British Fiction Focus

The BFI Celebrates Sci-Fi

Love science fiction?

Then you’re in luck, because the British Film Institute does too. As a matter of fact, they’re in the middle of “a major celebration of film and TV’s original blockbuster genre.” Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder is a season-long salute to the tales of tomorrow we here at Tor.com spend much of our time trumpeting. The programme is primarily arranged around a series of screenings—over a thousand at last count—but it also takes in talks with some of our favourite creators; discussions with directors, actors, screenwriters and the like.

Which is all well and good… but what about the books?

Once again, the BFI has our back. In partnership with HarperCollins’ hallowed genre fiction imprint Voyager, they’re staging the first #BFIVoyager Virtual Sci-Fi Festival this weekend, which proposes to explore “the link between science fiction literature and film with events on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other platforms.”

HarperCollins have of course done this before: in June, the digital Romance Festival reached an estimated 11 million people—that’s twice the population of Scotland—and if anything, I’d expect this event to be both bigger and better. It features “some of the finest science fiction writers, screen-writers, designers and scientists,” and folks… it’s free!

Not only that, everyone who registers—right here, if you please—will receive two free HarperVoyager science fiction eBooks.

Hard to resist, right? It’ll be harder still once you hear about a few of the grandmasters of science fiction committed to participate. Just a few of the highlights:

  • A 3-part interview with globally acclaimed filmmaker, screen-writer and author David Cronenberg.
  • A live Twitter chat with multi-award winning author, technologist and cultural icon Margaret Atwood.
  • Award-winning writer, broadcaster and scientist Marcus Chown has agreed to answer ANY questions about space, the universe and everything.
  • We’ll interview acclaimed author Nick Harkaway live on Twitter.
  • A Google Hangout with space scientist Erik Laan and much more

The first #BFIVoyager Virtual Sci-Fi Festival also features a couple of kick-ass competitions. As The Bookseller put it:

[There’s] a sci-fi short story writing competition to be judged by [editorial director Natasha] Bardon, with the winner seeing their short story published by HarperVoyager as a free e-book, alongside other prizes; and a film poster design competition, with entrants being asked to create a film poster of a classic science fiction book that has yet to be made into a film, with HarperCollins creative directors Ben North and Stuart Bache, and Tim Platt, head of marketing, BFI, judging the entries.

Well? What are you waiting for? Get registering—go on!—and we’ll talk again at the festival.


Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

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