Aurealis #55 Award Winners

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This issue of the Australian magazine of fantasy, science fiction and horror, edited by Dirk Strasser, is our first special Aurealis Award Winners issue. 'Rains of la Strange' by Robert N Stephenson, an action-packed story set in a richly-realised milieu, won Best Science Fiction Short Story. Lisa L Hannett's 'The Short Go' was the joint winner in the Best Horror Short Story category.

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About Dirk Strasser (Editor)

Dirk Strasser has written over 30 books for major publishers in Australia and has been editing magazines and anthologies since 1990. He won a Ditmar for Best Professional Achievement and has been short-listed for the Aurealis and Ditmar Awards a number of times. His fantasy novels – including Zenith and Equinox – were originally published by Pan Macmillan in Australia and Heyne Verlag in Germany. His children’s horror/fantasy novel, Graffiti, was published by Scholastic. His short fiction has been translated into a number of languages, and his most recent publications are “The Jesus Particle” in Cosmos magazine, “Stories of the Sand” in Realms of Fantasy and “The Vigilant” in Fantasy magazine. He founded the Aurealis Awards and has co-published Aurealis magazine for over 20 years.

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Mark Webb reviewed on on Nov. 25, 2012

Issue #55 is the October 2012 issue of the Aurealis magazine, a monthly magazine showcasing Australian speculative fiction and with an emphasis on Australian content and news. This edition was edited by Dirk Strasser. This month is an “Award Winners” editions, with two short stories that won Aurealis Awards this year.

Fittingly, Strasser’s editorial focuses on the history of the Aurealis awards and what drove the Aurealis publication to introduce a judged award into the Australian landscape in the first place.

The first award winning story is Rains of la Strange by Robert N. Stephenson. Rains of la Strange was released as a part of the excellent Anywhere But Earth anthology, edited by Keith Stevenson. I reviewed Anywhere But Earth on my website, where Rains of la Strange was one of the stories I highlighted, particularly for the world building.

The second award winner in this month’s edition was The Short Go: a Future in Eight Seconds by Lisa L. Hannett, from her World Fantasy Award nominated collection Bluegrass Symphony. Given its accolades, Bluegrass Symphony has been on my “to read” list for a while, so it was good to get a chance to “sample” one of the stories.

A fascinating tale, one of those ones that starts off hard to read (the dialect of the narrator is hard to engage with in the first page or so) but before you know it you’re completely enveloped by the story. The pacing was excellent as was the choice in language and imagery. The twist in the story was unexpected and well executed.

Both stories were very worthy of award, and together they make a great edition of Aurealis (if you haven’t read either this is a cost effective way to get exposed to some excellent Australian short fiction).

Crisetta Macleod lets us know what she hates about fantasy, in the appropriately titled article What I Hate About Fantasy. And man, there is a lot she doesn’t like! Some interesting discussion on issues as wide ranging as getting rid of the name “fantasy”, through to the need to give fantasy novels ratings where they deal with adult themes such as torture, through to the tendency to use magic as a deus ex machina (i.e. to solve a plot problem). Interesting comments from an experienced reviewer, well worth a read.

Crisetta Macleod also gave a run down on Conflux 2012, the Canberra speculative fiction convention. Sounds like a fantastic time was had by all – my lack of attendance has made me jealous.

There are the normal array of reviews of books. Robert N Stephenson decries the loss of quality in the writing field in his Rants and Raves segment. Rob Parnell decries the loss of originality in the superhero movie genre in Surfing the Dark Side. And Robert Jenkins decries the loss of quality in TV with his review of Sinbad (the UK TV series) in his The Couch Potato Speaks article. A poor quality trifecta!

As always Carissa’s Weblog provides a round up of some of the more interesting articles around on the web in the area of Australian speculative fiction, mostly in the form of audio interviews and video.
(reviewed 50 days after purchase)
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