Archive for January, 2012

REVIEW: The Hungry by Harry Shannon and Steven W. Booth

REVIEW SUMMARY: The latest invasion of zombies generated by government scientist searching for super-soldiers meets up with a good-looking, foul-mouthed female Sheriff…and she’s packin’.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The same old tired zombie genre gets a swift kick in the pants courtesy of a female protagonist who is not only not afraid to lead, but wishes they would quit hitting on her.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Sheriff Penny Miller, a foul mouthed, zombie killing beauty in a wedding dress who is not afraid to lead a pack of wimpy guys; fast paced with lots of foul-mouthed banter (yes, that is a “pro”).
CONS: Common Zombie plot lines.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s about Sheriff Penny Miller, not the zombies!

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The Walking Dead Season 2 continues on AMC TV at 9/8c on Feb 12, 2012.

Here’s the first three minutes:

And, just because, 2 additional scenes from episode #208:
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Words & Pictures: The Introductory Bit

Welcome, gentle readers (and the not so gentle ones too, I suppose), to Words & Pictures, a modest little corner of SF SIGNAL devoted to talking about comics and graphic novels. Comics and graphic novels of a broadly sfnal sort, as you might expect. Before we get to the serious business – the first ‘proper’ post won’t be along for a day or three – I thought a little scene-setting might be in order.

Back in the distant past, i.e. the 1980s, I read a lot of comics. And I really do mean a lot. Even after having disposed of boxloads of them, I’ve still got hundreds upon hundreds in a cupboard, occupying storage space I could really do with freeing up. As the 1990s got underway, for a variety of reasons that need not detain us here, I went cold turkey on comics. I paid absolutely no attention to the medium for something approaching fifteen years, and to be honest I didn’t miss the comics-reading habit one little bit. Then, somewhere around 2005/6, I cautiously dipped my toes back into the water. And lo, I got myself hooked all over again.
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SF Signal Welcomes Brian Ruckley!

We’re excited to announce that Brian Ruckely has joined SF Signal’s growing blog army!

We asked Brian to say a little something about himself in the third person. Here’s what he said:

Brian Ruckely is an author with a tiny handful of short stories and four novels to his name: the fantasy trilogy The Godless World, and a stand-alone historical horror thriller The Edinburgh Dead, all four published by Orbit. He lives in Edinburgh, where he divides what little reading time he has almost equally between books and comics. He blogs at www.brianruckley.com, and occasionally as a guest at Orbit’s blog, has both a personal page and a Godless World fan page on Facebook, and is thinking about twittering but hasn’t taken the plunge just yet. His favourite food is spaghetti carbonara, and his favourite drink is usually tea but sometimes coffee.

Welcome aboard, Brian! We’re happy to have you aboard. Don’t let the above image of bagels imply that you we can be bribed with sweet, beautiful bagels…even though we totally can be.

Brian will be writing a new column called Words and Pictures that takes a look at graphic novels. His introductory post is already up, so go check it out and see what he has in store for SF Signal readers. And tune in tomorrow for his first look at graphic novels!

Meanwhile, please join me in welcoming Brian to the team!

Daily Science Fiction Roster of Stories for February 2012

Daily Science Fiction has announced its February 2012 line-up of free stories which continues the Numbers Quartet sequence:

  • February 1: “Worlds Like a Hundred Thousand Pearls” by Aliette de Bodard (The Numbers Quartet)
  • February 2: “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Monkey” by Ruth Nestvold
  • February 3: “Cloudburst” by Robert Reed
  • February 6: “Biomass” by Alexander Stanmyer
  • February 7: “Magic Enough” by Chuck Von Nordheim
  • February 8: “Angry Child” by Benjamin Rosenbaum (The Numbers Quartet)
  • February 9: “The Steel Throne” by Eric James Stone
  • February 10: “The Age of Three Stars” by Ken Schneyer
  • February 13: “The Pencil of Truth” by Shamus Maxwell
  • February 14: “Joey LeRath’s Rocketship” by Julian Mortimer Smith
  • February 15: “Pulse” by Stephen Gaskell (The Numbers Quartet)
  • February 16: “In Her Arms of Dresden Pale” by Damien Walters Grintalis
  • February 17: “Nanomite” by Patricia Duffy Novak
  • February 20: “Digital Blues” by Greg Mellor
  • February 21: “The Prisoners ” by Darren Latta
  • February 22: “Nilly” by Benjamin Rosenbaum (The Numbers Quartet)
  • February 23: “Saurus ” by John Van Pelt
  • February 24: “Bus Ride To Mars” by Cat Rambo
  • February 27: “Storytellers” by Jen Brubacher
  • February 28: “The Procedure ” by Lawrence Elder
  • February 29: “The Princess of the Perfume River” by Aliette de Bodard (The Numbers Quartet)

SF Tidbits for 1/31/12


Interviews and Profiles

News

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Robert Louis Smith, author of Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans, has numerous degrees, including psychology (B.A.), applied microbiology (B.S.), anaerobic microbiology (M.Sc.), and a Medical Doctorate (M.D.). He serves as an interventional cardiologist at the Oklahoma Heart Institute. He is married and the father of two young children. He began writing Antiquitas Lost in 2003 while studying at Tulane University in New Orleans. For more information please visit http://www.antiquitaslost.com, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Who Comes to Pangrelor

By Robert Louis Smith M.D., MSc

A strong headwind was against him, but Ecsar flapped his great wings and lifted higher into the sky. Today I will find him. Today I will kill the boy. Despite the cold pellets of rain that stung his leathern skin, the suns were out, casting an orange glow over the hilly terrain. He watched his broad shadow crawl over the rocky slopes beneath him as he soared higher, scouring the Carafayan countryside. When he first saw the glimmer in the distance, he thought his eyes might be playing a trick on him. Or perhaps the flash was the suns light reflecting off of a metal blade, or even off the lost Mirror of Sorrows. Perhaps I have found the child at last, here amid the rocks and roots. Smirking, Ecsar squinted and folded his wings behind him, diving toward the glimmer like a hawk stooping on a hare. First I will cut off his hands, just like the others. But as he drew nearer, he saw that it wasn’t a blade or mirror at all.

The alien object was large and cylindrical, like a giant ale cask, though it was shiny bright like a coin. Ecsar had never seen its like. Its surface was studded with rows of smooth, round, protuberant scales, and two short poles extended from one side like outstretched arms. Even as he watched, the top of the strange thing spun toward him, aiming a third flashing appendage directly at him. Ecsar tilted his wings and pulled up. Whatever it was, this was not the boy. And something about it caused his stomach to tighten. Drawing the axe from his waist, he began to make circles around it, staying high enough to be well out of its reach. As he considered his next move, the thing spoke.

“Puny Darfoyle!” it said. “Throw down your axe and sheath your talons. Your primitive species is no match for a Dalek!”
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Subterranean Press has posted the table of contents for the upcoming all-original anthology being published this Fall…Multiverse: Exploring Poul Anderson’s Worlds edited by Greg Bear and Gardner Dozois, which celebrates the SF Grandmaster’s works with new stories by modern masters of the form. The cover is by Bob Eggleton.

  1. “Outmoded Things” by Nancy Kress
  2. “The Man Who Came Late” by Harry Turtledove
  3. “A Slip in Time” by S. M. Stirling
  4. “Living and Working with Poul Anderson” by Karen Anderson
  5. “Dancing on The Edge of The Dark” by C. J. Cherryh
  6. “The Lingering Joy” by Stephen Baxter
  7. “Operation Xibalba” by Eric Flint
  8. “Tales Told” by Astrid Anderson Bear
  9. “The Fey of Cloudmoor” by Terry Brooks
  10. “Christmas in Gondwanaland” by Robert Silverberg
  11. “Latecomers” by David Brin
  12. “An Appreciation of Poul Anderson” by Jerry Pournelle
  13. “A Candle” by Raymond E. Feist
  14. “The Far End” by Larry Niven
  15. “Bloodpride”” by Gregory Benford
  16. “Three Lilies and Three Leopards (And a Participation Ribbon in Science)” by Tad Williams

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 2 Trailer

Game of Thrones Season 2 is based on A Clash of Kings, the 2nd book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire series.

[via Suvudu]

REVIEW: The Worker Prince by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

SYNOPSIS: A young scion of the tyrannical ruling family of a solar system discovers his secret origin in the enslaved race oppressed by his adoptive people, and takes action to aid their plight.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW
PROS: Engaging protagonist; strong moral foundation; appealing and entertaining writing; strong themes.
CONS: Irksomely inconsistent worldbuilding; too much “Carrying the idiot ball” by some characters.
VERDICT: A debut novel whose promise and ability to entertain rises above its flaws.

Davi has had a good life. Son of the Princess Miri? Check. Heir to Xalivar, the leader of the Borali Alliance? Check. An excellent student and pilot, with lifelong friends? Check, check and check. Who could want for more? But when circumstances assign him to a post on the conquered planet of Vertullis, and he discovers his secret origins among the enslaved Vertullians, Davi’s role as heir to Xalivar is going to give way to a new role and a new goal to free the slaves: The Worker Prince.
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A trio of various movies hitting theaters in the coming months. Which ones do you most want to see?

Lockout

Release: April 20, 2012
Director: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
Writer: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger
Cast: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare, Lennie James, Vincent Regan, Joseph Gilgun, Tim Plester, Anne-Solenne Hatte, Yan Dron, Patrick Cauderlier, Milorad Kapor, Bojan Peric, Mark Tankersley
Genre: Action, Sci fi, Thriller

Starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace and set in the near future, Lockout follows a falsely convicted ex- government agent (Pearce), whose one chance at obtaining freedom lies in the dangerous mission of rescuing the President’s daughter (Grace) from rioting convicts at an outer space maximum security prison.

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Captain Future Returns in a Live Action Project


Classic science fiction fans may recall Edmond Hamilton’s Captain Future pulp adventure stories. Modern TV fans may recognize the name from the poster by Sheldon’s and Leonard’s apartment door in The Big Bang Theory.

Either way, fans of the stories may be interested to know that David Guivant is working on a new project called Captain Future — insipred by the Edmond Hamilton stories and the 70s-era Japanese Anime. The main character is Curtis Newton, a brilliant scientist and adventurer who roams the solar system solving problems, righting wrongs, and vanquishing futuristic supervillains. The events 5 years after the events described in the Novels and the Anime.

Here’s a teaser for the upcoming project:

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Books Received: January 30, 2012

In the interest of full disclosure, here are the books we received this week.
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SF Tidbits for 1/30/12

Interviews and Profiles

News

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For those who fancy themselves as armchair art critics, it’s time once again for another Book Cover Smackdown!

Here are today’s contenders…

Your Mission (should you choose to accept it): Tell us which cover you like best and why.
Books shown here:

  1. The Straits of Galahesh by Bradley P. Beaulieu (Artist: Todd Lockwood for Night Shade Books)
  2. Dying of the Light by George R.R. Martin (Artist: Tom Kidd for Subterrannean Press)
  3. Ashes of Candesce by Karl Schroeder (Artist: Stephan Martiniere for Tor)

NOTE: Bigger, better cover art images are available by clicking the images or title links.

Ticonderoga Publications has posted the table of contents for the upcoming paranormal noir anthology Damnation & Dames edited by Liz Grzyb and Amanda Pillar:

  1. “The Third Circle” by Lindsy Anderson
  2. “Three Questions and One Troll” by Chris Bauer
  3. “Burning, Always Burning” by Alan Baxter & Felicity Dowker
  4. “Blind Pig” by Jay Caselberg
  5. “Silver Comes the Night” by M.L.D. Curelas
  6. “A Case to Die For” by Karen Dent
  7. “Outlines” by Dirk Flinthart
  8. “Prohibition Blues” by Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter
  9. “Sangue Sella Notte” by Donna Maree Hanson
  10. “Walking the Dead Beat” by Rob Hood
  11. “The Awakened Adventure of Rick Candle” by Joseph L Kellogg
  12. “Sound and Fury” by Pete Kempshall
  13. “One Night at the Cherry” by Chris Large
  14. “Be Good Sweet Maid” by Penelope Love
  15. “The Black Star Killer” by Nicole Murphy
  16. “Hard Boiled” by Brian G. Ross

[via Alan Baxter]

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a wonderful film aimed at book lovers and is one of five animated short films that will be considered for outstanding film achievements of 2011 in the 84th Academy Awards.

Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques (miniatures, computer animation, 2D animation) award winning author/ illustrator William Joyce and Co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a new narrative experience that harkens back to silent films and M-G-M Technicolor musicals. “Morris Lessmore” is old fashioned and cutting edge at the same time.

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TOC: ‘After’ Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Ellen Datlow has posted the table of contents for After, the post-apocalyptic/Dystopia anthology she co-edited with Terri Windling (due in October 2012):

  1. “The Segment” by Genevieve Valentine
  2. “After the Cure” by Carrie Ryan
  3. “Valedictorian” by N.K. Jemisin
  4. “Visiting Nelson” by Katherine Langrish
  5. “All I Know of Freedom” by Carol Emshwiller
  6. “The Other Elder” by Beth Revis
  7. “The Great Game at the End of the World” by Matthew Kressel
  8. “Reunion” by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  9. “Faint Heart” by Sarah Rees Brennan
  10. “Blood Drive” by Jeffrey Ford
  11. “Reality Girl” by Richard Bowes
  12. “Hw th’Irth Wint Wrong by Hapless Joey @ homeskool.guv” by Gregory Maguire
  13. “Rust With Wings” by Steven Gould
  14. “The Easthound” by Nalo Hopkinson
  15. “Gray” by Jane Yolen
  16. “Before” by Carolyn Dunn
  17. “Fake Plastic Trees” by Caitlin R. Kiernan
  18. “You Won’t Feel a Thing” by Garth Nix
  19. “The Marker” by Cecil Castellucci

Courtesy of A&E, SF Signal has one (1) copy of both Ancient Aliens: Season 3 and Frozen World: The Story of the Ice Age to giveaway, one each to an SF Signal reader. Here’s what they are about.

Frozen World:

This special collection features four specials, each examining a different aspect of the Ice Age. It s a remarkable journey from the primitive man who inhabited the planet to a volcanic eruption and its devastating impact, to a fascinating look at a changing world and the cost of survival, to an exploration into the possibilities of another Ice Age.


Ancient Aliens Season 3:

Ancient Aliens continues to examine 75 million years of the most credible alien evidence here on Earth. Season 3 explores new directions, including sightings and phenomena from ancient times to the present. From the age of dinosaurs to ancient Egypt, from early cave drawings to continued mass sightings in the U.S., each episode gives historic depth to the questions, speculations, controversies, firsthand accounts and grounded theories surrounding an age-old debate.

And here’s how you can enter for a chance to win:

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Saturday Morning ‘Toon: “No Robots”

When robots become so ubiquitous that we enact laws against them, will sthey still be able to teach us what it means to be human? That’s the question raised by the touching story of No Robots, a beautifully done short film by Kimberly Knoll and Yunghan Chang.

[via Gavin Rothery]

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