Category: Blog

March 14, 2017 Amy C. Chambers No comments exist

Author: Amy C. Chambers


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Westworld: how far away is this future? ©2016 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved

This article accompanies episode 10 of The Anthill podcast on the future. The Conversation


 

From Humans to Westworld, from Her to Ex Machina, and from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D to Black Mirror – near future science fiction in recent years has given audiences some seriously unsettling and prophetic visions of the future. According to these alternative or imagined futures, we are facing a post-human reality where humans are either rebelled against or replaced by their own creations. These stories propose a future where our lives will be transformed by science and technology, redefining what it is to be human. (more…)

October 5, 2016 Amy C. Chambers No comments exist

Author: Amy C. Chambers


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. (more…)

September 21, 2016 Iwan Morus No comments exist

Author: Iwan Rhys Morus


A few years ago, during one of our occasional forays to Hay on Wye and its second hand bookshops, I came across a boys’ adventure novel called The Radium Casket, published in 1926 (by Oxford University Press – I had no idea they published such things, though a few seconds research showed me how wrong I was: https://global.oup.com/education/children). Obviously, no historian of physics was going to leave something like that in a bookshop, so I bought it. It’s a classic imperialist yarn, set in China in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion. The British hero rescues a Chinese fugitive from his attackers and the dying man bequeaths him a mysterious casket filled with a strange silvery metal that turns out to have some peculiar properties. (more…)

June 13, 2016 Amanda Rees No comments exist

Author: Amanda Rees


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By their works, you shall know them…according to Vercors (the war-time pen name of French writer, Jean Bruller). His 1952 novel, Les Animaux dénaturés, opens with the death of a baby in Guildford. The father, who has arranged for the infant’s birth to be registered and for him to be baptised – thus ensuring that both Church and State recognise the child’s existence – is the killer: the mother, on the other hand, is a member of the species Paranthropus erectus (a genus of extinct hominins). So, is the father a murderer?

 

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June 2, 2016 Lisa Garforth 2 comments

Author: Lisa Garforth


Sfnal: it’s a term that says a lot about contemporary sf, its journeys, its uses, the cleverness of its readers and writers. I like the idea that something can be ‘science fictional’, that sf is not necessarily an object or a genre in the sense of a container, but rather that it is a shared way of thinking and doing things. (more…)

May 27, 2016 Amy C. Chambers No comments exist

Author: Amy C. Chambers


Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 10.29.20At the end of March 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 (for the 2018 convention, being held in my hometown of Harrogate [North Yorkshire, UK], we have FollyCon – I have high hopes for lots of Victorian folly and steampunk revelry!). 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. (more…)