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Awardwatch : The Hugo Finalists

The final ballot for The Hugo Awards was announced by CoNZealand this morning. This includes the 1945 Retro Hugos and the two “Not A Hugo” awards also on the ballot. You can view a replay of the live announcement over on YouTube or you can read the full list on the web site.

Of course we heartily congratulate everybody who has been nominated for what is probably our genre’s most prestigious award. However we wouldn’t be us without looking through the list to give a big shout out to any Kiwis there.

Tamsyn Muir has been nominated for Best Novel for her novel Gideon the Ninth. Although these days Tamsyn lives in the UK she identifies as a Kiwi having lived most of her life here.

Taika Waititi has been nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form for The Mandalorian: “Redemption”. We don’t need to tell anybody who Taika Waititi is right?

Congratulations again and the very best of luck to these two and everybody in the running. The awards themselves are due to be presented at the virtual Worldcon ConZealand 29 May – 2 Aug.

CoNZealand – The Hugo Finalists

If you have been following the CoNZealand feed at all, you will have seen that they have been loudly counting down to the announcement of the finalists for the 2020 Hugo Awards and 1945 Retro Hugo Awards. For those who haven’t been following the feeds, we thought we should share a last minute reminder here – see the times below and beware the effects of timezones on which date this is occurring for you. The awards themselves are due to be presented at the virtual Worlcon ConZealand 29 May – 2 Aug.

To watch the Hugo Awards finalists announcement live stream look at CoNZealand’s YouTube Channel or Facebook Page soon, at 8am Wednesday the 8th April NZT (9:00pm BST / 4:00pm EST / 1:00pm PST on 7th April).

CoNZealand is going virtual

CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), will be making history, as it becomes the first ever ‘virtual Worldcon’, CoNZealand Chairs, Kelly Buehler and Norman Cates announced today.

“This has been an incredibly difficult decision, but one that had to be made now to give our guests and members some certainty during this extraordinary time for the world.

“The changes are coming fast and furious as New Zealand enters a four week lockdown. We are all dealing with an unprecedented set of circumstances that make it very difficult to plan for the future.

“The strong belief that we can put on a great Worldcon has led us to the decision to make CoNZealand a virtual convention. Our Tech Division is confident they can deliver a virtual Worldcon and are excited about the possibilities,” they said.

Buehler and Cates noted that the con Committee considered three choices – to move the date of CoNZealand, to cancel it completely, or to make it virtual. Of the three, the last was deemed the option that provided the best certainty about what they can do while still having time to make plans.

“We are standing by our decision not to cancel, but in consideration of the health, safety, and wellbeing of our members and crew, we think that holding a large face-to-face event (even if it were possible) would be irresponsible.”

Information has been posted on the CoNZealand website regarding hotel room cancellations. This will be updated as more information becomes available.

“As we have said before, please look after one another, and stay in touch. Especially when we are each isolated, it is good to be reminded that we are a community. We are together for a reason beyond Worldcon. We are fans. We are passionate. We love science fiction, fantasy, comics, art, worldbuilding, reading, writing and a million other things. Let’s concentrate on being kind to one another and helping each other through a very difficult time,” they said.

CoNZealand – Updated Statement re Covid-19

CoNZealand have released the following update relating to the Covid-19 situation:
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“We understand your concerns and that you want as much notice as possible if CoNZealand were to be cancelled. We are extremely keen to see CoNZealand go ahead and bring Worldcon to New Zealand for the first time ever. Our Executive have discussed the situation and unanimously agreed that we are not cancelling the convention. Please be assured that we are closely monitoring the situation and will make a further statement if the situation changes. We do note that the convention could possibly be cancelled by the New Zealand Government or the venues, but we see no sign of that happening.
Kelly Buehler, Norman Cates – CoNZealand Chairs”
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PS: If you want to get all CoNZealand announcements, we suggest you follow them directly. However, we at SFFANZZ News will continue to re-post items of significant importance such as this one.

2020 Auckland Writers Festival

The 2020 Auckland Writers Festival is scheduled to run 12-17 May. We say “scheduled”, but obviously given the state of the pandemic, all group events should be considered tentative right now.

Anyway, as you know, we here at SFFANZ News like to trawl through the programmes of events like these to see what SF/F/H events we can spot. In truth, there are not many and most of the connections are pretty tenuous – if you have any feedback about the narrowness of the organisers’ idea of “literature”, why not reach out to them. So, this is what we found (feel free to add others in the comments)…

The World According to Star Wars : Cass Sunstein

Unstable Worlds – just because Tim Jones, we have no idea if this has genre content.

New Frontiers – Elizabeth Knox & Lawrence Patchett – just because Elizabeth Knox.

Wallace Shawn – As an actor this chap was in The Princess Bride and Star Trek:DS9 but his writing does not appear to be genre.

2020 FFANZ Open for Nominations

The Fan Fund of Australia and New Zealand (FFANZ) is accepting nominations for the 2020 race.

This time around FFANZ will send an Australian fan to the 2020 World Science Fiction Convention, CoNZealand, being held July 29-August 2 in Wellington, NZ.

The full announcement can be found here and here and here – take your pick. They all contain the info needed to put yourself forward.

We could give a whole spiel about what a fan fund is and what the benefits and duties are, but this is the internet – just follow the link for the FAQ. Go on – learn a little bit more about fandom down under. There are other fan funds actually – find out about all the ones that apply to NZ over here.

Covid-19: A statement from CoNZealand

In case you missed it on their main news feed, the CoNZealand chairs have issued the following statement:
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Although New Zealand has not been affected by Covid-19 to the extent of the rest of the world, our government and the NZ Ministry of Health have extensive civil defence plans. We are monitoring the situation and will be prepared for what the future brings.

As usual, we strongly advise all members purchase their own comprehensive travel insurance for any foreign travel, including cancellation insurance. If you have already purchased insurance for your journey to New Zealand, we recommend that you check the full terms with your insurance provider.

We are in touch with the Ministry of Health as well as with our venue planning managers. We want everyone to have a safe and healthy convention, and we will be following best practices.

Norman Cates and Kelly Buehler
Chairs, CoNZealand

Awardwatch : Kiwis on the Bram Stoker Finals Ballot

The Horror Writers Association have released the final ballot for the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards.

Looking down the list, what did we see but a couple of New Zealand writers making their presence felt (again) on the world horror stage. Congratulations and good luck in the final ballot to…

Murray, Lee – Into the Ashes (Severed Press) – Superior Achievement in a Novel

Cade, Octavia – Mary Shelley Makes a Monster (Aqueduct Press) – Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

We also spotted the Guest of Honour at last year’s natcon on the list – Kaaron Warren. Did we miss anybody else of note? As with these and any genre awards where New Zealanders feature, please drop us a line so we can share the news here.

Awardwatch : Lee Murray

The New Zealand Society of Authors Waitangi Day Honours have been announced and Lee Murray has been selected as one of this year’s Honorary Literary Fellows. She is one of just two fellows – alongside Rachael King. We highlight Lee, because of her huge involvement in SF/F/H in this country as well as her achievements as a writer. As far as we can tell, she is the first genre author to be so honoured.

New Zealand Festival of the Arts – a Game

The programme for the New Zealand Festival of the Arts is up. Every year, we here at SFFANZ News play a little game – we try to spot how many sf/f/h genre related events there are – then we post them here. But this year, we thought we would leave it to you. So have a browse and let us know in the comments which events you think could be considered part of our genre.

We found 2 or 3 which could be considered as being in our genre – at a stretch. But we are sure you can do better. But don’t bother using the “genre” dropdown filter – the festival doesn’t consider us.

A reminder that if you don’t find anything to suit your tastes there, there are still tickets for a Conversation with Margaret Atwood available.

GUFF Ballot now open

Hot on the heels of DUFF, its partner in fannish crime, GUFF has now opened voting on the election of delegates to attend CoNZealand in Wellington, NZ (July 29-August 2).

GUFF, the Get Up-and-over Fan Fund or the Going Under Fan Fund, depending on which direction it’s running, exists to provide funds to enable well-known fans from Australasia and Europe to visit each other’s national (or other) conventions and get to know each other’s fandoms better. The winner(s) will take over the administration of the fund for the next northbound and southbound races.

The six candidates are: Cora Buhlert (Germany); Hisham El-Far and Lee Fletcher (UK); Hanna Hakkarainen (Finland); Elizabeth Jones and Claire Rousseau (UK); Dave Lally (UK); Alison Scott (UK). The full candidate platform statements and the voting form are available on the ozfanfunds site. Voting ends on 13th April 2020.

DUFF Race is now on…

The Down Under Fan Fund, are pleased to announce that there are four candidates for the 2020 Down Under Fan Fund race, which will send a fan from North America to ConZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction convention in Wellington, New Zealand.

The Four Candidates are:

Richard Auffrey
(nominators: Dan Rabarts, Ed Tisdale, Gillian Polack, Fred Kiesche, Paul Moore)

Shaun Duke
(nominators David Annadale, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Jen Zink, Beverly Bambury, Octavia Cade, Joyce Chng)

James Davis Nicoll
(nominators Sean Fagan,Mike Glyer, Elaine Walker, David Goldfarb, Azure Lunatic, Jo Van Ekeren)

Erin Underwood
(nominators: David MacDonald, Jim Kelly, Brenda Noiseux,Tim Szczesuil, Garth Nix, Nancy Holder, Janice Gelb, Stephen Boucher)

The official ballot along with the candidate platforms is here.

CoNZealand : Hotel Bookings Now Open

Booking for rooms and apartments for all CoNZealand members is now open.

This page on the CoNZealand site provides the booking links and codes for each hotel location and repeats the accessible information about each hotel / apartment block. Please note, there is a lot of information on the page – the convention encourages you to read it carefully.

Of course you do not need to use any of these venues – if none suit your needs there are also a range of AirBnB and other short-term rental options in Wellington, as well as backpackers/hostels, and other serviced apartments.

CoNZealand Competition to Design Hugo Award Bases

CoNZealand is now soliciting proposals for the 2020 Hugo Award and the 1945 Retro Hugo Award base designs in a competition open to artists living and working in New Zealand. This competition gives New Zealand-based artists the chance to create a lasting piece of the most prestigious and popular award in the science fiction community.

The Worldcon has presented the Hugo Award for achievement in science fiction and fantasy, named after author and editor Hugo Gernsback, annually since 1955. Each award features a standardized metal rocket as the central element, with a base design that changes every year, often reflecting the location in which the Worldcon takes place.

Entry in the competition is open to artists living or working in New Zealand. Design proposals must be submitted by Friday, January 17, 2020. For all the specifics go to https://conzealand.nz/blog/2019/11/27/conzealand-competition-to-design-2020-hugo-and-1945-retro-hugo-bases

A reminder that if you want to catch ALL the CoNZealand announcements, you should follow them at their web site.

Margaret Atwood Event – Ticket Presale

In Conversation with Margaret Atwood is an event happening in Wellinton and Auckland on 10 & 11 Feb 2020 respectively. The promoters describe it as an “unmissable evening of conversation, discussion and Q & A with one of the most vital authors of her generation, as Margaret Atwood shares her signature insight, humour and intellect.”

The Ticketmaster Presale for this event starts at 12:00pm noon Monday 25 November, and ends at 10:59am Friday 29 November 2019, strictly subject to availability. The bookings link is https://www.ticketmaster.co.nz/margaret-atwood-tickets/artist/757852

Talk : “Reality vs fantasy in children’s fiction”

A public talk on Reality vs fantasy in children’s fiction is being hosted by Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection and National Library of New Zealand. The following is the info from their FB page.

“When Eirlys Hunter finished her first Junior fiction manuscript in 1997, a publisher rejected it on the grounds that ‘children don’t want fantasy, there’s no demand for it.’ JK Rowling soon proved that publisher wrong, and since then there’s been an explosion in fiction for children that is set in worlds that diverge from the reality of their lived experience. Why is this?

In this informal talk Eirlys Hunter will discuss what fantasy is, and speculate on what fantasy can offer readers (and writers) that realism cannot.

About the speaker:
Eirlys Hunter has published seven books for children, and her most recent book The Mapmaker’s Race was a finalist in the 2019 NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults. She teaches Writing for Children at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington

Where: Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon, Wellington
When: Tuesday, 22 October, 2019
5:30pm for drinks and nibbles, 6:00pm talk
A gold coin donation from non-members is appreciated.”

2020 GUFF Call for Nominations Europe to Australasia

GUFF is the Going Under (or Get Up-and-over) Fan Fund which transports SF fans from Europe to Australasia (and vice versa).

Nominations in the race to send a European fan to Worldcon in Wellington, New Zealand (29 July-2 August) are open to anyone who was active in fandom prior to January 2018.

Depending on the length of trip they’re able to make, the winner could also consider visiting other parts of New Zealand and Australia to visit fans. The winner will also be required to take over the administration of the fund for the next northbound and southbound races.

Lots more information is available on the Oz Fan Funds GUFF page. Even if you don’t wish to run for this yourself, give some thought to who might be a suitable candidate – perhaps you could offer to nominate them.

CoNZealand to host 1945 Retro Hugos

Reposting another CoNZealand press release. For your info, SFFANZ news will not necessarily be reporting all such press releases. If you want to get the full set, we advise you to subscribe at their web site. And of course we are interested in other sf/f/h related events going on around the country – please let us know about anything you may hear of.

——–Press release
CoNZealand will present the Retro Hugo Awards for 1945, to acknowledge notable works published in 1944, CoNZealand co-chairs, Norman Cates and Kelly Buehler announced.

The Hugos are the most prestigious award in the science fiction and fantasy genres. First presented in 1953, they honour literature, media and fan activities and have become the key event held during the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon).

Since 1996, Worldcon committees also have had the option of presenting Retrospective (Retro) awards to honour works published in the earlier years of Worldcon, which were established in 1939, when no Hugos were awarded.

The 2019 Irish Worldcon, held in Dublin last month, presented the 1944 Retro Hugos for the 1943 calendar year. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Ray Bradbury were amongst the winners.

“Some of the works created during the World War II years have become classics and it is a great opportunity to be able to formally celebrate them,” said Cates and Buehler.

Nominations for the 1945 Retro Hugos will open at the same time as the 2020 Hugo Award nominations.

In addition to the Hugos and Retro Hugos, CoNZealand will host the Sir Julius Vogel Awards that recognise excellence in science fiction, fantasy, or horror works created by New Zealanders and New Zealand residents.

CoNZealand Assumes Role as Next Worldcon

With Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon having ended its five-day run, CoNZealand has picked up the reins as host of the next World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon).

CoNZealand will be the 78th Worldcon and will take place from Wednesday, July 29 to Sunday, August 2, 2020. Guests of Honour are the authors Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon, New Zealand artist Greg Broadmore, and fandom star Rose Mitchell. George R.R. Martin, a longtime friend of Worldcon, will be Toastmaster.

New Zealand is the second southern hemisphere country ever to host a Worldcon, following Australia, where four Worldcons have taken place. New Zealand’s own National Science Fiction Convention has been running since 1979, and the country has attracted significant fan tourism since the release of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, which were filmed and produced in New Zealand.

“We’re excited to be able to bring one of the world’s most important science fiction conventions to New Zealand fans, and bring the international science fiction community to Middle Earth,” said CoNZealand Co-Chairs Norman Cates and Kelly Buehler.

Dublin 2019 sold out, with more than 5,800 members attending and more than 7,380 memberships sold in total including supporters. In addition, more than 500 day passes were sold.

“It has been a thrill to welcome fans to Ireland and I want to thank everyone who contributed to the experience,” said Dublin 2019 chairman James Bacon. “That includes programme participants, volunteers, and all the members, as well as venue staff. We wish CoNZealand every success with New Zealand’s debut Worldcon.”

[Based on a press release]

Zephyr Short Story Competition

The excellent folk at the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) sent us some information about the inaugural Zephyr Short Story Competition. All the details can be found at zephyrstories.com, but in essence it is a short story competition open to NZ residents with open and junior divisions.

Now normally we wouldn’t post this info, it not having a specific sf/f/h connection. But the NZSA people did ask very nicely and it got us thinking about how many genre authors there are out there – just think about how many aspiring authors attended workshops at Geysercon. So spread the word among your networks and get them to support this new competition by sending them some properly excellent speculative fiction short stories.