SF Tidbits for 3/28/08

More Free Hugo Stories

Over at Eos Blog, Diana Gill links to two more recently-posted stories that were nominated for the 2008 Hugo Award:

Both of these stories appeared in the HarperCollins/Eos anthology The New Space Opera edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan, which Eos has also made available for online browsing.

NOTE: Eos also has the Hugo-nominated novel The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon available for online browsing, too!

The list of Free Hugo-Nominated Short Fiction has been updated.

REVIEW: Soon I will be Invincible by Austin Grossman

REVIEW SUMMARY: Comic book fiction mixed with some realistic personalities creates a fun read for superhero fans.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Corefire is missing and Doctor Impossible has escaped again. Was he responsible for Corefire’s disappearance? Well, the New Champions are on the case.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Interesting narrative style; Fantastic characters.

CONS: Some of the transitions into and out of the flashbacks are a little abrupt; Some characters could use a bit more development.

BOTTOM LINE: A great book with some minor flaws that gives yet another view on superheros.

Continue reading

Tube Bits For 03/27/2008

  • Mary McDonnell, President Roslin on Battlestar Galactica, clues us in on a minor spoiler for the upcoming season: Her character has a resurgence of cancer, but that she, McDonnell, is excited but sad to be working on the last season, which begins airing Friday, April 9th, at 9pm ET.
  • Colin Ferguson, Sheriff Carter on one of SF Signal’s fave SF TV shows Eureka, talks about the changes for the upcoming season. He mentions that some characters are leaving, while new ones will be joining. We know Henry will be staying, but I’m curious as to who they could loose and not really hurt the show: Beverly? Stark? Any guesses? And from the did you know department: Sci FI has full episodes of Eureka online. Sadly, not all of them. Come on Sci Fi, it’s the 21st Century. There’s no reason not to have them all available.
  • Carol Barbee, exec producer of Jericho, looks at options for continuing the Jericho storyline. These include moving the series to a cable network, a web-based series, comic book or a movie. Of these, I’m guessing that a cable or web-based presence would be about right for the ratings they drew.
  • TV Squad gives us nine reasons Eli Stone keeps getting better. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Stone, and even though it has the typical, clichéd Hollywood view of what is a good lawyer vs. a bad lawyer, I still like the show. Johnny Lee Miller, as Eli, really makes the show despite the plots (evil corporations, greedy law firms, etc.)
  • Jack Trevino, writer and producer, finds some humor on the set of Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. Of Gods and Men is a ‘fan’ production with some big name stars involved with it, such as Nichelle Nichols and Bester, I mean Walter Koening. Maybe we’ll see this up for a Nebula next year…
  • Did you know that Sci Fi’s here but gone almost overnight series, Tripping the Rift has a direct to DVD movie? Neither did I. But the folks at Armchair Critic took one for the team and review the DVD. Verdict: Stick with the series. Which is kinda scary.

SF Tidbits for 3/27/08

MIND MELD: Is Science Fiction Antithetical to Religion?

This week’s question was suggested by Lou Anders, who not only received extra Mind Meld credit redeemable at imaginary nerd shops everywhere, but who also must serve penance by answering his own question:

Q: Two of the most highly regarded fantasy authors – Tolkien and Lewis – were also Christians, whereas the fathers of science fiction were atheists, and SF itself, it could be argued, grew out of Darwinism and other notions of deep time. Is science fiction antithetical to religion?
Mike Resnick
Mike Resnick is the author of 50 novels, 200 short stories, a pair of screenplays, and the editor of 50 anthologies, as well as the executive editor of Jim Baen’s Universe. According to Locus, he is the leading award winner, living or dead, of short fiction. His work has been translated into 22 languages.

You can’t generalize about this large a field. For every atheist or agnostic author you can name, I’ll name a religious one. For example: Gene Wolfe is a devout Catholic. Ray Lafferty was a devout Catholic. Avram Davidson was an Orthodox Jew. Michael A. Burstein is an Orthodox Jew. Etc, etc, etc.

In 1984 I wrote a very controversial novel titled The Branch, in which God and the true Jewish Messiah (not Jesus) were the two villains of the piece. The poor producer/director who optioned and made it got excommunicated from his church and thrown out of his country (Andorra)…and yet if you do not accept the existence of God and the truth of the Old Testament, there’s no story. So was it irreligious, or was it simply Politically Incorrect religion?

I am an atheist, yet I have given God speaking parts in four or five humorous stories, and have treated religion with respect in literally dozens of stories and novels. On the other hand, I know many devout Christian and Jewish science fiction writers whose religious beliefs are deeply personal, and who choose not to share them fictionally with their audience. Are they irreligious because they do not evangelize in print?

You can’t just a book by its cover…and you can’t necessarily judge an author’s (or a field’s) religious beliefs by that book’s contents.

Continue reading

SF Tidbits for 3/26/08

Tube Bits for 03/26/2008

  • We mentioned yesterday that Sci Fi Channel will be airing a special on the Crystal Skulls on Indy 4‘s release date of May 18th. But that’s not all! They will also air the first three Indy films during the day, so if you play your cards right, you can watch the first three films, then catch the new one in the theaters that evening.
  • The G4 channel has come a long way from its roots as a gaming channel. G4 merged with TechTV awhile back and they have been trying to grow their audience. Currently you can find severl Japanese game shows during their Duty Free TV block: Ninja Warrior, Unbeatable Banzuke, and the crazily named Big Super Product Fun Show, which all sound like a hoot. On June 1st, G4 will air the animated Spaceballs series, and they will also suplement their airings of Heroes by airing repeats of LOST, in order, starting with the pilot.
  • A couple of Jericho bits here: Showrunner Carol Barbee says the fans did more than enough, but there’s a limit to what they can do. SF Universe gives us a list of what went wrong. I can answer both posts with the same reason: The writers didn’t make their show compelling enough. Sure Jericho has a dedicated fan base, but it wasn’t enough to ensure long term success. In the end, it boils down to appealing to a wide audience, and the didn’t do that.
  • Joe Morton, who plays Henry on Eureka, hopes that his character will become more involved with politics and the environment on the show. Normally I would roll my eyes at a statement like that, expecting the usual Hollywood take, but Morton says this: “I think, probably, it would be nice if politics was a thing, if the world economy was a thing, if he could find a way to use science to help people to make a better living, have a better life, etc., etc…” I agree to the extent that I fell science, in most TV and film, is shown as being bad or is used for bad purposes. I’d like to see science portrayed in a positive light.
  • Holy cow! Check out these sweet, custom-made Futurama LEGOs! I want a set. Too bad they aren’t official. Awesome.
  • South Park Studios has done what every studio should do, make every episode of South Park available, for free, online. Yes, all 11(!) seasons. Yes there are ads, but they are short and few in number. Applause all around.
  • Our boys over at Raven Stake strike again, giving us another episode of LOST, What Will Happen Next?.

Let’s Look At Sci Fi Channel’s Press Upfront Announcements

Last week, March 18th, the Sci Fi Channel held their press upfront announcement in New York. During the even, Sci Fi announced a whole slew of new stuff for the upcoming year. I thought we would take a look at their announcements and see what is interesting to us as SF fans…

Continue reading

Tuesday Tune: “Come and See” by Young Galaxy

I’m feeling a little musical today…and not just because I’m hopped up on Dr. Pepper…

Here’s Young Galaxy‘s sci-fi-ish video for “Come and See”.

For those who don’t have the Quicktime plugin installed, here’s the crappy-quality YouTube version.

SF Tidbits for 3/25/08

Sweet Jebus, there are a lot of links today!

Convention Finder

Cool idea!

From SFScope:

Nathan E. Lilly, editor of SpaceWesterns.com writes about a new project:

This doesn’t have to do with SpaceWesterns.com–my day job is as a Web Developer, and I moonlight under the auspices of GreenTentacles.com. In the early morning of 21 March, John Joseph Adams put out a call on his web blog for some “con-loving web savvy fan” to put together a convention finder that allowed people to find the closest conventions by ZIP Code.

By 10:30PM, I had created this Con Finder which only has about 8 conventions in it at the moment, but allows con-runners to add their own).

Tube Bits for 03/25/2008

  • DVD Verdict judges the newly released DVD set of Painkiller Jane, stating: Painkiller Jane is a middling, unoriginal sci fi series that is only occasionally interesting. Ouch. I guess you’ll need some painkillers to watch this one.
  • Ronald D. Moore, king of the SF reboots, visited the set of the new Star Trek movie and opines that rebooting the series was a good idea, saying “it was a very smart move to sort of clear the decks, wipe the slate clean and start over.” Apparently there is/was too much Trek info needed to appreciate it that new viewers were scared off. Going back to the beginning gives everyone a chance to start over and get in on the ground floor. We’ll see, though I’m not optimistic.
  • Speaking of Trek, the new Sulu, John Cho, states that Sulu isn’t really Japanese, but is, in fact, Pan-Asian. He bases this claim on Roddenberry’s statement that Sulu was supposed to represent the continent of Asia. Alright, but when I hear the name Hikaru Sulu, I think Japanese.
  • The Baltimore Sun has a short article on artist Steven Parke, whose work is featured on the liner notes for the new Heroes soundtrack CD.
  • Scott Brown at Wired says explains why Battlestar Galactica must self-destruct. Self-destruct meaning come to an end, not literally explode, although that may happen too.
  • Check out the new Season 4 trailer for Dr. Who:

Monday YouTube: Asimov Talks Post-1949 SF

Here’s Isaac Asimov talking about the changes in SF after 1949 from the Literature of SF DVD.

[via World in a Satin Bag]

REVIEW: 2007 Nebula Award Short Fiction Nominees

As in previous years (see the entries for 2006 and 2007), I ventured forth and read the short fiction finalists for the 2007 Nebula Awards. I find this to be a fun yearly project, though for some reason it seemed like it took longer to complete this year; probably due to personal time constraints more than anything. All but two of the stories (the novelettes “The Fiddler of Bayou Teche” by Delia Sherman and “The Children’s Crusade” by Robin Wayne Bailey) were available online this year. If I come across those stories, I’ll update this post.

The short fiction entries this year fared better overall than in previous years. The only two stories I could have done without were both fantasies, keeping in line with my hit-or-miss track record for fantasy. When the stories worked, they worked in a big way. While the profitability of short fiction may be debatable, there’s no denying the quality and creativity of which the format is capable.

In a nutshell, then, here are my impressions of the stories in each category, sorted from most to least enjoyable. My winning picks are the tops ones listed in each category. Story titles link to online versions, where available.

NOVELLAS

Stars Seen Through Stone” by Lucius Shepard
Fountain of Age” by Nancy Kress
Memorare” by Gene Wolfe
The Helper and His Hero” by Matt Hughes
Kiosk” by Bruce Sterling
Awakening” by Judith Berman

NOVELETTES

The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang
Safeguard” by Nancy Kress
The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change” by Kij Johnson
Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” by Geoff Ryman
Child, Maiden, Mother, Crone” by Terry Bramlett

[Not read] “The Fiddler of Bayou Teche” by Delia Sherman
[Not read] “The Children’s Crusade”

SHORT STORIES

Titanium Mike Saves the Day” by David D. Levine
Captive Girl” by Jennifer Pelland
Pride” by Mary Turzillo
Always” by Karen Joy Fowler
Unique Chicken Goes In Reverse” by Andy Duncan
The Story of Love” by Vera Nazarian

Reviewlettes of the stories follow…

Continue reading

Tube Bits For 03/24/2008

  • Bionic Woman and Battlestar Galactica producer David Eick tells Sci Fi Wire that he is adapting P.D. James’ novel, Children of Men as a TV series. The series won’t be about the story from the book, but will instead focus on the culture and society James has created. Eick is currently writing the script for the show.
  • Anime fans should like this: GDH, parent company of the anime studio Gonzo, announced plans to provide popular video streaming sites Youtube, Crunchyroll, and BOST with simultaneous, English-subtitled anime broadcasts of upcoming TV series. These episodes will be available at the same time as they air on Japanese TV, thus making licensing/subbing/production turnaround time a thing of the past. Wow. Now U.S. fans won’t have to wait for the fan sub groups to do their thing, and won’t have to rely on the greymarket torrents to get their fix. Well, at least of Gonzo shows. Hopefully other studios will follow suit.
  • Staying with anime, Cartoon Network’s online view, Adult Swim Fix, will be airing episodes of Code Geass before they are broadcast on Cartoon Network. How odd is that? Of course, CN is airing the show at 1:30am.
  • You’ve probably already seen this: CBS has cancelled Jericho. Apparently the changes they made for this season didn’t help. Having not watched a single episode this season, I can’t comment on that. But when you kill off the best actor, then kill off a popular character, you’re asking for trouble.
  • Did you know that Torchwood has it’s very own Alternate Reality Game? It does, and you can find it here! Join the mission now and help solve weekly mysteries.
  • The Command Line Warriors wonder: Is Torchwood just too depressing? Again, having never seen an episode, I don’t have a comment. I have seen mixed reviews. Our very own John loves it. Make of that what you will.
  • There has been no official word on the fate of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but the producers of the show have begun lining up directors for season 2. That’s probably a good sign. I’m on the fence here. I thought TSCC was just O.K., with the technological aspects on display in the last few episodes were just, well, terrible. I don’t know if I want to keep watching.
  • NBC has placed the entire opening of tonight’s Medium online to whet your whistle. See it below:

SF Tidbits for 3/24/08

POLL RESULTS: Inappropriate Young Adult Fiction?

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Have you ever read young adult fiction containing subject matter inappropriate for young adults?

RESULTS

(89 total votes)

I’m not a statistician (nor do I play one on TV) but these yes.no answers look to be almost even, no?

A couple of comments this week:

“And I’ve even read adult SF as a young adult that was ‘inappropriate’. Robert Silverberg, Harlan Ellison, and many more. My parent’s were aware and had no problems. I seem to have grown up all right, other than a need to read SF Signal way too many times a day (more posts, dang it!). Parent’s need to be aware of what their kids are watching, reading, texting, etc. Don’t blame the author for ‘inappropriate material’ if you don’t take on the responsibility of getting involved with the upbringing of your offspring!” – Fred Kiesche

“I do not believe that there is such a thing as subject matter inappropriate for young adults.” – General X

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about your favorit Enterprise Captain!

Sunday Cinema: Firefly – “Objects In Motion”

And so, sadly, we come to the end of Firefly, with perhaps the best episode of the season, “Objects in Space”. Jubal Early has to be the most interesting bounty hunter ever created (sorry Boba), certainly the most philosophically read. Add in some sneaky River action and you’ve got a great ep.

So, comments from our readers on the Sunday Cinema feature. Did you like it? Not? Would you like to see more? Hulu has quite a bit of SF fare to post.

WINNERS: 2007 British Science Fiction Association Awards

The winners of the 2007 British Science Fiction Association Awards have been announced:

  • BEST NOVEL: Brasyl by Ian McDonald
  • BEST SHORT: Lighting Out by Ken MacLeod
  • BEST ARTWORK: “Cracked World” by Andy Bigwood
  • BEST 1958 NOVEL: Non-Stop by Brain Aldiss

See also:

This year’s nominees.

Past winners.

[via Big Dumb Object]

A science fiction blog featuring science fiction book reviews and with frequent ramblings on fantasy, computers and the web.