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Issue 16 - October 1973
Beyond This Horizon
A FESTIVAL OF SCIENCE FICTION AND SPACE EXPLORATION: Organised by Coolfrith Arts, Sunderland for the Wearmouth 1300 Festival Oct 23 - Nov 25

The theme of the Wearmouth 1300 Festival is to remind people of the greatness of the past, but the celebration takes a giant step into the future with 'Beyond This Horizon' - Coolfrith Arts' Sunderland festival of science fiction and space exploration.

The sci-fi festival lasts from 23 October to 25 November and features lectures, workshops, theatre events, exhibitions, symposiums, poetry readings and concerts as well as showings of science fiction and space exploration films.

We haven't enough space to list the whole programme here (brochures are available from Sunderland Arts Centre, 17 Grange Terrace, Sunderland - send SAE), but here are a few items of special interest.

The inimitable Patrick Moore opens the proceedings on 23 October with a lecture entitled 'Life Elsewhere?' (admission 40p). Other lectures include David Hardy and Patrick Moore on 'Space Exploration in the Future' (24 October, 30p), Prof John Taylor on 'Black Holes - the end of the universe?' (3 November, 25p), 'The History and Evolution of British Sci-fi Magazines' (9 November, 25p), Tom Shippey on 'A Modern View of Science Fiction' (11 November, 25p), and Dennis Gifford on 'Fantasy in Comics' (18 November, 25p).

At the end of 'Journey into Space' (2 November, 10p) - an illustrated account of manned and unmanned space missions to date - six projectors with sound effects will take the audience themselves into space. And if you've always wondered what a trip through the universe would be like, go along to Sunderland Catholic Youth Centre, Sans Street, on 17 or 18 November and experience the Lacey Family's multi-media 'Journey to a Coloured Planet' (10p). Another mixed-media project, 'Metamorphosis', shows a microscope's view of the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Exhibitions include work by David Hardy, David Early, and science fiction cover art by Karel Thole, Eddie Jones, Josh Kirby and Helmut Wenskes. There's also a small group of Symbolist works entitled 'Monsters - Weird and Fantastic', and Eric von Daniken has compiled an exhibition of photographs for the festival on his favourite subject, 'Was God an Astronaut?' Sunderland schoolkids get their chance with an exhibition of drawings, paintings and models on science fiction and space exploration. Most of these displays are on show at Sunderland Arts Centre, admission 10p adults, 5p children.

'Science Fiction - north east' (31 October, 25p) gives local writers, poets and artists an opportunity to read, discuss and show their work. Other symposiums include one on UFOs (3 November, 40p), 'Are we Alone?' (4 November, 40p), and 'Genetic Engineering - need man be modified?' (13 November, 25p).

Some of the events already mentioned form part of special weekend presentations for which reduced-price tickets are available. Science fiction films will be shown from 27 to 28 October; the programme for 10-11 November is 'Science Fiction - a new way of expression'; there's a 'Poetry and Fantasy Weekend' from 16 to 18 November, featuring Adrian Henri, George Macbeth, D M Thomas, Adrian Mitchell and others; and November 23-25 is a writers' weekend with Brian Aldiss, James Blish and Peter Nichols leading the discussions.

Music during the festival includes concerts by Matrix (13 November) and Roy Harper (18 November at Sunderland Empire Theatre), while a new work by Richard Arnell and Edward Lucie-Smith, 'Astronaut', will be premiered on 17 November.

For festival-goers with any money left, a festival bookroom at the Arts Centre (where most of the events will be held) will offer a comprehensive range of SF and space exploration publications, as well as prints, badges and sets of slides.