Category Archives: Events

Into the Unknown – Exhibition at the Barbican

I saw ‘Into the Unknown – A Journey through science fiction’ a couple of weeks ago. If you like science fiction and are in London, I highly recommend it. It consists of quite an eclectic group of science fiction artefacts, pictures, installations, models and videos. Here is the blurb:

“The genre-defining exhibition of art, design, film and literature.

From the 19th century cabinet of curiosities, to the vastness of space. Through future cities, into the inner landscapes of human perception.

Uncover the mysterious lands of Jules Verne and Ray Harryhausen where Science Fiction narratives first took root. Venture on an odyssey into our solar system, with vintage artwork promoting Soviet visions of space alongside immersive work by Soda_Jerk. Visit a gallery of aliens, and stand alongside iconic spacesuits from a galaxy of blockbusters including Star Trek and Interstellar.

Imagine dystopian worlds with Margaret Atwood and 28 Days Later. Then, with nowhere left to explore but human consciousness, delve deep and experience the transformation and mutation of the body through the eyes of Jack Kirby and Ex Machina.

Curated by historian and writer Patrick Gyger, this festival-style exhibition consists of more than 800 works, many of which have never been seen in the UK before. Continuing across the Centre, it includes artwork from Isaac Julien, Larissa Sansour and Conrad Shawcross, and an installation from the creators of Black Mirror.”

I struggled a bit to find a common theme at ‘Into the Unknown’ but maybe there wasn’t one. Just lots of science fiction goodness.

The main room has a huge smorgasbord of stuff – old magazines, video clips, models, props, outfits, books, comics and more. I really enjoyed it and even spotted a couple of books I hadn’t read. There is an interactive bit from the Martian, which was quite fun and some superb models from Harryhausen and designs based on the awesome HR Giger. Near the end are the spacesuits used in films like Star Trek and Sunshine.

The exhibition continues elsewhere but they were a bit hit and miss for me. In the Pit, there is a kind of robotic arm that moves around shining a light. It was kind of cool – more like an art installation that looked scifi-ish than anything else. There was a short film in another room that was ok. In the entrance/exit there is an installation by Black Mirror which is intriguing if you haven’t seen the show – if you have, then it just makes you want to rewatch them all again.

On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Into the Unknown’ and would recommend it. The main room is the best bit and although it feels a bit random, the stuff on display is great.

Here are some more pics. Enjoy.

 

10 things Dr McCoy is not

Happy 50th Star Trek

Happy 50th Star Trek

Star Trek has been on our screens for 50 glorious years. I love Trek and have seen every episode of every series with the exception of most of Enterprise. Which is on Netflix and on my list as it apparently gets pretty good. Sorry Enterprise… For quite big chunk of my youth, there was only the original series with James T Kirk, Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Spock, Uhura, Chekov, Scotty and Sulu. Plus a variety of sexy ladies in mini-skirts and male canon-fodder in red shirts. Then there were the movies. I was about 15 when Next Generation came out and therefore about 17 when that started to get good.

I could go on and on about Star Trek but as someone who writes a science fiction website, it is predictable that I would love it. So I wanted to post something Star Trek related. I saw this clip entitled “10 things Dr Leonard McCoy is not” and thought I would jump on the celebratory bandwagon. Thanks to one of my favourite websites www.io9.com for the clip. Happy 50th Trek.

New Hitchhiker’s Radio Show for BBC

And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer

And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer

Froody news!The BBC has just given the go ahead for a new Hitchhiker’s radio show. Which is just superb news as the radio shows were just brilliant. If you haven’t heard them you are hugely, colossally missing out and my life has, by dint of this one fact, been better than yours. Obviously you can rectify that. They are different from the book after a certain bit, but then the BBC also did radio versions of all the books with the original cast. If this is confusing, google it.

The new series will be based on And another thing… by Eion Colfer. Which will worry some people. I quite liked the book as an episode of Hitchhiker’s although I didn’t feel that it lived up to the original. As you can see by clicking on this. It was fun though.

The great news is that it is being directed by Dirk Maggs who was in charge of the original, and consequent, series. Also, the original cast are going to be back. I’m excited. Here is more information from the British Comedy Guide.

From British Comedy Guide: (click here)

The new series is being organised by Dirk Maggs, the director who has overseen previous series of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, alongside David Morley from Perfectly Normal Productions.

Plans are currently at a very early stage of development, with a six episode run provisionally ordered. Speaking to BCG, Maggs confirmed: “A series has been commissioned but plans are still being put together – what precise form it will all take and who exactly will be involved is all yet to be confirmed.”

Contrary to other press reports, no actors have been signed up to the project yet, however the show is likely to star many of the original cast. Maggs confirmed to British Comedy Guide: “I wouldn’t dream of doing it without approaching the original cast, but it’s way too early to do that yet.”

Simon Jones who plays Arthur Dent, Geoffrey McGivern (Ford Prefect), Mark Wing-Davey (Zaphod Beeblebrox), and Stephen Moore (Marvin) last reunited with Maggs in 2014 to record a special one-off live transmission for Radio 4, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Live. The episode also saw Susan Sheridan reprise her role as Trillian. It would prove to be her last time playing the character, as she died in August 2015.

Series 6 of the show is expected to air in 2017. Maggs says: “I am very happy to be returning, it will be great to get ‘the band back together’ – for what will probably be the last time.”

 

Jar Jar Awakens

Evil Jar Jar

Evil Jar Jar

With Star Wars The Force Awakens on the near horizon, the web is abuzz with Star Wars theories and rumours. But there is a recent one that has been surprisingly popular and is absolutely brilliant – Jar Jar Binks, the most hated Star Wars character of all time, may actually have been a Sith Lord and was behind everything.

The rumour started when a poster on Reddit called Lumpawarroo put forward a theory that Jar Jar Binks was actually a trained Force user and his whole bumbling, annoying idiot persona was just a front. A bit like when we were first introduced to Yoda.

He then goes on to provide a lot of evidence that is actually pretty damn convincing and if true, makes Jar Jar one of the best characters ever. The theory addresses things like the annoying battle scene where Jar Jar seemingly stumbles around but coincidentally only takes out droids – a lot of droids. People got annoyed (myself included) because that level of luck made the whole thing stupid and detracted from the film. But as Lumpawarroo pointed out – Obi Wan said in ‘A New Hope’ that in his experience there is no such thing as luck. Obi Wan wouldn’t lie.

There is a lot more evidence and even film footage to back it up, including some clips of Jar Jar actually doing force powered stuff. Check out the page here, it is genius.

As the internet is a thing of wonder, this theory immediately spawned a website called Darth Jar Jar.

As if that wasn’t enough, someone has taken the ‘Jar Jar Binks is a Sith’ theme and spliced it into the new trailer called Jar Jar Awakens. It too is a work of genius. Have a look and enjoy you will.

 

 

 

2015 British Fantasy Awards Shortlists

This may not be of interest to everyone but I have found that Scifi fans are frequently fantasy fans. I know I am. So if you are looking for something new read, then what better way than a shortlist of the best British Fantasy? (Apart from perhaps a world shortlist.) Without further ado:

Best Anthology

  • The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic 2, ed. Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber (The Alchemy Press)
  • Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease, ed. by Joel Lane and Tom Johnstone (Gray Friar Press)
  • Lightspeed: Women Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue, ed. Christie Yant (Lightspeed Magazine)
  • The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, ed. Mark Morris (Spectral Press)
  • Terror Tales of Wales, ed. Paul Finch (Gray Friar Press)

Best Artist

  • Ben Baldwin
  • Vincent Chong
  • Les Edwards
  • Sarah Anne Langton
  • Karla Ortiz
  • Daniele Serra

Best Collection

  • Black Gods Kiss, Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)
  • The Bright Day Is Done, Carole Johnstone (Gray Friar Press)
  • Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Helen Marshall (ChiZine Publications)
  • Nick Nightmare Investigates, Adrian Cole (The Alchemy Press and Airgedlámh Publications)
  • Scruffians! Stories of Better Sodomites, Hal Duncan (Lethe Press)

Best Comic/Graphic Novel

  • Cemetery Girl, Charlaine Harris, Christopher Golden and Don Kramer (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • Grandville Noël, Bryan Talbot (Jonathan Cape)
  • Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • Seconds, Bryan Lee O’Malley (SelfMadeHero)
  • Through the Woods, Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
  • The Wicked + The Divine, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Image Comics)

The Robert Holdstock Award for Best Fantasy Novel

  • Breed, KT Davies (Fox Spirit Books)
  • City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Jo Fletcher Books)
  • Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • A Man Lies Dreaming, Lavie Tidhar (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Moon King, Neil Williamson (NewCon Press)
  • The Relic Guild, Edward Cox (Gollancz)

Best Film/Television Episode

  • Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
  • Black Mirror: White Christmas, Charlie Brooker (Channel 4)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (Marvel Studios)
  • Interstellar, Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan (Paramount Pictures)
  • Under the Skin, Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer (Film4 et al)

The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel

  • The End, Gary McMahon (NewCon Press)
  • The Girl With All the Gifts, M.R. Carey (Orbit)
  • The Last Plague, Rich Hawkins (Crowded Quarantine Publications)
  • No One Gets Out Alive, Adam Nevill (Macmillan)
  • Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel (Knopf)
  • The Unquiet House, Alison Littlewood (Jo Fletcher Books)

Best Independent Press

  • The Alchemy Press (Peter Coleborn)
  • Fox Spirit Books (Adele Wearing)
  • NewCon Press (Ian Whates)
  • Spectral Press (Simon Marshall-Jones)

Best Magazine/Periodical

  • Black Static, ed. Andy Cox (TTA Press)
  • Holdfast Magazine, ed. Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee (Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee)
  • Interzone, ed. by Andy Cox (TTA Press)
  • Lightspeed, ed. John Joseph Adams (Lightspeed Magazine)
  • Sein und Werden, ed. Rachel Kendall (ISMs Press)

The Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer

  • Edward Cox, for The Relic Guild (Gollancz)
  • Sarah Lotz, for The Three (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Laura Mauro, for “Ptichka” (Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease)
  • Den Patrick, for The Boy with the Porcelain Blade (Gollancz)
  • Jen Williams, for The Copper Promise (Headline)

Best Non-Fiction

  • D.F. Lewis Dreamcatcher Real-Time Reviews, D.F. Lewis (D.F. Lewis)
  • Ginger Nuts of Horror, ed. Jim McLeod (Jim McLeod)
  • Letters to Arkham: The Letters of Ramsey Campbell and August Derleth, 1961–1971, ed. S.T. Joshi (PS Publishing)
  • Rhapsody: Notes on Strange Fictions, Hal Duncan (Lethe Press)
  • Sibilant Fricative: Essays & Reviews, Adam Roberts (Steel Quill Books )
  • Touchstones: Essays on the Fantastic, John Howard (The Alchemy Press)
  • You Are the Hero: A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, Jonathan Green (Snowbooks)

Best Novella

  • Cold Turkey, Carole Johnstone (TTA Press)
  • Drive, Mark West (Pendragon Press)
  • Newspaper Heart, Stephen Volk (The Spectral Book of Horror Stories)
  • Water For Drowning, Ray Cluley (This Is Horror)

Best Short Story

  • “A Change of Heart”, Gaie Sebold (Wicked Women)
  • “The Girl on the Suicide Bridge”, J.A. Mains (Beside the Seaside)
  • “Ptichka”, Laura Mauro (Horror Uncut: Tales of Social Insecurity and Economic Unease)
  • “A Woman’s Place”, Emma Newman (Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets)

This is the Day of Dredd

The Day of Dredd

The Day of Dredd

I just got an email reminding me that TODAY the 1st of October 2014 is THE DAY OF DREDD! This is a cause I truly believe in and fully support. I suggest you do too because the world needs more Dredd. (Quite literally in my opinion but that’s a separate issue.)

If you are similarly brilliant in your taste of film and comic then you too can help this magnificent cause. Buy the first Dredd film on DVD or Bluray or download or whatever, if you haven’t previously done so. You can also like their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MakeADreddSequel

Furthermore, you can tweet about it using #DayofDredd and then pester all your friends to generally chat about Dredd related topics all day.

In the email I received, there are videos of Karl Urban (who plays Dredd) and Olivia Thirlby (who plays Judge Anderson) thanking the fans and supporting the sequel. The sequel is also supported by 2000AD. Basically Hollywood, make a drokking sequel.

You can buy the Dredd film here!

Here’s the Karl Urban video:

 

Herne Bay Zombie Crawl

I get a surprising amount of readers on this site and thought I would use this fact to do some good. Plus it is zombie related. Every year the Kentish town of Herne Bay dresses as zombies and lurches around for an evening. It is all in a good cause too as it is for the Kent Air ambulance. So if you want to dress as a zombie, save lives and live near Kent (and there must be dozens of you) head to Herne Bay on the 3rd November.
Or you could just be nice and donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/HBZC2012.
Unexpectedly there is a trailer.
http://youtu.be/JsEDP7FAK3I

Fantastical Literature Travel Posters

Science Fiction Destinations

This is, indeed, fantastic. If you are a Science Fiction fan, (and given where you are that’s likely,) you will recognize a lot of these. The Fantastical Literature Travel Agency Poster Project has recreated Science Fiction locales as travel destinations and quite frankly they look superb. Here’s the blurb from the esteemed head of the project, Autun Purser:

H. P. Lovecraft...

“I love those old travel posters from the 1950s etc… They used to make travel seemexciting and adventurous. Now most of us get on a cheap airline and fly off to a rubbish hotel in Spain for a week for our holidays…

…Science Fiction and Fantasy books also used to be a pinnacle of excitement and adventure.Today however, the lure of DVDs, computer games and comics has dragged attention away from some outstanding stories…

…With this project I will try and put together a set of 30 posters advertising the fantastical destinations featured in fiction books… As was commonly the case in the 1950s, I will limit the travel posters I produce to a set of defined colours (a limited palette) and use only typefaces used on historical posters… This will ideally give the posters a striking look and a unified feel…”

 

In addition to these posters there will be further input from some guest artists. There will also be a book featuring all this awesome art with reviews and thoughts from some writers.

This project looks great. I really need a bigger house as I want these on my walls.
For more information, here is the website:

Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as you know it.

Earlier this evening Mrs Scifiward and myself went to a fascinating talk at the British Library entitled ‘Who owns the Story of the Future?’

The chat was about Science Fiction and the future. One of the panelists was William Gibson, author of Neuromancer and the man who coined the term ‘cyberspace’. A bloody legend in other words. The talk was really interesting and reminded me of why I like living in London and love Science Fiction. The full panel (in case you have heard of them) were: Jon Turney (The Rough Guide to the Future) economist Diane Coyle (The Economics of Enough), technology and SF writers Cory Doctorow, William Gibson, and Mark Stevenson (An Optimist’s Tour of the Future).

The talk was going to be the title of this entry but as it now exists solely in the past, I thought I would mention something that is still happening. Apparently this is good SEO or something. This particular talk was the first of a series of talks going on at the British Library. There are still several more to go and they all sound superb. Here is some blurb from the BL website:

Part of Out of this World: Science and The Future: A short series of discussions exploring the cutting edge thinking and scientific research and ideas that may determine the kind of future we will have on earth. This is the thinking that may seem like science fiction but will be revolutionary in our lifetimes; although it is not without controversy. Leading scientists, theorists and writers share their thoughts.

There is also an awesome Science Fiction display called (you probably guessed by now):’Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as you know it.’ This is on until the 25th of September and is well worth a visit if you like Scifi and are lucky enough to be in London. It’s a sort of mishmash homage to Scifi. There are lots of books, the occasional comic (like Sandman), films (such as Metropolis), magazines (Astounding Tales, etc) and lots more. There’s even a slightly dull robot and a lifesize fully working TARDIS! I assume it worked although I didn’t go in.

So there you go. If you like Science Fiction, the British Library in cosmic Londontown is the place to go this week. Mrs Scifiward agrees, so it’s not just a male nerdy thing.