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Richard HawkinsAbout Scifi UK ReviewRichard Hawkins / Ever since reading a short story by Philip K Dick entitled The Electric Ant back in the school library, he has been hooked on speculative fiction, and scifi and fantasy in general.

The distinct possibilities outlined in SF are fascinating. Since then he has read innumerable novels ranging from Christopher Priest to H.G. Wells. He is an avid reader and subscriber of Interzone, the British speculative fiction and science fiction periodical.

He particularly enjoys perusing second hand bookshops for old and out of print novels and magazines. He can’t help but compare original novels to their movie adaptations; be it recent movies or older movies against their 21st Century remakes. He has the bad habit of buying books based on their cover designs! He also enjoys reading and watching psychological, weird films which make you re-think the whole story and need to re-read/ re-watch it.

He resides close to where H.G. Wells‘ martians originally landed. And if he happens to pass a second hand bookshop, or a comic store like Forbidden Planet - well, he’s straight in there!

Peter Smith / Pete reads as much SF as he can. and particularly likes hardcore SF like Greg Egan (most definitely hardcore, brain straining SF) and Iain M Banks (imaginative space opera).

One of his favourite recently viewed films is Donnie Darko. Being into Quantum Physics from the theoretical and philosophical standpoints he is rather good at interesting talk around a beer loaded table. His thoughts meander one way and then another, from one subject to the other, but always on track, and always interesting.

Pete is working on an idea for a home made SF movie, complete with script, scenery and actors. He has already gone on a scouting excercise in his local Sheffield for Blade Runner looking buildings as backdrops.

Gareth D Jones / Gareth is a science fiction writer from England, with stories published both on line and in print and translated into Hebrew, Greek and Spanish. He also writes reviews of UK SF magazines and drinks lots of tea.

You can keep an eye on what he’s up to at:

Marcello Nicolini / Born on 8th December 1976 in Palermo, Italy, he started to write fourteen years ago. During the last few years, he has written many short stories of different genres: a western trilogy, stories of general fiction and a short novel with roots among the sword and sorcery genre. Now he is working on stories of dystopian and science fiction. He lives in Monza, Italy, but travels a lot to seek inspirations for his writings.

Simon Hope / A freelance journalist with a passion for reviewing and reporting the sci-fi genre (amongst others areas).

In General / Even though we’re a SciFi UK based site, we aren’t focusing the content on only UK tv, novels, magazines or movies, as SciFi itself is multicultural and interlinked across the world; it could even be construed as intergalactic and multi dimensional too.

We hope you enjoy your stay, and take something useful from our opinions, rants, reviews and discussions. In particular, we hope our essays encourage you to think sideways.

To contact the editors, please use the contact form.

What is SF?

Before I started to write this article, I had a look around the internet and some books I have, trying to find out how other people define Science Fiction/Sci-Fi/SF. And you know what? I don’t think people can agree. There seems to be so many definitions - even ‘official’ ones seem to differ with each other. There doesn’t seem to be any definitive definitions.

Science Fiction, apparently, is in the majority of cases: A literary or cinematic genre in which fantasy, typically based on speculative scientific discoveries or developments, environmental changes, space travel, or life on other planets, forms part of the plot or background.

Sci-Fi is an abbreviated version which is mostly frowned upon by Science Fiction fans, as an almost derisory term.

Another abbreviation is SF, which is more accepted by hardcore fans. Also, SF can mean Speculative Fiction.

To me, Science Fiction is not anything to do with space ships, lasers or technology as a whole, it is to do with ideas. It is the exploration of the human mind in an arena which quite possibly will include androids or rockets or alien planets. Because it contains androids or rockets or alien planets does not make it Science Fiction, it is the idea, the strangeness, the environment in which the author does his or her ‘What if…?’.

Philip K Dick once said that you could make a story appear to be Science Fiction by chucking in one word in one sentence (”Darling, where are the anti-grav boots?”. “In the cupboard where they always are.”). This on the face of it will make it Science Fiction because of the unknown science aspect, but doesn’t alter the story at all, it makes it obviously Science Fiction. So therefore it still would be Science Fiction without the anti-grav sentence.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that because the realms of Science Fiction is so fluid, the rules are being rewritten all the time, so that is probably why the definition of Science Fiction is so elusive. The market and readers (and the publishers/editors to some extent) dictate (albeit possibly unconsciously) what Science Fiction is.

Personally, I prefer the term SF (meaning Speculative Fiction), although I do let slip with Sci-Fi or Science Fiction during conversations sometimes.

Whatever the boundaries of Science Fiction are, one thing is for sure, it is always interesting, and you just know when it’s an SF story (either written or in a film).

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Interzone Cover Archive

interzone issue one scan image pictureInterzone Cover Artwork All In One Place

On and impluse, I did a search for old Interzone covers on google images, and came back with this site which holds most (if not all) the covers of Interzone from Issue 1 to Issue 199, which strangely enough is exactly where I started subscribing to it.

I particularly liked the way the cover changed slightly from Issue 1 to Issue 2, the total eclipse of the sun moving off centre and the colour changing. Very effective, if simplistic.

You can see how the artwork progressed, and the way in which ’sf’ is being portrayed through art is changing.

It’s also amusing to see how the Interzone logos change over the years, of which I prefer the newest. Although that’s not to say the older ones weren’t ‘cool’ in their day - they just look kind of dated now, which isn’t really true of the artwork itself, it’s stood the test of time.

My favourite is Issue 16 as it reflects the kind of stories I rate high on my list - a world which is similar to our own on the surface, but strange when examined closely.

Looking at the covers, quite a few names jump out. Most notably, J.G Ballard, Christopher Priest, Jonathan Carroll (which I never realised had written for Interzone), Ian Watson, Kim Newman, Greg Bear, Bruce Sterling,, Greg Egan, Eric Brown and William Gibson, to name but a few. Which goes to make an impressive lineup.

A great archive, which covers the covers of the world’s best, British and longest running, sf magazine, although, sadly, the names of the artists are missing.

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Interzone 207 Review

INTERZONE 207 (Nov-Dec 2006)

Cover Art By Richard Marchand
interzone cover 207 richard marchand artwork


The Purring Of Cats By Dave Hoing
Illustrated by Kenn Brown
Continue Reading

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The Prestige Movie Trailer

the prestige hugh jackman christian bale michael caine scarlett johanssonThrough Big Dumb Object I’ve finally got to see the trailer for The Prestige, adapted from Christopher Priest’s novel of the same name.

From acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins), comes a mysterious story of two magicians whose intense rivalry leads them on a life-long battle for supremacy full of obsession, deceit and jealousy with dangerous and deadly consequences.

In the starring roles are:
Hugh Jackman
Christian Bale
Michael Caine
Scarlett Johansson
Rebecca Hall.

And also, David Bowie apparently.

And it looks pretty awesome (but, as we all know, trailers normally are). Fingers crossed it’s pulled off.

If you have trouble on the Apple site link above when viewing the trailer (as I did, I think it was the QT plug which seems to be broken), then you can see it on the official Prestige Movie site from Touchstone.

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Dead SciFi Writers

It’s A Shame That Sometimes You Can’t Do What You Wish To

When I finished Olaf Stapledon’s The Star Maker (without noticing how long ago it was written) I thought, wow, I’d really like to speak to this guy, delve into his mind and interview him on what made him write such an immense, deep, wide vision of a novel.

Oh. But then I found out he’d actually died in 1950 (I sometimes skip reading the summary of a novel until I’ve finished) and this book was recommended to me by a friend.

The point of the above is that over a period of a few years, there have been novels I’ve read which really make me want to speak with the author, only to find that they have since died. In an interview I did with Christopher Priest, he mentioned how a lot of the authors in a (probably) never to be published anthology were already dead as it was conceived many years ago. This jogged my memory so I thought I’d make a list of authors I would have liked to have met and/or interviewed.

So in no particular order, here they are, with the novel/story which made me want to meet them personally ask them questions (and get my collection of their stories autographed, with a photo as they’re doing it):

Philip K. Dick (Probably The Electric Ant)
Olaf Stapledon (Starmaker)
H.G. Wells (The Time Machine and The Invisible Man)
Jules Verne (All of his writings)

There’s a load more, but I don’t have them to hand. I’d need to run my eyes over my library shelves.

I also think it’s neat that authors are accessible through the Internet. Some, I know, don’t have a web presence, either intentionally, because they aren’t aware of it (?), or in the case of a select few, they are in hiding, but.. the one’s who take time to reply to cold emails are the one’s which should be nodded to.

And I guess there is always the Oui-Ja board in extreme cases…

But actually, no, there’s the living ones.

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