Category Archives: Science fiction and fantasy

Pre-orders open for my monograph on Norman Jewison’s 1975 film, Rollerball

My monograph on Norman Jewison’s 1975 dystopian science fiction film, Rollerball, something I have been working on for the last couple of years, now has a cover and will soon be in the world via Constellations imprint of the independent film and media studies publisher, Auteur.

This is the first semi-academic publication I have written and I am excited but also a little nervous about how it is going to be received.

Rollerball depicts a future dominated by anonymous corporations and their executive elite, in which all individual effort and aggressive emotions are subsumed into a horrifically violent global sport, remains critically overlooked. What little has been written deals mainly with its place within the renaissance of Anglo-American science fiction cinema in the 1970s, or focuses on the elaborately shot, still visceral to watch, game sequences, so realistic they briefly gave rise to speculation Rollerball may become an actual sport.

Drawing on numerous sources, including little examined documents in the archive of the film’s screenwriter William Harrison,the book examines the many dimensions of Rollerball’s making and reception: the way it simultaneously exhibits the aesthetics and narrative tropes of mainstream action and art-house cinema; the elaborate and painstaking process of world creation undertaken by Jewison and Harrison; and the cultural forces and debates that influenced them, including the increasing corporate power and growing violence in Western society in late 1960s and early 1970s.… Read more

The Projection Booth podcast does The Running Man

While I am not a huge podcast consumer, one podcast I am a regular listener of is The Projection Booth, helmed by a man who has forgotten more about film than many of us will ever know, Detroit-based Mike White.

So, it was a huge honour to be asked to be a guest, along with Aaron Peterson, on their latest episode, which looks at the 1987 dystopian science fiction film, The Running Man. Set in the distant year of 2017, The Running Man, takes place in an authoritarian future America where the highest rating television show pits criminals against muscle-bound, spandex-clad “stalkers”. The film is based very loosely on the novel of the same name by Richard Bachman aka Stephen King, the film has a great cast, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Richard Dawson, Yaphet Koto. Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura and Mara Conchita Alonso.

The Running Man is a film that aged surprisingly well. As part of the episode, Mike talks to the movie’s screen writer Steven E. de Souza and producer George Linder. We also jaw about the its odd production history, and other ‘people hunting people films’ including the 1970 German production, Das Millionenspiel, and Elio Petri’s wonderful 1965 effort, The 10th Victim.

You can listen to the entire episode at The Projection Booth site here.… Read more

Pre-orders open for The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir

I’ll make this quick. Pre-orders are now open for an exciting new anthology, The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, out through the New York based independent publisher, Three Rooms Press, this October.

I reckon the wonderful cover, which I just love, tells you all you need to know about the book. Fifteen stories of pulpy goodness, featuring robots, lizard people, vigilante killers and various other bizarre creations riffing off the conspiracy theories association with the Obama presidency (although I believe the current occupant of the White House also gets a nod).

The anthology is edited by one of the hardest working men in crime fiction, Gary Phillips, critically acclaimed author of mystery and graphic novels, including Peepland, Violent Spring, and Warlord of Willow Ridge. It features stories by a host of talented writers, including big guns such as Walter Mosley and Robert Silverberg. I represent the Melbourne contingent, along with my friend and fellow scribe, Liam Jose, with a dystopian science fiction heist gone wrong tale called, ‘Sunburnt Country’.

Alll the pre-order details you need to know can be found at Three Rooms Press site here.

Pulp Friday: A Clockwork Orange

It has been a while between posts, I know. This site, as well as a number of other things in my life, has taken a back seat in order for me to meet a few pressing deadlines, in particular, working on a monograph for a English publisher on Norman Jewison’s 1975 dystopian science fiction classic, Rollerball.

While Jewison was not a great fan of science fiction he was impressed by two science fiction films, both of them made by Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange, released in 1971 (although it was not released in Australian until 1988). It is this latter film that is the subject of today’s Pulp Friday post.

Published by Anthony Burgess in 1962, A Clockwork Orange is set in a near future dystopian England suffering from an epidemic of extreme youth violence and economic stagnation. The book’s teenage protagonist, Alex, narrates the story of his various criminal exploits and the subsequent efforts of the conservative state authorities to rehabilitate him, in a made up language Burgess called ‘Nadsat’.

Burgess’s own politics were conservative, with a streak of anarchism running through his thinking. He wrote A Clockwork Orange in three weeks, influenced by his views of the growing youth culture in early sixties England.… Read more

Pulp Friday: Patrick

Patrick #1I am partial to a good paperback movie tie-in and this week’s Pulp Curry features a beauty, Patrick, which I found in an excellent second hand book shop during recent travels in rural Victoria.

Published by Sun Books in 1978, the novel is based on the original screenplay by Everett de Roche of the influential Ozploitation film of the same name about man in a coma after murdering his mother and her lover by electrocuting them in a bath. The man, Patrick (Robert Thomspon), who strange psychokinetic powers, falls in love with his nurse, Kathy (Susan Penhaligon) communicating with her via an electric typewriter. He also uses his powers to ward off other potential male suiters in Kathy’s life and battle the hospital staff, particularly the Nurse Ratched-like Matron, Cassidy (Julia Blake).

The book was written Australian writer Keith Hetherington, who we have featured previously on this site. Hetherington, who was born in 1929 and I believe is still alive, had a long career, including writing Westerns and Larry Kent crime thrillers for Cleveland Publishing, fiction for Man and Pocket Man magazine, radio plays, television scripts, and various stand alone thrillers and a paperback tie ins for films such as Snapshot (1979) and The Chain Reaction (1980).

I love the cover for this paperback tie in, Robert Thompson aka Patrick’s creepy, penetrating eyes, although the copy I have, from which the front and back cover scan is taken, is slightly askew, the product of a printing fault.… Read more