Punctuation Con: !

Last weekend saw several hundred sf fans enjoy an online sf convention designed to provide social spaces for people to chat, discuss, debate and play as they might in a face-to-face convention. Punctuation Con was organised by GUFF winner Alison Scott and her colleagues from the #octothorpe podcast; they used Zoom, Discord and Streamyard to present panels and talks, provide rooms for group games and discussion, and encourage fans to talk about their passions. The Aussie Drinks Room included people from Adelaide, Canberra and Wellington as well as the curious fans from around the world. Bilby and Kwoll agree that it was a very well done convention, and hope to use some of these ideas in a mini con in January next year. (VirConium?)

As part of planning for an online minicon, we’re going to hold some Zoom sessions to test out ideas on Saturdays over the next few weeks (around 8pm Adelaide time, so that overseas fans can join in if they wish). If you’re interested in taking part (we’re looking for guinea pigs), contact Roman (websmith@internode.on.net)

Crit Mass: The Mongolian Wizard, 7pm Nov 18th

Over the past seven years, Michael Swanwick presented a new fiction series at Tor.com, consisting of stand-alone stories all set in the same world—an alternate fin de siècle Europe shot through with magic, mystery, and intrigue. The first nine in a projected series of 21 are published by Tor.

Please read a few or perhaps all of the stories in the series. They can be found on the Tor.com website, listed in order on this page: Mongolian Wizard

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Zoom details:
Note that we will open the zoom  room about ten minutes before the start of the meeting

While this is the last in our set of formal meetings, we will be planning a gathering in early december. If we aren’t under strict lockdown, perhaps dinner in a restaurant; otherwise a zoom gathering for a chat/puzzle/game/panel*

New Collection of Jane Yolen

The Midnight Circus, Jane Yolen (Tachyon 978-1-61696-340-8, 242pp, $16.95, tp) October 2020.

The Midnight Circus is the third collection of Jane Yolen stories from Tachyon in the last three years, following The Emerald Circus (which won a World Fantasy Award in 2018) and How to Fracture a Fairy Tale. Collectively these rather modest volumes are giving us a pretty good sense of what a Selected Stories volume might look like, and it might look pretty important. Yolen’s aston­ishing bibliography, closing in on 400 volumes as I write this (and who knows, maybe passing 400 by the time you see it) represents an almost unprecedented synthesis of centuries of worldwide tale-telling, at all levels, from kid’s board books to challenging novels of the Holocaust.

— full review by Gary K Wolfe at Locus

World Fantasy Awards

The World Fantasy Awards 2020 were announced in a virtual ceremony by World Fantasy Con 2020 on November 1. The winners are —


  • Queen of the Conquered, by Kacen Callender (Orbit)


  • Silver in the Wood, by Emily Tesh (Tor.com)


  • “Read After Burning,” by Maria Dahvana Headley, (A People’s Future of the United States)


  • New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, edited by Nisi Shawl (Solaris)


  • Song For the Unraveling of the World: Stories, by Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press)


  • Kathleen Jennings


  • Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, for The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games (New York University Press)


  • Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Laura E. Goodin and Esko Suoranta, for Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research


  • Rowena Morrill
  • Karen Joy Fowler

Info from Mike Glyer, File770

Crit Mass, Nov 18th: The Mongolian Wizard

Over the past seven years, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Michael Swanwick presented a new fiction series at Tor.com, consisting of stand-alone stories all set in the same world—an alternate fin de siècle Europe shot through with magic, mystery, and intrigue.

For this Critical Mass, we’re going to discuss the series to date: please read a few or perhaps all of the stories in the series. They can be found on the Tor.com website, listed in order on this page: Mongolian Wizard

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Zoom details:

Nova Mob, Nov 4th: Ian Mond on the top 11 books of 2020

Guest Speaker & Locus critic Ian Mond on his top 11 books of the 2020 year. Why 11? There’s a tie…

Social distancing arrangements do not allow a full Nova Mob meeting at the Kensington Town Hall, so we will continue with the Zoom video conferencing.

Murray hopes to have the recording of October’s Nova Mob celebration of John Bangsund’s life available early in November.

Congratulations to Bruce Gillespie on his Ditmar win!

You are invited to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Mondiale – the 2020 world of books that are terrific sfnal stuff but probably aren’t marketed that way so log in to find the true quill. [Nova Mob Nov 2020] Ian Mond

Time: Nov 4, 2020 08:00 PM to 09:30PM Melbourne time,
7:30 to 9pm Adelaide time

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 417 758 3193
Passcode: nova

Some of the Best, 2020 from Tor

The 2020 edition of Some of the Best from Tor.com is an anthology of 29 favorite short stories and novelettes selected from the stories Tor have published this year. The eBook edition will be available for free on January 5, 2021. Of course, you can enjoy all of these stories right now at the links listed here.

Oct Crit Mass: Kathleen Jennings

Our guest for the October 21st Crit Mass is Kathleen Jennings, writer and artist. Kathleen Jennings is based in Brisbane. As an illustrator, she has been shortlisted four times for the World Fantasy Awards, once for the Hugos, and once for the Locus Awards, as well as winning a number of Ditmars. As a writer, she has won two Ditmars and been shortlisted for the Eugie Foster Memorial Award and for several Aurealis Awards.

Some of her recent work includes the heart of owl abbas (Tor.com) and Flyaway (Picador, Aus). See her website https://tanaudel.wordpress.com/

Kathleen notes

I’m very pleased to announce that Brain Jar Press is publishing my next little book Travelogues: vignettes from trains in motion on October 17, 2020 — and it is now available for preorders!

Kathleen’s new book launches Oct 17th

Critical Mass: Kathleen Jennings
Zoom details:
Starts at Oct 21, 2020 07:00 PM Adelaide (7:30 Melbourne/Sydney, 6:30 Brisbane)
Part One: 7:00pm Adelaide (7:30 Melbourne, 6:30 Brisbane):
Talk by Kathleen Jennings, followed by questions
<tea break> 7:40 — 7:50pm
Part Two 7:50pm Adelaide (8:10 Melbourne, 7:20 Brisbane)
More questions and Discussion with Kathleen
Meeting ends 8:30 Adelaide (9m Melbourne, 8pm Brisbane)

Zoom Meeting ID: 721 7823 2704
Passcode: dfv9zb

2020 Ditmar Winners

The winners of the 2020 Ditmar Awards for Australian SF were announced in an online ceremony on September 18, 2020:

Best Novel

Best Short Fiction

  • WINNER: “Whom My Soul Loves”, Rivqa Rafael (Strange Horizons 11/11/19)
  • Into Bones Like Oil, Kaaron Warren (Meerkat Shorts)

Best Collected Work

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium (tie)

  • WINNER: Be the Serpent
  • WINNER: SF Commentary

Best Fan Writer

  • WINNER: Elizabeth Fitzgerald for reviews in Skiffy and Fanty
  • Bruce Gillespie for writing in SF Commentary and ANZAPA articles

Best New Talent

  • WINNER: Freya Marske

William Atheling, Jr. Award for Criticism or Review

There were insufficient nominations for the Best Artwork and Best Fan Artist categories.

Nova Mob Oct 7th: John Bangsund, a celebration

Mike Glyer, in File 770, notes:

John Bangsund, Sept 21, 1968 Photo: Andrew Porter

One of Australia’s foremost fans, John Bangsund, died August 22 of COVID-19 at the age of 81.

It was his idea to have a Worldcon in Australia, and he served as Toastmaster when Aussiecon was held in 1975.
Bangsund got into fandom in 1963. His first fanzine article was published by Lee Harding in Canto 1 in 1964. For years he was central to Melbourne fandom, a charter member of the Nova Mob and a member of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club.

His fanzine Australian Science Fiction Review, published from 1966-1969,was twice nominated for the Hugo (1967, 1968), and won a Ditmar Award (1969). (In 1969 he renamed it Scythrop.) Bangsund was a Best Fan Writer Hugo finalist in 1975. Scanned issues of Bangsund’s Australian Science Fiction Review are available at Fanac.org.

Julian Warner wrote about the zine’s importance in the citation for the Chandler Award:

ASFR lasted only a few years but it set a new standard for quality of reviewing, for reasoned criticism, for consistency, for intelligence and for humour. Not only that, but ASFR was noticed overseas as well, putting Australia on the map as a place where fans and writers existed; fans and writers who were worth reading and who were worth knowing. The Australian readers of the original ASFR went on to become our established SF writers, our most erudite critics, our Big-Name Fans and our Boring Old Farts. When the established mainstream author George Turner told his publisher that he was interested in Science Fiction, George was introduced to John Bangsund. John introduced George to a new world which George then made his own.

Irwin Hirsh also notes, “It was through John’s efforts in being able to get ASFR into Australian bookshops that many sf fans were introduced into fandom. Clubs in Sydney, Brisbane and elsewhere were formed out of people reading John’s fanzine.”

SF Commentary 103 features tributes to John Bangsund.

John Bangsund: Celebrating a life
8.00 pm to 9.30PM Australian Eastern Time, 7:30-9pm Adelaide time
Wednesday 7 October 

Zoom detail:


Meeting ID: 417 758 3193

Passcode: nova