SF Tidbits for 8/10/06

Filed under: Tidbits

Be the Next William Shatner

William Shatner is running a promotional contest through his DVD club where contestants can upload a short video proving why they are the biggest Sci-Fi fan. Video submissions are posted on shatner.blip.tv where other people can watch the videos and vote for their favorites. The winner gets to be the new spokesperson for the DVD club.

Take a look at the video submissions.

[via Slice of SciFi]

Filed under: Web Sites

Yes, yet another post where we ask you, the loyal SF Signal reader, to post your thoughts on various subjects. This time, taking a cue from the earlier Movies You Haven’t Seen post, we’re going to talk about books. There are a ton of SF books out there so there’s a very good chance that you have read something that most other people haven’t read. If you have a book that you liked that others probably haven’t read, list it here. In about a week or so, I’ll collate this list into one giant post. In the interest of generating less work for me, please list up to 3 books and say why you like them.

And now, my list:

  • Evening’s Empire by David Herter – A contemporary fantasy (yes, fantasy, without the elves) set in Evening, Oregon. It’s got atmosphere, a 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea opera, strange goings-on, buried ancient cities, and cheese. What more could you want? Even a rushed ending doesn’t completely mar the the rest of the book.
  • The Alacrity Fitzhugh and Hobart Floyt trilogy by Brian Daley – Published in the 80′s and comprises Requiem For A Ruler Of Worlds, Jinx On A Terran Inheritance, and Fall Of The White Ship Avatar. These are good old-fashioned space adventure/comedy stories. Think a buddy movie in space, as Earth-bound and sheltered Hobart Floyt must pair up with lazy, general breakabout Alacrity Fitzhugh. Many adventures ensue. Heck, just about anyone can read these books, as they are generally rated G, but they are a lot of fun, with lots of humor, adventure and a neatly realized far-future. Its too bad Daley passed away because he hints at something big lurking about the galaxy in the last book. Still, well worth a read if you can find them.
  • The Book Of Ash by Mary Gentle – Comprised of A Secret History, Carthage Ascendant, The Wild Machines and Lost Burgundy. Takes place in 15th century Europe and tells the story of Ash, the female commander of a mercenary group who hears voices that help her with her battle tactics. Is it alternate history? Time travel? Or something else? A well done story, if a bit long. The ultimate resolution if very SFnal.
  • Celestial Matters by Richard Garfinkle – Read our review. A hard SF novel set in an alternate historical setting where the Greek view of the universe is the ‘correct’ view. Garfinkle has done a great job thinking through the ramifications of the Greek world-view and has created a story about a war between the Greeks and the Orient. It has spaceships and weapons made from the Sun’s plasma. Extremely cool.

I could list more, but in the interest of time I’ll stop and turn it over to you. Post away!

Filed under: Books

Be Inspired By Star Trek

With these Star Trek Inspirational Posters. It’s too bad they don’t have really large .JPGs suitable for printing and hanging on your co-workers doors. Still, That Fight Music is classic!

Filed under: Web Sites

Lucas Approves 20-minute Star Wars

From CNN:

U.S. director George Lucas has given permission for the Star Wars saga, which lasted for over 13 hours, to be shortened to a production of just 20 minutes, officials from the Reduced Shakespeare Company said Tuesday.

“This is my boyhood dream, in the space of 20 minutes I’m going to be Jabba the Hutt, Jar Jar Binks, Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker,” said the company’s Adam Long, who will write and direct the piece and star in it, with two other performers. “Everyone loves Star Wars but I love it more than anyone on the planet.”

Playing Jar Jar Binks a boyhood dream? Methink thou art a general offence…

Filed under: Star Wars

SF Tidbits for 8/8/06

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: Cover Story: The Art of John Picacio

REVIEW SUMMARY: A visual feast of eye candy.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Collects the artwork of John Picacio and provides insight into his artistic process.


PROS: Visually stunning book; high-quality production; images have much to offer on many levels (content, color, texture, symbols, aesthetic, etc.); I…can’t…stop…looking…at…it…

CONS: The behind-the-scenes commentary on the individual pieces was informative and fun – I wish there were more of that.

BOTTOM LINE: Visually stunning.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

POLL RESULTS: Upcoming SF on TV and Film

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

USA Today gave us a glimpse into the future of sci-fi TV and film. What do you think?


(25 total votes)

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on reading Harry Potter!

Filed under: Polls

NOMINEES: World Fantasy Awards

Nominations for this year’s World Fantasy Awards, for works published in 2005, have been released.


  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  • The Limits of Enchantment by Graham Joyce
  • Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip
  • A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park
  • Vellum by Hal Duncan
  • [SF Signal review]


  • Another War by Simon Morden
  • “The Imago Sequence” by Laird Barron
  • “In the Machine” by Michael Cunningham
  • “Magic for Beginners” by Kelly Link [SF Signal Review]
  • “UOUS” by Tanith Lee
  • Voluntary Committal by Joe Hill


  • “Best New Horror” by Joe Hill
  • “CommComm” by George Saunders
  • “The Other Grace” by Holly Phillips
  • “La Peau Verte” by Caitlin R. Kiernan
  • “Two Hearts” by Peter S. Beagle [SF Signal Review]


  • Adventure Vol. 1 edited by Chris Roberson
  • The Fair Folk edited by Marvin Kaye
  • Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction edited by Neil Williamson & Andrew J. Wilson
  • Polyphony 5 edited by Deborah Layne & Jay Lake
  • Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth edited by Stephen Jones


  • 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
  • In the Palace of Repose by Holly Phillips
  • The Keyhole Opera by Bruce Holland Rogers
  • Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
  • To Charles Fort, with Love by Caitlin R. Kiernan


  • Kinuko Y. Craft
  • James Jean
  • Dave McKean
  • Edward Miller (Les Edwards)
  • John Jude Palencar


  • Susan Allison & Ginjer Buchanan (for Ace Books)
  • Lou Anders (for editing at Pyr)
  • Peter Lavery (for Pan MacMillan UK/Tor UK)
  • Chris Roberson & Allison Baker (for MonkeyBrain Books)
  • Sean Wallace (for Prime Books)
  • S. T. Joshi & Stefan Dziemanowicz, eds. (for Supernatural Literature of the World: An Encyclopedia, Greenwood Press)


Winners will be announced at this year’s World Fantasy Convention, to be held November 2-5 2006 in Austin, Texas.

[via Locus Online]

Filed under: Awards

Penguin’s 100 Greatest Books

Penguin Classics has compiled a list of the 100 greatest books, divided into several categories. Some noteworthy titles for sf/f fans are listed here along with their respective categories:

  • (The Best Science Fiction) The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
  • (The Best Science Fiction) The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
  • (The Best Science Fiction) The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
  • (The Best Science Fiction) The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
  • (The Best Science Fiction) We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
  • (The Best Heroes) She by H. Rider Haggard
  • (The Best Journeys) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • (The Best Violence) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • (The Best Subversion) 1984 by George Orwell
  • (The Best Spine-Tinglers) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • (The Best Spine-Tinglers) Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • (The Best Spine-Tinglers) The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

[via Lit Pundit]

Filed under: Books

UPDATE #2: SF Writers on SF

UPDATED with Scalzi link.

UPDATED again with Anders link.

I’m not an author and I don’t play one on TV, but I like trolling author blogs. I like it because they occasionally like to talk about writing and genre. I have this thing where I don’t just like to read genre stories, I also like to read about the genre itself. Anywho, several folks have been blogging lately about writing and the genre so I thought I’d pass along a few interesting reads.

Don’t let my brief and lazy summaries prevent you from reading these posts – they are all good reads, including the comments made by others.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 8/5/06

Filed under: Tidbits

Heliotrope Issue #1 Goes Live

The premier issue of Heliotrope Magazine is out. The full contents are avaialble available in multiple PDF files. Here are the contents:

Short Fiction

  • “Honey Mouth” by Samantha Henderson
  • “On he Air” by Edward Morris
  • “American Gothic” by Michael Colangelo


  • The Novella: A Personal and Professional Exploration by Jeff VanderMeer
  • The Skeptical Fantasist: In Defense of an Oxymoron by R. Scott Bakker
  • Where’s the Sci-Fi by Heidi Wessman Kneale


  • “Pasiphae’s Machine” by Catherynne M. Valente


  • Bring the Jubilee reviewed by Robert Bee
  • Lords of Rainbow reviewed by John Turing
  • Blood Follows reviewed by Scott Andrews
  • Bright Weavings reviewed by Victoria Hoyle
  • The Secrets of Jin-Shei reviewed by Victoria Hoyle
  • Out reviewed by Kimberly Fujioka

Filed under: Books

ON THE GRID: Task Force 1

Task Force 1 is a web comic by Image Comics. (See preview.) From the press release:

A generation after 9/11, the world is paralyzed by terrorist sects of every persuasion. In this bitterly divided, terror-struck United States, General Abigail Rhodes takes on the thankless job of heading up the Department of Homeland Security. She could only watch her country get its nose bloodied by these threats for so long before she decided to put a stop to the reign of terrorists once and for all. General Rhodes initiates “Operation: Damocles,” a top-secret project too risky for any of her predecessors to try. Now, Rhodes commands a covert unit of super soldiers, codenamed TASK FORCE 1, and she intends to take the terror to the terrorists.

The SF Signal crew had the opportunity to preview the full Task Force 1 web comic…

  John Kevin Scott Tim
Pros: Interesting premise; attention-grabbing openeing scene; a little gory at times, but not too much. Alpha’s ability to not only read minds but manipulate them in a minor way. At one point she uses this power in a pretty neat way to move on. I loved the art, fantastic, top-notch – this guy could be drawing for any of the top comics. The statement that not all the experiments were perfect. Superheroes need flaws to make them more acceptable.
Cons: Scene transitions too abrupt. Too many heroes had one-word names. The art; nothing in the story interested me enough to read the second issue. The writing – ugh! The story was hard to follow (what exactly happened in the team’s first mission?) Too many hackneyed phrases, and the origin story is borrowed. The story was way too disjointed, and felt rushed due to the space he had. I think that the first experiment should have been given much more focus to help us understand what is possible.
Artistic Style: Nice. Reminds me of the Justice League comics of my youth. Some of the color seemed a bit washed out, though. Very pedestrian – nothing in the style stood out from other comics. I loved the style of “US military today w/ an homage to WW2-era art”. Very cool. The style was okay, but not to what I like to read.
Coolest Idea: Alpha’s mind control powers used to loop opponents’ short-term memory. The mind reading/manipulation power. I guess the idea of superheroes originating from military projects isn’t too overused. I guess. The fact that the heros from team one really were designed for combat roles – a true stealth sniper (but with a visible gun – sheesh).
Favorite Line: “Reports are coming in from news stations all over Europe about body parts being delivered to them in the mail.” General: If your team can’t do its job, then we’ll remove that hardware and give it to soldiers that can.
Research Head Guy: But that’d kill or cripple my entire team!
General: Well then, looks like you’ll be properly motivated to get the job done.
“This is..it’s just..I’ve never seen anything like it before.” Well, not exactly… Alpha: Stay out of sight and escort Blast to the target as planned.
Blast: Escort? Did you clear that with my wife because…
Commander: Alpha, stay outta my head.

Filed under: Book Review

Damn You, Time Warner

TV Week is reporting that Firefly will be debuting on Universal HD in September and that WB is re-mastering the current prints into 1080i HD format. Too bad Time Warner doesn’t carry Universal HD, I’d love to see it in HD. And the DVDs aren’t in HD either. I smell a re-release of the series in the future….

Filed under: Firefly

Batgirl Pilot

Thwapp! God bless you, YouTube.

Someone has snagged the Batgirl mini-pilot, a potential spinoff of the 60′s Batman TV Show that was attached onto one of the Batman episodes. Wikipedia doubts that it was intended as as spinoff given the poor ratings of batman at the time, but hey, I’m not complaining.

[via Pistol Wimp]

Filed under: TV

SF Tidbits for 8/3/06

Filed under: Tidbits

Lost Books

The Lost Books website offers thoughtful reviews of out-of-print speculative fiction books. The origin of Lost Books details how it came under the auspices of Orson Scott Card’s Hatrack website. While the site is maintained by D.D. Shades who also provides the reviews, there is a nifty selection of guest reviews. Check it out.

[link via A Progressive on the Prairie]

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 8/2/06

Filed under: Tidbits

We previously mentioned a documentary detailing how fans of Firefly influenced Fox to produce Serenity. It’s called Done The Impossible.

And now it’s available for free in torrent format via torrent.

The makers of the documentary outline the reasons why they are doing this. Essentially, the documentary is only a small part of what the for-sale DVD has to offer.


[via Cinematical]

Filed under: Firefly

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