Over the years, I’ve refined the kinds of things we post about. Generally speaking, I avoid rumor posts and such minutia as casting calls, box office tallies, DVD releases, etc. I mean, do we really need to write a post every time George Lucas farts?

So it is with some trepidation that I submit this casting rumor about Kate Beckinsale being tied to a remake of Barbarella. But I owe Pete a favor. Pete’s infatuation with Kate Beckinsale (some would call it a borderline stalking obsession) is legendary in these parts. Or those parts, if you know what I mean.

Enjoy, Pete!

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 4/19/07

Filed under: Tidbits

INTERVIEW: Greg Bear

Hugo and Nebula Award winning author Greg Bear has been writing professionally for forty years. His works range from memorable short fiction, like “Blood Music” and “Hardfought”, to novels like Eon, The Forge of God and Darwin’s Radio. His latest novel is a a near-future thriller called Quantico, available from Vanguard Press. (See SF Signal review.) SF Signal had the opportunity to talk to Greg via email about the Quantico, Eon and making books available online for free.


SF Signal: Hi, Greg. What prompted you to write Quantico? How did you get the idea, and did that idea change as you were writing it?

Greg Bear: A visit to the FBI Academy to attend a conference on the future of crime and criminal investigation gave me a chance to speak with agents and law enforcement officers from around the country. It was a fascinating and sobering experience–these people have some of the most difficult jobs on the planet, are under constant scrutiny, and without them, we’d be in very serious trouble indeed. The stresses these responsibilities produce, in a time of political change and terrible threat, seemed to me perfect for a new kind of thriller–a near-future, hardcore look at where we might end up if we keep making strategic screw-ups, and continue to misuse and abuse our front-line defenders, be they military personnel or law enforcers.

SFS: Was there any backlash from the book?

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Filed under: Interviews

Subterranean Magazine, Spring 2007

The Spring 2007 issue of Subterranean Press Magazine has been posted online with the following offerings:

  • Audio: “Rude Mechanicals” by Kage Baker
  • Column: Bears Examine #2 by Elizabeth Bear
  • Column: Me and Lucifer by Mike Resnick
  • Fiction: “A Plain Tale from Our Hills” by Bruce Sterling
  • Fiction: “A Season of Broken Dolls” by Caitlin R. Kiernan
  • Fiction: “Deadman’s Road” by Joe R. Lansdale
  • Fiction: “Eating Crow” by Neal Barrett, Jr.
  • Fiction: “The Leopard’s Paw” by Jay Lake
  • Review: Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 edited by Mike Resnick
  • Review: The Last Mimzy by Henry Kuttner
  • Review: The Best of the Best Volume 2, 20 Years of The Best Short Science Fiction Novels
  • Review: Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor Volume 2

Filed under: Web Sites

R.I.P.: Jamie Bishop

Sad news…

Artist and Professor Jamie Bishop, son of SF author Michael Bishop, was among the victims of the recent Virginia Tech tragedy.

[via Locus Online]

Filed under: Art

SF Tidbits for 4/18/07

Filed under: Tidbits

(Note: The impetus for creating this post hit my while I was reading this over on Lou Anders’ blog, right around the section talking about Michael Chabon and the Oprah Book Club).

As we are all aware, July 21st, 2007 is P-Day (Potter Day) for the book publishing industry. At 12:01 AM, the newest, and last, Harry Potter book will be made available for sale. Undoubtedly there will be many book stores staying open, or opening there doors, to allow fans to purchase the book as soon as humanly possible. Now we, as science fiction fans, could sit back and grumble at how a ‘kids’ book, and fantasy at that!, is getting all the attention while SF gets the short shrift. Or, we can do something positive about it. Just think of all the people who read Harry Potter who haven’t tried anything else fantasy or science fiction related, or maybe they’ve read something in the field but didn’t like it. In either case, Harry Potter has a tremendously huge number of readers who maybe willing to try something different. We, as fans, have a huge opportunity to try to reach out to the Harry Potter readers and introduce them to other worthwhile reads available in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Thus, I bring you:

The Harry Potter Outreach Program!

This program is our attempt to raise the awareness of non-genre readers about the many good books they are missing if they only read Harry Potter and nothing else. It will work like this. On this site, I’d like to see us come up with a list of books that might appeal to Harry Potter readers. There will be six categories: (SF) 12 and Under, (SF)Young Adult, (SF) Adult, (F)12 and Under, (F)Young Adult, and (F) Adult. I ask that you list up to three books in each category. About two weeks or so before the release of the last Potter book, the results will be tabulated and the result will be a PDF file listing the top 3 books in each category suitable for printing on a 4×6″ index card. Something along the lines of: “You like the wonders of Harry Potter, you may like to read some of the following books…” This will be open to discussion as well.

You can then, if you so choose, print these out and take them to your local bookstore to hand out to those people waiting in line. There will also be a link on the card pointing back to this post showing that there are a lot more choices than just the ones presented on the card. I think this is a good time for us in the SF community to actually do something to spread the word about the Science Fiction and Fantasy community. I’ll create a permanent link on the right hand side of the main page pointing back to this post, and I’ll try to have weekly, if not more often, reminders about the program. To kick things off, here are my choices:

SCIENCE FICTION

12 AND UNDER: Larklight by Philip Reeve, City of Ember by by Jeanne DuPrau

YOUNG ADULT: Mortal Engines, Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson

ADULT: Old Man’s War/Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

FANTASY

12 AND UNDER: Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton

YOUNG ADULT: Here There Be Dragons by by James A. Owen

ADULT: A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin

I’m not expecting to change the minds of the adults, but I bet we can reach some of the kids, who, after all, we will need if SF is to gain new readers.

Also, if you do go out, take a camera and send us your pics. We’ll find a place to host them so we can all see the magic in action!

Now, have at it!

Filed under: Books

REVIEW SUMMARY: My first foray in Martin’s well-regarded fantasy series.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A squire named Dunk carries on the tradition of his dead master and enters a jousting tournament to begin his career as a knight.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Exceptional storytelling; excellent pencil work and coloring.

CONS: Too many characters, houses and relationships to keep track of.

BOTTOM LINE: A fine introduction to A Song of Ice and Fire.

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Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 4/17/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Calls For Cthulhu

More Monday YouTube….

Cthulhu answers your calls in Calls For Cthulhu! Call 1-800-SOL-EATR…

See also: Episodes two, three and four.

[via raincoaster]

Filed under: CthulhuHumor

SF Tidbits for 4/16/07

Filed under: Tidbits

POLL RESULTS: The Best Movie Ever!

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
People seem to object to the SFX “Best Movie Ever” poll. What do you think is the best sci-fi film?

RESULTS

(156 total votes)

I voted other, but I was undecided between The Day the Earth Stood Still and Gattacca.

Lots of comments this week:

“I realize Serenity may not be the most hugely popular choice, but I like that it gave me powerful characterization and great dialog as well as really gorgeous special effects. And the opening scene where we first see the ship is gorgeous.” – Pete Tzinski

“Metropolis Metropolis Metropolis!!!! This movie is the birth of true Sci-Fi flicks. All other Sci-Fi movies need to lick Metropolis’s’s’ses ;-) boots for paving the way for them.” – Trent

“Event Horizon” – James

“Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ Chilling in its vision. yet hopeful in the spirit of triumph shown. The robots/androids are still among the best, paving the way for Asimov and Data. Blessings” – Richard Novak

“The Day the Earth Stood Still, because it’s solid science fiction and thoughtful social commentary as well as a darn good story.” – Alexandra

“My vote goes to DARK CITY directed by Alex Proyas.” – John C. Wright

“I voted other. My personal fav is “The Abyss”. It’s a great first contact movie; it’s jut too bad it did not take place in outer space.” – Kristin

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll about giving away books for free! (This is actually a revived poll…these days we’re getting about 5 times the response and it’s suddenly topical again, so what the hey.)

Filed under: Polls

A: You get the 1979 train wreck that is Star Crash!

I cannot believe this is the first time I’m finding this out. I’ve struggled for years (years!) over ways to integrate mentions of David Hasselhoff into my science fiction blogging. (Tim and JP can attest to this.) Then, as if in answer to my prayers, along comes a post from Look at This that shows me the way.

What makes this even better is that the movie – and I use that term loosely – stars Marjoe Gortner. For the reason why this is the icing on this particular cake, see my previous moment of surrealism with crazy-eyed Marjoe Gortner.

Here’s a video clip from the movie. Sure, the Hoff has a long way to go before he exhibits the consummate acting skills he portrayed in “Jump In My Car“, but I think you’ll agree that the seeds are there even then.

Filed under: Movies

EW Reviews SF/F

Issue #930 of Entertainment Weekly offers some brief reviews of science fiction and fantasy books. Here’s a snippet…

White Night by Jim Butcher

Bottom Line: After nine Dresden books, Butcher’s supernatural Chicago holds little mystique, only endless rules and relationships explained ad nauseam in his hero’s irksome inner monologue.

Grade: C

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Bottom Line: This fast-moving, vivid, and unpretentious debut roots its coming-of-age fantasy in convincing mythology.

Grade: A-

Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert

Bottom Line: Mostert creates a taut, sexy thriller from disparate sci-fi and fantasy ingredients.

Grade: B+

Zig Zag by José Carlos Somoza

Bottom Line: Zig Zag could’ve been a bad Chrichton tech-thriller knockoff, but the Spanish author displays an unhurried style and a refreshing appreciation for advanced science.

Grade: B

Filed under: Books

REMINDER: 2007 Locus Poll Deadline!

Just a reminder that tomorrow (April 15, 2007) is the deadline to vote in the 37th annual Locus Poll.

You don’t have to be a subscriber of Locus to vote, but if yo are you get a free issue for doing so.

Filed under: Web Sites

Will Shetterly has posted a rant from Howard V. Hendrix, SFWA’s current V.P. and author of Spears of God:

I’m also opposed to the increasing presence in our organization of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free. A scab is someone who works for less than union wages or on non-union terms; more broadly, a scab is someone who feathers his own nest and advances his own career by undercutting the efforts of his fellow workers to gain better pay and working conditions for all. Webscabs claim they’re just posting their books for free in an attempt to market and publicize them, but to my mind they’re undercutting those of us who aren’t giving it away for free and are trying to get publishers to pay a better wage for our hard work.

John Scalzi has a brief response to the rant. Nick Mamatas has one more fun for observers.

Filed under: Free Fiction

SF Tidbits for 4/14/07

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

REVIEW SUMMARY: Surprisingly engaging read that I honestly couldn’t put down.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Will Laurence is a British navy captain during the time of Lord Nelson and when Napoleon was threatening to engulf all of Europe. But in a bit of alternative history, dragons are real and take (multiple) riders into battle. Laurence ends up a rider through what he considers bad luck, but ends up making the friend of a lifetime in his dragon Temeraire. The two then ride for the King in defense of the islands from the might of the French.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Very fun story, sympathetic characters, a setting that isn’t at all fantasy save for the dragons (strange, but true.)

CONS: Some of this has been done before by Ann McCaffrey

BOTTOM LINE: If you want a quick read, this book will hook you in and end up well worth your time.

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Filed under: Book Review

This one for Scott. :)

Filed under: Humor

From the Wired article Writers, Directors Fear ‘Sci-Fi’ Label Like an Attack From Mars:

Even when clearly appropriate, film studios and publishers avoid the phrase “science fiction.” So do the novelists, film directors and editors in their employ. McCarthy’s book [The Road], which is about to become a blockbuster — Oprah Winfrey will tout it on an upcoming TV show as part of her book club — is just another example of how the powers that be dodge the term, especially when it applies to “serious” fiction or cinema.

You won’t find the words “science fiction” in Random House’s bio of Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author China Miéville. Instead, he’s called the “edgiest mythmaker of the day.” Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep? It’s classified as comedy, drama, romance and fantasy, but not sci-fi, at Amazon.com.

Even Battlestar Galactica, the flagship show of (hello!) the Sci Fi Channel, keeps a distance. “It’s fleshed-out reality,” explains executive producer Ronald D. Moore in the sci-fi mag SFX. “It’s not in the science-fiction genre.”

The nose-thumbing is nothing new. In the ’50s, Robert Heinlein dismissed the term, opting for “speculative fiction.” (What fiction isn’t?)

Filed under: BooksMovies

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