Aurealis #68 by Stephen Higgins (Editor) by Stephen Higgins (Editor) - Read Online

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Aurealis #68 - Stephen Higgins (Editor)

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Australian Fantasy & Science Fiction

Edited by Stephen Higgins

Published by Chimaera Publications at Smashwords

Copyright of this compilation Chimaera Publications 2014

Copyright on each story remains with the contributor.

EPUB version ISBN 978-1-922031-24-2

ISSN 2200-307X (electronic)


Smashwords Edition License Notes

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the authors, editors and artists.

Hard copy back-issues of Aurealis can be obtained from the Aurealis website:


From the Cloud—Stephen Higgins

Icarus—Tara Calaby

Avoiding Gagarin—David Stevens

So you want to be a fantasy writer—Stephen Higgins

Interview with Raymond E Feist—Dan Allan


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From the Cloud

Stephen Higgins

Isn't it amazing how good writing just persists? I just had a look at the first volume of the collected stories of Brian Aldiss. I can remember reading his short stories when I was a teenager, and they had that WOW, OMG factor in a big way. Have they dated? No. They are well written and contain good ideas, and for the most part, this provides an extended use by date. Well maybe some have dated, but Speculative Fiction readers have this in built facility to not only suspend disbelief (ok I know dragons don't exist but for the sake of this story I will allow that they do), but to also suspend the passage of time, the development of technology and the advancement of various rights. You can accept computers the size of large rooms. You can accept corny electronic newspapers… Oh, wait a minute… can we accept the sexist portrayal of women? Have you looked at some of the covers from the 60s? Okay, maybe you aren't into soft porn… I just saw the cover of an old SF favourite of mine. It had a well-endowed woman with some sort of armament fitted to her bra. I mean, you wouldn't get a bloke with a cannon in his boxers would you? No, it has to be a scantily clad woman. The really shocking aspect to all of this is that we are still dealing with this sort of controversy today. There was a recent major debate about a cover used in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America newsletter. It was all over the internet; look it up.

And before you write in, yes we have had a couple of scantily clad females on the cover of Aurealis at times as well. Mind you, we have also had a few scantily clad blokes too. Are we guilty of sexism? Well, I don't think so. I think we were guilty of a dearth of cover art at times, way back in the dim and distant past, but I think we have been scrupulously aware of how people might react to certain images.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, old SF. These stories from the 50s are fantastic. They are evocative of an age gone by, but the writing is so good. The ideas are so good. And that's all you really need, isn't it? Good ideas… good writing. Then it all comes together. The really great writing, speculative fiction or not, has this combination of good ideas presented well. These stories have depth. They have layers of meaning. It is the one constant that lays a golden seam through all of fantasy, science fiction, horror and whatever sub-genres you want to discuss. The odd thing is, that's such a bloody obvious statement… I am basically saying that good writing is good writing. (Here is the link back to my opening comments.) I am absolutely convinced that we here at Aurealis, as well as a few other places, are publishing the cream of speculative fiction today. This is good stuff! The stories we are