Archive for June, 2005

Galactica In 5 Minutes

Via the Unofficial Battlestar Galactica Blog comes the very funny condensed version of the Battlestar Galactica Miniseries. Much like the Book A Minute people, Kira at 5 Minute Movies give us their take on the mini-series. Enjoy.

And remember new episodes start July 15th!

SlingBox

Sling Media is rolling out the SlingBox today, a device that allows you “placeshift” your TV viewing in the same way that Tivo (or any Digial Video Recorder) “timeshifts” it.

The device takes input from a TV source (your cable box, satellite box or DVR) and streams it through your broadband router allowing access via the Internet from any computer that has the SlingBox software (and the appropriate access credentials, I imagine). The setup even allows remote control of your DVR and cable box so it’s like you were sitting in front of your TV. You can watch TV or your latest Tivo recording – all while on the road!

Initial reviews are positive. The worst complaints I see are less-than-perfect (though not horrible) video quality. Once nice feature is the single $250 investment – no subscriptions required.

[Thanks Bob and engadget]

I’m curious to know what other science fiction (and/or fantasy and/or Horror) websites people visit regularly. (Besides this one, of course! :))

Most of the websites I visit regularly are listed over in our Links section on the main page, but generally they fall into categories, sometimes one site falling in several categories as listed below.

What about you? Are there any worthy websites you like that aren’t listed here?

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Review – Dread Empire’s Fall: The Praxis, by Walter Jon Williams

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: For millenia, the Shaa have ruled the galaxy, forcing all sentient species to adhere to their code of morals and ethics know as The Praxis. Now, the last of the Shaa has died, and the remaining races must forge ahead into the unknown.

PROS: An interesting and unique setting, quick read.

CONS: Flat characters, mildly interesting storyline, the pieces just don’t fit together.

BOTTOM LINE: As space operas go, this one is just mediocre.

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Tor/SciFi Channel Cross-Promotion

Tor, the world’s largest publisher of sf/f, will be cross-marketing one book every month with the SciFi Channel. Each book chosen will receive the “SCI FI Essential stamp of approval” and will be promoted on SCIFI.com. The first 3 books to fall under this promotion are:

JULY: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow

AUGUST: Lady of Mazes by Karl Schroeder

SEPTEMBER: The Road to Dune by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

July is Free eBook Month

July is Free eBook Month at eReader.

Everyday in July, we are featuring a different eBook as a completely free download. There is something for everyone from mysteries and thrillers to mind-expanding science fiction, sexy romances, heart-stopping adventures and many more!

King Kong trailer

As I am preparing to do my workout last night, I am flipping channels on the TV and I see this trailer with Jack Black and a woman who looks remarkably like Fay Wray. I am sitting there thinking this must be Peter Jackson’s King Kong trailer. It all looks very exciting and I am now anticipating the release of this film.

Now Hear This: A Princess of Mars

An audio version of Edgar Rice Burrough’s A Princess of Mars is downloadable in three parts (so far) from Voice of America, a U.S. government funded international broadcasting service.

[Link via The Eternal Golden Braid]

Man’s Best (Zombie) Friend

In a creepy story that presages the eventual collapse of civilization due to the zombie hordes, scientists in the US have created zombie dogs. One wonders whether the dogs usualy behavior of eating out of the cat box has been replaced with a penchant for brains, cat or otherwise….

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Two cousins ride the wave of the new comics art form with their creation of The Escapist for Empire Comics. Life happens to them along the way.

PROS: Strong, sympathetic characters and story, humorous and emotional writing, The Escapist should have been made into a comic book hero (see below).

CONS: The story’s second half is not as strong as the first and seems to wander to its conclusion.

BOTTOM LINE: A wonderfully engaging story about about life and dreams that uses comics as a springboard for its characters. If you want to venture outside of the SF genre, you could do a lot worse than this story.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that peer-to-peer companies such as Grokster could be held responsible for the copyright piracy on their networks. This is a big win for the record and movie companies. The ruling essentially states that the distributors of a tool that allows copyright infringement may be held liabale for such infringement.

Thoughts anyone?

POLL RESULTS: Life Beyond Earth

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
When do you think that humans will discover life beyond the Earth?
RESULTS

(29 total votes)

Just in case it happens in my lifetime, and as I’ve said before, I, for one, would like to wecome our alien overlords to the planet and offer my skills at trolling Star Wars sites to further their aims of world domination.

Still More Tidbits

I’m catching up on some newsfeed minutia and found some interesting tidbits from around the web:

Why Some Publishers Are Going Digital

The Book Standard article Buying the Cow, Though the Milk Is Free: Why Some Publishers Are Digitizing Themselves talks about digital publishing and its relationship to book sales. Figures are given for the examples they give, including Cory Doctorow’s books, Charlie Stross’ Accelarando, the Baen free library and O’Reilly computer books.

Interesting to note is that although the free digital download rate is large, it often increases book sales. This seems counter-intuitive to me on one level. Why would people buy a book when they can get it for free? This is the fear of piracy in action. The difference, of course, is that the download is digital and the purchase is for something you can touch. I’ve often said that I prefer holding a book instead of reading from a screen, I just always thought that others felt differently. (As if I am a truly unique individual instead of a statistical nobody.) Maybe more people prefer hardcopy than I thought.

Charlie’s quote from the article says it best.

“Readers like samples, and the ultimate sample is the entire book,” says Stross. “People are more likely to download the entire thing, because there’s the promise that they can read it all on their computer. However, in practice, most people don’t like reading on a screen or a PDA. If they get hooked, they’ll continue reading until it hits their personal pain threshold. Then they’re highly motivated to seek out the paper edition-in hardcover, if necessary.”

REVIEW SUMMARY: An immensely enjoyable read.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The story of Yakoub, the King of the Gypsy race known as the Rom, chronicles his rise to power (from student to slave to merchant to King) and his quest to return his people to their mother planet, Romany Star.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Exceptional storytelling; strong lead character; lots of wondrous worlds; never boring.

CONS: The Gypsies’ ghosting ability, while cool, seemed like a half-explored plot device.

BOTTOM LINE: Robert Silverberg is a master storyteller.

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LEGO +MAKE = Cool Magazine

BrickJournal is toutted as the magazine for Adult Fans of LEGO. Its sort of like MAKE magazine, but for LEGO fans. The first issue is available for download (PDF). Now we just need to make a LEGO HAL…

Futu(Pano)rama

Get ready for some cool futurama panoramas. A bunch of panaromas stitched together (I’m assuming) from frames of the show. Cool any way you slice it.

Gigapixel digital cameras

You think you’re the man with your new 8- or 16-megapixel digital camera?

Bah, I say – you got nothin’! These folks have a 4-gigapixel digital camera with 4 billion pixels.

These images are huge – 24GB each as a raw file – but luckily have been rendered down to a little smaller files for ease of use. The site also discusses the issues with getting these massive images printed in a way that maintains the detail. Overall, a great use of technology.

The images are awesome – check them out in the gallery.

Who’s Got Rocket Feet? InfraMan!

Here’s a 3 minute movie trailer for InfraMan.

“The man beyond bionics, six million light years beyond believability. Is he man or machine? Electronic circuits integrated with living cells in the living body of a man! Powered by nuclear energy! InfraMan! You won’t believe your eyes! You won’t believe your ears! You won’t believe your mind!”

I guess he truly is “the Ultimate Spectacle”: he’s got rocket feet. Seriously, this is like Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers…on Ritalin.

UPDATE: It gets better. Apparently he has Thunderbolt Fists.

[Link via Backwards City]

2 Women in Bed Read SF/Fantasy

This one should be right up Pete’s alley. As it were.

There’s a public-access TV show called Fantasy Bedtime Hour (Do I need to say NSFW?) in which two women read and try to understand science fiction and fantasy novels…in bed. The show’s tagline: “Two girls in bed, ill-equipped to handle fantasy novel concepts.”

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