Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis: Looking Ahead to the New Year

Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand!

Things have slowed down a bit for the holiday season, but there’s still a few interesting things to note: novels and anthologies and convention news…

Out Now

dreaming-in-the-dark-hardcover-edited-by-jack-dann-4112-pekm298x442ekmPS Publishing has put out Angela Slatter’s “first ‘proper’ horror collection” (her words!) Winter Children and Other Chilling Tales. And they’ve also released a new Jack Dann anthology, Dreaming in the Dark. It features fiction from Slatter, Lisa L Hannett, Sean Williams, Garth Nix, and a slew of other awesome Australian talent.

Wise Phuul, by Daniel Stride (published by Inspired Quill). Described as steampunk-flavoured dark fantasy, it involves necromancy, secret police, and dread empires. And Phuul, who likes the quiet life and gets pulled into a web of danger that will see him lead anything but.

Already out in Australia, and due in late January for the US and UK, is Alison Goodman’s new novel Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact. This is book 2 in the series called the Lady Helen series in Australia, and Dark Days Pact in the US and UK. It’s a supernatural Regency adventure, with Lady Helen training as a Reclaimer to combat the energy-wielding Deceivers. It promises “sea-bathing, bawdy houses, deception and deadly Deceiver action!”

NZ’s Random Static have published That Kind of Planet, a collection of comics by Emma Weakley. Variously dark fantasy and space adventure, some inspired by mythology and fairy tales, it’s 150 pages of colourful comics.

Felix Long’s new book, To Conquer Heaven, is now available through Amazon digital; if you’re fast you may score one of the free promo copies! Long describes the book as likely to appeal to fans of Big Trouble in Little China, and/or Indiana Jones. It’s about the discovery of Quin Shi Huang’s tomb, and the secret to the elixir of life: “Mind games, magic, and supernatural creatures will be countered with science, cunning, and luck.”

8127200-3x4-340x453John Birmingham has published in a variety of fields, starting with the autobiographical (ish) He Died with a Felafel in His Hands. He has just published his first self-published novel, A Girl in Time, in which “a poor but brilliant young game developer is pulled out of her world, and time itself, by a cowboy desperately searching for the daughter he lost two hundred years ago.” Birmingham has discussed his decision to go the self-publishing route in this interview.

A rather different sort of book: Ephiny Gale has published a set of seven play scripts as The Playbook: Six Plays and One Libretto. The first is called “Jack and Jill build an indeterminate time machine”; six out of the seven are speculative fiction. The description also promises “queer ladies and dark, lush storytelling”.

Coming in 2017

Angela Slatter and Kaaron Warren are representing the Antipodes in Ellen Datlow’s new anthology, Mad Hatters and March Hares, to be published by Tor next year. Other, non-Australians, include Seanan McGuire and Catherynne Valente and Jeffrey Ford. Further representation from Angela Slatter and Lisa L Hannett is in the table of contents for Paula Guran’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2017.

March sees the next Garth Nix novel: Frogkisser! (Yes, the exclamation mark is in the title.) Described as being aimed at ages 13-16, but surely appropriate for this mid-30-something as well, it involves talking dogs, wizards, a ‘stepstepfather’ and many toads. It’s also described as irreverent, which sounds awesome.

Just a teaser at this stage, but Jonathan Strahan’s eleventh Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, from Solaris Publishing, is due in April… and Strahan promises that it’s a good one. In fact, here’s the table of contents

final-cover-fate-gate-600x918Cover reveal! Ian Irvine’s The Fatal Gate, from Orbit, is the sequel to The Summon Stone in the Gates of Good and Evil series (in the same world as his View from the Mirror books). It’s due out in September 2017 and follows the consequences of the Medrun finally invading Santhenar; there’s a quest and desperate odds and even more desperate alliances….

Another cover reveal! Margo Lanagan’s 2017 collection, Singing My Sister Down. It will include three new stories, which is brilliant news for Lanagan fans.

Other Bits and Pieces

Not an actual product, but a way of supporting someone who makes good ones: Kathleen Jennings, noted Australian artist, now has a Patreon account. I particularly like the names of the tiers at which you can support her; Dalekites is my favourite.

Want an excuse to come to Australia next year? In July, Cat Sparks is organising another Speculative Fiction Festival for the NSW Writers’ Centre, in Sydney; they’re looking for submissions for people who want to participate right now! And then in November we’ve got GenreCon in Brisbane, where you can hear and learn from writers, editors and agents in every genre.

Amazingly, there’s awards news! This late in the year! Weird, right? The ACT (that’s the Australian Capital Territory, which includes Canberra – where our national parliament is) Writers Centre announced its shortlist for the 2016 ACT Writing and Publishing Awards; this included Tehani Wessely and Tansy Rayner Roberts in the Fiction list, for their anthology Cranky Ladies of History. And a couple of weeks later, Cranky Ladies won!

Finally, the GUFF ballot is open! This year GUFF is the Get-Up-and-over Fan Fund, designed to help send an Australian fan to a European convention. For 2017 the race is primarily to send someone to Helsinki for Worldcon 75. You can see the ballots over here and also vote, if you’re eligible (details on the website about that). Disclaimer: I’m standing this year, but any of the candidates will be great representatives at the con, so go read the platforms and choose someone!

Do you have Australian or NZ speculative fiction news? Send 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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