Whatever happened to scary vampires?
Did vampires slowly transition from creatures of horror to this romanticized ideal or did it happen over night?
I remember the conversation we had at The Functional Nerds with Mike Resnick wherein he said, “When I was growing up, Vampires were unclean things that wanted to suck your blood.” He’s not wrong.
How did we get to the point where teenage girls are swooning over them? How did vamps become what they are and when did we forget what they were?
What is the role of sex in science fiction?
Authors Philip José Farmer, Robert Heinlein and Ursula K. Le Guin, to name just a few, have all had sex and sexuality in their stories in one way or another. Science fiction and fantasy is full of examples of blurred gender roles, cross-species sex, virtual sex – are these legitimate points to move the story forward or are they simply there to sensationalize the prose? What are some examples of sex in science fiction that, good or bad, still stick in your mind? What are some examples where you felt it was completely out of place?
Later, Patrick Hester sits down to chat with New York Times bestselling author Brent Weeks. His Night Angel Trilogy consists of The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows. His new series, Lightbringer, has launched with the new novel: The Black Prism.
The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 008): The Future of Science Fiction + Interview with Maurice Broaddus & Jerry Gordon
In the eighth episode of the Sf Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester is joined by Lisa Paitz Spindler, Matthew Sanborn Smith and John DeNardo to discuss the future of science fiction: Are the epic space operas waning in favor of the condensed, character driven heroes story? Has our future, as author William Gibson recently commented in a recent interview, “lost the capital F” of our childhood? Is what we think of as “traditional science fiction”, a thing of the past rather than the future?
Later, Patrick Hester & John DeNardo sit down to chat with Maurice Broaddus, author of King Maker (October 2010 from Angry Robot Books) & Jerry Gordon, author of City of Refuge. Maurice and Jerry are co-editors of Dark Faith from Apex Books.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: More Jedi fun from the Old Republic – plus – MANDALORIANS!
PROS: Great artwork, as usual; we get introduced to the war mongery Mandalorians who’ve come to kick some Jedi butt; the plot thickens as to why his Master set Zayne up.
CONS: The main storyline lasts only the first two-thirds of the book; the last third kinda bored me.
BOTTOM LINE: If you were a fan of the first volume, you’ll like the second. It keeps the story moving (mostly) and gives a lot of Jedi bang for your buck.
The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 007): The Lack of Space-Themed Novels on the Recent Hugo Ballot + Interview with Brenda Cooper
In the seventh episode of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester is joined by John Anealio, John DeNardo, Jeff Patterson, Matthew Sanborn Smith and Andrew Liptak to discuss the lack of space-themed novels in the Hugo best novel category, despite the release of such novels as C.J. Cherryh’s Regenesis (sequel to a best novel winner, no less), Alastair Reynolds’ House of Suns, and Peter F. Hamilton’s Temporal Void:
- Does it mean anything that space seemed to play no role in this years Hugo Best Novel category?
- Does it mean anything in the long term?
- Do Hugo votes actually gauge the state of the genre?
- Or do they just indicate which books were marketed best? Have daily exoplanet discoveries jaded fandom?
- Is it the space programs questionable future? Or is it changes in the readers themselves?
Later, Patrick, John D. and Tim Zinsky sit down to chat with futurist, novelist and technology professional Brenda Cooper to talk about science fiction, technology, collaborative writing, writing groups and the rise of Skynet…
I think the name change ranks up there as the second dumbest thing any network has ever done, beaten out only by NBC’s (their parent company, by the way) choice to drop everything they had at 10 o’clock and replace it with Jay Leno. (A choice they took back. *looks to the SyFy people* See? You can take it back…)
Despite my frequent rants about the channel, their decisions and their programming, I must admit that one little reality show that would normally draw my ire, has grown on me; Destination Truth.
Following the adventures of one Josh Gates, Destination Truth takes a team around the world in search of stuff; supernatural stuff, odd stuff – monsters & UFO’s & ghosts, for example.
It’s done mostly in the same sort of style as Ghost Hunters; they setup equipment to ‘capture evidence’ and then run around in the dark a lot, shooting with night vision cameras and scaring the crap out of each other by going, “Did you hear that?!” But, there’s just something so fun about this show. I mean, they never really find anything, there’s no big reveal moment at the end, and though the show is an hour long and usually has two investigations, those investigations only last about 15 minutes each tops, and the rest of the time is filled up by Josh and his team, well – having fun. Getting drunk in Mexico, eating bugs in Indonesia, having car/boat/plane troubles EVERYWHERE.
I find that I don’t actually care that they never really find Big Foot, or the Chupacabra because they just have so much damned fun doing it… And I have fun watching them.
So there. My dirty little secret is out. Destination Truth, one of those reality shows on the channel formerly known as Scifi that I would normally complain about, is a guilty pleasure show for me that I find I can’t miss.
And the new season started this week.
In the sixth episode of the SF Signal podcast, Patrick Hester is joined by birthday boy Jeff Patterson, John Anealio, and Andrew Liptak to discuss genres in science fiction and fantasy; how is a genre defined, where does a book fit in – what makes The Wind Up Girl science fiction? Our panel gives us their answers and we want yours as well – leave comments!
Later, Patrick Hester sits down with Amelia Beamer, editor, reviewer, and photographer for Locus: The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field and author of The Loving Dead to discuss zombies, conventions, photography, Clarion, writing & the publishing industry.
This post is about book stores – I swear.
I don’t go to BestBuy looking for advice. I know that BestBuy has spent a good deal of time and money attempting to brand themselves as being quite knowledgeable about the products that they sell and I salute them for that effort, but it has never been my experience that their general employees are particularly knowledgeable. This is not necessarily their fault, and I’m not trying to be mean or slam them – I know they try. But I liken it to multiple levels of tech support; you have your ground floor grunts who wander around the store looking quite aimless who are more than capable of pointing out to you where something is in the store or how much it costs, but beyond that, they aren’t particularly helpful. Above them is the next tier, people who have a bit more knowledge and the power that comes with it. You rarely see them wandering the floor. Above them are the true techies and they are around but you will have to stand in line for a long time to chat with them (which I have done – don’t get me wrong here!). They tend to be overworked and underpaid, which can make them grumpy. Just sayin’…
So, when I walk into a BestBuy and some random employee on the floor asks me if they can help me with something, I smile and tell them no and go about my business.I admit that I might be above the curve on technology stuff – just a bit. I also tend to do all my research before I ever step into one of their locations. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel these folks can help me.
Now, flip this and say I’m walking into a book store…
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.
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.
In the fourth episode of the SF Signal podcast, Patrick Hester is joined by John Anealio, Scott Shaffer, John DeNardo, Jeff Patterson, and Andrew Liptak to discuss the announcement that Star Wars is coming to Blu-Ray.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A new enemy is taking over the Gotham underworld. Calling himself the Red Hood, he is consolidating his hold by taking out the competition, mainly – Black Mask. Well trained and funded, Red Hood is causing all sorts of trouble and it’s up to Batman and Nightwing to take him down.
PROS: Excellent animation (as always); decent story, Neil Patrick Harris is great as Nightwing.
CONS: I miss Kevin Conroy as Batman; they kind of give it all away from the get-go; Worst Joker Voice Ever.
BOTTOM LINE: I’m a fan of Batman, I enjoy these movies immensely and I think you will too. Not necessarily for kids due to graphic violence (is rated PG13 so use your own judgment-there’s guns, blood, killing, etc). If you follow Batman in comics, you know this story…
In the third episode of the SF Signal podcast, John Anealio fills in for an ill Patrick Hester, taking over moderation duties. He is joined by Jay Garmon, Lisa Paitz Spindler & John DeNardo to discuss media tie-in novels.
Later, John Anealio & John DeNardo sit down with PYR author Jon Sprunk to discuss his latest novel, Shadow’s Son.
In the second episode of the SF Signal podcast, Patrick Hester, John DeNardo, John Anealio, Andrew Liptak and Jeff Patterson discuss the new slate of genre shows being offered up by the SyFy channel and the controversy one show has created.
Later, Patrick Hester, John DeNardo and Tim Zinsky, sit down with Alex award winning science fiction and fantasy author, A. Lee Martinez.
This episode also introduces the original music SF Signal podcast theme written and performed by John Anealio.
In this inaugural episode of The SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester, John DeNardo, JP Frantz, John Anealio and Karen Burnham discuss the new exclusivity deal between Kindle and a host of authors represented by Literary Agent Andrew Wylie and how this could affect eBook sales and purchases of genre titles if similar deals become the norm.
Enjoy! (And thanks to Trent Ditto for the logo work. Thanks, Trent!)
A couple weeks ago, I said to John DeNardo: “Ya know – I need to write something for you.” “Yeah?” he replied. “What would you write?”
An excellent question. I wasn’t sure just yet what I would write or how often either, but I quickly became excited by the prospect and started planning out some topics that I could cover that would fit well on SF Signal. Then came more. We started chatting about the Functional Nerds podcast; he, John Anealio and I. We (The Functional Nerds) wanted John to come on more shows with us and he wanted to be more involved, but wondered how we could get SF Signal itself more involved. Things began to percolate.
Conversations continued. Turns out, SF Signal has wanted to do some sort of podcast endeavor for quite some time now but they haven’t had the time to really dedicate to it.
Enter The Functional Nerds…