Denis Villeneuve and Blade Runner 2049

Today’s Montreal Gazette has Blade Runner on the front page, and more inside.

Below, the interview with Denis Villeneuve.

Click here to read an interview with Festival du nouveau cinéma  co-founder, Claude Chamberlain speaking on how Denis Villeneuve helped get one of the two premieres of  Blade Runner 2049. It’s on Wednesday, but by  invitation only. And we weren’t invited, sigh.

How do you follow in the footsteps of a sci-fi masterpiece? Montreal director Denis Villeneuve says he’s ‘serene’ now that Blade Runner 2049 — perhaps the most anticipated release of the year — is done. And he’s happy its Canadian première will be at the FNC.

WARNER BROS. WENN.COM. On the set of Blade Runner 2049: “One thing that’s important, and I don’t say this lightly, is that Ridley Scott liked the film, and Harrison Ford, too,” Villeneuve said. “The two fathers (of the original) liked the film. From the moment (I heard that), I was OK.” Below: Ryan Gosling, right, in a scene from the stylish, esoterically paced noir Blade Runner 2049.

Blade Runner 2049 opens the Festival du nouveau cinéma at an invitation-only screening on Wednesday, Oct. 4 and previews in theatres on Thursday night before opening wide on Friday.

Denis Villeneuve was in a good place Thursday morning — and not just because he was home in Montreal.

He seemed remarkably calm less than a week before the world première of the biggest film of his career — the long-awaited sequel of one of his all-time favourite movies and perhaps the most anticipated release of the year: Blade Runner 2049.

“I feel serene because the movie is made,” he said, sitting on a couch on the top floor of an Old Montreal boutique hotel, clad in a smart black suit, speaking just above a whisper.

“From the beginning, I made peace with the idea that my chances of success were very small and that I couldn’t make this film expecting results or the approval or affection of the film community or the public.

“I had to make this film only as a gesture of creation.  If not, if I had put pressure on myself linked to the fact that (the original) is a masterpiece, I wouldn’t be here today. I wouldn’t have found freedom or joy.  When you make cinema, there’s a profound joy of creation, which you have to be in touch with.”

Villeneuve’s freedom is on full display in Blade Runner 2049, a visually spectacular, tonally haunting, dream-like epic that conforms only nominally to Hollywood norms. Continue reading Denis Villeneuve and Blade Runner 2049

Lawyer inspired by Star Trek’s Picard

The most amazing thing in this article was reading that ST:TNG, made its debut 30 years ago. THIRTY YEARS ago?!  –CPL

Star Trek was a key part of my legal education

Enterprise captain Jean-Luc Picard boldly went where all lawyers should dare to go, Gavin MacFadyen writes.

While Trekkies everywhere are excited over the arrival of Star Trek: Discovery, it was an earlier series in that venerable franchise that influenced my professional life as a lawyer.

Thirty years ago this week, the debut of Star Trek: The Next Generation coincided with my first year of law school at McGill. My legal apprenticeship would have been well-served if I skipped class and only had that series upon which to draw.

Lawyers often cite Atticus Finch as a character from whom they drew their inspiration. For me, it was Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the Enterprise, who provided a lifelong seminar in legal philosophy, morality and ethics.

In the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, an omniscient and meddlesome being called Q places the Enterprise crew on trial for the crimes of humanity.

“You will now answer to the charge of being a grievously savage race,” says Q, acting as judge.

“‘Grievously savage’ could mean anything. I will answer only specific charges,” Picard fires back. He is, in essence, challenging the legal sufficiency of the charge as being void for vagueness.

As a criminal defence lawyer, I learned that mastering the minutiae of procedure and challenging each point is what builds a reputation that prosecutors hate in opposing counsel. Their desire to avoid prolonged and costly trials is what fuels the plea bargaining that typically marks the resolution of criminal proceedings.

Another first season episode brought home that punishment must always be informed by fairness. In Justice, laws on a seemingly idyllic planet have only one punishment: death. Wesley Crusher, teenage son of the ship’s doctor, damages some flowers while playing catch.

Captain Picard is now faced with a moral choice: If he stays true to the Prime Directive (i.e. absolute noninterference in developing cultures) the result would be Wesley’s execution.

What does Picard do? What would any of us do?

He prevents the execution, of course! Picard had a sophisticated understanding of context. It drove home the point that the law must always reflect common sense.

It is in what is perhaps the most widely lauded episode of the series, The Measure of a Man, where Picard shines brightest. A Star Fleet scientist wishes to appropriate the Enterprise’s android Data and dismantle him for study and possible replication.

A hearing is convened. Picard argues that Data is a sentient being who should be accorded the right of self-determination. Picard emphasizes that any ruling today will bind all the potential androids that come after. A new race of beings could be subject to “servitude and slavery.”

It was a valuable early reminder that legal rulings create precedents. As well, Picard’s willingness to stand with those who would otherwise stand alone reminds us that vigilance in the face of officially sanctioned oppression of those who are “other from us” is an ongoing struggle.

More than a decade before 9/11, Picard recognized that security must never come at the expense of due process. In the episode The Drumhead, the uncovering of a single Klingon agent on board the Enterprise results in an official inquiry conducted by a visiting admiral who sees spies and saboteurs under every 24th-century bed.

Swiftly, accusation and innuendo smother the search for truth.

When a young crewman is singled out for lying about his parentage — his Romulan grandfather — the inquiry turns into a witch hunt.

That episode taught me that tyranny does not announce itself in one grand moment, but takes hold incrementally and can cloak itself in the veil of innocent inquiry and investigation.

What made Jean-Luc Picard so inspiring was his default approach: He always asked what should happen and not what a statute said must happen.

He identified the just result, and then constructed an argument to make it happen.

He boldly went where all lawyers should be willing to go.

Amazing Auroras

Apparently, the auroras were amazing–and I forgot to look! arrhhh!!!  –Cathy
Space Weather News for Sept. 28, 2017 STRONG GEOMAGNETIC STORM: Knowing that a solar wind stream was heading for Earth, forecasters predicted a geomagnetic storm last night. However, they didn’t predict it would be so strong, a G3-class event. During the peak of this surprising space storm, Northern Lights spilled over the Canadian border into more than half a dozen US states. Visit for pictures of the display and updates as the solar wind continues to blow.

Remember, is on Facebook!
Above: Auroras over Fairbanks, Alaska, on Sept. 28, 2017. “Indescribable!” says photographer Sacha Layos. “Truly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.” Browse the Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery for more sightings.

Elon Musk’s Mars colonization update

On Friday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will be giving a “major” update on his plans to colonize Mars during a presentation at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia. His talk is meant to add to the one he gave at last year’s IAC conference in Mexico, when he revealed the full architecture of his plans to send thousands of peoples to the Martian surface. This time around, it seems his speech may revolve around making the concept more feasible — mainly by scaling things down.

Musk has only dropped a few hints about what he’ll talk about this week, but we can probably expect the announcement of a smaller launch vehicle, as well as ideas for how to pay for the high costs of developing such a rocket. He’s also said there will be a few surprises regarding how the vehicle will be used.

Read more

“Gecko Gripper” Tech to Clean Up Space Junk

Researchers are figuring out how to use a nature-inspired “gecko gripper” technology to solve the mounting problem of space debris.

Gecko grip

Researchers use a “gecko gripper” to move and manipulate large objects on a short zero-g flight.  NASA / JPL / Aaron Parness

Watch your backyard closely on a warm Florida morning, and you can see geckos climbing the fence to greet the Sun, looking for an insect snack before the mid-day heat sets in. The same gripping technique that geckos use to scale smooth surfaces such as fences could soon be grappling with space junk in orbit.

Hao Jiang (Stanford University) and colleagues recently proposed using “gecko grippers” to grab space debris in an effort to clean up near-Earth space. The concept was published in the June 28th Science Robotics.

Read more

Auroras predicted for 27th and 28th

GEOMAGNETIC STORM PREDICTED: NOAA forecasters say there is a 65% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Sept. 27th, increasing to 80% on Sept. 28th, as a stream of high-speed solar wind buffets our planet’s magnetic field.  Isolated periods of moderate G2-class storming could spark Northern Lights in US states as far south as, e.g., New York, Idaho and Washington. Visit for more information and updates.

Remember, is on Facebook!
Above: Auroras over Troms county, Norway, on Sept. 24th. Photo credit: Horia Bogda. Browse the Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery for the latest sightings.

Local Sensors Detect…

  1. Fanzine to share: Ionishere
  2. ISS over Montreal tonight
  3. CSA proposes Solar Sail
  4.  Awards: Copper Cylinder, Past Words
  5. Go-Fund-Me appeals
  6. Discovery, reviews
  1. Fanzine to share: Ionishere Three Pro Interviews, with Jay O’Connell, Dave Creek and Jay Werkheiser One Fan Interview, with Steve Fahnestalk, poetry, art IO is compiled, assembled and edited by John Thiel

2 ISS over Montreal tonight

Time: Tue Sep 26 8:38 PM, Visible: 2 min, Max Height: 45°, Appears: 10° above WSW, Disappears: 45° above SW

The ISS is very bright, easily visible even in light polluted urban areas.

Artist’s conception of Deep Space Gateway with solar sail

3 CSA proposes Solar Sail : A Canadian Space Agency proposal would place a solar sail on the outside of the Deep Space Gateway in lunar orbit.  Harnessing the slight pressure of solar radiation, a super-thin reflective film might help steer the Deep Space Gateway, or DSG, which is being designed by five space agencies to succeed the International Space Station.  READ MORE  (Thanks to MonSFFan Alexis Despand for pointing us to this story.)

4 Awards: Copper Cylinder, Past Words: The Sunburst Award Society’s “Copper Cylinder Award” is an annual members’ choice award. It takes its name from the novel A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, by James De Mille (1833-1880), which is considered to be the first Canadian science fiction novel. The winners receive a unique, handcrafted, copper cylinder trophy.  2017 Winners are Company Town by Madeline Ashby [Tor Books] and The Skids by Ian Donald Keeling. [ChiTeen]

Past Words: The Historical Writers of America (HWA), an organization for all historical writers, fiction and nonfiction, presented the initial set of PastWords awards at a banquet in New Mexico on September 23. Melinda Snodgrass was the awards banquet’s keynote speaker.

HWA created the PastWords to recognize creators who have produced an outstanding body of work. The 2017 winners include Fantasy writer George R.R. Martin who accepted the award in person.  He wrote: It’s kind of cool to learn that even writers of honest to god real historical fiction and non-fiction enjoy my own fake histories.

5 Go-Fund-Me appeals: 2 well-known and respected fans have launched Go-Fund-Me appeals.

Guy Lillian is appealing for help to support his wife Rosie’s legal costs. She is being denied the inheritance from her mother despite the stated wishes of her mother and an agreement made at a legal deposition in December, 2016. The inheritance includes paintings by Frank Kelly Freas, a long-time personal friend.

Pierre Pettinger’s father died recently due to a house fire, and Pierre has set up a Gofundme campaign to help cover the funeral expenses — Pierre Pettinger [Sr.] Funeral Fund. Fans know of Pierre and Sandy Pettinger from their masquerade appearances.Pierre is Archivist for the International Costumers Guild, and both are fan GoH at Westercon 76.

6 Discovery:  reviews are everywhere! Everyone’s got an opinion, pro or con the new Star Trek Series.  A Google search will bring up enough articles to keep a fan busy to the end of the TV show’s season.  MonSFFA’s facebook group is asking for YOUR thoughts on the new series.

The 2017 Aurora Awards

The 2017 Aurora Awards were announced September 23 at Hal-Con 2017 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The award is for exceptional Canadian literary and fan works. The recipients were determined by a vote of the members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association.

Best Novel

  • Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada

Best Young Adult Novel

  • Icarus Down by James Bow, Scholastic Canada

Best Short Fiction

  • Marion’s War by Hayden Trenholm, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media

Best Poem/Song

No award was given out in this category in 2017 due to insufficient eligible nominees

Best Graphic Novel

  • Angel Catbird, Volume One by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas and Tamra Bonvillian, Dark Horse Books

Best Related Work

  • Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media

Best Visual Presentation

  • Arrival, director, Denis Villeneuve, Paramount Pictures

Best Artist

  • Samantha M. Beiko, cover to Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts

Best Fan Writing and Publications

  • Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille

Best Fan Organizational

  • Randy McCharles, chair, When Words Collide, Calgary

Best Fan Related Work

  • Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM

Best of the Decade: Also announced was the winner of a special category for works published between January 2001 and December 2010.

  • The Neanderthal Parallax, Robert J. Sawyer, Tor Books

Finalists were chosen by an eight-person jury from across Canada, with the winner selected by a vote of the membership.

Another fanzine to share

This one from the  National Fantasy Fan Federation

Editor George Phillies writes:

Behold our APA N’APA. Please consider joining. We can surely use more members.


In this issue:
Front Cover …. Found by John Thiel
The Official Organ #230
The Silver State Age #7 Kevin Trainor – 3 pages
The Murdered Master Mage #13 George Phillies – 4 Pages
Synergy #8 John Thiel – 8 pages
Archive Midwinter for #230 Jefferson Swycaffer – 3 pages
Back Cover …. Found by John Thiel

N’APA is the Amateur Press Alliance for members of the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F). As it is distributed in PDF format, there are no dues or postage fees. It is open to all members of the N3F. If there are members interested in joining who have no computer access, special arrangements may be possible. People who only want to read are welcome to ask to be added to the email list. Check with the official collator, who is George Phillies, 48 Hancock Hill Drive, Worcester MA 01609;; 508 754 1859; and on facebook.

Please do not submit PDF files of your contributions without prior discussion. I occasionally send a copy of N’APA to the accessible (email address needed) N3F membership, in the hope that some of them will join N’APA. Currently the frequency is every other month, with the deadline being on the fifteenth day of odd-numbered months. The mailing will normally be collated in due time, as the collator is retired. Publication has always been totally regular, though some readers question my interpretations of “always”, “totally”, and “regular”. N’APA has been in existence since 1959,
but has transitioned from being a paper APA to an electronic one.