Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis: Monsters, Reporters, and Knaves

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

Australians have been thrashing the English in cricket, while New Zealanders have been treating their guests from the West Indies likewise. Cricket’s a long-term game; even those of us who love it also have time for reading…

Obsidio, the final volume in the Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, will be out from Allen & Unwin in March of 2018! Which is a horribly long time away but at least we have a cover! It looks like it follows a new set of characters, again facing similar corporate issues as in the first two books. Given the quality of the first two, and the wonderful range of ‘found’ material to tell the story, this is sure to be a wild ride to end on.

Subterranean Press have picked up a new novella from Greg Egan. Currently it’s listed as a limited hardcover, so it may end up being hard to get our hands on, but it does sound pretty amazing. Two worlds, Tvibura and Tviburi, one inhabited and one not, with the former facing a grave threat to its ability to sustain life… so what is there to be done? Subterranean promises that it’s Egan “at his formidable best,” which is certainly saying something.

Tansy Rayner Roberts’ novella Girl Reporter is now available from The Book Smugglers. Set in the same universe as her acclaimed short story “Cookie Cutter Superhero” (from the anthology Kaleidoscope) and its follow-up, Kid Dark Against the Machine, this new novella is about girl reporters, the fraught relationship between mothers and daughters, and superheroes.

And yet more excellent news from Lisa L Hannett, who has just announced that she will have a new collection of short stories coming in 2019, courtesy of ChiZine Publications. Little Digs will revisit some of the places first introduced in Hannett’s award-winning Bluegrass Symphony. Her Facebook post describes this as an awesome Christmas gift (in all-caps, no less).

Some crowdfunding news for you to get involved in: the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG) is doing an IndieGoGo campaign to publish A Hand of Knaves. The idea is to gather science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories “featuring characters inhabiting the shadowy corners”—like pirates and thieves and rogues in general. The campaign should still be going by the time you read this, so if that’s your sort of thing or you just want to support a not-for-profit organisation in producing their anthology, head over there.

Speaking of anthologies, Fox Spirit have announced their Pacific Monsters anthology. It’s the fourth in their Monsters series and features work from authors such as AJ Fitzwarter, Octavia Cade, Jeremy Szal and AC Buchanan, along with some illustrations too. The publishers describe the series as “a coffee table book series … with dark fiction and art about monsters from around the world.”

I mentioned in the last column that Cohesion Press has folded. This has obviously affected a number of authors, including Alan Baxter. However, happily for him and his fans he recently announced that not all is doom and gloom. Adrenaline Press has picked up Primordial, while Gryphonwood Press have picked up his Alex Caine series (which had been published by Ragnarok, who also have run into trouble). The latter are also set to publish Baxter’s new novel, Hidden City—urban horror/supernatural noir is how he described it—in 2018. So that’s good news!

In reprint news, Twelfth Planet Press has picked up Kate Gordon’s Thyla to bring it back into publication. Set in Tasmania, it’s a tale “of darkness, of convicts, of devils and tigers” and two girls whose stories may or may not be connected.

A new annual magazine has made its appearance! It’s called Kepler452b, in honour of the super-earth found orbiting a G2 star in 2015. It’s not open to general submission: instead, it’s being written, edited and published by students studying three subjects at the University of Southern Queensland. The Commissioning Editors are Nike Sulway and Daniel Hourigan. The first issue, which has just landed, is called “Anthopocene.” It’s got a great range of stuff in it and well worth checking out.

In related news, Leife Shallcross recently wrote a piece for Hodderscape on three Australian artists who are creating fairytale art: Kathleeen Jennings, who has created art for Angela Slatter’s work and the Tremontaine series; Lorena Carrington, who has illustrated for Kate Forsyth; and Spike Deane, who works in glass—just for something different. The post includes examples of the art, of course, and is well worth checking out.

Remember that entries for the Norma K Hemming Award are open until January 25, and if you’re a New Zealand author, let me point you to this website that’s looking to compile a list of NZ authors.

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