virgin Jackson as a ranger in the world’s last natural landscape.

Again with ‘under my radar’ is the release this month of Shaun Tan’s The Singing Bones from Allen&Unwin. Tan – who won an Oscar for his short film The Lost Thing and has produced a number of marvellous graphic works – here presents “the essence of seventy-five fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm.” Everything of Tan’s I’ve ever seen has been imaginative and evocative, and I can’t wait to see this in real life.

Far Future (Relatively Speaking)

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In January, Hachette has two exciting novels coming out. One’s the debut novel from Maria Lewis, called Who’s Afraid, wherein Tommi “stumbles violently into her birthright as the world’s most powerful werewolf.” That’s gotta be a shock to the system. Apparently it’s got heaps of pop culture references, and the Hachette team are so keen on it they even went with the “new blood” cliché to describe it. It’s due in January.

Then there’s a new Keri Arthur novel on the way. City of Light is the first of a new future fantasy series set in a world where “bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between this world and the next.” A century later, humanity is still trying to deal with the demons, wraiths and death spirits who entered back then, and things are about to take a turn for the worse.

And, more excitement: the sequel to Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook is coming out next January, and the cover for Stiletto has been revealed by Little, Brown. I loved The Rook and its crazy very-under-cover shenanigans, so I’m excited to see Myfanwy Thomas back and hopefully doing useful things in the supernatural battles that we all know are going on around us even when we can’t sense them.

And way, way into the future is Fablecroft’s tentatively titled In Your Face, an anthology of originals and reprints that “deal with very provocative and/or confronting themes, but with purpose.” They’re aiming for a March 2016 release (at Australia’s next national convention).

Sometimes it makes me sad knowing that I have to wait for excellent books to arrive. But then I look at my teetering to-be-read pile and I am fervently grateful for even a short time-lag….

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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