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:
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?
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]
Cthulhu • Free Fiction
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]
By JP Frantz
| Tuesday, February 6th, 2007 at
(See the main Pratchett story table here.)
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
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.
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”.
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)…
By JP Frantz
| Monday, February 5th, 2007 at
(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
REVIEW SUMMARY: More engaging vampire noir.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Vampire Joe Pitt tracks down the source of a new drug that’s strong enough to affect vampires.
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
Tagged with: Charlie Huston • Joe Pitt
Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.
Which of these Discworld novels is best?
a few comments this week:
“I still maintain that Going Postal was one of the best Discworld novels. It was funny, it was well written, it was smart. Like a fantasy version of Paul Newman’s movie, The Sting. Barring that, Night Watch was interesting in that comedy was definitely not the point of the book, and it was the better for it.” – Pete Tzinski
“Have read and reread and reread and listened to all of them, but recommend reading a newer one like Going Postal first. The first few are different and harder for a non Pratchett fan to enjoy. The Going Postal audiobook is great, too.” – Bob
“H8a!” – JP
[To which John responds with a sticking out of the tongue and a firm exhale.]
“Hogfather or Lords and Ladies. A lot of the earlier books are fun. Those are from the time when Pratchett started layering layers and layers of meaning under the humor. Good times.” – Lutanite
Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!
The ConDFW Science Fiction Convention will be held on February 23-25, 2007, in Dallas, TX. Guests include Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, Harry Turtledove, Bob Eggleton, Robert Asprin, Steven K. Z. Brust, John Steakley and Martha Wells.
The 38th AggieCon Science Fiction Convention will be held on March 22-25, 2007, in College Station, TX. Guests include Gene Wolfe (Guest of Honor), Richard Hatch, Todd McCaffrey, Jayme Blaschke, Rick Klaw, Joe Lansdale and Martha Wells.
The ArmadilloCon literary science fiction convention will be held on August 10-12, 2007, in Austin, TX. Guests include Louise Marley, Gary Lippincott, Sharyn November, Patty Wells and Howard Waldrop.
[via Martha Wells]
By JP Frantz
| Saturday, February 3rd, 2007 at
Dan Akroyd! In fact, Dan has some interesting things to say regarding the storied Ghostbusters franchise. First, a game is in the works and Akroyd will be doing some mo-cap and voice acting for it. Could be cool. Second, and more interesting, a movie is in the works. Ghostbusters III will be CGI and Akroyd, at least, will be lending his voice. I didn’t listen to the whole interview so there may be more info there. While I’d like to see more live-action Ghostbuster, uh, action, I can understand why they went with CGI as the main actors are now 20 years older and not as spry. Here’s to hoping they don’t screw it up a la Ghostbusters II.
Here’s a podcast of a 2005 keynote address by Vernor Vinge:
In this keynote address from Accelerating Change 2005, Vernor Vinge discusses the potential for a “technological singularity” – the event at which the creation of artificial superhuman intelligence changes the world so dramatically that it is impossible to imagine the world after that point. He explains that the singularity is not a given, nor is it necessarily a positive event. Many factors could arise that prevent the singularity from occurring and there is a potential for it to be a catastrophic event rather than a positive revolution.
Vinge suspects that if the Singularity arises after several years of progress rather than as an overnight event, it is more likely to be a positive step in human evolution. He calls this the “soft-takeoff,” and offers some ideas that may encourage a longer approach to the point of change. The pace of progress may be exponentially increasing, but that does not preclude a gradual move toward the moment of transition.