Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis: Once Upon a Time in the South…

Once upon a time there were two nations near the South Pole called New Zealand/Aotearoa and Australia. These two nations consistently produced awesome science fiction and fantasy, and were really keen to share it with the rest of the world. The internet made this a lot easier than back when we had to rely on rocs and albatrosses, so it was deemed worth writing a column to actually tell people, rather than feeling bad about the price of postage.

Science Fiction

9781743316481Sean Williams’ Twinmaker series comes to a dramatic conclusion in November with Fall (is there a joke to be made there for Northern Hemisphere people, with the timing and the name?). The series has explored the ramifications of dematerialising technology, with all its twinmaking possibilities, and in this final story Clair confronts a digital world where there are indeed two Clairs—and this is going to have some serious repercussions. Like maybe the end of the world. (Again.)

Fantasyepisode-cover-9a908eb80843dc55230b3cc52c376c5c

Mike Reeves-McMillan makes use of NZ’s geography in Auckland Allies, an urban fantasy series where a plot to use Auckland’s volcanoes in a demon-summoning ritual must be foiled by a ragtag bunch who may or may not be up to the task. Reeves-McMillan is intending this to be the start of a series.

FinFieldAngela Slatter has revealed the cover for her next Tor.com novella, Finnegan’s Field, which combines Irish lore with rural South Australia: the Irish settlers of Finnegan’s Field bear the loss of children ‘under the hill’ with stoicism… and then “Madrigal Barker came home.” Maybe this should go under horror? This is the problem with arbitrary distinctions, I know. Anyway the cover is delightful and I’m looking forward to its publication in January.

Lian Hearn, beloved for her Tales of the Otori series, returns with the Tale of Shikanoko series, a duology to be published in March and August 2016. These books are set 300 years before the first series, in the mythical medieval Japan “inhabited by warriors, assassins, ghosts and guardian spirits” of the Otori series.

Tremontaine-SeriesCoverGracing the cover of Tremontaine—the prequel to Ellen Kushner’s Riverside series (Swordspoint etc) over at Serialbox (it’s just started!) is Kathleen Jennings’ art. Each chapter or story will have a new image from Jennings, which means I’m terribly excited about both the story and the art. If art is your thing, or processes, then check out our post here on how the covers for episodes 1-3 came together, or head over to Jennings’ blog for a time-lapse video!

Amanda Pillar is teasing with the news that Momentum Books will be publishing a novella set in Graced universe, and that it’s tentatively called Captive. And that’s all the info she’s giving. Mean.

Not just one genre

theneverneverlandLexiCon, the 38th New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, is going to be held in Taupo in 2017—a town that’s not held a con before, and is conveniently central (and beautiful, apparently, but that’s pretty much par for the course with NZ right?)

ClanDestine Press have announced the table of contents for their ‘great big book of awesome, And Then…. It will feature stories from Australia and New Zealand authors such as Amanda Pillar, Jason Nahrung, Tansy Tayner Roberts, Dan Rabarts and Jack Dann. They’re running an IndieGogo campaign to help get it up and going, too!

And on the anthology track is one called The Never Never Land, from the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG). Edited by Mitchel Akhurst, Phillip Berrie and Ian McHugh, it’s got stories from Thoraiya Dyer, Cat Sparks and Laura E Goodin—and 27 others. Its brief is to explore Australian mythologies: “Some of them were here long before Europeans arrived; some of them are yet to come.”

And finally

9780670076406All of these things are very exciting. However, the most exciting—the most swoon-worthy—the thing most likely to keep me up at nights is the fact that Isobelle Carmody’s The Red Queen has a release date. And that release date is really, for certain, surely they can’t take this away from me now, November 2015. That means that a) the Obernewtyn Chronicles will finally be finished, and b) those of us waiting for the end of the Obernewtyn Chronicles have beaten the Song Of Ice and Fire fans to the finish line! You want to know just how exciting this is? It’s so exciting that there’s going to be a launch party involving both a High Tea and a Masked Ball. With tickets limited to those members of the fan site Obernewtyn.net who pre-registered in August 2015. That’s how exciting this is.

To be continued…

(Got something Antipodean to share? Throw it my way.)

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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