March 2006 Archives

March 31, 2006

Doctor Who season 2 press launch

It was the press launch of the new Doctor Who series the other night. here's some video of Billie Piper and David Tennant talking about it.

There's also a snippet teaser for the first episode here.

And also, the BBC are introducing TARDISODES which are 60 second episodes available online or on mobile phones. They'll be available after each new episode and will include new footage and back story.

March 30, 2006

BSFA short story nominees now all online

The BSFA awards page now has links to all the nominated shorts, mainly thanks to Interzone putting their shorts up as previously posted, but it's cool that they're all in one place now.

Just got 4 of them to read.

Jay Lake on advice for writers

If you're a writer you should really be reading Jay Lake's LiveJournal, over the last few weeks and months he's posted some fantastic advice and tips and thoughts to keep you sane and motivated. His latest is about Rejection, Acceptance, and Publication

Brilliant stuff.

March 29, 2006

Ralph McQuarrie Concept Paintings for Star Wars

Here's a photoset on Flickr of Ralph McQuarrie's concept paintings for Star Wars. some amazing stuff here.

Doctor Who series two air date confirmed

From Outpost Gallifrey

The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, reaching subscribers today, has confirmed rumors that Series Two will debut on Saturday, April 15 at 7:00pm.

That's just over two weeks away! Hurrah!

BSFA nominated shorts online

The BSFA Award Shortlisted Stories that appeared in Interzone are now available for download in PDF. Cool, Nice one Mr. Cox!

March 28, 2006

Life On Mars gets US remake

Life on Mars pilot 'heads to US' says the BBC. It's not really SF, it's a 70's cop show, so don't get too excited.

In true US style it will be completely remade, just to prevent anyone getting confused by the accents.

A For Andromeda

I watched A For Andromeda on BBC4 last night.

Unfortunately I wasn't impressed. It tried to be very serious, and tackle serious themes but it just didn't do it very well. There was too much exposition, the dialogue was unrealistic and the logic was wonky (why was a biologist, a computer geek and a mathmatician working on a communication project for the MOD?). It tried to be visually stylish but failed to get close to Spooks or Hustle.

And worst of all the plot was predictable. They should have read some SF first and seen how some great authors have handled the topics of first contact, cloning, genetic warfare etc.

Does being a remake of a 1960s show excuse it? Don't think so. Disappointing.

This interview excerpt says it all (one for "As Others See Us")...get ready to groan....

BBC Four: Science fiction obviously has greater production demands than some other types of drama. Did that make for a difficult shoot?
Richard Fell: In a way, but the kind of science fiction that appeals to BBC Four's audience is much more the kind that is intelligent, ideas-based science fiction. It's not necessarily about monsters and space ships. There are more 'what ifs?' and 'what does that do to the people and their relationships?'. It's also not particularly set in the future, it's set now but it needed a kind of sheen, which I think we've brought to it.

March 27, 2006

Wired's Best Sci-Fi Concept Albums

Wired list their best Sci-Fi concept albums.

Hmmm. They include Kid A by Radiohead. Really?

Doctor Who nominated for a BAFTA

Doctor Who has been nominated for the Best Drama Series BAFTA. It's up against pretty major competition, in the form of Bodies (medical drama from BBC2), Shameless (comedy from Channel 4) and Spooks (spy drama from BBC1). Having said that, the last series of Spooks was disappointing compared to the excellent series before. So my vote foes to Doctor Who,if I was a BAFTA member and could vote, but I'm not so I can't. However....

Doctor Who is also nominated in one other category, the Pioneer Audience Award for Best Programme of 2005 which is decided by public vote.

A Long Ron Moore Q&A post

Ron Moore has posted a long Q&A blog post about Battlestar Galactica, with SPOILERS for the season two ending (don't read it if you're watching it on Sky!) and some interesting teasers about what's going to happen in season 3.

Amazing Stories finally gone

After months "on hiatus" paizo have announced that Amazing Stories is no more. Sad for a magazine first published in 1926.

March 24, 2006

Terminator 4 ready to go

Cinematical (via Moviehole) is reporting that T4 has a script and everything is set to go. All it needs is Arnie, who apparently has some other job at the moment.

I was pleasantly surprised by T3 so I'm quite happy with another. One condition, it must not have a happy ending!

March 23, 2006

Winona Ryder has fake animated breasts

From Winona Ryder News Channel, which has an interview with J. Michael Stovall a designer and artist on A Scanner Darkly.

There are a couple of scenes in which Winona is topless. I'm sorry to have to break this to you but she filmed the scenes with an exercise top on. The animators had to “imagine� what here specific attributes might look like. So there wont be any bootleg video floating around of nude Winona.

Imagine that as a job! Today I will be imagining what Winona Ryder's breasts look like and animating them. Job satisfaction?

Wikipedia on awards

Unsurpsisingly the website of all knowledge, Wikipedia has pages for the Nebulas and BSFAs and the Clarkies (which aren't really calle dthe Clarkies but I couldn't be bothered to type Arthur C. Clarke Award.) and also on lots of other Sf awards.

The Stars My Destination rights sold

Via Cinematical, the Universal Pictures has acquired screen rights to "The Stars My Destination" by Alfred Bester

If you haven't read just go now, right now and read it. It's really brirlliant. And whilst you're at it read The Demolished Man too. Here's hoping for a cool film.

Torchwood to air in October

From Outpost Gallifrey, the news is that Torchwood will start filming in May, and be shown in October. That means that Doctor Who and Torchwood will be running simultaneously, which Russell T Davies says "will be fun."

Hugo Nominations out

Locus Online News: Hugo and Campbell Awards Nominations

Here's the novels, but lots more so check out Locus's list. Nice to see 3 Doctor Who episodes nominated and a short story firts published in Interzone ( "The Clockwork Atom Bomb", Dominic Green (Interzone May/Jun 2005) )

NOVEL
# Accelerando, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit)
# A Feast for Crows, George R. R. Martin (Voyager; Bantam Spectra)
# Learning the World, Ken MacLeod (Orbit; Tor)
# Old Man's War, John Scalzi (Tor)
# Spin, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)

March 21, 2006

Angels and Demons - Dan Brown

I really, really didn’t like this book.

I read this because I did my PhD at CERN (on the OPAL experiment) and everyone kept saying, "ooh you must read it, CERN is in it." That's my excuse. And once I start a book I hate to not finish it.

The short chapters, drip feeding the plot and withholding information sent me crazy. Then there were often plot recaps at the start of each chapter, how short do you think my memory is?! Then there were huge chunks of exposition, just thrown in with no effort.

Also, having worked at CERN, its depication had me roaring with laughter. The director has a space plane?! (For the record CERN is actually like a big trading estate and a large chunk of the work is done by the vast coalition of Universities that work there). And don’t get me started on antimatter.

The twists and turns annoyed me too. Very often there was no way to work it out, and when there was a way it was obvious. The last few chapters were so over the top and heavy handed I was not the slightest bit surprised at each twist.

But to be honest I think the plot may have survived in better hands, but the writing was so dreadful, the plot trying so hard to be shocking….

I hated it. And I don't want to read another of his books, life's too short.

March 20, 2006

More top actors cast in Doctor Who

They're not messing about with the cast of the new Doctor Who series. Two more names announced

Firstly Marc Warren who brilliantly plays Danny Blue in the outstandingly entertaining Grifter show Hustle.

Secondly Shirley Henderson who I saw in a recent adaptation of Taming Of The Shrew, and was great.

Justina Robson talks about Living Next Door to the God of Love

The Forbidden Planet site has a section called What The Author Says, where the author talks a little bit about one of their blogs. Justina Robson is the latest to do this for Living Next Door to the God of Love. Joe Gordon has put the full "author's cut" text of Justina's piece on the
Forbidden Planet International Blog.

Other authors who have commented on their books include Jeff VanderMeer, Charles Stross, Adam Roberts and James Lovegrove.

F&SF on MySpace

Via SFSignal, this made me laugh Fantasy And Science Fiction on MySpace....

Male, 56 years old Status: Single Zodiac Sign: Libra Smoke / Drink: No / No

Of course, being older than 19, I seriously do not get what's so cool about MySpace.

March 17, 2006

A big article on Tron

Tom's Hardware UK and Ireland have long article about Tron!

Lightcycles at the ready....

March 16, 2006

The SF Site's Readers' Choice Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2005

From The SF Site:, their readers picked the best SF&F books of 2005. They are...

  • (10 tie) Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow
  • (10 tie) Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • (9 tie) Olympos by Dan Simmons
  • (9 tie) Mélusine by Sarah Monette
  • (9 tie) River of Gods by Ian McDonald
  • (8) Looking for Jake by China Miéville
  • (7) Thud! by Terry Pratchett
  • (6) The Warrior-Prophet by R. Scott Bakker
  • (5) Magic For Beginners by Kelly Link
  • (4) Accelerando by Charles Stross
  • (2) Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
  • (2) A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
  • (1) Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Science Fiction Hall of Fame 2006 inductees

It's in Locus now so I guess it's official....

This year's inductees into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, part of Seattle's Science Fiction Museum, are George Lucas, Anne McCaffrey, Frank Herbert, and Frank Kelly Freas.

My BSFA Award ballot paper has arrived

My bsfa award ballot form arrived in the post this morning.

I think I won't vote for a novel, as I've only read one of them, so it doesn't seem fair.

I've read all but 4 of the shorts and 3 of them I can read online. However it's going to take something special to beat Magic For Begginners.

For the art ballot I'll try and find them all online, then pick the one I think looks the best!

March 15, 2006

Tricia Helfer on the four versions of Number Six

Via battlestarblog, GateWorld has a snippet of an interview with Tricia Helfer (from Issue #3 of Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine) where she talks about the different versions of Six she has had to play (so far!). She says that the one in Baltar's head is the hardest technically.

March 14, 2006

Sci Fi Wire interviews Russell T. Davies about Doctor Who

Sci Fi Wire interviews Russell T. Davies, the US premiere of Doctor Who is this Friday on the Sci-Fi channel.

I hope that the US audiences aren't expecting something akin to Battlestar Galactica. In the UK it has been billed firmly as a family show, airing at 7pm, and gathering a legion of children as fans. Whilst of course satisfying the adults too!

Empire Awards 2006

Last night was the Empire Awards 2006. Empire is just about the biggest film magazine in the UK and the awards are voted by the readers.

Some notable SF winners...

  • Scene Of The Year : Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith 'The Birth Of Vader'
  • Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy : Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith. (video acceptance by George Lucas)
  • Best Actor : Johnny Depp, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
  • Best Movie : King Kong (video acceptance by Peter Jackson)

Including video of the acceptance speeches.

March 13, 2006

Adam Roberts discusses The Arthur C Clarke Shortlist 2006

Via Notes From Coode Street (which I just looked at in a browser for the first time in ages and is looking lovely), The Arthur C Clarke Shortlist 2006 - an infinity plus feature by Adam Roberts. Which is Adam Roberts' now annual discussion of the shortlist, and I found it very entertaining. He thinks Air should win.

Google Mars

Want to see some more of Mars? Try Google Mars! Handy as a companion for Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy.

Another snippet from William Gibson

William Gibson has posted another fiction snippet on his blog.

March 12, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Season Two Finale

Whooooahhhhh!!!

More later.

List of Bests

Anyone who is not reading this in a feed reader may have noticed that I have an All Consuming sidebar to keep track of the books that I am reading and stuff that I am watching. (I really need to splice it into my main feed somehow but at the moment you can't get the rss per tag).

The Robot Co-Op who own All Consuming have purchased List Of Bests and integrated it with All Consuming, which makes a very interesting couple of websites. The cool thing now is that you can adopt a list and track your progress on it. Here are my lists so far. You can also see what I've been comsuming here, although things relevant to Big Dumb Object I tag bdo.

There are already a couple of interesting lists, Hugo winners, Nebula winners, PKD books and I've just created a new award list, BSFA awards which I've read 38% of.

Here's a cool idea, what about the SF blogosphere's favourite booklist? Add a book and tag the next blog(s) in true meme style? Not sure if it will work because it will require a List Of Bests account so there's a (small) barrier to this meme! I'll tag two blogs to see if they're game, SFSignal and Solar Flare. You up for it guys?

March 10, 2006

Marvel Civil War trailer

Via FPI Blog, MArvel have made a trailer for their CIVIL WAR story arc. What a cool idea.I've never seen a video trailer for a comic before!

Locus Letters page

The Locus Letters page has been reignited by the "Dave Itzkof debate" and is currently very entertaining.

March 9, 2006

John Joseph Adams talks to Ian McDonald about River of Gods

On Sci Fi Wire John Joseph Adams talks to Ian McDonald about River of Gods.

"Who couldn't be fascinated by a country with 9 million gods, 200 languages, bullock carts and nukes, with the world's biggest film industry and a billion mad cricket fans?"

Battlestar Galactica Season 3 dates

Sci Fi Wirel says thet Battlestar Galactica will return in October with a full 20-episode third season.

The best news? "Lucy Lawless will also join the cast for a 10-episode arc, reprising her role as D'Anna Biers, a Cylon."

Cool.

Ken MacLeod's Boskone Guest of Honor speech

Ken MacLeod has transcribed his Boskone Guest of Honour speech on his blog, The Early Days of a Better Nation. The talk is "about places and landscapes, religions and philosophies, and a little bit about real science and technology". Interesting.

[Via FPI blog]

Natalie Portman attends the UK V For Vendetta premiere

Premiere for Portman's cult film.

Hmmm, it's being called a cult film. Surely you have to earn the right to be a cult film after release? And what if it goes to number one in the box office? Surely then it's not cult?

Anyway. Looking forward to seeing it. I think I'll see the film first then read the comic (don't know why I've never read it before).

March 8, 2006

Peter Kay in Doctor Who!

Wow, they're really going for getting some great British talent in he next season of Doctor Who. The latest is Peter Kay, best known for his comedy "Peter will be swapping his trade mark gags for more serious acting, when he steps into the role of the cold and powerful Victor Kennedy later this month". Cool.

Thanks to Roy for the tip.

X-Men 3 trailer very cool

I've just watched the new X-Men: The Last Stand trailer. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It's a very cool trailer. The question is, is it a very cool film? It's easier to make a good trailer than make a good film!

Sir Ian McKellen is looking in fine form, which on one hand you'd expect because he's a class actor, but on the other hand class actors often sleep walk through the blockbusters for some easy money.


March 7, 2006

All Consuming Science Fiction

There's currently 20 pages of things tagged science fiction on All Consuming (and they're mainly books). Just in case you need any ideas for what to read next!

Only 3 SF books in Amazon's top 25 SF&F best sellers

As of just now when I checked, there are only 3 Science Fiction books in Amazon.co.uk Hot 25 Science Fiction & Fantasy. Those books are Serenity, Star Wars Outbound Flight and Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton. Surely that isn't a god omen for SF in the UK?

The US list fares a little better with 10 SF books in the top 25.

Bookslut reviews The James Tiptree Award Anthology 1

Bookslut | Science Fiction, Bake Sales, and the Feminist Cabal

"Most of the stories included within would (and have) stood on their own, without requiring the thematic support that the award lends..."

March 6, 2006

Metafilters discusses Dave Itzikoff's NYT SF column

MetaFilter joins the wide ranging discussion of Dave Itzikoff's New York Times Science fiction column (which accuses current SF of being too geeky).

Well if nothing else his column has got people talking!

Personally I couldn't care less if he thinks that current SF is too geeky. So what?

Heroes

Sounds interesting

"Heroes, NBC's fall pilot about everyday folks blessed with superpowers"

Just in time to catch the post Superman Returns superhero hype. But can it be as good as The Incredibles?

Via SciFiBrain

Lost has an ending

Good news, the producers know how 'Lost' will end. Which is somewhat a relief as I assumed that they'd just come up with a good idea and were winging it...

"This is a show that demands an ending. We want to find out what is the fate of these people. Do they get off the island? What is the nature of the island? I mean there are some big fundamental questions that you want answered at the end of this show."

"We do have an ending, we just don't know when we're going to get there."

March Ansible online

Battlestar Galactica too self-indulgent in season two?

Overall I think that in season two Battlestar Galactica has been guilty of being self indulgent. Most of the two part episodes could have been edited down (in the writing process) to awesome single episodes. But with the guarantee of a third season they're spinning it out a bit. For example, Downloaded and Final Cut, fantastic, focused single episodes. More of that please. Less of the two parters. More fear of being cancelled.

Battlestar Galactica 219 - Lay Down Your Burdens Part 1

A triple plot episodes with stories about the upcoming presidential election, a rescue mission to Caprica and the Chief's psychological problems.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Continue reading Battlestar Galactica 219 - Lay Down Your Burdens Part 1.

March 5, 2006

K9 to get Doctor Who spinoff series?

Outpost Gallifrey read The Sun for Doctor Who gossip so that we don't have to. The latest rumour is a K9 and Sarah Jane spinoff series. Not sure why they'd do thta though? Anyway, it's via The Sun, so as usual could be completely made up in the grand tradition of the tabloids.

March 3, 2006

Serenity stuff from Empire

Via Dave, Empire has an interview with Joss Whedon plus a transcript of a webchat with Joss, Nathan, Summer and Morena.

Good quotes from Joss include...
"I am still writing Wonder Woman. It is very awesome but incredibly unfinished..."

and

"We are trying to put together a Spike movie – I don’t know if it’s financially feasible. That’s what I’ve been working towards for the past several months..."


The Sparrow movie rights acquired

Sci Fi Wire reports that Warner Brothers has acquired the film rights to Mary Doria Russell's fantastic book The Sparrow. Could make a brilliant film.

Kids wanted for new Doctor Who show

For anyone between the ages of 7 and 12 years Totally Doctor is giving you a chance to visit the Doctor Who set. Sounds like a good new kids show about Doctor Who.

The most funny people in one film ever?

Via Dave, if you were hoping that the follow up to Shaun Of The Dead would be SF, then you'll be disappointed, it's a cop film. If you were hoping that it would be funny then I don't think you need worry Empire has the cast list....

Simon Pegg, Nick frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Paddy Considine, Steve Coogan, Martin Freeman, Bill Bailey, Olivia Colman, Anne Reid, Rafe Spall, David Bradley, Stewart Wilson, Paul Freeman and Edward Woodward

Blimey.

March 2, 2006

Upcoming Films

Just found an interesting page on Wikipedia a huge list of upcoming films!

Jim Cameron's upcoming projects

Both of Jim Cameron's upcoming projects sound interesting.

Avatar (from a leak so things could change)

takes place in the future and focuses on the distant planet of Pandora, which has become a rich source of mineral mining for humanity. To help interact with the locals, known as the Na'vi, we've created avatars. They're a blend of human and Na'vi DNA that can be linked to a human mind (think The Matrix). But when one of the newest recruits arrives on the planet, he finds it on the brink of a massive war…

And Battle Angel

set in the 26th century, the story takes place 300 years after a societal collapse caused by a major war. In that society, it's a technological dark age following a pinnacle of achievement far beyond where we are right now. People are augmented a lot as workers, so being a cyborg is not unusual. Alita is a cyborg. She has an organic human brain. She has a completely artificial body and she's lost her memory.

Which looks likely to become a three film cycle.

BBC to show The Triangle

SFX is reporting that BBC One is going to show The Triangle. The first episode will air on Saturday 25 March, then the next two the following weeks.

Worth watching if it's only three episodes I suppose, although how anone thinks that a Bermuda Triangle story could be original baffles me.

Superman the videogame trailer

I saw the news about the Superman Returns: The Videogame trailer a few days ago, but couldn't be bothered to watch it. Until Dave said it was amazing. And he's right, it looks very cool.

March 1, 2006

SF Site Best SF and Fantasy Books of 2005: Editors' Choice

The SF Site Best Read of the Year (2005) in Science Fiction and Fantasy is online. Here's the quick list...

  • The House of Storms by Ian R. MacLeod
  • Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
  • Accelerando by Charles Stross
  • Magic For Beginners by Kelly Link
  • The Silences of Home by Caitlin Sweet
  • 9-Tail Fox by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
  • Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds
  • The Hounds of Avalon by Mark Chadbourn
  • The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach, translated by Doryl Jensen
  • The Ultimates 2 by Mark Millar, illustrated by Bryan Hitch
  • Vellum: The Book of All Hours by Hal Duncan
  • The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco, translated by Geoffrey Brock
  • Woken Furies by Richard Morgan
  • Life by Gwyneth Jones

SF Site Readers' Choice Top 10 coming next issue.

Some Jon Courtenay Grimwood reviews

Jon Courtenay Grimwood had a few book reviews come online in the last few days firstly (via Emerald City) in the Guardian Unlimited Darkland by Liz Williams, Titan by Ben Bova and The Voyage of the Sable Keech by NealAsher. Also in SFX a review of Shriek: An Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer. (Also SFX was running a ginat banner ad for Neal Asher's books!).