TV Squad is an umbrella blog for all things TV. Their coverage is all over the dial (does anyone remember TV dials?) and they have categories for individual shows with episode-by-episode entries for Battlestar Galactica (not to be confused with the official BG blog), Invasion, Lost, Smallville (not that I watch it or anything), Stargate, Supernatural, Surface, The 4400 and Threshold.
As regular science fiction surfers may know, the good folks over at Slice of SciFi, specifically Tee Morris and Evo Terra, have been running some podcasts for a while. What you may not know is that they have co-authored a new book: Podcasting for Dummies.
I find that I’m now using Google Maps for directions instead of the traditional MapQuest or Yahoo Maps. I’m also starting to use some of the other features as well like, say, mapping bookstores in Houston (as if I didn’t already know where they were).
But Google maps has lots of other cool uses. People have developed web applications that use Google maps to do some interesting things like help you find cheap gas, locate housing, track your website visitors and (perhaps most important of all) locate a New York City pizza joint. There are lots more – the Google Maps Mania blog tries to list them all. These “mash maps” are usually useful, although there are plenty of questionable efforts like the UFO Sightings mash map. Engadget even shows you how to make your own and O’reilly Radar provides a series of map-hacking goodies.
Are you Google-Mapping yet?
Reviewer Rich Horton has done an excellent analysis of short fiction editors and the awards that they’ve won. His data shows all of the Hugo and nebula award winners and their corresponding editors. The thinking here is that award wins are a barometer of quality, though, as pointed out in the article, it’s not quite as easy as that.
It would be interesting to see a similar analysis for novel-length fiction.
In compiling the SF/F Writers Who Blog post, it occurred to me that there are some science fiction & fantasy writers who I would love to read in blog form but cannot because they just don’t blog.
I came up with two names so far…
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Time magazine lists the All-Time 100 Novels (1923 to present, in no particular order).
Of interest to sf/f fans:
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
- The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
- Neuromancer by William Gibson
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
- Ubik by Philip K. Dick
The Visual Index of Science Fiction Cover Art was used to make the experimental interface at A Few Thousand Science Fiction Covers.
Wow. I can’t say this is a useful interface. I’m sure it might have some applications for a smaller number of items, but a thousand? Yikes!
Not that any of that stopped me from clicking on some of the covers, though.
[Link via del.icio.us]
Fantasy author Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials) is going medieval on C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books. His controversial comments call the Narnia works “reactionary”, “racist” and “misogynistic”. From the BBC article:
“If the Disney corporation wants to market this film as a great Christian story, they’ll just have to tell lies about it,” he told The Observer.
“It’s not the presence of Christian doctrine I object to so much as the absence of Christian virtue,” he added.
“The highest virtue – we have on the authority of the New Testament itself – is love, and yet you find not a trace of that in the books.”
The BBC article also lists many comments from its readers.
As posted earlier, the adaptation of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, which tells of a battle against the church and a fight to overthrow God, has undergone it’s share of hardships – including director changes.
[BBC link via Alien Online]
Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.
Where do you obtain most of the books (not eBooks) that you read?
John Scalzi’s latest book is a reference tome called The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies.
Me? I love a good reference book. I definitely wouldn’t mind getting my hnds on a copy to peruse and salivate over. Unfortunately for my inhuman hunger for all things sf-related, Amazon does not currently let surfers preview the book.
Here’s the Amazon blurb:
The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies is a comprehensive guide to the ‘final frontier’ of film. It explores our fascination with space exploration, time travel, fantastical worlds and alternative futures. This guide explains how everything from the philosophy of Plato to classic Victorian tales and cult comic books have helped to create one of cinema’s most engaging genres. Discover the classics from Mexico, Russia and Japan, not forgetting the Anime science fiction tradition, along with everything else you need to know from Metropolis to Star Wars, via Blade Runner, 2001 and Alien. The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies is your essential guide to a galaxy of film unbounded by time or space.
And here’s a bigger, better description from the author himself:
As you might expect from the title, the book is a guide to science fiction film, from the very first SF film in 1902, to this summer’s biggest science fiction extravaganzas. That’s 103 years of science fiction film in 325 pages, including the index (lovingly indexed, I’ll note, by the super-competent and generally awesome Susan Marie Groppi). But — of course — it does some scene setting as well, putting SF films into context. The book is arranged in the following chapters:
The Origins: The history of science fiction and other speculative fiction, reaching back to ancient Greece and then following through with written science fiction through the 21st Century.
The History: A quick jaunt through the eras of science fiction film from 1902 to 2005, not only in the US but worldwide.
The Canon: Reviews and commentary on the 50 science fiction films you have to see before you die (more on this in a minute)
The Icons: The people and characters of enduring significance in science fiction film.
Crossovers: Film genres that mix and match with science fiction, including fantasy, thrillers, horror and animation.
The Science: A look at the science (or lack thereof) in science fiction films.
The Locations: Significant studios and locations where science fiction is filmed, and places (real and otherwise) made famous by science fiction.
Global: Snapshots of science fiction films from all over the world, from Canada to South Korea.
Information: Past and present science fiction in other media.
REVIEW SUMMARY: An engrossing and thoughtful read.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Payne, a member of the human-offshot Grotesques and a Healer capable of curing sickness and disease through physical contact, searches for social acceptance and a sense of belonging.
PROS: Beautiful and thoughtful prose; an easy read; well-portrayed society.
CONS: The ending was a bit too surreal and symbolic for my personal tastes.
BOTTOM LINE: Engrossing, well written and very entertaining.
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Wondering What to Read Next? Try asking this website. Type in an author name and a book title and the site will offer a list of recommended titles to read next, as suggested by readers’ lists of favorite authors and titles. The thinking behind the site is that if one person likes author A and B, anyone else who likes author A will also like author B. More weight is given to associations made multiple times across different lists.
For kicks, I types in some books I liked. Here are the recommendations:
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Welcome to another installment of SF Tidbits!
- John Scalzi has written a new story set in the universe of Old Man’s War called “Questions for a Soldier” available as a chapbook from Subterranean Press.
- Locus Online has a Gallery of 2005 Cover Art.
- Peter “Chewbacca” Mayhew will soon be an American citizen. Wuh-pah!
- Tobias S. Buckell news: Besides bringing up a new website up for his upcoming book Crystal Rain, Tobias’ short story “Toy Planes” now appears in Nature magazine (in HTML and PDF).
- [Update] Amongst the Quill Award Winners: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Book of the Year); Marvel 1602 Volume I by Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert, and Richard Isanove (Graphic Novel); The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore (Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror) [via Locus Online]
George R.R. Martin fans can rejoice that the long-long-long-awaited next installment in his A Song of Ice and Fire series is being released in a few weeks (November 8th). Until then, here’s an excerpt from A Feast for Crows to warm the cockles of your heart. (“That’s just great. Nothing like hot cockles.” – W. Allen.)
[Link via Locus Online]
| Wednesday, October 12th, 2005 at
Today, Apple had a big announcement involving new power books and the new video iPod. This is all fine and well and as the self-appointed Mac Zealot for SFSignal, I did a little happy dance. The key portion of the announcment today was that you will be able to buy TV shows via iTunes. ABC is starting the shindig with a selection of 5 shows including Lost, Desperate Housewives, Night Stalker and 2 unnamed shows. These will be available the day after they are shown for 1.99 a pop. They are commercial free. Now I don’t know about quality or what resolution they are being distributed in, but this is a huge step forward compared to the no availablity of broadcast TV. I dare say its about time in that I no longer need to have my PVR setup to catch a show and if I want to catch back issues – I can simply download those too. Let us hope its a first step in the right direction for media distribution.
Link via Gizmodo…
Science and Technology
DC Comics is making a bold move.
In an effort to make their characters more appealing for their readers, who have grown more sophisticated over the years, they are “re-imagining” every single one of them. The project is chronicled in Infinite Crisis, a seven part story that brings all of the characters together and propels them one year into the future – though not unchanged. Each character will be updated for the 21st century.
| Tuesday, October 11th, 2005 at
Daniel Craig has been named the new James Bond. Craig starred in Layer Cake, recently out on DVD. It’s a darned good movie; better, I fear, than any Bond movie he’ll star in. He will, however make a better Bond than that pansy Brosnan, I think.
SciFi Wire has posted a news item of another possible Terminator movie.
I suppose it’s time to maybe start possibly thinking about perhaps considering the possibility of maybe opening the Terminator 3 DVD I got as a gift a couple of years ago.
A recent Houston Chronicle article reports that used books available via the Internet have become a “modern powerhouse, driven by high prices for new works and by the convenience of finding any title, new or old, without leaving your home.” Some stats:
- Used book sales topped $2.2 billion in 2004, an 11 percent increase over 2003.
- Used book sales at traditional stores rose a modest 4.6 percent, they jumped 33 percent online, to just over $600 million.
- More than 111 million used books were purchased last year, representing about one out of every 12 overall book purchases. By the end of the decade, the percentage is expected to rise to one out of 11.