Posted on

Sir Julius Vogel Awards – eligible works

Awards season is upon us again! The Sir Julius Vogel Awards are New Zealand’s only voted awards for science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction. Nominations are currently open for this year’s final ballot, and Paper Road Press has several eligible works …

BEST NOVEL

Sneaking in at the end of the calendar year, the sequel to the winner of the 2015 SJV Award for Best Novel is eligible for the 2016 award. Check out the ebook today:

Pisces of Fate, by Paul Mannering

BEST NOVELLA OR NOVELETTE

All six of the SHORTCUTS stories are eligible for this award:

Mika, by Lee Murray and Piper Mejia

The Last, by Grant Stone

Bree’s Dinosaur, by AC Buchanan

Pocket Wife, by IK Paterson-Harkness

Landfall, by Tim Jones

The Ghost of Matter, by Octavia Cade

BEST COLLECTED WORK

And because the SHORTCUTS stories were published as a collection as well as standalone novellas, we’ve got a look-in for this category as well:

SHORTCUTS: Track 1, edited by Marie Hodgkinson

BEST ARTWORK

Books need covers, so (click on thumbnail to see full version):

Shortcuts Track 1, Cover Illustration_lo res

Cover artwork of SHORTCUTS: Track 1, by KC Bailey

Pisces Of Fate, Cover Illustration_lo res

Cover artwork of Pisces of Fate, by Henry Christian-Slane

Nominations close 28 February, and it’s free to nominate any work. More details and instructions on how to nominate your favourite publications from 2015 can be found here on the SFFANZ website.

 

 

Share this:
Posted on

At the Edge: TOC and Cover Reveal

Paper Road Press is pleased to reveal the cover and table of contents for our upcoming anthology At the Edge!

Edited by award-winning duo Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray, At the Edge is shaping up to be a stunning collection of short science fiction and fantasy from both sides of the ditch, Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. Dan and Lee are thrilled to announce that among the line-up will be a reprint of Phillip Mann’s short story The Architect. Phillip was short-listed for the Arthur C Clark Award in 2014 for his novel The Disestablishment of Paradise.

Without further ado, the table of contents for At the Edge, in no particular order except alphabetically by author surname:

Joanne Anderton, “Street Furniture”
Richard Barnes, “The Great and True Journey”
Carlington Black, “The Urge”
A.C. Buchanan, “And Still the Forests Grow though We are Gone”
Octavia Cade, “Responsibility”
Shell Child, “Narco”
Jodi Cleghorn , “The Leaves No Longer Fall”
Debbie Cowens, “Hood of Bone”
Tom Dullemond, “One Life, No Respawns”
A.J. Fitzwater, “Splintr”
Jan Goldie, “Little Thunder”
J.C. Hart, “Hope Lies North”
Martin Livings, “Boxing Day”
Phillip Mann, “The Architect”
Paul Mannering, “The Island at the End of the World”
Keira McKenzie, “In Sacrifice We Hope”
Eileen Mueller, “Call of the Sea”
Anthony Panegyres, “Crossing”
A.J. Ponder, “BlindSight”
David Stevens, “Crop Rotation”
David Versace, “Seven Excerpts from Season One”
Summer Wigmore, “Back when the River had No Name”
E.G. Wilson, “12-36”

The cover artist for the anthology is Kapiti-based Emma Weakley, who recently released a twelve-page wordless comic, Main.

At the Edge will be launched in June 2016.

Share this:
Posted on

Pre-order SHORTCUTS | Track 1 in paperback and win!

Paper Road Press is pleased to announce that the first six SHORTCUTS novellas will be released as a paperback collection this November.

The cover of SHORTCUTS: Track 1, by Christchurch artist K.C. Bailey
The cover of SHORTCUTS: Track 1, by Christchurch artist K.C. Bailey

Writing on the theme of strange tales of Aotearoa New Zealand, seven Kiwi authors weave stories of people and creatures displaced in time and space, dangerous odysseys, and even more dangerous discoveries. Originally published as standalone ebooks, these novellas explore New Zealand with new eyes, finding the uncanny in the familiar and shining a light on some things we might prefer to pretend were unfamiliar.

SHORTCUTS | Track 1, which collects together the six novellas we published in 2015, is now available to pre-order. In recognition of the tyranny of distance postage fees we face as a publisher based in the south of the South Pacific, we are offering two contests for readers: one for New Zealand orders, and one for international (…and New Zealand) orders.

Click here to make a New Zealand pre-order
Click here for international and ebook pre-orders (Amazon)

New Zealand pre-order contest – $50 book voucher

New Zealanders, pre-order your copy (or copies?) of the softcover SHORTCUTS collection through the Paper Road Press website before 1 November and be in to win a $50 Booksellers voucher – just in time for your Christmas shopping! (Assuming you haven’t already completed your Christmas shopping by, to pick an option entirely at random, pre-ordering a certain anthology sure to be delivered to your doorstep well in time for the holiday…)

Pre-order now for New Zealand delivery.

International pagerazzi contest – $50 Amazon voucher

Parcel post fees from New Zealand to, well, anywhere else on the globe can get pretty steep. We know that you probably don’t want to pay more for postage than for the book itself, so for our international readers, the SHORTCUTS collection is also available for pre-order through Amazon, and will ship immediately on publication in print and ebook formats.

To be in to win a $50 Amazon voucher, simply Tweet (@paperroadpress) or email us a snapshot of you* with your copy of the paperback or ebook before 15 December 2015.

Click here to pre-order through Amazon.

*Since we know not everyone wants to show their mug to the internet, for the purposes of this competition, ‘you’ can mean, for example: your hand; your cat; an exciting rock; luminous spheres.

Terms and Conditions

All entries for both competitions will be assigned a number based on when we receive their entry, and winners will be chosen by random number generator. The random number generator’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into, except with the winners, to find out where to send their stuff.

Share this:
Posted on

At the Edge of a big announcement …

The deadline for submissions to our upcoming sff anthology At the Edge has now passed, and editors Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray have made their selections for the book’s table of contents. All authors whose stories have been chosen for inclusion in the anthology have now been contacted, and an official announcement of the Table of Contents and cover reveal is coming soon.

We received 80 manuscripts in total from authors across New Zealand and Australia. Dan and Lee were impressed by the high quality of submissions, and the wide range of styles and structures explored by authors. They were intrigued to see the diverse interpretations of the At the Edge theme from both sides of the ditch, including some deliciously dark tales – which they love.

Stay tuned for a cover reveal and the full table of contents later this month!

Share this:
Posted on

Free excerpt: The Ghost of Matter, Octavia Cade

We hope you enjoy this short excerpt from The Ghost of Matter by Octavia Cade, the last in our inaugural SHORTCUTS series of short science fiction and fantasy novellas from Aotearoa New Zealand.

1886. Two young boys disappear in the Sounds. Their mother grieves, all the music cut out of her heart; their father wanders the coast for a year, wanting and not wanting to find any part of them left behind. And their brother Ern, faced with a problem to which no solution can be found, returns to his laboratory – and to the smell of salt, soft voices in his ear, wet footprints welling seawater in the darkness.

MANCHESTER, 1909

The gold was beaten very thin, into leaf. It shimmered even as the room went dark around it, shimmered like the sea surface under sunset and Ernest held his breath, hoped for the absence of salt.

It was dark in the laboratory cellar, with pipes above and below. Whenever he heard voices on the stair, at the door, he’d have to warn them to duck their heads for the hot-water pipe, to take care when stepping over the other two water pipes just beyond. If they slipped in puddles and injured themselves, the experiment would have to be put off while they patched themselves up. Then the readjustment would have to start all over again, for it took half an hour in the dark to be able to see the scintillations, to not miss their presence with eyes too used to light. The worst of it was if they slipped, Ernest couldn’t even be certain what it was they’d slipped in. The puddles might have come from leaky pipes, but he’d gone over them all himself and never found a single leak. Those puddles that appeared in the dark, smelling of salt, would magically vanish when the lights turned on. It made the cellar floor untrustworthy.

Ernest was so careful, stepping down there himself. His knee had never been the same since those first days in London, when he’d fallen and damaged it. On a banana skin, too, and that made it worse. Such a ridiculous accident. He didn’t quite trust it to hold him if he skidded in water, if one leg shot out from under him and bent awkwardly. He always watched out for water, and the presence of gold always reminded him.

‘Half an hour, lads,’ he said. Adjusting to the darkness enough to see the scintillations, the scattered particles, could be tedious, a forced delay but a necessary one in a method that strained sight and patience both. They worked in relays, searching by turns and in single minutes for particles that wandered off-track, that rebounded in directions they were not supposed to go.

Ernest hunched over the microscope, blind and squeezed into position. He had to move slowly – they all did – to avoid stumbling, to keep the experiment from knocking over. He was looking for the little flashes that indicated radioactive particles shot through the leaf had hit the target: a phosphorescent plate, painted with zinc sulphide. Radon particles that by all rights should have hit dead on, like a boat headed straight for home.

The line wasn’t straight. Instead, a fuzziness, as if the particles had lost their way, and Ernest ordered the experiment reconfigured to search further, to see if the scattering was wider than they thought.

‘Do you see that?’ said Geiger, said Marsden, pressed up against him like brothers and the three of them crammed together in a little space and wondering. ‘I think some of them are coming back.’

One in eight thousand, they were: the little particles that hit the gold foil and rebounded back to where they came, as if returning to the source. Some scattered off to the sides, as much as ninety degrees off, but for Ernest it was the rebounders that caught him about the throat, that made his eyes squint and smart in the dark.

(Sitting in the church with Martha, with his father and his brothers and sisters, those that remained, sitting in front of an empty space where the coffins would be if they’d ever found bodies to put in them, listening to the priest talk as gently as he could of souls returned to God, and watching his mother twist a loose ring on fingers grown thin from grief.)

‘Professor!’ said Geiger (said Marsden and Charlie and Herbert). ‘Do you see that?’

‘I see it,’ said Ernest, of the strange, hard scatter that could only come if the foil was solid somehow and at the same time not, as if the gold united and fragmented at once. ‘I see it!’ he said again, and the thrill in his voice was from more than science, more than scatter – for while there had been no puddles on the floor, no salt water and no scent, the sight of scattering had come with a cold small hand, brief and damp on the back of his neck.

‘Don’t jump,’ said Geiger, laughing. ‘You don’t want to tip it all over.’

‘I’ll jump if I want to,’ said Ernest, quick and gruff and absolutely prepared to have his chilly, goose-bump flesh excused by a more tangible mystery, by results and equipment he could reach out and touch.

‘They’re punching through,’ said Marsden, and his breath in the dark was excited, as if he had run a race and come home first. ‘Most of them, anyway.’

Purchase at AmazonPurchase at Kobo 

Share this:
Posted on

Free Excerpt: Landfall, Tim Jones

The penultimate novella in our SHORTCUTS series is Landfall, by Tim Jones.

Tim is a Wellington-based poet, author, editor and anthologist. His latest book is The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry (IP, 2014), co-edited with PS Cottier. You can find him online at http://timjonesbooks.blogspot.com.

Desperation and betrayal on the border of a new life.

When the New Zealand Navy torpedoes a Bangladeshi river ferry full of refugees fleeing their drowning country, Nasimul Rahman is one of the few survivors. But even if he can reach the shore alive, he has to make it past the trigger-happy Shore Patrol, set up to keep the world’s poor and desperate at bay.

Donna is a new recruit to the Shore Patrol. She’s signed on mainly because of her friend Mere, but also because it’s good to feel she’s doing something for her country. When word comes through that the Navy has sunk a ship full of infiltrators, and survivors may be trying to make their way ashore, it sounds like she might finally see some action.

The twin torpedoes that ended the long journey of the Jamalpur-2 from Bangladesh to the Tasman Sea were scarcely necessary. The old river ferry had been held together by little more than wire and faith ever since they were chased out of Australian territorial waters. Strong winds and heavy waves had put paid to their backup plan of landing the vessel in some isolated cove in southern New Zealand; looking at those forbidding mountains half-choked by clouds, Nasimul Rahman had been relieved.

So they had run north, north before the wind, the ship juddering and groaning with every new onslaught from the sea. Each day there were a few more deaths – not many, for those most vulnerable had died long before. Fewer than half of those who had been aboard the vessel when it made the imperceptible transition from the Mouths of the Ganges into the Bay of Bengal were alive to greet the Fiordland coast, but that had still left over 150 souls aboard.

Nasimul’s wife Hasina was no longer among them. She had lasted through the tropics, kept alive by her hope that she would see land again, even if it was the unmitigated harshness of the Australian continent, where it was said whole groups of people could disappear into the interior without ever being noticed or pursued, if only they could find a way ashore through the frigates and the proximity mines and the thickets of razor wire. When Nasimul had slipped into desperation within a fortnight of the journey beginning, it had been Hasina’s belief that kept him going. But, already weakened by dysentery, the plunge into colder climates had been too much for her. She had died somewhere in the long, hopeless reaches of the southern Indian Ocean.

Wife gone, son lost to cholera back in the camps before he had lived out his first year, Nasimul shivered and heaved up his food and crawled into a nest of damp clothing night after night, and somehow survived. The ship drove forward. The temperature warmed fractionally. The sky flamed red at dawn and dusk: ash and smoke from Australia, someone said. Perhaps the whole continent was burning.

And then, on another night of storm and cloud, the New Zealand Navy came, destroyers surging over the eastern horizon. There was no point in running, and nowhere to run. The Jamalpur-2 wallowed in the waves and waited for the end, while the people aboard made for the last slender hope, the lifeboats.

No self-respecting Bangladeshi river ferry sailed without at least twice the number of passengers it was rated for. But death, nipping at their heels the whole way, had achieved what no government functionary had ever been able to and reduced the number of passengers on the ferry to almost exactly the number it was allowed to carry. So there were almost enough lifeboat places for them all: if they had been fit, if they had been healthy, if the ferry had run into trouble on the flat reaches of the Lakhya or the Meghna or the Ganges. Now, it was the sick carrying the sicker, the injured carrying the half-dead, and the grey wolves of the sea bearing down on their prey.

The davits won’t work, thought Nasimul, eyeing up the rusted metal winches and the rusted chains that held the lifeboats high above the water. Yet all but one worked, each casting its freight of lives upon the waters. It was Nasimul’s good fortune that he was in the lifeboat that failed to deploy. He was working to free it, precariously perched on the lifeboat davit itself, when he glanced downwards and saw the straight track through the curving waters. Before he could nerve himself to jump, the Jamalpur-2 took matters out of his hands, throwing him into the water as it shuddered and began to break up from the force of the first and then the second explosion as the New Zealand Navy’s torpedoes did their deadly work.

Nasimul was a strong swimmer. He was born over water in his family’s tiny hut, perched on stilts above the banks of the mighty Lakhya, and he had been around and in water all his life. But this was like nothing he had ever experienced, and the first shock of cold and salt as he went under was almost too much for him. He struggled his way back to the surface and found himself clutching at something: a body. It was missing a leg. Floating beside the body was a curving length of wood from a lifeboat – perhaps the lifeboat he had been trying to launch. It was about two metres long and a little less than half as wide.

Nasimul managed to turn it over so that the concave side was upwards. It floated like the world’s smallest and least safe canoe. He clambered aboard his impromptu vessel and, despite how cold and damp he was, despite his left hand and right leg trailing in the water, despite the cries that drifted across the water from the boats and the machine-gun fire that silenced them, boat after boat after boat, he fell asleep. The cries grew fewer and the bursts of machine-gun fire less frequent, until both stopped altogether. The Navy returned to base. Night fell. Wind and tide and current took Nasimul Rahman and swept him towards shore.

Subscribe to SHORTCUTS for NZ $3.33/month to receive Landfall at the special subscriber’s price, along with the final SHORTCUTS novella in September | Purchase at Amazon | Purchase at Kobo 

Share this:
Posted on

Free excerpt: POCKET WIFE, IK Paterson-Harkness

The fourth novella in our SHORTCUTS series is Pocket Wife, by IK Paterson-Harkness.

IK Paterson-Harkness is a currently Auckland-based, previously Dunedin-resident writer of prose and poetry who can be found online at http://ikpatersonharkness.com/ and @IKPatersonHark.

Carl’s work requires him to travel extensively, but he and his wife Jenny stay connected through their Tinys – four-inch-tall replicas of themselves which, when turned on, transmit whatever sensory information they are receiving directly into their living counterparts’ minds. Through his Tiny, which Jenny keeps close beside her in Auckland, Carl can see his wife, speak to her, even feel her touch. But when Jenny’s Tiny malfunctions and she can’t turn herself off, Carl has a major problem. He’s having an affair, and he’d rather his wife wasn’t around.

I felt behind my ear, found the little switch and turned it on. Jenny hadn’t activated my Tiny yet, but I figured I’d lie back and wait. It pays to sit still until it happens. I leaned back against the V-shaped pillow and stared at the light shade. I couldn’t help toying with the switch, and poking at the outline of the plastic disc, which lay flat beneath my skin. I’d been worried they’d have to drill through bone but when I’d expressed my concern to the technician he’d laughed. ‘The sensors are highly tuned,’ he’d said. ‘They pick it all up from outside the skull.’

The light shade was white, round, and smooth as a pickled onion. Seems everything’s getting smoother and rounder. Gone are the good old days when you could retire to your hotel after a long day at work and sink into a decent, squishy sofa. These days you sit down and slide right off. I glanced at the fridge – thought about the Indian Pale I had in there, the condensation misting the cold glass, the sound of released pressure as I popped open the top.

I felt the usual added strain on my mind as Jenny switched on my Tiny, and immediately closed my eyes and tried to focus on whatever it was I was supposed to be looking at. The little bugger’s eyes aren’t the best; the cameras don’t swivel properly. Ah, there we go. Jenny was holding my Tiny up in front of Nico.

‘Say hello to Grandpa,’ she said. The image rotated back and forth vigorously.

Nico gurgled something; it was hard to tell over the sound of whooshing air.

‘It’s your Grandpa!’ Jenny squealed. ‘Your Grandpa!’

‘Stop waggling me around!’ I called. I could hear my own voice coming from my Tiny’s speakers – the same, but not quite.

‘Sorry,’ she said, and the room suddenly stabilised. A monstrous baby’s hand reached towards my face and I braced against the hotel pillows.

‘That’s right,’ Jenny cooed. ‘He’s far, far away.’

Nico slapped the highchair tray with his palms, and Jenny pushed me right up into his snotty face.

‘Christ, that’s enough,’ I said, opening my eyes. The onion-shaped light shade was clearly visible through the now semi-opaque image of Nico. It looked like he had a third eye, right in the middle of his forehead. I stood up and inched towards the fridge, trying to concentrate on the hard lines of the hotel room. By the time I got back to the bed my head ached. I used a pillow to stifle the sound of the beer being opened, then lay back, closed my eyes again, and took a sip.

Jenny had propped my Tiny up on top of the kitchen bench back home, facing the sink, a chopping board, and a knife the length of a cricket pitch. Outside the window the sky was a deep blue. Sparrows and wax-eyes of pterodactyl proportions flew in and out of my vision. Jenny had bought the bird feeder a few years previously, had insisted I nail it to the fence. They made a hell of a mess, those birds, but Jenny loved to watch them. I could just make out the sound of cicadas. But I was cold. Damned cold, actually, like I was lying on snow.

‘Jenny, where on earth did you put my Tiny?’ I called.

She came back into view, carrying a bag of potatoes.

‘I’ve switched myself on,’ she said.

‘You’ve got to be joking.’

‘I told Rach I’d prepare some meals for Nico, which she can take home.’

‘Don’t be stupid. You’ll chop off one of your fingers. We don’t need to both be on. And why am I freezing here?’

I had a brief glimpse of the ceiling before she repositioned my Tiny.

‘Sorry. Frozen peas,’ she said. I presumed she’d pressed her hand against my Tiny’s back, since the cold became less.

‘Turn me on, Carl. You know I like to see where you are. I feel disconnected…’

I grumbled as I leaned over to the bedside drawer and pulled out her Tiny. About four inches tall, the thing had been made in her exact likeness. The brown eyes stared blankly. I carefully gripped the tiny left ankle between thumb and forefinger, starting to make the twist, then remembered the beer and quickly placed it on the floor where it couldn’t be spotted. I twisted the ankle and her Tiny’s eyes swivelled to look at my face.

‘You haven’t shaved today,’ Jenny said. Twice. The voice in my mind – heard by my Tiny on the other side of the world – and the voice coming from the speaker inside her Tiny’s chest. Sometimes the voices were in sync.

Her Tiny began to feel warm, and I placed it on the pillow, facing me.

‘I’ll shave tomorrow.’

‘You know it makes a difference.’

I had the usual dilemma. Did I close my eyes and watch what Jenny was doing back home, or did I keep them open and look at her Tiny? If I closed them, I’d have the relief of only one image to focus on, but her Tiny would be staring at my closed eyes, and Jenny didn’t like that. Really the whole system was flawed.

‘Rach is at a job interview.’

Her Tiny was looking at me so intently. The lips didn’t move, but the voice came out all the same.

‘What job?’

‘At the high school down the road from where she lives. They want someone to look after the plants. It’s a gardening job, really. It might involve a bit of heavy lifting, which I’m worried about, but it’s only fifteen hours. She wants to start Nico at day care a couple of days per week. She says she needs to get out of the house. I told her I’d look after him, but she’s dead set on day care.’

I became aware of a knocking noise and closed my eyes. Jenny was chopping the potatoes with her own eyes closed.

‘She’s not built for heavy lifting,’ she continued. Her grey-auburn hair was tied in a loose plait, her cuffs rolled up. ‘I told her she should do a course. She was so good at science when she was at school. She could do pharmacology, or study to be a radiologist.’

‘A radiologist?’

‘Sue’s niece did some courses at university, and she’s a radiologist now. Rach could do so much better than gardening.’

‘Let her work it out for herself.’

I opened my eyes and the thing was still looking at me. It didn’t smile. Didn’t move at all – no muscles, I suppose. I never properly learned the science of it. All I knew was that there were sensors on my Tiny’s body, and cameras in the eyes and what-have-you, and that somehow, through satellites I suppose, the information was sent to my brain. When Jenny touched my Tiny it was like being poked through a thick blanket. The newer models can smell, and have a better sense of physical touch – or so the pop-ups claim. It’s probably only a matter of time before they’re walking around, creating havoc of their own.

The Tinys arrived from the manufacturers in their boxes, naked. We hadn’t expected that. There’s nothing more sobering that seeing your silver pubic hairs copied in minute detail. Jenny immediately took to dressing them like little dolls. You can buy accessories from the company page. Last November she dressed my Tiny in a Halloween costume and surprised me by holding it up in front of the mirror. There I was, dressed like an English schoolboy, and there was nothing much I could do about it.

‘Jenny love,’ I cut in. She was still complaining about Rachel. ‘I’m meeting Michel soon – the Chief Financial Officer. He wants me to go over some figures with him.’

‘So late?’

‘He’s a very busy man. I should shower.’

‘Okay…’ She sighed, the noise at my end coming out like static. ‘Make sure you shave. And dress warmly, dear. You don’t want to catch another cold.’

‘I will. See you the same time tomorrow.’ I switched off the switch behind my ear and reached for her Tiny. I rubbed its back with my finger. I knew Jenny would still be in there, would be switched on right to the last second, but I couldn’t speak to the thing. As soon as I’d twisted its ankle I chucked it back in the drawer, and slammed the drawer shut.

Subscribe to SHORTCUTS for NZ $3.33/month to receive Pocket Wife at the special subscriber’s price, along with the final two SHORTCUTS novellas for 2015 | Purchase at Amazon | Purchase at Kobo 

Share this:
Posted on

Paper Road Press re-opening for novel and novella submissions

After a period of frantic inactivity on the longform acquisitions front, Paper Road Press will be reopening for novel and novella submissions on Friday 31 July.

As usual we will be on the lookout for science fiction, fantasy, and/or generally fun and quirky stories for publication in print and ebook formats. Novel submissions should be at least 50,000 words long, and novellas 20,000 to 50,000 words.

We are also, excitingly, upgrading from our previous “send us an email and we’ll put it in a folder” system to running submissions through Submittable. Once submissions open on 31 July you will be able to send us your work via our Submittable submissions portal. And if you go there now, you’ll find the option to submit a short story to our upcoming short story anthology At the Edge, which you should definitely also do.

Share this: