The Leafie invasion of Adelaide

A French group, Le Phun, created a hundred of these sculptures for WOMADelaide.

“The innovative theatre company from Toulouse combines the reality of the everyday with the creative world of the imagination. Their beguiling, ephemeral Leafies (Les Pheuillus) – plant sculptures born from autumn leaves, in human form – will appear and migrate to unexpected places in Botanic Park during the festival, as a reflection on the poetic aspects of nature.”

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Ecocide — a Crime Against Peace?

Polly Higgins was a Scottish barrister, who left her career as a corporate lawyer to focus on environmental advocacy, and unsuccessfully lobbied the United Nations Law Commission to recognise ecocide as an international crime.

Ecocide had been proposed as one of the international crimes against peace in 1996, but failed to be included in the final Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Higgins started to campaign for its inclusion around 2009, when the Rome statue was being reviewed.… Read the rest

Jane Austen: Private Eye

Sense & Spontaneity are a Perth-based duo of performers, Jess Messenger & Esther Longhurst,  who normally put on an absolutely splendid and highly enjoyable self-titled improv show set in the world of Jane Austen’s fictional realm. And this is said by someone who normally detests Austen’s fiction with the fury of a thousand exploding stars.
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Ecocide, Robots, Fascism and Whimsey

A lovely cover snap by Adam of a stream in Delft, taken during his European visit.
This issue, we discuss ecocide, building and designing robots, an invasion and climate politics.
Marc Ortlieb looks at Lewis Carrol’s Phantasmagoria, Tony Thomas provides a poetic glimpse at our future, and Ian Borchardt looks at Jane Austin, Private Eye. We’ve also returned the comment forms to make it easier for you to respond.… Read the rest

We live in interesting times

Adam: It has been a busy time since the last issue. Probably the highlight for me was a lightning trip to Europe. For various reasons I’ve been working on a long-running research project to develop a system that we hope will encourage the reuse of building components. Currently the construction industry is one of, if not the biggest producer of waste materials in Australia, so any means to reduce that waste is a worthwhile step.… Read the rest

Phantasmagoria

On the 150th Anniversary of one of Lewis Carroll’s lesser known works.

Phantasmagoria is Lewis Carroll’s longest poem, weighing in at 140 verses with five lines per verse, as opposed to The Hunting of the Snark, which has one more verse but in which each verse consists only of four lines. All things considered, I prefer the Snark, but Phantasmagoria has its own charms.… Read the rest

Interesting new media

Pennyworth

This is the story of a young Alfred Pennyworth (the future butler to Thomas Wayne), set in the 1950s in an alternative Britain.
 He was a soldier in the war, and starts a security service after the war. Produced by the makers of Gotham, Alfred reminds us of a young Michael Caine playing Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File — not just the accent, but the working class background and gruff attitude.

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New thoughts on new Who

The thirteenth Doctor, season 11, where to start?

The crushing disappointment that leads to almost suspicion concerning the motives of the BBC? The sheer nastiness of the head-rearing of the more unpleasant fans? The viewing figures that are widely varied depending on who is reporting them?
The taking over of official reporting by a personality who obviously finds classic Who so mind numbingly slow, that with breathtaking insouciance announces that she watches it at 1 1/2 speed, seemingly ignorant to the fact that this feels like a slap in the face to a lot of us, making this fan, at least, feel like a sad old geek for the first time ever?Read the rest

Mortal Engines

Who could resist a film about roving cities devouring each other in a dystopian future? Almost two decades after Philip Reeve published the first of his quartet, it’s arrived on the big screen courtesy Peter Jackson and the creative crew in New Zealand.

It’s pretty much non-stop action, with glorious opening scenes of London chasing and devouring a smaller city. … Read the rest

A movie can blow things up spectacularly

Ewart Shaw reviews Mortal Engines

 

“…Othello: And O you mortal engines whose rude throats
Th’immortal Jove’s dread clamors counterfeit..”
— Othello, III.ii.352

 

Mortal Engines based on the book by Philip Reeve, produced by Peter Jackson, evidently flopped badly at the box office. A film with an excellent pedigree may end up losing squillions. I loved it. I want the DVD when it comes out.… Read the rest

Loveless

A look at a brilliantly bleak russian film Jennifer rates as one of the year’s best.

Apparently the title of this Russian film comes closer to ‘Non Love’ than ‘Loveless’. There is absolutely not one speck of love. The beginning is arrestingly bleak: slow shots of a snow-covered river bank with piercingly clashing splinters of music. When will we see some life?… Read the rest

Aelita, Queen of Mars

Jennifer looks at a classic Russian SF film…

Aelita, Queen of Mars (1924) is billed as being the first Russian science fiction film. It was directed by Yakov Protazanov. A silent film, it was screened in Melbourne recently, thanks to the Australian National Film and Sound Archive, with a new musical score presented live by The Spheres, who are an experimental AV ensemble who explore the conflux of sound art, post rock and silent cinematics.… Read the rest

Ladies in Black

Jennifer recalls Sydney in the 1960s

A Melbourne-dweller, I visited Sydney – a family holiday – in 1960. My mother had worked there during the war and she enjoyed showing us around. We went to Coogee Beach on a tram and ate lunch at a Repin’s Coffee Lounge. So, I remember the Sydney of 1959, depicted fondly by Bruce Beresford in his recently released film, Ladies in Black.… Read the rest

Rediscovering old loves

Critical Mass is an Adelaide-based SF discussion group that continues to meet after many, many years of existence. For a long time it was based around a volunteer speaker each month, and some of the best talks I’ve had the opportunity to listen to come from those guest speakers. I will always remember John Foyster’s awe-inspiring demolition of one page from Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, Zoran’s introduction to the Thomas Carnacki books, and Julliette’s discussion of Mary Sue in fan fiction.… Read the rest

Crowdsourcing and SF Projects

A few years ago, a colleague and I had the cunning plan of supporting a new crowdfunded project every two weeks. We’d get cool stuff, it wouldn’t cost too much, and we could support creators – in particular, in my case, those involved in SF projects. I don’t know if she ended up continuing with the project, but looking back on my own activities it seems that I’ve managed to keep the desired average right where we’d planned, so that’s something.Read the rest