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.”
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…”
James Wallace Harris (author of the The Classics of Science Fiction essay) offers us Science Fiction Short Stories State of the Union. “…in the far future year of 2008, we can still find SF&F stories in magazines and books, but also online, as podcasts, audio books and even ebooks. It’s pretty damn science fictional to read SF&F on a Kindle or listen to it whispered into your ears via an iPod.”
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.
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).
At Omnivoracious, Jeff VanderMeer interviews Peter S. Beagle: “…there are fiction writers out there who are so good at bringing the literal stink of a certain period into your nostrils as you read…”
The Village Voice profiles Young-Adult Lit “It” couple Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier: “Teen consumers reject the thematic hierarchies that bedevil every other media market, unwittingly creating a utopia for iconoclasts like Scott and Justine, who write teen fiction because it frees their best ideas from the deadly limitations of any adult genre ghetto.”
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.
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.”
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.
Artist John Picacio shows off another Jeffrey Ford cover, this one for The Physiognomy, 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.
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.”
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.
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).
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.
Real Science: Our Moon 30 million years younger and more Earth-like than previously thought. The Moon is “merely a ‘chip off the old block’ of Earth rather than being made up of the remnants of a Mars-sized body that slammed into Earth billions of years ago.” James P. Hogan almost called it back in 1977 with his book Inherit the Stars, eh? [via Velcro City Tourist Board]
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?”
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…”
At Talking Squid, Chris Lawson shows us how Genre conquered Hollywood and asks some interesting follow-on questions: “Why, when movies are so dominated by genre, does the book industry still treat genre like a set of exclusive enclaves and assume that readers will never want to venture beyond rigidly defined walls? Why are non-genre writers so pompously dismissive of genre — even when they choose to write a genre book?”
AskMen lists 5 Things You Didn’t Know about Star Trek, which includes things every fans already knows about Star Trek. Oh well, at least they got some nice eye candy in the sidebar, if you know what I mean.
The New York Times interviews and profiles David Gerrold who talks about Tribbles, Gene Roddenberry and his long-lost Trek script.
Speaking of The Swivet, you should be reading that on a daily basis. Better yet, subscribe to the newsfeed. La Gringa provides a plethora of links to reviews, book releases, contracts and acquisition news that we just don’t cover here. If you remember what Andrew Wheeler did for the SFBC blog, it’s like that — she’s picked up that torch for all of us. Thanks, La Gringa! Keep up the great work!
There are two more posters for The Dark Knight. Both are cooler than the first, methinks.
Charles Stross writes about Robert Heinlein at Penguin blog and mentions his upcoming Heinlein tribute novel, Saturn’s Children. “I never met Mr. Heinlein, but I’ve felt his ghost breathing down my neck periodically, ever since I began writing science fiction. And I must admit, I resent it.”
Solaris Books announced that they will be publishing three Bengal Station novels to be written by Helix author Eric Brown. Necropath, Xenopath and Cosmopat features a telepath working at spaceport on Bengal Station, a vast twenty-level city-port, to read the minds of visitors to Earth in order to ferret out terrorists. Necropath is slated for a Spring 2009 release.
Amazon has purchased J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard at an auction held by Sotheby’s in London. The book, one of seven in existence, is referenced in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The purchase price was £1,950,000, or as we say in America: “A butt-load of money.” [via #comments]
The Washington Post lists Great Sci Fi for People Who Think They Don’t Like Sci Fi. Short version: Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges, Fiasco by Stanislaw Lem, The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Good suggestions in the comments, too.
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.”
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.”
We are nothing if not a perpetuator of sci-fi babe posts – or rather, we are nothing and we are a perpetuator of sci-fi babe posts – so here is Asylum’s lists of The Hottest 13 Babes in Space. [via SciFi Scanner]
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 essayOur 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.