Archive for July, 2011

FINALISTS: 2011 Parsec Awards

Congratulations to all the finalists for the 2011 Parsec Awards!

Best Speculative Fiction Story (Short Form)

Brief Description: Short stories containing elements of science fiction, fantasy or horror

  • “The Astonishing Amulet of Amenartas” by Nathan Lowell (from Tales from the Archives)
  • “Loyalty” written by Renee Jordan; edited and performed by Arioch Morningstar (from Tuesday Terror)
  • “Neighbors” by Eddy Jones, read by Arioch Morningstar (from Tuesday Terror)
  • “Saying the Names” by Maggie Clark (from Lightspeed Magazine)
  • “The Taste of Starlight” by John R. Fultz (from Lightspeed Magazine)

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VIDEO: RetroBites – Ray Bradbury (1968)

Sci-fi guru Ray Bradbury on writing, Disney and The Illustrated Man.

SF Tidbits for 7/31/11

Interviews & Profiles

Articles

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Teaser Trailer: Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’

This shouldn’t be too much of a spoiler from the end of the Captain America movie. We knew it was coming, right?

[via The Geek Files]

Free Fiction for 7/30/11

Written

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SF Tidbits for 7/30/11

Interviews & Profiles

Articles

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WINNERS: ‘Secret Lives’ by Jeff VanderMeer

The winners of our Secret Lives by Jeff VanderMeer giveaway has been randomly chosen and notified.

Congratulations to:

  • Rachel M.
  • Bev H.
  • Thomas P.

And thanks to everyone who entered.

In one whirlwind day at the San Diego Comic Convention I came into contact with two radically different women working in the comic field. Jo Chen is a 34 year old traditionally trained artist from Taiwan best known for manga, yaoi, and cover art for Buffy The Vampire Slayer (vol 8). Joyce Farmer is a 71 year old underground comic artist from California coming back to the scene after a 24 year hiatus to make waves with her new graphic novel, Special Exits. Together, their work offers intriguing samples from diverse sub-genres in the field of comics.

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2011 World Fantasy Nominees and Lifetime Achievement Winners

The winners of the 2011 World Fantasy Awards Lifetime Achievement Awars for 2011, presented annually to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to the fantasy field, are Peter S. Beagle and Angélica Gorodischer.

The World Fantasy Awards nominations hav also been announced, They are:

Best Novel

  • Zoo City, Lauren Beukes (Jacana South Africa; Angry Robot)
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • The Silent Land, Graham Joyce (Gollancz; Doubleday)
  • Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay (Viking Canada; Roc; Harper Voyager UK)
  • Redemption In Indigo, Karen Lord (Small Beer)
  • Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)

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You have Jeff Patterson to blame for this…

SF Tidbits for 7/29/11

Interviews and Awards

News

Events

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Science-Fiction TV: An A-Z Primer

An epic poem by Kevin Maher

A is for AUTOMAN,
A.I. super-cop
B is BEYOND WESTWORLD,
TV spin-off flop

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Harrison Ford Confronts Chewbacca


“‘When I wrote the book there was a background of events in literary criticism in general, tending to reject the idea that criticism had to be thematic and revolve around analysis of the plots, and characters. By the late 60s and early 70s there was a whole trend in criticism that was moving towards treating the texts themselves as language. JHJ was really my attempt to discuss SF texts as language, and bring SF criticism up to date. I probably should have made that really clear at the time, but I wanted to appear much more fresh and innovative than I really was.’ (laughter)” – Samuel R. Delany

“The door deliquesced.

Cool against my thigh, chest, and face, mist from the sill-trough blew back as I lifted my foot over the — “Hey, don’t step in that!” I pushed up at Rat’s shoulder –

His big foot came down with the heel a centimeter beyond the trough rim. he staggered around to face me, not looking surprised.

“You’re supposed to step over. You yell at little kids for getting their feet wet in the door trough.” I laughed. “Look…” as I stepped over.

The blue liquid, behind us now, began to foam; the foam rose, climbing at the jambs faster than in the middle; and darkening, and shutting out light as the door’s semicrystals effloresced.”

- Samuel R. Delany, from Stars in My Pockets Like Grains of Sand

I discovered The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction in 2009 at Readercon. While I had long admired (no, adored, felt dizzily annihilated by, was dazzled and delighted and upset and puzzled and overthrown and reinvigorated by) Samuel R. Delany’s fiction (since reading Nova in 1981), I had never read any of his non-fiction. I had only the year before returned to the world of fantastika after a long exile in unrelated academia, and was hungry not just for stories, but for ways to look at the literary field after a dozen years away from it. Strolling through the Dealer’s Room I came to the Wesleyan University Press table, and was startled to find Mr. Delany sitting there, with a few copies of his just re-issued book at his elbow.

I am terribly shy in person, so it took a great effort to approach him, but he was affable and signed a copy of the book for me (I later brought my old copy of Nova, the 1975 Bantam reissue, which I had kept since high school, for him to sign). I made off with my purchase hoping to read some of it immediately, but was, as usual, seduced by the allure of readings and panels and kaffeeklatsches that put all thoughts of reading, paradoxically, out of my head. When I finally did read it that fall, it was a revelation, and a wistful engagement, of ideas about how SF on the page works as we read it, and how our very notions of reading affect our reception of the words. Two years later, sitting at this year’s Readercon panel about the book, I felt, in a rather artificially narrativized way I suppose, that I had come to a new phase of a journey with Delany’s work, and this book in particular.

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In episode 69 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester and John Denardo chat with multi-award winning editor and reviewer Gary K. Wolfe.

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Daily Science Fiction Roster of Stories for August 2011

Daily Science Fiction has announced its August 2011 line-up of free stories:

  • August 1: “Hints of the Apocalypse” by K.G. Jewell
  • August 2: “Trails” by James Bloomer
  • August 3: “Exit Interview” by Patrick Johanneson
  • August 4: “The Girl in the Wooden Dress” by Angela Rydell
  • August 5: “The Last Librarian” by Edoardo Albert
  • August 8: “The Recruiter” by John Robert Spry
  • August 9: “Killer Pot” by James S. Dorr
  • August 10: “The Box That Eats Memories” by Ken Liu
  • August 11: “Gentlewoman’s Guide to Time Travel” by Alice M. Roelke
  • August 12: “How Amraphel, the Assistant to Dream, Became a Thief, Lost His Job, and Found His Way” by Scott Edelman
  • August 15: “Spoons” by Joseph Zieja
  • August 16: “Our Drunken Tjeng” by Nicky Drayden
  • August 17: “True Hollywood Story” by Ryan Gutierrez
  • August 18: “Reading Time” by Beth Cato
  • August 19: “What Never Happened to Kolay” by Patricia Russo
  • August 22: “Alpha & Omega: A Co-creative Tale of Collaborative Reality” by Joshua Ramey-Renk
  • August 23: “The Standing Stones of Erelong” by Simon Kewin
  • August 24: “Passage” by Lavie Tidhar
  • August 25: “Heart on Green Paper” by Gra Linnaea
  • August 26: “Inside Things” by Melissa Mead
  • August 29: “Distilled Spirits” by Andrew Kaye
  • August 30: “Rules for Living in a Simulation” by Aubrey Hirsch
  • August 31: “What You Singing About?” by Tracy Berg

SF Tidbits for 7/28/11

Interviews and Profiles

News

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Courtney Schafer‘s impatience while waiting for new SF books to hit the shelves used to drive her crazy, until she realized she could write her own stories to satisfy her craving for worlds full of wonder and adventure. Her debut fantasy novel The Whitefire Crossing releases August 1 from Night Shade Books. When not writing, Courtney figure skates, climbs 14,000 foot peaks, squeezes through Utah slot canyons, and skis way too fast through trees. To support her adrenaline-fueled hobbies and writing habit, she received a degree in electrical engineering from Caltech and now works in the aerospace industry. Visit her at http://www.courtneyschafer.com.

Voices Not Forgotten

After reading the discussion of the Russ Pledge here on SF Signal back in June, and then Judith Tarr’s fascinating and dismaying follow-up post relating her experiences in the publishing industry (Girl Cooties: A Personal History), I got to thinking about all the excellent YA SF novels written by women that I read as a girl in the 1980s/1990s. Novels that sparked my imagination, broadened my horizons, and helped make me an SF fan for life – and yet aren’t mentioned very often these days.

Sure, some female authors I loved in childhood remain household names amongst SF fans: Madeleine L’Engle, Diana Wynne Jones, Jane Yolen, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffrey, and Patricia McKillip, for example. But theirs weren’t the only books I read and re-read until they were dogeared and falling apart. So I want to shout out some love to a few more women whose books meant the world to me; to say, hey, ladies: your voices were heard, and made a difference.

And if you know a kid who’s already read more modern middle-grade and YA SF books like Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy, Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron, or Jeanne DuPrau’s The Books of Ember and is hungry for more – why not suggest they give one of these classics a try?

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I’ve got a new article up at the Kirkus Reviews blog today about Robots in Science Fiction (Part 1).

Stop by and check it out!


MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: 6 novellas about big dumb objects.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Evokes sense of wonder aplenty; some mind-expanding scientific ideas; good mix of adventure, thought-provoking ideas and exploration stories.

CONS: Some stories don’t really seem to be Big Dumb Object stories.

BOTTOM LINE: Godlike Machines is an enjoyable themed anthology with a nice variety of entertaining sf stories that evoke wonder.

One of the aspects of themed anthologies that never fails to surprise me is the variety of stories that can be derived from a single theme. In Godlike Machines, the idea of the Big Dumb Object is handled deftly by six authors. While some objects adhere to the theme more closely than others — I’m still not sure I’d call Doctorow’s story a Big Dumb Object story, though it does successfully lieratlly utilize Godlike Machines — they all provided a good level of entertainment. The standout story here is “Troika” by Alastair Reynolds, but all of them provided a good level of sense of wonder and/or scale.

Individual story reviews follow…

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