By JP Frantz
| Tuesday, April 11th, 2006 at
I’m not exactly sure what to make of theJedi Chefs. Aside from a bunch of people with too much time on their hands and a penchant for accosting B-list celebrities that is. Still, its rather impressive they managed to persuade several of those celebrities to ‘join’ their order. And you have to love the hat.
Well, I’m all caught up on the U.S. airings of Doctor Who on the SciFi Channel. It’s…interesting. I was surprised to see that camp factor remained as I always thought (having seen only glimpses years ago of the Tom Baker version) that it was just the result of a low budget. Am I to understand that the camp is part of the charm? I haven’t made up my mind on that score yet. It’s sometimes funny and sometimes painful. I mean, come on, what’s with the guys in the rubber suits? Bah!
Still, I plan to keep watching, at least for another couple of shows. I’ve always liked the idea of space/time travel. I’ve intentionally stayed away from most reviews of the SciFi UK airings, mostly because I want to keep a spoiler-free open mind. I’m trying to give it a chance. Still, I fear it’s one of those shows that will lose my attention before season’s end. (Can you say Stargate: Atlantis?)
Has anyone else seen it? If not, why not? If so, what do you think of Doctor Who?
The Horror Writers Association has announced the nominees for the 2005 Bram Stoker Awards:
- Creepers by David Morrell
- Dread in the Beast by Charlee Jacob
- Keepers by Gary Braunbeck
- November Mourns by Tom Piccirilli
- The Hides by Kealan Patrick Burke
- Scarecrow Gods by Weston Ochse
- Siren Promised by Alan M. Clark and Jeremy Robert Johnson
- “Best New Horror” by Joe Hill
- “In the Midnight Museum” by Gary Braunbeck
- “Some Zombie Contingency Plans” by Kelly Link
- “The Things They Left Behind” by Stephen King
- “As Others See Us” by Mort Castle
- “Haeckel’s Tale” by Clive Barker
- “Times of Atonement” by Yvonne Navarro
- “We Now Pause for Station Identification” by Gary Braunbeck
- “Invisible” by Steve Rasnic Tem
- Corpse Blossoms by Julia and R.J. Sevin
- Dark Delicacies: Original Tales of Terror and the Macabre by Del Howison and Jeff Gelb
- Outsiders by Nancy Holder and Nancy Kilpatrick
- Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth by Stephen Jones
- Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
- Looking for Jake by China Mieville
- Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
- Twentieth Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
- The Bradbury Chronicle by Sam Weller
- Horror: Another 100 Best Books by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman
- Morbid Curiosity number nine by Loren Rhoads
- More Giants of the Genre by Michael McCarty
- Why Buffy Matters: The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Rhonda Wilcox
- Freakcidents by Michael A. Arnzen
- Seasons: A Series of Poems Based on the Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe by Daniel Shields
- The Shadow City by Gary W. Crawford
- Sineater by Charlee Jacob
D’oh! As John L. pointed out, the recently posted poll (SF Signal Reader Challenge #1) was broken. It seems that all the votes went to Simmons’ Hyperion. (How’s that for ballot-stuffing, eh?)
The poll has been reset. If you have already voted this week, please re-vote.
Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.
Which media tie-in novels have you read the most?
A little more than half of voters read media tie-ins. To the people who voted “Other”, what titles are you reading?
Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on the SF Signal Reader Challenge winners.
SF author group blog Electric Velocipede reports about the development of a new anthology called Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories. It’s based on words that have won spelling bees. (Bzz!)
My first thought is: Boy, are they running out of ideas for original anthology theme, or what? What’s next? Robotic monkeys?
Then I thought: Why not? Hal Duncan’s entry, “The Chiaroscurist“, it turns out, is very good. (And worth 2 points, thank you!) They’ve lined up some other fine authors in addition to Hal Duncan, including Daniel Abraham, Paolo Bacigalupi, Alex Irvine, Jay Lake, Kelly Link, Michael Moorcock, Tim Pratt, Lucius Shepard, Jeff VanderMeer, Liz Williams and more.
| Saturday, April 8th, 2006 at
Based on the Playstation game of the same name, and from the trailer, appears to follow the story line of that game, as well as the awesome theme song, sound effects, demon nurses and evil child puppet things.
I’d put the Silent Hill Playstation game (the original) on my very short list of favorite video games of all time. It’s really the only game I’ve ever played that I found frightening to the core.
SciFi Friday is a weekly podcast that rebroadcasts old science fiction radio dramas. Some of the works listed there include Earth Abides by George Stewart (Parts 1 and 2) and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Most of the episodes are replays of the old radio show Dimension X and X Minus 1.
[link via Cynical-C]
At his website, Dan Simmons posted an entry called April 2006 Message, a short story about current events. In it, a time traveler from the future comes back to warn about the impending Century War with Islam.
Even though I’m not a fan of politics in sf, I still found this to be a good read. There’s also a reference in it to Ken Grimwood’s awesome book Replay. Here’s an excerpt of the story:
The Time Traveler appeared suddenly in my study on New Year’s Eve, 2004. He was a stolid, grizzled man in a gray tunic and looked to be in his late-sixties or older. He also appeared to be the veteran of wars or of some terrible accident since he had livid scars on his face and neck and hands, some even visible in his scalp beneath a fuzz of gray hair cropped short in a military cut. One eye was covered by a black eyepatch. Before I could finish dialing 911 he announced in a husky voice that he was a Time Traveler come back to talk to me about the future.
I’ve just learned (through Pyr editor Lou Anders’ blog) that next month will see the release of a new science fiction art book called Cover Story : The Art of John Picacio. I’ve said before (and even recently) that Picacio is one of my favorite recent artists. Something about the artistic style just sits right with me.
So if anyone is looking for a gift idea for a certain blogger…
I’m just sayin’.
Art • Books
CNet reports that recent announcements have given e-books a second chance. Among the announcements is a $300 – $400 Sony e-book reader to be sold through Borders bookstores. Also publisher Bloomsbury (publishers of Harry Potter) will begin offering e-book titles.
It looks like major issues remain; the same ones that stalled the market some years ago. Specifically: title selection, price and the ever-dreaded digital rights management. Gregory Newby, director of Project Gutenberg, sums up my thoughts quite nicely:
“When you buy a book, you have it forever,” Newby said. “With these electronic books, you often are prevented from doing those things that you can do with regular books. What happens when my device breaks?…Books aren’t just words on a page. They are things you can trade, share and store for later.”
David Bass, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Ebrary, says that e-books failed previously because the market was device-oriented and not experience-oriented. Even so, this time around they face competition from the hugely popular iPod.
My own personal experiences with e-books have been lukewarm. I’ve read lots of short fiction and only two full-length novels in e-form. Although the experience did somewhat change my mind – I like some of the digital only features like word lookups and searches – I still prefer the physicality of a book. Time will tell if the e-book market will finally take-off.
What about you? Do you read e-books? What is your experience with them or why won’t you go near them?
REVIEW SUMMARY: The most annoying book I ever forced myself to finish.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A narc goes undercover to spy on himself.
PROS: Um, er…
CONS: Disjoint, frenetic narrative; uninteresting story; way too much “what is reality?” theme; characters you don’t care about.
BOTTOM LINE: Disappointing.
Read the rest of this entry
James Patrick Kelly, no stranger to podcasting himself, has an Asimov’s article called Adventures in Podcasting. In it he envisions a “talknet” of podcasters – much like an audio version of the blogosphere – that will be realized when podcasting comes of age. He also goes on to list some of his favorite podcasts. My favorite bit:
It’s been my personal experience, alas, that it’s a hell of a lot easier for me to say something stupid than it is to write something stupid; rarely can I listen to an interview I’ve given without cringing. On some podcasts I’ve listened to, the quantity of chatter seems to matter more than the quality of thought. Oftentimes these shows will consist of two or more speakers who seem to be modeling themselves on drivetime shockjocks. They interrupt and insult one another, often in the process losing their train of thought. They crack wise about sex and beer and skiffy flicks and reward each other with guffaws in a kind of grotesque comedic codependency.
I have to agree with the sentiment in the article that the awkwardness of poor blogs extends into podcast-space. I don’t listen to podcasts all that much, but some of the ones I’ve listened to are mediocre at best. There’s a skill involved in speaking just as there is in writing.
Note to self: If we ever do a podcast, fill the airtime with sensuous supermodel-sounding babes to cover any lack of podcasting skills.
Over at Asimov’s forum, Sean Wallace (of Prime Books) has posted a schedule of the “Best of…” anthologies due out in 2006.
- March: Nebula Awards Showcase: 2005, Gardner Dozois ed.
- March: Best Short Novels: 2006, Jonathan Strahan ed.
- April: Horror: The Best of the Year: 2006 Edition, John Gregory Betancourt and Sean Wallace, ed.
- April: The Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2006, ed. Bill Congreve ed.
- April: Best of the Rest, Brian Youmans ed.
- May: Science Fiction: The Best of the Year: 2006 Edition, Rich Horton, ed.
- May: Fantasy: The Best of the Year: 2006 Edition, Rich Horton, ed.
- June: Year’s Best Science Fiction, David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer eds.
- Summer: Science Fiction: The Very Best of 2005, Jonathan Strahan, ed.
- Summer: Fantasy: The Very Best of 2005, Jonathan Strahan, ed.
- Summer: Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror: The Best of 2005, Shane Jiraiya Cummings ed.
- July: The Year’s Best Science Fiction #23, Gardner Dozois ed.
- July: Best New Fantasy, Sean Wallace, ed.
- August: The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror #19, Ellen Datlow, Gavin Grant & Kelly Link eds.
- September: Year’s Best Fantasy, David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer
- September: Best New Noir, Allan Guthrie, ed.
- October: Best New Paranormal Romance, Paula Guran, ed.
- October: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Stephen Jones ed.