Critical Mass April 27th: Best Short Story

As agreed last time, we would look at the recent winners of Best Short Story for the Hugo, Nebula, Ditmar and BSFA Awards for 2021. (Since the BSFA won’t be declared before easter, we’re looking at the 2020 recipient).

Hugo: “Metal Like Blood in the Dark”, T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine, September/October 2020)
Nebula: “Open House on Haunted Hill”, John Wiswell
Ditmar: “The Calenture”, Kaaron Warren (Of Gods and Globes II) Kindle ebook AUS$4.84
BSFA: “Infinite Tea in the Demara Cafe”, Ida Keogh (London Centric) ebook AUS$7.71

*= text available online
The Ditmar/BSFA winners are in the collections cited (prices from

We will meet at 6:30pm at Kappys (unless there is an outbreak, check the website on the day),
or via zoom:

Critical Mass, 6:30 April 27th Adelaide time (7pm Melbourne):

Meeting ID: 892 7567 5259
Passcode: CritMass

Here’s the Crit Mass/Nova Mob zine 2022 (If you want a paper version, print on a3 double sided.)

BSFA Awards 2022

The winners of the 2022 BSFA Awards were announced at eastercon:

The British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) have announced the winners of the annual BSFA Awards, for works first published in 2021.

Best Novel Adrian Tchaikovsky, Shards Of Earth

Best Short Fiction Aliette de Bodard, Fireheart Tiger

Best Younger Readers Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

Best Non Fiction Francesca T Barbini, Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Best Artwork Iain Clarke, Glasgow Green Woman

More Downey Holmes at HBO Max?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, there are two scripted series in the works at HBO Max on the world Robert Downey helped create back in 2009. Downey is on board to executive produce both shows along with Lionel Wigram, who also produced both of the films.
We don’t know much about these scripted series yet—we don’t even know, for example, if Downey will reprise his role of Sherlock in either of them. And we also don’t know if the two shows are inter-connected in any way besides taking place in the same world as the two Holmes movies.

Vanessa Armstrong,

News from the Mob

 Murray MacLachlan notes

Surreal mobile tyre shop sighted on Melbourne streets

Mob member Bruce Barnes behind the tyre wheel

Bruce Barnes stars as “Eugene” in a delightful and surreal advertisement for a mobile tyre shop. View it for yourself on YouTube:

“A tyre store that comes to you? That’s a great idea!”

“In our launch TV spot we introduce the idea of a traditional tyre store owner who has (finally) realised that the modern driver deserves genuine value and convenience when fitting new tyres – and that he needs to take his store on the road, complete with its dingy waiting rooms and ageing equipment. You can imagine his reaction when he rounds the bend in his ‘shop on wheels’ to be confronted with the customer (he was hoping to serve) already enjoying the ease and convenience of Mobile Tyre Shop! We think it’s hilarious.”

Agreed. We regret the absence of a Best Dramatic Presentation category in the Ditmars suitable for Bruce’s fantastic “shop on wheels”.

💥 💥 💥

Ditmars distributed; Athelings allocated 

Nova Mob members receive recognition and artefacts

Congratulations to all involved: the Conflux 2021 organisers in Canberra have sent out awards to the winners, even though the convention itself was cancelled. Congratulations to Terry Frost, winner of the William Atheling, Jr. Award for Criticism or Review, for his reviews in Terry Talks Movies.

Also to Bruce Gillespie, winner of the Best Fan Writer Ditmar, for writing in SF Commentary

Also to LynC for being nominated not once but twice! For Best Fan Writer for their writing in Ethel the Aardvark, and for Best Fan Publication in any Medium, again for Ethel the Aardvark. 

💥 💥 💥

Clunes Booktown 

The 2022 festival is on, details at the 2020 web address

Slow Glass Books will be on site at Clunes, 34km north of Ballarat. 

For those seeking further fannish face to face interaction, a wonderful weekend browsing the science fictional book stalls at the Clunes Annual Book Festival beckons, where Slow Glass Books will be selling a significant amount of stock. April 30th and May 1st at Clunes, 36km north of Ballarat.

“New, Second-Hand and Rare Books. Along with author talks and panel discussions, festival-goers can discover the largest collection of rare, out-of-print and collectible books in Australia inside heritage buildings and on the main street of Clunes. “


Join the conversation during the first weekend of May in Clunes.

Along with author talks and panel discussions, festival-goers can discover the largest collection of rare, out-of-print and collectable books in Australia, go inside heritage buildings, listen to live music, watch street performers, enjoy local wines and produce while meeting and interacting with literature lovers from far and wide.
Ticket releases and program updated are announced via their email newsletter (sign up HERE).Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest news and festival updates.
See you on the 30th of April + 1st May 2022 for an amazing Clunes Booktown Festival!”

Tickets went on sale on 22 March for formal ticketed events such as talks.

Nova Mob: April 6th: Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985

Murray from Nova Mob writes

A reminder that on Wednesday April 6th our guest speaker Iain McIntyre will be talking about his and Andrew Nette’s (eds) newly-published book Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985. It’s a feast of pulp, countercultural, and radical perspectives on a period of massive social and cultural change.

Iain will be speaking to us over a Zoom link, so you have two options for the evening:

● Join the Zoom session from your home. You’ll see Iain and other Mob members, and view Iain’s presentation, however to buy Iain and Andrew’s books you’ll have to place an order and collect them at a later date. 

● Join the gathering at the Kensington Town Hall (“KTH”). Iain won’t be there due to a COVID-enforced isolation of a household member but he and his presentation will be on the big screen, or on your laptop if you bring one along. Iain has kindly provided signed copies of all three titles which will be available for purchase, as per the photo below. You can also join a pre-Mob pub and meal gathering, as usual there’s a table booked at the Doutta Galla Hotel under the name “Nova Mob”. Also possibly relevant to your decision is that the Kensington Town Hall’s broadband connection continues to be almost but not quite the right size, so there’s a small chance of technical difficulties at KTH; these will not affect the wider broadcast.

Dangerous Visions and New Worlds – Radical Science Fiction 1950 – 1985
Edited by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre

Kensington Town Hall
You are invited to a gathering that is part of a Nova Mob Zoom meeting at: 
Wednesday 6 April
8.00pm – 9.30 pm or so, first floor Conference Room (Melbourne time)
Kensington Town Hall
30 – 34 Bellair St
Kensington Melbourne VIC 3031

COVID-19 protocols apply. Please don’t attend if you feel unwell, or if you are not fully vaccinated.

By Zoom – Iain McIntyre from his home

You are invited to a scheduled Zoom meeting

Wednesday 6 April

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

Locus recommends

Each february, the writers/reviewers from Locus magazine publish their recommended reading list.


A Blessing of Unicorns, Elizabeth Bear (Audible Originals 10/20; Asimov’s 9-10/21)
A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Becky Chambers (Tordotcom)
“Arisudan”, Rimi B. Chatterjee (Mithila Review 3/22/21)
Defekt, Nino Cipri (Tordotcom)
Fireheart Tiger, Aliette de Bodard (Tordotcom)
“Sleep and the Soul“, Greg Egan (Asimov’s 9-10/21)
Lagoonfire, Francesca Forrest (Annorlunda)
“Philia, Eros, Storge, Agápe, Pragma”, R.S.A Garcia (Clarkesworld 1/21)
The Album of Dr. Moreau, Daryl Gregory (Tordotcom)
A Spindle Splintered, Alix E. Harrow (Tordotcom)
& This is How to Stay Alive, Shingai Njeri Kagunda (Neon Hemlock)
“The Dark Ride”, John Kessel (F&SF 1-2/21)
In the Watchful City, S. Qiouyi Lu (Tordotcom)
And What Can We Offer You Tonight, Premee Mohamed (Neon Hemlock)
The Annual Migration of Clouds, Premee Mohamed (ECW)
The Return of the Sorceress, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Subterranean)
“A Rocket for Dimitrios“, Ray Nayler (Asimov’s 1-2/21)
Remote Control, Nnedi Okorafor (Tordotcom)
“The Abomination”, Nuzo Onoh (F&SF 9-10/21)
“Submergence”, Arula Ratnakar (Clarkesworld 3/21)
Flowers for the Sea, Zin E. Rocklyn (Tordotcom)
The Necessity of Stars, E. Catherine Tobler (Neon Hemlock)
“The Giants of the Violet Sea”, Eugenia Triantafyllou (Uncanny 9-10/21)
Comfort Me With Apples, Catherynne M. Valente (Tordotcom)
The Past is Red, Catherynne M. Valente (Tordotcom)
The Secret Skin, Wendy N. Wagner (Neon Hemlock)
Fugitive Telemetry, Martha Wells (Tordotcom)
“A Canticle for Lost Girls”, Isabel Yap (Never Have I Ever)

The full list is at

Wrong Turns on the Wallaby Track: Australian SF Fandom 1936-60

The recording of this talk by Leigh Edmonds is now avaialble on the Fanac channel on youtube:

Wrong Turns on the Wallaby Track: Australian SF Fandom 1936-60, Pt1- Leigh Edmonds, Perry Middlemiss

Beginning with an introduction to Australian history of the period by Perry Middlemiss, the session entertainingly describes the important fans, and clubs from the beginnings in Sydney with a Science Fiction League branch, to the Futurian Society of Sydney and the Thursday night group. Leigh provides both entertaining and instructive insights, from the parallels to US fannish history, to the Australian group whose “main form of entertainment was feuding”, and the impact on science fiction readers of the Australian wartime embargo on the import of unnecessary items.

Wrong Turns on the Wallaby Track: Australian SF Fandom 1936-60, Pt2- Leigh Edmonds, Perry Middlemiss

If you missed the zoom session, you can catch up with the two parts on youtube.

Critical Mass, Wed 23rd March

Last time, we heard about suggested reads from members. This time, we find out who’s read what from the suggestions, and what people thought of their choice.

Meeting starts at 6:30 Adelaide time.
You can attend in person at Kappys (assuming you are covid-free), or join us via zoom:

Topic: Critical Mass
Time: Mar 23, 2022 06:30 PM Adelaide, 7pm Melbourne
Every month on the Fourth Wed
Mar 23, 2022 06:30 PM

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 892 7567 5259
Passcode: CritMass
If you attend in person, you will be required to wear a mask if not eating/drinking.

See The works recommended at last month’s meeting

Suggestions from Crit Mass

LynC suggested the recent Garth Nix, The Left-handed Booksellers of London, or if we were looking for an interesting mystery series, The Vinyl Detective by Andrew Cartmel: Written in Dead Wax (2016); The Run-Out Groove (2017);
Victory Disc (2018);
Flip Back (2019);
Low Action (2020)
& Attack and Decay (2022)

Jane Routley noted she was really enjoying P Djèlí Clark’s A Master of Djinn, the novel set in an alternative Cairo, following on from the novellas Dead Djinn in Cairo and The Haunting of Tram Car 015.

Kate Treloar picked a classic:
E M Forster’s The Machine Stops

Ruth Jenkins suggested The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield and the alternate history collection Sideways in Crime edited by Lou Anders

Adam Jenkins mentioned
The Lifecycle of Software
by Ted Chiang, but
chose the manga ōsō no
“Frieren of the
Funeral” as consistent good

Beata Sznajder considered Space Opera by Catherynne M Valente, but recommended Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes.

Andrew Vincent considered graphic novels: he mentioned Saga, but thought the story overly long, and preferred Rat Queens.

Andrew’s ultimate choice was an online computer game, Wildermyth, available on Steam:

Jocko suggested Hail Mary by Andy Weir.

Jeff Harris talked about time travel invasions: Invasion from 2500 by Norman Edwards (a pseudonym for Ted White and Terry Carr) from 1964,
and Clifford Simak’s Our Children’s Children (1974),
but settled enthusiastically
on Ken MacLeod’s Selkie Summer (2020).

Roman suggested the second of the Johannes Cabal novels by Jonathan L Forward, Johannes Cabal — The Detective, from 2010. He was reminded of the series about a necromancer when he listened to an audio-book (Blustery Day) of short stories about Cabal.
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, 2009
Johannes Cabal the Detective, 2010
Johannes Cabal: The Fear
The Brothers Cabal, 2014
Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day: And Other Tales of the Necromancer, 2015 (collection)
The Fall of The House of Cabal, 2016