Stories from David Dick, Tania Fordwalker and Julian Gyll-Murray. Our non-fiction comes from Nicholas Sheppard, Sarah Fallon and Rebecca Fraser.

David Dick is a Melbourne-based writer and teacher. He has had criticism, poetry, and short fiction published in The Australian Book Review, Cordite, Otoliths and Southerly. His writing tends to explore expectation, obsession, and loneliness through the lens of absurdist speculative questions.

Tania Fordwalker splits her time between Tasmania and Macleay Island. Part of the Clarion West Ghost Class of 2020, she has published work in Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, PodCastle, Reckoning, and more. At any other time in history shed almost certainly have been burned at the stake.

Julian Gyll is a thriller and fantasy writer based in Brighton, England. Under the name JG Murray, he has authored the horror-thrillers New Years Eve and The Bridal Party (winner of the Deviant Minds Prize of 2018). His debut fantasy novel Blade of Ghosts is set to be released in early 2022.

Nick Sheppard is a software engineer and academic based in Wollongong, NSW. Hes read SF and fantasy since meeting The Hobbit in primary school, but later found himself writing tedious research articles at a university. For lighter reading, hes published fiction in AntipodeanSF and SciPhiJournal, and non-fiction in Aurealis and Cockatrice. His novella Machines is now available from Smashwords.

Sarah Fallon lives in the Illawarra, NSW. She writes on topics from fairytales to farming as well as short fiction. She has appeared in Overland, Aurealis and Mindful Parenting and she won the Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Fiction in 2017. When she isnt reading, writing or parenting, she can be found on her partners dairy farm or making a mess with paint and paper. Website:

Rebecca Fraser is a Melbourne-based author. Her publications include over 60 short stories, poems and articles in Australian and international anthologies, journals, and magazines. Her longer works include a middle grade novel and a collection of short dark fiction. The first in her fantasy trilogy Jontys Unicorn will be released in 2023 (IFWG Publishing Australia).

For those of you considering writing, heres a collection of what we call one percenters. Theyre granular, nitty-gritty aspects of writing that can make a difference. We call them once percenters because, individually, they might only improve your writing by a small amount but, in striving for the best writing possible, theyre worth considering.

Avoid fluffy intensifiers (incredibly, amazingly, unbelievably).

Be careful of really instead of very.

Adverbs can be problematic, especially an over-reliance on them.

Use contractions for more natural sounding dialogue.

Avoid sentences that start with As you know, Brian Theyre likely to lead to an info-dump.

Be careful with sentences that start with There was or There were They can produce passive sentences. Find more robust ways to start the same sentence by looking for the true subject.

Avoid characters having names that start with the same letter.

Get the main characters name into the first paragraph.

Dont be afraid of using said in dialogue attributions.

Learn the difference between the comma and the full stop.

Avoid taking the descriptive shortcut of comparing a character to a famous film star.

In fact, dont take descriptive shortcuts at all.

Find ways other than using adjectives to describe.

Be careful of using two ands in a sentence. He went down to the shop and saw a chook and he was surprised.

Avoid the overuse of alternative descriptors (Joe, the red-haired boy, Bills best friend, the joker).

Be very, very wary of including a dream sequence.

Watch out for the somehow trap. If your hero somehow gets out of a sticky situation or somehow finds that very thing she needs, youre taking shortcuts.

Like almost all writing tips, these are debatable, but even thinking about such things can lead to better writing.

My Convenience Viking, Gunther, has been a great help in constructing my daily routine. He makes spectacular filtered coffee (made from single origin Tanzanian beans), provides an encouraging voice during my exercises, and knows exactly when I am between meetings to bring in my organic oats with natural honey.

The bushfires drew closer that morning, thrusting splinters of dirty red daylight through gaps in the lounge room blinds. I wasnt surprised when the knock at the door came. If the fire brigade was here to hustle me along, at least Id get to clap eyes on a firm jawline or two. Thatd do me a world of good.

They call me Shadowfriendbut that is not my name, and Shadow is not my friend.

On Earth, ownership of land is a complicated history of migration, conquests, dispossession, squatting, land sales and inheritance. The International Court of Justice hears disputes over national boundaries (if the parties dont fight it out with armies) while the court systems of individual nations hear disputes over ownership of land within nations.

In space, however, no-one can hear you claim possession.

Since becoming a mother Ive become aware of the dearth of mothers in the fantasy Ive read and watched. By and large theyre excluded from the narrative completely, either fridged at the startfor heroic motivation purposesor not even mentioned. When a mother is permitted a little screen time, they appear absent in other waysneglectful, distracted or incompetentor theyre evil, taking their model of motherhood from the stepmothers of fairytale.

If youre a writer of horror, you might have noticed one of two things happen if you announce this fact at a social gathering. Some people will take a step forward, eyes alight with interest; others will take a step back, eyes roaming the crowd for a way to make a polite exit. Whichever reaction you get, one of the most commonly asked questions is How did you get into horror? This is usually accompanied by a variation of the observation But you always seem so nice. I am nice.Weare nice. But thats a whole other article

What if an army of Spanish conquistadors, the most brutally effective conquerors in history, found their way into a truly new world beyond the New World of the Americas?Conquisttells the story of Captain Cristbal de Varga whose drive for glory and power leads him to a place from which he cant escape and a people he cant conquer. Caught in a war between two eternal enemies that seem at first to be angels and demons, he must choose sides. When he loses everything he holds dear his command, his Incan princess, his honor, his God he needs to find a path to redemption by conquering his obsessions.

This time theyve found a New World that refuses to be conquered.

Finalist, Creative World Awards (2020)

Semifinalist Screencraft Horror Competition (2020)

Finalist Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival (2019)

Finalist Byron Bay Film Festival (2018)

The only way to readConquistright now is to take out a2020Aurealissubscriptionby 30 November 2020.

You have the proof right in your hands, this man can write! Strasser is a master enjoy and behold what the fuss is all about.

Jack Dann, Nebula and World Fantasy Award-winning author and editor

The past is a foreign country, all right, but its chock full of great SF&F titles to get us through Corona Days. Here are the latest offerings from the Aurealis Editors, complete with our pithy teasers.

by Isobelle Carmody (1997). Immersive, transfixing, interwoven.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

by Philip K. Dick (1965). Unsettling, bleak, hallucinatory.

by Erle Cox (1925). Ground-breaking, best-selling, Australian.


Overlooked, Underrated, Forgotten 6

What better time to read? And, as such, Aurealis is continuing our deep dive into the SF/Fantasy of the past, those books that have been sitting at the back of bookshelves for ages awaiting a re-read. Why not these give a try?

by Christopher Priest, 1995 . Imaginative, intelligent, gripping .

by Andre Norton, 1958. Engaging, robust, brisk.

by E T A Hoffmann, 1815 in German, 2009 Oneworld Classics English translation. Macabre, disorienting, labyrinthine.