The legends and the legacies of King Arthur

Original by Évrard d'Espinques

In honour of John Steinbeck’s birthday (27/02/1902-20/12/1962), today’s post is about the ongoing legacy of the Arthurian stories, as well as the men and women who have reimagined and retold Arthurian legends. Steinback’s own retelling was published posthumously in the 1976 novel ‘The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights‘.

-The top ten films about King Arthur

-The BBC discusses the history of the legends and where its past and future lie

The ten historical and archaeological sites that hint at Arthur’s very real past

-A serialisation of The Once and Future King, performed by well known writer and presenter Brian Sibley, and produced by the BBC

A posthumous look back at Mary Stewart’s illustrious career including the Merlin Trilogy

 

Chinese New Year special

This week, we bring you a post inspired by Chinese New Year – recommendations for some of the best Asian-inspired fantasy and science fiction around. Some we suspect will be familiar, some will be brand new, and some will take you by surprise. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

-Reviews along with a list of some Wuxia and Oriental fantasy

Asian inspired (not necessarily set in Asia) fantasy novels

-A discussion by The Guardian of three of the best recent Asian fantasy series

-An exhaustive list of fantasy titles from all over the world, sorted by culture or nation

Wall Street Journal interviews Cixin Liu, author of China’s newest best-selling science fiction book ‘The Three-Body Problem’

 

Bonus fact: Did you know Chinese New Year festivities actually last for 15 days?

Extraterrestrial Culture

Today’s theme was heralded by the arrival of Extraterrestrial Culture Day last week. While the day itself is native to New Mexico, USA, it does give us a chance to talk – or wonder – about what extraterrestrial culture might be like.

-In an attempt to learn more about alien culture: the 7 longest messages sent into space.

-In counterpoint to the above, a discussion of whether we might be shooting ourselves in the foot by transmitting messages.

-Speaking of alien culture, the last wishes of deceased author of the Culture series, Iain M Banks, were recently released: that the series be continued by his friend Ken MacLeod.

-A summary of some interesting and well-realised aliens and their cultures from the last 70 years.

Aurealis #77 is out!

The first issue in Aurealis’ 25th year, Aurealis #77 is a feast of the eerie, the unsettling and the other side of ordinary. ‘Like a Boojum’ by Simon Petrie takes us to a world where the exotic is familiar and the familiar is not to be trusted.

‘The Death of Glinda, the Good Witch’ by Rebecca-Anne C Do Rozario probes and questions until reality itself is in question.

Lachlan Walter’s exploration of the often troubling amalgamation of SF movies and Western movies is illuminating and fun, while our regular roll-out of reviews has some important pointers to good SpecFic reading.

Aurealis – not to be missed.

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Wish us a Happy 25th Birthday!

Win if you’ve already subscribed to Aurealis for 2015 or by subscribing to Aurealis for 2015 now!

Aurealis 77 Cover 290 x 440The first issue for our birthday year is about to be published and everyone can win!

Chimaera Publications / Aurealis books has just published new trade paperback and hardcover editions of Dirk Strasser’s acclaimed Books of Ascension trilogy: Zenith, Equinox and Eclipse.

We have two full hardcover sets to give away.

Everyone who subscribes to Aurealis by 5 February 2015 will be in the running for one of the three hardcover books from the first set.

And everyone who has already subscribed to Aurealis before this newsletter comes out will be in the running for one of the three hardcover books from the second set.

Yes, that’s right. As well as offering incentives to subscribe in 2015, we’re going to be rewarding our existing subscribers with freebies all year!

It’s our birthday, and our subscribers will be getting the presents. Please tweet, blog, socially mediate and tell you friends about the offer. It’s open to anyone who wants to take out a 2015 Aurealis subscription. The deadline is midnight 5 February 2015 (AEDT) and there won’t be any extensions.

Praise for the Books of Ascension

“The rich imagination that flows from the pages is nothing short of astounding, and the world Strasser creates completely envelopes you from the moment you begin to read.”

Lynsey James

“Strasser worked his magic and I was left one happy reader indeed.”

Reviewed the Book

Kate Forsyth takes home American Libraries award

Five-time Aurealis Award-winning author and fairy tale-telling extraordinaire Kate Forsyth has been honoured by the American Library Association, taking out the Best Historical Novel award for her 2014 release Bitter Greens.

Forsyth joined international bestseller Lauren Beukes on the ALA’s 2015 reading list, beating out novels from Amy Belding Brown, Nicola Griffith, James Lee Burke and Ariel Lawhon in the same category.

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Thiel Grant for Online Writing

The Thiel Grant for Online Writing supports inventive writing for the internet. Recipients of the $5000 award commit to producing 50 posts on an agreed concept over a 12-month period. Australian online writers of all genres are encouraged to apply. Applications for the inaugural grant are open until the 28th of February, 2015.

Winners Announcement for the 2014 John Hinde Awards for Science Fiction

Thanks to a generous bequest from legendary Australian film critic John Hinde, the AWG presents the John Hinde Awards for Science Fiction to both a produced and unproduced script to encourage, reward and foster creativity in the development and showcasing of exceptional science fiction writing for feature film, short film, television, radio and interactive media.

Critically acclaimed as an entrancingly strange time-travel saga, Predestination, written by Queensland’s Spierig Brothers Michael and Peter Spierig, claimed the $10,000 cash prize for the Produced category.  Predestination centres on a Temporal Agent (Ethan Hawke) who, on his final time-travelling assignment, must stop The Fizzle Bomber, the one criminal that has always managed to elude him, from killing 10,000 New Yorkers.

Min Min written by South Australian screenwriter, Simon Butters, was selected the inaugural winner of the Unproduced category.  Min Min is a story of four carefree travellers who speed across the Nullabor Plain to find the perfect surf break but their night time journey is cut terrifyingly short when they are hunted by a strange, deadly light in the sky – the Min Min.

As winner of the Unproduced category, Simon Butters was a special guest of the Fantastic Planet Sci-Fi Festival and will have the opportunity to meet with and have his script read by a number of experienced genre producers.

The entries to this year’s John Hinde Awards were of exceptional calibre and the judges for the Awards wrestled with their final decision.  The Guild would therefore like to attribute special recognition to Hugh Sullivan’s The Infinite Man, a comedy-romance about a man whose attempts to construct the ultimate romantic weekend backfire when he traps his lover in an infinite loop.

Commendations also go to the Shortlist for the Unproduced category who are now inducted into the AWG’s Pathways Program. Pathways has been developed to showcase the writers of scripts which display high potential for production to the broader industry. Both the Shortlist and the Longlist for the Unproduced category can be found below.

The winners of the 2014 John Hinde Awards was officially announced at the Fantastic Planet Sci-Fi Film Festival on Sunday 30 November 2014 at the Festival’s Awards Ceremony on its closing night. The Fantastic Planet Sci-Fi Film Festival screened simultaneously with the annual A Night of Horror Film Festival in a film festival face-off at the Newtown Dendy Cinemas in Sydney.

2014 Shortlist

The Shortlist for the 2014 John Hinde Award for the Unproduced category includes:

  • Seeds by Annaliese Ciel Walker
    Echovault by Jacques Joubert
    Crossover (Schrodingers Cat) by Andrew Muir
    Punishment by Les Zigomanis

2014 Longlist

The Longlist for the 2014 John Hinde Award for the Unproduced category includes:

  • The Colony by Akos Armont
    Robot by Helen Carmody
    Big Turkey by Simon Dodd and Bruce Griffiths
    Steam Ranger by David Haddin
    Payload by Stuart Willis

Imperial Imprecision

by Chris Large

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.13.57 PMIt’s long been known that Star Wars: A New Hope contains examples of some of the worst marksmanship in the history of cinema, particularly with respect to the Emperor’s ‘elite’ forces. But how bad were they really? Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a statistical measure of exactly how astonishingly bad imperial stormtroopers were at hitting their mark?

Well, fortunately, there is. In the United States, where police forces undergo rigorous (well, at least annual) firearms training, statistics are kept, and made available for, exactly the type of public scrutiny in which we are about to indulge.

But first to the question of “How can we calculate the number of shots fired and hits scored by stormtroopers in Star Wars in order to make a valid comparison with real-world figures?” The answer is simple. I counted them. Yes, I did. No, I’m not shitting you. Inspired by the purchase of a brand new TV boasting no less than 55 inches of HD LED OMFGoodness, I took it upon myself to re-watch Star Wars: A New Hope. And just for fun – because that’s how I roll – I decided to count each and every shot fired by stormtroopers in the name of generating an accurate hit-rate for comparison with figures issued by the NYPD. Before we get to the nitty gritty of raw statistics, I’ll briefly touch upon some potential excuses given by simpering Empire apologists for the atrocious stormtrooper hit-rate, and deftly debunk them all.

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Writers Victoria Science Fiction and Fantasy workshops

Writers Victoria has some upcoming workshops and talks focused on genre writing that might be of interest to Aurealis.

Spec Fic Masterclass with Marianne de Pierres
Saturday 27 September – Geelong
http://writersvictoria.org.au/what-s-on/event/spec-fic-masterclass-geelong/

Spec Fic Masterclass with Marianne de Pierres
Sunday 28 September – Melbourne
http://writersvictoria.org.au/what-s-on/event/spec-fic-masterclass/

Oh the Horror with Dmetri Kakmi
Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 October – Melbourne
http://writersvictoria.org.au/what-s-on/event/oh-the-horror/

Re-spinning the Magic of Fairytales with Kate Forsyth
Friday 14 November – Melbourne
http://writersvictoria.org.au/what-s-on/event/re-spinning-the-magic-of-fairy-tales/