Writing NSW’s Speculative Fiction Festival 2019

Applications are open for you to contribute and take part.

Speculative fiction encompasses horror, dystopia, fantasy, sci-fi and so much more in-between.

Festival director Keith Stevenson is looking for speakers and panel suggestions that are as diverse as the genre itself. If you’re a speculative fiction writer, editor, agent or publisher with a great idea, let Writing NSW know!

Apply before midnight 9 December: More info at: <http://bit.ly/SpecFic19Callout>


★ Reviewed by Garry Dalrymple

This review, from Garry P. Dalrymple’s AZAPA fanzine Transcendental Basenji Sermons and Enlightenment, appears with permission. More TBS&E at <http://efanzines.com>

★ Directed by Johan Lurf, Astronomy / SF / Fantasy, © 2018, An Austrian made movie, seen as a preview movie of the 2018 Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival, on the morning of Wednesday, October 3, 2018, at the Event Cinema, George Street Sydney.

Before there was the Sky walker clan, Anikin, Luke and Leia, there was the night Sky, a dark velvet canvas upon which all cultures have felt free to embroidered with the story threads of their culture, aspiring to create a meaningful tapestry reflecting their values and issues, as writ large as by the hand of their Ghods and mythological heroes? How then to relate a review of this movie for you. Do you see it through the imaginative and interpretive eyes of the SF fan, through the keener and more exacting eyes of an amateur Astronomer, or through the fact and fancy sifting senses of the historian, as this movie is at times is likely to provoke strong responses from each of these audiences?

The movie is a collage of night sky images assembled from an enormous number of short extracts from films drawn from over 100 years of movie making. Their only common feature is that they are representations of the sky and some astronomical features. Most of these images are from Science Fictional films, but many are not. There is not a character or a space ship to be seen throughout the film’s 90 minutes duration. Partway through the film I said to myself ‘I’d love to see the stack of copyright permission approvals they must have collected for all this’ From an Astronomy perspective, it was an eye opener to see the same miss representations of the night sky and the movements of Astronomical objects instituted and repeated over generations, as traditional representations / story telling tropes, even when more accurate imagery were freely available and audiences more knowledgeable (round star images, stellar objects travelling at multiples of light speed, fixed background, moving intermediate field objects to infer space ship travel etc. Familiar astronomical friends, The Plieades, the Veil Nebular, Orion, the Triffid Nebula, and variations on the Andromeda spiral nebula, were all encountered a few times. Something I did notice was the Northern Hemispheric / Eurocentric view of the sky presented, Constellations and pseudo constellations presented, interrupted by the very occasional representation of stars set in the smaller Asian style asterisms, similar to how Chinese / Japanese characters appear versus European words made up of a larger number of individual characters.

The avid SF viewer will have many moments of acute recognition, usually as brief snippets of theme music reminds you of familiar Movies and TV series. Of the scattering of words spoken during the movie, the Germans seemed to be explaining the Universe, technically, the Russians were addressing melancholic thoughts to the universe and for the English speakers, well I must admit that at one point I drifted off to dreams about making love under the stars in a transparent plastic love bubble tent, the idea must have been suggested by something in the movie. What the Japanese and other languages were saying, is anyone’s guess, thoughts addressed to the night sky, standing in for the Ghods of many circumstances? It is enough to say that your impressions of this movie will be influenced by the languages you are familiar with.

After the film, the extensive credits rolled, a long list of source movies rolled across the screen, revealing that German, Russian, Japanese, Spanish and Indian language films, in addition to the English language ones, had all been sampled, and the list of acknowledged volunteers / collaborators and talent spotters also reflected this diversity. I also discovered that the film’s constituent clips had been intentionally edited to avoid any appearance of non-sky focussed frames, resulting in at times jerky and staccato passages of recognisable theme music. So, it was quite an experience.

Comment and Conclusion – What is the point of holding a Science Fiction Movie Festival these days? If a movie is good Science Fiction its season at the local Vulgardrome Cinema Complex will be short and brutal, its point lost on non-genre conversant reviewers, or if it is a CGI rich, plot free undemanding entertainment designed for school holiday crowds, then it will be of Free-to-Air TV soon enough, and in any case, all us clever kids would have already seen it bought it or pirated it off the internet months ago? Well this film was a presentation that demonstrates the need for Film Festival screenings, on a wide screen to a select and sensitive audience. Largely constructed of scenes intended for the big screen, it would be very much less of an experience if viewed through a scanner darkly via a small screen. It is a movie that invites you to imagine your own plot or deeper meanings based on what you think you might have seen. As an Amateur Astronomer / Historian, it will at times make you cringe/twitch to see the consecutive repetition of It-just-doesn’t-work-that-way Astronomical scenes, which have transitioned from state of the art to movie making shorthand. Methinks there is room here for a documentary, showing how the sky was depicted in popular movie culture, alongside the actual Astronomical photographic images of the time, but that dear readers, is another Film Festival. © Garry P. Dalrymple October 5, 2018.

Overall Comment and Recommendation – I have seen the promised lands of the imagination and I have explored many visions of alternative futures (and pasts). Through the program of the Sydney Sci-Fi Festival there is much to see and wonder at as in 2001 your journey to wonder will start when you too can say ‘I can see … Stars.’ Do try to attend the Festival this year, it’s all good, and good SF refreshes the imagination, reaching those parts of the mind that other genres seldom touch.

© Garry P. Dalrymple October 5, 2018.

Nuke Chats With SciFi Film Festival’s Simon Foster

Here’s an interview with Simon Foster the Program Director of the Sydney SciFi Film Festival 2018.

Get along and see Johan Lurf’s ★. It’s a modern mashup of film from 550 different movies featuring starry depictions of our cosmos, blended with genre sound.

Read moreNuke Chats With SciFi Film Festival’s Simon Foster

Hugo Award Winners 2018

The winners of the 2018 Hugo Awards, John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) Award for the Best Young Adult Book are in from the 76th World Science Fiction Convention:

2018 Associated Awards (not Hugos)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Rebecca Roanhorse

The World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) Award for Best Young Adult Book

Akata Warrior, by Nnedi Okorafor (Viking)

2018 Hugo Awards

Best Fan Artist
Geneva Benton

Best Fan Writer
Sarah Gailey

Best Fancast
Ditch Diggers, presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace

Best Fanzine
File 770, edited by Mike Glyer

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

Best Professional Artist
Sana Takeda

Best Editor – Short Form
Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

Best Editor – Long Form
Sheila E. Gilbert

Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form
The Good Place: “The Trolley Problem,” written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television)

Best Dramatic Presentaton – Long Form
Wonder Woman, screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins (DC Films / Warner Brothers)

Best Graphic Story
Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood, written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)

Best Related Work
No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Best Series
World of the Five Gods, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Harper Voyager / Spectrum Literary Agency)

Best Short Story
“Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™,” by Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex, August 2017)

Best Novelette
“The Secret Life of Bots,” by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, September 2017)

Best Novella
All Systems Red, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)

Best Novel
The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

More information here: <https://www.worldcon76.org/wsfs/hugos/hugo-awards-results-2018>

Rose Mitchell: Fan Guest of Honour @ ConZealand 2020

Rose Mitchell – ASFF President

Congratulations to Rose Mitchell, ASFF President, chosen to be Fan Guest of Honour at ConZealand 2020!

Rose has been an avid fan of science fiction since young girl, but only discovered fandom and cons in the early nineties. Her involvement with science fiction fandom has concentrated on club activities, convention running and supporting Australian fan funds.

In 2017 Rose was awarded the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rose lives in Melbourne with no cats — dreadfully unfannish, apparently, but she has raised two teenagers to mid-life crisis.

Ted Chiang To Visit Melbourne

Ted Chiang, author of the collection Stories of Your Life and Others, is visiting Melbourne to take part in the Melbourne Writers Festival. He has won the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and Locus awards and been translated into a dozen languages. His novella Story of Your Life was the basis of the Oscar-nominated motion picture Arrival.

The MWF theme for 2018 is “A Matter of Life and Death”. Ted’s session, The Alchemist’s Gate will explore the philosophy of time travel and speak to the question of free will.

Writer Benjamin Law will join Ted on stage at Deakin Edge on Tuesday 28 August at 8.30pm.

Bookings can be made on the MWF website: <https://mwf.com.au/program/ted-chiang-the-alchemists-gate-1406/>

Continuum 15 “New Worlds” is Natcon 2019

Continuum 15, sub-titled “New Worlds” is to be the Australian National SF Convention for 2019.  The convention will be held on June 7 to June 10, 2019, at the Jasper Hotel, Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.

Continuum is Melbourne’s annual fan-run speculative fiction and pop culture convention. Continuum celebrates creativity across genres and media.  Their aim each year is to provide a regional convention where writers, artists, readers and film/TV buffs of all kinds can get together for a weekend of panel discussions, entertainment, and social fun.

Guests of honour for the event are Kate Elliott and Ken Liu.

Kate Elliott is the author of twenty-five fantasy and science fiction novels, including her new epic fantasy, Black Wolves, and a YA fantasy, Court of Fives, and more…

Ken Liu is an author of speculative fiction, as well as a translator, lawyer, and programmer. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards, he is the author of The Dandelion Dynasty, a silkpunk epic fantasy series, and more…

Find out more and get your membership now at: <https://continuum.org.au>.

Ken Liu
Kate Elliott