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Aurealis #87

Aurealis #87

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Aurealis #87

152 página
1 hora
Lançado em:
Feb 1, 2016


Aurealis starts off the year in supernova mode and intends to ramp up. Aurealis #87, the first global issue, has even more science fiction and fantasy. Dirk Strasser points out the dangers of treating people like Orcs. Sean Monaghan opens with ‘The Root Bridges of Haemae’, a resonant off-world story featuring a truly alien culture. Just when you’ve recovered from the breakneck SF/fantasy/military fiction hybrid that is Ian Bell’s ‘Elven Blades', brace yourself for Deborah Sheldon’s nail-biting ride through the white wastelands of Antarctica, ‘Across the White Desert’.

We interview Trudi Canavan, whose career has sky-rocketed from Aurealis Art Director to best-selling fantasy author. Gillian Polack looks at Nevil Shute’s science fiction novels. Michael Pryor uncovers the life of Clifford Menelaus, giving us another slice of Secret History of Australia. There are the usual reviews of the latest releases, and to top it all off Deanne Sheldon-Collins will have readers salivating as she looks at The Year Ahead in Australian Speculative Fiction.

Lançado em:
Feb 1, 2016

Sobre o autor

Dirk Strasser has written over 30 books for major publishers in Australia and has been editing magazines and anthologies since 1990. He won a Ditmar for Best Professional Achievement and has been short-listed for the Aurealis and Ditmar Awards a number of times. His fantasy novels – including Zenith and Equinox – were originally published by Pan Macmillan in Australia and Heyne Verlag in Germany. His children’s horror/fantasy novel, Graffiti, was published by Scholastic. His short fiction has been translated into a number of languages, and his most recent publications are “The Jesus Particle” in Cosmos magazine, “Stories of the Sand” in Realms of Fantasy and “The Vigilant” in Fantasy magazine. He founded the Aurealis Awards and has co-published Aurealis magazine for over 20 years.

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Amostra do Livro

Aurealis #87 - Dirk Strasser (Editor)


Edited by Dirk Strasser

Published by Chimaera Publications at Smashwords

Copyright of this compilation Chimaera Publications 2016

Copyright on each story remains with the contributor.

EPUB version ISBN 978-1-922031-43-3

ISSN 2200-307X (electronic)


Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the authors, editors and artists.

Hard copy back issues of Aurealis can be obtained from the Aurealis website:



From the Cloud—Dirk Strasser

The Root Bridges of Haemae—Sean Monaghan

Elven Blades—Ian Bell

Across the White Desert—Deborah Sheldon

Plain Speaking with Trudi Canavan—Chris Large

Sky Politics: Nevil Shute's In the Wet—Gillian Polack

Secret History of Australia—Clifford Menelaus—Researched by Michael Pryor


The Year Ahead in Australian Speculative Fiction—2016—Deanne Sheldon-Collins

Next Issue


From the Cloud

Dirk Strasser

Traditionally high fantasy has been the battleground between good and evil. At the centre of the conflict is the personification of the ultimate evil: The Dark Lord, the Shadow, Sauron, Morgoth, Voldemort, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. But the Dark Lord usually doesn’t engage in battle directly. He leaves this to his minions. Creatures born of evil are the Dark Lord’s foot soldiers: Orcs, goblins, Uruk-Hai, trolls and balrogs. And who usually lines up against them? Humans. Often conflicted humans. People who are noble and brave, but also cowardly and corruptible. People who are wise but can also be foolish. People who need to find the best in themselves to defeat the ultimate evil. It’s not hard to see why this sort of fantasy has come to dominate popular culture. Who can resist the ultimate battle? Who doesn’t want to see the Dark Lord defeated? The stakes are higher in high fantasy than in any other literature.

Serious problems, however, occur when the concepts underpinning the high fantasy battleground start to leach into real life; when the equivalents of Dark Lords and Orcs make their way into politics. In September 2015, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott got himself into all sorts of trouble speaking about ‘different levels of evil’ when comparing IS behaviour with historical atrocities. That was on top of his analysis of the Syrian civil war as ‘It’s not goodies versus baddies, it’s baddies versus baddies!’

Of course, the prince of the high fantasy approach to real world problems was the US President George W Bush, when, in his State of the Union address, he first identified the ‘Axis of Evil:’ Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. He went on to make many high fantasy references during his presidency, including

The evil ones have roused a might nation, a mighty land.’ 12 November 2001

We're determined to fight this evil... We act now, because we must lift this dark threat from our age and save generations to come.’ 6 November 2001

Our struggle is going to be long and difficult. But we will prevail. We will win. Good will overcome evil… we are fighting evil, and we will continue to fight evil, and we will not stop until we defeat evil.’ 2 November 2001

This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil. But good will prevail.’ 12 September 2001

In April 2003, the US Government passed up Iran’s proposed concessions, which included making peace with Israel, saying ‘We don’t speak to evil.’ Really? Iranians are evil? Created that way like Orcs, as a perversion of humanity by the Dark Lord?

History is littered with people who have done appalling things, totally convinced that they are right. The problem with treating people like Orcs is that it bestows the moral right to do absolutely anything to them. To be ruthless in unconditional certainty. No discussion. End of story.

But it shouldn’t be the end of the story.

We should all heed the warning sirens any time a politician starts talking about evil. Don’t let it go unchallenged. Real life isn’t high fantasy. It’s not hard to keep the two separate. None of us has been created by a Dark Lord. People aren’t Orcs. #PeopleArentOrcs

All the best from the cloud.

Dirk Strasser


Back to Contents

The Root Bridges of Haemae

Sean Monaghan

Human females survive the birth of their children.


Ribolee ran this revelation around in her head again and again as she walked home from their camp.

Human females survive the birth.

And not only that, they sometimes have just one child. Imagine. A single child. How could that be? How could a species come to be with such a clear hindrance to its own survival?

Around her, the jungle dripped. The midday rains had been shorter today. She liked this time of year: summer almost here, but still cooler and the rains diminishing. The full seasons were far wilder: the dry of summer when the ground became bristling and crackly, the leaves darkened and swelled, animals howled and rushed; the wet chill of winter when the rivers burgeoned, the ground became a swamp and the rain could last for suns on end.

The path was still spongy underfoot. She saw a scootsnail slithering up a rough trunk and she hurried over. It saw her coming and accelerated, but she'd been catching mollusks for years. She slipped around the back of the tree, deftly stepping between the buttress roots. The scootsnail's antenna eyes bulged seeing her appear from the wrong side.

Ribolee stabbed out with her index talon, expertly stabbing the hapless creature through its soft brain. It wriggled for a moment as its body dulled from orange and blue to a sad, dead gray.

Holding the shell in her talons she wrapped her lips around the soft body and sucked, using both tips of her tongue to pull the animal from its shell. It was older—should have been smarter—and tasted like it. Tough and dry. A year ago it would have been sweet and soft. Still, she wasn't one to complain: she'd eaten too many papo roots and Katanca's jerky over the last few months.

She made an effort to savour the taste, letting the glutinous body to swirl through her mouth for a moment. Tossing the shell away, she got back on the path, thoughts swirling again with the revelation from Abigail.

Human females. Amazing.

Kantanca and Siluone were going to be stunned. Just stunned. Ribolee relished the thought of the expressions on their hands when she told them.

* * *

Dawn Morgan looked over the day's recordings. Again everything had screwed up. It was ludicrous to send teams out under-equipped. The data readers were from Mico-Mitsui. Very well-known for rugged electronics for off-world work. For off-world work in deserts.

Haemae was as far from desert as it was possible to get. Its sheer lack of anything close to desert was enough for a dozen PhDs in itself. Even the polar regions blossomed with tundra and hardy trees.

‘Problems?’ Abigail said. She'd been in the portajon throwing up again. Dawn wondered why they sent people with poor constitutions to planets with such burgeoning biospheres. Despite all the tablets and nanobiots, there was still something to make the unwary wish they'd never come.

‘Stupid scatter on these systems. I'm not getting any useful data.’ The remotes were spread out over sixty square kilometres, supposedly sending huge amounts of telemetry back. Temperature, humidity, lux, cloud cover, rainfall, flora activity, fauna activity, video and still images.

‘Let me take a look.’

‘Go ahead.’ Dawn passed the light yellow box to her colleague. ‘Good luck.’

Abigail took the box and sat on the stool opposite. She looked at the sky. ‘Think it's going to rain again?’

‘Not today.’ Around them the jungle was filled with the chatter and

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