Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis: Weird Weather and Weirder Fiction

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

Australia has been baked (enduring some of the hottest temperatures on record), frozen (as snow piled up in some southern regions), and inundated with rain (in the form of cyclones and their remnants) this month. But no matter, we’ll weather it all for some sweet science fiction and fantasy news!

We have some excellent books that are already available for your reading pleasure. Firstly, there’s Ian Irvine’s The Fatal Gate, the second book in his View from the Mirror series from Orbit. You can read a sample here. This is a return to the world first explored in the quartet published in the late 90s, beginning with A Shadow on the Glass.

Secondly, there’s Jennifer Mills’ Dyschronia from Pan Macmillan Australia. A lot of Australians live by the coast so waking up to discover that the sea has suddenly disappeared would certainly freak a lot of people out. Mills’ book “oscillates between the future and the past,” featuring a woman who “has been plagued by troubling visions of this cataclysm for years”—leading to questions of trust and destiny and all those juicy topics.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot going on at IFWG Publishing. How about a horror story featuring recreated thylacines—more commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger? Because Australia is otherwise lacking in seriously scary (native) predatory animals… Deborah Sheldon’s Thylacines imagines what might happen if the science didn’t quite work… and then the animals got free. I should also mention that Sheldon had a collection out from IFWG last year: Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories has twenty one dark fantasy and horror stories for your reading delight.

Steven Paulsen’s work has also been collected by IFWG Publishing in Shadows On the Wall: Dark and Weird Stories – with a cover and frontispiece by Oscar winner Shaun Tan! The collection contains several reprints, and includes a few new pieces written just for this book.

Then there’s Jason Franks’ dark fantasy novel Faerie Apocalypse, in which “mortals bring the horrors of our age [to the Faerie Realms], and the Folk who live there respond in kind.”

IFWG also announced that they’ve acquired Gillian Polack’s The Year of the Fruitcake, which is coming in the first quarter of 2019. It will tell of “a mostly-midwiped alien anthropologist inhabiting a human perimenopausal body instead of her own,” which is capable of changing gender.

The Lovecraftian anthology Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume 1 features work from Janeen Webb, Lucy Sussex and Stephen Dedman, among others. A second volume, Cthulhu: Land of the Long White Cloud will feature a New Zealand take. Exciting times for IFWG!

PS Publishing is gracing the world with a new Margo Lanagan collection. Phantom Limbs gives us fourteen previously-published stories and one new one, “The Tin Wife.” Many of the stories take fairy tales and give them a brutal Lanagan twist: Hansel is enslaved by a tram during the Black Plague, while a middle-ages Australian woman has one last chance to save her swan-winged brother. It’s super exciting to see more Lanagan stories being presented together.

Collections seem to be the flavour of the month: Simon Petrie’s Wide Brown Land: Stories of Titan is coming soon from Peggy Bright Books. It brings together stories Petrie has written about Titan over the last nine or so years, including a few new ones.

Out very soon is Thoraiya Dyer’s second novel, Echoes of Understorey—following Crossroads of Canopy—is coming in February from Tor. And look at this lovely cover!

Finally, back in 2014, Nicole Murphy and Ticonderoga Press announced that the press would be publishing the follow-up trilogy to Murphy’s Dream of Asarlai. However, due to various personal crises Murphy and the Ticonderoga team put the project on hold. Now, however, it’s back! The People of the Star trilogy is due to be published over the next 24 months, and picks up where the first trilogy left off. It will follow the story of some of the original characters as well as new ones, as the story unfolds what happens when humans discover non-humans—the gadda—living amongst them.

Got some Australian or NZ speculative fiction news? Send it my way!

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