The Brutal Banality of Survival

The North Water by Ian McGuire
 

Do not read this book if you are squeamish about graphic descriptions of violence, blood, gore and truly horrible men. There are murders, betrayals, seal clubbing, whale slaughter and many other grisly activities, all described in vivid detail. The characters, all men, are violent, self seeking, venal and thoroughly obnoxious.

The story is about an army surgeon in the late 19th century who, down on his luck, joins an ill-fated whaler going into the arctic ice.

Read the rest

What is it, to be Human?

Dianne DeBellis Reviews season one of  Westworld

I think it is futile to attempt to summarise this show but here goes.
At the most basic level, it is about a theme park where the ‘hosts’ are computerised human simulacra and the ‘guests’ pay loads of money to act as they please, all be it in a Wild West setting, without consequences.… Read the rest

A look at the Alien

This issue’s theme seems to have developed as a look at the Alien. Not only do we have David Grigg’s excellent piece revisiting the Alien movies as a Trilogy from Ridley Scott, but several other contributors are looking at the alien and what makes us human.

David Grigg has also just published his new SF novel, The Fallen Sun. You can find out more about it at his website, https://www.rightword.com.au/writing/

His collections of short stories are also available from his website.… Read the rest

Flight to HEL

Part 2 of Roman’s report on the trip to the Finnish Worldcon, wherein he catches up with various fannish types and some unexpected encounters

Tuesday in Helsinki: Aug 8th

I caught the 11am flight with FinnAir to Helsinki, then the train to Central station, and a short walk to the hotel I was staying at, the Original Soros Presidentii. It had been recommended by Alan Stewart, and several other Melbourne fans (Perry, Robyn, Rose) were staying there, as were Spike and Tom.… Read the rest

An investigation into pop culture fandom

Stuart A Blair wrote about competing Star Trek shows in the first issue; this time he has a look at the sub-cultures of fans that dedicate their lives to the celebration of their favourite hero.

2016 marked anniversary celebrations for a lot of the classic pop culture TV shows that many of us have grown up watching as adolescents or have discovered via re-runs or on DVD.… Read the rest

Watt: a gem

Roman was in Melbourne recently to catch one of the offerings at the Melbourne Arts Festival.

“Watt” was the second of Beckett’s novels in English, written while he and his partner were on the run from the Nazis in France. He wrote it as a way to stay sane in the face of the trauma of war.

This hour-long production, adapted and performed by Irish actor Barry McGovern, is a mesmeric delight.… Read the rest

Rampage (2018)

I’ve been playing video games since the Atari VCS first hit the market and watching movies for even longer. I still spend way too much time on both. However, the combination of the two has not proven to be quite as appealing as I might have hoped.

The problem is, (with a few significant exceptions), video games aren’t noted for providing great cinematic plots.Read the rest

Ridley Scott’s Alien movies — an appreciation

When David commented that the three Ridley Scott Alien movies made a fine trilogy, Roman suggested he might like to expound further.

I first saw Ridley Scott’s movie Alien in London in 1979,
not long after it was released. We were on our way back home from the Worldcon, which had been held in Brighton that year. Filling in time before we had to head to the airport, we went to see the movie, which had been talked about a good deal at the convention.… Read the rest