POLL RESULTS: The Best Movie Ever!

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

People seem to object to the SFX “Best Movie Ever” poll. What do you think is the best sci-fi film?


(156 total votes)

I voted other, but I was undecided between The Day the Earth Stood Still and Gattacca.

Lots of comments this week:

“I realize Serenity may not be the most hugely popular choice, but I like that it gave me powerful characterization and great dialog as well as really gorgeous special effects. And the opening scene where we first see the ship is gorgeous.” – Pete Tzinski

“Metropolis Metropolis Metropolis!!!! This movie is the birth of true Sci-Fi flicks. All other Sci-Fi movies need to lick Metropolis’s’s’ses ;-) boots for paving the way for them.” – Trent

“Event Horizon” – James

“Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ Chilling in its vision. yet hopeful in the spirit of triumph shown. The robots/androids are still among the best, paving the way for Asimov and Data. Blessings” – Richard Novak

“The Day the Earth Stood Still, because it’s solid science fiction and thoughtful social commentary as well as a darn good story.” – Alexandra

“My vote goes to DARK CITY directed by Alex Proyas.” – John C. Wright

“I voted other. My personal fav is “The Abyss”. It’s a great first contact movie; it’s jut too bad it did not take place in outer space.” – Kristin

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll about giving away books for free! (This is actually a revived poll…these days we’re getting about 5 times the response and it’s suddenly topical again, so what the hey.)

Filed under: Polls

A: You get the 1979 train wreck that is Star Crash!

I cannot believe this is the first time I’m finding this out. I’ve struggled for years (years!) over ways to integrate mentions of David Hasselhoff into my science fiction blogging. (Tim and JP can attest to this.) Then, as if in answer to my prayers, along comes a post from Look at This that shows me the way.

What makes this even better is that the movie – and I use that term loosely – stars Marjoe Gortner. For the reason why this is the icing on this particular cake, see my previous moment of surrealism with crazy-eyed Marjoe Gortner.

Here’s a video clip from the movie. Sure, the Hoff has a long way to go before he exhibits the consummate acting skills he portrayed in “Jump In My Car“, but I think you’ll agree that the seeds are there even then.

Filed under: Movies

EW Reviews SF/F

Issue #930 of Entertainment Weekly offers some brief reviews of science fiction and fantasy books. Here’s a snippet…

White Night by Jim Butcher

Bottom Line: After nine Dresden books, Butcher’s supernatural Chicago holds little mystique, only endless rules and relationships explained ad nauseam in his hero’s irksome inner monologue.

Grade: C

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Bottom Line: This fast-moving, vivid, and unpretentious debut roots its coming-of-age fantasy in convincing mythology.

Grade: A-

Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert

Bottom Line: Mostert creates a taut, sexy thriller from disparate sci-fi and fantasy ingredients.

Grade: B+

Zig Zag by José Carlos Somoza

Bottom Line: Zig Zag could’ve been a bad Chrichton tech-thriller knockoff, but the Spanish author displays an unhurried style and a refreshing appreciation for advanced science.

Grade: B

Filed under: Books

REMINDER: 2007 Locus Poll Deadline!

Just a reminder that tomorrow (April 15, 2007) is the deadline to vote in the 37th annual Locus Poll.

You don’t have to be a subscriber of Locus to vote, but if yo are you get a free issue for doing so.

Filed under: Web Sites

Will Shetterly has posted a rant from Howard V. Hendrix, SFWA’s current V.P. and author of Spears of God:

I’m also opposed to the increasing presence in our organization of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free. A scab is someone who works for less than union wages or on non-union terms; more broadly, a scab is someone who feathers his own nest and advances his own career by undercutting the efforts of his fellow workers to gain better pay and working conditions for all. Webscabs claim they’re just posting their books for free in an attempt to market and publicize them, but to my mind they’re undercutting those of us who aren’t giving it away for free and are trying to get publishers to pay a better wage for our hard work.

John Scalzi has a brief response to the rant. Nick Mamatas has one more fun for observers.

Filed under: Free Fiction

SF Tidbits for 4/14/07

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REVIEW: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

REVIEW SUMMARY: Surprisingly engaging read that I honestly couldn’t put down.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Will Laurence is a British navy captain during the time of Lord Nelson and when Napoleon was threatening to engulf all of Europe. But in a bit of alternative history, dragons are real and take (multiple) riders into battle. Laurence ends up a rider through what he considers bad luck, but ends up making the friend of a lifetime in his dragon Temeraire. The two then ride for the King in defense of the islands from the might of the French.


PROS: Very fun story, sympathetic characters, a setting that isn’t at all fantasy save for the dragons (strange, but true.)

CONS: Some of this has been done before by Ann McCaffrey

BOTTOM LINE: If you want a quick read, this book will hook you in and end up well worth your time.

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This one for Scott. :)

Filed under: Humor

From the Wired article Writers, Directors Fear ‘Sci-Fi’ Label Like an Attack From Mars:

Even when clearly appropriate, film studios and publishers avoid the phrase “science fiction.” So do the novelists, film directors and editors in their employ. McCarthy’s book [The Road], which is about to become a blockbuster — Oprah Winfrey will tout it on an upcoming TV show as part of her book club — is just another example of how the powers that be dodge the term, especially when it applies to “serious” fiction or cinema.

You won’t find the words “science fiction” in Random House’s bio of Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author China Miéville. Instead, he’s called the “edgiest mythmaker of the day.” Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep? It’s classified as comedy, drama, romance and fantasy, but not sci-fi, at Amazon.com.

Even Battlestar Galactica, the flagship show of (hello!) the Sci Fi Channel, keeps a distance. “It’s fleshed-out reality,” explains executive producer Ronald D. Moore in the sci-fi mag SFX. “It’s not in the science-fiction genre.”

The nose-thumbing is nothing new. In the ’50s, Robert Heinlein dismissed the term, opting for “speculative fiction.” (What fiction isn’t?)

Filed under: BooksMovies

SF Tidbits for 4/13/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Kurt Vonnegut Documentary

Here’s an 8-part documentary on Kurt Vonnegut, profiling the man and his work.

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RIP: Kurt Vonnegut

From the The NYT: Kurt Vonnegut, Novelist Who Caught the Imagination of His Age, Is Dead at 84.

Kurt Vonnegut was the author of such works as Player Piano (1952), The Sirens of Titan (1959), Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) and Timequake (1997). Although often noted as a science fiction author, he has frequently expressed disdain at being labeled as such.

See also:

Wikipedia entry on Vonnegut

VonnegutWeb (unofficial)

A 1965 Vonnegut article: On Science Fiction

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Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 4/12/07

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SF/F Authors Piped!

Author S. Andrew Swann has out-geeked us.

He’s taken SF Signal’s list of SF/F Authors Who Blog and used Yahoo Pipes to create a stream of sf/f all author posts. This stream will be automatically updated when we update our post. Cool!

Take heed to his warning though…”Subscribing to this feed is the digital equivalent of drinking from a fire-hose.”

Filed under: BooksWeb Sites

REVIEW: Ports of Call by Jack Vance

REVIEW SUMMARY: A non-traditional book that was very fun to read.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Myron has been cast about on a sea of change. He floats from place to place encountering very different points of view and a story in every port.


PROS: Vance’s command of the language is subtle and fun. Non-traditional conventions, interesting characters, and good storytelling. Almost reads as a collection of short stories.

CONS: Neither a linear story nor a character study, this book may turn some readers off. Booksplit somewhat by accident (according to the author.) Light on sci-fi elements.

BOTTOM LINE: Fun set of stories that chronicle the travels of a young man adrift in the big universe.

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Another Free Hugo Short Story

Neil Gaiman has posted an audio version of his Hugo-nominated short story “How To Talk To Girls At Parties“.

The NOMINEES: 2007 Hugo Award post has been updated.

[via SFFAudio]

Filed under: Awards

SF Tidbits for 4/11/07

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder

John and JP experimentally dispense with the usual review format to discuss Karl Schroeder’s latest book, Sun of Suns.

Sun of Suns is set in the world of Virga, an air-filled balloon three thousand kilometers in diameter whose major artificial light source is named Candesce, the sun of suns. There are smaller suns that exist to provide light to the many cylindrical habitats around Virga, which are spun up to create their own artificial gravities. Virga is low tech and the towns, built of wood and rope, are strung together to form nations. The story concerns Hayden Griffen, citizen of Aerie, whose parents were killed when they tried to assert their freedom through the creation of their own sun. Years later, Hayden seeks revenge on the man responsible: Chaison Fanning, head of the fleet of Slipstream, the nation that conquered Aerie.

John’s Rating

JP’s Rating

John: Cool book! This gets big points for sensawunda. The world Schroeder created is amazing…even if its unique physics took some getting used to. Fortunately he frequently works it into the story through things like floating water spheres, ropes and wires to pull yourself along, etc. That reminder was always there just in case you become too wrapped up in the human story of Hayden’s quest for revenge.

JP: Yup, this has sensawunda by the bucketfuls. And while the built world of Candesce is extremely cool, I was reminded of the following: The Integral Trees, Last Exile, and The Amazing Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, and that is a good thing.

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Free Audio Fiction: Rude Mechanicals by Kage Baker

Subterranean Press is offering a free audiobook version of Kage Baker’s short novel Rude Mechanicals, set in her Company universe.

The Company series is one I’ve been meaning to read since I started reading the short stories in various “Best of…” anthologies. My recent reading of Baker’s Gods & Pawns got me stoked even more. This is cool!

[via Locus Online]

Filed under: Free Fiction

SF Tidbits for 4/10/07

Filed under: Tidbits

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