Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis: A Bite of Tucker and a Beer

The sun burns hotly thro’ the gums
As down the road old Rogan comes—
The hatter from the lonely hut
Beside the track to Woollybutt.
He likes to spend his Christmas with us here.

He says a man gets sort of strange
Living alone without a change,
Gets sort of settled in his way;
And so he comes each Christmas day
To share a bite of tucker and a beer.

–CJ Dennis, “A Bush Christmas” (originally published 1934)

While this poem doesn’t reflect Christmas for all Australians (after all, not all of us celebrate Christmas, and most of us don’t live in the bush), the weather at least is a sight closer to reality for most of us than “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”

Anyway, it’s the start of a new calendar year, and there’s plenty happening in the publishing world.

Something I missed a bit earlier in the year was the publication of New Zealander Octavia Cade’s first poetry collection, Chemical Letters—dedicated to the periodic table. “A scientist wakes in the periodic table come to life: an apartment block built by Mendeleev, who squats in the basement as superintendent….” Chemical Letters is out from Popcorn Press.

FALL-DAGGER-to-launch-CROPPED-600x945Orbit Books has revealed the cover for the third in Glenda Larke’s Forsaken Lands trilogy. The Fall of the Dagger follows The Lascar’s Dagger and The Dagger’s Path; it’s due out for all those Larke fans in April 2016: “A king corrupted, a sorcerer on the throne, a land in peril….”

Meanwhile, Penguin has released the cover for CS Pacat’s third novel, Kings Rising, in the Captive Prince trilogy. The first two were Captive Prince and Prince’s Gambit—and I’d love to give you a synopsis for this third novel, but I think that pretty much anything I said about the plot would be a spoiler for the first two books. The first book, though, is this:

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave. Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomises the worst of the decadent court at Vere.

Kings Rising… so judge from that whether this is your cup of tea. And you have the benefit of knowing there’s at least three published books in the series!

Intriguingly, there’s a new publisher on the scene in Australia, and it’s a literary magazine that’s already established its reputation. The Lifted Brow was founded in 2007 as a quarterly magazine of writing and ideas. Their first novel will be Briohny Doyle’s debut novel in August 2016 (which currently seems to be untitled). In the not-too-distant future, where the energy crisis has “come and gone” and “natural disasters common,” Dr Stern seems to have a way of connecting Max with his comatose brother. The novel promises to slip “in and out of film conventions” and raise “questions about how we interpret narrative in our screen-saturated culture.”

Fablecroft Publishing has two exciting projects in the works for 2016. By the time you read this (if you’re reading it when it gets published) their (Australian-based) crowdfunding campaign for In Your Face will have started. This will be a book “made up of original and reprinted speculative fiction stories that deal with very provocative themes.” It’s set to feature stories from the late Paul Haines as well as Sean Williams, Kaaron Warren, and Tansy Rayner Roberts, and launch in March 2016 at the Australian National Convention in Brisbane. Fablecroft will be having a busy con, therefore, since they will also be launching a new book of non-fiction from Kate Forsyth, author of the brilliant Bitter Greens, a retelling of the Rapunzel story. The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower will include the research undertaken by Forsyth in writing Bitter Greens, as well as other fairy-tale and folklore related pieces.

PerfectionsTwelfth Planet Press has some exciting news: their Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 2014 will be available in the new year. Meanwhile, in previously published books news, Deborah Kalin’s Cherry Crow Children is now available in e-copy, and Kirstyn McDermott’s Perfections is too.

Mentioned as upcoming a few months ago, the comics anthology Three Words is now available for pre-order. This anthology collects comics created by New Zealand women, some of whose comics have “logical linear narratives [or] cerebral visual leaping swirls,” and some “that are deep and meaningful and some that are light and silly.” The softcover version will be 264 pages in length.

As these things always go, it’s just about awards season again. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of NZ Inc (SFFANZ) has announced that nominations for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards are being accepted until 28th February 2016. “The awards recognise excellence in science fiction, fantasy, or horror works created by New Zealanders and New Zealand residents, and first published or released in the 2015 calendar year. Anyone can make a nomination and it is free!”

ALSO LOOK! The Red Queen, the final Obernewtyn book from Isobelle Carmody, really truly got published and there is MUCH REJOICING.

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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