Attack the Block!

PLACES IN THE FILM ATTACK THE BLOCK ARE NAMED AFTER FAMOUS BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION AUTHORS

The movie takes place in a fictional neighborhood. The main council block in the film is called Wyndham Tower in honor of John Wyndham, the English science fiction writer famous for novels such as The Day of the Triffids (1951) and The Midwich Cuckoos (1957). Other locations include Huxley Court (Aldous Huxley), Wells Court (H.G. Wells), Moore Court (Alan Moore), Ballard Street (J.G. Ballard), and Adams Street (Douglas Adams). Just after the movie title appears, the camera pans across a map of the area, showing the various names.

from File770, item (15) in Pixel scroll, 27 Feb, taken from Mental Floss

Crit Mass Mar 17th: A novel approach to climate change

Kate Treloar will discuss cli-fi through the lens of two Kim Stanley Robinson offerings written almost 20 years apart. The Ministry for the Future (2020) is set in the very near-future with climate change impacts increasing in severity. The novel follows the titular international organisation as it advocates for future generations.


KSR has been at this for a while and back in 2004 he published the first of the “Science in the Capital” series. This Trilogy also focuses on looming climate change, with numerous perspectives including scientists, bureaucrats, political advisors, sea-rise refugees and flood victims. Kate will discuss the first novel in the trilogy, Forty Signs of Rain (which she also briefly reviewed at the recent virtual mini-con).

The first of the “Science in the Capital” trilogy

Robinson is perhaps best known for his “Mars” Trilogy – Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars – chronicling the settlement of Mars.
But he also wrote other cli-fi novels including 2312 and New York 2140. It would be interesting to hear comments from anybody in the group who has read these.

This month’s Critical Mass will happen at Kappy’s from 6:45pm.
Please take standard COVID precautions: you will be required to sign in; please do not attend if you are feeling unwell.
You can join the meeting via zoom:
Time: Mar 17, 2021 7pm Adelaide, 7:30 Melbourne
Doors open at 6:45pm

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84218097771?pwd=WkxhcTRmZE9Kd013SGNxbHVjY2t0dz09

Meeting ID: 842 1809 7771
Passcode: 852519

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]

Expansive Futures Bundle

The Expansive Futures Sci-Fi Bundle, curated by Amy DuBoff and the SFWA:

Since the early days of science fiction, authors have explored the future of humanity and what other life might be out there among the stars. From cybernetics to spaceships to alien contact, future-focused sci-fi lets us explore complex issues while escaping from everyday life. Eighteen diverse visions of Expansive Futures have been gathered in a special collection curated by SFWA members, now available in a limited-time bundle.

SFWA is an organization dedicated to promoting and supporting science fiction and fantasy writers in the United States and worldwide. Featuring award-winning authors and fresh new voices, the Expansive Futures StoryBundle is sure to please fans of futuristic sci-fi and space opera. Note that the bonus includes Eugen Bacon’s Claiming T-Mo.
The bundle is available for the next 9 days at https://storybundle.com/scifi

A farewell to Yvonne Rousseau

By Bruce Gillespie

With great sorrow we learn that Yvonne Rousseau died on Saturday, 13 February, in the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital, Melbourne, from Parkinson’s disease. She had suffered from Parkinson’s from before she returned to Melbourne from Adelaide four years ago, after her husband John Foyster died there in 2003, but had entered hospital only two months ago.

She leaves behind her daughter Vida Weiss (who has kept us all informed over recent months), her sisters Val and Glenda, and her brother Linton, and their families; sister-in-law Jo; and former husband Mick Weiss, as well as the friends who enabled her to move back to Melbourne (Kathy and Ian, and Jane and Richard). Her brother George died several years ago.

She had a great ability to make and keep close personal friends, including those in the worldwide science fiction community and the Australian literary and editing world.

She was a Life Member of the Victorian Society of Editors, and was the author of The Murders at Hanging Rock, several published short stories (the best known being “The Importance of Being Oscar”), and many penetrating critical and personal articles.

She was a member of the Collective who published Australian Science Fiction Review, Second Series, and contributor to ASFR, SF Commentary, and many other publications. We feel keenly the loss of Yvonne’s generous and modest personality and her fine mind.

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

Best Work

Then there was Kim Stanley Robinson’s towering The Ministry for the Future. It was published in October, but I got to read it in mid-February. It struck like a mallet hitting a gong, reverberating through the year. Told mostly from the perspectives of a young aid worker who survives a horrific tragedy in India and a middle-aged Irish bureaucrat running a UN body tasked with representing the rights of future generations in a time of eco-collapse, it’s terrifying, unrelenting, but ultimately hopeful. Robinson is the SF writer of my lifetime, and this stands as some of his best work. It’s my book of the year.

Jonathan Strahan, Notes from a Year Spent indoors…, Locus Magazine

Boskone’s interview series

Boskone 58, to be held February 12-14 has been running a series of interview posts.

Dr. Gillian Polack

…If you were planning a holiday or vacation and could visit any location, whether in the real world or fictional worlds, where would you go? Why? 

I love portal fantasies. I always dreamed of the doors in other peoples’ writing and of walking through those doors into enchanted lands. Then I wrote my own. I now want to visit the house in Borderlanders and travel to strange places. I seldom want to visit anywhere I’ve written about, for I know all the downsides of all the places, but doors that lead to hidden seas or to rooms lined with liquid glass? That’s different.

more interviews & details from file770.com

‘Man Who Fell to Earth’ Series in production at Paramount Plus

Chiwetel Ejiofor has been cast in the lead role of “The Man Who Fell to Earth” series currently in the works at Paramount Plus, Variety has learned.
The series is based on Walter Tevis’ 1963 novel and the 1976 Nicolas Roeg film that starred David Bowie, both of the same name. In the series version, a new alien character (Ejiofor) arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution and must confront his own past to determine our future.

see details in the piece by Joe Otterson, Variety

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