What is the Science Fiction Equivalent of Sword & Sorcery?

This week’s SF Signal podcast asks the question: What is the SciFi equivalent of Sword & Sorcery? I was delighted to see this topic strike a cord with the podcast panel and thought it would make a good topic to throw at you, dear reader.

Sword & Sorcery has been getting a lot of press thanks to high-profile anthologies like Swords & Dark Magic edited by Lou Anders & Jonathon Strahan. But what, if anything, equates to this genre in the pure science fiction realm?

Jay Garmon, I think, said it best: “Sword & Sorcery is the gritty, personal down and dirty alternative to epic high fantasy. It might be useful to analogize: High Fantasy is to Space Opera as Sword and Sorcery is to…?”

Several people had thoughts on this over on the podcast, but I want to know what you, the reader of this blog, thinks.

So take a minute, listen to the podcast and the come back, tell us your thoughts and point us at a book that embodies your take on this.

Beware The Hairy Mango: ‘Joe the Larry’

Hunger no more for podcast excitement. Line up Signal-file for your free steaming bowl of Beware The Hairy Mango! Sate your belly with a magical tale of love and water-skiing. Hear the Oz that never was. With only two sentences I’ve pretty much given the entire episode away but humor us, please, and give a listen to “Joe the Larry” anyhow.

Warning: Adult situations for immature audiences!

REVIEW: Time Bomb #1; After Dark #1; Driver for the Dead #1 (Radical Comics)

This week, I read a trio of comics from Radical Publishing, a relative newcomer to the field but no less unable to attract top talent. (Current notables in their lineup include Warren Ellis, Nick Sagan and Wesley Snipes.) The titles we’ve received to date are mostly marked for mature audiences, and rightly so; they are rife with language and situations that are easily intended for older audiences. (Looks at self.) The enjoyment level of the following titles varied from mediocre to outstanding, but nevertheless the premises offered have me wanting to see what happens next.

Each of these titles is the first issue of a three-issue run…

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Tuesday Tune: Star Wars Ewok Gospel

Star Wars and gospel go together like, well, Star Wars and gospel but in this case it works exceptionally well. I know what you’re thinking, “Ewoks? Ewoks?! Who the hell likes those guys?!” And yes, the only thing even more reviled amongst most fans than Ewoks is Jar Jar but Billy Dee lays out the Ewok righteousness for all to hear. Can I get an Amen!

It’s enough to make you like the Ewoks again.

For a little bit anyway.

Bonus Bill Dee Williams commercial after the jump!

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Fan Made Star Wars TV Show – Sandrima Rising

Now that it looks like the proposed live action Star Wars TV show is on hold, something about an intergalactic TV series with spaceships and aliens and lasers being too expensive to produce, I know! right?, maybe it’s time for the fans to come up with something. Well this group of fans did back in 2008 and produced Sandrima Rising. Sure the acting is bad but some of the effects are decent and really, is this worse than any SyFy original movie? No, I don’t think so.

The vibe I get from watching this is Serenity set in the Star Wars universe, which intrigues the hell out of me. Instead of going wide scope, perhaps Lucas needs to narrow things down and go for a more personal approach. Heck, if he wanted to go dark, how about following the exploits of a team of Jedi hunters? I’d watch that!

[H/T Quiet Earth]

SF Tidbits for 8/31/10





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WINNERS: 1 Matthew Hughes Prize Pack + 3 Hughes Books

The winners of our Matthew Hughes contest have been randomly chosen and notified.

Congratulations to:

  • Caitrin C. from NV (Prize Pack Winner)
  • Jeffrey H. from FL
  • Andrew W. from Ontario
  • David H. from Washington, DC

Thanks to everyone who entered.

The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 005): Interview with Karen Burnham

In the fifth episode of the SF Signal podcast, Patrick Hester is joined by John Anealio, Jay Garmon, Karen Burnham, JP Frantz and Matt Sanborn Smith to discuss the science fiction equivalent of Sword & Sorcery.

Later, Patrick Hester sits down with Karen Burnham who talks about blogging at SF Signal and writing reviews. She also reveals her upcoming, previously-unannounced, super-secret project.

John Joseph Adams’ New Zombie Anthology, The Living Dead 2, Gets a Cool New Website with Free Fiction!

John Joseph Adams has just launched the website companion for his new zombie anthology, The Living Dead 2. Like the websites done for his previous anthologies, the site is incredibly comprehensive, offering tons of supplemental and related material.

For starters, you can view the hi-res cover image featuring David Palumbo‘s awesome artwork, the first of many upcoming contributing author interviews, Adams’ introduction to the anthology, and the Table of Contents (with links to each story’s intro).

Not enough? How about this juicy selection of free fiction stories and pointers (also available as an eBook sampler):

Halo: Reach Live Action Trailer

Even though the original Halo video game trilogy has run its course, there are still stories (and money!) to be made from the Halo universe. Earlier this year saw the release of Halo: ODST and on Sept. 14th, the latest game, Halo: Reach, will ship. It’s been interesting to see the TV ad campaigns for the later games forgo using in game footage and instead focus on using ‘live action’ shots. They’ve become very effective at presenting the sweep of the stories and the cinematic quality of the games. The latest Halo: Reach trailer, dubbed “Deliver Hope”, is no exception. According to the press release, “the short is a riveting, action-packed production that offers an emotional look at the courage and sacrifice of Noble Team in their defense of the planet Reach from a crushing Covenant invasion.”

The trailer itself looks incredible and it’s a shame the ‘live action’ Halo movie never got off the ground. Take a look:

Books Received: August 30, 2010

In the interest of full disclosure (because we all know how painful partial disclosure can be), here’s the stuff we received this week.

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SF Tidbits for 8/30/10

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EVENT REPORT: ArmadilloCon 32

The annual ArmadilloCon convention is being held in Austin this weekend and I had the pleasure of attending on Saturday. One of the nice things about this particular con is that it’s book-focused, so it’s a chance to mingle with like-minded people and talk about all things bookish, which is exactly what I did.

The programming, as usual, was interesting and I often found, as usual, that there were many panels that I wanted to attend that were simultaneously scheduled. I caught the last half of a panel on the ties between gaming and storytelling. That was followed by a fascinating short fiction panel. Sanford Allen’s comment about the one-sitting short fiction reading session being the perfect vehicle with which to build up a continuous atmosphere of horror stuck with me because I think that continuity (as afforded by as few reading sessions as possible) lends to the enjoyment of a story. I also attended Sanford excellent reading of his fantastic story, “The Circus” (great stuff), and the tail end of a cross-genre fiction panel.

As much fun as the panels were, that’s not where I get the most enjoyment out of Armadillocon…

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Lost Rod Serling Video Interview

From the YouTube description:

In 1970 University of Kansas professor James Gunn interviewed a series of science fiction authors for his Centron film series “Science Fiction in Literature”. This footage from an unreleased film in that series featuring an interview with Rod Serling, which wasn’t finished due to problems with obtaining rights to show footage from Serling’s work in television. This reconstruction is based on the original workprint footage that was saved on two separate analog sources since the audio track was separate. Re-syncing the footage was a long involved process as the audio track didn’t match the film and there was substantial sync drift. While not perfect, there’s a lot of interesting information on writing for television in the dialogue with Serling as well as a prophetic statement about his health at the beginning.

Part 2 follows…

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Free Fiction for 8/29/10

SF Tidbits for 8/29/10

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[GUEST POST] Dan Abnett on Puns and Triumff

Dan Abnett has written numerous comics for 2000AD and Marvel and has written many Warhammer 40k novels for Black Library. His latest novel is Triumff, an alternate history fantasy adventure.

The Spectre of the Pun

Johnson who, let’s face it, ought to know, called puns the lowest form of wit. He should try coming down here sometime. Wilde, on the other hand, once boasted he could compose a pun on any subject. Some bloke in the audience suggested, “Queen Victoria!” Wilde returned that he couldn’t, because she was the Queen and therefore not an appropriate target for puns of any kind.

Or something.

People often come up to me and say, “Dan, do people really come up to you?” Also, they ask what it is with me and puns. Call me paranomasiac, but I love ‘em, god help me. Homophonic puns, homonymic puns, homographic puns, Homer Simpson puns, I can’t get enough. I love graphological puns and morphological puns, logical puns and illogical puns, polysemic puns and metonymic puns, old school puns and current puns and, at the risk of fracturing myself, I love compound puns. I can’t have too many multiple puns and as for double entendres, woof! get a load of the double entendres on that, if you know what I mean. I enjoy a good feghoot and adore a fine eggcorn. Recursive puns have made me swear more than once. I like big loud puns like the Puns of Navarone, I like hard rocking puns like Puns and Roses, and I like quiet, relaxing puns like a late Punday afternoon in high summer. I cannot, furthermore, help but admire the following:

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CONTEST REMINDER: 1 Matthew Hughes Prize Pack + 3 Hughes Books

There is still some time left to enter our Matthew Hughes contest , but hurry!

See the original post for the details on how to enter. Or else.

TRAILERS: Escalation (Funny) & Devil (Not So Much)

M. Night Shyamalan parodies his own trailer for Devil with this one for Escalation. Bonus points for the appearance of Stephen Lang from Avatar.

For a comparison, the original trailer for Devil follows…

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SF Tidbits for 8/28/10

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