April 27, 1955 — The Devil Girl From Mars premiered. It was produced by Edward J. Danziger and Harry Lee Danziger as directed by David MacDonald. It was written by James Eastwood and John C. Maher It starred Patricia Laffan, Hugh McDermott, Adrienne Corri and Hazel Court. Critics in general called it a delightfully bad film with the Monthly Film Bulletin saying “Everything, in its way, is quite perfect.” The audience reviewers over at Rotten Tomatoes apparently don’t agree as they give it a 22% rating. You can decide for yourself as you can see it here as it’s in the public domain.
April 27, 1963 — The Day of the Triffids premiered in the USA. It was produced by George Pitcher and Philip Yordan, as directed by Steve Sekely. It’s rather loosely based on the 1951 novel of the same name by John Wyndham (who was toastmaster at Loncon 1) as scripted by Bernard Gordon and Philip Yordan. It starred Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette Scott, Kieron Moore and Mervyn Johns. Critics who were familiar with the novel weren’t terribly happy with the film. It currently rates a 52% rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. Yes, it’s in the public domain, so you can watch it here.
Sir Magnus Holmes, cousin to the more famous Sherlock, is asked to investigate the appearance of an otherworldly knight carrying a legendary sword in the cellar of a Victorian London pub.
“We was ’oping for t’other ’Olmes to take an interest,” said the publican. He wiped his fingers again on his striped apron as if this might somehow remove the strong aroma of beer that emanated not just from his hands, but his entire being. “Meaning no hoffence, your ’onour.”
When I set out to write my first novel some 24(!) years ago now, I rather famously flipped a coin to see which genre I would write it in — science fiction or crime/thriller, and it landed on heads, which meant science fiction. At this point people expect science fiction from me, and I can write other genres while also writing science fiction (see: The “Lock In” books, which are crime/thriller books set in the near future), so I don’t feel especially constrained by writing science fiction.
London’s National Theatre has been keeping audiences at home the world over on the edge of their sofas during lockdown by streaming plays from its archive on YouTube for free.
The highlight is likely to be Danny Boyle’s take on ‘Frankenstein’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller – who famously alternated the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his creation when the play came to stage in 2011.
National Theatre at Home audiences will be blessed with the opportunity to see them play both parts in this vision of Mary Shelley’s gothic tale, with the two versions airing on YouTube for free on consecutive nights (April 30 and May 1).
National Theatre at Home launched on YouTube on April 2, and now, every Thursday (7pm BST/3:30am Adelaide time) sees a new National Theatre play released – free to watch for one week – along with bonus content including cast and creatives Q&As and post-stream talks.
After a discussion with Adam, we agreed that it might be a good idea to have another online meeting for Critical Mass each month. We thought we’d repeat last year’s experiment of reading and ctitiquing all the novellae nominated for Hugo awards this year. there are six in all, so we thought we’d spen some time discussing two each month.
So for the meeting on may 20th, we ask you to read these two novellae
The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Saga Press; Jo Fletcher Books)
after the tea break, we invite you to share something interesting you’ve found in SF&F during your isolation: book, game, film, TV, comic, audio drama, website, fanzine or whatever!
Details of the May 20th zoom meeting of crit mass:
Our guest speaker for the May meeting is Melbourne Fantasy and Science Fiction writer Jane Routley. Her 7th book, Shadow in the Empire of Light, is due out in epub this August. She has published 6 books, 5 as herself and one as Rebecca Locksley, and won two Aurealis Awards for Best Fantasy Novel for her novels Fire Angels and Aramaya. Her short stories have been widely anthologized and read on the ABC.
Jane was a judge for the recent Australian Role Playing Industry Awards. She has had a variety of careers, including fruit picker and occult librarian and she lived in Germany and Denmark for a decade. Now she works on the railways in Melbourne and is a keen climate activist.
The meeting will be held by zoom, at 7pm May 6th, Adelaide time. In the first half, Jane will talk about her work and answer questions. At 7:40 we will have a short (10 min) tea-break, reconvening at 7:50pm for a discussion of what’s new and interesting in SF & F.
We all need a bit of joy in our lives right now, so it is with great pleasure we present the Aurealis Awards finalists for 2019. Congratulations to all the finalists, and a huge thanks to our panelists who have persevered through fire, flood and plague to deliver these shortlists, which contain a glorious diversity of work for your delectation. It’s a really important time to support your local creators, so if you are able, go hunt down some great reads today! — Tehani
BEST FANTASY NOVEL Angel Mage, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin) Darkdawn, Jay Kristoff (HarperCollins Publishers) The Wailing Woman, Maria Lewis (Little, Brown Book Group) The Harp of Kings, Juliet Marillier (Macmillan Australia) The Darkest Bloom, P M Freestone (Scholastic) Graveyard Shift in Ghost Town, Michael Pryor (Allen & Unwin)
BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL The Subjects, Sarah Hopkins (Text Publishing) Aurora Rising, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin) The Trespassers, Meg Mundell (UQP) The Year of the Fruit Cake, Gillian Polack (IFWG Publishing Australia) The Glad Shout, Alice Robinson (Affirm Press) Daughter of Bad Times, Rohan Wilson (Allen & Unwin)