WINNER: Philip K. Dick Award

The winner for the 2006 Philip K. Dick Award Winner has been announced: War Surf by M. M. Buckner. A special citation was given to Natural History by Justina Robson.

See also: winners from previous years.

[via Locus Online]

Filed under: Awards

During our discussion of The Worst SF/F Book Ever, many of us (myself included) learned of the…unique…writing style of the Pel Torro, whose real name is Lionel Fanthorpe. We proceeded to have some fun reveling in some unintentionally humorous verbiage, all the while wondering why anyone would write like that. Now there’s a reason.

Emerald City brings word of The R. L Fanthorpe Write-Alike Contest to benefit the Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund. The object is to create an original work or rewrite an existing work in the style of Fanthorpe. Winners get cash, with the bulk $10 entry fees going to the scholarship fund.

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Filed under: Books

A New Reading Project: The Nebula Short Fiction Nominees

Inspired by Abigail at Asking the Wrong Questions and others who have read all the 2005 Nebula Award Nominees for short stories, novelettes and novellas, I plan to undertake a similar task, hopefully finishing before they are announced on May 6th.

It shouldn’t be too difficult as I’ve got over 3 weeks to finish and I’ve already read about 5 of the nominees. Fortunately, all of the nominees are available online. And, not counting the ones I’ve already read, I stand to gain 28 SF-POINTS©! Yay me.

I’ll post my impressions and picks for each category in the coming weeks.

Filed under: Books

SF Tidbits for 4/14/06

Filed under: Tidbits

If You Build it, They Will Spam

First there was email spam. Then there was blog spam. Now the a@@-clowns have found a new avenue for their intrusive ways…

SF Signal’s Frappr Map was spammed today. Either that, or we have three new readers named “Online Directory” who live in California. Is it legal to ask for a bounty on a spammer’s head? Not some nebulous information leading to their true identity, but their actual, physical head? Jus’ wonderin’.

<cry4attention type=”blatant”>

Show the world how much you hate spam and sign our Frappr map! Take a stand, monkey boy!

</cry4attention>

On the bright side, at least the new Movable Type is doing an outstanding job filtering spammy trackbacks which, by the way, are doing their best to increase my pr0n vocabulary.

Filed under: Meta

Trade Books, Movies and Music with Zunafish

A relatively new site profiled today in CNet (via The New York Times) is Zunafish, which is a service that allows it’s members to trade between them various types of media; CDs, Movies (DVDs and VHS), video games and books (paperback and audio).

How it works is simple: You enter a list of all the things you want to trade, offer them as trade for like items (books for books, CDs for CDs), then, if the trade is accepted by the other member, each member pays $1 plus shipping for the item. They even calculate the cost and allow you to print a shipping label.

I like this idea. It seems like a great way to turn unwanted stuff into wanted stuff. (Not that I would ever part with a book!) It’s gotta beat selling them on the used market – for higher priced items anyway.

A couple of potential downsides. First, the trading is limited to like items. This assumes that people want to trade like items which may not always be the case. Secondly, the trade is a bit inequitable. That Highlander Season Three 8-disc box set counts as a fair trade with, say, Porky’s. Of course, both parties must still agree on the trade so I suspect that’s not likely to happen. Another potential downside I foresee is dishonesty amongst members. You just can trust the internets. The planned member ratings system will help with that somewhat, I guess.

As Holtzbrinck Online notes, as the site becomes popular it will be interesting to see if publishers cry foul or, with only a weak stick (ahem) to lean on, at least whine a little.

Filed under: Web Sites

Scifipedia

The SciFi Channel website has launched SCIFIPEDIA, a science fiction wiki. Oddly, they didn’t grab the scifipedia.com domain name. Although I can’t seem to see the RSS feeds, other functionality is there, like categorized wiki browsing and This Day in History (on the main page). Like all wikis, content can be updated by anyone.

It’ll be interesting to see how this compares over time with Wikipedia which, right now, has way more content. As an example the Isaac Asimov Wikipedia enrty has much more information the Scifipedia Asimov entry.

[link via Locus Online and Slush God]

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 4/13/06

Filed under: Tidbits

REVIEW: One Million A.D. edited by Gardner Dozois

REVIEW SUMMARY: Did not quite rise to the level I hoped it would.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Six far-future novellas written in 2005

MY REVIEW:

PROS: 3 stories ranging from good to superb.

CONS: 2 mediocre entries and one just not very entertaining.

BOTTOM LINE: A mixed-bag balanced evenly over the “slightly-better-than-mediocre” tipping point.

One Million A.D. edited by Gardner Dozois collects six stories set in the far, far future by some of my favorite authors.

Reading anthologies has always been something of a mixed bag for me. (A ultimately enjoyable one, I might add!) Rare is the anthology that can capture surefire winners with every entry. It’s less likely with an original anthology than with a “best of” anthology because the former’s stories have not stood the test of time. The original stuff might be good, but with the already-written stories you can be sure – subject to one’s own version of quality, of course.

Even so, when I saw the author lineup included in the selection – some of whom have provided 5-star stories in the past – I had high hopes. Alas, some of these stories failed to overly excite me the way good sf should.

That said, I should say that four out of the six stories are good and “Mirror Image” by Nancy Kress was near-perfect. Altogether, the book sits balanced evenly over the “slightly-better-than-mediocre” tipping point.

Reviewlettes follow.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 4/11/06

Filed under: Tidbits

Jedi Chefs

I’m not exactly sure what to make of theJedi Chefs. Aside from a bunch of people with too much time on their hands and a penchant for accosting B-list celebrities that is. Still, its rather impressive they managed to persuade several of those celebrities to ‘join’ their order. And you have to love the hat.

Filed under: Web Sites

Well, I’m all caught up on the U.S. airings of Doctor Who on the SciFi Channel. It’s…interesting. I was surprised to see that camp factor remained as I always thought (having seen only glimpses years ago of the Tom Baker version) that it was just the result of a low budget. Am I to understand that the camp is part of the charm? I haven’t made up my mind on that score yet. It’s sometimes funny and sometimes painful. I mean, come on, what’s with the guys in the rubber suits? Bah!

Still, I plan to keep watching, at least for another couple of shows. I’ve always liked the idea of space/time travel. I’ve intentionally stayed away from most reviews of the SciFi UK airings, mostly because I want to keep a spoiler-free open mind. I’m trying to give it a chance. Still, I fear it’s one of those shows that will lose my attention before season’s end. (Can you say Stargate: Atlantis?)

Has anyone else seen it? If not, why not? If so, what do you think of Doctor Who?

Filed under: Doctor Who

NOMINEES: 2005 Bram Stoker Awards

The Horror Writers Association has announced the nominees for the 2005 Bram Stoker Awards:

NOVEL

  • Creepers by David Morrell
  • Dread in the Beast by Charlee Jacob
  • Keepers by Gary Braunbeck
  • November Mourns by Tom Piccirilli

FIRST NOVEL

  • The Hides by Kealan Patrick Burke
  • Scarecrow Gods by Weston Ochse
  • Siren Promised by Alan M. Clark and Jeremy Robert Johnson

LONG FICTION

  • “Best New Horror” by Joe Hill
  • “In the Midnight Museum” by Gary Braunbeck
  • “Some Zombie Contingency Plans” by Kelly Link
  • “The Things They Left Behind” by Stephen King

SHORT STORY

  • “As Others See Us” by Mort Castle
  • “Haeckel’s Tale” by Clive Barker
  • “Times of Atonement” by Yvonne Navarro
  • “We Now Pause for Station Identification” by Gary Braunbeck
  • “Invisible” by Steve Rasnic Tem

ANTHOLOGY

  • Corpse Blossoms by Julia and R.J. Sevin
  • Dark Delicacies: Original Tales of Terror and the Macabre by Del Howison and Jeff Gelb
  • Outsiders by Nancy Holder and Nancy Kilpatrick
  • Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth by Stephen Jones

FICTION COLLECTION

  • Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Looking for Jake by China Mieville
  • Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
  • Twentieth Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

NONFICTION

  • The Bradbury Chronicle by Sam Weller
  • Horror: Another 100 Best Books by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman
  • Morbid Curiosity number nine by Loren Rhoads
  • More Giants of the Genre by Michael McCarty
  • Why Buffy Matters: The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Rhonda Wilcox

POETRY

  • Freakcidents by Michael A. Arnzen
  • Seasons: A Series of Poems Based on the Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe by Daniel Shields
  • The Shadow City by Gary W. Crawford
  • Sineater by Charlee Jacob

[via SciFiWire]

Filed under: Awards

Poll Snafu! If you already Voted This Week, Please Re-Vote

D’oh! As John L. pointed out, the recently posted poll (SF Signal Reader Challenge #1) was broken. It seems that all the votes went to Simmons’ Hyperion. (How’s that for ballot-stuffing, eh?)

The poll has been reset. If you have already voted this week, please re-vote.

Filed under: Meta

POLL RESULTS: Media Tie-in Novels

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

QUESTION
Which media tie-in novels have you read the most?

RESULTS

(48 total votes)



A little more than half of voters read media tie-ins. To the people who voted “Other”, what titles are you reading?


Be sure to vote in this week’s poll on the SF Signal Reader Challenge winners.

Filed under: Polls

SF Tidbits for 4/9/06

Filed under: Tidbits

Spelling Bee Fiction

SF author group blog Electric Velocipede reports about the development of a new anthology called Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories. It’s based on words that have won spelling bees. (Bzz!)

My first thought is: Boy, are they running out of ideas for original anthology theme, or what? What’s next? Robotic monkeys?

Then I thought: Why not? Hal Duncan’s entry, “The Chiaroscurist“, it turns out, is very good. (And worth 2 points, thank you!) They’ve lined up some other fine authors in addition to Hal Duncan, including Daniel Abraham, Paolo Bacigalupi, Alex Irvine, Jay Lake, Kelly Link, Michael Moorcock, Tim Pratt, Lucius Shepard, Jeff VanderMeer, Liz Williams and more.

Filed under: Books

MOVIE TRAILER: Silent Hill

Based on the Playstation game of the same name, and from the trailer, appears to follow the story line of that game, as well as the awesome theme song, sound effects, demon nurses and evil child puppet things.

I’d put the Silent Hill Playstation game (the original) on my very short list of favorite video games of all time. It’s really the only game I’ve ever played that I found frightening to the core.

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 4/7/06

Filed under: Tidbits

Science Fiction Radio Dramas

SciFi Friday is a weekly podcast that rebroadcasts old science fiction radio dramas. Some of the works listed there include Earth Abides by George Stewart (Parts 1 and 2) and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Most of the episodes are replays of the old radio show Dimension X and X Minus 1.

[link via Cynical-C]

Filed under: Web Sites

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