The guys over at IGN have posted an exclusive interview with Summer Glau, who we all know as River Tam from Firelfly, about her role in the upcoming TV series, The Sarah Conner Chronicles.

I’m still leery about taking a successful movie franchise and then creating a TV spin-off from it. And I wasn’t too excited by the trailer. I said in our earlier post that I may tune in. That was before I read this:

IGN TV: So from the clips I saw, it looks like you have a fight scene while you’re naked?

Glau: [Laughs] Can you believe it was snowing outside too?! We were in Albuquerque and I’d never been so cold in my life. I had three different night shoots where I had to be naked.

Yes, it’s on Fox. So all you’ll be seeing are the pictures in your own imagination, but still, TSCC is now in the ‘somewhat more intriguing’ bin. And who knew Summer was also in The 4400? I didn’t. Does anyone watch that show?

Filed under: TV

The SFSignal Podcast Is Here!

Well, not so much a podcast as an inanecast, but you get the idea. This is something we put together to test the podcasting waters and to see just what it would take on the technical side to put one together. As a result, we have a short, jokey ‘cast for you, with the vague promise of possibly more to potentially come in the near, or far, future. You can download the ‘cast in a variety of flavors here, or you can listen using the Pickle Player below:

Cast

Intro and Narrator: JP Frantz

Henri zee Monkee: Tim Zinsky

Overexcited child’s voice at the end: Tim’s son

And for those of you wondering about the ‘emotion’ on display by Tim’s son, don’t worry. He’s taking lessons at the Keanu Reeves Method School Of Acting.

Update: For those of you wanting to subscribe to an RSS feed, I’ve moved the files over to Odeo, and you can subscribe here.

Filed under: Meta

Prompted by Jeff Vehige’s review of A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge, I dug out my copy of David Hartwell’s book Age of Wonders: Exploring the World of Science Fiction. Chapter 8, “Science Fiction Writers Can’t Write for Sour Apples”, lists Hartwell’s picks for “Literary” novels that would be loved by readers uninitiated in the wonders of science fiction:

  1. The Long Afternoon of Earth (1962, a.k.a. Hothouse) by Brian W. Aldiss
  2. The Caves of Steel (1953) by Isaac Asimov
  3. The Best of J.G. Ballard (1977) by J.G. Ballard
  4. Timescape (1980) by Gregory Benford
  5. The Stars My Destination (1956) by Alfred Bester
  6. * Ancient of Days (1985) by Michael Bishop
  7. A Case of Conscience (1959) by James Blish
  8. Rogue Moon (1960) by Algis Budrys
  9. Childhood’s End (1953) by Arthur C. Clarke
  10. * The Great Work of Time (1991) by John Crowley
  11. Dhalgren (1975) by Samuel R. Delany
  12. The Man in the High Castle (1962) by Philip K. Dick
  13. 334 (1972) by Thomas M. Disch
  14. Camp Concentration (1968) by Thomas M. Disch
  15. * Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson
  16. * White Queen (1991) by Gwyneth Jones
  17. Flowers for Algernon (1966) by Daniel Keyes
  18. The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) by Ursula K. Le Guin
  19. The Dispossessed (1974) by Ursula K. Le Guin
  20. A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960) by Walter M. Miller, Jr
  21. A Mirror for Observers (1954) by Edgar Pangborn
  22. Davy (1964) by Edgar Pangborn
  23. The Female Man (1975) by Joanna Russ
  24. * The Child Garden (1989) by Geoff Ryman
  25. Dying Inside (1972) by Robert Silverberg
  26. More Than Human (1953) by Theodore Sturgeon
  27. The Shadow of the Torturer (1980) by Gene Wolfe
  28. The Claw of the Conciliator (1981) by Gene Wolfe
  29. The Sword of the Lictor (1981) by Gene Wolfe
  30. The Citadel of the Autarch (1982) by Gene Wolfe
  31. The Dream Master (1966) by Roger Zelazny
  32. Four for Tomorrow (1967) by Roger Zelazny

The titles marked with *asterisks* did not appear in the 1985 first edition of Age of Wonders, but did appear in the 1996 reprint. Linked titles lead to our reviews, which undoubtedly don’t do them justice.

Also: Here is the passage that precedes Hartwell’s list:

There is no doubt that a significant number of science fiction writers today consider themselves literary artists, and a large number consider themselves traditional paid entertainers. But because of the newer attitude, I believe that the likelihood that a work of SF may be a substantial work of literature has been greatly increased. It is not my place to declare who the real artists are and are not. But looking back over the past decades, it is evident that certain works are outstanding in their execution and will repay a reader who does not have an initiation into the special pleasures that come from long acquaintance with the SF field.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 6/6/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Series Fatigue or Fantasy Fatigue?

So here I am, currently trying to read Midnight Tides, the fifth book in Steven Erickson’s epically sized Malazan fantasy series. Now, I’ve liked the first four, certainly well enough to wade through upwards of 2000 pages of story in a genre that I am not pre-disposed to enjoy. But, and you knew one was coming, for some reason, I just can’t seem to get into Midnight Tides. Maybe it’s because House Of Chains wrapped up a four book long story cycle, closing the book, as it were, on several characters, leaving Tides to pick up with completely new stories and characters.

The prospect of reading through 500+ more pages of new stuff, even if it does tie in to what has gone before, isn’t exactly filling me with excitement, even though I have enjoyed the other books. For some reason, I’m having issues getting into this new story. As an example, it took me roughly four days to read through 60 pages in Tides. I took a break around page 40 or so, and in another four days I started, and finished, Queen Of Candesce. I feel like I’m burned out already on the Malazan series, even though I know there is a lot more to come, and Erickson has done a stellar worldbuilding job with his setting. So, is this series fatigue? Have others reached this point with this, or any other series? To those who have read farther than me, is it worth it to keep going? Or is this a symptom of fantasy fatigue?

Maybe its just me. As you can see from my shelf, I also have Carnival in my queue. I’ve actually read about 20 pages in, and, while the setting has some promise, it hasn’t really grabbed me either. But! I just obtained from John two very interesting looking books. The awesome looking The Making Of Star Wars (see my shelf on the right) and 1945, by Robert Conroy, which combines two great tastes: science fiction (in the form of alternate history) and World War II. So I face the hard choice to figure out what I want to read now. I’ll probably go with the Star Wars book, being the fanboy that I am.

What do you think: Series or Fantasy fatigue, and can I cure it?

Filed under: Books

REVIEW: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

MY RATING:

(For more Pratchett reviews, see The Great Pratchett Reading Project table.)

Wyrd Sisters is, perhaps, the best of the early Pratchett novels, and I think it ought to stand up with the best overall. In this book, ‘the play’s the thing’ for Pratchett, as Wyrd Sisters is basically a novel-length parody of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The old King of Lancre unfortunately falls on his dagger while falling down a flight stairs and the new King just can’t seem to get the stains off of his hands, even using steel pads. It’s up to Granny Weatherwax and company to set things right.

Most Pratchett novels have interesting characters, but Wyrd Sisters is different in that all characters involved are interesting. From the triumvirate of witches, to the new King (henpecked and insane) and Queen (powermad) , the Fool (very smart but hides it well), Tomjon (the lost heir), Greebo (the cat) and, of course, Death. Pratchett does a wonderful job of making each character unique and interesting, then blending them into a very funny story. Even Greebo, the oversized, aggressive feline gets a turn in the spotlight as he is captured in the castle, then set free by the Fool. I know I said in my review for Equal Rites that I wasn’t that fond of the witches as characters. Well, Pratchett remedies that issue in this book, making the witches a joy to read, especially the bickering and deliberate (or not?) misunderstanding of words that occurs between Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. And who can forget Nanny singing the Hedgehog Song?

From a comedy standpoint, Wyrd Sisters is chock full of laugh out loud moments, puns, wordplay and funny footnotes. Combine this with Pratchett’s skewed take on all things Shakespearian and theatrical and you have a book that is fun to read from cover to cover. That the characters take all this in stride just adds to the humor of the story. Pratchett also manages to sneak in a bit of commentary on the power of words, as Tomjon is able to rouse not only theater goers, but also roadside bandits, to his side just by quoting lines from a play and projecting his voice. That is, until he meets a born critic. And the trip to the theater by Granny, Nanny and Magrat is one of the highlights of the book. Imagine viewing a play with two people who don’t have a grasp on things theatrical, and decide to take everything they see at face value. Very funny, especially the ‘corpse’ becoming embarassed at being dead.

If there is one thing that bothered me about the book, it was the length. At just over 300 pages, its one of the longer early Discworld novels. However, I felt that, even at that length, Pratchett was stretching the parody. There were a few spots in the middle where the story seemed to be treading water, waiting to get back into full comedic flow.

As knowledge of the other Discworld novels is not required to enjoy Wyrd Sisters, I think this novel fits in nicely with Guards! Guards! as a great entry point for someone looking to get into the Discworld. And its also a great story in its own right.

Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 6/5/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Monday YouTube: Family Guy / Star Wars Preview

A preview of the upcoming Family Guy parody of Star Wars, recorded from a video camera at Star Wars Celebration IV.

[via everywhere]

Filed under: HumorStar Wars

REVIEW SUMMARY: Nothing new for fans of post-apocalyptic sf, but a very good read nonetheless.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A father and his young son travel a post-apocalyptic landscape.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Well-drawn, dark atmosphere; compelling story; characters you root for; a great sf gateway novel.

CONS: While the lack of survivors paints a more hopeless picture, it means a lost opportunity to provide an even richer setting.

BOTTOM LINE: Appeals to both mainstream and sf readers.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 6/4/07

Filed under: Tidbits

POLL RESULTS: What We Thought Of Heroes, Season 1

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
How would you rate season one of Heroes?

RESULTS

(134 total votes)

Some comments this week:

“This is one of “my shows,” yet when I think about it, I have to rate it at just “Good.” I have to ask those giving it the top rating, why do you consider it one of the best shows ever?” – A_Z

“There are some issues (good), but given the tv landscape these days Heroes gets a Very good vote from me.” – Kristen

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about the end of Battlestar Galactica!

Filed under: Polls

You may not know it, but the end of the world happens in 10 days… So says Steve Wilson at the webcomic My Elves are Different:

  • Blog Like It’s the End of the World (BLITEOTW) will take place on 13 June. That’s not any particular notable day or anniversary, except for the unlucky number.
  • The idea is that your posting for that day is written as if a zombie uprising were taking place around the world, including your home town.
  • You blog about how it’s effecting you, what you might witness, rumors or news that you hear, and so on.
  • Because it’s taking place worldwide almost simultaneously, it’s obviously a Romero-style zombiegeddon, where all the recently dead rise up, and are able to infect the living. (As opposed to a 28 Days Later-style plague).
  • If you’d like to participate, let Steve know in the post comments and he’ll post a link on his page. Otherwise on the day you can check Technorati for posts tagged ‘zombies’. Also: tag or label your blog posts ‘zombies’ so people can find them.
  • It’s a collaborative event, so the more you comment on other people’s posts, link to them from your blog, spread rumors and riff on ideas, the better!

If things seem wonky here on June 13th – wonkier than usual – that’d be because we’re participating. After all, who doesn’t love a good zombie uprising?

Filed under: Events

Best SF Presents…

Mark Watson’s Best SF is one of the longest running short fiction review sites and this month, he’s branching out.

Best SF Presents aims to make short stories available online that showcase the best the genre has to offer. There’s no set schedule, but expect a new story – primarily science fiction – every month or so.

In Mark’s words:

I’m aiming to get a mix of old and new stories, from established and up and coming authors. First up is “The Last Reef” by Gareth L Powell, which appeared in Interzone #206 Jan/Feb 2006.

Gareth L Powell’s “The Last Reef” was long listed for a BSFA award, and came sixth in the Interzone Reader’s Poll for best short story of 2006. He’s got a collection and a novel appearing in 2008, and he’s a regular blogger. Co-incidentally, another story of his, “Six Lights Off Green Scar” has just appeared on the InfinityPlus website.

I have to admit that Best SF is the site that prompted me, when I review short fiction myself, to review each story individually. Not only does it allow me to remember each story more than a one-off description would (or worse, no description at all), but it also allows me to lazily cut-and-paste what I wrote before for reuse when a story appears in multiple anthologies.

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 6/3/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Top 10 SF Signal Posts for May 2007

As per Google Analytics, here are The Top 10 SF Signal Posts for May 2007:

  1. Heroes Spinoff: Origins
  2. The 7 Coolest Scenes In Science Fiction Film And Television
  3. Quick Thoughts on the Heroes Season 1 Finale
  4. FireflyFans.net
  5. Can You Name These Science Fiction Films?
  6. REVIEW: Helix by Eric Brown
  7. WINNERS: Analog/Asimov’s Readers’ Award
  8. Do You Like Wonder Woman?
  9. Major Changes at the Science Fiction Book Club
  10. Hilarious! Conan Visits Lucas’ ILM

Looking at the top overall hits, while ignoring those listed above, we get these stats for older posts that were popular in May…

  1. Solve Rubik’s Cube
  2. SF/F Writers Who Blog
  3. Top 10 Star Wars Spoofs
  4. Spiderman 2
  5. POLL: Hottest SciFi/Fantasy Babe NOT of Yesteryear
  6. REVIEW: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  7. Here’s a shocker… (The Klausner Post)
  8. REVIEW: Eldest by Christopher Paolini
  9. Forklift Safety Video
  10. Foundation: The Movie

Filed under: Meta

Recycled from a past tidbit…until YouTube pulls it again.

Filed under: Humor

Battlestar Galactica will end after season 4.

I stopped watching BSG last year, so I don’t know if the show ever came out of the doldrums that chased me away.

Is this unexpected? Does anyone still think, as I once did, that BSG is the best show currently on TV?

Filed under: TV

SF Tidbits for 6/1/07

Filed under: Tidbits

NOMINEES: 2007 John W. Campbell Memorial Award

Sniff…sniff… Smells like award season.

The nominees for the 2007 John W. Campbell Memorial Award, celebrating the best SF novel published in the US, are:

  • Titan by Ben Bova (Tor)
  • A Small and Remarkable Life by Nick DiChario (Robert J. Sawyer Books)
  • Infoquake by David Louis Edelman (Pyr) [see SF Signal review]
  • Nova Swing by M. John Harrison (Gollancz)
  • Odyssey by Jack McDevitt (Ace)
  • The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow (William Morrow)
  • Living Next Door to the God of Love by Justina Robson (Tor)
  • Dry by Barbara Sapergia (Coteau Books)
  • Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder (Tor) [see SF Signal review]
  • Glasshouse by Charles Stross (Ace)
  • Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge (Tor) [see SF Signal review]
  • Farthing by Jo Walton (Tor)
  • Blindsight by Peter Watts (Tor) [see SF Signal review]

See also: Past winners.

[via SF Scope]

Filed under: Awards

Speed Racer’s Mach 5

All you Speed Racer fanboys can commence drooling (let me get my handkerchief). USA Today has a first look at the Mach 5 that will be used in the upcoming Speed Racer movie.

I confess, I watched Speed every afternoon after school. My most favorite Hot Wheels car was my Mach 5. I even have the first two issues of the Speed Racer comic released by Wildstorm in 1999. Yes, I like Speed Racer. I mean, who doesn’t like a giant truck made out of solid gold? Just think of the power needed to move that!

I had heard there was a movie in the works, but knowing the Wachowski brothers were directing gave me some pause. Although Speed Racer will be a family film, producer Joel Silver says:

And it will have great effects like the Matrix, just with the car.

Plus, most of the car effects will be done with CGI and the model you see above will be in a wire-fu setup. Please, please, please don’t screw this up. There’s a lot of possibilities with the car, just think about those retractable saw blades, but how much will they tone it down?

As if the Mach 5 isn’t enough, the last sentence is:

“They’re using a real monkey,” Hirsch says. “Just don’t call him that. He’s a chimpanzee. He gets upset if you call him a monkey.”

A real chimpanzee. Sweet. I’m almost convinced to be there in the theaters. But I still have doubts. Check out the cast: Emile Hirsch (who?) as Speed, Christina Ricci (Wednesday Adams?!) as Trixie and Matthew Fox (Jack! He got off the island! But did his dad?) as Racer X.

But dang, that is one cool looking car. Maybe Detroit ought to make those for mass market consumption.

Filed under: TV

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