TOC: Fast Forward 2 edited by Lou Anders

Lou Anders reveals the table of contents for his upcoming anthology Fast Forward 2.

  1. “Catherine Drew” by Paul Cornell
  2. “Cyto Couture” by Kay Kenyon
  3. “The Sun Also Explodes” by Chris Nakashima-Brown
  4. “The Kindness of Strangers” by Nancy Kress
  5. “Alone With An Inconvenient Companion” by Jack Skillingstead
  6. “True Names” by Cory Doctorow & Benjamin Rosenbaum
  7. “Molly’s Kids” by Jack McDevitt
  8. “Adventure” by Paul McAuley
  9. “Not Quite Alone in the Dream Quarter” by Mike Resnick & Pat Cadigan
  10. “An Eligible Boy” by Ian McDonald
  11. “SeniorSource” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  12. “Migration” by Karl Schroeder and Tobias S. Buckell
  13. “Long Eyes” by Jeff Carlson
  14. “The Gambler” by Paolo Bacigalupi

There’s also Lou’s introduction/essay, The Age of Accelerating Returns.

SF Tidbits for 3/20/08

  • Sarah Zettel returns to the world of science fiction with the tentatively-titled Bitter Angels. I read Zettel’s 1993 short story “Fools Errand” (the basis for the novel Fool’s War) and loved it, so I this is good news for sf. [via SFScope]
  • At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Ian McDonald, author of Brasyl.
  • Grasping for the Wind interviews Pamela Freeman, author of Blood Ties.
  • PodioMedia Chat podcast-interviews SFFAudio proprietor, Jesse Willis
  • Jason Stoddard doesn’t see a lot of “visionary” in sf past and present when he says Science Fiction Fails the Long View. Not sure I agree. Just because a prediction (which is what he’s talking about, really) fails to come true, doesn’t necessarily mean it lacks vision, just that it’s a bad prediction. Many writers are still thinking of cool ideas and inventions. So what if they don’t come to pass? It’s still fun to mind-chew.
  • The latest issue of The Internet Review of Science Fiction has been posted and includes an interview with Jo Walton by Lyda Morehouse, and essay by Steven Utley (Science Fiction or Not? Frankenstein as a case study in defining SF), Chicks Rule: The Rise of Female-Oriented Fantasy and Science Fiction by Cynthia Ward,
  • Recently free fiction at “The Stars, My Brothers” by Edmond Hamilton (1962)
  • Time Traveler Show podcast #24 features “Missing Link” by Frank Herbert.
  • For the writers:
  • Christopher Paul Carey tells us to swing on over to and pay the well-worth-it $5 to watch the hour-long documentary I, Tarzan, which features Philip José Farmer tearing up as he talks about his in-the-flesh interview with Tarzan.
  • Cover Pr0n:
  • Another you should be checking out the group Art Blog Gorilla Artfare…these sketches by Dead Mello.
  • Are you Droid enough to take the Atom Films Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge? Submit your parody, fan fiction or mash-up by May 27. Top fan movies will be selected by AtomFilms and Lucasfilm — with George Lucas as one of the judges. (Don’t be surprised if George thinks it should be faster and more intense.)
  • Speaking of Star Wars, ThinkGeek sells a Do-It-Yorself Lightsaber Kit, which essentially consists of a bunch of fitted tubes.

Tube Bits for 3/20/08

REMINDER: Cast of BSG on Letterman Tonight

This is just a friendly reminder that the cast of Battlestar Galactica will be appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman tonight. They will be presenting the nightly Top 10 list.

See original post.

Mind Meld Make-Up Test: Orson Scott Card on Young Adult Fiction

Here’s Orson Scott Card’s response to last week’s Mind Meld on young adult sf/f fiction, which was received after the post was published:

Q: It seems that more and more, fiction marketed as “Young Adult” deals with mature themes. Has it crossed a line? Is young adult sf/f is too explicit?
Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools. Card also writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker (beginning with Seventh Son), poetry (An Open Book), and many plays and scripts.

It seems to me that if YA writers want to write about adult stuff, they should change category. Nothing stops young readers from following them into the adult shelves. When the YA label is placed on a book, it’s a promise to parents, teachers, and librarians that certain standards are being adhered to.

This is not a trivial matter. There is genuine damage to some young readers from being exposed too early to sexual or overly violent material. Other young readers seem to be unharmed. But the writer is in no position to judge the maturity of each reader. That is up to parents, teachers, and librarians – and part of the information they use is the YA label.

When you put out a book with “adult” content under a YA label, you’re not a hero of artistic liberty, you’re a liar and a cheat. You want to keep getting the same income by pretending your writing belongs in a category that you have left behind.

Arthur C. Clarke Links and Video

There is often a compulsion to seek out the written works of recently departed authors, as if reading their work can hopefully, in some small way, keep them with us a little bit longer. To that end, I’ve rounded up a few links to some online stories of Sir Arthur C. Clarke. If you don’t own any of his work, you should. See why through these links…


Finally, here is the man himself, reflecting on his life on his 90th birthday in December 2007:

“I am sometimes asked how I would like to be remembered. I’ve had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer, space promoter and science popularizer. Of all these, I want to be remembered most as a writer – one who entertained readers and, hopefully, stretched their imaginations as well.”

“Overhead…the stars are going out”

[Links via

Best Science Fiction Stories, Free Speculative Fiction Online, Living the Limnal, Free SF Reader, and Laughing Squid]

SF Tidbits for 3/19/08

Tube Bits for 3/19/08

  • USA Today reviews tonight’s FX airing of The Core “an intoxicatingly awful adventure that is, in its own completely committed, deliriously goofy, warped science way, far more fun than any number of more carefully competent movies.” I think that’s a compliment. The critic continues: “The Earth’s core has stopped moving, which has damaged the magnetic field, short-circuited pacemakers and made pigeons so disoriented by their lack of long-range radar, they apparently forget how to use their eyes. All that stands between us and destruction is a dedicated corps of underemployed actors, led by Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank and Stanley Tucci.” Er, I’ll pass.
  • Entertainment Weekly interviews George Lucas about the upcoming animated and live-action Star Wars series and 3-D versions of the Star Wars films. The only thing that beats Princess Leia in a metal bikini is Princess Leia in a metal bikini COMIN’ AT ‘YA!
  • Geek Speak begins listing The 100 Greatest Things About Star Trek (Part 1). “Picard maneuver- No, not the real Picard Maneuver. The one where he repeatedly pulls his uniform shirt down when he stands up. It happens so much you start actually watching for it.”
  • From SciFi Wire: Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon told says he is producing a Web-based superhero musical called Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Hmmmm…perhaps that’s why he’s too busy to direct a Battlestar Galactica episode.
  • Back when I was a young ‘un, the lame-@$$ Marvel superhero cartoons they showed featured very little animation. What’s that soldier? I was distracted by the creepy fact that, except for your inhuman lips, you are completely motionless! I suspect NickToons will do better with their upcoming Iron Man and Wolverine cartoons. [via Comic Mix]

RIP: Arthur C. Clarke

Sad news…

SF legend Arthur C. Clarke has passed away at the age of 90.

From BBC:

Legendary British science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died in Sri Lanka at the age of 90.

He came to fame when his story was made into the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, by director Stanley Kubrick in 1968.

Once called “the first dweller in the electronic cottage”, his vision captured the popular imagination.

Sir Arthur, who was born in Minehead, Somerset, and was a radar specialist for the RAF in World War II, become a full-time writer in the 1940s.

See also:

[sent in via via Fred and Pawel]

Here are the Last Lines, Now Name the Books

Neatorama points us to this PDF file of 100 Best Last Lines from Novels as per The American Book Review.

I’ve culled some last lines from some of the genre-ish novels listed. Can you match the last line with the book’s title?

  1. Are there any questions?
  2. He loved Big Brother.
  3. He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.
  4. Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood; and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago; and how joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.
  5. Now everybody –
  6. One bird said to Billy Pilgrim, “Poo-tee-weet?”
  1. 1984 by George Orwell (1949)
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
  4. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Punchon (1973)
  5. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
  6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1986)

REVIEW: Halting State by Charles Stross

In 2018, a daring bank robbery takes place at Hyak Associates. However, this is no ordinary robbery, being executed by a band of marauding orcs with a dragon as backup in the online game world of Avalon Four. The robbery was supposed to be impossible as the data exists in multiple locations, each checking the others to ensure integrity. That it happens at all leads to some serious questions about the network underlying the future Earth.

Edinburgh constable Sue Smith is called on to investigate and must join forces with Elain Barnaby, a forensic accountant, and Jack Reed, an unemployed game programmer to figure out what happened and what is going on behind the scenes.

While at first glance Halting State may sound like a modern day take on Dreampark, the action doesn’t take place in a game, but in the ‘real’ world. Having said that, Halting State is a darn good read, especially if you are a techie or an online game player.

Continue reading

Io9 Proclaims the Death of Written SF

io9 is stirring the pot again…this time by listing 5 Reasons To Stop Reading Science Fiction.

To summarize:

  1. SF is now real life.
  2. It’s been colonized by mainstream literature authors like Cormac McCarthy.
  3. It’s turned into pure fantasy.
  4. The fanbase is ancient.
  5. Rackspace is shrinking.

The first few commenters give reasons why sf is neither “obsolete” nor “pointless” nor “dead” as the post proclaims.

io9’s sensationalism aside, the article does little to connect individual statements with factual data about reading habits and sales. But then again, these arguments are attributed to “a gang of critics”. What’s the point of…oh yeah…Sensationalism = Page Hits + Ad Dollars!

See also: David Louis Edelman’s response to this perennial battle cry.

Tube Bits for 3/18/08

  • If anyone asked, I would say that there is not nearly enough coverage of Smallville on SF Signal. Sure, it’s Dawson’s Creek with super powers, but when they tap into the Superman mythos, it gives me chills. Er…that is…it would if I watched it. Anywho, there’s news that the undeniably pretty Kristen Kreuk (Lana Lang) will be making an appearance next season, despite word that she (and Michael “Lex Luthor” Rosenbaum) won’t be returning.
  • The NY Daily News profiles Battlestar Galactica star Edward James Olmos who says, “The final season is not a way of resolving anything. Happy would be tying things in a nice bow. There are no bows being tied.”
  • AMC’s MonsterFest blog tells us the Lena Headey is not taking her post-season 1 respite from The Sarah Connor Chronicles sitting down. She just joined the cast of Tell-Tale, an updated version of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”.
  • Good news or bad? Sam Raimi’s syndicated original fantasy TV series Wizard’s First Rule, based on the Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind gets the green light.
  • I stopped watching Battlestar Galactica a while back (Gasp!) and I haven’t seen Lost (Bigger gasp!), but if JP were here, he’d definitely point out this pictorial mashup of the similarities between BSG and Lost. [via Kiss My Feed]
  • Sez SFX: The BBC has announced that filming has begun on Merlin, a new family fantasy series.
  • As per the BBC, The new Doctor Who Series Four trailer will make its official TV and web debut on Saturday March 29, 2008. [via Big Dumb Object]
  • Doctor Who toys for adults (not to be confused with Doctor Who adult toys, if there is such a thing):
  • And finally, an answer to the question: “Is there such a thing as a Happy Dalek Song?” Seek and YouTube shall find…

SF Tidbits for 3/18/08

  • Bibliophile Stalker interviews Ellen Datlow, Editor of (among many, many other things) the upcoming anthology The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy: “It’s not that the genres have weaknesses or strengths but that the purveyors of genres write well or badly and use the genres ambitiously or in hackneyed ways.”
  • The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction interviews Robert Reed about his story “Five Thrillers”. Also: Check out Reed’s free story archive.
  • The Agony Column profiles Tim Pratt, author of The Strange Adventures of RangerGirl (a.k.a. T.A. Pratt, author of Blood Engines and Poison Sleep) and points us to his reading of his story, “The River Boy“.
  • George R.R. Martin shows off the U.S. and U.K. covers of A Dance with Dragons.
  • The Art Department showcases Stephan Martiniere’s four season-themed covers for Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet. Nice.
  • Free audio fiction: SF author James Patrick Kelly has completed the recording of his Nebula-nominated story “Men Are Trouble“. (Start with Chapter 1.)
  • Here’s an essay on The Early History of Science Fiction by H. Bruce Franklin, who defines sf thusly: “Science fiction is the major non-realistic mode of imaginative creation of our epoch. It is the principal cultural way we locate ourselves imaginatively in time and space.” Personally, I’m happy when I locate myself unimaginatively…if you know what I mean.
  • WFMU’s Beware of the Blog offers this impressive Gallery of Early Science Fiction Fanzines Covers. Was there really a Logan’s Run fanzine? Wow.
  • Alexis Gilliland and his wife have launched a web site for their cartoons, The Adventures of Captain Fanboy. [via SFScope]
  • Elfwood bills itself as “the world’s largest site for SciFi/Fantasy Art and Fiction. You be the judge.
  • Heavy Metal magazine artist A.P. Furtado and fellow fantasy webcomic artists Nate Piekos, James V. West and Chuck Whelon have combined forces to start a new sketch blog for all fans of old-school, D&D inspired, cartoon fantasy comics: Wizard of Ur!
  • According to Cinematical, the Cloverfield DVD will have 2 new endings. What is this? Roll your own movie?
  • The latest Paleo-Cinema Podcast features the work of George Pal, producer/director associated with such films as Destination Moon (1950) When Worlds Collide (1951), The War of the Worlds (1953), The Time Machine (1960), and Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975).
  • MTV has the trailer for Lost Boys: The Tribe. I’m not sure why the original never really worked for me. It could the 2 Coreys.
  • Brewster Rockit: Space Guy stars in “Invasion of the Mole Men“!

REVIEW: Laika by Nick Abadzis

REVIEW SUMMARY: A memorable, one-sitting read.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A fact-based graphic novel about the first animal sent into space.


PROS: Great basis for a story; the fact-based details and meaty character portrayals enhanced the reading experience; artwork lends itself to the mood of the story.

CONS: The launch scene laid on the sentimentality a little too thick.

BOTTOM LINE: An affecting story that is sure to have lingering effects after reading it.

Continue reading

SF Tidbits for 3/17/08

Reminder: Sands of Oblivion Giveaway

Just a quick reminder to you all that we are still running our contest to give away 10 DVD copies (to 10 people, not all at once) of the Sci Fi Channel movie Sands of Oblivion, starring Adam Baldwin, Morena Baccarin, and George Kennedy.

Send an email to:

contest at sfsignal dot com (do the email replacement thing)

for your chance to win. This offer good only in the U.S. and Canada. Go ahead, send us an email. What have you got to lose? Remember the SF Signal motto: “If it’s free, it’s for me!”

Tube Bits for 3/17/08

[NOTE: I am subbing for JP this week on the Tube Bits. Can you guess at which point JP will regret he ever asked? – John]

  • SCI FI Weekly reviews the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack from season 3 and gives it a “B+”. Or, as Tim would say: “B+ as in Boomer plus me!”
  • The Ghost of Doctor Who Past: Online Doctor Who magazine & fan site Kasterbourous points us to this Telegraph article which offers insight into some of the original ideas being battered about in 1963 concerning the Doctor Who series – things like an invisible TARDIS. The Telegraph also offers up this list of Little-known Doctor Who facts like “the ethereal theme tune was the first in the world to be made up entirely from electronic sounds.”
  • The Ghost of Doctor Who Future: According to BBC Audiobooks, TV’s latest Doctor, David Tennant, will read their latest audio-exclusive release Doctor Who: Pest Control, available only on CD and for download on the May 8, 2008. [via Outpost Gallifrey]
  • The SciFi Channel has a YouTube channel for its classic documentaries. It opened about six weeks ago and so far contains 5 videos of their Curse of the Blair Witch documentary. Someone wake me up when they take us behind the scenes at ECW…not!
  • SCI FI Wire finds some information on the film adaptation of Land of the Lost, starring Wil Ferrell as Rick Marshall and Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies) as a grown-up Holly.
  • The Hollywood Reporter looks at TV series on the bubble for fall, those awaiting a renew or cancel notice. Prospects are good for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Knight Rider, but doubtful for Jericho and Reaper. This is great news for Michael Knight. I wonder how David Hasselhoff feels right now….?

POLL RESULTS: Starting a Series in the Middle

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

Have you ever started reading a book series somewhere in the middle?


(94 total votes)

Comments this week:

“30 some years ago, I started reading the Travis McGee mystery/detective novel series by John D. McDonald in mid-series. The books I was reading kept referring to an injury that had happened to Travis earlier. So… I went back and found the first book in the series: The Deep Blue Goodbye – and in that book they refer to the injury as happening earlier! Well…what the heck. I went to used book stores and found all the earlier novels, and read all of the Travis McGee novels.” – Morjana

“The last time I can remember doing it on purpose was because I received an ARC of one of Kristine Smith’s novels (Endgame) I had not read any of her novels previously but I didn’t want to read the entire Jani Kilian series as prelude to this one.” – Paul

“No, just like how I won’t start watching a TV series without seeing the pilot episode. I also won’t watch an episode if I’ve missed the first few minutes.” – Chris Johnston

“I have to go and start at the beginning as I’ve recently done with John Ringo’s Posleen books.” – platyjoe

“Most book series aren’t set up very well for someone to start in the middle. But one writer who gets around this problem is Mike Resnick. He’s written some trilogies in his time, but every book is written in such a way that it contains a comlete stand-alone story, and can be enjoyed independent of the other books in the series. (By the way, I assumed here that you weren’t including series like those that focus on one character, say a detective, but have little continuity outside of that…)” – Michael A. Burstein

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about inappropriate subject matter in young adult fiction!

Sunday Cinema: Firefly – “Heart of Gold”

All you need to know about this episode can be summed up in one word: hookers. You want more? OK: Space hookers.

And a bad guy who rides around in a really cheesy hovercraft.

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