From the CloudDirk Strasser, Stephen Higgins and Michael Pryor
We can’t tell you how much we at Aurealis were looking forward to attending CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention, running from 29 July to 2 August in Wellington. For a large number of the Aurealis team who are based in Australia, it would have been their first overseas WorldCon. We had big plans for Aurealis, so to say we’re disappointed now that it’s no longer a live event is an understatement.
Our disappointment, though, would have been trivial compared to how devastated the CoNZealand organising team must have felt after years of preparation. They could have thrown their hands up in frustration and just packed it all in. Instead, they’ve chosen to boldly go where no WorldCon has gone before and become virtual.
So here’s the Aurealis contribution: an all-New Zealand issue celebrating our cousin’s significant contribution to world science fiction and fantasy. Simon Litten and Sean McMullen begin their fascinating article on the history of New Zealand SF&F with the question ‘How has the most remote English-speaking country on the planet managed to develop fantastical worlds, visions, and futures that have gained so much international recognition and popularity?’ If the premise of this question surprises you, make sure you start this issue of Aurealis by reading their account, which takes us from the oral Maori tradition of ballads, similar to the Arthurian legends of Britain, and the Scandinavian Viking sagas, to New Zealand becoming the spiritual home of the most iconic fantasy world ever conceived, Middle-earth.
Lucy Sussex’s article on Julius Vogel tells the story of the man who both led his country and was the first New Zealander to write a science-fiction novel: Anno Domini 2000; or, Woman’s Destiny, published in 1889 which depicted a utopian world where women held many positions of authority. With New Zealand being the first country in the world to give women the vote, it makes you wonder what would happen if more world leaders had also been science-fiction writers! And if you want to find out more about the current SF&F scene in New Zealand, move onto Marie Hodgkinson’s article where she declares ‘If you’re waiting for the great renaissance of Aotearoa science fiction and fantasy, we’re already there.’
Aurealis has had a long relationship with New Zealand. Even way back when we billed ourselves as ‘The Australian Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction’, we published stories by New Zealanders. And in more recent times, Australians and New Zealanders share the same open-submissions dates. Identifying our first published story by a New Zealander is not as straightforward as you would expect. Paul Collins who was born in England, raised in New Zealand, but has lived for a long time in Australia, appeared in Aurealis #2 with his story ‘One Day Soon’. The first story to appear by a writer based in New Zealand was ‘Wintering Over’ by Dunedin (now Wellington) author Tim Jones in Aurealis #5. Since then, there have been many others.
We published Wellingtonian Peter Friend’s very first work of fiction ‘Outdoors’ in Aurealis #8, and he went on to be published in magazines such as Asimov’s Science Fiction and Interzone. Peter’s latest story ‘DogWorld’ appears in this issue. Also in this issue is another magical story, ‘Arachne’s Web’, by one of the upcoming stars of New Zealand SF&F, James Rowland. Another NZ shining light, Andi C Buchanan, also makes an appearance with ‘Like Clocks Work’.
Our reviewers have outdone themselves with this issue with a record 26 reviews of recently-released New Zealand works of SF&F – all on a much tighter deadline than usual. These books should become your go-to list for contemporary NZ speculative fiction. Reviewed books include The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach, From a Shadow Grave by Andi C Buchanan, and Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy Volume #1 edited by Marie Hodgkinson.
Most of the illustrations in this issue are by New Zealand artists Emma Weakley and Laya Rose. This issue’s cover is by Emma and features the native orange-feathered Kea parrots.
We would like to thank Scott Vandervalk, Terry Wood, Eugen Bacon, Cas Le Nevez, and all thirty members of our Editorial team for the tireless work they have put into this truly special issue.
All the best from the (long white) cloud!
From Arachne’s WebJames Rowland
The old woman vanished. In her place, wisdom herself stood in a fine gown of green. The visitors in the room bobbed like the tide against the shore. They lent in, ensnared by the metamorphosis, and then they recoiled, receding at the look of fury etched on the goddess’ face.
From Like Clocks WorkAndi C. Buchanan
Jana looks out over the old town, over the towers in the distance and the greying sky behind. The clock is chiming behind her, metal clanging against metal. These streets, streets built and restored, bombed and rebuilt and polished, are now abandoned; squares where merchants and then tourists once thronged are now near empty.
From DogWorldPeter Friend
Emma needed an after-school job, but not at somewhere called DogWorld. Her Labrador, Jasper, had died a month ago. Just seeing another Lab was sometimes enough to make her tear up. But DogWorld was only five blocks from home, and paid two bucks an hour more than packing groceries way across town. It seemed the sensible choice, even after she’d checked the website and still wasn’t sure what DogWorld was.
From CONQUIST Part 6 – In the Palace of AngelsDirk Strasser
As dawn broke across the village, Rodrigo awoke dazed where he had collapsed the night before. Struggling to his feet, he blinked at the morning sun and ran his fingers along a thin cut that had appeared on his cheek. He kicked Luis who was lying near him until he stirred.
“Get up,” he cried. “The duendes will be here soon.”
Carlos and Martín ran towards him.
Martín shouted, “The Incas are gone.”
From Julius Vogel and Anno Domini 2000; or, Woman’s DestinyLucy Sussex
A noted development in recent SF&F has been the renaming of awards, from the Campbell to the Tiptree. It begs the question of who should be commemorated in awards, that area currently being a minefield.
From Where Is Aotearoa New Zealand’s Speculative Fiction?Marie Hodgkinson
If you’re waiting for the great renaissance of Aotearoa science fiction and fantasy, we’re already there.
From New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy 1872 – 2019Simon Litten and Sean McMullen
How has the most remote English-speaking country on the planet managed to develop fantastical worlds, visions, and futures that have gained so much international recognition and popularity?
New non-Australian/NZ Submission WindowApril 27, 2020
Due to a large number of submissions from outside Australia and New Zealand, the next window for non-Australian/NZ submissions to Aurealis will now be from 1 July 2021 to 31 July 2021. See Submissions.
Isabel Cabrera created and supplied this wondrous graphic. She says:
‘With the recent success of Annihilation and Ad Astra, science fiction films are proving to be as popular as ever.
And most of the great science fiction films of the past three decades were actually based on epic science fiction books, including The Martian and Blade Runner (based on the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep).
To help celebrate National Science Fiction Day held on January 2 each year, Global English Editing rounded up the best sci-fi novels that deserve a spot on your bookshelf.
From Dune and its intergalactic messiah, to the earth’s final survivor in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, to the iconic Frankenstein, this list features the best science fiction books from the past 200 years.
Over this time, science fiction has created some of the most profound, compelling and popular novels ever written.
The key theme connecting the best of these books is how emotional and primal humans fare in the face of the powerful scientific advances they create. So, although sci-fi delves into the unknown, the stories aren’t pure fantasy: they exist in settings in some way connected to our own human experience.’
Are you a New Zealander? Have you published or self-published a science fiction, fantasy or horror book in the last year?
Aurealis would like to consider your book for review in its all-New Zealand issue to be published at CoNZealand. Send eBooks only in both epub and mobi format to email@example.com with the subject line: Ebook for NZ special issue by 31 March 2020 at the latest.
Now that the last issue of Aurealis for 2019 has been published, here’s the Big List of all this year’s stories: The Moonstone in the Dust by Carolyn Hine The Excuses We Make For Our Children by Rebecca Fung In the Mountain Valley by Gordon Grice Of Roses and Electric Shock by Joshua Caleb Wilson Tales of the Flame by Dirk Strasser Getting Home by P.K. Torrens Renascent by Pauline Yates Leisure Culture by Maddison Stoff Drink with the Dead by Craig Blane Marked for Life by J.R. Schuyler The Moth Tapes by Joseph Ashley-Smith Ogali by Nuzo Onoh Abomination by Michelle Birkette To Hell and Back by Michael Pryor The Stranger of Morden by Mike Adamson Serine by Shane Drury Wreck Diving by Joanne Anderton Nie among the Tree People by Emma Mann The Witch who Wove Dreams by Mike Adamson Cradle by Stephen Higgins She Sells Sea-Hells by the C Door by Eric Del Carlo Dog Nebula by Subo Wijeyeratne Fracture Line by Chris Walker Timbuktu by Gerri Brightwell Club Fiends by Paul Alex Gray Tigers of Mars by Conor DiViesti Big Heart by Lynn Wohlwend Inheritance by James Rowland Data by Laurence Barratt-Manning Flesh of the Other by Eric Del Carlo
We’ve published stories from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, UK, Canada and USA and it’s been an abundance of riches. You can still get all 2019 issues by subscribing at aurealis.com.au.
And stay tuned! 2020 is going to be bigger and better than ever in the Aurealis universe!