SFSignal – 2004 In Review

Since John did a retrospective on his SF experiences of 2004, I thought I’d take a look at the big, blue SFS’ 2004 went, both in terms of content and traffic. It could be interesting, who knows?

  • January – January was our 7th month as an active, (mostly) SF-related blog. We were getting into the swing of things, what with John’s review format taking charge and his personal short story (and the patented short story point system) challenge going into effect. We also learned the following about our geekness: JP (33.7%), Kevin (35.7%), John (37.28%)!!, Tim (31.55%) and Scott (33.93%). The most talked about post was from Kevin, concerning the possible demise of Enterprise.

    Unique Visitors – 2297

    Hits – 39324

    #1Country to access SFS – .com

    Mozilla/Netscape – 5.4% of hits

    #1 search term – Paycheck the movie

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More SF Movie Reviews Than You Can Shake A Dead Ewok At

The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review site is just that, a site with reviews (by the author) of many, and I mean many, SF, Fantasy and Horror movies. Did I mention its extensive? It is. I don’t necessarily agree with some of the ratings, but you have to admire the guy for watching so many movies, most of them mediocre or worse. That’s dedication…

2004: A YEAR IN REVIEW

Continuing the tradition started last year, this is a year-end wrap up for my sf/fantasy/horror experiences for 2004. These are not necessarily things that first appeared this year; they are just the things that I read or watched this year.

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Free SF!

Author Mike Brotherton has released his Star Dragon novel under a Creative Commons Licenese and it is downloadable, for free, in a variety of tasty formats. I’ve never heard of Brotherton, but our motto “If it’s free, it’s for me” holds, especially with regards to SF books. A quick check of the Amazon entry shows Star Dragons receiving 4/5 stars. Surprisingly, Star Dragons was only Klausnered to 4. I guess the back cover wasn’t up to her high expecations…

REVIEW: Cordelia’s Honor

REVIEW SUMMARY: Oustanding, simply one of the best.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: These two books follow the character of Cordelia Naismith as she meets her husband and begins her life on a rival planet as a part of its aristocracy. The sci-fi isn’t the leading element here – the characters and plot are.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Great characters, really interesting plot and story arc

CONS: First book isn’t the award winner the second is, some of the secondary character names are too similar making it hard to keep them straight

BOTTOM LINE: I don’t think you can go wrong reading this book. I can’t wait to read more of the series – Bujold has three more Hugo award winners!

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Sin City Trailer

No, not Las Vegas, but a movie adaptation of a comic book. Apple has the newest trailer available. Wow, what an interesting looking film. I may put this one on the ‘to see’ list, which is currently empty. And for Pete, it looks like Jessica Alba plays a stripper….

REVIEW: Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

REVIEW SUMMARY: A good, but not great, collection of stories.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Collection of eight stories, one original, including the Nebula Award-winning “Story of Your Life” and “Tower of Babylon”, and the Locus Award-winning “Hell Is the Absence of God”.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Interesting premises.

CONS: Some stories were longer than they should have been.

BOTTOM LINE: Thought-provoking but needed some extra oomph.

Ted Chiang is a writer with a high award density. That is, he has written relatively few stories but has a multitude of award nominations and wins, which is why I went into this collection with some high expectations. The stories all had an imaginative premise (and one where mathematics usually played some role or other), but for me they seemed to lack something in the delivery; some were long-winded, some lacked adequate characterizations. I suppose that’s why it took me nearly 3 weeks to finish this 330 page collection.

Reviewlettes follow.

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POLL RESULTS: Quality of a Film Adaptation

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
In general, do you dismiss the quality of a film adapted from a book before seeing the film?

RESULTS

&nbsp(12 total votes)

Snowing in Houston

I am sure this probably does not really fit the category of Sci Fi but its still a bit odd to see it actually snowing in Houston. And it feels a bit more like Christmas for some of us (yankees darned it.) Now I want to watch the news and see about all the folks freaking out about snow in a city that seldom sees weather like this…

The physics of Santa

Some researchers have spent some time figuring out if its physically possible for Santa to travel around the world on a single evening, and the results are found here. The highlights include ION Shields and multi-dimensional travel. The link is courtesy of Slashdot (and yes I am a Slashdot Fanboy.)

More Bunny Theater

This time, _It’s a Wonderful Life in 30 seconds. With bunnies. In case you didn’t know or couldn’t tell by the headline.

From Farscape to SG-1

Both Ben Browder and Claudia Black join the Stargate SG-1 this next season. It should be interesting to see how he fits into this series. And before somebody makes a snide comment about Muppets coming next – that deal has not been announced. Links courtesy of Slashdot…

TV Ain’t Big Enough For Good SF – Review: Firefly

REVIEW SUMMARY: 500 years in the future, mankind has reached the stars, colonizing and terraforming as they go. The crew of the trampship Serenity prowls the frontier looking for work (legal or not), trying to stay ahead of the Alliance police.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW: This is what good SF on TV looks like. Its funny, has great character interaction and good stories. Its a shame Fox screwed around with Firefly and cancelled it after airing only 11 of 14 episodes.

PROS: Strong ensemble cast, interesting world-building, focus on storytelling.

CONS: A weak episode here and there, small budget makes some scenes look cheap and unbelievable.

BOTTOM LINE: If you like SF, then you simply must watch Firefly. Either buy it or rent it. It won’t disappoint you.

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Babes….In….Spaaaaace

You know you wanted it, now you can have it. A gallery of pulp SF magazine covers containing Babes in Space!

I bet Pete has already hit the link…

Website Facelifts

‘Tis the season to get facelifts, Fa-la-la-la-la La-la-la-la!

Two sf-relates websites got facelifts this week: the newly redesigned SciFi Wire (The Sci Fi Channel’s news site) and SF Crowsnest. Both are sporting a brand spankin’ new look & feel that is a big improvement over the old layout.

New IROSF

Another edition of The Internet Review of Science Fiction is available, featuring:

  • Editorial: Looking Forward
  • Interview: Arvid Nelson (co-creator of Rex Mundi comic book series)
  • Con Report: Icon 2004, Israel
  • Sub-Genre Spotlight: Cyberpunk (An overview of the cyberpunk movement, its seminal works, and its themes.)
  • Essay: Can’t See the Story for the Trees: Two Thoughts on the Mind, Experiences, and Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien (The importance of WWI communications and trees in Lord of the Rings.)
  • Essay: The Career of Jack Vance
  • Review:Wizardry and Wild Romance by Michael Moorcock
  • Review:Storming Gehenna: The Rifters Books
  • Reviews: Various Short Fiction

SF Video Games

Over at Locus Magaine Online Lucius Cook has written a piece about Science Fiction Video games.

Horror Movie Trailers Aplenty

Seems like horror movies are not is short supply. Witness trailers for The Ring 2, The Amityville Horror (remake) and High Tension. I bet they’re still nowhere near as scary as The Exorcist in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies.

Two Thumbs Up…In Spaaaaace!

TrueFen.net points us to an article by serious sf fanboy Rober Ebert about growing up with science fiction. Did you know he was buds with Charles Emmerson Winchester III?

SFSignal…Now with Basic PDA Support!

View SFSignal on the go with the PDA-friendly URL http://www.sfsignal.com/pda.htm. Basically, it’s the same home page as the normal version, but the left and right sidebars have been removed.

Coming soon: support for commenting via PDA. So you can call me a Star Wars fanboy by the poolside.