REVIEW: The Hotel Under the Sand by Kage Baker

REVIEW SUMMARY: Some kids’ books are best read by kids.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A young girl named Emma discovers a magical hotel buried in the sands of a faraway land.


PROS: Baker’s easy-going writing style; colorful characters; positive message for kids.

CONS: Missed opportunity giving Emma’s back story some import; lacked the magical quality I was expecting.

BOTTOM LINE: A mediocre story for adults, though kids (the intended audience) may find it more enjoyable.

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Tuesday Tune of Terror: David Hasselhoff Performs ‘This is the Moment’ from Jekyll and Hyde on Broadway

In case there was any doubt that Jekyll and Hyde fell under the label of horror…

[via Poe TV]

Free Fiction and Stuff for 06/30/2009

astounding.jpgFree Fiction and Stuff [courtesy of QuasarDragon]

In Case You Missed It: Virtuality

If you’re like most of America, you missed Fox’s premiere of Ron Moore’s new SF show, Virtuality. We here at SF Signal also missed it so that’s why we decided it was a good idea for all of us to find out why no one watched Virtuality. Together.

Don’t say we aren’t a caring bunch. Let us know what you think after watching, or if actually did watch you, you can skip the watching again part and give us your thoughts below. Note to the rest of the world: Sorry, Hulu is U.S. only, no Virtuality for you. Besides, that may not be a bad thing…

WINNERS: Signed Copies of ‘The Blood King’ and ‘Dark Haven’ by Gail Z. Martin

The winners of our Gail Z. Martin Giveaway have been notified. They are:

  • The Blood King advance review copy #1, signed: Deborah P. (Bellerose, NY)
  • The Blood King advance review copy #2, signed: Ana Cristina Amaral A. (Amadora, Portugal)
  • Dark Haven copy #1, signed: Seahn G. (Coffs Harbour NSW, Australia)
  • Dark Haven copy #2, signed: Joel B. (Riverton, UT)

Congratulations! The books are on their way…

Thanks to everyone who entered.

REVIEW: The Bridge by Zoran Živković


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Three surrealist stories in which people follow odd people and odd things happen.


PROS: The writing is spare and effective

CONS: I have no idea what to think about this collection of stories (but I’ve written 760 words about it anyway)

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Books Received: June 29, 2009

In the interest of full disclosure, which is twice as honest as semi-disclosure, here are the books we received this past week.

Tube Bits for 06/29/2009

  • Noah Wyle has signed on with DreamWorks Television to star in a pilot for a new science fiction show. The pilot is being executive produced by Stephen Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan). The show will be about a group of resistance fighters attempting to stop an alien invasion. And here I thought V had that sewed up.
  • Anyone hoping that Ron Moore’s Virtuality could be saved and picked up as a series due to strong ratings can stop hoping. The ratings are in and they are terrible. Yes, it’s only the 18-49 demographic, but that’s where the money is and Virtuality was basically seen by no one. Sure the specials about Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson didn’t help. I bet Moore is cursing Fox’s decision to move his show up a week.
  • Unless you live in the U.S., you are unlikely to be able to stream videos from Hulu. But things will soon change in Britain as Hulu is set to go ‘live’ in September. It looks like they will be adding several British channels worth of shows and maybe have access to the U.S. shows as well. Sweet! No our British friends can watch The A-Team!
  • Popmatters lists (at the end of the article) all the new science fiction shows on network TV through the fall season. The good news is there is a lot of SF-ish stuff coming, the bad news is almost none of it is of the ‘in space, with spaceships!’ variety. That’s what I really like to see, but I’ll watch the other stuff if it’s good.
  • You can excused if you’ve never seen (or heard of) the cable channel G4. It’s been through a lot of changes since being aimed at gamers and seems to have settled on a Spike TV-lite motif. However, with Comic Con 2009 coming up in July, they are doing something cool. G4 will broadcast, live, the Lucasfilm panel from Comic Con, which will focus on the extended universe of Star Wars and will feature a a live table read of an exclusive new Clone Wars script. That’s almost worth tuning in for (July 25th, 2pm/1pm C).
  • And lastly, a belated clip with the recently passed away Ed McMahon. It seems that in 1979 NBC aired a live-action psuedo-Super Friends show called Legends of the Superheroes. It had Adam West and Burt Ward reprising their roles as Batman and Robin, and a large cast of other superheroes. Who knew? Ed McMahon played the role of the host in this bizarre variety show meets superheros production. [via]

Sunday Cinema: Steamboy (2004)

Steamboy is a Japanese animated film directed and co-written by Katsuhiro Otomo, his second major anime release following Akira. Here’s a synopsis:

In this animated tale that’s as riveting as it is retro, genius teen inventor Ray Steam receives a strange spherical device containing a mind-boggling new form of energy that can power a whole country. Soon two ominous gents turn up looking to get their hands on the gadget; next thing you know, Ray is caught in a battle between the Yanks and the Brits, who’ll do anything to obtain the priceless orb.

This English dub version features the voice talents of Patrick Stewart, Anna Paquin and Alfred Molina. (Sorry…age verification required.)

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Free Fiction and Stuff for 06/28/2009

Free Fiction and Stuff [courtesy of QuasarDragon]

The Original, Darker Ending to Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

Kevin Maher writes in to point us to the original, darker ending to Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. If you recall, Kevin was a participant in our Mind Meld Which SciFi Movie Ending Would You Change? and this was the film he cited…

GIVEAWAY REMINDER: Win ‘Stargate: Atlantis’ Season 5 on DVD

There are only a few days left to enter our giveaway for a free copy of Stargate: Atlantis Season 5 on DVD.

See the original post for details on how to enter.

Science Fiction To Watch This Weekend

Sure, we’re in the midst of a brown out of SF on TV, but that’s about the change as Sci Fi and BBC America gear up some SF shows in July. However, there are a few shows on TV this weekend that may appeal to the SF fan.


First up tonight at 8/7 Central is Fox’s first it is/then it isn’t a series pilot for Ron Moore’s Virtuality. This is worth watching just to see what Moore can do to follow up on the success of Battlestar Galactica.

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Hello Wars: A Star Wars Hello Kitty Mash-Up Site


I’m not sure whether this is totally awesome or completely appalling. The people behind the Hello Wars website have taken it upon themselves to create and sell this stickers that are a mashup of Star Wars characters done in the artistic style of Hello Kitty, with bows. You can purchase them individually for $1 a piece, or in packs for $10. I keep thinking “Who’s a cute wittle bounty hunter? You are aren’t you Boba Kitty! Yes you are!”

Clearly I need help.

[via Japanator]

Friday YouTube: Batman Chases Mirage, Gets Attacked by Exploding Shark

Batman’s not quite on the top of his game here. Methinks he’s feeling a false sense of bravado rising in that supercool BatCopter. Though, to be fair, Robin’s the noob who’s overeager with the controls. And can someone tell me why, in God’s name, does Robin have to hang upside down to hand Btaman the Shark Repellent spray?

Free Fiction and Stuff for 6/26/09

Free Fiction and Stuff [courtesy of QuasarDragon]

SF Tidbits for 6/26/09

[Note: Tidbit posts are going on sabbatical for at least a week, so get your fill!]

RIP: Michael Jackson

You know the saying, bad news comes in threes, and this week is no exception with the passing of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and now Michael Jackson. Whatever you may think of Jackson, his influence on music can’t be denied. I did indeed purchase one and only one of his records, Thriller, specifically for that song and while I was never huge MJ fan, I did find the occasional song of his to be entertaining.

I thought we’d take a look back at a couple of his genre related videos made during the ’80’s: Captain Eo and Thriller.

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GIVEAWAY REMINDER: Win Signed Copies of ‘The Blood King’ and ‘Dark Haven’ by Gail Z. Martin

There are only a few days left to enter our giveaway for a free copy of The Blood King or Dark Haven by Gail Z. Martin.

See the original post for details on how to enter.

Brandon Sanderson Book Deal Could Exceed $2.5 Million

See what you started , Al?

SF Scope is reporting that Brandon Sanderson’s latest books sales — the first four books in a new series called The Way of Kings expected to appear in the second half of 2010 — comes with a per-book advance in the six figure range. With performance-added bonuses, the deal “could exceed $2.5 million”!

That’s a nice chunk of change.