The Fifth Element — 20 years on!

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 9.30.10 pmA 4K restoration of the 1997 cult sci-fi epic will hit cinemas from June-September as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Luc Besson’s masterpiece.

A 20th anniversary edition of The Fifth Element, featuring the 4K* restoration, is headed for select Australian cinemas! Don’t miss your chance to revisit Luc Besson’s cult classic on the big screen.

The Fifth Element has become a cult favorite over the past two decades. Starring Bruce Willis as military man-turned-cab driver Korben Dallas, who is by chance thrust into a world-saving, galaxy-spanning adventure after picking up Milla Jovovich’s Leeloo (above), the titular Fifth Element and humanity’s last hope.

In SA, screenings are on August 5th at Hoyts Tea Tree Plaza, Salisbury and Norwood.

More details, plus trailer at madman.


July 5th: The Bryant & May novels

Roman will talk about these remarkable detectives, and the City of London which features as a character in the stories. 7pm at Kappys, 22 Compton St.

PCUArthur Bryant and John May are Golden Age Detectives in a modern world. They head the Peculiar Crimes Unit, London’s most venerable specialist police team, a division founded during the Second World War to investigate cases that could cause national scandal or public unrest. Originally based above a London tube station, the technophobic, irascible Bryant and smooth-talking modernist John May head a team of equally unusual misfits who are just as likely to commit crimes as solve them.

Christopher Fowler has chronicled their adventures since the war:

An Age of Wonder

“…Hollywood frequently falls into the trap of making films which, while ostensibly about the lead woman, are actually all about the men in their lives, and thus deform the narrative arc of the film by not trusting a woman to carry its emotional weight.

Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman doesn’t do that. It does something entirely different, something I’ve never actually seen a big budget Hollywood film do before. It tells the story of a woman’s coming of age, both as an adult and a hero—mirroring the heroic coming-of-age stories we’ve seen for so many men, but with Diana of Themiscyra in the central role.”

— Liz Bourke, writing on about Wonder Woman

The general consensus on Wonder Woman at Continuum 13 was that it’s a hit. (Patty Jenkins will be able to name her price for directing the sequel, because they didn’t offer her the common bonus to be available to direct when she made the first movie.)SWM-wonder-woman

Psi Fi?

Psi powers — telepathy, telekinesis, precognition, and other parapsychological activity — was one of the founding tropes of science fiction, up there with rocket ships, time travel, and aliens. John W. Campbell coined the term “psionics” — from psi and electronics — and encouraged his stable of authors to write about it. And so they did.

But after reaching maximum saturation in the 1950s, psionics began disappearing from SF in the 70s, became uncommon by the 90s, and are a rarity today.

— Daryl Gregory, 5 Books About Psi Powers,

Read the full article on to find out why the titles above are considered important.

The Osiris Child

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A new Australian sci-fi thriller shows what can be done on a limited budget. The film was shot in a variety of locations from Coober Pedy to Penrith in Sydney. So far, the only screening seems to have been on the Gold Coast, but we’re hoping it turns up in a local cinema soon. Written and directed by Shane Abbess. Stars Daniel MacPherson (Kane), Teagan Croft (Indi), and Kellan Lutz (Sy), also with Rachael Griffiths as a general, and Temuera Morrison as the prison governor. Our hero, Kane, is on a space station. There’s a prison riot on the Earth below, and he fears for the safety of his daughter, Indi. He teams up with Sy, an escaped prisoner, to try and rescue his daughter Indi.
The film looks fantastic. David Stratton (who doesn’t like SF) gave it 2.5 stars.

June 7th: Stein’s Gate and Cowboy Bebop

SF stories are often structured around the premise “If X is possible, then Y is required and Z may occur”. Our guest speaker for the June meeting would like to discuss this premise and how it applies in two anime: Stein’s Gate and Cowboy Bebop.

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Steins;Gate takes place in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. On July 28, 2010, Rintarō Okabe and his friend Mayuri Shiina head towards the Radio Kaikan building for a conference, where Rintarō finds a girl named Kurisu Makise lying in a pool of blood.
When Rintarō sends a text message about the incident to his friend, Itaru “Daru” Hashida, he experiences a strange phenomenon and the people around him disappear, but no-one else notices anything had changed.
After later running into Kurisu —  strangely alive and well — he discovers the message he sent to Itaru arrived a week before he sent it.
Rintarō deduces that the ‘Mobile Microwave’ he and his friends had been developing is, in fact, a time machine capable of sending text messages to the past…

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Cowboy Bebop: In 2071, roughly fifty years after an accident with a hyperspace gateway made the Earth almost uninhabitable, humanity has colonized most of the rocky planets and moons of the Solar System.

Amid a rising crime rate, the Inter Solar System Police (ISSP) set up a legalized contract system, in which registered bounty hunters (also referred to as “Cowboys”) chase criminals and bring them in alive in return for a reward.[2] The series’ protagonists are bounty hunters working from the spaceship Bebop.

The original crew are Spike Spiegel, an exiled former hitman of the criminal Red Dragon Syndicate, and his partner Jet Black, a former ISSP officer. They are later joined by Faye Valentine, an amnesiac con artist; Edward Wong, an eccentric girl skilled in hacking; and Ein, a genetically-engineered Pembroke Welsh Corgi with human-like intelligence.

Don’t miss the June Critical Mass meeting! 7pm sharp at Kappy’s, 22 Compton St, Adelaide.

New discoveries about Jupiter

Juno — a spinning solar-powered spacecraft — launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral in Florida and entered Jupiter’s orbit in July 2016. The probe is scheduled to make 37 orbits over 20 months before the mission ends.

jupiterPoleJupiter has giant storms and cyclones.

There are massive storms and cyclones located at Jupiter’s poles. The “Earth-sized cyclones” are “densely clustered and rubbing together,” with cyclones reaching up to 1400 km in diameter and 96 km tall — much larger than any cyclone found on Earth.

The JunoCam managed to capture images from the poles. The image of Jupiter’s south pole, taken from an altitude of 51,500 km shows cyclones as oval shapes. The image was created by combining photos from three separate orbits so that all areas could be portrayed in daylight.

“We’re puzzled as to how they could be formed, how stable the configuration is and why Jupiter’s north pole doesn’t look like the south pole,” Bolton said in a NASA statement. “We’re questioning whether this is a dynamic system, and are we seeing just one stage, and over the next year, we’re going to watch it disappear, or is this a stable configuration and these storms are circulating around one another?”

more details at

Space Opera = fantasy in space?

“It’s important to remember that the term “space opera” was first devised as an insult.

“This term, dropped into the lexicon by fan writer Wilson Tucker, initially appeared in the fanzine Le Zombie in 1941. It was meant to invoke the recently coined term “soap opera” (which then applied to radio dramas), a derogatory way of referring to a bombastic adventure tale with spaceships and ray guns. Since then, the definition of space opera has been renewed and expanded, gone through eras of disdain and revival, and the umbrella term covers a large portion of the science fiction available to the public. It’s critical opposite is usually cited as “hard science fiction,” denoting a story in which science and mathematics are carefully considered in the creation of the premise, leading to a tale that might contain more plausible elements.

“This had led some critics to posit that space opera is simply “fantasy in space.” But it isn’t (is it?), and attempting to make the distinction is a pretty fascinating exercise when all is said and done.”

— Emily Asher-Perrin, “Is Space Opera Merely Fantasy Set in Space?” in

(worth a look at the article for the backcover of the first issue of Galaxy)

Moonscapes story bundle

The Moonscapes Bundle, curated by Dean Wesley Smith, was born out of Fiction River: Moonscapes, a volume of his bi-monthly anthology series. He says: “When editing the volume, I got lucky to find eleven great hard-sf stories from eleven top science fiction writers. Over seventy thousand words of fiction. I was and still am very proud of the volume.

“But as the years went on, I wanted to keep the idea of Moonscapes going. Then the chance to do this science fiction bundle came up and working it around Fiction River: Moonscapes just seemed to be a logical idea. Six of the authors in Fiction River: Moonscapes had hard science fiction novels that would fit in this bundle. And three other great sf writers, including Kevin J. Anderson, joined the fun. So nine hard science fiction novels plus the volume of Fiction River: Moonscapes.”

You have about 21 days to pick up this bundle of ebooks, in both epub and mobi formats.

More details: