Archive for April, 2008

Jeff VanderMeer is reporting that Richard K. Morgan has won this year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award which is given to the best SF novel published each year in the UK (though not necessarily by a British writer).

Morgan won for his book Black Man which was released in the United States undr the title Thirteen.

See also:

Previous winners.

Starship Sofa Podcast Expands to Audio SF Magazine

Tony from StarshipSofa writes in to tell us about some the cool things going on there:

The StarShipSofa podcast is metamorphosing into the StarShipSofa – The Audio Science Fiction Magazine. Following in the great tradition of magazines like Analog, Asimov’s and Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Each week the StarShipSofa will deliver a full package of SF related audio material all free including audio fiction, fact audio essays, flash fiction and poetry, all by leading names in the SF field.

Many writers have agreed to let StarShipSofa narrate their works including Ben Bova, Joe Haldeman, Alistair Reynolds and M. John Harrison, to name a few.

There will be two shows per week, the Wednesday show, also know as Aural Delights will contain narrated audio fiction, fact and poerty and the weekend show will be an in depth look into an author’s life and work.

This week saw the first of the metamorphosing with the StarShipSofa’s Aural Delights show. Fiction was provided by Kage Baker’s fantastic story “The Likely Lad,” there were two poems by Bruce Boston and Laurel Winter, both winners of the Rhysling Award for SF Poetry. Flash fiction came from a very short but very powerful story called “Repeating The Past” by Peter Watts, author of the SF novel Blindsight.

In the weeks to come Peter Watts will also be delivering a monthly narrated fact article; this part of the show will be called Reality, Remastered.

As for the weekend shows, StarShipSofa has her sights upon writers such as John Scalzi, Robert Charles Wilson and Ken Macleod.

Extra Special Star Wars Music Videos

It’s amazing what you can find on the internets these days. Case in point, the following gospel song praising everyone’s favorite blatant merchandising move, Ewoks.

Billy D! No!!!!! Who knew the Ewoks lived like the Amish? Where was Jebediah Ewok?

As if that weren’t bad enough, Chad Vader also gets into the music business, covering that YouTube sensation, ‘Chocolate Rain’.

I like this version better.

Free Comic Book Day 2008: May 3rd

The annual Free Comic Book Day is coming on Saturday, May 3rd 2008. It’s when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores. (Details provided by each retailer.)

The selection of comics includes those from Gold sponsors (including All Star Superman #1, Hellboy/B.P.R.D., Project Superpowers, Transformers Animated, and X-Men) and silver sponsors (including Atomic Robo & Friends, Del Rey & Dabel Brothers Preview (Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Welcome To The Jungle, George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards: The Hard Call, And Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein: Prodigal Son), Marvel Adventures: Iron Man, and Tiny Titans #1) .

Stop by a store near you!

REVIEW: Cenotaxis by Sean Williams

MY RATING:

Cenotaxis is Sean Williams’ novella, set in his Astropolis universe, that bridges the gap between the first book, Saturn Returns, and the second book, Earth Ascendant. However, you need not have read Saturn Returns to read Cenotaxis. You’ll miss some of the context, but the story, novella really, is rather self contained. The story covers the actions of Imre Bergamasc as he tries to coerce Earth and its people to enlist in his quest to discover the source of the ‘Slow Wave’, which wreaked havoc on the galactic civilization in Saturn Returns. Things don’t go as smoothly as planned, and Imre must face off against an opponent who may, or may not be, God personified.

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SF Tidbits for 4/30/08

Wednesday YouTube: John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow Interview Each Other

As one would hope, there is talk of bacon and cats.

[via Cory Doctorow]

Tube Bits for 04/30/2008

  • Check out this sweet, but extremely geeky, Star Trek bottle opener, patterned after the original Enterprise, the NCC-1701 (no bloody D). And at only 12 British pounds, you can afford two!
  • Shane Coffey at Cellounge to goes to great lengths to support his revealing of the last Cylon on Galactica. Nicely supported with evidence, but I’m not convinced the last Cylon is a major-minor character. I’m not convinced the writers knew when they started this season…
  • E! Online has a spoilery entry which covers Heroes (a ‘hero’ with super speed) and has a few LOST bits. Oh, and Tricia Helfer appears set to guest star on Burn Notice. Awesome.
  • Staying with LOST, the Season 4 Blu-Ray and DVD sets will be released on Dec. 9th.
  • Yet even more LOST. USA Today recently ran a contest where fans could submit their theories and a lucky few would be critiqued by the producers. Well, the results are in. Check out the “Dharma Chameleon”, sans Boy George, to see something that is quite accurate, to quote Lindeloff and Cuse. Or not if you don’t want to be spoiled.
  • Japanator reviews the re-made Neon Genesis Evangelion movie, You Are (Not) Alone. Time to see if this has fallen off the truck, so to speak.
  • Mental Floss gives us 6 sci-fi TV show concepts you didn’t see. And they’re right, except for Daybreak. I did manage to watch all the episodes after they moved to the web. It was pretty good, if a bit confusing at the end.
  • You know the concept well: Soldiers mysteriously abducted from Earth and transported to an alien arena where they must fight to survive. It’s been on Star Trek, in books, and even various fighting games. Now, it’s going to be a big screen movie with the unexpected title of Arena.
  • A&E TV has unveiled their new Andromeda Strain website. It has Daniel Dae Kim and Ricky Schroeder! Tune in on Memorial Day.
  • Adult Swim is airing Code Geass episodes before they air on Adult Swim. Cool.

Video: Ursula K. Le Guin Reads from Lavinia

Ursula K. Le Guin reads from her latest novel, Lavinia. The author spoke at Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon, on April 22, 2008.

REVIEW SUMMARY: A good collection of original short fiction from a great lineup of writers.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An original fiction anthology containing 15 stories.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Twelve stories worth reading, two of which were hugely enjoyable.

CONS: One story (the longest in the anthology) did not work for me at all.

BOTTOM LINE: An enjoyable collection of stories.

Editor George Mann opens The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume 2 by explaining the reason behind its publication. In doing so, he captures some of the reasons I enjoy reading short fiction: the jolt of wonder, the single conceit, the bite size morsel, etc. But there’s no denying that it’s common for a science fiction anthology, whose goal is often to present stories of various flavors, to include stories that do not suit a particular reader’s tastes.

And so it was here. The good news is that only a single story failed to entertain. I must fess up to being totally disenchanted with the Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius story. Being the longest story in the book had a noticeable effect on the overall weighted average. Such is the hit-or-miss nature of a short fiction anthology.

The ultimate question, despite some misses, is whether there are more hits. In this case, the answer is a resounding yes. The vast majority of stories in the anthology are good or better. The outstanding entries were “iCity” by Paul Di Filippo and “Sunworld” by Eric Brown. Both of these stories capture the joys that come with anthologies and ultimately help make The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume 2 an enjoyable anthology.

Reviewlettes follow…

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SF Tidbits for 4/29/08

The text of Daniel Abraham’s story “The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics” is now online.

This is the final short fiction nominee to be made available online. For a complete list of short fiction nominees, with links to the corresponding online versions, see our earlier post of 2008 Hugo Award Nominees.

[via John Klima, editor or Logorrhea, the anthology where the story first appeared.]

Deal Or No Deal Models As Slave Princess Leia

Tonight is a special Star Wars themed Deal or No Deal, and to put everyone in the mood, we have a special sneak peek at the DoND models in their Slave Princess Leia outfits. Yeowch. Middle-age geeks everywhere should tune in tonight.

And, you’re welcome John.

NOMINEES: Sidewise Awards for Alternate History

The nominees for the Sidewise Awards for Alternate History have been announced:

Best Short Form:

  • Elizabeth Bear, “Les Innocents/Lumiere” (in New Amsterdam, Subterranean Press)
  • Michael Flynn, “Quaestiones Super Caelo Et Mundo” (in Analog, 7/07)
  • Matthew Johnson, “Public Safety” (in Asimov’s, 3/07)
  • Jess Nevins, “An Alternate History of Chinese Science Fiction” (in No Fear of the Future, May 17, 2007)
  • Chris Roberson, “Metal Dragon Year” (in Interzone, 12/07)
  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch, “Recovering Apollo 8″ (in Asimov’s, 2/07)
  • John Scalzi, “Missives from Possible Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results” (in Subterranean Magazine, Winter 2007)

Best Long Form:

  • Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (HarperCollins)
  • Robert Conroy, 1945: A Novel (Ballantine Books)
  • Mary Gentle, Ilario (The Lion’s Eye and The Stone Golem) (Eos)
  • Jay Lake, Mainspring (Tor Books)
  • Sophia McDougall, Rome Burning (Orion)
  • Jo Walton, Ha’penny (Tor Books)

See also: Past winners.

Summer Sci Fi Movie Smackdown

The summer movie season is fast approaching, in fact starting this Friday. As usual, Hollywood has scheduled their blockbuster movies for the summer, and this year, the slate is chock full of science fiction and fantasy films. So many, in fact, that starting this week, you could, if you wanted, see a new SF/F movie every Friday through the end of July (with a couple of exceptions). Now that is a lot of movies, but does the SF/F movie fan have reason to celebrate or is this just another summer of cliches and remakes?

We here at SF Signal have put together this handy guide of the summer movies in the hopes of helping you decide, which, if any, you want to see and which to steer clear of. There’s even a handy box office quiz at the end so read on!

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My Nebula Weekend

Several weeks ago, I purchased tickets to this year’s Nebula Weekend since it was being held within driving distance. I must admit that I bought them in ignorance. I expected it to be more like a convention, with sessions and other related programming set up. Afterwards, I found out that it wasn’t like that at all. It was geared more towards the SFWA taking care of business and its members schmoozing at the hotel bar. After some drawn-out indecision I decided not to go. But at the last minute, I decided what the heck. At least I would be able to meet some folks who I only knew through email.

I’m glad I went because it turned out to be a whole load of fun. It was actually a good thing that there were no sessions because that meant more face time with people.

In the order they happened, here are some of the weekend’s highlights:

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Rich Horton has posted the table of contents of his propsed (but unforunately canceled) anthology, Space Opera. Too bad…it looked to be a good one.

  1. “Finisterra” by David Moles (F&SF, December)
  2. “Pluto Tells All” by John Scalzi (Subterranean, Spring)
  3. “The Sands of Titan” by Richard A. Lovett (Analog, June)
  4. “Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?” by Ken MacLeod (The New Space Opera)
  5. “Trunk and Disorderly” by Charles Stross (Asimov’s, January)
  6. “Six Lights Off Green Scar” by Gareth L. Powell (Infinity Plus)
  7. “The Final Voyage of La Riaza” by Jayme Lynn Blaschke (Interzone, June)
  8. “Icarus Beach” by C. W. Johnson (Analog, December)
  9. “The Caldera of Good Fortune” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, Oct/Nov)
  10. “The Fly and Die Ticket” by Jay Lake (Subterranean, Fall)
  11. “Muse of Fire” by Dan Simmons (The New Space Opera)

SF Tidbits for 4/27/08

Tube Bits for 04/28/2008

  • Disney’s movie Lilo and Stitch has already spawned an animated series. Now there’s talk of an anime series to be called Stitched!. Possibly in conjunction with the anime, Runat has created this combo radio/CD player based on Stitch’s head. It will be available in Japan starting May 1st, and will run about $90. Watch your fingers.
  • SciFiChick has the trailer for the upcoming Stargate: Continuum movie. Enjoy.
  • If there are any Heroes fans left, you may want to check out Allan Arkush, as he lets loose with some info about season 3. And if you aren’t, then there’s no reason not to look. Who knows, maybe it will sound interesting enough to bring you back…
  • You may have heard that the old TV show Get Smart will be making its big screen debut later this summer. What you didn’t know was that there is already a spin-off of that movie. A direct-to-DVD feature called Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control, about two technicians who work at CONTROL. Why is that interesting? Masi Oka co-stars. I think co-star is the right word to use here.
  • ITV has confirmed that they are remaking, or ‘re-versioning’ as they call it, the Patrick McGoohan screw-with-your-head-fest show The Prisoner. Will they stay true to the original’s pedigree and create a show that challenges viewers, or will they try to make one more accessible to a wider range of audience (should they?)
  • Film School Rejects tells us about The Evolution of TV or: How I Learned to Love Battlestar Galactica. Of course Neil, the author, says this after having viewed only season 1. And I can agree with him here, as season 1 is, by far, the best season of Galactica. Season 4 seems to be wallowing in a pit of self-loathing, throwing a pity party for all the characters. They’d better end this in a cool way.

POLL RESULTS: The Best Batman Villain

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Who was the best villain on the 1960′s Batman television show (or the 1966 film)?

RESULTS

(97 total votes)

Some comments this week…

“A tough question, but I do think that Egghead, King Tut, the John Astin Riddler and the Lee Meriwether Catwoman are definitely ‘second tier’. Since they have such a complex relationship, for me its really a tossup between the Kitt and Newmar Catwomans (Catwomen?)” – Jvstin

“Julie Newmar for the win! But there were so MANY good villians, it’s hard to choose. Otto Premiger as MR. Freeze, Liberace as the pianast and his evil twin, Roddy McDowall as the bookworm, Art Carney as The Archer, the list goes on and on. How they got these people to get onto such a oddball show was a mystery, but I’m glas they did.” – Keith

“For me it was the Joker, though I hated the Penguin the most.” – General X

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about the 2008 Summer movie you are most anticipating!

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