With modern CGI, there’s very little that can’t be captured on screen. So, with so hardly anything left to the imagination, is there really a need for fantasy or science fiction literature any more? Why go to the exhausting effort of imagining Middle-Earth’s landscape, when you can just see it at the IMAX this December? Why keep track of all those characters and physical descriptions, when there’s alreadt an HBO series that does it for you?

Well, as anyone who’s seen Transformers knows, flashy effects can’t save a terrible story, regardless of budget. The truth is that story comes first. Imagining is part of the thrill. Every story has a message and a book is sometimes just better at communicating it. This is why iO, the Glasgow University Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, has recently made an effort to raise interest in such literature on campus. In the last month they have held readings and talks with two Glaswegian authors (Gary Gibson and Michael Cobley) in the QMU. Gibson is the author of a series of well-received novels, including the trilogy The Shoal Sequence and has recently released his newest book, Marauder. Meanwhile, Cobley has written two Space Opera series, the Shadowkings trilogy and Humanity’s Fire – the latter of which is due a new installment in 2014. Both are part of the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers’ Circle – a group for “science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural, urban fantasy, magic realism, slipstream, space opera, cyberpunk, steampunk, new weird and alternative history” writers to meet and encourage communication, feedback and advice.

At the talks, both authors came across incredibly passionate about their craft, and eager to kindle such enthusiasm in a younger generation. They argue that recent advances in technology do not affect the mystique of science fiction, and instead could present even more opportunities for creativity and innovation within the genre. Indeed, iO is keen to further its efforts, with more author visits planned in the new year. They have also organized a book club to review and compare new releases, with the first meeting on the 7th of December reviewing Cobley’s first Humanity’s Fire book, Seeds of Earth.

[Amber Rose Lennox]

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