Escape the Winter without leaving Canberra

Winter in Canberra is an excellent time to catch up on reading and watching Science Fiction. However, there are also two events at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) over the next month may tempt a Canberra fan out of the house and the cinema.

Wintercon, the Canberra Games Society’s Winter games event, is being held Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 July in the Fitzroy Pavilion. This event is Cancon’s little sibling. Like Cancon, you can visit the event for free just to see the trading tables and watch the gaming. Or you can pay $10 per day to play the board games in the game library.

GammaCon is Canberra’s pop culture festival and the largest of it’s type in the ACT and Southern NSW region. GammaCon is being held on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August in the Budawang Conference Centre and Coorong Pavilions. The event is aimed at fans of cosplay, comics, computer gaming, tv, anime and collectables.

Tickets can be bought online, at the door, or at various shops around Canberra. This is an affordable convention with an adult ticket for the weekend costing $43.84 online.

GammaCon also has a competitions for creative fans. Both of the competitions below have $150 prizes in two categories, under 16 and over 16 years of age.

  • Science Fiction and Fantasy short story competition. Only one story per person, maximum 1,500 words, family friendly, and must be received by GammaCon by 5 August.
  • Art competition. Submitted as an image via email by 2 August, or in person on the first day of the convention.

Further details on the competitions are on the events page on the GammaCon site.

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March Turkish delights

The Canberra Science Fiction Club usually meets twice each month.  The first Thursday is a General Meeting and on the third Thursday members, friends, family or guests can gather together to talk and eat at a restaurant.  Each person pays for their own choice of meal.  Everyone is welcome.  You don’t have to belong to the club to join in.  The only requirement is that you notify the Secretary at least two days before attending the dinner.

The Secretary has pre-selected the restaurants for this year and the cuisines are varied – Chinese, Ethiopian, Indian, Malaysian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Nepalese, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese, just to name a few.  Most restaurants have a banquet as well as a normal menu.

March choice was Turkish cuisine. We gathered at the Turkish Delight at 5 Weedon Close Belconnen. Many attendees had dined there last year and were looking forward to an excellent meal again. We were not disappointed.

According to the sign outside, this restaurant is under new management. 10 of us attended. Leigh and I were the first to arrive and there seemed to be a little confusion at first. (We were not the only group booked.)

The quality of the food has not changed – it is still excellent. As far as we could tell, the menu was unchanged. They have a wonderful menu range – you can check for yourself on their website. Their menu includes hot or cold drinks and alcohol is available.

As usual, we looked forward to our the Banquet. All 10 of us selected the banquet for $35.00. A small cost for an excellent meal of:-

  • Turkish bread with the usual 4 dips (Beetroot, Carrot Cucumber and Hummus)
  • Cheese roll (Feta, parsley and dill) and Zucchini balls.
  • Pide (Turkish pizza)
  • Kofta (lamb and beef meatballs)
  • Iskander Kebab (Beef slices with tomato sauce, garlic and yoghurt)
  • Sis Tavuk (marinated chicken pieces on skewers)
  • All served with rice and salad.
  • A wonderful desert of Turkish Delight and Baklava.
  • And Hot Apple Tea served to complete the meal.

What a meal! The comments were all complimentary (like A1! Great, Satisfying, Excellent and so forth) – except for one small note. The person who was last to take their share of salad found the salad have a little too much oil dressing for their liking. (This may have been only because the oil had settled in the bottom of the bowl by then.)

Everybody had a excellent time and very much enjoyed the food. We will definitely be back there again.

-SH

Incredibles 2 (2018)

Incredibles 2 is a rare thing – a sequel to a popular animated movie that captures much of what made the original movie such a success.

The story begins soon after The Incredibles movie finished with the Parr family living in a cheap motel room and surviving on takeaway. Having had a taste of using their superpowers, the Parrs are unsure of what to do with their powers and their futures in a world where its illegal to use superpowers.

The movie gives us more of the banter, sixties flair, and action of the original; with fun action scenes provided by the super-toddler Jack-Jack and a script with plenty of nuanced humour for adult viewers.

Highly recommended, especially for a Wintery matinee session.

Would you fly on that spaceship?

For a change at our general meeting in April we played a game in the form of a Crew Hiring Challenge.

The challenge was for each team to agree on a spaceship and its crew – the crew being the Captain, First Officer, Science Officer, Chief Engineer, Navigator, Medical Officer, Security Officer, Quarter Master, and the Sanitation Engineer.

The rules of the challenge were: everything must come from a fictional universe; the crew and its ship must all come from different fictional universes; and the same ship or character could not be chosen by more than one team.

There was a lot of discussion, some spying on other teams and some laughter before three possibly highly dysfunctional crews and their ships emerged.

In no particular order….

Would you travel on this spaceship?

Spaceship Helva (Anne McCaffrey’s novel The Ship Who Sang)

  • Captain John Sheridan (Babylon 5)
  • First Officer Chewbacca (Star Wars)
  • Science Officer Harry Seldon, (Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels)
  • Chief Engineer Conrad Stargard (Leo Frankowski’s Cross-Time Engineer novels)
  • Navigator Aelliana Caylon (Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden novels)
  • Medical Officer Doctor Conway (James White’s Sector General novels)
  • Security Officer Tasha Yar (Star Trek the Next Generation)
  • Quarter Master Elli Quinn (Lois McMaster-Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga novels)
  • Sanitation Engineer Adam Quark (Quark)

Or would you travel on this spaceship?

Spaceship Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)

  • Captain Nemo (Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and other novels)
  • First Officer 7 of 9 (Star Trek Voyager)
  • Science Officer The Doctor (Doctor Who)
  • Chief Engineer Richard Ceason (Sky Layer)
  • Navigator Major West (Lost in Space, 1960s series)
  • Medical Officer Doctor Victor Frankenstein (Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein)
  • Security Officer Flash Gordon (originally from Alex Raymond’s 1934 comic strip Flash Gordon)
  • Quarter Master Alfred Pennyworth (Batman)
  • Sanitation Engineer Dave Lister (Red Dwarf)

Or would you travel on this spaceship?

Spaceship New York City (James Blish’s Cities in Flight novels). Yes, it is the actual city of New York.

  • Captain Aral Vorkosigan (Lois McMaster-Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga novels)
  • First Officer Hal (Arthur C Clarke’s novel 2001: A Space Odyssey)
  • Science Officer Ash (Alien
  • Chief Engineer Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye (Firefly)
  • Navigator A Navigator (Frank Herbert’s Dune novels)
  • Medical Officer Doctor Stephen Franklin (Babylon 5)
  • Security Officer Xena (Xena: Warrior Princess)
  • Quarter Master Vila Restal (Blake’s 7)
  • Sanitation Engineer Kryten (Red Dwarf)

Canberra celebrates Star Wars with bells on

May the 4th (be with you) is Star Wars day and one of Canberra’s institutions is celebrating loudly.

At 12.30pm on May the 4th, the National Carillion is hosting a Star Wars concert – with arrangements of new and original Star Wars themes composed by John Williams ringing out across Lake Burley Griffin until 1.30pm.

This is a free event and a rare chance for Star Wars fans to hear the themes played on the Carillion’s 55 bronze bells.

The full program is:

  • Main Theme (played by Peter Bray and Harrison Whalan, arranged by T Laue, P Bray and K Mahajan)
  • Imperial March (played by Lyn Fuller, arranged by A Bowler)
  • Princess Leia’s Theme (played by Lyn Fuller, arranged by A Bowler)
  • Cantina Theme (arranged & played by Julie Wright & Peter Bray)
  • Yoda’s theme (arranged & played by Anna Wong)
  • Throne Room (arranged & played by Leonard Weiss)
  • Finn’s Confession (arranged & played by Leonard Weiss)
  • Jedi Steps (arranged & played by Leonard Weiss)
  • Luke and Leia (arranged & played by Harrison Whalan)
  • Across the Stars (arranged & played by Peter Bray)
  • Rey’s Theme (arranged & played by Peter Bray)

ABC returns to the stars

Stargazing Live, the combined television and stargazing event, which will be on the ABC again this year from 22 – 24 May. As a part of this event…

Budding astronomers and space explorers – on Wednesday 23 May, the Australian National University and the ABC will be attempting a Guinness World Record for the ‘most people stargazing – multiple venues’. The current record was set by the ANU at 7,960 people across 37 locations. During this time, we will be hosting a number of events both here in Canberra and up at Siding Spring.

The ABC and ANU are putting out the call to schools, astronomy societies, community groups, and all budding galactic explorers across Australia to join the world record attempt by hosting a Stargazing Live Star Party on Wednesday 23 May.

Yes, you can party with the stars and not starlets!

ABC Stargazing Live site

Details and how to register your party on the ABC’s website. 

 

February Fortune dining

The Canberra Science Fiction Club usually meets twice each month.  The first Thursday is a General Meeting and on the third Thursday members, friends, family or guests can gather together to talk and eat at a restaurant.  Each person pays for their own choice of meal.  Everyone is welcome.  You don’t have to belong to the club to join in.  The only requirement is that you notify the Secretary at least two days before attending the dinner.

The Secretary has pre-selected the restaurants for this year and the cuisines are varied – Chinese, Ethiopian, Indian, Malaysian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Nepalese, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese, just to name a few.  Most restaurants have a banquet as well as a normal menu.

February’s choice was Chinese – we gathered at the Fortune Cookie at the Melba shops.  Many attendees had dined at the there last year and were looking forward to an excellent meal again.  We were not disappointed.

This restaurant is amazing.  The staff is friendly and willing to alter dishes if needed. (One of us had a pork allergy and they were happy to substitute chicken for pork in the San Choi Bow.)

Their menu has seventeen classifications for the food – Signature dishes, Entrees, Soups, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Duck, Chicken, Seafood, Prawns, Squid, Scallops, Omelettes, Tofu, Vegetables, Noodles and Rice.  They also have a Banquet for 2-5 people or for 6+ diners. And a separate Dessert menu.

The Banquet was chosen (just $40. per head ).  I will just describe the dishes we had.  Three entrees:- Spring Rolls, Prawn Toast and a Dim Sim type ball.   It did not take too long before these were heartily attacked and enjoyed by all.

Then the main dishes were served:-

– San Choi Bow (the meat and spices served in a lettuce leaf),

– Peking Shredded Beef,

– Pepper Fillet Steak Hotpot,

– King Prawns with Ginger and Shallot,

– Stir Fried Seasonal Vegetables with Tofu,

– Boneless Chicken with Lemon Sauce,

– Mongolian Lamb,

– Yeong Chow Rice (a fried rice) and plain Jasmine Rice.

This provided a pleasantly balanced meal with no chillies.  Strangely most conversations ceased as everyone tucked in.  I think the most popular dish was the Hotpot.

And to finish off – a Dessert of the day.

Two of the diners elected to order separately – a single entree and main, but also followed up with a dessert.  They were not disappointed in their choices either.

Drinks available included the usual selection of water, wines, soft drinks, tea and coffee.

Everybody had a excellent time and very much enjoyed the food.  We will definitely be back there again.

-SH

Meetings

These are the CSFS meeting dates for the rest of 2018.
This list will be updated through the year with any changes of venue/date. Please check this post for the latest information.
All general meetings start at 7.00pm, at the Canberra Southern Cross Club in Woden.
For all restaurant meetings, please email or phone the Secretary Sandra to confirm you’re attending and will need a seat to be booked.

  • March 15 restaurant meeting (RM) at Turkish Delight, Belconnen
  • April 5 GM
  • April 19 RM at Flavours of India, Woden
  • May 3 GM
  • May 17 RM at Ethiopia Down Under, Pearce
  • June 7 GM
  • June 21 RM at Thai Ayutthaya, Belconnen
  • July 5 GM
  • July 19 RM at Iron Chef, Mawson
  • August 2 GM
  • August 16 RM at Turkish Grill, Wanniassa
  • September 6 GM
  • September 20 RM at Hellenic Club, Woden
  • October 4 GM
  • October 18 RM at Cisco’s Mexican, Kingston
  • November 1 GM
  • November 15 RM at My’s Vietnamese, Weston
  • December 6 Annual General Meeting
  • December 20 RM at Saffron, Kingston