SF Tidbits for 6/22/07

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: 1945 by Robert Conroy


1945 attempts to answer the question: What if Japan did not surrender following the bombing of Nagasaki? We know that America had plans on the table for an invasion of mainland Japan, with casualties estimated in the hundreds of thousands for U.S. forces alone. The loss of life on the Japanese side would probably have been higher. This is one of the reasons Truman decided to drop the bombs in the first place. In 1945, Conroy posits a military coup in Japan which captures the Emperor and stops him from issuing an unconditional surrender. As a result, a depleted and all but defeated Japan prepares for an American invasion.

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Filed under: Book Review

Oh Noes! Harry Potter Hacked?

(Potential spoilers in the following link. Don’t click if you don’t to be potentially spoiled, although it’s too late for John, he’s already spoiled.)

It’s started. The last book is rapidly approaching and some people just can’t wait to see what happens, for their own reason. According to The Inquirer, a ‘hax0r’ has supposedly hacked into publisher Bloomsbury’s computer system and got a peek at the manuscript for Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. This was accomplished using a ‘milw0rm’ email exploit. Well, well known to hackers and such.

I’m not sure what to think about this. It could be a hoax. This is the reason given for the hack:

Alarmed by the Potter’s undermining of the Christian faith and disturbed by its “Neo Paganism”, the hackers say they made the spoiler “to make reading of the upcoming book useless and boring.”

I may be going out on a limb, but I’m guessing that most hackers don’t give a damn about Harry Potter and his Neo Paganism. This reasoning set off the ‘hoax’ bells for me. I could be wrong. There could be a group of l33t, fundamentalist Christian hackers just salivating at the chance to spoil the last Potter book for everyone. In which case, he/she/they is/are idiots. But again, the fact that this was posted on an security focused web site leads me to think, again, they did this to pump themselves up.

How did they know which person to send the email to? How did they know where the manuscript was kept? Just some of the questions that arise. The Inquirer is awaiting word back from Bloomsbury about the alleged hack.

If this is true, the people responsible are sad, pathetic excuses for a human being, and should be forced from their mother’s basement in shame. But they won’t be, as that would require having social skills.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 6/21/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Gail Z. Martin, author of The Summoner, is promoting her upcoming book The Blood King, book two in The Chronicles of The Necromancer, by offering us an excerpt.

To set the scene: After arriving in Principality, the Sisterhood sends for Tris and Carina to begin his magical training in earnest. The Sisterhood tells Tris that they fear he may not be up to the challenge, and their greatest fear is that he would be possessed by the reemergent Obsidian King, returning that ancient evil to a human body with the power of a Summoner. The Sisterhood is clear-they consider it better for Tris to fail and die during his training than to fail against the Obsidian King and be possessed. His training will be brutal, pushing him to his limits, and letting pain be his foremost teacher.

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Filed under: Books

The Shatner Show

Calgary’s Uppercase Gallery is currently (June 16 and ending August 31, 2007) presenting The Shatner Show, a collection of art from various artists depicting The Shat. A portion of all the proceeds from the show will go to benefit the charity Shatner founded, www.horseshow.org.

The website shows only a portion of the artwork, but what a nice selection collection it is. Check out Lego-head Shatner!

There’s also a book to go along with the exhibit. And the website has a blog called, what else, The Captain’s Blog.

[via SF Scope]

Filed under: Events

SF Tidbits for 6/20/07

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: The Swarm by Frank Schatzing

REVIEW SUMMARY: A book that should appeal to both science fiction and non-science fiction audiences.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The creatures of the sea rise up against man but something else seems to be in command (cue scary underwater menace music)…


PROS: Raises interesting questions about intelligence and what form it will take; lots of excellent science here

CONS: A little too heavy handed about environmentalism and a little cliche at the end

BOTTOM LINE: A Peter Benchley-esque book with some unique twists and excellent flow.

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Filed under: Book Review

ApolloCon 2007

This year’s ApolloCon, Houston’s science fiction, fantasy and horror conference, happens June 22 through June 24.

Guests include C. S. Friedman (The Coldfire Trilogy, This Alien Shore, Feast Of Souls), David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer (the über-editing team of the Year’s Best SF series and The Space Opera Renaissance), Chris Roberson (Here, There & Everywhere, Paragaea, X-Men: The Return), John Cramer (Twistor), Jayme Blaschke, Martha Wells and Artist Jeff Sturgeon, among others.

Hopefully this addresses JP’s concerns about sf authors coming to Houston. [Looks at JP.]

Filed under: Events

REVIEW SUMMARY: A promising first novel.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: After most of humanity slips into a coma, two factions fight over the future of mankind.


PROS: Engrossing; fast-paced; intriguing premise; uses real-life Mayan Prophecy.

CONS: Signs of First Novel Syndrome.

BOTTOM LINE: An engaging scientific/supernatural thriller.

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Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 6/19/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Eric Johnson On Flash Gordon

Last week, EW scored an interview with actor Eric Johnson, who will be playing Flash Gordon in the upcoming SciFi Channel series of the same name.

Some interesting nuggets o’ info:

  • Johnson wasn’t too familiar with the body of Flash work. He did know the name, but not much else.
  • SciFi’s Flash is a marathon runner and drives a ’67 convertible Firebird.
  • While the Mongo sets may be elaborate, Flash won’t be using a spaceship for travel. Instead, wormholes will be used. Shades of Pandora’s Star
  • Not only will Flash have to deal with Dale and Princess Aura, there will also be a hawt bounty hunter to contend with named Baylin, played by Karen Cliche. Rawr.

I’m not sure about this one. Looking at some of the production stills gives me a sense of ‘cheese’. Of course, Flash always had a lot of that to begin with. If its going to be cheesy, it should at least be fun and funny, otherwise it will be painful to watch. Much like watching Buck Rogers with adult eyes….

Filed under: TV

F&SF Website Posts Free Fiction

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is experimenting with posting free fiction online. Since this is an experiment, they expect to have stories posted for one month only.

First up: “The Thief With Two Deaths” by Chris Willrich (2000), a tie-in to his most recent story set in the same universe, “A Wizard of the Old School”, that appears in the August 2007 issue of F&SF.

[via SF Scope]

Filed under: Free Fiction

SF Tidbits for 6/18/07

I’m behind on tidbits, so this is partly me playing catch-up.

Filed under: Tidbits

POLL RESULTS: Our Favorite Zombie Movie

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

Which of these is your favorite zombie movie?


(152 total votes)

Comments this week:

“I’ve just gotten the entire zombie phenomenon, there’s a guy in my local Star Wars fanforce that is almost obsessed with zombies… and now there is a blogging event about Zombies on June 13… What is this world coming to?!?…” – Kev

“First, I voted for Evil Dead…a classic. I have a “irrational fear” of zombies. They truly scare the pants off of me. Family, friends and people at work all know of it and get a great chuckle. But we will see who gets the last laugh when the end is here and I am ready!!!!!” – Bryan

“Peter Jackson’s “Braindead”! As great as the others are, none of them are as over-the-top and hilarious as this one. You name it, this movie has it – a kung fu priest, a zombie baby, zombies being slaughtered by a lawnmower… the list just goes on and on.” – Eric

“So far “I’d rather die” is ahead! For shame! And Shaun of the Dead in second place? It’s a fine movie, but best zombie movie! Are you out of your Braindead minds!? My vote goes to “Dellamorte Dellamore” with honorable mention to Burial Ground.” – A-Z

“The best zombie movie, which I saw on late night television, was an Australian film called simply ‘Undead.’ It was George Romero’s Zombies meets Stephen King’s sense of mythic, meets Men in Black humor, meets Robert Kirkman’s zombie comics. Best zombie film EVER.” – Pete Tzinski

“I really think you have no choice but to make the “Worst Zombie Movie Ever” poll.” – A_Z
[Too Many options! - John]

“‘My Boyfriend’s Back’ almost sent me to the hospital, I was laughing so hard!” – Chris Johnston

“28 Weeks Later trumps 28 Days Later, my previous favorite.” – Kevin

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll about superfans!

Filed under: Polls

WINNERS: 2007 Locus Awards

The winners of the 2007 Locus Awards have been announced (Links go to SF Signal reviews):

  • BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL: Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge (Tor)
  • BEST FANTASY NOVEL: The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner (Bantam Spectra)
  • BEST FIRST NOVEL: Temeraire: His Majesty’s Dragon/Throne of Jade/Black Powder War, Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Voyager); also as Temeraire: In the Service of the King (SFBC)
  • BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK: Wintersmith, Terry Pratchett (Doubleday UK; HarperTempest)
  • BEST NOVELLA: “Missile Gap”, Charles Stross (One Million A.D.)
  • BEST NOVELETTE: “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth”, Cory Doctorow (Baen’s Universe 8/06)
  • BEST SHORT STORY: “How to Talk to Girls at Parties“, Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things)
  • BEST MAGAZINE: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • BEST ANTHOLOGY: The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Third Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin’s)
  • BEST COLLECTION: Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
  • BEST EDITOR: Ellen Datlow
  • BEST ARTIST: John Picacio
  • BEST NON-FICTION: James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, Julie Phillips (St. Martin’s)
  • BEST ART BOOK: Cathy & Arnie Fenner, eds. Spectrum 13: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art (Underwood)

See also: Finalists

See also: Past winners

Filed under: Awards

[via Pistol Wimp]

Filed under: Humor

SF Tidbits For 6/15/07

  • Check out these cool, wooden SF-ish toys from Japan. Can you call something woodpunk? Reminds me of my Mecha Panda.
  • Marvel has decided which superhero will be next on the big screen. It’s Captain America! Make of that what you will.
  • The Season 1 DVD set of Heroes goes on sale on August 28th. It’s 7 DVDs, with 50+ deleted scenes (perhaps we’ll see the one where Peter forgets he can fly) and a never aired version of the pilot. And all this for only $60 ($40 at Amazon). Start saving now.
  • Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, will be getting her own reality show on Fox (of course!). They will be looking for the next ‘Elvira’, to help the current one with her obviously heavy work load. Although the plan of having an Elvira in malls across America at Halloween smacks of pure evil.

Filed under: Tidbits

Bill Murray To Star In City Of Ember

Continuing the tradition of bringing recent children’s books to the big screen, it seems that Tom Hanks will be shooting a movie version of The City Of Ember, and Bill Murry is set to star as the Mayor of Ember. This role seems perfect for Murray as it the Mayor is an older gentleman, with some comedic tendencies.

The story itself isn’t really anything new SF-wise. Basically, a group of people moved themselves underground to escape a worldwide catastrophe. They left instructions on how to leave Ember on a certain date. Those instructions were lost, however, and now the city is falling apart. Two teenagers lead the charge to find a better way of life, but must fight against tradition and the Mayor to make their escape form the city. It’s a decent enough book, certainly worthwhile for ages 8+ to pick up and read.

Filed under: Movies

REVIEW: The Making Of Star Wars by J.W. Rinzler


The Making Of Star Wars is billed as ‘The definitive story behind the original film’ and I’d definitely agree with that. I’d also add exhaustive and awesome as well. Seeing the cover took me back to 1977, when I was 9, as I eagerly stood in line to see Star Wars for the first time. Little did I know then the long, twisting story behind the first film. This book covers that story in detail, starting in 1968 and ending ten years later, as Lucas and company bask in the glow of mega-success.

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Filed under: Book Review

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