Surviving Star Wars

WalkerThe Christian Science Monitor has an entertaining on-line quiz about surviving in the Star wars universe.



Oct 11th Crit Mass: Margaret Cavendish’s “Description of a New World…”

Adam’s going to talk about Margaret Cavendish, utopian feminist — 7pm at Kappy’s, 22 Compton St, Adelaide. Don’t miss it! Note this is on the second Wednesday of October.


First published in 1666, written by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World is the first fictional portrayal of women and the new science. Blazing World is the first science-fiction novel known to have been written and published by a woman, and represents a pioneering female scientific utopia.

While you can download the original edition from project Gutenberg, the 2016 edition by Sara Mendelson includes additional critical material and is considered the preferred edition (available online from broadview press).


“Sara Mendelson’s edition of Blazing World is a major contribution to the ever-increasing scholarship on the works of this remarkable woman. Cavendish’s utopian romance, which also functions as a critique of the new experimental science, is becoming one of the canonical texts of the Scientific Revolution.”
— Lisa Sarasohn, Oregon State University

Provenance: the new Ann Leckie

Provenance-Leckie[…] The Imperial Radch trilogy [by Ann Leckie] impressed a lot of people, as witnessed by the array of awards and award nominations it took home. But after such a successful debut—after such a lauded debut trilogy—there is always going to be a question when the author moves on to something new. Can the next book live up to the quality of what has gone before while breaking new ground? Or will they spend their career telling different versions of the same story?

The answer, in Leckie’s case, is Provenance, which is every bit as good as her previous work and very different in theme, tone, and approach. Provenance takes place in the same universe as the Ancillary books, but outside the Radchaai sphere of influence. Hwae is a small planet-nation of limited importance to anyone except its inhabitants and near neighbours. Unlike the Radchaai, the people of Hwae have three genders (and consequently three sets of pronouns, she, he, and e) which young people choose between as one of the signs they have become adult. Hwaeans ascribe immense social and cultural importance to relics, which play a significant (and legitimating) role in their culture and politics. […]

—  “Exploring a New Corner of the Universe: Provenance by Ann Leckie” by Liz Bourke on

A Good Omen

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 12.02.18 pm
David Tennant and Michael Sheen Filming Good Omens In St James’s Park

Filming began this week on the six-part TV adaptation of Good Omens, the comic apocalyptic novel by Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett. The series has been written by Neil Gaiman and stars David Tennant as Crowley, ‘Hell’s most approachable demon’, and Michael Sheen as his counterpart, the fussy angel and rare book dealer Aziraphale.

Good Omens will be filming for the next six months in London, Oxfordshire and locations in South Africa. Equal parts humour and horror, fantasy and drama, it will launch in the UK in 2019 on Amazon Prime Video before airing on BBC Two. It has also been confirmed it will air in over 200 countries and territories via Amazon.
Commenting on the start of production, Neil Gaiman says: “People have fallen in love with an angel and a demon in a book by Terry Pratchett and me, and they have been excited and nervous to see how they would appear on screen – and I was probably the most nervous and excited of all. This is a first look. Michael Sheen is the best and finest of bookseller angels, David Tennant the coolest and most delightful of demons. Together they are one hell of a double act (or do I mean one made in Heaven?)”


— more info at

P K Dick series: Electric Dreams

The Guardian reports that Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston is to star in a new 10-part science fiction series called Electric Dreams: The World of Philip K Dick, from Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D Moore.

Each episode will be adapted and made contemporary by a team of British and American writers, “both illustrating Philip K Dick’s prophetic vision and celebrating the enduring appeal of his work”.

more info from the Guardian

Lem predicts E-books & tablets in 1961

Stanisław Lem was probably the first sci-fi writer to accurately predict the end of paper books and the arrival of electronic formats and e-book readers. He did so in his 1961 novel A Return from the Stars, some 40 years ahead of any first attempts with e-paper.

I spent the afternoon in a bookstore. There were no books in it. None had been printed for nearly half a century. And how I have looked forward to them, after the micro films that made up the library of the Prometheus! No such luck. No longer was it possible to browse among shelves, to weigh volumes in hand, to feel their heft, the promise of ponderous reading. The bookstore resembled, instead, an electronic laboratory. The books were crystals with recorded contents. They could be read with the aid of an opton, which was similar to a book but had only one page between the covers. At a touch, successive pages of the text appeared on it.

More about things predicted by Lem in the article from

Hugo Award winners 2017

The big group photo of all the participants in Hugo Award Ceremony.
Photographer: Henry Söderlund

Worldcon 75 announced the 2017 Hugo Award winners. 3,319 votes were cast on the final ballot. Two reports are available with the full statistics for the final and nominating ballots. The other reports by the Hugo Administrator 2017 are available elsewhere on the worldcon75 website

Best Novel The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)

Best Novella Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire ( publishing)

Best Novelette “The Tomato Thief”, by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine, January 2016)

Best Short Story “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)

Best Related Work Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)

Best Graphic Story Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) The Expanse: “Leviathan Wakes”, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, directed by Terry McDonough (SyFy)

Best Editor – Short Form Ellen Datlow

Best Editor – Long Form Liz Gorinsky

Best Professional Artist Julie Dillon

Best Semiprozine Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, Julia Rios, and podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky

Best Fanzine Lady Business, edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan

Best Fancast Tea and Jeopardy, presented by Emma Newman with Peter Newman

Best Fan Writer Abigail Nussbaum

Best Fan Artist Elizabeth Leggett

Best Series The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer Ada Palmer (1st year of eligibility)

SF & Fantasy at Cinémathèque

Look out for these films as part of the Cinémathèque season at the Mercury Cinema:

  • Special 4K restoration of Besson’s Fifth Element 7pm Mon 4th Sept
  • David Cronenberg’s Existenz 7pm Mon 11th Sept
  • Wim Wenders Faraway, So Close
     — the sequel to Wings of Desire —7pm Thurs 2nd Nov
  • Howard Hawkes’ His Girl Friday —
    a gender switch on The Front Page — 7pm Mon 6th Nov
  • The awesome Casablanca — 7pm Mon 13th Nov

Superman vs the KKK

Having convinced a “Klavern” in Atlanta, Georgia that he shared their bigoted views, Kennedy donned the ominous attire of a Klansman, attended cross burnings, and covertly collected information about the group that he would then share with law enforcement and media. Radio journalist Drew Pearson would read the names and minutes of their meetings on air, exposing their guarded dialogues.

Revealing their closed-door sessions was a blow—one that Kennedy didn’t necessarily have to confine to nonfiction. In 1946, Maxwell, who produced the Superman radio serial broadcast around the country, embraced Kennedy’s idea to contribute to a narrative that had Superman scolding the racial divisiveness of the Klan and airing their dirty laundry to an enraptured audience.


In “Clan of the Fiery Cross,” a 16-part serial airing in June and July of 1946, Superman opposes an organized group of hatemongers who target one of Jimmy Olsen’s friends. Exploring their network, Clark Kent uncovers their secret meetings and policies before his alter ego socks the “Grand Scorpion” in the jaw. The idea, Kennedy wrote in his account of his work, “The Klan Unmasked, was to made a mockery of their overblown vernacular.
— excerpt from How Superman Helped Foil the KKK at Mental Floss