MIND MELD: How has the Internet impacted book selling?

It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s time for another Mind Meld question, where we grill those in the science fiction community on a question of interest. This time, a we ask a cross section of authors and editors our question.

Recently, Reuters ran a story (article here) about the internet and traditional book publishers. This gist being that, despite the easy availability of used books, the internet has actually helped publishers sell more new books.

How has the internet impacted your ability to sell books and what impact do you see it having in the future?

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Filed under: Mind Meld

Tube Bits For 12/18/2007

  • Not content to let sleeping TV series lie, NBC is joining the media tie-in train and will be releasing the Heroes tie-in book, Heroes: Saving Charlie. As you might suspect, this book will tell the story of the six months Hiro spent trying to save Charlie from Sylar. Whether the book is any good is something even Isaac can’t tell.
  • It’s a sad day in Star Trek land. Even though rumors of its demise have circulated for awhile now, the staff of STARTREK.COM have been let go by CBS Interactive. The ultimate fate of the website is unknown, but fans are asked to continue to use the forums. This seems like a boneheaded move on CBS’ part. It’s not like there’s a movie coming up that could make use of a Star Trek website or anything.
  • For those of you who were lucky enough to see the Korean horror flick The Host, good news for you. Sci Fi Japan reports The Host 2 is currently being written. A few details are spilled, with the most notable being that the new movie is actually set before the first film. Let’s hope that they don’t fall prey to George Lucas disease.
  • And now for the musical portion of our show. We present to you, via our very own Fred K., the following video mashup of Heroes, set to the tune of ‘Not Dead Yet’ from the play ‘Spamalot’. Enjoy!

Filed under: Tube Bits

Tuesday YouTube: ‘The Dark Knight’ Trailer

I saw this trailer on the big screen when I saw I Am Legend. I’m kinda stoked to see it. Heath Ledger’s Joker looks cool.

Anyone else think that instead of saying “Then you’re gonna love me”, Batman should have said “Wait’ll you get a load of me” as a nod to Jack Nicholson’s Joker?

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 12/18/07

  • The Leaky Cauldron podcast-interviews J.K. Rowling today. [via EW]
  • SFX has posted reviews of The Family Trade by Charles Stross and The Escapement by K.J. Parker.
  • Go, go gadget free fiction: Free Speculative Fiction Online has new additions from John W. Campbell, Colin P. Davies, G. C. Edmondson, Randall Garrett & Laurence M. Janifer, Tom Godwin, Frank Herbert, Dean Ing, R. A. Lafferty, Fritz Leiber, Murray Leinster, Andre Norton, Frederik Pohl, Mack Reynolds, George O. Smith, Walter Tevis, Stanley G. Weinbaum and more.
  • Tired of anthologies with only a handful of stories you want to read? Here’s an interesting concept: Build Your Own Anthology. The website lets you pick stories by criteria like author of genre (including sf) and purchase a custom anthology of up to 350 pages for just under $15. Now…if they only offered the stories I assembled for my own custom dream anthology… [via Jim Hines]
  • Miniature Brainwave has a pic of a Yoda pizza. “Mmmm…gas, pepperonis give me…”

Filed under: Tidbits

I got a chance to see I Am Legend on opening day. It was a work event that took place at Movie Tavern, one of those places where they serve you a meal while you’re watching the movie.

Before I talk about the movie, I thought I’d talk about the venue because, well, it took away from the movie-going experience. I like to watch movies with no interruptions. (That’s right guy-who-forgets-to-turn-off-cell-phone…I’m talking to you, too.) It’s all about the immersion and I can’t do that when I’m giving my order, keep looking at my plate, worrying about cutting my grilled chicken (tasty though it may be), looking for refills (stop watching the movie, hand the cup to the waiter, tell him what I’m drinking), etc. “Wait, did I just miss something on screen? Bah!” The reverse is also true – it’s hard to appreciate a meal when you’re trying to blindly shovel it in so you don’t miss the movie. The bottom line, I suppose, is that meals are much more complicated than popcorn! Each experience (eating a meal, watching a movie) takes away from the other. You would think that the two experiences would complement one another, but it turns out they don’t.

This is not a formal review of I Am Legend. There are a bazillion of those already. However, taking a cue from Peter Watts, I did think it was worthwhile to list my impressions.


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Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 12/17/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 12/17/2007

  • Will the next series (season, I think, for us Yanks) of Dr. Who be the last for David Tennant? Catherine Tate nerds out over Battlestar Galactica. The result is an incredibly long, techie look at the science behind Galactica, with the result you might expect: the science is unbelievable. Still, a nice attempt at deciphering it.
  • Just when you thought you had to wait until February to catch the season premiere of LOST, along comes ABC to announce that LOST will debut on January 31st at 9pm ET. Sure, it’s almost February, but its at least a whole week earlier. This is one of only three must watch on the night it airs shows for me. Note the link may not work. BuddyTV seems to have issues with this particular post.
  • Did anyone catch Sci Fi’s Saturday movie this past weekend called Showdown at Area 51? I have the vision of two aliens squaring off across the tarmac at Groom Lake, and one saying “This planet ain’t big enough for the both of us. Draw!” Anyway, Terminally Incoherent took one for the team and reviews it for us. Short version: It sucks. But you knew that already. Surprisingly, there’s a long version. Sadly, that’s the only version they show on Sci Fi.

Filed under: Tube Bits

POLL RESULTS: Our Favorite Joker

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.


Who’s your favorite Joker?


(94 total votes)

One comment this week:

“It’s not fair to Heath Ledger on there when we haven’t seen him yet-except for the lucky few who’ve seen the extended preview-and so we can’t judge until after the movie is out. Repoll then!” – Rachel

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about online book reviews!

Filed under: Polls

Flying Saucers in Popular Culture


Posthuman Blues uncovers the website Flying Saucers in pop culture, which features great cover scans of 4100+ books, comics and magazines…not to mention toys and other merchandising saucer images.


Simply awesome…

More after the jump…

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Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 12/16/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Four Minutes of Cloverfield

Let the hype begin…

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 12/15/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 12/15/2007

  • Remember the rumors about how Star Trek XI was going to use the Guardian from “City on the Edge of Forever” to transport Romulans back in time, and how Harlan was a little, worked up, about it? Well, now Harlan is saying it isn’t true. Well, not polite terms, but that’s the gist. Either way, I don’t have a good feeling about the new movie.
  • The cast of The Sarah Conner Chronicles has been known for some time. Now TV Guide, via Buddy TV, clues us in on some of the guest stars for the upcoming season. I must not watch enough TV, I have no idea who any of them are. Is it just me?
  • It looks like the fans of Jericho have started a trend. Although, instead of nuts, fans of Journeyman want to send boxes of Rice-A-Roni to NBC to protest its cancellation. Apparently it has something to do with a giant Rice-A-Roni box the hero gets trapped in. Maybe they should send these boxes to the writers who just happen to be out of work…
  • Way back in the mists of antiquity, 1993, a little known cable channel (Sci Fi) launched a little known show called Sci-Fi Buzz. Buzz was an Entertainment Tonight-style show that focused on all things science fiction, but with the typical Sci Fi budget. Dave Lowe reminisces about designing the sets for the show. I barely remember that show, and I know I never watched it. But of course, YouTube has clips for its run.

Filed under: Tube Bits

Friday YouTube: Shatner Meets Miss Piggy on a Plane

Bonus: Shatner’s quick jab at Buddy Hackett.

Filed under: Humor

SF Tidbits for 12/14/07

  • SciFi Scanner lists 5 Fun Facts About Richard “I Am Legend” Matheson.
  • Fantasybookspot interviews Paul Kearney (The Ten Thousand): “I don’t think epic fantasy has stagnated – far from it. It may have been close to sinking into a quicksand of cliché a few years back, but times have changed radically. Writers like Joe Abercrombie and Steve Erikson have given it a good hard kick up the ass, which was exactly what it needed. Now if only the prejudice against fantasy books with slighter thinner spines could be overcome, then we’d really be going places. The spectre of Tolkien still looms too large.”
  • Penguin continues their tour of sf sub-genres with a look at Alternate History.
  • Ray Bradbury wrote a play for Pasadena called “The Invisible Boy” about “a manipulative old woman who is searching for companionship and tries to adopt a relative as her son. In exchange, the boy gets to be invisible, but things don’t work out quite the way they’re planned.”
  • The Daily Galaxy looks at the airships of the future. Mmmm…airships…
  • Hone your holiday survival skills with this Introduction to Traditional Klingon Melee Weapons.

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 12/14/2007

  • DirecTV recently asked their viewers to list their HDTV favorites in several categories. Aside from giving us a reason to post a totally gratuitous picture of Jessica Alba, who won for ‘Hottest Celebrity in HD’, we might also mention that Heroes won for ‘Favorite Show in HD’. Has no one seen Galactica in HD? No contest. Maybe they were distracted by all that Alba.
  • TV Squad shows us the the official unveiling of the new KITT from the upcoming Knight Rider movie. Apparently, KITT will come in three flavors: a remote controlled version, the everyday Hero version, and the super duper high speed Attack version. All will be voiced by Will Arnett, who won’t come close to the smooth, dulcet tones of William Daniels.
  • Not content to sit on the sidelines, several former Trek actors joined the picketing writers outside of Paramount. The LA-ist has the pictures to prove it. Man, Brent Spiner looks old. And what’s up with George Takei’s smile? Scary.
  • Can’t get enough of Unionized striking in real life? Sy Fy Portal brings us Working Stiff and Unions on Sci-Fi TV. It’s long, but covers TV from the 60’s through to the present.
  • Just how hard of a ratings hit did NBC take this Fall season? It was so bad, they had to refund ad money to its advertisers. Usually, free ad spots are given as compensation for lower than expected ratings. At around $500k a pop, that’s not good news for NBC’s bottom line.
  • ABC seems content to damn the torpedoes, and will go ahead and start the new season of LOST in February, even with only 8 episodes in the can. Check out the new Season 4 trailer below. Is it February yet?

Filed under: Tube Bits

Judging A Movie By It’s Poster

We here at SF Signal love us some cool SF book covers, so should it be surprising that we (and by we I mean ‘me’) like cool SF movie posters? No! Recently we mentioned the worldwide posters for I Am Legend, which I thought were pretty cool.

In the past couple of days I’ve seen posters for three upcoming genre related movies, and I thought I’d look at them from the perspective of making someone interested in seeing the movie.

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Filed under: Movies

Wanna win a set of Kevin J. Anderson’s The Saga of Seven Suns series?

Orbit is running a contest with this juicy 6-book prize to celebrate the release of the latest in the series, Metal Swarm. (Read an excerpt from chapter one of Metal Swarm right here.)

To enter for a chance to win, just send an email to [orbit at hbgusa dot com] with the words “The Saga of Seven Suns” in the subject line. A winner will be randomly chosen from eligible entries on December 17th.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 12/13/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Terry Pratchett Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

Author Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s. He posted the news in an open letter to fans at Paul Kidby’s Discworld News:


I would have liked to keep this one quiet for a little while, but because of upcoming conventions and of course the need to keep my publishers informed, it seems to me unfair to withhold the news. I have been diagnosed with a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s, which lay behind this year’s phantom “stroke”.

We are taking it fairly philosophically down here and possibly with a mild optimism. For now work is continuing on the completion of Nation and the basic notes are already being laid down for Unseen Academicals. All other things being equal, I expect to meet most current and, as far as possible, future commitments but will discuss things with the various organisers. Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there’s time for at least a few more books yet :o)

Terry Pratchett

PS I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should be interpreted as ‘I am not dead’. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think – it’s too soon to tell. I know it’s a very human thing to say “Is there anything I can do”, but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.

[via Boing Boing and elsewhere]

Filed under: Books

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