Fabricating Fiction, Climate Crime, and a Guiding Star

First blog of the year … yes, I know it’s a bit late, but I have news of upcoming events for my new novel Emergency Weather plus awards news!

Fabricating Fiction: Wellington novelists on the fiction they create from the facts

Tīhema Baker (Turncoat), Tim Jones (Emergency Weather), Jennifer Lane (Miracle) and Kate Mahony (Secrets of the Land) will talk with publisher and novelist Mary McCallum about the politics, events and life experiences that inform their novels and how they shaped them into compelling narratives. Novelists bring your questions!

Friday 19 April 5.30-7pm
Undercurrent, 118 Tory Street
Drinks and nibbles

Climate Crime at #MysteryInTheLibrary

The Ngaio Marsh Awards, in association with Hutt City Libraries, invites booklovers to a thrilling event featuring four Kiwi novelists.

Past finalist Helen Vivienne Fletcher is joined by award-winning poet and climate change author Tim Jones, and debut novelists Kate Mahony and Carolyn Swindell for a criminally good conversation about creating memorable characters, the importance of setting, and exploring real-life issues through fictional tales.

WHEN: Wednesday 1 May 2024
WHERE: War Memorial Library, 2 Queens Drive, Lower Hutt
WHEN: 6.15 for a 6.30pm panel discussion

“Guiding Star” shortlisted for an Australasian poetry award

My poem “Guiding Star”, which was published in the excellent anthology Remains To Be Told: Dark Tales from Aotearoa, edited by Lee Murray, has been shortlisted in the Poetry category for the Australasian Shadows Award – all the details are at https://australasianhorror.com/australian-shadows-awards/. Congratulations to all the nominees!

“Guiding Star” is having a good start to 2024, as it’s also been nominated for the 2024 Rhysling Awards: http://www.sfpoetry.com/ra/rhyscand.html

My poem “Form Factor” has been nominated for a Rhysling Award

My poem “Form Factor”, first published in the Cat People issue of the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s online journal Eye to the Telescope, has been nominated for the 2021 Rhysling Awards for science fiction, fantasy and horror poetry alongside many other fine poems.

Cat lying on a concrete deck in the shadow of a fruit salad plant

Form Factor

I downloaded myself into this shape
to be free. Now it consumes me.
So strange to dream of skin

and wake in fur. Curled, unfurling.
Once I knew things, useful things.
How to press those little keys,

how to open cans. I mourn
my thumbs: blunt instruments
that fed and housed me once.

Necessity reduces me. I hunt,
must hunt, my body weight
diminishing. Mouse, bird. Focus,

sharpen, ignore his murmurings.
He comes to me in dreams, begging
to be poured into his fur-free form –

but nothing he says can make me care.
Through sunlit hours I sleep, save energy,
twitch distracting thoughts away. At sunset

my hackles, rising, remember him.
You could have chosen any form,
you fool, yet you chose mine.

The brief for the Cat People issue was poems about people becoming cats / people who are also cats. It produced some really good poems, and I was delighted the editor included my poem in this issue.

Poem From Voyagers Nominated For International Poetry Award

Meliors Simms’ poem “Two Kinds of Time”, first published in Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand, which I co-edited with Mark Pirie, has been nominated for the Rhysling Awards, the international awards for speculative (science fiction, fantasy and horror) poetry. We thought that was well worth a press release, and here it is!

New Zealand poem nominated for international award

Meliors Simms’ poem “Two Kinds of Time”, first published in the acclaimed anthology “Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand” (Interactive Press, 2009), has been nominated for a Rhysling Award for the best science fiction, fantasy or horror poem published in 2009.

The Rhysling Awards, administered by the Science Fiction Poetry Association, were inaugurated in 1978. Among previous winners are such well-known writers as Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jane Yolen and Joe Haldeman.

“I’m honoured to have my poem nominated for an international poetry award with such an illustrious history,” said Meliors Simms from her home in Hamilton. “I had never heard of the genre of science fiction poetry until I was invited to submit to the Voyagers anthology a few years ago. ‘Two Kinds of Time’ was my first effort and marked a shift in my writing style from introspective to more ideas-based poetry.”

Tim Jones, who co-edited Voyagers with Mark Pirie, said “We are delighted for Meliors, and very pleased for this further recognition for New Zealand science fiction poetry and for Voyagers. The anthology has been very well-received in New Zealand, and it has already appeared on the NZ Listener and New Zealand Herald best books lists for 2009. The international interest in the anthology, and in Meliors’ poem in particular, is just as exciting.”

Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand is available from leading New Zealand independent bookstores. It is also available online from Interactive Press, from Fishpond (NZ) and from Amazon.com.


Meliors Simms has made a short video called “Non Linear Time”, which features one section of her nominated poem “Two Kinds of Time”. It can be viewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIAkJVQ064o

Meliors’ web site is at http://www.meliors.net

For more information about the Rhyslings, please visit http://www.sfpoetry.com/rhysling.html

The Voyagers website is at http://ipoz.biz/Titles/Voy.htm

Voyagers received a very positive review in Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. That interview is available online at http://timjonesbooks.blogspot.com/2009/08/voyagers-gets-great-first-review.html

How To Buy Voyagers

In New Zealand

  • Directly from me. I now have a limited number of copies for sale for NZ $28 plus $2 p&p. If you’d like one, please email senjmito@gmail.com with your address and preferred payment method.
  • From an increasing range of bookshops, including (but not limited to) Unity Books (Wellington and Auckland), Books a Plenty in Tauranga, Bruce MacKenzie Books in Palmerston North, Madras Cafe Books in Christchurch, and the University Book Shop in Dunedin.
  • From Fishpond.


USA only

What Is Science Fiction Poetry? Part 2: History

After I spread the news about the upcoming anthology Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand (note the slight change in the subtitle), I had a crack at defining science fiction poetry.

But Mark Pirie and myself didn’t invent the idea of science fiction poetry just for this anthology. In fact, it’s a genre – or fusion of genres – that has been recognised for some time. The Science Fiction Poetry Association was founded in 1978 by Suzette Haden Elgin, and her About Science Fiction Poetry goes into some of the controversies about definitions and the like which have plagued, or enlivened, the field.

The Science Fiction Poetry Association has its own poetry magazine, Star*Line. It is one of a surprisingly high number of online and print magazines, many paying, which publish science fiction poetry – or, to be a little more inclusive, speculative poetry, which encompasses fantasy and horror poetry as well.

The SFPA also has its own awards, the Rhysling Awards, which honour the best science fiction poetry in long and short form – and lately, a further award, the Dwarf Stars Award, has been created for poems 10 lines or under. Both sets of awards lead to anthologies of the winning and nominated poems.

Of course, many science fiction poems have been published in non-genre venues, as the Acknowledgements to Voyagers will show; but if you’d like to get into writing, reading or debating SF poetry, there are magazines, websites, writers and readers out there who will be pleased to welcome you to their ranks.