CUSFS Termcard for Lent Term 2005

Full details of events are likely to be added during the term.

Sunday Discussions, Other Events, and Things Of Interest

Sunday 23 January, 7.30pm   Discussion: Robert Jordan   Newnham College, Clough room 227
Reference links: ISFDb, Wikipedia
Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time: the never-ending story, disaster or delight? So far there are ten books in the series, and a prequel, and there is no ending yet in sight! The books are both getting thicker and containing less and less time within them... will there ever be an ending?! Come and share why you love them, why you hate them, what you think will happen... any and all thoughts welcome.
Spoiler policy: People should expect that the discussion will contain spoilers for at least the early parts of the series. Possibly inaccurate spoilers, as there is rather a lot to remember...
Sunday 30 January, 8.30pm   Reading   155 Gilbert Road
Bring along a short piece of Science Fiction or Fantasy (either a (very!) short story, or an extract from something longer - no more than 4 or 5 pages is a good rule of thumb) to scare, impress, or entertain the company. Introduce us to someone new, or convert us to an old favourite. Alternatively, come to listen to what others have brought to read, and be enlightened, amused, horrified, or just confused.
This will form part of...
Sunday 30 January, 8.30pm   Jómsborg Wake for the Old Year   155 Gilbert Road
And so another year of Jómsborg the New ends. Join the Reeve, Companions and Jómsvikingar in our preparations for the New Year. The Jómsvikingar purify themselves by staying up throughout the night, helped along by games, readings, mead, conversation, and anything else that comes to mind. Oh, and probably a fair amount of coffee. The particularly devout meet on top of Castle Mound at sunset to bid farewell to the Old Sun, which is due to finally wind down at 16:43 on the 30th. Distractions will include being able to actually look at the library sale books (so bring money if you might be interested in buying any), and the CUSFS reading (see above).
Monday 31 January, 7.25 AM   Afmaelisdagr   Castle Mound
The host of the Jómsvikingar march, as one, to the hub of the Universe (known simply to mortal folk as the Castle Mound). There, the Reeve, assisted by the assembled throng and a large quantity of mead, raises the New Sun, gives it form, and sets it circling for another year. (The ceremony will start at about 07:25; sunrise is scheduled for 07:42.) We will try to organise breakfast for those interested (and still awake!) after the Afmaelisdagr. Even if you do not manage to attend the Wake please feel free to join us on Castle Mound!
Thursday 3 February, 8pm   Video evening: Farscape   16 Nursery Walk
Farscape centres on the adventures of the astronaut John Crichton who is flung through a wormhole to a distant part of the galaxy and forced to battle for survival amidst warring planets, evil empires and the various conflicting personalities of the escaped prisoners he has fallen in with.
Farscape is one of the new generation of science fiction TV shows that has emerged in recent years, more concerned with survival in a hostile and confusing universe than the utopianism of the likes of Star Trek. It is also notable for its original use of puppetry - two of the main characters are animatronic puppets. If you enjoyed the likes of Firefly, Lexx or Star Wars then you'll probably like Farscape. We plan to watch 3-4 episodes per showing, starting at the beginning of season 1.
Sunday 6 February, 7.30pm   Discussion: C. J. Cherryh   155 Gilbert Road
Reference links: ISFDb, Wikipedia, official site
This week's discussion focuses on the work of the American science fiction and fantasy author Carolyn Janice Cherry. Although a prolific writer, Cherryh is perhaps best known for Cyteen, which won the Hugo Award, and the epic space opera that are the stories of her 'Alliance/Union' universe. Cherryh's background in psychology, history and languages allows her to create uniquely alien worlds, in a style often resembling stream of consciousness. The sheer breadth of her work and this individual style should make for a lively discussion and interesting evening.
Friday 11 February, 7.30 for 8pm   Video evening: V miniseries   155 Gilbert Road
Humanoid (even human-looking) aliens arrive on Earth from the sixth planet of Sirius in fleet of huge saucer ships that park over the major cities of the planet. They act friendly and seek the help of humans to obtain needed chemicals to aid their own planet. In return, the Visitors promise to share their advanced technology with humanity. The governments of the planet accept and the Visitors gain considerable influence with the native authorities.
However, strange things are noted [...]
(Text abstracted from Wikipedia; note that the whole article contains big spoilers.)
We will be showing the whole of this cult miniseries in one go, with a break for pizza. Please turn up around 7:30ish. If you arrive later than 8pm you may interrupt the show and/or miss the pizza order, so don't do that if you can help it. Total runtime is 189 minutes, so we should be done by midnight. Please also mail the committee so we have some idea of how many people to expect.
Sunday 13 February, 7.30pm   Discussion: "Humans in Rubber Suits"   Newnham College, Clough room 227
Despite the rather bizarre and enigmatic title, this week's discussion is merely concerned with portrayals of aliens in television, films, books and the media. From the Daleks to the computer generated bug-eyed monsters of recent films, 'aliens' remain an entertaining feature of many classic pieces of science fiction. Come along and rant about particularly bad stereotypes or defend your favourite rubber suited extraterrestrial against such slander!
Thursday 17 February, 8pm   Video evening: Farscape   16 Nursery Walk
Details as Thursday 3 February.
Saturday 19 February, 9am   Picocon   Imperial College Students' Union, London
Reference links: ICSF Picocon
Picocon is a one-day SF convention, run by ICSF, the Imperial College SF and fantasy society. The guests of honour this year are Gwyneth Jones, John Courtenay Grimwood and Brian Stableford - each of them has a slot in the programme where they will talk about something that interests them, and take questions from the audience.
There will also be a dealers' room, with second-hand booksellers etc., and various events throughout the day. Picocons have included dalek racing, quizzes, a LAN games room, juggling lessons and `destruction of dodgy merchandise' auctions, among other things. (Note there will be no film this year; instead the talks/discussions/etc. will run until later in the day.) CUSFS are the current holders of the Imperial/Cambridge/Oxford inter-varsity Fish Duelling title, but this year may well see a re-match (and truly this is not a sight to be missed!).
Entrance costs £5.00 for students (bring ID) and £7.00 for others. A CUSFS group will be going to Picocon, by train, travelling on the 09:15 to King's Cross. If you're interested, please join us at the railway station (look for the orange scarves) by 9am - this should allow enough time for buying tickets. (The recommended ticket is the One-Day Travelcard (about £16), which includes a day return to London and unlimited travel on the Underground. Discounts are available with Young Person's and Network Railcards.) If you have lectures on Saturday morning and can't meet us at Cambridge station, do consider coming along later for the afternoon events - it's usually a very enjoyable day.
Sunday 20 February, 7.30pm   AGM and games evening   155 Gilbert Road
Bring games. Play them. Enough said. Generally one of the term's most popular and fun events!
Also as you might have noticed from the repeated plugging in missives, election of new committee members will be taking place. The committee posts are Chairbeing, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Librarian and TTBA Editor, so if you think you might be interested, contact the committee for more information, or to talk to the individual current officer. Some details of the committee posts are also in the constitution.
Sunday 27 February, 8pm   Discussion: Guy Gavriel Kay   3 Daniel's House, Histon Road
Reference links: ISFDB, Wikipedia, Bright Weavings (authorised fan site)
"Guy Gavriel Kay writes good fantasy." Discuss.
Though his output is fairly limited (only 9 novels in 20 years), Kay's work reveals a richness of content and texture that many other writers might envy. He handles the lives (and sometimes deaths) of his characters, major and minor, with great care and not a little sympathy. His control of his own plots, and those of his characters, is masterful: he has a precise knowledge of the locations and movements of all the pieces on the board, and adjusts the tension by careful choice of the order in which their stories are told. As a former academic, he has an eye for detail and a belief in the need for thorough research which are matched by very few others; and both these traits are particularly evident from his recent work (e.g. The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Sarantine Mosiac), set in a world based on the Mediterranean at several different historical periods. He is also perhaps (in)famous for his work as Christopher Tolkien's assistant in editing The Silmarillion for publication.
Interested? You should be! Come along on Sunday evening. If you've read Kay's work, talk about what you liked and disliked; if you haven't, discover more about it.
Thursday 3 March, 8pm   Video evening: Farscape   16 Nursery Walk
Details as Thursday 3 February.
Friday 4 March, 7pm for 7.30   Video evening: V miniseries, part 2   155 Gilbert Road
Reference links: IMDb (NB includes quite a few spoilers)
On 11 February, we showed the original V miniseries, in which humanoid aliens arrived on Earth from the sixth planet of Sirius in fleet of huge saucer ships that park over the major cities of the planet.
In the second miniseries, V: the Final Battle, we will see more about the activities of the organised resistance - and the plot will be better completed than at the end of the first series. If you were at the first showing, do come along (but note the earlier start time, due to the longer run-time). New viewers are also welcome.
We will be showing the whole of the second miniseries, with a break for pizza. Please turn up around 7ish. If you arrive later than 7:30pm you may interrupt the show and/or miss the pizza order, so don't do that if you can help it. Total runtime is 272 minutes, so we will be done a little after midnight. Please also mail the committee so we have some idea of how many people to expect.
Sunday 6 March, 7.30pm   Discussion: politics in SF and fantasy   17 Ashworth Park
"When the revolution comes...."
Politics and SF have always been bedfellows. From the social commentary of Wells' Eloi and Morlocks to countless invasions of barely-disguised Communist Martians, the genre has always been commenting on the political issues of its day. How has this evolved, and how successful has SF been in its brushes with politics? Who are the modern political SF writers and what are the issues that motivate them? With Ken MacLeod and China Miéville apparently leading a modern science-fictional Left, where is the Right in modern SF? To discuss these questions and more, vote for CUSFS at 17 Ashworth Park!
Sunday 13 March, 7.30pm   Discussion: Larry Niven   Newnham College, Clough room 227
Reference links: ISFDb, Wikipedia
The last discussion of this term concerns the works of SF author Larry Niven. He first won the Hugo Award (for Best Short Story) in 1967 for Neutron Star and has since been awarded it on another 3 occasions. He has also written scripts for several television shows and a logical fantasy series detailed in The Magic Goes Away. Niven is perhaps best known though for his Known Space universe (including the Ringworld books) in which humanity shares several solar systems with various species. Join us for a discussion of this diverse and interesting author.
Thursday 17 March, 8pm   Video evening: Farscape   16 Nursery Walk
Details as Thursday 3 February.

Amended for archive: 27 April 2005, by Mark Waller
Please send comments and queries to soc-cusfs at lists dot cam dot ac dot uk

Back to Lent 2005 calendar | Archive index | CUSFS home page