Margaret Atwood received the Franz Kafka Prize, given by the Franz Kafka Society and the city of Prague, on October 17, 2017 at the Old Town Hall in Prague, Czech Republic. Atwood was chosen as the 17th laureate of the prize by an international jury on May 22, 2017. The selection jury includes Peter Demetz, André Derval, Marianne Gruber, Oldřich Král, Jiří Stránský, Jiří Stromšík, Lorenzo Silva, and Hans Dieter …Read More
Lots of fanzines arrived, several while I was away from my computer, so I have not had a chance myself to read them all. The Kommandeur is new to me–a clubzine for AHIKS, which looks to be a club for gamers. It LOOKS good, but more than that I am not qualified to say.
Leybl Botwinik’s Cyber Cozen is WARP’s penpal. I was intrigued by his review of The Seven Sisters , AKA What Happened to Monday?.
Alexiad has reviews of books, conventions, movies, comics, as well as other news and articles.
November 4 &5, 2017 – Expo Train Modélisme: Polyvalente Georges-Vanier, 3995 Boulevard Lévesque Est, Laval
Pour voir l’itinéraire, cliquez ici.
Plusieurs réseaux de trains miniatures en opération, Consultations techniques et conseils ,Modèles à coller, Dioramas, Millitaires, Modèles téléguidés, Avions, Autos, Camions, Bâteaux, Mécanos, Figurines, Modèles Diescast, Collectionneurs www.expo-train.com
November 5, 2017 – Toy Con:Courtyard Marriott Hotel 7000 Place Robert-Joncas, St Laurent, QC H4M-2Z5
(Near Mega-Plex Speheretech 14 – Cinema Guzzo)
Date and Time: Sunday, November 5th from 10am to 4pm Admission $5 http://www.cmdstore.ca/toycon.html
On August 17, Mother Nature delivered a gift to astronomers as precious as anything they could have imagined: gravitational waves from two neutron stars spiraling inward and merging, followed moments later by a burst of gamma rays from the same patch of sky. This cosmic double whammy was officially announced today after nearly two months of rumors. It proves a long-standing theory for an enigmatic class of cosmic cataclysms while heralding a revolutionary new era of multi-messenger astronomy.
The sequence of events started at 8:41 a.m. Eastern time when a train of gravitational waves started rolling through the Virgo detector near Pisa, Italy. The same waves rumbled through the LIGO detector in Livingston, Louisiana, just 22 milliseconds later, then the twin LIGO detector in Hanford, Washington, 3 milliseconds after that.
The LIGO and Virgo instruments detected a crescendo of waves for a whopping 100 seconds — much longer than previous detections. The duration, amplitude, and frequency of the waves had all the characteristics that theorists have expected for a binary system consisting of two neutron stars on a death spiral ending with coalescence. The two neutron stars had masses of about 1.5 and 1.1 solar masses, respectively. About 1 to 2 percent of that mass was likely ejected into space during the merger, which presumably resulted in a black hole of nearly 3 solar masses, although the LIGO data does not prove that a black hole formed. If a black hole indeed formed, it’s the lightest black hole yet known.
ASTEROID TO BUZZ EARTH THIS WEEK: Four years ago, a house-sized asteroid tore through the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, and exploded. Shock waves shattered windows and knocked down onlookers as fragments of the disintegrating space rock peppered the Ural countryside. This week an asteroid about the same size is approaching Earth. It will not hit our planet, but it’s coming very close. On Oct. 12, 2017, the speeding space rock, named “2012 TC4,” will skim just above the zone of Earth’s geosynchronous communications satellites and briefly become a target for amateur telescopes. Learn more about the flyby on today’s edition of Spaceweather.com.
October’s Impulse is now available from our website, CLICK HERE.
We have a meeting coming up on the 15th. Your attendance is important because we will be planning the November book/craft fair event, and also the programming for 2018.
NEXT CLUB MEETING IS THIS WEEKEND
Sunday, October 15
Grand Salon, Hôtel Espresso, 1005 Guy St. , Downtown Montreal
MEETING THEME: Halloween approaches! Don your favourite ghoulish costume, or carve a Jack-O-Lantern for the display table!
SUNDAY SCI-FI CINEMA MATINÉE In keeping with the topic of this afternoon’s lead presentation, we offer a choice of films featuring Victorian characters and settings!
THE SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE:The so-called scientific romances of the 19th century (and earlier)—often repurposed today as Steampunk—are what science fiction stories were called before the term science fiction was coined. We examine our favourite Genre from this Victorian perspective.
Planning the November book sale / craft fair
BRAINSTORMING SESSION FOR 2018: We open planning for 2018 with this preliminary brainstorming session, in which we’ll collect ideas for presentations, panels, and workshops for next year’s MonSFFA meeting schedule. Come prepared with a few proposals! Your suggestions, MonSFFen, are encouraged and welcome!
Three American physicists have won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for their contribution to detecting gravitational waves.
By Jake Parks | Published: Wednesday, October 04, 2017
Yesterday, over a hundred years after Albert Einstein first predicted the existence of gravitational waves, three American physicists won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics for their “decisive contribution to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.”
Half of this year’s prize went to Rainer Weiss from MIT for his work conceptualizing and constructing the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), while the other half of the prize was split between Kip Thorne and Barry Barish from Caltech, both co-founders of the LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration.
Scientists catch another gravitational wave, and they know where it came from
By Eric Betz | Published: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Last year, physicists made history by observing the first-ever gravitational wave. Their discovery confirmed Albert Einstein’s century-old theory of gravity and capped decades of effort to build an instrument sensitive enough to catch these ripples in spacetime.
Since then, researchers working at the government-funded Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) — twin detectors in Louisiana and Washington State — have caught several more gravitational waves.
The Inhumans are a race of superhumans that live on the moon, shielded from view within their secret city of Attilan. Yes, you read that correctly! I know! Sounds silly to me, too.
The show’s writers left out a whole lot of the Inhumans’ backstory, here, so the casual viewer may struggle to figure out exactly what is going on. A knowledge of the comic book source material would definitely help one understand and enjoy this new MCU television series.
Like the comics, the plot centers on the Inhuman Royal Family. Black Bolt is the King, whose hypersonic voice is so powerful that he could level a city with a mere whisper. Therefore, he never speaks. His Queen is Medusa, who can manipulate objects with her long, flowing red hair, which acts as a prehensile appendage, and in a fight, can pack quite a punch. Crystal is Medusa’s younger sister, who can control Earth, Wind, and Fire (the elements, not the band), and Lockjaw is her giant CGI bulldog, who can ferry folk from here to there instantaneously by means of teleportation.
Other Royals include Black Bolt’s cousin Triton, who is capable of living underwater, Gorgon, another of Black Bolt’s cousins and leader of Attilan’s Royal Guard, who can stomp his hooved feet and generate earthquake-like waves of force, and Karnak, still another cousin and the King’s most trusted advisor, who sees the fault in all things, and so is able to avoid making errors.
The villain of the story is Maximus, Black Bolt’s brother, who lucked out when they were handing out the super powers! Every Inhuman, in a coming-of-age ceremony, is exposed to Terrigen Mist, a natural mutagen that brings out the individual’s latent superhuman abilities. Maximus came away from his so-called Terrigenesis ceremony with nada, leaving him, essentially, an ordinary human. He and others like him face prejudice from those with powers and were he not the King’s brother, he would certainly have found himself relegated to toiling in the mines as a member of Attilan’s lowest caste. Aspiring to the crown himself, Maximus asserts that the humans on Earth will one day discover Attilan and seek to destroy the Inhuman race. He strongly advocates for Inhuman society relocating to Earth to claim its birthright (Inhumans originated on this planet eons ago), against the wishes of his brother and the other Royals, who maintain that such a migration would result in a war with humans. Maximus incites Attilan’s underclasses with promises of freedom, lebensruam on Earth (Attilan’s growing population is increasingly taxing the limited resources of the city), and a better life. He orchestrates a coup and ousts his brother from power. The Royal Family flees to Hawaii, where they must regroup and adapt to a surreptitious life on Earth.
I found the action plodding, the dialogue flat, and some of the story threads introduced quickly went nowhere, like that of the quirky scientist/lunar rover-driver at Callisto Aerospace in California. As luck would have it, she drives her vehicle smack into the invisible protective shield surrounding Attilan, catching a glimpse of Gorgon’s hoof on the rover’s remote camera feed as he steps in to remove the nosy little intruder. Presumably we’ll see her again in a future episode, and maybe she’ll play a pivotal role in the discovery of the Inhumans’ secret lunar city. Or something. At this point, however, her involvement seemed entirely unnecessary.
I feel the writers were trying to pack way too much into the first couple hours of this show, and the narrative suffered for it.
Meanwhile, Gorgon wasted most of his screen time hanging out on a Hawaiian beach with a group of surfers! WTF? And Crystal, the only Royal captured by Maximus during his coup, never really got her moment to shine. Her dog was a more valuable asset!
The most ridiculous moment, however, came when Medusa experienced a bad hair day. Cornered by Maximus and the traitorous Royal Guards, she defiantly refuses to join the revolt. So he pulls out an electric hair clipper and shaves off her super-powered locks! Really? An electric hair clipper! Edward Scissorhands wasn’t available? Come on, writers!
Despite a generally poor reception from fans, however, I’ll go out on a limb and say that Inhumans isn’t all bad. There is potential in this thing, but based on the early episodes, to realize that potential, the writers will need to up their game.
Maximus is not a typical, black-and-white comic-book villain. He exhibits shades of gray. Yes, he may be a despicable creep—at one point, in a terribly inappropriate move, he hits on his brother’s wife!—but he has a depth that could be better exploited. Maximus had understandable reasons for betraying Black Bolt, self-serving reasons, perhaps, but arguably genuine. Attilan’s pitiless class system, which the Royals have enabled, after all, is hard to excuse, and Maximus has promised to free the city’s underclasses from the bigoted debasing and virtual enslavement they’ve endured for a long time. Can’t fault him for that! In other scenarios, he might be seen as heroic. The deposed King and his court suddenly don’t seem such a virtuous bunch, and it’s a little harder to sympathize with them, now, isn’t it? And yet, we’re asked to ignore all this and see the deposed Royals as the straight-up cardboard heroes of the piece, with Maximus standing in opposition as the patent one-dimensional villain.
If deftly stickhandled, though, the chance is there to make of these Inhumans engaging, wonderfully flawed characters, and to craft thoughtful, compelling drama. So step up, writers, and pen for us a series that will be something better than these opening hours imply.—Sue Denham
THE GIFTED (Fox and CTV, 9:00PM Mondays)
Marvel’s other new series is The Gifted, a perfectly serviceable drama whose teenaged leads will no doubt appeal to a youthful audience. Set in an alternate timeline in which the powerful X-Men and the Brotherhood have disappeared, it’s about a family, the children of which are mutants, who find themselves on the run from government authorities tasked with pursuing mutants and incarcerating them in correctional facilities.
When young Andy Strucker attends a high school dance and is set upon by bullies, his raw telekinetic abilities suddenly manifest and he inadvertently causes the school gym to begin imploding. Rescued by his older sister, Lauren, who employs her own controlled mutant powers to shield herself from falling debris, they escape and make their way home, where they tell their mother what happened and in so doing, reveal to her that they are both mutants. The twist in the tale is that their father is a district attorney whose job it is to prosecute mutants!
Desperate, now, to protect his children, Reed Strucker turns to the Mutant Underground for help. This is a group that helps mutants evade capture by the authorities and subsequently smuggles them safely out of the country. In his capacity as a D.A., Reed regards them as criminals. But in exchange for help in getting his family out of Dodge, he strikes a bargain with the Underground’s Marcos Diaz, a mutant known as Eclipse, offering information on the recently arrested and imprisoned Lorna Dane, or Polaris, Diaz’s girlfriend and, according to show-creator Matt Nix, Magneto’s daughter. Each wary of trusting the other, but urgently in need of what the other is offering, the two men arrange a meeting, which is shortly interrupted by the sudden arrival of the sinister Sentinel Services division, who deploy their mutant-hunting robots, setting a frantic chase in motion that ends with everyone but Reed only just evading capture.
The themes at play as this series launches tender a none too veiled critique of Trump’s America. It’s all put together quite well, and promises to explore not the fortunes of extraordinarily super-powered heroes like the X-Men, but the lot of average, everyday mutants, the little guys of the mutant constituency (and their human allies) struggling to survive, without the protection of a Charles Xavier or a Wolverine, in a political climate in which they are persecuted.
The cast is likable, the writing tight, and the action well-choreographed. The only thing that concerns me a little is that it all seems a bit familiar. I’ve seen variations of this idea in vignettes within some of the X-Men movies, and in the television series Heroes, so The Gifted might possibly, perhaps have some difficulty standing out on its own. Too early to tell yet, however, whether it’ll prove derivative or a captivating fresh take.—Carl Phillips