Moon Landing…

“The Bay Area includes some people who are really interested in the moon, and they helped me with [Red Moon]. In the first scene there’s a landing on the moon where their shuttle touches down while going something like 8,000 miles an hour – this is like a launch rail take-off, but in reverse. That was their idea. I never would have thought of that, because you have to hit the rail with just a couple centimeters tolerance for error. They told me that in a vacuum that wouldn’t be hard, and I thought, ‘Whoa. That would be one scary landing.’ It made for a fun way to start.”
— from Kim Stanley Robinson: The Good Anthropocene, an interview in Locus



The Science Fiction Fanzine Reader: Focal Points 1930-1960

ortizsffr_200x300Luis Ortiz is editor and publisher at NonStop Press […] with his new book he has surpassed himself. This immensely valuable and entertaining volume — purportedly the first of several — captures for posterity a chronologically delimited slice of the subculture of science-fiction fandom — currently dying or healthy; vanished or extant? — in such a manner that even those folks who have no prior inkling of the subculture — assuming they possess a modicum of curiosity and intelligence — should still be able to completely grok the subject matter and derive amusement and pleasure and wisdom from this richly annotated compilation. Although there have been earlier books which charted some fannish currents and waves — Moskowitz’s The Immortal Storm; Harry Warner’s A Wealth of Fable; Ted Cogswell’s Pitfcs: The Proceedings of the Institute for Twenty-First Century Studies — books which Ortiz acknowledges and cites, there has never, to my knowledge, been a survey like this one which vividly illustrates the topic with actual writing samples, derived from Ortiz’s incisive survey of over four thousand fanzines.
— Paul Di Fillipo review, Locus

FANAC scans at Corflu

We took the FANAC scanning station to Corflu FIAWOL last weekend, and scanned 3500-4000 pages (the count is not complete yet). We received material to scan and help from many Corfluvians, and are getting the scans up  on line. So far, we have a little over 1,800 of those pages online. They’re marked in the index pages as “scanned at Corflu 2019”. Fanzines scanned at Corflu include Terry Carr’s Innuendo, John D. Berry’s Hot Shit, Charles Lee Riddle’s Peon, Ron Bennett’s Ploy, some of Forry Ackerman and Morojo’s Voice of the Imagi-Nation, and lots more. At Corflu, we also received scans from Rob Hansen’s OCR project. There are some gems there too. Watch the “What’s New” on the page to get details on what’s been put online.

— from Pixel Scroll May 13th, file770, “(4) FIELD REPORT. Joe Siclari’s FANAC Flash summarises their accomplishments at Corflu 2019.”

Nebula nominees

The Nebula award nominees have been released

(It’s interesting to note that four of the nominated novellas are also in the Hugo short list)


  • Fire Ant by Jonathan P. Brazee (Semper Fi)
  • The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark ( Publishing)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean)
  • Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield ( Publishing)
  • Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson ( Publishing)
  • Artificial Condition by Martha Wells ( Publishing)


  • The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager US; Harper Voyager UK)
  • Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller (Ecco; Orbit UK)
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Macmillan)
  • Witchmark by C.L. Polk ( Publishing)
  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)

The full list is available on

Critical Mass, July 3rd: Novellas

We thought we’d look at the Hugo nominees for Best Novella over the next few meetings.

Here are the suggested readings:

Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor ( Publishing)
The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark ( Publishing)
Bonus: *Proof of Concept of Gwyneth Jones
Note: the Binti novella is the third of the series; you might wish to read the first two to get the full story.

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson ( Publishing)
The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press /
JABberwocky Literary Agency)
Bonus: *Time Was by Ian McDonald


Note that the bonus novellas (*) are three of five featured in Tor Editorial Spotlight #5, edited by Australia’s own Jonathan Strahan. The collection also includesThe Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson and Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan. 705pp for 5 novellas, around $15 as an ebook. More details at publishing

The “bonus” novella is just if you want to read some more, recent novellas.

Note: if you are a member of the Dublin worldcon, the hugo voter’s packet contains the full text of most of the nominees (see file770 ).
[ Supporting membership is 40 euros, which is approximately $AUS 65. Pretty good value for the packet contents.]

Future: Intrinsically Hopeful

I’m no longer convinced it’s a radical idea to believe that there are no heroes and that humanity can be reduced to its very worst impulses. It’s not particularly exciting or edgy to insist we’re all going to blow ourselves to bits, or war against our neighbors in some libertarian apocalypse scenario where readers of Ayn Rand are poisoning their food supplies to keep the remnants of humanity from stealing their stuff.

Humanity didn’t survive this long because of its worst impulses. We survived this long because, despite all of that, we learned how to work together. Being grim and nihilistic is boring.

Being grim isn’t how you create the future. Being grim means rejecting the idea of a future altogether. I would rather seek to understand why some people choose to do the right thing even when it’s not popular, even when the world is collapsing all around them.
—Kameron Hurley.  “The Future Is Intrinsically Hopeful”, Locus, April 2019

Earthly Conventions

‘‘One of my best friends is a direct male-line descendent of Genghis Khan. She has the documentation to prove it. I got fascinated by the way Genghis Khan is portrayed, as opposed to the way Alexander the Great is portrayed. They both won! In Mongolia, Genghis Khan is a culture hero, still to this day. The stuff that he accomplished, on a technological level and on a social level, is astounding. The Mongol Empire had bankruptcy laws. The third time you declared bankruptcy, they executed you, but that might not be a bad thing for us – it might solve some of our Wall Street problems.”
— Elizabeth Bear, interview 2012, Locus

Genre? Who needs Genre?

I think that the accepted definitions of what marks a book as a certain genre are too broad to be useful. SF does not necessarily involve ray-guns and time travel (although it might), fantasy does not have to feature goblins and spells (although it might) and Westerns do not particularly have to feature horses, gun-play and stetsons (although they might).

In the Jasper view of genre, Sirens of Titan is not SF but philosophy, anything by Terry Pratchett is not fantasy but satire, and True Grit is not a Western but a “coming of age/epic revenge/historical fiction”.

— Jasper Fforde Guest Post in Locus —“Genre, Speculative Fiction and the Cradle of Ideas”

Critical Mass May 1st: Pick the winner

This year, we thought we’d challenge ourselves to pick the winner of the 2019 Hugo for best short story. So to prepare for the discussion, please read the following stories in time for the meeting, and be prepared to debate which one is “best”!

Best Short Story

[If we’re choosing by title alone, my money’s on the Raptors — Roman]

As usual, 6:45 May 1st for a 7pm start at kappys, 22 Compton St, Adelaide