DownMind Still Kicking Down South (Dec. 2017)

Four years after being published in Wellington, DownMind is still attracting attention on New Zealand’s South Island, where the novella’s heroic protagonist is fictively based.

The University of Canterbury recently invited author Blum to address one of DM’s underlying themes – the generosity of Polynesia, where the dreaded DownWave is eventually neutralised by Kiwi technology. Blum addressed a session on Pacific Literature at a three-day conference on Oceanic Memory in downtown Christchurch, co-sponsored by UC and the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies.

Joining the discussion from the audience were UC Drs Peter Field (creative arts dean) and Daniel Bedggood (sr. lecturer, literary and speculative fiction), along with former philosophy lecturer Dr Patrick Whittle.

DownMind in Christchurch (Jan. 2015)

It's fitting that a city that has overcome pessimism should be the site of VO Blum's third Kiwi reading of DownMind: the novella, after all, recounts how – against the odds – an Otagan chemist finally defeats a MalWave in 2030. On Monday afternoon, 26 January, the author read selections from the work at the University of Canterbury Bookshop. Among those attending were Dr Patrick Whittle of the Philosophy dept. and Drs Mary Wiles and Alan Wright of Cinema Studies. Complimentary cheese and chardonnay followed.

Another screenwriting residency for VO Blum (Dec. '14-Feb. '15)

Having served as visiting screenwriter at the University of Auckland during summer 2013-14, VO Blum has again been invited to serve in the same capacity ... but this time at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, where he will dialogue with summer students and revise a sequel to the DownMind screenplay. Adding to the excitement is the fact that the hosting cinema studies programme has recently appointed Vincent Ward adjunct professor ... and the legendary Kiwi filmmaker has been periodically visiting campus.

ward sittingcampus buildings

May Daze (2014) in Kiwi classrooms, bookstores, and on radio

2 May - At the invitation of senior lecturer Jake Mahaffy, VO Blum conducts a Black Box workshop on screenplay marketing for Media Studies students at the University of Auckland.

5 May - In an interview with VO, breakfast host Redbird Jnr responds to DownWave mechanics on Wellington's intrepid RadioActive FM.

studentsblum himselfredbird musicbookstore

6 May - Dylan Sherwood of Unity Books adds signed copies of DownMind to the science fiction shelves of the store's Wellington flagship.

Global Debut of DownMind (Jan. 2014)

Was held at Auckland's Central City Library 29 January. In introducing Blum, Dr Scott Hamilton of the popular Reading the Maps blog described the author as a "leading intellectual of Oceania".

scott talksblum discusses

VO Blum as Visiting Screenwriter at University of Auckland's Media Studies programme, (Dec. '13-Feb. '14)

UA Intranet

A Synopsis of the Novella

It’s 2025. People are gasping in the streets, planes are falling from the sky, suicide is rampant. Medicine and technology can reverse the course, but humanity can’t seem to rally. By chance, a young Kiwi chemist stumbles across evidence that suggests that gravity and the air – indeed consciousness itself – are responding to a dispiriting force. But who – or what – is directing this energy? And can the species be saved before our PhD detective is taken off the case?

Links to other DownMinds

"Downmind", III [album] (1991), Sebadoh


The Trouble with being Born (1973), E.M. Cioran


The Mind Parasites (1967), Colin Wilson


Links to V O Blum's Fiction

Equator (1989), Sunbelt Stories (1994), Split Creek (2007)

Amazon: V O Blum

DownMind (2013)

Amazon: Kindle