I’ve got a story in the latest issue of Aurealis, which also happens to be that magazine’s 20th anniversary edition as you’ll note from the stylish cover detail above.This is very exciting for me, for a couple of reasons.
Aurealis was the first magazine I ever submitted anything to ever, way back in the early nineties, after picking up issues 1 and 2 at my local newsagent in Ballarat. The story in question was a story I’d written as part of my year 11 English creative writing option, which was a six-week class in writing science fiction. It was about a woman fighting a dragon while trying to work out whether the fight was a dream or real (and in the shock! ending! it was revealed that THIS WAS NOT A DREAM!!!).
You will not be surprised when I tell you that a) it was not particularly good and b) it was not accepted for publication. I still have the rejection letter tucked away in my filing cabinet of rejections, and from what I remember it was a very polite and informative checklist of reasons for the story’s rejection, as well as a friendly handwritten note at the bottom. I have a vague memory of submitting a couple more stories as a follow-up, but from memory these stories were both worse in their own ways than my initial submission, and were also accordingly unsuccessful.
20 years later I’ve finally cracked it – not that I’ve spent those 20 years being rejected by Aurealis. The intervening years saw me switch focus from fiction to poetry for the most part, and though I have always enjoyed mashing a bit of the fantastic into my poetry, as a rule I’ve kept to the literary side of the fence, I guess because I thought that readers of poetry might be charmed or impressed when I drop fantastic tropes into my poetry, but that readers of the fantastic would be unimpressed by the way I mix literary tropes into genre writing.
I’ve always wondered, though, how my stories might fly with the speculative crowd, so it’s nice to have my little tale about a boy and his robot rubbing shoulders with the other fantastic authors in this issue. I’ve been flipping thru my contributor’s copy for the last couple of days and I’ve been loving the stuff I’ve read so far, including Jason Fischer’s batshit insane post-apocalyptic Mad-Max-meets-Gilgamesh “gunning for a tinkerman”, and Kirstyn McDermott’s slow-burning, convincing and overall haunting “We All Fall Down”. There’s also a nice potted history of Aurealis‘s beginnings from founding editor Dirk Strasser. I’m looking forward to carrying this baby on the train with me over the next few weeks.
Also v. cool is the fact that each of the stories is prefaced with an illustration, and the illo that Tom Daniel came up with for “A Billion Tiny Lights” is just perfect: both oblique and rich in detail – a pic worth staring at for a goodly time in order to take it all in. I’m humbled to have been given such an unexpected gift.
You can pick up a copy of the current issue online at www.aurealis.com.au, or ask for it by name wherever good Australian speculative fiction is sold.