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This winter, I hope The Dark Is Rising will find new audiences around the world. For, working with the actor, director and theatre-maker Simon McBurney, and supported by Complicité (the theatre company that Simon co-founded) I’ve spent the past year adapting The Dark Is Rising as an audio drama. It will be broadcast first on BBC World Service in 12 episodes, beginning on 20 December, with an episode following each day, such that the broadcasts correspond to the “real time” of the novel’s own unfolding across the solstice, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
An early edition of The Dark Is Rising.
Early in the process of adaptation, in discussion with Complicité’s brilliant producer Tim Bell, Simon and I resolved on four creative principles. First, that we would honour Cooper’s novel and its 50-year-long power of enchantment. Second, that we’d make something far more ambitious than “just” an abridged reading of the book; third, that the supernatural elements of the production would be recorded binaurally, to immerse the listener acoustically; and fourth, that we’d draw out the transnational nature of Cooper’s vision. For the “Old Ones” – the warriors of the Light – are drawn from every country and background, and it is a Jamaican Old One who gives to Will an object of immense power, without which his quest cannot be completed. It feels right to us that this adaptation will be broadcast on the World Service, and heard in nearly 90 countries.
Working with Simon on the adaptation was inspirational; a 12-month masterclass in the skills of narrative pacing, dramatic tempo and creative perfectionism. As well as co-adapting the text with me, Simon also directed the performances and voiced the narrator. Complicité slowly gathered a superb cast including Toby Jones, Harriet Walter, Miles Yekinni as Herne, Natasha K Stone as the “devil-girl” Maggie Barnes, and 13-year-old Noah Alexander, who plays young Will Stanton.
Our heroine is Wednesday Addams, now 15 and sent off to her mother’s old school, Nevermore.
(Edgar Allan Poe was one of their best students.) The first two episodes were directed by Tim Burton, and Wednesday is played by Jenna Ortega. An absolute delight, from the double bass playing on a rooftop to the secret societies on campus…
An end-of-year bonus meeting with Chris Flynn – best-seller, raconteur, dinosaur voice, and (we knew all along!) keen SF reader and fan.
In June 2021 we met Chris over Zoom to hear about Mammoth, which turned into one of 2021’s best-sellers and resulted in Chris being hired by Museums Victoria as the voice of Horridus the Triceratops. Now it’s his short story collection “Here Be Leviathans” and as well as enjoying Chris’s company, there will be opportunity on the night to buy copies. Last time, Chris outed himself as a fan and fitted in well as a Mob member, so expect a fine night to complete the Mob’s year. The publicity material about Here Be Leviathans tells us:
A collection of funny, brilliant, boundary-pushing stories from the bestselling author of Mammoth.
A grizzly bear goes on the run after eating a teenager. A hotel room participates in an unlikely conception. A genetically altered platypus colony puts on an art show. A sabretooth tiger falls for the new addition to his theme park. An airline seat laments its last useful day. A Shakespearean monkey test pilot launches into space.
The stories in Here Be Leviathans take us from the storm drains under Las Vegas to the Alaskan wilderness; the rainforests of Queensland to the Chilean coastline. Narrated in Chris Flynn’s unique and hilarious style by animals, places, objects and even the (very) odd human, these short fictions push the boundaries of the form by examining human behavior from the perspective of the outsider.
CHRIS FLYNN is the author of three novels, the most recent of which, Mammoth, was shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards and Russell Prize for Humour. His work has appeared in The Age, The Australian, The Guardian, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review and many other publications. He is Editor-in-Residence at Museums Victoria and the author of the Horridus the Triceratops series of picture books for children
Please share this invitation with like-minded friends and fans
Face to face
You are invited to an in-person Nova Mob meeting at:
Wednesday 7 December
8.00pm – 9.15pm or so, first floor Conference Room
Kensington Town Hall
30 – 34 Bellair St
Kensington Melbourne VIC 3031
By Zoom – simulcast
For those who prefer not to travel or are unable to attend face-to-face. Zoom session broadcast from the Kensington Town Hall. Questions or comments typed into the Zoom chat will be passed through to Chris as the opportunity permits.
Lose yourself in realms of myth and mystery in these Dark Horse graphic novels featuring the stories of New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman! Discover gorgeous adaptations of celebrated novels like American Gods and Norse Mythology. Explore twists on fairy tales (Snow, Glass, Apples) and legends from classic literature (A Study in Emerald). Add a treasury of timeless tales to your digital collection, and help support USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with your purchase.
Two books will be set in Lackey’s beloved fantasy world of Valdemar, while the other three will continue her long-running Elemental Masters novels. Lackey is a New York Times-bestselling author and was named a Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association in 2022.
The first of the new Valdemar novels, written in collaboration with her partner Larry Dixon, is scheduled for Spring 2024. Lackey’s expansive fantasy world of Valdemar includes over thirty novels that span the history of the kingdom. Her most recent books explore the long-awaited story of the founding of the nation by the legendary Baron Kordas Valdemar.
Polák’s pioneering and much-imitated feature IKARIE XB 1 is one of the cornerstones of contemporary sci-fi cinema. It predates Star Trek and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and was clearly an influence on both – and on almost every other science-fiction vehicle that followed.
Adapted from Stanislaw Lem’s novel The Magellanic Cloud , the film is set in 2163 and follows a mission deep into space in search of alien life. On their journey the crew confront the effects of a malignant dark star, the destructive legacy of the 20th century and, ultimately, the limits of their own sanity. IKARIE XB 1 is imbued with a seriousness, intelligence and attention to detail rarely seen in science-fiction cinema of the period.
From the DVD liner notes…
For our November meeting, we’ve decided to screen the black and white 1963 Czech film Ikarie XB 1, which won joint first prize at the first Trieste Science+Fiction film festival. Warning: do not confuse this with the recut/trashed American release version, called Voyage to the End of the Universe
Critical Mass meets at Kappy’s 6:15 for a 6:30 start. Best seen in person, but we’re happy to talk about the film with zoom attendees — zoom in after the film screening at 8pm Adelaide time:
Critical Mass Time: Nov 23, 2022 8:00 pm Adelaide / 8:30 Melbourne
Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2020 sci-fi novel The Ministry for the Future imagines a not-too-distant world where central banks worldwide come together to create a carbon coin, a monetary-policy-based solution to the climate crisis. The idea has been sparking real word debate in policy circles. What can a novel teach us about the role of central banks in addressing the climate crisis?
The new companion for The Doctor, Ruby Sunday, will be played by Millie Gibson.
Gibson said in a statement, “Whilst still being in total disbelief, I am beyond honored to be cast as the Doctor’s companion. It is a gift of a role, and a dream come true, and I will do everything to try and fill the boots the fellow companions have travelled in before me. And what better way to do that than being by the fabulous Ncuti Gatwa’s side, I just can’t wait to get started.”
Gibson’s The Peripheral (2014) was a novel based around immersive virtual reality, which makes you feel like you’ve been transported to another place and even another person’s body. The book is set in 2032, in an age where it’s possible to move from one version of time to another. It’s not a kind of time travel, it’s a point in time where you can move backward, change the events of the past, and create two or more different branches of time. One might go on to become reality, and the other might disappear as a truncated “stub” of time.
Flynne Fisher (played by Chloe Grace Moretz), her Marine veteran brother, Burton (Jack Reynor), and their dying mother live in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2032. As their mother’s health deteriorates and the medical bills add up, Flynne and Burton make extra money playing simulations (Sims). When Burton is offered a chance to beta test a new Sim, it’s Flynne who ends up playing, pretending to be her brother. The Sim takes place in London and it involves Flynne breaking into a corporation known as the Research Institute to steal a valuable secret. When the assignment goes badly wrong, Flynne begins to realize the Sim might be more real than she thinks.
Some of the strange additions to a future London in the Prime Video adaptation of the William Gibson novel The Peripheral.