Jose Prendes, international man of mystery, was found swaddled in a basket among the reeds at the mouth of the Amazon. Raised by local shamans, Jose learned the magic of language and decided to dedicate his skills to the betterment of all mankind. He trekked to America at the age of 12, on foot no less, and made his home in Florida for a few years. After discovering a cure for the common cold, and losing it among his comic book collection, Prendes decided to abandon Florida for sunny Los Angeles. Upon arriving in the city of angels, he was made the leader of a small group of cinephiles who believed he was the second coming of Shakespeare. Wielding immense power, and a ridiculously awesome DVD collection, Prendes continues his struggle to save the world from the coming peanut butter and jelly apocalypse.

Jose is the writer behind the upcoming film Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark and the novel Sharcano.

Author Lawrence Person had a chat with Jose…


Lawrence Person: For those SF Signal readers who may not have previously encountered the rich Mega Shark oeuvre, can you briefly summarize previous installments in the saga?

Jose Prendes: It will have to be briefly, because there’s not much too it, and I didn’t write the first two films. Basically a Megalodon defrosted in modern times in the first one and fought giant octopus. The Meg survived and fought a giant crocodile in the second film and they blew up together. At the start of my film, a new Megalodon has risen, but the government is ready for it, having been preparing since the first Meg attacks.
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MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Spammers being killed in horrible and imaginative ways, some nifty, close-to-the-coalface extrapolation of near-future trends in networks, police procedures, and a Panopticon society, some fascinating Big Ideas near the end of the novel.
CONS: Generally unlikable and unengaging characters suffering career burnout, a plot that becomes less interesting as the novel progresses, a second-person, present-tense voice that doesn’t work nearly as well as it did in Halting State.
VERDICT: A rare misfire from an otherwise leading writer.

I was inclined to like this novel from the get-go. Charles Stross is on a very short list indeed of the best science fiction writers to start publishing books within the last decade. His Laundry series of geek Cthulhu Mythos spy thrillers (The Atrocity Archive, The Jennifer Morgue and The Fuller Memorandum) are among my personal favorites for the same period. I also enjoyed Halting State, the novel to which Rule 34 is a loose sequel. And Rule 34 has an intriguing premise: a murder investigation of spammers being killed in imaginative, gruesome and compromising ways. (Certainly any veteran of the Spam Wars has had similarly gruesome (if somewhat less elaborate) revenge fantasies…)

Surprisingly, Rule 34 actually ended up being quite a slog to get through. I wasn’t quite halfway through when I felt my interest waning, and eventually put it down and read several other books before picking it up again.
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MIND MELD: Who Should Be The Next Grand Master?

[This week's topic comes from Lawrence Person]

Once a year, the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) names a recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award which is then presented at the annual Nebula Awards banquet. The next recipient (for 2009) is Joe Haldeman who joins an already-impressive list of authors.

We asked this week’s panelists:

Q: Who should be the next recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award? Why?

Read on to see their replies…

Adam Roberts
Adam Roberts was born two-thirds of the way through the last century; he presently lives a little way west of London, England, with a beautiful wife and two small children. He is a writer with a day-job (professor at Royal Holloway, University of London). The first of these two employments has resulted in eight published sf novels, the most recent being Splinter (Solaris 2007) and Land of the Headless (Victor Gollancz 2007). The second of these has occasioned such critical studies as The Palgrave History of Science Fiction (2006).

I’m staggered that Joanna Russ has never received this particular recognition — she’s a giant of the genre, the author of some of the most important SF of the 20th-century. She hasn’t published much recently (illness has prevented her, I understand), but nevertheless. Russ for 2010, I say: and for 2011 Christopher Priest.

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“Best of the Year” lists start appearing as early as November, so we are perhaps a little late in asking folks around the community:

Q: What were the best genre-related books, movies and/or shows you consumed in 2009?

[Also added was this note: They don't have to have been released in 2009. Feel free to choose any combination of genres (science fiction/fantasy/horror) and media (books/movies/shows) you wish to include.]

Read on to see their picks (and also check out Part 1 and Part 2)…

Paolo Bacigalupi
Paolo Bacigalupi is a four-time Hugo Award nominee, a Theodore Sturgeon Award winner, and the author of the Locus Award-winning collection Pump Six and Other Stories. His latest novel is The Windup Girl from Night Shade Books.

I’m not sure about the best answer to this question. I must be feeling a little depressed right now. Perhaps I’d suggest this:

Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and our Last Chance to Save Humanity, by James Hansen.

It’s not genre-related at all, and that seems somehow telling. One hopes that science writers aren’t about to trump science fiction writers as the people who actively look at the world around us and speculate about its ramifications.

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SF Tidbits for 9/21/09

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SF Tidbits for 8/28/09

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