Guardian Books Blog looks at The New Weird: “…while frequently characterised as unoriginal and bland, the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres had been engaged in a non-stop process of revolution and evolution stretching back to HG Wells and Jules Verne, through Philip K Dick and Ray Bradbury and on to the writers of the New Weird.”
Paul Di Filippo reviews Hunter’s Run by George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham. “This novel is at once old-fashioned — like some dream collaboration between B. Traven (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre ) and Keith Laumer — and also as up to date as the latest M. John Harrison.”
The Times has an excerpt from J.G. Ballard’s forthcoming autobiography, Miracles of Life, in which it is revealed that Ballard has been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. See also: Related interview. [via the Ballardian]
The World in the Satin Bag interviews Karen Miller, author of The Awakened Mage: “…in writing fantasy I get to play with the best of both worlds – larger than life events and themes, a splash of magic, and a chance to explore humanity from a slightly skewed perspective.”
Subterranean Press is publishing Jim Butcher‘s non-Harry Dresden novelette (Backup) that’s still set in the Dresden universe. It comes with illustrations by Mike Mignola. [also via Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff]
Big Finish Productions is launching a new service (beginning February 1st) which allows you to purchase and download the audiobooks of Doctor Who, Bernice Summerfield, Sapphire and Steel, and the forthcoming Stargate series. [via Oupost Gallifrey]
The SciFi Blog shines the SciFi babe spotlight on Erin Gray: “Before there was Seven of Nine, there was Colonel Wilma Deering.” I remember having a substitute teacher back in high school who was crazy about her.
Over at Omnivoracious, Jeff VanderMeer interviews Michael Moorcock, author of The Metatemporal Detective. “I’m easily bored. For that reason I usually don’t read much genre fiction. I like fiction which precedes genre or when it has begun to parody or otherwise question the tropes.”
io9 interviews Kathleen Ann Goonan, author of Queen City Jazz: “…for me, nanotech has been a metaphor for the power of thought, and for the power of language. This may sound odd, but it seems that the more we understand matter and the more we are able to manipulate it and to make decisions about how and why to do so, the better we understand ourselves.”
Paizo publishing announced the 2008 release schedule for their science fiction novel imprint, Planet Stories. Titles include Northwest of Earth: the Complete Northwest Smith by C. L. Moore, Almuric by Robert E. Howard, Lord of the Spiders by Michael Moorcock, The Samarkand Solution by Gary Gygax, The Ginger Star by Leigh Brackett, Masters of the Pit by Michael Moorcock, Infernal Sorceress by Gary Gygax, Worlds of Their Own edited by James Lowder (featuring fiction by R.A. Salvatore, Michael A. Stackpole, Ed Greenwood, Elaine Cunningham, and others), Swordsman of Mars by Otis Adelbert Kline.
The American Film Institute plans to pick the top 10 movies in 10 genres, including science fiction. Among the scifi nominees are The Matrix and the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds. The results will be revealed on a CBS special in June.
The third book in Christopher Paolini’s bestselling Inheritance Cycle (following the fun Eragon and the not-so-much-fun Eldest) will be called Brisingr and features another awesome cover by John Jude Palencar. The book will be released on September 20th, three days earlier than originally planned in response to booksellers hoping to have book launch parties.
On Feruary 20th, The Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series, hosted by Ellen Datlow and Gavin J. Grant, presents a reading from Datlow’s Inferno with John Grant, Jeffrey Ford, Elizabeth Bear, and Nathan Ballingrud.
The SciFI Channel has a new president: Dave Howe. Old president Bonnie Hammer is quoted saying “I’ve had my shot, and our team was able to take Sci Fi from basic obscurity to a No. 6 channel.” Says new prez: “This brand has so much more untapped potential…In five years’ time, I’d love to be able to say that Sci Fi is no longer just a cable network but a category killer in videogames, mobile and the youth market.” JP offers his take…
TV Ontario’s current-affairs program, The Agenda, has a video interview with Robert J. Sawyer (Rollback) on roboethics. (Click the “Robert Sawyer” link on the right-hand side.) More Sawyer news: Red Deer Press is releasing his 2nd collection of short stories, Identity Theft and Other Stories, in May 2008.
SciFi Wire profiles Alex Bledsoe, author of The Sword-Edged Blonde.
Grasping for the Wind loks at Speculative Fiction and the Value of the Formula: “Readers of speculative fiction should not listen to the pejorative use of the word ‘formulaic’. It is a highbrow way of saying that the novel is good enough for the masses, but not good enough for those of us with a literary education.”
At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Kevin J. Anderson, author of Metal Swarm, the latest book of The Saga of Seven Suns.
ActuSF interviews Stephen Baxter: “I consider a lot of my work to be hard science fiction, that is sf based on ideas drawn from serious science, and restricted to ‘plausible’ extrapolation of those ideas.”
Bibliophile Stalker interviews J.M. McDermott (Last Dragon), whose blog has been added to the list of sf/f authors who blog: “…I really don’t like the literary magazines outside of the genre very much. Literary short fiction has become so stale, in the magazines.”
John Picacio previews some of the interior illustrations for Elric: The Stealer of Souls.
Orson Scott Card has won the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for “his outstanding lifetime contribution to writing for teens” for his novels Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow. [via One Minute Book Reviews]
ActuSF interviews Lucius Shepard. “I write so-called general fiction as well as genre fiction, but what brings me back to fantasy and science fiction, particularly fantasy, is that they allow me a freedom that writing about ordinary things and lets me to do pretty much anything I want with my characters, to play with reality, hold it up to light obliquely and, if I’m lucky, to shine that light into some corners that have been gathering dust.”
Bibliophile Stalker interviews A. Lee Martinez (The Automatic Detective): “[The Automatic Detective is] a combo of old sci fi sensibilities combined with film noir crime thrillers, plus a little bit of superhero type action thrown in for extra measure. I wrote it because I love old weird science pulps, crime pulps, and I wanted to write a novel featuring a robot that didn’t suffer from either Pinnochio syndrome or Destroy-All-Humans! syndrome.”
Penguin Blog interviews Sean Williams, whose Saturn Returns was just nominated for the 2008 Philip K. Dick Award. “My intention is to capture three very distinct phases in this arc of humanity’s history: the aftermath of an empire’s fall, the peak of reconstruction and a constitutional crisis, then the ‘weaponising’ necessary to take on a powerful threat from the outside.”
L.E. Modesitt, Jr. talks about character-driven vs. plot-driven sf. “…there seems to be a bit of an emphasis by some who think themselves experts on F&SF on the need for more “character-driven” fiction. Then, perhaps this has always been true. Whether or not it’s a resurgent emphasis or a long-standing one is irrelevant. It’s wrong. Dead wrong.”
At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Jonathan Strahan, editor of the Eclipse One anthology, and roboticist Daniel H. Wilson, author of How to Build a Robot Army.
Illusion TV profiles Lyda Morehouse (Apocalypse Array): “I like characters who wrestle with moral choices. Particularly, I’m fascinated by people who have made bad choices and now have to come up with a way to live with that.”
Over at The Future And You, Stephen Euin Cobb podcast-interviews Timothy Zahn.
SyFy Portal profiles John Kenneth Muir, creator of the web sci-fi series The House Between.
Tobias Buckell shares his unfortunate experience trying to turn his novel Crystal Rain into a graphic novel.
io9 interviews Charles Stross (Halting State): “Fiction, confabulation, story-telling — is, when you get down to it, usually used as an entertainment medium, and also as a mechanism for showing us about other ways of thinking, and if you try to preach a political message you usually end up with something that’s not very entertaining (if not outright annoying to a lot of your readers).”
S.M. Duke interviews Jennifer Rahn (The Longevity Thesis): “Now I live in perpetual angst, hoping that Joan D. Vinge will publish something new. Honestly, the woman writes literary crack.”
At Intergalactic Medicine Show, Carol Pinchefsky asks: Is There Nepotism in Science Fiction? “Because of this ultra-socialization in the genre, editors tend to buy stories and novels from people that they often already know, at least tangentially.” [via Futurismic]
Edward Willett has posted the first two chapters of his upcoming SF novel Marseguro (due out from DAW Books February 5) online.
Elizabeth Bear has the skinny on Shadow Unit, a “website for a serial drama in internet form”, some free, some by reasonably-priced subscription. Staff writers include Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, Sarah Monette and Ms. Bear herself.
Subterranean press is showing off their cool cover of Snow Crash, a Neal Stephenson limited edition reprint due in the Fall. [via Big Dumb Object]
Focus on Science Fiction and Fantasy interviews John Hemry (a.k.a. Jack Campbell), author of The Lost Fleet novels. “I think SF has a good future as long as it doesn’t take itself too seriously. By that I mean it has to remain focused on telling the story, rather than trying to be Literary.”
At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Hal Duncan (Vellum).
The Guardian asks: “Why do critics still sneer at sci-fi?” and looks at The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester: “Science fiction writers are dismissed by the mainstream, but for mind-expanding ideas and sheer narrative excitement the genre is hard to beat.”
Strange Horizons takes a look back at 2007 with contributions from Graham Sleight, Paul Raven, Nader Elhefnawy, Victoria Hoyle, Paul Kincaid, Richard Larson, Laura Blackwell, Iain Clark, L. Timmel Duchamp, Martin Lewis, Tony Keen, Lisa Goldstein, Gwyneth Jones, Michael Levy, Jonathan McCalmont, Abigail Nussbaum, Nicola Clarke, Donna Royston, David Soyka, Adam Roberts and Tim Phipps.
Times Online lists The 50 greatest British writers since 1945, which includes George Orwell, William Golding, Ted Hughes, Doris Lessing, J. R. R. Tolkien, Kingsley Amis, C. S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, Anthony Burgess, Mervyn Peake, J. G. Ballard, Iain Banks, J. K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, and Michael Moorcock. [via Pyr-o-Mania]
The Truth About Books interviews Matt Ruff (Bad Monkeys). “With all of my novels, I try to have strong opening and closing paragraphs, so if I’m asked for favorite lines those are the ones I think of.”
At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Sarah Monette, co-author of A Companion to Wolves with Elizabeth Bear.
Benjamin Rosenbaum offers 2 Corollaries to Sturgeon’s Revelation that 90% of everything is crap. (This is one of those legends: Sturgeon actually said “Ninety percent of science fiction is crud, but then, ninety percent of everything is crud.” But we aren’t picky.)
Omnivoracious has Ink/Vellum author Hal Duncan on Why SF is Really Fantasy. “If we’re ready, willing and able to play this fast and loose with science why should we draw the line at equivalent paradigm shifts that, for us, render a work fantasy rather than SF?”