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Peter Nicholls is an unconventional man who has led an extraordinary life. For 50 years he has been personally and professionally devoted to science fiction. This doco explores Nicholls' life-long passion, eccentricities and unique insights. This Australian author (his major work, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, is the internationally acknowledged bible on the subject), reviewer, filmmaker and broadcaster has been hailed as one of the world's foremost authorities on sci-fi. Recently diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, Nicholls reflects on his mortality and that of science fiction.

A rich selection of interviews, film clips, drawings and photos dramatically chart the evolution of key ideas and imagery. The What If Man explores the complexity of the genre and challenges the common misconception that it is simply about little green men and spaceships. Nicholls reveals the profound impact it has had on the world we live in: future science, social Utopias, technological change, and alternative realities. It celebrates science fiction's sense of wonder and explores Nicholls' fascination with the possibilities that lie ahead.

Mark Atkin (director) and Charlotte Seymour (producer) are guests of the Festival

Mark Atkin is a Melbourne filmmaker with a career spanning 20 years. His work covers feature films, documentaries, television and commercials. Atkin is best known as an editor on series such as Seachange and features like Mallboy (MIFF 2000) and Only the Brave (MIFF 1994). His 22 documentaries include Jane Campion and the Portrait of a Lady and Pozieres.