Paul Levinson posts another Locus 2002 article from Locus, Confessions of a Science Fiction Chauvinist. This one was in response to seeing Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers.

(Hey Paul, how come you’re not writing columns now that I’m a Locus subscriber?)

  • What I most value in science fiction is its exploration of the human impact of scientifically plausible but not yet accomplished developments, or discovery of similarly plausible truths about the real, natural universe. Yes, I know there is much in time travel that is paradoxical — that’s actually why it’s so much fun — and faster-than-light travel violates Einstein’s proscriptions. Yet the very fact that we can talk about the relevance of Einstein’s theories to science fiction seemed to make it different from fiction that relies on spells and elves.
  • My lack of interest in elves led me to forgo not only most fantasy novels, but even the lesser investment of time required for fantasy movies. The first part of [The Fellowship of the Ring] — which took place in the Shire — was barely enough to hold my attention. I think the physical resemblance between Gandalf and Jean-Luc Picard kept me interested more than anything else… But by the end of the movie, I felt very differently. I’ve now seen The Fellowship of the Ring, in one mode or another, perhaps a dozen times. And I just saw The Two Towers. I think they are masterpieces of movie-making, fantasy, and, as I will explain below, perhaps even of science fiction. (And, seen in the context of the unfolding story, The Shire section is now most enjoyable, too.)

Filed under: Movies

WINNERS: Analog/Asimov’s Readers’ Award

Award season is upon us!

Today at Nebula Weekend, Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Asimov’s Science Fiction magazines awarded their readers’ awards for the year 2006.

The winners of Analog’s Analytical Laboratory (AnLab) Awards are:

  • Best Novella: “The Good Kill” by Barry B. Longyear (November)
  • Best Novelette: “Lady Be Good” by John G. Hemry (April)
  • Best Short Story: “Kyrie Eleison” by John G. Hemry (September)
  • Best Fact Article: “The Great Sumatran Earthquakes of 2004-5″ by Richard A. Lovett (October)
  • Best Cover: September 2006 by Jean-Pierre Normand

The winners of Asimov’s Readers’ Awards are:

  • Best Novella: “The Walls of the Universe” by Paul Melko (April/May)
  • Best Novelette: “Yellow Card Man” by Paolo Bacigalupi (December)
  • Best Short Story: “Impossible Dreams” by Tim Pratt (July)
  • Best Poem: “Remembering the Future” by Darrell Schweitzer (October/November)
  • Best Cover Artist: J.K. Potter (March)

[via SF Scope]

See also: Asimov’s Reader Poll past winners.

See also: Analog Analytical Laboratory past winners.

Filed under: Awards

Regular Readers know how much I have enjoyed the work of author George Alec Effinger and artist John Picacio. John did the covers for two Golden Gryphon story collections by Effinger: Live From Planet Earth and Budayeen Nights, the latter being a set of stories set in the cyberpunk future Effinger showed us in When Gravity Fails, A Fire in the Sun and The Exile Kiss.

Now Golden Gryphon is publishing their third Effinger collection, A Thousand Deaths and guess who’s doing the cover?

Today, John Picacio shows off the cover for A Thousand Deaths.

Filed under: Books

What Happened to the Future that Science Fiction Promised Us?

In its review of Daniel H. Wilson’s Where’s My Jetpack? A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived, Salon asks: What happened to the future that science fiction promised us?

The obvious landmarks of tomorrow’s world never materialized: vacations to the moon, 900 miles per hour transatlantic trains hurtling through vacuum tunnels. But the absence is felt equally in the fabric of daily life, the way that the experience of cooking an egg or taking a shower hasn’t changed in our lifetime.

Today we seem to have trouble picturing the future, except in cataclysmic terms or as the present gone worse (“Children of Men”). Our inability to generate positive and alluring images of tomorrow’s world has been accompanied by the fading prominence of futurology as a form of popular nonfiction. It carries on as an academic discipline, as research and speculation conducted by think tanks and government-funded bodies.

Filed under: Science and Technology

SFBC Author Notes for May 2007

The SFBC Blog has a series of author notes on recent publications, including ones from:

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 5/11/07

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain by Minister Faust

REVIEW SUMMARY: What do you get when you combine superheroes, neuroses, and self-help books? Don’t answer yet since you also have to mix in some satire and some fantastic characters. The end result of this combination is this book by Minister Faust which was an enjoyable read with an ending that I still find very interesting.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Dr. Eva Brain-Silverman is an author of several self help books for meta humans, and in this book she tackles a group of dysfunctional heroes who are about to be kicked out of the Fraternal Order of Justice (FOOJ). This book documents that journey in psychology.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: The characters and a unique way of presenting the story. Fantastic dialogue and the right amount of action.

CONS: A few too many acronyms (although I think that was intentional) and some of the psychology devolves into babble (again probably intentional).

BOTTOM LINE: A fantastic book that delivers entertainment and more.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

Friday YouTube: The New Adventures of the Wonder Twins

I would be remiss if I didn’t admit to liking Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna (and their pet monkey Gleek) when they first appeared on the Superfriends cartoon of my youth. It wasn’t until I was a more discerning viewer that I realized how lame they truly were. Seriously, when a show replaces characters (poor Wendy and Marvin!), it’s already jumped the shark.

Anywho, Adult Swim’s 2-minute parodies of The Wonder Twins from 2002, like the one below, are a hoot.

If you liked “Drag Race”, follow the YouTube trails to other episodes.

[via Cynical-C]

Filed under: HumorTV

Free Reads: Future Weapons of War

Baen has posted part of their new anthology Future Weapons of War edited by by Joe Haldeman and Martin Harry Greenberg.

Available stories online include

[via SFBC Blog]

Filed under: Free Fiction

Ray Bradbury had this to say about science fiction and fantasy, as quoted from the introduction to (I believe) The Circus of Dr. Lao and Other Improbable Stories:

Science-fiction is the law-abiding citizen of imaginative literature, obeying the rules, be they physical, social, or psychological, keeping regular hours, eating punctual meals; predictable, certain, sure.

Fantasy, on the other hand, is criminal. Each fantasy assaults and breaks a particular law; the crime being hidden by the author’s felicitous thought and style which cover the body before blood is seen.

Science-fiction works hand-in-glove with the universe.

Fantasy cracks it down the middle, turns it wrong-side-out, dissolves it to invisibility, walks men through its walls, and fetches incredible circuses to town with sea-serpent, medusa, and chimera displacing zebra, ape, and armadillo.

Science-fiction balances you on the cliff. Fantasy shoves you off.

[via Mirathon]

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 5/11/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Sci-Fi and Ani-Mondays

From the folks over at Forever Geek, we have news that the Sci-Fi channel be showing anime on Monday nights between 11pm and 1 am ET/PT starting June 11. This will obviously expand upon their current lineup of wrestling and Mansquito starting June 11. The release indicates that new lineup will include the premiere of Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society and will be a venue for new series such as Tokko, Noein. Hopefully these shows won’t be too hacked up considering they are on later in the evening and on The Sci-Fi Channel versus Cartoon Network.

Updated to fix bad writing skills…

Filed under: TV

SF Tidbits for 5/10/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Google Video: Constant Payne

Here’s the 2001 pilot for Constant Payne, an animated, futuristic, action/adventure show that aired on Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon?!? Perhaps they decided to get out of the sci-fi biz before the inevitable wrestling programming corrupted the kids. :)

Filed under: TV

Tiny Classics and Literary Snobbery

Paul at Velcro City Tourist Board posts about “Compact classics” and literary elitism where he discusses the publication of abridged classics and Literary Snobbery:

The issue I have is with the assumption that people need to have read the ‘classics’ to have any valid claim to being a reader. It’s this attitude, I think, that drives so many people away from reading as a hobby – because, like enthusiasts of any pursuit, readers can be very snobbish about reading, and that “what do you mean, you’ve never read {x}?” attitude has one effect and one effect only – it makes the accused feel inadequate.

And for those for whom abridged versions are still too long, there are the Book-a-Minute Classics and Book-a-Minute SF/F websites.

Filed under: Books

Galley Cat talks about one of the most anticipated releases in genre publishing, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The UK site Times Online is reporting that the book may not be the revenue savior that people anticipate.

Bottom Line; it will generate sales, but not profits:

The seventh and final adventure of the young wizard, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, comes out on July 21 and Simon Fox, the chief executive, said that Waterstone’s had already sold nearly as many by preorder as were sold in total of the sixth Harry Potter book.

He said that it was vitally important for Waterstone’s to offer the book at a competitive price but because it was selling it at £8.99 – half price – it would be “hard to make money”.

Mr Fox said that Ottakar’s, the bookstore that Waterstone’s bought last year, was a clear example of how a retailer’s fortunes could be damaged by not engaging in price competition on block-buster books.

Mr Fox’s comments reflect the fears of Kate Swann, the chief executive of WH Smith, and Philip Downer, the retail director of Borders, as the high street prepares for a Harry Potter price war with the supermarkets and online stores such as Amazon, which is already offering the book for £8.99.

On the bright side, high sales numbers, not profits, are still good for The Harry Potter Outreach Program!

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 5/9/07

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: Helix by Eric Brown

REVIEW SUMMARY: This is everything you want in a good Space Opera.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The crew of a colonist ship, which crash lands on a mysterious helix made up of thousands of worlds, sets out to find a suitable home planet and learn the mystery behind the creation of the helix itself.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Huge sense of wonder; interesting alien races; dramatic characterizations; page-turning.

CONS: The crew was sometimes not as careful as they should have been given their situation.

BOTTOM LINE: A perfect blend of ingredients. Equal parts adventure, drama and wonder.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 5/8/07

Filed under: Tidbits

The End Of LOST?

Don’t worry, that’s a good thing! ABC has confirmed that LOST will end, after three more seasons. The interesting thing is, each ‘season’ will be comprised of 16 episodes that will run straight through without interruption. This will alleviate the two month break the show went through this season, and, if the writers can keep it up, the show will be stronger for it.

I think one of the main reasons the show may have lost some viewers was a direct result of having no end date in sight. This forced the writers to vamp and stretch the reveals out as much as possible. Thinking this was another Twin Peaks, people bailed. However, LOST is not Twin Peaks. It is evident that there is a cohesive story behind it all, but the writers were shackled by the open ended stop date. Now, with a concrete date, the writers can concentrate on moving the story lines forward and giving us more info on what is going on.

If you’ve given up on the series after last season, or even after the first 6 episodes of this seasons, then you’ve missed some incredible shows. Since LOST returned from its break, its been giving us some great TV, with interesting stories along with some answers, while, of course, giving us more questions, which we know will be answered in the next 48 episodes. This weeks episode looks to be a winner, as we get to see the backstory for Ben. I’ve been really enjoying the heck out of it lately and I have to watch it as soon as I can get the kids in bed. LOST and Heroes are the only two shows that do that for me. If you liked LOST and have left, why not come back? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Filed under: TV

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