Aurealis #172


Aurealis #172 features stories from Dirk Strasser, Thomas K Slee and JV Gachs. Our probing non-fiction is by Lynne Lumsden Green, Angus Macdonald and Harley Carnell. Our outstanding internal art is by Rayji de Guia, Barbara Candioti and Andrew Saltmarsh. Don’t forget our absorbing Non-fiction and Reviews sections—quality reading!


Welcome to a special issue of Aurealis. A number of years ago, we decided to go global and accept stories from anyone anywhere, transforming from being an Australian speculative fiction (SF) magazine to a world SF magazine. We’ve come to realise that what we’ve really done is transform into an anglo-world SF magazine, like so many others. Since that realisation, we have been toying with the idea of opening up to foreign-language stories translated into English. As things currently stand, there’s clearly a wealth of speculative fiction written in languages other than English that we will never get to appreciate. You can’t claim to be genuinely exploring new worlds and ideas if all the worlds speak the same language. Different languages reflect different ways of thinking, and SF has always been about thinking differently.

So, with this issue we are dipping our toes into the non-Anglo waters. We have partnered with Celsius 232, the horror, fantasy and science fiction festival that you’ve probably never heard of, despite the huge numbers that attend each July in Avilés, a town on the north coast of Spain. The festival has both English language and Spanish streams and is government-funded. This means there are no memberships or tickets, and everything is open to everyone. Who knew there was a different way of running a Con than the way the Anglo-sphere does it? The name itself encapsulates this difference, while also acknowledging a link to the great SF works written in English. Celsius 232 is the degrees Celsius when paper burns, echoing Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

Celsius 232 runs a project called Spansion where they arrange translated story swaps with eligible non-Spanish publishers. They have sent us a Spanish story to be translated into English for publication in Aurealis, and we have sent them a story to be translated into Spanish for publication for this year’s Celsius 232 festival.

Both stories appear in English in this July issue of Aurealis, while their Spanish versions appear online in July during the festival. The Spanish-translated story is JV Gachs’ ‘San Juan’s Sowing’, an unusual variant of folk horror, where a dying community tries to ensure the survival of its way of life and a middle-aged woman battles with the patriarchal structure that hides under the surface of a matriarchy. JV has managed to pull off a high-wire act by writing this story in both her native Spanish and her second language English.

The other story is the historical fantasy ‘Conquist’ by Dirk Strasser set in Peru during the time of the Spanish conquistadors. This story predates the novel of the same name that is scheduled for publication by Roundfire Books at the end of August, and has a number of significant differences. Subscribers to Aurealis will remember the serialised version we published across the ten issues in 2020, which was a finalist in the Aurealis Awards for Best Fantasy Novel.

To complete our Spanish language theme for this issue, we have Thomas K Slee’s ‘Foretold’, a nuanced alternate-history story told in the form of a magazine article originally published in Nuevo Méxicano on 22 November 2063. It tackles the sensitive topic of knowing the date of your death with both head-on ambition and a subtle touch.

Enjoy spending some time in these non-Anglo worlds.

Todo lo mejor desde la nube.


From Conquist by Dirk Strasser

About Dirk Strasser

Dirk Strasser’s latest novel Conquist is out in August. His screenplay for Conquist won the Wildsound Fantasy/Sci-Fi Festival Best Scene Reading Award and was a featured finalist in the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival and the Creative World Awards. He is a judge for the 2024 Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival feature film screenplay competition.

On the eve of the Holy Trinity in the year of Our Lord 1542, I, Cristóbal de Varga, humble servant of His Imperial Majesty Charles V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, led my four hundred conquistadors through an entrada into a new world.

From Foretold by Thomas K Slee

About Thomas K Slee

Thomas K Slee is an Australian engineer, writer, and reader.‘Foretold’ is his first published story, however stories for sale, works in progress, free flash fiction and sporadic personal updates can be found at He loves sci-fi, spy thrillers and submarine stories. When he’s written a book as good as Hunt for the Red October, he’ll know he’s made it.

Rogelio Aguilar, reporting from far above Nuevo León


I tell myself I should be the calm one; I am anything but. My eyes are clamped shut, my heart racing, my arm wrapped tight around the feeble structure that holds us aloft while my three new friends chatter excitedly at the view. Unlike me, they can’t know for sure whether they’ll reach the ground alive, and yet they confront this daunting precipice with an almost boundless enthusiasm. I don’t know how they do it.

From San Juan’s Sowing by J.V. Gachs

About J.V. Gachs

J. V. Gachs is a Spanish ESL writer. Her work has been featured in anthologies like Scott J. Moses’ What One Wouldn’t Do and Chelsea Pumpkins’ AHH! That’s What I Call Horror! Her debut novel, Epiphany, was published by Off Limits Press in 2023. Obsessed with sudden death, ghosts, and bisexual characters, she always writes with a cat (or two) in her lap. You can find her on

I’ve spent the last three days next to Abuela’s deathbed. This morning her ragged breath finally stopped. Of all the Hermanas, I was the one she chose as her heir, and so this was my duty, but I would have volunteered for it delightedly anyway. If only to make sure she endured a ghastly death.

From Pioneering SF Women: C L Moore - Setting the Trend by Lynne Lumsden Green

About Lynne Lumsden Green

Lynne Lumsden Green is a cryptid who lives in Subtropical Australia, with two pet humans, three pet cats, and twelve overstuffed bookcases, and she hopes we discover alien life in her lifetime. Her short stories have been published in over a score of anthologies and online magazines. If you want a further taste of her recent work, you can find stories in Antipodean SF and articles in Aurealis.

One woman came up with the brainchildren that led to such characters as Hans Solo and Malcolm Reynolds, and Xena Warrior Princess and Red Sonja. That writer was CL Moore.

From The Best Everyday Superpower by Angus Macdonald

About Angus Macdonald

Angus Macdonald is a writer and radio producer whose work has been published on ABC Radio National and at Voiceworks. He is a Vonnegut nut—so it goes—and writes fun and surreal stories every month at

But how many times in your normal, mundane, profoundly human day-to-day existence have you really had the need for a searing ocular laser?

From HP Lovecraft and the New England Weird by Harley Carnell

About Harley Carnell

Harley Carnell lives London, England. A lifelong devotee of weird fiction, he is particularly inspired by Thomas Ligotti, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, and HP Lovecraft. His work has been published in Penumbra, Confrontation, Riptide Journal and Litro, among others. His critical work is forthcoming in the Lovecraft Annual. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway University of London.

Lovecraft’s love of his hometown Providence, as well as New England generally, is passim throughout his letters, essays and fiction.

From An Interview with New Dawn Publishing by Michael Pryor

About Michael Pryor

Michael Pryor is a novelist and one of the three co-publishers of Aurealis.

As a starter why don’t you tell us a little about your background?