OK, so this is primarily a kind of double-barrelled heads-up message to anyone considering going to the British Science Fiction Association’s 50th anniversary shindig on Wednesday 26th November.
Alert level 1: It looks like I’ll be going. So if that’s off-putting, best cancel your attendance; if that’s a thrilling prospect, book your train ticket right away!
Alert level 2: Other Stuff Is Afoot In London. Geoff ‘BLDGBLOG’ Manaugh is doing two talks on the 26th; the details for the earlier one aren’t out yet, but the evening one has been fully announced: entitled ‘Battlespaces 1’, it runs between 7pm and 9pm at the J Z Young Lecture Theatre at UCL, inside the Anatomy Building on Gower Street (which is about a mile or so from the BSFA bash venue, if my map-fu is any good). Full details are available at the Complex Terrain Laboratory, but to sum it up briefly:
Contemporary political discourse on armed violence and insecurity has been largely shaped by references to spatial knowledge, simulation, and control: “human terrain,” “urban clutter,” “terrorist sanctuaries,” “failed states,” “core-periphery.” The historical counterpoint to this is to be found in the key role the successive technologies of clock, engine, computer, and network have all played in spatializing the practice of warfare. In this context, what implications do “feral” Third World cities, “rogue” cities organized along non-Western ideas of urban space and infrastructure, and “wild” cities reclaimed by nature, have for the battlespaces of today and tomorrow?
Mmmm, Zeitgeist – and very sf-nal, I think you’ll agree; Manaugh was briefly the most interesting poster on io9 before the inevitable economics of search terms ousted his speculative architecture pieces in favour of more Ten Craziest Battlestar Who-Heroes Chronicles SPOILARZ!!-type stuff.
As you may have guessed already, it is my intent to attend this talk (and the earlier one, if it proves to be temporally and spatially accessible), and to drag Mr Manaugh along to the BSFA party afterwards if he’s not too tired/busy/sane (no kidnapping required, as he has already expressed an interest).
If this sounds like something you’d like to come to as well, drop me a line and we’ll make a mission of it. After all, days out in London should be crammed with as much interesting stuff as possible, if only so as to maximise on train fare value. AMIRITE?