SF Discussion Group

The group chatting.

Meetings Suspended

Meetings have been suspended from March 2011 until August 2011. The quorum of 4 who attended the February meeting decided to not meet for a few months. This is due to the busy lives of some, some moving away, childcare and even death impacting upon the momentum of the group. If new people want to get a discussion group going again, please talk to us. The current plan is that after their rest, the current group will restart in September.

The Infinitas SF Discussion Group meets at 6:30pm in the shop on the first Thursday of each month except January. Feel welcome to turn up and join in the discussion. We were previously known as the Infinitas Readers' Group. Typical discussion revolves around recent media announcements of advances in astronomy, space exploration, genetics, Orwellian social control, etc. This often leads to identifying the SF books which have already pre-invented these ideas. The group chooses a topic for each meeting in advance and members bring their ideas. Check the newsletter for next month's topic. Newspaper clippings of Science Fiction, Fantasy or Science news are shared.

See the SF Discussion Group's section on the forums for forthcoming topics, meeting reports and discussions.

The following reports are provided to allow prospective members to know about our group. Much of the content of this page is provided by Garry Dalrymple (GPD).


The Infinitas Bookshop Discussion group meeting, Thursday March 02, 2006 at the Infinitas / Blokey Stuff shop (Parramatta)

This meeting on a humid and occasionally rainy night started with a topic as during the general exodus from the previous meeting, the next month's topic (like Henry's hat!) was misplaced. It is probably worth mentioning here that this meeting is frequently the largest monthly Book SF&F discussion in Sydney.

Before the meeting evolved into sentience there was observed a ritual exchange of CDs, DVDs and one (Beta!) Video tape. Also the (recoil-less!) Trebuchet beer commercial was discussed, faults were found and the fair city of Melbourne derided.

Present were: Darryl Adams, Henry Chatroop, Garry Dalrymple, Kurt Frank, Wil Kenedy, Charmaine Spears, Mick Ousley, Brian Walls, Dan and Tim

News:
Dan - Writer Octavia Butler is dead
Wisdom from behind the shop counter (Dan) - American readers of John Birmingham's "Weapons of Choice: World War 2.1", just cannot comprehend that Americans are seen as depicted in the book, Australian readers without exception pretty much agree that it is a realistic depiction, then and now.
DA - Writer Peter (Jaws) Benchley is dead. 'Ghost in the Machine' is going to a second anime series, it's fourth avatar after two movies, the original Manga and the first series (currently showing on SBS).
- Much increased level of suing of the individual down loaders of internet stored TV episodes by the MPA.
HC - Now that Peter Benchley is dead the US Navy is getting into Bionic and enhanced spy sharks (the ultimate in computer 'wetware'). Has no-one in the Pentagon ever rented 'The Deep Blue Sea', just ask Harold Holt or the guys on the Independence, smarter sharks is just not a good idea!
- A second movie based on 'Dark Crystal' is currently being made and will feature puppets for main characters and CGI for scenery. -
Still on Smarter Sharks, David Drake, before 'Hammer's Slammers' wrote 'Demon 4' a story about making smarter sharks and Whales etc. the story did not have a happy ending either (John West 180 gram tins of finest Japanese on special at two for three dollars.).
- There is a Free Tropfest 2006 DVD with Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald, including the eight winners of this year's (rain affected) short film competition.
GD - Attended the Sunday 26 Feb Dr Who event, and it was very good.
- Handed out Magic Casements IV programs and my 2006 pocket sized 'Where's the Science Fiction in Sydney'.
- The 2006 Sydney Futurian book giveaway has 120 plus SF&F books to giveaway!
- Con Syder, the proposed big-ish Sydney SF&F / Speculative Fiction convention is very likely to take place during 2007 rather than 2006, will be at much the same time of year, September /October.
WK - They are bringing out a fifth Highlander movie (whatever happened to 'There can only be one.'), which lead to a general bitch session about the failings of people who make these sequels, and the type of fans who pay to attend and sustain this cycle of unnecessary sequels!
MO - Saw a TV program on people who own life like manikin dolls, weirder even than 'sexbots'. The actor who played Carl Kolchak, The Night Stalker, is dead (or newly undead?), as is Andeas Kotulas (G'Kar from Babylon 5).
BW - Much news from the papers including that the next big SF / Sci-Fi movie due out locally is V for Vendetta on march 30th .
-The Favourite movie of the year in both SBS and ABC Movie shows was 'Serenity', the result of slightly 'quaint' voting.
- At Mu Meson recently they played the Turkish versions of both Star Trek and Starwarz, each features a cast of look-alike actors!
- The Royal Shakespeare Company is experimenting with productions featuring Japanese ninja figurines (from vending machines!) instead of actors.

Some time was spent discussing carry over items from last month's topic, 'The Best and worst of the year'. The Movie 'Supernova' , was reviewed with awe, with South African accents, extras, cars and location standing in for California and Australia plus attention getting 'Hollywood' bad Science and Socio-pathology. Before this, in an unexpected outbreak of good sense, we agreed to pick two topics in advance. This will allow advance notice of discussion topics to be published in the next Infinitas newsletter.
The Topic for Thursday April 06, 2006 will be; Politics in Science Fiction
The Topic for Thursday May 04, 2006 will be; The internet in Science Fiction

The meeting concluded / moved off to the cafe at about 8.15 pm. I managed to get home in time to start the VCR for both 'Ghost in the Machine' and 'West Wing'


Garry's notes ahead of the October 06, 2005, Infinitas bookshop meeting.

Present were; Daryl Adams, Henry Chatroop, Garry P Dalrymple, Kurt Frank, Will Kenedy, Mick, Charmaine Spears, Tim & Brian Walls
Before the news there were discussions of;
- Recent successes and failures at a gaming competition which lead to discussion of a 'league table' of medieval atrocities.
- General Franco's humane treatment and refuge offered to 30,000 Jews during WWII.
- Movies made of books where the ethnicity of major villains changes between the book and the movie treatments of the story, frequently to the detriment of the plot
- Dirigible aircraft carriers (for Jet Aircraft?) Crap Techno thriller movies, in Stealth does North Korea really re-name the Three Sisters after Marx, Lenin and Kim il Sung?
- Charles Kingsford Smith's mid Pacific mid air pit stop.
- The Mighty Swordfish Torpedo Bomber of WWII, it was too slow and fragile to be shot down by up-to-date 1940s German AA guns!

News
- The Serenity movie story is not complete suggesting that there will be more to come, movies or TV series? The single Space Battle sequence was described as 'Monitor and the Merrimack but with torpedoes' rather than WWII Dogfights or Napoleonic sea battles.
- A celebrity child has been christened with Superman's birth name, Kal-el or something
- The X prize winning Spaceshipone is going into the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's collection, Spaceshiptwo will carry four passengers into 'Space'.
- The Chinese are to launch their next Spaceman into orbit this month.
- US Space tourist ($20 million) is having a fun time in space.
- Peter (LOTR) Jackson is to direct 'Halo' the movie of the game, much derisive comment.
- Giant Squid pictures discussed, lead to talk of the giant Spaghetti monster Ghod. If the squid can be taught to talk and drive a spaceship, then Margaret Attwood might write the 'Non-SF' book.
- Fusion found to occur during lightening strikes, as apparently excess Neutrons have been detected!
Maxwell Smart is Dead!
A 'Star Trek-like' movie from Finland is out and about, camp adventures in Space! Satire or homage to original Trek?
- Mention of funding for a tethered space satellite in the SMH of Thursday 29 October
- The 2005 Sydney Freecon / Unicon is deferred, instead there will be a 'Saturday Futurians' re-visiting six of the 2004 / 2005 topics
- There is an Anime Film Festival at the Dendy cinema Circular quay, October 06 to 16, running before and after the 'Animania Festival' Oct 8 and 9 at Sydney Town Hall (which had an amazing list of guests!).
The Discussion Topic was ignored / not remembered, so instead there was an unrestrained discussion of Babylonian batteries (found at Masada as well?) Roman Industrial technology and the social reasons for the failure to implement a water power based industrial revolution (as was the case in 18th C England before 'Steam' arrived).
Some talk of SF about Energy Sources produced - The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov, where energy problems are solved by importing energy / dumping waste into other dimensions, who are in turn importing their energy from ours! Seti Shock by John Campbell. The Casimir Effect, 'Free Energy' is disproved, apparently it is not Science 'as we know it'. A story set in the Crimean War (1850s) era uses antimatter like stuff called 'Black Ice'. The Russians are 'Nuked' by a single artillery shell of the stuff.
Attempts were made to educate Brian Walls as to the (Borg like) history of the English language as well as matter / Anti matter particle physics.
A topic for next month, Thursday November 03,2005, was decided on;
Japanese (and / or Other Non English Speaking) Science Fiction.


Thursday September 01, 2005 - The Infinitas Bookshop Meeting

Present were; Daryl Addams, Leonard Chapple, Henry Chatroop, Garry Dalrymple, Kurt Frank, Will Kenedy, Mary Right, Charmaine Spears and Tim.
I arrived at 7.05 by which time a discussion was already well underway. The topic seemed to revolve around Movie faults and the downloadableness of TV and movies altering the Cinemas-then Cable-then video release-then Free to air market for all forms of entertainment. Also discussed was the technological leadership of the Pornography and Gambling sectors in pioneering new communication technologies and ways of getting 'product' to consumers.
The faults and disappointments of current Cable TV programming were discussed. This means of distribution is still not an efficient or satisfying means of getting your timely Sci-Fi 'hit'.
Conversation then returned to night's topic - Sequels.
Suggestions of Sequels that Sucked or should never have been made include;
Highlander 2
Crusade
Galactica 80 (Battle Star Galactica sequel)
The Mummy 2
Star Trek Enterprise
Ghost in the shell 2 TV version
Scoobie Doobie Do
The following were suggested as being OK Sequels;
The recent Battle Star Galactica
The recent Dr. Who (Noo Hoo!)
Maccrosse 2
Ghost in the shell 1 TV version
Buffy
Xenia
The following were suggested as
Movies that Never should have been made;
Terminator 3 (sorry Arnie)
Aliens 3 and 4
The Second and all subsequent Highlander movies
The following were suggested, as should do Sequels;
Ultraviolet
Space Above And Beyond
Firefly
Callan (1960s UK Spy drama)
Tim the Infinitas / Blokey Stuff shop owner reported on seeing the Firefly movie preview, the news is good, although the Science is at times a little dodgy.
At this point I had a side conversation with Tim about the 2005 Sydney Freecon / Unicon. When I returned to the discussion conversation had morphed to being about Golf, Seven Star Hotels and the recent local political regime changes that saw both Bob Carr and John Brogden withdrawing from NSW politics.
A final comment was heard to the effect that the Science Fictional rise of China had been predicted, no book title or Author quoted.
Meeting ended at 8.15 dispersed to re-convene at a nearby Café.
Geopolitics, Oil and Terror as next month's topic?
GPD

The July meeting attracted 9 members, plus Tim and Daniella, which filled our little shop with customers also climbing over to access the bookshelves..

April meeting topic was "Science Fiction and the Internet"
Thursday 7th April 2005 at 6:30pm

February 2005 meeting topic was Battlestar Galatica. A well attended meeting, we filled the shop.

December meeting: Thursday 2-12-2004.
Theme: Heroes and chiches.

November meeting was Thursday 4th November 2004. Some brought and shared book reviews.


Garry's notes from the Infinitas Bookshop meeting of Thursday night, August 05, 2004

This meeting was my first visit to the Infinitas meeting since the bookshop moved to it's new location, at the back of the 'Blokey Stuff' shop, which is some hundred metres round the corner from it's previous location. With twelve people present it was a tight squeeze. As for the 'marriage/co-habitation' of 'Blokey Stuff' and the Infinitas Bookshop, only time will tell. I can see that there are some synergies for SF readers and 'Blokey Stuff', but whether the implied testosterone will alienate Fantasy buyers, only time will tell. I'm grateful that A SF&F shop remains open, rather than just shifting the Infinitas operation to Internet and mail order only.

This Meeting's Discussion topic:

A favourite book read in the last six months
Present were; Darryl Adams, Henry Chatroop, Garry Dalrymple, Kurt Frank, Jo Kay, Tim Martin, Gabrial Mcann, Michael Ousley, Charmaine Spears, Brian Walls.

Items of News discussed before the topic:
Discussion of the Topic

The Discussion Topic for September 2004 meeting set as:
'Five Books you must own'

Content contributed by Gary used with permission, copyright © August 2004 - 2006 GP Dalrymple.