Past discussions ¤ view forthcoming events

  • 12 Mar 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ We Killed Hitler Right?- Alternate universes and Alternate histories. ¤ Discussion

    Location: Buckingham Room, Magdalene College
    Finally, lets take things a little bit closer to home. Sometimes the strangest and most compelling fantasy is written based on world similar to our own, only oddly different. Sometimes an author looks at the world and asks 'what if certain events had happened differently?' Sometimes they look at the world and ask 'what if we added DRAGONS? ... [more]

  • 26 Feb 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal-Turning points and Plot twists. ¤ Discussion

    Location: Buckingham Room, Magdalene College
    This one will probably involve spoilers, you have been warned. This is the part where I reveal that I was secretly an agent of the old gods sent to transform this society in to the perfect doomsday cult to bring about the end times... I just happen to not have done it very well. Still, there's always a moment where they turn out to have be ... [more]

  • 19 Feb 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ How To Use Your Dystopia ¤ Discussion

    Location: Buckingham Room, Magdalene College
    How come the government in fiction is never, ever nice? * insert real world joke here* This week however we will be turning our attention to the meanest of the mean and looking at how the depths of corruption and the abuse of power play themselves out in fantastical settings. Given the subject matter, it is quite possible that the content ... [more]

  • 12 Feb 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ Antiheroes and Villains ¤ Discussion

    Location: Buckingham Room, Magdalene College
    It is a fine, fine line sometimes between a slightly despicable hero and a sympathetic villain, and an interesting one to talk about. Are there any bad guys you just find yourself rooting for? Actively agreeing with? If so why? Similarly, how about goodies that really, when the chips are down probably aren't people who you'd want to really ... [more]

  • 05 Feb 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ JOMSMEET-Topic TBA ¤ Discussion

    Location: Buckingham Room, Magdalene College
    I have no power here. Tonight we are in the domain of Mark, the one and the only omnipotent Reeve of all Jom. I can do nothing, I am nobody. The topic and the meeting belong to him and his companions. Also there will be truly glorious quantities of MEAD.

  • 29 Jan 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ Municipal Darwinism and Urban Fantasy-Cities and colourful settings in fantasy ¤ Discussion

    Location: Buckingham Room, Magdalene College
    So many memorable fantasy settings seem to revolve around a particularly characterful city. New Crobuzon, Camorr, Chasm City, London in the Mortal Engines quartet... What is it about these places that makes them so appealing and evocative as settings, and what is the driving force that fuels urban fantasy as a genre? This is also a chance ... [more]

  • 22 Jan 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ Who Needs Continuity Anyway-Lets talk about time travel... ¤ Discussion

    Location: Buckingham Room, Magdalene College
    Be it paradoxes, time loops, accidentally nearly seducing your mother causing you not to be born or absurd plotholes, time travel is a ubiquitous theme in science fiction and in fantasy. This week will be dedicated to your favourite well used pieces of intelligent timey wimey stuff, and equally to the very many messes that just don't. Make ... [more]

  • 27 Nov 19:00 - 22:30 ¤ Sentient Objects and AI ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    From the humblest of magic swords to the greatest and most galaxy spanning of supercomputers, this is the place to talk about objects that have a will of their own. If I wanted (as your philosopher king-for those of you who don't know, the chairbeing is a philosophy student, you have been warned) I'm sure I could wax lyrical about whether ... [more]

  • 20 Nov 19:00 - 22:30 ¤ Differences between books and films in sci-fi ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Science fiction books exist and science fiction films exist, however they very frequently don't share an audience. Many people appreciate the star wars films and yet comparatively few of them are likely to have read any work by Asimov or the like. Why does this divide in audience exist? Is it as simple as there just being a gulf between st ... [more]

  • 13 Nov 19:00 - 22:30 ¤ Recycled Races ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Ever noticed how certain races seem to have certain... shall we tactfully say, points in common? How many different alien species could just be renamed "fancy technological elves" for example? Just how many orcs-by-any-other-name ARE there?! In this discussion we shall talk about how and why so many races in science fiction and fantasy see ... [more]

  • 06 Nov 19:00 - 22:30 ¤ MAGIC - MECHANICAL, MYSTERIOUS OR MUNDANE? ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    HAIL, JÓMSVIKINGAR! SO YOU'VE FOUND YOURSELF IN A DIFFERENT REALITY, BUT HOW CAN YOU REASSURE YOURSELF THAT THIS IS A FANTASY UNIVERSE YOU'RE STANDING IN, AND NOT SOME MUNDANITY LIKE SCI-FI OR (*SHUDDER*) GENERAL FICTION? THE ANSWER IS SIMPLE - MAGIC - HOWEVER IT MANIFESTS, MAGIC IS THE THING WHICH WILL MAKE BEING LOST IN THIS REALITY A ... [more]

  • 30 Oct 19:00 - 22:30 ¤ How alien are aliens? ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    The unknown and general wierdness are commonly explored themes in both science fiction and in fantasy. Some might even wish to contend that the point of such fiction, after all, is that it is detached from reality. In this discussion we will be dissecting and challenging that claim, hopefully. How often are these bizzare made up worlds act ... [more]

  • 23 Oct 19:00 - 22:30 ¤ It's your Density! ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    the second discussion meeting of the term. Destiny and fate appear a great many times as storytelling devices, perhaps they are overused. When is destiny a good thing and when is it used well in stories? When does it add to them, when does it detract from them? How often is it simply a short cut or lazy writing and how often do we feel tha ... [more]

  • 16 Oct 19:30 - 22:30 ¤ First Contact: What drew you to science fiction or fantasy ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Our first discussion of the term. Discussion meetings are just that. We meet up and talk about science fiction and fantasy. These tend to take a fairly informal, conversational form and if we're really lucky sometimes they stay slightly on topic. Sometimes they descend into chaos. Mostly, they descend into chaos. Our first discussion ... [more]

  • 17 May 19:30 ¤ Turkey Reading! ¤ Discussion

    Location: TV Room, Christ's
    Once a year, CUSFS gathers to ward off stress with the concentrated silliness of a Turkey Reading. All are encouraged to bring along the most ridiculously-written, poorly-plotted examples of genre fiction they can find, and we'll take turns reading excerpts aloud. Anything vaguely relevant welcome, from fanfic to conspiracy theories. Th ... [more]

  • 06 Mar 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ Games in SFF ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Games! Games are great. A lot of SFF worlds think so too. Come along to discuss the best and the weirdest games people play in SFF, from Thud to Gobstones to whatever that thing with the hologram monsters is on the Millennium Falcon. What about real-life versions of SFF games, or game versions of SFF worlds? This being CUSFS at the end of ... [more]

  • 28 Feb 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ Whoops, I broke physics: Bugs, Glitches and Plotholes ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Sometimes things just don't quite fit together right. Then you get things like your horse falling through a bridge, the same cat walking the same way past a doorway twice, or your nemesis beating you to the goal despite having fallen off a cliff. By all accounts, it doesn't make sense. Come along to discuss your favourite moments in films, ... [more]

  • 21 Feb 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ AGM ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Prepare, prepare, for the silliest democratic process you will ever witness. CUSFS's Annual General Meeting is this week, at which we elect next year's committee via vote and, in the case of a tie, dance-off. All members can vote and stand for positions, membership will be buyable on the night and you can vote by proxy if you can't make it ... [more]

  • 14 Feb 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ Reboots, Remakes and Fanfic: Whose Franchise is it Anyway? ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Films come back, franchises doubly so. We've had a new Jurassic Park, a new Mad Max and a new Star Wars, and a new Ghostbusters and Independence Day are imminent. Frankly, I'm not entirely sure which decade we're in anymore. There were always going to be 9 Star Wars (Warses?), but in other cases, when is it time to leave well alone? On the ... [more]

  • 07 Feb 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ Through the Looking Glass: Parallel and Perpendicular Worlds ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Parallel worlds can be a really interesting way to expand a universe, play with physics, or write out a character you can't quite bear to kill.. From Dr Who to The Long Earth to Fringe to His Dark Materials, what's the most interesting parallel world setup you've come across? I'm not entirely sure what a perpendicular world would be, but i ... [more]

  • 31 Jan 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ "Pew pew pew": Weapons in SFF ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    From photonic cannon to laser swords to weaponised meteorites, the idea of space battles has created some classic sci-fi tropes, and some truly weird weaponry. Come along to discuss where they came from, whether they would work, and who would win in a variety of cross-over spaceship battles.

  • 24 Jan 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ JOMSÞING: One does not simply walk into Mordor: Weird and Wonderful Fantasy Transport ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    FROM TIRELESS HORSES TO UNCOMFORTABLE DRACOLICHES TO ADORABLE NUGGALOPES, THERE ARE LOTS OF MOUNTS TO RIDE IN FANTASY. IF YOU'VE FRIENDS TO BRING ALONG THERE ARE MANY MORE OPTIONS, FROM PEGASUS-DRAWN CARRIAGES TO SAIL-DRIVEN LANDSHIPS. COME TO THE LENT JOMSÞING TO DISCUSS TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION IN FANTASY. THERE SHALL BE MEAD.

  • 17 Jan 19:30 - 23:00 ¤ Always Double-Tap: How to Kill your Bad Guy ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Rule 1: no monologuing. For anyone who has ever been incredibly annoyed at a character, be they good guy or bad guy, being inept, inefficient or just plain stupid at dealing with their archenemy, here is a chance to vent. Really, has there ever been a supervillan who's any good at this?

  • 29 Nov 19:30 ¤ Attack of the Genres: Sticking "-punk" on the end of everything ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Steampunk clockpunk dieselpunk cyberpunk spacepunk. Clownpunk (probably exists) [One eye-opening Google later: Yes, it does. - Secretary.] Sci fi spawns subgenre after subgenre and it can be hard to keep track. Is this useful or annoying? Come extoll the virtues of your favouite niche, and with any luck we might between us be able to figu ... [more]

  • 23 Nov 19:30 ¤ Alright Already! We'll Talk about Game of Thrones! (InFSoc Crash) ¤ Discussion

    Location: To be confirmed
    We're crashing Ice and Fire Society's discussion on Magic and Monsters this week, so prepare for dragons, fire swords and ice zombies, and probably a whole lot of spoilers - be warned!

  • 22 Nov 19:30 ¤ Deus Ex Machina, or the Magic Tin Dog: Solving Problems Neatly in SFF ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Can it be done? Is there a satisfying way to resolve a crisis in sci-fi that doesn't boil down to the use of a magic button or a stunning coincidence? Come along to talk clever plotting, sudden twists and neat solutions to space-age dilemmas.

  • 15 Nov 19:30 ¤ Humanoid Again: Close Encounters of the Familiar Kind ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Oh look, we discovered a sentient alien species. Guess what, they have four limbs and walk upright. Is there any reason behind this? Is it repetitive or sensible? Fictional aliens can and do come in all colours, shapes and sizes, but often only the one template. If anyone knows of any superintelligent giant starfish out there, we'd like to ... [more]

  • 08 Nov 19:30 ¤ JOMSMEET: Myths and Legends ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Every culture has myths and legends, and with myths and legends come gods and heroes and monsters and tales of glory and intrigue. And then, some time later, come the fantasy authors, filmmakers and artists who take all this and run their own way with it to make something almost completely new. Come share your favourite examples of this, a ... [more]

  • 01 Nov 19:30 ¤ Supersaturated Heroes: Lone Avengers versus Scooby Gangs ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Have you noticed that superheroes are, like, everywhere? There are so many franchises right now that there's bound to be something for everyone, so what's your favourite? We've got co-ordinated supergroups saving the world every other week, lone avengers guarding their own neighbourhoods, reluctant heroes, homemade heroes, antiheroes, and ... [more]

  • 25 Oct 19:30 ¤ Alchemists and Mathemagicians: When Magic meets Science ¤ Discussion

    Location: Castle End Meeting Rooms, The Colony, Clare College
    Sometimes sci-fi needs to be taken with a fairly large spoonful of salt. Sometimes fantasy has a solid internal logic that makes it seem totally possible. Standing on the scuffed and badly-drawn line between the two, this is an evening for considering the difference, if there is one, between sufficiently advanced technology and magic.