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

The 10 Most Quotable Geek Films…Ever!

The Tech Geek responds to the 15 Geek Movies to See Before You Die post with his own list of:

The Top 10 Most Quotable Geek Films…Ever!

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  3. The Princess Bride
  4. Superman II
  5. Office Space
  6. Pulp Fiction
  7. Army of Darkness
  8. Die Hard
  9. Aliens
  10. Tombstone

Personally my experience has been that the three most quotable things are Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Seinfeld and The Simpsons.

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 2/9/07

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: New Dreams for Old by Mike Resnick

REVIEW SUMMARY: Makes me want to read more of his work.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A collection of 20 short fiction works by Mike Resnick; many of them award winners and nominees.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: 17 stories good or better, 7 of them excellent.

CONS: 3 stories hovering around the mediocre range.

BOTTOM LINE: An above-average collection of stories featuring many award winners and nominees.

Over the past couple of years, I have read a small handful of Mike’s Resnick’s short fiction and every single one of them received relatively high marks. When I realized this, I was eager to dive into some more. (Let alone, for the moment, the longer fiction of his that I’d like to read like Kirinyaga and the Starship series.)

New Dreams for Old is a 2006 collection of Resnick’s short fiction. Together, the twenty stories have won 2 Hugo Awards and 11 Hugo or Nebula Award nominations. (Factoid: According to The Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards, Mike Resnick has earned the fourth-highest number of award nominations – behind Ursula K. Le Guin, Harlan Ellison and Connie Willis – when considering all awards that the Index tracks.) That award tally is impressive and after reading the stories I can see why.

Simply put, Resnick writes “people” stories that carry quite an emotional impact. Instead of far-flung, hard science fiction that deals with impersonal concepts, these stories are endearingly personal. Resnick writes from the heart and with heart thus making an instant connection with the reader.

There are an amazingly high number of top-quality stories in New Dreams for Old. Standouts included “Robots Don’t Cry”, “Travels with My Cats”, “A Princess of Earth”, “Guardian Angel”, “For I Have Touched the Sky”, “Mwalimu in the Squared Circle” and “Keepsakes”. Even the story I least enjoyed – and that only because I did not see the movie Casablanca on which it was based – was not bad.

Reviewlettes of the stories follow, with links to online versions where available…

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

15 Geek Movies to See Before You Die

Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle Tech Blog lists 15 Geek Movies to See Before You Die. Here’s the short list, but check out his post for his explanations.

  • Brazil
  • The Matrix
  • The Fifth Element
  • Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  • Serenity
  • Dark City
  • 12 Monkeys
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Darkman
  • Army of Darkness
  • War Games
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Office Space
  • Repo Man

Filed under: Movies

One of the Best SF Resources Ever, The Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards, has been updated. All awards results through the end of 2006, plus announced 2007 nomination lists, have been added. Other updates include:

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 2/8/07

Filed under: Tidbits

The latest BookSquare post, Save The Bookstore, Save The Community, proposes that the way for independent bookstores to survive is not to stock more product, but rather to build a sense of community:

So what of the independent bookstore? How will it survive? The answer is both simple and near-impossible: by rethinking what it means to be an independent bookstore. Community, companionship, coffee, cabernet… It isn’t just books that the stores need to sell, it’s a lifestyle. If social networking is the magical glue of the Internet, it is surely the magical glue of real life. Browsing and buying of books needs to be part of a larger effort to build community.

What do you think? Would such efforts keep you from Amazon and the local bookstore chain? Are such efforts enough to make you change your shopping habits?

Filed under: Books

Free Book: Move Under Ground by Nick Mamatas

Nick Mamatas has decided that to make his debut “Kerouac vs. Cthulhu” novel, Move Under Ground, available for free under a Creative Commons license.

More on the plot from the publisher website:

The year is nineteen-sixty-something, and after endless millennia of watery sleep, the stars are finally right. Old R’lyeh rises out of the Pacific, ready to cast its damned shadow over the primitive human world. The first to see its peaks: an alcoholic, paranoid, and frightened Jack Kerouac, who had been drinking off a nervous breakdown up in Big Sur. Now Jack must get back on the road to find Neal Cassady, the holy fool whose rambling letters hint of a world brought to its knees in worship of the Elder God Cthulhu. Together with pistol-packin’ junkie William S. Burroughs, Jack and Neal make their way across the continent to face down the murderous Lovecraftian cult that has spread its darkness to the heart of the American Dream. But is Neal along for the ride to help save the world, or does he want to destroy it just so that he’ll have an ending for his book?

[via John Scalzi]

Filed under: CthulhuFree Fiction

Oh…THAT Explains Weena’s Outfit!

Vivian Gornick taught me something in her article The Beginning of Wisdom: On reading H.G. Wells: Wells was a randy little bugger!

In practice this meant that Wells, espousing the doctrine of free love, pursued women steadily and relentlessly for the whole of his adult life; the intensity of sexual renewal was his necessity, and he thought that neither he nor anyone else should do without it. Convinced that he was serving a principled article of faith, he conducted his many affairs with the knowledge and apparent consent of the sexually faint-hearted wife whom he had persuaded that his sleeping with other women need not disturb their firmly anchored family life.

[via Backwards City]

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 2/7/07

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

(See the main Pratchett story table here.)

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A Sourceror is loose on the Discworld and its up to Rincewind and friends to stop him and reassert Magic’s place in the (Disc)world.

PROS: Interesting characters, strong plot, typical Pratchett humor.

CONS: The antagonist could have been fleshed out more, story seems to wander towards the end.

BOTTOM LINE: Another fine entry in the Discworld series.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

John Scalzi is offering an audiobook version of The Sagan Diaries. The book is from the point of view of Jane Sagan, a character in Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades books. To help him out, he’s asked some friends to do the reading, specifically Elizabeth Bear, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ellen Kushner, Karen Meisner, Cherie Priest and Helen Smith.

Check out Scalzi’s blog for the individual chapters.

Filed under: Books

Sci Fi Studios

There’s a new (to me) science fiction community: Sci Fi Studios.

What is it? According to the website:

Sci Fi Studios is a combination of Hollywood entertainment professionals and global science fiction/fantasy fans, working together to create major motion pictures, television series, comics, graphic novels, games and the ultimate online community. Sci Fi Studios believes that fans and viewers are not just a ratings number or a statistic. More than any other genre, science fiction attracts fans who are loyal, dedicated, and involved. And What better way to cater to the people who value the genre than to develop sci-fi and fantasy products with their input!

It looks free for basic access, but a membership fee allows you to have input into the community. The fees would go towards content like “original stories in graphic novel or storyboard form which could be the basis for films and television series”.

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 2/6/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Because thinking up original content sometimes requires too much energy, I will shamelessly (but openly…the way the cool thieves do it) steal this from Andrew Wheeler and fellow stealer Chris Roberson.

It’s a visitor map of people who visit SF Signal. Can you see yourself?

And of course, there’s also our Frappr map (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)…

Filed under: Meta

REVIEW: The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

MY RATING:

(See the main Pratchett index here.)

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The continuing adventure of Rincewind, Twoflower and The Luggage as they make their way back to Ankh-Morpork.

PROS: More funny and interesting characters, full of Pratchett’s signature witty and humorous writing.

CONS: A bit ambiguous at the climax, otherwise, not much.

BOTTOM LINE: A very strong Discworld novel.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

REVIEW: No Dominion by Charlie Huston

REVIEW SUMMARY: More engaging vampire noir.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Vampire Joe Pitt tracks down the source of a new drug that’s strong enough to affect vampires.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: The writing style makes for quick, engaging reading; the noir atmosphere.

CONS: Mired down a bit too long in intra-clan politics for my taste, even though it was essential to the story.

BOTTOM LINE: I want more and I want them sooner.

Read the rest of this entry

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