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.”
V.E. Schwab’s new novel The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is being made into a feature film. Studio eOne has acquired rights for the movie.
Schwab is writing the script (her screenwriting debut) based on an initial draft from Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage. The story follows Addie LaRue, who makes a Faustian bargain to live forever. In return, she’s cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. That all changes 300 years later, when she stumbles upon a man who remembers her name. The novel will be published on Oct. 6 by Tor.
Nova Mob have kindly offered us use of their paid zoom account, which would allow us to have longer meetings and breakout rooms.
Adam and Roman think this is most kind of them, but feel we should offer to contribute to the cost of the account. It would cost around $200 for a basic account if paid annually, so we suggested to Nova Mob that we appreciate their offer, but would expect to pay half the cost ($100).
If any of the members of Critical Mass would like to contribute towards this cost, please contact Roman via email to arrange payment of a contribution.
We think we might be able to use zoom to run a one-day online convention at the end of the year, perhaps inviting various fans to contribute talks, panel or workshops. Contact Roman or Adam if you’d like to help out. We have organised (in person) day-long mini-con events in the past with some success.
Australian editor and fan John Bangsund, 81, died August 22, 2020 of complications from COVID-19. He lived in Preston, Victoria, Australia. Born 1939 in Melbourne, Bangsund was active in Australian fandom beginning in 1963, and was a driving force in the scene through the 1980s. He was crucial in organizing the 1975 Worldcon in Melbourne, and served as toastmaster there. He was a charter member of the Nova Mob, a member of the Melbourne Science Fiction Club and a founding member of the Australian and New Zealand Amateur Publishing Association. He co-chaired the Australian Natcon in 1970, and was fan guest of honor at the 1974 Natcon. Bangsund edited numerous fanzines and apazines, including Australian Science Fiction Review (a Hugo Award finalist in 1967 and ’68, later renamed Scythrop), Philosphical Gas, Parergon Papers, and John W. Campbell — An Australian Tribute (with Ronald E. Graham), among others. He was newsletter editor for the Victorian Society of Editors. In 1975, Bangsund was a finalist for the best Fan Writer Hugo Award, and was a Ditmar Award finalist four times (Australian SF Review won in 1969). He won an A. Bertram Chandler Award in 2001, and a FAAN Award for Lifetimes Achievement in 2016.Bangsund was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-August, and his health rapidly deteriorated. He is survived by wife Sally Yeoland.
The Jonbar Point: Essays from SF Horizons by Brian Aldiss will be released by Ansible Editions on September 1, with a new introduction by Christopher Priest. The Jonbar Point collects, for the first time, two major essays on science fiction which Brian Aldiss published in the two issues of SF Horizons “Judgement at Jonbar” (1964) is a lengthy analysis on several levels of Jack Williamson’s pulp-era classic The Legion of Time, which gave SF the term “jonbar point” – where alternative timelines diverge. This essay is described in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction as “one of the most penetrating studies yet written about a pulp-sf novel”.
from “New Collection of Aldiss Essays from Ansible Editions”, Mike Glyer, File 770
Adam digs deep in history to bring us A True Story by Lucian of Samosata.
Lucian of Samosata was a writer known for his satire. He was born in what is now eastern Turkey, in Samosata, about 120 C.E. Samosata was located in the ancient Roman province of Syria (not to be confused with the modern country); the site was recently inundated by the Atatürk Dam. Lucian was trained as a rhetorician (somewhat like a trial attorney). However, he made a living as an itinerant lecturer. Lucian traveled widely, as far as Greece, Italy and Gaul. He died in Athens, about 180 C.E. Over eighty works, written in Greek, are attributed to him, some probably spuriously. The best known of his works, A True Story, is considered to be one of the first science fiction stories.
Widely hailed as the first science fiction story, A True Story, by Lucian of Samosata is a voyage to the edges of the universe and reason. The title is the first clue that this will be a tall tale. As much a predecessor of Douglas Adams as Jules Verne, Lucian’s fantasy explores not only outer space (where he brokers war and peace between the inhabitants of the sun and moon), but also the Elysian fields, the geography of the Odyssey, and the interior of a giant whale.
At the September Nova Mob we look back about 150 years to early Australasian science fiction writers. Our speakers will be Anne Black and Lucy Sussex, and the discussion is set to cover Australia’s first science fiction novel and New Zealand’s second-most famous Victorian SF novel.
Anne Black will be talking about Adelaide writer George Isaacs who in 1865 had a short sf novel The Burlesque of Frankenstein published in Melbourne as part of a longer book Rhyme and Prose. The Burlesque of Frankenstein waited until 1989 before receiving stand-alone publication thanks to historian and fan Graham Stone. It’s not mentioned in the MUP Encyclopedia of Australian Science Fiction nor The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature. Anne has had published several articles and a book on George Isaacs.
Lucy Sussex will be discussing Anno Domini 2000, or: Woman’s Destiny, the 1889 utopian novel written by Sir Julius Vogel. Vogel was New Zealand’s Premier from 1873 to 1875 (when he was knighted) and again in 1876. Among other matters of note, Wikipedia says Vogel “is also noteworthy as one of the few practising Jewish prime ministers outside Israel”.
Our meeting will be by Zoom and is on Wednesday 2 September 8.00pm to 9.30 or so. (7:30 to 9pm Adelaide time)
I think I speak for all of us when I say that 2020 has not gone exactly how I expected it to, and this StoryBundle has been no exception. I originally conceived of it as a hopepunk centered bundle, but as I sorted through possibilities, I found less punk than plenty of hopeful stories that reminded me that hope comes in all sorts of forms, not all of them as in your face as hopepunk.
Hope can find its origin in friendship, whether on an alien planet or a New York street corner. It can come from writing, in a myriad shades as multi-colored as the ink in which it’s inscribed. It glitters at the bottom of Pandora’s box, waiting to escape. Waiting to provide comfort and lightand renewed vigor for the fight.
So this is a bundle centered on hope with a touch of glitter, rather than grit, and I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I did. It’s a range of flavors as well as forms: novels, including some beginnings; connected short stories; sequential novellas; and an anthology of stories connected by theme. – Cat Rambo