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 (email@example.com)
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
Zoom details:Note that we will open the zoom room about ten minutes before the start of the meeting…
Time: Nov 18, 2020 7:00-8:30pm Adelaide (7:30-9:00pm Melbourne) Note: There will be a ten minute tea-break at around 7:40
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*
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.
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
Time: Nov 18, 2020 7:00-8:30pm Adelaide (7:30-9:00pm Melbourne)Note: There will be a ten minute tea-break at around 7:40
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.
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.
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 Revieware available at Fanac.org.
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.”