• Get Involved–Join the Core!

    Get Involved–Join the Core!

    The SpecFicNZ AGM is coming up in September, and that’s the time we choose our core committee for the coming year. Fancy piloting the Starship SpecFicNZ? This is your chance.

    Being on the Core is about more than organising events, attending meetings, and doing all the administrative tasks to keep the organisation running (although that stuff is vitally important!). Being on the Core is a great opportunity to meet other speculative writers and work with them on projects that support all speculative writers in Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s an opportunity to learn more about writing and publishing. It’s an opportunity to direct the professional organisation that supports you. It’s an opportunity to network with writers in New Zealand and around the world.

    As with anything, you get out of it what you put in, and being on the Core is a great way to make the most of your membership.

    And of course, the organisation can’t run without members willing to serve on the Core. We need you. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been a member of SpecFicNZ for ten years or ten minutes. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve published fifty books or none. What’s important is your willingness to give your time and enthusiasm to the organisation’s initiatives. I guarantee that no one who’s ever served on the Core felt prepared for the job when they started. We all took a leap of faith and put ourselves out there, and in the process we’ve learned so much. You can do it too.

    In a few short weeks, we’ll be asking for nominations for the 2022/23 Core Committee. Consider stepping up and nominating yourself. The Core meets monthly via Zoom. Time commitment aside from meetings depends on your position on the Core and what initiatives are underway. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] if you have questions, are keen to volunteer, or need more information.


  • New Release! Auckland Allies 4: Wolf Park

    New Release! Auckland Allies 4: Wolf Park

    Auckland Allies 4: Wolf Park by Mike Reeves-McMillan.

    Technomagical ninjas versus Nazi werewolves in a desperate struggle for the soul of the city.

    Three times now, the Auckland Allies have barely managed to turn their modest magical powers and their hometown advantage into victory against the body-snatching sorcerers of the Ennead. But now their opponents have sent a Wolfmeister, who’s converting innocent citizens into ravening beasts.

    With their leader injured and losing his grip, and their personal struggles threatening to drive them apart, can the team manage one more win against their most challenging foe so far?


  • New release! Auckland Allies 5: Memorial Museum

    New release! Auckland Allies 5: Memorial Museum

    Auckland Allies 5: Memorial Museum by Mike Reeves-McMillan.

    How far will the Allies go to defend their city?

    It’s only a matter of time until the increasingly unhinged Ennead launch another attack. The Auckland Allies want to empower their associates to resist it, but that desire puts them into direct conflict with the misdirected zeal of the Guardians.

    A magic-infused Napoleonic sword may hold the key to harnessing the power of the city against their enemies… but only if they can get around the curse laid on it, and find a way to use its sinister power for good.

    (This is the final book in the Auckland Allies series.)


  • Aftermath Contributor Gary Nelson

    Aftermath Contributor Gary Nelson

    Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand is SpecFicNZ’s new anthology, available here.

    The anthology explores Aotearoa in a post-apocalyptic world. Disasters have occurred around the country and the world. New Zealand, in our isolation down under, may have escaped most of what happened around the world, but it was pretty bad out there. As Kiwis are apt to do, though, we’re “getting over it”. You know, she’ll be right …

    This is not just an anthology of disaster stories. The pages are filled with hope in the form of short stories, poems, flash fiction and artwork about what comes afterwards. The contributions are exclusively from SpecFicNZ members and reflect the diversity and breadth of this country we love to call home … even if the edges are a bit torn and tattered.

    We’re interviewing all the contributors to the anthology so you can get to know the brave souls who’ve battled zombies, aliens, earthquakes, volcanoes and more to bring you the stories you’ll find between its covers.

    Today, we’re chatting with Gary Nelson.

    Aftermath includes a variety of disasters set all around Aotearoa New Zealand. What disaster / location combination did you write about and why?

    I wrote about a world-wide nuclear and chemical warfare catastrophe that had marginal impacts on NZ. Well, lots of people died here too, but we’re pretty much the last ones left. Being isolated has a few advantages. The rest of the world is a wasteland.

    I wanted to explore life-long friendships in the face of disaster (and beyond). It’s a ghost story, of sorts – I’m not prejudiced against the living-impaired. They’ve got feelings too.

    Oh, and I was a co-editor and co-narrator of the anthology as well, which was a very rewarding experience.

    How do you think the Kiwi approach to life after disaster is unique?

    In general Kiwi folk tend to be resilient, adaptable and frankly a bit cheeky, but that’s a good thing because humour helps when the days are dark. They accept a lot  of what goes on around them, but they also don’t put up with whinging – take a concrete pill and let’s get on getting on.

    What are your most valuable post-apocalyptic skills?

    I grew up through Boy Scouts in Canada and spent 25 years as an adult leader there and here, so I’ve got a few practical survival skills under my belt. Actually, that includes a few kilos of extra padding, so I wouldn’t start to really suffer from hunger for a few days… maybe a week.  Bit of roughing it would probably do me a world of good. I loved tramping and making survival shelters, things like that. I still have my survival kit handy… and my pocket umbrella, but that’s another story.

    They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Being a writer, you must have lots of pens. What creative use would you put them to in a post-apocalyptic New Zealand?

    Maps and lists. Maps to stay away from the worst of what’s out there. And lists… you’ve got to have lists if you want to survive. Thinking ahead, having something to look forward to, and a bit of a plan. Which includes finding some more paper to scribble on with my pens… I’ve always got a notebook handy, even when it’s not the end of the world. But birch bark will do in a pinch.

    Tell us a little about your other writing?

    I write in several very different genres – adult Science Fiction under the pen name J. J. Mathews, starting with the Taylor Neeran Chronicles. It’s an exploration of how much influence a single human female can have on the future history of our unsuspecting galaxy.

    Otherwise I’ve written and published a number of Project Management books – one for adults, and the six-novel Project Kids Adventures (PKA) series for kids ages 9-12 (or 30-99). The PKA series has been translated into Portuguese, Japanese and Simplified Chinese, with translations in progress for Brazilian Portuguese, Latin American and Continental Spanish, Mongolian, and Korean.

    The PKA series is also being adapted to Manga graphic novel format, wonderfully illustrated by Hiroaki Ishihara, with books 1 & 2 now available. The PKA-manga books are also available in several languages; English, Japanese and Portuguese (to start with).

    What are you working on now?

    I’ll be publishing the 6th volume in the Taylor Neeran Chronicles in the next few months (Incubation), and getting started writing book #7, the final in the series (Invasion). And while I’m doing that, I’ll be working up some ideas for future SF books and other series.

    I’m also busy publishing the various translations and manga adaptations of the PKA series; aside from the Mongolian and Simplified Chinese versions, I self publish everything else. All told, I’ve currently got 39 titles in print, with more coming as the various translations are completed.

    Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

    Science Fiction: jjmathews.com

    Project Management for kids: projectkidsadventures.com

    Project Management for adults: gazzasguides.com

    Just me: garymnelson.com


  • Aftermath Contributor Erica Challis

    Aftermath Contributor Erica Challis

    Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand is SpecFicNZ’s new anthology, available here.

    The anthology explores Aotearoa in a post-apocalyptic world. Disasters have occurred around the country and the world. New Zealand, in our isolation down under, may have escaped most of what happened around the world, but it was pretty bad out there. As Kiwis are apt to do, though, we’re “getting over it”. You know, she’ll be right …

    This is not just an anthology of disaster stories. The pages are filled with hope in the form of short stories, poems, flash fiction and artwork about what comes afterwards. The contributions are exclusively from SpecFicNZ members and reflect the diversity and breadth of this country we love to call home … even if the edges are a bit torn and tattered.

    We’re interviewing all the contributors to the anthology so you can get to know the brave souls who’ve battled zombies, aliens, earthquakes, volcanoes and more to bring you the stories you’ll find between its covers.

    Today, we’re chatting with Erica Challis.

     

    Aftermath includes a variety of disasters set all around Aotearoa New Zealand. What disaster / location combination did you write about and why?

    I wrote about plastic choking our environment, especially in the Great Pacific Gyre, and a pair of scientists whose attempts to solve the problem come into conflict with corporate greed.

    How do you think the Kiwi approach to life after disaster is unique?

    We all like to think that our approach to disaster is unique, but there is a commonality in the way people all over the world band together to confront disasters. A beautiful essay I read in the past few years talked about how Covid destroyed our notion that we are an economy first, a society second. In the past few years New Zealand’s shown an ability to recognise that and put people first.

    What are your most valuable post-apocalyptic skills?

    Gardening. But I’m under no illusions about what hard and constant work it would be to grow enough to support myself, let alone trade for what I haven’t got.

    They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Being a writer, you must have lots of pens. What creative use would you put them to in a post-apocalyptic New Zealand?

    They tell you never to put things in your ears. But come on, who hasn’t stuck a pen or pencil in their ear and swivelled it around to get at what’s inside? That’s about all a pen’s good for, once the ink’s run out. Oh, and stabbing people. They never see that coming.

    Tell us a little about your other writing?

    I’ve written and presented scripts for Radio New Zealand Concert, and I write programme notes for orchestral concerts. When I was an editor of TheOneRing.net, I wrote articles about Tolkien and fantasy which were eventually collected into a couple of books, along with articles by other TOR.n writers. A couple of years ago a bunch of writers who met through the Star Wars fandom collaborated to put out a Patreon-funded online zine, Lemon&Lime, for a year or so.

    What are you working on now?

    I’m working on some short stories, mostly science fiction, and occasionally flinging a couple of big romantic space drama novels at agencies and publishers. No nibbles yet. Apparently the appetite for Space Downton Abbey is smaller than I thought.

    Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

    Until I can figure out how to build a website, you’d be out of luck there.


  • Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand

    Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand

    SpecFicNZ is pleased to announce the publication of Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand, our new anthology, available here.

    The anthology explores Aotearoa in a post-apocalyptic world. Disasters have occurred around the country and the world. New Zealand, in our isolation down under, may have escaped most of what happened around the world, but it was pretty bad out there. As Kiwis are apt to do, though, we’re “getting over it”. You know, she’ll be right …

    This is not just an anthology of disaster stories. The pages are filled with hope in the form of short stories, poems, flash fiction and artwork about what comes afterwards. The contributions are exclusively from SpecFicNZ members (Check out all the blog posts about our contributors!) and reflect the diversity and breadth of this country we love to call home … even if the edges are a bit torn and tattered.

    Aftermath is available from most online retailers. Get your copy today by clicking here!


  • Aftermath Contributor Miriam Hurst

    Aftermath Contributor Miriam Hurst

    Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand is SpecFicNZ’s new anthology, available here.

    The anthology explores Aotearoa in a post-apocalyptic world. Disasters have occurred around the country and the world. New Zealand, in our isolation down under, may have escaped most of what happened around the world, but it was pretty bad out there. As Kiwis are apt to do, though, we’re “getting over it”. You know, she’ll be right …

    This is not just an anthology of disaster stories. The pages are filled with hope in the form of short stories, poems, flash fiction and artwork about what comes afterwards. The contributions are exclusively from SpecFicNZ members and reflect the diversity and breadth of this country we love to call home … even if the edges are a bit torn and tattered.

    We’re interviewing all the contributors to the anthology so you can get to know the brave souls who’ve battled zombies, aliens, earthquakes, volcanoes and more to bring you the stories you’ll find between its covers.

    Today, we’re chatting with Miriam Hurst

    Aftermath includes a variety of disasters set all around Aotearoa New Zealand. What disaster / location combination did you write about and why?

    I picked Auckland, where I’ve lived on and off for nearly 20 years, and went for four different disasters – as I have a secret fondness for structure they can be described, in order, as water, fire, earth and air.

    How do you think the Kiwi approach to life after disaster is unique?

    What the last few years have shown is that despite our differences the vast majority of us still consider ourselves to be part of a community and not just individuals. I don’t think this is unique, but it’s not universal either.

    What are your most valuable post-apocalyptic skills?

    Obviously this depends on the apocalypse. Ideally I will hope for one in which savage hordes of books roam the landscape snapping up the unwary but can be tamed and controlled by agile speed-readers.

    They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Being a writer, you must have lots of pens. What creative use would you put them to in a post-apocalyptic New Zealand?

    I am actually very good at losing pens. Possibly I can use this to find the secret portal they escape through and lead everyone to a better (and pen-equipped) alternate universe.

    Tell us a little about your other writing?

    I have published a few short stories under this name and some other sf/f pieces under a couple of pen names.

    What are you working on now?

    The inevitable novel project(s).


  • Review: The 716, by S.J. Pratt

    Reviewed by Robinne Weiss.

    Andy wants nothing more than to be an engineer. Unfortunately in this version of the future, men aren’t allowed to study engineering … or anything else. When he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Olivia Lim, daughter of the ruler of Meliora, he finds an ally willing to break the law to help him.

    As Andy learns there are other men like him who want the opportunities open to women, he broadens his dreams to encompass equality for all genders. Can he convince his prejudiced and privileged friend Olivia to support his cause, or will her position and her own dreams cause her to reject him?

    In the style of The Lunar Chronicles and A Face Like Glass, The 716 twists real-life society in order to illuminate and examine prejudice and injustice. Though there are many examples of the swapped gender roles trope in modern literature, Sarah Pratt’s approach is intriguing, in that the book alludes to the justification for the removal of men from roles of power in society. I liked the fact that there was some thought given to how this fictional society ended up in its unbalanced state. The inclusion of New Zealand landmarks also provides a sense of history to the story, lending credibility to the implied backstory.

    I appreciate how the characters’ personal journeys come in fits and starts as they confront and ultimately overcome their own prejudices, and I appreciate that all the characters have prejudices and misconceptions to address—even the downtrodden men.

    The book’s social messages come through loud and clear. For my adult tastes, the drumming of the message was a bit heavy handed, but I have no doubt that the YA audience at which the book is aimed will absolutely love it. The engaging characters and intriguing world will draw readers in, and the social message is an important one.


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