Nova Mob: June 2nd with John Clute

Murray notes:

Dear Nova Mob and friends, our guest at the forthcoming Nova Mob is the witty, erudite, compelling, and encyclopaedic John Clute, science fiction’s foremost critic!

Frankly I’m just gobsmacked, colour me purple, tickle me pink, and over the moon. Delighted, yes definitely delighted. But expect no such cliches from our guest! Our time together will be a fireside chat, and I do recommend “some research required” for your questions to be put to John.

Already I’ve enquired gently of John about book storage problems, reflections on where the Encyclopaedias came from and where they are going, and whether the phrase “the Gene Wolfe of SF criticism” would be a good fit. With some poise he has replied:

Gene Wolfe —  I can certainly say in our conversation why that’s interesting, but also (stature aside) I’d distinguish between us. I can do questions about Fantastika; memories of Peter Nicholls; the theory of archive as applied to Collections

Fantastika has considerable appeal; the concept solves many of the field’s definitional problems. It acknowledges that the English-speaking world has taken up some ill-wrought terms to describe science fiction, fantasy, and horror, to the point where the term “Fantastic” as used by Suvin and many others cannot comfortably be applied directly to American, UK, and other English-language criticism of the field. “Fantastika” has the ring of truth to it, please dive in, it’s worth it. (The first four items steadily get more sophisticated and nuanced)

From Locus, an introduction to John: https://locusmag.com/2009/09/john-clute-fantastika/

From a certain essential Encyclopedia:

http://sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/fantastika

Fantastika in the World Storm – a talk by John Clute

https://web.archive.org/web/20161217191546/http://www.johnclute.co.uk/word/?p=15


Fantastika; or, The Sacred Grove
. Article, Fantastika Journal. Volume 1. Issue 1. April 2017. John Clute.
Start at page 13, and describes the eight or so dimensions contained in the  concept of Fantastika

https://fantastikajournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Fantastika-Journal.-Vol-1.-Issue-1.pdf

Others:

A brief yet lightning-sharp review of Thomas Harris’s Hitler Wins novel, Fatherland:

https://web.archive.org/web/20161229131658/http://www.johnclute.co.uk/word/?p=9

An introduction to John Clute by Douglas Fratz which captures tone superbly:

https://www.sfsite.com/09b/pi376.htm

“Clute has dedicated his life work to the field of SF, fantasy and horror — to Fantastika — and all of us in the field should be profoundly grateful that he has done so.”

Obligatory wikipedia entry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Clute#Excessive_candour

John Clute’s web site and books:

https://web.archive.org/web/20160326014153/http://johnclute.co.uk/

https://www.fictiondb.com/author/john-clute~32306.htm


NOVA MOB JUNE MEETING – 2 JUNE – JOHN CLUTE

You are invited to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Nova Mob 2 June – John Clute – A Fantastika Fireside chat
Time: Jun 2, 2021 8:00pm Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney; 7:30 Adelaide

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

Meeting ID: 417 758 3193
Passcode: nova

Sir Julius Vogel Award finalists announced

The 2021 Sir Julius Vogel Award finalists have been announced. The awards recognize excellence in science fiction, fantasy, or horror works created by New Zealanders and New Zealand residents.

Best Novel

  • Gad’s Army by Drew Bryenton (Sci Fi Cafe)
  • The Stone Weta by Octavia Cade (Paper Road Press)
  • Transference by B.T. Keaton (Ingleside Avenue Press)
  • The Court of Mortals by A.J. Lancaster (Camberion Press)
  • Blood of the Sun by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

See the full list of finalists at http://file770.com/2021-sir-julius-vogel-award-finalists/

Nova Mob, Wed March 3rd

Murray writes
Hi all Nova Mob participants and friends
Our guest this coming Wednesday is best-selling science fiction author and commentator John Birmingham. With thanks to the Mob members who asked for some military SF on the Nova Mob program. John is Australia’s biggest-selling and finest exponent of the timeslip military SF alternate history monster apocalypse great powers airport thriller genre.

John won the 2005 Locus Award for best first novel for his “Weapons of Choice”, the first in his Axis of Time trilogy of alternative history novels based on a modern fleet of warships going back in time to World War Two. A later trilogy, Stalin’s Hammer, addresses the legacy of the fall of the Axis of Time as Stalin’s USSR seeks to reshape the world. The James Kipper series asks, “what would happen if the USA just suddenly disappeared?” and the Dave Hooper series is a monster apocalypse thriller gorefest. Of course, John first came to fame with He Died with a Felafel in his Hand and is known for his commentary on modern Australia politics. 

John reports, “By happy coincidence I’ll have two new(ish) titles out that week. The ebook of Zero Day Code and the audio of American Kill Switch (which closes out the series)”. Those are from the End of Days series, a very plausible scenario for bringing down the American civilisation.  

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51080208-zero-day-code

As Penguin put it: “John Birmingham has written for Rolling StonePlayboyLong Bay Prison News, Quarterly Essay and The Monthly. His published works include He Died With A Falafel In His Hand and Leviathan: The unauthorised biography of Sydney. He started writing airport novels because they were more fun.”

John Birmingham – Reality? What price our reality?
Wednesday March 3rd
8.00pm – 9.30 pm or so, Melbourne time, 7:30 — 9pm Adelaide By Zoom:

Nova Mob 3 March 8.00pm 
login after 7.50 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney (7:20pm Adelaide)

Join Zoom Meeting for Nova Mob
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4177583193?pwd=VjdPL1BhSTBNclN2YnRsejN3Y1hlUT09
Meeting ID: 417 758 3193
Passcode: nova

About John – 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Birmingham
http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/birmingham_john
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?27931
https://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/A9492?mainTabTemplate=agentWorksBy
https://www.penguin.com.au/authors/john-birmingham
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-17/brisbane-author-john-birmingham-makes-leap-to-self-publishing/8127990

To read some of John’s work: free download!

http://cheeseburgergothic.com/
https://aliensideboob.substack.com/p/time-line-of-a-cover-up
[Deeply regrettably, not SF]

The Scientific Romance

“Scientific romance” is now commonly used to refer to science fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as in the anthologies Under the Moons of Mars: A History and Anthology of “The Scientific Romance” in the Munsey Magazines, 1912-1920 and Scientific Romance in Britain: 1890-1950. One of the earliest writers to be described in this way was the French astronomer and writer Camille Flammarion, whose Recits de l’infini and La fin du monde have both been described as scientific romances. The term is most widely applied to Jules Verne, and H. G. Wells, whose historical society continues to refer to his work as ‘scientific romances’ today.
Edgar Rice Burroughs’s A Princess of Mars (1912) is also sometimes seen as a major work of scientific romance, and Sam Moskowitz referred to him in 1958 as “the acknowledged master of the scientific romance,” though the scholar E. F. Bleiler views Burroughs as a writer involved in the “new development” of pulp science fiction that arose in the early 20th century. The same year as A Princess of Mars, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published The Lost World,which is also commonly referred to as a scientific romance.
1902 saw the cinematic release of Georges Méliès’s film Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon); the time period and the fact that it is based partially on works by Verne and Wells has led to its being labelled as a scientific romance as well.

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_romance

The latest Coode St Podcast, episode 451, has an interesting discussion on the “scientific romance” with John Clute: John Clute and Science Fiction Repeting the Future

Critical Mass Feb 17th: At the Movies

This month’s Crit Mass will be an in person meeting at Kappys!

(You can also join via zoom if you think it’s too soon for public gatherings)
We’re inviting members to pick 5 sf films they’d like to talk about (whether for good or ill is up to them), and to gather at Kappys Tea & Coffee merchants, 22 Compton St Adelaide, from 6:45pm for a 7pm start of the Crit Mass meeting on February 17th. Old or New, Good or Bad, let us know why the film is of interest!
As you might expect, you’ll have to conform to Kappys COVID requirements.
For those who wish to join remotely:
Topic: Crit Mass, Adelaide
Time: Feb 17, 2021 07:00 PM Adelaide, 7:30 Melbourne
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83772232344?pwd=cDhjVjZNWG5NelhMaEtuWjJaVVdjdz09

Meeting ID: 837 7223 2344
Passcode: CritMass

Crit Mass: Is it time to gather again?

Several members have asked whether it might not be time to meet in person again. If we wished to meet at Kappy’s for the February meeting, they would be willing to host us.

Two questions then, for the members of Critical Mass in Adelaide:
(i) do we want to gather in person in February? or is it too soon?
(ii) who wishes to talk about something this month?

We intend to continue with a zoom component, for those interested who might not be able to meet in person.
Please respond to these questions to either Roman or Adam, so that we might make appropriate action.

Kathleen Jennings on Gothic

Our guest speaker from October has just published an article on tor.com called Six Stories for Fans of Beautiful Australian Gothic:

Like most Gothics, the Australian Gothic has acquired its own distinct aesthetic—most frequently, an abject unpleasantness and atmosphere of sand-scoured horror. Personally, I’d like to blame both Evil Angels (aka A Cry in the Dark) and Gary Crew’s memorably effective Strange Objects (1990) for many of my own nightmares.

It is also, like most Gothics, tangled up with the genre’s own past, and inextricably knotted into colonial and imperial histories as well as the multitude of other mirrored and recurring histories typical of a Gothic plot. And Australia has a bloody history, with terrible things done and still being done. Yet there are also stories which, without shying away from terrors (although not necessarily innately any better at handling the true history than other varieties of Australian Gothic), manage in a variety of fascinating ways to capture a sense of great (even sublime, often terrifying, never false) beauty.

— Kathleen Jennings, “Six Stories for Fans of Beautiful Australian Gothic“, tor.com, Jan 19th

Mass Con Jan 31st

Critical Mass is planning another single day mini convention.
Unlike other years, this one will be online from 12noon til 8pm, Adelaide time on Sunday January 31st.

We’ve organised a reprise of Eugen Bacon’s talk on Afrofuturism, and Adam Jenkins digs deep in history to tell us about A True Story by Lucian of Samosata.

There’s a panel on the New Doctor Who; talks on interesting new SF&F in print and on air; a talk about the Adelaide Uni SF Association, formed fifty years ago in 1971; and an assortment of podcasters to talk about their art. Add a few games, a reading of The Frankenstein Burlesque and time to chat with fellow fans in a virtual bar or two, and it should be an interesting day.

If you are interested in attending, or have an idea for a talk or panel you’d like to see, please contact roman (websmith@internode.on.net), We’re also looking for volunteers to host the zoom and welcome guests (in one hour shifts, training provided).

Login details:

Time: Sunday Jan 31, 2021 12noon Adelaide, 12:30pm Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86013693109?pwd=NEdzZTVMaFlRZlByWmxUZFAxaTNSZz09

Meeting ID: 860 1369 3109
Passcode: MassCon

Draft programme as at wed 27th below: updates posted here.

Time (Adelaide)The FoyerMunden’sCallahan’sSpace barThe PatioThe loungeThe BronzeTaffey’s
12 noonOpening welcome (15mins)       
12:20  New Written SF
Panel
with Kate Treloar, Tony Thomas, Roman Orszanski, ??? (40mins)
     
12:40        
1pm “Afrofuturism, Speculative Fiction, genre boundaries and interfaces”:
Eugen Bacon (30mins)
      
1:20        
1:40   Quiz (movies) (20min)    
2pm  Early days at AUSFA
2021 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Adelaide Uni SF Association (AUSFA), we thought it might be interesting to have a panel on the origins of AUSFA.

Alan Sandercock, Jeff Harris, Joy Window??, along with a few fans from later years. 40mins
     
2:20        
2:40   Treasure Hunt (20min)     
3pm From Fan to Pro:John D Berry (30mins)      
3:20        
3:40 A True Tale
Adam tells us about a very old SF story: 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. 40mins
      
4pm        
4:20   QuizSteampunk tea party/panel 40 mins   
4:40        
5pm  Best new SF on TV
Terry Frost & Roman Orszanski & ??40 mins
     
         
      Charades   
6pm Audio/radio drama
Roman + ?? looks at some of the interesting audio pieces out and about 30mins
      
         
6:40 Jewish SF in Australia
Gillian Polack (30 mins)
     
7pm        
7:30pm  Podcasting
David Grigg [Two Chairs Talking], John Coxon [Octothorpe], Terry Frost [Martian Drive-In/Paleo-Cinema], Christina Lake [This Never Happens] and Roman Orszanski [KRAM-StuFf] talk about how & why they podcast. 40mins
     
         
8pm        
8:20 New Doctor Who Panel:
Chris Pyman, Karen Carlisle ???? 40mins
      
9pm   Frankenstein Burlesque
A reading of the script from 1864 We are looking for volunteers to help with the reading…
    
Draft Program for Mass Con ’21 4:20pm Wed 27th Jan

Crit Mass, Nov 18th: The Mongolian Wizard

Over the past seven years, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Michael Swanwick presented a new fiction series at Tor.com, consisting of stand-alone stories all set in the same world—an alternate fin de siècle Europe shot through with magic, mystery, and intrigue.

For this Critical Mass, we’re going to discuss the series to date: please read a few or perhaps all of the stories in the series. They can be found on the Tor.com website, listed in order on this page: Mongolian Wizard

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Zoom details: