Thursday, 2 June 2011

Sci- fi / horror / fantasy / geek

We had a big ole geek fest yesterday. We went in to the British library to see their (free) exhibit Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as you know it followed by a talk by author Joe Hill in the Waterstones in Piccadilly. But first to save money I cooked up a big ole pot of Mac and Trees and Peas which is my new favourite quick but healthy meal. Basically you make this cashew cheese sauce (I like to increase the nutritional yest to 1/4 cup) while your wholemeal pasta boils. You throw all sorts of veg into the boiling pasta water--I used tenderstem broccoli and frozen petit pois (hence the trees and peas) plus half a diced red pepper and a sliced carrot. Then you drain the pasta and veg, stir in a tin of beans (I used haricot this time but chickpeas rock as well), pour over the cheese sauce and dinner is sorted. Sometimes I have also tossed in some chopped smoked tofu because I am hardcore like that, but alas I had no tofu in the fridge at the moment. After having full tummies so as not to have us spend money on crisps or other cheap and appealing but ultimately unhealthy junk food we proceeded to London.

The exhibit was awesome! All sorts of old manuscripts and books with Sci-Fi themes. The oldest being True History by Lucian of Samosata written in the 2nd century AD about a group of adventurers on a sea voyage who are pushed up a water spout and land on the moon! There were lots of what you'd expect--Jules Verne and HG Wells--which are cool to see what ideas they had as to how things would be in the future and how many of those are true. There were also whole sections on Time Slip--my personal favourite type of Sci-Fi--such as that fantastic book Kindred by Octavia Butler about a black woman in the late 1970s who is pulled through time repeatedly back to the pre Civil War South to save a badly behaved white red haired boy name Rufus who she comes to understand is her great great great etc grandfather and has to keep him alive (he is forever trying to get himself killed) long enough for him to have children with her great great great etc grandmother--a free black woman who does not want Rufus as a mate. She has to watch him rape and enslave this poor woman --and help him do it--otherwise she won't exist in the future. I also really adore the Time slips of Jack Finney--all that sliding into a more simple times in the past where men sat on the porch of the feed store and  drank lemonade and played checkers. it also featured books about Utopian or Dystopian worlds. I was pleased to see my favourite feminist text there --a short story called Sultana's Dream by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain which was written in 1905! The men are all in harems and locked away and the women rule the country wisely and well. There is solar power and flying cars as well as the idea that women get all the work done in 2 hours. Men used to work a 7 hour day but in reality they wasted 6 hours smoking charoots. It is a great Sci-Fi what the future will be like as well as a tale about how there is no violence or crime in a female run society. You can read the full short story here: it was a fascinating exhibit--and did I mention it was free?

Then we were off to waterstones where we heard the amazing Joe Hill (who is son of Stephen King) read from the novel he is currently writing and answer questions about his books. I would recommend 2oth Century Ghosts if you like short stories--my favourite (and his!) is Pop Art about a boy and best friend who happens to have been been born plastic and inflatable. Sounds dumb but totally isn't--I can completely suspend my disbelief when I read it. I also recommend Horns which is about a nice young Christian man whose girlfriend is brutally raped and murdered and he is the suspect but it never comes to trial although the whole town believes he is guilty (he isn't) and one day he gets drunk and curses God and grows a pair of horns. At first the horns make people tell him their darkest desires--some scary stuff--and he uses them to find the real killer and seek revenge. It is a profoundly deep, spiritual and dare I say religious book--about the nature of good and evil. It ask the question if God hates sin and the devil punishes sinners--are they not somehow on the same team--like good cop / bad cop?  Lastly, I would urge you check out the comic book series gloriously illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez called Locke and Key. This is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.  Actually here are lots of keys--like the one that takes you anywhere or the one that helps you change gender or the one which opens your head where you can put in or take out things. This is amazing stuff and if you are at all a geek I urge you to check it out.

Joe Hill was funny and clever and he signed our books and comix for us and it was a great day out! Plus I used my Waterstones loyalty card (which i've never actually used for books just discounts) to get £2 off each ticket so we say Joe Hill for £3 each instead of £5! Cool!

We are geeks and we are proud
Stand up tall and say it loud!

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