keywords: Science Fiction

  • INTERNATIONAL

    Zombie pigs and ethics

    • Kate Galloway
    • 24 April 2019
    8 Comments

    Scientists recently revealed they had 'brought to life' the brain cells of slaughtered pigs, research said to have potential application in resolving brain injuries, disorders and diseases. While there need be no doubt the experiment was carried out in accordance with the relevant ethical research protocols, this rather misses the point.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Militarising the Moon

    • Barry Gittins
    • 17 April 2019
    2 Comments

    This journey outwards is threatened by demagoguery. The UN's treaty declaring 'celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes' has been challenged by sabre-rattling by Donald Trump, with his declaration that 'it is not enough to have American presence in space; we must have American dominance'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Meet the robots who would be human

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 22 February 2019
    1 Comment

    More Human Than Human's exploration of the history and present reality of artificial intelligence is not a tale of terror. It is a thoughtful and nuanced engagement with the people who are making, using, or thinking about AI; those who have been touched by its life-changing potential, or come a-cropper of its more sinister aspects.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Cycling rhythms of eternity

    • Deanne Davies
    • 16 July 2018
    2 Comments

    Movements of time — Farewell to ancient granite. Greetings to gleaming streams and striating ribbons of colour.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Budget's arts flagship is, well, a flagship

    • Esther Anatolitis
    • 09 May 2018
    9 Comments

    The flagship cultural measure in the budget is, strangely, a flagship: the Endeavour. The government announced '$48.7 million over four years to commemorate the 250th anniversary of James Cook's first voyage to Australia and the Pacific'. A permanent presence on the first site of local trauma is not a vision for a nation.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    God in the cell

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 16 March 2018
    2 Comments

    Kane insists God doesn't make mistakes: 'That's what makes him God.' Lena retorts with reference to the Hayflick limit — the naturally occurring limit on the number of times cells can divide. Never mind cancer; the very fact of ageing, she says, comes down to a flaw in our DNA. It's a telling scene, pointing to a scientifically enlightened humanity at odds with its own physiology.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Existentialism and sexism in Blade Runner's future

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 11 October 2017
    3 Comments

    So considerable are its strengths that Blade Runner 2049 is a future classic, to be discussed and dissected for decades. That it will become so while blithely reinforcing the primacy of the white male gaze in popular culture is to be regretted.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    An interplanetary future favours the wealthy

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 19 September 2017
    11 Comments

    In a ball of fire, Cassini's 20-year journey across the solar system came to an abrupt finale last week. The spacecraft's odyssey soon revealed not 12 but 62 moons orbiting the gas giant. The most significant of these is Titan, which harbours large quantities of liquid water, considered to be essential to the existence of life. Meanwhile back on Earth ...

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Scorsese misses the depths of the 'Japanese swamp'

    • Jeremy Clarke
    • 22 February 2017
    7 Comments

    We are treated at length to Rodrigues' reflections upon the face of Christ, yet the beautiful inculturated image 'Madonna of the Snows' passes us quickly by. There are haunting local hymns yet the missionaries speak halting Japanese. The local church is served by a respected un-ordained head, who leads his fellow villagers in prayer and good works. The survival of the Japanese Catholic community rested on the feeble, faith-filled shoulders of the local women and men who kept praying even unto death.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Finding yourself in the language of the Other

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 15 November 2016
    1 Comment

    In science fiction, stories of first contact typically have as much to say about humanity as they do about the extra-terrestrial creations of the author's imagination. Mary Doria Russell's 1998 novel The Sparrow explores the consequences of a Jesuit-led mission to a planet near Alpha Centauri, which are profound for the planet's sentient inhabitants and devastating for the human travellers. As in The Sparrow, language is central to Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve's philosophically piquant first contact story Arrival.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Faith and humanism behind Tim Winton's curtain

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 26 October 2016
    1 Comment

    'When I was a kid I liked to stand at the window with a rifle and aim it at people.' So begins the opening, titular essay. It is a singularly arresting entre to an essay that charts the author's complex relationship with firearms (part awe, part terror), by way of commenting on the place of guns in Australian society. In this collection of essays Winton adopts this mode frequently, weaving (sometimes deeply) personal narratives into stirring, thoughtful commentary on a broad range of social and political issues.

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  • EDUCATION

    Homeschooling on the road

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 04 August 2016

    While snorkelling at Ningaloo, we had an underwater lesson, in Auslan, about tropical fish and coral. On a walk to Manning Gorge on the Gibb River Road, I explained the terms 'first' and 'third-person' narrators. As we strolled past boabs, we discussed the merits and drawbacks of each perspective. Kaitlyn's written four stories on the trip so far and she recalled which point of view she chose for each story, and why. I used to criticise parents who thought their kids too precious for school. Now, I'm not so sure.

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