writer Judith Merrill said she moved to both sci-fi and Canada for that reason. Her book collection is now housed at the Lillian Smith library on College Street. Newman said he loved sci-fi because its a marvellous way and a safe way, I might add of saying nasty things about our own society. Gene Roddenberry apparently felt similarly when creating Star Trek in the mid-sixties. Et voila: Doctor Who and Captain Kirk also played by a Canadian. In that same conversation on a mellow New Years Eve in the 1980s, Newman, then a consultant on Canadian films, said hed solved the riddle of making a film about Norman Bethune. Bethune was a Canadian doctor another one and communist who served in Spains Civil War, then died with Chinas Red Army during the revolution there, after infecting his finger doing battlefield surgery. Newman called that implausible for so skilled a surgeon. What really happened? All his life Bethune was a radical and nonconformist. Then he goes to China and is surrounded by 700 million other revolutionaries. He has an identity crisis and poisons himself deliberately. It was suicide! A loopy notion, IMHO, but it showed Newman was still churning out wacky producer ideas, on the same grand themes, wondering what might stick.