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

SF Tidbits for 4/2/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Which of these space operas of the last 10 years is the most underrated?

RESULTS

(127 total votes)

Thanks to James Keith who wrote in with a poll suggestion!

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on The 2007 Hugo Nominees for Best Book!

Filed under: Polls

YouTube Sunday: Doctor Who and the Beatles

This isn’t meant to be a daily feature, but there do seem to be a lot of YouTube discoveries this week.

[via BoingBoing via Making Light]

Filed under: Doctor Who

REVIEW: Keeping It Real by Justina Robson

REVIEW SUMMARY: A great book – over before you know it!

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Agent Lila Black is on her first mission for the Otopian NSA. Her mission? To guard and investigate the lead singer of the The No Shows rock band, who happens to be an elf. However, she is far from normal herself, even in a changed world intersecting with elven, faery, and even demon worlds. Her assignment leads to a plot much more involved than she had ever imagined and takes her through her own internal struggle and growth.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: A great blend of science fiction and fantasy! Imaginative characters, while based on previous fantasy archetypes – have their own unique aspects and personalities. Quickly pulls you in, and picks up speed from there.

CONS: The introduction, laying the basis of the book, could have been better.

BOTTOM LINE: Keeping It Real is anything but "keeping it real". It transports the reader to a familiar world with an intriguing fantasy and sci-fi twist.  Some good old fashioned espionage wrapped in futuristic technology and fantasy magic. If you are a fan of sci-fi or fantasy Keeping It Real has something for you!

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

Saturday YouTube: Robots Return

This is both cool and funny…

Filed under: Movies

Infinite Story

For those who don’t have enough to read, theres the Infinite Story website. This site offers more than the “Choose Your Adventure” type stories: it allows you to add your own branch!

From the site:

This site is an interactive fiction writing engine that allows one to read and write infinite stories. Infinite, or branching stories are stories that have choices for the reader at the end of each chapter or “room.” Each choice then takes the reader to a new room and the story continues. If the author of a story chooses, the reader can add on to the end of a story, thereby creating a never-ending adventure!

There are several story paths available in the science fiction and fantasy categories. Note: It looks like free registration is required before you get too far.

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 3/31/07

Filed under: Tidbits

2007 Science Fiction Hall of Fame Inductees

This year’s inductees into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame have been announced.

The inductees for 2007 are Gene Wolfe, Ridley Scott, Ed Emshwiller, and Gene Roddenberry.

Induction ceremonies will be held on June 16th, 2007, at Seattle’s Science Fiction Museum, which will also host the announcement and presentation of this year’s Locus Awards.

See also: Previous Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductees.

[via Locus Online]

Filed under: Events

Follow the trail for Part 2 and Part 3. There’s also a Science Fiction Paperback Covers version, but the soundtrack is much, much more annoying.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 3/30/07

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…And We’re Back

The blog seems to operating normally again. Mostly (more on that in a minute…)

The problem, in a nutshell, is that I’m a boob. There was a Movable Type configuration problem that was made about a year ago. I used the web hosts IP address to specify paths in the configuration file. Within the last couple of days, the web host changed the IP address of our server, thus requests to the blog’s resources were timing out. Many thanks to David P. at Movable Type for figuring this out and also to the kind folks at BlueHost for being tolerating my annoying phone calls. (Thanks Kyle! And also the guy who I just spoke to and whose name I completely forgot.)

However – there’s always a “however” – the DNS address change that the web host made takes up to 48 hours to complete. What this means is that for the next day or so (I am told), requests to see individual posts will be slightly delayed in appearing. (Oddly, the SF Signal main page appears as quick as ever.) When the posts do appear, you may comment to your heart’s content. Please bear with us as these changes are completed.

We now return to your regularly scheduled postings about Star Wars and supermodels…

Filed under: Meta

Blogus Interruptus

The blog has been experiencing some performance issues this week, culminating in a virtual lockout for users that began yesterday. Comments are currently unavailable. Trying to access individual posts is an exercise in patience.

We are working to resolve the problem…

Filed under: Meta

The March-April 2007 issue of Interzone (#209) marks the 25th year of the genre magazine’s publication.

Here’s what’s in the 25th Anniversary Issue:

STORIES:

  • “The Whenever at the City’s Heart” by Hal Duncan
  • “Winter” by Jamie Barras
  • “The Good Detective” by M. John Harrison
  • “Big Cat” by Gwyneth Jones
  • “The Sledge-maker’s Daughter” by Alastair Reynolds
  • “Tears for Godzilla” by Daniel Kaysen
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Edward Morris

FEATURES:

  • Ansible Link by David Langford (news and gossip)
  • Editorial: 25 years of Interzone
  • Reviews of books by Kim Stanley Robinson (plus interview by Rick Kleffel), Ken MacLeod, Naomi Novik, Robert Sawyer, Charlie Huston, Ed Gorman, Charles Stross and many others
  • Mangazone: Sarah Ash on Eternal Sabbath and Basilisk
  • Nick Lowe’s Mutant Popcorn: SF’s finest film critic on recent films including The Fountain, Arthur and the Invisibles, Eragon, Zoom, Deja Vu, Night at the Museum, It’s a Boy-Girl Thing.
  • Blood for Ink: Getting Serious With Hal Duncan (interview by Neil Williamson)
  • 25 IZ: David Pringle, Arthur C. Clarke, Greg Agan, Michael Moorcock, Christopher Fowler, Neal Asher, Alastair Reynolds, Chris Beckett on 25 years of Interzone (to be continued, with Bruce Sterling, Sarah Ash, Ellen Datlow, Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter, Ken MacLeod, Peter F. Hamilton, Eric Brown, Dominic Green, James Lovegrove, Mike Ashley and many others, including you?)
  • 25 TV: Afterlife creator Stephen Volk’s personal top ten TV programs from the last 25 years (to be continued, covering various media)
  • Readers’ Poll results: the most popular stories and art as voted for by the readers

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 3/29/07

Filed under: Tidbits

[UPDATED] NOMINEES: 2007 Hugo Award

[4/2 UPDATE: A correction has Pan's Labyrinth replacing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest in the DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM category.]

[4/4 UPDATE: Updated with links to some stories posted online.]

[4/5 UPDATE: Updated with more links to online stories.]

[4/10 UPDATE: Updated with link to the audio version of the Gaiman story.]

[4/20 UPDATE: Updated with link to final story, Robert Charles Wilson's "Julian".]

[4/23 UPDATE: Added link to Eifelheim.]

The final ballot for the Hugo Awards is floating around

NOVEL

NOVELLA

NOVELETTE

SHORT STORY

RELATED BOOK

  • About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews by Samuel R. Delany
  • Heinlein’s Children: The Juveniles by Joseph T. Major
  • James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon by Julie Phillips [see SF Signal review]
  • Cover Story: The Art of John Picacio by John Picacio [see SF Signal review]
  • Worldcon Guest of Honor Speeches edited by Mike Resnick & Joe Siclari

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Awards

What SF/F Series are you Dying to Read?

There are a ton of unread science fiction and fantasy series that I’d love to dive into.

The top of that list is constantly changing based on either recommendations from others, my own reading experiences (usually by the same author) or just stumbling across an unread book (or series) from my own collection.

For example, folks have been recommending George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series for some time. And my recent reading of Kage Baker’s Gods and Pawns moved her Company novels at the top of my list. That’s not to mention the series that used to be high on the to-read-next list like Banks’ Culture novels, Benford’s Galactic Center books, Butcher’s Dresden Files and Bova’s Grand Tour series…and that’s just the authors whose names start with “B”!

Sound off! What science fiction and/or fantasy series are you dying to read?

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 3/28/07

Filed under: Tidbits

SF Tidbits for 3/27/07

Filed under: Tidbits

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