More on R A Lafferty

Last year, UK science fiction publisher Gollancz, which has recently brought out most of Lafferty in digital editions, released a print omnibus of three novels, the utopian parody Past Master, the transcendentally paranoid Fourth Mansions, and the Homeric tall tale Space Chantey. But Lafferty’s novels are notoriously difficult — Fourth Mansions in particular drives the uninitiated to despair — and his stories have drawn more readers and inspired greater praise. This April, Gollancz issued The Best of R. A. Lafferty, a collection of 22 stories that span nearly the whole of the author’s career. Neil Gaiman contributes an appreciative introduction to Lafferty; each story receives at least one introduction, all but one original to this volume, and several include afterwords to boot. Lafferty’s readership may have a reputation for being small, but it’s also illustrious. Introducers include Samuel R. Delany, Michael Dirda, Patton Oswalt, Robert Silverberg, Jeff VanderMeer, Michael Swanwick, Nancy Kress, Connie Willis, and the late Harlan Ellison….

from File770, Pixel Scroll 8/4/19, (1) DISCONTINUED NEXT ROCK


City of Lies


Sam Hawke is Winner of the 2018 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel, the 2018 Ditmar Award for Best Novel and the 2018 Norma K Hemming Award (for works exploring issues of gender, disability, race or class) for City of Lies, the first in the Poison War series.

There’s an interesting discussion with Sam on, where she answers reader’s questions:

I guess a closed room murder mystery setup wasn’t that common in fantasy, so that’s probably the most distinguishable thing about the structure of the story.
Or possibly just messing with the all-too-common Western nuclear family model as the foundational family structure of the society—once you take out marriage as a concept and give primacy to other kinds of non-romantic relationships, what happens? (This is something that you don’t see as often as I’d like in speculative genres. We can imagine the most amazing magical things, but absolutely we must pair off and have strict gender roles etc. There are certain assumptions we carry across from our everyday lives unthinkingly which I’d like to see challenged more often).

— from Highlights from Sam Hawke’s AMA! on


Sept 4th Critical Mass: The Handmaid’s Tale

Kate Treloar is considering The Handmaid’s Tale
Atwood, Margaret - The Handmaid’s TaleFor September’s meeting I will examine all things The Handmaid’s Tale – the original 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, Season 1 of the current television series, and the recently released graphic novel illustrated by Canadian artist Renee Nault. I will bring along a copy of the graphic novel to look at. Parallels with Atwood’s near-future dystopian world and real-world examples will also be explored.
Note: the sequel “The Testaments” is due out on 10 September, shortly after this Critical Mass session, for those who want even more Handmaid.
As usual, 6:45 for a 7pm start at Kappy’s,
22 Compton St, Adelaide!

World Fantasy Awards 2019 nominees

The awards will be presented at World Fantasy Con 2019 to be held in Los Angeles October 31-November 3.

2019 Lifetime Achievement Awards

  • Hayao Miyazaki
  • Jack Zipes



  • In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey (John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley (MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang (Harper Voyager)
  • Witchmark by C. L. Polk (
  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga Press)


  • The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander (
  • The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark (
  • The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press)
  • “The Privilege of the Happy Ending” by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Aug. 2018)
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (

Short Fiction

  • “The Ten Things She Said While Dying: An Annotation” by Adam-Troy Castro (Nightmare Magazine, July 2019)
  • “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018)
  • “Ten Deals with the Indigo Snake” by Mel Kassel (Lightspeed, October 2018)
  • “The Court Magician” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, January 2018)
  • “Like a River Loves the Sky” by Emma Törzs (Uncanny Magazine, March-April 2018)

See the full list at File770

Continuum Panels on SF fans now online

Two panels about sf fans in the 60s and 70s from recent Continuums have just been published at

SF Fandom in first half of the 1970s

Leigh Edmonds introduces the topic, SF Fandom in the first half of the 1970s, and panel: Rob Gerrand, Robin Johnson and Bruce Gillespie.

70s panel warmup
The Panel: Robin, Bruce, Rob and Leigh (Photo: Cath Ortlieb) 


Sixies SF fandom History panel from Continuum 14

With Lee Harding, Rob Gerrand, Bill Wright and Leigh Edmonds (moderator).

Note: The earlier panel from 2017, MSFC Fan History Panel Continuum 13
is also available for listening  here

New maps: More uncollected John Sladek

from the ansible website:

New Maps: More Uncollected John Sladek was released by Ansible Editions in April 2019. 98,000 words. Trade paperback 9″ x 6″, 255pp, ISBN 978-0-244-15877-4. $20 plus local postage from click button below. Ebook in the usual formats at £5.50: again, click button below.

New Maps complements Maps: The Uncollected John Sladek, also compiled by David Langford and published by Big Engine in 2002. Maps was an attempt to bring together all John Sladek’s fiction that had not appeared in the collections published during his lifetime. (Click here for a full description, with contents.) Now New Maps does the same for his nonfiction.

Actually it’s a little more complicated than that. Besides stories, Maps included some autobiographical nonfiction. Besides a great many newly collected essays and reviews, New Maps includes further Sladek stories, characteristically weird non-stories and graphic features that came to light over the years since Maps in 2002.
Click the “Contents” button below for the full New Maps contents list.

Author biography Contents

Author biography Order trade paperback

Author biography Order ebook

The Rook: a spy/supernatural series

Starz has adapted a successful australian SF novel, The Rook, written by Daniel O’Malley, into a TV show. Myfanwy gets hints as to what’s happening by discovering letters addressed to her future, amnesiac self, as “Hello You”.

[Note: The first novel that DanielO’Malley wrote was published in 2012. It was titled The Rook. The novel went on to become such a huge hit that it became the winner of the Aurealis Award in 2012 in the Best Science Fiction Book category. The TV series looks likely to repeat the success.]

The book and the series both center on Myfanwy Thomas (Emma Greenwell), a woman who wakes up next to London’s Millennium Bridge with no memory of who she is and a circle of dead bodies around her. She eventually comes to find out that she’s part of a British secret agency for people with paranormal abilities called Checquy.

“David O’Malley invented [a] really intriguing, bizarre British agency that we discover Myfanwy is a part of,” executive producer and co-showrunner Karyn Usher told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Tuesday. “We spend more time in this season … exploring who Myfanwy is. Her primary concern is her own identity, trying to figure out who she is. She has lost her memory and everything she touches is a clue, trying to figure out her past and what happened. That general premise we took from the book. The world we took from the book.”

— full article by Megan Vick at

Hannu Rajaniemi on Posthuman Utopias

‘‘The Jean le Flambeur books have a few different inspirations. I encountered the work of Maurice Leblanc between ages eight and ten, which was my voracious reading period at the local public library in my home town. Besides the Sherlock Holmes stories, my favourite books were the Arséne Lupin books by Leblanc, which were translated into Finnish. There was a period around when I first moved to Edinburgh when I was interested in these post-singularity, posthuman ideas. Some sort of connection clicked. First of all, I read a book by Robert Axelrod called The Evolution of Cooperation, which is all about the prisoner’s dilemma, and how it turns out that certain kinds of altruistic strategies have something of an advantage. I started thinking, ‘Okay, what if there was a posthuman prison that tried to exploit that phenomenon by having this enormously large-scale simulated prisoner’s dilemma game, where prisoners would go through multiple iterations and evolve towards becoming altruistic cooperators?’ I started wondering what sort of criminals would be in the prison. Because I wanted a sympathetic character, I came back to Leblanc and his Arsène Lupin. I started thinking about Arsène Lupin in a bit more depth and realised that he’s, in a way, a posthuman. In the sense that Arsène Lupin is not his real name, it’s an identity he’s created for himself. He’s kind of superhuman in the Sherlock Holmes way, but what I’m referring to more is that in the Leblanc books he goes through one transformation after another. He assumes all these different identities. Across the course of the LeBlanc books he must have over a hundred pseudonyms of various kinds, including disguising himself at one point as the head of the police unit that investigates himself.”
— excerpt from an interview in Locus magazine

Gods, Monsters, Tea masters and Detectives… August Crit Mass

This is the last of three meetings looking at the Hugo nominated novellas.

Here are the suggested readings for August, July 7th :
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.]

As usual, meeting at Kappys,  6:45 for a 7pm start.