Sibilant fricative

On the film Blade Runner
In fact, this is what links all the films I love the most: they manifest what I take to be a new cultural logic in SF. The genre has shifted from being a literature of ideas (books are good at ideas) to a literature of enduring, powerful and haunting visual images (films are poor at ideas, but very good at the poetry of beautiful images). This is what La Jetée2001: A Space OdysseyStalker, Alien and The Matrix have in common – their gobsmacking visual aesthetic. But Blade Runner beats all of these. It is the most beautiful, the most haunting, the most visually perfect of all of them. It is Scott’s expert conjuring with near-palpable beams and shafts of light amongst the cluttered, smoky and misty darkness; the shadows blocking out a somatically believable city; the gorgeous design; the detail.
— On Quantum Thief
At the heart it’s a heist story: Jean le Flambeur is sprung from a deep space prison by the enigmatic warrior Mieli and her Banksish sentient spaceship Perhonen, in order to pull-off a complicated crime upon Mars. Meili is in the service of a mysterious, capricious goddess-like being, and the plot unwraps its several mysteries in a very satisfying manner. The Oubliette in particular is a splendid creation; not so much in terms of its far-future hardware as its social codes of privacy, guarded by information-exchange veils called ‘guevelots’, policed by ‘tzaddicks’ – and its currency, time, to be lavishly spent or carefully hoarded as citizens countdown towards a ‘death’ that reprocesses their consciousnesses into ‘Quiet’ machines that do all the hard areoforming and city maintenance work. There’s also a quick-witted Holmes-like youth, with a genius for solving crimes.
— On Chris Priest’s The Islanders
One of the things I loved about The Islanders is that pretty much all the Priestian fascinations and preoccupations are here: doubles; mirrors; dreams; stage magic; the unreliability and instability of narrative, and several intriguing and underplayed metafictional touches (a young [female] novelist writes fan letters to a tetchily unpredictable Kammeston; when her first novel is published she sends a copy to him. It is called The Affirmation). It coheres, or more precisely refuses quite to cohere, very stylishly indeed. It’s an archipelagic novel in more than one sense (always assuming that the word has more than one sense), formally embodying its scattered loosely connected strings of island subjects in loosely connected strings of narratives. There’s a distant family relationship with Borges, perhaps; or Ballard’s anthology of ‘condensed novels’, The Atrocity Exhibition.

Roberts, Adam. Sibilant Fricative: Essays and Reviews . Steel Quill Books.

Sibilant frictive is a collection of 40+ reviews/essays by Adam Roberts, collected in print in 2014.
You may disagree with Roberts on some things, but you will find his comments interesting and worth reading.

Nova Mob, Feb 2nd, 2022: Dangerous Visions and New Worlds

Iain McIntyre talks about the new book edited with Andrew Nette:

The cover of the book launched November, 2021

Dangerous Visions and New Worlds offers a birds eye view of a period when we were most passionate—about literature, the arts and the sciences, and when we let the rockets explore the universe while we turned to explore the multiverse in terms of the human psyche. Powered by a faith that fiction—especially speculative fiction—could change the world—the New Wave allied with the Underground Press, the Left and the world of rock and roll to create a cultural explosion. This book recalls the highly individualistic writers, with often radically different approaches.”

—Michael Moorcock

New season of The Expanse

This trailer has something for every Expanse fan: Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) plotting; Bobbie (Frankie Adams) being breathtakingly competent; the Roci maneuvering; Holden (Steven Strait) being captainly; Amos (Wes Chatham) being soft and also tough; Naomi (Dominique Tipper) putting things together; Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) being a schemer; Drummer (Cara Gee) growing into her role as leader; and a whole lot of space action.

The Latest Trailer for The Expanse’s Final Season Looks for a Reason to Hope,

Crit Mass Nov 24th: Empires, Galactic and Magic

Roman considers two stories of empires: Arkady Martine, a Byzantium scholar, writes about an interesting Texicalaan galactic empire (a cross between the Byzantine and Aztec empires) in A Memory of Empire,

and Aliette de Bodard looks at a magical Aztec empire in the first Obsidian and Blood novel Servant of the Underworld. Both first novels deal with a murder mystery…

Have a read of these novels, and come along ready to talk about your favourite stories of empire…
— you might even have some thoughts about the TV series of Foundation!

Note this will be a combined Zoom/In Person meeting: either join us at Kappys, or Zoom in remotely.

We will start the meeting with a review of the Hugo nominees for Best Novella. Please consider the candidates we’ve looked at, and be ready to rank them: Riot Baby, Tochi Onyebuchi; Upright Women Wanted, Sarah Gailey; Come Tumbling Down, Seanan McGuire; The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo ; Finna, Nino Cipri ; and Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark.

Zoom details:

Join Zoom Meeting: Nov 24th, 6:30pm Adelaide, 7pm Melbourne

Meeting ID: 821 6779 6217
Passcode: 784499

That’s Weird…

Something doesn’t feel quite right. The world around you seems a little…off. Things turn strange and fluid, as if you’re trapped inside a dream…but you aren’t. Something about you might have changed in a fundamental way that you sense but can’t understand. This is what weird fiction at its best feels like…and this bundle explores its many worlds through the eyes of authors who’ve mastered its dark and disorienting ways.

Let Samuel R. Delany, a living literary legend by any definition, guide you through the universe of weird science fiction (with an introduction by master fantasist and fellow legend Neil Gaiman of Sandman and Good Omens fame). Joe R. Lansdale, whose books spawned the Hap and Leonard TV series, will give you a crash course on weird Western tales and weird pulp fiction. Ramsey Campbell, impresario extraordinaire of dark fiction, will throw you headfirst into the realm of weird horror. Experience surreal weird fiction with Michael Cisco and Ray Vukcevich, retro weird scifi with Jeffrey Thomas, and classic, Gothic weird with the incredible Elizabeth Hand. By the time you’re done with the tour, you will have a deeper understanding of weird fiction’s many outposts and byways…and perhaps you’ll have a greater desire to explore that intricate universe more thoroughly.

The Many Worlds of Weird Fiction Bundle, curated by Robert Jeschonek,