Cover Pr0n

Irene Gallo gets way cooler email than I do.

While I’m wading through emails about huge investment opportunities and “\/|/|GR/\”, Irene, an Art Director for Tor publishing, received the cover graphics for three upcoming novels from artist Stephan Martiniere. Take a look at these beauties.

The lucky books to receive these are Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick, An Autumn War, the next volume in Daniel Abraham’s The Long Price Quartet and Elom by William H. Drinkard.

Filed under: Books

Wofford College is holding a summer education program geared towards teenagers who are interested in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres.

The Shared Worlds program is a “residential camp designed around a ‘shared world’ theme” where groups of students will learn and apply the skills of writing, illustration and game design, mentored by professionals. The curriculum includes classes in space travel and alien biology.

The list of visiting speakers includes Troy Denning, Jim C. Hines, Greg Keyes, Stephen Leigh, Jack McDevitt, Scott Nicholson, Laura Resnick and more. Faculty includes Jeff VanderMeer, Stephen Leigh, and Christie Golden.

Filed under: Events

SF Tidbits for 4/25/07

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: 2007 Hugo Award Short Fiction Nominees

Like last year, I undertook a project to read the short fiction nominees for this year’s Hugo Award. (I undertook a similar Nebula short fiction reading project this year, too.) All the Hugo nominees were available online for free reading. Hooray for the Internets!

Overall, this was a fun project. However, I am still coming to terms with the fact that my tastes do not always mesh with those of the award-nominating populace. I guess I still have the misconception that award-nominated fiction represents the best of the best. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I expect all the stories to be 5-star knockouts. This just isn’t the case.

That said, all but one of the stories were good or better. I was somewhat disappointed by the McDonald story, especially in light of how much I enjoyed River of Gods, but otherwise this is a strong batch of stories; stronger, I believe, than this year’s Nebula nominees. Coincidentally, two of the Hugo-nominated novellas (by Melko and Shunn) are also 2006 Nebula nominees.

While I’m comparing, the 2007 Hugo nominees contain a much larger percentage of science fiction stories than the Nebula nominees, which is fantasy-heavy. Oddly, my usual indifference towards fantasy seems to have been overruled in the Hugo nominees. The few that are here made quite good impressions. The Nebula ballot had some stories that left something to be desired.

In a nutshell, then, here are my impressions of the stories in each category, sorted from most to least enjoyable, except where ties are indicated by rating. Linked story titles point to the online versions. My winning picks are the tops ones listed in each category.

NOVELLAS

Lord Weary’s Empire” by Michael Swanwick

The Walls of the Universe” by Paul Melko

Inclination” by William Shunn

Julian” by Robert Charles Wilson

A Billion Eves” by Robert Reed

NOVELLETTES

All the Things You Are” by Mike Resnick

Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” by Geoff Ryman

Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth” by Michael F. Flynn

Yellow Card Man” by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Djinn’s Wife” by Ian McDonald

SHORT STORIES

Impossible Dreams” by Tim Pratt

The House Beyond the Sky” by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Kin” by Bruce McAllister

How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman

Eight Episodes” by Robert Reed

Reviewlettes of the stories follow….

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 4/24/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Read Eifelheim for Free!

The Hugo-nominated novel Eifelheim by Michael Flynn is now freely available as a PDF file. [via]

Is it me, or is anyone else wondering if the trend to put award nominated fiction online is spreading from short works to novels? Watts’ Blindsight was already available but this is, I think, the first time a novel has been made available for free online reading after it was nominated for an award.

Filed under: Books

[UPDATED] Scalzi, Buckell and Stross, Oh My!

The Time Traveler Show has an interesting podcast of Charles Stross, John Scalzi, and Tobias Buckell explaining why they give away so much of their work, recorded on International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day Eve at Penguicon in Michigan (4-22-07).

Along those lines…

UPDATE: The SFBC Blog lists a bunch more free stuff!

Filed under: Books

Summer 2007 Sci-Fi Movie Slate

Here are this year’s pack of summer genre-related movies opening in the U.S.:

(U.S. release dates shown)

I should also mention:

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 4/23/07

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POLL RESULTS: Buying Free eBooks (Redux)

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Have you ever purchased a book that you first sampled as a free eBook?

RESULTS

(103 total votes)

Comments this week:

“It’s all-or-nothing for me. Either I’m not interested in the e-book and don’t buy the book, or else I read part of the e-book and then definitely buy the book. There aren’t any books I’d just be content to read as ebooks. (Although there are still shelves of books I’m just content to read in paper form.)” – Pete Tzinski

“In fact I bought Accelerando by Charles Stross and read it both in e-book and in hard copy. It was very convenient, cause I could keep on reading it in my mobile phone even if I had not my hard copy with me. I plan to do the same with Blindsight by Peter Watts.” – odo

“Is the problem here that authors are giving away something that somebody thinks we should pay for? Not that I want to mention it, but isn’t the decision to give away the book up to the author that wrote it? I also would like to point out that this has similarities how video games drive demand through the use of demos or previews.” – Tim

“How about; ‘I liked the free ebook and I liked reading on a computer screen so much I bought more ebooks.’ Sorry but I like reading books on the PC more, physical books are now passé for me I guess?” – Trent

“I have purchased a significant number of Baen Books this way. First read as a free eBook, then bought the deadtree edition and then bought the eBook!” – Fred Kiesche

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll about 2007 Summer movies!

Filed under: Polls

Klausner Backlash?

Thanks to a commenter in our own Klausner Post, I have learned that there is a bit of a backlash ensuing for Amazon’s #1 reviewer. And the backlash might be having an impact:

So, what has happened since this little investigation was launched? Well, as of this moment, the prolific Harriet Klausner, has written only 2 reviews in the last 5 days. To put that number in perspective; Harriet has posted as many as 40 book reviews in one day in recent weeks. 2 reviews in 5 days is a significant reduction. Is this merely a coincidence? Hard to tell.

The scrutiny has caused people to look at other top reviewers:

John “Gunny” Matlock has admitted that his reviews were actually being produced by a consortium of 27 reviewers and he claims to be resigning as an Amazon reviewer. Grady Harp has suddenly started getting fewer votes of approval for his reviews.

Hmmmm…the plot thickens…

Filed under: Books

TOC: Best Short Novels: 2007

The Science Fiction Book Club has put up the page for Best Short Novels: 2007 edited by Jonathan Strahan, a collection of eight novellas. Here’s what’s in it:

  • “Where the Golden Apples Grow” by Kage Baker
  • A Billion Eves” by Robert Reed
  • “The Voyage of Night Shining White” by Chris Roberson
  • Julian: A Christmas Story” by Robert Charles Wilson
  • “The Lineaments of Gratified Desire” by Ysabeau Wilce
  • Lord Weary’s Empire” by Michael Swanwick
  • After the Siege” by Cory Doctorow
  • “Botch Town” by Jeffrey Ford

For those who are keeping score, this anthology boasts 3 Hugo nominees (by Reed, Wilson and Swanwick) and 1 Locus Award nominee (by Ford).

Filed under: Books

FINALISTS: 2007 Locus Award

The finalists for the 2007 Locus Award have been announced. Winners will be announced in June at the Locus Awards Ceremony in Seattle, June 16th, during the Science Fiction Museum’s Hall of Fame weekend.

Here are the nominees with review links. When available, title links to the online version.

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

  • Blindsight, Peter Watts (Tor) [See SF Signal review]
  • Carnival, Elizabeth Bear (Bantam Spectra)
  • Farthing, Jo Walton (Tor)
  • Glasshouse, Charles Stross (Orbit; Ace)
  • Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge (Tor) [See SF Signal review]

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

  • The Jennifer Morgue, Charles Stross (Golden Gryphon Press; Ace)
  • The Last Witchfinder, James Morrow (Morrow)
  • The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner (Bantam Spectra)
  • Soldier of Sidon, Gene Wolfe (Tor)
  • Three Days to Never, Tim Powers (Subterranean Press; Morrow) [See SF Signal review]

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Awards

Final 2007 Hugo Short Fiction Nominee Available Online

Thanks to Jed Hartman, the final Hugo nominated story is available online.

The 2007 Hugo Award Nominees post has been updated and now contains links to all the short fiction stories.

Filed under: Awards

Friday YouTube: The Tell-Tale Heart

The Tell-Tale Heart, narrated by James Mason, is a 1953 animated short film based on the Edgar Allan Poe short-story.

Filed under: Books

NOMINEES: Sidewise Awards

Finalists for The Sidewise Award, given to works of alternate history and named after Murray Leinster’s 1934 story “Sidewise in Time”, have been announced:

LONG FORM

  • Robert Conroy for 1862 (Presidio Press)
  • Paul Park for The Tourmaline (Tor Books)
  • Charles Stross for The Family Trade, The Hidden Family, and The Clan Corporate (Tor Books)
  • Harry Turtledove for The Disunited States of America (Tor Books)
  • Jo Walton for Farthing (Tor Books)

SHORT FORM

  • Stephen Baxter for “The Pacific Mystery” (The Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction edited by Mike Ashley, Carroll & Graf)
  • Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff for “O, Pioneer” Paradox 8
  • Gardner Dozois for “Counterfactual” (F&SF, June 2006)
  • Chris Floyd for “History Lesson” (Moscow Times, February 22, 2006)
  • Martin Gidron for “Palestina” (Interzone June 2006)
  • Brian Stableford for “The Plurality of Worlds,” (Asimov’s August 2006)
  • Andrew Tisbert for “The Meteor of the War” (Paradox 9)

See also: Past winners.

Filed under: Awards

SF Tidbits for 4/20/07

Filed under: Tidbits

A Century of Science Fiction

The University of Delaware Library offers an online exhibit From Verne to Vonnegut: A Century of Science Fiction.

There are several “rooms” to explore…

Early work opens with Sir Thomas More’s Utopia from 1516 and showcases books by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (The Last Man, her first major work after Frankenstein), Edgar Allan Poe (Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque), Jules Verne (From the Earth to the Moon), H.G. Wells (Tales of Space and Time).

The Magazines room briefly covers Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories, Astounding Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, and If.

Other rooms showcase other types of books. The Aliens and Others room shows samples relating to robots, martians and first contact. The Other Voices room profiles works by women, African American authors and books the deal with gender issues. Dystopias shoes the obvious, but also Alternate Histories and Disasters. There’s also a Curator’s Choice room offering exhibit curator Iris Snyder’s best picks of the genre (standalone and series).

Filed under: Web Sites

Over the years, I’ve refined the kinds of things we post about. Generally speaking, I avoid rumor posts and such minutia as casting calls, box office tallies, DVD releases, etc. I mean, do we really need to write a post every time George Lucas farts?

So it is with some trepidation that I submit this casting rumor about Kate Beckinsale being tied to a remake of Barbarella. But I owe Pete a favor. Pete’s infatuation with Kate Beckinsale (some would call it a borderline stalking obsession) is legendary in these parts. Or those parts, if you know what I mean.

Enjoy, Pete!

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 4/19/07

Filed under: Tidbits

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