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Sir Julius Vogel Award Nominations - 2015

Following are the nominations for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for 2015. The nominees are for the 2014 calendar year.

Please note that you must be a member of SFFANZ or a member of Reconnaissance to vote for the Sir Julius Vogel awards. Ballot counting takes place at Reconnaissance, so you can vote there, or you can email or post your votes directly to SFFANZ. If you email or post your votes, they must reach us by 1st April 2015. In all other cases, they must reach us by the close of voting at Reconnaissance at 12 noon, Sunday 5th April 2015.

If you choose to email or post your votes, then please go to this page.

All nominees 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.

The Long List of all nominated works can be found here.

Nominated works can be downloaded by SFFANZ and Reconnaissance members. Here are instructions for downloading the Sir Julius Vogel Award Voter Packet.

Professional Award Nominees

Best Novel

Dreamer's Pool
Juliet Marillier
Pan MacMillan


The Sovereign Hand
Paul Gilbert
Steam Press


Engines of Empathy
Paul Mannering
Paper Road Press


The Caves of Kirym
Derrin Attwood
Worldly Books


The Seventh Friend
Tim Stead


Onyx Javelin
Steve Wheeler
HarperCollins, Australia



Best Youth Novel

The Caller: Shadowfell

Juliet Marillier
Pan Macmillan


Thomas J. Radford
Tyche Books


Wee Mac
Linda Dawley
Little Red Hen Community Press


Donnel's Promise
Anna Mackenzie
Longacre Press


Tihema Baker
Huia Press


Best Novella

A Mer-Tale

Jan Goldie
Published in Conclave: A Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy by Leapy Sheep


Trading Rosemary
Octavia Cade
Masque Books


Shelley Chappell


Peach and Araxi
Celine Murray
Published in Conclave: A Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy by Leapy Sheep


The Last Homely Housekeeper
Rolf Luchs


In the Spirit
J. C. Hart



Best Short Story

"Inside Ferndale"
Lee Murray
SQ Mag, Issue 12, January 2014


"The Watch Serpent”
Eileen Mueller
Disquiet, Creativa


Charlotte Kleft
Disquiet, Creativa


Lee Pletzers
Disquiet, Creativa


“Santa's Sack”
Simon Fogarty
in The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales
Phantom Feather Press


Best Collected Work

Lost In The Museum

Phoenix Writers Group

In our press material we incorrectly stated that Lost in the Museum,
created by the Phoenix Writers Group, was published by Makaro Press. This
was incorrect. We regret the error.


Corpus Delecti
William Cook
James Ward Kirk Publishing


Dreams of Thanatos
William Cook
King Billy Publications


The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales
A. J. Ponder, E. Mueller and P. Friend (eds)
Phantom Feather Press


Write Off Line 2014: They Came In From The Dark
Lauren Haddock and Jessica Harvey (eds)
Tauranga Writers Publishing


Beyond The Briar
Shelley Chappell


Best Professional Artwork

Cover for Lost In The Museum
Geoff Popham


Cover for The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales
Geoff Popham


Best Professional Production/Publication

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Chronicles: Cloaks and Daggers

Daniel Falconer
Weta Workshop


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Chronicles: Unleashing the Dragon
Daniel Falconer
Weta Workshop


Cosplay New Zealand
Sylvie Kirkman


Weta Digital: 20 Years of Imagination On Screen
Clare Burgess with Brian Sibley
with the support of Weta Digital


Weta Workshop: Celebrating 20 Years of Creativity
Luke Hawker
with the support of Weta Workshop


   Best Dramatic Presentation

What We Do In The Shadows

Directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
Produced by Chelsea Winstanley and Taika Waititi
(c) Shadow Pictures 2014


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Directed by Sir Peter Jackson
Written by:
    Peter Jackson
    Fran Walsh
    Philippa Boyens
    Guillermo del Toro


Directed by Gerald Johnstone


Fan Award Nominees

Best Fan Production / Publication


Jacqui Smith


John & Lynelle Howell



Best Fan Artwork

Keith Smith — for contributions in Novazine


Matt Cowens -- for "Gorgth Goes Shopping"
Au Contraire 2013 convention book
Carried over from 2014


Best Fan Writing



(Nominations are numbered because otherwise
the text of the descriptions of each nominee may
make it hard to determine where each entry begins
and ends — the number has no other significance).

1. Rebecca Fisher

Here is a link to her reviews on Helen Lowe's blog

She also reviews here on a regular basis
Her profile is here

She has her own blog here


2. Jacqui Smith

This is for all her writing as found in the 2014 editions of Novazine, but especially for "Musings from Under the Mountain"

Novazine, and Jacqui's writing, can be found here


   Best New Talent



(Nominations are numbered because otherwise
the text of the descriptions of each nominee may
make it hard to determine where each entry begins
and ends — the number has no other significance).

1. Tihema Baker

I am a 23 year-old writer currently living in Wellington where I work fulltime for a government agency but love to write when I can.

My debut novel Watched, a young adult science fiction novel, has just been released. In 2012 I was accepted into Te Papa Tupu Maori Writers Programme, a 6 month "incubator" programme where 6 writers were selected to develop a particular piece of work for publication. It was during this time that I developed Watched under the mentorship of science-fiction author Phillip Mann. Watched is also one of the shortlisted nominations for "Best Youth Novel" in this year's Sir Julius Vogel Awards.

In 2013 I won the Best Short Story Written in Te Reo Maori Award at the Pikihuia Maori Writers Awards for my short story "Kei Wareware Tatou", which was later published in Huia Short Stories 10.

Recently I have been a Creative Consultant for Huia Publishers on te reo Maori magazines for schools, Haumi E!, Hui E!, and Taiki E!. I also wrote a regular comic feature for these magazines titled Nga Tinihanga a Maui, which offered a fresh take on the traditional Maui myths.

I am currently working on the sequel to Watched, for what I envision to be a trilogy.


2. Tim Stead

Tim Stead is a Christchurch based fantasy writer. He writes high fantasy, socially conscious, very character driven. He thinks it is an author's duty to entertain, and while a good tale demands a little bitterness, it should always leave you with a little sweetness in the aftertaste. He would like his readers to feel a little uplifted and largely satisfied when they put down something he's written.

He writes mostly fantasy because it provides a bigger canvas. It is the development of systems within imaginary worlds that provides half the fun, and in truth it is sometimes the characters that write the story.

The three books of the Sparrow and the Wolf trilogy were all released in April 2014 and have been well received by readers of all ages in many countries.

You can read more about Tim Stead here, and about the books here.

The books are available on Amazon and Smashwords as e-books, and at  Createspace  in paperback.

The Seventh Friend is Free on Smashwords.

Tim Stead is a member of SpecFicNZ.


3. A.J. Fitzwater

A.J. Fitzwater is a Christchurch based writer whose short fiction has been widely published, including in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Crossed Genres Magazine, and Wily Writers. Her acceptance into the Clarion workshop this year indicates both the quality of her writing and potential, and also her dedication to her career. She is a writer who continually pushes herself with new ideas, challenging techniques, and including characters from traditionally under-represented groups. Her writing draws on both her own experience and location, and a diverse range of literary influences, particularly speculative fiction written by women, and she is skillful in both acknowledging these but also using them as a jumping off point for genuinely original work.

Three stories have appeared in SFWA listed professional venues:
Blood, Stone, Water in Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Reprinted in Lethe Press: "Heiresses of Russ 2014: The Year's Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction"
Second Skin in Crossed Genres Magazine
The Mary-Jane Effect in Wily Writers


4. Shelley Chappell

Over the last year, I have had a number of short stories published in a variety of anthologies and other formats: "The Roots of all Evil", a retelling of the Garden of Eden story from the point of view of the Tree, published in Allen Taylor's Garden of Eden anthology (2014); "At the Water's Edge", the tale of a mermaid drawn to the boundary where two worlds meet, published in Angela Oliver's Reflections anthology (2014); "Cole's Christmas Spirit", the story of a British boy and his wilted Christmas spirit, published in Peter Friend, Eileen Mueller and A.J. Ponder's The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales (2014); "Eirlys and the Seven Naughty Children", a Regency romance retelling of Snow White, part of the Indie Authors' Advent Calendar facilitated by Katharina Gerlach (2014); and "Trash Monsters", a science fiction short story for middle-grade readers, published in the e-zine, Spaceports and Spidersilk, edited by Marcie Tentchoff (2015).

Additionally, I independently published my collection of radically retold fairy tales, Beyond the Briar: A Collection of Romantic Fairy Tales (2014), which is available through Amazon and its distributors. The collection contains four novelette-length fairy tale retellings aimed at an audience of young adults and adults. The fairy tales are also available as individual e-shorts. Two middle-grade fairy tale retellings are also available on Amazon as e-shorts.

My portfolio for the last year illustrates my interest in writing for children, young adults and adults, in the genres of fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction. I hope to continue publishing short fiction in 2015 while I work on completing several novels which are currently in draft form. For more information about me and my writing, visit my website.


5. William Cook

William Cook was born and raised in New Zealand and is the author of the novel Blood Related. He has written many short stories that have appeared in anthologies and has authored two short-story collections (Dreams of Thanatos and Death Quartet) and two collections of poetry (Journey: the search for something and Corpus Delicti). William writes horror and thriller fiction mostly, but also ventures into literary fiction, a bit of sci-fi, Young Adult and, more recently, kids stories.

His work has been praised by Joe McKinney, Billie Sue Mosiman, Anna Taborska, Rocky Wood and many other notable writers and editors. William is also the editor of the anthology Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror published by James Ward Kirk Fiction.

He is a member of the Horror Writers Association, Australian Horror Writers Association, SpecFicNZ and SFFANZ.


6. Paul Gilbert

The Sovereign Hand is Paul's first novel and has been called quite possibly one of the best works of fantasy ever published in New Zealand

It has been a work of ten years, mostly part time. In 2007 an extract from the novel Rise and Shine was runner up in the Pikihuia Awards for Maori Writers. This feat was matched in the next awards by a second extract House of Mirrors in 2009.

The novel is available through Steam Press, Amazon, and good booksellers. For extracts, links to reviews and more, see the author's website.



Services To Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror



(Nominations are numbered because otherwise
the text of the descriptions of each nominee may
make it hard to determine where each entry begins
and ends — the number has no other significance).

1. Eileen Mueller

Eileen Mueller has contributed to building a network of science fiction and fantasy writers in Wellington and across New Zealand, and has actively been involved in publishing and promoting fantasy and science fiction works by New Zealanders. She has set up critique groups for speculative fiction writers, mailing lists and newsletters of resources for speculative fiction writers.

1. Baby Teeth – Bite-sized Tales of Terror.

After having her story accepted for Baby Teeth, Eileen subsequently

   — helped find a venue for the Wellington launch,

   — organised a photo shoot of authors and an interview with the DomPost, Baby Teeth editor Dan Rabarts, and publisher Marie Hodgkinson of Paper Road Press.

   — organised articles in the DomPost, Hutt News, and The Wellingtonian which helped contribute to the book’s success.

2. Critique Groups

Eileen volunteered to arrange meetings for Wellington SpecFicNZ members, attended writing workshops in Wellington, encouraging interested writers to join SFFANZ, and SpecFicNZ. As a result of Eileen’s mailing list and a year of her holding open critiquing meetings, a small critique group has been established that meets fortnightly. All four current members are also SpecFicNZ members. Eileen also contributes to another monthly critique group of five SpecFic writers and still emails her writers’ lists to let them know of opportunities.

3. Lost in the Museum

Eileen assisted Phoenix Writers’ group with their young adult fantasy anthology based at Te Papa by:

   — Helping with editing, layout decisions, and support, during a time when editors Alicia Ponder and Lorraine Williams were both ill, but keen to finish the Wellington City Council-sponsored anthology.

   — Providing two stories and co-writing the final story in the anthology with Alicia Ponder, which helped tie up loose story threads across the collection.

   — Organising publicity and the launch at convention in Auckland in 2014.

   — Devising a tracking system for Phoenix so they could keep track of revenues and orders for the anthology.

   — Publicity included a half-page article in the DomPost and another article in the Cook Strait News, which included information about Phoenix Writers.

4. The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales

For this Christmas anthology of fantasy stories for 8-12 year olds, Eileen’s role included:

   — Co-editing. (Editors are Peter Friend, Eileen Mueller and A.J. Ponder.)

   — Soliciting stories from iconic NZ Children’s authors, Joy Cowley, David Hill, and Lyn McConchie and Australian author, Dave Freer.

   — Publishing with Alicia Ponder under the Phantom Feather Press banner.

   — Marketing —500 copies were sold in Nov/Dec in 2014. The collection was carried by retailers across New Zealand— largely due to her tenacity in contacting stores across the country.

   — Via this book, young readers are exposed to speculative fiction as most of the stories are sci-fi or fantasy.

   — Establishing a network among the 27 authors involved in this anthology via a closed Facebook group.

   — Organising the launch at the Children’s bookshop in Kilbirnie—attended by 120 people and many authors from around the country; a great networking opportunity for writers, which has led to subsequent projects.

“This is a classy piece of publishing in a book that looks good, feels good, and reads well. Congratulations to Alicia and Eileen and Phantom Feather Press. This book loses nothing against its competitors from professional publishing houses. We cannot believe the amount of energy Eileen has. The innovative and exciting ideas she comes up with, her ability to take people with her. She has worked incredibly hard at her writing, regularly attended our seminars and ran almost single-handedly the Storylines Wellington festival this year—we have been attending these for 10 years and regard it as the best we have been to.”

—John McIntyre of The Children’s Bookshop, Kilbirnie

Storylines Wellington Free Family Day

Eileen established a committee, recruited 85 volunteers and planned Wellington’s 2014 Storylines festival, which promotes NZ children’s literature, much of which is fantasy-based. Eileen put in over 600 hours organising Family Day. Highlights:

   — Writing and drawing competitions and a monster (costumed) parade.

   — Craft and activity zones for kids —Antarctica; War; Bugs N Bees; Monster Zone.

   — 4,000 Wellingtonians attended Free Family Day including Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, Hon. Annette King and Dame Joy Cowley. (The highest Wellington attendance yet.)

   — External organisations involved in the festival: Te Papa, National library NZ, NIWA, Antarctica NZ, Gareth Morgan Foundation, NZ Defence Force, Wellington Beekeepers Association, and schools.

   — Promotion of work by (authors , illustrators and storytellers): Joy Cowley, Gary Crew, Gary Venn, Chris Szekely, Jenney Hessell, Juliet Jacka, Moira Wairama, Patrick McDonald, Paul Beavis, Philippa Werry, Brian Lovelock, Apirana Taylor, Tony Hopkins and Sally Sutton.

   — Presentations by authors and illustrators, including Gary Crew, a leading science fiction and fantasy writer for children.

   — Read-aloud, storytelling and performances.

   — Following the festival, Eileen then toured with Gary Crew to Raroa Intermediate, Onslow College, The Children’s Bookshop and Victoria University to promote speculative fiction among developing writers.

In addition, Eileen is a writer to watch, with her own growing body of work:

1. The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales — 31 stories by 27 authors including Joy Cowley, David Hill and Dave Freer. Edited by Peter Friend, Eileen Mueller & A.J. Ponder, Phantom Feather Press 2014

2. Fairy Lights – audio book 

3. Fairy Lights (reprint) – The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales, Phantom Feather Press 2014

4. Rumbled (reprint) – The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales, Phantom Feather Press 2014

5. Lucky Brake – Lost in the Museum, Phoenix Writers, 2014

6. A Wizard in the Works – Lost in the Museum, Phoenix Writers, 2014

7. Clean Up – co-written with A.J. Ponder, Lost in the Museum, Phoenix Writers, 2014

8. The Watch Serpent – Disquiet, Creativia, 2014 

9. Unbroken Bonds – Disquiet, Creativia (poem), 2014 

10. Dad’s Wisdom – Baby Teeth, 2013 

11. Legless - The Original Twisty Christmas Tales, Phantom Feather Press, 2013h

12. White Christmas - The Original Twisty Christmas Tales, Phantom Feather Press, 2013

13. Kahi Kiwi’s Christmas Wish - The Original Twisty Christmas Tales, Phantom Feather Press, 2013

14. Fairy Lights – The Original Twisty Christmas Tales, Phantom Feather Press, 2013

15. Rumbled – The Original Twisty Christmas Tales, Phantom Feather Press, 2013

16. Ahi KÔ – winner Northwrite Collaboration contest, 2013.


2. Hugh Cook

We are writing to nominate New Zealand Fantasy author Hugh Cook (1956-2008) for a Julius Vogel Award, in the Special Awards Category of Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. We have made this nomination in the past, and hope it is acceptable to do so again.

Hugh Cook was one of New Zealand's most successful yet least recognised authors, publishing seventeen books in 25 years, from Plague Summer in 1980 to Cancer Patient in 2005.

Hugh's epic 10-Volume saga The Chronicles of an Age of Darkness sold over 450,000 copies, including 160,000 copies of the first in the series, The Wizards and the Warriors. This achievement alone is worthy of recognition, but Hugh did not stop writing when the Chronicles came to an end.

Cook went on to champion many forms of electronic publishing and was an early adopter of Print-On-Demand technology and free PDF releases as a means of growing his audience. He was well ahead of the curve on many new technologies well before the mainstream even knew they existed. He was possibly one of the first authors in the world to write and publish a blog, building each page in code, long before the ease of Wordpress or Blogger.

Cook's work was often brutal and always challenging, at turns elegiac and tortured. China Mieville describes Hugh Cook as "one of the most inventive, witty, unflinching, serious, humane and criminally underrated writers in imaginative fiction. Or anywhere.”

Cook was one of New Zealand's most prolific and successful writers of Science Fiction/Fantasy, but that is not the only reason that he is deserving of this award. His success as a Kiwi writer in the mainstream market has inspired many New Zealand writers of SFF to embrace the genre where they otherwise may have been convinced that the road to publication was too hard. Julius Vogel Award-winning author Phillipa Ballantine is among them:

'I grew up with a dream of being a writer, but being from New Zealand as well I always assumed that I could never write in the genre I loved: science fiction and fantasy. I remember finding Hugh Cook among the books my Dad was reading, and loving the worlds he so effortlessly carried me away to. And then I found out that he was from New Zealand too. From that moment on I knew my dream was possible. For both his talent and being a trailblazer I'll always be grateful to Hugh Cook."

Phillipa has gone on to publish many successful fantasy works, a testament to Cook's inspiration and his real impact on a whole new generation of New Zealand Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers.

Cook also celebrated New Zealand and its lore in his work. His prose drew heavily on the landscape, places and mythology of Aotearoa, from the legendary Taniwha of Quilth, to the Ngati Moana, to a prison called Maremoremo. Our native flora and fauna often made cameo appearances in wild locales, including weka, kauri and rimu, to name but a few – all of this well over a decade before Peter Jackson delivered our country up to the world as Middle Earth. Cook refused to suffer from cultural cringe; he embraced our country’s uniqueness and used it to flavour his own inimitable world and style, however far removed his worlds may have been from our own.

Cook was always ready to engage with his fanbase, and treated those who contacted him with respect and candour. He was truly a gentleman and a scholar.

Hugh Cook was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2005. He was treated and the disease went into remission, during which time he wrote a memoir entitled Cancer Patient, which is available as a free ebook. He was on the road to recovery when the cancer returned. He passed away peacefully in November 2008, and is survived by his wife and daughter, who live in Auckland.

Ultimately, Cook was both Wordsmith and Warrior. Poems, stories and characters were his tools and his weapons. He wrote with a passion, producing fiction at a prolific rate, and the English language would be greatly enriched if all the words and terms he had coined in his oeuvre were to be introduced into common parlance. He fought to find new ways forward in the publishing world, exploiting technologies that are only now starting to establish their true place in the electronic market. He maintained his integrity as an author to the very end, determined to always share the stories he had to tell, and not those that others wanted him to tell. At the end, he fought an unseen enemy – fought it and beat it, if only for a short time. Even in this he had a story to tell, and while the telling of that story may not have been able to completely defeat his insidious foe, it may yet bring comfort to others who face those same demons at some stage.

To quote Mieville again, “To honour the memory of this wonderful and generous-spirited writer and man, those - too bloody few - of us who know his work should do all we can to bring it to the world's attention.”

An article about Hugh Cook written by Dan Rabarts was published by World SF News Blog, and covers his life and work in more detail. It can be found here. Also, his obituary, published in the New Zealand Herald, can be found here.

Hugh Walter Gilbert Cook (1956-2008): Wordsmith; Warrior; New Zealander.



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 prior to voting. This year the works being voted on are from 2014. 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.

This year the National Science Fiction Convention is Reconnaissance taking place 3rd to 6th April 2015 in Rotorua.

Reconnaissance can be contacted at

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


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

Contact us by email at: