Good Reviews on Goodreads For “Where We Land”

My climate fiction (cli-fi) novella Where We Land has been getting good reviews on Goodreads. Here are some excerpts from those reviews:

On Goodreads:

“This novella set in the near future deals with the human impact of the worsening climate crisis…. Amid societal brutality and xenophobia, there are still a few glimmers of compassion.

“This is a beautifully written novella in the cli-fi genre…. The characters are compelling and the story gripping. Highly recommend it!!”

(Read the full reviews here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46028957-where-we-land)


From Tabatha Wood’s review for SpecFicNZ:

“Jones talks in depth about human resilience and the determination to survive. The ability to keep going even when all seems lost. He examines our humanity; how we respond to threats and challenges, but ultimately how we, as a global species, behave to one another. The tension is high, the characters relatable, and Jones deftly manoeuvres you into bearing witness to the unfolding plot. He places you squarely in both Nasimul and Donna’s shoes. What would you do if…? he asks.”

Read the full review: https://specfic.nz/2019/08/12/book-review-where-we-land-by-tim-jones/

You can read more of Tabatha’s reviews and her writing on her blog.

“Where We Land” is a print novella – but you can also buy an earlier version of this story as “Landfall”, an ebook from Amazon.

Sir Julius Vogel Award Nominations Open For 2009 Calendar Year

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards, New Zealand’s equivalent of the Hugo Awards, have recently opened for nominations. Nominations close on 31 March 2010.

Grant Stone has listed some possible contenders for the Vogels on his blog, and I naturally endorse his selection of Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry From New Zealand as one of the candidates! You can find SFFANZ’s list of eligible novels on their site; I recently reviewed one of the listed novels, Lee Pletzers’ The Last Church.

Short stories and collections are also listed – look for the 2009 publication dates – and I was pleased to see Voyagers contributions and contributors included on the list.

I want to browse through the lists and catch up on some work that I’ve missed out on reading before deciding what I’d like to nominate – but if you are ready to go with your nominations, here is the official word on how to proceed.

Nomination Procedure

The Sir Julius Vogel sub-committee of SFFANZ is currently accepting nominations for science fiction and fantasy works first published or released in the 2009 calendar year.

Nominations open on 1 January 2010 and close on 31 March 2010 at 8pm.

For more information about SFFANZ and the SJV Awards, please go to the SFFANZ web-site http://sffanz.sf.org.nz/

To make a nomination please email sjv_awards (at) sffanz.sf.org.nz.. Anyone can make a nomination, and it is free of charge.

Please send one nomination per email and include as many contact details as possible for the nominee as well as yourself.

You can find full details about the nomination procedures and rules, including eligibility criteria at http://sffanz.sf.org.nz/sjv/sjvAwards.shtml

A detailed nomination FAQ can be found at http://sffanz.sf.org.nz/sjv/sjvAwardsNominationGuidelines.shtml

The voting will occur at Au Contraire, http://www.aucontraire.org.nz/ – the national science fiction convention being held in Wellington, New Zealand over the weekend of the 27 – 29 August 2010.

Book Review: The Last Church, by Lee Pletzers

The Last Church is available from Amazon.com. Other availability details are on Lee Pletzers’ website. The Last Church is published by Black Bed Sheet Books, RRP US $20.95.

New Zealand horror writer Lee Pletzers’ The Last Church does the job of a good horror novel (or, I suppose, any novel): it keeps you turning the pages, wanting to know what happens next, and hoping that at least some of the characters – not to mention the world – will make it out alive at the end of the story.

And the fate of the world is very much at stake. I don’t want to give too much away, so let’s just say that there’s a man with a plan for the future of the world which isn’t what most of us would wish for; that this man has, or embodies, demonic assistance; and that a diverse coalition of characters with less power but equal determination come together to stop him — or, at least, to try.

Along the way, quite a lot of the characters meet gruesome fates. And some of them are very gruesome: The Last Church doesn’t stint on sex, violence, and in some cases sexual violence. You have been warned.

It took me a while to get into the story. There is a large cast of characters to start with – before the main villain and his henchpeople start to whittle them down — and the story jumps between several time periods. I had trouble keep track of everything and everyone for about the first quarter of the novel. Also off-putting were quite a few proofreading and grammatical errors: mostly minor things, like missing apostrophes, but until I got into the flow of the story I found these distracting. I know only too well how hard it is to eliminate all such errors, but another proofreading run would benefit future printings of the novel.

As I read, I wasn’t always convinced that characters’ motivations for their actions were sufficiently well established. The principal villain is a nasty piece of work, but he has a goal, and his actions are consistent with that goal. On the other hand, to my eyes at least, the behaviour of his “dream woman” and subsequent consort seems inconsistent; or, put another way, I didn’t feel I had a clear enough understanding of her character, so that her actions sometimes seemed arbitrary rather than well-founded.

But it would be a mistake to dwell on the negatives. The Last Church is scary, gruesome at times, and increasingly gripping as it approaches its climax. If you like horror with a side order of apocalypse, The Last Church is worth a visit.

“The New Neighbours” In Good Company

A little piece of good news from the tail end of 2008: I received confirmation that my short story “The New Neighbours”, first published in Transported, had been selected for inclusion in the Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories, an anthology edited by Paula Morris that covers the last ten years of short-fiction writing in New Zealand. It will be published in September 2009.

I’m very pleased to see “The New Neighbours” in such illustrious company. Here, to give you the flavour, are the first few paragraphs. All those references to high property values look nostalgic already.

The New Neighbours

High property values are the hallmark of a civilised society. Though our generation may never build cathedrals nor find a cure for cancer, may never save the whales nor end world hunger, yet we can die with smiles on our faces if we have left our homes better than we found them, if we have added decks, remodelled kitchens, and created indoor-outdoor flow.

Reaction in our street to the news that an alien family would soon move into Number 56 was therefore mixed. Number 56 was the proverbial worst house on the best street, and any family who could improve it — regardless of skin colour or number of limbs — was welcome, in my view. My wife Alison said she’d wait and see. Josh wondered if they had any kids his age.

Others near to the action, and particularly the Murrays at No. 54 and the Zhangs at No. 58, were less sanguine. “But it’s not as if they need a resource consent,” said my wife to Jessica Zhang, and she was right. Having bought the house at a legitimate auction through a telephone bidder, and paid the deposit, the alien family were well within their rights to settle in our street, and the rest of us would simply have to make the best of it.

But not everyone does try to make the best of it, and complications ensue … In my next post, a little about my writing and blogging plans for 2009.

For Your Consideration: The Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2009

As I mentioned earlier this month, nominations are now open for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2009, New Zealand’s equivalent of the Hugo Awards. They recognise excellence in a number of fields related to science fiction, fantasy and horror. The 2009 Awards are for works published in 2008.

Nominations close on 28 February 2009. You can find details of the categories and how to nominate on the SFFANZ site, and also lists of works eligible to be nominated (these lists are not comprehensive, and can be added to as further works are nominated).

Anyone can nominate works for the awards, although voting is restricted to members of SFFANZ and/or the 2009 National Science Fiction Convention, Conscription.

So who are the contenders? I’m not well qualified to talk about the fan or media categories, but I can think of a few possible contenders for Best Novel, Best Collected Work and Best Short Story. I should emphasise here that what follows is my opinion – it’s up to the organising committee to decide what works qualify in which categories.

Best Novel

There are a very healthy number of contenders listed on the SFFANZ site.

My personal favourite is Helen Lowe’s Thornspell. Other contenders include two SF novels published by writers better known for work in other genres: The Jigsaw Chronicles by Kevin Ireland, and Chinese Opera by Ian Wedde. And one mustn’t forget Jack Ross’s EMO!

Best Collected Work

On the SFFANZ list, Transported is the only short story collection listed for 2008 – a worrying state of affairs, as there needs to be competition in each category! I intend to nominate JAAM 26, since it contains quite a few eligible short stories, as suggested below.

Best Short Story

There are lots of candidates here! Here is my list – again, not an official list – of stories from JAAM 26 and Transported which I think are eligible. I have only listed the stories from JAAM 26 which seem to me to fit within the relevant genres. The list from Transported is quite short, as stories have to be first published in 2008 to be eligible, and many stories in Transported are reprints.

JAAM 26

Tracie McBride, Last Chance to See [sf]
Renee Liang, Voodoo [fantasy/horror]
Esther Deans, Breathing in Another Language [fantasy/magic realism]
Ciaran Fox, In the End Our Apathy Will Desert Us [sf]
Darian Smith, Banshee [fantasy]
Helen Lowe, Ithaca [alternate history/mythology]
Michael Botur, Historic Breakfasts [alternate history]
Lyn McConchie, Just a Poor Old Lady [horror]

If you think your story should be on this list, please let me know and I’ll add it.

Transported

The New Neighbours [sf]
The Wadestown Shore [sf]
Filling the Isles [sf]
Measureless to Man [alternate history]
The Seeing [sf]
Going Under [sf]
Cold Storage [sf/horror]

Happy nominating!

A Space for Science Fiction

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.