Despite everything, I actually published some things in 2021! It feels like more of an achievement than normal. Thank you to everyone who supported, published, constructively-rolled-their-eyes-at my work, and otherwise helped me get here.
If you would like to consider nominating these for any awards, or just reading and enjoying them, I’d really appreciate it. As well as the international awards, my work is eligible for the NZ Sir Julius Vogel Awards which accept nominations from anyone. I’ll update this post with more info when they open.
I published two novellas, each ~26 000 words. Microscopes and Magic and Alpaca and Apparitions, 2 and 3 in the Windflower series respectively. While Alpaca does mostly stand alone, you would want to have read the first in the series (Succulents and Spells) before trying Microscopes. They’re hopefully quick, easy, and cosy reads.
In 2021 I also published three original short stories:
“I will teach you magic” (~2400 words) was published in Cossmass Infinities. It’s about disability and magic and how we learn to survive within, around, and outside of systems that do not benefit us.
“Below salt-heavy tides” (~3000) is my queer selkies in space story, published in Mermaids Monthly. It’s one thing to leave the sea for the land, but quite another to leave Earth entirely.
And just under the usual short story cap, at 6400 words, is First Years and Familiars, a cosy Windflower prequel about the trials of being a first year student while queer and a witch, and having to navigate both coming out and hiding your familiar in your student hostel.
I had a reprint in Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy 3, and while reprints are generally not award eligible, the anthology itself will be in some categories.
Lastly I have a non-fiction piece that should be out before the year’s end. “Wormholes and Workers: Alienation and Agency in Nino Cipri’s Finna” will be in Vector Magazine 294.
Work I liked
Even in a usual year, I never manage to read everything I want to. 2021 was… scattered. I stopped logging my short story reading and much of what I read was old. There are a lot of books I expect to be fully nomination worthy lurking in the ever growing piles beside my bed (hey it’s not like I live in an earthquake prone region, everything is fine!!!). I’m sorry I can’t support them and their authors in this post.
That said there were some standouts. Rem Wigmore’s solarpunk novel Foxhunt was both brutal and hopeful, an imagining of how much better we can make the world, and what we might need to do to protect it. AJ Lancaster (sort-of) finished her Stariel series with the fun and satisfying King of Faerie. Charlie Jane Anders’ YA novel Victories Greater Than Death got right to the heart of what I love about space opera, cleaned out some of the gunk the genre’s attracted, and made something beautiful and terrifying all at once. Butcherbird by Cassie Hart was creepy and yet kind in its own way, both indulging in and subverting horror tropes. Merc Fenn Wolfmoor’s novella Wolf Among the Wild Hunt was vivid and fast paced and lastly Malinda Lo’s YA novel Last Night at the Telegraph Club was tender and real and important.
Any (and indeed all) of these deserve your attention – do please consider nominating them.
Lastly don’t forget to check out this unofficial (crowd sourced) spreadsheet of NZ eligible works maintained by Melanie Harding Shaw, and this list of eligibility posts by A.C. Wise. Thank you to you and to others who do this sort of compilation work – it’s so useful and important.