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Sir Julius Vogel Award Finalists - 2018

Following are the Finalists for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for 2018. The Finalists are for the 2017 calendar year.

Please note that you must be a member of SFFANZ or a member of Conclave 3 to vote for the Sir Julius Vogel awards. Ballot counting takes place at Conclave3, so you can vote there, email or post your votes to SFFANZ. If you email or post your votes, they must reach us by 27th March 2018. In all other cases, they must reach us by the close of voting at Conclave3 at 12 noon, Sunday 1st April 2018.

A postal/email voting form is be available here if you cannot attend Conclave3.

All Finalists have been asked to provide links either to their works or, if this is not possible, to descriptions or reviews. We include below all the links that we have received. We will continue to update this page as more information is made available to us.

Nominated works can be downloaded by SFFANZ and Conclave3 members. We will be gathering the works as fast as possible. In the mean time here are instructions for the Sir Julius Vogel Award Voter Packet.

The Long List of nominees is available here.

Professional Award Nominees

Best Novel

In the Earth's Embrace

J.C. Hart (Etherhart Press)

Bastet's Daughters

Lyn McConchie (Wildside Press)

Tyche's Flight

Richard Parry (Independent)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Hounds of the Underworld

Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Starlight's Children

Darian Smith (Wooden Tiger Press)
Sample available in the SJV Voter packet, with a link to the full novel

Best Youth Novel

Earthcore, Book 1: RotoVegas

Grace Bridges (Splashdown Books)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

The Locksmith

Barbara Howe (IFWG Publishing)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

A Dash of Belladonna

J. Rackham (Lemon Ink)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

The Kahutahuta

Douglas A. Van Belle (Intergalactic Media Group)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

The Traitor and the Thief

Gareth Ward (Walker Books Australia)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Best Novella / Novelette

The Meiosis of Cells and Exile

Octavia Cade, published in Asimov's Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2017 edition
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Standard Hollywood Depravity

Adam Christopher (Tor)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Beautiful Abomination

Frances Duncan
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body

Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Blood Money

Chris Underwood
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Best Short Story

“Earthcore: Initiation”

Grace Bridges, published on
Available in the SJV Voter packet

“Syren Song”

A.C Buchanan, published in Kaleidotrope
Available in the SJV Voter packet

“The Stone Weta”

Octavia Cade, published in Clarkesworld, issue 131
Available in the SJV Voter packet

“From the Womb of the Land, Our Bones Entwined”

A.J. Fitzwater, published in Pacific Monsters anthology (Fox Spirit Books)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

“Crimson Birds of Small Miracles”

Sean Monaghan, published in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Jan/Feb 2017
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Best Collected Work

Mariah's Prologues

Grace Bridges
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Wish Upon a Southern Star: A Collection of Retold Fairy Tales

edited by Shelley Chappell
Available in the SJV Voter packet


Best Professional Artwork

Earthcore: Initiation

story poster by Grace Bridges
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Cover for "Teleport"

Kate Strawbridge
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Cover for "Beneath Broken Waves"

Kate Strawbridge
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Cover for "The Madman's Bridge"

Patrick McDonald

Cover for "In the Earth's Embrace"

Kate Strawbridge
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Best Professional Production/Publication


Laya Rose
Available in the SJV Voter packet



Best Dramatic Presentation

The Changeover

directed by Stuart McKenzie and Miranda Harcourt, produced by Emma Slade (Firefly Films)

The Cul de Sac, season 2

(Greenstone TV)

One Thousand Ropes

directed by Tusi Tamasese (Blueskin Films)

Fan Award Nominees

Best Fan Artwork

John Toon

for cartoons in Phoenixine and 2017 LexiCon convention booklet.

Best Fan Production/ Publication


edited by John and Lynelle Howell

Lexicon convention booklet

produced by Darusha Wehm
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Summer Star Trek – Journey to Babel

Enterprise Entertainment

Best Fan Writing


Alex Lindsay

for SITREP (produced in Phoenixine)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Jo Toon

for Pass the Rules (produced in Phoenixine)
Available in the SJV Voter packet

Special Award Nominees

Best New Talent

(Nominations are numbered to aid clarity — the number has no other significance).

1. Barbara Howe

Why do I write? Because I love to read. I’m happiest when I can curl up with a good book, my to-be-read pile overflows the bookshelves, and I’m always on the lookout for new authors exciting enough to compel me to rush out and buy more of their works. I read to my family, too. Although my daughter reads well on her own, she is an auditory learner who gets more out of a book listening to someone else read it, so reading out loud plays a big part in our family time.

In 2010, soon after we moved to New Zealand, back-to-back readings of several novels filled with cringe-inducing portrayals of women goaded me into action. My daughter was 14 at the time, and I wanted stories, particularly ones with competent, intelligent women, that I could read to her with as much enthusiasm as she put into listening. I wrote down the critical scenes from a movie playing in my daydreams; daughter and husband loved them and demanded more. Those scenes grew into my first published novel, The Locksmith, and its sequels to come in the young adult, high fantasy Reforging series. The second book, Engine of Lies, is in the publisher’s hands and scheduled to be published mid-year (2018). I have completed drafts of the third and fourth books, and subjected my family to readings from the beginnings of the fifth (and final) book. I am astonished and grateful that they still ask for more.

We are now New Zealand citizens, living in Wellington in a house overflowing with books, games, and jigsaw puzzles. I work as a software developer in the film industry, blog about books I’ve enjoyed, and wish I had more time to lose myself in other worlds.

2. Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a fresh new voice in science fiction and fantasy. A former teacher in English and Drama, Mark’s passion for language and writing led him to study creative writing at AUT, where he completed the Masters programme and undertook to write his Firewall series of five sharply-conceived world-building fantasies. The first of these, The Madman’s Bridge, was released in 2017 by independent press Cloud Ink, an innovative publishing cooperative of predominantly literary works which has emerged from the AUT graduate programme and of which Mark is an executive. The second title in Mark’s Firewall series, The Blank Spaces, is forthcoming from the same press, releasing in early 2018. Since graduating and becoming involved in the press, Mark has thrown himself into the SFF community, including as a panel member at the national conference, for example. In particular, Mark is advocate for SFF, raising awareness of the importance of the genre among his literary colleagues -- at writerly events and within the academic community. He states: “My interests in writing involve asking how humanity normalises extraordinary circumstances; what is considered as a ‘right’ action in changing circumstances and what a hero is, or should be. I don’t yet have the answers.” Nevertheless, Mark strives to provoke his readers with the concept, throwing his characters into extraordinary circumstances and allowing us to observe the response, which is the point of all good literature. An author to watch, Mark Johnson is an excellent candidate for Best New Talent.

3. J. Rackham

Jennifer Rackham grew up in Rotorua. As a child, she was told to give up art before she hurt herself. She took this advice as a challenge, and she hasn’t stopped writing or illustrating since. She has been an active fantasy storyteller for over a decade, through various mediums such as comics, narrative games, and fictional blogs. Her fantasy webcomic, Fox Rain, was released between 2012 and 2016. She released a short webcomic called A Dash of Belladonna: a Curly Potion in 2014 and second short comic, called The Department of Nocturnal Affairs in 2015. She also has a current webcomic series, A Story of a Writer, which is written to help encourage other writers in the pursuit of their goals. When she realized she wanted to focus on writing novels, she obtained her Masters degree in Creative Writing at AUT, where she started to work on her debut novel. That novel, A Dash of Belladonna, was released in 2017 while she carried her first child. After graduating, she teamed up with her mentor and joined the Lasavia Publishing group, a collective of authors who help each other grow, create, and publish. She also works as an illustrator, collaborating with authors to bring children’s books to life. She is a writer of colour, and is passionate about inclusive stories in all genres, especially fantasy. Her background and experience in different mediums will be an asset to the SFF community. She is definitely an author to watch.

Fox Rain webcomic:

A Dash of Belladonna: A Curly Potion:

Department of Nocturnal Affairs:

Story of a Writer:

4. Gareth Ward

Gareth Ward, a.k.a. The Great Wardini is a magician, hypnotist, storyteller, bookseller and author. He has worked as a Royal Marine Commando, Police Officer, Evil Magician and Zombie. He basically likes jobs where you get to wear really cool hats – as writer and compere of Napier City’s inaugural Steampunk murder mystery evening he wore a rather splendid bowler.

He is a self-confessed geek, playing in weekly DnD, Call of Cthulhu and Leagues of Adventurer campaigns. You can read some of the exploits of his incredibly brave and heroic wizard ‘Tarquin The Honest’ on his blog at

He currently resides in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand where he runs two independent bookshops, Wardini Books and Wardini Books Napier with his wife Louise. With his daughter Alex he has developed a zombie apocalypse survival plan and is regularly disappointed when power cuts prove not to foreshadow the end of the world.

His first novel,’The Traitor and the Thief’, a rip-roaring young adult Steampunk adventure, won the 2016 Storylines Tessa Duder Award. It has received fantastic reviews in the national press and was a Listener top 50 children’s book.


Services To Science Fiction, Fantasy And Horror

(Nominations are numbered to aid clarity — the number has no other significance).


1. Andi Buchanan

Andi has for the past two and a half years single-handedly edited the only New Zealand magazine that I know of that's dedicated to speculative fiction. Capricious has published both Kiwi and international authors, and has sourced cover art from New Zealand and other illustrators. It's extremely hard work to keep a magazine like this going, producing high quality work that helps to showcase NZ as a producer and publisher of SFF. Andi has also represented NZ SFF on a national stage: their work in the running and management of Lexicon 2017, another enormous endeavour that has hosted both national and international fans, has helped to encourage and support the continuing growth of speculative fiction, and the SFF creative community, here in NZ.

2. Darian Smith

Since his arrival on New Zealand’s science fiction and fantasy scene in 2010, Darian Smith has been a stand out proponent the genre, both in literary terms, as a community builder, promoting science fiction and fantasy in the wider community, both in New Zealand and internationally, as well as nurturing newer New Zealand writers and fans. A superb writer, Darian’s titles include high fantasy mystery’s Kalanon’s Rising, Starlight’s Children, both world-building masterpieces, the award-winning New Zealand paranormal romance Currents of Change, and short story collection Shifting Worlds. Darian generously shares his professional skills with other writers, in particular offering panels and workshops on understanding deeper character motivations, as outlined in his non-fiction title, The Psychology Workbook for Writers. A regular panellist and speaker at science fiction and fantasy workshops and conventions (Au Contraire II, III, and Lexicon), he also promotes cross promotion with other literary and social communities, as a speaker for the Romance Writers of New Zealand, and literary International Writers Workshop. His reach goes still further, extending across barriers to include diverse and disabled writers. Examples include his writing workshops with members of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and his in depth work Generations – life stories of community spirit & contribution – co-authored with Dude TuiSamoa. Darian an active member of SpecFicNZ, serving on the committee for three terms, including one in office. Most importantly, he is an ardent and articulate advocate for our genre, as this interview in the Pantographic Punch indicates: Darian Smith is a most deserving candidate for Services to Science Fiction and Fantasy.


Services To Fandom

(Nominations are numbered to aid clarity — the number has no other significance).

1. Jan Butterworth

Jan Butterworth has been a tireless supporter of New Zealand’s fandom for close to a decade, serving on numerous ConComs including Conscription (2009), Context (2011) and Au Contraire III (2016), as well as being co-opted as a volunteer to organise book donations for Unconventional (2012), Au Contraire II (2013) and Reconnaissance (2015). In addition, she has been administrator of the successful Young Writers’ Workshops held last year at Au Contraire III (2016) and at this year’s Lexicon (2017). The smooth running of these workshops on the day of the events, shown in students’ and teachers’ evaluations, can be largely attributed to the many hours Jan has put in behind the scenes.

Jan joined the board of SFFANZ in 2009 and has been an active member since that date, as well as serving on the Sir Julius Vogel Award Committee for the past seven years. This latter is an important role which has grown annually.

Further evidence of fans' support for Jan's ability to represent the community was shown in 2010 when she was elected FFANZ delegate (with Stephen Litten). For six years (2009 to 2015), Jan was the administrator for the SFFANZ book review scheme, injecting her energy into introducing and promoting science fiction and fantasy work by New Zealand creatives, and making that work accessible to fans. In 2012, she began her own successful blog, My Opinion on Various Books, where she sources books and facilitates reviews of genre work. Hers is one of only a few independent blogs that reviews New Zealand work by preference, making her an important contributor to disseminating trends in science fiction and fantasy, and especially as they apply in New Zealand.

However, the job titles listed above do little to account the many, many hours of work Jan has undertaken chasing sponsorship for events, taking minutes, and facilitating communications between respective ConComs and the SFFANZ committee; all tasks she carries out with the highest professionalism despite increasing health limitations.

Much loved among the community for her generosity, humour, and tact, Jan is a local fan icon and a worthy and deserving candidate for Services to Fandom.


Note: Nominees are presented in randomised order.

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards recognise excellence in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror by New Zealanders.

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards are given for work by fans and professionals that was undertaken, completed or released in the year previous to voting. This year the works being voted on are from 2017. They are voted on by New Zealand fans and are presented at the National Science Fiction convention each year.

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards are administered by SFFANZ, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand Inc.

SFFANZ supports Science Fiction and Fantasy in New Zealand and can be contacted at

SFFANZ is a non-profit organisation and registered charity
designed to bring together fans of the fantastic in New Zealand

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