Category Archives: Tidbits

SF Tidbits for 12/31/07

  • Tim Pratt (Blood Engines) invents a new literary movement at John Scalzi’s Whatever blog.
  • The Agony Column has part one of a podcast-interview with Charles Stross (Halting State), who, at his own website, lists his upcoming novels.
  • A.R. Yngve takes an introspective look at sf fads and fashions: “All science-fiction fads, when you look back at them, seem naive. They are invariably rooted in the wishful thinking and cultural anxieties of their time and audience.”
  • More 2007 Best Lists:
  • As part of The Sci-Fi Experience 2008, Dark Orpheus shares his re-reading experience with C.J. Cherryh’s Cyteen.
  • The New York Times recollects an article from 1908 that offered predications for 2008. “We may have gyroscopic trains as broad as houses swinging at 200 miles an hour up steep grades and around dizzying curves…”
  • And finally, the last tidbit of 2007: Brewster Rockit, Space Guy looks at New Years’ Resolutions.

SF Tidbits for 12/30/07

SF Tidbits for 12/29/07

SF Tidbits for 12/28/07

  • Readers Voice interviews Ann VanderMeer, Editor of Weird Tales: “The fantasy element can give the writer the freedom to explore topics and ideas that may come across as too dogmatic in mainstream fiction. The best fantasy stories will take the reader someplace new and out of the ordinary. They will stick with the reader long after the story has been read. Whether it is a single character, an event or perhaps even the overall theme of the story, if you finish it wanting more yet are still satisfied, then the story works.”
  • Brandon Sanderson has written a FAQ on Memory of Light, the 12th and final volume of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time fantasy series, which he has been commissioned to finish.
  • Grasping for the Wind has a version of Tobias Buckell’s Sly Mongoose video w/ sound added.
  • Free Fiction: BenG offers a list of books available on MobileRead sorted by genre.
  • More Bloggers list their Best of 2007:
  • Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Bob Zemeckis’ Back to the Future were added by the Library of Congress to its national registry because they are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.
  • SciFi Wire lists some 2008 genre movies from 20th Century Fox (Jumper, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, Shutter, Starship Dave, The Happening, and Babylon A.D.) and Disney (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, WALL*E [w/ Pixar], South of the Border, Bolt, and Bedtime Stories).
  • Neat-o-rama has this cool retro X-Men poster by Eric Tan, the guy who did those retro WALL*E postcards.

SF Tidbits for 12/27/07

SF Tidbits for 12/26/07

  • Yummy Xmas leftovers: The Daily Pop features A Batman Christmas Carol.
  • Recently free fiction at ManyBooks.net: “But, I Don’t Think” by Randall Garrett (1959): “As every thinking man knows, every slave always yearns for the freedom his master denies him…”
  • More free fiction: “Chicken Soup for Mars and Venus” by Matthew Jarpe (2004): “A collision course. Well, that had to be a mistake…”
  • The Eaton Science Fiction Conference, scheduled for May 16-18, 2008, will be themed “Chronicling Mars” and will bring in Ray Bradbury, Frederik Pohl, Arthur C. Clarke (via video teleconference), Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Ben Bova, Howard V. Hendrix, Geoffrey Landis and Kim Stanley Robinson.
  • XKCD spoofs Blade Runner.

SF Tidbits for 12/25/07

SF Tidbits for 12/24/07

  • World’s Biggest Bookstore’s Sci-Fi Fan Letter interviews Joel Shepherd. “Fantasy tends to be more lyrical, which is fun as a writer, because you can just let the words play with each other through the sentences. My SF tends to be a little more brutal and direct.”
  • If ever we needed a reason to classify the Indiana Jones movies as science fiction, it’s this way-cool book The Complete Making of Indiana Jones by J.W. Rinzler, slated for a May 2008 release. Rinzler is the man behind The Making Of Star Wars.
  • Recently free fiction at ManyBooks.net: “…After a Few Words…” by Randall Garrett (1962).
  • The latest Odyssey SF/F Writing Workshop Podcast features Michael A. Burstein on The Plot Skeleton.
  • Quasar Dragon offers some Christmas treats for sf fans.
  • L.A.’s the Place calculates Six Degrees of Inspiration with Richard Matheson. “Who do Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, and George A. Romero all have in common? His name is Richard Matheson and his influence is legendary.”
  • The January 16th KGB Bar reading will feature Marly Youmans and Dan Braum
  • Artist John Picacio shows off the 3rd Jeffrey Ford cover, this one for The Beyond, part of his Well-Built City trilogy. When all three covers (The Physiognomy, Memoranda, & The Beyond) are placed side-by-side-by-side, it creates a larger image, which Picacio and Ford will post soon.
  • I received 92 credits on The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz. How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?

SF Tidbits for 12/23/07

SF Tidbits for 12/22/07

  • Del Rey has an interview Josh Conviser, author of Empyre . “Empyre is spy-fi — cyberpunk spiced with Bourne Identity-style intrigue. “
  • At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Joel Shepherd, author of Killswitch.
  • Wired Science interviews Greg Bear.
  • John Dalmas has been added to the list of sf/f authors who blog. (Thanks, Fred!)
  • Recently free fiction at ManyBooks.net: “Instinct” (1959) by George O. Smith, “Unborn Tomorrow” (1969) and “Revolution” (1960) by Mack Reynolds, “The Short Life” (1955) by Francis Donovan, and “Beyond Pandora” (1962) by Robert J. Martin.
  • Let’s hope that this article on homeopathy is the last time that science fiction and America’s Funniest Home Videos are used together: “And yet, we really like science fiction. We like to believe in magical solutions and discoveries that break the mold – that there could be something out there that we find that no one else has thought of yet, or observed, or harnessed. This drive to discover is a wonderful force for investigation and scientific advancement, but it is a double edged sword. The other side can result in irrational beliefs, magical thinking, and snake oil science.”
  • Here is a list of 10 Science Fiction Clichés to Avoid.
  • Larry at OF Blog of the Fallen rounds up a collection of “Best of the year” lists. This is the only time of the year that I am an optimist. Under the false impression that the holidays will leave me enough time to read, I plan on posting my Best Reads of the Year in early January.
  • Artist John Picacio shows off his cover for Jeffrey Ford’s Memoranda, part of his Well-Built City trilogy. When all three covers (The Physiognomy, Memoranda, & The Beyond) are placed side-by-side-by-side, it creates a larger image, which Picacio and Ford will post soon. Cool.

SF Tidbits for 12/21/07

  • Sean Williams shows off the cover of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Is there a special term we give to media tie-in novels based on a games that are based on movies?
  • Lou Anders, meanwhile, shows off the cover of his upcoming anthology Sideways in Crime.
  • Dark Roasted Blend interviews John C. Wright: “I would venture to say that if you are reading a yarn where there are no space-pirates and no space-princesses, if the Dinosaurs of Mars never make an appearance, if no space-marine shoots through the core of the planet with a hand-weapon in order to kill an enemy standing on another continent, if no ancient alien artifacts larger than worlds stir into life after a million years of dormancy, and if not a single planet is blasted into molten asteroids, no star into a nova star, no galaxy into a Seyfert galaxy, no universe into a new Big Bang, then what you are reading might not be space opera. Space opera should contain at least one of these elements.”
  • Bldg Blog interviews Kim Stanley Robinson about climate change, the influence of Greek island villages on his descriptions of Martian base camps, about life as a 21st century primate in the 24/7 “techno-surround”, how we must rethink utopia as we approach an age without oil, whether “sustainability” is really the proper thing to be striving for, and what a future archaeology of the space age might find. Mundane SF responds: “So pay attention all you Science Fiction writers of the future. This is the future, so put aside your time machines, talking robots, and so forth, and tell us what it’s really going to be like.” [via Futurismic]
  • The Ballardian offers the 2-part essay Waste in the Fiction of J.G. Ballard: “For Ballard, waste registers a process, a cycle, a movement, and system in transition: durability and permanence have no place in a fictional world that revels in the power of waste to negotiate and renegotiate value.”
  • Dragon Page podcast-interviews Karen Miller (The Innocent Mage and The Awakened Mage).
  • Here’s a very brief article on How to Write Alternate History.
  • Forbes lists Cory Doctorow among their list of web celebrities. [via SF Scope]
  • Over at the Guardian, Gemma Malley lists Top 10 Dystopian Novels for Teenagers. (Short version: 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, The Children of Men by PD James, The Chrysalids by John Wyndam, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, The Children’s Story by James Clavell, and The Diary of Anne Frank.) [via Libertas]
  • Ellen Datlow has posted pictures of the December 19th KGB reading with Naomi Novik and Christopher Barzak.
  • Roddenberry.com will be posting an online comic strip illustrated by David Reddick. It’s called “Gene’s Journal” and debuts in January.

SF Tidbits for 12/20/07

SF Tidbits for 12/19/07

  • Acacia by David Anthony Durham has been named one of the 10 Best fiction books of 2007. Kirkus also has a SF/F special section (PDF Link).
  • At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Brandon Sanderson, author of A Memory of Light, the final installment in the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga.
  • Phillip Pullman is writing a new novel set in the world of His Dark Materials. [via The Swivet]
  • At Omnivoracious, Jeff VanderMeer lists Four Great SF/F Gifts for readers.
  • Recently free fiction at ManyBooks.net: “History Repeats” by George O. Smith and “Gold in the Sky” by Alan Nourse.
  • More free fiction! Jeff Patterson continues his tradition of Christmas stories with “The Harbinger of All Things Glorious“. If you like this, you’ll like his Solstice Chronicles collection.
  • It’s the twilight of the books…The New Yorker comments on the National Endowment for the Arts statistic that people are reading less: “There’s no reason to think that reading and writing are about to become extinct, but some sociologists speculate that reading books for pleasure will one day be the province of a special “reading class,” much as it was before the arrival of mass literacy, in the second half of the nineteenth century.”
  • Dave at Dave’s Long Box explains why he hates Star Trek Gold Key comics. “Gold Key’s Star Trek comics seemed like they were produced by bored hacks who had very little interest in the actual source material…Is that bearded guy slapping Spock’s ass while he dances like a Russian? What the hell?”
  • Good News! Peter Jackson will direct The Hobbit after all. Bad news: There’s a sequel…filling in the time between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. No word yet on whether Tolkien has stopped rolling over in his grave.
  • First Showing rounds up a host of 2008 movies, including several genre films.
  • Stale Popcorn is counting down the 100 Best Movie Posters, which include Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Carpenter’s The Thing.
  • Wired explains the origins of Futurama‘s Zoidberg.
  • I would be remiss in my supermodel-related duties is I did not point out this Flickr gallery: The Galactically Hot Women of Star Trek TOS. [via Boing^2]

SF Tidbits for 12/18/07

  • The Leaky Cauldron podcast-interviews J.K. Rowling today. [via EW]
  • SFX has posted reviews of The Family Trade by Charles Stross and The Escapement by K.J. Parker.
  • Go, go gadget free fiction: Free Speculative Fiction Online has new additions from John W. Campbell, Colin P. Davies, G. C. Edmondson, Randall Garrett & Laurence M. Janifer, Tom Godwin, Frank Herbert, Dean Ing, R. A. Lafferty, Fritz Leiber, Murray Leinster, Andre Norton, Frederik Pohl, Mack Reynolds, George O. Smith, Walter Tevis, Stanley G. Weinbaum and more.
  • Tired of anthologies with only a handful of stories you want to read? Here’s an interesting concept: Build Your Own Anthology. The website lets you pick stories by criteria like author of genre (including sf) and purchase a custom anthology of up to 350 pages for just under $15. Now…if they only offered the stories I assembled for my own custom dream anthology… [via Jim Hines]
  • Miniature Brainwave has a pic of a Yoda pizza. “Mmmm…gas, pepperonis give me…”

SF Tidbits for 12/17/07

SF Tidbits for 12/16/07

SF Tidbits for 12/15/07

SF Tidbits for 12/14/07

  • SciFi Scanner lists 5 Fun Facts About Richard “I Am Legend” Matheson.
  • Fantasybookspot interviews Paul Kearney (The Ten Thousand): “I don’t think epic fantasy has stagnated – far from it. It may have been close to sinking into a quicksand of cliché a few years back, but times have changed radically. Writers like Joe Abercrombie and Steve Erikson have given it a good hard kick up the ass, which was exactly what it needed. Now if only the prejudice against fantasy books with slighter thinner spines could be overcome, then we’d really be going places. The spectre of Tolkien still looms too large.”
  • Penguin continues their tour of sf sub-genres with a look at Alternate History.
  • Ray Bradbury wrote a play for Pasadena called “The Invisible Boy” about “a manipulative old woman who is searching for companionship and tries to adopt a relative as her son. In exchange, the boy gets to be invisible, but things don’t work out quite the way they’re planned.”
  • The Daily Galaxy looks at the airships of the future. Mmmm…airships…
  • Hone your holiday survival skills with this Introduction to Traditional Klingon Melee Weapons.

SF Tidbits for 12/13/07

SF Tidbits for 12/12/07

  • Grasping for the Wind interviews John Joseph Adams (Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse). “…post-apocalyptic fiction seems to be part of the zeitgeist right now. I mean, you’ve got Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road not only winning the Pulitzer Prize, but appearing as an Oprah Book Club selection! If that’s not a sign of the apocalypse, I don’t know what is.”
  • This I Believe has Robert A. Heinlein reading his essay Our Noble, Essential Decency. “I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching oversized braincase and the opposable thumb–this animal barely up from the apes–will endure, will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets–to the stars and beyond–carrying with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage, and his noble essential decency. This I believe with all my heart.” [via Locus Online]
  • Penguin continues its look at the sub-genres of speculative fiction with this post on Military SF.
  • Here’s a 2006 Guardian article beginning a series on how to read a book. [via Hipster Book Club]
  • Real Science: Hey! Who the heck squashed my solar system?
  • Orbit books is posting The Science Fiction and Fantasy Twelve Days of Christmas, one post at a time.