Friday YouTube: Buck Rogers

From a BBC documentary…

Bonus! Twiki Video after the jump…

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Filed under: TV

Wastelands: Free Stories and Trailer

John Joseph Adams has posted six stories from his cool anthology, Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, at the book’s website:

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…

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Filed under: Books

Tube Bits For 03/07/2008

  • 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

SF Tidbits for 3/7/08

Filed under: Tidbits

MIND MELD: Science Fiction Series

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:

Q: Are science fiction book series a barrier to gaining new readership?
Lou Anders
A 2007 Hugo Award and Chesley Award nominee and 2006 World Fantasy Award nominee, Lou Anders is the editorial director of Prometheus Books’ science fiction imprint Pyr, as well as the anthologies Outside the Box (Wildside Press, 2001), Live Without a Net (Roc, 2003), Projections: Science Fiction in Literature & Film (MonkeyBrain, December 2004), FutureShocks (Roc, January 2006), Fast Forward 1 (Pyr, February 2007), and the forthcoming Sideways in Crime (Solaris, June 2008) and Fast Forward 2 (Pyr, October 2008). In 2000, he served as the Executive Editor of Bookface.com, and before that he worked as the Los Angeles Liaison for Titan Publishing Group. He is the author of The Making of Star Trek: First Contact (Titan Books, 1996), and has published over 500 articles in such magazines as The Believer, Publishers Weekly, Dreamwatch, Star Trek Monthly, Star Wars Monthly, Babylon 5 Magazine, Sci Fi Universe, Doctor Who Magazine, and Manga Max. His articles and stories have been translated into Danish,Greek, German, Italian and French, and have appeared online at SFSite.com, RevolutionSF.com and InfinityPlus.co.uk. Visit him online at www.louanders.com and www.pyrsf.com

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!

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Filed under: Mind Meld

SF Tidbits for 3/6/08

Filed under: Tidbits

SF Tidbits for 3/5/08

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 03/05/2008

  • 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

RIP: Gary Gygax

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

Recent Free Reads

Filed under: Free Fiction

SF Tidbits for 3/4/08

Filed under: Tidbits

Appleseed: Ex Machina on DVD

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

I love this.

[via Cynical-C]

Filed under: Star Wars

REVIEW SUMMARY: Six original novellas set against galactic empire backdrops.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Top SF authors attack the theme of galactic empires with armfuls of sensawunda.

MY REVIEW:

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?

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Filed under: Book Review

Tube Bits For 03/03/2008

  • 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

SF Tidbits for 3/3/08

Filed under: Tidbits

Top 10 SF Signal Posts for February 2008

As per Google Analytics, here are The Top 10 SF Signal Posts for February 2008:

  1. MIND MELD: Which SciFi Movie Ending Would You Change?
  2. REVIEW: Jumper and Griffin’s Story by Steven Gould
  3. MIND MELD: What Purpose Does Short Fiction Serve?
  4. REVIEW: Matter by Iain M. Banks
  5. FINALISTS: 2007 Nebula Awards
  6. Final 2007 Stoker Ballot
  7. Raise Your Hand if You’re a NYT SF/F Book Reviewer Who Hates Young Adult Fiction!
  8. MIND MELD: Science Fiction as a ‘Geek’ Genre
  9. Super Bowl WallE Trailer
  10. 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…

  1. MIND MELD: Which Predictions Did Golden Age Science Fiction Get Right & Wrong?
  2. Heroes Season 3 Sneak Peek
  3. Battlestar Galactica’s Season 4 Start Date Revealed!
  4. SF/F Writers Who Blog
  5. Science Fiction & Fantasy Books That Make You Dumb
  6. Heroes Season 2 Officially Sucks
  7. MIND MELD: If The SF/F Community Ran Hollywood…
  8. Tube Bits for 07/17/2007
  9. Solve Rubik’s Cube
  10. The Top 10 Science Fiction Anime

Filed under: Meta

POLL RESULTS: Are Awards a Good Indicator of Quality?

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Science fiction awards season is upon us. Do you think award wins are a good indicator of quality?

RESULTS

(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

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about the worst SciFi movie ending!

Filed under: Polls

Sunday Cinema Double Feature: Firefly – “War Stories”, “Trash”

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.

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Filed under: FireflyTV

RIP: Janet Kagan

Sad news…

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

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