Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AussieCon 4 Schedule for Aurealis Magazine and Chimaera

Aurealis Magazine will be in the Dealer's Room at table 10.

Nuts and bolts: Editing YA spec fic, an insider’s view

Editing YA Speculative Fiction requires special skills. Industry insiders share their experiences.

Sarah Hazelton, Zoe Walton, Amanda Pillar, Rani Graff, Stuart Mayne (chair)
Friday 10am, Room 212

Directions in Australian horror 

Tracking the movement from the traditional to the new, and maybe back again.

Stuart Mayne, Bill Congreve, Angela Slatter, Trent Jamieson, Honey Brown
Friday 3pm, Room 210

The best-kept Secrets of Australian horror 

Our scholars present an introduction to the under-known genre authors of Australia’s past.
Stuart Mayne, Lucy Sussex, Kyla Ward, Marty Young
Saturday 1pm, Room 204

Classic Australian SF Launch - Sunday 11am, Room 203

Classic Australian SF Panel - Sunday 12pm, Room 217

20 years of Aurealis 

Aurealis magazine has survived and flourished for 20 years. For Australian SF magazines, that’s several lifetimes. How did this happen? Come and hear about the journey, the lessons learnt, and how it all began from current and past editors.

Dirk Strasser, Stephen Higgins, Michael Pryor, Keith Stevenson, Stuart Mayne
Sunday 3pm, Room 217

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jatta by Jenny Hale

Review by Crisetta MacLeod

Here be dragons! This is a great tale in the best of fantasy traditions, but Jatta is a heroine with a severe monthly problem—she has been cursed, and on the full moon becomes a werewolf. Her father the king and her brother Arthmael seek to protect her as she horrifies all around them with her bloodlust and ferocious strength. The kingdom is also threatened by a tyrant who comes marauding through a magical portal. Jatta and Arthmael set forth on a quest to save the kingdom, and cure Jatta of her curse. With the aid of a magical object and loads of courage and perseverance… but I musn’t spoil the story! Just imagine wakening to find yourself covered in blood, with your bedroom destroyed, and your beloved brother horribly wounded—then imagine what it felt like to discover gradually that this bloody mayhem was all your own doing! This is a wonderfully imagined situation, and you will find Jatta’s doggedly faithful brother to be a likeable character indeed. So often the story seemed to be about to end in tragedy, and then…

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weblog for August

Weblog items appear first at our Twitter page: http://twitter.com/aurealisXpress 

Fiona McIntosh will be on ABC's Talking Heads on 30 August 6:30pm http://bit.ly/aNEjo8

UTS Alumni Profile of Deborah Abela (Grimsdon) http://bit.ly/cDrtnG

2010 Ditmar Nominees http://bit.ly/d5Wq3T

The Small Picture Podcast interviews Alexandra Adornetto (Halo) http://bit.ly/bcf5MO

Noni Hazelhurst interviews Director Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace), in Oz for #MIIF, on ABC 
Radio http://bit.ly/bTJOW6 mp3

Boomerang Books interview with Alexandra Adornetto (Part 2) http://bit.ly/a5NIWf

SMH interview with Neil Gaiman http://bit.ly/96wULk Also "Comic geeks take over the Opera House" http://bit.ly/cqSXMz Includes video.

Meanjin - Sci-fi Illustration: Travellers in Space http://bit.ly/cBySG7

Klingon Cave Tours - In Australia! http://bit.ly/cBV8Ep

Hugo award looms for legend among Legends | The West Australian features Jonathan Strahan http://bit.ly/aJ3T3T

VoyagerBooks Chat with Kim Falconer in August!: http://wp.me/pa7QW-yA

Sean Williams shares where his stories are made @BookChickCity http://bit.ly/b45c4M

Latest Writer in Residence at insideadog.com.au is @RichardNewsome http://bit.ly/cQJcHY

GeekSydicate’s Women in Genre Fiction interview with Karen Miller http://bit.ly/cBcD8J

Open spec fic short story markets in Australia, a round up! http://bit.ly/bWauaS

Comic Con video interview with Scott Westerfeld & Keith Thompson by Suvudu http://bit.ly/cKmMPX

Garth Nix and @JonathanStrahan contribute to the "What 'Sword and Sorcery' Means to Me" Mind Meld @sfsignal http://bit.ly/chfnFP

Australian Speculative Fiction Blog Carnival for July @ HorrorScope http://bit.ly/btFUa4

Paul Collins interview at Ripping Ozzie Reads http://bit.ly/av7RDc

Two George Ivanoff interviews: at Aus Lit Review http://bit.ly/a9HweY and SYN FM http://bit.ly/auvNeZ (direct link to mp3)

Glenda Larke on Geek Syndicate! http://tinyurl.com/2d6dp5z

Margo Lanagan’s Singing My Sister Down—a SUDS production, 11-21 August!: http://tinyurl.com/25b8hof

2010 Sturgeon Award Winners http://bit.ly/ax0726 

Damien Broderick tied for 2nd for story in @JonathanStrahan's Best SF&F of the Year #4

Rich Horton on four new Australian anthologies: http://bit.ly/dsrtVi

"Guest post: Creativity and the Scientific Mind by Graham Storrs | Not Enough Words" ( http://bit.ly/d6yLp4 )

Sandy Fussell – Author Interview | The Australian Literature Review http://bit.ly/a6mYZP

Follow Alexandra Adornetto on twitter @AlexandraHalo

Angela Slatter's Drive-By interviews with Kaaron Warren http://bit.ly/d5EQsI Karen Brooks http://bit.ly/9MMjVs Lezli Robyn http://bit.ly/aZvfUr Jason Nahrung http://bit.ly/cI3Pag

Meanjin has six questions for Margo Lanagan http://bit.ly/c6xh28

The Small Picture Podcast | Mars: A Survival Guide by Guy Murphy. http://bit.ly/9wgrnq

A limited edition version of Shaun Tan's 'The Arrival', with bonus material, coming in September: http://bit.ly/c7wLMz

Sydney Writers' Centre podcast: Patrick Ness http://bit.ly/afvEQS

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Iron man—Armoured Adventures

Review by Stuart Mayne

It was not a surprise to see an animated YA show on ABC TV. What was a surprise was that it was an American super-hero show. Aimed at the young teen market, this show was developed hot on the heels of the blockbuster movie franchise. Produced by a French and Canadian company for Marvel Animation I like to think that taking production out of the US has benefited both production values and storyline in this series.
Personal interaction between the usual group of Iron man characters—Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and Jim “Rhodey’ Rhodes—is easy and complex; by no means is this a one dimensional superhero series. The 3D CGI animation is clean and crisp. Every detail is attended to, the armour is displayed to detail the navigation and in-flight stability and the internal armour environment is an expansively virtual reality area. This is an easy cartoon to enjoy for its visual qualities.
This is a no frills DVD collection of all 26 episodes in the series. There are no extras, no deleted scenes. But you will get a terrific YA show with great visuals, great scripts and complex storylines. Any teen would enjoy this. You may even get more than a grunt if you bring this home. Who knows, sometimes the impossible does happen?

* This review appeared in the aurealisXpress newsletter for August 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Review: Zendegi by Greg Egan

Review by Stuart Mayne

To me Zendegi is the most accessible Egan novel since his novelette Oceanic. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the technical detail of Egan’s work, but it can get the reader bogged down. Zendegi seems to me to be evidence that Egan is maturing and compromising some what in his work, allowing the lay reader in. For which I am grateful—Egan’s work deserves a wider local audience.
In Zendegi Nasim is a computer scientist (like the author), hoping to work on the Human Connectome Project—a plan to map every neural connection in the human brain. When funding is cut Nasim goes on to work on the computerized virtual world of Zendegi. Fifteen years down the track and the Connectome Project is back up and running. For Nasim, Zendegi is looking tired, so he decides to exploit the Connectome Project’s neural map to fill Zendegi with better Proxies. Chaos and controversy ensure.
This is classic Egan, exploring the meaning of humanity in a virtual world. Egan’s maturity shines throughout this novel, exposing the reader to deeper and more complex characters whose lives seem more real and less “Proxy”-like than earlier novels. An excellent introduction for the author’s local readers.

* This review appeared in the aurealisXpress newsletter for August 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Catch some SF on Australian TV or Online

In lieu of a review this month, we’ve got a round-up of upcoming or shortly expiring TV of the speculative persuasion. 

Paradox, a British science fiction police drama starring Tamsin Outhwaite, starts 17th of August on UKTV (Pay TV). It was cancelled after 1 season but might be worth a look.

Spaced, the geek-friendly comedy series starring Simon Pegg, is currently available on ABC TV’s iView. Episode 1 won’t expire for over a fortnight, so if you’ve never seen this fun series, go and check it out.

Also on iView is Zombie Hotel, an animated children's program about a hotel run by zombies. Episode 1 will expire in a week. The Iron Man series reviewed this month is also available, but starting with episode 10. In fact, iView’s Kids section is packed with sf. Well worth a visit.

True Blood Season 3 starts showing on Showtime on the 19th and will be available on iTunes soon after (there’s two “extras” up there now).

Two other series, not sf but of interest, are Human Target (loosely based on a comic book series) and Spartacus: Blood and Sand, starting August 18th on Go!

Book Review: Worlds Next Door edited by Tehani Wessely

Review by Crisetta MacLeod
This is a completely satisfying, wonderful collection. Whimsical, scary, funny, poignant stories, these could be read and enjoyed by any age group. And where’s the sex and gore that we think we need for modern fantasy? Entirely absent. Congratulations to all concerned, and especially Tehani Wessely, who brought about this very special state-of-the-art collection.
Meet a were-snail and feral frankenbooks. Find out what horrifies monsters. Laugh at demon ducks. Weep for exploitation of the love of a dog for his master, cry for a faithful neglected goat. There are lesson plans for classroom application on a website; similar material could be used for discussion in book clubs. Twenty five stories, all different, from hard-core scifi to only-just-speculative fantasy. This is a fine example of the small press anthologies that are becoming a feature of the Australian fantasy community, bringing sheer enjoyment to readers and creating a platform for our short-story writers, new and old. Onya, Tehani!
* This review appeared in the aurealisXpress newsletter for August 2010

What you could win in our latest newsletter competition

This month we have ANOTHER HUGE prize pool. Harper Collins Voyager have given us TWO sets of Duncan Lay’s three book series, The Dragon Sword Histories and TWO copies of Stacia Kane’s paranormal novel Unholy Magic. While Orbit have given us FOUR copies of Joel Shepard’s Haven.
See your Aurealis subscriber newsletter for August in your email inbox now for details on how to enter.