8 Aussie Sci-Fi Authors Whose Books You Should Read, by Jess Gately

Marianne de Pierres

Where better to start than with this boundary-crossing writer who has graced Australian publishing over and over again. Since 2003, Pierres has made a name for herself as the award-winning author of the Parrish Plessis, Sentients of Orion, and Peacemaker series.

Also publishing under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt, she has multiple Aurealis Award nominations and wins for the Best Science Fiction Novel category as well as two shortlistings for the Ditmar Award. Her stories can be humorous, are often about crime, feature post-apocalyptic body guards and bounty hunters, strange mixes of urban fantasy and western, and she’s even got a space opera to her name.

Sean Williams 

Look up the meaning of the word prolific and you’ll get a picture of Sean Williams—the New York Times bestselling author of over 120 published short stories and fifty novels! So where to start on this extensive list?

Let’s look at his award-winners shall we? The Resurrected Man won the Ditmar Best Long Fiction Award and was a finalist for the Aurealis Best Science Fiction Novel Award. Metal Fatigue was a winner of the Aurealis Award for Science Fiction. Williams has also received shortlistings and first place awards from Aurealis and Ditmar, for various books across the Evergence, Orphans, Geodesica, Astropolis, and Twinmaker series (we’ll be here a while if I spell it all out).

If you’re a fan of Star Wars, check out his New Jedi Order series, as well as his contribution to The Old Republic series, or his Force Unleashed books.

Claire G. Coleman

Coleman took the country by storm in 2017 with her debut novel Terra Nullius after winning the 2016 black&write! fellowship. The book went on to be shortlisted for the Stella Prize, the ABIA Matt Richell Award for New Writers, the Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, and was highly commended in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

She followed up her stunning debut with yet another hard-hitting adventure in The Old Lie which was released in 2019. Coleman draws on her experiences as a Wirlomin-Noongar woman to examine issues of colonialism through her carefully constructed sci-fi worlds. She is certainly an author to keep watching!

K.A. Bedford

Bedford has solidified himself as a science-fiction force with six books released between 2003 and 2015. He is known for his humour as well as the mystery/detective elements of his books.

His most critically acclaimed book was Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait (2008) which won the Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and was shortlisted for the Philip K. Dick Award. Eclipse also won the Aurealis Award in 2005, while Orbital Burn and Hydrogen Steel were both shortlisted for the award in 2003 and 2007.

Amie Kaufman

As a New York Times and internationally bestselling author, Amie Kaufman writes for the YA audience but her work doesn’t seem to be any less popular with the adults! Often writing about hope in the face of insurmountable odds, some of her work is in the process of development for TV.

She co-authored the Starbound Trilogy with Meagan Spooner, with the first book These Broken Stars winning the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel. It was also shortlisted for an Inky Award and was named the Huffington Post Best YA Novel of 2013. She then went on to co-author The Illuminae Files with fellow Aussie author Jay Kristoff. The first book Illuminae was nominated for the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Award, won the 2015 Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and the Gold Inky Award for best teen fiction, while also snagging the Australian Book Industry Award for Book of the Year for Older Children.

Her partnership with Kristoff obviously worked out well with the duo reuniting for their new YA series Aurora Cycle with the first book Aurora Rising picking up a CBCA Notable Book, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, LITA Science Fiction Notables List, and a shortlisting for the Aurealis Awards for Best Science Fiction Novel and Best Science Fiction YA Novel (the results are still pending for the winners).

Cat Sparks

The winner of thirteen Ditmar Awards and winner of the Aurealis Convenor’s Award for Excellence in 2004 for her services to the Australian Sci-Fi publishing industry, Sparks has an impressive list of award-winning novels and short fiction to her name.

Perhaps best known for her novel Lotus Blue, most of Cat’s works are short stories appearing in her own collection The Bride Price as well as anthologies such as L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future 21, and Loosed Upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction where she appeared alongside Sci-Fi bigwigs such as Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi and Seanan McGuire. Her new anthology Dark Harvest is due for release in July. Her work often involves post-apocalyptic settings and climate-fiction themes.

Jane Rawson

While Rawson’s first sci-fi book was hailed as underrated, her second book certainly gained more attention. Rawson draws from history to remake the future in her literary-styled sci-fi.

A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists  was shortlisted for the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and won the Small Press Network’s Most Underrated Book Award. She then won the Viva la Novella Prize with her quirky novella Formaldehyde which was published in Seizure in 2015. Her most recent book From the Wreck (published in 2019) was long listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Voss Literary Prize, it won the Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, was shortlisted for Barbara Jeffries Award, the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, and the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, and was added to the Locus Recommended Reading List! What’s more, in 2018 she won an Australia Council grant for an arts project which we’re hoping means another book is on the way.

Ambelin Kwaymullina

While many people know Kwaymullina for her academic work and children’s books, she’s also a well-established sci-fi writer for YA audiences. Her books are known for breaking away from sci-fi tropes and the generous influence of Dreamtime and Aboriginal lore.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (the first book in The Tribe series) was shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards in both the Best Science Fiction Novel and the Best Young Adult Fiction categories in 2012. Meanwhile, Catching Teller Crow took out the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and the Aurealis Awards Best Young Adult Novel, and was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Young Adult Book Award, the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Readers Award, and the CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers.

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