52 Weeks

This week marks the beginning of a year-long weekly comic serial by DC Comics called 52. The New York Daily News picked up the story:

The 52-issue series starts in the wake of the publisher’s just-ended “Infinite Crisis,” the type of big event mini-series that fans have come to expect annually to kill off a few extraneous super heroes, and sell extra issues. That series left off with the entire DC Universe – home to the likes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – pushed forward one year in time.

The aptly named “52” tells the story of what happened week by week in that lost year. While every comic book fan goes into the series knowing what happened before and after the series, DiDio insists there is plenty of room for surprises.

With each issue covering one seven day period, it’s the comic book answer to the real-time format of television’s “24.”

More goodness: Newsarama offers a teaser by way of an interview with 52 editor Steve Wacker.

Filed under: Books

REVIEW SUMMARY: A very good collection of sf-mystery stories.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Six science fiction mystery novellas.


PROS: Every single story was enjoyable.

CONS: The weakest story, while still good, mars an otherwise nearly-flawless collection.

BOTTOM LINE: An anthology that’s better than most – including some “best of” anthologies.

Down These Dark Spaceways, edited by Mike Resnick, collects six original novellas combining the genres of science fiction and mystery. The goal set by Resnick was to avoid “cozy mysteries” like Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and deliver the hardboiled mystery in the vein of Dashiell Hammet or Raymond Chandler. Many of the stories succeed with that goal but perhaps more importantly, they are all enjoyable stories

The list of big name authors that contribute to this anthology is impressive. All of them deliver. There was one standout story here: Resnick’s own “Guardian Angel”, but the others came darned close. Even the weakest story was still worth the read. In the end, Down These Dark Spaceways offers a collection of stories that is better than most – including some “best of” anthologies.

Reviewlettes of the stories follow.

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Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 5/10/06

Filed under: Tidbits

SF Memes

In a cross-pollination of blogs, Meme Therapy has a very interesting post about science fiction memes, by a guest-blogger who writes at Archeology of the Future.

In some ways, all pieces of fiction are attempts to understand, shed light upon or otherwise process current ideas and events. Science Fictional ideas, tropes or concepts are merely the latest in a history of tools that seem to express, enlighten or otherwise enrich our responses to the world. If you read something like Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, you see the ways that certain ideas and structures resurface repeatedly in the stories that humanity tells itself about itself. The hero quest, the return from the afterlife, the secondary reality, all return again and again to make sense of current events. Science Fiction memes aren’t much different. They are an apparatus to make understandable events, or to carry out operations on events that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Being responses to events, occurrences or theories, they are then reapplied to new settings, producing new interpretations or ideas.

And then, from the Archeology of the Future blog:

…Archeology of the Future advances the idea that rather than Science Fiction ideas being more prevalent now in popular culture than in the past , it is that Science Fiction fandom is more watchful and ready to cry foul when the wolf of popular culture snatches an idea from the cosy enclosure labelled SciFi.

The post is a good read and shows one of the reasons I like science fiction besides the stories themselves: it’s fun to talk about the genre. The writer, Mark Brown, offers one of those left-field points of view that makes you take pause and rethink what you believe about sf. For all that we sf fans bemoan science fiction’s “low status”, could it be because we just won’t let it go? Food for thought…

Filed under: Meta

There’s a short interview with Alastair Reynolds over at Meme Therapy. (From last month – must…catch…up…on…reading…)

In the brief interview, Reynolds drops a few sf-crunchy teasers:

  • He gives some background on his awesome novella “Diamond Dogs“.
  • He mentions his next book, as-yet untitled, that is set about 100 years before Chasm City. It’s a police procedural he describes as “24 in space”. Here’s hoping there are no space cougars in it.
  • He’s almost done with his collection of “Galactic North” short story collection.

Bring it on!

Filed under: Books

Listen up, readers. Especially you, RSS lurker! It’s time for another SF Signal challenge!

This one is aimed at identifying good vehicles for introducing science fiction and fantasy to the younger set (12 and under). All of us co-bloggers have kids (or, as I like to call mine, Extra-Mouth-to-Feed, but only to her face) and we have, in one form or another, exposed them to science fiction and/or fantasy. I thought it would be fun to gather a good list – with your help – of introductory sf/f works that appeal to kids.

Some guidelines:

  1. Pick 5 vehicles of science fiction or fantasy, where “vehicle” can be anything (books, movies, tv shows, games, whatever).
  2. Each pick should be appropriate for kids age 12 or younger. Plugged In Online is a good source to determine this.
  3. Post them here in the comment section. Please don’t email them where they will lost in the deluge of mortgage refinance opportunities and pleas for Africa-bound MoneyGrams.
  4. We’ll tally up the votes and generate a list (we likes the lists) in, say, about a week.

To get us started, here is my list of 5…

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Filed under: BooksMovies

SF Tidbits for 5/9/06

Filed under: Tidbits

“Burn” for Free

I mentioned this in a comment recently, but think it deserves a more noticeable mention…

James Patrick Kelly’s Hugo-nominated novella “Burn” is available for free in a variety of formats.

Take you pick: Microsoft Word file, rich text format, Adobe Acrobat file or Microsoft Reader.

There is also a seventeen-part podcast of the author reading the story, which he has since re-cut into a four part podcast.

Filed under: Free Fiction

Commander Adoh!ma

Over on Pantsketch, Quirckybird has drawn the cast of Battlestar Galactica, Simpson’s style. Very nice. Especially the Dualla/Billy/Apollo sketch. Doh! indeed.

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 5/8/06

Filed under: Tidbits

POLL RESULTS: 2006 Summer Movies

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

Which 2006 summer film are you anticipating the most?


(48 total votes)

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on the latest new Star Wars DVDs.

Filed under: Polls

WINNERS: 2005 Nebula Award

The 2005 Nebula Award winners have been announced:

NOVEL: Camouflage by Joe Haldeman

NOVELLA: “Magic for Beginners” by Kelly Link

NOVELETTE: “The Faery Handbag” by Kelly Link

SHORT STORIES: “I Live With You” by Carol Emshwiller

SCRIPT: Serenity by Joss Whedon

ANDRE NORTON AWARD: Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie by Holly Black

Filed under: Awards

SF Tidbits for 5/6/06

Filed under: Tidbits

Scribe Award to Honor Media Tie-ins

It’s award season. The Nebulas are announced tomorrow and there’s are plenty of other awards to be had. Do we need yet another?

Someone thinks so. A new award will honor the best in media tie-in writing. The Scribe Award, presented by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, will give awards in the following categories:

Speculative Fiction (Science fiction, Fantasy, Horror)

  • Best Novel (adapted) A licensed novelization based on an existing screenplay, whether its a feature film, episodic teleplay, computer game, script, or play.
  • Best Novel (original) A licensed, original novel using pre-existing characters or worlds from a movie, television series, computer game, play, or an existing series of novels (ie new novels extending a literary franchise, ie DUNE, James Bond, etc.)

General Fiction: (Mysteries, Thrillers, Westerns, Suspense, Historicals, Romances)

  • Best Novel (adapted)
  • Best Novel (original)

Young Adult (all genres)

  • Best Novel (adapted)
  • Best Novel (original)

There will also be a Grandmaster award for career achievement.

Filed under: Awards

Winners of Analog Science Fiction and Fact‘s AnLab Awards and Asimov’s Science Fiction‘s Readers’ Awards, chosen by each mag’s readers, were announced:


NOVELLA: “Sanctuary”, Michael A. Burstein (Analog Sep 2005)

NOVELETTE: “NetPuppets”, Richard A. Lovett and Mark Niemann-Ross (Analog Jun 2005)

SHORT STORY: “Alphabet Angels”, Ekaterina Sedia and David Bartell (Analog Mar 2005)

FACT ARTICLE: “Mission to Utah: A Science Fiction Writer’s Adventures at the Mars Society Desert Research Station”, Wil McCarthy (Analog Jul/Aug 2005)

COVER: November, George Krauter


NOVELLA: “Diving Into the Wreck”, Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov’s Dec 2005)

NOVELETTE: “Second Person, Present Tense”, Daryl Gregory (Asimov’s Sep 2005)

SHORT STORY: “The Children of Time”, Stephen Baxter (Asimov’s Jul 2005)

POEM: “Newton’s Mass”, Timons Esaias (Asimov’s Dec 2005)

COVER: January, Michael Whelan

[via Locus Online]

Filed under: Awards

Some people [looks at JP] like reading multiple books in parallel. JP is currently reading two (three?) books in the same genre (sf). One guy I know (let’s call him “Ralmon”) reads multiple books in parallel, but only when they are different types – a sf book, a non-fiction book, etc.

I’m more of a serial reader myself. Well, maybe not entirely, since I do tend to sneak in some short fiction stories while reading novel-length stuff. Like Ralmon, reading two science fiction books in parallel is out of the question. I’m sure to confuse universes or essential plot elements. I’d constantly be asking myself why Paul Atreides just doesn’t slip off his VR mask to get off that accursed planet.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 5/5/06

Filed under: Tidbits

SF Tidbits for 5/4/06

Filed under: Tidbits

The Alien Online has an update from Kevin J. Anderson on his progress in writing the sequel to A.E. van Vogt’s classic novel, Slan:

“When I read the outline and partial manuscript, and reread Slan, I decided to take on the project. My primary goal is to make a sequel that all fans of the original novel will enjoy. It carries forward many of the original ideas, with plenty of additional twists and turns, lots of action, even one of Van’s signature surprise endings. I think it’s very important to call more attention to one of the great early writers of the genre and to acknowledge the contribution he made to all of science fiction.

“Because Slan was originally published in 1940, the writing style is somewhat dated and pulpy for modern readers. Nevertheless, the feel of the book, the super-science, the vast ideas, the plot twists, the surprise ending, the spectacular setting – everything is perfectly compatible to a current audience. I worked hard to maintain the ‘flavor’ of van Vogt, while still polishing the manuscript so that the prose is equal to the very best I can do.

Filed under: Books

G4TV comes out with some hilarious Star Trek stop motion animation from 72andSunny to help G4TV advertise for Star Trek 2.0 the networks attempt to breathe life back in to the troubled G4TV channel. The animations feature the original Star Trek figurines (dolls?) with revised voices for the characters who speak using modern urban language in an attempt to bring a little “street cred” to the otherwise stiff dialog from the original TV series. They are very inventive commercials that I find truly hilarious, especially the one called “Star Trek Cribs” which features Spock having a house party. If you would like to view them they can be seen in a few video hosting sites. Youtube is where I’m sending you for a gander. Youtube search “Star Trek G4TV”

Filed under: TV

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