Science fiction enters clad in the motley of costume drama: polished, chromed, complete, not infrequently camp. But there’s always a twist, a tear, a weak seam. This genre takes finery from the prop shop and turns it into something vital – a god, a golem, a puzzle, a prison. In science fiction, it matters where you are and how you dress, what you walk on and even what you breathe. All this stuff is contingent, you see. It slips about. It bites.
To introduce a New Scientist speaking event at London’s Barbican centre on 29 June, I took a moment to wonder why the present looks so futuristic.
At 1.30pm on Thursday 28 September, I’ll be bringing Stalin and his scientists to New Scientist Live at the Excel in London. Further details here.
On 16 August at 2pm I’ll be bringing Stalin’s scientists to the Edinburgh International Book Festival. More details here.
On Sunday 11 June at 2.00pm I’ll be at the York Festival of Ideas, talking about Stalin and his scientists.
May contain nuts.
Admission is free. Further details here.
We imagine things before we make them, from spacecraft to smartphones – and designers often turn artists’ imaginings of the future into our everyday reality. So who’s in charge?
At least, I will be on 29 June when I herd Matt Smith (editor of 2000 AD) spaceflight expert Piers Bizony and architect Liam Young into London’s Barbican Centre for a session called The Dreamer’s Club. Fun and games begin at 7.30pm. Details and tickets here.
At 3pm on Sunday April 30 I’ll be chatting to Neil Denny about Stalin and his scientists – part of Little Atoms’s first literary festival at Waterstones Piccadilly. More details here.
Here’s something for the evening of Thursday 27 April 7-10 pm.
Designer and trouble-maker Leila Johnston has invited me to join Katharine Vega (chroma.space) and Dr Sean Power (Trinity College, Dublin) at the Site Gallery in Sheffield to ask whether art, science and belief are “branches of the same tree” as Albert Einstein once said, and what happens when some of those branches begin to crack?
Full details here.
The Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival have invited me to talk about Stalin and the Scientists on Saturday 29 April at 3.15pm at the Stratford Artshouse.
Tickets are £10.
The Bristol Festival of Ideas have invited me along to Waterstones, The Galleries, Bristol, to talk about Stalin’s scientists on 24 April at 7pm. “The Soviet Union’s sciences were the largest and best funded in history,” it says in this here programme, “and were at once the glory and laughing stock of the intellectual world” — a description that might well apply to me. Anyway, I’m going to be speaking. Come listen. Tickets are £6.
is a festival of words and ideas that takes place from 3 to 12 March 2017 at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, Cumbria. I’ll be talking about Stalin and his scientists on Sunday 12 March at 5.45pm. Tickets are £8 from https://www.theatrebythelake.com/words-by-the-water-festival