Rudy Rucker Announces Flurb

Rudy Rucker has announced the launch of a new webzine called Flurb, which boasts some major sf talent. Issue #1′s TOC:

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SF Tidbits for 8/23/06

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Lou Anders wears more hats than most. He is an accomplished author (The Making of Star Trek: First Contact) and journalist, with over 500 published articles in such magazines as The Believer, Publishers Weekly, Dreamwatch, Star Trek Monthly, Star Wars Monthly, Babylon 5 Magazine, Sci Fi Universe, Doctor Who Magazine, and Manga Max and on websites such as SF Site, Revolution SF and Infinity Plus as well as a recent string of essays for BenBella’s Smart Pop series. He is a successful anthologist with books such as Outside the Box (Wildside Press, 2001), Live Without a Net (Roc, 2003), Projections: Science Fiction in Literature & Film (MonkeyBrain, December 2004), FutureShocks (Roc, January 2006) and the upcoming Fast Forward (Pyr, February 2007). In 2000, he served as the Executive Editor of Bookface, and before that he worked as the Los Angeles Liaison for Titan Publishing Group. He also served as the senior editor for Argosy magazine in 2003 and 2004. Lou’s current role is as editorial director of Prometheus Books’ science fiction imprint Pyr.

SF Signal had the opportunity to ask Lou about the publishing, the appeal of the fantasy genre, the purpose of book cover art and the science fiction genre in general…

SF SIGNAL: Hi, Lou. In your anthology Live without a Net, you challenged big-name authors to imagine an unwired future. Where do you really see us headed in the future, particularly with regards to publishing?

LOU ANDERS: If you are asking a future of publishing question, then I’d say we are poised right now to see where new convergence technologies take us. Certainly both eBook and audio book content delivered to hand held devices, especially mobile phones, will play a much larger role in entertainment habits than ever conceived. The generation that is growing up with the phone as their primary means of net interaction – listening to music and podcasts, text messaging and picture taking all with their “communicator” – is only going to be reached by media as antiquated as “books” if we can find a way to deliver the content to where they are. The aggregator that figures out how best to get the book or at least the knowledge of the book into the palm device will have done something.

As to the future in general – I don’t think enough people stop and take stock of what a singularity we are living through. I still remember when, if I needed to know the answer to a question, I had to get in a car and travel physically to a library and then invest time in a search that might or might not answer my question. The paradigm shift from that, to being about to Google anything in the world and receive a plethora of answers within seconds, is unbelievable. My son, now 14 months, will never know what it means to say “What is the name of that? It’s on the tip of my tongue.” There has never been a shift in all of history so profound. The future then – the ubiquity of knowledge.

SFS: Are you saying, then, that electronic book formats are viable and if not, when do you think they might become so? Do current DRM efforts hurt or help this?

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Which Authors Are You Neglecting?

The Boston Globe‘s James Sallis has an essay on Great Unknowns where he talks about personally neglected authors – those writers whose sork work you have yet to read. (Sallis’ list mentions sf authors Robert Sheckley and Edgar Pangborn.) This reminds me that there are a handful of sf authors I’ve been really, really wanting to read but never seem to get around to.

Since I sample many authors through short fiction reading, I tend to my split my own list of personally neglected authors into two categories. There is the shorter list of writers whose work I have not read at all and the longer list of writers whose work I have read only through their short fiction.

I have yet to read any fiction (long or short) by:

  • J.G. Ballard
  • William Gibson
  • Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  • Charles Sheffield
  • E. E. “Doc” Smith
  • Olaf Stapledon

The longer list? I have yet to read novels by any the following, though I have read some of their short fiction:

  • Alfred Bester
  • Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Gordon R. Dickson
  • David Drake
  • George R.R. Martin
  • Andre Norton
  • Mike Resnick
  • Dan Simmons
  • Brian Stableford
  • Jack Vance
  • Gene Wolfe

Fess up! Which authors do you really want to read that you have been neglecting?

Filed under: Books

Having recently aired the 200th episode of Stargate SG-1 amidst much hoopla, one might think that the SciFi Channel has a certifiable hit. Not so, apparently. The SciFi Channel has just decided to cancel the series while renewing another season of Stargate:Atlantis.

“SCI FI Channel is proud to be the network that brought Stargate SG-1 to its record-breaking 10th season. Ten seasons and 215 episodes is an astounding, Guinness World Record-setting accomplishment. Stargate is a worldwide phenomenon. Having achieved so much over the course of the past 10 years, SCI FI believes that the time is right to make this season their last on the channel. SCI FI is honored to have been part of the Stargate legacy for five years, and we look forward to continuing to explore the Stargate universe with our partners at MGM through a new season of Stargate Atlantis.”

Perhaps this answers JP’s question, eh?

UPDATE: Oh, and it also makes this week’s poll quite timely!

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SF Tidbits for 8/22/06

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The Eye on James Patrick Kelly

John Herman wrote in to tell us that his video blog, The Eye, begins a two-part interview this week with James Patrick Kelly. In this week’s episode JPK explains how podcasting enabled a small press book (the Hugo-nominated Burn) to gain notoriety.

James Patrick Kelly seems like a pretty bright guy, you know, considering he misspelled my 4-letter name. I’m just sayin’. :)

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The Top 26 SF Books You’ve Never Read

As discussed and selected by our loyal SF Signal readers. Without further adieu, the list:

I’ve actually read a couple of these, aside from the ones I started the original post with. Dinner At Deviant’s Palace, while a decent book, isn’t up to par with Powers’ later works. However, it still contains his signature style of unusual fantastical elements. I’d recommend it. As for Neverness, I remember reading it and thinking it was really slow. As for Dead Heat, read our review! And yes, it was post #4 on our site. So, lots of good stuff here. Space opera, adventure, mystery, time travel and, of course, zombies.  This might be a good list for someone to work through and maybe even review. I bet John has most of these books squirreled away somewhere in a box in his house…

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SF Tidbits for 8/21/06

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POLL RESULTS: Reading Media Tie-in Novels

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

How often do you read media tie-in novels?


(64 total votes)

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on Rating Stargate SG-1!

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Off on a Tangent

Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine has launched new, web-only content at their website called Off on a Tangent. It’s written by Dave Truesdale from the short-fiction review website Tangent Online, hence the column name.

His first article examines the sometimes-controversial reviews that Alfred Bester did for F&SF. Good stuff…

[Via The Slush God, check his post for interesting comments on the PayPal mechanism they are using to woo subscribers.]

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Stargate SG-1, Am I Missing Anything?

In lieu of watching the Astros lose yet another close game, I decided to watch the 200th episode of Stargate SG-1. I must say it was a fun episode and they took shots at a lot of different SF TV shows as well as themselves.I remember watching SG-1 way back when it first started on Showtime and not really getting into it. So, my question is, did the show get better and did I miss anything worthwhile? I see its been on the air for 10 years so someone must like it quite a bit. Now it’s up to you, our loyal readers, to convince me, or not, to watch, or not, Stargate SG-1.

A bit more info for you, I saw the original Stargate movie in the theaters with my brother and, while I thought it was a decent enough flick, I left feeling somewhat underwhelmed.

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SF Tidbits for 8/19/06

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Shat on a Hot Tin Roof

Just a reminder…

Comedy Central is airing the Roast of William Shatner this weekend. It looks promising, if the preview videos are any indication.

In an interesting bit of “The Internet is Everywhere”, the website I-Sci-Fi covered the show and is already offering mp3 downloads of their coverage in two parts.

[I-Sci-Fi link via SFFAudio]

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Thankfully, JP has been providing more than his share of reviews this week, because I’m in the middle of reading not one, but two huge anthologies: The Year’s Best Science Fiction Twenty-Third Annual Collection (edited by Gardner Dozois) and The Space Opera Renaissance (edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer). Both are quite enjoyable but, alas, reading them together means taking longer to post my own reviews – for which our discerning audience is obviously anxiously awaiting.

I started The Space Opera Renaissance first, but at 950 pages, it’s is just plain HUGE. (And, yes, I am happy to see you.) The print size is smaller than normal which means longer reading. But! It means more stories betwixt it’s covers. (It’s a well-known fact that posts with marginal content may use words like “betwixt” and “methinks”.) After reading a few stories in it, I switched over to the Dozois anthology because I had read many of the stories already as part of my Hugo and Nebula Awards reading projects; I figured I’d be able to finish that one sooner.

Reading and reviewing short fiction takes a bit longer than an equalization novel, methinks (nudge-nudge), because there is that slow ramp-up time to get accustomed to a story (plot, world, writing style, etc.). As it is now, I’m a-jonesin’ for the “comfort” of a novel…

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SF Tidbits for 8/18/06

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BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Another collection of essays from BenBella’s Smart Pop line, this time covering Star Trek, the original series.

PROS: Very entertaining read, lots of interesting essays, a quick, easy read.

CONS: A couple of weak essays, mostly for the Star Trek fan.

BOTTOM LINE: If you are a Star Trek fan, especially of the original series, this is a book you will enjoy.

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In Praise of Science Fiction Writing

From the Leader-Post article “In Praise of Science Fiction Writing” by Ed Willett:

So why write these stories of alternate worlds? Because by doing so, science fiction writers are able to say things about our own world that, because of the unusual setting, sneak by the defences and prejudices of readers and cause them to think thoughts they might not have otherwise thought.

All of which may seem like a pretty heavy load to be borne by a form of storytelling that also inspires grown women to dress up in metal bikinis…but it’s also important to remember that science fiction not only inspires, informs, enlightens and alarms, it most of all entertains. It wouldn’t be as inspiring, informational, enlightening or alarming if it didn’t.

[via Book Ninja]

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Pluto in Science Fiction

With all the recent brouhaha about Pluto planet classification, I thought it’d be fun to list science fiction stories in which Pluto plays a prominent role. The following list is culled from SciFan and The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction by John Clute and Peter Nicholls.

  • Plutonia by Vladimir Obruchev (1924)
  • Cosmic Engineers by Clifford D. Simak (1950)
  • Man of Earth by Algis Budrys (1958)
  • To the Tombaugh Station by Wilson Tucker (1960)
  • World of Ptavvs by Larry Niven (1966)
  • World’s Fair, 1992 by Robert Silverberg (1970)
  • Tales of Known Space: The Universe of Larry Niven by Larry Niven (1975)
  • The Ophiuchi Hotline by John Varley (1977)
  • The Face of Evil by Terrance Dicks (1978)
  • Tintagel by Paul Cook (1981)
  • Icehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson (1984)
  • The Memory of Whiteness by Kim Stanley Robinson (1985)
  • The Ring of Charon by Roger MacBride Allen (1990)
  • Camelot 30K by Robert L. Forward (1993)
  • Seasons of Plenty by Colin Greenland (1995)
  • 2199 by Thomas Sutton (1997)
  • Journey by Al Sarrantonio (1997)
  • Mother of Plenty by Colin Greenland (1998)
  • Covenant by Raymond J. Andrews (2000)
  • Fear Infinity by Galen D. Kaufman (2000)
  • Boomerang – East of the Sun – West of Pluto by Fred L. Ward (2001)
  • The Octoroon Ball by Richard L. Breen Jr. (2001)
  • Epicenter Johnny by John Fitz (2002)
  • Sol’s Children by Jean Rabe, Martin H. Greenberg (2002)
  • Salvation by Raymond J. Andrews (2003)
  • Pluto Runs Red by Steve M. Volk (2004)
  • Superluminal by Tony Daniel (2004)

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 8/17/06

Filed under: Tidbits

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