Nova Mob Notes

Nova Mob Calendar

September 7 – Jane Routley & the Nova Mob discussion “My Favourite Utopia”. In person and Zoom.
October 5 – to be finalised. Zoom only.
November 2 – Ian Mond “Mondiale – best books of 2022”. In person and Zoom.
December 7 – Chris Flynn “Here Be Leviathans”. In person and Zoom.
December 14 – end of year celebration event. In person only.
1st February 2023 – First meeting of the new year. Topic to be finalised.

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Jane Routley – “My Favourite Utopia”

September 7 – Jane Routley & Mob “My Favourite Utopia”.

In person and remotely by Zoom.

Utopias are perfect places, which is a problem for story-tellers because compelling stories require
conflict and the ideal utopia is universally a happy place. It follows that Utopian fiction is about the flies in the ointment, not the ointment itself. There is an exception, it’s of limited appeal, where recipes of the ointment are provided by way of tour guides of the utopia and not much happens by way of story. 

Jane’s been reading the 2022 Utopia Award nominees and it’s put the spotlight on the problem of Utopia as “ointment, would you like flies with that?”. According to some academics Utopian fiction is one of sf’s largest subgenres, or is a separate genre. If there’s so much of it, surely there should be some really good stories?  

Jane will discuss this year’s Utopia Award nominees.

Then it’s open discussion on these questions:

1.     one’s favourite utopia – in which utopia would you want to live?

2.     recommend a novel or story for someone new to utopian fiction

3.     best film or TV utopia

Of course, a utopia doesn’t have to be labelled as such to be perceived as being a utopia by the reader or by its inhabitants. Is the near-future of Star Trek a utopia? To many viewers, it is. 

Discussion will include Zoom participants. The list of stories from the night will be published.

Jane Routley and the Nova Mob – “My Favourite Utopia”

– Nova Mob 7 September 2022

Please share this invitation with like-minded friends and fans

Meet the speaker face to face at the Kensington Town Hall

You are invited to a Nova Mob gathering at: 
Wednesday 7 September
8.00pm – 9.30 pm or so, first floor Conference Room

Kensington Town Hall 30 – 34 Bellair St
Kensington Melbourne VIC 3031

Simultaneously with a Zoom meeting.
COVID-19 protocols apply. Please don’t attend if you feel unwell, nor if you are not fully vaccinated.

By Zoom 

Wednesday 7 September

8.00pm – 9.30 pm Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney time
7.30pm – 9.00pm Adelaide time
Join Zoom Meeting

Passcode: nova
Meeting ID: 417 758 3193

A note about Zoom

Each meeting we get a little better at Zoom, and encounter new twists to the conundrum of operating a seamless video conference in combination with the face to face meeting. We see this process of continuous improvement as never-ending, indeed interminable.

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time

Screening at the Mercury, Tuesday, Aug 30th
Directors: Robert B. Weide & Don Argott
Stars: Linda Bates, Jerome Klinkowitz, Sidney Offit
Recounting the extraordinary life of author Kurt Vonnegut, and the 25-year friendship with the filmmaker who set out to document it. A gorgeously rendered, unexpectedly moving
appraisal of the life and craft of one of the best-loved literary voices of the late 20th century.

The documentary screens at 10:30am at the Mercury Cinema.
Tickets from

Critical Mass Sept 28th: Electric dreams of P K Dick

If you think about film adaptations of SF stories, you might well notice the large number of films (and TV shows) based on the works of Philip K Dick.

This month, we’re inviting you to read one (or more) of his stories, then watch a film (or TV show) based on the story. Was it an interesting film? How faithful was it to the story? Did they make any major changes? What is your favourite PK Dick film? How faithful was it?

Films based on PK Dick stories

Title (year of publication)Title (Year, Director)
Second Variety (1953)Screamers (1995, Christian Duguay)
Screamers: the Hunting (2009, Sheldon Wilson)
Paycheck (1953)Paycheck (2003, John Woo)
Imposter (1953)Imposter (2002, Gary Fleder)
Adjustment Team (1954)The Adjustment Bureau (2011, George Nolfi)
The Golden Man (1954)Next (2007, Lee Tamahori)
The Crystal Crypt (1954)The Crystal Crypt (2013, Shahab Zargari)
The Minority Report (1956)Minority Report (2002, Steven Speilberg)
We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (1966)Total Recall (1990, Paul Verhoeven)
Total Recall (2012, Len Wiseman)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968 novel)Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott)
Blade Runner 2049 (2017, Denis Villeneuve)
Confessions of a Crap Artist (1975 Novel)Confessions d’un Barjo (1992, Jérôme Boivin)
Radio Free Albemuth (1976 Novel)Radio Free Albemuth (2008, John Alan Simon)
A Scanner Darkly (1977 Novel) A Scanner Darkly (2006, Richard Linklater)

TV episodes/series based on P K Dick Stories

Title (year)Directorepisode, series
The Hood Maker (1953)Julian JarroldThe Hood Maker, Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams
The Commuter (1953)Tom HarperThe Commuter, Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams
The Hanging Stranger (1953)Dee ReesKill All Others, Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams
Imposter (1953)Terry NationImposter, Out of This World (1982)
Sales Pitch (1954)Marc MundenCrazy Diamond, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
Exhibit Piece (1954)Jeffrey ReinerReal Life, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
The Father Thing (1954)Michael DinnerThe Father Thing, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
The Impossible Planet (1955)David FarrThe Impossible Planet, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
Human Is (1955)Francesca GregoriniHuman Is, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
Autofac (1955)Peter HortonAutofac, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
Foster, You’re Dead! (1955)Alan TaylorSafe and Sound, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
Minority ReportMinority Report (2015)
The Man In The High CastleThe Man In The High Castle TV series (2015)
Total RecallTotal Recall 2070 (1999)

They have collected the stories on which the TV series Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams is based in the book Electric Dreams. Alternatively, the stories can be found in the five volume collected short stories of PK Dick (see for a listing of stories by volume)

Doors open at Kappys in Compton St at 6:15, meeting starts at 6:30 Adelaide time.
It will be a joint live/zoom meeting, barring a nasty outbreak of a new covid variety.

Critical Mass
Time: Sep 28, 2022 6:30pm Adelaide / 7pm Melbourne

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 892 7567 5259
Passcode: CritMass

Let us know if we’ve left out any interesting PK Dick adaptations!

Crit Mass picks for Hugo short story

On Wednesday, we discussed the Hugo nominees for Short Story and Novelette.

We agreed on “Mr. Death” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, Feb 2021) as the best short story, with a close second in “Unknown Number” by Blue Neustifter. “Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather” by Sarah Pinsker was also interesting.

Those who had read the Novelettes thought “Bots of the Lost Ark” by Suzanne Palmer would be most popular, with Roman also impressed by “Colors of the Immortal Palette” by Caroline M. Yoachim and “Unseelie Brothers, Ltd.” by Fran Wilde.

Of course, the Hugo voters may have other thoughts.

Odd dragons

Dragon, unknown artist, 19th century

Dragons are cool. Giant scaly (or feathered) winged beasties, hovering in the skies or lurking in deep, dark caverns. Some are bearers of luck, some wreak havoc with a belly filled with fire. And many seem to be really into sitting around on a giant gold pile (though why is murky—are they hoping to bring back the gold standard?). So, yeah, dragons in fantasy literature are the coolest creatures out there (yes, I know, they can also be extremely hot), and their presence lends a grandeur and majesty to any story. Depending on the story, they may be metaphor for the human condition, they may be aliens we live among, or they may be an existential threat unlike any you’ve ever encountered before.

…Except that not all dragons are like that. In fact, some of the most memorable creatures in fiction stick with us because they are the exact opposite of all of those things we’ve come to expect.

Randee Dawn, Six Odd, Unusual, and Unconventional Dragons at

Check out the piece by Randee Dawn to see if your favourite odd dragon is mentioned!

August Critical Mass: The Hugo Short Story Awards

Critical Mass will discuss the Finalists for the Hugo Awards short story at the August 24th meeting.
Links to the 2022 Hugo Award Finalists for best novelette and best short story are provided below.
Please read a couple of stories from the list for the discussion.

Best Novelette

Bots of the Lost Ark” by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, Jun 2021)
Colors of the Immortal Palette” by Caroline M. Yoachim (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021)
L’Esprit de L’Escalier by Catherynne M. Valente (Tordotcom)
O2 Arena” by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki (Galaxy’s Edge, Nov 2021)
That Story Isn’t the Story” by John Wiswell (Uncanny Magazine, Nov/Dec 2021)
Unseelie Brothers, Ltd.” by Fran Wilde (Uncanny Magazine, May/Jun 2021)

Best Short Story
Mr. Death” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, Feb 2021)|
Proof by Induction” by José Pablo Iriarte (Uncanny Magazine, May/Jun 2021)
The Sin of America” by Catherynne M. Valente (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021)
Tangles” by Seanan McGuire ( Magic Story, Sep 2021)
Unknown Number” by Blue Neustifter (Twitter, Jul 2021) (More links since that’s a twitter thread.)
Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021)

Zoom details:
August 24th, 2022 6:30pm Adelaide / 7pm Melbourne
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 892 7567 5259
Passcode: CritMass

Note: while covid numbers remain high, this will be a zoom-only meeting.
Check the website on the 23rd to see if we’re going to make it also an in-person meeting
at Kappys.

Notes from Nova Mob

Ditmar eligibility list

The Australian SF wiki has gaps in it

The list continues to grow of Australian sf and fantasy novels published over recent months and eligible for the 2022 Ditmar, although I didn’t see Vanessa Len’s Only a Monster in there. Maybe a keen eye needs to be cast over it?

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Clarke Award shortlist announced

“The shortlist for the 2022 Arthur C. Clarke Award science fiction book of the year is:
Deep Wheel Orcadia – Harry Josephine Giles (Picador)
Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber & Faber)
A Desolation Called Peace – Arkady Martine (Tor UK)
A River Called Time – Courttia Newland (Canongate)
Wergen: The Alien Love War – Mercurio D. Rivera (NewCon Press)
Skyward Inn – Aliya Whiteley (Solaris)
This year’s winner will be announced on 26th Oct 2022 at an award ceremony hosted by the Science Museum, London, in partnership with their exhibition Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination.
The winner will receive a trophy in the form of a commemorative engraved bookend and prize money to the value of £2022.00; a tradition that sees the annual prize money rise incrementally by year from the year 2001 in memory of Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

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Chris Flynn new collection

1st September release. We’re getting a review copy. Interested?

Chris really enjoyed meeting us and felt at home with the Mob when he discussed his novel Mammoth. Do you want to read his new book?

“A grizzly bear goes on the run after eating a teenager. A hotel room participates in an unlikely conception. A genetically altered platypus colony puts on an art show. A sabretooth tiger falls for the new addition to his theme park. An airline seat laments its last useful day. A Shakespearean monkey test pilot launches into space. 

The stories in Here Be Leviathans take us from the storm drains under Las Vegas to the Alaskan wilderness; the rainforests of Queensland to the Chilean coastline. Narrated in Chris Flynn’s unique and hilarious style by animals, places, objects and even the (very) odd human, these short fictions push the boundaries of the form by examining human behaviour from the perspective of the outsider.
Chris Flynn is the author of three novels, the most recent of which, Mammoth, was shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards and Russell Prize for Humour.

His work has appeared in The Age, The Australian, The Guardian, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review and many other publications. He is Editor-in-Residence at Museums Victoria and the author of the Horridus the Triceratops series of picture books for children. Chris lives on Millowl (Phillip Island).”

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Longlist for the Booker Prize

Announced recently. Alan Garner – we can’t think of a better guizer to win 

“The list is light on big names … with [Alan] Garner among the most famous authors to make the cut. He is best known for his award-winning 1967 novel The Owl Service.

“Garner is longlisted for Treacle Walker, about a young boy called Joe who is visited by a wanderer and healer, sparking an unlikely friendship. If he goes on to win, Garner would be the oldest winner ever, turning 88 on the day of this year’s award ceremony.

“Mortimer’s Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies … tells the story of a woman with cancer trying to come to terms with her illness, and is partially narrated by the cancer cells in her body, recently won the Desmond Elliot prize.

“Bulawayo [has] been nominated for the award before. Bulawayo is listed for Glory, which is narrated by a chorus of animals and inspired by George Orwell’s Animal Farm. A response to the fall of Robert Mugabe, it describes a coup that ousts Old Horse as leader after 40 years in power, alongside his despised wife, a donkey named Marvellous.”

Also with thanks to The Guardian.

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MSFC 70th Birthday celebration a success

The night was a genuine success! About 25 people attended including representatives from six other Clubs and groups to offer their congratulations to the MSFC. Warm and hospitable, even on a cold rainy July night. Congratulations to the Club!

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Nova Mob About and Contact Us

Friends, out-of-town guests, and new arrivals – you are always welcome and have an open invitation to the Mob’s face-to-face and Zoom meetings.

Please forward this email or the invitation to like-minded people 

Face to face, the Kensington Town Hall is a friendly venue, including excellent disability access and ample parking especially to the south side of the building in the car park. Newmarket Railway Station is 15 minutes travel from Flinders St Station on the Craigieburn line. By tram it’s via the Route 57 and by bus it’s the #83. Other bus routes via Metlink Journey Planner. 

Attendees are asked to donate $5 towards the Zoom subscription, rent, tea, coffee, biscuits. Gold coin is fine as appropriate for your circumstances. On site donations of home-made snacks and goodies are welcome. First time arrivals are free. 

Donations can be made electronically using on Paypal. The first person to donate this way before the end of July will get a packet of Tim-Tams. Pitch in, in between story bundles and meteor showers!

Please don’t attend if you have symptoms that could be SARS-2 COVID 19, or you are not double-vaccinated, or you are unwilling to provide contact details or evidence of your vaccination status. Our COVID-safe Plan is available, please email me for a copy.

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Planet of the Apes – Nova Mob 3 August 2022

Sarah Endacott on the phenomenon at Nova Mob meeting 3 August 2022

Face to face at Kensington Town Hall on 6 July, or join by Zoom, invitations below

“I’m looking at all the movies, the TV series and briefly mention the animated series. The themes I will be exploring are:  war, violence, evolution, science vs military, human intelligence, race, slaves/workers.”

“I will also be talking about the book!”

Did you know there are over 12,000 pages on the fan wiki?

This Wiki was created by fans, for fans! We aim to provide a definitive database on all material relating to the Planet of the Apes franchise, including: The original five-movie pentalogy, the Tim Burton remake, the reboot filmscomicsnovelsmerchandise and more

Planet of the Apes – Nova Mob 3 August 2022

Sarah Endacott on the phenomenon 
Meet the speaker face to face at the Kensington Town Hall (Melbourne)

You are invited to a Nova Mob gathering at: 
Wednesday 3 August 8.00pm – 9.30 pm Melbourne
first floor Conference Room Kensington Town Hall
30 – 34 Bellair St
Kensington Melbourne VIC 3031

Simultaneously with a Zoom meeting. COVID-19 protocols apply. Please don’t attend if you feel unwell, nor if you are not fully vaccinated.

By Zoom 

You are invited to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Wednesday 3 August

8.00pm – 9.30 pm Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney time
7.30pm – 9.00pm Adelaide time
Join Zoom Meeting

Passcode: nova
Meeting ID: 417 758 3193

Critical Mass July 27th: The Dragon Waiting (zoom only)

Beata Sznajder is going to talk about John M Ford’s World Fantasy Award novel, The Dragon Waiting.
Roman will discuss Ford’s novel (published post-humously), Aspects, published earlier this year.

We might also discuss some of his other works…

Note this is a zoom only meeting
Zoom details:
Jul 27, 2022 6:30pm Adelaide / 7pm Melbourne
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 892 7567 5259
Passcode: CritMass