Who Ya Gonna Call?

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.

Filed under: Movies

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.

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 2/3/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Top 10 SF Signal Posts for January 2007

Go, go, Google Analytics!

Here are The Top 10 SF Signal Posts for January 2007:

  1. 2006: A Year in Review
  2. EW’s 25 Most Shameless Paycheck-Grabbing Roles in History
  3. Is HBO Doing It Right? (A Song Of Ice And Fire)
  4. The Top 10 Science Fiction Anime
  5. Unfilmable Science Fiction Novels
  6. The year without an English Hugo?
  7. REVIEW: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  8. REVIEW: The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
  9. The Great Pratchett Reading Project
  10. 2006 Preliminary Nebula Award Ballot

Looking at the top overall hits in January while ignoring those listed above, we get these stats:

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Filed under: Meta

SF Tidbits for 2/2/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Harry Potter And The Hype Machine

The ‘literary’ world is abuzz today over the announced release date for the latest, and last, Potter book on July 21st. It’s already #1 on Amazon and likely to stay there for awhile. That sound you hear is all the fanboys and fangirls girding themselves to brave the mid-summer night to their local bookstore to purchase their copy promptly at midnight. You know it will happen. So, given all the anticipation and hype surrounding the book, the question is:

Can Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows live up to expectations?

Sure, Rowling has said two characters may possibly die and, at the very least, I’m expecting her to end the series in a emphatic manner. One thing is for certain though, the one thing that will certainly die will be thousands of trees.

OK, two questions. This is the series that has fans lining up for midnight release parties? Harry Potter? Sure, the books are fun and all, but I’m at a loss as to why they have generated as much interest as they have. Partly I think it has to do with being in the ‘in crowd’, and partly I don’t know what. I’d ask my #1 son, but I don’t think I’d get a very illuminating response beyond “I dunno…”.

Update: Amazon is reporting that pre-orders for The Deathly Hallows are up 547 percent over book 6. That could be a lot of books. And for John, the deluxe edition is going for $65.

Filed under: Books

REVIEW: The Color Of Magic by Terry Pratchett

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The first Discworld novel follows the adventures of Rincewind the Wizzard and Twoflowers, the Disc’s first tourist.

PROS: Great characters, interesting setting, humorous writing.

CONS: Very disjointed, not up to par with later books.

BOTTOM LINE: A good intro to Discworld, but there are better books out there.

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SF Tidbits for 2/1/07

Filed under: Tidbits

We seem to have a “cost of books” theme going with a previous tidbit (“Literary Kicks says Books are Too Damn Expensive“) and the recent post The Most Expensive Science Fiction & Fantasy Books Sold by AbeBooks in 2006. I thought you, dear, dear reader, might want to weigh in on the highest price you ever paid for a single science fiction or fantasy novel.

Me? I’m a biblioholic as opposed to a collector, so most of my book-buying dollar goes towards used science fiction, not collectibles. But back before I discovered the plethora of used bookstores in Houston, I did pick up a new (gasp!) copy of David Brin’s Foundation’s Triumph for around $24 in order to complete my pre-2000 Asimov Robots/Foundation reading project. There have been times when I thought about paying more for a book (a $300 set of sf reference books, a copy of the hard-to-find Year’s Best Science Fiction #1 by Gardner Dozois) but I could never bring myself to do it.

What’s the most you ever paid?

Filed under: Books

Locus Does it Bester

An online version of Graham Sleight’s “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” from the June 2006 issue of Locus has been posted online. Sleight looks at two classic novels by Alfred Bester: The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination.

I recently read The Stars My Destination. This, my friends, is the differene difference between a professional review and an amateur review. (That and running a spell check.)

There are books you admire and books you love. Ulysses is easy to admire; Pride and Prejudice is easy to love. I think that when you love a book, it’s almost always because of voice, because you want to know the person telling you the story. These two novels by Bester are both admired and loved in the SF field, I think rightly. Re-reading them as an adult is, inevitably, not the same as when you first encounter them (as almost everyone seems to have) at the age of 14. But Bester’s ceaseless tug of story remains unstoppable, a force of nature; and unlike with many books, you can see that he had reasons to write these two. They weren’t just stopping-posts or contractual obligations partway through a career. You sense, more than anything, how thrilling it would have been to know the man who wrote them at the time he wrote them. Streamers and confetti burst from him, still.

Filed under: Books

Abe Books has announced new Science Fiction and Fantasy book rooms which focus on their respective genres. The rooms offer a link to this interesting list. Check the page for details about each volume.

The Most Expensive Science Fiction & Fantasy Books Sold by AbeBooks in 2006

  1. 1984 by George Orwell ($8,258.40)
  2. (Tie) Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson ($7,500)
  3. (Tie) The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King ($7,500)
  4. (Tie) I, Robot by Issac Asimov ($4,500)
  5. (Tie) The Healer’s War by Elizabeth Scarborough ($4,500)
  6. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley ($4,025)
  7. The Ship That Sailed to Mars by William Timlin ($3,995)
  8. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm ($3,975)
  9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley ($3,250)
  10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien ($3,000)

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 1/31/07

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW SUMMARY: How can you not watch Elvis and JFK fight a mummy?

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Elvis and JFK fight a soul-eating Egyptian mummy in a nursing home.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Campbell as Elvis; witty dialog; social commentary on the elderly gives the story some depth;

CONS: Stretches some limits of believability, but only if you look at this as a horror film.

BOTTOM LINE: A quiet, subtly insightful drama. With a mummy.

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Filed under: Movies

REVIEW: Final Impact by John Birmingham

REVIEW SUMMARY: Continuing the quality of effort from the previous book, Birmingham delivers on a quality ending to a complicated trilogy.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The task force from the future introduced in the work Weapons of Choice, continues to deal with the impact of its arrival and, most importantly, the continuation of the fight against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The politics of nations takes center stage here as the planet deals with the new ending to WW2 and the significantly different history of the Soviet Union.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Excellent thoughts on the behavior of Stalin, Yamamoto, Roosevelt, and others when confronted with the major changes in the world brought about by the technology of the future.

CONS: Perhaps a bit gratuitous in parts – but war is hell.

BOTTOM LINE: The final 2 books in this trilogy make it overall very solid and worth your time if you are interested in military fiction of this type.

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SF Tidbits for 1/30/07

Filed under: Tidbits

From the Nevada Appeal:

Fantasy writer David Eddings, 75, said he was using water to flush out the gas tank of his broken-down Excalibur sports car, when some fluid leaked. In a lapse of judgment he readily admitted, Eddings lit a piece of paper and threw into the puddle to test if it was still flammable. The answer came in an orange torrent.

[via Eternal Golden Braid]

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 1/29/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
With all the excitement on the possibility of an HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series, it’s time to sound off. Which of the books do you like best?

RESULTS

(119 total votes)

One comment this week:

“I simply can’t pick a favorite. Least favorite is A Feast For Crows, but only because I would have rather waited for the whole damn’ book instead of getting half the story lines and having to wait at least as long again as for the second half. But I do understand Martin’s desire to get _something_ in the readers’ hands before fannish hit men began stalking him.” – Tim Morris

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels!

Filed under: Polls

Ice Planet

A new science fiction series and mobile video game called Ice Planet are only in co-development, but already has an “Unofficial” fan site. (Read: Official fan site meant to generate buzz.) Ice Planet, to be shot in High Definition video, involves aliens, alien artifacts and Armageddon and stars everyone’s favorite bad guy, Michael Ironside (Scanners, Total Recall).

The series marks the second time a science fiction series will be shot in HD. (The first was The 4400.) This is good news. If anything deserves to be shot in high definition, it’s science fiction. At least since Baywatch went off the air. Additionally, the producers plan to shoot the show as a five-season story arc.

More info on the story line comes from a press release:

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Filed under: GamesTV

SF Tidbits for 1/28/07

Filed under: Tidbits

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