Science fiction and fantasy author Alan Dean Foster began his prolific writing career when August Derleth bought a long Lovecraftian letter of Foster’s in 1968 and published it as a short story in Derleth’s bi-annual magazine The Arkham Collector. His first novel, 1972′s The Tar-Aiym Krang, began his long-running series of novels of the HUMANX COMMONWEALTH, many books of which feature the much-loved characters of Flinx and his mini-dragon Pip. He is also known for the SPELLSINGER fantasy series and a host of novelizations. His latest novel, The Candle of Distant Earth (Del Rey) is the third book in his TAKEN trilogy. The gang at SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with him about his writing and travels…

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Filed under: Interviews

SF Tidbits for 7/5/06

Filed under: Tidbits

MSN’s Top 10 Superhero Films

MSN’s Top 10 Superhero Films

  1. The Rocketeer (1991)
  2. Spy Kids (2001)
  3. Hellboy (2004)
  4. Inframan (1976)
  5. Darkman (1990)
  6. Superman II (1980)
  7. The Incredibles (2004)
  8. Spider-Man (2002)
  9. Batman Returns (1992)
  10. X-Men (2000)

[via The Movie Blog]

Filed under: Movies

REVIEW SUMMARY: More of an enjoyable warning than it is story.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Man meets aliens; man shoots aliens.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Well-thought-out aliens; well-crafted prose; interesting premise.

CONS: Flat characters; minor story offshoots don’t lend much to the main thread.

BOTTOM LINE: A thoughtful and look at first contact.

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Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 7/3/06

Filed under: Tidbits

POLL RESULTS: Favorite Futurama Character

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Who is your favorite character on Futurama?

RESULTS

(51 total votes)




Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on Rating the Spiderman 3 Trailer!

Filed under: Polls

Now Serving Recent Comment Feeds

With the recent host move, our Recent Comment feeds started working. Links to the feeds are on the main page’s left sidebar in the News Feeds widget.

If you get the same thrill I do when people stop by to contribute or slam my Blade Runner review, then you can either subscribe via Yahoo or subscribe via Bloglines.

If your not already signed up for the entry feeds, you can do that, too, via Yahoo, Bloglines or FeedBurner.

Filed under: Meta

“Come Out, Wonka!”

According to Hollywood North Report, Johnny Depp has been cast in the still-impending re-re-adaptation of Richard Matheson’s wonderful book I Am Legend. Previous reports had Wil Smith’s name attached to the project in the role previously played by Vincent Price (The Last Man on Earth) and Charlton “They’re Made of People! Heston (The Omega Man).

I’m guessing this news means that we’re closer to seeing the finished product. As always, it will be interesting to see how well they adhere to the story and the ways in which they differ. Maybe the vampiric cry of “Come Out, Neville!” gets an update?

Filed under: Movies

We’re Back…From Spaaaace!

If you are seeing this then the transfer to the new web host went OK.

We now return to our regularly scheduled program…

Filed under: Meta

Don’t Go Away…We’ll Be Right Back…In Spaaaace! (Reprise)

SF Signal will be doing a yet-another-round of renovating over the next couple of days…we’re changing web hosts again. (Don’t get us started.) While this is happening, the blog will be closed for comments and no new posts will appear. [Insert sound of crowd gasping in panic as it learns to deal with its newfound independence.]

Have a great weekend, but check back with us soon! Or else.

In the meantime, don’t forget to enter our Giveaway Contest! Be sure to use the new submission email address.

Filed under: Meta

SF Tidbits for 7/1/06

Filed under: Tidbits

This is the June 2006 update of my New Year’s Resolution to (almost) read a short story a day.

QUICK STATS:
   STARTING SF-POINTS©: 180
   SF-POINTS© EARNED THIS MONTH: 42 (QUOTA: 30)
   YEAR-TO-DATE SF-POINTS©: 222 (YTD QUOTA: 181)

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Filed under: Books

REVIEW SUMMARY: A very good group of stories that’s better than many best-of-the-year anthologies.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Original anthology of six far-future SF novellas.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: 4 standout stories

CONS: 1 mediocre entry

BOTTOM LINE: Four out of six is a very good score.

I’ve been reading lots of short stories and it amazes me how original anthologies can sometimes be better than some best-of-the-year types. I suppose it stands to reason that the best-of anthologies are the opinion of (usually) one editor whose tastes might differ from that of the reader. On the other hand, given the law of averages, an anthology of original stories should be equally hit or miss.

Along comes Between Worlds edited by Robert Silverberg. Two of these stories were chosen for Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best Science Fiction #22: “Shiva in Shadow” by Nancy Kress and “Investments” by Walter Jon Williams. I did not re-read them this time around. Pity I didn’t take better notes on the Kress story, though, which I thought was perfect.

Standouts in the collection were “Between Worlds” by Stephen Baxter, the Kress story, “The Colonel Returns to the Stars” by Robert Silverberg and “Keepsakes” by Mike Resnick. Four out of six is a very good score. The weakest story in the bunch, by my reckoning, was mediocre. But then again, that was the Williams story that got chosen for the Dozois best-of anthology. So what do I know?

In addition to providing an excellent story, Silverberg tasked each of the other writers with providing a snapshot of life in the far future and far from Earth. I don’t know that all of the writers met that challenge as life remains pretty much the same. Or maybe that’s the point? No matter, there are some really top notch stories in this anthology.

This makes the second original anthology I read this year from the Science Fiction Book Club that is well worth the read; the other being Down These Dark Spaceways, which also featured stories that have since gone on to be collected elsewhere and nominated for awards.

Reviewlettes follow…

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Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 6/30/06

Filed under: Tidbits

Robert E. Howard Celebration Anthology Due

We recently mentioned how Cross Plains, Texas, was celebrating the 100th birthday of Robert E. Howard, author of the Conan books. Now there’s official word from Chris Roberson, author of Paragaea and owner of MonkeyBrain books, that a new limited-edition anthology is due to be released celebrating Howard and his work.

The book, Cross Plains Universe: Texans Celebrate Robert E. Howard, is being edited by Scott Cupp and Joe R. Lansdale. Stories will be written in Howard style and/or use some of his characters. The book features this nice lineup of Texas talent:

  • “Slim and Swede and the Damned Dead Horse” by Dean Andersson
  • “The Heart” by Neal Barrett, Jr.
  • “Prince Koindrindra Escapes” by Jayme Blaschke
  • “The Diamonds of Golconda” by Lillian Stewart Carl
  • “The Heart of Ahriman” by Bill Crider and Charlotte Laughlin
  • “One Fang” by Scott Cupp
  • “The King Comes to Texas” by Brad Denton
  • “A Whim of Circumstance” by Mark Finn
  • “The Sea of Grass on the Day of Wings” by Melissa Mia Hall
  • “A Penny a Word” by Rick Klaw and Paul Miles
  • “The Pillar in the Mist” by Ardath Mayhar
  • “The Roaming Forest” by Michael Moorcock
  • “The Bunker of the Tikriti” by Chris Nakashima–Brown
  • “The Toughest Jew in the West” by Lawrence Person
  • “Wolves of the Mountain” by James Reasoner
  • “Two Hearts in Zamora” by Jessica Reisman
  • “The Warrior and the King” by Carrie Richerson
  • “The Jewel of Leystall” by Chris Roberson
  • “Thin, On the Ground” by Howard Waldrop
  • “Boomtown Bandits” by Livia Washburn
  • “Six From Atlantis” by Gene Wolfe

Filed under: Books

Han Had A Shot First

Check out this rather scary 1979 Star Wars drunk driving PSA. Remember, friends don’t let Greedo shoot first.

Filed under: Star Wars

[UPDATED] RIP: Jim Baen

Sad news, folks. Publisher Jim Baen has pased away.

Through the Baen Free Library, Jim proved that free (and DRM-free, too!) e-books do indeed help print sales. Stop by and read Jim’s sensible reasoning why that is.

SF Author and friend David Drake has written an obituary. More are sure to follow.

UPDATE: See also the Press Release, the SFWA Obit, SciFi Wire, Jerry Pournelle, Boing Boing, Patrick Nielson Hayden, John Scalzi, Memory Machine and Lou Anders.

[h/t Eternal Golden Braid]

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 6/29/06

Filed under: Tidbits

University of Houston’s Digital History offers Trailers of Historically Significant Films. [link via Cynical-C]

I’ve included the 53 films of note for sf/f/h genre fans in chronological order with links to their trailers. And before the genre-Nazis start howling at the moon, these are Digital History’s classifications, except for Tarzan and His Mate (which was classified as Africa) and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Education :O). Oddly, the 1933 King Kong is labeled as fantasy and the 1976 version is labeled as science fiction. Go figure. Also, I was going to include The Way We Were because it’s arguably horror, but I didn’t.

BONUS QUESTION: How many of these titles were based on books (excluding Outer Limits) ?

  1. Metropolis (1927)
  2. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
  3. Frankenstein (1931)
  4. Dracula (1931)
  5. The Mummy (1932)
  6. King Kong (1933)
  7. Invisible Man (1933)
  8. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  9. Buck Rogers (1939)
  10. Wizard of Oz (1939)
  11. Thief of Bagdad (1940)
  12. Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1942)
  13. Ape Man (1943) (2nd trailer)
  14. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  15. Harvey (1950)
  16. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
  17. War of the Worlds (1953)
  18. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
  19. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
  20. Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
  21. Forbidden Planet (1956)
  22. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
  23. Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
  24. 1984 (1959)
  25. Angry Red Planet (1960)
  26. Time Machine (1960)
  27. Outer Limits (1960′s TV)
  28. Psycho (1960)
  29. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
  30. Wolfman (1966)
  31. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  32. Barbarella (1968)
  33. Planet of the Apes (1968)
  34. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  35. Exorcist (1973)
  36. Tommy (1975)
  37. King Kong (1976)
  38. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
  39. Star Wars (1977)
  40. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
  41. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  42. Blade Runner (1982)
  43. Zelig (1983)
  44. Terminator (1984)
  45. Ghostbusters (1984)
  46. Back to the Future (1985)
  47. ET: The Extraterrestrial (1988)
  48. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
  49. Jurassic Park (1993)
  50. Independence Day (1996)
  51. Being John Malkovich (1999)
  52. Day After Tomorrow: Storm Surge (2004) (2nd trailer)
  53. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

Oh, and Pete, you may want to check out the Barbarella trailer. You’re welcome.

Filed under: Movies

SF Signal on Brain Parade

Here’s the height of irony. The cast of SF Signal is being featured on MemeTherapy‘s Brain Parade feature. And by “cast” I apparently mean “posse”. :)

And as the SF blogosphere’s undisputed linkmaster, I’d like to thank MemeTherapy for providing the link fodder.

Filed under: Web Sites

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