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Year’s Best Aotearoa NZ SFF Vol 1

In this collection, Marie Hodgkinson has brought together 13 fantastic short stories from Kiwi authors, the first in an annual anthology series.

I loved the variety of speculative fiction on display here, stories set in worlds both fantastical and familiar – some eerily so. Stories touching on topics that feel particularly close to home in the midst of the climate crisis and Covid-19 pandemic.

There are the more everyday struggles, like one character’s hunt for sanitary products, but set in the post-apocalyptic world of A.J. Fitzwater’s Logistics. The feeling of wonder in the exploration of a strange planet in Sean Monaghan’s The Billows of Sarto. Or the Auckland we’re familiar with, but with something uneasy running just below the surface in Grant Stone’s A Brighter Future. We’re immersed in the ancient Venice of James Rowland’s The Glassblower’s Peace, where a surplus son assists an elderly woman with her empire-defending magic. And we experience the joys and hazards of dating while trialling new technology in Melanie Harding-Shaw’s Common Denominator.

I won my copy in a Read NZ Te Pou Muramura giveaway, and I’m so grateful I did or I might never have discovered this on my own. I took something from every story in this collection and cannot wait for Volume 2.

Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy: Volume I was edited by Marie Hodgkinson and published by Paper Road Press (ISBN 978-0-473-49126-0). It features stories published by writers from Aotearoa New Zealand in 2018, including: Octavia Cade, M. Darusha Wehm, Andi Buchanan, A.J. Fitzwater, Sean Monaghan, Grant Stone, Dave Moore, Melanie Harding-Shaw, J.C. Hart, Toni Wi, Isabelle McNeur, Mark English, and James Rowland.

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