Ian Rankin

I Jon Ronson

The former guardian of the Human Zoo discusses his adventures with extremists. cogently and humorously depicted in both print (Them) and on small screen (The Secret Rulers Of The World). Reportage, Studio Theatre, 624 5050, 74 Aug, noon, £7 (£5).

I Gore Vldal

One of America's top heavyweight literary and political minds bends our ears analysing the icons of US life both dead and alive. Pick your questions carefully. Meet The Author. Consignia Theatre, 624 5050, 76Aug, 7 7.30am, £7 (£5). I Naoml Kleln

With No Logo, Naomi Klein changed the way we think of globalisation, marketing and the whole economic shooting match. Here she chats with social commentator Will Hutton who's well up on that sort of thing. Debating The Future, Consignia Theatre, 624 5050, 20 Aug. 5.30pm, £7 (£5).

I P.D. James 8. Ian Rankin Two crime writers from very different eras come together for a blood-curdling chat. and not answering the question: if Adam Dalgliesh and John Rebus had a fight, who'd win? Meet The Author, Consignia Theatre, 624 5050, 22 Aug, 71.30am, £7 (£5). I Nlck Hornby

How To Be Good may have split critical opinion but the fans just keep on lapping up his interpretation of the sex wars. Meet The Author, Consignia Theatre, 624 5050. 23 Aug. 17.30am, £7 (£5).

I Margaret Atwood

The Canadian Booker winner's appearance is one of this year's undoubted highlights. Fiction. poetry, criticism: she's done it all. Meet The Author, Consignia Theatre, 624 5050, 25 Aug. 77.30am, £7 (£5).

I ladle Smlth

White Teeth stunned the critics. wooed the public and impressed the Whitbread panel who gave Zadie Smith‘s contemporary epic the First Novel award. How will she match that?Fine Fiction. Consignia Theatre, 624 5050, 25 Aug. 5.30pm, £7 (£5).

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Trekkies, X-Filers and cults may give science a bad name but the Book Festival is throwing open its doors to more SF writers than BVGI‘ before. Words: Brian Donaldson

hey used to say it was a genre for the semi-

l illiterate. Or the cultishly deranged. Or for

adolescent boys too scared to leave their

bedrooms for fear that they would be abducted or worse. that people would laugh at their spots.

But science fiction (or SF as the advocates like to call it these days) is now a vastly respected literary form with conventions and specialised shops and an extremely large presence aboard Catherine Lockerbie‘s maiden voyage on the good (space)ship Book Festival.

Indeed. the festival’s prestigious opening event sees one of the country's most lauded sciencey figures snip the tape. Brian Aldiss (1 1 Aug) has written over 40 novels and 300 short stories. but his reputation should be yet further enhanced later this year when Steven Spielberg's kiddie/adult version of A] arrives on big screens. Somewhat intriguingly. Aldiss is accompanied by the distinctly non-SF Helen Lederer.

Later in the day. Aldiss hooks up with mathematic/engineering/physicist Stephen Baxter whose doorstopping tomes are seen as the golden future of SF. In his final collaboration. Aldiss and Doris Lessing (12 Aug) will discuss just what keeps drawing them back to the SF stable.


‘1? I " .//

Appliance of science

His reputation should be yet further enhanced when Steven Spielberg’s version of AI

M. passes on banks of knowledge to future fantaslsts

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On the popular mainstream front. Rob Grant (12 Aug) has followed tip major TV success with Red Dwarf by applying his light touch to novels such as Colony and while there may be some who don't cast him in the SF vein. Terry Pratchett ( 1-1 Aug) and his DiscWorld is solid comic fantasy.

Scottish SF stalwarts and dear. dear friends Iain M. Banks and Ken Macl-eod (12 Aug) discuss how their work fits into the literary scene. and they will undoubtedly be having a laugh at each other‘s l'ully bearded younger days. And Portuguese-Scot Ricardo Pinto ( 18 Aug) will be leading us into some dark and intricate lands in his Stone Dam-v novels.

The final author event in the SF series brings together two of the brightest stars in the genre with astrophysicist Alastair Reynolds and former lecturer at St Andrews Paul McAuley ( 18 Aug). Reynolds has been hailed as the best British sci-fi (sorry) scribe since Arthur C. Clarke while McAuley has a knack for merging the classic elements of SF with the scary consequences of' biotechnology.

To encourage the public to indulge fully in their own fictional fantasies. there will be a workshop on Science Writing (17 Aug) and The Great Intergalactic Science Fiction Quiz ( 12 Aug) gives you a chance to dress up as your favourite SF character and test your wits against the literary bof'fins.

Arthur C. Clarke may have predicted many things for this particular year. but such a presence at the world's major literary festival would surely have been beyond his wildest dreams.

See future issues for full events listings.

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