A recent motion by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) regarding the reinstatement of its Copyright Committee (formerly known as the Electronic Piracy Committee) has some folks speaking out. The issue stems from a couple of months back when Andrew Burt of the SFWA took issue with some fiction posted at the text file sharing website, Scribd. (See history here.) The end result was that Burt was removed from the Committee. With the recent motion, Burton has been reinstated to the newly-named Committee.
Charlie Stross has something to say about that (expletive masking done by me):
To say that this is a f***witted decision is an understatement. Under Dr Burt, the new copyright committee will almost inevitably devolve into a reincarnation of the old piracy committee. If I thought it’d do any good I’d be resigning in protest right now; only the expense of a life membership purchased a couple of years ago is restraining me right now. Clearly the current executive of SFWA is making damaging decisions and ignoring input from committees it appointed, and and in view of this I call on SFWA president Mike Capobianco and the rest of the SFWA executive — including Andrew Burt — to resign immediately. Meanwhile, I’d like to call on all other SFWA members who don’t want to see their organization commit public relations suicide to make their voices heard.
John Scalzi also had some comments:
I think the board choose puzzlingly, to use as polite a word as possible, in its choice of chairman for the new committee, for some of the reasons which Charlie outlines in incendiary but not unreasonable fashion.
See also: Comments from Cory Doctorow.
Firefly • Tidbits
Solaris Books is serializing Chris Roberson’s second Celestial Empire novel, Three Unbroken, online for free. (The first novel, The Dragon’s Nine Sons, is reviewed here.)
Here’s a more detailed description of Three Unbroken from the press release:
Three Unbroken is the next epic novel in the Celestial Empire sequence and details the explosive war between the Chinese and Aztec empires as they battle for control of the red planet, Fire Star.
Based on the sixty-four elements of the I-Ching, Three Unbroken follows the lives of three soldiers from their induction into the armed forces to their eventual fight for survival on the frontline. The events of the novel are contemporaneous with those of The Dragon’s Nine Sons, the first novel in the sequence, set to be published by Solaris in February 2008.
New chapters of Three Unbroken will be posted twice a week, on Wednesday and Friday. The first chapter has already been posted. You can be notified of upcoming chapters by subscribing to their RSS feed.
By JP Frantz
| Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 at
Kristin over at E! Online recaps Monday’s Heroes episode in Read the rest of this entry
Heroes • TV
I usually shy away from rumors these days, but this recent rendition of a blue alien reportedly from James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar is timely.
To honor our resident supermodel expert Peter Y. (if for no other reason than keeping Maxim in business), I submit a bevy of blue & green scifi babes.
On the blue team, we have Zhaan from Farscape, Plavalaguna the Diva from The Fifth Element, X-Men‘s Mystique, and the new Avatar alien.
Perhaps you like to go green? May I interest you in a She-Hulk or that green alien chick from Star Trek?
Who’s your favorite? There may be a poll on this, if you know what I mean.
Movies • Star Trek • TV
By JP Frantz
| Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 at
I’m sure most of us have had, at one time or another, assorted Star Wars toys and other memorabilia. My brother and I had many action figures and vehicles which we would take outside and play with all the time. My favorite was the Yoda figure with snake twined around his neck. There was even a Hoth playset one of my mom’s craft magazines had plans for that I wanted to make, but never got around to. But even those hours spent playing with our figures doesn’t compare to this giant Star Wars collectibles auction on Ebay.
Over 1600 Star Wars figures, and a ton of other stuff. The seller wants to be rid of them to ‘accomplish a new plan I have for my future.’ I bet. The starting bid is $25,450, with $950 for shipping. Unbelievable. This sort of obsessive collecting just doesn’t resonate with me. I’m of the ‘rip it out of the box and play with it’ school. Call me crazy. So act fast, the auction ends on Nov. 28th at 2am CT. Oh, and the next bid will be the first.
For a much cooler, and geekier, collection, check out Joshua Budich’s collection. Although much smaller than the Ebay collection, Joshua has indulged his inner code monkey and created a really cool Flash front end to his figures. Not only did he create little images for each figure, he’s linked them to a picture of the corresponding package. Add to that all the filtering options and you have one cool interface. This is one case where obsessive comes in handy. Nicely done Joshua.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go mourn all my lost Star Wars figures and cards, and try no think about what they’d be worth today.
REVIEW SUMMARY: An interesting blend of science fiction and fantasy elements.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Guth Bandar explores the world of the human collective unconscious, which is becoming not so unconscious after all.
PROS: Intriguing world with mind-expanding ideas; cool science-fantasy setting; deals heavily with archetypes yet avoids cliché.
CONS: Needed stronger characters; some adventures weaker than others.
BOTTOM LINE: A good read that’s piqued my interest in other stories set in this universe.
Read the rest of this entry
Tagged with: Matthew Hughes
Night Shade has posted the contents of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 2 edited by Jonathan Strahan, to be publishd in March 2008.
- “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang
- “The Last and Only Mr. Moskowitz Becomes French” by Peter S. Beagle
- “Trunk and Disorderly” by Charles Stross
- “Glory” by Greg Egan
- “Dead Horse Point” by Daryl Gregory
- “The Dreaming Wind” by Jeffrey Ford
- “The Coat of Stars” by Holly Black
- “The Prophet of Flores” by Ted Kosmatka
- “Wizard’s Six” by Alex Irvine
- “The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics” by Daniel Abraham
- “By Fools Like Me” by Nancy Kress
- “Kiosk” by Bruce Sterling
- “Singing of Mount Abora” by Theodora Goss
- “The Witch’s Headstone” by Neil Gaiman
- “Last Contact” by Stephen Baxter
- “Jesus Christ, Reanimator” by Ken Macleod
- “Sorrel’s Heart” by Susan Palwick
- “Urdumheim” by Michael Swanwick
- “Holiday” by M. Rickert
- “The Valley of the Gardens” by Tony Daniel
- “Winter’s Wife” by Elizabeth Hand
- “The Sky is Large and the Earth is Small” by Chris Roberson
- “Orm the Beautiful” by Elizabeth Bear
- “The Constable of Abal” by Kelly Link
| Monday, November 26th, 2007 at
REVIEW SUMMARY: Schroeder’s sequel to Sun of Suns is an even better book – a focus on characters against a fanastic hard sci-fi backdrop. This is one sequel that surpasses the original.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Following the events of the first book, Venera Fanning inadvertently lands on Spyre, a decaying cylinder station on the verge of collapse, and realizes that the Key to Candesce she liberated from the pirate horde could destroy the entire world that lives in Virga. Her arrival sparks a change in the insular little community and sets in motion a chain of events that disrupts not only the political stability of the region but also the way Venera sees herself.
PROS: Can be read standalone, excellent characterization – Venera’s Machiavellian nature is a perfect canvas on which to paint the experiences she has, hard sci-fi is always there in the background having a real impact on the book.
CONS: As with the first book, this one is a bit too sci-fi for non-fans to stomach.
BOTTOM LINE: Great book that I recommend easily.
Read the rest of this entry
Here is an anti-scifi rant by Ridley Scott. Again. This time it’s a minor one, taken from a to BBC interview where he is talking about Blade Runner and scifi.
Why do you think it’s stood the test of time?
MTV started around 1980, and I used to watch it. I think in its early days it was more interesting – these little filmlets cooked up by the bands and the director that were four, five minutes of really great entertainment. I’d get a lot of ideas off them. But then I started to notice bits of Blade Runner in there.
I thought, ‘Where the hell did they get that? My god – someone’s copying me!’ It was a huge influence in a lot of rock videos: wet streets, smoke, funny people. There was an evolution occurring. That generation only really watched MTV, and that would be the generation we’re talking about now.
How do you feel about the future of science-fiction?
Everyone and their mother are making science-fiction movies, and for the most part they all really lack story. The tail is wagging the dog – the special effects, instead of being the means to an end, are the end in itself.
Where do all the writers go? Writing is the single hardest thing to do. Once you get your design on paper, everything else is pretty straightforward.
Yeah, Ridley Scott invented wet streets. Please…
Note to filmmakers: If your movie features wet streets, streets with a sheen that may suggest wetness, or any pavement whatsoever that is not 100% dry, please forward royalties to Sir Ridley Scott, c/o Fantasyland.
Oh, and Blade Runner is overrated.
Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.
Do the new posters for The Sarah Connor Chronicles make you want to see the show?
A couple of comments this week:
“Come one – hot chicks with guns and mechanical bits? I am in… Now if only Grace Park would make a cameo… A man can dream.” – Tim
“I watched the pilot at Comic Con in San Diego and am very conflicted about this show. Let’s just say breaking into a bank to find a time travel device in a safe deposit box is a weird idea.” – Christian Johnson
Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about when Star Wars jumped the shark!
By JP Frantz
| Sunday, November 25th, 2007 at
(This was previously mention by John in a tidbits post, but I think it deserves its own post.)
Jay Garmon at Geekend asks Sci-fi rant: When did Star Wars jump the shark? Now we all know that the prequel trilogy just doesn’t live up to the original three, and that Revenge of the Sith, while the best of the three, can’t unjump the shark. So when, exactly, did the Star Wars jumpage occur?
Jay’s answer is one word for you: Midi-chlorians. As lame as midi-chlorians are and as bad as all the awfulness they lead to (the ‘royal’ blood to be a Jedi, Annakin’s miracle birth), the series didn’t jump the shark here because it had already been jumped. In Return of the Jedi. You probably know where I’m going, so I’ll say just one word:
That’s right, the moment Lucas decided to put merchandising above storytelling, the shark was well and truly jumped. Not only did we get cute, cuddly Ewok toys and the execrable Ewok adventure movie, we were also cheated out of seeing the Wookies kick some Empire butt during the fight to eliminate the shield generator.
Because Lucas saw $$$, the Wookies were relegated to a bit-part in Episode III, and the Ewoks took their glory, and we got the shaft. Episode VI could have been so much better without Ewoks, too bad Lucas was eying the killer fish in the water in front of him.
Movies • Star Wars