Marvel Concert – This Weekend in Wellington

This may be a bit last minute because both the film+concerts are this Saturday (27th Feb), however if you are a Marvel fan then it may not be too late. The Orchestra Wellington listing is here or you can book tickets directly here. The full blurb is reproduced below…

“Avengers. Iron Man. Captain America. Everyone has a favourite Marvel movie, but as of yet, nobody has a favourite Marvel Experience. For the first time on these shores, we will be treated to a music and film extravaganza like never before, with a show redefining what it means to truly go to the movies.

As the only orchestra in the world to play their full season in a crisis-hit 2020, Orchestra Wellington are kicking off the year in style by treating us to a very special Saturday at the Michael Fowler Centre. With one show on the Saturday evening, and another earlier in the day as a matinée performance, this unique experience serves to dazzle and delight as a visual and audible spectacle. For anyone who is a fan of Marvel movies – this is an absolute must see. At a time when saving the world is more important than ever, come along to the Michael Fowler Centre on February 27th with friend or foe, and make sure you’re ready for A Superhero Experience you will never, ever forget.”

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in Concert

The Auckland Arts Festival is coming up soon and the team here spotted that the Australasian Premiere of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is one of the events as a live concert and film event. The score for this famous film will be performed live by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. It looks like the only performance will be on Sat 13th March – Covid levels permitting of course.

We did a trawl through the Arts Festival site for other SF/F/H related events. The only other ones that came came remotely close were Heavenly Bodies and probably closer to the mark Jack and the Beanstalk. Also a shout out to Che-Fu – not because his event is SF related (it isn’t) but because Che is a a geeky genre fan and we love him for it.

Awardwatch : 2020 Bram Stoker Awards Ballot

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) have announced the finalists for the 2020 Bram Stoker Awards. The Bram Stoker Award winners will be announced in May during the Virtual StokerCon 2021 event.

Doing our usual search through looking for Kiwi connections, we again come across Lee Murray’s name on the ballot (twice!) – congratulations Lee.

You might wonder if we get bored by seeing the same few names keep cropping up on these major awards. Well, we really don’t – in the same way cricket fans never get bored seeing Kane Williamson score centuries. But we do still also want to see the next Kyle Jamieson, so if you spot any Kiwis getting recognised for any SF related activity (not just awards), then please drop us a line. We don’t know the names of all the local creatives, so we do need your help. There are a lot of awards out there – for example, perhaps somebody can run their eyes over the just announced Ursa Major Awards for us.

Need That Local Natcon Fix?

So, it looks like there isn’t a New Zealand national SF/F convention this year. There will probably be some sort of event for the Sir Julius Vogel awards – no details yet. But what if you want that full natcon experience? Our fannish neighbours to that west are having one – Conflux 16 is the Australian natcon for 2021. It is being held 2-4 October in Canberra.

Obviously getting there relies on the lifting of travel restrictions. But there is going to be a lot of vaccine administered between now and October.

You wouldn’t be traveling new ground for Kiwis. Your humble scribe has been to 5 Confluxes – they are a hugely enjoyable experience. And I’m not the only one – why don’t you consider adding to our numbers.

Locus Recommended List – The Kiwi View

The 2020 Locus Recommended Reading List from the magazine’s February issue has been posted by Locus Online. The list is a consensus by the Locus editors, columnists, outside reviewers, and other professionals and critics of genre fiction and non-fiction.

But on this news blog we are obliged to find a local angle beyond just a great reading list. So looking through this list we spotted at least three Kiwi authors. But we probably missed some, so how about you tell us who you spotted – we will leave comments open for this one. Any local connection will do – citizen, resident, ex-pat or just somebody who lived here and identifies with the place (we are looking at you Tamsyn Muir).

Don’t forget the poll. The 2021 Locus Poll & Survey is accepting votes from all now to decide the winners of the Locus Awards. (The list is labeled with the year of publication, the survey with the year in which it is being taken.) The poll closes April 15.

2021 Wright-Murray Residency Call for Applications

The Wright-Murray Residency for Speculative Fiction Writers is once again seeking applications from New Zealand writers of science fiction, fantasy or horror. Now in its second year, the residency was co-founded by award-winning author Lee Murray and philanthropist Chloe Wright OBE. It offers the winning writer a week’s accommodation at a country estate in the Bay of Plenty, a stipend to cover expenses and mentorship to develop their writing project.

You can find more information on the SpecFicNZ site or go straight to the application form.

Recognition for Genre Authors Encouraging Young Writers

Check out this item in the forthcoming Focus Magazine. It gives hugely well deserved recognition to well known local SF/Fantasy authors Piper Mejia, Lee Murray, Jean Gilbert and the many other genre authors around NZ who have helped with their efforts in teaching and mentoring and publishing young students.

We looked, but couldn’t find this article, on the Focus web site – it will probably turn up there shortly.

Nominations for the 2021 Sir Julius Vogel awards open

Happy 2021 everybody!

Nominations for the 2021 Sir Julius Vogel awards are now being accepted. The nomination period will close at 11:59pm on 31st March 2021. The SJV awards recognise excellence in science fiction, fantasy, or horror works created by New Zealanders and New Zealand residents, and first published or released in the 2020 calendar year. Anyone can make a nomination and it is free!

To make a nomination please use the form on the SFFANZ Main site.

Rules, Criteria and Categories for the Awards are here.

The Guidelines for nominations are here.

The awards ceremony will be held later in the year, full details to be announced.

Sir Julius Vogel Awards – 2021 Eligible Works

Nominations for the 2021 SJV awards will open on January 1, 2021. These will recognise works created in the 2020 calendar year.

A google form has been created to allow creators/readers/viewers let us know about eligible works. While this is a google form at this stage, this will shortly go on to the SFFANZ website so that it can be viewed by those looking for potential works to nominate.

You can enter potential works in this form.

The Next NZ Natcon?

Now that CoNZealand is behind us and (hopefully) everyone’s got their breath back, SFFANZ would like to make a final call for bids for a 2021 natcon. If you or someone you know is interested in organising one, please contact enquiries@sffanz.org.nz before the end of December.

SFFANZ is also making its own enquiries about a possible single-day event and will proceed with that plan in the absence of any more persuasive bids.

And just so you know, bidding for 2022 is also currently in play. So if that is your target, please let us know.

Jack and the Alien Invasion + Superhero music

Trawling through Auckland Live, we came upon a couple of genre adjacent events you may be interested in.

Jack and the Beanstalk – so we don’t really do panto here in Aotearoa and even if we did we shouldn’t do it in March – right? Yet this show certainly looks like panto. Which wouldn’t normally attract our attention but J&tBS is a fantasy right? But more importantly it features an actual alien invasion! So absolutely f/sf.

Superheroes – Live in Concert – This is music from major superhero movies played live on stage by the full Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Pretty much self explanatory. If you can wait until October you get music from a big range of both Marvel and DC films. (Although nothing from Image – here at SFFANZ News we continue to anticipate seeing Invincible on our screens.)

Meanwhile in Tauranga…

Myth & Magic in the Bay: November Book Month Panel and Book Launch presented by Tauranga Writers

Tauranga Library

Friday 27 November, from 5-7pm

Jean Gilbert, award-winning author of Light in my Dark, moderates a panel of local authors as they discuss their experiences of writing genre fiction in New Zealand; including the opportunities, challenges, and what makes our local fiction unique. This event includes the launch of titles Blood of the Sun by Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts, Golden City by Sharon Manssen and The Better Sister and Other Stories by Piper Mejia.

If you have sf/f/h genre related events going on in your city, please drop us a line.

Auckland in December

So the end of 2020 is approaching and you are looking for some way to reward yourself for getting through it. If you are in Auckland, a couple of genre-related things came to our attention recently…

Witchcraft & Wizardry Auckland
Think you have what it takes to solve a mystery? Grab your wands and don your cloaks as you hit the streets of Auckland on Saturday the 5th December 2020.

This spell-binding outdoor adventure game will take your team on a mysterious and magical journey across town. Work with your team-mates to crack the clues, solve the puzzles and save the realm. Will you be able to solve the mystery in time?

Weta Workshop Unleashed

Part film set.
Part creative workshop.
But all is not what it seems.

Inside these paint-splattered walls, fantastical worlds are brought to life with Workshop wizardry. We’ve unleashed Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy’s most essential residents into the mix: monsters, wildly realistic giants and one GALACTIC robot.

Wine Cheese & Astronomy

Join us for a Wednesday night special, during November and December, where you will enjoy an extended Our Night Sky show that includes a glass of wine (or beer, if you’re that way inclined!) and cheese platters.

Learn about the planets, stars and constellations visible in the night sky on the evening of your visit.

The show is perfect for anyone looking for something different to do for a date night (or mates night!) and for anyone who enjoys our most popular Night Sky show and wants to learn even more in a relaxed environment.

Book Launch of Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts’ Blood of the Sun

There is an online book launch event at Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 9pm. The details are on facebook. It is hosted by Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival.

The event is a combined one to first celebrate the release of Joanna Beresford’s debut novel, Evey Year I am Here. This will then be followed by the launch of Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts’ Blood of the Sun – the third novel in their Path of Ra series.

The details are here – because it is a multinational event, it is best to double check when it is occurring in your timezone.

Also, just as an FYI to all you SF/F/H Kiwi authors out there. We don’t publicise the release of books (or other properties) per se, but we do like to hear about events. So if you are having a public launch event for your book (or reading or play or sculpture or whatever) then please drop us a line.

School Holiday Horror

We occasionally have to remind ourselves that we cover news for Science Fiction, Fantasy *AND* Horror. So, in that spirit and with the school holidays just over a week away, lets look at Spookers. It is a haunted house experience in Karaka, Auckland. They have a special offer running over the holidays.

While on the subject of holidays – have a look at Stardome. And yes, we know it is Science not Science Fiction – but it’s close enough…right?

SJV Voter Packet Reissue

If you missed out on the Sir Julius Vogel Award voting packet the first time, SFFANZ and CoNZealand are pleased to announce that it is now available again to eligible voters (i.e. members of CoNZealand). This time you can access it from the CoNZealand Members’ website. It is available until mid September. Access it here: https://members.conzealand.nz. Once you have logged in, look for a link to the Sir Julius Vogel Packet on the left side of the screen.

This download of materials from Sir Julius Vogel Award finalists is supplied free of charge as a courtesy by the creators and publishers of works that were nominated for the awards. We are deeply appreciative of the artists, authors, editors, publishers, and other creators who have generously provided their works to this year’s packet. We ask that you honour their request that you reserve these copies for your personal use only, and that you do not share these works with non-members of CoNZealand.

Not all of the finalists have provided work for this packet, and some work that was in the original Sir Julius Vogel Award packet does not appear here. Only work that the finalist or their publisher has agreed to make available is included. SFFANZ and CoNZealand completely supports creators being paid for their work, and encourages everyone to support creators financially. If you enjoy a work you find here, please consider purchasing it or another work by the same creator.

If you have any problems with the packet, please contact enquiries@sffanz.org.nz. Happy reading everyone.

SJV Award Statement

The following is a statement from John Toon, President of SFFANZ….

As President of SFFANZ, I would like to thank all those who worked on and attended the Sir Julius Vogel Awards ceremony in Wellington on Sunday 26 July. The credit for organising this event belongs to Lynelle Howell, Kelly Buehler, Mel Duncan and many others. Thanks also to Lynelle and Jan Butterworth for all their work administering the SJVs.

However, I acknowledge that the editing of the footage of the ceremony as broadcast during CoNZealand could have been better. Most egregiously, Sascha Stronach’s acceptance speech for the award for Best Novel was cut off mid-sentence, and this was not acceptable. I personally apologise to Sascha.

In addition, five of this year’s winners – Gareth Ward, Matthew Willis, David Bishop, Alex Lindsay and Grace Bridges – were unable to attend the ceremony in person or remotely, and did not nominate anyone to collect the trophy on their behalf. The co-presenters acknowledged this during the ceremony and promised to send the trophies to the winners. This information was edited out of the broadcast programme, which could have led viewers to believe that some of the winners had been snubbed. I personally apologise to these five winners.

I also note that many have objected to the juxtaposition of the SJV Awards with the Retro Hugo Awards in CoNZealand’s schedule. SFFANZ understood and accepted the reasoning behind this decision but I accept that, in hindsight, the outcome was not the showcase for and celebration of contemporary New Zealand SFF and fandom that we had hoped it would be.

Lastly, I note that some members of CoNZealand were unaware of the availability of the SJV voter packet during the voting period, and that some nominees and members have asked for it to be made available again to promote awareness of contemporary New Zealand SFF. SFFANZ has contacted all finalists to ask their permission to make their nominated material available again to CoNZealand members, where material was provided. The contents of the reissued SJV packet will, of course, be subject to the agreement of those finalists who consent to participate. CoNZealand has kindly agreed to host the reissued SJV packet via the Hugo Awards voter packet system, and will be contacting CoNZealand members with the relevant details.

Sir Julius Vogel Awards – 2020 Result Announcement

Official SFFANZ press release follows…

Sir Julius Vogel Awards for New Zealand Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror 2020 Results Announced

The 2020 Sir Julius Vogel Awards have been presented.

The Awards recognise excellence and achievement by New Zealanders, both amateur and professional, in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres.

Voting was open to members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand (SFFANZ) and members of CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention voting was open to members of SFFANZ (the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand) and the convention.

The ceremony was held in person in Wellington on July 26, and streamed as part of CoNZealand’s programme.

SFFANZ president John Toon said “It’s always a pleasure and an honour to showcase some of the best contemporary New Zealand science fiction and fantasy, and especially so this year, with the eyes of international fandom on us. On behalf of SFFANZ, hearty congratulations to all this year’s Sir Julius Vogel Award winners and nominees.”

SFFANZ would like to congratulate all the winners and nominees and look forward to honouring more of New Zealand’s talent in 2021.

For further information, please contact press@sffanz.org.nz

A full list of winners is appended.

Professional Awards Section

Best Novel – Adult
The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach (Little Hook Press)

Best Novel – Young Adult
The Clockill and the Thief by Gareth Ward (Walker Books Australia)

Best Short Story
“A Shriek Across The Sky” by Casey Lucas
(Sponge Magazine)

Best Novella/Novelette
From A Shadow Grave by Andi C Buchanan
(Paper Road Press)

Best Collected Work
Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vol 1
Edited by Marie Hodgkinson
(Paper Road Press)

Best Professional Artwork
Vivienne To – Cover of Dragon Pearl, by Yoon Ha Lee
(Rick Riordan Presents)

Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form
Dr Who: The Elysian Blade
David Bishop

Best Professional Publication
Swords: The Webcomic
Matthew Wills

Fan Awards Section

Best Fan Production /Publication
Plant Life
Laya Rose

Best Fan Writing
“Sitrep”
Alex Lindsay

Best Fan Artwork
Deet
Laya Rose

Special Awards

Best New Talent
Sascha Stronach

Services to Fandom
Grace Bridges

Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror
Melanie Harding-Shaw

Congratulations to all our finalists for being nominated and all our winners!

Awardwatch : World Fantasy Awards

Tamsyn Muir with her novel Gideon the Ninth is at it yet again – this time she has made it onto the final ballot for the 2020 World Fantasy Awards. Congratulations to all the finalists but especially to Tamsyn. Getting onto the ballot in the Locus awards, the Hugos and now the World Fantasy awards is one heck of a triple crown achievement

Awardwatch : Aurealis Awards

The Aurealis awards were presented in an online ceremony last night. Congratulations to all the winners. But as is our way, there has to be a Kiwi connection before we post, so special mention to Bren MacDibble for winning Best Childrens Fiction for The Dog Runner.

(If you really want to stretch a point, we also note that J.S. Breukelaar admits to a New Zealand component to her education – does that count?)