Today we’re going to branch out from SFF comics and talk about a Boston-based artist who chronicles fans of mainstream SFF comics, movies, and TV shows with his black and white, single-panel, web comic, Our Valued Customers.
In December 2011, we had a week where three movie trailers hit the web: The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit and Prometheus. They looked stunning: these were perfectly crafted marketing tools from films with slick visuals, a promising story, and an unheard of amount of hype around their production. 2012 was shaping up to be an incredible movie year. The Avengers looked quite good good, although it’s trailer was released at a different point in time.
The thing is, in my opinion, none of these movies really held up to the hype. I liked them okay: The Dark Knight Rises was good, but not as good as The Dark Knight (my all-time favorite comic book film), The Hobbit was quite good, but it lingered in almost every scene when it didn’t need to, and Prometheus, well. I liked Prometheus for all the wrong reasons: it’s execution was pretty bad, even as it looked wonderful. The Avengers was the best of the lot, even if it felt like every moment was designed by committee. I fell to the trap of the film’s marketing departments, who knew just what worked to draw audiences to the theaters.
A few weeks ago I attended Darkover Grand Council Meeting, a Science Fiction/Fantasy convention held in the Baltimore area. This was the con’s 35th year and it offered a bountiful variety of activities, from music to crafts to meditation sessions to a regency ball. Of course, the convention also had several tracks of programming that included many panel discussions on topics ranging from “Placing Your Story in the Here and Now” to “What Comes After Zombies.” I spent most of the weekend attending panels, and I was struck by how different they were from the panels at what I consider to be my home convention, Readercon. This led me to spend some of my time thinking about the nature and utility of convention panels for fantastic literature. As I listened, took notes, and let my mind drift amongst the ideas, good and bad, that the panels produced, I wondered what use the con panel has in our hyper-connected age, what a panel can offer an audience and what makes them fall short sometimes.
We’ll be discussing contemporary hard sf and Caribbean speculative fiction over the course of our new, twice-monthly podcast. We spend most of this first episode discussing “Exhalation” and the collection Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang.
Other books we’ll be discussing in the future:
- My Bones and My Flute by Edgar Mittelholzer
- A selection of short stories by Greg Egan
- and The Rainmaker’s Mistake by Erna Broadber
- More titles to be announced when we’re sure we can actually lay our hands on them ourselves.
We look at these stories from our perspectives as readers, writers, critics, scientists, sociologists, women, etc.
- Interviews and Profiles:
- @PopCultureShock: Mike Mignola Talks About 15 Years of Hellboy, B.P.R.D. & More |
- @Tor.com: Artist Keith Thompson.
- @Agony Column Podcast: Margaret Atwood.
- Frederik Pohl on fandom (part 5).
- Ellen Datlow reports on the The Funeral (that should have been) for Edgar Allan Poe.
- @Tor.com: Erika Nelson reviews Octavia Butler’s Adulthood Rites.
- Neil Gaiman and BBC will let you Twitter a story for them.
- BenBella Books has posted Chris Roberson’s essay “An Angel on His Shoulder, A Devil on Hers“, one of the essay in Say We All: Collected Thoughts and Opinions on Battlestar Galactica edited by Richard Hatch.
- Three Words: Zombie Marvel Superheroes
- John Anealio has written a cool song for Jeff VanderMeer’s Last Drink Bird Head. [via Ecstatic Days]
- EVENT: Forbidden Planet hosts a signing by horror legend Clive Barker Thursday 15th October 6:30 – 7:30pm. Clive will be signing his new DVD The Midnight Meat Train at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR.
- Bibliophile Stalker is maintaining a List of Speculative Fiction Anthologies for 2010 to which you can contribute.
- @Tor.com: Top Steampunk Media.
- @io9: Top 10 Greatest Space Zombies Of All Time.
- @AbeBooks: The Top 10 Most Depressing Reads. A couple of genre titles make the list. [via Lit Lists]
- @Mental FLoss: B-Movie Monsters
- Kevin Maher lists 5 Music Videos About Werewolves.
- @SciFi Scanner: The Best and Worst Comic Book Movie Lairs.
- Cool news! Scott Westerfeld‘s Midnighters is coming to NBC. The story “revolves around a group of people born at the stroke of midnight who have access to the 25th hour of each day, which they use to stop crime.” [via SFX]
- Interviews and Profiles:
- John Scalzi answers Stargate Universe questions.
- Innsmouth Free Press has a brief interview with Mary Robinette Kowal.
- 3 Questions with Mindy Klasky at SF Novelists.
- Jeremy Tolbert and Jeff VanderMeer join host Tony C. Smith in the latest Sofanauts podcast.
- @Only The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy: David Gunn.
- @Sci-Fi Fan Letter: Gail Carriger.
- Frederik Pohl on Fandom. (Part 3)
- Octavia Butler’s Papers Bequeathed to Huntington Library. [via Locus Online]
- Guest-hosting at Tor.com: Cherie Priest, author of the the aesome recent release, Boneshaker.
- The Post-Modernity of Steampunk.
- The Directors of Spectrum announced that Richard Corben is the recipient of the 2009 Grand Master Award.
- The World SF News Blog is now hosted over on WordPress.
- Rare Gene Roddenberry Science Fiction TV Pilots are coming to DVD.
- Interviews & Profiles:
- Self-Publishing Review interviews Tessa Dick, the widow of Philip K. Dick, who has reworked the novel he was working on at the time of his death in 1982: The Owl in Daylight.
- Agony Column podcast-interviews Karen Armstrong.
- @Bibliophile Stalker: Kate Baker.
- ActuSF interviews James Lovegrove (The Age Of Ra).
- Locus Online has Locus Magazine interview excerpts with John Clute.
- Ben Bova talks about the recent loss of his wife, Barbara.
- Frederik Pohl on fandom.
- Last week, the Indian science fiction writers met in Varanasi to discuss the future and perils of science fiction writing in India.
- Cory Doctorow’s book Little Brother wins the Sunburst Award.
- Ross Bradshaw considers: Small presses are often based on one individual. Is that a bad thing? [via Damien G. Walter]
- At Juno books, Paula Guran talks about Women, Horror, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Other Things I Should Not Say… [via Bibliophile Stalker]
- Never underestimate the determination of a sf fan: The SF Team, an informal group of fans and enthusiasts from Serbia, has translated Michael Swanwick‘s Periodic Table of Science Fiction into Serbian.
- Free sample from Pyr: The first 5 Chapters of Paul McAuley’s The Quiet War.
- Neatorama directs us to this Interactive Map of Banned and Challenged Books.
- Writerly Bits:
- ScFi Wire asks: Is mysticism overtaking science in sci-fi?
- For those musically-inclined (or reclined as the case may be): Buzzgrinder is hosting an Admiral Ackbar song contest.
- ABC will only be running a measly 4 episodes of V this year, with the rest of the season appearing in the Spring of 2010. Yeah — only if the rating were good, I’m thinking. [via SciFi Scanner]
- Also at SciFi Scanner: Are You a Replicant? Take the Blade Runner Ultimate Fan Quiz and find out!
- Slice of SciFi on the upcoming Stargate Universe premiere: “this isn’t your daddy’s ‘Stargate’ series”.
- @Tor.com, Jo Walton reviews Larry Niven’s A Gift From Earth.
- Farah Mendlesohn: Why feminism is as relevant as ever, and why I think there may be a problem with the Hugos.
- Audio File from Odyssey Workshop: Catherine Asaro on developing a scientific novum for your story.
- Suite101 offers A Brief Overview of the Dystopian Science Fiction Sub Genre.
- Google Books has an sf fandom article from a 1951 Life magazine. [via Gary Farber]
- On the lighter side: The Help Wanted Ad That Snagged Chewbacca.
- io9 lists 14 Reasons Why TV And Superheroes Don’t Mix.
- BlueSunCorp’s Top 10 Science Fiction Novels. A couple of surprising inclusions…
- This is either cute or sad, depending on whether you are a Star Wars fan and/or a dog lover: A Gallery of Dogs in Star Wars Costumes. Woof.