Aurealis #47 (February 2012) – review

Issue #47 is the latest in the new, electronic incarnation of the Aurealis magazine. This month is the first instalment since the “reboot” that has a price tag attached to it, but at $2.99 I don’t think anyone will be complaining.

There were two stories in this edition. The Sacrifice by Jenny Blackford harkens back to a retelling of ancient Greek myth, focusing on the escape of Jason (of Jason and the Argonauts fame) from Kolkhis. The story is mostly told from the point of view of Medea, the virginal princess that helps Jason escape from her father. The introduction tells the main part of the story – the willingness of Medea to (somewhat brutally) sacrifice her young brother to help Jason escape. The story was well written and an enjoyable read. I would have hated to live in ancient Greece – the gods just couldn’t leave people alone! Having said that, in this instance the gods merely fanned the flames of infatuation – it took a human being to think of a truly horrific course of action to escape a seemingly impossible situation, and use love to justify it all.

The second story was Breaking the Wire by Jason Nahrung. I quite enjoy Mr Nahrung’s tales of outback horror – his Smoking, Waiting for the Dawn was one of my favourite tales told in the now sadly defunct Terra Incognita Speculative Fiction podcast. Breaking the Wire didn’t disappoint, a tale that takes that age old practice of farmers maintaining their fence lines and adds a werewolf twist to it all. I loved the characters and the atmosphere was fantastically built. As has been my previous experience, I was left wishing there was something by Mr Nahrung set in the same kind of world but in a longer format. But speaking of Mr Nahrung and longer form work, I see that he has a book coming out soon from Twelfth Planet Press. Look forward to that as well.

As well as Carissa’s Weblog providing a round up of some of the more interesting articles around on the web in the area of Australian speculative fiction, this month’s edition also contained an editorial pondering the question of whether speculative fiction readers really are more tech savvy than the rest of the reading population. There was also a very interesting piece on the use of the multi-book series by speculative fiction writers by Crisetta MacLeod.

I’m enjoying the stories in Aurealis. I also receive the monthly email update, in which I won a book last month, so I certainly can’t complain about that. Next edition will include The Descent of Traag by Matt Bissett-Johnson and Thirty Minutes for New Hell by Rick Kennett.

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

Aurealis #46 (November 2011) – review

Issue #46 represents the latest in the new, electronic incarnation of the Aurealis magazine.

There were two stories in this edition. The first was Heaven and Earth by Greg Mellor, which uses the connection between two star crossed lovers as a thread to hold together a story documenting the evolution of the human race into a digital, perfectly connected society. I found it hard to get into the story, picking it up and putting it down quite a few times. Some of the imagery was beautifully rendered though and it was an interesting investigation of the topic of this kind of evolutionary convergence.

Love Death by Andrew J McKiernan explores the impact on a relationship where one of the participants dies but necromancy is a real option. A solid story without being spectacular.

Along with the fiction there is an interesting interview with author Felicity Pulman and an editorial on the rise of self-publishing in an electronic market. Carissa’s Weblog provides a good round up of some of the more interesting articles around on the web in the area of Australian speculative fiction.

Aurealis are also actively seeking feedback on their issues, which I think is a good idea I don’t see many magazines doing. There is an online survey for those that have read issue #46.

Now, Aurealis is still free so you can’t really complain about the price. An excellent way of keeping across the Australian speculative scene. I notice the next edition has a story by Jason Nahrung, who is an author whose work I’ve enjoyed when I come across it (Anywhere But Earth anthology and the Terra Incognita Speculative Fiction website most recently).

Aurealis #45 – review

Aurealis has been in a long hiatus, as mentioned in my notes on issue #44. Well, they are back with a new format – Aurealis has gone completely digital.

I read through issue #45 on my Kindle. From now on Aurealis will be released monthly and will contain on average two stories as well as reviews, news and interviews. It combines the old print magazine and the monthly AurealisXpress newsletter. Only slight quibble with the format is that the video reviews don’t work on the Kindle, but apart from that the format was fine.

This month contained two enjoyable stories, The Bunyipslayer and the Bounty Hunter by Lachlan Huddy and One Hundred Years by Aimee Smith. I liked both of them, with probably a slight preference for The Bunyipslayer and the Bounty Hunter (I’m always a sucker for an outback dystopia story).

I believe you can download this version of Aurealis for free – go to their website to find out more.

Aurealis #44 – review

I subscribed to the magazine in mid-2011 and they recently sent out a copy of issue #44. This edition was published in 2010 and afterwards the magazine went into an extended hiatus (I believe the editor, Stuart Mayne, retired). According to the Aurealis website the next edition should be out in late 2011/early 2012. I hope so, this was a good read.

I really enjoyed gunning for a tinker man by Jason Fischer, a story based in a post-apocalyptic world where the main character, Lanyard, is a fallen “jesusman” (a caste of warrior priest types who can kill the ‘witches’ that prey on the remnants of the human race). I also enjoyed for the want of a jesusman that I heard on the Terra Incognita Speculative Fiction podcast (number 18) set in the same world. The characters are not clean cut hero types and I enjoyed the way the world was described and realised. Fairly gritty and violent in places – not for the faint of heart or those that like a neat happy ending. I understand from Mr Fischer’s website that he is working on a full novel set in the same world, which I am now very much looking forward to reading.

I also particularly enjoyed Storm in a T-Suit by Simon Petrie (a good rescue story based in an interesting depiction of the frontiers of colonisation of the solar system), The Death of Skandar Taranisaii by K J Taylor (love a bit of swords and sandals action) and A Billion Tiny Lights by Adam Ford (I am quite fond of the flash fiction format at the moment).

The other stories in the edition were fine stories, overall I liked the magazine a lot.

  • Runners by Christopher Snape
  • We All Fall Down by Kirstyn McDermott
  • Jumbuck by Christopher Green