RIP: Barry Morse

Sad news:

Actor Barry Morse, who played a detective pursuing the wrongly accused Dr. Richard Kimble in 1960s TV series The Fugitive, has died, his son said Tuesday. He was 89.

Hayward Morse said his father died Saturday at University College Hospital in London after a brief illness.

Born in London in 1918, Morse trained at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and appeared in British repertory and West End theaters before emigrating in 1951 to Canada, where he became a regular on radio and television.

Morse also played Professor Victor Bergman in 1970s science fiction series Space 1999.

See also:

Official website

Wikipedia entry

Filed under: TV

February Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies

February is a rather lean month for science fiction or fantasy movies, at least in terms of numbers, but not in terms of big names. Let’s take a look, shall we?


First up on the docket is Jumper, based on the novels by Steven Gould. It’s directed by Doug Liman, who, we’re relentlessly told, is the director of The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Make of that what you will. It also stars Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson, how could it possibly suck? Oh, that’s right. At least Lucas isn’t here, sucking all their acting abilities out of their bodies. I admit that premise sounds rather interesting: people who can teleport and those sworn to kill them, today on Springer! However the trailers really haven’t done much for me. I still might go see it though. There is also a comic ‘prequel’ available. You can see a preview here.

The Posters


I’m going to taunt fate, and certain commenters, and ‘Meh’ and ‘Meh’. Sorry, that’s the way I feel.

The Trailer

Jumper premiers February 14th.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Movies

REVIEW: The Wannoshay Cycle by Michael Jasper

REVIEW SUMMARY: Surprising effort by newcomer Michael Jasper, the book brings together a very mature story, good characterization, and aliens that are alien.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Fleeing from a dying star after living underground for generations, the people of the Wannoshay crash to Earth looking for a new beginning. Unfortunately for them, the United States and Canada are already occupied. Quarantined by the military, the two species learn to communicate and surprisingly, the first request Wannoshay make is to meet with a religious man.


PROS: The Wannoshay will never be mistaken for human – radial bilateral symmetry is about all we have in common – with inscruitable motivations; human characters are believable and dynamic; plot is mature and intelligent.

CONS: Sometimes depressing in a 1984 kind of way.

BOTTOM LINE: One of the best books I have read in the last 12 months, Jasper has produced a book that brings it all together – engaging story, realistic characters, and something that will stay with you after you have read it.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 2/5/08

  • Upcoming books that have me feeling a little tingly inside:
  • Over at SCI FI Weekly, John Joseph Adams interviews Tim Pratt, author of The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl and Blood Engines.
  • Charles Tan @ Bibliophile Stalker interviews Jeffrey Ford (The Shadow Year ).
  • To mark the release of his book Marseguro, Edward Willett (who is interviewed by Facebook here) is running a give-away contest through February, giving away one signed copy per week.
  • John Scalzi offers some post-writing thoughts on his just-finished book, Zoe’s Tale, a novel set in the Old Man’s War universe whose events run parallel to The Last Colony. “…there’s so much new here that I’m personally satisfied that it’s not just a quickie rehash of TLC…” [via Adventures in Reading]
  • Two interesting tidbits from The latest Tor newsletter:
    • Tor Books is proud to present American Heroes, the spin-off blog based on George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards mosaic novels.
    • Steven Gould talks about his book, Jumper, becoming a movie. To answer fans who say “They are ruining the book!”, Gould replies “Late in his career, James M. Cain, author of Mildred Pierce, Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice, was asked by an interviewer, ‘How do you feel about what Hollywood has done to your books?’ ‘Hollywood has done nothing to my books,’ Cain replied. ‘They’re right over there on the shelf, exactly as I wrote them.’ And I’ll add: because of the movie and the movie publicity, tens of thousands (maybe more!) of people will read the books who would never have otherwise read them. This is a good thing.”
  • Al @ Allumination tells us why Why Fantasy isn’t crap, and SF isn’t any better: “…the claim that SF is superior to Fantasy because it is a more accurate reflection of the potentials and realities of the world is meaningless. Science can seed fiction, but it can’t (by definition) be fiction.”
  • Popular Science has a Science of Superheroes gallery, examining that, contrary to what Scotty says, you can break the laws of physics.

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits for 02/05/2008

  • ABC and Microsoft have completed a deal that will see many ABC shows showing up for rental on Microsoft’s Xbox Live Marketplace. Of interest to us here is that LOST is one of those shows, with all three previous seasons now available, and the fourth season episodes will be available the following day. As a bonus, they will be available in standard and high definition. Time to purchase a large hard drive for my 360.
  • But wait, there’s more! As part of LOST‘s viral marketing campaign, Oceanic Air is sponsoring a sweepstakes on Xbox Live where anyone who downloads the Oceanic Air Theme for their 360 before Feb. 10th is entered into a drawing to win some nice prizes. As there are only a few million users on Xbox Live, your chance of winning is much better than playing Powerball. In fact, if I were you, I wouldn’t bother downloading the theme, you probably won’t win. [Hurridly downloads the Oceanic Air theme.]
  • The good Doctor has been around for a long time, so it should be no surprise there are many media-tie in novels for Dr. Who. Now, the BBC has posted several Dr. Who ebooks for you to read for the low, low price of free. They all feature new artwork and additional notes from the original authors.
  • For those of you wishing the Dr. Who spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures would cross the pond, good news. Sci Fi Channel has picked up the show, which will premier in April. Much like Microsoft, Sci Fi is following the old addage, “If you can’t invent, buy out.”
  •’s Science Fiction sub-site tries to convince us that Flash Gordon has improved over the course of the season. It seems the producers had written a long story arc that was slow to develop, thus causing viewers to lose interest. Of course, boring stories and no sense of, well, flash had nothing to do with it’s poor reception. Of course, they also argue that, while it became a better show, it’s not necessarily a good one.
  • The Stargate Worlds (the MMORPG based on the Stargate TV shows) team is running a contest whereby you re-mix your own version of the Stargate Worlds trailer by putting the funny in place of the current soldier’s lines. Winners receive T-shirts! With a new logo! Still, I’m interested in the game because the screenies look cool.

Filed under: Tube Bits

Super Bowl WallE Trailer

If you missed the Super Bowl, then you missed the new WallE trailer. Luckily for us, YouTube is on the job. I so want to see this movie.

Filed under: Movies

REVIEW: Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer

REVIEW SUMMARY: Thoroughly entertaining (and accessible) science fiction.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The SETI scientist who decoded and responded to the first-ever alien transmission is asked, 40 years later, to receive a rejuvenation operation to decode the encrypted reply.


PROS: Thought-provoking sf; likable characters; intriguing first-contact story; moves fast; one of those books you can’t put down.

CONS: Perhaps too many anachronisms.

BOTTOM LINE: A book that has mainstream appeal but is also a great read for fans of thought-provoking science fiction.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

TOC: Year’s Best SF 13 edited by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer

Kathryn Cramer has posted the table of contents for the upcoming anthology she co-edits with David G. Hartwell:

  1. “Baby Doll” by Johanna Sinisalo
  2. “Aristotle OS” by Tony Ballantyne
  3. “The Last American” by John Kessel
  4. “Memorare” by Gene Wolfe
  5. “Plotters and Shooters” by Kage Baker
  6. “Repeating the Past” by Peter Watts
  7. “No More Stories” by Stephen Baxter
  8. “They Came From the Future” by Robyn Hitchcock
  9. “The Tomb Wife” by Gwyneth Jones
  10. “An Evening’s Honest Peril” by Marc Laidlaw
  11. “End Game” by Nancy Kress
  12. “Induction” by Greg Egan
  13. “A Blue and Cloudless Sky” by Bernard Ribbeck
  14. “Reasons not to Publish” by Gregory Benford
  15. “Objective Impermeability in a Closed System” by William Shunn
  16. “Always” by Karen Joy Fowler
  17. “Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?” by Ken MacLeod
  18. “Artifice and Intelligence” by Tim Pratt
  19. “Pirates of the Somali Coast” by Terry Bisson
  20. “Sanjeev and Robotwallah” by Ian McDonald
  21. “Third Person” by Tony Ballantyne
  22. “The Bridge” by Kathleen Ann Goonan
  23. “As You Know, Bob” by John Hemry
  24. “The Lustration” by Bruce Sterling
  25. “How Music Begins” by James Van Pelt

Tagged with:

Filed under: Books

About SF

Two years ago, we linked to the science fiction resource website, AboutSF. It’s been a while since I checked in, but that should be easier now that they have added a blog.

So what goodies can you find there? Well, besides great online resources like lesson plans and James Gunn’s compilation of A Basic Science Fiction Library, they also sell a set of science fiction documentary DVD’s. If the field interests you as much as what it produces, check out John W. Campbell’s Golden Age of SF and the DVD Lecture Series.

To whet your appetite, feast your brain on AbouSF’s YouTube Channel, which offers up a bunch of clips from those DVDs. Here, for example, is Damon Knight talking about science fiction from Wells to the Pulps…

[Thanks to the always-insightful Biology in SF for the reminder]

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 2/4/08

Filed under: Tidbits

Contest Winner: Chronicles of The Necromancer Mega-Pack

The winner of the Chronicles of The Necromancer Mega-Pack is Michael H. of Ohio!

Congratulations, Michael! Your booty will soon be on its way.

Thanks to everyone who entered.

Filed under: Meta

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

Last week was Philip José Farmer’s 90th birthday. Which of his books/series was your favorite?


(76 total votes)

Hmmmm…participation has really tapered off these last two weeks. Lame questions or can’t you find the poll widget in it’s new location?

Comments this week:

“It’s a close run race between Riverworld and the World of Tiers. However, fighting over the future of multiple universes, a grand vision, and Kickaha, a great example of a secondary character taking over a series because he’s just cooler than the protagonist, gives the win to World of Tiers.” – Paul

“Tough choice between Riverworld and World of Tiers, both excellent world-building sagas…but Riverworld’s main premise was fantastic, and well done. PJF is one of the most under-read and under-rated SF/Fantasy authors around.” – Larry

“The Stone God Awakens” – CV

“I liked “Lord Tyger” and “Two Hawks from Earth” best of the Farmer that I’ve read.” – Michael Samerdyke

“I guess I should vote for the World of Tiers books, but I think the Purple Book is just as inventive and more important in the grand scheme of things. That said, for me, Farmer was at his best when he was writing Burroughs books, and the best of these is Doc Savage.” – platyjoe

“I have read great things about his works and am really looking forward to one day reading Riverworld but with the dirth of titles on offer I would like to hear one clear and concise reason why do it.” – General X

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about reading young adult fiction!

Filed under: Polls

Sunday Cinema: Firefly – “Jaynestown”

Ah yes, ‘Jaynestown’, what’s not to like? And who can forget the Ballad of Jayne Cobb.

Filed under: FireflyTV

NYT SF/F book reviewster Dave Itzkoff is at it again

As someone whose subway rides tend to resemble scenes from an “Evil Dead” movie, in which I am Bruce Campbell dodging zombies who have had all traces of their humanity sucked out of them by a sinister book – not the “Necronomicon,” but “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” – I sometimes wonder how any self-respecting author of speculative fiction can find fulfillment in writing novels for young readers. I suppose J. K. Rowling could give me 1.12 billion reasons in favor of it: get your formula just right and you can enjoy worldwide sales, film and television options, vibrating-toy-broom licensing fees, Chinese-language bootlegs of your work, a kind of limited immortality (L. Frank Baum who?) and – finally – genuine grown-up readers. But where’s the artistic satisfaction? Where’s the dignity?

How can anyone take this guy seriously? This is like a repeat of Clute!

[Brought to you via the letter "L" (as in "Loser") and also via the ever-diligent Antick Musings, who points at Itzkoff and says "Look at the funny monkey!" Heh-heh. I wish I wrote that. As it is, it's taking every iota of strength not to photoshop Itzkoff into a monkey. Hmmm...I think I sense a Photoshop challenge... :)]

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 2/3/08

Filed under: Tidbits

Top 10 SF Signal Posts for January 2008

As per Google Analytics, here are The Top 10 SF Signal Posts for January 2008:

  1. MIND MELD: Today’s SF Authors Define Science Fiction (Part 1)
  2. MIND MELD: If The SF/F Community Ran Hollywood…
  3. MOVIE REVIEW: Cloverfield
  4. Battlestar Galactica’s Season 4 Start Date Revealed!
  5. Preliminary Nominees: 2007 Nebula Awards
  6. The Future of Science Fiction TV is NOT the Sci Fi Channel
  7. The American Library Association’s Reading List Awards
  8. Quick Thoughts on The Sarah Connor Chronicles
  9. MIND MELD: Today’s SF Authors Define Science Fiction (Part 2)
  10. 2007: A Year in Review – John’s Take

Looking at the top overall hits, while ignoring those listed above, we get these stats for older posts that were popular in January…

  1. Heroes Season 3 Sneak Peek
  2. SF/F Writers Who Blog
  3. Heroes Season 2 Officially Sucks
  4. Cthulhu Family Circus
  5. Solve Rubik’s Cube
  6. REVIEW: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  7. The Sarah Conner Chronicles Suddenly Becomes Much More Interesting
  8. At The Trailer Park: Southland Tales, Wanted, Cloverville
  9. The Top 10 Science Fiction Anime
  10. Top 10 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movies Lists

Filed under: Meta

Let’s face it, you’re only watching the Super Bowl for the commercials anyway. Now there’s a bonus in it for you, the SF/F fan, as there will be a new Iron Man commercial. See below for a sneak peek, well alright, one still, from the commercial.

I’ve never been a big Iron Man fan, so I don’t know whether to be pumped for this movie or not.


Filed under: Movies

More Than A Movie: Cloverfield

We all know about the viral marketing campaign surrounding the film, and concerning the monster in, Cloverfield. Designed to drum up interest, it did just that, generating a record $46 millions dollars in its opening weekend. Sadly, I didn’t feel the movie lived up to the hype. The whole reason for the campaign, the monster, wasn’t even explained in the movie. Turns out, there was a reason for that.

Did you know there is a Cloverfield Alternate Reality Game tied into the marketing campaign? I didn’t either.

(Potential Spoilers to follow.)

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: GamesMovies

TOC: Celebration edited by Ian Whates

The British Science Fiction Association is celbrating its 50th anniversary with the publication of Celebration, an anthology of original fiction edited by Ian Whates. Check out the spiffy cover art by by Vincent Chong! Meanwhile, here’s what’s in it:

  1. The BSFA by An Appreciation by Pat Cadigan
  2. “The Jubilee Plot” by Stephen Baxter
  3. “Wilson at Woking” by Ken MacLeod
  4. “The Killing Fields” by Kim Lakin-Smith
  5. “Having the Time of His Life” by Ian Watson
  6. “The Dog Hypnotist” by Tricia Sullivan
  7. “The Crack Angel” by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
  8. “Keep Smiling with Great Minutes” by M. John Harrison
  9. “Living with the Dead” by Molly Brown
  10. “Next to Godliness” by Brian Stableford
  11. “Mellowing Grey” by Dave Hutchinson
  12. “At Shadow Cope” by Liz Williams
  13. “Peculiar Bone, Unimaginable Key” by Brian Aldiss
  14. “Deciduous Trees” by Martin Sketchley
  15. “Soirée” by Alastair Reynolds
  16. “On the Sighting of Other Islands” by Ian R. MacLeod
  17. “Fireflies” by Christopher Priest
  18. “The Man of the Strong Arm” by Adam Roberts
  19. An Afterword by Ian Whates

[via Torque Control]

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 2/2/08

  • The latest issue of Clarkesworld Magazine has fiction from Stephen Graham Jones and Alexander Lumans; non-fiction from Richard Bowes; Tobias Buckell interviewing Catherynne M. Valente (available Monday); and really cool cover art by Serj Iulian.
  • Apex is having a “Buy a Book, Get a Magazine” sales special in February: For every book you purchase, you get a free copy of Apex Digest. [via Apex blog]
  • During the month of February, InterGalactic Medicine Show is going to make one story from each of their first 4 four issues freely available online – Two stories will be set free on February 1st, and two more on February 15th. [via Lit Soup]
  • Recently free fiction at “The Helpful Robots” by Robert J. Shea (1957) and “Agnosis” by Darren R. Hawkins (2008).
  • Orbit Books has made the latest Iain M. Banks Culture novel, Matter, available for pre-release download on iTunes UK.
  • Jay Lake is collecting representative titles in sf/f sub-genres.
  • The Wall Street Journal profiles the late David Gemmell. [via Swivet]
  • UK SF Book News interviews Sarah Ash (Tracing the Shadow). [also via Swivet]
  • Illusion interviews Mindy Klasky: “My favorite science fiction involves the sociological effects of science on humankind.”
  • The Telegraph profiles J.G. Ballard.
  • Authors reviewing other books: Eric Brown (Helix) reviews Halting State by Charles Stross, Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber, and Debatable Space by Philip Palmer.
  • Star Wars is nothing if not an endless source of humor. Here’s a long, but funny radio call-in piece with some guy who likes to dress up and role play as Darth Vader. “It’s not ‘Darth’ Vader, it’s LORD Vader! Calling him ‘Darth’ is like calling him ‘jerk!'” [via Fazed]

Filed under: Tidbits

 Page 683 of 929  « First  ... « 681  682  683  684  685 » ...  Last »