Archive for April, 2006

SF Tidbits for 4/30/06

Harlan Ellison® – Registered Trademark

I’m finally getting around to reading the April 2006 issue of Locus Magazine. I would’ve started sooner but…oh, never mind.

In this issue, Harlan Ellison®‘s name comes up a few times in two places: his tribute to Octavia E. Butler (never leave off the “E”, he warns) and in Gary K. Wolfe’s review of The Best of Philip José Farmer, in which he talks about Farmer’s “Riders of the Purple Wage” which first appeared in Ellison®‘s landmark anthology Dangerous Visions.

Do you know what all of these mentions of Ellison® has in common? They are all followed by the Registered Trademark symbol.

Ellison®, whose defense of his stories’ copyrights are legendary, has apparently squeezed his copyrights so tightly that a trademark symbol popped out of his name. More power to him, I say. If Harlan Ellison® wants all instances of Harlan Ellison®‘s name to be suffixed with the symbol, then Harlan Ellison® should get exactly what Harlan Ellison® wants. At the very least, it’s fun to look at in print. It’s like this decade’s Prince Rogers Nelson name debacle, only this time its “The Author Formerly Known as Harlan Ellison.”

TOC: Best Short Novels: 2006

Yet another TOC…

Jonathan Strahan has announced the (mostly complete) table of contents for his upcomingh anthology Best Short Novels: 2006 to be published by the Science Fiction Book Club.

  1. The Little Goddess” by Ian McDonald
  2. “The Gist Hunter” by Matthew Hughes
  3. “Human Readable” by Cory Doctorow (Now available in a seven part podcast.)
  4. “Audubon in Atlantis” by Harry Turtledove (excerpt)
  5. Magic For Beginners” by Kelly Link
  6. “Fishin’ With Grandma Matchie” by Steven Erikson
  7. “The Policeman’s Daughter” by Wil McCarthy (excerpt)
  8. Inside Job” by Connie Willis
  9. Not yet announced

TOC: The Year’s Best Science Fiction #23

Another TOC…

From Asimov’s Forum here is the table of contents for The Year’s Best Science Fiction #23 edited by Gardner Dozois.

  1. The Little Goddess” by Ian Mcdonald
  2. The Calorie Man” By Paolo Bacigalupi
  3. “Beyond The Aquila Rift” By Alastair Reynolds
  4. “Second Person, Present Tense” By Daryl Gregory
  5. The Canadian Who Came Almost All The Way Home From The Stars” By Jay Lake And Ruth Nestvold
  6. “Triceratops Summer” By Michael Swanwick
  7. “Camouflage [*Great Ship]” By Robert Reed
  8. “A Case of Consilience” By Ken Macleod
  9. “The Blemmye’s Strategem” By Bruce Sterling
  10. “Amba” By William Sanders
  11. “Search Engine” By Mary Rosenblum
  12. “Piccadilly Circus” By Chris Beckett
  13. “In The Quake Zone” By David Gerrold
  14. La Malcontenta” By Liz Williams
  15. “The Children of Time” By Stephen Baxter
  16. Little Faces” by vonda n. Mcintyre
  17. “Comber” By Gene Wolfe
  18. “Audubon in Atlantis” By Harry Turtledove
  19. “Deus Ex Homine” By Hannu Rajaniemi
  20. “The Great Caruso” By Steven Popkes
  21. “Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck” By Neal Asher
  22. “Zima Blue [*Carrie Clay]” By Alastair Reynolds
  23. Planet of the Amazon Women” By David Moles
  24. “The Clockwork Atom Bomb” By Dominic Green
  25. “Gold Mountain” By Chris Roberson
  26. “The Fulcrum” By Gwyneth Jones
  27. “Mayfly” By Peter Watts and Derryl Murphy
  28. Two Dreams on Trains” By Elizabeth Bear
  29. “Angel of Light” By Joe Haldeman
  30. Burn” By James Patrick Kelly

TOC: Strahan’s Very Best of 2005 SF/F Anthologies

Editor Jonathan Strahan has posted the udated tables of contents (see the old ones) for the two annual anthologies he formerly published through iBooks, but now (since iBooks went belly-up) will be published through Locus Press.

Some of the stories are available online and there are quite a few Hugo, Nebula and Locus Award nominees in the bunch – all noted below.

SCIENCE FICTION: THE VERY BEST OF 2005

  1. “Triceratops Summer” by Michael Swanwick (Locus nominee)
  2. Little Faces” by Vonda N. McIntyre
  3. “The Second Coming of Charles Darwin” by James Morrow
  4. Is There Life After Rehab?” by Pat Cadigan
  5. “Understanding Space and Time” by Alastair Reynolds
  6. “The Fulcrum” by Gwyneth Jones
  7. “The Blemmye’s Dilemma” by Bruce Sterling
  8. “They Will Raise You in a Box” by Wil McCarthy
  9. “Finished” by Robert Reed
  10. The King of Where-I-Go” by Howard Waldrop (Hugo and Locus nominee)
  11. The Calorie Man” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Hugo nominee)
  12. “The Fate of Mice” by Susan Palwick
  13. I Robot” by Cory Doctorow (Hugo and Locus nominee)
  14. The Little Goddess” by Ian McDonald (Hugo nominee)

FANTASY: THE VERY BEST OF 2005

  1. Two Hearts” by Peter S. Beagle (Hugo and Locus nominee)
  2. “Snowball’s Chance” by Charles Stross
  3. “Sunbird” by Neil Gaiman (Locus nominee)
  4. “A Knot of Toads” by Jane Yolen (Locus nominee)
  5. “Boatman’s Holiday” by Jeffrey Ford (Locus nominee)
  6. The Language of Moths” by Christopher Barzak
  7. Anyway” by M Rickert
  8. “The Emperor of Gondwanaland” by Paul Di Filippo (Locus nominee)
  9. “The Pirate’s True Love” by Seana Graham
  10. Intelligent Design” by Ellen Klages
  11. Pip and the Fairies” by Theodora Goss
  12. Leviathan” by Simon Brown
  13. “The Denial” by Bruce Sterling
  14. “The Farmer’s Cat” by Jeff VanderMeer
  15. There’s a Hole in the City” by Richard Bowes (Nebula nominee)
  16. “Monster” by Kelly Link

REVIEW: Night Train to Rigel by Timothy Zahn

REVIEW SUMMARY: Some well-tread sf tropes packaged into an entertaining story.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Human ex-agent Frank Compton is hired by the mechanical Spiders to locate the threat to the Quadrail train system that allows alien races to quickly travel throughout the galaxy.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Fun action-adventure; detailed plot; satisfying conclusion.
CONS: Reader kept in the dark too long; some events too coincidental.
BOTTOM LINE: A fun ride.

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REVIEW: Earth Abides by George R Stewart

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: 99% of the Earth’s population is wiped out in two weeks thanks to a pandemic plague (origin unknown.) The action centers around a survivor named Ish and his coming to grips with the new world he finds himself in – both the changes in technology and the changes in society.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Written in 1949, it is the seminal book on post-apocalyptic society, this book has an fantastic sci-fi insight on nearly every page.

CONS: The ending is a bit tedious and some parts are melodramatic.

BOTTOM LINE: If you’ve never read this book, you’ll soon learn where all the other writers of post-apocalyptic fiction got their ideas from. The third person narrative is straight forward and easy to read, and the physical and emotional trials of Ish are presented in a powerful way.

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10 Most Disgusting Movie Moments

From the April 2006 issue of SciFi Magazine:

10 Most Disgusting Movie Moments

  1. Scanners (1981) – Exploding Head.
  2. The Fly (1986) – BrundleFly, The Enzyme Guy.
  3. Bad Taste (1987) – Massive Head Trauma.
  4. Re-Animator (1985) – Zombies Running Riot.
  5. The Thing (1982) – Defibrillator Scene.
  6. The Blob (1988) – Digested Jock.
  7. Starship Troopers (1997) – Brain Bug.
  8. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) – Pod replication.
  9. Alien (1979) – The Chestburster.
  10. Dawn of the Dead (1978) – Assault on the housing project.

SF Tidbits for 4/28/06

REVIEW: Learning The World by Ken Macleod

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The generational ship But The Sky, My Lady! The Sky! is on a mission to colonize a new solar system for humanity. Upon arrival, they discover one of the planets is already inhabited by intelligent beings on the cusp of an industrial revolution. This discovery sets into motions various conflicts both between the crew of The Sky and on Ground.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Interesting far future human society, intriguing alien planet cool ideas surrounding humans and the aliens.

CONS: I just can’t get into Macleods writing style, ending seemed to be very rushed. Too much inter colonist politics.

BOTTOM LINE: If you like Ken Macleod’s other works, you’ll probably like this. Also, a first contact novel that devotes almost equal time to the stories of both sides.

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REVIEW: Starship: Mutiny by Mike Resnick

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Commander Wilson Cole, decorated hero of the Republic (not that one either), is transfered to the Teddy Roosevelt out on the fringes of the galaxy. He finds the war is out in that section and he continues to do what he believes is right. Unfortunately, that belief ultimately leads to mutiny.

MY REVIEW

PROS: The characters are personable and the action is well paced.

CONS: The events leading into this book are absent and some sort of summary would have been nice. I also felt that the story was a tad cliche.

BOTTOM LINE: A fun and quick read that starts off the Starship series of novels.

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Upcoming Sci Fi Channel Updates

A couple of Sci Fi Channel bits for you today.

First up, Sci Fi will be launching Pulse, their broadband-centered site for SF content. It looks like they will be taking the stuff they have done with BG, and expanding it in a big way. Every show on SciFi will have broadband content available, they will have an online film festival called Exposure, pilots for possible shows will be online (cool), and users will be able to submit their own videos, sort of a YouTube for SF. All this sounds cool. Let’s hope they keep the science fiction part of their name in mind as they move forward.

Second, VXFWorld has a list of upcoming SciFi Channel shows,movies and mini-series. In the series, SNAP and PERSONS UNKNOWN sound intriguing. SNAP definately sounds interesting, if done right. I can’t believe they’re doing a CHARIOT OF THE GODS mini-series. Please. And the UNKNOWN SCIENCE SKETCH COMEDY show sounds interesting too. All the other stuff is typical big media crap, with focus on the supernatural and ‘reality’ shows. Still, they at least have a couple of SF themed shows. SciFi may have more definate recordings on my DVR in the future.

More Dick In The Theaters

PKD seems to still be a hot commodity amongst the Hollywood types. Not only is A Scanner Darkly being released soon, now word is that Nic Cage will be starring in the movie Next, based on PKD’s story, The Golden Man. Its being touted as a Science Fiction Action Thriller. As if Hollywood produces any other kind of SF movie. But I digress. I’ve never read the story, but the synopsis sounds kind off Dead Zone-ish. Anyone here read it? Should Hollywood move on to other SF authors?

H.P. Lovecraft, Headbanger

An fun article at Burlington Free Press talks about books that have inspired heavy metal music. Headbangers, it seems, make ardent readers. Many of them base their music on the works of classic authors.

But which genre writers are most often echoed in the strains of heavy metal?

H.P. Lovecraft, for one, whose writings have inspired songs by Metallica and Dead Meadow. Led Zeppelin and Rush have songs based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Iron Maiden even does a take on Frank Herbert’s Dune.

I googled that last one and found this bit of interesting trivia on wikipedia:

Also on the Piece of Mind album, renowned author Frank Herbert came into conflict with the band when they wanted to record a song named after the book Dune. Not only did Herbert refuse to allow the song to be called “Dune”, he also refused to allow a spoken quotation from the book to appear as the track’s intro. Bass player Steve Harris’s polite request was met with a stern reply from the agent: “No. Because Frank Herbert doesn’t like rock bands, particularly heavy rock bands, and especially rock bands like Iron Maiden”. This statement was backed up with a legal threat, and eventually the song was renamed “To Tame A Land” and released in 1983.

SF Tidbits for 4/27/06

Battlestar Galactica Prequel

[Updated with newly-available SciFi Channel link.]

The SCiFi Channel has announced a new prequel series to Battlestar Galactica. The prequel, called Caprica, is set 50 years before the events leading up to BG. From Zap2It:

“Caprica” will be set more than 50 years prior to the events of “Battlestar Galactica” and focus on the lives of two families — the Adamas (ancestors of future Galactica commander William) and the Graystones. Humankind’s Twelve Colonies are at peace and on the verge of a technological breakthrough: the first Cylon.

As “Battlestar Galactica” is about a lot more than space battles, “Caprica” will be as much family drama as sci-fi tale. Remi Aubuchon (“The Lyon’s Den,” “24”) is writing the pilot script; “Galactica” veterans Ronald D. Moore and David Eick will executive produce it.

[Hat-tip to “remote reporter” Joshua Corning who brought this to our attention in another post]

REVIEW: Last Sons (DC Universe) by Alan Grant

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Superman, Martian Manhunter and the intergalactic bounty hunter (all last sons of their respective races) all come together when confronted by an extremely power AI bent on domination of the universe.

MY REVIEW

PROS: Its a DC Universe book. Very good job on the characters, and smooth action.

CONS: There is violence and sexual innuendo, but mild language which had me confused about who this book is geared for. The ending seemed a bit abrupt and almost too easily resolved.

BOTTOM LINE: A solid book with some really good science fiction that could have expanded on the ending and either change some of the language or remove some of the innuendo.

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SF Tidbits for 4/26/06

Meet The Author

MeetTheAuthor allows you to see and hear your favorite authors in short clips where they discuss one of their titles.

The science fiction selection is a bit sparse at the moment, offering up two authors in nine clips dated between April and December of 2005. Brian Aldiss is seen in six clips (where he discusses Greybeard, Non-Stop, Super-state, The Helliconia Trilogy, Trillion Year Spree and “Supertoys Last All Summer Long“) while Neil Gaiman is seen in three clips (discussing Mirrormask, Neverwhere and Smoke and Mirrors).

The 65 clips of Children’s authors includes Terry Pratchett (discussing A Hat Full of Sky and The Wee Free Men), Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl, Artemis Fowl:The Arctic Incident) and Diana Wynne Jones (The Merlin Conspiracy).

[via Forbidden Planet]

EW Reviews Fantasy

The April 28/May 5 issue of Entertainment Weekly offers some brief reviews of fantasy books. Here’s a snippet.

In the Eye of Heaven by David Keck

Lowdown: Though breaking no new ground, Keck creates fantastical drama from solid formula.

Grade: B-

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

Lowdown: The second book in Novik’s trilogy is less revelatory but still beats with meticulously crafted wonder.

Grade: B+

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

Lowdown: An ingenious, spirited allegory for adolescent angst, aging, the purpose of art, etc., that digs deep.

Grade: A

Proven Guilty: A Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Lowdown: A fast and furious adventure, with winking nods to Bugs Bunny and john Carpenter.

Grade: B+

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