Destination Mars and other Forward Planning Events

So right now you are in lockdown which rather puts a crimp in your event attending plans. Our intrepid reporter has unearthed a number of SF&F related events which might appeal. They are far enough in the future that you can plan them with some expectation that you will be able to go and see them (fingers crossed).

Destination Mars
Te Papa 11-Dec-’21 to 20-Mar-’22 – more info on the Festival of the Arts Site.

This is basically the same event as “Habitat 8” that is scheduled for Stardome in October. The blurb – It’s 2034, and you are on the planet Mars. As the engineer in the control room on an international space station, you protect the base’s support systems and power up the next rocket launch. But when a solar flare plunges your community into danger, you must work together to avert disaster. Have you got what it takes to save the day?.

Out of this World live from New York
Hannah Playhouse, 12-Mar-’22 – again more info on the Festival of the Arts Site

This is essentially the chance to be in the audience as N.K. Jemisin talks (via an internet link) with Elizabeth Knox about the ways in which SF and Fantasy can illuminate some of the biggest themes of humanity: inequality, oppression and conflicts of culture. If you don’t know who Jemisin is, then take the time to find out – she has won an awful lot of awards.

The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit – The Concert
2-Jun-’22 (Ak) and 5-Jun-’22 (Wn) – Right now the only info comes from the ticketing agency

The blurb – The hobbits are coming! Celebrate the 20th anniversary of Peter Jackson’s magnificent films and bring to life the legendary world of hobbits, elves and orcs in a unique concert experience with a symphonic orchestra, choir and star guests. From the ominous sounds of Mordor and the shrill attack of the black riders, to the beautiful lyrical melodies of the Elves – almost 100 performers will take you on a fantastic journey with the most popular tunes from the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”.

The Magical Music Of Harry Potter
4-Jun-’22 – Again, just the ticketing agency

We know literally nothing about this apart from the title, the date and the venue (The Opera House, Wellington). There is a good chance more info will come along soon and there may well be more performances added, so keep an eye out.

Bonus Event – Horizons: A 21st Century Space Odyssey

Not actually SF – more like actual science, but Brian Cox is a bit too cool to leave off the list. Event details here. Again, we suggest you keep an eye out for other local performances outside the scope of the festival.

Conflux 2021 Cancelled

A couple of times here on SFFANZ News we have promoted Conflux as an alternative for Kiwis needing a natcon this year.

Sadly, for obvious Covid reasons, Conflux have announced that they are cancelling their 2021 event. You can read more on the Conflux web site.

Awardwatch : The Shirley Jackson Awards

The Shirley Jackson Awards are given for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic. The awards for the 2020 calendar year have just been announced as part of Readercon 31.

Of course there is Kiwi involvement or we wouldn’t be posting this. Look down the list to Edited Anthology and you will see Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women, edited by Lee Murray & Geneve Flynn (Omnium Gatherum). Yes, Lee has bagged another major award – many congratulations!

If watching award ceremonies is your thing, a video of the ceremonies is here. This is the video that was shown at Readercon

Awardwatch : Self Published Science Fiction Competition

We spotted this on File 770
“The inaugural Self Published Science Fiction Competition (SPSFC) judging teams have now been assigned their books — here are the titles, authors and covers of the works that will be judged in the first round by Team File 770”.

Have a look at the list of book covers. As usual we are on the lookout for any Kiwi connections. A shout out to M Darusha Wehm who is hidden down at the bottom left corner.

Did you spot any other locals? Let us know if there is anybody else to celebrate.

Habitat 8

From Stardome

Habitat 8 is a high-stakes interactive space mission set on the planet Mars in the year 2034.

Stardome’s 360 degree planetarium dome has been transformed into the Launch Control Room of the Habitat 8 operating base. When a solar flare endangers the base, everyone must work together to avert disaster. Quick thinking and teamwork will be critical. Have you got what it takes to survive?

Audience members are seated at working computer consoles with touch screen tablets and interactive dashboards. Guided by two expert engineers, everyone will be responsible for maintaining the base’s life support systems, managing the fuel production and directing the countdown for the latest rocket launch. Experience something truly out of this world with friends and whānau as you become space engineers in this thrilling space adventure.

Habitat 8 will run for a strictly limited season at Stardome from 2nd – 17th October 2021, so don’t miss out on this first of its kind experience. Shows run Tuesday – Sunday, 11am, 1pm and 7.30pm.”

Sir Julius Vogel Award Winners – 2021

Want to know who won the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for 2021? Of course you do.

Head on over to the SFFANZ main site and look for the winners highlighted in a lovely shade of turquoise.

Huge congratulations to all the finalists and winners.

ComicFest 2021

ComicFest is a joint venture between Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand. It is on Saturday 21 August at the National Library, 70 Molesworth St, Thorndon.

Now we know that Comics are a medium – not a genre and if you look at the lineup of guests, you wont see any creators of superhero type material. But if you look at the first mini-bio on the blog you will see Jem Yoshioka who is an artist who creates a fantasy comic in a 1920s Japanese setting. It might be worth having a look at the other bios in the blog to see who floats your particular boat.

Reminder of SFFANZ one-day event

Just a reminder that SFFANZ is holding a one-day event on August 7, 2021 at the West Plaza Hotel in central Wellington. Activities include the Sir Julius Vogel awards presentation, the SFFANZ AGM and a number of panels as well as the usual chance for a catch-up with friends.

The event is free but you do need to register – and technically the final date for registrations is past – you can but try. If you want to vote in the AGM, you do need to be a member (it only costs $10)

There is more information on the SFFANZ main site. If you haven’t visited it recently, you might want to check it out as there is some recently added timetable information.

Christchurch Word Festival – Events of Note

The Christchurch Word Festival is on August 25-29 this year.

Our attention has been drawn to two specfic items on the programme:

Speed Date a Speculative Fiction Author“, featuring Graci Kim, Cassie Hart, Sascha Stronach, and Karen Healey

The Stardust Cabaret“, including Sascha Stronach and AJ Fitzwater, with “star-stuff infused performances”

A huge shout-out to AJ Fitzwater for passing the information on to us. Not to mention being a guest curator for the event.

Book Launch Event – Cassie Hart

In the last post we asked for more events, and look what turned up from Cassie Hart (thanks Cassie!)

Something sinister lurks in the Benedict homestead. Jena’s life changed almost twenty years ago. The night her family burned. The night the birds came. Jena is about to learn there are some family secrets that come back to haunt you.

Join author Cassie Hart (Kāi Tahu) for the launch of Butcherbird, a supernatural thriller set on a farm in Taranaki.

Launch: 5:30 pm, Friday 13 August
Level 2, 18 Brougham Street, New Plymouth

The event is free (hosted by Cassie & Huia Publishers)- you can RSVP on Facebook.

Library Interview with Lee Murray

Wellington City Libraries have written about their interview with award-winning NZ author Lee Murray. The online interview will debut on the 25th of July at 7.30 pm. You can read about the interview and other stuff about Lee on their Library Blog article. There is lots of good stuff there including info about other awards Lee is up for that we haven’t featured in our Awardwatch segment.

We feature Lee a lot on this blog. There is a simple reason for that- Lee has been doing so much great work. However we are sure she would be the first to agree with us that we want to celebrate all New Zealand’s talented voices and their own great work. So if you have anything to share with us, please drop us a line at We don’t post about product (book) releases but anything else like launch events, readings, press articles etc are all good as long as there is a local connection and it is somehow sf/f/h related.

Buy a plate made by Neil Gaiman

The following came in from the Gallery Manager of The Quarry Arts Centre in Whangarei. Some of you might be interested…

Fantasy fans! You have the opportunity to own an artwork by Neil Gaiman AND supporting an amazing art centre in Northland!

Neil has created two beautiful pieces of artwork for The Great Plate ’21 – a fundraiser for The Quarry Arts Centre in Whangarei. What an amazing quality of author to help us out.

Each year artists decorate ceramic plates which are auctioned through TradeMe, and this year we asked Neil, as he is living in NZ. The results were two plates – one ‘The Moon’, by Neil, and ‘Upside Down Gingerbread Man’ by 5 year old son Ash with Neil’s help.

Both pieces are genuine, with Neil’s signature on the back. You can bid on this plate via TradeMe from Thursday 29th July – Search “Great Plate – Neil”.

All proceeds go back into running the Quarry Arts Centre, in particular, funding our children’s art programs so they are accessible to more people.

Read more here:

Awardwatch – 2021 Ngaio Marsh Awards

The Ngaio Marsh Awards are the New Zealand crime fiction award. Under normal circumstances we wouldn’t post their awards info, but have a look at the 2021 long list. Look at that first entry – The Stone Weta, by Octavia Cade (Paper Road Press). That very same work is on the Sir Julius Vogel Awards ballot.

Congratulations – Way to cross genres Octavia.

Awardwatch : Aurealis Awards

The 2020 Aurealis Awards were announced July 8 by the Continuum Foundation. The award recognizes the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.

Every time the Aurealis and Ditmar award winners are announced we trawl through the winners looking for expat Kiwis making good over the Tasman. Sometimes we don’t see any as is the case in this year’s Aurealis awards (awarded this year for work published last year). But then looking through the writer bios we see this phrase “I am a New Zealand-based writer…”. So yes, Nikky Lee was born is Western Australia but we can claim her – right? Especially as her name appears on the winners list twice!

Congratulations to Nikky and all the winners.

2021 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement

CreativeNZ sent info about these awards to SFFANZ…

The annual Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement recognise New Zealand writers who have made a notable contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. New Zealanders are invited to submit a nomination.

We have been a little skeptical in the past when it comes to literary awards and how they treat our sf/f/h genre. Its hard to say exactly why, but this award feels a little different. Perhaps its worth nominating one of our high profile genre writers. It helps that it is free and you don’t have to join any group to nominate.

If you are interested in nominating somebody, there isn’t much time. All the dates, forms and email addresses are on the CreativeNZ site.

A quiz from galaxies far away

The Battle of the Galaxies quiz is part of the Wellington on a Plate festival. Its being held at the Foxglove Bar & Kitchen 33 Queens Wharf, Te Aro, Wellington on 3 & 4 August.

Here is the blurb…
It’s time for a showdown of galactic proportions…
In which universe does your loyalty lie, are you Team Spock or is Darth your daddy? Foxglove and Gee Quiz are proud to strike back in 2021 bringing you a quiz from galaxies far away, a showdown between Star Wars and Star Trek superfans.

Whet your whistle in Mos Eisely Cantina while the food replicator whips you up dishes from culinary worlds like Endor, Naboo, Vulcan and Remus. Have you ever tried Petrokian Sausage? All teams answer questions from both universes, including specialty bonus food and beverage rounds to test your knowledge of culinary delights that are out of this world. Every ticket includes 2 drinks, canape and shared table banquet dishes from all corners of the universe!

Book your six person team ($450) or book a single ticket ($75) and declare your loyalty and we’ll match you up with like-minded quizzers.

A couple of notes – we have delayed posting until Welly was out of level 2. Events like this would be cancelled at Level 2 Covid alert level or higher.

This item is part of the Wellington on a Plate festival. We couldn’t spot any other fan-specific items, but there is a lot of culinary activities likely to be of interest – keep an eye out for Chocolate and Beer related items.

Updated Link for SFFANZ One-Day Event

If you were planning to attend the SJV Awards and AGM One-Day Event, please note that the registration link on the web site and in other communications was incorrect. This is the correct link.

If you have registered using the link before now, we suggest you re-register with the new link (even if you got a confirmation email).

SJV Awards and AGM One-Day Event

SFFANZ is pleased to announce it will hold a one-day event on August 7, 2021 at the West Plaza Hotel, Wellington.

While planning is still preliminary, it’s expected the day will start with meet and greet, followed by panels. The SFFANZ AGM will be held at 2pm, followed by a discussion on the future of conventions and fandom in New Zealand. The Sir Julius Vogel Awards for 2021 will be presented in the evening.

Registration for the day is free and open to all fans, but only members of SFFANZ may vote at the AGM.

Awardwatch : Australian Shadows Awards

A few weeks back we highlighted how many Kiwis there were on the shortlist for the Australian Shadows Awards. Well now, the Australasian Horror Writers Association have announced the winners and I’m sure none of you will be surprised to see that New Zealanders feature there as well. So, huge congratulations to Tabatha and Lee (and of course all the other winners as well).

NZSA New Zealand Heritage Literary Awards

The New Zealand Society of Authors (Canterbury) have sent us a press release to say that the NZSA New Zealand Heritage Literary Awards will open for entries on the 1st June 2021.

Now this has caused a bit of discussion at the SFFANZ virtual office. On one hand, this news blog has a rule about only posting material that has a specific sf/f/h connection. This press release does not mention our genre (or any genre) at all. On the other hand, they did specifically send it to us and we do know that a lot of writers read this blog.

Here is the key text from the press release.

Books published between 1 June 2020 and 1 August 2021 and linked to New Zealand’s heritage, can be submitted for fiction book, non-fiction book, children’s book, and a book written in Te Reo Maori. Books that have only been published digitally will not be accepted. There are two online entry categories for short prose and poetry.

The competition opens on 1 June and closes on 1 August 2021. All entries should have some relationship with the theme of the Christchurch I Heritage Festival 2021: People and Place – our stories revealed. Full submission details along with the entry form, fees and terms and conditions can be found at:

Are you interested? Some more information of interest…

We had a look at some of the previous winners and the judges for this competition. There aren’t any genre names that we recognise. The names we do recognise seem to come from a set with a very narrow idea of what constitutes literature. Perhaps its time to change that and expose them to some of our considerable local talent.

The link provided takes you to a password protected page. Another one of our rules is that we don’t promote “member-only” items. But the press release says nothing about it being restricted in any way. Another puzzle. There is an email address ( however.

The press release came through as an image file. We had to OCR it to give you the above text. It makes you wonder why they made it so hard for us to transcribe to here.

So you can see why it caused discussion. Feel free to contribute – use our facebook feed if you want to comment. Remember that if you get this by email or RSS etc that there is a lag of a few hours before it shows up on fb.