August 2006 Archives

August 29, 2006

A Scanner Darkly

I should say up front that I love the book A Scanner Darkly. It has been much touted that it is the most authentic conversion of a Philip K Dick story to film, maybe, it is definitely an extremely accurate representation of the novel.

Continue reading A Scanner Darkly.

August 28, 2006

The Time Machine - HG Wells

The Time Machine is one of those stories I've know the plot of for as long as I can remember. Yet I've only just read the book. Perhaps I saw the original film version when I was very young? I was therefore intrigued to read the original text.

Firstly, it's completely astounding to think that the book is 101 years old. I don't know what I was expecting, Shakespeare or something, but it's very readable and has some astonishingly relevant predictions.

On the down side there's not too much of a plot, it's quite short (novella length maybe?), and there a large chunks of wandering about and pontificating on what might have caused the world to be how it is. (But no proof!) There's also a lot of blatant politics to do with class and how only through adversity will the human race progress. But it was Wells' first novel so I guess he was still finding his feet with that new fangled "scientific romance" novel.

I forgive all it's downsides because it's 101 years old and it's intelligent and it helped create Science Fiction as we know it. You should read it if you haven't already.

August 25, 2006

US Government says SF is good

The USA Department Of State says Society, Science Enriched by Science Fiction, Science fiction ignites public interest in science, offers avant-garde ideas.

Which means it must be true. Doesn't it?

August 24, 2006

2000AD trailers

Wow, this is awesome, trailers for 2000AD. The first one online is for the upcoming story Judge Dredd: Origins featuring the legendary duo of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra.

August 23, 2006

Stargate SG1 to finish

SFX reports that Stargate SG1 is going to finish, but Atlantis will continue.

Personally I'm amazed that SG1 has been going ten years, I mean it was okay, but never really brilliant. So I guess it's well done!

On the other hand I saw a few episodes of Atlantis and thought it was dreadful, so I have no idea how that's survived.

August 22, 2006

Sarah Jane Investigates confirmed

Another Doctor Who spin-off series has been confirmed after lots of rumours. It's called Sarah Jane Investigates and features, you guessed it, Sarah Jane and K9. There's a pilot episode which will be shown near New Year. The show will be written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts, but shown on the CBBC channel, so definitely aimed at kids. [ViaTorchwood.TV]

August 18, 2006

The Five Biggest Baddies of Science Fiction Television

For some reason John@SFSignal has been reading Bella Online : The Voice Of Women. I'm not complaining, he can read all the articles on sewing and kittens, filtering out the Science Fiction for us all to read (and link to). Surprisingly their list of The Five Biggest Baddies of Science Fiction Television is excellent and spot on.

August 17, 2006

Paul McAuley posts Players excerpts

Paul McAuley has posted not one, not two, but three excerpts from his new novel Players on his blog. (Although I can't find any comment about them from him).

...and excerpt 4, labelled as 5. (Or perhaps 4 went missing?)

Philip K Dick video interview

Nice stuff from PKD, ignore the A Scanner Darkly film-makers trying to claim it's not SF.

Torchwood on

Via Torchwood.TV, now has a Torchwood page, full of all the usual things, ratings, episode list, a blog and a forum.

Eddie Izzard SF jokes

Too good not to link to, SciFi UK Review has some of Eddie Izzard's SF 'jokes'.

Is Pluto A Planet?

Who cares?! And yet everyone is talking about it, and so, now am I.

Well, I'm sure lots of astronomers are rubbing their hands with glee at the publicity, hoping their grants get renewed/increased.

I mean, does discovering 3 more chunks of rock in a vague orbit around the sun help us resolve any of the universes mysteries?

Astronomy to me has always been very vague (the Hubble Constant, what a joke!). When I was doing some astronomy units in my degree the lecturers would use words like "probably" and "we think" and have no maths to back it up and very little data.

And yet in the UK the research council for astronomy is combined with that of Particle Physics, PPARC. Hmmm. (But thanks for all that money!).

Movie themed fonts

Want to type something but can't quite find the right font? Want the font from Back To The Future? Or the Star Wars font? Or Buffy, Angel, Battlestar Galactica etc etc etc.?

Well you're in luck, fill up your harddrive with fonts courtesy of !

August 16, 2006

Another SF website is a new SF website and in their own words "Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Cult Media for the Discerning Geek".

You can never have too many SF websites.

Doctor Who back for good?

Russell T Davies reckons that Doctor Who is back for good.

"I think we're guaranteed that Doctor Who will last, and last as a brand..."

August 15, 2006

Another Jon Courtenay Grimwood interview

Infinity Plus has a great interview Jon Courtenay Grimwood including an extract from his new book . [Via SFSIgnal]

Some nice thoughts for any writers out there.

CW: Do you think novel writing gets easier the more you do it?
JCG: No, I don't. I think it gets harder. Ignorance is a wonderful thing.

Freema Agyeman interview

Freema Agyeman, who plays new Doctor Who companion Martha Jones, gave her first Who-related TV interview to The One Show yesterday and the interview is online on the BBC site here (requires RealPlayer).

August 14, 2006

Mark Chadbourn talks about SF burn out

Mark Chadbourn, a UK writer has a new(ish) blog Jack of Ravens. In his latest post he discusses why he thinks that we are on the brink of another golden age of commercial fantasy publishing and why we're not for SF.

"Conversely, I don’t believe this is a very good time for science fiction, which has seen quite significant falls in sales. We’re living through another industrial revolution. Techonological changes are increasing exponentially, with the accompanying societal and cultural transformations. People are burned out by science or blase about it. They see its effect in every aspect of their lives, 24/7. They (and I’m talking here about the wider reading market, not the dedicated fan) don’t want to spend their time reading about it. Of course, SF isn’t just about science, but unfortunately it’s that aspect that the non-hardcore fan focuses on."

Interesting. Mark was at Alt Fiction (wish I'd said hello now) where Justina Robson answered a question along similar lines about whether current SF all gloom and dystopia (reflecting the world). Her reply was that she thought authros were going the other way, as she has done, into fun SF. And maybe that is the way that SF can capture more readers in a science overloaded world?

August 13, 2006

The Unofficial Battlestar Galactica Blog closes

The Unofficial Battlestar Galactica Blog is closing, due to real life.

Bye, bye. I liked your blog.

Now I'll have to nick my BSG news from somewhere else.

August 11, 2006

Strange Horizons reviews Doctor Who season 2

Via Locus, Strange Horizons reviews Doctor Who season 2.

Views from Graham Sleight, Abigail Nussbaum, Tim Phipps, and Iain Clark.

John Clute does have a blog

By the power of WordPress, John Clute has decided to start a blog, despite saying that he wasn't. It's here.

[Via Ariel@TAO]

Jericho, sounds interesting

SCI FI Wire talks about a new TV series "Jericho", a post-apocalyptic series which will be told from the point of view of its small-town residents. Viewers will only slowly begin to learn about the nuclear disaster that is at the show's core.


Christopher Nolan to direct The Prisoner?

Talk of film versions of The Prisoner make me groan. The Prisoner was half genius, half utter rubbish and (more importantly) a product of it's time. It is so late 60's it's unbelievable. But personally I love the fist 10 or so episodes. How can a single film even get close?

However now there is a sliver of hope, SCI FI Wire is reporting that Christopher Nolan is set to direct it. This is good for several reasons, not least of which is that he's a great director. Secondly he's English which I think is important to retain the feel of the village, that eccentric, weird, upperclass craziness.

August 10, 2006

The Line Between Science Fiction and Fantasy

MemeTherapy latest Brain Parade is about The Line Between Science Fiction and Fantasy (and by the way, if you're reading them in a feed reader you should check out their lovely, sparkly new site.)

The question is "Is it worth maintaining the thin red line between Science Fiction and Fantasy?"

Funnily enough I've just read the latest issue of Matrix, the BSFA news magazine, in which Sean Timarco Baggaley argues that Science Fiction is not a genre, it's a setting. Interesting idea.

So can I tell the difference between Fantasy and Science Fiction? I think so. Although there are times that I struggle, does Christopher Priest write Science Fiction? Is 9 Tail Fox Science Fiction? Is Magic For Beginners Fantasy? With all those stories, and others I love, I tend to just forget about the category and search for more work by the author.

But what struck me the other day is that Fantasy and Science Fiction are categories, or maybe even folders. In the computer world (both web and OS) labels have tags have become the now defacto method of classifying things. That's because an item can be described as more than one thing. We now happily tag our photos as "summer" and "raining" or our emails as "important" and "friend", why can't we tag our literature the same?

A SF book could be "near future, high tech, quest" and a Fantasy book could be "heroic, quest, magic", or whatever, not great examples but do you get my idea? There's an overlap. You could tag it "Science Fiction" if it is SF in your opinion, but someone else might disagree. In fact browsing All Consuming or Lists Of Bests to see what people have tagged books as is an illuminating exercise.

And if the argument of maintaining the silos is purely a marketing one, then surely if Amazon switched to tags instead of categories the question would go away with a resounding "no"?

SFX interviews Jon Courtenay Grimwood

SFX interviews Jon Courtenay Grimwood (although for some reason they prefer to call it a Q&A instead of an interview??)

Some cool news from it...
"I’ve just agreed a contract to write another three Raf books."
Hurrah, resurrect the Fox!

New Doctor Who Series begins filming

It's non-stop in the world of Doctor Who, the BBC says that the Christmas special The Runaway Bride is now in the can and the new series of Doctor Who starts filming this week.

August 7, 2006

Brasyl US cover image

Lou Anders has the US cover for Ian McDonald's Brasyl, here. After River Of Gods I'm very excited about Brasyl, but not so crazy about that US cover. Amazon UK doesn't seem to have Brasyl on their site yet, but I hope the UK cover image is better.

For what it's worth I much preferred the UK cover to River Of Gods to the US one.

August Ansible online

Ansible 229, August 2006

I keep mentioning Ansible because you should be reading it.

Doctor Who series 2 starts 29th September in USA

Via Outpost Gallifrey, Series Two of the new Doctor Who series will probably see its US debut on September 29 on the Sci Fi Channel. It's not official from SciFi yet but gathered via an NBC/Universal press release.

Even better is that SciFi will be showing Doctor Who at 9pm and and Battlestar Galactica season 3 at 10pm on the same day. Friday nights sorted (if you get the US SciFi Channel).

August 4, 2006

Superman Returns

I finally got around to seeing Superman Returns yesterday. I've been interested to see it rather than excited. I've never been a big Superman fan, he's always come across to me as a bit boring, too much of a goody-two-shoes, too American and well, just too poncy.

My favourite Superman film has always been Superman 3, the one that it has become cool to call rubbish. But Richard Pryor as a hacker who builds his own computer and has Atari 2600 graphics as a missile targeting system. That is cool. It also has two of my favourite lines in a film ever. "Both keys at the same time?!" and "mmm, pate."

So could Superman Returns top Superman 3? Well, in short no.

Continue reading Superman Returns.

The book meme

It's a meme thing. Tagged by John@SFSignal. So here goes...

UPDATE : I'm going to tag someone who actually might do it. Dave, even though your're a movie geek, talk about books for a post.

Continue reading The book meme.

August 3, 2006


Just found this blog, Torchwood.TV "News, commentary and secrets about the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood".

They do all the digging for leaks so we don't have to! The stills from the show look very cool. Stylish.

August 2, 2006

Star Trek Auction

A Star Trek auction is so big it gets it's own BBC In Pictures slot.

I wouldn't pay money for that stuff. (Unless it was cheap and I could resell it at a profit).

Weapons In Space!

Weapons in Space!

From detailed science(ish) explanations to pure fiction. Explosions!

August 1, 2006

You May Be A Sci-fi Writer

From the You May Be a Sci-fi Writer test in SCI FI Weekly, I score 50. Which means, apparently, I could be Kim Stanley Robinson. Which is nice. [Via Jen Writes]

This despite the fact that I have a PhD in particle physics and have probably forgotten more physics than most people ever learn. Consequently hard-sf isn't the SF I like the best. Burn out!

Paul McAuley has the rough cover for Players

From Paul McAuley's blog, the cover of his new novel is looking very, dare I say it, mainstream. And yet still with a hint of mystery.

Ian McDonald Locus interview excerpts

Excerpts of Locus's interview with Ian McDonald will appear here during August. (Oh for a feed).

An Interview With Charles Stross

ABC (the Oz variant) has a nice interview with Charles Stross. His omniscient second-person novel Halting State sounds intriguing.

Emerald City closing

Cheryl Morgan has had enough and is ceasing publication of Emerald City. Her post is quite emotional and she seems to worry an awful lot about what the community will think.

Personally I think that she should care about what she wants to do and screw everybody else. Websites come and go, magazine come and go, blogs come and go. Do what you enjoy (if possible), don't do what you don't enjoy (if possible).

Batman Returns in The Dark Knight

Via SciFi Ranter Girl. SciFi Wire reports on the next Batman film.

Christopher Nolan directing, a script by Jonathan Nolan, a story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. Christian Bale back as Batman, Heath Ledger as the Joker.

Nice. I wonder if the story has any relationship to Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns? What's the chance of Superman appearing in it? (Probably none, but it would be cool).

Free torrent of Firefly / Serenity documentary

Ladies and Gentleman, start your bittorrent apps...
Via Cinematical, the Firefly/Serenity fan documentary Done The Impossible has a free, legal, okeydokey torrent. The documentary is described as...

The creators of (a.k.a. have teamed with with a group of creative professionals / Firefly fans to tell our story, the fan's story - the story of the Browncoats. This professional quality production, shot in high-definition, will be released on DVD soon.

Which sounds cool for anyone who loves Firefly as much as me.