Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis: Sci-Fi Thrillers and Murder Mysteries

Welcome to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! This month, Alex is back writing after an extended holiday (long service leave is a wonderful thing).

In other news, one of Australia’s most endangered birds has the first confirmed chick in three decades, the Socceroos still have hopes of making it to the soccer World Cup, and New Zealand is about to get a new Prime Minister in Jacinda Ardern. Also, there’s new books—both published and announced—and a variety of other exciting things happening…

New books! From Jonathan Strahan comes Infinity Wars, which continues the Infinity series and features Elizabeth Bear, Indrapramit Das, Aliette de Bodard, Carrie Vaughn, An Owomoyela… and many others. The stories in the anthology deal with the question of who will be fighting the wars of tomorrow? It’s taking futuristic military science fiction to its “furthest extremes.”

Zena Shapter’s Towards White is also now out from IFWG Australia: in an Iceland where scientists think they’ve figured out where brain energy goes after death, Becky Dales just wants to know what happened to her brother in this science fiction thriller.

And Maria Lewis, too, has a new book out: It Came from the Deep. Like Shapter, there’s a mysterious death that needs investigating. But the death coincides with an attack on ironwoman Kaia, who is convinced there’s something in Lake Pelutz… and finding out what that is might just be a dangerous activity.

Darian Smith’s Starlight’s Children, the second of the Agents of Kalanon series, has recently come out too. Smith writes of children being hunted, parental hearts being frozen, and a time of “unusual crime” investigators having to do their best while reeling from the onslaught they faced in the first book.

On a completely different tack, Tansy Rayner Roberts has published a short story collection called Please Look After this Angel and other winged stories. Her Musketeer Space, a space-opera and gender-flipped version of The Three Musketeers, is also now available in a paper version.

Ian McDonald’s Time Was was recently acquired by Jonathan Strahan for Tor.com Publishing, but we have to wait until April 2018 to read it, which seems an unfairly long time away.

And speaking of being a long time away, we’re still waiting for the third Verity Fassbinder novel from Angela Slatter. Although Restoration now has a cover, which is very exciting, the fact I don’t yet have it means it’s still too long to wait—it’s due in August 2018.

Leife Shallcross also has a cover to reveal, for The Beast’s Heart, which is due out in May 2018. That link shows you some of the thought process that went into creating the gorgeous design and is well worth checking out.

In the second half of 2018, IFWG Autralia will be publishing Kura Carpenter’s Wicked by Blood: The Kingfisher’s Debt. Set in contemporary Dunedin, NZ, it’s set to be a mix of fantasy, mystery, murder and satanic ritual.

And even further away than that is Jason Fischer’s Papa Lucy and the Boneman, since Ragnarok Publications has just bought it for its Spring 2019 season. The book is consumed by a centuries-old family feud, immortal brothers, a knight-errant and forbidden knowledge.

Over at Pozible, Adam Browne is crowd-funding a short film version of his novel from a few years ago, Pyrtechnicon: Being a True Account of Cyrano de Bergerac’s Further Adventures among the States and Empire of the Stars. If you want to support Browne’s vision of Cyrano’s “17th century spacegoing elephantship,” head on over and throw him some money.

Subscription boxes seem to be quite The Thing at the moment, and Australia now has a speculative fiction subscription box! Called The Never Never Book Box, it ships bi-monthly (yes, even overseas) and includes all sort of goodies…

We’ve seen some interesting non-fiction come out recently too. In a fascinating piece for The Guardian, Tyson Yunkaporta writes “I’m part of the world’s oldest living culture, but could I kill a zombie with a boomerang?” He reflects on how apocalypses of varying natures have been appearing in First Nations art of various forms, and how this relates to colonisation and surviving being colonised, and what it might mean for the future of all people. Meanwhile, recently crowdfunded anthology Mother of Invention has published an essay by Ambelin Kwaymullina: “Reflecting on Indigenous Worlds, Indigenous Futurisms and Artificial Intelligence.” Kwaymullina does exactly what the title suggests.

Congratulations are in order for Lee Battersby, whose Magrit was recently awarded a White Raven. That means it was included in the International Youth Library’s annual catalogue of book recommendations of international children’s and youth literature! Battersby’s book is one of 200 recognised this year.

Meanwhile Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow is apparently going gangbusters, becoming the biggest children’s debut in the Australian market since records began. Which is impressive.

Looking forward to 2018’s awards, the Norma K Hemming Award—which seeks to recognise Australian work that explores race, disability, gender, sexuality or class—has seen some reorganisation, with short fiction and anthologies now eligible for consideration. There’s details on the site about how to enter.

And speaking of entering, the deadline for entering the Aurealis Awards for 2017 is rapidly approaching, if you know an Australian who had something published this year!

Although it’s too late to get tickets, GenreCon is happening again in Brisbane in mid-November. With guests like Nalini Singh, Delilah S Dawson, Amy Andrews, Angela Slatter, Claire Coleman and Sean Williams, who knows what will come out of the weekend? We look forward to hearing about the projects that are hatched….

Happening around the same time in New Zealand is LitCrawl, in Wellington. As part of the weekend, on November 12 there’s a panel called “My Mythology,” in which five authors “offer up fragments of their own myth making.” There’s details about the website if you want to check it out.

And for next year, Conflux, the Canberra convention, has received funding to put towards their guest speaker for 2018.

There’s also a new movie out from a New Zealand director—you might have heard of it—it’s called Thor: Ragnarok

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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