Garryâ€™s notes from the Sydney Futurian meeting of October 19, 2007 and then my notes from the Infinitas SF&F Book Review Discussion meeting of October 18, 2007
The Sydney Futurian meeting of October 19, 2007
Garry Dalrymple, Diane Fox, John Fox, Ross Mitchell, Paolo Rech and an indeterminate number of fellow Temporal travelers and Bogong Moths
NB. Due to protection from interference effects posited by leading physicists, and discussed at length during this meeting, any number of Temporal travelers may well have been present or observing us.
The laws of Physics as we currently understand them prevented our being aware of them, or their presence affecting the outcome of our meeting. So Hi you guys, tell us about the future, when you can!
This said, in relation to discussing a classic SF Time Travel effect (Ray Bradbury's The Sound of Thunder'), one person present is recorded as saying something like this, 'What would be the effects if a time Traveler attended an earlier Sydney Futurian meeting, stepped off the safe path and trod on the wrong Bogong Moth?', At this, another Sydney Futurian present muttered, 'Well they might go back to the future and discover that their present was now an Australia that been ruled by a conservative / Authoritarian government for nearly twelve years that engaged in reckless foreign Wars and was cruel to Refugees and deeply suspicious of foreigners'.
GD - The 2007 Sydney Freecon proceeds, we have five stories, Writers, Archaeologists and about the same number of intending attendees as in previous years.
- Doris Lessing has won a Nobel Prize for Literature. As most of her SF-nal books were written some time ago it is unclear if this is intended as a reward For writing SF, or For No Longer writing SF? She joins William Golding ('Lord of the Flies') and Rudyard Kipling as SF writing Nobel Prize winning writers.
- I attended the Infinitas Book review meeting last night. The books discussed were Fear Principal by B. A. Chepaitis and Dhampir by Barb & J. L. Hendee. I took notes on what was said about both books.
- Last Saturday I encountered Zara Baxter and her partner / flatmate at Burwood. They were shopping for white goods and other household furnishings. Zara is four weeks back from the UK.
- I have organized for towards 1200 ball point pens to go to the 500 or so children of the Kamba village school in Sierra Leone, Africa. Anyone got a spare 100 or so SF books to kick start SF fandom in Sierra Leone?
- The Sydney Dr Who people are meeting on Sunday October 28, from 11 am to 6 pm at the Drummoyne RSL Club. Videos and pre-views about Who companion Sarah Jane Smith will feature. After the Freecon they have another Sunday meeting on November 18, 2007.
- The Peruvian Meteor seems to have been a large Carbonaceous Chondrite.
JF & DF - Analog SF&F Magazine was noticed at Hazelwood Newsagency, (also noticed at some other suburban news agencies by other Futurians present). John and Diane are both entering a short story in the Freecon's competition.
RM - Work fills his life, has encountered 'Stumble-apon' an internet engine that leads you to many curious discoveries.
- The Pioneer (10) Anomaly, some unseen mass or effect is retarding its progress out into space. The re-animation of some obsolete recording technology has lead to identifying another thirty year's worth of Data on this effect! The Pioneer spacecraft, powered by Plutonium Thermal batteries are currently producing ~ 100 watts of power, down from an initial 600.
- There is a Black Hole 500 Million Light Years distant. It gobbles solar masses and emits a spectrum of Gamma radiation after each 'meal'. The HIGH frequency end of this spectrum is noted as being retarded by 4 minutes (240 seconds over 500,000,000 years!). 'Stuff' in between us and this Black Hole is expected to retard LOW frequency Gamma radiation. Clearly some as yet unknown effect is taking place, or Physics as we know it is 'wrong'. This lead to a brief discussion of 'Quantum Zoo' creatures and concepts like Neutrino Mass, Negative Gravity, and 'Negative Mass'.
- He is currently reading A.C Clarke and Stephen Baxter's 'Light of other Days' which involves some Time Travel and includes meaning full quotes on the nature of the Universe from the noted children's book author, S. Hawking.
PR - Missed attending Supernova (last weekend) for a second year, but is looking forward to the Freecon and may enter the Short Story competition.
Postscript to News - Not that anyone noticed it at the time, but there was another fannish event taking place at the UTS while we were meeting, 100 to 120 youngish Harry Potter fans were holding a meeting. The people behind HP Events Australia are Melbourne based, but did a meeting in Sydney ahead of their larger Melbourne date (500 to 800 people?). Is a new SF&F fandom born?
Check out their website and make up your own mind - WWW.HPEventsAustralia.com
SF&F TV on at present
Silver Sun, channel 2, Sunday mornings 7.45 am to 8.10 am
The Six Million Dollar Woman, Channel 7, 8.30 pm (or later)
Heroes, Channel 7, 9.30 pm (or later)
Stargate SG 1, Channel 7, 11.30 pm (or later) NB all on the same weeknight!
2057, Channel 28, Sunday Night, a six part (?) German program on aspects of future life?
Sorts of Time Travel Stories
Transportation by rare Natural phenomena, Lightening bolts or other High energy events
Walking through natural time portals, usually into the 'interesting' past
Transportation by Man (or Alien) made Portals or Time Machines
Time Wars, battles for the control of the past
Time Travel as a refuge from an uncomfortable present
Time Travel stories where something goes wrong, sometimes matter teleportation experiments
Stories about Time Policemen, guardians of 'True History'
Reversions to Type
Alternate (branching) parallel realities caused or corrected by Time Travel
Magic powered Time travel, the ability to travel or Time-jaunt without equipment
Time Isolation chambers
Characters taking part in their own History, circular stories
Apparent Time Travel 'as if it were all a dream'
Reverse Time or out of phase time travellers
Interpersonal relationships across time
Discussion of the Topic, instances in Books Movies & TV
The Earliest ever recorded Time travel story was?
Nothing in the Bible. The Sun being commanded to stand still being a celestial mechanical Ghodlike intervention rather than a Temporal one, so it's on to Myths and Fables.
Rip Van Winkle and Sleeping Beauty are not quite in, as they are only passive and one way Time Travelers. Adventures with the Fairies would be much older? Dance away the afternoon with the fairies and come home decades later? The Musical Brigadoon the town locked off from the world except for one day a century deserves a mention, especially as one of the two main characters is a Charlie(?) Dalrymple!
Debate as to whether Mark Twain's 'A Connecticut Yank in the Court of King Arthur', time travel via lightening bolt, preceded HG Wells' 'The Time Machine', time travel by man-made machine.
Shortly thereafter, Edgar Rice Burroughs would have 'John Carter of Mars' travelling to across Space AND Time to Barsoom, an Ancient and long dead Mars, by the power of the eighth ray!
In A.C Clarke and Stephen Baxter's 'Light of other Days' Worm Holes are used to observe the past, apparently observation is not prohibited by our understanding of physics. One big project is 'The 12,000 days', attempting to get on tape every day of Jesus' life! Popular times and places end up being crowded with viewing wormholes, skies appearing to be overcast! A comment was that most of Stephen Baxter's books seem to involve some time travel.
All You Zombies, by Robert Heinlien, explores the concept of the 'Self Made Man' to exhaustion.
H. Beam Piper gave us 'Lord Karvan of No Where', a time travelling cop's 'retirement, and a series of 'Para time War' stories, a series of events and vignettes in a Time War between two political / philosophical factions, the Spiders and the Snakes whose Battleground is Human History.
The Lincoln Killers by (?) agents go back in time to prevent a 'The South will rise again' conspiracy to go back in time to kill Abraham Lincoln. Another Alternate time line story, a Historian joins an altruistic scientific community, founded by an altruistic gent established on a pre civil war farm. He gets involved in a time travel project. His mission to record an aspect of Civil War history disrupts a detail of the US civil war which destroys his own reality, he ends up as a farm labourer who leaves behind this manuscript of history that never happened. This lead to a discussion of stories involving Time Meddling stories, most popular settings - Biblical Scenes, then US Civil war battles then Dinosaur times? 'The Sound of Thunder', by Ray Bradbury, a classic story, during a dinosaur era big hunting safari a hunter steps off the marked path onto a butterfly, comes back to a different, fascistic world. Recent Alternate History stories almost always involve WW 2 scenes, which is already 'Ancient History' to US readers and publishers?
John Birmingham's three (so far) Alternate History series WW2.1, 2.2 and 2.3, start with a time travel event which blows a 2050 international Fleet accompanying a research vessel back into 1942, where the mores of the modern fleet are nearly as disturbing to the status quo as their weapons!
John Wyndham's 'Consider her Ways' where time tourists (come look at your primitive ancestors!), become so annoying that the present day people launch 'come look at your silly descendants' tours to drive them away. An Un-named Story, where the Crucifixion and most other big-ticket historical events are crowded out by camera toting time tourists. Stories of odd visitors arriving, to safely observe apocalyptic moments of (to them) past history.
Some Time Travel Movies
'The Terminator' series, Robots coming back in time to eliminate a human resistance leader.
The 'Back to the Future' series of movies, the adventures of Marty McFly.
The several versions of HG Wells, The Time Machine.
'Playing Beattie bow', was an atmospheric Australian movie filmed around Sydney's historic rocks district, Hide-and-seek involving transfer from the present to the 1860s.
The 'Time Cop' series of movies, several sequels that went 'off' into cheap exploitation by about number three.
The Planet of the Apes series - the Original movie series has time travel by time dilation Space flight. The final original series movie has the apes flying back to earth and so setting up the premise for the first original series movie and the rise of the apes, a time loop!
The later movie has Temporal to-ing and fro-ing via Wormholes, setting up the movie's own premise.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, 'Milliways', the Restaurant at the End of the Universe and the 'Big Bang Burger Bar' being visited as well as travel to pre-historic Earth.
The Alternate History Movie 'Nimitz' where the USS Nimitz of 1990 lands back in WW2, some sort of Stealth experiment gone wrong. They have to decide whether they are going to interferr with history as they knew it or to help their side in WW2 with their Nukes Missiles and Jets.
The Philadelphia Incident - A WW2 an invisibility (actually de-gaussing) experiment propels some US Sailors 40 years into the future?
Some Time Travel TV programs
There was an Australian made (shot on the Gold Coast) series about a Time Cop who is sent back to be on hand to fix problems. The American Actor has as a side-kick, advisor in the form of an Artificial intelligence / super computer that resides in a Credit Card and can Holographically project to pass on advice or instructions. Went to three series on US cable, only seen late at night and erratically on Free to Air TV here.
Dr Who - Tardises, Time Lords, competing Alien Races with Time Travel technology and finally a general clear out by means of a genocidal Time War. Need I say more?
Torchwood - Captain Jack was a renegade Time Cop, has a time jumper wrist watch, is apparently an immortal and therefore 'Timeless' being. Several adventures involve time travel, with or without the Doctor.
In Seven Days, by use of technology powered by salvage from the Roswell incident they have a machine, rather like in Carl Sagan's 'Contact' that project a capsule and pilot back seven days into the past. It is powered by a Frankfurt sized piece of alien metal, so what could they achieve if they had ordered a 'Big Mac' or a Quarter Pounder! The trick is that after an incident they have a race to investigate the incident fully, prep the Chrononaut and send him back to give the warning needed to avoid the catastrophe, I. e. a bit of CSI plus a bit of Dr Who.
The Psammead - A British TV series featuring a very long-lived Sand Fairy, a rather Dr Zachary Smith-ish character who is befriended by children, whose wishes he grudgingly grants. In one episode he sends Edwardian children forward to the 1980s. Good stuff!
Catweazel - Bumbling Saxon Wizard gets one spell right finally, in attempting to escape from pursuing Norman soldiers, he spells himself away, to 900 years into the Future. The series is a quest to find enough magic stuff to get himself back to where he belongs.
The Time Tunnel, the 1960s TV series has two guys trapped in a faulty Time Tunnel machine, decades before Sliders, they fall through historical events. They are monitored from the present, and limited amounts of stuff can be sent to them as they need it. People can go down the Time tunnel, but they can't get out of it.
In Its about Time, a pair of Astronauts travel into the Caveman era via a spaceship re-entry speed caused time travel incident. Mainly played for laughs, a live action version of The Flintstones?
In I dream of Genie, there are time travel incidents in this 1960s series. 'Home' for Genie seems to be ancient Babylon and she does occasionally visit it and some wishes she grants involve transport to other times.
In The Flip side of Dominick Hyde, a Future Historian with a time travel flying disc and a large hat breaches the 'observe only, make no contact' rule, with the intention of sorting out who his mysterious great grand dad was. It turned to be him, his rule breaking being known in advance and allowed by the Authorities, because it had to be!
Several Red Dwarf episodes involve time travel, the most notable one being the 'time reversal' episode.
In Quantum Leap, the Gimmick is that the main character is a time Traveler who can only manifest in the form of an ancestor who was alive at the time, any age, any gender! We see Scott Bakula in Drag, people of the time see the ancestor of the time. Tremendous cross dressing potential!
The one off Black Adder Special, with the wooden clockwork Tardis
In the Blink Dr Who episodes the delayed message to the future was a neat trick.
Good Night Sweetheart, via a gap Garry Sparrow can have separate lives in 1940s and 1980s London. In a final episode we learn that his breach of temporal boundaries has been permitted by the 'Authorities' coz he has to save a UK political figure from an assassination attempt that shouldn't occur.
In the recent ABC drama 'Life on Mars', is a comatose modern day detective really living and working in the 1970s, resolving his 'issues', or is it all just a dream?
In episodes of Lost in Space, Will Robinson goes back to earth, via an Alien Technology device, while retrieving an egg for Dr Smith. He tries to get a message to NASA about the difficulties that will befall the Jupiter 2, but he was too early! He brings Dr Smith back a bottle of Carbon tetrachloride, dry cleaning fluid!
In 'First Edition' a bloke gets a paper delivered each morning 24 hours early and has to 'stop the front page' by preventing the problem. Similar premise, but a little different, Faith from Buffy has dead people at the morgue tell her what happened and she then wakes up the day before and tries to fix things.
In Heroes, Hiro has the ability to stop others experiencing time and to jaunt across time and space.
In Star Trek many Time travel episodes and incidents occur.
In Classic Trek, The City on the edge of time, has a Time Portal, a Guardian, and explores the consequences of altering the past.
In Next Gen, we meet the Q, who are Timeless beings among their other powers, it doesn't make them happy though.
In Deep Space Nine, there are the Bajoran's Ghods, actually Wormhole dwelling Timeless entities that have difficulties understanding the concept of linear time. They also get to go back and cause the Roswell incident!
Voyager has its Wormholes for faster than light travel and one episode where Voyager's Distress message can be transmitted into the pre-Federation past, the dilemma being how much of the past future can they disclose to a then enemy to get their message disclosed without endangering their own time line.
In Star Trek Enterprise, incidents with the Time Police are frequent.
Walking with Dinosaurs - Primeval - Dinosaur Park (or something). In these three programs the same special effects are used, in the documentary, long dead animals are recreated.
In Dinosaur Park, via made to suit Time Portals long dead animals are gathered to stock a theme park, in Primeval naturally occurring Time Portals periodically erupt, giving rise to 'Monsters in the Woods' stories and fatalities, which a government outfit is charged to control. Series ends with a visit by a creature from the future (killed and eaten by a spare Dinosaur) and a past erasing a time twist!