Jonathan Strahan and Garth Nix have compiled a partial catalogue of Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy (PDF) that is due out in 2006.
Authors highlighted include Justine Larbalestier, Sean Williams, Shane Dix, Scott Westerfeld, Damien Broderick, Jack Dann, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Terry Dowling, Ian Irvine, Margo Lanagan, Juliet Marillier, Sean McMullen and, of course, Strahan and Nix.
Web sites are judged in an eye-blink, says CNN.
Internet users can give Web sites a thumbs up or thumbs down in less than the blink of an eye, according to a study by Canadian researchers. In just a brief one-twentieth of a second — less than half the time it takes to blink — people make aesthetic judgments that influence the rest of their experience with an Internet site.
At the risk of sounding like I need validation (…OK, maybe I do…) I’m curious what first impressions you have had at SF Signal. Can’t be too bad if you’re reading this, right? At least it can’t be as bad as the old purple look, can it? Is there anything we could do better? Something you want to see more of?
Let us know what you think!*
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REVIEW SUMMARY: An enjoyable story but it lacked the characters’ motives.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Young Kaer and her extended family go through rigorous training in order to emigrate to the parallel Earth-like world of Linnea.
PROS: Clear writing style; interesting world building emphasizing culture and religion.
CONS: No clear motive for the family enduring this two-year-long hardship.
BOTTOM LINE: Good story, well written, I’d like to read the sequel and hope it fleshes out some motives.
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By JP Frantz
| Tuesday, January 17th, 2006 at
The BBC ha an audio program available for you to listen to, entitled BBC – Radio 4 – Factual – Confessions of a Crap Artist. It’s about Philip K. Dick’s ‘encounter’ in his later life with the being PKD called ‘Valis’. Check it!
The first spacecraft ever aimed at the planet Pluto is hours away from launching into space on a nine-year mission to the distant, icy world.
A Lockheed Martin-built Atlas 5 rocket is poised to launch NASA’s Pluto-bound probe New Horizons at 1:24 p.m. EST (1824 GMT) today from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida. If successful, today’s space shot will begin a more than nine-year trek to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt for the piano-sized spacecraft.
Catch the latest updates!
What better excuse to point out some science fiction stories where Pluto plays a part:
- “The Skylark Valeron” by E.E. “Doc” Smith (1934)
- “The Ultimate Weapon” by John W.Campbell (1936)
- Cosmic Engineers by Clifford D. Simak (1950)
- The Cometeers by Jack Williamson (1950)
- Man of Earth by Algis Budrys (1958)
- Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein (1958)
- To the Tombaugh Station by Wilson Tucker (1960)
- The Secret of the Ninth Planet by Donald A. Wollheim (1965)
- World of Ptaavs by Larry Niven (1966)
- The Ophiuchi Hotline by John Varley (1977)
- Icehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson (1984)
- The Memory of Whiteness by Kim Stanley Robinson (1985)
- Take Back Plenty by Colin Greenland (1990)
- The Ring of Charron Charon by Roger McBride Allen (1990)
- “Gossamer” by Stephen Baxter(1995)
A more comprehensive listing can be found here.
[UPDATED: Thanks to Eagle-Eye Fred at EternalGoldenBraid for pointing out the spelling mistake, a job he is all-too-eager to repeat. BTW, check out EGB for even more space news, sometimes even before Space.com is updated! Way to go, Fred!]
Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.
What do you usually do with the books you own when you are finished reading them?
The omnibus has always appealed to my bibliohlism because it was a succinct way to buy a series (or part of one). In particular I like the omnibuses that are produced by the Science Fiction Book Club. Those usually have a good chance of getting scooped up by me if I see them on the Half Price Book shelves. (The output of my biblioholism – boxes and boxes of stored books that I could never, ever possibly read in my lifetime – prevents me from actually joining the club.) They are always a good value and come in a cool-looking small-hardback packages.
Over the years I’ve obtained The Golden Age by John C. Wright, the two volumes of E.E “Doc” Smith’s Lensmen series, Dominic Flandry by Poul Anderson, A. Bertram Chandler’s John Grimes/Rimworld saga (5 omnibuses – sweeeet!), Rincewind the Wizard by Terry Pratchett (4 books in 1!), The Dying Earth and Ports of Call and Lurulu by Jack Vance, Valentine of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg, Gene Wolfe’s Book Of The New Sun and Book Of The Short Sun, Dead in Dixie by Charlaine Harris, Confluence by Paul J. McCauley, Garret, P.I. by Glen Cook, Ports of Call and Lurulu by Jack Vance, Tales of the Star Wolf by David Gerrold, The Asteroid Wars by Ben Bova, and yes, still others. (Hmmm, mysteriously I cannot find links for all of these at the SFBC website.) I also have omnibuses of unrelated books like Robert A. Heinlein’s ” Infinite Possibilities and To The Stars, (Just don’t ask me how many of them I’ve read )
With my affection for the omnibus at the level it is, it’s no surprise that I found Andrew Wheeler’s post about How An Omnibus Is Made to be noteworthy.
I find it interesting that the stories in a set of omnibuses are in series order and not publication order. Sometimes the “earlier-in-the-timeline” book that were published after later books reveal plot details that are better left as surprises, no? Is it not safer (and more enjoyable for the reader) to present then as published? They could always include a series-order list in the omnibus. Then again, series-order vs. publication order is a matter of preference.
Metaxucafe has an interesting post describing how to download the soon-to-be-extinct SCI FICTION website down to your local hard drive. The procedure uses a program called wget which is essentially a command line version of a web browser’s save feature.
| Friday, January 13th, 2006 at
REVIEW SUMMARY: A complex psychological thriller that’s also one of the best ghost stories I’ve ever seen.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Two sisters move back with their father to the mansion that their mother died in. But the mansion is haunted and the girls’ new stepmother is definitely no substitue for the real thing!
PROS: VERY scary; brilliant cinematography; complex psycological story that is not at all what it appears.
CONS: subtitles only; difficult to figure out the first watch through.
BOTTOM LINE: I’ve watched a lot of Asian ghost stories over the last couple years, and this is by far the scariest as well as the most intelligent.
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REVIEW SUMMARY: An eclectic mix of several genres that’s entertaining and fun.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Errol Porter’s life changes when he gets a phone call from his dead father.
PROS: A super-quick-read; felt like several novels in one entertaining package.
CONS: Slightly weaker second half.
BOTTOM LINE: A fun ride.
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Starting in March, The SciFi Channel will be airing 13 episodes of the popular BBC television series Doctor Who. It will be part of the Friday SciFi lineup.
All I know is, James better be right.
This subtitle of the Chicago Tribune article Picture This Writer (requires cookies and registration — cough,cough…bugmenot…cough, cough) pretty much sums up the point of the article: “The right author photo helps readers judge a book by its cover”.
Do you find this to be true? Publishers seem to think a picture is a selling point as it lends insight into the mystery of a book’s creation. Some authors think the opposite. (The ugly ones, I suspect. ) Seriously, though, has anyone made a purchase decision, one way or the other, based upon an author’s photo?
I haven’t. Which is not to say that I have been unaffected by an author photo. Shortly after my less-than-favorable review of Terraforming Earth, I saw a picture of the wheelchair-bound Jack Williamson in Locus Magazine and I felt kind of, well, bad. Here I was slamming the work of a well-respected, but, at the time, faceless author. Seeing what he looked like put a human face on the creator of the work, something that’s all too easy to forget when judging the work itself. I stand by my opinion of the book, but maybe I could have gone a bit easier.
Wouldn’t it be cool if a book had a trailer like movies do?
With The 2006 Book Video Awards, “Hot new filmmakers at top U.S. film schools will compete to create Book Videos for three of the hottest debut titles of Summer 2006.” You can also sign up to be notified when new book videos go online.
I can just imagine the trailer voice guys getting all excited at the prospect of voicing a book trailer…
Kirkus lists their Top books for 2005 (PDF file…got Foxit yet?) based on their reviews.
Making the cut in the “Sci-Fi and Fantasy” category:
- The Children of the Company by Kage Baker (Tor Books)
- The Carpet Makers by Andrea Eschbach (Tor Books)
- Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow by David Gemmell (Del Rey/Ballantine()
- Viriconium by M. John Harrison (Spectra/Bantam)
- Learning the World: A Scientific Romance by Ken MacLeod (Tor Books)
- The Eternity Artifact by L.E. Modesitt Jr. (Tor Books)
- The Well of Stars by Robert Reed (Tor Books)
- Silver Screen by Justina Robson (Pyr/Prometheus)
- The White Mare: The Dalraida Trilogy, Book One by Jules Watson (Overlook)
- Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright (Tor Books)
[Via The Book Standard]