SpecFicNooZ for October, 2017
Members, if you have news to share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear about it.
New Signing! IFWG Publishing Australia has bought Wicked by Blood: The Kingfisher’s Debt by member Kura Carpenter. The novel is an urban fantasy set in Dunedin, and is a mix of fantasy, mystery, murder and satanic rituals. It’s scheduled for release in the second half of 2018. Read more about it here. Congratulations, Kura!
Core member Darian Smith is heading to Australia next month to share his expertise with Aussie writers. Please share this with your colleagues in Brisbane and Adelaide. Darian’s latest book, Starlight’s Children, the long-awaited sequel to Kalanon’s Rising was released on 8 October. Congratulations Darian, and don’t keep us waiting so long next time, please!
Amazon Secrets from 2 Bestselling USA Authors
Sunday 24 September at 2pm
Benefit from the international publishing experience of two bestselling American science fiction authors, Chris Kennedy and Mark Wandrey.
Rising Above the Noise: Maximizing Your Profits with Amazon is a free seminar (gold coin donation for venue hire) at Wellington Central City Library, seminar room, mezzanine floor.
- Understanding the Amazon algorithm
- Best practices for pre-launch
- Amazon tricks for launching a book.
- Six strategies for selling more books on Amazon
A bestselling Science Fiction/Fantasy author, speaker, and publisher, Chris Kennedy is the author of the award-winning #1 bestseller, Self-Publishing for Profit: How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Into the Stores. Chris has coached hundreds of authors on how to self-publish, published nine authors under his own small press, sold over 100,000 books and had two #1 Amazon bestsellers.
Review by Piper Mejia
The Book Club by Alan Baxter, draws the reader into a search for ultimate understanding; but the days are ticking down. Protagonist, Jason, is a devoted son, husband and father, who is forced to confront what he knows about his missing wife, her hidden life and the secrets of the mind. As he pulls the pieces of their lives apart to hunt for answers, Jason discovers that love and hate can bind a person for eternity.
For lovers of dark worlds, this novella will take you by surprise. The initial missing persons storyline takes a sharp turn into the obscurity of zeitgeist. Masquerading as a book club member, Jason discovers his wife has fallen into a group harnessing the power of time and space, and has gotten lost in her attempt to find herself.
Review by Piper Mejia
Crow Shine is a collection of short stories by Alan Baxter. Starting with the title tale, Baxter takes you on a journey of cursed objects and their even more cursed owners. From moonshine and guitars to a street side toy maker and a pair of stolen dice, each story is crafted to make any reader think twice about the power of possessions.
Though the male protagonists are easily recognisable as good time Charlies or the drinking buddy at the bar, the women are less so, but perhaps that’s to be expected as maybe women are not so easily lead astray by the thirst for power and fame.
However, in each story Baxter has shown his skill in observing the human condition; that all we want is to be noticed, to have our lives mean something, and that, in the end, there is nothing we won’t sacrifice for the people we love.
I admire the variation in his characters, his clever world play and his skill in taking an idea to a place you never thought of. For something to read when your life is too busy for a novel, I recommend you give Crow Shine your time.
Review by Robinne Weiss
Frankie N. Stein wants to be a famous inventor, but her inventions only get her into trouble. Her monster tomato named Martie grows to the size of a beach ball and terrorises the school, her shrink ray is confiscated by the teacher, her Homeworkulator decides it doesn’t like doing homework, her Megadron hot air balloon monster eats children…But these setbacks only spur Frankie to more wild ideas.
The Frankie Files is a collection of what are essentially journal entries written by a precocious, nerdy girl. Frankie’s voice is distinct, strong, and full of dry humour, though her thought processes are decidedly those of a child—don’t look for coherence or logic in the mind of a six year-old. As in many children’s books, most of the adult characters in The Frankie Files are simply impediments to Frankie’s brilliant ideas. All except one mysterious woman, Ms Xavier, who shows up from time to time to enable and encourage Frankie in her creative scientific pursuits.
Voiceless by EG Wilson
Review by A.J. Ponder
Adelaide Te Ngawai’s voice is stolen, and not just her voice, her ability to communicate. She knows who infected her, Maunga Richards. But why would Maunga give her Vox Pox?
It’s the worst thing imaginable, especially for a writer, but Adelaide’s brother makes her a device to help her cope, and slowly but surely Adelaide begins to claw her life back. Still, nothing about the illness makes any sense, it’s restricted to a small area, and appears to be a man-made condition. But how? And why? Adelaide is determined to unravel the mystery.
Review: Bound by Alan Baxter
Review by Nix Whittaker
Super action packed well-written story. Easy to read but a little darker than I like my books. Not just that but the swearing and other stuff though realistic to the character’s situation is not my thing.
The story is of Alex Caine a street fighter who can see more than meets the eye. A stranger arrives at one of his fights and we basically fall into a quest/the one trope. I like these kinds of tropes so I thought I would enjoy the story more, especially since it was beautifully written. Unfortunately, I also like my stereotypical completely obvious stories to be peppered with more comedy. Also, I like a story that leans more to being able to pass the Bechdel test. I did like Silhouette. She was fun and witty. I’d recommend this book for male readers though and I admit I like my books geared towards either women or at least gender neutral. This reminded me of Ian Fleming. On the outside the main character looks bad ass and cool but the more you delve into the character you realise that he is shallow. I believe the author was aware of this issue and did try to alleviate this as Alex really doesn’t want to be that stereotypical bad ass.
Review: Ferox by Chris Brausch
Review by Nix Whittaker
If all the teenage dystopian texts had a love child with all the darkest space operas you would get Ferox. It is a little wordy but it is clever so I’ll forgive it its verbose nature.
Set a thousand years in the future where the world is pretty much starving to death and China has taken over New Zealand and made everyone into slaves. We follow the story of a few characters on both side so the conflict. We have the desperate and the pragmatic along with the plain just evil but they are pitched to us the reader in a way that makes us not completely hate them.
Night’s End, Book 3 in the Night’s Champion Series by Richard Parry
Review by Frances Duncan
Night’s End, the final in the Nights Champion trilogy, released the first day of Lexicon. I finished reading it the last day of Lexicon. This feels appropriate as the first two were shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel award for Best Novel.
The cast has grown over the series and it’s hard to keep track of everyone. At one point someone appeared and I had no idea who he was till the next scene. There’s someone for everyone; a tough female detective, a powerful young woman, a military woman…do you notice a theme here? There are some guys thrown in too; one of them is even a werewolf (don’t worry there’s a female werewolf too).
At the recent AGM, a number of our Core committee retired, including long-standing Treasurer Immi Paterson-Harkness and our hardworking Secretary, Jean Gilbert. Paul Mannering stood down from the role of President. The organisation would like to thank these colleagues for all the work they have done on our behalf. The incoming Core for 2017-2018 is as follows:
President: Grace Bridges
Treasurer: Paul Mannering
Secretary: Lee Murray
Webmaster: Dan Rabarts
Core: Piper Mejia, Grant Stone, Darian Smith, Woelf Dietrich, Mark English.
Lynelle, when did you get involved in science fiction and fantasy fandom?
I went to my first convention in 1993 – Defcon, with my then-boyfriend (now husband) John Howell. Since then I think I’ve only missed two NZ conventions.
Describe your involvement. In the past. Currently. Does that involvement spill over into your everyday life?
Wow? Where to start? I have chaired two conventions (Cond’Or in 2000 and Icon in 2005) been on the Phoenix Science Fiction club committee since about 2002, and produced the Phoenixine since 2005. I have been involved with SFFANZ since its inception, and administrator of the Sir Julius Vogel Awards since 2003. I guess you could say that with all that, it’s spilled into my everyday life
In recognition of the support of our fan community in encouraging and promoting New Zealand creatives ‒ writers, screenwriters and artists ‒ SpecFicNZ is pleased to announce that it will provide a grant of NZ$300 to the DUFF fund to support delegate Paul Weimer’s attendance at LexiCon New Zealand’s 38th science fiction and fantasy conference which will be held in Taupo from 2-4 June, 2017.
A further NZ$300 grant will go to the FFANZ fund to support New Zealand delegate Lynelle Howell’s attendance at Australia’s speculative fiction convention, Continuum 13, to be held in Melbourne in June 9-12, 2017.
Black Amber: A New Fate & Red Bullets
By Nathan Simpson
(Reviewed by Emma Hart)
For those of us who live in New Zealand, there’s both comfort and surprised delight in spec-fic set in our own country. Nathan Simpson’s Black Amber books start in a world of Vegemite and duvets that will be familiar to many.
Very quickly, however, we’re taken from that world to another, one of magic and medieval weaponry. The books’ central characters, brothers Ricky and Tylor, have come into possession of a mysterious magical artefact, which it appears will compel them to travel from world to world, seeking their own home, leaving every set of attachments they might make along the way. I was reminded of Diana Wynne Jones’s YA novel, The Homeward Bounders.
Auckland Allies, by Mike Reeves-McMillan
Reviewed by Nix Whittaker.
I’m a big fan of stories that represent who we are. I hadn’t realised how important it was to also have stories set in places familiar to us as well. Auckland Allies is set in Auckland where I went to Uni just like Steampunk Sally. The places the Auckland Allies run around is a wallow in nostalgia that was glorious.
Auckland Allies is set in modern times but with people with magic, called practitioners, Tara is a Maker and Sparx is her neighbour. They end up being chased by blokes in black all because Tara did some work for Sally. A mistake on their part as instead of keeping their plans secret they made enemies. Okay, they aren’t powerful enemies but they are resourceful.