John Joseph Adams has posted six stories from his cool anthology, Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, at the book’s website:
- “And the Deep Blue Sea” by Elizabeth Bear
- “Bread and Bombs” by M. Rickert
- “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth” by Cory Doctorow
- “The Last of the O-Forms” by James Van Pelt
- “Still Life With Apocalypse” by Richard Kadrey
- “Waiting for the Zephyr” by Tobias S. Buckell
And then there’s the book trailer. I’m not sure how effective book trailers are, but they seem to be becoming more prevalent. I have yet to see a trailer that is more than just a glorified print ad that takes me more time to watch than it would to read. What publishers really need to do is produce a full-blown, professionally endorsed commercial, released on YouTube instead of TV. I’d buy a book that William Shatner says I should buy. Unless he wrote it, of course. Hiyo!
Trailer after the jump…
Filed under: Books
- Trademork tells us that Twentieth Century Fox, producer and distributor of Futurama, has filed to protect the trademark on ‘Slurm’ in relation to a wide array of beverage like concoctions. Looks like Fry’s favorite, highly addictive beverage could see the light of day as an actual product. That would be, awesome!
- Was the writer’s strike actually a good thing? The Sarah Connor Chronicles creator Josh Friedman says yes. By sheer (bad) luck, when the strike happened, the eighth and ninth episodes were forced to become the season ending episodes. As it happens, they tie together pretty well, and leave us with a cliffhanger of sorts. I thought they were ok, much as I thought TSCC was just ‘ok’ as well.
- Neil Patrick Harris talks about his turn as the voice of The Flash in the direct-to-DVD movie Justice League: The New Frontier.
- New Amsterdam scored some big ratings for Fox, keeping 44% of it’s American Idol audience. That’s a lot of people. Did anyone see it?
- The Houston Chronicle looks at TV shows that play with time: LOST, Heroes, How I Met Your Mother, and The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Time manipulation in a sitcom? I think How I Met Your Mother is an extended flashback, but I’ve never seen it. LOST, of course, is the most unconventional of the shows, and, to my mind, the best of the lot.
Filed under: Tube Bits
- Neth Space has 5 questions for Michael Swanwick (The Dragons of Babel).
- Teen Book Review interviews Pat Murphy, author of The Wild Girls): “To change our society, we must imagine new stories…”
- Jason Sanford interviews Jim C. Hines (Goblin War).
- Jay Lake podcast-interviews Harry Turtledove.
- Videoedmonton has a 2-part video interview with Serenity/Firefly star (and perennially funny interviewee) Nathan Fillion. [via Illusion]
- Free fiction:
- Tor’s latest free eBook: The Outstretched Shadow (The Obsidian Trilogy Book 1) by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory.
- U.K. novelist Richard Herley (The Stone Arrow) is offering initially free downloads some of his work. via Fred K.]
- At Cosmos: “Untangling the Future” by Ingrid Banwell. [via Locus Online]
- Subterranean Online completes the Winter 2008 issue with “The Voyage of the Proteus” by Thomas M. Disch.
- Baen Books announces the launch of these E-Reads titles, now available at www.webscription.net: Galactic Bounty by William C. Dietz, The Burning by James E. Gunn, and Byzantium’s Crown by Susan Shwartz.
- Irene Gallo shows off the cover art of Fractions, a Ken MacLeod ominbus edition consisting of The Star Faction and The Stone Canal. I’ve had those books for quite some tim,e but they fell by the wayside as JP assures me that it contains lots ot politics that I so dislike in my science fiction.
- James Wallace Harris asks: What is Your Personal Science Fiction Fantasy?
- One for JP: Bookstove talks about Science Fiction Romance: The Illegitimate Cousin No One Wants to Talk About. “Would a romance in a science fiction movie or book change its scope?”
- “One thing fantasy writers need to pick up from science fiction writers is universe creation”
- The original (better) ending of I Am Legend has been “leaked” to the web. Not sure how long this one will last, as others are being taken down. Google is our friend…
- David Gerrold talks about a recent visit to the set of Star Trek XI, where he was taking part in a documentary about Star Trek: The Motion Picture. [via TrekToday]
- Time‘s Lev Grossman is on Watchmen Alert and shows us some movie stills. (See also.)
- Happy Catholic points us to this Christian Fandom Recommended Reading List.
- Quiet Earth has a list of Post Apocalyptic movies, TV and books.
- Lisa Paitz Spindler lists 13 Cool Science Fiction Robots. “Bebble-beeble-beeble…I made the list, Buck!”
Filed under: Tidbits
If you take a look around your local bookstore’s SF section, you can’t help but notice the preponderance of book series on the shelves, especially in the fantasy arena, which seems to specialize in doorstopper series. Inevitably, the store won’t have all published books in the series, leaving the customer out of luck if they decide to buy right then. Which leads to our question:
As a reader – I’m fascinated and perplexed by people who will pick up a series six or seven books in. Really amazed that anyone will do that, and surprised even more when folks do do that and then complain about being lost. That being said, I’m more amazed at the author’s who can pull off making a book so deep into their run comprehensible. I read Jim Butcher’s Proven Guilty to get a sense of what he’s about, and found no trouble jumping in despite the various levels of competing back story he’s obviously been developing across several books.
As an editor, I always feel a bit of trepidation when I’m pitched a multi-book story. If it takes off, as Mike Resnick’s Starship series has done for us, your golden, because you can return to it again and again. But if it doesn’t, then you watch each subsequent book perform less well than the one before. As to series as an impediment to gaining readers – I believe that Kay Kenyon is currently expanding her audience significantly with her brilliant quartet, The Entire and the Rose. Though my advice to first time authors would be to start with a stand-alone. If it has “series potential” that’s great, but don’t pitch it that way. At least not to me!
Filed under: Mind Meld
- Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist interviews Alastair Reynolds, author of House of Suns. “Q: How would you describe your work to someone who hadn’t tried your books before? A: Intensely bleak, but with an underlying cheerfulness?”
- The Dragon Page podcast-interviews David Keck author of In A Time of Treason.
- Here’s a list of NYT critic Dave Itzkoff’s favorite science fiction books.
- Run for the hills! Urban Fantasy is taking over!
- Geek 24 lists 15 Science Fiction Books You Must Read.
- Free audio fiction: StarShipSofa has “Buffalo” by John Kessel.
- Speaking of StarShipSofa, they will be posting daily podcasts of BSFA Award-nominated short stories beginning March 10. [via Velcro City Tourist Board, who has the links to the online versions.]
- A statement from Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO, of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF): “President Bush’s proposed budget calling for the elimination of Reading Is Fundamental’s (RIF) Inexpensive Book Distribution program would be devastating to the 4.6 million children and their families who receive free books and reading encouragement from RIF programs at nearly 20,000 locations throughout the U.S.” RIF is thus looking for advocates. [via Eos Blog]
- Real Science:
- Sentient Developments lists 7 ways to control the Galaxy with self-replicating probes. Mmmmmm…von Neumann probes….
- NPR has a Timeline of Women in Space. Mmmmmm…women in space… (Was that out loud?)
Filed under: Tidbits
- Jennifer Pelland (Unwelcome Bodies) is featured in John Scalzi’s latest Big Idea post.
- Mike Brotherton interviews Jim Hines (Goblin War).
- ActuSf interviews Michael Moorcock (The Metatemporal Detective).
- Tor Books MySpace Blog has a video interview with R.A. Salvatore (The Ancient).
- The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction profiles Alexander Jablokov on his story “The Boarder”.
- Jeff VanderBits:
- Recently free fiction at ManyBooks.net: “Adaptation” by D.M. Reynolds.
- Mike Brotherton has posted free sample chapters of Spider Star.
- Larry Niven is teaming up with Alchemic Productions to produce the game Free Fall.
- Over at Geekend, Jay Garmon is marking the day science fiction goes extinct, leveraging Charlie Stross’ post Blindsided by the future.
- Tobias Buckell is talking about free ebooks and rounds up a bunch of free sf novels.
- Locus Online has posted Cory Doctorow’s latest commentary, Put Not Your Faith In Ebook Readers. “Frankly, book reading just isn’t important enough to qualify for priority treatment in that marketplace.”
- David Louis Edelman posts his introduction Mervyn Peake’s Titus Alone.
- Jason Sizemore writes in to tell us that Apex Publications will be publishing The Next Fix, a collection of Matt Wallace’s short fiction.
- Jeffrey Ford lists the table of contents for his upcoming collection The Drowned Life.
- Have you ever though of arranging your bookshelves by color? Even I’m not that anal…
- The National Space Society (NSS) and Hadley Rille Books announce the Return To Luna Short Story Contest, focusing on science Fiction stories that show the adventure of lunar settlement.
- Smashing Magazine lists 25 Brilliant Animated Short Movies.
- Viper Pilot’s Briefing Room lists Five Awesome Examples of Science Fiction. (Short version: Gattaca, Foundation, Earth, Dark City, Diaspora.)
- The Deadbolt lists 4 Things to Expect from The Clone Wars TV Show (and 3 Things Not To).
Filed under: Tidbits
- How’s this for media tie-ins: Cartoon Network has secured the rights to broadcast Blue Dragon, the anime series based on the Xbox 360 video game. I haven’t played the game yet, but I want to. Not sure I want to see a show based on the game though.
- In case you missed it: the Jim Henson Company announced on Monday that the movies The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth are now available for purchase on iTunes. Perhaps even more exciting: Farscape and Fraggle Rock are on the way!
- Popular Mechanics takes a look at the physics of LOST‘s time traveling Desmond an concludes they may not be bunk after all. SF Signal’s Honorary Theoreticl Physicist Michi0 Kaku makes an appearance, schilling for his new book Physics of the Impossible.
- The Alien Nation: Ultimate Movie Collection will be available everywhere starting on April 20th. Not being an Alien Nation fan (I never watched the show), I don’t know how these movies tie in to the series.
- Staying with LOST for the moment, you really should be reading J. Woods excellent blog posts over at Powell’s Books. They are literate and stunningly in-depth. I have no idea how one person can pull so much information together and relate it to the just aired episode. Impressive. See his latest post, brought to you by the number 8, for a good example.
- And for all you 24 fans, here is how the show would look,circa 1994:
Filed under: Tube Bits
A loss among gamers everywhere…
Slice of SciFi reports that Gary Gygax has died at age 69.
The “Dungeons and Dragons” (D&D) co-creator and legengary gaming pioneer E. (Ernest) Gary Gygax has died at the age of 69 from complications arising from past multiple strokes.
A gamer all his life, Gygax started out like most kids playing strategy games such as chess and the card game pinochle, as well as others. His love for games found a different outlet in the late 1950’s with miniature war games like “Gettysburg.” His fascination grew to the point where gaming for him became an art form and then he found and fell in love with science fiction. Thus was born his lifelong quest to develop some of the best genre-related gaming in the industry.
Our best wishes go out to his family and friends.
Filed under: Games
- Night Shade Books is releasing the entire text of Richard Kadrey’s novel Butcher Bird: A Novel Of The Dominion available as a DRM-free download, in a wide variety of formats.
- Futurismic features Eliot Fintushel fiction (try saying that three times fast): “Uxo, Bomb Dog“.
- Episode 1×02 of Shadow Unit (“Knock on Coffins“) is up. [via Elizabeth Bear]
- Free audio fiction from Spider Robinson: “Not Fade Away” (1982) and “Orphans of Eden” (1996). [via SFFaudio]
- John Joseph Adams points us to some free fiction from Jeremiah Tolbert:
- Online: “Spooning” (Ideomancer, 2003).
- Online: “Storm Come’s A’Callin” (Ideomancer, 2004).
- PDF: “The Girl With the Sun in Her Head” (Polyphony 4).
- Audio: “Instead of a Loving Heart” (All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories.)
- Online: “The Yeti Behind You” (Fantasy Sampler, 2007).
- Online: “Captain Blood’s B00ty” (Shimmer Magazine, 2007). [Link needs fixin’ methinks!]
- Online: “Babe, I’m Going to Leave You” (2008).
- Storyline Online has actors reading children’s books – f’rinstance Lou Diamond Phillips reading Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express. [via mental_floss Blog]
Filed under: Free Fiction
- Lou Anders points the way to this book trailer for Elom by William H. Drinkard, who was lucky enough to get a Stephan Martiniere cover.
- Ideomancer interviews John Joseph Adams, editor of Wastelands, editor of Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse.
- Time magazine interviews Iain M. Banks about his latest Culture novel, Matter.
- At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Kim Harrison, author of The Outlaw Demon Wails.
- Agony Column podcast-interviews Paolo Bacigalupi (author of Pump Six and Other Stories).
- Andromeda Spaceways and Bibliophile Stalker interview Jim C. Hines (Goblin War – read a PDF preview).
- Andromeda Spaceways also interviews Alma Alexander (Cybermage).
- Irene Gallo points out that John Picacio is the first to praise the Science Fiction Hall of Fame for selecting artist Richard Powers as one of the latest inductees. She also points out this recollection of Powers by uber-Editor David G. Hartwell.
- Nancy Kress is thinking about Nebula politics.
- Borrowed Tidbits from Locus Online:
- Look, up in the sky! It’s Michael Chabon’s essay in The New Yorker on the meaning of superhero costumes. [via Quillblog]
- A ten spot make you a zombie in The Undertakers: Road’s End. [via Monsterfest]
- Wired lists The Best Sidekicks (From Mr. Spock to Waylon Smithers). [via Whedonesque]
- The List Universe lists Top 10 Most Influential Science Fiction Writers. Sadly, Pel Toro is not among them…
Filed under: Tidbits
We’ve mentioned the movie before, but now we see that Appleseed Ex Machina is coming to DVD and Blu-Ray on March 11th (and HD-DVD for those poor saps who bought into a losing format). This is the follow on to the previous movie, Appleseed, which was a re-make of the 1988 film, Appleseed, which, in turn, as based on the Appleseed manga. Whew.
Just looking at the visuals, it’s amazing how far animation has come, and what amazing visual effects you can get with CGI. I remember in the 2004 film, the ‘human’ characters looked really plastic-y and fake, but the action was top notch. It’ll be interesting to see how this film picks up from the ending of the first.
Check out the trailer below:
Filed under: Movies
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Top SF authors attack the theme of galactic empires with armfuls of sensawunda.
PROS: Plenty of sense of wonder; impressive lineup of writing talent; worthwhile returns to some preexisting universes.
CONS: Although there’s not a bad story in the bunch, some of them vary in quality.
BOTTOM LINE: A very nice collection of stories by some of the field’s most prominent authors.
Galactic Empires is the latest original themed anthology from the Science Fiction Book Club. Immediately noticeable is the impressive lineup of top-notch writing talent attached to it: Peter F. Hamilton, Neal Asher, Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, and Ian McDonald. These are some of the most prominent names writing science fiction today.
But how well do they address the theme of galactic empires set forth by editor Gardner Dozois?
Filed under: Book Review
- What was the best part of the old TV show Fraggle Rock? If you said Doozers, you are correct! Who wouldn’t want their own personal work crew to assemble things from Tinker Toys? Now, Mindstyle is releasing these sweet Doozer vinyl figures for the 25th anniversary of Fraggle Rock. Sweet.
- BBC Audio has released two exclusive Dr. Who audiobooks, available only on CD or digital downloads. If you’d like to win a copy, Female First has the contest for you.
- Disney is about to get its feet wet in the online video pool. They announced a new digital studio, Stage 9 Digital Media, to develop 20 new online programs. The first to be released is the comedy series, Squeegees, no this is not a group hug between the Bee Gees, about window-washer slackers. You can find it on ABC and YouTube. Also look for the SF series, Trenches, in the near future.
- Trek Today points us in the direction of the Continuing Mission website, which has three audio interviews with Gene Roddenberry available for download. These were recorded sometime during the slighty scary 1970’s.
- Telewatcher brings us the five best SF shows even a non-geek will love. Aside from Star Trek: TNG, which is the obvious choice, I have to question all the others. Just looking at the ratings for those shows and you’ll see that non-geeks didn’t love them. B5 barely made it’s 5 year run, the Stargates are stuck on Sci Fi, and Firefly died a quick, painful death. If you want a SF show non-geeks will love, I nominate LOST.
- The Sound of Young America has just posted a podcast with 3/5ths of the Cinema Titanic crew. You can hear it below.
Filed under: Tube Bits
- The Independent profiles Iain Banks (Matter).
- Mike Brotherton (Spider Star) interviews Maria Snyder, author of Fire Study.
- Free fiction written by Paolo Bacigalupi:
- Free Fiction at ManyBooks.net: “Operation Haystack” by Frank Patrick Herbert (1959).
- Free audio fiction from Escape Pod: “Pressure” by Jeff Carlson. [via SFFAudio]
- MWB is getting his Doc Savage jones on.
- The Register wants you to vote for your favorite sci-fi movie quote. [via Jeremy Gilby] My favorite: “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- Talk Android lists The 5 Greatest Androids In Classic Sci-Fi.
Filed under: Tidbits
As per Google Analytics, here are The Top 10 SF Signal Posts for February 2008:
- MIND MELD: Which SciFi Movie Ending Would You Change?
- REVIEW: Jumper and Griffin’s Story by Steven Gould
- MIND MELD: What Purpose Does Short Fiction Serve?
- REVIEW: Matter by Iain M. Banks
- FINALISTS: 2007 Nebula Awards
- Final 2007 Stoker Ballot
- Raise Your Hand if You’re a NYT SF/F Book Reviewer Who Hates Young Adult Fiction!
- MIND MELD: Science Fiction as a ‘Geek’ Genre
- Super Bowl WallE Trailer
- Can You Name This Story?
Looking at the top overall hits, while ignoring those listed above, we get these stats for older posts that were popular in February…
- MIND MELD: Which Predictions Did Golden Age Science Fiction Get Right & Wrong?
- Heroes Season 3 Sneak Peek
- Battlestar Galactica’s Season 4 Start Date Revealed!
- SF/F Writers Who Blog
- Science Fiction & Fantasy Books That Make You Dumb
- Heroes Season 2 Officially Sucks
- MIND MELD: If The SF/F Community Ran Hollywood…
- Tube Bits for 07/17/2007
- Solve Rubik’s Cube
- The Top 10 Science Fiction Anime
Filed under: Meta
Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.
Science fiction awards season is upon us. Do you think award wins are a good indicator of quality?
|(70 total votes)|
Comments this week.
“Quality is entirely subjective, and awards tend to be given, and voted for, by people who are rather too fond of their own voices. Awards are a good measure of what other people think, and little else. They are absolutely no substitute for first-person experience.” – Paul Harper
“I voted ‘usually’ because rarely seems too harsh. Sometime, though, for current awards I do have to wonder about what the voters were thinking. For the books that won awards a long [time ago] that I didn’t enjoy, I sometimes think that they’ve aged badly or maybe I just don’t get it.” – SF Fangirl
“I usually enjoy the PKD award winners the most (who can argue with Tim Powers!) for long fiction, and let the Hugs and Nebs find me some short stuff I haven’t already read.” – platyjoe
“I try to read all nominated short fiction they’re usually very good. But sometimes I come across others that I feel wasn’t worth the time I spent to read it.” – Tony Geer
“Personally I tend to have more interest in the annual Locus and SFSite polls than either the Hugo or Nebula winners. The Hugo and Nebula finalists are usually a pretty good bunch and I usually read a few of those novels. Some great books totally miss all the awards every year as well.” – David
“You can argue this till your face turns blue. There is a lot of politics, a lot of back scratching, a lot of favoritism, nepotism and so on. But at the end of the day, the one who is holding the rocket will go down in history and there is a reason for that. Every book I read that had those words on it I put down satisfied.” – General X
Filed under: Polls
Since we didn’t post any Firefly episodes last weekend, we’re making it up to you today with a double feature, of “War Stories” and “Trash” (where I believe, if you’re so inclined, you can gaze upon Mal’s posterior).
Remember to share and enjoy!
More after the jump.
Author Janet Kagan has passed away.
From Locus Online:
SF writer Janet Kagan, born 1946, died Friday, 29 February 2008, of C.O.P.D. (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), at the age of 63. She was author of popular “Mama Jason” stories published in Asimov’s and collected in Mirabile (1991), and of two novels, Star Trek tie Uhura’s Song (1985), and Hellspark (1988). Her 1992 novelette “The Nutcracker Coup” won a Hugo Award in 1993.
See also: Janet Kagan’s website.
Filed under: Books