Archive for January, 2007

We seem to have a “cost of books” theme going with a previous tidbit (“Literary Kicks says Books are Too Damn Expensive“) and the recent post The Most Expensive Science Fiction & Fantasy Books Sold by AbeBooks in 2006. I thought you, dear, dear reader, might want to weigh in on the highest price you ever paid for a single science fiction or fantasy novel.

Me? I’m a biblioholic as opposed to a collector, so most of my book-buying dollar goes towards used science fiction, not collectibles. But back before I discovered the plethora of used bookstores in Houston, I did pick up a new (gasp!) copy of David Brin’s Foundation’s Triumph for around $24 in order to complete my pre-2000 Asimov Robots/Foundation reading project. There have been times when I thought about paying more for a book (a $300 set of sf reference books, a copy of the hard-to-find Year’s Best Science Fiction #1 by Gardner Dozois) but I could never bring myself to do it.

What’s the most you ever paid?

Locus Does it Bester

An online version of Graham Sleight’s “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” from the June 2006 issue of Locus has been posted online. Sleight looks at two classic novels by Alfred Bester: The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination.

I recently read The Stars My Destination. This, my friends, is the differene difference between a professional review and an amateur review. (That and running a spell check.)

There are books you admire and books you love. Ulysses is easy to admire; Pride and Prejudice is easy to love. I think that when you love a book, it’s almost always because of voice, because you want to know the person telling you the story. These two novels by Bester are both admired and loved in the SF field, I think rightly. Re-reading them as an adult is, inevitably, not the same as when you first encounter them (as almost everyone seems to have) at the age of 14. But Bester’s ceaseless tug of story remains unstoppable, a force of nature; and unlike with many books, you can see that he had reasons to write these two. They weren’t just stopping-posts or contractual obligations partway through a career. You sense, more than anything, how thrilling it would have been to know the man who wrote them at the time he wrote them. Streamers and confetti burst from him, still.

Abe Books has announced new Science Fiction and Fantasy book rooms which focus on their respective genres. The rooms offer a link to this interesting list. Check the page for details about each volume.

The Most Expensive Science Fiction & Fantasy Books Sold by AbeBooks in 2006

  1. 1984 by George Orwell ($8,258.40)
  2. (Tie) Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson ($7,500)
  3. (Tie) The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King ($7,500)
  4. (Tie) I, Robot by Issac Asimov ($4,500)
  5. (Tie) The Healer’s War by Elizabeth Scarborough ($4,500)
  6. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley ($4,025)
  7. The Ship That Sailed to Mars by William Timlin ($3,995)
  8. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm ($3,975)
  9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley ($3,250)
  10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien ($3,000)

SF Tidbits for 1/31/07

REVIEW SUMMARY: How can you not watch Elvis and JFK fight a mummy?

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Elvis and JFK fight a soul-eating Egyptian mummy in a nursing home.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Campbell as Elvis; witty dialog; social commentary on the elderly gives the story some depth;

CONS: Stretches some limits of believability, but only if you look at this as a horror film.

BOTTOM LINE: A quiet, subtly insightful drama. With a mummy.

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REVIEW: Final Impact by John Birmingham

REVIEW SUMMARY: Continuing the quality of effort from the previous book, Birmingham delivers on a quality ending to a complicated trilogy.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The task force from the future introduced in the work Weapons of Choice, continues to deal with the impact of its arrival and, most importantly, the continuation of the fight against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The politics of nations takes center stage here as the planet deals with the new ending to WW2 and the significantly different history of the Soviet Union.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Excellent thoughts on the behavior of Stalin, Yamamoto, Roosevelt, and others when confronted with the major changes in the world brought about by the technology of the future.

CONS: Perhaps a bit gratuitous in parts – but war is hell.

BOTTOM LINE: The final 2 books in this trilogy make it overall very solid and worth your time if you are interested in military fiction of this type.

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SF Tidbits for 1/30/07

From the Nevada Appeal:

Fantasy writer David Eddings, 75, said he was using water to flush out the gas tank of his broken-down Excalibur sports car, when some fluid leaked. In a lapse of judgment he readily admitted, Eddings lit a piece of paper and threw into the puddle to test if it was still flammable. The answer came in an orange torrent.

[via Eternal Golden Braid]

SF Tidbits for 1/29/07

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
With all the excitement on the possibility of an HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series, it’s time to sound off. Which of the books do you like best?

RESULTS

(119 total votes)

One comment this week:

“I simply can’t pick a favorite. Least favorite is A Feast For Crows, but only because I would have rather waited for the whole damn’ book instead of getting half the story lines and having to wait at least as long again as for the second half. But I do understand Martin’s desire to get _something_ in the readers’ hands before fannish hit men began stalking him.” – Tim Morris

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels!

Ice Planet

A new science fiction series and mobile video game called Ice Planet are only in co-development, but already has an “Unofficial” fan site. (Read: Official fan site meant to generate buzz.) Ice Planet, to be shot in High Definition video, involves aliens, alien artifacts and Armageddon and stars everyone’s favorite bad guy, Michael Ironside (Scanners, Total Recall).

The series marks the second time a science fiction series will be shot in HD. (The first was The 4400.) This is good news. If anything deserves to be shot in high definition, it’s science fiction. At least since Baywatch went off the air. Additionally, the producers plan to shoot the show as a five-season story arc.

More info on the story line comes from a press release:

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SF Tidbits for 1/28/07

WINNERS: 2006 Aurealis Awards

Talking Squid is reporting (via Jonathan Strahan) that the winners of the 2006 Aurealis Awards are as follows:

GOLDEN AUREALIS

NOVEL: The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott

SHORT STORY: “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan

SCIENCE FICTION

NOVEL: K-Machines by Damien Broderick

SHORT STORY: “The Seventh Letter” by Sean Williams

HORROR

NOVEL (split): The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott and Prismatic by Edwina Grey

SHORT STORY: “Dead of Winter”, Stephen Dedman

FANTASY

NOVEL: Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

SHORT STORY: “A Fine Magic” by Margo Lanagan

YOUNG ADULT

NOVEL: Monster Blood Tattoo: Book One. Foundling by D.M. Cornish

SHORT STORY: “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan

CHILDREN’S

NOVEL: Melissa Queen of Evil by Mardi McConnochie

SHORT FICTION (split): “The True Story of Mary Who Wanted to Stand on Her Head” by Jane Godwin and “Woolvs in the Sitee” by Margaret Wild and Anne Spudvilas

See also: this year’s nominees and past winners.

Best American Fantasy

As mentioned last year, Prime Books is publishing a new annual anthology called Best American Fantasy guest-edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer with Matthew Cheney serving as series editor.

This week, Jeff VanderMeer offers up some more information. Initial story selections have been made and stories will be included by Elizabeth Hand, Kelly Link, Peter LaSalle, Brian Evenson, Sarah Monette and 20+ others.

We’ll know more when the table of contents is finalized.

New Issue of Farmerphile

Issue #7 of Farmerphile: The Magazine of Philip José Farmer is now available with these offerings:

  • “Riverworld in Parody” by Walt Liebscher
  • “The Roller Coaster Ride with Phil Farmer” by Bette Farmer
  • “Excerpt from The City Beyond Play” by Philip José Farmer & Danny Adams
  • Farmerphile Interviews Danny Adams and Philip José Farmer
  • “The Frames”by Philip José Farmer
  • “The Light-Hog Incident” by Philip José Farmer
  • “A Letter from Farmer” by David Bischoff
  • “Creative Mythography” by Dennis E. Power
  • “Bibliophile”by Paul Spiteri
  • “Up from the Bottomless Pit (part 7)” by Philip José Farmer

Also: check out Christopher Paul Carey’s interview with Philip José Farmer at The Zone.

TOC: The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection

Gardner Dozois has posted the table of contents for his annual Year’s Best anthology:

The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection

  1. I, Row-Boat” by Cory Doctorow
  2. “Julian: A Christmas Story” by Robert Charles Wilson
  3. “Tin Marsh” by Michael Swanwick (Read excerpt)
  4. “The Djinn’s Wife” by Ian McDonald (Read excerpt)
  5. The House Beyond Your Sky” by Benjamin Rosenbaum
  6. “Where the Golden Apples Grow” by Kage Baker [See SF Signal review]
  7. “Kin” by Bruce Mcallister
  8. “Signal to Noise” by Alastair Reynolds [See SF Signal review]
  9. “The Big Ice” by Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold (Read excerpt)
  10. “Bow Shock” by Gregory Benford (Read excerpt)
  11. “In The River” by Justin Stanchfield
  12. “Incarnation Day” by Walter Jon Williams [See SF Signal review]
  13. “Far As You Can Go” by Greg Van Eekhout
  14. “Good Mountain” by Robert Reed [See SF Signal Review]
  15. I Hold My Father’s Paws” by David D. Levine
  16. “Dead Men Walking” by Paul J. Mcauley (Read excerpt)
  17. “Home Movies” by Mary Rosenblum
  18. “Damascus” by Daryl Gregory
  19. “Life on the Preservation” by Jack Skillingstead
  20. “Yellow Card Man” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Read excerpt)
  21. “Riding the Crocodile” by Greg Egan [See SF Signal Review]
  22. “The Ile of Dogges” by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
  23. “The Highway Men” by Ken Macleod
  24. “The Pacific Mystery” by Stephen Baxter
  25. “Okanoggan Falls” by Carolyn Ives Gilman
  26. “Every Hole Is Outlined” by John Barnes (Read excerpt)
  27. The Town on Blighted Sea” by A.M. Dellamonica
  28. “Nightingale” by Alastair Reynolds
[via Year’s Best SF Info]

TOC: 2007 Year’s Best series by Rich Horton

Rich Horton has released the tables of contents for the three anthologies he’s working on for Prime Books.

Science Fiction: The Best of the Year 2007 Edition

  1. “Another Word for Map is Faith” by Christopher Rowe (Read excerpt)
  2. “Okanoggan Falls” by Carolyn Ives Gilman
  3. “Saving for a Sunny Day” by Ian Watson
  4. “The Cartesian Theater” by Robert Charles Wilson
  5. “Hesperia and Glory” by Ann Leckie
  6. “Incarnation Day” by Walter Jon Williams [See SF Signal review]
  7. “Exit Before Saving” by Ruth Nestvold
  8. “Inclination” by William Shunn (Read excerpt)
  9. “Life on the Preservation” by Jack Skillingstead
  10. “Me-Topia” by Adam Roberts
  11. The House Beyond Your Sky” by Benjamin Rosenbaum
  12. “A Billion Eves” by Robert Reed

Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2007 Edition

(One author response pending)

  1. “Journey Into the Kingdom” by M. Rickert
  2. The Water Poet and the Four Seasons” by by David J. Schwartz
  3. “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter (Fantasy)” by Geoff Ryman
  4. “The Osteomancer’s Son” by Greg van Eekhout
  5. “Salt Wine” by Peter Beagle
  6. The Original Word for Rain” by Peter Higgins
  7. “The Lineaments of Gratified Desire” by Ysabeau Wilce
  8. “Journey to Gantica” by by Matthew Corradi
  9. “Irregular Verbs” by Matthew Johnson
  10. “A Fish Story” by Sarah Totton
  11. “The Night Whiskey” by Jeffrey Ford
  12. “A Fine Magic” by Margo Lanagan
  13. “Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge” by Richard Parks
  14. “Citrine: A Fable” by Elise Moser
  15. “A Siege of Cranes” by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Space Opera 2007 Edition

(One author response pending)

  1. “Have You Any Wool” by Alan De Niro
  2. “Lehr, Rex” by Jay Lake
  3. “Lady Be Good” by John G. Hemry
  4. “Every Hole is Outlined” by John Barnes (Read excerpt)
  5. “The Plurality of Worlds” by Brian Stableford (Read excerpt)
  6. “Dead Men Walking” by Paul J. Mcauley (Read excerpt)
  7. “The Muse of Empires Lost” by Paul Berger
  8. “Catastrophe Baker and the Cold Equations” by Mike Resnick
  9. “Thousandth Night” by Alastair Reynolds [See SF Signal review]

[via Year’s Best SF Info]

SF Tidbits for 1/26/07

The Top 10 Science Fiction Anime

After reading this news blurb on SciFi about a proposed live action Ghost In The Shell movie (which I thought was called The Matrix), I thought I’d list my personal favorite top 10 science fiction themed anime shows/movies (which you should watch before watching a remake…). Some notes before hand. First, if you’re into anime, you’ll noticed that one, maybe two popular anime series aren’t on the list. I’ll explain afterwards why. Second, this list is heavily weighted toward TV series, and newer series at that. Those are the ones I typically get from Netflix. If there are movies I’ve missed, then please enlighten me. I haven’t been keeping up with the anime scene recently as I used to, I have too many other things to occupy my time. Third, if you don’t see your favorites here, remember this is my list. Feel free to comment on what you like. Flames will be ruthlessly ridiculed. And last, I’ve rated them pretty much on the “Would I watch them again if I saw them on TV?” criteria. Hence the ordering.

With that out of the way, on to the list!

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Popular Mechanics “asked industry insiders to pinpoint the biggest breakthroughs in digital F/X history.” This is the list they came up with.

Top 10 F/X Scenes in Movie History

  1. Star Wars (1977)
  2. Tron (1982)
  3. Terminator 2 (1991)
  4. Cliffhanger (1993)
  5. Jurassic Park (1993)
  6. Forrest Gump (1994)
  7. The Perfect Storm (2000)
  8. Lord of the Rings (2001)
  9. The Polar Express (2004)
  10. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Some of these look suspicious…The Polar Express was just plain creepy. And the only thing I remember about Cliffhanger‘s special effects was how they forgot to digitally erase the wires that help the upside-down helicopter to the side of the mountain. Also, as noted by Cinema Blend (the link source), The Matrix is nowhere to be seen.

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