Update From the Sci Fi Club

Allan Levy

The Sci Fi Club held its meeting on Jan. 9. As a special treat, Wende Levy served Mandel Bread. Mandelbrot cookies are an Ashkenazi Jewish dessert dating back to the early 19th century. Mandelbrot are closely related to the Italian cookies known as biscotti, which were first made in the Middle Ages. The word Mandelbrot means almond (mandel) and bread (brot) in both German and Yiddish. In America, these tasty little cookies are known as mandel bread. Typically, mandel bread are twice baked, which makes them crispy and crunchy. They’re perfect for dipping in your tea or coffee. Because most of the moisture is baked out of them, they also have a fairly long shelf life.

The movie Alita was screened. The book A Sword into Darkness was discussed.

A Sword into Darkness is a hard science fiction story. A rich scientist has found what he thinks is an interstellar craft heading to Earth. The world thinks he is crazy, but he develops a spacecraft to intercept and challenge it.

Alita: Battle Angel is a 2019 American cyberpunk action film based on the 1990s Japanese manga series Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro. It was directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron, who co-wrote the script with Laeta Kalogridis. Rosa Salazar stars as the voice of titular heroine Alita, a cyborg who awakens in a new body with no memory of her past, so she sets out to uncover her destiny. Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, and Keean Johnson star in supporting roles.

Next month, Robot and Frank will be screened. Robot and Frank is a 2012 American science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Jake Schreier and written by Christopher Ford. Set in the near future, it focuses on Frank Weld, an aging jewel thief, played by Frank Langella, whose son buys him a domestic robot. Resistant at first, Frank warms up to the robot when he realizes he can use it to restart his career as a cat burglar.

Robot and Frank was the first feature film for both Schreier and Ford, and received critical acclaim for its writing, production, and acting. It won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, tying with the Kashmiri film Valley of Saints by Musa Syeed.

The robot was created by Tony Gardner’s special effects company Alterian, Inc.

The book The Mote in God’s Eye will be discussed. The Mote in God’s Eye is a science fiction novel by American writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, first published in 1974. The story is set in the distant future of Pournelle’s CoDominium universe and charts the first contact between humanity and an alien species. The title of the novel is a wordplay on the Biblical “The Mote and the Beam” parable and is the nickname of a star. The Mote in God’s Eye was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards in 1975.

The next meeting will be held on Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at my house.

Please contact Allan Levy at [email protected] or 301-503-1387 to let me know if you are coming.