CUSFS Termcard for Michaelmas Term 2004

All events start at 7.30pm unless otherwise specified.

Sunday Discussions, Other Events, and Things Of Interest

Sunday 10 October   Squash   Selwyn College, Borradaile Room
Details to follow. Please note, due to the size of the venue, existing members may attend by invitation only.
Sunday 17 October   Discussion: Iain (M.) Banks   Newnham College, Clough room 227
Iain (M.) Banks has written both thrillers (without the M) and SF novels (with it); we shall be discussing both varieties of his books. Many of his SF novels are set in a universe known as 'the Culture', where sentient machines run everything and people can do anything and everything you could possibly imagine (which sounds very dull and boring!). The stories are set on the 'edges' of this universe though, providing activity for the protagonists and readers! The thrillers are best described as "gothic horror". Don't feel you have to know Banks' work to attend; come along if only to have a chat and escape from work on a rainy Sunday evening!
Wednesday 20 October   Social Evening: noodles   Yippee Noodle Bar, King Street
Our noble and intrepid Chairbeing is leading an expedition to Yippee Noodles Bar this coming Wednesday. If you wish to join us, please email the committee by lunchtime on Tuesday so that we can book a table. This is an opportunity for old CUSFS members to catch up after the summer and for freshers to get to know the rest of the society. It should be a nice evening; we hope to see you there!
Sunday 24 October   Discussion: favourite author   Newnham College, Clough room 227
A discussion where everyone will have an opinion.... Come along and encounter feuds being born and friendships ended as people reveal their favourite author, laying their souls open before the weekly CUSFS discussion. Whether you want to revel in the popularity of the likes of Pratchett or Tolkien or promote a little known author whom you consider worthy of adoration - then this is the discussion to do it at! Alternatively it's worth coming along and sitting quietly at the back, just to hear the advice of others and build up that reading list into treble figures again.....
Sunday 31 October   Discussion: Philip Pullman   Newnham College, Clough room 227

The gyptian boat was gliding silently through the night when Serafina Pekkala's goose dæmon returned. Lyra, peering through the porthole of her tiny cabin, watched it arrive and leave again, rising majestically into the sky on powerful grey wings. There was a knock on her cabin door, and Farder Coram entered, followed by his beautiful cat dæmon.

"We must return to Fen City and hide for a few days," he told her. "It is dangerous to continue. Can the alethiometer tell us the nature of the danger?"

Lyra pulled the alethiometer out from under her pillow and hunched over it, bundled up in her bedclothes. Pantalaimon changed to a mouse and nestled on her shoulder. She set the alethiometer's hands to the baby, which meant the future, and the horse, for a journey, and the owl, for danger. She concentrated, and immediately its hands swung away to reveal the answer.

"It's not very clear," she said. "There's talking, lots of people discussing something, but I can't tell what, and a book ... no, several books, and tea and coffee and long orange scarves? Oh, this is hopeless!" She dropped the alethiometer onto the bed in dismay.

"Do not worry, child," said Farder Coram. "Serafina Pekkala said we should seek the committee; they will be able to aid us, whatever the danger is."

"How will we find them?" asked Pantalaimon.

"Serafina Pekkala said they are currently to be found in Fen City; Clough 227, Newnham College, to be exact."

"But that's miles away!" exclaimed Lyra. "How soon can we get there?"

Farder Coram squinted at the stars and considered a while before speaking. "7:30 on Sunday, by my reckoning."

"Perfect," said Lyra, and went to find her scarf.

Friday 5 November, 7pm for 7.30   Fireworks   Midsummer Common
Explosions galore! Come and help CUSFS ooh! and aah! at the annual Cambridge firework display on Midsummer Common. We will meet outside the Fort St. George pub at 7:00 prompt, in time to find a good firework-viewing location before the fireworks start at 7:30. Look out for long orange scarves! (It's usually VERY busy and latecomers will be unlikely to find us. You have been warned.) After the display we will head to the Carlton Arms on Carlton Way (10-15 minutes walk) to warm up again.
Sunday 7 November   Games evening and book sale   155 Gilbert Road

The perfect antidote to Fifth Week Blues. Bring a game, or come and play someone else's. Games old, new and very very silly will be played. Hopefully, we will also be holding last year's delayed election of CUSFS vice-presidents, by a top-secret method to be revealed nearer the time.

There will also be a chance to look through the library sale books. We have several hundred spare SF and fantasy books for sale, so come prepared to grab yourself a bargain or three...

Sunday 14 November   Discussion: Roger Zelazny   Newnham College, Clough room 227
Having published some 50 novels, 150 stories and 3 volumes of poetry, Roger Zelazny is considered to be one of the most important writers of the 'New Wave' of science fiction. Zelazny won the prestigious Hugo and Nebula Awards (among others) on a large number of occasions; his more famous works include The Chronicles of Amber series and Wizard World sequence. An unusual author whose work often reflected his scholarly background in Jacobean literature, Zelazny is well worth giving up a Sunday evening to chat about!
Saturday 20 November, 4pm   Video showing: Star Wars marathon   Newnham College, Clough room 227

With the exception of those living in a cave on Pluto who receive CUSFS weekly missives by carrier pigeon, it is unlikely to have escaped anyone's attention that the 'original' Star Wars trilogy was recently released on DVD. Representing George Lucas' latest attempt at what still seems to be a work in progress, the films nonetheless remain greatly entertaining classics. Come and join CUSFS as we journey to a galaxy far, far away for an evening in the company of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Darth Vader.

Just don't mention Episodes I to III.

Sunday 21 November   Discussion: Isaac Asimov   17 Ashworth Park
Isaac Asimov was an exceptionally prolific author who wrote or edited over 500 books. He is perhaps best known for his robot stories (as well as the famous 'Foundation' series) and for inventing the Three Laws of Robotics (safeguards built into his robots' brains to prevent them from turning on their creators). He also wrote a great deal of non-fiction, particularly essays on popular science. He has often been praised for the clarity of his writing but criticised for the lack of sex or aliens in his fiction and for a shortage of strong female characters in his early work. Join CUSFS to discuss one of the true legends of science fiction.
Sunday 28 November   Discussion: Media SF   3 Daniel's House, Histon Road

SF may have its roots in literature, but it's best known to most people through TV shows and films. Why is SF literature still such a niche genre when media SF is so mainstream? What do Stargate, Babylon 5, and Buffy do that SF novels don't, and what are the strengths and weaknesses of visual SF? What's the next big thing or your favourite show from times past?

Battlestar Galactica, Hex, Doctor Who, Buffy, Firefly, Blake's 7, Babylon 5 and, yes, Star Trek are all up for discussion, so join us as we take a critical look through the square window.

Wednesday 1 December   Storytelling   155 Gilbert Road

In days of old, as the nights drew in, the Jomsvikingar would oftentimes gather round a blazing fire to tell stories of great bravery and valour. Each in turn would relate a turning of the tale, and then fall silent and allow another to take up the threads. In time a wondrous tale would be spun, and each would retire to sleep with a tear of regret at its ending.

This will be just like that, only with more spaceships (and less fire). Mince pies and mulled wine will be provided to ease the flow of words. All welcome--even if you don't feel like joining in, feel free to come and listen.

To avoid a swift descent into complete chaos, Jomsborg's Bard has provided the start of the tale, given below to set your imaginations going. There's only one rule: NO TIME-TRAVEL PLEASE. Beyond that, the Universe is your oyster...

"This is Guiding Light, please respond. Celestial, this is Guiding Light. Please respond."

Captain Mayhew listened to his own voice loop endlessly out of the comm as the Imperial Scout Ship Guiding Light pushed on to the last recorded location of the Celestial. After days following its wake they were still unable to raise it. All Mayhew could do was sit in his chair and stare at the space in front.

Behind him a door opened and two officers, Finch and Taylor from their voices, walked onto the bridge. He craned his neck round to look -- why couldn't they have designed him a swivel chair? -- and saw the glossy brochure in Finch's hands. Marketing for the Celestial.

"It's amazing," she wowed. "Ten swimming pools and three adjustable sub-aqua environments."

"'Adjustable sub-aqua environments'," mocked Taylor. "Still, I'm looking forward to a rest and a good meal on the Celestial."

Even after a week of silence, nobody believed the problem with the Celestial was anything but a comms glitch.

There was a beep. Taylor and Finch looked up. Captain Mayhew stood. "You won't have to wait long. We've got a silhouette, and it's the Celestial. You'll be boarding within the hour."

Last recorded update: 19 January 2006, by Mark Waller
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