50 favourite sf books of the past decade

NPR (National Public Radio) announced “Your 50 Favorite Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books of the Past Decade”, a list with a top 50 selected by Amal El-Mohtar, Ann Leckie, Fonda Lee, and Tochi Onyebuchi. Titles are separated into categories, such as “Worlds To Get Lost In” and “Will Mess With Your Head”, and include a range of subgenres and interests.

For the complete list, see the NPR website.

Space Opera Story Bundle!

The Cosmic Visionaries Bundle, curated by Robert Jeschonek

What is it about space opera that makes us love it so much? The action, the exotic settings, the colorful characters, the alien species? The promise of countless adventures in the face of the great unknown? The excitement of imagining what humanity may someday become and accomplish in the vast reaches of the final frontier?

Whatever your reason for loving the genre, this bundle has it in abundance. The ten books I’ve selected (one of them a five-book set, actually) are jam-packed with space opera goodness that will propel you out to the furthest reaches of the universe and give you all the best feels while provoking plenty of deep thoughts along the way. – Robert Jeschonek

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

  • Star Smuggler by T.S. Snow
  • Space: 1975 edited by Robert Jeschonek
  • Maelstrom by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • The Earth Concurrence by Julia Huni

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus six more books (including two StoryBundl exclusives), for a total of 10!

  • Project Charon 1: Re-Entry by Patty Jansen
  • Galactic Capers of the Amazing Conroy by Lawrence M. Schoen
  • Ardent Redux Saga Boxed Set – Complete First Season by J.L. Stowers
  • Ball of Confusion by Dean Wesley Smith (StoryBundle Exclusive)
  • Krimson Run by Craig Martelle and Julia Huni
  • Encounter at Vilahana by Blaze Ward (StoryBundle Exclusive)

The bundle is available until sept 8th

At Last Dangerous Visions!

J. Michael Straczynski told Facebook readers August 12th that The Last Dangerous Visions has been finished.

THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS has at last been completed. The final draft went off to the agency that will be handling the sale about fifteen minutes ago. This has been a massive effort…112,000 words…tracking down the estates of the original writers to be included in the book, and nailing down some newer A List writers; fans of Harlan’s who wanted to be a part of TLDV. (And for the record, Harlan continued to buy stories for the anthology right through the 90s, and stopped only due to illness. He saw TLDV as a living document, and fought to keep it relevant when some stories became less timely or were supplanted by real world events.)

I will have more to say about the contents at a later date, but suffice to say that they include some of the most visionary writers in the science fiction genre over the last 48 years.

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:


Fantastika in the World Storm – a talk by John Clute


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



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


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


“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:


John Clute’s web site and books:




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

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.  


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
Meeting ID: 417 758 3193
Passcode: nova

About John – 


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

[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

Meeting ID: 837 7223 2344
Passcode: CritMass