Archive for October, 2009

Happy Halloween – Hair Rasing Hare

It’s Oct. 31st which means you’ll most likely be receiving knocks on your door this evening as various kids ask for candy from a stranger. Why not psyche yourself up for tonight with a little Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies? This is one of my all time favorite LT cartoons, “Hair Raising Hare”. Gotta love the monster!

Quick! What’s the name of the monster? And Happy Halloween!

Classic Marvel Zombies

Caroon Brew makes with awesome and shows us that Ivan Guerrero has taken the current idea of Marvel Zombies and gone retro by zombie-fying these intros to the classic Marvel cartoons:

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TOC: Halo Evolutions

Here’s the table of contents for the upcoming anthology Halo Evolutions, the 500+ page anthology of stories based in the Halo universe:

  1. “Beyond” by Sparth (art) and Jonathan Goff (words)
  2. “Pariah” by B.K. Evenson
  3. “Stomping on the Heels of a Fuss” by Eric Raab
  4. “Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian” by Frank O’Connor
  5. “Dirt” by Tobias S. Buckell
  6. “Acheron-VII” by Sparth (art) and Jonathan Goff (words)
  7. “Headhunters” by Jonathan Goff
  8. “Blunt Instruments” by Fred Van Lente
  9. “The Mona Lisa” by Tessa Kum and Jeff VanderMeer
  10. “Icon” by Robogabo (art) and Jonathan Goff (words)
  11. “Palace Hotel” by Robt McLees
  12. “Human Weakness” by Karen Traviss
  13. “Connectivity” by Robogabo (art) and Jonathan Goff (words)
  14. “The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole” by Eric Nylund
  15. “The Return” by Kevin Grace

Additionally, the volume features an Introduction by Frank O’Connor and an afterward, “From the Office of Dr. William Arthur Iqbal.”

Saturday Morning Toon: Porky Pig in “Jeepers Creepers”

Because it’s Halloween and I like pigs. They’re a magical, mystical animal.

[via The Classic Science Fiction Channel]

SF Tidbits for 10/31/09

WINNERS: 2009 Last Drink Bird Head Awards

The Last Drink Bird Head Awards results have been announced:

  • Gentle Advocacy: K Tempest Bradford
  • Tireless Energy: Rina Weisman
  • Promotion of Reading: Susan Straub
  • Expanding Our Vocabulary: John Clute
  • International Activism: Charles Tan
  • Special Achievement Award: Neil Clarke

[via Con Reporter]

Friday YouTube: Worst Viper Pilots Ever

Is it any wonder the Cylons wanted to kill them?

SF Tidbits for 10/30/09

Interviews and Profiles

News

Articles

New Avatar Trailer

The new Avatar trailer was released today and this time we get about a minute and a half more of new stuff. After watching, I think it looks fantastic, though the CGI seems a bit cartoony. But what concerns me is the story seems to be full of stereotypical elements which could lead to some heavy handed moralizing. I hope not, Cameron hasn’t typically done that in the past so that’s a good sign for Avatar. I do think I’ll be seeing this in IMAX 3D though.

GUEST REVIEW: Booklife by Jeff VanderMeer

[SF Signal welcomes the return of guest reviewer Jason Sanford!]

REVIEW SUMMARY: An excellent book for writers of all levels, from beginner to seasoned veteran.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Best-selling author and social media maven Jeff VanderMeer shows how writers can both survive and thrive in today’s 24/7 interconnected world. From creating goals to managing social media platforms, VanderMeer uses his own experiences to demonstrate what works and what doesn’t, all while highlighting methods to keep your balance in both life and writing.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Concise, insightful, full of great advice which is based on real-world experience. Booklife has something to teach any writer.

CONS: A minor issue, but the book’s non-linear style would have benefited greatly from an index.

BOTTOM LINE: Even if it’s been years since you bothered reading a “how to” book related to writing, check out Booklife.

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Star Wars In Concert

George Lucas has done a lot of things to milk the Star Wars franchise for all its worth. Some good, some bad, and some awesome. Now, I’m a big Star Wars, have been since 1977, though I’ve cooled on the franchise quite a bit over the years. What I haven’t cooled on though is John Williams’ score. The first two soundtracks fight it out for the top two places on my ‘best of science fiction soundtracks’ list. So when I ran across Star Wars In Concert I knew I had to go. I managed to con asked for tickets to the concert as a birthday present. Since my parents are awesome, that’s exactly what I got. Maybe this trailer will help explain why I wanted to go.

Exciting no?

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‘7th Son: Descent’ by J.C. Hutchins, Serialized (Part 3)

Welcome to the third serialized audio installment of J.C. Hutchins’ SF thriller 7th Son: Descent, a novel set in present day featuring human cloning, dangerous technologies, and “beyond Top Secret” government conspiracies.

If this is your first exposure to our free serialization of 7th Son, catching up is a breeze. You can find the novel’s first installment here, and its second installment here. Or you can dive in right away, right here!

THE STORY SO FAR: Two weeks after the bizarre murder of the U.S. president, seven strangers were torn from their “normal” lives and brought to a secret government science facility. Despite minor differences in appearance, it was clear they were the same man, with identical childhood memories.

These seven “John Michael Smiths” were unwitting participants in a human cloning experiment. Each man — carpenter John, demented hacker Kilroy2.0, marine Michael and the others — were brought here because their creators identified the man behind the president’s assassination. It’s the man they were cloned from — the man whose childhood memories they all share — a ruthless psychopath code-named “John Alpha.”

As the clones wrestle with these revelations, the Project 7th Son staffers promise to reveal even more about their extraordinary origins…

Note: The novel features Rated R violence and adult language. Awwww yeaahhhhh.

Check out the third serialized installment below.

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November 18th is International Science Fiction Reshelving Day, which attempts to fix a perceived injustice in book classification at bookstores. “When a genre fiction book is shelved as general fiction, it does a disservice…” says the FAQ. Here’s the website’s front page explanation:

Many books from our fine genre are regularly placed in the wrong section of bookstores. This not only hides the books from us, but it prevents readers of those books from discovering the rich tradition to which they belong.

On November 18th that changes. We will go to bookstores around the world and move science fiction and fantasy books from wherever they might be to their proper place in the “Science Fiction” section. We hope that this quiet act of protest will raise awareness of this problem and inspire new readers to explore our thought-provoking genre.

(November 18th is Margaret Atwood’s birthday. Get it?)

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SF Tidbits for 10/29/09

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[Note: Continued from Part 1.]

Recent events and discussions once again bring the topic of genre fiction’s mainstream respectability to the forefront. So we thought it’d be timely to ask this week’s panelists:

Q: In your opinion, does literary science fiction and fantasy have mainstream respect? Why, if at all, does it need mainstream approval? What would such approval mean for genre fiction?

Read on to see their eye-opening responses…

Lucius Shepard
Lucius Shepard is a writer who lives in Vancouver. The Best of Lucius Shepard, a career retrospective, is now available from Subterranean Press, and next year will see the publication of a new as yet untitled novel.

I don’t believe mainstream approval would or will do much for genre fiction. It appears to do quite well in the marketplace as things stand, and lumping it together with the mainstream might, heaven forfend, see a decline in the sale of fantasy trilogies. There are authors-Tom Disch springs to mind-who have/had literary aspirations that such approval might have helped, at least as far as gaining them the respect of the literary establishment, but would it have sold more of their books? Perhaps, but who can say?

Does genre fiction have mainstream respect? Not so much, but it’s gaining respect, I think, in certain quarters thanks to folks like Junot Diaz and Michael Chabon. The previous generation of American writers didn’t like to admit they were nerds and geeks ; they were still trapped in antiquated self-images, considering themselves junior Hemmingways and Woolfs, and were threatened by anything that might erode those images; but the fact that both Diaz and Chabon seem to embrace their inner geek has prompted a number of their peers to come out of the closet and admit what an influence Steven King, say, had on their writerly lives and, in several cases, to write genre novels. Yet there are instances today where a writer has felt he had to escape the genre. Take Jonathan Lethem, for example. I feel you can’t generalize intelligently about this topic-it’s such an individual matter. For instance, not all writers are capable of being the self-promoters that Lethem was/is (and I mean this in the most positive sense.) Tom Disch, for sure, wasn’t capable of it. Though he could be charming, his personality was far too prickly for mass consumption.

My own attitude is this. I enjoy writing. I’m fortunate enough to have made a living at it for 25 years. I don’t write to be respected-I write to tell stories I find interesting, to communicate a mood, to resolve inner turmoil, and for a variety of personal reasons, not least among them being that I suck at holding down a steady job. Mainstream respect for what I write would be nice, but I simply haven’t cared about it enough to do doggie tricks. It’s no big deal one way or another.

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TOC: Interfictions 2 edited by Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak

Small Beer Press has posted the Table of Contents for their upcoming anthology Interfictions 2 edited by Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak:

  1. “The War Between Heaven and Hell Wallpaper” by Jeffrey Ford
  2. “Beautiful Feast” by M. Rickert
  3. “Remembrance Is Something Like a House” by Will Ludwigsen
  4. “The Long and Short of Long-Term Memory” by Cecil Castellucci
  5. “The Score” by Alaya Dawn Johnson
  6. “The Two of Me” by Ray Vukcevich
  7. “The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria” by Carlos Hernandez
  8. “Shoes” by Lavie Tidhar
  9. “Interviews After the Revolution” by Brian Francis Slattery
  10. “Count Poniatowski and the Beautiful Chicken” by Elizabeth Ziemska
  11. “Black Dog: A Biography” by Peter M. Ball
  12. “Berry Moon: Laments of a Muse” by Camilla Bruce
  13. “Morton Goes to the Hospital” by Amelia Beamer
  14. “After Verona” by William Alexander
  15. “Valentines” by Shira Lipkin
  16. “(*_*?) ~~~~ (-_-) : The Warp and the Woof” by Alan DeNiro
  17. “The Marriage” by Nin Andrews
  18. “Child-Empress of Mars” by Theodora Goss
  19. “L’Ile Close” by Lionel Davoust
  20. “Afterbirth” by Stephanie Shaw
  21. “The 1211″ by David J. Schwartz

Additioanlly, the volume features Introduction: On the Pleasures of Not Belonging by Henry Jenkins and Afterwords: An Interstitial Interview by Colleen Mondor, Christopher Barzak, and Delia Sherman.

Batman Tries To Give Gordon the Slip but Fails

Even the Dark Knight can’t always be at the top of his game…

[via Hardcore Nerdity]

SF Tidbits for 10/28/09


Interviews
and Profiles

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Tuesday Tune: ‘Halloweenhead’ by Ryan Adams

SONG: “Halloweenhead”

ARTIST: Ryan Adams

ALBUM: Easy Tiger

Being that the first installment of Tuesday Tunes falls just a few days before Halloween and said holiday has such a strong connection to sci-fi, fantasy, and horror literature, its only appropriate that the word “Halloween” appears in the title of the inaugural Tuesday Tune.

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GIVEAWAY: Stargate 15th Anniversary Blu-Ray Edition

15 years ago a little science fiction film debuted that would spawn three series, one of which is currently ongoing, and would create a sizable fanbase. I’m talking about, of course, the original Stargate movie. To commemorate the occasion, Lionsgate is releasing the 15th anniversary edition on Blu-Ray, and we have one to give away to a luck SF Signal reader! Aside from the original theatrical release, and due to the immense storage capacity of Blu-Ray, this disc also contains the following features:

  • An extended cut of the film.
  • “Deciphering the Gate: Concepts and Casting” featurette
  • “Opening the Gate: The Making of the Movie” featurette
  • “Passing Through the Gate: The Legacy” – featurette
  • Never-before-seen Gag Reel
  • “Master of the Stargate” Interactive Trivia Challenge
  • BonusViewTM Picture-in-Picture “Stargate Ultimate Knowledge”
  • “Is There a Stargate?” featurette
  • “The Making-of Stargate” documentary
  • Audio commentary with Director Roland Emmerich and Producer Dean Devlin

That’s a lot of stuff and note the film has been remastered in 1080P High Definition 16 x 9 Widescreen with English 7.1 DTS-MA Audio. All that makes me sad I don’t have a home theater system. Or a Blu-Ray player. But if you do and you’d like your very own copy, here are the rules:

  1. Send an email to contest at sfsignal dot com, which will eventually find its way to us.
  2. In the subject line enter Stargate.
  3. Also include your postal address so the disc can be sent out to you. (Note: As per usual, US and Canada residents only.)
  4. The contest will end on Wednesday, Nov. 4th, 2009 at 11:59:59PM CT. 1 lucky winner will be selected at random and the prize shipped out shortly thereafter.

Good luck!

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