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Historically, the section was divided into two awards: Best Novel and Best Short Story. In 2016, convenors announced a splitting of the short-fiction award, making three individual awards: Best Short Story, Best Novella, and Best Novel.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2021

Also finalist (novella): Aoeteroa writer Sean Monaghan.
winner (Short Story) Relict (noun): A Widow; A Thing Remaining from the Past Alison Goodman , 2021 single work short story
— Appears in: Relics, Wrecks and Ruins 2021; (p. 393-418)
winner (Novella) Preserved in Amber Samantha Murray , 2021 single work short story science fiction
— Appears in: Clarkesworld , July no. 178 2021;
winner (Novel) y separately published work icon Waking Romeo Kathryn Barker , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2021 20849737 2021 single work novel fantasy science fiction

'What if Juliet Capulet met someone who made her doubt true love? What if Wuthering Heights was a message to a time traveller? A cosmic reimagining of Romeo and Juliet and homage to two literary classics in a compelling novel about fate, love and time travel from an award-winning author.


'It's the end of the world. Literally. Time travel is possible, but only forwards. And only a handful of families choose to remain in the 'now', living off the scraps that were left behind. Among these are eighteen-year-old Juliet and the love of her life, Romeo. But things are far from rosy for Jules. Romeo is in a coma and she's estranged from her friends and family, dealing with the very real fallout of their wild romance. Then a handsome time traveller, Ellis, arrives with an important mission that makes Jules question everything she knows about life and love. Can Jules wake Romeo and rewrite her future?

'A highly original mashup that delights as it disorients ... and asks what would have happened if two great literary love stories were somehow intertwined.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2020

winner (Short Story) Mary, Mary Fiona Bell , 2020 single work short story science fiction
— Appears in: Aurealis , no. 135 2020;
winner (Novella) The Weight of the Air, the Weight of the World T. R. Napper , 2020 single work short story science fiction
— Appears in: Neon Leviathan 2020;
joint winner (Novel) y separately published work icon The Animals in that Country Laura McKay , Melbourne : Scribe , 2020 18465113 2020 single work novel fantasy

'Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, and allergic to bullshit, Jean is not your usual grandma. She’s never been good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in an outback wildlife park. And although Jean talks to all her charges, she has a particular soft spot for a young dingo called Sue.

'Then one day, disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country. This is no ordinary flu: its chief symptom is that its victims begin to understand the language of animals — first mammals, then birds and insects, too. But as the flu progresses, the unstoppable voices become overwhelming, and many people begin to lose their minds.

'When Jean’s infected son, Lee, takes off with Kimberly, heading south, Jean feels the pull to follow her kin. Setting off on their trail, with Sue the dingo riding shotgun, they find themselves in a stark, strange world in which the animal apocalypse has only further isolated people from other species.

'Bold, exhilarating, and wholly original, The Animals in That Country asks what it means to be human — and what would happen, for better or worse, if we finally understood what animals were saying.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

joint winner (Novel) y separately published work icon Repo Virtual Corey J. White , New York (City) : Tor , 2020 18593155 2020 single work novel science fiction

'The city of Neo Songdo is a Russian doll of realities — augmented and virtual spaces anchored in the weight of the real. The smart city is designed to be read by machine vision while people see only the augmented facade of the corporate ideal. At night the stars are obscured by an intergalactic virtual war being waged by millions of players, while on the streets below people are forced to beg, steal, and hustle to survive.

'Enter Julius Dax, online repoman and real-life thief. He's been hired for a special job: stealing an unknown object from a reclusive tech billionaire. But when he finds out he's stolen the first sentient AI, his payday gets a lot more complicated.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2019

winner (Novel) y separately published work icon Aurora Rising Jay Kristoff , Amie Kaufman , Sydney : Random House Australia , 2019 14936140 2019 single work novel young adult science fiction

'The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch . . .

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates 
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.


Source: Publisher's blurb.

winner (Short Story) Wreck Diving Joanne Anderton , 2019 single work short story science fiction
— Appears in: Aurealis , no. 123 2019;
winner (Novella) 'Scapes Made Diamond Shauna O'Meara , 2019 single work short story science fiction
— Appears in: Interzone , no. 280 2019; (p. 56-75)

'Twenty-seven years after his failure to save the telepathic Tulina, Graeyan returns to witness the death of the herd leader and try to reconcile with the man he once loved.'

Source: Rocket Stack Rank ( (Sighted: 2/4/2020)

Year: 2018

winner (Short Story) The Astronaut Jen White , 2018 single work short story science fiction
— Appears in: Aurealis , no. 108 2018;
winner (Novella) y separately published work icon Icefall Stephanie Gunn , Yokine : Twelfth Planet Press , 2018 12719641 2018 single work novella science fiction

'The Mountain on the planet of Icefall holds the mystery to a lost colony and an irresistible, fatal allure to the climbers of the universe. Maggie is determined to be the first to make the summit. Aisha, injured in a climbing incident herself, has always supported her wife, trusting Maggie would return from her adventures. But no one ever returns from the Mountain.'

Source: Press release ( (Sighted: 18/01/2018)

winner (Novel) y separately published work icon Lifel1k3 LIFEL1K3 Jay Kristoff , Crows Nest : Voyager , 2018 12914267 2018 single work novel science fiction young adult

'On an island junkyard beneath a sky that glows with radiation, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap. Seventeen-year-old Eve isn't looking for trouble-she's too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she spent months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, she's on the local gangster's wanted list, and the only thing keeping her grandpa alive is the money she just lost to the bookies. Worst of all, she's discovered she can somehow destroy machines with the power of her mind, and a bunch of puritanical fanatics are building a coffin her size because of it. If she's ever had a worse day, Eve can't remember it.

'The problem is, Eve has had a worse day -- one that lingers in her nightmares and the cybernetic implant where her memories used to be. Her discovery of a handsome android named Ezekiel -- called a "Lifelike" because they resemble humans -- will bring her world crashing down and make her question whether her entire life is a lie.

'With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic sidekick Cricket in tow, Eve will trek across deserts of glass, battle unkillable bots, and infiltrate towering megacities to save the ones she loves ... and learn the truth about the bloody secrets of her past.' (Publication Summary)

Year: 2017

winner (Short Story) Conversations with an Armory Garth Nix , 2017 single work short story science fiction
— Appears in: Infinity Wars 2017; (p. 213-222)
winner (Novella) y separately published work icon Girl Reporter Tansy Rayner Roberts , United States of America (USA) : Book Smugglers Publishing , 2017 12890563 2017 single work novella science fiction young adult

 From the award-winning author of Cookie Cutter Superhero and Kid Dark Against the Machine comes a brand new novella about girl reporters, superheroes, and interdimensional travel

'In a world of superheroes, supervillains, and a machine that can create them all, millennial vlogger and girl reporter Friday Valentina has no shortage of material to cover. Every lottery cycle, a new superhero is created and quite literally steps into the shoes of the hero before them--displacing the previous hero. While Fry may not be super-powered herself, she understands the power of legacy: her mother is none other than the infamous reporter Tina Valentina, renowned worldwide for her legendary interviews with the True Blue Aussie Beaut Superheroes and her tendency to go to extraordinary lengths to get her story.

This time, Tina Valentina may have ventured too far.

'Alongside Australia's greatest superheroes--including the powerful Astra, dazzling Solar, and The Dark in his full brooding glory--Friday will go to another dimension in the hopes of finding her mother, saving the day, maybe even getting the story of a lifetime out of the adventure. (And possibly a new girlfriend, too.)'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

winner (Novel) y separately published work icon From the Wreck Jane Rawson , Yarraville : Transit Lounge , 2017 10409268 2017 single work novel science fiction

'From the Wreck tells the remarkable story of George Hills, who survived the sinking of the steamship Admella off the South Australian coast in 1859. Haunted by his memories and the disappearance of a fellow survivor, George’s fractured life is intertwined with that of a woman from another dimension, seeking refuge on Earth. This is a novel imbued with beauty and feeling, filled both with existential loneliness and a deep awareness that all life is interdependent.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.