Nova Mob: June 2nd with John Clute

Murray notes:

Dear Nova Mob and friends, our guest at the forthcoming Nova Mob is the witty, erudite, compelling, and encyclopaedic John Clute, science fiction’s foremost critic!

Frankly I’m just gobsmacked, colour me purple, tickle me pink, and over the moon. Delighted, yes definitely delighted. But expect no such cliches from our guest! Our time together will be a fireside chat, and I do recommend “some research required” for your questions to be put to John.

Already I’ve enquired gently of John about book storage problems, reflections on where the Encyclopaedias came from and where they are going, and whether the phrase “the Gene Wolfe of SF criticism” would be a good fit. With some poise he has replied:

Gene Wolfe —  I can certainly say in our conversation why that’s interesting, but also (stature aside) I’d distinguish between us. I can do questions about Fantastika; memories of Peter Nicholls; the theory of archive as applied to Collections

Fantastika has considerable appeal; the concept solves many of the field’s definitional problems. It acknowledges that the English-speaking world has taken up some ill-wrought terms to describe science fiction, fantasy, and horror, to the point where the term “Fantastic” as used by Suvin and many others cannot comfortably be applied directly to American, UK, and other English-language criticism of the field. “Fantastika” has the ring of truth to it, please dive in, it’s worth it. (The first four items steadily get more sophisticated and nuanced)

From Locus, an introduction to John:

From a certain essential Encyclopedia:

Fantastika in the World Storm – a talk by John Clute

Fantastika; or, The Sacred Grove
. Article, Fantastika Journal. Volume 1. Issue 1. April 2017. John Clute.
Start at page 13, and describes the eight or so dimensions contained in the  concept of Fantastika


A brief yet lightning-sharp review of Thomas Harris’s Hitler Wins novel, Fatherland:

An introduction to John Clute by Douglas Fratz which captures tone superbly:

“Clute has dedicated his life work to the field of SF, fantasy and horror — to Fantastika — and all of us in the field should be profoundly grateful that he has done so.”

Obligatory wikipedia entry:

John Clute’s web site and books:


You are invited to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Nova Mob 2 June – John Clute – A Fantastika Fireside chat
Time: Jun 2, 2021 8:00pm Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney; 7:30 Adelaide

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Meeting ID: 417 758 3193
Passcode: nova