Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

Which of the 2007 Hugo nominees for best book should win?


(69 total votes)

Confession time: this was less of a poll than a social experiment. That fact that we got about half the usual number of responses says to me that people couldn’t choose one — probably because they did not read all (or any!) of the choices. That was expected. (This was the first SF Signal poll in which I didn’t participate!) But this leaves me wondering, did all of the people who voted read all of the books before they voted? Should they have? I ask because I wonder how many actual Hugo voters read all the books before they vote.

OK, enough of treating our readers like lab rats. Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on The Best SF Film Ever!

Filed under: Polls

15 Movies Re-Enacted by Bunnies

An Easter treat for science fiction/fantasy/horror fans…

Here’s a collection of links to Angry Alien‘s versions of genre movies. Rre-enacted by a troupe of bunnies. In 30 seconds.


  1. Alien
  2. The Exorcist
  3. Freddy vs. Jason
  4. Highlander
  5. King Kong (1933)
  6. Night of the Living Dead
  7. The Ring
  8. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  9. Scream
  10. The Shining
  11. Spiderman 1 & 2
  12. Star Wars
  13. Superman: The Movie
  14. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  15. The War of the Worlds (1953)

Filed under: Humor

WINNER: Philip K. Dick Award

The winner of this year’s Philip K. Dick Award, given for best original paperback published in the US in 2005 2006, is Chris Moriarity’s Spin Control. A special citation was given to Elizabeth Bear for Carnival.

See also: Previous winners.

[via Locus Online]

Filed under: Awards

SF Tidbits for 4/7/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Friday YouTube: The Chub Chubs

This is Pixar-funny. How many sci-fi movie references can you count?

Filed under: Humor

Rothfuss on Genre Fiction

Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind, has something interesting to say about “genre fiction” in his interview at FantasyBookSpot:

Q: Do genre books play a more central role than others?

A: Actually, I’m going to be irritating and answer your question with a question. What do you mean by genre books?

As time goes on I grow increasingly irritated at the term “Genre Fiction.” It seems to imply that one type of fiction, “Literary” fiction, is the only real fiction, and everything else is its ugly bastard cousin-in-law.

I say unto you. Literary fiction is a genre just like everything else. It has its rules and its foibles just like every other genre. And, like all other genres, 85% of literary fiction is pure shite. Pretentious, self-involved, artsy bullshit that neglects the things that make stories worthwhile. I’m talking about good language, good plot, good characters, and, hopefully, some sort of worthwhile content mingled throughout.

Now, lest people accuse me of being prejudiced, I’d like to say that the same is generally true of the fantasy genre. The difference is that literary fiction tends toward boring, empty stories that are either preachy or vapid. Fantasy, on the other hand, tends towards cliché stories about evil sorcerers trying to destroy the world. About young princes whose coming was foretold by prophecy. Elves with bows, magic swords, broody vampires, unicorns….

Q: Hold on. Unicorns are cliché crap? I thought I read somewhere that The Last Unicorn was your favorite novel.

A: It is, or at least one of my favorites. In fact, that novel is probably the reason unicorn stories have become a little cliché. When someone writes something as dazzlingly brilliant as that novel, people want to imitate it. The result is a lot of less-than-brilliant knock-offs.

Elves, Dwarves, Goblin army, cursed ring, evil sorcerer. Tolkien did it. It rocked. Let’s move on. Let’s do something new.

[via FantasyBookspot forum]

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Filed under: Books

More Free Hugo Nominees Online

Free Reads!

I’ve just updated the 2007 Hugo Nominees post to include a bunch of links to online stories that Asimov’s Science Fiction website has made available.

There are only 2 left on the list right now that do not have online versions as far as I can tell. I plan to undertake a 2007 Hugo Short Fiction Nominee reading pjoject similar to the 2006 Nebula Short Fiction Nominee reading project. Time to get reading!

[Hat-tip to Tim Pratt]

Filed under: Awards

SF Tidbits for 4/5/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Not satisfied with the recent SFX poll that listed Serenity as the favorite sci-fi movie, Geek Monthly came up with a rebuttal list:

12 Sci-Fi Films Better Than Serenity

(I know…there are 15 on the list)

  • Five Million Years to Earth (1967)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971); or 2001: A Space Odyssey(1968)
  • Blade Runner (1982)
  • Dark City (1998)
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
  • Forbidden Planet (1956)
  • The Matrix (1999)
  • Twelve Monkeys (1995); or Brazil (1985)
  • Planet of the Apes (1968)
  • The Andromeda Strain (1971)
  • Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
  • eXistenZ (1999), or The Fly (1986)

[via Michael May]

Filed under: Movies

Darker Matter, Issue #2

The second issue of Darker Matter, the new online science fiction magazine, is out. Here’s what’s in it:

  • INTERVIEW: Douglas Adams (Part 2 of 3, from 1979)
  • ARTICLE: Is There Life Out There?
    • “All for One” by Steven J. Dines
    • “Avatar” by Lou Antonelli
    • “Dearest Etruria” by Toiya Kristen Finley
    • “The Fame Game” by Neil Ayres
    • “Terms of Service” by Jason Stoddard

Filed under: Web Sites

Does Releasing a Book for Free Increase Sales?

Simon Owens article, The Creative Commons Confound: Whether releasing your book for free will help boost your sales, talks about the effect of releasing a book under the Creative Commons License, using Nick Mamatas’ Move Under Ground and Peter Watts’ Blindsight as exmaples.

But in this case, one blog didn’t give [Mamatas] the link that he was hoping for: Boingboing. And both Watts and Mamatas agreed that the success of a book released under a CC license hinges off this crucial factor.

“The thing is, there’s a confound here,” Watts explained. “It wasn’t the CC release per se that gave me the boost; it was all the people talking about it. Boingboing doesn’t pimp every novel that comes down the pike. It has to be newsworthy in some way, and an author giving his work away is, for the time being, newsworthy. It attracts attention.”

Filed under: Books

Top 10 SF Signal Posts for March 2007

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

  1. REVIEW: The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction edited by George Mann
  2. REVIEW: 2006 Nebula Award Short Fiction Nominees
  3. REVIEW: The Last Colony by John Scalzi
  4. Name That Action Figure!
  5. What’s the Most Underrated Space Opera Novel?
  6. Thoughts On the BSG Episode, “Maelstrom”
  7. INTERVIEW: Andrew Wheeler
  8. REVIEW: Deadstock by Jeffrey Thomas
  9. Spoilery Thoughts on Heroes
  10. What SF/F Series are you Dying to Read?

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

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Filed under: Meta

SF Tidbits for 4/4/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Beyond the Red Line…

While many are thinking that the end is nigh for Battlestar Galactica, I personally think the universe is due a video game or two. An obvious first choice is a flight sim type of game that follows in the legacy of X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter or Wing Commander, and that is exactly what Beyond the Red Line is. It is a fan created game that builds upon the Freespace 2 engine that was released to the public by Volition and Interplay. They have released a demo this last week that is multiplatform (PC, Mac and Linux) and I had a chance to take a quick flight in a Mark VII viper. I will be honest in saying these folks are doing a fine job. The game will be free, but I would probably pay for this game. I loved the original Freespace and Freespace 2 games and one thing that engine handled really well was the scaling of ships. When I played it – I have fond memories of attempting to fly a fighter through some nasty point defenses while two capitol ships were slugging it out… So go out and give this demo a shot, and support these guys. I hope that a publisher sees what they have created and gives them a shot.

Filed under: GamesTV

UK science ficton magazine SFX has posted the results of their “What’s the best SF film ever?” poll. The result is not good news for the Star Wars fanboy:

  1. Serenity
  2. Star Wars
  3. Blade Runner
  4. Planet of the Apes
  5. The Matrix
  6. Alien
  7. Forbidden Planet
  8. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  9. The Terminator
  10. Back to the Future

SFX also notes the timing of their poll results and the 860% increase in Serenity DVD sales at Amazon UK.

Filed under: Movies

REVIEW: Fast Forward 1 edited by Lou Anders

REVIEW SUMMARY: A good example of why I love reading short fiction.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The first volume of a new original fiction series – this one containing 19 stories and 2 poems.


PROS: 15 stories good or better; good sampling of the literary range sf has to offer.

CONS: 4 stories mediocre or worse. 2 short poems that escape me.

BOTTOM LINE: A promising start to a hopefully long-running series.

Fast Forward 1 marks the beginning of a bold, new, annual science fiction anthology series; bold because it is often said that the number of anthology offerings is already high, yet here it is. Its goal is to provide original, sf-only stories that offer “windows on the future”, as Editor Lou Anders’ insightful, reference-laden introduction puts it. Or, as the book’s subtitle puts it: “Future fiction from the cutting edge.” This first volume does indeed have some great contenders to add to the sf field, blasting the series off with a promising start. Take that, crowded anthology field!

It helps that Anders has assembled some of the field’s brightest stars, mostly veterans, and some newer voices, too. Having a cool John Picacio cover to get passersby to notice that is also a great help. The collection of visions depicted here is indisputable proof that science fiction is the literature of ideas.

Not all the stories worked for me, but it’s rare for any anthology to do otherwise. (Insert YMMV disclaimer here.) Even “Best of…” anthologies are hit and miss. But on the whole, Fast Forward 1 has lots to offer. Standout stories here include “The Something-Dreaming Game” by Elizabeth Bear, “p dolce” by Louise Marley and “Wikiworld” by Paul Di Filippo.

Reviewlettes follow, except for the reviews of Robyn Hitchcock’s two poems, “They Came From the Future” and “I Caught Intelligence”. Look, I’ve been a fan of Robyn Hitchcock ever since “Balloon Man“, but not even he can make me like poetry. On the bright side, anthology-rating-wise, the poems’ short-short length had no impact on the book’s rating.

On with the reviewlettes!

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Filed under: Book Review

MOVIE REVIEW: The Last Mimzy

REVIEW SUMMARY: A fine movie for kids, but adults, particularly adult science fiction fans, will find this mediocre at best.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Two children discover “toys” from the future sent back to save future civilization from environmental catastrophe. Based on the Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore short story “Mimsy Were the Borogoves”.

BOTTOM LINE: Stick with the story.


I saw this movie last week and have been meaning to write a full review. Instead I am going to punt and point you to this review by Howard Waldrop & Lawrence Person, who not only cite my own problems with the film, but they also say it way better than I ever could. And with bigger words.

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 4/3/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Stephen King: How to Bury a Book

Stephen King’s column in issue #928 of Entertainment Weekly takes the publishing industry to task over what he sees as the inefficient marketing of a worthy book, Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski (published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux):

If this is such a good read, what’s the bad news? That’s easy. As of March 26, Fieldwork was No. 24,571 on the Amazon best-seller list, and not apt to go much higher. The reason why is illustrative of how the book biz became the invalid of the entertainment industry, and why fiction sales are down across the board (with the possible exception of chick lit). Critics, with their stubborn insistence that there’s a difference between “literature” and “popular fiction,” are part of the problem, but the publishers themselves, who have bought into this elitist twaddle, are also to blame.

Filed under: Books

Planet Stories

Paizo Publishing has announced the creation of a new line of classic science fantasy novel reprints called Planet Stories.

From the press release:

Planet Stories brings back some of the long forgotten classic inspirations for much of today’s science fiction and fantasy genres. Planet Stories will be available at your local book or hobby store and will retail for around $12.99 each.

Some of their offerings include Almuric by Robert E. Howard, Black God’s Kiss by C.L. Moore, City of the Beast/Warriors of Mars by Michael Moorcock, Elak of Atlantis by Henry Kuttner, The Anubis Murders by Gary Gyga Gygax and The Secret of Sinhara by Leigh Brackett.

Edit: fixed broken hyperlink

Filed under: Books

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