REVIEW: Shift by Chris Dolley

MY RATING:

Shift is Chris Dolley’s second published novel, but his first written story. After publishing his first book, Resonance, Baen also asked if Dolley had any more SF stories. After considerable re-work, Shift is the result. While it still has some of that first novel feel, Shift is still a fine science fiction novel, with a lot of interesting scientific ideas surrounding the human brain and higher dimensions.

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Filed under: Book Review

Caption Challenge #5: Poothulu Edition

My last caption challenge involving Mr. Scalzi just did not seem to have the appeal that some of our previous ones have. While I am saddened by this lack of response, I am not unwilling to continue the effort. This all brings us to a discussion we were having regarding the upcoming Kingdom Hearts CCG from Fantasy Flight Games. Some felt that the game really needed a little H. P. Lovecraft to really make the game accessible, and we bantered about possible characters. Poothulu was one that came up and our resident artist, Trent, took that job to task to create our newest entry. I am sure the emotions generated by this will include shock, outrage, humor, and disdain, but alas I am only the messenger of the great unnamed bear….

Filed under: Humor

Tube Bits For 09/06/07

  • SyFy Portal has some good news and some good news about Eureka and Flash Gordon and their chances for more seasons. It’s what you would think.
  • That break that Sci Fi wants to take to split Galactica into two shorter series? Yeah, it might be only 1 month now. Shorter is better. Non-existent is best.
  • Fresh from dumping Apple, NBC has moved on to Amazon’s Unbox service. No word on how much the episodes will cost, but I can’t see this as being a good move in the short term.
  • Is it possible that Galactica could hit NBC this fall? Well, the writers may strike in October, leaving the networks with no new episodes to show. Certainly, NBC could turn to Sci Fi and USA to add shows to its lineup, like Galactica and Burn Notice. Both of which I think are better than most shows on broadcast TV right now. Of course, with the writers on strike, they’d have to show older episodes, but at least it would be something new to most people, and not re-runs.

Filed under: Battlestar GalacticaTube BitsTV

Commentary: Antagonist by Gordon R. Dickson & David W. Wixon

I’ve got a new one for the list of books I couldn’t finish, hence this is a commentary instead of a review. I did feel it was important enough to write about though, so others would get an insight to this book before they pick it up.

Antagonist by Gordon R. Dickson & David W. Wixon. I just gave up on this book after 300 pages – less than 100 from the end I think. If you are a fan of Dickson’s Childe Cycle and have enjoyed some of his excellent books like Dorsai! or The Final Encyclopedia then I think it is only natural that you would be drawn to this book. But let me stop you for second, I think you’ll want to listen to this.

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There’s a Sale at MonkeyBrain!

There’s a sale at MonkeyBrain!

For the month of September, MonkeyBrain Books is offering a special 2-for-1 sale. Buy any book direct from us through www.monkeybrainbooks.com at the regular price, and receive another book of equal or lesser value free of charge. [details]

At the very least, you should check out the impressive list of new releases and other neat titles. Sean Williams, Hal Duncan, Michael Moorcock, Rudy Rucker, Jeff VanderMeer, Kim Newman, and more.

I would also note that several books’ cover art was done by the esteemed John Picacio. And as luck would have it, MonkeyBrain is publisher of Picacio’s awesome book, Cover Story, which I highly recommend.

[via EVZine]

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 9/6/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Premiere’s 20 Big-Time Plot Twists

Premiere magazine lists 20 Big-Time Plot Twists. (WARNING: Spoilers abound!) Several genre films made the cut…here’s the abbreviated list — without the actual spoilers. If you saw the movie, you’ll know what it is. If you haven’t, you don’t want to know. So there.

  1. Planet of the Apes (1968)
  2. Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  3. Fight Club (1999)
  4. Psycho (1960)
  5. Citizen Kane (1941)
  6. Soylent Green (1973)
  7. The Usual Suspects (1995)
  8. Oldboy (2003)
  9. Mission: Impossible (1996)
  10. Friday the 13th (1980)
  11. Chinatown (1974)
  12. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)
  13. The Wicker Man (1973)
  14. 12 Monkeys (1995)
  15. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
  16. Eddie & the Cruisers (1983)
  17. Angel Heart (1987)
  18. The Game (1997)
  19. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  20. The Crying Game (1992)

Filed under: Movies

REVIEW: A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham

REVIEW SUMMARY: An intriguing story that is short on fantasty elements and long on characters who are complex and real.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The summer cities along the coast are rich and powerful because of the magical spirits they control. That doesn’t stop the rest of the world from plotting against them, and several young people find themselves caught up in the drama, politics, and violence that erupts.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Character-driven story with characters who grow and learn; state politics made realistic; fantasy elements stay very much in the background; not an elf in sight

CONS: Sometimes the characters seem too heroic and selfless

BOTTOM LINE: A tremendous first novel by Abraham that rises above most fantasy written recently that I have read.

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Filed under: Book Review

Wednesday YouTube: Doctor Who Teaches English

Here’s David Tennant in a Comic Relief sketch.

By the way, this is way better than the David Tennant in Drag sketch.

Filed under: Humor

SF Tidbits for 9/5/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 09/05/07

  • The Saucer News tells us that

    SF is alive and well… just not on the SF channel. Well, we knew that about the Sci Fi Channel. But where does it live on? Why on Discovery and Animal Planet. After reading his thoughts, I tend to agree. They are doing lots of fascinating science shows that can be construed as having some sort of SF element to bring them to us.

  • And now for some good news for Sci Fi: A Think Tank Of One watched Sci Fi’s original movie, Black Hole and decided it was actually pretty good. I never saw it so I can’t comment, other than to say, whenever I see Judd Nelson, I think of Barry Manilow.
  • Over at TV Jab, they have posted their Top 10 SF Shows of All Time. Wow, that is heavily populated with recent SF shows. Heroes better than Babylon 5? Um, no. Wait, who even knew that Heroes, or LOST were even SF?? And ST:TNG is NOT the best SF of all time.
  • The Modesto Bee gives us their take on the new Fall schedule. Looks like Chuck might be pretty good after all.
  • Screen Head wonders if ABC is deliberately trying to kill Pushing Daisies. Saying that full episodes won’t be placed on the web for later viewing tells me ABC doesn’t ‘get’ the Internet, or the people who use it. The idea is to build interest. How can you do that if people can’t even see the show? Once again, stupid decisions by a network is bittorrent’s gain, even if it kills the show.

Filed under: Battlestar GalacticaFireflyHeroesLOSTStar TrekTube BitsTV

New Hard Sci Fi?

While I enjoy all types of fiction, I’ve always enjoyed hard science fiction a little more than other most. I define hard science fiction as one where despite a certain amount of fiction, there is an attempt to keep the laws of physics and other key scientific principles stable. There is something about knowing that the science is somewhat rigorous that allows me to suspend my disbelief a little easier.

My youth was filled with the writings of Poul Anderson, Stephen Baxter, Frederik Pohl, Larry Niven, and Ben Bova. Talk of Dyson spheres, ring worlds, wormhole time travel, and other fantastic ideas presented in context with the best science made me feel as if there wasn’t anything that man couldn’t eventually achieve. It also seems that most of the works feature human struggle without the dystopias I found so numbing in other works.

But who are the writers of hard science fiction today? Is anybody out there following in these footsteps?

Filed under: Books

Tube Bits For 09/04/07

  • Buddy TV has a rumor that Sci Fi plans to split Battlestar Galactica‘s final season into two, 10 episode mini-season, one to air in 2008, the other in 2009. Hopefully this won’t be the case, but being the network that brings you wrestling on a SF channel, you never know. Much hate will ensue if true. Well, more hate.
  • Henry Ian Cusick, Desmond on LOST, may be set to star as Mandy Patinkin’s replacement in the upcoming direct to DVD Dead Like Me movie.
  • Revelations has a differing Christian take on Firefly/Serenity. Far from being put out as a previous blogger, Father Oakley finds much to like about it. Who knew?
  • Did you know that Doctor Who has been scheduled through 2010? Now you do! Good news for Who fans.
  • Cinema Blend gives us their preview of NBC’s Journeyman. They aren’t excited. We’ll have to wait and see.

Filed under: Battlestar GalacticaFireflyLOSTTube BitsTV

REVIEW: Jim Baen’s Universe #8

MY RATING:

The August 2007 issue of Jim Baen’s Universe (Issue #8, also known as Volume 2, Number 2) contains 12 pieces of short fiction and 6 non-fiction articles. As with my experience last issue, I am still loving the delivery mechanism as it makes for convenient, read-anywhere portability.

Overall the issue was a little better than good, with the usual explanation of editor vs. reader tastes. Besides the fiction stories reviewed below, this issue contains Rudyard Kipling’s classic “The Mark of the Beast”, and part 8 of the serial started with issue #1, “Fish Story”. Not having read any of the previous parts steered me away from the serial and at 8 installments so far, I do wonder if there is a master plan for the plot or this is just something to exercise the authors’ creative minds. Until I finally take the plunge, I can only guess. (Anyone have an opinion here? Is it worth jumping in mid-series?)

A surprisingly enjoyable (to me) story was “The Lord-Protector’s Daughter” by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. – surprising because my usual detachment to fantasy was nowhere to be found. This is fortunate for the issue overall because that story is by far the longest and carries the most weight. That said, the two standouts in this issue are science fiction stories: “Concentration of Dogs” by Carl Frederick and “Free Space” by Carrie Vaughn.

Here are the individual story reviews…

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Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 9/4/07

Filed under: Tidbits

SF Tidbits for 9/3/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Top 10 SF Signal Posts for August 2007

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

  1. The Problem With Mundane-SF
  2. First (and Last) Impressions of Flash Gordon
  3. Are There Any SF/F Books You Could Not Finish?
  4. Short Fiction: Why Aren’t You Buying It?
  5. 21 SF/F Books Whose Titles Would Be Funnier if They Used the Word “Pants”
  6. REVIEW: The Year’s Best Science Fiction #24 edited by Gardner Dozois
  7. Are Sci-Fi Films are as Dead as Westerns?
  8. Masters of Science Fiction: What Went Wrong?
  9. Stephen King Rails Against Deathly Hallows Reviewers
  10. Two And Done: Flash Gordon

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

  1. Reader Challenge #6 – The Harry Potter Outreach Program Final Update
  2. SF/F Writers Who Blog
  3. Solve Rubik’s Cube
  4. POLL: Hottest SciFi/Fantasy Babe NOT of Yesteryear
  5. REVIEW: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  6. Top 10 Star Wars Spoofs
  7. Foundation: The Movie
  8. Free SciFi Movies
  9. Top 10 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movies Lists
  10. Here’s a shocker… (The Klausner Post)

Filed under: Meta

Tube Bits For 09/03/07

  • Hell In A Handbasket continues their look at the guns of Battlestar Galactica. This time covering the long guns.
  • The fallout between NBC and iTunes continues. Apple has now announced that iTunes will no longer sell new episodes of NBC shows. Even though the contract ends in December, Apple has decided to take this step, most likely in an effort to get NBC talking again. Too bad for you, the consumer, who likes to watch NBC shows from iTunes.
  • SyFy Portal will be producing video logs (vlogs) for the upcoming American season of the BBC’s Torchwood. Each vlog will appear the Monday after each episode airs, will run about 15 minutes, and will be hosted on the AfterElton web site. I’ll leave it to you to discover the link between AfterElton and Torchwood.
  • The Anime News Network’s The Click column looks at this weeks lineup of anime on TV.

Filed under: AnimeBattlestar GalacticaTube BitsTV

POLL RESULTS: Rendezvous With Rama Heads to Film

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
The film adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama…Good idea or bad idea?

RESULTS

(94 total votes)

Comments this week:

“As for “Didn’t we already see the space cylinder thing in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home?”, Yes, but they never went inside the thing.” = hugh57

“The book is interesting, but hugely anti-climactic, and, as I recall, lacks compelling characters. The visuals would be interesting to convey, but not the story.” – Bill Preston

“Rama’d be better as a tv show where it could expand out and really say something. Much like Cherryh’s Foreigner books, Rama is not much of a slam bam space opera, but the attention to characterization and interaction is perfectly suited to an hour-long tv drama.” – platyjoe

“If there’s any truth to the rumor that David Fincher is directing it, that significantly increases its chances of not sucking.” – Gabriel Mckee

“‘Here’s what we’ll do! It’ll be that thingie, that Arthur C. Clarke book, Rama 1/2 or whatever, with the cigar in space….buuuut, we’re gonna throw KEANU REAVES at it, with BRUCE WILLIS as a bad guy in a CAPE…and we’re going to have MICHAEL BAY direct! It’ll be gold! The kids love this kind of crap! Let’s make it!’ — Hollywood.” – Pete Tz.

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll on which novel should have won the Hugo!

Filed under: Polls

TOC: Eclipse

Jonathan Strahan shows off the cover of his upcoming original fiction anthology, Eclipse.

And check out the lineup:

  1. “The Last and Only, or Mr Moscowitz Becomes French” by Peter S. Beagle
  2. “The Transformation of Targ” by Jack Dann & Paul Brandon
  3. “Toother” by Terry Dowling
  4. “Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse” by Andy Duncan
  5. “The Drowned Life” by Jeffrey Ford
  6. “Electric Rains” by Kathleen Ann Goonan
  7. “Up the Fire Road” by Eileen Gunn
  8. “In The Forest Of The Queen” by Gwyneth Jones
  9. “Mrs Zeno’s Paradox” by Ellen Klages
  10. “She-Creatures” by Margo Lanagan
  11. “The Lost Boy: A Reporter At Large” by Maureen F. McHugh
  12. “Bad Luck, Trouble, Death and Vampire Sex” by Garth Nix
  13. “Larissa Miusov” by Lucius Shepard
  14. “The Lustration” by Bruce Sterling
  15. “Quartermaster Returns” by Ysabeau S. Wilce

Filed under: Books

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