Author Archives: mittsusaru

Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts

As you probably know, we like scan through festival progamme listings looking for things relevant to our SF/F/H genre community. It can be dispiriting at times. But then we have something like this. The Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts, in Feb/Mar next year in Wellington, has a bunch of genre related items for you to check out. Following are a list we found after a quick look through, but it almost certainly isn’t all. So check out the full list of items to see what else is on. Note we have mentioned a few of these before in a standalone context, but all these are festival item versions.

Horizons - with Prof Brian Cox
Destination Mars – From the makers of APOLLO 13: Mission Control
N.K. Jemisin – in conversation with Elizabeth Knox
Another Universe – alternate history as spoken word art
Whiti Hereaka with Cassie Hart – talking about Cassie’s new book
Nalini Singh and Steff Green – in discussion with Cassie Hart
Books in the Time of the Pandemic – including Octavia Cade
Life on Mars – more Octavia Cade, Cassie Hart and Nalini Singh
Life on Mars – Australian Edition
Tania Roxborogh – 2021 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year author

Awardwatch : The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

This award might bend your mind a bit. The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest invites entries for the worst opening line to a novel. You can read the 2021 winners list on their site.

Why did we post this? Well firstly they have Science Fiction and Fantasy awards. But more importantly, Auckland artist and author Stu Duval won the top award. He also picked up a “Dishonorable Mention”.

Go ahead and have a read but beware your sanity.

Terror-Fi Film Festival

Seriously, how did we not hear about this before today?!!! The Terror-Fi Film Festival kicks off in Wellington tonight (Wednesday), before heading to Christchurch next week. It is billed as New Zealand’s annual celebration of sci-fi, fantasy, horror and cult cinema.

Wellington – The Roxy: 27-31 October
Christchurch – Alice Cinemas: 4-7 November
Auckland – The Capitol: 1-5 December (subject to Covid status)

We apologise for not telling you sooner – we only just spotted the Stuff article about it. If we haven’t posted about about things like this, chances are we don’t know about it – you can let us know on the main news site.

Zoom Author Talks: Tamsyn Muir and Juliet Marillier

Nelson Public Libraries are hosting two expat NZ author talks on Zoom that will be open for anyone to attend from home!

Tuesday 19th October from 7pm – Tamsyn Muir – author of the Locked Tomb series –

Thursday 21st October from 5pm- Juliet Marillier – author of Sevenwaters series, Blackthorn and Grim, and Warrior Bards –

Email to receive a Zoom invite. If you have any questions for the authors, feel free to send those through as well.

We suspect there are quite a few events held similar to these. We don’t post them because we don’t get to hear about them. So if you know of confirmed events which directly relate to Kiwi SF/F/H, then please let us know by email at or by using our contact form.

Matt Morris talks about Pratchett’s Mort

Matt Morris from Arty Bees Books in Wellington went on RNZ’s Nine to Noon show to talk about a favourite book. The book in question is Mort by Terry Pratchett.

Have a listen on RNZ’s replay site.

Maybe then go and re-read you copy of Mort – that’s what I’m going to do.

2021 Arthur C. Clarke Award

So, this one came out a couple of days ago – The Animals In That Country by Laura Jean McKay is the winner of the 2021 Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction book of the year.

We didn’t post it because all our news feeds blew up with “Australian wins Arthur C. Clarke Award”. BUT look at this article on Stuff. So it turns out we can claim her as a Kiwi!

Big congratulations to Laura Jean McKay wherever she makes her home.

As an aside, its been a while since we posted anything – sorry about that. We weren’t on holiday – its just that we didn’t see anything eligible to post. So if you have any Kiwi SF/F/H news, let us know at

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.