Category Archives: Science Fiction/Fantasy

The White North Has Thy Bones: Ice stations, submarines & the woman who swam the North West Passage

Here’s a programme to listen to huddled by the fire, like Jane Eyre with her book of polar wildlife as the wind howls outside. Producer Kevin Dawson came up with the idea of our latest Something Understood  programme about the … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Environment, History, Music, Radio, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Interstellar’s Heart of Darkness & the Dust Bowl

I like to go to the cinema to escape the gloom of a Sunday evening and what better escape than Interstellar? An epic journey to other worlds. It begins in a rural America devastated by environmental disaster. Real survivors of … Continue reading

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Othello, Cathedral Wars and the power of a board game

This column first appeared in The Big Issue Magazine: Journalism worth paying for. As autumn closes in and the clocks go back, I crave vintage board games. I have a whole cupboard, where they spill off shelves – the haul … Continue reading

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Why doesn’t Wonder Woman wear a mask?

Originally written for a recent Radio 4 programme pilot about “masked men”.  In bicentennial year 1976 on first trip to the USA, I first confronted the conundrum of Wonder Woman and masks in three comics I bought. While most of … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Comics/graphic novels, Culture, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Uncategorized, War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Outer Limits: A fantastic voyage

“To God there is no zero. I still exist.” – Richard Matheson’s The Incredible Shrinking Man screenplay (1957) The summer solstice  has just passed — marking the extreme tipping point of the earth’s axis and the longest day. It was … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Film, Radio, Religion, Science, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

What If…? HG Wells, Arnold Bennett and your alternative future

It is early January in a new century and a group of  technicolored-Victorian gentlemen are awaiting the return of their friend from the future. I’ve always loved the 1960 film of HG Wells’ The Time Machine. Drawing inspiration from the … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Film, History, Politics, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Frogs, Freud and Frankenstein: Behind the scenes at the Science Museum’s Mind Maps exhibition

This is my blog post for the Science Museum’s Mind Maps exhibition. All slideshow photos: copyright Samira Ahmed It looks like a kind of over-engineered Victorian executive toy: A semicircle of metal with carefully marked grooves and two long wooden … Continue reading

Posted in History, Science, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Plotting the arc of darkness with Joss Whedon

Here’s a link to my interview with Joss Whedon for Radio 3’s Night Waves on June 12th. We covered his writing for Roseanne, Shakespearean superheroes, his love of musicals — especially Brigadoon —  the way studios treat writers, (take Firefly … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Children, Comedy, Comics/graphic novels, Culture, Media, Radio, Science Fiction/Fantasy, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

From avenger to screamer: How Dr Who assistants remain trapped in time

The Reunion programme for Radio 4, produced by Peter Curran, recently brought together some of the original cast and crew of the first episode of Doctor Who. The first Dr Who team was notable for its diversity — Waris Hussein … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Culture, Science Fiction/Fantasy, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments