Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand!
Tehani Croft and Katharine Stubbs are at the helm this month while Alex is off jetsetting! July was busy for us, with Tesla’s Elon Musk promising to make South Australia the world leader in battery storage and the possibility that the Tasmanian Tiger, long thought extinct, may be alive and well in North Queensland! And of course there’s plenty of publishing bits to catch up on…
Stepping back in time a little: in June, the Australian national convention, Continuum, was held in Melbourne. While that was a while ago, we wanted to share the Guest of Honour speeches with you, firstly Hugo Award nominated artist Likhain on the power of stories, and also Seanan McGuire’s “guest of honour hour” – enjoy!
The World Fantasy Awards shortlists are out and among some very fine company, Jack Dann’s Dreaming in the Dark anthology has made the lists! Congratulations to Jack and all the contributors. In other World Fantasy news, Australian horror queen Kaaron Warren is to be a guest of honour at World Fantasy Con in Baltimore 2018, which is a fantastic reason to go.
The Strange Horizons Articles editor Joyce Chng sat down with Australian speculative fiction writers and editors Tehani Croft, Matthew Farrer, Ambelin Kwaymullina and Gillian Polack to discuss the state of SFF down under in Science Fiction in the Antipodes: an Australian speculative fiction roundtable. Gillian also featured in a Barnes and Noble mind meld on books that make old monsters new again, along with fellow Aussie Juliet Marillier and other luminaries Gail Carriger, John Hornor Jacobs, Jason Sizemore and Martha Wells.
Lots of open markets around at the moment. Mother of Invention from Twelfth Planet Press had a successful Kickstarter, so the anthology is now open to submissions! Editors Tansy Rayner Roberts and Rivqa Rafael are looking for stories of 500–5000 words, within the stated theme and submissions close on 31 August 2017, as do horror story submissions for Steve Dillon’s Below the Stairs – Tales from the Cellar anthology. SpecFicNZ are now reading for Te Kōrero Ahi Kā, an anthology showcasing the best work of its members, for publication in 2018. Aussie digital-first publisher Odyssey Books is currently open to submissions of various genres, and Coeur de Lion’s market Dimension6 will be open to submissions in October, so get writing!
The 2017 Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier speculative fiction awards, are open for entries. Judges are reading works published by Australian creators in categories ranging from Children’s fiction to graphic novels, short stories, novellas and novels across the breadth of the genre. Information about the Awards and how to enter can be found here.
In other awards news, the Norma K Hemming Award, given to mark excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability in an Australian speculative fiction work, has a new administrator, with some changes on the horizon. Watch this space…
In exciting spec fic screen news, Melbourne-based author Justin Woolley’s post-apocalyptic YA trilogy ‘The Territory’ has been optioned by Australian director Dana-Lee Mierowsky Bennett. And speaking of screens, the second season of the critically acclaimed, action-packed, sci-fi Australian drama program Cleverman aired over the past few weeks, with the final episode going live August 3. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, it’s a great time to get your hands on Season 1 and get started.
TeePee Studios, a small film studio based out of Melbourne, Australia, has just a few days left on their Project S.E.E.D. Prelude Indiegogo campaign. The film will be a dark, sci-fi horror about humanity searching for a new planet to call home. Also on the crowdfunding cards, author Alison Croggan has a Pozible campaign for a dystopian adventure novel Fleshers co-written with Daniel Keene and illustrated by AJ and Oleisha Proksa.
Loads of new book and cover announcements to share! Thoraiya Dyer’s second Titan’s Forest novel, Echoes of Understorey from Tor Books (out February 2018), has a cover reveal and pre-order option. Harper Collins will be publishing Amie Kaufman’s middle grade fantasy novel Ice Wolves, in March 2018. Zena Shapter’s debut adult novel, Towards White (forthcoming later this year from IFWG Australia) also gets a cover reveal. We have some more information and a gorgeous Kathleen Jennings cover for the forthcoming collaboration between Kate Forsyth and Kim Wilkins, The Silver Well, from Ticonderoga Publications, due out November 2017.
What’s else is new in Aussie books? Corpselight, the second of the Verity Fassbinder urban fantasy series by Angela Slatter (Jo Fletcher Books) launched on July 13 – check out this ABC news interview with Angela about the book (starts around 1:25:30). A new issue of Aurealis magazine hit the digital stands in July – you can find more information here. Luminescent Threads: connections to Octavia Butler, edited by Mimi Mondal and Aurora Australis’s own Alexandra Pierce (Twelfth Planet Press) is out in August. Look for Alex at Worldcon for exclusive ribbons!
There’s a rash of young adult speculative fiction novels out in August. In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black (Hardie Grant Egmont) and Gap Year in Ghost Town by Michael Pryor (Allen & Unwin) are both out August 1 and The Undercurrent by Paula Weston (from Text Publishing) launches August 3 in Brisbane.
Quite a few SF events coming up in Australia in the next couple of months, for those of us who can’t gallivant off to Worldcon and World Fantasy Con! Science for Science Fiction: A Conference for Science Fiction Writers is coming up in Melbourne on September 10. This is a Royal Society of Victoria event, presented in partnership with Aurealis Magazine and proudly supported by the Emerging Writer’s Festival, designed for new and established authors of science fiction to learn valuable writing techniques and draw inspiration from real science to hone their craft. More information can be found here.
In late September, the annual Canberra speculative fiction convention, Conflux, will take place, with guests of honour Angela Slatter and Ellen Datlow taking centre stage at the “Grimm Tales” themed event.
And finally, we wanted to shout out about the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) taking place from August 3 to 20, which is “presenting a massive Sci-Fi Retrospective featuring many of the genre’s most groundbreaking, influential and important films alongside some of its most inventive and entertaining”. Well worth checking out if you’re in Melbourne during that time!