June 2004 Archives

June 30, 2004

More Episode III filming

"Starting August 23 and running through September 4, Director George Lucas will again roll cameras on Episode III, this time in the UK." [Via Star Wars: Episode III | Episode III: Picking Up the Pace]

So there's the dates to go into London and hang around studio gates then (not that I would of course).

A Scanner Darkly a comedy?

"Richard Linklater, who is directing a film adaptation of SF author Philip K. Dick's novel A Scanner Darkly, told SCI FI Wire that he's mining the unexpected comedic potential of the late writer's work." [Via Sci Fi Wire]

Please be careful that could go very wrong. Although Scanner is darkly funny it is also sad, and thoughtful and brilliant. Please do a good job, pleeeaassse.

Sci-Fi slump

[Via Yahoo! News] Variety reckons that "The mass-audience love affair with sci-fi space operas may be coming to an end." just because The Chronicles of Riddick had a bad second week at the box office (61% down). They conclude that Fantasy rules, not that perhaps Riddick was rubbish....hmmm...I haven't seen it yet so I can't possibly comment.

Saved by hard sci-fi

The Mercury News is a little pessimistic about science fiction, but then says I believe the future lies with 'hard sci-fi', citing Gegory Benford as a good proponent of the art.
Whilst any article about science fiction in a newspaper is probably better than none, there's two things that occured to me:
  • It sounds like they've just discovered hard sf, welcome to the 21st century.
  • There's plenty of good non-hard science fiction about, which you can find with very little effort

June 28, 2004

Tricia Sullivan Interview

SFCrowsnest reprint a nice interview with Tricia Sullivan. I haven't read Maul yet but I recommend Dreaming In Smoke which has the best opening paragraph ever.

June 25, 2004

Oona Goota, Solo?

How did Greedo miss? It's all explained in the riveting The Greedo Assassination Conspiracy Page[Via SFSignal] I really, really hope that the DVD's have the option of turning off the special edition parts. I'd leave them on for Empire but turn them off for A New Hope which got pretty silly (and Jabba looked rubbish).

Review Of Forty Signs Of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson

The New York Times reviews Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain which is the first book of a promised trilogy (not another one). (Zenith Angle by Bruce Sterling is also reviewed in the same column). Although KSR's Mars trilogy gets all the press I'd also recommend his brilliant Orange County trilogy too, which is a trilogy in a thematic sense because all of the books are standalone: The Wild Shore, The Gold Coast and Pacific Edge

WesterCon57 publicity?

I don't know anything about WesterCon57 but The Arizona Republic (sounds a bit dodgy) tries their best to make it sound incredibly geeky.

Stargazers and would-be galactic travelers, your ship is about to land.

It made me laugh because on one hand they're publicising it and yet on the other hand they are making it sound a bit too crazy to visit. Mind you it does have basket-weaving. I don't know what the general populace of Arizona makes of conventions like this, I've only passed through there a couple of times and that was to see the big hole in the ground.

Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD Packaging

June 24, 2004

Even more Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy

You wait how many years and two turn up at once. Not only is the film version due but also BBC Radio 4 have announced brand new adaptations of the last three books (Life, The Universe And Everything, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish and Mostly Harmless). You can hear a preview at the site (RealMedia unfortunately).[Via SFCrowsnest (although I'm reluctant to link to them because they never link to anyone else... still it's good karma so I will)]

June 23, 2004

Cory Doctorow discusses Isaac Asimov

The cover story for this month's Wired Magazine is about Asimov's robot stories and the new I, Robot movie. [Via BoingBoing] It's a nice article with some interesting information on Asimov (though probably nothing new for fans).

June 22, 2004

JMS wants to do Trek

Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski told fans on a B5 Usenet group that he and Dark Skies creator Bryce Zabel have put together an idea for a new Star Trek series, which he said would revive the ailing franchise. [Via SciFi.com]

Review of Philip K. Dick biography 'I Am Alive and You Are Dead'

28 Weeks later

According to SciFi.com a sequel to 28 Days Later is planned, but without Danny Boyle directing and without an Alex Garland script. Could be a recipe for a terrible film. [Via SFSignal]

A Scanner Darkly film news

Win a Part in the Hitchhiker's Movie

Ever wanted to be in a movie? Take a photo for the real Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and be in with a chance to be an extra in the film version. How to Enter. [Via A S Bradbury]

A hymn for h2g2

Magrathea says that a hymn was recorded this Saturday for the H2G2 movie soundtrack. Jamie Yardley posted this report to the alt.fan.douglas-adams newsgroup. [Via A S Bradbury]

June 21, 2004

The Robot Hall of Fame

June 17, 2004

The Algebraist cover art

Amazon now has The Algebraist up on their site with a picture of the very cool cover. [Via Notes from Coode Street]

Iain Banks headlining the Inverness book festival

Iain Banks and Christopher Brookmyre, two of the biggest names in Scottish literature, are to headline at the first Inverness book festival. Organisers regard the appearance of Banks as a coup as it is expected to coincide with the publication of his first science fiction novel for four years, The Algebraist. [Via The Herald]

Star Wars vs Star Trek

The News-Gazette is asking for trouble in its latest online poll : What's a better sci-fi series, Star Wars or Star Trek?. Prepare for in-depth discussions about whether a Star Destroyer would beat The Enterprise in a space battle....yes people do have these conversations.

June 16, 2004

The Algebraist

SFCrowsnest say that Ian M Banks has finished his upcoming novel, The Algebraist. It's long, not a Culture novel and is space opera. I've found a plot summary here, although I can't guarantee it's authenticity. I'm a bit disappointed that it isn't a Culture novel as his stand alone SF fiction hasn't been that hot in my opinion.

Star Wars Episode 3 title

According to George we've already guessed it! TheForce.Net has, as usual, exhaustive coverage of all things Star Wars (but no RSS feed?!).


I'd never played with the Google calculator until just now when a post on SFSignal urged me to type "answer to life the universe and everything" into it. Those guys at Google are so clever.

StarWars.com video : This Weapon Is Your Life

Another web video from StarWars.com, this time about the weapons of Episode 3.

Stephen Baxter article on whether Science Fiction is obsolete

The Mumpsimus comments on an article by Stephen Baxter in The Times which answers the question "Has the march of science made science fiction obsolete?" (See BugMeNot for registration details).
There is a point about SF (not) being "obsolete"

Neil Armstrong?s first footsteps on the Moon in 1969 made obsolete a whole library of science fictional dreams of lunar exploration, from H. G. Wells (The First Men in the Moon, 1901) to Tintin (Explorers on the Moon, 1954). But nobody would suggest expunging Wells?s great book from the canon for such a literal reason; the fiction is what counts, not the science.

This resonates with a few things I've been thinking about recently. Firstly there's a line in The Complete Idiot's Guide To Publishing Science Fiction which says something similar, I've been re-reading that book as I am nearing the end of another draft of my second novel and need some perspective. It also ties in nicely with the Studies in Narrative: Science Fiction and Fantasy lectures that I have been listening to, I've particularly enjoyed hearing about and thinking about some SF classics. And one thing crops up again and again, if it's a great story then people will read it.

SF or Sci Fi?

Discuss [Via The Mumpsimus]
Personally I tend to use them interchangeably unless I'm talking about speculative fiction, which is obviously SF.

Shyamalan profile goes sour

M. Night Shyamalan (who made Sixth Sense, Signs and Unbreakable) has had a bust up with the SciFi channel. [Via CNN]
"We probably won't be working with Night in the near future on any creative projects", said the channel, adding "probably" just to cover themselves.

June 14, 2004

River of Gods

Cory Doctorow does a mini-review of Ian McDonald's novel, River of Gods, coins the phrase Bollywoodpunk and makes the book sound irresistible.

The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame website

The new Science fiction museum in Seattle has a new and rather groovy looking website. [Via BoingBoing]

June 12, 2004

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- Photo Gallery

The movie site for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has launched a photo gallery.

June 11, 2004

Reservoir Dogs/Star Wars mashup

What do you get if you cross Star Wars with Reservoir dogs? Songs like Stuck In A Room With Artoo and a film called Imperial Dogs [Via BoingBoing]

Best Chronicles of Riddick pun

"Diesel-fueled 'Riddick' chokes on its exhausting action" by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

June 10, 2004

Sequels to The Chronicles of Riddick

So according to SciFi.Com, David Twohy the writer/director of the The Chronicles of Riddick has said that the film was imagined as the first of three, but that the studio haven't agreed to the next two. But he has the plots and he's talked to Vin about it. And it's a sequel to Pitch Black. We think. I reckon he's deliberately trying to confuse me.

New Farscape pictures

FarscapeWorld has some pictures from the new mini-serires Peacekeeper War here and here [Via SyFyPortal]

June 9, 2004

More Star Wars Clone Wars next year

Lucasfilm Ltd. and Cartoon Network will continue the Star Wars: Clone Wars micro-series saga with five new expanded chapters beginning March 21, 2005 [Via StarWars.com]
The new episodes will be 12 minutes long for more jedi battling animation.

Fans of the original Battlestar Galactica TV series buy advert(!)

According to SCIFI.com "Fans of the original Battlestar Galactica TV series announced that they have raised $10,000 to buy national advertisements urging series creator Glen A. Larson and X-Men producer Tom DeSanto to develop a theatrical feature film that picks up the story where the 1970s TV series left off"
The second season?! The rubbish one where they find Earth? Even if it's just the first series...come on people, let go of the past, live in the now.

Science Fiction fans creepy?

From an interview with Alexa Davalos who stars in ?The Chronicles of Riddick? opposite Vin Diesel.[Via Cinema Confidentia)]

Q: The science fiction fan base is quite a unique fan base. What are your experiences like with the sci-fi fans?
ALEXA: I haven?t had much yet. I know that they?re incredibly loyal which is wild, it?s wonderful but I haven?t?

Q: They?re kind of creepy too, right?
ALEXA: Well that whole aspect is a little bit funny, you know. You deal with it differently in every circumstance but I haven?t had much exposure to that so I don?t know yet.

Apparently we're creepy.

Don't fear the grey goo

Nanotechnology pioneer slays 'grey goo' myths (EurekAlert - Social/Behavior):"Eric Drexler, known as the father of nanotechnology, today (Wednesday, 9th June 2004) publishes a paper that admits that self-replicating machines are not vital for large-scale molecular manufacture, and that nanotechnology-based fabrication can be thoroughly non-biological and inherently safe."
But he's only just decided that? Read The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson for hyper nano sci-fi wonder.

Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind

Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: Infestation from Mars has begun shooting in Sandusky, Ohio.[Via Toledo Blade]. Whoah, great title. I've been to Sandusky and, no offence to its inhabitants, the best thing about it is the very large amusement park, I can't remember the name it's the one on the lake with the large rollercoasters. I wonder if the aliens will ride rollercoasters?

June 8, 2004

H2G2 RSS feed

Inspired by a combination of Danny O'Briens Life Hacks talk and Yoz and Sean's Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy talk (both at NotCon) I have knocked up a quick webscrape RSS feed for the Official H2G2 Movie blog.
Here's what you need...
Continue reading H2G2 RSS feed.

Ansible 203, June 2004

This month's Ansible is online

June 7, 2004

Philip K. Dick interviews online

Lectures on Science Fiction

The University of Minnesota has posted the audio (in MP3 and Real Media) of 20 lectures from its "Studies in Narrative: Science Fiction and Fantasy" course. [Via BoingBoing]

Ray Bradbury gets stroppy

Ray Bradbury is "slightly annoyed" (my words) with Michael Moore for stealing the title for Fahrenheit 9/11 from Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451. [Via BoingBing]

June 6, 2004

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, an update

An Exclusive update on the Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy film.
Given as the very last talk at NotCon04...
Continue reading The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, an update.

NotCon04 Politics ON the net

MySociety.or and theyworkforyou.com
Continue reading NotCon04 Politics ON the net.

Template needs some tweaking

Note to self. These long NotCon posts have revealed one thing. I need to sort out my template so that I don't need HTML and CSS in them, because it's a pain.

NotCon 04 - Island blogging

A controlled study on the impacts of blogging within a defined geographical location - Richard Holmes, BBC Scotland Interactive
Continue reading NotCon 04 - Island blogging.

NotCon 04 Freenet - Ian Clarke

Continue reading NotCon 04 Freenet - Ian Clarke.

NotCon 04 - Politics Of the Internet

Vague notes on this, was a bit hard to follow.
Continue reading NotCon 04 - Politics Of the Internet.

NotCon 04 - Copyright part 2

A panel on copyright
Continue reading NotCon 04 - Copyright part 2.

Notcon 04 - Universal access to human knowledge - Brewster Kahle

Universal access to human knowledge - Brewster Kahle
Continue reading Notcon 04 - Universal access to human knowledge - Brewster Kahle.

NotCon 04 - Life Hacks

Notes from Danny O'Brien's Life Hacks talk.
Continue reading NotCon 04 - Life Hacks.

NotCon 04

Shall I blog NotCon04 here? I've decided yes, all in the notcon04 category. Anything I type may be wrong, please don't take it as the truth, it is being filtered by my ears and my brain and my fingers.

June 5, 2004

Branding the Sci FI Channel

BBC Broadcast has created the new on-air branding campaign for the Sci Fi Channel.

Sci Fi is all about imagination and limitless possibilities. This campaign brilliantly reflects these qualities by bringing a level of wit and warmth that people don't expect from Sci Fi.

June 3, 2004

The Incredibles

Just watched the trailer for The Incredibles. It looks very witty, back to Toy Story quality I think. Not sure why the trailer wanted to open in iTunes though, that's a bit crazy, surely they're not that worried about the trailer being copied?

The Ultimate Sticker Books for Star Wars Fans

My son Edward is going to love this

The Ultimate Sticker Book: Star Wars and The Ultimate Sticker Book: Star Wars: Clone Wars are packed with action poses of your favorite characters from the original trilogy, such as Darth Vader and Han Solo, and the Clone Wars animated series, including Yoda, Mace Windu and General Grievous. Each book features 60 full-color stickers of characters, droids, vehicles and more that can be peeled off and used again.

Phil Tippett, one of the two blue bubble-headed guys

StarWars.com has a nice interview with Phil Tippett who worked on all of the original trilogy. He's done a load of stuff including playing random aliens in the Cantina, worked on the development of the tauntaun and was Creature Supervisor for Return of the Jedi. What a cool CV. Impressive.

June 2, 2004


I continue to be impressed by John over at SFSignal. Not only is he reading loads of science fiction this year but he also creates impressive stats of what he has read. Oh to have the time (or the ability to make the time). In a crazy attempt to read more books with spaceships in them last week I got Spaceman PiggyWiggy out of the library for my son. He liked it but it didn't really stretch me with its ideas. For example PiggyWiggy acknowledged that things would float in space and that it would be hard to eat but then he didn't really expand on the other plusses and minuses of zero gravity. Shame it could have been wonderful Sci-Fi.

June 1, 2004

Billie is okay says fans

The choice of Billie Piper to play Doctor Who's new assistant delights many fans of the science fiction series.

[Via BBC]

Personally I think she'll be good too, after all the Doctor's companions are supposed to be bubbly and a bit stupid...

Limited edition Quicksilver

Quicksilver LTD, Neal Stephenson. Each volume hand-bound in Japanese silk. (!)

Interview wih Neal Asher

SF Crowsnest have a good interview with Neal Asher. Talking about his upcoming novels he says

Well, I've completed Brass Man, which follows on from The Line Of Polity. That's due to come out next April. I'm now in the process of editing The Voyage Of The Sable Keech which follows The Skinner. The title Brass Man, for those who have read ?Gridlinked?, is probably a bit of a giveaway. As a far as Sable is concerned I can say that Sniper's back, the Prador are going for a bit of 'shock and awe' and a schizoid hive mind is on the scene.