The Fearless Fantasy Fans in Kingston used to meet every month, but due to a lack of interest and enthusiasm the group is dormant now. If anyone wants to ressurect the group, or start something new for fans of fantastic literature in Kingston, please leave a comment here.
The next meeting will be on May 12. Come and make plans for how the Fearless Fantasy Fans can take over the world! We will also decide on time and place for a picnic or dinner together. And possibly chat about things we have read and liked lately.
Time: 7 PM. Place: The Sleepless Goat, downtown on Princess.
The next Fearless Fantasy meeting will take place on April 14, 7 PM at The Sleepless Goat. This time we have planned to discuss the Nebula Awards nominations. Note that if you follow that link you will find more links: some of the stories are available online. Anyone can find time to read at least one short story, or to find out a little about the nominated authors, so that we have something to discuss.
We also have some loose plans for a second meeting in April, perhaps a movie night or something fun to do together.
And before April even starts, a possibility for the interested is to go to the Ad Astra science fiction convention in Toronto.
As you might know, the Hugo Awards are the great awards of fandom to the best works in science fiction (in the widest sense, of course fantasy is included) in several categories. You can read all about the rules other things on The Hugo Awards website. If you are planning on going to the World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal this August (this year the convention is called Anticipation, in case you are confused), you can vote. Actually, you can still nominate if you get your membership this week.
It’s always easier to vote than to nominate, at least in my opinion. To nominate I would like to have a better overview of what has been coming out in the field, and when it comes to for example short fiction there is so much coming out that I have no idea where to start.
People have asked me about how to get the membership. If you click on the link “register online” you will be asked for credit card information over PayPal. This works fine even if you don’t have a PayPal account. In case you don’t have a credit card, or don’t want to use it, there is also the option to print the registration form and send it to the committee with a cheque. They also take money orders. There is always a way!
Anyway, for the information meeting at the library on February 11 I will bring membership forms and all sorts of information. (And if you have seen the little notice in the calendar of the Queen’s Gazette I need to tell you that there will be no discussion with Neil Gaiman, only about his writing and related things.)
Until then, if you like, you can check how many of the Hugo winners for best novel you have read. How many of the authors have you read? How many of the winning books? Here is the complete list (I hope it’s correct). There are of course also the awards for best novella, novelette and short story, and dramatic presentation, and related books, and editor, and fan writer, and fanzine, and so on… we’ll take them another time!
- 1946: The Mule by Isaac Asimov
- 1951: Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
- 1953: The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
- 1955: They’d Rather Be Right, Mark Clifton and Frank Riley
- 1956: Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein
- 1959: A Case of Conscience by James Blish
- 1960: Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
- 1961: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
- 1962: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
- 1963: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
- 1964: Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
- 1965: The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber
- 1966: … And Call Me Conrad by Roger Zelazny [tie]
Dune by Frank Herbert[tie]
- 1967: The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
- 1968: Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
- 1969: Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
- 1970: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
- 1971: Ringworld by Larry Niven
- 1972: To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer
- 1973: The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
- 1974: Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
- 1975: The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
- 1976: The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
- 1977: Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
- 1978: Gateway by Frederik Pohl
- 1979: Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre
- 1980: The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
- 1981: The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
- 1982: Downbelow Station by C. J. Cherryh
- 1983: Foundation’s Edge by Isaac Asimov
- 1984: Startide Rising by David Brin
- 1985: Neuromancer by William Gibson
- 1986: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- 1987: Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
- 1988: The Uplift War by David Brin
- 1989: Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh
- 1990: Hyperion by Dan Simmons
- 1991: The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold
- 1992: Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
- 1993: A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (tie)
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (tie)
- 1994: Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
- 1995: Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
- 1996: The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
- 1997: Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
- 1998: Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman
- 1999: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
- 2000: A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge
- 2001: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
- 2002: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
- 2003: Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer
- 2004: Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
- 2005: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
- 2006: Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
- 2007: Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge
- 2008: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
The September meeting took place yesterday at The Sleepless Goat, and it was possibly the longest and most lively meeting in the young history of our group. Four were present: M, S, Penny, and myself. (No new faces, despite our fancy colour flyers. But we are not giving up!)
After some initial chatter about summer and future travel plans we started to actually talk about books.
I had a pile of books from the library. Last year we read Keeping it Real by Justina Robson, and now we talked a little about the sequel Selling Out. M has already read it, and I’m looking forward to.
S is reading (***forgotten, will fill in the title and author when I’ve found out). Penny is reading (***same here… crappy notes!)
What was the best book you read over summer? This turned out to be a more difficult question that it sounds like, because we had to try to remember what we have read. M could not remember at all, except that it was many. I mentioned how I have been writing down every book I finish for ten years. Of course I didn’t have my list with me, so it didn’t help much.
Together we started filling out a questionnaire for SF/F book groups. The most interesting question was perhaps the one about what makes a book (or story) discussionable. We agreed that it has to bee exceptional in some way — very good or very bad, or somewhat controversial so that you want to argue with (or about) it.
To illustrate discussability I mentioned two stories from a collection of seminal science fiction stories (in Swedish translation) I’m reading now.
“A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury had a explanation of the butterfly effect (perhaps originally named after this story) that I found stupid (although the effect itself was well described and the story was good). This made us talk about chaos, alternate histories and the importance of individuals. I mentioned The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson as an example of an interesting and well executed alternate history. (I could also mention his short story collection Vinland the Dream, where he among other things explores the questions about the sensitivity of history on particular events.)
The other story was “No Woman Born” by C.L.Moore, led to a discussion about human nature, and about self-knowledge. S made a comment about the connection to literacy, therefore the discussion took a turn to be about education, education politics and policies and funding — and led to an increasingly heated (but good-natured) political discussion.
After this we needed to talk about something else. Penny had a great idea about having a meeting where we read a book and watch a movie adaptation. We decided to have a special meeting. We are going to read War of the Worlds and watch at least one of the movies — perhaps two. We’ll have a potluck dinner and make a full movie night, and M offered to host it. The regular October meeting will still take place, of course.
The subject of movie adaptations of books made us express some opinions on the Lord of the Rings movies, and talk a bit about Batman (and other comics). S mentioned inofficial lobby groups putting pressure on publishers and television producers to control the content of what they produce. We were close to a political discussion again, but I turned it to books by recommending Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (about control of information, note that the whole book is available on the author website — follow the link!) and the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson (money and large companies controling the world). In this short report I have mentioned Stan Robinson three times. Have I ever told you that he is my favourite author?
Another point on the questionnaire was if our group has any contact with fandom. What is fandom? The short answer is that it’s the informal network of people that has existed around the science fiction (and fantasy) genre since the 1920’s. A slightly longer answer can be found here: a not so new but still good web resource about fandom, with a Canadian angle.
Next regular meeting: Tuesday October 14, 7PM at The Sleepless Goat!
Michael Swanwick is a really good author, but I haven’t read anything by him for a long time. When I heard that a sort of sequel to Iron Dragon’s Daughter (a book I remember liking very much) was coming out, I decided that I just have to read it. The Dragon’s of Babel is every bit as good as expected. This is a story of magical, mechanical dragons, and of a “postindustrialized Faerie” with all sorts of mythological creatures. It has texture, smells, colour. I’m not going to say much more about it, just present a quote to give you a feeling of it. An old lady explaining to a child:
Silver is the witch-metal. It takes spells more readily than gold does, and holds it better. It conducts electricity almost as well as gold, and since it has a higher melting point, it’s far superior for use in electronic circuitry. Also it’s cheaper.
Now I really feel that I need to find other books by the same author that I haven’t read yet. You can find The Dragon’s of Babel at the Kingston public library (at least after I return it!).
The Nebula is one of the important awards for science fiction and fantasy. The preliminary nominations for works from 2007 are now listed on the official website. Some of the short fiction (novellas, novellettes, short stories) are available online. See also links at SF Signal.
In order to increase anyone’s list of books to be read, here are more favourites of some of the members:
Charles De Lint: Widdershins
David Eddings: Belgariad Series
Neil Gaiman: American Gods
Laurell K. Hamilton: Guilty Pleasures (#1 of Anita Blake Series)
Nina Kiriki Hoffman: Fistful of Sky
Guy Gavriel Kay: Tigana
Mercedes Lackey: Arrows of the Queen (#1 of Heralds of Valdemar Series)
Judith Tarr: Hound & Falcon
Tad Williams: War of Roses
Kelley Armstrong: Bitten
Patricia Briggs: Moon Called, Blood Bound
David Eddings: Belgariad and Malloreon Series
Laurell K. Hamilton: Anita Blake Series (#1-9)
Tanya Huff: Wizard of the Grove
Mercedes Lackey: The Heralds of Valdemar Series, The Last Herald-Mage Series
Anne McCaffrey: Dragonflight, Dragonsinger
Robin Mckinley: Sunshine, Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown, Beauty
Tamora Pierce: Song of the Lioness Series
Michelle Sagara: Cast in Shadow
Sharon Shinn: Archangel, Summers at Castle Auburn
Wen Spencer: Tinker
Carrie Vaughn: Kitty and the Midnight Hour
Åka (favourites for right now:)
Brian Aldiss: Barefoot in the Head
Ted Chiang: Stories of Your Life and Other’s
China Mieville: Perdido Street Station
David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas
Michael Moorcock: Gloriana
Kim Stanley Robinson: everything (but maybe the Three Californias top the list)
Dan Simmons: Hyperion