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Aurora Australis: Scaring the World, Surviving Apocalypses


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Aurora Australis: Scaring the World, Surviving Apocalypses


Published on September 7, 2015

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Ticonderoga Press

In which Aussies and Kiwis are amongst the best in the world at speculative fiction–we win at surviving the apocalypse–there are new books and a new magazine AND Australians are contributing to the Gollancz Festival. Don’t say we don’t contribute our fair share!

Here’s what’s coming up next month in the world of Australian (and New Zealand) spec fic.

New Anthologies!

Ticonderoga Press recently announced their 2014 anthology, continuing their best Australian (and NZ) fantasy and horror series. The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2014 includes work from Kaaron Warren, Alan Baxter, Janeen Webb, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Angela Slatter, Cat Sparks… it’s just generally an awesome line-up. Additionally, Fablecroft has also recently released their table of contents for Focus 2014: Highlights of Australian Short Fiction with work from Dirk Flinthart, Deborah Biancotti and Thoraiya Dyer (i.e. another excellent line-up).

Other Australians appearing in Year’s Bests: Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter with “The Female Factory” and Kaaron Warren’s “The Nursery Corner” in Paula Guran’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2015, plus Slatter’s “Winter Children” and Garth Nix’s “Shay Corsham Worsted” in Ellen Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year Volume 7. (Truly we’re a scary bunch over here.)

Angela Slatter (one of whose stories was recently translated into Russian for the first time!) will also be appearing in Conrad Williams’ anthology Dead Letters, whose table of contents was recently announced; Slatter will appear alongside Pat Cadigan, Joanne Harris, and a collaboration between Maria Dahvana Headley and China Miéville. I’m not sure how far along the horror spectrum this will be—and I’m not a fan of horror—but I’m intrigued by these names… and I told you we are scary!

The anthology These Broken Worlds from NZ’s Kosa Press is now available, featuring “10 stories, 4 authors, [and] 1 universe,” with stories set in a war-ravaged world, “leaving only Australia and New Zealand habitable.” (Ha ha! We win!)


New Novels!

In novel news, Momentum published the last three books of the ES Siren sequence (making nine in total) in July. This shared-world, erotic-romance series, written by Denise Rossetti, Mel Teshco, and Shona Husk, follows the tribulations of the crew and passengers aboard Earth Ship Siren as they escape a dying Earth and get themselves into (and out of) trouble—the fighting kind and the romantic kind.

Newt's Emerald Garth NixOne of Australia’s big presses, Allen & Unwin, has some really, really exciting new YA releases coming up. In October, Garth Nix’s “Regency romance with magical elements,” Newt’s Emerald, is bursting onto the world with an eighteen-year-old heroine, a case of mistaken identity, and theft. That’s also when Zeroes, by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti (just looking at those three names together makes me swoon) comes out: it’s got “six unique superheroes, one bag of stolen drug money, one bungled bank robbery and a whole heap of trouble” and I cannot WAIT.

Then November has Sean Williams’ Twinmaker trilogy coming to an end with Fall, wherein Williams continues to explore the implications of dematerialisation technology. Illuminae will also be released, and since it’s described as “Battlestar Galactica meets 10 Things I Hate About You”—well, sign me up. It’s by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (who together are apparently 12’5” tall).

And THEN December will see the release of the third in the Starbound trilogy, by Amie Kaufman (busy lady!) and Meagan Spooner (who is absolutely an honorary Australian). The Fractured Light brings the epic trilogy to a close and means we finally get to find out what happens to people who dare to question a galaxy-wide system (and fall in love along the way).

Meanwhile, a novel that we have to wait a long time for: Twelfth Planet Press has announced that 2017 will see the publication of Grace Duggan’s The Motherland Garden. All together now: Too. Long. To. Wait. I loved Duggan’s The Silver Road many years ago and can’t wait to The Ghost of Matter Octavia Caderead more from her. Twelfth Planet Press has also just launched Letters to Tiptree, in honour of Alice Sheldon’s 100th birthday, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and myself.

Paper Road Press has just released the last of their Shortcuts novellas; you can read an excerpt from Octavia Cade’s The Ghost of Matter and be freaked out.

1886. Two young boys disappear in the Sounds. Their mother grieves, all the music cut out of her heart; their father wanders the coast for a year, wanting and not wanting to find any part of them left behind. And their brother Ern, faced with a problem to which no solution can be found, returns to his laboratory – and to the smell of salt, soft voices in his ear, wet footprints welling seawater in the darkness.


Writing, Not Reading

Writing not reading? Paper Road Press has announced that they are open for submissions for novels and novellas—science fiction, fantasy, and “fun and quirky stories.”

Also: new magazine! Capricious is open for submissions and will be publishing “short speculative fiction and essays about speculative fiction and related topics.” Excitingly, due to a grant from SpecFicNZ, they’re aiming to “have at least one work by a writer from or in New Zealand, or an article about a New Zealand writer or writers” in issues 2 through 5. Their first issue is due in September… and they have a terribly cute hedgehog as their mascot.

Also also: new press! Twelve Panels Press is aiming to publish a graphic novel annually, “to contribute to Australian and New Zealand book culture.” In September they’ll publish The Salty River, by Jan Bauer (translated by Judith Pattinson), a debut graphic novel originally published in German.

HEADS UP. Hachette Australia and New Zealand will be running digital events as part of the Gollancz Festival 2015! They’ll be running stuff from midnight until 8am GMT (which is 10am-6pm, by my counting, on the east coast of Australia; a bit later in NZ and earlier in the west) on 16 and 17 October. More details when they come out!

Finally, the Hugo Awards were given a couple of weeks ago. The Australian podcast Galactic Suburbia (Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and myself) won Best Fancast, making Roberts the first Australian woman to win two Hugos so far (having won Best Fan Writer a few years ago).

Got something to share about Australian and/or NZ speculative fiction? Throw 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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