Nova Mob Aug 5th: Farah Mendlesohn on Robert Heinlein

Nova Mob’s convenor, Murray, writes:
Our guest is Farah Mendlesohn, who is a simply amazing person: BSFA, Clareson and Hugo-award winning academic, critic, author, editor, essayist, historian, reviewer, disability advocate, con organiser and fan. Farah will be videoconferencing to us from London on Zoom, from what could be described as a door into summer. Her topic is: 

Robert Heinlein: 50 years as the SF genre’s pivot point. 

Farah’s latest book is The Pleasant Profession of Robert A Heinlein. In terms suitable for a festschrift’s blurb Paul Kincaid in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction describes it as “an ambitious and intensive argument for conceiving of Robert A Heinlein‘s long career as a surprisingly integrated whole; it won a BSFA Award for best nonfiction.”
That award was announced on 17 May 2020, and made Farah the only person to have won the BSFA twice for non-fiction; she will be speaking to us with the award newly perched in the trophy cabinet.
Nova Mob is now celebrating 50 years and a sterling examination of such a central author of the genre as RAH is a great way to do so. Twenty years in, this is the most significant critical work on Robert Heinlein of the millennium thus far.

You are invited to a scheduled Zoom meeting:

Topic: Nova Mob Aug 2020 Farah Mendlesohn 

Time: Aug 5, 2020 08:00 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney (7:30 Adelaide)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4177583193?pwd=VjdPL1BhSTBNclN2YnRsejN3Y1hlUT09

Meeting ID: 417 758 3193

Passcode: nova

Please share this invitation to friends of the Nova Mob.

The Pleasant Profession of Robert A Heinlein is widely available in e-book formats. 
Original crowd-funded publication:
https://unbound.com/books/robert-heinlein/

For Australian currency, booktopia has it for just over $10. 
https://www.booktopia.com.au/search.ep?author=Farah%20Mendlesohn

The accompanying bio says Farah Mendlesohn is “the co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, and the Cambridge Companion to Fantasy and co-wrote A Short History of Fantasy, all with Edward James. Her other work includes Rhetorics of Fantasy and Diana Wynne Jones and the Children’s Fantastical Tradition. She won the Hugo Award with Edward James in 2005, and is currently working on a book about fiction about the English Civil War.”

Crit Mass, Aug 19th: Kraken good reads

In August Kate Treloar will look at the Kraken – the myth, the reality it’s based on, and key inclusions in literature and popular culture.
Krakens are giant squid sea monsters from the ocean’s depths, capable of destroying ships and hurling hapless sailors to watery deaths. Seemingly based on real creatures, the line between reality, myth and imagination easily blurs, providing a fascinating topic to explore.
Before the Kraken catchup, you may be interested in delving into a selection from this list:
NOVELS

  • Kraken by China Mieville (2010)
  • The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham (1953)

SHORT STORY

“Of such great powers or beings there may be conceivably a survival . . . a survival of a hugely remote period when . . . consciousness was manifested, perhaps, in shapes and forms long since withdrawn before the tide of advancing humanity . . . forms of which poetry and legend alone have caught a flying memory and called them gods, monsters, mythical beings of all sorts and kinds. . . .”
—Algernon Blackwood.

MOVIES

  • Clash of the Titans (1981, 2010)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

MOVIE SCENE

POETRY
“The Kraken” (1830) – Victorian Web
Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.
“The Kraken”, Poems, Chiefly Lyrical by Alfred Tennyson

Further suggestions welcome!!

Nebula winners announced may 30th!

The winners (in bold) and finalists are as follows:

Novel

  • A Song for a New Day, Sarah Pinsker (Berkley)
  • Marque of Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK)
  • A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine (Tor)
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey; Jo Fletcher)
  • Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing)

Novella

  • This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (Saga)
  • “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”, Ted Chiang (Exhalation)
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015, P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water, Vylar Kaftan (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Deep, Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes (Saga)
  • Catfish Lullaby, A.C. Wise (Broken Eye)

— from the full list of winners at Tor.com

Critical Mass, June 17th

We’re waiting to hear from our potential guest speaker, but while you’re waiting, you can read a couple more novellae to prepare for our discussion of Hugo nominees:

  • “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”, Ted Chiang (Exhalation)
  • In an Absent Dream, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)

 

Details of Zoom meeting:

Time: Jun 17, 2020 07:00 PM Adelaide

Join Zoom Meeting Part 1 at 7pm June 17th
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/76178209760?pwd=RjcySXVWWGZ6ZktzSEFjRVkwQWZNdz09

Meeting ID: 761 7820 9760
Password: 7fXx7M

Join Zoom Meeting Part 2 at 7:40 pm June 17
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Meeting ID: 761 7820 9760
Password: 7fXx7M

Films from the SF past!

Mike Glyer writes in Pixel Scroll, File770

  • April 27, 1955 The Devil Girl From Mars premiered. It was produced by Edward J. Danziger and Harry Lee Danziger as directed by David MacDonald. It was written by James Eastwood and John C. Maher  It starred Patricia Laffan, Hugh McDermott, Adrienne Corri and Hazel Court. Critics in general called it a delightfully bad film with the Monthly Film  Bulletin saying  “Everything, in its way, is quite perfect.” The audience reviewers over at Rotten Tomatoes apparently don’t agree as they give it a 22% rating. You can decide for yourself as you can see it here as it’s in the public domain.Devil-Girl-from-Mars-1024x796

  • April 27, 1963The Day of the Triffids premiered in the USA. It was produced by George Pitcher and Philip Yordan, as directed by Steve Sekely.  It’s rather loosely based on the 1951 novel of the same name by John Wyndham (who was toastmaster at Loncon 1) as scripted by Bernard Gordon and Philip Yordan. It starred Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette Scott, Kieron Moore and  Mervyn Johns. Critics who were familiar with the novel weren’t terribly happy with the film. It currently rates a 52% rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.  Yes, it’s in the public domain, so you can watch it here.Day-of-the-Triffids 

The Case of the Somewhat Mythic Sword

Garth Nix has a new story in tor.com

Sir Magnus Holmes, cousin to the more famous Sherlock, is asked to investigate the appearance of an otherworldly knight carrying a legendary sword in the cellar of a Victorian London pub.

“We was ’oping for t’other ’Olmes to take an interest,” said the publican. He wiped his fingers again on his striped apron as if this might somehow remove the strong aroma of beer that emanated not just from his hands, but his entire being. “Meaning no hoffence, your ’onour.”

— read the full story at tor.com

John Scalzi on writing SF

When I set out to write my first novel some 24(!) years ago now, I rather famously flipped a coin to see which genre I would write it in — science fiction or crime/thriller, and it landed on heads, which meant science fiction. At this point people expect science fiction from me, and I can write other genres while also writing science fiction (see: The “Lock In” books, which are crime/thriller books set in the near future), so I don’t feel especially constrained by writing science fiction.

Highlights from John Scalzi’s r/Books AMA at tor.com

Frankenstein on-line

London’s National Theatre has been keeping audiences at home the world over on the edge of their sofas during lockdown by streaming plays from its archive on YouTube for free.

The highlight is likely to be Danny Boyle’s take on ‘Frankenstein’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller – who famously alternated the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his creation when the play came to stage in 2011.

frankenstein-08-elizabeth-lavenza-naomie-harris-the-creature-johnny-lee-miller-photo-by-catherine-ashmore
Elizabeth Lavenza — Naomie Harris; The Creature —  Johnny Lee Miller, photo:Catherine Ashmore

National Theatre at Home audiences will be blessed with the opportunity to see them play both parts in this vision of Mary Shelley’s gothic tale, with the two versions airing on YouTube for free on consecutive nights (April 30 and May 1).

National Theatre at Home launched on YouTube on April 2, and now, every Thursday (7pm BST/3:30am Adelaide time) sees a new National Theatre play released – free to watch for one week – along with bonus content including cast and creatives Q&As and post-stream talks.