Arthur C Clarke Award 2017

The Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction literature has announced its 2017 winner.

The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (Fleet)
The winner received a prize of £2017.00 and the award itself, a commemorative engraved bookend.

The complete shortlist was:

A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton)
Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
After Atlas, Emma Newman (Roc)
Occupy Me, Tricia Sullivan (Gollancz)
Central Station, Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)
The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (Fleet)

The Orville: new SF show from Fox

THE ORVILLE is a one-hour science fiction series set 400 years in the future that follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel. Its crew, both human and alien, faces the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the familiar, often humorous problems of regular people in a workplace…even though some of those people are from other planets, and the workplace is a faster-than-light spaceship. In the 25th century, Earth is part of the Planetary Union, a far-reaching, advanced and mostly peaceful civilization with a fleet of 3,000 ships.

Fox showed this version of their trailer for The Orville at Comic-Con:


While we’re at it, here’s the trailer for the new Star Trek series, Discovery,  on NetFlix

August 2nd Crit Mass: Margaret Cavendish’s “Description of a New World…”

Adam’s going to talk about this utopian feminist fantasy. 7pm at Kappy’s, 22 Compton St, Adelaide. Don’t miss it!


First published in 1666, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle’s Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World is the first fictional portrayal of women and the new science. Blazing World is the first science-fiction novel known to have been written and published by a woman, and represents a pioneering female scientific utopia.

While you can download the original edition from project Gutenberg, the 2016 edition by Sara Mendelson includes additional critical material and is considered the preferred edition (available online from broadview press).


“Sara Mendelson’s edition of Blazing World is a major contribution to the ever-increasing scholarship on the works of this remarkable woman. Cavendish’s utopian romance, which also functions as a critique of the new experimental science, is becoming one of the canonical texts of the Scientific Revolution.”
— Lisa Sarasohn, Oregon State University

Onward and Upward

“I just didn’t know what to do with my stuff until I stumbled into science fiction and fantasy,” Le Guin says. “And then, of course, they knew what to do with it.” “They” were the editors, fans, and fellow-authors who gave her an audience for her work. If science fiction was down-market, it was at least a market. More than that, genre supplied a ready-made set of tools, including spaceships, planets, and aliens, plus a realm—the future—that set no limits on the imagination. She found that science fiction suited what she called, in a letter to her mother, her “peculiar” talent, and she felt a lightheartedness in her writing that had to do with letting go of ambitions and constraints. In the fall of 1966, when she was thirty-seven, Le Guin began “A Wizard of Earthsea.” In the next few years—which also saw her march against the Vietnam War and dance in a conga line with Allen Ginsberg, when he came to Portland to read Vedas for peace—she produced her great early work, including, in quick succession, “The Left Hand of Darkness,” “The Lathe of Heaven,” “The Farthest Shore,” and “The Dispossessed,” her ambitious novel of anarchist utopia.
—  The Fantastic Ursula K leGuin, Julie Philips, New Yorker Oct 17, 2016

Electronic fanzine reprints

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 10.12.20 pm

Dave Langford has been assembling ebooks from fannish writings, including TAFF trip reports, columns from Walt Willis and John Berry, back issues of Ansible and elsewhere.

All free, though a donation to the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund (TAFF) is suggested.

These ebooks include some of the funniest pieces written in a long time. I particularly enjoyed the Walt Willis  Fanorama columns from Nebula in the 50s.

ebooks at

2017 Locus Awards

The winners of the 2017 Locus Awards were announced at Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle on June 24.

  • SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL: Death’s End, Cixin Liu (Tor; Head of Zeus)
  • FANTASY NOVEL: All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • HORROR NOVEL: The Fireman, Joe Hill (Morrow)
  • YOUNG ADULT BOOK: Revenger, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Orbit US ’17)
  • FIRST NOVEL: Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
  • NOVELLA: Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
  • NOVELETTE“You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny 5-6/16)
  • SHORT STORY: “Seasons of Glass and Iron“, Amal el-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
  • ANTHOLOGY: The Big Book of Science Fiction, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, eds. (Vintage)
  • COLLECTION: The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, Ken Liu (Saga; Head of Zeus)
  • EDITOR: Ellen Datlow
  • ARTIST: Julie Dillon
  • NON-FICTION: The Geek Feminist Revolution, Kameron Hurley (Tor)
  • ART BOOK: Charles Vess, Walking Through the Landscape of Faerie (Faerie Magazine)

Full list of all awards, winners and nominees, on the Locus Online site.

The Locus Awards are chosen by a survey of readers in an open online poll that runs from February 1 to April 15.

“Real” Zombies

“It turns out the idea of living dead—depending how you define both “living” and “dead”—may not be as far-fetched as it might seem. Some science fiction writers have found inspiration—and trepidation—in real-life parasites. We talked to two of them, Mira Grant and M.R. Carey, about their newest books and the concept of scientific zombies.

…Carey searched for a pathogen that met his criteria for the cause of the hungry epidemic, and realized that Cordyceps fit perfectly. It was also a unique choice. “At the time nobody had ever used a fungus as the vector for a zombie plague,” he says, though the creators of a console game called The Last of Us came up with the same idea independently, around the same time.

… Besides reading, Grant also “spent a lot of time on the phone with the CDC, which was an incredible amount of fun.” Grant savored the information she gleaned that way, but her friends “had to make new rules about what I was allowed to discuss over food,” so they didn’t lose their appetites.”

— excerpts from  Omnivorcious interview of “Mira Grant” and M.R. Carey in “The Scientific Case for Zombies”. thanks to File 770’s Pixel Scroll


The Fifth Element — 20 years on!

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 9.30.10 pmA 4K restoration of the 1997 cult sci-fi epic will hit cinemas from June-September as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Luc Besson’s masterpiece.

A 20th anniversary edition of The Fifth Element, featuring the 4K* restoration, is headed for select Australian cinemas! Don’t miss your chance to revisit Luc Besson’s cult classic on the big screen.

The Fifth Element has become a cult favorite over the past two decades. Starring Bruce Willis as military man-turned-cab driver Korben Dallas, who is by chance thrust into a world-saving, galaxy-spanning adventure after picking up Milla Jovovich’s Leeloo (above), the titular Fifth Element and humanity’s last hope.

In SA, screenings are on August 5th at Hoyts Tea Tree Plaza, Salisbury and Norwood.

More details, plus trailer at madman.


July 5th: The Bryant & May novels

Roman will talk about these remarkable detectives, and the City of London which features as a character in the stories. 7pm at Kappys, 22 Compton St.

PCUArthur Bryant and John May are Golden Age Detectives in a modern world. They head the Peculiar Crimes Unit, London’s most venerable specialist police team, a division founded during the Second World War to investigate cases that could cause national scandal or public unrest. Originally based above a London tube station, the technophobic, irascible Bryant and smooth-talking modernist John May head a team of equally unusual misfits who are just as likely to commit crimes as solve them.

Christopher Fowler has chronicled their adventures since the war: