- Eos Blog has a sneak peak at The New Space Opera edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan.
- SFX interviews Jeffrey Thomas, author of Deadstock.
- John Scalzi is a Write-In Candidate for SFWA President.
- Humor: Top 10 Bands in the Spaceport Bar.
- Meet the Author UK has a video of Terry Pratchett talking about Wintersmith.
- Real Science: A giant pool of water ice at Mars’ South Pole.
- David Louis Edelman lists 5 Things That Do Happen When You Become a Published Author and 5 Things That Don’t Happen When You Become a Published Author.
- Cynical-C offers The Making of the Doctor Who Theme.
Filed under: Tidbits
- Table of Malcontents points us to Astounding Science Fiction‘s Astounding Covers! One of my favorites is the Freas cover used for Frederic Brown’s “Martians, Go Home“.
- John Scalzi interviews Elizabeth Moon
- Subterranean Press offers “The Surgeon’s Tale” by Jeff VanderMeer & Cat Rambo.
- BBT Blog talks about The Shame of Star Wars and how being a fanboy went from cool to nerdy.
- John Joseph Adams profiles Jack McDevitt, author of the Nebula-finalist, Seeker.
- Jason Stoddard has been added to the list of sf/f authors who blog. He also has part 3 of his post series New Marketing 101 for Science Fiction Publications and Writers.
- Jeff VanderMeer talks about incorrect assumptions about niche anthologists.
- To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Interzone, TTA Press is making the noveall “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Edward Morris available asa free (PDF) download. [via Locus Online]
- Quiz: Which H.P. Lovecraft character are you? [via Raincoaster]
- While you’re in a Lovecraft mood, check out SFF Audio’s roundup of H.P. Lovecraft MP3s.
Filed under: Tidbits
Last weekend we tore out the stairs on our 30+ year-old house (and replaced them with oak. This was my wife’s idea. I would have saved the money for something much cooler, like a new high-end video card for my computer, or a few boxes of Confrontation miniatures.)
Among other things, we found some loose change dated from the 60′s and a sci-fi action figure. No one at home knew what the figure was, so I thought I’d post a picture of it.
[See extended entry for photo... ]
Filed under: Games
Locus Online has printed Cory Doctorow’s column from the March isssue of Locus magazine. Here’s a snippet of the article You Do Like Reading Off a Computer Screen:
Electronic books are a wonderful adjunct to print books. It’s great to have a couple hundred novels in your pocket when the plane doesn’t take off or the line is too long at the post office. It’s cool to be able to search the text of a novel to find a beloved passage. It’s excellent to use a novel socially, sending it to your friends, pasting it into your sig file.
But the numbers tell their own story – people who read off of screens all day long buy lots of print books and read them primarily on paper. There are some who prefer an all-electronic existence (I’d like to be able to get rid of the objects after my first reading, but keep the e-books around for reference), but they’re in a tiny minority.
Filed under: Books
- ChapterFeeds offers the 1st chapter of Fugitives of Chaos by John C. Wright. (See also: SF Signal review.)
- ForeverGeek has a Geek Summer Movie Round-up.
- Collision Detection examines the mathematical proof why Vampires cannot exist.
- The final Harry Potter book will have a record breaking, back breaking first printing of 12 million copies.
- Abigail Nussbaum gives some serious thought to the the character of Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica.
- Fractal Pr0n: Geekend has a gllery of 3D Fractal images. What, am I the only one with a pair of 3D glasses lying around?
- The website for the Canadian sketch comedy show This Hour has 22 Minutes is running a poll in response to Halifax losing the bid for the Commonwealth Games. They are asking which other long dead and now irrelevant empire’s games should Halifax consider hosting? George Lucas’s Galactic Empire is currently in the lead, beating out the Roman, Ottoman, Byzantine and Aztec empires quite handily. [via Bloginhood]
- Speaking of Stars Wars (and when aren’t we?), here’s a set of speakers for the Star Wars enthusiast. [via Tim, our resident curmudgeon and self-proclaimed Star Wars enthusiast who will undoubtedly point his wife towards this post.]
- Alan Kistler has part two of his profile of Wonder Woman. Oddly, theres no mention of Wonder Woman’s Subaru…
- Henry Jenkins is seeing what happens when we apply genre theory to the challenges of understanding superhero comics.
- Bruce Sterling gives blogs 10 years to live. Bummer…there go my plans to be the #1 blog by the year 2018.
Filed under: Tidbits
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Clockmaker Apprentice Heathor is visted by the Archangel Gabriel. Hethor is tasked with discovering the Key Perilous and re-winding the Mainspring of the world before it runs down and the Earth stops rotating.
PROS: Wildly inventive, filled with rollicking old-school adventure SF, Hethor is an interesting and sympathetic character.
CONS: Hethor escapes many deadly encounters, secondary characters not fleshed out, high body count and sporadically overly violent.
BOTTOM LINE: Mainspring is a wildly inventive novel infused with old-school adventure SF action. If you’re looking for something different that has lots of ‘sensawunda’, pick up Mainspring.
Filed under: Book Review
Jeremy Tolbert writes in to tell us about Launch Pad, a free, NASA-funded workshop in Wyoming for established writers that aims to provide a “crash course” in modern astronomy through workshops, guest lectures, and observation through the University of Wyoming’s two large telescopes.
This year’s guest instructor is Jerry Oltion, amateur astronomer and science fiction author (Abandon In Place, The Getaway Special, Anywhere But Here and Paradise Passed). Other lecturers include University of Wyoming professors Mike Brotherton, PhD (and author of Star Dragon…read it for free!) and Jim Verley.
Interested writers should apply soon…the deadline is May 1st and there are only 12 openings.
Filed under: Events
- New/Updated at Gutenberg: Triplanetary by E. E. Smith. [via Boing^2]
- Michael Cassutt looks at the new crop of spring TV pilots. [Looks at JP...]
- Some guy built his own arcade machine (using a MAME Emulator) to look like the TARDIS. [via Neatorama ]
- Nebula-nominee Karina Sumner-Smith has been added to the list of sf/f authors who blog.
- SFFWorld interviews Tad Williams (Shadowplay) and C.S. Friedman (Feast of Souls).
- McSweeney’s offers writers Thrilling Chapter Endings to Use in Their Next Novel. “Suddenly, [PROTAGONIST] noticed darting shadows in the corner of the ballroom. Ninjas!” [via Backwards City]
- PistolWimp offer two video goodies today: The Twilight Zone episode “Queen of the Nile” and the very 1st episode of the forgotten Videocraft-Rankin/Bass cartoon Tales of the Wizard of Oz.
Filed under: Tidbits
[Update: added review of final story, "An End to All Things".]
Like last year, I undertook a project to read the short fiction nominees for this year’s Nebula Award. Only two of the nominees were not available online this year. One of those (Michael A. Burstein’s “Sanctuary”) I read in Analog, the other (“An End to All Things” by Karina Sumner-Smith) I couldn’t get a copy of, so it was not reviewed. (If I manage to get my hands on a copy, I’ll update this post.) [Update: See review below.]
Once more, I thought this was a fun project as it makes me feel like I’m keeping in touch with the best that the current short fiction landscape has to offer. Or is that a fallacy? Although I enjoyed immensely all of the novella nominees, some of the shorter works were considerably less than stellar. In their defense, those tended to be the fantasy stories; my partial indifference towards that genre couldn’t bode well for them anyway. Nonetheless, I remained hopeful, expecting – perhaps naively – something special from stories that are nominated for awards.
I’m not sure if it’s a trend or just something I notices because, in this age of Internets, looking up the information is so darn easy, but it seems that more and more short fiction that I read draws upon history and mythology to tell their stories. This year’s nominees initiated Wikipedia lookups for Helen of Troy, Henry David Thoreau, Narcissus, Walpurgis Night, Erwin Schrödinger and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Science fiction is nothing if not cause to brush up on history. Apparently.
In a nutshell, then, here are my impressions of the stories in each category, sorted from most to least enjoyable. My winning picks are the tops ones listed in each category.
“Sanctuary” by Michael A. Burstein (Read a preview)
“Burn” by James Patrick Kelly
“The Walls of the Universe” by Paul Melko
“Inclination” by William Shunn
“Two Hearts” by Peter S. Beagle
“Little Faces” by Vonda McIntyre
“The Language of Moths” by Chris Barzak
“Journey into the Kingdom” by M. Rickert
“Walpurgis Afternoon” by Delia Sherman
“Henry James, This One’s For You” by Jack McDevitt
“An End to All Things” by Karina Sumner-Smith
“The Woman in Schrödinger’s Wave Equations” by Eugene Mirabelli
“Helen Remembers the Stork Club” by Esther M. Friesner
“Echo” by Elizabeth Hand
“Pip and the Fairies” by Theodora Goss.
Reviewlettes of the stories follow….
Filed under: Book Review
- John Scalzi has posted the first chapter of his book The Android’s Dream online. You know…the chapter… [see SF Signal review] [via Big Dumb Object]
- The list of Top 10 put-downable books includes Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. [via Big Blog of Cheese]
- SF Author Smackdown! Justin has created an sf writer daily bracket. And so has Fantasy Book Spot! But wait! There’s more!
- SCI FI Wire profiles John Birmingham, author of Final Impact.
- Sci-Fi Foddder summarizes the difference between Hugo and Nebula Awards.
- Comic Book Resources interviews Richard K. Morgan, author of Woken Furies), mostly about his comics-writing work. [via SFBC Blog]
- The March 2007 issue of The Internet Review of Science Fiction is out.
- For your visual enjoyment: Zoom Quilt II!
- SFF World’s Andrew Smith details how to write a derivative fantasy novel. [via SFBC Blog]
- Cinematical is reporting another DVD release of Serenity with a bunch of shiny extras.
- James Patrick Kelly is podcasting his novel Look Into the Sun. Here’s Part 5.
- Mindhacks offers a critical view of transhumanism
- New/Updated on Gutenberg: The Colors of Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley.
- Howard Waldrop & Lawrence Person review 300.
- Check out the cool artwork of Daniel Conway. (Cookies required, but worth it)
- The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science.
- Centauri Dreams weighs in on the lifespan of science fiction magazines.
- How science fiction influences the imaginations of technologists: “Fans decry any emphasis on their favored genre’s predictive power (science fiction, they say, is really about the present day); but nonetheless, the accurate predictions of many science fiction writers are justly famous.”
- Free fiction from MIT Technology Review: “Osama Phone Home” by David Marusek.
- Memoirs of a Skepchick asks: Where are the women in SFBC’s list of Most Significant SF/F Books? [via uDreamOfJanie]
- Everything I need to know I learned from Cthulhu! [via Raincoaster]
Filed under: Tidbits
Ben Bova’s latest article for the Bonita News is titled: The “Marching Morons” show prescience of science fiction. A snippet:
There are tons of science fiction stories that show myriads of possible futures. Some of those futures have come into being. Kornbluth’s “The Marching Morons” is one of them. If more people had read that story half a century ago, perhaps we might have avoided some of the pitfalls that have led us to a moron-rich world today.
And therein lies the rub. Despite its power to illuminate the possibilities of tomorrow, science fiction is not read by most people. Perhaps it’s that word “science” that frightens them off: they think the stories are too difficult for them to understand. They’re not.
Perhaps the problem lies with the visual entertainment media: movies and TV. Let’s face it, most of Hollywood’s “sci-fi” has its origins in comic strips, not actual published science fiction. Many people don’t realize that the “sci-fi flicks” on both big and small screens are a far cry from the intellectual and emotional depth of real science fiction.
But I suspect that a major part of the problem is that most people don’t want to think hard about where we are and where we’re heading…
Filed under: Movies
There have been a couple of updates in the past few weeks:
- Our search box now uses Google Blog Search. The reason is that a$$-clown spammers were doing many searches to get themselves noticed in our activity log. This slowed down our performance. Using Google fixes that. But blog posts take a while to appear in Google – days or weeks, if at all – so we now use Google Blog Search. New posts appear in search results soon after their posting.
- In addition to the Frappr map link, the Map widget has been updated with the Map Loco map. (Although I’m still toying with the idea of using ClustrMaps.)
- The News Feeds widget has been streamlined to take up less space.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled blog…
Filed under: Meta
Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.
How would you summarize the current decisions going into Star Trek XI?
|(95 total votes)|
The Mehs have it.
Comments this week:
“What… no Matt Damon ‘Southie’ Star Trek Joke? No Gary Sinise ‘Lt. Dan’ joke? In the immortal words of Tuck and Roll from ‘A Bugs life’ “You fired! No, you fired. NO! YOU FIRED!” – Trent
“On the one hand, yay, it’s a new Star Trek movie. That makes me happy. On the other hand, I remember how “Young Indiana Jones Adventures,” went. Do I need a Star Trek equivalent?” – Pete
Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on Jeff Bridges’ best film!
Filed under: Polls
The Alchemist’s Apprentice by Dave Duncan
For Fans of: Italy’s Renaissance.
Lowdown: The occult is a grace note in this cynical whodunit, juicy with periodic detail.
Keeping It Real Justina Robson
For Fans of: Tolkien, had he gone electric, dropped acid, and discovered tantric sex.
Lowdown: A Teeming fantasy that sometimes stalls in come-together preachiness and turgid mysticism.
The Serpent and the Rose by Kathleen Bryan
For Fans of: Elizabeth Haydon, Terry Goodkind.
Lowdown: Well-thought-through magic, convincing medieval details, and likable characters make for a pleasant adventure.
Elsewhere in the issue is an article and review (rating: B) on Frank Miller’s 300 and a piece on Malcolm McDowell’s role as Mr. Linderman in Heroes.
Filed under: Books
- Geekend has the secret history of Star Trek‘s theme music.
- Here’s an article on the B5: Lost Tales production.
- Beam Me Up podcasts Mike Resnick’s short story “Old McDonald Had a Farm“.
- Andrew Wheeler has some thoughts on Dave Itzkoff’s SETI article.
- Adam Roberts on Jameson’s Archaeologies of the Future. [via VCTB]
- Finally revealed! The difference between the Hugo and the Nebula.
Filed under: Tidbits
[Waves Hand] This is Not The Junk Mail You are Looking for…
The United States Post Office (the people who cannot seem to be able to deliver my Locus magazine without reading it first — but don’t get me started…) is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Star Wars by dressing up some mailboxes around the country to look like R2D2.
Is there nothing beyond George Lucas’ reach? What’s next? The Jar-Jar fire hydrant?
Filed under: Star Wars
Carl Huber is performing a social experiment that might appeal to science fiction fans.
He’s printing up a bunch of stickers that say “Now with Soylent Green!” and he’s putting them on stuff — like food in grocery stores. Of course, there is a full-disclosure footnote included that lets people know that “Soylent Green is made of people.”
He invites others to do the same and send him the corresponding photos.
[Disclaimer: SF Signal neither endorses nor condones the consumption of people.]
Filed under: Humor
- ManyBooks.net lists free post-1950 science fiction classics featuring works by Edmond Hamilton, H. Beam Piper, Murray Leinster, John W. Campbell, Jr., Andre Norton, Donald A. Wollheim, Alan Nourse, George Oliver Smith, Philip José Farmer, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Victor Appleton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, James H. Schmitz, Daniel Keys Moran, Robert Sheckley and more. There are more recent authors, too, like James Patrick Kelly, Tobias Buckell, Charles Stross, Cory Doctorow and Peter Watts.
- According to The Guardian Book Blog, publishers’ concentration on big-name authors impoverishes more modest sellers – and leaves readers worse off, too.
- Geekend has video of a real-world functional battlemech.
- Escape Pod #96 podcasts Kevin J. Anderson’s “Job Qualifications“.
- Tobias Buckell posts his interview with Joel Shepherd, author of Crossover, from last year.
- Here’s why sf author Chris Roberson doesn’t watch Heroes. Lou Anders, on the other hand, loves Heroes and it has opened his eyes to the death of episodic television.
- Here’s a flash-based game with Tron Light Cycles.
Filed under: Tidbits