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,

Nova Mob events…

Dec 1 Nova Mob – Iain McIntyre – Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985 by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre.

Dec 5 – Wrong Turns on the Wallaby Track: Australian Science Fiction Fandom to Aussiecon – Part 1, 1936 to 1960, a Zoom call with Leigh Edmonds and Perry Middlemiss.

Dec 18 Nova Mob – end of year Nova Mob lunch face to face. Details to be confirmed.

Feb 2 2022 Nova Mob –  first meeting of 2022. Topic to be confirmed. Topics for 2022, please bring yours!

Mar 2 2022 Nova Mob – Perry Middlemiss on Short SF in 1965.

Australian SF Fandom 1936 to 1960, with Leigh Edmonds

Wrong Turns on the Wallaby Track:: Australian Science Fiction Fandom to Aussiecon – Part 1, 1936 to 1960

A Zoom videoconference with Leigh Edmonds and Perry Middlemiss. FANAC Zoom series, 10:30am Dec 5th, Adelaide time.

From the 1930s to the 1950s sf fandom in Australia was active and buoyant. Centred mainly around the city of Sydney their activities included fanzine production, club meetings and feuding. Yet by the beginning of the 1960s it had nearly all withered away. How did this vibrant community survive the Second World War and yet somehow fail to make it through peacetime? This, and many other questions, will be addressed by Dr Leigh Edmonds, sf fan and professional historian, in his FANAC talk.

To RSVP, or find out more about the series, please send a note to

December 4 (US) and December 5 (Australia), 2021 – 7PM Dec 4 EST, 4PM Dec 4 PST, 11AM Dec 5 Melbourne AU

Critical mass: dinner on December 8th

As usual, we’re meeting for dinner in early December, rather than a regular meeting. We’ll decide the venue at the November meeting, so if you have a suggestion for a good place to eat, let us know! Also let us know if you’re coming along, as we’ll have to book a venue.
Current list of possibilities: King’s Head (King William), Naaz Persian (Pulteney St), Madre Pizza (Gilbert St), Eros Greek (Rundle St).

The muslimness of Dune

One of Dune’s overarching concerns is to locate and explore a “Muslimness in time.”  The novels fixate on change across time and space: How does a tradition adapt, or not, across centuries, environments, and societies? The novels interrogate this question through a range of Muslim approaches to it. They look to Muslim scholarly traditions, historical interpretations, and experiences as they shift from place to place and generation to generation. The saga finds answers in Muslim beliefs in the sanctity of the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings; in Muslim practices of mysticism and experience as a response to legalism and scientism, or to the (orientalist) binary of reason against unthinking following; in a respect for other traditions that nevertheless preserves a unique commitment to the bespoke quality of Islam; and in Muslim narratives of political succession and revolutionary power.

Haris Durrani, writing on Dune in “The Muslimness of Dune: A Close Reading of “Appendix II: The Religion of Dune“,

Another story bundle…

The Magic and Mystery Bundle, curated by the Melissa Snark:

“A great fantasy story is, to my mind, about endless possibilities. If every author penned their tale according to a rigid set of guidelines, the genre would have all the flavor of stale saltines. A fantastical saga, a magical realm, a raven’s flight, a god of chaos sparks a fire in your imagination.

Magic and Mystery is a collection of ten books that touch on fantasy fiction’s stunning breadth and diversity, from cat assassins to faerie kings. A New Orleans haunted mansion and a talking cockroach—we have that, too. Our stories will seize and sweep you away.

Our featured charity for this bundle is the The Salish Sea School, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting local marine ecosystems and the education of future student leaders in marine conservation.”

Bundle available until 11th November at

News from The Nova Mob

Murray included some notes which may be of interest:

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Australian Science Fiction Fandom 1936 to 1960, with Leigh Edmonds

Wrong Turns on the Wallaby Track:: Australian Science Fiction Fandom to Aussiecon – Part 1, 1936 to 1960

A Zoom videoconference with Leigh Edmonds and Perry Middlemiss. FANAC Zoom series. No link as yet. To be provided.

December 4 (US) and December 5 (Australia), 2021 – 7PM Dec 4 EST, 4PM Dec 4 PST, 11AM Dec 5 Melbourne AU

Perry says, “Leigh is doing the talking, I’m just there to steer things along.”

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The White Library by Paul Voermans

Paul Voermans enjoyed his October Nova Mob discussion on The White Library so much that he later provided an article which I’ll circulate real soon now. 

We recommend you contact your local library for them to buy the Gollancz hardcover. After all, the novel is set in Melbourne’s State Library and the narrative includes librarians. And it’s fun.

Here’s the link to the very reasonably-priced eBook:

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Fourteen fantasy novels for A$25 

Speaking of e-books, may I make an exception to the “no advertisements” guideline for these emails? This e-book bundle is for a short time only, it originates from the SFWA, and there’s some interesting writing:

The books in the bundle…

Received from Matthew Hughes, Canada’s version of Terry Dowling’s Jack Vance aspect.

“The professional association of science fiction and fantasy authors of America (SFWA) has launched a new StoryBundle – Magic and Mayhem – offering fourteen carefully chosen fantasy novels (one of them mine), that span the sub-genres of fantasy while showcasing magic-induced mayhem, from the hilarious to the horrible and everything in between.
“If you haven’t encountered StoryBundle before, it’s a cool way to snag a passel of great genre reading at a bargain price.  And you’ll almost certainly discover some authors new to you that you’ll want to read more of.
The basic deal is US$5 for FOUR NOVELS in any ebook format you like, to read on your laptop, tablet, e-reader, or smartphone.
“But wait, there’s more!  Boost your spending to US$15 and you get TEN MORE books.  That’s FOURTEEN full-length novels for basically a buck a book.  Each title in the Magic and Mayhem bundle has been curated by SFWA’s pros out of a slew of books that came in after a call for submissions.
“Some of the titles they particularly liked:
• Darkmage – ML Spencer’s award-winning debut novel filled with epic battles, flawed heroes, and a brutal struggle

• Playing with Fire – R.J. Blain’s snarky romantic comedy with a body count, featuring a fire-breathing unicorn on a mission of destruction

• Phaethon – Rachel Sharp’s tech fantasy that weaves computer hackers, faeries, and corporate greed into a twisted tale

• Ragnarok Unwound – Kristin Jacques’s story of a young woman tangled up in a prophecy that sets her off to save the world with the help of a brownie, a Valkyrie, and the goddess of death herself

• Cutie and the Beast – E.J. Russell’s novel pairing a former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court with a cheeky yet adorable human temp worker, as they prove, once again, that when fae consort with humans, it never ends well

•And my own 9 Tales of Raffalon – Matthew Hughes’s intriguing mosaic novel combining nine stories of an enterprising thief as he grapples with crooked guild masters, ghosts, spies, ogres, and a talented amateur assassin
“All the books are DRM-free.  You can email them to your friends.  And you can give Magic and Mayhem as a gift to that guy who’s always asking you, “What’s so great about fantasy?”
“And you’ll be doing some good, supporting indie authors like me, plus part of the proceeds will go to the good works SFWA does, like helping out writers in need of health care and other worthwhile causes.
“It’s a limited time offer (ends around Nov 3rd), so better not wait to check it out: