Aurealis #55 (October 2012) – review

Aurealis #55 cover

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. This is the last edition of Aurealis for 2012, with the publication kicking off again in 2013.

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 here, 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.

I’ve really enjoyed the Aurealis series of publications through 2012, and I’m looking forward to 2013.


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This work by Mark Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.

 

Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.

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