Frankenstein Burlesque Oct 29th

We are hosting a breakout room on zoom after the ASFF awards ceremony (Oct 29th) to stage a reading of the 1863 The Burlesque of Frankenstein. If you’re interested in taking part, have a look at the Notes and text of the Burlesque, and let Roman know which part you are interested in.

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!

Oct 27 Critical Mass: online SF magazines

As discussed at the August meeting last week, Critical Mass will be having a look at online SF mags
We invite members to have a look at two of the four magazines nominated for each month: please peruse two months worth of “issues” before the relevant meeting

October 27th, 6:30 Adelaide time, 7pm Melbourne




Please advise Roman (websmith[at] which magazines you’ll be looking at.

A reminder that, covid conditions allowing, we will also be meeting at Kappy’s each month from 6:15pm
for a joint in-person/Zoom meeting.

Topic: Online SF Magazines
Time: Oct 27, 2021 6:30 pm Adelaide, 7.00pm Melbourne/Sydney

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 821 6779 6217
Passcode: 784499

Nova Mob: Paul Voermans Oct 6

Murray notes:
As our lockdown continues and Victoria opens up on the modelling that it’ll be a 50/50 coin-toss whether or not our hospitals get overwhelmed, I’m hoping that your spirits are well and you and your friends and family are reaching out to each other with care and fun.

Here’s some fun! Paul Voermans is our guest at the Nova Mob on Wednesday 6 October! 

Paul will be telling us about his latest novel, 2020’s The White Library. It is highly likely that byways and tangents of sfnal, surrealist and fannish interest may be pointed at, explored, and poked with sticks.

“the novel is a joy to read, brimming with wild ideas, vibrant characters and a cinematic, sense-of-wonder denouement”
— Ian Mond, in Locus

Paul says, “I’ve attended a few Nova Mobs in my day, but I assume that this one will not include attending a restaurant in Richmond! I suspect that dates me….” 

In truth it dates all of us because that was pre-pandemic. Our meeting will be by Zoom, invitation below, but first the calendar:


Sep 28 – Nova Mob Special 1-hour meeting: Clarke Awards announcement.

Oct 6 – Paul Voermans on The White Library.

Oct 27 – Critical Mass Adelaide – Online SF Magazines Lightspeed, Escape Pod, Uncanny.

Oct 29 – Australian Science Fiction Foundation Awards Night with Nova Mob party room.

Nov 3 – Ian Mond – 2021’s ten best books of SF interest not branded as SF.

Nov 27 – Critical Mass Adelaide – Roman Orszanski on Empires, Galactic and Magic. 

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

Dec 18 – end of year Nova Mob lunch hopefully face to face. To be confirmed, it’s subject to  pandemic restrictions and requirements.

💥 💥 💥

Meeting: Paul Voermans on The White Library (2020)

You are invited to a scheduled Zoom meeting of the Nova Mob.

Date and Time: Oct 6, 2021 8:00pm Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, 7:30pm Adelaide

Join Zoom Meeting

Passcode: nova

Meeting ID: 417 758 3193

Paul speaks from about 8.10pm to around 9.00pm followed by questions and discussions. Formal close after discussions, say 9.20pm, and final close for those who wish to linger and chat will be at or before 10pm.

Optimistic SF?

Solarpunk is an artistic and cultural movement that encompasses, but isn’t limited to, areas such as art, technology, architecture, fashion, film, cuisine, and of course literature. From a literary perspective, it’s a subgenre of science fiction that was born out of, and perhaps is the next logical step after, cyberpunk. Solarpunk stories take place in futures where humanity, technology, and nature live in harmony rather than in conflict. Often, solarpunk stories deal with hypothetical technological innovations that help humanity avert or creatively adapt to climate change. And while solarpunk tales don’t necessarily take place in utopias, they are definitely not dystopias. Rather, they are overflowing with hopeful characters and communities optimistically striving to create a new and better world.

see more at The Solarpunk Future: Five Essential Works

The White Library by Paul Voermans

Ian Mond reviews The White Library in Locus:

Melbourne’s State Library is the setting for Paul Voerman’s third full-length published novel, The White Library. 

What’s the weirdest thing you could imagine going on in a national library?

Dropout physics student Angela Donohoe is about to discover just that. Release it.  Become it. All in a world where colonial history did not quite turn out like ours, where the global power is the Federated Kingdom of Mendana and David Bowie was an astronaut, The White Library is a surreal escapade of library friends and enemies, love—and a remarkable woman.

Full review in Locus

It’s also a slightly sideways sequel-by-association to Paul’s The Weird Colonial Boy.
Says Paul:

“Unlike the faithful, who have ordered copies and even circulated them among poverty-stricken friends, I’m not expecting people to have forked out for a hardcover at about $65 including delivery from the UK and we are still working on the Australian distribution, so the link to the very reasonable e-book is
Only GBP 2.99! Please feel free to forward this to anybody you think might like a foolish SF novel set in the State Library of Victoria.”

[I’ve bought the e-book and it worked out at AU$5.89 — I received the email link within five minutes and had a choice of mobi or epub ]

Singularity Story Bundle

Curated by Lavie Tidhar

Nick Mamatas suggested a bundle looking at that nebulous concept, the “singularity”, and I thought it would be fun to take a wide-ranging approach to it, encompassing the post-human, A.I., space opera and much more. […]I love the variety of novels and authors in this bundle.

And what is the Singularity anyway? A silly hypothetical concept beloved by the neo-libertarian tech rich? A utopian vision? A dystopian one? Or is it a convenient shorthand for the possible convergence of human and machine that we already have?

The fun is in the asking. And I think each of the authors here grapple with some fundamental questions about human and others and our place in the universe. And, you know – they’re also terrific fun!

A Note About The Charity

I thought this being a hard SF-ish bundle, it would be appropriate to nominate as my charity of choice the Locus Foundation. Locus Magazine was established in 1968, and became the single most important news source for the SF/F field, offering unparalleled cover, in-depth reviews and author interviews, and so much more. […] Times are hard for everyone right now, and this seems a good cause to support! – Lavie Tidhar

* * * Note the bundle will be available online here until the 15th October * * *

Laura Jean McKay wins Arthur C Clarke award

Alison Flood reports in The Guardian:

Twenty years before Margaret Atwood won the inaugural Arthur C Clarke award for her seminal novel The Handmaid’s Tale, she published a poem entitled The animals in that country. Now Laura Jean McKay, who borrowed the title of Atwood’s poem for her debut novel, has gone on to win the prestigious prize, with judges praising her story of a pandemic that enables humans to understand the language of animals for “reposition[ing] the boundaries of science fiction once again”.

“This is an award for readers and writers who share a love of literature that dares to imagine sideways, backwards and future worlds to try to make sense of the world that we live in now. Speculative fiction – the sort of sci-fi that I adore – is particularly reflective of our times because it’s often set realistically, with extraordinary events (pandemics! Extinction! Talking animals!),” [McKay] said.

“That the Arthur C Clarke judges would recognise a novel that depicts how we as humans relate to other animals and environments is such an exciting outcome – for me (of course) but also for the many people who care about the state of the planet. And to win on such an extraordinary shortlist this year is gobsmacking.”

Reported 27th Sept in The Guardian