Michael Capobianco, President of the Science Fiction Writers of America, has announced the SFWA’s support of the WGA strike:
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) stands solidly in support of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike in seeking appropriate compensation for writers when their work is distributed digitally, either in DVD form or through Internet downloads.
Contrary to prevailing wisdom, the future is not here yet. As science fiction writers, we’re perhaps in a better position to see that than others. Society is in a transitional phase, as physical entertainment media slowly give way to their digital equivalents. Physical distribution, cumbersome and expensive, is going the way of the buggy whip and rotary phone dial. The change has already started with the distribution of films and TV shows.
During this phase, writers and other creators are having their work distributed digitally without seeing any benefit at all. The excuse given is that this distribution is for promotional purposes only, but, in fact, the powers that be are using this transitional period to establish unfair precedents. It’s the camel’s nose. These precedents will hurt creators as digital distribution becomes the predominant method of distributing and accessing content. It’s as if book publishers of the early twentieth century had told authors that movies would be made out of their books, but they shouldn’t get any money because the movies wouldn’t be profitable and were being made just to promote the sale of books.
SFWA believes that writers should be paid a fair amount for each DVD and for each download of their work. If the work is used on the Internet in any way, the writer should be fairly compensated. This is a fundamental writers’ right, and it’s worth fighting for. WGA is staking its claim on the future, and SFWA supports it wholeheartedly.
Lots of folks support the WGA, but I’m starting to see some anti-WGA backlash.
Do you support the WGA? Do you care?
(Be sure to vote on this topic in this week’s poll, accessed from the SF Signal main page.)
Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.
How would you rate Heroes Season 2 so far?
A few comments this week:
“It’s still good, but does seem to be wandering a little aimlessly, as though it’s lost its way. Hopefully things will improve. ‘Faith Manages’ as some hack once wrote!” – Paul Harper
“This season has mostly sucked but the most recent episode was pretty good.” – David
“I don’t think it’s that great, but I didn’t think Season 1 was anything to write home about either. Apart from the awful Irish accents, I don’t think it’s much worse than Season 1.” – Gabriel Mckee
Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about The WGA Writers’ Strike!
Locus online has posted Cory Doctorow’s commentary on Creative Commons from the latest issue of Locus magazine:
It would be nice if our lawmakers would go back to the drawing board and write a new copyright that made sense in the era of the Internet, but all efforts to “fix” copyright since the passage of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in 1998 have only made things worse, granting more unenforceable exclusive rights to an ever-increasing pool of “authors” who have no need or desire to sue the people with whom they are engaged in the business of “culture” — holding conversations, publicly re-imagining the stories that make up their lives.
Creative Commons aims to do what Congress won’t or can’t do — offer an approach to copyright that helps those of us who don’t want deal that Disney and their pals have insisted on for every snatch of creativity. Creative Commons achieves this through a set of licenses, legal notices that set out permitted uses for creative works.
| Saturday, November 10th, 2007 at
OK, we’ve linked to this in the past, but the video got removed and I stumbled upon its replacement and decided it was good enough to repeat.
By JP Frantz
| Saturday, November 10th, 2007 at
We all know Gene Autry as ‘The Signing Cowboy’. but did you know that his first starring role on film was in the Mascot Serial The Phantom Empire. The really interesting thing about this serial is the plot is very science fictional. From Wikipedia:
A chance to be real heroes occurs when Betsy, Frankie and Gene are kidnapped by the real Thunder Riders, from the super-scientific underground empire of Murania, complete with towering skyscrapers, robots, rayguns, elevators that extend miles from the surface, and an icy, evil blonde Queen, Tika.
Super scientific undeground cities with Ice Queens as leaders? What’s not to like? And in a Western no less! Who knew Autry was such a visionary? Thanks to the magic of YouTube, I was able to find the first two reels of Chapter 2 of The Phantom Empire. Enjoy!
Book Bump is a new online book manager you can use to catalog your books. But how is it?
I like the mostly-intuitive Web 2.0 user interface. The site allows you to add/remove books fairly easily, by ISBN, author, title or keyword. Yet there was no indication that I could see to indicate which books in the search results were in which format (hardcover, mmpb, etc.) or edition. Once books are added, they can be sorted any which way. The site provides lots of information about each book in the list including: general book info (publisher, format, number of pages), reviews, price comparisons (new and used), and a host of attributes. These attributes include whether the book has been read (or which page you are currently on), date started/finished, number of copies owned (the biblioholic inside of me is smiling), whether it’s signed, rating, and more.
It’s an interesting site, particularly for those who are looking for an online book list, but I just don’t see myself using it. For one thing, there seems to be no way to print the book list. That’s would be my main usage of the darn thing. Also, I just don’t see myself adding the tons of books I own into the website. Oh well.
Eddie Izzard + Star Wars + Legos = Hilarity
[via The Swivet]
Humor • Star Wars
PS Publishing has posted the table of contents for their upcoming anthology, Passing for Human edited by Michael Bishop and Steven Utley, due in early 2008.
Check out this juicy and mighty line-up:
- “The Other Celia” by Theodore Sturgeon
- “Mimic” by Donald A. Wollheim
- “The Man Upstairs” by Ray Bradbury
- “Neutrino Drag” by Paul DiFilippo
- “Nights at the Crimea” by Jessica Reisman
- “The Reality Trip” by Robert Silverberg
- “Once” by Jack Slay, Jr
- “Linkage” by Barry N. Malzberg
- “Apprenticeship” by Howard Waldrop
- “Cooking Creole” by A. M. Dellamonica
- “Under the Hollywood Sign” by Tom Reamy
- “All the Kinds of Yes” by James Tiptree, Jr.
- “Judgment Call” by John Kessel
- “A Spaceship Built of Stone” by Lisa Tuttle
- “Detectives and Cadavers” by Jeff VanderMeer
- “Sex and/or Mr. Morrison” by Carol Emshwiller
By JP Frantz
| Thursday, November 8th, 2007 at
The internets are notorious for obtaining pre-release copies of movies and TV shows. Case in point: the new Battlestar Galactica: Razor movie can be found on the various Bittorrent networks (see the post directly below). It seems that interest in the show is high, judging by the numbers: thousands of seeders and tens of thousands of leechers. Obviously people want to know what happens, even if this version is a screener and may not be the final version show on Sci Fi. Indeed, the DVD version will contain more scenes not in the version to be aired.
John Brownlee at Sci Fi Scanner is, (WARNING, spoilers a plenty at the following link), tempted to download it, but is holding out for the moment. As we have many BG fans here, I thought I’d ask your views on this.
If you could, would/will you download Razor before it airs on Sci Fi? Why or why not? Do you think this will help the ratings when it does air in November?
I’m interested to see what everyone thinks. I’ll attempt to add some tech perspective here. I only see this type of thing happening more often in the future. With the availability of the Internet and cheap technology to copy and distribute digital media, the studios are in an arms race they can’t win. Some smart and creative types should figure out a way to use this type of thing as a means of generating more interest in their shows and movies.
I’m not saying they should be glad that wholesale pirating of their wares is occurring, but it’s going to happen regardless. Finding a way to turn it to their advantage would be a good idea.
Battlestar Galactica • TV
In a recent Entertainment Weekly article, Heroes creator Tim Kring admitted the show is broken. He critiques the show and cites many of the same problems fans did, including: the slow pace, lack of drama, rookie handling, Hiro’s too-long sidetrack and Claire’s stilted romance story line. (See my gripes.)
After openly saying the show sucks, I have to give credit to the November 5th episode. While not perfect (I still think the writers make plot choices solely the purpose of drama with no regard to believability and consistency) it did show some of the magic that kept me watching in season 1.
Could this be the turnaround for the show? Is Heroes back on track?
EW says the next two episodes maintain that same quality. That’s a good sign. There is also, of course, the writers’ strike to consider, but I’m hopeful that the show will someday reclaim its former status (overrated as it was). My fingers remain crossed…this show has so much potential…
Heroes • TV
Amazon Editors have chosen their Top 10 Science Fiction & Fantay Books of 2007.
- The Terror: A Novel by Dan Simmons
- Brasyl by Ian McDonald
- Territory by Emma Bull
- The Traitor by Michael Cisco
- Spaceman Blues: A Love Song by Brian Francis Slattery
- Shelter by Susan Palwick
- The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day 1) by Patrick Rothfuss
- Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan
- Tin House: Fantastic Women by Aimee Bender
- The Coyote Road by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
[via John Joseph Adams]