PODCAST: Comma Press Podcast The History of the Future (S2:E1)

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A long time ago in a place far far away called Before the Lockdown (aka Manchester, January 2020), I was invited to be a guest on the award-winning Comma Press Podcast for the opening episode of series two to help introduce the central theme for this series: FUTURES.

Listen on ITunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify, or Soundcloud (embedded below).

Continue reading “PODCAST: Comma Press Podcast The History of the Future (S2:E1)”

Women Make Science Fiction: Gender is not a genre

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I felt like I was gonna make this female action picture and we were going to kick through the glass ceiling and that was going to be that. We all know how naive I was.

Rachel Talalay, director of Tank Girl (1995)

Women-made cinema is often pulled together and compared as if it is a genre – distinctive because of its creator’s gender identity rather than its content. Women directors should not just be the subject of special screenings and seasons to highlight their place in an industry that is still dominated by men. Continue reading “Women Make Science Fiction: Gender is not a genre”

REVIEW: Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)

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Blade Runner is a formative SF film for many fans and scholars, inviting endless revisitation – a multi-layered, visually excessive storyworld that prioritises aesthetics over narrative. Its long-awaited sequel, 2049, is equally beautiful and complex, although more narratively accessible than its predecessor. Similarly, 2049 also asks questions about the essence of humanity while lacking depth in its cultural representation.  Continue reading “REVIEW: Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)”

Westworld: Imagined Futures and Re/imagined Pasts

Originally posted: January 2017

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Westworld was my favourite series of 2016. It presented a rich science fiction future that managed to be fresh and exciting despite being a remake based upon a 1973 movie by the same title. It had and continues to have lots of opportunities for developing exciting and prescient narrative that can be explored in what I hope will be a long running series. I was mesmerised from the opening credits, which I wrote about hereWestworld played around with time and I will have to rewatch all ten episodes as I attempt to distinguish between ‘fact’ and ‘fiction’, and past, present and/or future. Continue reading “Westworld: Imagined Futures and Re/imagined Pasts”

Science & Future World Building in Westworld’s Credit Sequence

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Westworld finally got its UK premier last night. It seemed like an eternity between the US release and our chance to explore, and I successfully navigated the minefield of avoiding spoilers and opinions on the first episode that might interfere with my own initial response (and enjoyment). The first episode wasn’t perfect – I wanted more, but it was necessary to give over time and space for worldbuilding (both the Western theme-park and the futuristic workplace) and introducing the basic concept of the show. It’s based on the 1973 SF-Western movie Westworld written and directed by science fiction writer Michael Crichton (Jurassic ParkAndromeda StrainDisclosure), it was Crichton’s first foray in directing, and it famously stars Yul Brynner as a killer-robot called ‘The Gunslinger’. The film and now the HBO TV series is set in a near-future adult amusement park where the super-rich can pay ($40,000/day) for an immersive storyworld ‘holiday’ where they can do use the robots as they please to act out their wildest Wild West fantasies. Continue reading “Science & Future World Building in Westworld’s Credit Sequence”

(Don’t) Ask a Scientist!: The Good, the Bad, and the Accuracy

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At the end of March 2016 I went to my first science fiction convention: EasterCon. Also known as the British National Science Fiction Convention, now in its 67th year, the convention is given a name that reflects its location or theme each year and for the Manchester EasterCon we had Mancunicon. The convention, which is primarily literary, was drastically different from my convention expectations of cosplayers and comic books. It was a serious and engaging event where, as a SF researcher, it was great to speak to a huge range of writers, fans, and commentators. Audience questions were perceptive and revealing and I found the entire experience very rewarding. Continue reading “(Don’t) Ask a Scientist!: The Good, the Bad, and the Accuracy”

SF Suggestions (2016 edition)

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When I started as a postdoc on the Unsettling Scientific Stories project in 2016 I was asked to produce a ‘top ten’ list of SF texts that were favourites, inspiration, and the types of works that I hoped to look at as part of the project.

This is mine: Continue reading “SF Suggestions (2016 edition)”