I was honoured to be asked to be a juror for the film competetion and panel chair for a discussion about writing, directing and representing women in science fiction at the third annual Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival (3-9 October, 2022). I was joined by screenwriter Angela Harvey (Teen Wolf, American Horror Story, Salvation) and multi-media artist Makda Musa whose most recent short The Rainbow Brainstorm was in competition at this year’s festival.
Continue reading “FESTIVAL PANEL: Women in SciFi panel (w/Angela Harvey + Makda Musa) for Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival 2022”
Real Genius (1985, USA)
Director: Martha Coolidge
Writer/s: Neal Israel and Pat Proft (producer: Brian Grazer) Continue reading “#WomenMakeSF Review (4): Real Genius (1985)”
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)”
I hadn’t heard of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist until this week and a Mary Sue post that compared the show to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – an excellent show with original songs, a complex central woman character (played by the show’s co-writer and creator Rachel Bloom), and a fascinating and nuanced approach to representing and diagnosing mental health issues (see also: You’re the Worst). Is Zoey’ EP that good? No. But it does do something pretty exciting and on brand for me – it has not one woman computer developer but two, and one of them is the presented as the boss. TWO WOMEN IN TECH AS MAIN CHARACTERS as part of a mildly diverse work force where women appear at different levels of the company hierarchy. Continue reading “Decoding the Digital Beauty : Women in Tech on TV and Film”
Originally posted: September 2017
At the end of summer 2017 I was in Brighton for the annual British Science Festival having organised an event for the History of Science Section of the British Science Festival. I sang at the science festival, because of course I did, and The Conversation featured us on their podcast. They described our contribution like this: Continue reading “PODCAST: The Anthill Podcast: Science by the seaside (British Science Festival 2017)”
Originally posted: August 2017
We need women of science on screen – in major summer blockbusters working together to discover, empower, and save the world. As Ghostbusters: Answer the Call’s male ‘evil scientist’ exclaims “do it in the right place, with enough power, and there goes the barrier!” – he’s talking about releasing supernatural creatures on New York but it works for Ghostbusters too as it pushes at the gender barrier. It puts at least a small crack in the glass ceiling by showing that these “sisters in science” are what scientists can and do look like. By normalising women of science on screen and by having them as lead characters rather than sci-candy sidekicks the film industry can show that being a scientist is an entirely achievable goal for the young woman looking to her future career. Continue reading “REVIEW: Sisters in Science – Ghostbusters Answer(s) the Call”
Originally posted: January 2017
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 here. Westworld 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”
Originally posted: October 2016
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 Park, Andromeda Strain, Disclosure), 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”
Originally posted: May 2016
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”
Originally posted: May 2016
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)”