By Aaron Alan Yorgason & Rebecca M. Senese
Long, long ago, in a municipality far, far away, two inmates of the London Minimum Security City escaped to the wilds of Toronto. While making such an escape they had to sacrifice much, including membership in the world-renowned club, Science Fiction London. Pinning for fellow science fiction readers, they decided to spread the word in Toronto and after, foolishly mentioning it aloud in the Spaced Out Library (later the Merril Collection), were forced into action. Their names: Rebecca M. Senese and Walter Giesbrecht would forever be spoken with a hush (or a rude gesture). And thus, the Space-Time Continuum was born.
After five years, the Space-Time Continuum is alive and well. Meeting monthly at the Merril Collection, the Space-Time Continuum is a forum for discussion of science fiction novels, movies and short fiction. Topics have been as diverse as "Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" to K.W. Jeter's "Dr. Adder". We have explored such themes as surrealism in J.G. Ballard's "The Drowned World" to vampirism in Barbara Hambly's "Those Who Hunt the Night" and Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend" to the cyberpunk sensibilities of William Gibson and Neil Stephenson's "Snowcrash". The latter book included a debate on whether it was child pornography (think about it). Some authors have been done to death, such as Orson Scott Card. Topics are chosen and presented by the members, including biographic materials of the author, reviews and other semi-relevant material; including appearances by the authors themselves, either in person or on audio tape. Having managed 60 meetings so far, we have only begun to delve into the riches of science fiction.
And most of those riches can be found at the Merril Collection (shameless plug). Not only is it a wealth of fiction, it is a wealth of reference material when you have to do the equivalent of a book report every month. Not to mention the librarians who, after finding out you want material, are only too happy to bury you under it and leave you to dig yourself out. The Merril Collection also provides us with a physical meeting space over which we've only quibbled with the Toronto Trek people once or twice. No deaths have resulted and we deny all charges.
The Space-Time Continuum is not limited to discussions of science fiction or to the location of the Merril Collection to vent our spleens. The Space-Time Continuum has been known to take the show on the road. Numerous guest appearances at Ad Astra, where we had to contend with crying babies in the con suite during a dialogue on "Blade Runner", climaxed in getting a real panel room with a lively discussion of the movie "Brazil", complete with the increasingly popular shoe on Rebecca's head. The occasional pilgrimage to London resulted in the viewing of the play "Flowers for Algernon" and members of Science Fiction London have occasionally escaped to make appearances at our Toronto meetings.
But we're not always serious. Recreational activities include bowling (we've actually hit pins occasionally!), laser tag, outings to movies (some good, others unspeakable), and the legendary Bookstore/Pub Crawls, of which, sadly, pubs are not enough of a focus for one of the authors (take a guess).
Despite these harmless outlets, some members still have a masochistic need to put themselves under tremendous pressure and tempt the wrath of god. One such member is the creator and current editor of the club journal "From Beyond the Oört Cloud", published four times a year and available by subscription (another shameless plug!). Highlights of the journal have included an exclusive interview with Derek Grime, Computer Effects Expert from TEKWAR, a long (winded) exploration into the nature of Robert A. Heinlein's "Starship Troopers", the relevance of "Thumbelina" in a feminist world, and a speculative version of "Akira" - Disney style.
Heading into the future, the Space-Time Continuum is looking forward to the Merril Collection's move and our subsequent installation in the dungeons, ah, we mean meeting rooms. Current plans include a trek to Montreal next year to invade Concept and speak lots of English, thereby pissing off Jacques Parizeau, even more exposure at the next worldcon (use your imagination!), and my conquest of the planet as we know, oh, sorry, that's a personal goal (again, guess who).
Although we don't advertise much, feeling that too many people spoil the chance for everyone to participate (this is the closest we've come in several years), we believe in the idea that if people find us they are meant to be here. So if one day, you are wandering the halls of the Merril Collection and bumble into a room filled with bespectacled people yammering aimlessly and enthusiastically about life, the universe and other conspiracies, don't be too afraid to join in. We won't bite. Promise.
Originally printed in SOL RISING, The Newsletter of the Friends of the
Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy.
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