Excerpt for The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2015 (volume 6) by (editor)
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The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror

~ 2015 ~

The Sixth Annual Collection

for


Anthony Panegyres, for his boundless passion for Australian speculative fiction.

(L.G.)


Mary Manning and William Bamford

(T.H.)



The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2015

edited by Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene

Published by Ticonderoga Publications

Copyright (c) 2017 Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that this book includes the names of deceased persons.


All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise) without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder concerned. The acknowledgements constitute an extension of this copyright page.


Introduction copyright (c) 2017 Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene

“The Year in Fantasy” copyright (c) 2017 Liz Grzyb

“The Year in Horror” copyright (c) 2017 Talie Helene


A Cataloging-in-Publications entry for this title is available from The National Library of Australia.


ISBN 978-1-925212-47-1 (hardcover)

978-1-925212-48-8 (trade paperback)

978-1-925212-49-5 (ebook)


Ticonderoga Publications

PO Box 29 Greenwood

Western Australia 6924

Australia


www.ticonderogapublications.com


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


Contents

The Year In Review

Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene


The Company of Women

Garth Nix


Mine Intercom

Kaaron Warren


Bluebeard’s Daughter

Angela Slatter


Look How Cold My Hands Are

Deborah Biancotti


Beyond The Factory Wall

Rivqa Rafael


The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth

Stephanie Gunn


Blueblood

Faith Mudge


Mr Schmidt’s Dead Pet Emporium

Sally McLennan


Dragon Girl

Cat Sparks


Reminiscences of Herbert West, Reanimator

Charles Lovecraft


Lady Killer

Anthony Panegyres


2B

Joanne Anderton


Consorting with Filth

Lisa L. Hannett


Night Blooming

Jason Nahrung


El Caballo Muerte

Martin Livings


Sleepless

Jay Kristoff


Double Speak

Robert Hood


The Dog Pit

Jason Fischer


Perfect little stitches

Deborah Sheldon


Almost Days

DK Mok


Ninehearts

Maree Kimberley


Oh Have You Seen The Devil?

Stephen Dedman


In Sheep’s Clothing

Kimberley Gaal


Self, Contained

Kirstyn McDermott


A Hedge of Yellow Roses

Kathleen Jennings


The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner

Alan Baxter


In The Blood

Dirk Flinthart


The Events at Callan Park

Erol Engin


Tap

Anna Tambour


Half Past

Samantha Murray


Angelito

Lucy Sussex


Our Backers


about the contributors


Recommended Reading List


Australian & New Zealand Fantasy & Horror Awards


Acknowledgements


About The Editors


The Year In Review


Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene


The Year In Fantasy


Climate change and environmental issues shadowed many fantasy tales this year. Symbols such as the honeybee were featured in fantastic stories like Deborah Kalin’s “Wages of Honey” and Garth Nix’s “The Company of Women”, not just in the more speculative fiction like James Bradley’s novel Clade.

Crowdfunding continued to grow in popularity for smaller presses this year, with many publishing projects using this venue to presell copies. Riffing on the crowdfunding idea, Patreon is becoming a source for regular income for creators, with “patreons” acting as patrons and committing to a small monthly donation to help fund writers, artists and other creative pursuits such as podcasts.

Many Australian fantasy authors appeared in international publications this year, especially with dark fantasy pieces. Angela Slatter and Penelope Love had stories published and Pia Ravenari’s artwork was included in the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology She Walks in Shadows, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles, published by Innsmouth Free Press. Tor.com published Slatter’s exceptional witch story “Of Sorrow and Such” which won the Ditmar for Best Novella, and was shortlisted for the Best Fantasy Novella Aurealis.

Slatter, Kirstyn McDermott and Lisa L. Hannett all had stories published with The Dark magazine: “Bearskin”, “Self, Contained” and two stories, “The Canary” and “A Shot of Salt Water”, respectively. “A Shot of Salt Water” earned Hannett a place on the Locus Awards Recommended Reading List.

“Miss Sibyl-Cassandra” by Lucy Sussex and Miranda Siemienowicz’s “After and Back Before” were published in Ellen Datlow’s multi-award-winning anthology The Doll Collection.

Alan Baxter had Ditmar-nominated “The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner” published in Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine. Ditmar-nominated sci-fi fantasy novella “Hot Rods” by Cat Sparks was released in Issue 58 of Lightspeed Science Fiction & Fantasy. Sean McMullen’s “The Ninth Seduction” was published in Issue 64 of the same magazine.

Lisa L. Hannett and Anna Tambour had stories included in PS Publishing’s Breakout: Postscripts 34/35 edited by Nick Gevers, Hannett’s “Endpapers” and Tambour’s “Curse of the Mummy Paper”.

Rowena Cory Daniells’ “The Giant’s Lady” was published in Legends 2 from Newcon Press, winning the Aurealis for Best Fantasy Short Story. Beneath Ceaseless Skies published Jason Fischer’s “Defy the Grey Kings” which won the Best Fantasy Novella at the Aurealis Awards.

Dan Rabarts’ “Floodgate” was published in Sean Wallace’s The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, and was nominated for a Sir Julius Vogel Award. Samantha Murray and T. R. Napper had stories included in Writers of the Future Volume 31, and Napper also placed “a shout is a prayer/for the waiting centuries” in Interzone.

Jenny Blackford’s bittersweet tale “Under the Roses” was included in A Quiet Shelter There, a speculative anthology released by Hadley Rille Books to benefit animal shelters. Faith Mudge came runner-up in the Queensland Young Writers’ Competition with her story “January Days”.

Notable long fiction

Allen & Unwin continued their focus on the young adult side of fantasy this year. Kathryn Barker published the acclaimed paranormal fantasy In the Skin of a Monster, which won the Aurealis for Best Young Adult Novel, as well as being shortlisted for the Aurealis Best Fantasy Novel, the Australian Book Design Awards, the Davitt Awards for Best Young Adult Novel and Best Debut Novel, and long-listed for CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers. Angelica Banks (Danielle Wood and Heather Rose) released the magical A Week Without Tuesday, which was shortlisted for the Aurealis Best Children’s Novel. Barry Jonsberg released the third Pandora Jones novel, the dystopian fantasy Reckoning. Catherine Jinks opened her mystery Theophilus Grey series with Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief, which was commended in the Norma K Hemming Award and short-listed for the Davitt Award.

Allen & Unwin also published Charlotte Wood’s excellent dystopian The Natural Way of Things, which won a slew of awards: Indie Book of the Year, Indie Book Awards Best Fiction, The Stella Prize, ABIA People’s Choice Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year, Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction. The Natural Way of Things was also short-listed for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, the ABA Nielsen BookData Booksellers Choice Award, the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Queensland Literary Award for Fiction, the Barbara Jefferis Award, and long-listed for the Nita B Kibble Award and the Voss Literary Prize.

Hachette Group’s Australian fantasy publications this year were again focused on series titles. A.L. Tait released the second in The Mapmaker Chronicles: Prisoner of the Black Hawk, and this fantasy adventure was shortlisted for the Aurealis Best Children’s Novel. Winner of the inaugural Sara Douglass Award for Book Series Glenda Larke continued her Forsaken Lands series with The Dagger’s Path, which was shortlisted for the Ditmar Award for Best Novel and Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. The second in Trudi Canavan’s high fantasy Millennium’s Rule series, Angel of Storms, was released.

Similar to the other Big Four publishers, HarperCollins’ Australian fantasy this year was mainly restricted to series titles. Alison Goodman released her regency paranormal Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, the first in the Lady Helen series, which was shortlisted for the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Viola Carr explored the Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde story with two steampunk mystery thrillers: The Devious Dr Jekyll and The Diabolical Miss Hyde. Traci Harding completed her Time Keeper trilogy with AWOL, and Francesca Haig began her dystopian Fire Sermon series with The Fire Sermon, which was shortlisted for the Norma K. Hemming Award. Jen Storer broke the series mould with her children’s urban fantasy standalone title The Fourteenth Summer of Angus Jack.

Harper’s digital romance-focused imprint Impulse extended their Australian fantasy titles this year, with KJ Taylor releasing novella quartet Drachengott: Earth, Fire, Water and Wind, and the satirical fantasy novel Broken Prophecy. Stacey Nash released the young adult fantastic romance Never Forgotten.

Many of Pan Macmillan’s Australian fantasy titles were published by their digital imprint, Momentum, with a few notable exceptions. Juliet Marillier continued her wonderful Blackthorn & Grim series with Tower of Thorns, which was characterised by Marillier’s gorgeous storytelling and engaging, lifelike characters. Tower of Thorns was shortlisted for the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Fiona Wood released the young adult novel Cloudwish in her loosely linked Six Impossiverse series, which won the Indie Award for Young Adult and the CBCA Book of the Year Award for Older Readers. Cloudwish was also short-listed for the Inky Awards.

Momentum continued to experiment with some alternative novel styles such as episodic releases, then collected the episodes as omnibus editions. Examples of these were: Duncan Lay’s The Last Quarrel, which opened his Arbalester trilogy; CS Sealey’s romantic adventure Equilibrium; Charlotte McConaghy’s second in the dystopian Cure series Melancholy. In traditional length novels, Sophie Masson continued her mystery/magic realism series Trinity with The False Prince, and Bernadette Rowley released two novels in her romantic fantasy Wildecoast Saga, The Lord and the Mermaid, and The Elf King’s Lady. Amanda Pillar’s debut novel Graced introduced a well-realised urban fantasy world where vampires, weres and Graced humans struggle for power or peace. Graced was nominated for the Ditmar for Best Novel.

Penguin Random House focused mainly on young adult fiction in their Australian fantasy titles this year. Isobelle Carmody released the final volume of her young adult dystopian Obernewtyn series, The Red Queen, to much excitement from fans and an extravaganza of a book launch. Sophie Masson’s Hunter’s Moon is a modern Snow White retelling set in the same world as her other fairytale thriller novels. Christopher Richardson released the first of his Voyage of the Moon Child series, Empire of the Waves. Skye Melki-Wegner’s The Hush is a standalone novel where music and magic are entwined. It was shortlisted for the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel and for the Norma K. Hemming Award.

James Bradley’s literary dystopia Clade incorporates some fantastic elements in the speculative portrait of our future. Clade was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the WA Premier’s Book Award, the ALS Gold Medal for Australian Literature, an Aurealis Award, and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award and the Colin Roderick Award. Alis Franklin’s Stormbringer, Book 2 of her Wyrd series brought out by Penguin’s Hydra imprint, explores Norse gods and relationships in an urban fantasy setting.

Three-time ABIA Small Publisher of the Year Text Publishing released a number of fantasy novels this year, which were all noted in awards. Trent Jamieson’s vampiric dark fantasy Day Boy was highlighted in many speculative and literary awards, winning both the Best Fantasy and Best Horror Novel Aurealis Awards, being nominated for Best Novel in the Ditmars and the Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award, as well as being long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award in Ireland. Ilka Tampke’s historical fantasy Skin was shortlisted for the Aurealis for Best Fantasy Novel, and Rebecca Lim’s supernatural fantasy Afterlight was longlisted for the Davitt Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

Scholastic released two Deltora Quest spinoffs in a new series, Star of Deltora, from Emily Rodda: Shadows of the Master and Two Moons. Shadows of the Master gained an Honourable Mention in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards for Younger Readers. Kate Forsyth continued her children’s adventure series The Impossible Quest, with Book 3, The Beast of Blackmoor.

Escape Publishing released a number of paranormal romances from Australian authors: Dani Kristoff’s steamy Spiritbound, Jenny Brigalow’s second instalment from her Children of the Mist series The MacGregor, and Suneeti Rekhari’s The Lost Souls Dating Agency. Satalyte Press published two novels from Gillian Polack this year, The Art of Effective Dreaming, and The Time of the Ghosts.

Cary J. Lenehan brought out his epic novel Intimations of Evil through IFWG. IFWG also published New Zealander Jan Goldie’s young adult novel Brave’s Journey, which was nominated for a Sir Julius Vogel Award.

Merlinda Bobis released her young adult dystopian novel Locust Girl with Spinifex Press, and it won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction (NSW Premier’s Literary Award), the Philippines National Book Award for Best Novel in English, and was shortlisted for the ACT Book of the Year Award. ChiZine published Lisa L. Hannett’s dark sci-fi fantasy Lament for the Afterlife, which won the Ditmar Award for Best Novel.

Walker Books published Meg McKinlay’s A Single Stone, which won the Aurealis Award for Best Children’s Novel, a Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, and was given an honourable mention in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards for Older Readers. Craig Cormick continued his Shadow Master series with The Floating City, published through Angry Robot. Lynette Noni released the first in her young adult Modoran Chronicles, Akarna, with Pantera Press.

DK Mok poked fun at the epic fantasy genre with the excellent Hunt for Valamon from Spencer Hill Press. Clan Destine Press published Mary Borsellino’s young adult sci-fi fantasy novel Thrive. Bec McMaster released the fifth volume of her London Steampunk romance series Of Silk and Steam with Sourcebooks, which won the Romantic Times Best Steampunk Novel, and the series was shortlisted for the Favourite Continuing Romance Series in the Australian Romance Readers Awards.

Paul Collins and Sean McMullen released The Burning Sea, a novel for younger readers, through Ford Street Publishing. K. A. Bedford published supernatural thriller, Black Light, with Fremantle Press. New Zealand press Snapping Turtle released Ashley Capes’ continuation of the Bone Mask trilogy, The Lost Mask.

Peter M. Ball released the third dark urban fantasy novella in his Flotsam series, Crusade, with Apocalypse Ink. Ruth Fox continued her Bridges trilogy with Across the Bridge of Ice through Hague Publishing. Kalamity Press published Thurston Bassett’s superhero story, The League.

As has become common in the past few years, a number of authors chose to explore independent and self-publishing options. Avril Sabine released The Irish Wizard and started her Realms of the Fae series with A Debt Owed. C.J. Archer released the first three instalments of her young adult paranormal Ministry of Curiosities series: The Last Necromancer, Her Majesty’s Necromancer and Beyond the Grave. Andrea K Höst published The Pyramids of London, first in her steampunk series The Trifold Age, which was shortlisted for the Norma K. Hemming Award. S. A. Carter continued her young adult Kuthun series with The Vaga. Claudio Silvano released Book 2 of his epic Destiny of Fire trilogy, Keys of Awakening.

Collections

2015 saw fewer fantasy single-author collections being published than the past few years, but as usual, most were released by independent publishers.

Twelfth Planet Press published Deborah Kalin’s disturbing fantasy/horror Cherry Crow Children as the final volume of their Twelve Planets boutique collection series. The volume collected a spread of awards and nominations, with “The Miseducation of Mara Lys” winning Best Young Adult Short Story and Best Horror Novella in the Aurealis Awards. “The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood”, “The Miseducation of Mara Lys”, and “The Wages of Honey” were all shortlisted for Best Novella in the Ditmar Awards and Best Horror Novella in the Aurealis Awards. “The Briskwater Mare” was shortlisted for Best Horror Short Story in the Aurealis Awards and Best Novelette in the Shirley Jackson Awards, and the collection as a whole was nominated for Best Collected Work in the Ditmar Awards, Best Collection in the Aurealis Awards and Best Professional Production in the Tin Duck Awards.

Allen & Unwin (and HarperCollins internationally) published Garth Nix’s collection To Hold the Bridge, which gathers a retrospective of Nix’s short fiction from 2007 to 2012, including the title story set in his Old Kingdom world. To Hold the Bridge won the Aurealis Award for Best Collection and was on the Locus Awards Recommended Reading List.

Shane Jiraiya Cummings’ dark fantasy and horror collection, The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After, published by Brimstone Press, was shortlisted for the Australian Shadows Award for Best Collected Work and the Aurealis Award for Best Collection.

Anna Tambour’s collection The Finest Ass in the Universe was published by Ticonderoga Publications. This collection of weird tales was shortlisted for the Aurealis Award for Best Collection, and was on the Locus Awards Recommended Reading List, as was the novelette “Lab Dancer”.

Fablecroft publishedDirk Flinthart‘s collection of dark fantasy and horror, Striking Fire, which was shortlisted for the Aurealis Award for Best Collection, and the novella “Night Shift” from this collection was nominated for the Best Horror Novella in the same awards.

Satalyte Publishing released Tales of Cymria, KJ Taylor’s collection of high fantasy stories. Carole Nomarhas published her own collection of dark fantasy and horror stories, The Fading, which was shortlisted for the Aurealis Award for Best Collection.

Anthologies

Fablecroft released Cranky Ladies of History edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely, a mix of genres exploring historical women. The anthology won the Fiction section of the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards, the Ditmar for Best Collection and Best Artwork for Kathleen Jennings’ cover and illustrations. Deborah Biancotti’s story, “Look How Cold My Hands Are” was nominated for Best Short Story in the Ditmars.

Wessely also edited Insert Title Here, a darkly weird unthemed anthology. “The Art of Deception” by Stephanie Burgis was shortlisted for theWSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction. Joanne Anderton was shortlisted for Best Science Fiction Short Story with “2B”, and DK Mok was shortlisted for Best Fantasy Short Story for “Almost Days” in the Aurealis Awards. “2B” was also shortlisted for the Ditmar for Best Short Story. Focus 2014 was Fablecroft and Wessely’s third anthology for the year, collecting a number of Australian speculative fiction stories that had garnered awards attention. This anthology was nominated for an Aurealis Award.

Twelfth Planet Press released three anthologies: two volumes of the Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction, covering works from 2013 and 2014, edited by Julia Rios & Alisa Krasnostein, and the critically acclaimed Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alisa Krasnostein & Alexandra Pierce. Letters to Tiptree collects letters written by speculative fiction writers, fans, editors and critics to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Alice Sheldon’s birth. The anthology won the Locus Award for Non-Fiction, the British Fantasy Award for Non-Fiction, the Aurealis Convenor’s Award, the Ditmar for Best Collected Work and the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review, and the Tin Duck for Best Professional Production. It was nominated for British Science Fiction Award and Special World Fantasy Award Non-Professional, and longlisted for the Tiptree Award.

Ticonderoga Publications also released three anthologies in 2015. Amanda Pillar edited Bloodlines, a companion to her 2012 urban fantasy anthology Bloodstones. Bloodlines won the Aurealis Award for Best Anthology, and was shortlisted for the Ditmar Award for Best Collected Work. Stephanie Gunn was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novella for her story, “The Flowers that Bloom Where Blood Touches the Earth”, and Kathleen Jennings was nominated for a Ditmar Award for Best Artwork for the cover.

Liz Grzyb edited the feminist speculative fiction anthology Hear Me Roar, which was shortlisted for Best Anthology at the Aurealis Awards. Kathleen Jennings’ “A Hedge of Yellow Roses” won the Ditmar for Best Short Story, while Faith Mudge’s “Blueblood” was shortlisted for both the Best Young Adult and Best Fantasy Short Story categories at the Aurealis Awards. Stephanie Gunn’s “Broken Glass” was shortlisted for the Best Fantasy Novella Aurealis. The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2014, edited by Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene was also nominated for the Aurealis Best Anthology Award.

Jonathan Strahan continued working with Solaris on anthologies, this year releasing the fourth in his speculative Infinity Project: Meeting Infinity, and also the ninth volume of The Best Fantasy and Science Fiction of the Year. Both of these were nominated for Aurealis Awards, Meeting Infinity was nominated for a Locus Award for Best Anthology and Strahan was again deservingly nominated for the Best Editor category of the Locus Awards. Both anthologies were listed on the Locus Awards Recommended Reading List.

The Never Never Land, an anthology of speculative fiction exploring Australian mythologies, was published by CSFG and edited by Mitchell Akhurst, Phill Berrie &

Ian McHugh. Kimberley Gaal was nominated for an Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Story for her tale, “The Nexus Tree”. Shauna O’Meara, who also had a story included in the anthology, was nominated for a Ditmar Award for Best Artwork for her cover art.

Paul Collins edited the mixed-genre anthology Rich& Rare for younger readers with Ford St Publishing, which included a number of fantasy stories. David Conyers, David Kernot and Konstantine Paradias put together Cthulhu Detective, an anthology of hardboiled occult stories, which included a novella co-written by C.J. Henderson and David Conyers. Robert N Stephenson released From Out of the Dark with Altair Australia, a not-for-profit anthology.

Magazines

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine released one issue in 2015: #61, edited by Simon Petrie, which published Charlotte Nash and Kim Gaal’s Aurealis-nominated stories, “Alchemy and Ice” and “In Sheep’s Clothing” respectively.

SQ Mag released six issues this year, from Issue 18 to 23. Much of the fiction in 2015 was focused towards science fiction and horror, but many stories on the fantasy side were also included, such as the Aurealis-shortlisted high fantasy story “Husk and Sheaf” by Suzanne J Willis and Angela Slatter’s revisited fairy tale “Bluebeard’s Daughter”. SQ Mag also collected a number of its standout stories for 2014 in the annual Starquake 3, with IFWG Publishing.

Review of Australian Fiction releases an issue with two pieces of short fiction every fortnight in electronic subscription format. They published a number of fantasy novellas and short stories this year, including Tansy Rayner Roberts’ “Fake Geek Girl” which was nominated for the Ditmar for Best Novella, and “The Jellyfish Collector” by Michelle Goldsmith, which was nominated for the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story.

Aurealis Magazine released ten issues in 2015: issues 77 to 86 each including fiction and non-fiction pieces. Tracie McBride’s “Breaking Windows” from Issue 84 was nominated for an Aurealis Award for Best Horror Short Story. Other standouts were C.S. McMullen’s dystopian “The Other-Faced Lamb”, Janet Haigh’s “Potkin” and Melanie Rees’ “The Monster Under My Bed”.

Dimension 6 magazine from Coeur de Lion released three issues and an annual collection. These included, among others, Steve Cameron’s bittersweet novella “Lodloc and the Bear” which was shortlisted for the Best Fantasy Novella Aurealis Award.

Grimdark Magazine, which opened in late 2014, focuses on dark fantasy and science fiction. In 2015 they released 3 issues, #3, #4 and #5. Australian authors were published as well as internationals, including T. R. Napper and Tara Calaby.

Bruce Gillespie’s SF Commentary released three issues, and was nominated for a Ditmar for Best Fan Publication.

Ion Newcombe released 11 issues of Antipodean SF in 2015, providing flash fiction in web-based and ebook format, from authors such as Sean Williams, Trent Jamieson, Martin Livings, Edwina Harvey, Annette Backshall and Joanna Fay.

Dark Matter Zine regularly publishes reviews, interviews, opinion pieces and guest blogs.

Art and other media

Galactic Suburbia podcast by Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Alexandra Pierce won the Ditmar and was nominated for the Tin Duck for Best Fan Production. They released 24 podcasts this year, discussing issues, events, books, media and culture.

Gary K Wolfe & Jonathan Strahan’s The Coode Street Podcast was nominated for a Ditmar and a Tin Duck for Best Fan Production. They produced a whopping 47 podcasts this year, discussing issues, books, authors and films.

Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond’s The Writer and the Critic shortlisted for a Ditmar. The Writer and the Critic produced six episodes this year, discussing issues in the SF world and books.

Galactic Chat released seven podcasts in 2015, interviewing Australian authors such as Amanda Pillar, Garth Nix and Trent Jamieson.

Ion Newcombe’s Antipodean SF Radio Show is a weekly podcast with readings of flash fiction stories from Antipodean SF.

Kathleen Jennings had a great year, being nominated for a World Fantasy Award for Best Artist, and she also won the Best Artwork and Best Fan Artist Ditmars. Her award-winning work appeared on many book covers in Australia and overseas.

Shaun Tan’s young adult fairy tale picture book The Singing Bones was released by Allen & Unwin. It won the Aurealis for Best Illustrated Work, was shortlisted for the Best Artwork Ditmar and Best Children’s book in the Indie Book Awards and longlisted in the Australian Book Industry Awards.

Gestalt Comics released two Aurealis-nominated works: Volume 1 of The Undertaker Morton Stone by Gary Chaloner, Ben Templesmith and Ashley Wood, and Unmasked Vol.1: Going Straight is No Way to Die, by Christian Read. James Brouwer and Tom Taylor’s Aurealis-winning graphic novel series The Deep (published by Gestalt Comics) has been turned into an animated series on the Seven Network.

Isobelle Carmody released Evermore, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale graphic novel, with illustrator Daniel Reed through Windy Hollow Books.

Australian paranormal TV series Glitch hit screens in the second half of the year. The show explores people who have risen from the dead, not knowing who they are or were. The show won an Australian Directors’ Guild Award for the director, Emma Freeman, a Logie for Most Outstanding Drama Series, and two AACTA Awards, one for Best TV Drama and one for Best Original Score.

The Year In Horror

NOVELS

2014 was a robust year for horror publishing in Australia and New Zealand, with a wide range of publications released. Novels and novellas released as unique titles were no exception. Michael Adams‘s The Last Place (Allen & Unwin) concluded his post-apocalyptic trilogy centered around teenage psychic Danby. C.J. Archer published three volumes in the Ministry of Curiosities series concerning the ongoing adventures of necromancer Charlie in Victorian London--The Last Necromancer, Her Majesty’s Necromancer and Beyond The Grave. Peter M. Ball’s Crusade (Apocalypse Ink Productions) completed The Flotsam Trilogy; a dark urban fantasy series about supernatural hit men. Kathryn Barker’s In the Skin of a Monster (Allen & Unwin) was winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and explores the duality of the dark twin.

The Catacombs (Ghillinnein Books) by Jeremy Bates is book 2 in the World’s Scariest Places series; this time evil lurks in the Paris catacombs. Jeremy Bates stand-alone novella Black Canyon (Ghillinnein Books) relates a family hike of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado that goes terribly wrong; this novella was also included as part of the Dark Hearts (Ghillinnein Books) collection, along with the psychological thriller Neighbors set in New York. Greig Beck’s sixth book in the Alex Hunter series, Kraken Rising (Momentum), is a thriller with a monstrous discovery off the coast of Antarctica. K.A. Bedford’s Black Light (Fremantle Press) is a supernatural crime mystery; British novelist and war widow Ruth Black moves to the seemingly restful small town of Pelican River Western Australia in the 1920s, told in the style of an elegant period drama. Viola Carr’s The Devious Dr. Jekyll and The Diabolical Miss Hyde (HarperCollins) chronicles Dr. Eliza Jekyll, daughter of a notorious father, and her shadow self, Lizzie Hyde, in adventures in Victorian crime and intrigue. Kat Clay’s stand-alone novella Double Exposure (Crime Factory Publications) set in Portvieux City 1948, is a pulp style noir with ghostly overtones.

Darcie Coates published House of Shadows (Candlebreak) a Gothic romance, first in the Ghosts and Shadows duology, concerning the protagonist marrying for money and moving to her new husband’s estate, Northwood, a haunted mansion. Coates also published The Haunting of Blackwell House and the novella length The Haunting of Gillespie House (Candlebreak) in 2015. Tribal Law: Miscreants & Magick 1 by Shannon Curtis, published by the Australian Romance Readers Association, is a paranormal romance featuring vampires and werewolves. Daniel de Lorne’s self-styled romantic horror, with a dysfunctional family of vampires, witches and demons, continues with the Bonds of Blood book 2 Burning Blood (Escape Publishing). Pam Farley’s The Hunter Within is a self-published steampunk horror novel. Bob Franklin’s debut novel Moving Tigers (Affirm Press) blurs the line between psychosis and horror in Nepal. Alison Goodman’s Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (HarperCollins) is a Regency romance dubbed Pride and Prejudice meets Buffy in a hidden world of demonic conspiracy.

Author/illustrator C.M. Gray published novellas Zombiefied!: Infected and Zombiefied! in her middle-grade, Goosebumps style series aimed at readers aged 8–12 from HarperCollins. Andrea K. Höst’s self-published fantasy The Pyramids of London is notable for interweaving elements of Egyptian myth and vampirism. Trent Jamieson‘s Day Boy (Text Publishing) a re-imagining of the vampire myth exploring father/son relationships; the novel won the Aurealis Award for Best Horror Novel and the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief (Allen & Unwin) by Catherine Jinks is book one in a mystery series for young readers, set in Georgian London and engaging with horror tropes. The Mothers’, The Scrimshaw Marionette and The Reparation (Simon & Schuster) by Mike Jones form part of The Transgressions Cycle, Gothic horror set in nineteenth century Australia, and centered around gutsy heroine Rosanna. Gary Kemble’s debut novel Skin Deep (Echo Publishing) is a supernatural thriller about mysterious tattoos and uncanny nightmares.

Rebecca Lim’s Afterlight (Text Publishing) tells a young adult paranormal romance tale; a grieving orphan teenager, Sophie, makes contact with a ghost named Eve. Martin Livings stand-alone murder mystery novella The Death of a Cruciverbalist part of the shared-world Refuge Collection published by Steve Dillon. Juliet Madison’s Sight and Sound--The Delta Girls books 1 and 2--(Diversion Books) is a paranormal suspense about five sisters with prescient psychic abilities. Sophie Masson’s Hunter’s Moon (Random House Australia) re-imagines Snow White as a thriller. Andrew McDonald’s Son of Death (Hardie Grant Egmont) is a young adult comedy about a negligent grim reaper who’d rather be rocking the guitar. L.M. Merrington’s Greythorne (Momentum) is a Gothic suspense novel set in 1890s England. Jason Nahrung‘s The Big Smoke (Clan Destine Press) is the second volume of the salty Vampires in the Sunburnt Country series, the follow up to Blood and Dust, chronicling the ongoing exploits of vampire Kev and his Monaro.

Incite Insight (Tale Publishing) by Robert New is a crime thriller with cult conspiracy undertones. Amanda Pillar’s Graced (Momentum) is a paranormal romance with vampires and werewolves. Darrell Pitt‘s The Monster Within (Text Publishing) is book four in the five-part Jack Mason Adventure, concerned with investigators of crime and the paranormal in Victorian London and beyond. Gillian Polack’s The Time of the Ghosts (Satalyte Publishing) chronicles myriad ghosts haunting Canberra and the four women who handle the hauntings. Jane Rawson’s Formaldehyde (Seizure) was Winner in the 2015 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize, featuring interconnecting stories in a weird or neo-absurdist style.

Suneeti Rekhari’s The Lost Souls Dating Agency (Escape Publishing) is an adult paranormal debut novel; enterprising university student Shalini embarks on a matchmaking business and quickly cultivates a client base of vampires, shape-shifters, werewolves, and other creatures. Avril Sabine’s sequence of related novellas Plea of the Damned 1: Forgive Me Lucy and Plea of the Damned 2: Forgive Me Aiden (Broken Gate Publishing) concern YA ghosts stories set in the suburbs of Brisbane in the 1960s. Sabine’s Tainted: Demon Hunters 3 (Broken Gate Publishing) is a young adult horror novel about a teenage protagonist hunting a demon. Marianna Shek’s Choose Your Own Death (Rock On Kitty) is a children’s novelette set in Ghoultown. Angela Slatter’s Of Sorrow and Such was published by Tor.com’s flagship novella imprint continues the story of Patience a character established in Sourdough and Other Stories (Tartarus Press, 2010) and won the Ditmar Award for Best Novella at Contact 2016. Unvamped by Elizabeth Stevens was published by Eternal Press. Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things (Allen & Unwin) was joint winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, and Fiction category Winner of the Stella Prize; it concerns the abduction and brutalization of two women at an abandoned property in the desert. Justin Woolley published book 2 in The Territory series, A City Called Smoke (Momentum) a post-apocalyptic world where the teenage protagonists are besieged by ghouls.

SINGLE AUTHOR COLLECTIONS

There were a number of single author collections that featured horror strongly. Most notable was the collection by horror veteran Robert Hood, Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories published by IFWG Publishing Australia; this included many previously published works as well as some new to the collection: “The Whimper”, “After Image”, and “Double Speak”. IFWG Publishing Australia also published their ninth chapbook, Haunted Flesh: Stories of the Living Dead collecting six zombie stories by the maestro Robert Hood.

Brimstone Press released The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After by Shane Jiraiya Cummings, which included stories original to the collection: “Blood on the Indian Pacific”, “The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After” and “Razor Blade Anthropology (Guerdon for the Beautiful People)”. The Gate Theory by Kaaron Warren was published as a chapbook by Cohesion Press and edited by A.J.Spedding. The Fading by Carole Nomarhas, edited by Amanda J. Spedding, is a single author collection of mostly horror, with a little urban fantasy: new stories included “Black Glass”. Beautiful & Deadly by Jo Hart (Graceful Doe Publications) is a single author collection of mostly supernatural horror, many previously published stories, as well as a number of new tales--”Curse of the Falls”, “Equinox”, “Red Lipstick”, “Maya And the Prince”, “Love Bites” and “The Bony Finger of Death”.

Cherry Crow Children by Deborah Kalin, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press) included some fantasy tales that were very dark, notably “The Briskwater Mare”. The Finest Ass in the Universe by Anna Tambour, edited by Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications) collected many published stories, as well as some new tales; the notable horror story original to the collection is the oppressive and blackly humorous “Tap”. Striking Fire a collection by Dirk Flinthart (FableCroft Publishing) edited by Tehani Wessely included the Lovecraftian comedy “A Friend in the Trade”. Australian/Canadian author Jeremy Bates released the short story collection Dark Hearts (Ghillinnein Books).

ANTHOLOGIES

2015 was an exceptionally strong year for themed horror anthologies and mixed speculative anthologies that also featured horror. Bloodlines (Ticonderoga Publications) edited by Amanda Pillar won the Aurealis Award for Best Anthology; the tome included a range of darker stories including “The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth” by Stephanie Gunn, “A Red Mist” by Martin Livings, “Azimuth” by Pete Kempshall, “Unnamed Children” by Joanne Anderton, “The Ties of Blood, Hair and Bone” by Nathan Burrage, “Old Promise, New Blood” by Alan Baxter, “In the Heart of the City” by Rebecca Fung, Lady Killer by Anthony, “The Mysterious Mr. Montague” by Jane Percival, and Dirk Flinthart’s “In The Blood”.

Cthulhu: Deep Down Under is a giant doorstopper anthology of Australian Mythos fiction published by Horror Australis, and edited by longtime Lovecraftians Steve Proposch, Christopher Sequeira and Bryce Stevens. The collection paired each author with an artist, so the anthology boasts a considerable number of illustrations to accompany the tour de force of weird fiction ranging from the traditional to the whimsical: first publication works include “They Are Impatient” by Maurice Xanthos, “Vanguard” by Aaaron Sterns, “The Wake in the Witch House” by Francis Payne, “Darkness Beyond” by Jason Franks, “Depth Lurker” by G.N. Braun, “Dreamgirl” by Stephen Dedman, “Haunting Matilda” by Dmetri Kakmi, “Where the Madmen Meet” by T.S.P. Sweeney, “The Thing in the Bidet” William Tevelein, “The Seamounts of Vaalua Tuva” by David Kuraria, “The Return of ...” by Christopher Sequeira, “The Pit” by Bill Congreve, “The Island in the Swamp” Jan Scherpenhuizen, “The Elder Things” by B. Michael Radburn, “The Dog Pit” by Jason Fischer, “Pest Control” by Steven Paulsen, “Ortensia and Osvaldo” by Lucy Sussex, and a creepy long “Untitled” weird poem by Steve Kilbey, noted singer-songwriter and bass player with iconic Australian band The Church.

In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep: An Anthology of Australian Horror overseen by managing editor Cameron Trost for the Australian Horror Writers Association collected a formidable array of antipodean writers. The collected fiction included Rue Karney’s “The River Slurry”, Jason Nahrung’s “Triage”, Marty Young’s “Upon the Dead Oceans”, Natalie Satakovski’s “Beast”, Stuart Olver’s “The Grinning Tide”, J. Ashley Smith’s “Our Last Meal”, Cameron Trost’s “Veronica’s Dogs”, Joanne Anderton’s “Bullets”, Mark McAuliffe’s “Saviour”, Mark Smith-Briggs’s “The Hunt”, Kathryn Hore’s “The Monster in the Woods”, Anthony Ferguson’s “Road Trip”, Steve Cameron’s “Bloodlust”, and “Elffingern” by Dan Rabarts.

Lighthouses: An Anthology of Dark Tales edited by Cameron Trost for Black Beacon Books collected an illuminating assortment of fiction: “Horror at Hollow Head” by Cameron Trost, “Will o the Wisp” by Deborah Sheldon, “Trepidation” by Danielle Birch, “The Last Keeper” by Linda Brucesmith, “The Cape” by B. Michael Radburn, “Scrimshaw” by Duncan Richardson, “Psychopomp” by Mark McAuliffe, “In Search of Jimmy” by David Dolan, “Into the Light” by Alice Godwin, and Greg Chapman’s “Light House, Dark House”.

The Ghostly Stringybark (Stringybark Publishing) anthology edited by David Vernon collected twenty-nine stories, the winners and highly commended stories from The Ghostly Stringbark Award 2015 judged by David Vernon, Zena Shapter, Graham Miller and Dr Rick Williams. The anthology included rural ghost stories--the competition winner “The Wilangarra” by David Slade, second place story “Ghost Gum” by Llewellyn Horgan, and commended stories “The Woman in the Window” and “Ghostly Hugh” by Cathy Childs, “The Bushwalk” by Linda Brandon, “Dark Water” by Lauren Noelle Rice, “I Know What I Hear, Dear Rita!” by Maree Teychenné, “The Scoreboard” by Christine Ferdinands, “Dust to Dust” by Benjamin Marie, “The Shot Tower” by Vickie Stevens, “Emily’s Cottage” by Yvonne Saw, “I Can Stand The Despair” by Roger Leigh, “Surveillance and Jack Frost” by Trudi Slavin, “The Collector’s Book” by Michael Olive, “To Get Away With Murder” by Michael Wilkinson, “The Unknown Wedding Dress” by Sabina Willis, “A Voice Through The Fence” by Athol Henry, “Beyond” by Mona Oliver, “The Blind Madonna” by Chrinstina Cairns, “A Place of One’s Own” by Belinda Lyons-Lee, “A Song of Love and Death” by Patricia J. Hughes, “Smoke” by John Cowell, “Dune-Crawler” by Jessica Budin, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” by Pippa Kay, “The Rock Pool” by Rachel McEleney, and “History” by Lois Murphy.

Blurring the Line edited by Marty Young for Cohesion Press explores the grey area between fiction and creative non-fiction; Antipodean contributions included stunning story “The Body Finder” by Kaaron Warren, “Consorting With Filth” by Lisa L. Hannett, “How Father Bryant Saw the Light” by Alan Baxter, “With These Hands” by Brett McBean, and “Salt on the Tongue” by Paul Mannering.

Fablecroft’s Cranky Ladies of History anthology edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely included a number of darker stories concerning historical figures: “Look how cold my hands are” by Deborah Biancotti was about Hungarian noble woman and serial murderer Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed; “Neter Nefer” a bloodsoaked historical tale about the ascension of Egypt’s first female pharaoh Hatshepsut, told through the eyes of her daughter, Neferure by Amanda Pillar; and “Mary, Mary” by Kirstyn McDermott followed the life of pioneering feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, best known as author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and for being the mother of Mary Shelley author of Frankeinstein--this story is a must-read for horror fans, while it is not a horror story of itself, it deeply concerns the European Enlightenment origins of modern horror.

Cohesion Press published two volumes of their military horror series--SNAFU: Wolves at the Door edited by Geoff Brown and Amanda J. Spedding collected werewolf themed military horror; SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest included a number of Australian contributions including “In Vaulted Halls Entombed” by Alan Baxter and “They Own the Night” by B. Michael Radburn.

The Canberra Science Fiction Guild (CSFG Publishing) produced The Never Never Land anthology edited by Ian McHugh, Phill Berrie and Mitchell Akhurst; darker contributions included “Consumed” by Elizabeth Jakimow, “Ferals” by William Broom, “Ghost Versions” by Darren Goossens, “To Look Upon a Dream Tiger” by Shauna O’Meara, “The Seven-Forty from Paraburdoo” by Charlotte Nash, “The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth” by Jodi Cleghorn, “The Laneway” by Richard L. Lagarto, “She’ll Be Right” by Donna Maree Hanson, and “Rebirth” by Linh T. Nguyen.

Hear Me Roar (Ticonderoga Publications) edited by Liz Grzyb included some creepy moments with “A Wondrous Necessary Woman” from Janeen Webb, and “Cursebreaker: The Mutalibeen and the Memphite Mummies” a novella length story by Kyla Lee Ward which explores horror tropes and Egyptian myth.

FableCroft Publishing released Insert Title Here edited by Tehani Wessely; sinister offerings from this anthology included Matthew Morrison’s “Sins of meals past”, Robert Hood’s “Footprints in Venom”, David McDonald’s “Her Face Like Lightning”, and Daniel Simpson’s “The Winter Stream”.

From Out of the Dark (Altair Australia) edited by Robert N. Stephenson included dark tales “Out in the Dark” by Victoria Dylan, “Hope” by Tony Shillitoe, “Light in the Darkness” by James O’Keefe, and “The Grim” by Rob Bleckly.

Ford Street Publishing published YA anthology Rich & Rare which included “The Black Sorceress” by Paul Collins, “The Ghost in the Stereoscope” by Doug MacLeod, and “Angelito” by Lucy Sussex, a sweetly melancholy children’s ghost story.

Fat Zombie: Stories of Unlikely Survivors from the Apocalypse (Permuted Press) edited by Paul Mannering included the stories “El Caballo Muerte” by Martin Livings, “Mr Schmidt’s Dead Pet Emporium” by Sally McLennen, and “Endgame” by Dan Rabarts.

“The Shape of Beauty” by Tanya Davies was published in Strange by Adelaide publisher Lizard Skin Press. “And I may be some time...” a dark literary stroll into oblivion by Craig Cormick appeared in Antarctica: Music, sounds and cultural connections (ANU Press). “Sleepless” by Jay Kristoff, was published in YA anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys edited by April Genevieve Tucholke for Penguin. Lee Pletzer’s Quincy was published as a stand alone title by Triskaideka Books New Zealand. Danny Lovecraft had a poem, “Over the Top and Under the Crumbling Wall”, included in the anthology When Anzac Day Comes Around: 100 Years from Gallipoli Poetry Project (Forty South Publishing).

Cthulhu Detective: A C.J. Henderson Tribute Anthology featured authors paying homage to the pioneer of hard-boiled occult detective fiction who passed away in 2014, with works works edited by David Conyers, David Kernot, and Konstantine Paradias; the anthology included the first publication of the novella “The Temporal Deception” co-authored by C.J. Henderson and David Conyers, as well as reprints of stories by David Kernot and Shane Jiraiya Cummings.

Looking overseas, She Walks in Shadows: An anthology of women and Lovecraft’s Mythos, included Australian contributions “Eight Seconds” by Pandora Hope, “Turn out the Light” by Penelope Love, and the awesomely fine “Lavinia’s Wood” by Angela Slatter; the book was Winner of the World Fantasy Award in the anthology category--edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles for Vancouver based publisher Innsmouth Free Press.

Danny Lovecraft published a sequence of six mythos poems--”Azathoth”, “Nyarlathotep”, “Cthulhu”, “Shub Niggurath”, “Hastur”, and “Yog Sothoth” in Beyond the Cosmic Threshold: An Anthology of Cthulhu Horror (Horrified Press, 2015); this anthology also included mythos contributions by Leigh Blackmore. Danny Lovecraft also saw publication of a sequence of twelve weird poems--”The Shadow on the Chimney”, “A Connoisseur in Horrors (The Search for Reasons Why)”, “A Passer in the Storm”, “What the Red Glare Meant”, “Earlier Grisly Discoveries”, “A Mountain’s Ghastly Fame”, “Formless Phantasms--The Daemon Lurking Fear”, “An Acheron of Multiform Diabolism”, “The Horror in the Eyes”, “A Nether World of Unknown Nightmare”, “The Ineffable Horror of It All--The Mound-Burrows”, and “From Pits Remote and Unimaginable”--in Black Wings IV: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror (PS Publishing, 2015) edited by S.T.Joshi.

Gods, Memes and Monsters: A Twenty-first Century Bestiary, edited by Heather J. Wood (Stone Skin Press) included “The Greater Spotted Capital and Meme Mosquitos” by Jonathan Blum, and “Leucrotta” by Kyla Lee Ward. “The Woman Who Cried Elf” by Rebecca Fung appeared in Between the Cracks, (Sirens Call Publications). Kris Ashton’s “Night Feeds” and Gerry Huntman’s “Denying the Thrill” were published in Creepy Campfilre Stories (For Grownups), EMP Publishing. Jay Caselber’s violent ghost story “Penumbra” was published in Death’s Realm edited by Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson (Grey Matter Press). “After and Back Before” by Miranda Siemienowicz appeared in The Doll Collection (Tor) edited by Ellen Datlow. “To Dance, Perchance to Die”, David McDonald, in Expiration Date (Hades Publications), edited by Nancy Kilpatrick. Tansy Rayner Roberts story “Life of Julia” was published in Faction Paradox:Liberating Earth edited by Kate Orman (Obverse Books) with what must be an interesting rights arrangement with regards to Billy Idol’s song “White Wedding” first recorded in 1981. “Seeing Within” by Marty Young appeared in Forgotten Places edited by Henry Snider (The Horror Society).

“Q is for Quackery” by Tracie McBride was published in The Grimorium Verum (Western Legends Publishing). Barry Rosenberg’s “Stroking the Devil” was published in Hidden in Plain Sight edited by J.W.Kirk. Angela Slatter’s “Ripper” was published in Horrorology: The Lexicon of Fear (Jo Fletcher Books). D.K. Mok’s novella “The Heart of the Labyrinth” found publication in In Memory: A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett; the book was a fundraiser anthology to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. “Oh Have You Seen the Devil?” by Stephen Dedman was published in The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Running Press). “The Witch’s Library” by Tracie McBride appeared in A Mythos Grimly (Wanderer’s Haven Publications). Jay Caselberg’s story “Sailor’s Rest” saw publication in Night Terrors III edited by Marc Ciccarone, Theresa Dillon and G Winston Hyatt (Blood Bound Books). Lee Pletzer’s “Two Coins” was published in Paying the Ferryman (Charon Coin Press) edited by Margaret L. Colton. “The Ponitanak’s Doll” by Geneve Flynn found print in Play Things & Past Times edited by Steve J. Shaw (KnightWatch Press). “Under the Roses”, a gentle ghost story about feline companionship from Jenny Blackford, was published in A Quiet Shelter There (Hadley Rilley Books). Greg Chapman achieved publication of the story “Wounds” in That Hoodoo, Voodoo That You Do: A Dark Rituals Anthology edited by Lincoln Crisler (Angelic Knight Press). Tarran Jones story “All That Glitters” is a retelling of the Brother’s Grimm tale The Girl with No Hands, published in Twice Upon A Time (Bearded Scribe Press). Barry Rosenberg’s “A Made Man” was published in When Disaster Strikes: An Anthology of YA Horror edited by Rich Dodgin for UK-based publisher Sinister Saints Press. “Sugared Heat” by Lisa L. Hannett appeared in The 2nd Spectral Book of Horror Stories (Spectral Press).

JOURNALS, MAGAZINES & WEBZINES

Andromeda Spaceways Magazine 61, edited by Simon Petrie (Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Co-Op) included dark story “In Sheep’s Clothing” by Kim Gaal. Tim Napper’s violent dystopian story “Flame Trees” appeared in Asimovs. Aurealis magazine (Chimaera Publications) edited by Michael Pryor featured various darker stories in 2015: “Enfolded” a neo-noir about psychic powers and criminal fraternities that won’t let go by J. Michael Melican, in Aurealis 78; “The Monster Under My Bed” by Melanie Rees and “The Whore and the Healer” and Lachlan Huddy in Aurealis 79; “Outside World” by Steve Cameron in Aurealis 80; “The Other-Faced Lamb”--about cults, the outback and deformed lambs--by C.S. McMullen, in Aurealis 82; “Perfect Kills” by Chris Large in Aurealis 83; “Breaking Windows” a horror-sci-fi story by Tracie McBride in Aurealis 84; “The Events at Callan Park” by Erol Engin in Aurealis 85.

The Australian Poetry Journal, Volume 5 Issue 2 (November 2015) edited by Michael Sharkey included the poem “Secondary Ghosts” by P.S. Cottier. Alice Godwin’s erotic dark fantasy about death “He Kindly Stopped For Me” was published in Blue Crow Magazine, Issue 4 (The Blue Crow Press) edited by Andrew Scobie. Lee Pletzer’s story “The Factory” was published on the Calamities Press webzine. Kaaron Warren’s “Wittnessing” was published in The Canary Press Genre Issue, Issue #6 (April 2015). David Kernot’s story “The Poseidon Stones” was published in The Coloured Lense Speculative Fiction Magazine Winter 2015 Issue #14. C.W. Pearce published “Flicker” in the Conflux 11 magazine. Danny Lovecraft’s excellent poem putting a twist on the zombie apocalypse “Reminiscences of Herbert West’, Cyäegha 14 (Summer 2015) chapbook edited and published by Graeme Phillips.

The Dark edited by Sean Wallace had a number of Australian contributors--“Bearskin” by Angela Slatter in The Dark 7, and “The Canary” by Lisa L. Hannett and “Self, Contained” by Kirstyn McDermott. “While the Rain Walked’, a colonial tale of dangerous old world spirits, Imogen Cassidy, in Devilfish Review, Kraken Issue 2015. Greg Chapman saw publication of “What Hath God Wrought” in Devolution Z Magazine (December 15). Dimension6 (Coeur de Lion) edited by Keith Stevenson included a number of horror stories in the 2015 editions: “Tooth” by Bren MacDibble and Jen White’s urban archeology horror novella “Dark History” in Dimension6 4; “Going Home Sideways” by S.G. Larner and “Red in Tooth and Claw” by David McDonald in Dimension6 5; “Lodloc and the Bear” by Steve Cameron in Dimension6 6. Alan Baxter’s “The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner” appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction (Jan/Feb). “Captain Marvelous” a fine claustrophobic apocalyptic horror story by Rose Hartley, in f(r)iction 2.

Tara Calaby’s “Ashes” in Grimdark Magazine 4 considers what comes after happily ever after for Cinderella. J. Ashley Smith published “To The Music We Hear’, a serial killer mystery, in Heater Volume 3 No 2. “The Walking Thing” by Marlee Jane Ward, a horrific science-fiction, was published in Interfictions Online 5. “The Ferry Man” novella by Pandora Hope was published in Interzone #256, Jan-Feb 2015; a story of a Norse succubus transplanted to Australia. Barry Rosenberg’s “Ma’af” was published in Jam Berapa: Anak Sastra Issue, July 2015. Sean Monaghan’s “Concentration” was published in Landfall: the New Zealand Literary Journal May 2015. David Kernot’s story “A Hero’s Welcome” was published in The Lovecraft eZine Issue 34. “Art as a Mirror” by Tracie McBride was published in The Lovecraft eZine Issue 35.

Midnight Echo 11 edited by Kaaron Warren (Australian Horror Writers” Association) included the winners of the AHWA Short Story and Flash Fiction Competition--Stuart Olver’s “What Came Through” won the Flash category and J. Ashley Smith’s “On The Line” won the Short Story category; this issue included fiction “Perfect Little Stitches” by Deborah Sheldon, Claire Fitzpatrick’s “Madeline’, “The Light Unseen” by Mark Farrugia, “The Crying Room” by Marija Elektra Rodriguez, Keith Williams’s “Sundown” and P.S. Cottier’s poem “The Fruit of Her Hands’. David McDonald’s story “Sympathetic Impulses” was published in Nevermore: Tales of Murder, Mayhem and the Macabre (EDGE SciFi and Fantasy), edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles.

Kristian Beker’s “Sleeping Pretty” saw print at the Narrator International webzine. Lee Pletzer’s “Of Machines and Men” appeared in Nebula Rift Volume 3 No. 5, and “Reset” in Nebula Rift No 3 Volume 1. Edward Burger’s weird “6969” story set in a sex-centric future appeared in Victoria University’s Offset Journal. “We Saw the Same Sky’, a literary dystopian story by Jane Rawson, appeared in Overland Autumn 2015. Jeremy Szal’s dark tale “Skingame” was published in Perihelion Science Fiction (May 20115). Daniel Lewis’s story “The Infirmary” was published in Phase2 Magazine. Deborah Sheldon’s “In the Company of Women” found publication in Pulp Modern 9. Review of Australian Fiction, volume 13, issue 6, edited by Matthew Lamb, featured “The Jellyfish Collector” by Michelle Goldsmith and “Mine Intercom” by Kaaron Warren; “Her Ladyship” by John Jenkins was published in Review of Australian Fiction, volume 14, issue 5; “Reaching for Ruins” by Alan Baxter was published in Review of Australian Fiction, volume 16, issue 3.

Two Australian poets were featured in Sargasso: The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies Volume 1 No 2 (Ulthra Press); Danny Lovecraft published four poems--“House on the Borderland, 1 and 2”, “The Devil Mists”, “And the Worried Waters Laughed” and “What Do They Hide?”. Phillip E. Ellis published five weird poems--“Dead Seamen Gone in Search of the Same Landfall”, “Come, Dream of the Ocean”, “Ocean Rain”, “Coral Seas”, and “The Burning Ship”--as well as non-fiction feature “Contemporary Views: Pieces on William Hope Hodgson from the Idler and the Bookman”. Lee Pletzer’s “Saving Kira” won the SF Reader Short Story Competition, and was published on the SFReader Community website. Specul8 1: Central Queensland Journal of Speculative Fiction Issue 1 October 2015 included darker contributions Greg Chapman’s “In Memoriam’, Clare Bielenberg’s “The Name of the Darkness’, and “Home Improvements” by Aaron C. Goulson.

Spectral Realms: A Weird Poetry Journal #No. 3 (Summer 2015) edited by S.T.Joshi for Hippocampus Press included a number of Australian poets; Leigh Blackmore published “The Golden Diadem” and “Dead Pale Moon”, Margi Curtis published “My Heart’s Thin Veil’, and Danny Lovecraft published “A Shuddery Tale” and “Azathoth’. Jenny Blackford had two poems “Ghost Irises” and “Beneath the Wheeler Centre” published in Strange Horizons. Blackford also received a commendation for her poem “We to the Gods” in the W.B. Yeats Poetry Prize and publication on the website. SQ Mag 20: Special Edition Dark Legends of a New Age edited by Sophie Yorkston (IFWG Publishing) included “Bluebeard’s Daughter” by Angela Slatter, “The Bone Maiden” by Greg Chapman, and “Three Trophies” by S.G. Larner. SQ Mag 21 included “Home Delivery” by Michelle Jager, and SQ Mag 19 included “Night Blooming” by Jason Nahrung.

Lee Pletzer’s “An Exercise in White” was published in Teeming Terrors 15 (Knightwatch Press) edited by Christine Morgan. Maree Kimberley’s dark magic realism story “Fleur” appeared in Text Journal Special Issue Website Series Number 32 October 2015. Jodi Cleghorn’s “At Arm’s Length’, a weird tale of magic realism, was published in Tincture Journal 11. “What We Are” by Craig Hildebrand-Burke appeared in Tincture Journal 12; a woman discovers her husband’s monstrous secret. Rebecca Fung’s “The Biggest Catch” was published in Trysts of Fate, February 2015. Lee Pletzzer’s “The Thin You” was published in Under The Bed Volume 3 No. 10. Danny Lovecraft had two connected poems “The Shadow from the Steeple, 1 and 2” in Weird Fiction Review #6, November 2015 (Centipede Press) edited by S.T.Joshi. Kaaron Warren’s “The Bone Mason (Nyarlathotep)” a microfiction created as part of the Illustro Obscurum Collaboration published at the hilariously named Yog-Blogsoth website, edited by Michael Bukowski.

INTERDISCIPLINARY ARTS

Kaaron Warren’s microfiction “Phylia Stands” appeared in BESTIARY: Bizarre Myths and Chemical Fancies (United Photos Industries), an exhibition catalogue for award winning artist and illustrator Viktor Koen’s; the fiction portion is edited by Ellen Datlow. And the works explore Greek mythology especially as outlined in Robert Graves’s 1955 book The Greek Myths and early nineteenth century photography from the US Library of Congress, digitally transformed as supernatural “psychological portraits”.

Laura E. Goodin and Houston Dunleavy, both lecturers at the Australian Institute of Music in Melbourne, collaborated on producing “A Cabinet of Oddities”: the composers were Dunleavy, Joe Dolce, Joe Giovinazzo, Gary Butler, and Andrew Batterham; writers were Laura Goodin, Sean Williams, Robert Shearman, Jack Dann, and others. The concert was held at the Peter Calvo Auditorium, Australian Institute of Music, as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, and was notable for an ensemble led by Monash University’s Peter Sheridan that featured a range of flutes including the rare contrabass flute. The event also featured illustrations by Kathleen Jennings.


Remembered


Tanith Lee, 67, English World Fantasy Award--Life Achievement recipient; Sir Terry Pratchett, 66, English World Fantasy Award--Life Achievement recipient; Melanie Tem, 65, American World Fantasy Award winning writer; Colleen McCullough AO, 77, Australian novelist; Desmond Digby, 82, New Zealand-born Australian illustrator of Bottersnikes and Gumbles; Tjilpi Bob Randall, c. 81, Yankunytjatjara elder, NAIDOC Person of the Year, author of Tracker Tjuginji; Dorothy Butler MBE, 90, New Zealand children’s book author; Tom Arden (real name David Rain), 54, Australian-born science fiction and fantasy writer; Paul Anderson, 71, Australian sf fan and reviewer; Andrew Lesnie ACS ASC, 59, Academy Award-winning Australian cinematographer; Peter Dickinson OBE, 88, Zambian-born English writer, dual winner of the Carnegie Medal; Tom Piccirilli, 50, American multiple Stoker Award-winning writer.


The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror

~ 2015 ~

The Sixth Annual Collection



The Company of Women

Garth Nix

Summer. The sun noon-high in a sky clear as water, save for the merest scrape of cloud above the hills to the west. The meadow white with clover, the flowers so thick upon the ground no other colour could be seen, as if some strange snow had fallen out of season.

All through the meadow, bees. Single bees searching, groups of bees gathering, great swarms of bees swirling about the tall conical bee-houses arrayed in long lines, each one new-built every spring in its own place, as had been done for centuries past and all trusted would be done for centuries to come.

Godiva, Countess of Mercia, stood on the mound before the meadows proper, where the tips of the old standing stones could still be seen, the stone women of long ago buried by later Christian rulers but their presence still felt beneath the earth.

Lady Godiva was not alone. She stood in the very centre of the mound, at its highest point, albeit only a dozen paces above the meadow. Around her, ranged close, were the women of her household, at least those who had children, for all must be mothers who came that day to sing praise to the bees. Around them were the servants of the castle, and around them, in close-standing rings that extended to the edge of the mound and beyond, down into the white clover, were the mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers and even one ancient great-great-grandmother of the town of Coventry.

The song was as old as the buried stones, though the words had changed through several languages, and perhaps no longer made much sense, if anyone cared to examine them. But they did not look closely, for it was the feeling of the song that mattered, the sense of being at one with all the other women, and with the queens in their houses, the queens who were the minds and hearts and souls of this great metropolis of bees.

As the last note came from the assembled women and faded into silence, the bees answered. Deep in the hives there were thrummings and rumblings, and great droves of bees rose from the meadow and buzzed together, so many in number that the buzzing sounded like a mighty cascade, and a breeze blew across the mound, made from the beating of myriad tiny wings in unison.


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