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  • Nikky Lee

ONCE WE FLEW and "What Bones These Tides Bring" make Aurealis, Shadow and Sir Julius Awards shortlists!

I'm thrilled to share that my space opera hopepunk novella Once We Flew is a finalist in the Aurealis Awards and the Sir Julius Vogel Awards (for Best Science Fiction Novella and Best Novella respectively). My post apocalyptic dark fantasy/horror short story, "What Bones These Tides Bring" published in Remains To Be Told: Dark Tales of Aotearoa (and edited by the estimable Lee Murray) is also a finalist in the Aurealis Awards, Sir Julius Vogel Awards and the Australasian Shadow Awards (in the Best Fantasy Short Story and Best Short Story categories).

About the awards

The Aurealis Awards

These awards are Australia's premiere awards for authors of science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction, so I'm over the moon to be on the shortlist for Best Science Fiction Novella and Best Fantasy Short Story.

So, if you're looking for your next read, I highly recommend browsing the shortlist here.

The Australasian Shadow Awards

The Australian Shadows Awards celebrate the finest in horror and dark fiction published by an Australasian within the calendar year. Works are judged on the overall effect of a work—the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance.

If you have a hankering for some spectacular dark fantasy and horror, browse this year's shortlist.

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards

The Sir Julius Awards are New Zealand's speculative fiction awards and recognise excellence in Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror works created by New Zealanders and New Zealand residents.

Unlike the Aurealis and Australasian Shadow Awards, the Sir Julius Vogel Awards are fan voted. Finalists are determined through an open round of voting, which is open to anyone. The 2024 winners are voted by members of SFFANZ and attendees/members of 2024 the National Science Fiction Convention.

For some great New Zealand speculative fiction, check out the shortlist here.

A bit more about my shortlisted stories

Once We Flew (science fantasy novella)

Once We Flew was something of a happy ancient when I set out to write a short story for Clare Rhoden's anthology From The Waste Land. Determined to seek life as a novella, this 'short' story blew past the word limit and ultimately forced me to write a second, and much shorter, story to submit to Clare's anthology instead. Inspired by T.S. Elliot's line 'We who were living are now dying', Once We Flew is a story about a group of stranded colonists getting back to that place of living. Part dystopian space opera/fantasy, part hopepunk, it features an older, disabled protagonist who takes a young boy under her wing as they search for a way home.

It was published under Caelestis Books, my own self-publishing imprint.

Blurb for Once We Flew

Four generations ago a generation ship crashed into the sands of Savene. Since then, its survivors have eked out an existence in the planet’s hostile desert. Yet, the tech is failing, the sands are encroaching, and people are dying. Rescue is still generations away—if it comes at all.

But Marsa is a survivor.

And an outcast.

Infected with the Chrysalis—a disease that grants its carriers uncanny abilities—she keeps her distance from her dwindling community.

Until an old friend’s dying wish sends her and a young boy across Savene’s inhospitable sands in search of something Marsa had thought she’d long forgotten.


Remains To Be Told: Dark Tales of Aotearoa (dark fiction and horror anthology)

Remains to be Told: Dark Tales of Aotearoa is mired in the shifting landscape of the long white cloud, and deeply imbued with the myth, culture, and character of Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Curated by multi-award-winning author-editor Lee Murray, the anthology opens with a foreword by six-time Bram Stoker Awards®-winner and former HWA President Lisa Morton; and includes a brutal, lyrical poem by Kiwi resident Neil Gaiman.

Laced with intrigue, suspense, horror, and even a touch of humour, the anthology brings together stories and poems by some of the best homegrown and Kiwi-at-heart voices working in dark fiction today.

Remains to be Told features stories and poems by Dan Rabarts, Kirsten McKenzie, Celine Murray, Kathryn Burnett, Helena Claudia, Marty Young, Gina Cole, William Cook, Del Gibson, Paul Mannering, Tim Jones, Owen Marshall, Denver Grenell, Bryce Stevens, Debbie Cowens, Lee Murray, Jacqui Greaves, Tracie McBride, and Nikky Lee.

About "What Bones These Tides Bring"

Published in Remains to be Told, this story is set in a post apocalyptic New Zealand that succumbed to floodwaters centuries before. At the time of writing it, it has only been a couple of months since the Auckland Floods and Cyclone Gabrielle, so flooding was quite top of mind! This far future world is not the Aotearoa we know, with ghosts and bone witches haunting its lands.


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