Hear Isaac Asimov Discuss Utopian Change

The latest Time Traveler Show features Isaac Asimov giving a fascinating and fun 1974 talk titled “Utopian Change” in which he discusses science fiction, technological change and the birth of sf.

Some choice quotes:

On sf: “The only relevant literature of our time is science fiction.”

On critics: “They can observe, study and analyze but they can’t do it themselves.”

On sf: “This is the importance of science fiction — that it considers possible futures by taking into account possible changes in technology and their consequences and gives some thought to how to meet the consequences.”

On futurists: “It seems to me that all futurists are either science fiction writers, science fiction readers, ex-science fiction writers and ex-science fiction readers. You show me a futurist who’s never read any science fiction and I’ll show you a person who’s so uninterested in the future that he [couldn't] really decide anything about it.”

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 11/8/06

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TOC: The New Space Opera

Jonathan Strahan has posted the table of contents the upcoming anthology he edited with Gardner Dozois, The New Space Opera:

  1. “Verthandi’s Ring” by Ian McDonald
  2. “Saving Tiamaat” by Gwyneth Jones
  3. “Hatch” by Robert Reed
  4. “Winning Peace” by Paul J. McAuley
  5. “Glory” by Greg Egan
  6. “Maelstrom” by Kage Baker
  7. “Blessed By An Angel” by Peter F. Hamilton
  8. “Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?” by Ken Macleod
  9. “The Valley of the Gardens” by Tony Daniel
  10. “Dividing the Sustain” by James Patrick Kelly
  11. “Minla’s Flowers” by Alastair Reynolds
  12. “Splinters of Glass” by Mary Rosenblum
  13. “Remembrance” by Stephen Baxter
  14. “The Emperor and the Maula” by Robert Silverberg
  15. “The Worm Turns” by Gregory Benford
  16. “Send Them Flowers” by Walter Jon Williams
  17. “Art of War” by Nancy Kress
  18. “Muse of Fire” by Dan Simmons

Mmmmm….juicy. I wonder how it will compare to the recent Hartwell/Cramer-edited The Space Opera Renaissance?

Filed under: Books

Lucas Sues Former Costume Designer

Andrew Ainsworth, the man who helped to design the Star Wars Stormtrooper, is being sued by George Lucas over his replica costumes.

Lucas, who has made an estimated $3.5 billion fortune from his series of sci-fi films and related merchandise, sued his former designer when he discovered that Mr Ainsworth was reproducing costumes of Stormtroopers — the distinctive foot soldiers used by the evil Empire to crush rebel forces.

Mr Ainsworth told The Times that he would contest the action because he believed that he held the intellectual rights to the design. Andrew Hobson, a solicitor who has discussed the deposition with Mr Ainsworth but will not be acting for him on the case, said that he had seen no evidence that Ainsworth had surrendered his design rights. “In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, the designer is the first owner of the copyright,” he said.

Filed under: Star Wars

SF Tidbits for 11/7/06

Filed under: Tidbits

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Zima Blue is a collection of 10 short stories not set in Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space universe.

PROS: All of the stories were excellent and thought-provoking, great hard SF ideas, interesting new universes.

CONS: Some of the characters were a bit weak.

BOTTOM LINE: This is a must read for all fans of Reynolds.

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Wired’s Top 20 Sci-Fi Flicks

Wired offers their Top 20 Sci-Fi Flicks ranked using three factors: “a film’s power to enthrall and excite (Adrenaline), how well it presents a scenario for the future (Vision), and whether the science behind the fiction holds up (Precision)”.

  1. Blade Runner
  2. Gattaca
  3. The Matrix
  4. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  5. Brazil
  6. A Clockwork Orange
  7. Alien
  8. The Boys From Brazil
  9. Jurassic Park
  10. Star Wars
  11. The Road Warrior
  12. Tron
  13. The Terminator
  14. Sleeper
  15. Soylent Green
  16. RoboCop
  17. Planet Of The Apes
  18. The Day The Earth Stood Still
  19. Akira
  20. Barbarella

Filed under: Movies

POLL RESULTS: The Coolest Setting in TV/Film Science Fiction

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Which of the following is the coolest setting in TV/movie sf?

RESULTS

(147 total votes)

This week’s poll drew one comment…

“Geez! Again! Where’s the Stargate universe? And 5th Element!?” – Tim M.

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on your favorite character from Heroes!

Filed under: Polls

WINNERS: 2006 World Fantasy Awards

The winners of the 2006 World Fantasy Award have been announced:

  • Novel: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  • Novella: “Voluntary Committal” by Joe Hill
  • Short Fiction: “CommComm” by George Saunders
  • Anthology: The Fair Folk edited by Marvin Kaye
  • Collection: The Keyhole Opera by Bruce Holland Rogers
  • Artist: James Jean
  • Special Award: Professional: Sean Wallace (for Prime Books)
  • Special Award: Non-Professional: David Howe and Stephen Walker (for Telos Books)
  • Lifetime Achievement: Stephen Fabian
  • Lifetime Achievement: John Crowley

[via SFBC Blog]

Filed under: Awards

SF Tidbits for 11/5/06

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Meet the Author: Scott Westerfeld

The Meet the Author website specializes in videos of authors talking about their books. This week, they have posted not one, not two, but three videos of Scott Westerfeld. Scott talks about three of his books: Parasite Positive, The Last Days, and Midnighters.

Westerfeld gained my immediate admiration after I read his awesome Succession sequence, made up of The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds. I followed that up with Midnighters, another enjoyable book.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 11/4/06

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Top 10 SF Signal Posts for October 2006

A few months ago, we started using Google Analytics to rack track web traffic. It’s a bit addicting looking at all the different ways they present the data and seeing which posts are being read the most. I thought it might be fun to look at the top posts that were posted during the previous month. Here, then, are Top 10 SF Signal Posts for October 2006.

  1. 5 (Spoilery) Things About Heroes That Annoy the Begeezus Out Of Me
  2. Reader Challenge #5B – The Coolest Science Fiction Setting (TV/Film)
  3. What Are Your Favorite “Literary” Science Fiction Novels?
  4. Musings On The Current Science Fiction TV Scene
  5. REVIEW: The Android’s Dream by John Scalzi
  6. Science Fiction as Entertainment
  7. REVIEW: The World of Null-A by A.E. van Vogt
  8. REVIEW: Wings to the Kingdom by Cherie Priest
  9. Name the Next Sith Lord
  10. Star Wars Screen Tests

Looking at the top overall hits in October, which includes posts published earlier, we get a decidedly different – and much more telling – list:

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Filed under: Meta

REVIEW: The Children of Men by P.D. James

REVIEW SUMMARY: Come to the book for the pre-apocalyptic sf or thriller story line, but stay for the dark mood.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: During the last generation of mankind, Theo Faron falls in with a band of revolutionaries who aim to change the ways of the tyrannical Warden of England.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Wonderfully dark and moody; thought-provoking; well-done characterizations; page-turning.

CONS: It’s not entirely convincing that more efforts wouldn’t be put towards a technological solution to worldwide fertility rather than enforcing new policies to achieve a level of civilization.

BOTTOM LINE: A smashingly good read.

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Wil Wheaton’s latest Geek in Review column is Five Books Every Geek Should Read.

Here’s the short version:

  1. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (1950)
  2. Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984)
  3. Ringworld by Larry Niven (1970)
  4. The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling (1992)
  5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979)

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 11/2/06

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Battlestar Funtopia with Dirk Benedict?

Yes, it is the other Starbuck (some say only), Dirk Benedict as Captain Cubby :) This is a pilot/promo for a show about a talent management company, but seeing Dirk Benedict had me chuckling..

[via Galacticaa.net]

Filed under: TV

My Science Fiction Life

The BBC is launching a new, member-driven science fiction site this month called My Science Fiction Life. Free membership allows sf fans to recall their fondest memories with some science fiction classics from multiple media, like John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek. And yes, even Blade Runner.

Sez the site:

Help us build the story of science fiction in Britain, as BBC Four celebrates the much-loved genre in all its forms. We’re putting together a timeline of memorable science fiction and we need your suggestions and recollections for the website – some of which may also be used in a new TV programme.

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 11/1/06

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10/06 UPDATE: My New Year’s Resolution

This is the October 2006 update of my New Year’s Resolution to (almost) read a short story a day.

QUICK STATS:
   STARTING SF-POINTS©: 376
   SF-POINTS© EARNED THIS MONTH: 40 (QUOTA: 31)
   YEAR-TO-DATE SF-POINTS©: 416 (YTD QUOTA: 304)

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Filed under: Books

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