Critical Mass May 19th: Novella Nominees

We’re going to have another go at looking for the best Novella. Here are the Hugo nominees for best novella:

  • Come Tumbling Down, Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo (Tordotcom)
  • Finna, Nino Cipri (Tordotcom)
  • Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
  • Riot Baby, Tochi Onyebuchi (Tordotcom)
  • Upright Women Wanted, Sarah Gailey (Tordotcom)

We’re going to discuss them over the next few meetings, so please read Come Tumbling Down and The Empress of Salt and Fortune in time for discussion at the May meeting.

As usual, the meeting will start at 7pm Adelaide time, May 19th. If you wish to attend in person, come along to Kappys — doors open at 6:45. Zoom details follow for those who prefer to join us that way.

Zoom: Critical Mass: a look at the hugo Nominees for Best Novella
Time: May 19, 2021 7:00pm Adelaide, 7:30 Melbourne

Meeting ID: 897 6676 8424
Passcode: CritMass21

Nova Mob meetings

Murray notes:

May 5th Nova Mob

Our guest this coming Wednesday night is best-selling science fiction author and commentator John Birmingham. Prepare your questions now!

After years of successfully working with publishers John is now going it alone with an internet-based direct sale and subscriptions model. 

John won the 2005 Locus Award for best first novel for his “Weapons of Choice”, the first in his Axis of Time trilogy of alternative history novels based on a modern fleet of warships going back in time to World War Two. A later trilogy, Stalin’s Hammer, addresses the legacy of the fall of the Axis of Time as Stalin’s USSR seeks to reshape the world. The James Kipper series asks, “what would happen if the USA just suddenly disappeared?” and the Dave Hooper series is a monster apocalypse thriller gorefest. Of course, John first came to fame with He Died with a Felafel in his Hand and is known for his commentary on modern Australian politics. As Penguin put it: “John Birmingham has written for Rolling StonePlayboyLong Bay Prison News, Quarterly Essay and The Monthly. His published works include He Died With A Falafel In His Hand and Leviathan: The unauthorised biography of Sydney. He started writing airport novels because they were more fun.”

John’s most recent releases are the ebook of Zero Day Code and the audio of American Kill Switch, which closes out the End of Days series, a very plausible scenario for bringing down the American civilisation.

We’ve worked through the setup problems of March 2021 by keeping it simple. This is a Zoom only meeting. 

This pattern of sometimes Zoom-only and sometimes face to face will continue for the foreseeable future.
John Birmingham – Reality? What price our reality?

Wednesday May 5th

8.00pm – 9.30 pm or so, Melbourne time, 7:30 – 9pm Adelaide time
login after 7.50pm Melbourne, 7:20pm Adelaide time

Join Zoom Meeting for Nova Mob

Meeting ID: 417 758 3193

Passcode: nova

About John –

To read some of John’s work: free download!
[Deeply regrettably, not SF]

June 2nd Nova Mob

Esteemed critic John Clute will be joining the Nova Mob from London England for a fireside chat for our June 2 meeting. Zoom again! 

Lovely to have you with us, John. May I ask, what are you working on at the moment?
—I’m finishing a difficult edit (difficult because I am increasingly fussy about quality control) of a new collection, Sticking to the End, due to come out this year. And continuing to work on the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, partly writing and editing, partly calculating the move from Gollancz (that contract ends October) into the autonomous improved clone David Langford has developed and is ready to go; we’d like a new sponsor, too, as that will ease finances, but that would be in conjunction with David’s ongoing site. 

How would you like the “John Clute – at the fireside” discussion to work? 
—Send me questions you’re interested in asking. It might be interesting to ask about the relationship of Fantastika to the End of the World, but that’s only for laughs. ha.

Please send me your questions so I can pass them on to John.

Hugo finalists announced

2021 Hugo Awards Finalists

Best Novel

  • Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse (Gallery / Saga Press)
  • The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tordotcom)
  • Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tordotcom)
  • Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
  • The Relentless Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor Books)

Best Novella

  • Come Tumbling Down, Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo (Tordotcom)
  • Finna, Nino Cipri (Tordotcom)
  • Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
  • Riot Baby, Tochi Onyebuchi (Tordotcom)
  • Upright Women Wanted, Sarah Gailey (Tordotcom)

You can view the full list at Announcing the 2021 Hugo Award Finalists

Crit Mass, April 21st: The Only One in the World

Our guest this month is Narrelle M Harris, who is talking about her new anthology of Sherlock Holmes stories.
She will be joined by some of the authors, including Katya de Becerra, Lucy Sussex, LJM Owen, Jason Franks, and Lisa Fessler (Germany).

In the middle of the year that went nowhere, I asked writers from around the world to interpret what Holmes and/or Watson might be like if one or both came from a cultural background different from Conan Doyle’s London-centred Victorian/Edwardian England, in stories where they also did not have to be white upper-class men.

The characters could change in any and many ways to suit the story, so that readers could explore the Great Detective and his biographer from new and different angles.

The result is The Only One in the World.

Who’s In This Sherlockian Anthology?

Fourteen splendid writers took part in The Only One in the World, including:

Greg Herren, Atlin Merrick, Jack Fennell, Jason Franks, Natalie Conyer, Kerry Greenwood and David Greagg, Lisa Fessler, Lucy Sussex, Katya de Becerra, Jayantika Ganguly, LJM Owen, Raymond Gates, and JM Redmann

All of these authors rose to the challenge of finding diverse ways to bring the crime-solving partnership of Holmes and Watson to life in thirteen adventures.

This baker’s dozen take us on adventures in Ancient Egypt, Viking Iceland, and 17th century England; in 19th century Ireland, Germany, and Poland; in South Africa of the 1970s and New Orleans of the 1920s; and in contemporary Australia, USA, Russia, India and as a global citizen.

Clan Destine Press is delighted to reveal the beautiful cover, featuring portals into these different worlds, created by award-winning author-illustrator Judith Rossell.

In addition, beautiful internal illustrations have been created by Andrea L Farley (Altocello Art) to enhance each tale.

Pre-order The Only One in the World – in hardcover, paperback, or eBook from Clan Destine Press

Zoom details for Critical Mass: Narrelle Harris: The Only One in the World
Time: Apr 21, 2021 — 7pm Adelaide, 7:30pm Melbourne

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 862 5867 4297
Passcode: 364317

Or meet in person (usual social distancing applies): 6:45pm Wed 21st April at Kappys for a 7pm start.
Please do not attend if you are ill.

Nevers, Again!

A stunning new series from Joss Whedon, written by Jane Espenson and Douglas Petrie. If the first episode is any indication, it will be a very interesting series. Set in Victorian England, where a strange incident endows various people with talents. Will the gifted (as they are known) be allowed to continue their lives? Or are they too much of a threat to the established order. It doesn’t help that one of them has become a serial killer.

A sampling…

The Irregulars

Another riff on the Sherlock Holmes canon, this TV series focuses on a team of young friends who are initially hired by Watson to investigate a case. Unlike the original, this is a series about the supernatural, as monsters cross a dimensional rift to terrorise London. As I recall, the hell-hound was the only supernatural element in the original canon.

The (Baker St) Irregulars, plus Watson in the grey coat

It’s an interesting Netflix series, focussed on the inter-relationships between our young protagonists. A satisfying ending to series one seems to end the problem of the rift. It seems to be aimed at the YA market.Filming has apparently already begun on a second season. ❦

2020 BSFA Awards

Locus Magazine, Science Fiction Fantasy

The winners for the 2020 British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Awards have been announced.

Best Novel

see the full list of winners and nominees at Locus: the 2020 BSFA winners

Fugitive Telemetry: April 27th

No, I didn’t kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn’t dump the body in the station mall.

When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?)

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!