It seems that more and more these days, I am getting my news through RSS newsfeeds as opposed to random/purposeful surfing . (Must…feed…blog…) So it is always nice to find some information that has yet to make it to through my newsreader. Like this tidbit.
SF author Sean Williams announced on his news page that in 2007 Ace will be publishing his next trilogy, a solo called ASTROPOLIS. The proposed titles are Saturn Returns, Earth Ascendant, and Increasing in Light. He is also working on a young adult project.
I really enjoyed Williams’ The Resurrected Man. I’ve been meaning to read his other works for quite a while now, but like so many other books, they keep getting supplanted by my whims of reading choice.
Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic medicine Show features an article on authors and blogging. There’s quotes-a-plenty from Kathryn Cramer, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Syne Mitchell, Robert Sawyer and John Scalzi.
For a more comprehensive list of blogging authors, see SF Signal’s post on SF/F writers who blog. And don’t forget SF/F Writers Who Don’t Blog…But Should!
[Link via Robert J. Sawyer]
| Monday, March 6th, 2006 at
George Lucas made a prediction that big budget pictures will start to disappear, and lower cost movies (15 million or so) will start to make thier way into theatres. Now I find this interesting in that George’s last few movies were giant budget affairs, that if they didn’t say Star Wars, would not have even made a dime. Anyways, since we have a poll about SF and Hollywood – this is somewhat intriguing. I wonder can you make a decent SF movie without huge special effects and a monster budget – my guess is yes, but what do our readers think?
Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.
Have you ever taken a science-fiction-related school course?
Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on Hollywood Adaptations!
Dave Itzkoff, SF reviewer for The New York Times, recently listed his favorite SF books. But he is also making waves with some comments about the SF genre he makes in his review of David Marusek’s Counting Heads.
HERE’S a question I don’t expect to come anywhere close to answering by the end of this column: Why does contemporary science fiction have to be so geeky?
I cannot [recommend science fiction books] in good conscience because if you were to immerse yourself in most of the sci-fi being published these days, you would probably enjoy it as much as one enjoys reading a biology textbook or a stereo manual. And you would very likely come away wondering, as I do from time to time, whether science fiction has strayed so far from the fiction category as a whole that, though the two share common ancestors, they now seem to have as much to do with each other as a whale has to do with a platypus.
His reaction has already spawned a letter to be written to Locus Magazine [link via Emerald City].
Is Itzkoff right? Is he just using a bad hook to make his article more cohesive?
Is SF too geeky?
[From Free Speculative Fiction Online which list waaaay more cool online fiction.]
Dave Itzkoff, science fiction reviewer for the New York Times, lists his favorite science fiction books, in alphabetical order.
- A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter J. Miller (1959)
- Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (1963)
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)
- The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (1965)
- Gun, With Occasional Music: A Novel by Jonathan Letham (1994)
- Looking for Jake by China Miéville (2005)
- The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (1962)
- R is for Rocket by Ray Bradbury (1962)
- The Twilight Zone Companion by Marc Scott Zicree (1982)
- Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1987)
[link via Locus Online]
Kevin Smith gives an awesome speech about his early involvement with the new Superman movie. I think this old – I seem to remember Scott telling me about this before – but this is the first time I’ve seen the video of the speech. (Thanks to Movie Blog) This is very funny stuff. The 20 minute video is expletive-laden, but that’s more than made up for by the Spanish subititles!
On Sunday, March 12th, The History Channel is running How William Shatner Changed the World. They only offer this brief description:
You’ve got a cell phone at one ear, an iPod at the other. You know that Blackberry is now a verb and Spam is not only canned meat. But just how did we get here? Blame William Shatner–yes, that William Shatner–Captain Kirk. We’ll boldly go where few have gone before to reveal how scientists, inspired by the series, would revolutionize medicine and are surpassing the far-out vision of the future foreshadowed in Star Trek in the 1960s. From cell phones to computers to even leading-edge medical advancements, this 2-hour special explores how those sci-fi inventions have now permeated everyday life as we know it. Hosted and narrated by Shatner and based on his book, I’m Working on That, we’ll meet the brightest minds of Silicon Valley and the Trek-inspired inventions that have help change the world.
There’s a press release with more information, like this tidbit that fanboys will love:
HOW WILLIAM SHATNER CHANGED THE WORLD features interviews with other Star Trek actors George Takei and Nichelle Nichols, and looks at the legacy of subsequent Star Trek franchises and feature films which continue to impact the pace of scientific and technological advancements and inspire a new generation of world-changing scientists and inventors.
Speaking of fanboys, the History Channel is also running a promotional sweepstakes where the winner will get to meet William Shatner at a Star Trek con in Vega$.
The newly launched Book Magazine from the U.K. is running a poll through April 30th to determine the Greatest Living British Writer. The only genre authors included are Terry Pratchett and J.K. Rowling, but there is space to include your own choice.
With more and more award-nominated genre books coming from the U.K. it surprises me to see only two names there. No China Miéville? No Iain M. Banks or Ian MacDonald? Tsk tsk.
[via Andrew Wheeler]
| Friday, March 3rd, 2006 at
Yes, I know its not necessarily SF related, but I think this will help all our readers out there who don’t understand Podcasting. I have found a video from a Ninja to help explain it to you. If its still confusing after this little show, I will attempt to find a pirate to help elaborate a bit more…
Locus Magazine reviewer Rich Horton will be editing two new annual anthology series: Fantasy: The Best of the Year and Science Fiction: The Best of the Year. A third anthology, Horror: The Best of the Year, will be edited by John Gregory Betancourt and Sean Wallace. All three anthologies will be published by Prime Books in trade paperback format.
[via Jonathan Strahan, co-editor with Karen Haber of Science Fiction: Best of... and Fantasy: Best of... anthologies from the recently-folded publishers, iBooks]
REVIEW SUMMARY: The classic formula of juvenile science fiction still works.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Young Matt Dodson joins the Interplanetary Patrol in hopes of graduating to Space Cadet.
PROS: Skillful, terse writing made the story zip along; positive messages for young readers and enjoyable space adventure for all ages.
CONS: Some corny dialogue; needed a stronger antagonist; dated science may put off those who dislike such things.
BOTTOM LINE: Chock full of the tasty flavor of yesteryears’ science fiction.
I have this irrational fear that all books, no matter how enjoyable, will be swept away by the tides of time as they fall out of print. Sure, there are a small handful of memorable titles that that remain on bookstore shelves years after year, but anyone who is looking for older titles is relegated to used bookstores and garage sales. Fortunately for a select few titles, the reprint publishing market is alive and kicking. One classic title that recently saw the light of day again is Robert A. Heinlein’s Space Cadet.
Read the rest of this entry
Emerald City points out an oh-so-close-but-not-quite-cool website that maps independent bookstores. Actually, the MapMuse website maps lots of things. For example, here’s a look at Houston area used bookstores, a set of establishments with which I am…somewhat…familiar.
The thing that keeps MapMuse from being a truly cool website is that, for some reason, as Tobias S. Buckell points out in the Emerald City post, they are not using the awesome Google Map interface. Grrr! Google Maps are way more responsive and intuitive. People are using the Google Maps API for a reason. Page draws pages between clicks on apps like this is so 2002.
Can an author promote their books too much? That seems to be the question of the week making the blog rounds.
Justine Larbalestier is a bit sensitive to the topic since she’s been accused of too much “self-promotery”. (I love that term.) She makes some good points. First and foremost, it’s an authors job to promote their work. With so many books being published, even in a particular genre, they cannot afford to sit on their laurels. Which is not to say that self-promotion cannot get out of hand. Some self-promoting can be downright intrusive. To my (non-author) way of thinking, it’s a question of taste and tact and not so much the act of promoting. Like Larablestier points out: don’t be rude about it.
John Scalzi also comments on the topic and outlines some good points. (1. First-time authors get a free pass, 2. Beyond that, maintain a sense of scale, and 3. Spread the love and promote others before yourself.) He also recalls his incessant pimpage of Old Man’s War and how another author took issue with said pimpage.
Tobias S. Buckell also adds to the discussion and calls out writer Jeff VanderMeer‘s opinion (made in the comments of Larbalestier’s blog post) that authors should raise the stakes on each successive book promotion. Buckell points to the recent appearance of book-related websites – as in one website devoted to one title, usually created by the book’s author.
In the end, like any form of advertising, anyone who is tired of the advertising can always tune it out, or change the channel, or turn off the radio…
BTW, it occurs to me that I could have provided a good example of tactful self-promoting. I could have taken the time to let people know of an awesome website that is sure to stimulate and expand your mind. But instead, I’ll let the linkage do that for me.
Any Paul DiFilippo fans out there?
Now you can listen to a podcast of Paul DiFilippo’s story “Little Worker“. Warning: The story is rated X by hosts EscapePod. The timid may prefer a podcast interview with the author over at SmallWorldPodcast.
[Link via BoingBoing]
Books • Web Sites
By JP Frantz
| Thursday, March 2nd, 2006 at
Amazon has Amazon.com: Firefly – The Complete Series on sale for $20. Wow! If you haven’t bought it yet, now’s your chance. You can’t beat quality entertainment for $20. And if you’re feeling plucky, why not add the Serenity DVD as well and get them both for $38 with free shipping! You can’t beat that with a large caliber weapon…