By Roy Mathur, on 2014-03-09, at 09:05:00--09:27:47 GMT, for Roy's Rocket Radio, Listen
It's all over the news isn't it? Barclays executives and others getting huge pay rises, while the economy seems to be tanking. The weirdest stories seem to surround massive loss-makers like RBS and Co-Op, who continue to pay huge amounts to their top execs.
The situation is forehead slappingly funny, until you realise that maybe you made a wrong career choice somewhere, and perhaps an MBA and Oxbridge might have had you laughing all the way to the---well, bank. Yes, this doesn't have anything to do with genre, but it's my podcast.
So film reviewer Mark Kermode has just had a mini-rant about Gravity suddenly not being considered sci-fi by the makers.
This is the rather revolting phenomena that arises out of a fear, mostly by the creators themselves, that genre work, especially sci-fi, may be consigned to something known as the sci-fi ghetto. Which is to say that sci-fi is not really worthy of serious consideration as art. Frankenstein anyone?
The last two things that really annoyed in that respect were Margaret Attwood's The Hand Maid's Tale and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. Both books were made into highly successful films and then denied, by their own authors, as not being sci-fi. Stop it!
On Thursday I finally went to what, outside of swap meets and book fairs, is probably my first gathering of genre folk.
BSFA First Thursday is a monthly event has been going on since 1946. I basically went along because I was a bit fed up of sitting on me tod in the library or lurking behind bookshelves, and also because I have not managed to make it to a single con yet! Also, without partaking of any kind of community thing, as well as being socially isolating, makes your writing suffer. You need to get out into the world. And I'm telling myself that as much as you. I mean you can hardly say that Ernest Hemingway never lived life to the fullest!
So that's my motivation, but back to my first trepid, even timid, steps into meeting like-minded genre fans... and well, mixed results actually. A tiny few were welcoming, but the whole arrangement, sadly does seem just a little bit cliquey. Also the weekly event definitely had the feeling of a meeting of fans, rather than creatives.
I'm guessing it would take a substantial cost in time and effort for an outsider to start to feel at home. I think if I lived a bit nearer to the City, I might be tempted to put in the extra effort of maybe attending more meetings, but given the expense, distance, and inconvenience of getting there...
To be fair I don't think this is a problem exclusive to the BSFA, but many organisations with a limited number of members can get a bit too clubby. For example, I was attending a monthly NUJ meeting, but again the pay-off---not just social this time, but also professional because I was hoping making contacts would mean more work---have not been forthcoming.
The conclusion I have come to is if none of the groups suit your particular needs, maybe you should form your own. Don't spend too much time on something that isn't going to get you to your destination
This was on telly yesterday and I'm not going to bore you senseless with of the whole plot or a re-telling (basically characters in books are real and can be brought into our world), but the point I wanted to make is that it has the sweetest happy ending I have seen for a while. There might have been a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat.
I think I want to do a marathon viewing before the next Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi starts at the end of the year. The reason for this is that though I have probably watched all the episodes several times round, I have never seen them all in sequence. This will mean a regular spot for however many weeks it takes to get though the whole thing. (Ha ha ha! Don't you mean, "many years and counting", you fool?---Roy Mathur 2023-02-28 13:51:14).
Perhaps you'd like to join me for this by listening to the podcast and maybe contacting me as the weeks go by regarding the episodes as they are covered, or rather enjoyed, by me. Just give me a few days to organise things and we'll kick things off next week. Ooo, I am looking forward to this! Popcorn locked and loaded.
We have to do a study into GCHQ's mass surveillance. Really? Well, thanks for that. Blimey, isn't that something we all wanted for some time?
In other news Yahoo has thrown a major wobbly about the millions of pics from users' webcams hoovered up en mass from Yahoo Chat.
GCHQ were apparently surprised by the amount of compromising material. Just bear in mind, your digital footprint is far from confidential.
This new Apple product is an interface in your car, into which you can plug in your iPhone, which will then integrate into the vehicle's systems. Once you have done this you can control a bunch of iPhone things like messaging, music, and maps and, possibly, some car systems too. You can talk to CarPlay through Siri, touchscreens are built in to some vehicles, and actual physical controls like the dash buttons.
I can already see problems. First, Siri still ain't that great. Secondly, touchscreens of cars are nowhere near as good as the screens built in to iOS devices or even most Android devices.
The other thing is you will need a new car with CarPlay pre-installed, though some prestige car makers are looking at doing retrofits. Basically though, this is not going into Bill Boggin's old Ford Mondeo. The final insult is that you will need at least an iPhone 5 and up to even get in the game. Humbug, Apple, humbug!
So a lot of heavy, heavy topics this week, but I found some practical advice online, on the webpages of military SF writer Elizabeth Moon. This is a real no holds barred talk about some of the downsides of being a writer and, more importantly, how to deal with them. Although I don't read Moon, I was suprised and rather chuffed that a genre writer had taken the time to chat about this stuff and then publicly desiminate the material.
The particular page that I perused was about her experiences with depression. In addition there is quite a lot of good stuff just one directory up, where she offers advice to writers on a number of different subjects. (When I wrote this I didn't know about her awful Islamaphobic comment at WisCon 35 in 2010.---Roy Mathur 2023-03-13 21:42:01).
If you have any questions regarding the show, please contact me via RoyMathur.com.