March 2007 Archives

March 26, 2007

Air - Geoff Ryman

It's funny reading a book after it has won awards, especially one that's done the UK SF double of the Arthur C Clarke award and the BSFA award. That sets high expectations. Can Air live up to those expectations?

Continue reading Air - Geoff Ryman.

March 24, 2007

10 Reasons Why I Loved Primeval

So, Primeval has finished. Six episodes is all you get in the UK for a first series, but apparently a second series has been commisioned.

I was very surprised how much I enjoyed this show. I was expecting it to be sub-standard Jurassic Park, especially after the let-down that was Torchwood. But I really, honestly liked it, quite a lot.

So here are my 10 Reasons Why I Loved Primeval


  1. It had Monsters! TV standard CGI SFX, but still not bad, and different every week.

  2. It didn't take itself too seriously.

  3. It had self referential geeky jokes, not all the time, but now and again.

  4. They killed a character. Always a good sign.

  5. Hannah from S-Club appeared in her underwear because of a genius plot contrivance.

  6. It had a cliff hanger ending to the series, with time continium changes. I love a bit of time travelling nonsense.

  7. It didn't hang about on the plot front, that's what only having six episodes makes you do.

  8. It had characters I liked. Ben Miller gets a special shout for being a witty, slimy government official.

  9. It was shown on Saturday tea time.

  10. It used contemporary music throughout the series. Lets rock!


March 23, 2007

Richard Morgan interview

Ariel has a nice interview with Richard Morgan (on uksfbooknews.net), talking about his new book Black Man. I always enjoy hearing/reading Richard Morgan talk, he gives interesting interviews.

UPDATE
Fixed the link, ta Ariel.

Neverscapes reviews Primeval

Shaun reviews the first season of Primeval on Neverscapes.

My review coming soon.

Hal Duncan is the BSFA guest next week

Hal Duncan will be interviewed at the monthly BSFA meeting next week, Wednesday 28th March.

2000 AD Prog Slog - reading every issue of 2000AD!

Paul Rainey is reading every single issue of 2000AD from issue one to now, and blogging it. I'd love to do that. [Via FPI]

Cory Doctorow short stories turned into comics

Cory Doctorow has signed a comic book deal for six of his stories with IDW. Cory always seems to be pushing the different channels of distribution for his stories. And why not? Diversify. What's left? Computer games?

The Velcro City Tourist Board Glorifying Terrorism competition results

Paul has announced the results of the The Velcro City Tourist Board Glorifying Terrorism competition. The post announcing the short list sparked a good discussion in the comments.

Catching up

Google Reader has a nice UI. However when any of my folders reaches 100+ I start thinking, "hmmm, that will take me ages to read, instead I'll read the three posts about cricket instead." Consequently the number of unread posts climbs and climbs. There could be millions inside that 100+ folder.

However, I've just caught up, so here comes a selection of posts about stuff from this week.

On the plus side, Bruce Sterling's comments about web logs dying out has made me feel that web-logging is indeed a valid thing to spend my time doing. Hurrah, bring on the links.

March 22, 2007

Doctor Who news - New Series! Air date confirmed!

It was the premiere of the third series of the new Doctor Who last night. Some lucky people saw the first episode of the new (2007) series in London.

Amongst the news (and more news):

  • The new series starts on Saturday 31st March, that's just over a week away.
  • A fourth series has been commisioned, no surprise there.
  • David Tennant won't confirm if he is staying for another series.
  • Guest atcors will include Sir Derek Jacobi, comedian Ardal O'Hanlon, Michelle Collins and John Simm(!).
  • There'll be new monsters, the Daleks and a Patrick Troughton era monster.
  • Some (very cool) video clips from the premiere and the new series
  • A new trailer

March 19, 2007

Neal Stephenson talks 300 in the New York Times

Neal Stephenson has an article in the New York Times about 300, which, like everything written by him, is entertaining:

Lack of critical respect means nothing to sci-fi’s creators and fans. They made peace with their own dorkiness long ago.

Via SF Signal

March 15, 2007

Edward Morris novella for download at TTA Press

It's the 25th Anniversary Issue of Interzone (209, March-April 2007). Including stories from Hal Duncan, M. John Harrison, Gwyneth Jones and Alastair Reynolds. As part of the celebrations the Edward Morris novella, Journey to the Center of the Earth is available for download.

Watchmen film next for Zack Snyder

300 director Zack Snyder has confirmed that Watchmen will be his next film.

I'm very wary of Watchmen the film. How will they cram all of the legendary comic into a two hour film? How will they keep the density, the characters, the style? Probably not very well.

"'I'm doing Watchmen next for sure. That's what we're focusing all our attention on,"

March 14, 2007

Neverscapes, a new genre criticism blog

Shaun has a new genre criticism blog called Neverscapes.

New story online from David Marusek

Osama Phone Home is a new story from David Marusek, online courtesy of Technology Review

Cory Doctorow on reading from screens

Cory joins in the Ebook debate (again), withYou <i>Do</i> Like Reading Off a Computer Screen

Interesting. But I still want my magic 'looks like a book but can hold a billion novels' device.
"The problem, then, isn't that screens aren't sharp enough to read novels off of. The problem is that novels aren't screeny enough to warrant protracted, regular reading on screens."

March 12, 2007

Still waiting for the Ebook iPod

Jason Stoddard reckons that I'm wasting my time wishing for the Killer App Ebook reader.

"No corporation in its right mind would put the R&D money into
developing such a product. Producing a specific-use device for a tiny
niche market ain’t exactly the recipe for success."

Ooh, so negative. Surely however, similar thoughts were said about MP3 players, but somebody started making them. I have faith, it will come, I read it in The Diamond Age.

John Scalzi's The Android's Dream, Chapter One online

John Scalzi has posted the first chapter of his book The Android's Dream online.

John Simms video diary on You Tube

More good stuff from the BBC, John Simm's Life On Mars Video Diary 1.

I'm quite excited to discover how Life On Mars ends. Please don't let me down.

Doctor Who teaser trailers online and on the telly

Teaser trailers for the new series of Doctor Who have been blipping up on the BBC and are online.

Very short, but still cool.

March 9, 2007

Tron Lightcycle game

This is brilliant, a TRON lightcycle game, flash based, so you can play it anywhere with web access.

I had a game like this on my BBC Micro when I was a kid. Cool.

Via SFSignal

More on SF magazines going online

The discussion that started on Velcro City Tourist Board has continued attracting comments in it's comment thread, and it has also spilled over onto the F&SF message board, with comments from Gordon Van Gelder and Ellen Datlow.

Interesting.

Neuromancer comic online

A graphic novel version of Neuromancer, online. Cooool. Via The Website At The End Of The Universe.

Doctor Who, Primeval, underwear - compare and contrast

This (Inappropriate" scene cut from script TV Series News (March 6, 2007)), made me laugh. A scene from the new series has been cut because Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) was in just her underwear. Apparently it was unappropriate.

I reckon that is a thinly veiled reference to Primeval, which through a genius convoluted plot has ensured that Abby (Hannah from S-Club 7) is in her underwear every single time you see her at home! Last episode she even answered the door in knickers and a short t-shirt. For the ladies, that geek student was also in boxer shorts, a vest and socks. Not quite the same. I'm sure the other male characters would have been preferential.

(If you don't know, Abby is secretly looking after a pet dinosaur which looks like the thing from Surface. The dinosaur needs a very hot climate, therefore Hannah has to have her flat very hot, and therefore has to wear just underwear. Of course.)

Intellectual television at its finest.

March 8, 2007

The future is electronic print?

Paul has a great post at Velcro City Tourist Board, entitled Science fiction Magazines Dont Have To Die.

I agree with pretty much all of it, electronic media has to be the way forward, and embedded adverts does seem a "better" method than micro-payments.

This reminds me of the initial discussion at the BSFA AGM last year, where the discussion was along the lines of "if we give away our magazine content why would people join the BSFA?". It was, however, lead from a Science Fiction Foundation angle, which is somewhat academic, and therefore, in my opinion, somewhat removed from the real world. I sat there shaking my head, thinking "you have your heads in the sand!". Behind me Bruce Sterling sat scribbling in his notebook, then at the end of the day he exploded everything I was thinking into an hour long tour-de-force of why you can't run from how things are now. Not the future, now. We use Google, Wikipedia, You Tube, Technorati and so on...you can't run from it.

(Yes, Bruce Sterling agreed with my thoughts, but history will probably say that I agreed with him.)

All of this seems so obvious, and so talked about, why are we still talking about it? Why isn't something happening? (Or why is it happening so slowly?)

The one downside to electronic print, for me personally, is that I prefer reading from paper. Everything electronic gets filed on my harddisk or in delicious and my "to read" queue gets bigger and bigger. For some reason I just never print things out to read (paper costs!). So maybe that's the technical hurdle we have to overcome, the true paper electronic screen? (Get your act together Sony et al.) As stated many times, the killer app for electronic print is a book version of an iPod (done well). After that would everything be different?

March 7, 2007

TTA Press have new forums

The Third Alternative (TTA) Press have a set of new message boards, INTERACTION.

Including 6 just for Interzone: News, books, movies, tv, art and 25th anniversary.

Via Velcro City Tourist Board

Justina Robson has a new LiveJournal

Justina Robson has a new LiveJournal, Musapaloosa. And the first post is probably more than she ever posted to her old blog. Hurrah. Also fun is reading the comments in which everyone says "Hello!"

Via Lou Anders.

March 5, 2007

Audrey Niffenegger reviews Kelly Link

Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife) reviews Kelly Link's Magic For Beginners in The Guardian.

Now, you may be thinking, I don't like science fiction. I don't like short stories. Get over it. This isn't exactly science fiction (it's not exactly not science fiction either).


Via Locus.

March's Ansible is online

Doctor Who videos online at YouTube

The BBC Doctor Who News site has links to the first two Doctor Who videos on You Tube. They are video diaries from David Tennant and Freema Agyeman.

Cool, the BBC's not wasting any time after the announcement of the deal with Google then.

March 2, 2007

The TARDIS Type 40 Handbook

Fancy reading a handbook for the TARDIS from Doctor Who? There's one online, The TARDIS Type 40 Handbook, which Roy let me know about. It has a really quite amazing level of detail.

For example...


"Auxiliary power mode is a power mode which can only be enabled whilst landed, as it provides only a minimal artron trickle to the power drive. The majority of incoming artron energy is converted directly to electrical current and channeled through the power banks."

Woah.


About SF awards

Torque Control has a post about SF awards in which Niall posed a few questions. The answers in the comments thread are interesting, and provide a, mainly, UK centric view of SF awards. I'll provide my own thoughts here...

Does the sf field have too many awards, or do they all serve valid audiences?
Personally I don't mind if there are a lot, I'll just pick the ones I care about to take notice of.

Is a shortlist more valuable than a final award, as a guide to what to read?
Well, maybe. I use the Clarke and BSFA awards to inform my reading picks. However, I feel fine not reading a book on the shortlist that I don't fancy, but feel I should always read the winners.

Should an award recognise what seems most vital now, or what seems most likely to last?
Now. You can't second guess the future.

In theory, juried awards take a longer/more contextualised view; does this mean they have a better chance of getting it “right�?
No idea. The Clarke often throws up books that I never would have considered, which must be good. I like the balance of both the Clarke and the BSFA awards together.

Juried awards — allegedly — tend to favour compromise candidates. But is that a bad thing?
Don't know, looking back at the Clarke winners however it seems to have got it right most of he time (if there is such thing as "right").

Doctor Who on YouTube

The BBC have struck a deal with Google to show some content on YouTube. They will mainly just be clips, but could also include extras, eg.

"...for example, video diaries of David Tennant showing viewers around the set of Dr Who..."

Could full episodes be too far away?

March 1, 2007

AICN Books

If you can suffer the horror of web design and fanboy whining that is Ain't It Cool News they are reviewing SF books now, including Pyr's, Fast Forward 1

edited by Lou Anders.

Graham Sleight talks PKD in Locus

Another Locus online feature, Yesterday's Tomorrows: Philip K. Dick, where Graham Sleight talks about Vintage PKD, a book of extracts from PKD books.

Extracts?! Read the full books!

Yesterday's Tomorrows: Philip K. Dick

by Graham Sleight

Darker Matter, a Free Online Science Fiction Magazine

Just foudn Darker Matter, a Free Online Science Fiction Magazine. The first issue (March 2007) has stories from David D. Levine, Ken Brady, Edward M. Lerner and Bud Sparhawk, and an interview with Douglas Adams, based on recently rediscovered tapes, recorded in 1979 and never before made public.

SF Signal wants your vote for a Hugo

7 Reasons to Nominate SF Signal for Best Fanzine by SF Signal.

I have another reason:

#8 SF Signal is a blog. Not a newspaper or a magazine disguised as a blog, not an author's promotional tool, but a proper, old skool blog. A blog where they write whatever the fell like writing about. Becaus they can. And it's fun. So I think a vote for SF Signal is a vote for the grass roots SF blogosphere.

Unfortunately I'm not eligible to vote. (But I'd have probably voted for myself if I could anyway...)