Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Big announcement: Aurealis is relaunching as a monthly e-magazine.

Dirk Strasser says, “For over 20 years Aurealis has been trapped inside the physical world of hard copy. Up until issue #44, the magazine has been confined by paper pages and the three dimensions of the book format. Now we've escaped. And there's no going back.”

"Aurealis is the Australian magazine of fantasy, science fiction and horror. It has been publishing continuously since 1990, but this issue is its first e-publication. Aurealis #45 features the return of the legendary bunyipslayer in a brilliant story by Lachlan Huddy, a harrowing fairy tale from Aimee Smith, and an interview with Glenda Larke, as well as reviews, news and more."

Click on the magazine cover above to download Aurealis #45 for FREE.

Recent Tweets Roundup - Sept/Oct

From http://twitter.com/aurealisXpress

New episode of Coode St Podcast with guest Ursula Le Guin http://bit.ly/nK3IQp

Five questions for Jo Anderton, author of Debris « by Patty Jansen bit.ly/oUZP8G

Check out Deborah Biancotti’s "On Burnout" series of posts with a bunch of Oz & Int authors & editors bit.ly/nTxeSR

Off the Shelf: Emily Rodda - RN Book Show - 12 October 2011 bit.ly/mXdyAs

Alan Baxter: “I’ll be here on Saturday. If you're in Brisbane and a writer, come along!” bit.ly/qW2ETs

Book List: Graphic Novels and YA/Classic graphic novel adaptations for teens j.mp/r2HEOJ

Cat Sparx received an Australia Council Emerging Writer's Grant. bit.ly/qNbiDo

A life cut short - The West Australian on Sara Douglass yhoo.it/qjIwvw

Australian fantasy writer Sara Douglass dies of ovarian cancer | The Australian bit.ly/rdcLqN

Booked! Greg Egan, Author, ‘The Clockwork Rocket’ bit.ly/mRVW8m

Take Five with Keri Arthur, Author, ‘Darkness Unbound’ ow.ly/1xH1SE

Tehani Wessely: I posted the first episode of The Book Nut! Wherein Alex Pierce & I discuss books we teach & those we'd love to teach: bit.ly/oC6Kci

Alison Goodman invited by the The Wheeler Centre to take part in "Two Sides of the Story" on Tues 22 Nov 7-8pm. Free Event. http://wheelercentre.com/calendar/event/fantasy/

On indie press: Paul Collins | A conversational life bit.ly/nfhX4L

Final Draft Podcast | Peter Docker, author of The Waterboys bit.ly/rsjsLT

Mourning Goats Author Interviews: #23 Max Barry bit.ly/qX8EwQ

Michael Pryor launches George Ivanoff's GAMERS' CHALLENGE - YouTube bit.ly/o3zQx9

Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review: The Golden Door by Emily Rodda

Review by Carissa Thorp

Rye seeks to leave Weld, the isolated walled city he calls home, in search of his brothers who left years ago to find and stop the evil source of the Skimmers, flying creatures that enter the city every night and kill anyone they can. He’s joined by Sonia, a young girl orphaned by the Skimmers, and they emerge on the other side of The Golden Door, they don’t know where, in a land that is unlike anything they were brought up to expect of the Barbarian lands. Adventures ensue and new friends are made.
I’ve never read a book by Emily Rodda before, in spite of knowing her name and popularity. Having seen the television series based on her Deltora Quest series, though, I can see similarities between the two tales; quests, young leads, magical objects, puzzles, etc. Thankfully, fans of her previous work should enjoy this series without worrying too much about “sameness”, and as a new reader, I found The Golden Door immediately appealing. Rodda’s skill as a writer is very much in evidence. It’s lovely to start a book and feel drawn in, effortlessly, to a tale of likeable characters in interesting situations. I particularly liked the way the consequences of Rye’s early life in an enclosed city (never seeing or experiencing hills, for example) are explored. A good place to start reading Rodda if you or the young people in your life never have before.

This review first appeared in the Aurealis Magazine subscriber newsletter.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Review | Ember and Ash by Pamela Freeman

Review by Stuart Mayne

I am a fan of Pamela Freeman. The Castings trilogy is a fine series that strays away from the formulaic fantasy trilogy, with a deftness and lightness of touch that had me scrabbling for each as they came out. Now we can once again enjoy the mysteries of the Eleven Domains.
Ember watches helplessly as her future and happiness vanish in a scorching burst of flames with the murder of her husband. Determined to bring revenge upon the perpetrators she enlists the help of Ash, the son of a seer, and together they pit themselves against the terrible elements in a last desperate bid to end the conflict once and for all.
Ember and Ash continues Freeman’s journey as a writer of something different in the fantasy genre. Through the pain and suffering of her characters we touch on the human; the singular pain of the individual. She makes fantasy understandable to me. She writes with a light touch. Her novels feel like a watercolour compared to the usual impasto style. While more baroque than the Castings trilogy, Ember and Ash is a deftly portrayed study of evil and vengence.
This review first appeared in the Aurealis Magazine subscriber newsletter.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DVD Review | The Lost Thing

Review by Carissa Thorp

The Lost Thing is a short film based on Shaun Tan's picture book of the same name. Shaun joined a small team, doing the production design, art direction and storyboarding, as well as co-directing, to make this lovely animated incarnation of his work, bringing to life a vividly drear and retro world, reminiscent of Melbourne in which an unnamed young man (narrated by Tim Minchin) adopts a potbellied crab-like, bell-tongued creature he discovers on the beach. With the creature "obviously" lost and out of place in the young man's world, the two temporary companions must find a solution to their problem.
Blessed with glowing animation, storybook transitions, gentle humor and a dreamlike logic, The Lost Thing is a real gem; whimsical, universal, and yet somehow very Australian (could just be the accent, but I think it’s the light). It may only be 15 minutes long, but it's a very special 15 minutes, recommended for young and old. I hope some day we get to see a feature-length film from the marvelous mind of Shaun Tan.
This review first appeared in the Aurealis Magazine subscriber newsletter.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Review | The Dervish House by Ian McDonald

Review by Christine Tursky Gordon

Turkey in 2027 is a member of the EU, the meeting point of West and East, and of Christianity and Islam, a place of nanotech sweatshops, power struggles, hidden and open religious history, and the driving pulse of business amongst the heat and the smell of spices. Cosmopolitan, crowded, dynamic Istanbul seeps through on every page; McDonald captures the culture, the voice, and the atmosphere of the city just as evocatively as he did for readers in Brasyl.
In The Dervish House McDonald pulls together disparate characters whose stories dovetail in a seven-day-long ticking clock buildup of tension. A boy with a damaged heart sees a terrorist explosion on a tram through the remote camera on his BitBot and realises that someone else also has a hidden robot watching those who flee the aftermath. Necdet runs from the tram, amazed to be alive, but soon starts seeing djinns and spirits interwoven with the scenes of his daily life. Leyla misses the explosion, misses her job interview but finds work in a relative’s nanoware startup and must negotiate with both family and local criminal groups to secure funding. Adnan snorts nanoware brain enhancers just like his commodity trader colleagues, but he plans a massive fraud involving radioactive Iranian gas while his antique trader wife Ayse is offered an outrageous sum to quietly find a mythical artefact. Greek-out-of-water Georgios is a retired economics professor with a poisoned past of radical activism who is suddenly, incongruously invited to join a government think tank.
The implications of the terrorist attack trickle slowly into the open as the characters follow their own paths, looming larger and darker than anything the government could have expected. McDonald has created a rich, vivid thriller that is beautifully written.

This review first appeared in the Aurealis Magazine subscriber newsletter.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Win a Pamela Freeman omnibus edition of The Castings Trilogy in our February Subscriber Newsletter Competition

The good folks at Orbit have given us TWO copies of Pamela Freeman's omnibus edition of The Castings Trilogy, taking in the books Blood Ties, Deep Water and Full Circle. The success of this trilogy helped Pamela secure a worldwide contract with Orbit for another series of books. It is an excellent series indeed!

Subscribers to Aurealis Magazine should refer to this month's aurealisXpress newsletter for details on how to enter.

Book Review | Sunshine State by James Miller

Little, Brown
Review by Lachlan Huddy

It’s all looking rosy for Mark Burrows at the outset of this near-future fever dream. Sure, there's some unfortunate more-or-less-global devastation wrought by climate change, but Burrows's native Britain has escaped the worst of it and the retired spy is looking forward to fatherhood. Cue the One Last Job. Burrows is called back into service and shipped out to Florida—better known now as the Storm Zone care of, well, guess—in pursuit of his ex-comrade and brother-in-law, Charles Ashe. Ashe has become something of a messiah to the various minorities and extremist groups who, unwelcome in an America now run by iron-fisted evangelical Christians, call the Storm Zone home. So begins Burrows’s descent into, yes, the heart of darkness. Nothing wrong with ripping off an English classic so long as your head and heart’s in the right place, and Miller’s intentions are fittingly noble in seeking to highlight the dangerous political forces at war for America’s soul. Of course Sunshine State suffers in comparison to its forebears (Ashe’s sympathetic villain also owes much to Milton's Lucifer of Paradise Lost), but playing runner-up to the canon is no shameful thing. Some have complained of Miller’s overwrought prose, and to be sure the pages turn a little purple at times, but it isn’t wanton; the technique builds atmosphere and sucks the reader irrevocably into the mind of a maddening man and a mad, mad world.

This review first appeared in the Aurealis Magazine subscriber newsletter.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review | Diamond Eyes by A.A. Bell

Harper Voyager

Into the life of a strange, demented, violent woman, cruelly constrained in an asylum, comes a new therapist with his own issues. Ben is the first person to get through to Mira. He begins to probe the dissociated world that she lives in; she is blind, but seems to see, and has extraordinary multi-faceted reflective eyes. As he begins to draw her out, he takes her back to visit the strange tree-home where she was raised. Meanwhile, two scientists are working on an infallible lie-detector using physiological and psychological input.
These two, in cahoots with Ben, begin to unravel just what it is that Mira ‘sees’. Then someone is murdered… Mira was not physically present, but she ‘saw’ what happened! Wild cross-country chases, layers of authority where the corrupt and the well-meaning are indistinguishable, and a lovable mischief-making asylum inmate whose deafness is a counterpoint to Mira’s blindness. What a rare and special tale! A. A. Bell has that much beloved faculty of good science fiction writers—she takes areas of science that are already understood, and squeezes them just a bit further so that the scientific basis of her story has a grounding in fact.
This review first appeared in the Aurealis Magazine subscriber newsletter.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

Review by Carissa Thorp

Miles Vorkosigan, Imperial Auditor (ie Investigator) of Barrayar, travels to the planet Kibou-daini to look into the business of cryo-preservation, an industry which is an obsession on Kibou-daini and has shaped the planet’s culture and political structure for ill. Fate provides Miles with access to the real story behind the PR and gives him the opportunity to protect Barrayar’s interests as well as undo an injustice.
I'm a big fan of Bujold and have been really looking forward to another Vorkosigan novel. It was worth the wait, especially because of the promising complications birthed by this novel for future books. However, this isn't a book I'd recommend to someone who hasn't read any Vorkosigan books before. Thankfully, because of the generosity and forward thinking of Baen and Bujold, I can let readers know that all Bujold's novels in this universe have been made available to download as ebooks, in a variety of formats, providing newcomers a way to try out the series, become addicted from the first chapter, then go out and buy all the books in hard copy, including Cryoburn. Which one do I recommend you start with? Cordelia's Honor, an omnibus edition that includes the novels Shards of Honor and Barrayar, starring Miles' mother and father; they provide a great background of the "universe" and the history of major series characters. It’s where I started and they remain among my favourites.

This review first appeared in the Aurealis Magazine subscriber newsletter.