May 2006 Archives
May 31, 2006
Rowan at Bernard J Shapero Rare Books mailed me to mention that they have a collection of ten rare SF books up for sale. They're calling it the Sci-Fi Starter Collection (PDF) and the books are first editions of novels by John Brunner, James Blish and Brian Aldiss.
The only downside is that the collection costs Â£900, but I guess that's what you pay for rare editions. So if you're a (rich) serious SF Biblioholic check it out.
Personally I'll have to settle for my secondhand SF masterworks editions costng Â£1.
Meme Therapy asked a selection of people (including me) about underrated Science Fiction writers.
I found this a hard question! When is underrated just unknown? So I mentioned Christopher Priest because I'm surprised at the number of people who have never read naything by him, but in the UK he's critically acclaimed so how can he be underrated?
Good question, made me think. Good answers too from Elizabeth Bear, Karl Schroeder, David Moles and Shaun C. Green...
...and of course Jose!
This past weekend was a Bank Holiday in the UK. That means, most people get a holiday, everyone queues on the motorway to get to the coast, it rains and, most relevantly, there's normally something interesting on television.
So the BBC decided to show over three nights The Triangle, which has already been shown in the US on SciFi. On the plus side the BBC marketed it as a SciFi drama, not trying to hide it as something else (and I don't treat "SciFi" as an insult BTW). On the negative side it was shown quite late on all three nights (10pm-10.30pm). Oh well.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that a miniseries about the Bermuda Triangle could be nothing but cheesey, but they managed to put somethiing fresh into this old trope. The acting was good, the production was good and the story was good. I loved the extra plot of the survivor from an accident in the Triangle, it added some extra texture to the plot. Some nice exploration of characters, it felt as though they were rounded and had a background, and I cared about them.
The alternate reality waves sweeping through the world were nice twists, adding an unpredictability to the plot. Loved the fascist government reality, thought it was going to transmute into an episode of old Star Trek.
After two episodes I was worried that the whole thing would end badly, but it didn't. In fact I liked how the plot was tied up. The triangle disturbances travelling backwards through time was cool.
Another episode written by Mark Gatiss, the Doctor and Rose arrive in 1950's England on the eve of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. And weird things are happening.
May 30, 2006
Sci Fi Wire says that X-Men: The Last Stand topped the Memorial Day box office in its premiere, taking in about $120.1 million, the biggest opening ever for the holiday weekend.
But....inflation. Every year a film should beat the record. Surely? So who cares? (Apart from the Hollywood execs whose jobs are on the line.)
Meme Therapy has an interview with Elizabeth Bear, who says...
"I am currently drafting the second half of a book called UNDERTOW, which is a stand alone SF novel about probability manipulation, genocide, a hit man, a conjure man, a woman with a past, and a hermaphroditic alien who looks a bit like a taller Kermit the Frog"
Via The Alien Online, two new SF imprints are being launched in America and Australia, Orbit USA and Orbit Australia.
Orbit is a big imprint here in the UK, I've got loads I've Orbit books (Iain Banks is published by Orbit.) For those of you keeping up with who owns who in the publishing world, Orbit is ultimately owned by Hachette Livre.
May 26, 2006
We wanted something much more romantic, and much more of a soap that dealt with a corporation and the man in charge of that corporation who in a very innocent and idealized way propagated the artificial intelligence technology that would later become [unbeknownst to him and those involved in the series] the Cylons
Like I said before, it's Dallas!
May 25, 2006
Jose has posted another Brain Parade on Meme Therapy, this one about Underated Technology. Interesting stuff. (It includes an answer from me!)
May 24, 2006
2005 Campbell Award finalists: Transcendent by Stephen Baxter, The Meq by Steve Cash, Child of Earth by David Gerrold, Mind's Eye by Paul McAuley, Seeker by Jack McDevitt, Learning the World by Ken Macleod, The Summer Isles by Ian R. Macleod, Counting Heads by David Marusek, Mindscan by Robert J. Sawyer, Accelerando by Charles Stross, The World Before by Karen Traviss, Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
2005 Sturgeon Award finalists: "The Calorie Man" by Paolo Bacigalupi, "Second Person, Present Tense" by Darryl Gregory, "Magic for Beginners" by Kelly Link, "Keyboard Practice" by John G. McDaid, "The Little Goddess" by Ian McDonald, "Little Faces" by Vonda McIntyre, "The Blemmye's Stratagem" by Bruce Sterling, "Panacea" by Jason Stoddard, "The Inn at Mount Either" by James Van Pelt, "Inside Job" by Connie Willis
Just checked out SCIFI.COM's SciFi Pulse, which is kind of like the BBC media players, but with adverts and lower quality vids. Still it's not locked to a region (glad they spotted it was easy to hack, unlike ABC), and might have some good stuff on it one day.
May 23, 2006
May 22, 2006
May 21, 2006
May 19, 2006
SFX - Directing the return of Superman, a snippet from the interview with Bryan Singer is online.
May 18, 2006
Here's an interesting recut of the Darth Maul, Obi Wan and Qui Gon Jin fight from The Phantom Menace. It does miss out my favourite bit though, the pacing Maul behind the force field.
It's pretty amazing that the technology to do this is out there and in the hands of anyone who has a computer. And then you can put it online for free! I remember watching the trailer for The Phantom Menace online and being amazed by the quality of a video on a website. And now it's so far surpassed that. The future is indeed now.
Put the right YouTube link in there (thanks for letting me know about that Dave)
StarWars.com has details of the new DVD's and the covers...
"Each movie comes as a two-disc set -- one disc is the 2004 remastered version of the film, while the second disc is a version that captures its original theatrical presentation."
SFX has a big list of the 2006 Eagle Award winners, here's just a few of them...
Favourite Colour Comicbook â€“ American
The Ultimates [Marvel Comics]
Favourite Colour Comicbook â€“ British
Judge Dredd Megazine [Rebellion]
Favourite Black & White Comicbook â€“ American
The Walking Dead [Image Comics]
Favourite Black & White Comicbook â€“ British
Springheeled Jack [Black Boar Press]
Nice to see that Judge Dredd is still popular, haven't read any Dredd for years but I used to love it.
May 17, 2006
Via Sci Fi Wire Hugh Jackman is not mincing his words about The Fountain...
"I think that [The Fountain] is one of the most extraordinary things that I've ever seen,"
Live up to that!
May 16, 2006
Just got round to listening to the John Joseph Adams (aka Slush God) interview on Jack Mangan Deadpan. An interesting listen, hear the trials of a slush reader straight from JJA's mouth.
Via Google News, Cardinal Egan: Jesus theories 'science fiction': SouthFlorida.com
A Cardinal (Edward Cardinal Egan) was having a rant about "alternative theories about the life of Christ". He said "What he [James Tabor] has to say is science fiction out of control."
It would have been so much better if he had just said "...is Science Fiction." Full stop. Why does current Science Fiction have to be "redefining the genre" (BSG) or "out of control" or "breaking new ground"? It's all Science Fiction, like it's all just Rock n Roll.
May 15, 2006
I went to the BSFA AGM on Saturday, in London. The AGM was combined with a selection of speakers and a panel.
Here's my comments on the day....
Dark Horizons says that Invasion has been cancelled and Surface probably will be too. Not too much of a surprise.
Wired 14.05 talks to Douglas Coupland about the version of himself that he created for his new novel JPod.
Some interesting quotes...
"...wants to create the world's biggest Tetris game by rigging the lights of an abandoned high-rise to flash on and off in the windows at night, controlled by a modified game console."
"I'm better than most people at asking, What would happen if ?" he says, "and then going out and trying it."
The Doctor, Rose and Mickey find themselves in London in a parallel universe
May 14, 2006
I've answered a few questions for the guys at Meme Therapy and the first is up here, along with a selection of answers from some great people such as Neal Asher, Alastair Reynolds, Karl Schroeder...and more. Cool.
May 12, 2006
David Marusek has got a contract with Tor for a sequel to Counting Heads. I'm reading Counting Heads now and really enjoying it (although it's taking me a while because you have to concentrate!).
StarWars.com has a great interview with J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof , including...
All the Star Wars references in Lost
...and some great quotes.
The ever-present themes of the Force, destiny and interconnected relationships bind the Star Wars saga together. And "Lost" seems to have similar elements that metaphysically connect the characters together in interesting ways. "The idea of destiny -- a larger power at work -- as well as everything happening for a reason, is a big part of 'Lost,'" Lindelof explains.
May 11, 2006
The BBC Search page has been updated, making it easier to find everything about Doctor Who.
Another great use of web search technology!
Google Trends is a new interactive version of their Zeitgeist. It gives you graphs on search terms, includng tope cities searching for that term, top regions and languages.
So, new Google toy, new search for "science fiction"!
Top 3 cities searching for "Science Fiction":
1. Seattle United States
2. Portland United States
3. Perth Australia
Top 3 countries searching for "Science Fiction":
2. United States
Wow, the Aussies must love their SF! Hi to everyone in Australia.
May 10, 2006
Pyr Blog Page. That's the first imprint I've heard of having a blog all of their own.
Via John Kilma at the EV Zine Blog, here's my Superhero name:
The White Forrester
Hmmm. Doesn't exactly inspire fear in villains.
May 9, 2006
Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog Fox shows have been added to iTMS including Firefly and Buffy. As usual you can only get them if you're in the US (or more accurately have a US credit card), which is rubbish.
Via BBC NEWS
"A novel supposedly written by one of the characters in TV drama Lost has become a best-seller in the US."
Whoah that's all reality mixed up style stuff. And of course awesome marketing.
May 8, 2006
Just watching the BAFTAs on TV. (It's shown a day after the actual award ceremony). When Doctor Who won best drama series a dalek rolled onto the stage, it was shiny and black and when someone put a hand over it's eyepiece it said "I CANNOT SEE! DO NOT TOUCH THE DALEK!"
Just noticed that a handul of valid comments have been junked by my spam filter and are hidden amongst the mass of real spam. Sorry about that, I'm rectifying the situation now and turning down my spam filter. Specifically sorry to Steve, Dunc, Steph, Jennifer, John and Dave I wasn't deliberately ignoring you!
Spam people, you're rubbish.
I went to Alt.Fiction in Derby on Saturday and had a great time.
I saw James Lovegrove, Richard Morgan and Pete Crowther do readings and answer questions. I took part in writing workshops with Ian R Macleod and Justina Robson. I saw a publishing panel with John Jarrold, Pete Crowther, Andrew Hook and ChrisÂ Teague, and also a panel on SF with Justina Robson and John Jarrold.
Everyone was very friendly and entertaining/informative.
A couple of interesting things from the many that I heard....
Richard Morgan saying that it was 14 years from starting writing Altered Carbon until it sold. And then being very amusing and pragmatic about the film if it ever materialises "...hope it's not another Matrix 3"
John Jarrold saying that the major SF imprints in London may take on only one new writer a year. And that since he became an agent he has taken on 20 writers and rejected 1000!
All in all a great day.
The Doctor, Rose and Mickey land on a spaceship that has a weird connection to 18th century France.
May 7, 2006
Congratulations to the Nebula Awards Winners. I particularily happy that Kelly Link won two for her fantastic stories. Here's the full list...
NOVEL : Camouflage, Joe Haldeman (Analog; Ace Books)
NOVELLA : "Magic for Beginners", Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners Small Beer Press; F&SF Sep 2005)
NOVELETTE : "The Faery Handbag", Kelly Link (The Faery Handbag Viking; ed. Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
SHORT STORY : "I Live With You", Carol Emshwiller (F&SF Mar 2005)
SCRIPT : Serenity, Joss Whedon
ANDRE NORTON AWARD : Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie, Holly Black (Simon & Schuster)
May 5, 2006
He jokes that the Star Wars TV show maybe a direct download bypassing the TV stations altogether. Do you doubt that Lucas could pull this off? Not me, he's always pushing the edge of technology. In three years time TV could be ripe for a revolution triggered by Star Wars.
From Sci Fi Wire...
J..J. Abrams, co-creator of ABC's hit SF series Lost, told SCI FI Wire that this year's season-ending cliffhanger will be even more powerful than last year's. Abrams, who took some time off to direct Mission: Impossible III, said that his co-creator for the series, Damon Lindelof, has an ending that surprised even him.
So we have no chance at guessing what will happen then! Cool.
May 4, 2006
FPI blog links to an interview that Ian McKellen did. In it he talks about how Him and Patrick Stewart were made 25 years younger by CGI. So now actors can play young characters forever. How very cool.
May 3, 2006
May 2, 2006
Courtesy of Channel 4 you can know watch Lost online at channel4.com .
At the moment all of season one is up and brand new episodes of Season Two will be available one week after transmission on Channel 4.
It's UK only, requires Windows Media Player 10 (so that's Windows only), and costs 99p per episode, with episodes one and two free to view from April 27th - May 11th 2006. Once you make a payment to view an episode, you can watch it as many times as you like in a 24 hour period on a single PC.
There are also reviews of episodes, about 4 minute summaries, which are free to watch with no adverts.
An interesting attempt at fighting the erosion of their viewing figures by BitTorrent but it falls a bit short: the episode expires, it's windows only and it's online after the aired episode.
From Sci Fi Wire
"Director Wolfgang Petersen (Poseidon) told SCI FI Wire that his next project could be the much-anticipated film adaptation of Orson Scott Card's beloved SF book Ender's Game."
I think the film could be quite good, the zero-g battles might be fun on the big screen. To me the book lacked a bit of eye-kick sparkle, instead it felt quite serious and subdued, although I did enjoy it. Maybe Hollywood could insert some pazazz with a bucket full of CGI?
Yesterday was a Bank Holiday in the UK, which used to mean that everybody had a holiday, but now it means that everyone who doesn't work in a shop or restaurant or pub has a holiday.
Anyway, Bank Holidays usuallu equal good films on TV (err and Ben Hur and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). Last night ITV1 showed The Matrix, and they're showing Reloaded tonight and Revolutions tomorrow.
It reminded me of two things.
(1) The Matrix is an awesomely brilliant film.
(2) I'm long overdue on my Star Wars / Matrix trilogy comparison.
Matthew Cheney reviews The Brief History of the Dead on SFSite.
Like many books expanded from excellent short stories, this one is marvelous in conception, but not rich enough to justify its length. As a novella, it might have been perfect. As a novel, it is sometimes magnificent, but ultimately hollow.
I loved it. Be the way, I much prefer the UK cover...
...to the US one..
May 1, 2006
The Doctor masquerades as a teacher (and Rose as a dinner lady!) to try and uncover some weird goings on in a school. They meet some old friends and some old monsters, which provides a good story on two levels.