SF Tidbits for 4/27/08

Tube Bits for 04/28/2008

  • Disney’s movie Lilo and Stitch has already spawned an animated series. Now there’s talk of an anime series to be called Stitched!. Possibly in conjunction with the anime, Runat has created this combo radio/CD player based on Stitch’s head. It will be available in Japan starting May 1st, and will run about $90. Watch your fingers.
  • SciFiChick has the trailer for the upcoming Stargate: Continuum movie. Enjoy.
  • If there are any Heroes fans left, you may want to check out Allan Arkush, as he lets loose with some info about season 3. And if you aren’t, then there’s no reason not to look. Who knows, maybe it will sound interesting enough to bring you back…
  • You may have heard that the old TV show Get Smart will be making its big screen debut later this summer. What you didn’t know was that there is already a spin-off of that movie. A direct-to-DVD feature called Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control, about two technicians who work at CONTROL. Why is that interesting? Masi Oka co-stars. I think co-star is the right word to use here.
  • ITV has confirmed that they are remaking, or ‘re-versioning’ as they call it, the Patrick McGoohan screw-with-your-head-fest show The Prisoner. Will they stay true to the original’s pedigree and create a show that challenges viewers, or will they try to make one more accessible to a wider range of audience (should they?)
  • Film School Rejects tells us about The Evolution of TV or: How I Learned to Love Battlestar Galactica. Of course Neil, the author, says this after having viewed only season 1. And I can agree with him here, as season 1 is, by far, the best season of Galactica. Season 4 seems to be wallowing in a pit of self-loathing, throwing a pity party for all the characters. They’d better end this in a cool way.

POLL RESULTS: The Best Batman Villain

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Who was the best villain on the 1960’s Batman television show (or the 1966 film)?

RESULTS

(97 total votes)

Some comments this week…

“A tough question, but I do think that Egghead, King Tut, the John Astin Riddler and the Lee Meriwether Catwoman are definitely ‘second tier’. Since they have such a complex relationship, for me its really a tossup between the Kitt and Newmar Catwomans (Catwomen?)” – Jvstin

“Julie Newmar for the win! But there were so MANY good villians, it’s hard to choose. Otto Premiger as MR. Freeze, Liberace as the pianast and his evil twin, Roddy McDowall as the bookworm, Art Carney as The Archer, the list goes on and on. How they got these people to get onto such a oddball show was a mystery, but I’m glas they did.” – Keith

“For me it was the Joker, though I hated the Penguin the most.” – General X

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about the 2008 Summer movie you are most anticipating!

WINNERS: 2007 Nebula Awards

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America has announced the Nebula Award winners for 2007:

NOVEL: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon

NOVELLA: “Fountain of Age” by Nancy Kress

NOVELETTE: “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang

SHORT STORY: “Always” by Karen Joy Fowler

SCRIPT: Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro

Andre Norton Award: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Michael Moorcock was also presented with The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.

See also: This year’s nominees.

See also: SF Signal’s review of the short fiction nominees.

See also: Past Winners

Sunday YouTube: Indian Superman

It seems fitting that to balance out Nebula Weekend, which honors the best, we should remember this particular bit of footage from Bollywood, which…well…see for yourself…

[via Topless Robot]

Can You Name This Story (Part 4)

Another reader writes in with a story description looking for a title. Do any of our readers out there know the title of this story? It’s not much to go on. Consider it a challenge of your science fictional prowess!

I trying to find out if anyone remembers a SF book that I read 15 or 20 years ago, about a sun that becomes aware that it’s intelligent and ponders it’s existence and finally reaches out to other suns and communicates with them.
- Scott C.

Can you name this story?

SF Tidbits for 4/26/08

Alien Nation: Ultimate Movie Collection Giveaway Reminder

Just a quick reminder to everyone, our Alien Nation: Ultimate Movie Collection giveaway contest is still running. If you want a chance to win a copy of all of the Alien Nation TV movies, send an email, along with your mailing address to:

contest AT sfsignal DOT com

The contest ends at 11:59:59PM CT on Sunday, April 27th (this Sunday), so get to emailing! We had a glut of entries the first, but a trickle since then. Enter if you dare!

FREE BOOK: Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder

SF/F publisher Tor continues to provide free online versions of books for you pleasure. This week, it’s Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder, a very good read and a whole lot of fun. (See SF Signal review)

More freebies from Tor this week: two brand new desktop wallpapers by Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo.

Get them all now — they’re only available for one week only!

And don’t forget to sign to be notified about the free books (in various formats) and wallpapers.

Friday YouTube: Working Class British Brothers, Star Wars Edition

[via Geekend‘s Jay Garmon, who we welcome back! Jay…email me!]

SF Tidbits for 4/25/08

Tube Bits for 04/25/2008

  • That quintessential British SF comedy series, Blake’s 7, is set to be revived by satellite channel Sky One. Elaine Pyke of Sky One says, “At a time when science fiction shows often discard good story-telling for overblown visual effects – and following the lead of Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica – the time is ripe for a revival of a show that represents the best traditions of the genre, not to mention one of the best-loved and most successful dramas of all time.” Sadly, I’ve never actually seen any episodes of this show, or Red Dwarf. Is it worth it to find them?
  • Staying with the international flavor, any of our New Zealand readers are encouraged to sign this online petition to bring the Sci Fi Channel to New Zealand. And if you are from NZ, let us know!
  • In celebration of the upcoming X-Files movie, Fox is releasing yet another X-File compilation DVD set entitled The X-Files: Revelations. The episodes span seasons 1 – 6 and include one of my favorites “Clyde Bruckmans Final Repose”.
  • Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, and AZCentral.com, explains how to fix Fox’s Terminator series. I think I sort of agree with all of the issues, except the time travel one. Time travel doesn’t really bother me, unless and until it becomes too common place (I’m looking at you various Star Trek incarnations).
  • Space Westerns and Screenrant offer us competing theories as who is the final cylon on Galactica. At this point, it had better be Lorne Greene…
  • Sy Fy Portal asks are networks afraid of the f-word (frak)? Caution, strong language is used in the article, as you might imagine.
  • The Fine Brothers bring us the latest in their LOST parody videos, “What will happen next?”

John will be Attending Nebula Weekend

I’m planning a day trip to Austin on Saturday to attend Nebula Weekend. I’m hoping to finally meet some folks who I know only through email. Those of you who are attending: you have been warned! :)

I doubt I’ll be taking my computer and live-blogging it, but I will be able to access Twitter from my phone. To that end, there will be a “Twittering the Nebulas” widget on the left sidebar of the homepage during the event. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be staying for the awards ceremony. Tune in to see what juicy tidbits of information I send through the Aether!

2008 Locus Award Finalists

The 2008 Locus Award Finalists has been announced:

SF NOVEL

  • The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman (Ace)
  • Brasyl by Ian McDonald (Pyr) [See SF Signal review]
  • Halting State by Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK) [See SF Signal review]
  • Spook Country by William Gibson (Putnam; Viking UK)
  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins)

FANTASY NOVEL

  • Endless Things by John Crowley (Small Beer Press; Overlook)
  • Making Money by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday UK; HarperCollins)
  • Pirate Freedom by Gene Wolfe (Tor) [See SF Signal review]
  • Territory by Emma Bull (Tor)
  • Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay (Viking Canada; Roc)

YOUNG ADULT BOOK

  • Extras by Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)
  • The H-Bomb Girl by Stephen Baxter (Faber & Faber)
  • Magic’s Child by Justine Larbalestier (Razorbill)
  • Powers by Ursula K. Le Guin (Harcourt; Gollancz)
  • Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (Ballantine Del Rey; Macmillan UK)

FIRST NOVEL

  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster/McElderry)
  • Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce (Harcourt)
  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Morrow; Gollancz)
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (DAW; Gollancz)
  • One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak (Bantam Spectra)

ANTHOLOGY

  • The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet edited by Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant (Ballantine Del Rey)
  • The Coyote Road edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling. (Viking)
  • The New Space Opera edited by Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan(Eos)
  • The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 2007: Twentieth Annual Collection edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant(St. Martin’s)
  • The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois (St. Martin’s) [See SF Signal review]

Locus Online has the full list of nominees.

See also: Past winners.

Mass Autographing Session at Nebula Awards Weekend

If you’re in the Austin, Texas area Friday night (tomorrow) and want to some books signed by a slew of authors, head on down to the Omni Hotel:

From the press release:

Dozens of science fiction and fantasy authors will turn out for a mass autographing session Friday, April 25 from 5:30-8 p.m., kicking off the 2008 Nebula Awards Weekend in Austin by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.

The mass autographing session sponsored by Book People will be held in the third floor Longhorn Room of the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, located at San Jacinto and 8th Street. The session is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase, but those seeking signatures are free to bring their own from home.

Authors scheduled to take part in the mass autographing session include 2007 Damon Knight Grand Master honoree Michael Moorcock, Nebula Award Nominees Nancy Kress, Joe Haldeman and Jack McDevitt as well as such notable authors as Joe R. Lansdale, Steven Gould, Walter Jon Williams and Connie Willis. A complete list of participating authors can be found at http://www.sfwa.org/awards/2008/autographing.html.

MIND MELD: Underrated Authors

Judging by the amount of books we receive here at SF Signal (see 2008’s list right here), science fiction publishing in doing quite well. Trying to keep up with the flood of new books by well known authors is hard enough, what if you want to find something new and interesting? How do you find that ‘underrated’ author whose books you have to read? Well, you ask for help! Which is what we did for this week’s Mind Meld.

Q: Which author, living or otherwise, do you believe deserves more recognition than they currently receive and why?
Jeremy Geddes
Jeremy Geddes spends his days smearing pigment onto pieces of wood, in between playing air guitar and drinking coffee. He has been a professional at this for 3 years, picking up a Spectrum Gold Award and a Conflux #3 Award. His book The Mystery of Eilean Mor with Gary Crew was selected as a notable book by the CBC, shortlisted for the Aurealis Award and won the 2006 Crichton award.

I would nominate a few authors, first Stanislaw Lem, who I don’t think has had enough exposure in the West, his seminal book Solaris has apparently never had a translation he was happy with. Other works of his, such as His Master’s Voice rank up there with the best the west has had to offer, and offer a fresh perspective to the usual flawed notions of ‘moral and societal advancement through the pursuit scientific knowledge’ that permeates much of the genre. His later works push the boundaries of what constitutes science fiction like nothing else I’ve seen, dispensing with plot and focusing entirely on ideas, in books like One Human Minute, or A Perfect Vacuum, which consist of a series of reviews of non existent books.

Also I would nominate Olaf Stapledon, writing before the genre was truly formed, but with works like Starmaker and Last and First Men had a scope that has rarely been equaled in all the successive years.

These two are both pretty well known I’d guess, but I can’t help thinking more exposure could only be a good thing.

Continue reading

SF Tidbits for 4/24/08

SciFi Department at Comic Con 2008

Watch the latest SciFi Dept. as Kevin Maher almost beats Lou Ferrigno at arm wrestling. You would think he would have had better luck bribing him with hot dogs…

FREE BOOK: Mothers & Other Monsters by Maureen F. McHugh

Small Beer Press has made Maureen F. McHugh’s Mothers & Other Monsters available as a free download via a Creative Commons License.

Here’s the table of contents:

  1. “Ancestor Money”
  2. “In the Air”
  3. “The Cost to Be Wise”
  4. “The Lincoln Train”
  5. “Interview: On Any Given Day”
  6. “Oversite”
  7. “Wicked”
  8. “Laika Comes Back Safe”
  9. “Presence”
  10. “Eight-Legged Story”
  11. “The Beast”
  12. “Nekropolis”
  13. “Frankenstein’s Daughter”
  14. The Evil Stepmother: An Essay
  15. Author Interview
  16. Talking Points

I read the novel Nekropolis and enjoyed it. I also recently learned of her story “Laika Comes Back Safe” through a reader comment when I reviewed the graphic novel Laika a few weeks back – this is my chance to read it. Yours too!

Tube Bits for 04/23/2008

  • It’s been rumored, rumored and talked about, and now it’s official. Fox has renewed The Sarah Connor Chronicles for another season. The order is for thirteen more episodes, that will air at date to be determined. For me, I thought the show was O.K., becoming annoying near the end.
  • Continuing their expansion into other media, the Sci Fi Channel and Virgin Comics have announced a second comic title to be released this summer: Superbia. It’s billed as “the Justice League meets Wisteria Lane”, which I’m not sure is a selling point.
  • Stephanie Foster of Mister Article looks at the state of science fiction television and pronounces it ‘amazing’. I wouldn’t go that far, although Fox is loading up on the SF series for next season. I do, however, agree with the observation that getting people to recognize their favorite show is, or has elemenst of, science fiction meets strenuous resistence. When LOST aired the recent Desmond time travel episode, many people hated it because the SF elements were so overt, instead of in the background. Sigh.
  • Thanks to the New York Comic Con, we now know that the live action Star Wars TV show is scheduled to air in 2010. It will focus on the “greasy, seamy underbelly of Star Wars.” And no, that doesn’t mean Lucas’ stomach after a roll in his pile of dough from the prequel movies. Cautiously optimistic here.
  • Well well, looks like we have a new SF disaster flick in the works, called Impact. Disaster refers to the genre, not the quality of the show. Of course, since it’s a 4-hour mini-series for an unnamed cable channel, you may think it does reflect on the quality. But then there’s this, the moon is hit by a piece of a brown dwarf which “triggers a series of anomalies on Earth, including cell phone service interruption, exaggerated tides and the occurrence of sporadic weightlessness.” WTF? I think disaster is right on the money.
  • The AV Club takes a look at 16 unanswered TV questions. Alf, Mork and Mindy, Journeyman and other SF shows make the list.
  • Some tasty LOST info from the New York ComicCon: Lindeloff and Cuse, the exec producers, told the audience that the last scene has already been determined, that season 5 will premier at the end of January 2009! (you bastages!) and that the Orchid Training Video show at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con will play a large role in the season finale for this year. Which means I’m expecting a mind blowing, time travel episode of epic proportions. Of course, LOST begins it’s push to that finale this Thursday at 10pm ET.
  • Fast Company magazine has posted a very cool article called Rebel Alliance: How a small band of sci-fi geeks is leading Hollywood into a new era. Tim Kring, Damon Lindelof and Jesse Alexander are interviewed, and Joss Whedon is name dropped. But are they really leading Hollywood into a ‘good SF’ new era?
  • The script for Joss Whedon’s highly anticipate new series, Dollhouse, has been leaked to a choice few. The verdict: awesome. Not really knowing either of those critics involved, I can’t comment on their opinions. I can say, however, that if Whedon is involved, I expect great characters and stellar dialog.

A science fiction blog featuring science fiction book reviews and with frequent ramblings on fantasy, computers and the web.