This non-sci-fi film has a lot to recommend it to sci-fi fans. Directed by, you know, Charlie from Firestarter, it stars Ellen Page as a reluctant beauty pageant contestant who defies her 50s-style parents and secretly joins a Roller Derby crew. With it’s Blockers, Pivots, Jammers and unmitigated high-speed aggression, Roller Derby is the closest real-world sport to Quidditch and the film is an extraordinary juxtaposition of shy, geeky teenager coming-of-age and high-speed rollerskating carnage. Page as Bliss/Babe Ruthless is brilliant – well, we wouldn’t expect anything less, and Drew Barrymore delivers a very watchable sports film, earning her director’s wings while still finding the time to cameo as the accident-prone Smashley Simpson.
Roller Derby is gaining ground fast in the UK with two leagues active in London and several more across the country - the London Rollergirls became the first UK league to join the WFTDA last year. Naturally The Sci-Fi Gene is a fan of the steampunk-lovin' Steam Rollers team. Many RD players give themselves names that appeal to my sense of pun - soccer, golf or snooker would be vastly improved as sports if the players included R. Meg Eddon and Nuke Leah.