Without much fuss, a space for science fiction, and fiction about science, is opening up within New Zealand literature. Recently, the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Listener sponsored the Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing, with prizes for both fiction and nonfiction. The 2007 theme was climate change, and Bryan Walpert wrote the winning fiction entry.
Now comes news that a forthcoming issue of the venerable Landfall magazine will be devoted to Utopian and dystopian fiction, poetry and essays. This announcement comes from the New Zealand Society of Authors:
Landfall 216 (November 2008), edited by Tim Corballis, will be on the theme of Utopias. Our past is scattered with visions of an ideal future – what is left of them? How do they look now?
Is our present made of the various, contradictory, failed efforts to realise them? And have we really given up on the hope of leaving something radically new to the future?
Utopian and dystopian fiction, poetry and essays should be sent to Tim at utopias (at) timcorballis.mailc.net by, or preferably well before, the end of June 2008.
Landfall 216 is also a Landfall Essay Competition issue.
For details, see http://www.otago.ac.nz/press/landfall/essaycompetition.html
Although the announcement doesn’t say as much, utopian and dystopian fiction is also science fiction. When I started writing SF, I was told that there was no prospect of getting SF published in New Zealand, as literary magazines here wouldn’t look at it. My own publication history for short fiction has shown that the barriers between literary fiction and science fiction were never so rigid; now it seems that the barriers are, slowly, dissolving away. That’s good news from someone like me, who writes within both genres. I think it’s good news for readers as well.