Tag Archives: sci-fi

The Truth 24 Times Per Second

The Carsey-Wolf Center’s Spring 2019 screening series at UC Santa Barbara explores the international legacies of cinematic New Waves, including films from France, Cuba, China, Italy, and Iran. Whatever their disparate eras or sources, these selections share an emphasis on stylistic and narrative experimentation, a rejection of traditional film conventions, a sympathetic response to youth culture, an insistence on emotional verisimilitude, and a critical examination of contemporary social and political issues.

Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour (France-Japan/1959), written by novelist Marguerite Duras, uses the post-war affair between a French actress and a Japanese architect as the basis for a poignant meditation on memory and forgetfulness. The two struggle with their differing perceptions of the Hiroshima bombing and its lingering effects, both societal and personal (one of which is the end of their affair). Resnais, a former editor, employs a dense, elliptical narrative structure that includes documentary footage and brief flashbacks to the lovers’ previous lives, among other innovations. Resnais was a generation older than Truffaut, Godard, and other French New Wave filmmakers, but his innovations proved influential on their work.

Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s Memories of Underdevelopment (Cuba/1968) is a complex character study set in Havana during a period of social turmoil, between the Bay of Pigs invasion and the missile crisis. The protagonist, Sergio, is a wealthy bourgeois aspiring writer who elects to remain in Cuba after his wife and friends flee to Miami. Living a rootless existence in an atmosphere of anomie, Sergio is soon caught up in the social and political Cold War forces engulfing Cuba, and the post-revolution economic upheavals that are causing his privileged class to disappear. As in Renais’ film the narrative which unfolds is fragmented and highly subjective, in a style meant to evoke the process of memory and that requires active participation from the spectator.

Zhang Yimou’s Red Sorghum (China, 1987), based on the novel by Nobel laureate Mo Yan, chronicles life in a rural Chinese village during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Though seemingly more conventional in style and narrative structure than other New Wave films, Red Sorghum shares its determination to challenge Hollywood conventions, eschewing ersatz sophistication and easy sentimentality in favor of simplicity and emotional directness, expressed in unromanticized depictions of poverty, sexual abuse, and sudden violence. The overall effect at times approaches a state not unlike magic realism. The film was also distinctive for its time and place in centering its story on a young girl, an emphasis which abetted a critique of Chinese society’s traditional sexual mores and treatment of women.

Though diverse in their blending of themes and techniques, what emerges from viewings of these and other New Wave films is a renewed sense of the cinema’s potential as a narrative art form, one illuminating aspects of the human condition far surpassing the boundaries of Hollywood storytelling.

Browse more programs in Carsey-Wolf Center.


Go “Back to the Future” with Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and Screenwriter Bob Gale

Back to the FutureToday it’s a permanent fixture in American popular culture, but the “Back to the Future” script was rejected over 40 times before it finally made it into production and, once it hit theaters in 1985, into our hearts.

In the first installment of the exciting new “Script to Screen” series from UC Santa Barbara’s esteemed Carsey-Wolf Center, legendary actor Christopher Lloyd, who so memorably portrayed flux capacitor inventor Dr. Emmett Brown, and “Back to the Future” screenwriter and producer Bob Gale sit down for an entertaining trip down memory lane as they share rare insights into the creation and enduring appeal of Marty McFly’s time travel adventures.

Watch “Script to Screen: Back to the Future,” online now. And stay tuned to UCTV for a conversation with “Dead Poets Society” screenwriter Tom Schulman and the hilarious Hollywood insider stories told by Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz, writers of “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Legally Blonde,” and more.

If you’re into the business and creativity of the entertainment biz, then you’ll also want to check out all of our programs from the Carsey-Wolf Center, including a visit with “Modern Family” creator Steven Levitan and an assessment of the incomparable “Law & Order” franchise with its creator Dick Wolf and legendary TV producer Marcy Carsey (“Roseanne,” “The Cosby Show,” among many).


It Came From Riverside: 10 Notable Fanzines in the Eaton Collection

If you’re a fan of science fiction, then you’ll find yourself in good company at the Eaton Collection, which houses an impressive collection of fanzines from 1940 to modern day.  Get your introduction in the first episode of UCTV Prime’s new series “It Came from Riverside: Inside the World’s Largest Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy” and check out this list of the top 10 notable fanzines available for viewing at UC Riverside’s Eaton Collection.

No genre has inspired such an evangelical fervor in its fans like science fiction. These days, there are countless conventions, websites and portals for communication between the authors, fans, publishing houses and various pop culture kibitzers. But before fans congregated on i09 and Locus message boards, there were fanzines.

You could say the fanzine is the internet’s precursor. These amateur publications began in the 1930s as a way for science fiction fans – who were geographically spread out–to share their ideas with one another. Created with mimeograph machines during people’s private time, fanzines included letter columns, author interviews and book reviews.

Some were more sophisticated than others, depending on the editor’s skills. But “they were totally labors of love,” said Rob Latham, professor at UC Riverside and senior editor of the journal Science Fiction Studies. (Oddly enough, the term “fanzine” was coined by editor Russ Chauvenet in the October 1940 edition of his fanzine Detours – 10 years after the first official fanzine was actually created!)

From the beginning fanzines fostered a feeling that SF fans were part of a community. They became a way that professional writers, editors, readers and fans were able to communicate. The Eaton Collection is home to nearly 100,000 fanzines, which grew out of the collections of four prominent fans: Terry Carr, Fred Patten, Bruce Pelz, and Rick Sneary.  (Nerd alert! The Eaton Collection was a “major draw” for Latham, who moved from the University of Iowa to UC Riverside in 2008.)

Here, Latham talks about 10 of the more notable fanzines you can find in the Eaton Collection.

1. The Comet

Published in 1930 by the Science Correspondence Club in Chicago and edited by Raymond A. Palmer and Walter Dennis, the Comet is widely heralded as the first fanzine ever.

The Comet fanzine (1940)
Inside The Comet

2. Spockanalia

The first media fanzine – meaning a fan publication based on science fiction found in a mainstream medium – was, of course, based on Star Trek and was called Spockanalia.


“Media fanzines took off in the 1970s with Star Wars and all those movies,” Latham said. “Star Trek was seen as the most intellectually interesting and responsible [product of pop culture]; an SF fan could say they were a fan of Star Trek and not be embarrassed, whereas they might get embarrassed by saying they were fans of other things that passed for SF in pop culture. Some media fanzines published fan fiction and pushed stories forward; Star Trek actually went off the air in 1969, and it was a decade before the movies came out. So fans sustained a cult interest that made it clear that you could return to it. The fans kept it alive,” he added.


3. The Fantasy-Times

Fantasy Times: The World of Tomorrow Today


In 1955, editors James V. Taurasi, Sr. and Ray Van Houten won the first Hugo Award for “Best Fanzine” for the Fantasy-Times. “Zines nominated for Hugos meant fans gave awards to other fans. The ones that won usually had the broadest possible influence or interest, and are called genzines – general interest ‘zines,” Latham said.






5. The biggest, most longstanding genzines—which spanned the years from the 1950s to the 1980s — were called Warhoon and Yandro.

6.  Le Zombie

Le Zombie’s editor Bob Tucker started out as an SF fan and eventually became a professional writer. “He was famous for having invented certain terms that started in fan culture and now are widely used,” Latham said. “He invented the term ‘space opera,’ which is now used to refer to things like Star Wars movies. Before there was an academic discourse on SF, there was critical terminology and literary criticism of the genre going on in the ‘zines such as Le Zombie,” Latham explained.



7. Shangri L’Affaires

Shangri L’Affaires is the official publication of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.  Established in 1940, it’s one of the longest-running zines around, and has changed editors numerous times.








8. Amra

Many zines were specialized based on an editor’s interest “Amrawas a major ‘zine in the 1960s that was responsible for getting people more interested in fantasy rather than just science fiction,” Latham said. “It came out around the time that J.R.R. Tolkien’s books were being introduced in America, and people were getting interested in sword and sorcery,” he said.

Inside Amra

9. Psychotic. (Later known as the Science Fiction Review).

“To me, the most important fanzine editor was Richard Geis,” Latham said. Geis edited a fanzine but changed its name from Psychotic. to Science Fiction Review. “He was very much a proponent of the New Wave of science fiction,” Latham said. Geis edited his zine during the 1960s and 1970s, when there was an infusion of counterculture interest among the SF fans. “[His zines] were very much on that edge. They had very psychedelic covers, and were interested in the newer, younger writers who were dealing with themes such as gender, sexuality and politics – which had not really been part of the genre before then.”

10. Australian Science-Fiction Review

“The Australian Science-Fiction Review was probably one of the most intellectually rigorous and interesting of the zines,” Latham said. Started in 1966 (around the time an academic interest in SF was growing), the Australian Science Fiction-Review was one of the first few ‘zines that pushed the fan culture into a more academic direction.

Not all fans were appreciative of the fanzine’s efforts and resented the fact that academics – and not fans were writing about SF. As Dana Benatan said, “We have to take SF out of the classroom and back in the gutter where it belongs!”



It Came From Riverside: Inside the World’s Largest Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection

As comic book and science fiction fans convene in San Diego for Comic-Con, UCTV Prime’s new series “It Came from Riverside” takes viewers inside UC Riverside’s Eaton Collection, the world’s largest, publicly-accessible collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian fiction.

The original series reveals some of the archive’s most treasured possessions, illuminates the genre’s evolution in popular culture, and demonstrates its growing acceptance within literary and academic circles. The first episode is online now, with more coming July 10 and 13 and additional episodes later this summer.

“Ep. 1: Inside the World’s Largest Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy”
Venture inside UC Riverside’s Eaton Collection for a peek at some of its science fiction and fantasy treasures – including fanzines, manuscripts, first editions, posters and more –and an assessment of the collection’s significance within popular culture and academia.

July 10 “Ep. 2: The Evolution of Science Fiction”
The expansive Eaton Collection reflects the history and evolution of science fiction, with particular emphasis on its shift from hopeful, utopian themes that demonstrate society’s inherent faith in technology, to a bleaker, dystopian view in the wake of Word War II and the dawn of the Atomic Age.

July 13 “Ep. 3: Science Fiction Goes to School” 
It wasn’t very long ago that science fiction literature was dismissed as frivolous. This episode outlines the growing respectability of SF and fantasy, their emergence as literature worthy of preservation and study, and the many ways in which the Eaton Collection services this growing scholarly demand.

The Eaton Collection is the largest publicly-accessible collection of science fiction and fantasy literature in the world, consisting of over 300,000 items. The collection begins with the 1517 edition of Thomas More’s Utopia and includes first editions of many seminal works including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (1895). The collection also includes more than 50,000 science fiction-themed comic books as well as the most expansive collection of scholarly studies on science fiction and fantasy in the United States.