Here are the Last Lines, Now Name the Books

Neatorama points us to this PDF file of 100 Best Last Lines from Novels as per The American Book Review.

I’ve culled some last lines from some of the genre-ish novels listed. Can you match the last line with the book’s title?

  1. Are there any questions?
  2. He loved Big Brother.
  3. He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.
  4. Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood; and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago; and how joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.
  5. Now everybody –
  6. One bird said to Billy Pilgrim, “Poo-tee-weet?”
  1. 1984 by George Orwell (1949)
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
  4. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Punchon (1973)
  5. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
  6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1986)

Filed under: Books

REVIEW: Halting State by Charles Stross

In 2018, a daring bank robbery takes place at Hyak Associates. However, this is no ordinary robbery, being executed by a band of marauding orcs with a dragon as backup in the online game world of Avalon Four. The robbery was supposed to be impossible as the data exists in multiple locations, each checking the others to ensure integrity. That it happens at all leads to some serious questions about the network underlying the future Earth.

Edinburgh constable Sue Smith is called on to investigate and must join forces with Elain Barnaby, a forensic accountant, and Jack Reed, an unemployed game programmer to figure out what happened and what is going on behind the scenes.

While at first glance Halting State may sound like a modern day take on Dreampark, the action doesn’t take place in a game, but in the ‘real’ world. Having said that, Halting State is a darn good read, especially if you are a techie or an online game player.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

Io9 Proclaims the Death of Written SF

io9 is stirring the pot again…this time by listing 5 Reasons To Stop Reading Science Fiction.

To summarize:

  1. SF is now real life.
  2. It’s been colonized by mainstream literature authors like Cormac McCarthy.
  3. It’s turned into pure fantasy.
  4. The fanbase is ancient.
  5. Rackspace is shrinking.

The first few commenters give reasons why sf is neither “obsolete” nor “pointless” nor “dead” as the post proclaims.

io9’s sensationalism aside, the article does little to connect individual statements with factual data about reading habits and sales. But then again, these arguments are attributed to “a gang of critics”. What’s the point of…oh yeah…Sensationalism = Page Hits + Ad Dollars!

See also: David Louis Edelman’s response to this perennial battle cry.

Filed under: Books

Tube Bits for 3/18/08

  • If anyone asked, I would say that there is not nearly enough coverage of Smallville on SF Signal. Sure, it’s Dawson’s Creek with super powers, but when they tap into the Superman mythos, it gives me chills. Er…that is…it would if I watched it. Anywho, there’s news that the undeniably pretty Kristen Kreuk (Lana Lang) will be making an appearance next season, despite word that she (and Michael “Lex Luthor” Rosenbaum) won’t be returning.
  • The NY Daily News profiles Battlestar Galactica star Edward James Olmos who says, “The final season is not a way of resolving anything. Happy would be tying things in a nice bow. There are no bows being tied.”
  • AMC’s MonsterFest blog tells us the Lena Headey is not taking her post-season 1 respite from The Sarah Connor Chronicles sitting down. She just joined the cast of Tell-Tale, an updated version of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”.
  • Good news or bad? Sam Raimi’s syndicated original fantasy TV series Wizard’s First Rule, based on the Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind gets the green light.
  • I stopped watching Battlestar Galactica a while back (Gasp!) and I haven’t seen Lost (Bigger gasp!), but if JP were here, he’d definitely point out this pictorial mashup of the similarities between BSG and Lost. [via Kiss My Feed]
  • Sez SFX: The BBC has announced that filming has begun on Merlin, a new family fantasy series.
  • As per the BBC, The new Doctor Who Series Four trailer will make its official TV and web debut on Saturday March 29, 2008. [via Big Dumb Object]
  • Doctor Who toys for adults (not to be confused with Doctor Who adult toys, if there is such a thing):
  • And finally, an answer to the question: “Is there such a thing as a Happy Dalek Song?” Seek and YouTube shall find…

Filed under: Tube Bits

SF Tidbits for 3/18/08

  • Bibliophile Stalker interviews Ellen Datlow, Editor of (among many, many other things) the upcoming anthology The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy: “It’s not that the genres have weaknesses or strengths but that the purveyors of genres write well or badly and use the genres ambitiously or in hackneyed ways.”
  • The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction interviews Robert Reed about his story “Five Thrillers”. Also: Check out Reed’s free story archive.
  • The Agony Column profiles Tim Pratt, author of The Strange Adventures of RangerGirl (a.k.a. T.A. Pratt, author of Blood Engines and Poison Sleep) and points us to his reading of his story, “The River Boy“.
  • George R.R. Martin shows off the U.S. and U.K. covers of A Dance with Dragons.
  • The Art Department showcases Stephan Martiniere’s four season-themed covers for Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet. Nice.
  • Free audio fiction: SF author James Patrick Kelly has completed the recording of his Nebula-nominated story “Men Are Trouble“. (Start with Chapter 1.)
  • Here’s an essay on The Early History of Science Fiction by H. Bruce Franklin, who defines sf thusly: “Science fiction is the major non-realistic mode of imaginative creation of our epoch. It is the principal cultural way we locate ourselves imaginatively in time and space.” Personally, I’m happy when I locate myself unimaginatively…if you know what I mean.
  • WFMU’s Beware of the Blog offers this impressive Gallery of Early Science Fiction Fanzines Covers. Was there really a Logan’s Run fanzine? Wow.
  • Alexis Gilliland and his wife have launched a web site for their cartoons, The Adventures of Captain Fanboy. [via SFScope]
  • Elfwood bills itself as “the world’s largest site for SciFi/Fantasy Art and Fiction. You be the judge.
  • Heavy Metal magazine artist A.P. Furtado and fellow fantasy webcomic artists Nate Piekos, James V. West and Chuck Whelon have combined forces to start a new sketch blog for all fans of old-school, D&D inspired, cartoon fantasy comics: Wizard of Ur!
  • According to Cinematical, the Cloverfield DVD will have 2 new endings. What is this? Roll your own movie?
  • The latest Paleo-Cinema Podcast features the work of George Pal, producer/director associated with such films as Destination Moon (1950) When Worlds Collide (1951), The War of the Worlds (1953), The Time Machine (1960), and Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975).
  • MTV has the trailer for Lost Boys: The Tribe. I’m not sure why the original never really worked for me. It could the 2 Coreys.
  • Brewster Rockit: Space Guy stars in “Invasion of the Mole Men“!

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: Laika by Nick Abadzis

REVIEW SUMMARY: A memorable, one-sitting read.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A fact-based graphic novel about the first animal sent into space.


PROS: Great basis for a story; the fact-based details and meaty character portrayals enhanced the reading experience; artwork lends itself to the mood of the story.

CONS: The launch scene laid on the sentimentality a little too thick.

BOTTOM LINE: An affecting story that is sure to have lingering effects after reading it.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 3/17/08

Filed under: Tidbits

Reminder: Sands of Oblivion Giveaway

Just a quick reminder to you all that we are still running our contest to give away 10 DVD copies (to 10 people, not all at once) of the Sci Fi Channel movie Sands of Oblivion, starring Adam Baldwin, Morena Baccarin, and George Kennedy.

Send an email to:

contest at sfsignal dot com (do the email replacement thing)

for your chance to win. This offer good only in the U.S. and Canada. Go ahead, send us an email. What have you got to lose? Remember the SF Signal motto: “If it’s free, it’s for me!”

Filed under: Contest

Tube Bits for 3/17/08

[NOTE: I am subbing for JP this week on the Tube Bits. Can you guess at which point JP will regret he ever asked? – John]

  • SCI FI Weekly reviews the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack from season 3 and gives it a “B+”. Or, as Tim would say: “B+ as in Boomer plus me!”
  • The Ghost of Doctor Who Past: Online Doctor Who magazine & fan site Kasterbourous points us to this Telegraph article which offers insight into some of the original ideas being battered about in 1963 concerning the Doctor Who series – things like an invisible TARDIS. The Telegraph also offers up this list of Little-known Doctor Who facts like “the ethereal theme tune was the first in the world to be made up entirely from electronic sounds.”
  • The Ghost of Doctor Who Future: According to BBC Audiobooks, TV’s latest Doctor, David Tennant, will read their latest audio-exclusive release Doctor Who: Pest Control, available only on CD and for download on the May 8, 2008. [via Outpost Gallifrey]
  • The SciFi Channel has a YouTube channel for its classic documentaries. It opened about six weeks ago and so far contains 5 videos of their Curse of the Blair Witch documentary. Someone wake me up when they take us behind the scenes at ECW…not!
  • SCI FI Wire finds some information on the film adaptation of Land of the Lost, starring Wil Ferrell as Rick Marshall and Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies) as a grown-up Holly.
  • The Hollywood Reporter looks at TV series on the bubble for fall, those awaiting a renew or cancel notice. Prospects are good for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Knight Rider, but doubtful for Jericho and Reaper. This is great news for Michael Knight. I wonder how David Hasselhoff feels right now….?

Filed under: Tube Bits

POLL RESULTS: Starting a Series in the Middle

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

Have you ever started reading a book series somewhere in the middle?


(94 total votes)

Comments this week:

“30 some years ago, I started reading the Travis McGee mystery/detective novel series by John D. McDonald in mid-series. The books I was reading kept referring to an injury that had happened to Travis earlier. So… I went back and found the first book in the series: The Deep Blue Goodbye – and in that book they refer to the injury as happening earlier! Well…what the heck. I went to used book stores and found all the earlier novels, and read all of the Travis McGee novels.” – Morjana

“The last time I can remember doing it on purpose was because I received an ARC of one of Kristine Smith’s novels (Endgame) I had not read any of her novels previously but I didn’t want to read the entire Jani Kilian series as prelude to this one.” – Paul

“No, just like how I won’t start watching a TV series without seeing the pilot episode. I also won’t watch an episode if I’ve missed the first few minutes.” – Chris Johnston

“I have to go and start at the beginning as I’ve recently done with John Ringo’s Posleen books.” – platyjoe

“Most book series aren’t set up very well for someone to start in the middle. But one writer who gets around this problem is Mike Resnick. He’s written some trilogies in his time, but every book is written in such a way that it contains a comlete stand-alone story, and can be enjoyed independent of the other books in the series. (By the way, I assumed here that you weren’t including series like those that focus on one character, say a detective, but have little continuity outside of that…)” – Michael A. Burstein

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

Filed under: Polls

Sunday Cinema: Firefly – “Heart of Gold”

All you need to know about this episode can be summed up in one word: hookers. You want more? OK: Space hookers.

And a bad guy who rides around in a really cheesy hovercraft.

Filed under: FireflyTV

SF Tidbits for 3/16/08

Filed under: Tidbits

BSFA Short Fiction Finalists Available as Podcasts

Free audio fiction for your aural pleasure!

Starship Sofa has completed podcasting the BSFA short fiction nominees:

Filed under: Awards

SF Tidbits for 3/15/08

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 03/15/2008

  • All you lucky New York City Galactica viewers, listen up! During the premiere of Galactica on April 4th, you will be able to call a certain pizzeria in town, answer a simple question about the premiere, and you get a free pizza. Mmmm, pizza.
  • Staying with Galactica, if you’re in L.A. on April 13th, composer BearMcMreary is hosting a concert the will feature music from the first three seasons of Galactica. James Callis (Gaius Baltar) will host the show. For more info, visit Bear’s website.
  • Deadbolt explains what we want from the new Star Wars TV series. Very well done, with some nice speculation. And I’m totally onboard with giant space battles. I’d watch just for that.
  • Dynamite Entertainment has just acquired the rights to re-print, and create new, comics of everybody’s favorite space adventurer, Buck Rogers. Gil Gerard need not apply.
  • Did you know Warner Bros. is creating a new, animated Bat Man DVD? They are and it’s called Batman: Gotham Knight. Check out the trailer for this new, anime-styled movie:
  • And finally, The History Channel shows us, in this cool video, the birth of the universe:

One administrative note: Tube Bits will be going on hiatus for the next week or so as I will be on vacation. Feel free to lobby John to continue the ‘Tube’ in his copious amounts of spare time!

Filed under: Tube Bits

Friday YouTube: Space Alone

Artsy, touching and way cool.

[via SciFi Scanner]

Filed under: Movies

I Remember the Future

Michael Burstein lists the contents of his upcoming collection from Apex, I Remember the Future: The Award-Nominated Stories of Michael A. Burstein:

  1. “TeleAbsence” (Analog, July 1995)
  2. “Broken Symmetry” (Analog, February 1997)
  3. “Cosmic Corkscrew” (Analog, June 1998)
  4. “Absent Friends” (Analog, September 1998)
  5. “Reality Check” (Analog, November 1999)
  6. “Kaddish for the Last Survivor” (Analog, November 2000)
  7. “Spaceships” (Analog, June 2001)
  8. “Paying It Forward” (Analog, September 2003)
  9. “Decisions” (Analog, January/February 2004)
  10. “Time Ablaze” (Analog, June 2004)
  11. “Seventy-Five Years” (Analog, January/February 2005)
  12. “TelePresence” (Analog, July/August 2005)
  13. “Sanctuary” (Analog, September 2005)
  14. “Empty Spaces” (original to the book)
  15. “I Remember the Future” (original to the book)

Stop by his site and help him pick the story order.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 3/14/08

  • Salon interviews Harlan Ellison: “I have, I suppose, a very peculiar love-hate relationship with the human race. As a concept, the human race seems to be a very workable idea. When you get down to the individuals, most of them need a ball-peen hammer to the middle of their forehead to make them move even as a slow pony.”
  • Simon Haynes (author of the Hal Spacejock series) Paul Melko (author of Sungularity’s Ring)
  • Robert J. Sawyer posts a short interview he did regarding his book Mindscan.
  • At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Simon R. Green, author of The Unnatural Inquirer.
  • Cory Doctorow is podcasting the story he co-wrote with Benjamin Rosenbaum: “True Names” (an homage to Vernor Vinge’s famous story).
  • Recently free fiction at “The Woman Who Vowed” by Ellison Harding (1908).
  • The first 3 chapters of Nathalie Mallet’s Arabian Nights-esque fantasy, The Princes of the Golden Cage, are now available as MP3 downloads. [via Night Shade Books]
  • Holy Manga, Batman!
  • Real Science: Bad Astronomy Blog lists Ten things you don’t know about the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • Headline of the day: Killer Tomatoes Ripe For Remake?
  • The adaptation of the final Harry Potter book will be released as two films.
  • SciFi Scanner tells us that Wolfgang Peterson is set to direct Uprising, a movie whose plit sounds suspiciously close to Battlefield Earth. I read Battlefield Earth over a decade ago and I remember it being one of those books that was pretty good for the first half (until the antagonist died) and thereafter was page-by-page struggle to decide whether to stop reading it (when the plot moved from Terran rebellion against alien overlords to business dealing with shark bankers).

Filed under: Tidbits

10 Reasons to Watch David Letterman on March 19th

SCI FI Wire sez that ten stars of Battlestar Galactica will be making an appearance on CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman to present the Top 10 List on Wednesday March 19.

The BSG stars include Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Grace Park, Michael Hogan, Aaron Douglas and Lucy Lawless.

Or, as Tim would say, Boomer and nine other people. :)

Filed under: Battlestar Galactica

It’s Trailer Day! Final Wall E Trailer

Oh yes, as if I needed any more incentive to go see Wall E, the new Pixar movie, along comes the final trailer. We see a lot more of the adventures Wall E will get into and, dang, here’s another movie I am so in on. Opening day here I come!

June 27th is so far away…

Filed under: Movies

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