The End of Infinity Plus

After 10 years, Infinity Plus, the science fiction website started by Keith Brooke (and later co-edited with Nick Gevers and then Paul Barnett) is calling it quits.

Infinity Plus was publishing free online fiction before it was in vogue. The website is also a great resource for insightful reviews and commentary. It’s sad to see it go, but thankfully the current website will remain available as an archive.

And they’re not going out with a whimper, but with a bang…check out this final lineup of content:

Also worth noting is that their 10 year run has seem the publication of 2 anthologies of the short fiction that has appeared there: Infinity Plus One and Infinity Plus Two. Orbit Solaris has just released an omnibus of those two antholgies called Infinity Plus: The Anthology.

Hats off to the folks behind Infinity Plus for a job well done!

[via Jason Erik Lundberg]

Filed under: Web Sites

REVIEW: Splinter by Adam Roberts

MY RATING:

After a collision with an asteroid, a splinter of the Earth is knocked free and floats through the solar system. As one of the very few humans left, Hector must come to terms with his survival among a cult-like group led by his father, who had visions of the coming impact. After reading Polystom and Gradisil, I was very eager to read this book. Unfortunately, I really disliked the story and had to struggle to get through it. And at just over 200 pages, that’s not a good thing.

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Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 8/25/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 08/25/07

Filed under: Battlestar GalacticaHeroesLOSTTube BitsTV

Sleestak Bank

Continuing my renewed fascination with Land of the Lost, I submit the Sleestak bank! This is not to be confused with Sleestak Bank, where all the Sleestaks conduct their financial transactions…

Did they even have any money in Land of the Lost? I’m thinking the economy was more of a first-come-first-served kind of thing. And the Sleestaks were probably the last to get anything since they were as slow as prehistoric molasses, which everyone knows is even slower than modern molasses. I mean, seriously, were these guys (at least I think they were dudes) ever a danger to Will, Holly and their Dad. (Not that we’re so concerned about the Dad after he unceremoniously ditched his kids to high-tail it back to the comforts of modern conveniences — like indoor plumbing and walking in the park without fear of being eaten by a poorly-animated Tyrannosaurus Rex.) I mean, nobody was ever really threatened by these loitering, prehistoric lizard-things with giant gem-like eyes, were they?

WILL: Hey, Holly…we’re here in the Sleestak caverns. Let’s play a card game!

HOLLY: Er…OK.

WILL: How about we play War?

HOLLY: That game takes forever. What if the Sleestaks come near?

WILL: That’s OK, we’ll have plenty of time to finish our game.

[ Interlude: poorly-animated herbivore eating plant to signify the passage of time ]

WILL: 1..2..3..War!

HOLLY: Will! Look out! There’s a Sleestak right behind you!

SLEESTAK: Ssssssssssssss…

[ Will rolls his eyes, sighs, gathers the cards, gets up, does some calisthenics, and wanders out of the cave for a bit, then leaves. ]

HOLLY: Whew..that was close!

[via Optical Popitude]

Filed under: TV

REVIEW: In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan

MY RATING:

Sometimes a book makes me stop and think after I’ve finished it. Occasionally a book will make me stop and think during it. Rarely will a book do both. In War Times is one of those rare books whose ideas live in your mind long after you’ve finished and make you think about them for a time afterward.

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Filed under: Book Review

Here’s Part 1…follow the YouTube trail to see parts 2 through 5.

Filed under: TV

SF Tidbits for 8/24/07

  • The website for Jeff Somers‘ book The Electric Church is now live. It has a feel that’s true to the book, so head on over and find “salvation through eternity”. Or don’t bother…the brain-stealing cyborgs will eventually find you… [via Orbit]
  • Playstation, in conjunction with The Manchester International Festival, has posted short videos based on fiction by Jeff VanderMeer, Nicholas Royle, and Steve Aylett.
  • The Agony Column has the scoop on Tachyon’s reprint of Harlan Ellison’s Shatterday. Check out the back cover for a marketing pitch that only Harlan Ellison could write.
  • Also from The Agony Column: an audio-interview with Peter F. Hamilton.
  • At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Gene Wolfe, author of Soldier of Sidon.
  • UKSF Book News interviews Adam Roberts (Splinter). “It’s main theme, I think, is about the different ways in which worlds end, and the different kinds of worlds that are subject to that style of catastrophic asteroid-strike dinosaur-killing disaster.”
  • Neth Space has 5 Question for Chris Roberson.
  • Amazon.com Wire’s Blog podcast-interviews William Gibson (Spook Country). To skip straight to Gibson’s interview, just click his photo.
  • Gail Martin has posted a book trailer (in wmv or via YouTube) for her book, The Summoner.
  • Real science: Bldg Blog summarizes a subscriber-only New Scientist article about Acoustic Planetology.
  • Here’s a collection of Powerpoint slides examining Biology in SciFi movies.
  • Free fiction watch: Subterranean Press has posted the beginnings of the Fall 2007 issue of Subterranean Online, with the full contents being posted through the next few months. Contributors include Caitlín Kiernan, Joe R. Lansdale, Mike Resnick, Patrick Rothfuss, John Scalzi, Lewis Shiner, Charles de Lint, Elizabeth Bear, David Prill, and Livia Llewellyn.
  • Film Threat lists 50 Reasons Why Return of the Jedi Sucks.

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 08/24/07

  • Rumor has it that a Justice League movie is in the works, based, I have to guess, on the Cartoon Network show. That would be awesome, as the CN version is quite good, and actually has some very heavy SF episodes. I’d watch it.
  • TV Squad has some spoilery information on what to expect for this season of Heroes. Some stuff you’ve seen before, some you haven’t. Proceed at your own risk.
  • Speaking of Heroes, Ali Larter is appearing in an ad campaign for Dove Hair Care, taking a stand for real beauty by ‘going real’ at this year’s Emmys. This is an effort to combat the negative female stereotypes the media portrays. How will she do this? By doing her own hair. Apparently, the hair is the biggest problem with the portrayal of females in the media. Not unrealistic body types, but hair.
  • Networks this year are shying away from serial programming. Most of the new shows return to the stand alone episode model of yore. Definitely a boon for those who don’t want to invest a lot of thought in following their favorite show. I do think that a serial program, done right, can be better than stand alone shows, Star Trek not withstanding.
  • Buddy TV has the scoop on LOST casting rumors for season 4. As usual, there may be some spoilage here, but really, the powers that be are doing a good job keeping info under tight wraps.

Filed under: Tube Bits

REVIEW: It’s Dead, Jim by Warp 11

MY RATING:

Sex, drugs and rock and roll is how the saying goes. After litening to Warp 11′s latest CD, we can add Star Trek to the equation. It’s Dead, Jim is a hard hitting album that effectively ties all things Star Trek with a wide range of music. The fact that Warp 11 is not a cover band, but writes their own songs is amazing, and their music is more than good enough for non-Trekkies/Trekkers to enjoy.

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Filed under: Music

Is Heroes Overreaching?

The internets have been abuzz discussing Boston Globe columnist Matthew Gilbert’s article Too much, too fast for overreaching ‘Heroes’. Basically, his problem with Heroes is that the hype being generated is based on Heroes as a product, and not media-hype about how good the show is.

Well, excuse me, but the media does not decide if a show is good or not, the people watching it do. Now, he does raise some legitimate concerns: too many characters and no logic behind how the powers work. He also complains about the plot being too sprawling, which I don’t agree with. And even though the finale was poor compared to the rest of the season, Heroes is still one of the better shows on television.

Which is why NBC is pushing it as hard as they can. Being at the bottom of the ratings barrel for long time will do that for you. NBC will do everything it can to pump up interest in the second season, including all the ancillary stuff like action figures, trading cards, and the like.

And as for there being too many characters, well, Kring stated early on that season 2 would see some characters depart and new ones appear. I like the idea of this approach, as each season becomes more of a self-contained unit. If the writers do their jobs, there’s no reason to think new characters will kill the show. Comparisons to LOST‘s second season aren’t relevant as LOST is one story told over many seasons. Heroes is a new story every season. We’ll see how well this works starting this September, but to dismiss the attempt before you even see how it turns out strikes me as reactionary.

Gilbert also doesn’t like the spin-off idea of Heroes: Origins. I can accept this. The idea seems a bit cheesy to me, sort of a mainstream version of Who Wants To Be A Superhero, only without Stan Lee’s disembodied head. I’m not really interested in this, but I bet it gets decent ratings.

NBC is going to milk Heroes for all its worth, which is why we have a the Hayden Panittiere ‘Got Milk’ ad so prominently displayed. Yes, yes, Masi Oka has one too, but it’s not as, ah, interesting. Now, if Gilbert had decried Hayden’s ad as an overreach, I’d have to agree. I mean, come on, what, exactly are we pushing here? She turns 18 and this is what we get? I’m sure legions of Claire fanboys suddenly have the urge to run to the grocery store.

Back to point, I think Gilbert is putting the cart before the horse. He is using the actions of NBC relentlessly pushing Heroes as suggestive that the show won’t be as good second season. You can’t say that as the writers have nothing to do with how NBC promotes the show, they can only write the story. We’ll see soon how well the show does. I’m hoping the show does well, although the season finale has lowered my expectations somewhat for the new season. I’m still interested, especially in Hiro’s story.

[via John Brownlee at Sci Fi Scanner]

Filed under: HeroesTV

This! Is! Rama!

[From Sci Fi Wire] Morgan Freeman tells the MTV Movies Blog that he is still working on a film adaptation of Arthur C. Clark’s Rendezvous With Rama. I say, “Bring it on!”

I remember reading Rama back in the day and being blown away by the story. What’s not to love about a group of scientists exploring a 30-mile long cylinder floating in space? But as Freeman notes, Rama isn’t your typical summer SF movie. It’s actually quite free of anything exploding or marauding aliens invading Earth. It’s about humanity and big science ideas. I’d love to see a film version of the book.

Despite the issues of adapting it to film, Freeman still believes it’s worth doing, and I agree. I’d like to see more, smart SF movies. Rama is a good start, if it ever gets made. I’d also like to see Eon as film, or any of the Culture novels by Banks, even though they usually have stuff exploding.

Filed under: Movies

Thoughts on Eureka Season 2 (so far)

Besides Doctor Who, Eureka is one of the few shows I watch regularly and, for what it’s worth, the only other SciFi Channel show I watch. Although the show keeps me coming back, it’s not perfect. Here’s are my thoughts on Season 2 so far…

  • Eureka, as JP has mentioned, is about the characters, and the characters are strong. Mostly. See the exceptions noted below.
  • It looks like they are trying to get Carter away from “stupid newbie” to “unintentionally smart Do-Gooder”. The crimes that Sheriff Carter has to solve always seem involve Carter’s basic understanding of the science that somehow escapes the town full of Braniacs. That dumbing-down they do for him works wonders, but the stories are in danger of becoming formulaic.
  • Seeing Carter’s ex-wife was a nice glimpse into his personal life. Seeing Carter and Allison get closer isn’t. Their chemistry worked better with the unrequited lust spin.
  • Speaking of Allison, what’s up with her replacing Stark? I guess her “temporary assignment” gig was wearing thin. And what about Stark himself? Stark still annoys me. I thought – no, hoped! – that his dismissal would be the last we saw of him. Sadly, that was not to be. Now he loiters around like a wet napkin, failing to emote anything at all, with his deadpan delivery of every single line of dialogue that the writers are forced to throw his way.
  • Taggert (Max Headroom) is virtually gone from this season, which is fine by me. That character did nothing for me. But I still would rather see him stick around instead of Stark.
  • Deputy Jo Lupo is emerging as a standout character. Good move.
  • Fargo is getting more screen time this season. Every time he appears, I can’t help but think of his effeminate house-voice: “Good morning, Sheriff Carter!”
  • The story arc of Henry and his wife’s accident looks intriguing. I’m interested in seeing where they are going with it, but not if they drag it out too long. They need to ratchet up Beverly’s dastardly quotient.
  • Speaking of story arcs dragging out, I’m interested to see where they go with the Artifact story line, but they need to show us more and soon.

Bottom line: The show’s quality is a bit uneven. Some episodes are good, others not so much. Overall, I think the show is worth watching, if only for the quirkiness of the characters and humor.

Filed under: TV

Imagining the 10th Dimension

I first learned that there were 10 dimensions back when I read the mind-blowing Hyperspace by Michio Kaku. Here’s a video explaining how to imagine it…

[via myselfDev]

Filed under: Science and Technology

SF Tidbits for 8/23/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Thursday YouTube: Google Sky

Check out the nifty new features of Google Sky

Filed under: Space

Tube Bits For 08/23/07

  • Over on Amazon’s Screening Room Blog, Stephanie Reid-Simons is

    giving the Flash Gordon a chance. I disagree with the first reason, somewhat disagree with the second, and the third doesn’t matter if the show is crap.

  • The Age.com (Australian) has a short article on David Duchovny and his new Showtime show Californication. Lots of adult themed discussion here so be warned.
  • Buddy TV looks at the recasting of Jamie Sommers’ sister in Bionic Woman and decides the show is going for style over substance. And, given the facts, I think they are right. I’ll still tune in to see what the show is like.
  • Sy Fy Portal takes a look at genre series that died too soon. Lot’s of interesting shows here, many of which I’ve never seen. At all. I may have to check them out. Somehow.
  • We’ve mentioned Sanctuary, the online only SF-ish series, before. All of the episodes are available for purchase from the home sight, and now, many of them are available in HD via Vuze, the online ‘network’ brought to you by the guys behind the bittorrent client, Azureus. The first episode is free to watch. Mmm, free HD goodness. [Thanks to Shanee Ben-Zur for the tip!]

Filed under: Tube BitsTV

The Sequel To Larklight Is Coming Soon!

That’s right, Brass Goggles clues us in that the awesome Larklight will have a sequel in October. Check out the sub-title: A Stirring Adventure of Spies, Time Travel and Curious Hats. What’s not to love about that?

And given the terrific universe Reeve has created for this series, I’m excited to read this book when it comes out. Aether-ships, pirates, space spiders and interesting characters made the first one a joy to read. Starcross looks to have more of the same steampunky goodness of the first one. Mark you calendars for October 16th!

Filed under: Books

Tube Bits For 08/22/07

  • Last season’s Who Wants To Be A Superhero? winner, Feedback, will make his movie debut this Saturday on Sci Fi. This isn’t a Feedback movie, rather the actor, Matthew Atherton will be starring in the Sci Fi movie, Mega Snake, which is pretty much all you need to know to decide whether to watch or not. I’d choose not.
  • Sci Fi Weekly has an interview with Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge on 10 years of Stargate SG-1. SG-1 fans ought to find something interesting here. [Via Slice Of Sci Fi]
  • Paul Bagosy details his threshold of suspension of disbelief, and uses an episode of Eureka to do so. In my mind, he chose a weaker episode, but Eureka isn’t really about the science, its about the characters. I can deal with the technobabble because I like the people in the show.
  • Now all you SF fans in Japan will have your very own science fiction channel. Pray that they don’t make ‘original’ movies like Sci Fi. There’s no telling the horrors of low budget rubber monster movies waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting Japan.
  • Battlestar Galactica will live on after its series finale, but in the form of a six issue comic series. The comic will fill details leading up to the Cylon attack.

Filed under: Tube BitsTV

A Poll of U.S. Reading Habits

CNN has the skinny on a poll of reading habits in the U.S.

Some interesting take-aways:

  • One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year.
  • Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.
  • The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn’t read any, the usual number read was seven.
  • Analysts attribute the listlessness of book sales to competition from the Internet and other media, the unsteady economy and a well-established industry with limited opportunities for expansion.
  • Among those who said they had read books, the median figure — with half reading more, half fewer — was nine books for women and five for men.
  • People from the South read a bit more than those from other regions, mostly religious books and romance novels.
  • Whites read more than blacks and Hispanics
  • Democrats and liberals typically read more books than Republicans and conservatives.
  • Men tend to prefer nonfiction.

Filed under: Books

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