DROP BEARS AND TANIWHA (Australian & New Zealand Horror News) – July 2020

[This column originally appeared in the HWA‘s monthly newsletter (July), and is republished here with permission.]

Cancer can get fucked – but it’s not going to go away easily.

The Aussie Speculative Fiction Group are putting together an anthology called Stories of Survival, inspired by Aiki Flinthart, a member of the ASF family who is battling cancer. All proceeds will go to the Melanoma Institute of Australia.

ASF ‘have had so many offers of support in terms of cover design, reading the submissions, and editing the accepted stories that it’s been overwhelming! But now we need your stories.

‘We want stories with a theme of “survival” from every speculative fiction subgenre (though please, not too dark or gory). Try to keep them under 3,000 words, and get them to us by Monday the 28th of September.’ E-mail submissions to aussiespeculativefiction@gmail.com with the subject line ‘Stories of Survival’

More information at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/391485377996127/permalink/881136889030971/



Some exciting news from Monster Fest, Australia’s premiere genre film festival:

Do you have an idea for a genre film that is both original and truly terrifying? Entries are now open for Australia’s ultimate genre film development initiative…AACTA Pitch: Isolation in partnership with Monster Pictures.

Monster Pictures are teaming up with the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) to bring Aussie writers, directors and writer/director teams an opportunity to pitch their concept for a feature that draws on the theme of ISOLATION.

Isolation is one of the most powerful tools for horror and genre movies to build atmosphere and tension from iconic contemporary horror films like The Babadook to gripping Wolf Creek, to the dystopian world of I Am Mother and recent box office hit The Invisible Man.

On offer to the winner is $10,000 in development funds and an Australian theatrical distribution agreement with Monster Pictures Distribution, as the first steps toward the project being fully financed and produced. The winner will also be invited to attend the 2020 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel in Sydney, December 2020. More info, including submission requirements, can be found at: https://www.monsterfest.com.au/aactapitch-1/


New Releases

Outback Horrors Down Under, an anthology of Antipodean terrors, will be released by Things in the Well Publications in August 2020. Featuring stories by Australian and New Zealand writers G.M. Hague, Robert Hood, Tabatha Wood, Dan Rabarts, Simon Dewar, Lucy Sussex, Marty Young, and more to be announced soon. Be sure to like the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/outbackhorrors/ to keep up with all the author announcements and release information, including pre-orders.


Marty Young’s debut collection Behind the Midnight Blinds with other devilish things (Things in the Well Publications) is also scheduled for an August release, and will contain a collection of new and previously published flash, short, and long fiction tales, with illustrations once more by long-time collaborator David Schembri (who also illustrated Marty’s two previous novels).

For more information on this exciting collection, check out the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BehindMidnightBlinds/ for all the latest updates.


All the Laird’s Men by Sir Julius Vogel-nominated Tabatha Wood (Wild Wood Books) is available for pre-order at: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08CXPTR7C

Corporal Hopkins just wants to go home. After many years serving with the Laird’s Men, he deserves his freedom. But while the long war that fractured New Britain is over, Raiders in the Scottish forests still pose a deadly threat.

Charged with dismantling a roving horde, Hopkins and his elite unit are outnumbered and woefully unprepared for the real horror that awaits them. From the shadowy depths of the great Loch Ness, an ancient evil is rising.

When the battle for survival in an unforgiving country never ends, Hopkins knows it doesn’t matter which side you’re on. In the darkness, everybody bleeds the same.


Car Crash Weather (Dark Crib Publications) by Matthew Tait is available from https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08C6XNRPL/

Horror writer Michael Richards is disturbed from his daily grind by blood dripping from the ceiling, which steadily worsens.

Soon, the blood becomes Michael’s personal metaphor in a battle of denial …


Flyaway by three-time World Fantasy and one-time Hugo shortlisted illustrator and Ditmar award winning writer Kathleen Jennings was published July 28 by Tor.com. Available from: https://publishing.tor.com/flyaway-kathleenjennings/9781250260499/

Strange what chooses to flourish here. Which plants. Which stories.

Bettina Scott lives a tidy, quiet life in Runagate, tending to her delicate mother and their well-kept garden after her father and brothers disappear – until a note arrives that sends Bettina into the scrublands beyond, searching for answers about what really happened to this town, and to her family.

For this is a land where superstitions hunt and folk tales dream – and power is there for the taking, for those willing to look.

‘In spellbinding, lyrical prose Jennings lulls readers into this rich, dreamlike world. Lovers of contemporary fairy tales and magical realism will find this a masterful work.’ Publishers Weekly

A Sanctuary of Sorts: & Other Stories by G.W. Cook (Brain Tree Books) was published June 27 and is available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BYB3XLD/. With nine bleak tales set in New Zealand suburbs, countryside, small towns and factories, GW Cook stakes his claim as a writer of edgy literary fiction with this debut collection. His deceptively simple prose portrays a broken world, where the banality of life and the intrusion of The Western Dream is the disease, and the merciless response of nature, is the cure.

The View From the End of the World by Sean Williams is available for free from Andromeda Spaceways Magazine (https://andromedaspaceways.com/product/vfteotw/). From the website: ‘In order to help our passengers through these troubled times, Andromeda Spaceways is proud to present some apocalyptic short stories by Sean Williams to entertain you while we lock you in your quarters. Each story has been given a rating from eleven (hopeful) to one (get out the tissues and prepare to be depressed) so you can tailor your reading experience to how you feel.’


Protégé by Australian Shadows Award finalist Anthony Ferguson is now available at: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08CCPBXT9/. A violent tale of the troubled relationship between three generations of men, one of whom is dead.


Ominous: A Collection of Dark Tales by Ian J Middleton was published June and is available at https://www.amazon.com/Ominous-Collection-Tales-Ian-Middleton-ebook/dp/B08BKPC7TM/. If you’re craving a hit of horror, itching for a taste of terror, or desperate for a dose of dark fiction, this collection will satisfy that burning hunger within.

Eli Carver 2: Recall Night by Alan Baxter (Grey Matter Press) is out on August 25th and up for pre-order now: https://www.amazon.com.au/Recall-Night-Carver-Supernatural-Thriller-ebook/dp/B08BX14NG7


Dimension6 issue 20 is now available for free download from: http://ow.ly/LyCH30azLHk. This issue features stories by Simon Petrie, Charlotte Platt, Dominic Teague, and Ben Peek. Well worth checking out.

Aurealis #131 is available from https://aurealis.com.au/store/aurealis-131/. With stories by Joshua J Newnes, J Ashley-Smith, Davide Mana, and Dirk Strasser, plus reviews and articles and more.


Little Sneaky Bits

Jason Franks drops in to let us know that all three Argonautica Press titles (plus future publications) should be available in bookstores throughout Australia and New Zealand from August through a deal with Novella Distribution! More at: https://argonauticapress.com/

The 9th amazing issue of Retro Sci-Fi Tales can be ordered now on Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/467328161/retro-sci-fi-tales-9), with exclusive bonus stretch goal items. This 52 page, full colour sci-fi anthology comic by Dark Oz Comics (http://www.darkoz.com.au/) features 6 stories and 8 pin-up/cover pages from 18 talented creators, all in the old-school, retro style fun of the classic era of science fiction.

Australian writer, editor, journalist, and former AHWA-mentor, Jason Nahrung is now offering manuscript and editing services. From Jason’s website: ‘This builds on a 30-year career in newspaper journalism, much as a sub-editor with skills in grammar, punctuation, spelling and clarity of expression, and a decade of providing editing and manuscript services to professional bodies, publishers and fiction writers. My own experience as a published writer further informs my practice.’ For more information about how Jason can improve your writing, check out https://jasonnahrung.com/editing-and-manuscript-services/

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