Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Last minute Christmas reading suggestions

It’s almost the non-denominational gift-giving season. Here’s a roundup of this year’s biggest Australian speculative fiction titles. Get shopping!

Dreaming in the Dark (edited by Jack Dann)
A celebration of Australia’s current golden age of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and magical realism. Jack Dann ‒ multi-award-winning author and co-editor of the classic Dreaming Down-Under, the first Australian book to win a World Fantasy Award ‒ has collected a wonderfully eclectic range of short fiction that showcases what our best fantasists are doing right now in these genre-bending times.

Vigil by Angela Slatter
Verity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds. The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength and the ability to walk between us and the other as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.

The Grief Hole by Kaaron Warren
There are many grief holes. There’s the grief hole you fall into when a loved one dies. There’s another grief hole in all of us; small or large, it determines how much we want to live. And there are the places, the physical grief holes, that attract suicides to their centre.

Sol Evictus, a powerful charismatic singer, sends a young artist into The Grief Hole to capture the faces of the teenagers dying there. When the artist inevitably dies herself, her cousin Theresa resolves to stop this man so many love.

Sisters of the Fire by Kim Wilkins
Battle-scarred warrior princess Bluebell, heir to her father’s throne, is rumoured to be unkillable. So when she learns of a sword wrought specifically to slay her by the fearsome raven king, Hakon, she sets out on a journey to find it before it finds her. The sword is rumoured to be in the possession of one of her four younger sisters. But which one?

Aurora: Decima by Amanda Bridgeman
The tenth year war is coming. Carrie Welles has survived more attacks than she can count, but each one has made her stronger. She refuses to be a victim any more. While her nemesis, Sharley, continues to be a threat, she works with Harris and the Aurora team to protect the future, vowing to raise her children and fight as the soldier-mother she was destined to be.

Crow Shine by Alan Baxter
This dark fantasy collection features nineteen stories, including the Australian Shadows Award-winning ‘Shadows of the Lonely Dead’, and two stories never before published.

‘Alan Baxter is an accomplished storyteller who ably evokes magic and menace. Whether it’s stories of ghost-liquor and soul-draining blues, night club magicians, sinister western pastoral landscapes, or a suburban suicide – Crow Shine has a mean bite.’—Laird Barron, author of Swift to Chase

Crow Shine, by Alan Baxter, is a sweeping collection of horror and dark fantasy stories, packed with misfits and devils, repentant fathers and clockwork miracles. Throughout it all, Baxter keeps his focus on the universal problems of the human experience: the search for understanding, for justice, and for love. It’s an outstanding book."—Nathan Ballingrud, author of North American Lake Monsters

[compiled with thanks to Alexandra Pierce’s ‘Aurora Australis’ column on Tor.com]
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