2021 Sir Julius Vogel Award finalists announced

SFFANZ is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2021 Sir Julius Vogel Awards. Congratulations to all our finalists.

Ordinarily, voting for the awards would occur at our national convention, but as there is no national convention this year, voting will be conducted via email and post. Voting will open on May 1 and close on May 31. Details of the presentation ceremony will be released in due course. Please note that you must be a member of SFFANZ to vote for the Sir Julius Vogel awards this year.

All Finalists have been asked to provide links either to their works or, if this is not possible, to descriptions or reviews. We have included all the links that we have received so far. We will continue to update the finalists page as more information is made available to us.

We expect to have a voter packet of eligible works available before voting opens.

Conflux Natcon Update

Earlier in the year, we posted about Conflux as an alternative for Kiwis who are missing out on their natcon experience this year. With the travel bubble now in place that is now an even more realistic possibility. Conflux have sent us the following announcement which includes new guest info and registration links.

(as an editorial aside, you will note that the announcement below has a very writer industry focus. This has always been the way with Conflux as it is effectively run by a writers group. However as somebody who has been to several, I can assure you that there is also plenty of the usual general fannish activity that will be happening. This is especially true when it is the natcon as it is this year)

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Conflux is there and back again in Canberra in 2021 and this year it’s the national spec fic convention!

As we adapt to the mad (Max) world that is our new normal, Conflux will spend three days exploring the future of the speculative fiction industry.

(Dr) Who will be there you ask? This year’s guest of honour is John Birmingham, author of He Died with a Felafel in His Hand and the Axis of Time trilogy, and our International guest of honour is multi-award winning Helen Marshall, known for her psychological suspense, horror and the dark fantastic.

Learn from some of the best in the industry in our series of workshops, panels and small-group discussions. Whether you’re an established writer or artist, or seeking a Foundation in the industry, you don’t want to miss this!

And of course, as the NatCon, we’ll have the Ditmar Awards, recognising achievement in Australian science fiction (including fantasy and horror) and science fiction fandom.

The details:
· Where: Rex Hotel, Canberra
· Date: 2 to 4 October 2021

Tickets on sale now! You can also like Conflux on Facebook or subscribe to the newsletter at conflux.org.au/contact/ to get all the updates.

Awardwatch – The 2021 Hugo Awards

Kiwis on the Hugo ballot – that’s not something you get to write very often. Well never – not before today that is! DisCon III have announced the ballot for the 2021 Hugo awards (watch here or read here) and there are three names that stand out for locals…

Tamsyn Muir has been nominated in Best Novel for Harrow the Ninth.

Laya Rose has been nominated for Best Fan Artist.

Cassie Hart has been nominated for Best Related Work for CoNZealand Fringe.

As always, congratulations to all the finalists. The Hugo awards will be presented at DisCon III.

Two Weeks Left to Nominate for the SJV Awards.

The team who administer the SJV awards would like you to know that “There are now just two weeks until nominations for the 2021 Sir Julius Vogel awards (recognising works and creators from the 2020 calendar year) close.”

Actually, they said that yesterday, so now it is just 13 days. You can find all the info here.

Also a reminder that there is a vetting process for every nominations. So please give the administrators a break and get your nominations submitted with plenty of time to spare.

SFWA Names Sasha Stronach Guest Editor

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA) announced today Kiwi author Sascha Stronach will be a The Bulletin guest editor in 2021. Stronach will guest edit Issue #218, slated for September 2021. (Canada based author Yilin Yang will be the other guest editor and edit #219.)

SFWA Editor-in-Chief Michi Trota said, “I’ve admired Sascha’s work in SF/F and am excited they’ll be bringing their unique visions and perspectives to shape their issues of The Bulletin.” Sacha won the 2020 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel.

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?