Archive for February, 2007

REVIEW: Eric by Terry Pratchett

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Eric is Pratchett’s novel parodying the classic tale of Faust.

PROS: Some amusing bits

CONS: Not as funny as other books, very short book.

BOTTOM LINE: Aside from continuing the adventures of everyone’s favorite Wizzard, Eric just doesn’t hold up compared to other Discworld books.

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Trek XI On Track For December ’08 Release And Suckage

It’s been confirmed by Paramount that Trek XI will be released on Christmas Day, 2008 and that J.J. Abrams will be directing. But is Abrams, the brains behind Alias and LOST, enough to save this movie? I say ‘No! A thousand times no!”.

Let’s count the ways shall we? Yes, we shall.

  1. The biggest obstacle is the odd-numbered curse. I’m not sure how you can break this cycle of inevitable suckage, but I don’t see Abrams as being able to. Why? Keep reading.
  2. The story. Kirk and Spock at Starfleet. Yawn. This isn’t what made ST:TOS popular. Sure, characters are part of it, but do we really need to see them going on drunken binges and panty raiding the Orion slave girls? No! Except for, maybe, the slave girl part. I know! Abrams ought to make Porkys: The Next Generation.
  3. And if the rumors are true, just look at the cast. Matt Damon as Kirk? Really? Adrien Brody as Spock? Why do I see Alexander Dane from Galaxy Quest? Gary Sinise as McCoy? I like Sinise, but not as McCoy. James McAvoy as Scotty. At least he’s a Scott so he won’t have to fake the accent. And Daniel Dae Kim, from LOST, as Sulu. Isn’t this just reprising his role from Crusade? Now, if he brings Yunjin Kim along to play Yeoman Rand, that would work.
  4. I hear you saying: “Why are you such a hater? You have to cast new people if you’re going to focus on young Kirk and Spock!”. Well, yes, for obvious reasons and no, because you shouldn’t be focusing there at all! My point being that Shatner, Nimoy and crew are the iconic figures of classic Trek. Recasting them will raise the ire of many people and they new actors won’t be accepted by a large portion of the audience. Unless they’re furry. And now that I think about it, the slash people ought to have a field day here…

  5. A lot has been said about Abrams’ work on Alias and LOST and how he’s the guy to breathe new life into Trek. Well, I saw Mission Impossible 3, and if that’s an indication of his feature film ability, then we should pack it in right now. It wasn’t that good. And it was based on an established property. Much like Trek XI. Hmm…

So you see, ladies and gentlemen, far from being a sure thing to ignite the masses of Star Trek fandom, this movie has trainwreck written all over it. Sure, the Galactica re-imagining has worked out, but this? It isn’t even a proper re-imagining, just a focus on a time that isn’t that interesting. STar Trek has some mileage left, I think, but not on re-hashing older characters. We need new stuff. And good stuff.

New Hampshire Encourages Reading Science Fiction

The New Hampshire Humanities Council is launching a year-long, book-based project called Speculate: a new past, a different present, an out-of-this-world future. The program

Here’s their suggested reading/listening list:

  1. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress [See SF Signal review.]
  2. Burn by James Patrick Kelly [See SF Signal review.]
  3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury [See SF Signal review.]
  4. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
  5. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  6. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
  7. Martian Race by Gregory Benford
  8. Moon Over Morocco, audio-drama by by ZBS Productions
  9. Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
  10. Neuromancer by William Gibson
  11. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card

[via W@tEotU]

SF Tidbits for 2/28/07

Subterranean Magazine Online

The Winter 2007 issue of Subterranean Press Magazine has been posted online with the following offerings:

  • Column: HARVESTING THE DARKNESS #1 by Norman Partridge
  • Fiction: MISSIVES FROM POSSIBLE FUTURES #1: ALTERNATE HISTORY SEARCH RESULTS by John Scalzi
  • Fiction: VACANCY by Lucius Shepard
  • Fiction: WANDERING THE BORDERLANDS by Poppy Z. Brite
  • Review: BOOK REVIEWS by Dorman T. Shindler

[via Big Dumb Object]

SF Tidbits for 2/27/07

NOMINEES: 2006 Nebula Award Ballot (Final)

The SFWA has posted the Final 2006 Nebula Award Ballot. The Nebula Award will be presented in New York City at the 2007 Nebula Awards Weekend, May 11-13, 2007.

Linked story names go to online versions.

NOVELS

  • The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner
  • Seeker by Jack McDevitt
  • The Girl in the Glass by Jeffrey Ford
  • Farthing by Jo Walton
  • From the Files of the Time Rangers by Richard Bowes
  • To Crush the Moon by Wil McCarthy

NOVELLAS

NOVELETTES

SHORT STORIES

SCRIPTS

  • Batman Begins by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki, Cindy Davis Hewitt, and Donald H. Hewitt
  • Battlestar Galactica, “Unfinished Business” by Michael Taylor
  • Doctor Who, “The Girl in the Fireplace” by Steven Moffat

ANDRE NORTON AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY

  • Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier
  • Devilish by Maureen Johnson
  • The King Of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Midnighters #2: Touching Darkness by Scott Westerfeld
  • Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
  • Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

See also: Prelimary ballot and past winners.

REVIEW: D.A. by Connie Willis

REVIEW SUMMARY: D.A. reads like Robert A. Heinlein on speed!

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Theodora Baumgarten is erroneously enrolled as an IASA space cadet and subsequently tries to find out why.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Fast-moving story; Willis’ writing style is thoroughly engaging and highly entertaining.

CONS: Somewhat predictable, especially for fans of Heinlein’s juveniles, to which this story pays homage.

BOTTOM LINE: An excellent novella.

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The Fly Being Remade as…an Opera?

A remake of 1986’s The Fly is headed for the opera stage. You heard me. From The Orlando Sentinel:

Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore, Plácido Domingo and director David Cronenberg are forming an unlikely trio to create an unlikely opera — The Fly.

A co-production by the Theatre du Chatelet and Domingo’s Los Angeles Opera, The Fly will premiere in Paris on July 1, 2008, and open the Los Angeles Opera’s 2008-9 season Sept. 7, 2008. Domingo will conduct both runs.

This is exactly what science fiction needs to give it the class it deserves. And what better way than via an operatic version of a Cronenberg movie? I can’t wait to see Plácido Domingo vomit on some poor bastard’s stump just before he chows down. I bet Luciano Pavarotti is so jealous…

TOC: Year’s Best Fantasy 7

Kathryn Cramer has posted the table of contents for the annual anthology se co-edits with David G. Hartwell, Year’s Best Fantasy 7, to be published in June 2007.

  1. “Hallucigenia” by Laird Barron
  2. “Four Fables” by Peter S. Beagle
  3. “Yours, Etc.” by Gavin Grant
  4. “Sea Air” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
  5. “I’ll Give You My Word” by Diana Wynne Jones
  6. “The Bonny Boy” by Ian Macleod
  7. “Ghost Mission” by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
  8. “The Roaming Forest” by Michael Moorcock
  9. “Show Me Yours” by Robert Reed
  10. “Christmas Witch” by M. Rickert
  11. “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” by Geoff Ryman
  12. “The Lepidopterist” by Lucius Shepard
  13. “The Double-Edged Sword” by Sharon Shinn
  14. “Pimpf” by Charles Stross
  15. “An Episode of Stardust” by Michael Swanwick
  16. “The Osteomancer’s Son” by Greg van Eekhout
  17. “Thin, On the Ground” by Howard Waldrop
  18. “The Potter’s Daughter” by Martha Wells
  19. “Build-a-Bear” by Gene Wolfe
  20. “Bea and her Bird Brother” by Gene Wolfe

SF Tidbits for 2/26/07

POLL RESULTS: The Best Trek

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
The 11th Star Trek movie is in production. Which of the previous ones is your favorite?

RESULTS

(146 total votes)

Looks like an “Odd Ones Suck” trend, no? And it generally gets worse as the series number gets higher.

A couple of comments this week:

“I go back and forth between The Undiscovered Country and Nemesis as my favorite. Both deal with similar themes (aging; ending; drifting apart) and I think the inclusion of endings (for characters and stories both) is what gives each film an edge and a stronger tone.” – Pete Tzinski

“Goodness, that is a heck of a list, but one can never go wrong when you have Ricardo and William Shatner in the same movie :) Besides without ST2 – you would never have the immortal phrase: “KHAAAAAAAAN!!!!”” – Tim

“ST2 was great because it was overall small and personal. It involved the personal vendetta of Khan against Kirk, the personal tragedy of Spock, and the personal situation involving Kirk’s son. The other movies all try to be grand and expansive and end up either being all about special effects or huge galactic battles. I fear this will never make a great sci-fi film.” – Scott

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on The Best Midriff-Baring Space Princess!

Twenty Years Ago the Classics Were Different

In a brutally honest follow-up to his classic “The Classics of Science Fiction” article from 20 years ago, James Wallace Harris has this to say about the classics of yesteryear:

Now looking back with twenty years of hindsight I’m not sure how many science fiction books I would consider classic. The final The Classics of Science Fiction list wasn’t selected by me, but was assembled from the most frequently recommended books from 28 best-of lists and other sources dating back to the 1950s. Of the 193 books on the list, I’m not sure how many I would personally recommend today.

These days, he’s been listening to audiobooks, some of them are the audio versions of the sf classics and the experience has been mixed. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, for example, does not hold up, he says:

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SF Tidbits for 2/25/07

MOVIE REVIEW: Pan’s Labrynth

Pan's Labyrinth

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Ofelia and her mother move into an old mill in rural Spain to start a new life with her new father, fascist Captain Vidal. Ofelia soon finds that the woods around the mill contain fairies, and a faun that sends Ofelia on a series of quests to prove that she’ the long-lost princess of the Underworld.

PROS: Amazingly captivating story; horribly evil villain

CONS: None

BOTTOM LINE: The best film I’ve seen in a very long while, a worthy Oscar nomination for best foreign film.

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Of Princesses and Polls

Taking a cue from John C. Wright, SF Signal would like to promote The New Space Princess Movement!

And what better way to celebrate than with some stiff competition between midriff-baring space royalty? Ex astris, diaphragmata! [Thanks to My Elves Are Different for the slogan. – Ed.]

The rules are simple:

  1. The contestant must be a babe from the world of science fiction TV and film.
  2. The contestant must be a member of royalty.
  3. The contestant must bare her midriff.

After the jump you get to see the goods. Please…take your time, savor the beauty, and voice your opinion in next week’s poll , posted on Monday. (You may request others in the comments section of this post before Monday)

The contestants are…

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SF Tidbits for 2/24/07

REVIEW:Bright Of The Sky by Kay Kenyon

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Former starship pilot Titus Quinn is coerced into returning to the mysterious realm, the Entire, by the Miranda corporation. Miranda wants Titus to discover a way to use the Entire as a shortcut for interstellar travel. Titus has other ideas.

PROS: Unique setting both physically and societally; Titus Quinn is a compelling anti-hero.

CONS: Some clunky writing; a drawn out ending; weaker secondary characters.

BOTTOM LINE: Bright Of The Sky effortlessly blends science fiction concepts and world-building with fantasy story telling to create a unique and intriguing whole.

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SF Tidbits for 2/23/07

Teen Lit Fest 2007

Teen Lit Fest, to be held February 24th, 2007, at Atascocita High School in Humble, TX, celebrates young adult fiction. Authors and illustrators attending include Chris Crutcher (keynote speaker), Gail Giles, Justine Larbalestier, Benjamin Saenz, Scott Westerfeld and Chris Yambar.

Here at SF Signal, we like to promote reading in young adults and kids. So, if you are in the area, check it out! [Looks at JP, Tim and self.]

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