Dragons are cool. Giant scaly (or feathered) winged beasties, hovering in the skies or lurking in deep, dark caverns. Some are bearers of luck, some wreak havoc with a belly filled with fire. And many seem to be really into sitting around on a giant gold pile (though why is murky—are they hoping to bring back the gold standard?). So, yeah, dragons in fantasy literature are the coolest creatures out there (yes, I know, they can also be extremely hot), and their presence lends a grandeur and majesty to any story. Depending on the story, they may be metaphor for the human condition, they may be aliens we live among, or they may be an existential threat unlike any you’ve ever encountered before.
…Except that not all dragons are like that. In fact, some of the most memorable creatures in fiction stick with us because they are the exact opposite of all of those things we’ve come to expect.
Critical Mass will discuss the Finalists for the Hugo Awards short story at the August 24th meeting. Links to the 2022 Hugo Award Finalists for best novelette and best short story are provided below. Please read a couple of stories from the list for the discussion.
The list continues to grow of Australian sf and fantasy novels published over recent months and eligible for the 2022 Ditmar, although I didn’t see Vanessa Len’s Only a Monster in there. Maybe a keen eye needs to be cast over it?
“The shortlist for the 2022 Arthur C. Clarke Award science fiction book of the year is:
Deep Wheel Orcadia – Harry Josephine Giles (Picador) Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber & Faber) A Desolation Called Peace – Arkady Martine (Tor UK) A River Called Time – Courttia Newland (Canongate) Wergen: The Alien Love War – Mercurio D. Rivera (NewCon Press) Skyward Inn – Aliya Whiteley (Solaris) This year’s winner will be announced on 26th Oct 2022 at an award ceremony hosted by the Science Museum, London, in partnership with their exhibitionScience Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination.
The winner will receive a trophy in the form of a commemorative engraved bookend and prize money to the value of £2022.00; a tradition that sees the annual prize money rise incrementally by year from the year 2001 in memory of Sir Arthur C. Clarke.
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Chris Flynn new collection
1st September release. We’re getting a review copy. Interested?
Chris really enjoyed meeting us and felt at home with the Mob when he discussed his novel Mammoth. Do you want to read his new book?
“A grizzly bear goes on the run after eating a teenager. A hotel room participates in an unlikely conception. A genetically altered platypus colony puts on an art show. A sabretooth tiger falls for the new addition to his theme park. An airline seat laments its last useful day. A Shakespearean monkey test pilot launches into space.
The stories in Here Be Leviathans take us from the storm drains under Las Vegas to the Alaskan wilderness; the rainforests of Queensland to the Chilean coastline. Narrated in Chris Flynn’s unique and hilarious style by animals, places, objects and even the (very) odd human, these short fictions push the boundaries of the form by examining human behaviour from the perspective of the outsider. Chris Flynn is the author of three novels, the most recent of which, Mammoth, was shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards and Russell Prize for Humour.
His work has appeared in The Age, The Australian, The Guardian, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review and many other publications. He is Editor-in-Residence at Museums Victoria and the author of the Horridus the Triceratops series of picture books for children. Chris lives on Millowl (Phillip Island).”
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Longlist for the Booker Prize
Announced recently. Alan Garner – we can’t think of a better guizer to win
“The list is light on big names … with [Alan] Garner among the most famous authors to make the cut. He is best known for his award-winning 1967 novel The Owl Service.
“Garner is longlisted for Treacle Walker, about a young boy called Joe who is visited by a wanderer and healer, sparking an unlikely friendship. If he goes on to win, Garner would be the oldest winner ever, turning 88 on the day of this year’s award ceremony.
“Mortimer’s Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies … tells the story of a woman with cancer trying to come to terms with her illness, and is partially narrated by the cancer cells in her body, recently won the Desmond Elliot prize.
“Bulawayo [has] been nominated for the award before. Bulawayo is listed for Glory, which is narrated by a chorus of animals and inspired by George Orwell’s Animal Farm. A response to the fall of Robert Mugabe, it describes a coup that ousts Old Horse as leader after 40 years in power, alongside his despised wife, a donkey named Marvellous.”
Also with thanks to The Guardian.
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MSFC 70th Birthday celebration a success
The night was a genuine success! About 25 people attended including representatives from six other Clubs and groups to offer their congratulations to the MSFC. Warm and hospitable, even on a cold rainy July night. Congratulations to the Club!
Friends, out-of-town guests, and new arrivals – you are always welcome and have an open invitation to the Mob’s face-to-face and Zoom meetings.
Please forward this email or the invitation to like-minded people
Face to face, the Kensington Town Hall is a friendly venue, including excellent disability access and ample parking especially to the south side of the building in the car park. Newmarket Railway Station is 15 minutes travel from Flinders St Station on the Craigieburn line. By tram it’s via the Route 57 and by bus it’s the #83. Other bus routes via Metlink Journey Planner.
Attendees are asked to donate $5 towards the Zoom subscription, rent, tea, coffee, biscuits. Gold coin is fine as appropriate for your circumstances. On site donations of home-made snacks and goodies are welcome. First time arrivals are free.
Donations can be made electronically using email@example.com on Paypal. The first person to donate this way before the end of July will get a packet of Tim-Tams. Pitch in, in between story bundles and meteor showers!
Please don’t attend if you have symptoms that could be SARS-2 COVID 19, or you are not double-vaccinated, or you are unwilling to provide contact details or evidence of your vaccination status. Our COVID-safe Plan is available, please email me for a copy.
Sarah Endacott on the phenomenon at Nova Mob meeting 3 August 2022
Face to face at Kensington Town Hall on 6 July, or join by Zoom, invitations below
“I’m looking at all the movies, the TV series and briefly mention the animated series. The themes I will be exploring are: war, violence, evolution, science vs military, human intelligence, race, slaves/workers.”
Screening at the Mercury, Tuesday, Aug 30th Directors: Robert B. Weide & Don Argott Stars: Linda Bates, Jerome Klinkowitz, Sidney Offit Recounting the extraordinary life of author Kurt Vonnegut, and the 25-year friendship with the filmmaker who set out to document it. A gorgeously rendered, unexpectedly moving appraisal of the life and craft of one of the best-loved literary voices of the late 20th century.
The World Fantasy Awards ballot for works published in 2021 has been announced. The awards will be presented during the 2022 World Fantasy Convention, scheduled for November 3-6, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, in Louisiana.
The Life Achievement Awards, presented annually to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the fantasy field, will go to Samuel R. Delany and Terri Windling.
The World Fantasy Awards finalists for Novel/Novella
Which means Nova Mob member Lucy Sussex is in a Locus-Award-winning non-fiction publication
In April 2022 Iain McIntyre spoke to the Mob about his and Andrew Nette’s (eds) newly-published book Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985.(He also memorably described his growing up as a fan in Perth, W.A.)
In June 2022 the Locus Awards were announced, and as pithily reported in Ansible:
Locus Awards SF NOVEL: A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine. FANTASY NOVEL: Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee. HORROR NOVEL: My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones. YA NOVEL: Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders. FIRST NOVEL: A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark. NOVELLA: Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells. NOVELETTE: ‘That Story Isn’t the Story’ by John Wiswell (Uncanny 11/21) SHORT: ‘Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather’ by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 3/21) ANTHOLOGY: We’re Here: The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2020 ed. C.L. Clark & Charles Payseur. COLLECTION: Even Greater Mistakes by Charlie Jane Anders. MAGAZINE: Tor.com. PUBLISHER: Tor. EDITOR: Ellen Datlow. ARTIST: Charles Vess. NONFICTION: Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950-1985 ed. Andrew Nette & Iain McIntyre. ART BOOK: The Art of Neil Gaiman& Charles Vess‘ Stardust by Charles Vess. SPECIAL: Codex Writers’ Group.
The Pop Culture Explosion Bundle – curated by Nick Mamatas is currently available from storybundle.
The bundle includes the Locus Award winner and Hugo Award nominee Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985, the seminal examination of British punk One-Chord Wonders, Michael Moorcock’s provocative essay collection London Peculiar, and much more. Many of these titles are available as ebooks for the first time, and exclusively for this bundle!
Note that the two predecessors to Dangerous Vision and New Worlds,Sticking it to the Man and GirlGangs, Biker Boys and Real Cool Cats are part of the bundle.
You can read more about them here, and make sure to click on each cover for a synopsis, reviews and preview of each book!
“She Who Became the Sun is a 2021 fantasy novel by Shelley Parker-Chan. Parker-Chan’s debut novel, the novels tells a re-imagining of the rise to power of the Hongwu Emperor in the 14th century. “
“The book is a finalist for the 2022 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction and the 2022 Hugo Award for Best Novel.”
“Zhu Chongba, the son of a family in an impoverished village, is foretold in a prophecy to achieve greatness. However, after a bandit attack leaves the village devastated and most of the family dead, he dies of heartbreak. His sister then assumes his identity to go study at a Buddhist monastery, and begins plotting her own survival and her own path to greatness.
“ The novel has been noted to touch on themes of gender, sexuality, and diasporic identity. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Parker-Chan described the novel as “a queer reimagining of the rise to power of the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty. It’s also a fun story about gender,” adding that mainstream white Australian culture had “a particular type of Australian masculinity that is held as the ideal. This excludes every other kind of masculinity, especially queer masculinity and Asian masculinity.”