SF Tidbits for 2/15/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Today, Lucas Arts launched the official website for their upcoming game, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. In TFL, you play Darth Vader’s secret apprentice as you try to hunt down and kill Jedi, like the cockroaches they are. That’s right, TFL takes place between Episode III and Star Wars and actually wants you to whack those goody goody Jedi.

I can’t wait.

But! It gets even better. Take a gander at this:

Decisions made by players throughout the game will determine the path of the story, including multiple endings that will rock Star Wars continuity as they know it.

That sound you hear is the sound of multiple SW fanboy’s heads exploding. Apparently, there are several message boards where SW ‘fans’ are hopping mad about the story line of the game. I believe Captain Kirk said it best when he said: “Get a life!”. (Yes, yes, I know it was Shatner on SNL. Work with me. Send all nasty emails to John.)

Still, check out the images. Awesome. And if you’ve seen the tech demo, then you know what kind of juicy Force powers await you. All in all, this one looks great. We’ll see how it actually turns out.

Filed under: GamesStar Wars

TOC: Year’s Best SF 12

Kathryn Cramer has posted the table of contents for the upcoming Year’s Best SF 12 anthology, due out in June 2007, which she co-edited with David Hartwell:

  1. “The Lowland Expedition” by Stephen Baxter
  2. “Applied Mathematical Theology” by Gregory Benford
  3. “Brother, Can you Spare a Dime” by Terry Bisson
  4. “Silence in Florence” by Ian Creasey
  5. “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth” by Cory Doctorow
  6. “Counterfactual” by Gardner R. Dozois
  7. “Quill” by Carol Emshwiller
  8. “Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth” by Michael Flynn
  9. “Damascus” by Darryl Gregory
  10. “Speak, Geek” by Eileen Gunn
  11. “Expedition, With Recipes” by Joe Haldeman.
  12. “The Women of Our Occupation” by Kameron Hurley
  13. “Nano Comes to Clifford Falls” by Nancy Kress
  14. “This Is the Ice Age” by Claude Lalumière
  15. “Just Do It!” by Heather Lindsley
  16. “Taking Good Care of Myself” by Ian R. MacLeod
  17. “Dead Men Walking” by Paul J. McAuley
  18. “Heisenberg Elementary” by Wil McCarthy
  19. “Rwanda” by Robert Reed
  20. “Tiger Burning” by Alastair Reynolds
  21. “Home Movies” by Mary Rosenblum
  22. “Preemption” by Charlie Rosenkrantz
  23. “Chu and the Nants” by Rudy Rucker
  24. “Tin Marsh” by Michael Swanwick
  25. “Moon Does Run” by Edd Vick
  26. “The Age of Ice” by Liz Williams

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Filed under: Books

The SF Book Meme: She’s Not Dead Yet, Jim!

Way back when, at the height of the meme post phenomenon, I created a science fiction book meme. This meme had the dubious distinction of possibly being the only meme in the history of all memes to go just about nowhere. I mean, just look at how many months the Science Fiction Book Club meme (based on their list of The top 50 most significant sf/f books) has been floating around, and that was based on a list created back in the pre-meme year of 2002! Beaten, I retreated to a corner, huddled into a ball, sucking my thumb and shivering a little, waiting for the cold, reassuring hand of death to stake its claim.

Or maybe not! There seems to be somewhat of a resurgence of my sf book meme.

Sweet! My head is tingling with a euphoria that only an overinflated ego can provide. Now I can walk proudly and hold my head up high. Or at least as much as my poor posture will allow. Thank you, Blogosphere!

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 2/14/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Déjà Vu author Ian Hocking talks about the science in science fiction and why he prioritizes “meaning” over “factual accuracy”:

I guess I’ve come to this conclusion through the editing process. I’ve learned that what makes a scene good isn’t the tech; it’s the meaning conjured by the characters, their struggles, the conflict, and the wider narrative. When working to improve a work of fiction, you can fiddle with the meaning (I’m using this word in a broad sense that encompasses ‘emotion’, ‘affect’, ‘interest’ and so on) or the technical stuff. At the end of the day, it’s the sharpening of meaning that improves the work by any real margin.

I tend to agree that scientific accuracy is not foremeost. This is why I find classic science fiction to be charming, despite the scientific flaws that time has exposed. I love sense of wonder, but not at the expense of the story.

Filed under: Books

BSG Backlash?

Not too long ago, Battlestar Galactica was everybody’s darling. But then ratings slipped until, last month, the show was moved to Sunday nights to attract viewers. Although the show has been picked up for another season, it’s a partial commitment for 13 episodes.

The show started going downhill for me last season and I’ve only been watching sporadically since then even though others still seemed to enjoy it. But I’ve been noticing that posts have been appearing in the blogosphere recently opining the suckiness of the show.

Maybe it’s time to have another Has BSG Jumped the Shark poll?

Filed under: TV

SF Tidbits for 2/13/07

Filed under: Tidbits

LEGO Millenium Falcon – Better Than The Real Thing?

So LEGO has unleashed a gigantic Millennium Falcon for your building pleasure. Clocking in at over 5000 pieces and with a sticker price of $500, its the largest LEGO set ever made.

This is just insane. The darn thing is 3 feet long, and is built to mini figure scale so all your LEGO figs can actually fit inside it. It also comes with Han, Chewie, Ben, Luke and Leia. I am already green with envy toward anyone who buys this thing. Just don’t drop it as you’re trying to do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.

Better hurry, the free shipping ends on 3/21/2007. The mind boggles at how much shipping will be afterwards, considering there is no indication how much this behemoth weighs. Probably more than several small children combined. Oh, and you can only buy 5 per customer. Darn.

Filed under: Star Wars

REVIEW: Gods and Pawns by Kage Baker

REVIEW SUMMARY: A good collection of bite-size morsels to whet your appetite for more Company stories.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: 7 stories (3 novellas, 2 novelettes and 2 short stories) set in Baker’s Company universe.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: 2 top-notch stories; offers tantalizing glimpses into the bigger universe told across the novels.

CONS: One of the two new stories for this collection is not nearly as strong as its counterparts.

BOTTOM LINE: Serves as a good introduction into Baker’s Company universe.

First, a confession. I have not yet read any of Kage Baker’s Company novels. Why the heck, you might ask, would I be reading a book of stories set in that universe?

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 2/12/07

Filed under: Tidbits

POLL RESULTS: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Will you be buying Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?

RESULTS

(111 total votes)

A couple of comments this week:

“Where was “Accio Pre-Order” or “Evanesco Potter” as possible selections? Have you even read the books? Oh… also, THIS is not sci-fi either. Pthhhbt!” – Trent

“I’ll pre-order it from whatever local bookstore is doing a midnight release, just for the sheer joy of going to a midnight release for a BOOK, and enjoying the site of an army of hyper kids all out….for a book. It’s a sight that does my optimism good.” – Pete Tzinski

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on Wil Smith’s SF Movies!

Filed under: Polls

George Lucas thinks The Empire Strikes Back was the worst Star Wars film.

You heard me…The Empre Strikes Back. The one written by a science fiction writer and not directed by Lucas.

Discuss…

[UPDATE: As noted in the comments...this is based on a statement JOKINGLY made by Lucas.]

Filed under: Star Wars

SF Tidbits for 2/11/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Free Comic Book Day 2007: May 5th

The annual Free Comic Book Day is coming on Saturday, May 5th 2007.

The selection of comics includes those from Gold sponsors (Amazing Spider-Man Swing Shift, The Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century, The Lone Ranger/New Battlestar Galactica Flip Book, Transformers: The Movie Prequel and The Astounding Wolf-Man, among others) and silver sponsors (Pirates vs. Ninjas, Sonic the Hedgehog, Last Blood, Justice League of America, Family Guy/Hack/Slash Flip Book and The Unseen Peanuts, among others) . Stop by a store near you!

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Filed under: Events

SF Tidbits for 2/10/07

  • John Picacio shows off the cover he did for Lou Anders’ anthology Fast Forward 1 and gives some background into its creation.
  • 10 Zen Monkeys interviews Cory Doctorow.
  • The Sci Phi Show Outcast podcast-interviews David Levine.
  • WCSH Portland talks to author Peter David who talks about his collaboration with Stephen King on a comic version of The Dark Tower.
  • James Patrick Kelly has begun podcasting his novel Look Into the Sun.
  • NBC Universal is partnering with Sierra Online and Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade to deliver an original, high-definition Battlestar Galactica space combat game this fall.

Filed under: Tidbits

Some Good News About Heroes

The OGMOG blog recently sat in on a panel discussion where the Heroes execs discussed the show’s future, LOST, and more. Some good stuff here, but first, a minor SPOILER warning for those of you who haven’t seen last Monday’s episode (and if you haven’t, what’s wrong with you????).

The one thing that caught my eye was this from Tom Kring and Jeph Loeb:

Tim Kring also weighed in here, noting that the main questions raised in the first season would be answered by the season finale. Loeb advised fans to think about the show like a graphic novel, telling new stories each book (or season), while retaining information from past stories. “We wanted an opportunity where we could tell stories about people,” Loeb said. “New people will come in, old ones will come back.”

This is awesome news. The creators are looking at each season as being its on semi-independent story arc, just like the comics have. Couple that with a 5 year plan (in Soviet Russia, 5 year plan has you) for stories, and it sounds like Kring has thought this through. Unlike the creators of The Dresden Files. SciFi could learn something from this. My only hope is that there is no Superfriends created. We really don’t need any Wonder Twins running around.

Filed under: Heroes

Some Science Fiction Eye Candy

(Updated: Added link for Batman: The Animated Series.)

While perusing the tubes this morning, I’ve run into a couple of really cool science fiction(ish) items that might be of interest to our readers.

  • First up, CGI artist Shane Acker has created an Oscar nominated animated short called 9. Sadly, the opportunities to actually see this are limited. The trailer looks cool and the visuals are outstanding. I’d love to see the whole. But, the good news is that 9 is, apparently, being made into a feature length film.
  • Second, Ralph McQuarrie is in the process of releasing his upcoming book, The Art Of Ralph McQuarrie. You may know Ralph from his work on the various Star Wars movies. But as the production page shows, Ralph is an outstanding artist. I particularly like the underwater city.
  • World’s Finest has this really nice list of title screens for Batman: The Animated Series. In fact, if you like super heroes at all, you should check out the rest of their site. They cover a lot of stuff, including The Justice League and Teen Titans.

Share and enjoy.

Filed under: Star WarsWeb Sites

The Next Big Literary Movement: Horror

According to the UK Independent, horror is set to be one of the coolest literary trends of 2007.

According to Nielsen BookScan, which compiles the nation’s book charts, sales of titles classified as horror and ghost stories almost doubled…in 2005. The number of copies sold increased from 566,000 in 2005 to almost one million (892,000) over the same period. Though old-school writers including Herbert, Dean Koontz and Shaun Hutson continue to dominate, new names are emerging, though not all are classified as horror.

The article goes on to discuss genre rat-holes and how some authors (like Joe Hill, author of Heart-Shaped Box) are crossing genre boundaries into mainstream fiction, or vice versa.

[via Mark Chadbourn]

Filed under: Books

Following the theme of our recent post on EW’s Top 20 Dystopian Movies comes:

Reel Pop’s Guide to the Top Ten Dystopia Films (with YouTube clips!)

  1. Gattaca
  2. THX 1138
  3. Blade Runner
  4. Akira
  5. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
  6. Logan’s Run
  7. Alphaville
  8. Brazil
  9. La Jetée
  10. The Running Man

Filed under: Movies

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