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Week in Reverse #3

WiR3

Cannes Film Festival has been running in the last week or so, so you’ll notice a bit of a theme to this week’s links. We all know the allure of a schlocky sci-fi flick. Sometimes we can revel in these, others you just have to wonder what they were thinking. In our latest issue of Aurealis, editor Stephen Higgins shares his thoughts as to which sci-fi books would make for interesting, successful, or fun sci-fi films (click on the Editorial tab).

-Perhaps you’re into some Soviet style sci-fi. If so, read this fascinating delve into 7 of the best Soviet sci-fi films

-Recently in the news has been a bit of hubbub about a rather high-profile sci-fi thriller being directed by Luke Scott, son of Ridley, son of Francis, first of his name. Who knows how the film will end up being.

-Of course, the latest Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster is the new Mad Max, which by all accounts, is quite possibly better* than any newfangled sequel should have any right to be.

I really cannot wait to see Ex Machina. Sounds very engaging, and looks intriguing (this week’s cover image is from the film). I do have a soft spot for Alex Garland.

-I was speaking to somebody lately about Ex Machina, and they mentioned the Swedish series Äkta människor (Real Humans). I just watched the first episode, and while it does seem a little heavy-handed at times, it seems to have a pretty fresh (and very Swedish) take on the theme of androids and AI. If subtitles aren’t your thing, there will be an Anglicised remake released soon this year, although the original creator isn’t happy.

-For those who have a taste for the home-grown (and the absurd), you can have a look at Matt Bissett-Johnson’s (former Aurealis illustrator) latest animated short, A Voyage Through the Mind Hole.

-The 50th Anniversary Edition of Dune has a spiffy new cover.

-For those that are interested in screenwriting – check out this interview with Australian screenwriter/director Shane Willis, who offers some tips on the process.

-To finish where we started: an off-the-wall flick called ‘The Lobster’ recently surfaced at Cannes. It appears to be a dystopian romantic forced-bestial-transformation kind of movie, which I’m sure will win points for originality.

Stand by for an upcoming feature by our very own Lachlan Walter, coming soonTM. Speaking of which, if you (or someone you know) are interested in writing for the Aurealis blog from time to time, message us either through our Facebook site or send an email to lachlan.shrives@gmail.com, and we can have a chat.

 

*entire movie may just be an extended chase scene.

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Aurealis #80 Released

issue80blog1Aurealis-#80 Cover ImageIssue #80 of Aurealis is released for your reading pleasure! As Emily Fox asked on twitter – is it a giant toad, or a miniature dragon? We’re not sure which is cooler, we just know that it is, indeed, cool.

Mitchell Edgeworth shines a neon light onto his vision of electric cyberpunk Melbourne in Loyalty, while Steve Cameron writes a complex, bittersweet tale of dispossession in Outside World.  Read on, and you’ll find other writers and other treasures – time travel, interviews, and secret history.

Buy it here now.

 

 

 

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Week in Reverse #2

Source: http://bit.ly/1A7Uj8y
Source: http://bit.ly/1A7Uj8y

I’m not sure if this was a slow news week or perhaps I just wasn’t keeping a close-enough eye out. In any case, I’ve included a variety of pieces, to give you something to keep reading before the week’s grind continues. If any readers out there ever have a tip – by all means, send it our way!

An interview with Neal Stephenson about his latest novel Seveneves

Luc Besson is set to write and direct an adaptation of the 1967 piece Valerian – if it has any of the energy and style of something like The Fifth Element, I’d be pretty happy

Damien Walter muses on whether we are being needlessly over-run by ‘mega-novels’ in this editorial piece

2015 Finalists for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award are announced here by tor.com

Part 1 and Part 2 of recently released interviews with Artemis Fowl’s Eoin Colfer

 

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Aurealis #79, old news or great news?

Aurealis #79

Why not both?

While most of you readers are probably  already aware, Aurealis #79 has been available for around a month by now. Due to a change-up in staff, we dropped the ball on letting you know about this one – sorry! Aurealis #80 will be following hot on the heels of this issue. Look out for it imminently!

Issue #79 features the likes of established writer and environmentalist Melanie Rees with the poignant piece ‘The Monster Under the Bed’, and Lachlan Huddy’s outback yarn, ‘The Whore and the Healer’.

Terry Wood concludes his future-gazing in part two of his History of the Flying Car, and Chris Large interviews Shane Abbess, writer/director of recently released Australian sci-fi flick Infini. #79 follows up with a good swag of reviews.

Pick it up here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/535645

Week in reverse #1

Source: http://bit.ly/1ciqsiA
Source: ChaoyanXu; http://bit.ly/1ciqsiA

In this new linklog series, we’ll be bringing some of the week’s more interesting speculative fiction news to you. No promises on an exhaustive list, we’ll just try our best to pick out some of the more engaging and relevant pieces. Stay tuned for it on Sundays.

Emily St. John Mandel wins Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science-fiction

Alternate history comes to the screen with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Brave New World to be adapted into a mini-series

Growing divergence between books and series disappoints Game of Thrones’ editor, Jane Johnson

10 Science Fiction Writers Predict How Our World Will Change In The Next 10 Years

Paladins and politicians

The new, fancy-looking Parliament House of Georgia
The new, fancy-looking Parliament House of Georgia

Today marks the anniversary of three landmark historical events in Australia’s history: the date that we opened our first parliament, in Melbourne (1901); the date that the Australian Parliament first convened in Canberra (1927); and the date that the new Parliament House was opened by Queen Elizabeth II (1988). As such, we’ve compiled a series of links about governments, politics and parliaments.

tor.com discusses politics and message fiction in the context of sci-fi and fantasy

i09 runs through 12 futuristic forms of government

Five of the best parliament buildings from architecture.com – including, apparently, our own futurist parliament house!

-A fairly extensive list for writers to consult when thinking about what kind of government might suit their worlds

-A writer’s walk-through of world-building, considering economics, politics and history

-Juliet McKenna argues “contemporary fantasy becomes a platform to debate key, current social and political challenges”

-Stephen King thinks that “it’s tiring to see the world look more and more like George Orwell’s vision”

A fantastic essay by Overland about the relationship between politics and literature

Governments are actually planning for these five apocalyptic scenarios

-Bonus: the story behind Georgia’s futuristic parliament building

Perhaps instead of government, you'd rather just be lead by an eagle-god. Source: http://bit.ly/1dRvCDi
Perhaps instead of government, you’d rather just be lead by an eagle-god. Source: http://bit.ly/1dRvCDi

War and words

war2

 

 

This week’s post was vaguely inspired by last weekend’s commemoration of ANZAC Day. We’ve served up a variety of links about writing, warfare, and writers in wartime.

George R. R. Martin talks engagingly about writing tips, including how to write medieval warfare well.

-A more general piece with tips about writing large battle scenes, particularly in fantasy settings.

-An exhaustively researched resource, which provides fascinating insight into First World War experiences of some of the best-known science fiction and fantasy writers.

A BBC feature article discussing the influence of the First World War on The Lord of the Rings.

-A short alternate history of what might have happened if the ANZAC’s had won the battles at Gallipoli.

The stunningly animated short from Russian CG enthusiast Dima, which imagines the remains of a post-apocalyptic world-war.

 

Station Eleven crows a victory

post apocLast week saw the announcement of the winner of the Tournament of Books: Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. In honour of this title, here are a collection of links about Mandel’s book, which has caused waves in the ever-widening pool of post-apocalyptic literature over the last year or so.

Bustle interviews Emily St. John Mandel, who explains how Shakespeare crosses over into post-apocalyptic sci-fi

i09 asks Mandel and four other authors why their stories are set beyond the point of mass annihilation

Mandel explains her vision of the protracted moment of apocalypse to the BBC

The New York Times review of Station Eleven (slight spoilers)

-A fascination article by The New Yorker about the evolving relationship between genre and literary fiction, with reference to Station Eleven

-An upcoming unique (albeit unrelated) project by a pair of Australian editors to publish an “anthology of apocalypse survival fiction featuring characters with disability and chronic illness”. Sounds interesting!

Titan: Soupy, frozen, exotic

A speculative view from Titan's surface
A speculative view from Titan’s surface

This week saw the 360th anniversary of Christiaan Huygens’ discovery of Saturn’s moon Titan. Titan is the second-largest moon in the solar system and the only known natural satellite known to have a dense atmosphere. As a result, Titan has long captured the imaginations of writers, film-makers, readers, and of course scientists.

Is water really necessary for life to form? Cosmos Magazine writes on the possibility of life evolving in Titan’s hydrocarbon seas

Space.com shines light on the conflicting reports of Titan’s mysterious, soupy atmosphere

Titan’s methane-rich nature comes up in io9’s discussion of the logistics of terraforming

-Along with Titan’s hydrocarbon lakes, the geography is also dominated by giant sand dunes that have an enigmatic origin

-In this video, NASA asks: why are there no waves on Titan’s lakes and seas?

-The History Channel explores what a day on Titan’s surface would be like

Lockdown

Photograph of a crumbling prison
Photograph by Marcin Haszczu

Today is the anniversary of the closing of Alcatraz, one of the most infamous prisons of all time. So we’ve put together a short post about prisons, freedom, and their representation in sci-fi and fantasy.

io9 covers 10 of the greatest prison breaks in sci-fi and fantasy

An impressive review of 14 of the ‘freakiest’ prisons

Bitch Magazine explores the concepts of retribution, punishment and freedom in the context of sci-fi prisons

-Robert Heinlein’s penal sci-fi classic ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress‘ will be adapted to film by X-Men director Brian Singer

Wired writes on the new sci-fi prison comic series ‘Bitch Planet’

Finally, the amazingly gory and hilarious Adult Swim show ‘Superjail’