July 2007 Archives
July 31, 2007
Neal Asher has taken a break from ranting on his blog to publish some articles he wrote a while back. This one, Cities in Flight. is an interesting call to arms for SF writers to imagine beyond their current urban mundanity.
Scalzi asks whether the "classic science fiction short story market is dying because in 2007, six cents a word is simply not enough to keep it alive".
I assume that no one expects to make a living out of short fiction these days? Most people seem to view it as a stepping stone to novels (and then return when they can afford to and big magazines want them). However if magazines payed loads of money, what would happen? Would the quality go up? I'm not convinced it would, but I bet the slush piles would get bigger.
July 30, 2007
Strange Horizons 2007 Fund Drive. Everyone who donates will be added into a prize draw.
Fairlyland, one of my favourite books is getting a reprint and according to author Paul McAuley it's pretty.
July 27, 2007
To win all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me about your first memory of Star Wars, whether it was in 1977 watching A New Hope, or in 2005 with Revenge Of The Sith. I'll pick the two stories that I like the most and they win. Easy.
Conditions : (1) You have to add a valid email address in the comment, because I'll email you to tell you that you've won. (2) I'm only going to ship to the UK, sorry. (3) closing date is the 27th August.
Alex has new s of Alt.Fiction 2008 . Firstly it's going to remain a one day event, which I'm happy about, because then there's more chance I can go.
Secondly some confirmed authors : Christopher Fowler, Mike Carey, Charlie Stross, Philip Palmer, Brian Ruckley, Eric Brown, Adam Roberts and Simon Spurrier.
Ooh, interesting, the BBC have a 15 minute discussion show about Heroes on BBC7. (Via FPI blog). My licence fee well spent. You can also download the show after it's aired, presumably they'll have a podcast feed.
I watched the Heroes Unmasked show on Wednesday. It was rubbish. All the actors enthusing about how wonderful the show was. It was only worthwhile to laugh at what the actors were wearing and what their real accents were like.
The BBC Heroes site also seems to be acquiring new content every time I look, it now has a Heroes mobile site (with wallpapers etc)
Apparently Prince Charles was offered a part in Doctor Who, but he said no. ?!?!
The slow drip-feed of Cloverfield information continues. It now has a poster. So what do you need to show a post apocalyptic world? Yes, of course, a mangled Statue Of Liberty. Perhaps it's law or something. However, not sure I've ever seen it's head blown off!
July 26, 2007
When I was young I filled book after book with drawings of Tie Fighters attacking X-Wings and terrible drawings of R2D2. I imagine that there are still kids around the world doing this. There's something deeply cool about drawing your own space battle. Step into the breach You Can Draw Star Wars.
The title of this book implies it's just for kids, but in fact it's a cool guide on how to draw a Star Wars comic, and I really enjoyed it. It includes a mass of techniques and tips, from how to shade with pencil, how to draw people, hands, heads, droids, aliens, weapons, ships.... and so on. It gave me the urge to pick up a pencil and try some things out. There's a section on inking a colouring and a section on the larger aspects of creating a comic, from shots and angles to scripts to layout. There's also some tracing overlays to show how you can build up characters from stick drawings, and some speech bubble stencils (start drawing those witty comments now). And, of course, there's some very nice comic art inside
The only downside is that that it is ringbound, presumably to allow the book to lie flat when open, but I bet pages will be lost in the long run. Apart from that the presentation is groovy and fun, with a lot crammed into the 96 pages.
This book is like the art class I always wanted at school (because when has drawing flowers ever helped me?!).
SciFiChick has 13 Things I Learned From Watching Star Wars. I'm afraid number 7 - Some hairstyles will never catch on [referring to Leia's buns] - is incorrect.
At school Natalie Butler turned up with hair like that so she could play Star Wars with us (us == the boys). And I have a feeling Ruth Evans did too. In fact years later Natalie Butler's mom complained to me that it took ages to do her hair like that.
This made me chuckle, Speculative Fiction Authors Considered As High School Students:
I have to admit being puzzled by Geoff Ryman and the other Mundane SF students. Rumor has it they own no rocketpants underwear, which is unusual among our students.
The other nearly empty table is for exchange students. Ms. Atwood, I see you are eating by yourself again, and that you chose the pizza for lunch.
No, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never seen her speak to any of the other students, either.
[Via Tobias Buckell]
I love this image of the three amigos on the set of Indiana Jones. Can't think of a witty caption though.
IThe BBC struggle (and as far as this blog is concerned, succeed) to keep Doctor Who in the news by feeding the world dribs of information such as:The Ood will return in series 4. Oh. Well, I liked the episode that they were in before, but that was because they were possessed. How interesting can a mute slave race be? And why aren't they inventing new creatures instead of recycling old ones?
July 25, 2007
Argh it's a meme. Run! SFSignal has tagged me with the Blogging Tips Meme. You have to get in early at the start of these things or else you feel like Billy-no-mates when you try and tag 10 people who haven't been tagged.
So, advice for blogging? Credentials please.
First post to this blog : April 17, 2004
First post to my first blog: Wednesday, May 29, 2002 (Those were the days, before Blogger (non-pro) had titles for posts).
I can't help feeling that I really shouldn't do this here, but oh well, I shall follow my own advice.
It's very simple. When this is passed on to you, copy the whole thing, skim the list and put a * star beside those that you like. (Check out especially the * starred ones.)
Add the next number (1. 2. 3. 4. 5., etc.) and write your own blogging tip for other bloggers. Try to make your tip general.
After that, tag 10 other people. Link love some friends!
Just think- if 10 people start this, the 10 people pass it onto another 10 people, you have 100 links already!
1. Look, read, and learn. ****
2. Be, EXCELLENT to each other. *****
3. Don't let money change ya! ***
4. Always reply to your comments. ***
5. Link liberally -- it keeps you and your friends afloat in the Sea of Technorati. **
6. Don't give up - persistance is fertile. *
7. Give link credit where credit is due.*
8. Follow your own path. Do anything you want to, it's your blog.
Now, ten people to harass? Let's see, some people I know, some people I don't, some people who will probably do it, some people who will never know they're tagged and some people who have nothing to do with SF.
Family obligations: Jonathan
Heroes starts tonight on BBC2 at 9pm. This is good news for everyone who likes SF in the UK but doesn't have cable, satellite or bittorrent. (That will probably only be people who got here via Google).
The BBC is also showing a Heroes Unmasked, behind the scenes show after the main show. Tonight it's on at 10.20pm (because there's two episodes shown tonight). The website also has clips, trailers and games. And there's a very cool preview on The Red Button if you have digital tv.
Advice for new viewers. Stick with it. I originally gave up after 3 episodes, but it doesn't really kick in to episode 4 or 5.
Lou Anders likes DeathRay Magazine, which I still haven't read. For some reason I seem to have not been in a WH Smiths recently (in which many people loiter in the magazine section reading stuff and waiting for shopping companions to come and find them). Must try harder.
July 24, 2007
What do you think of groups like Mundane Sf who call for believable science in Sf?
I hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t heard of them before, but wish them good luck on their voyage.
William Gibson will be signing copies of his new novel Spook Country at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, on Wednesday 29th August from 1.00 to 2.00 p.m
Oooh. A quick excusion to Google maps reveals that I could probably make it there from the office in London. Hmmmm.
Right, finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was full of infodumps, deus-ex-machina, unguessable plot twists, and large sections where nothing happened. And yet still managed to include some large set pieces which the film company will be drooling over. I'm left feeling underwhelmed. That's all the review you're getting.
Now I can return to a less intense reading schedule. Back to reading The Atrocity Archives, which I'm a third of the way through. Then Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin which Tobias Buckell has kindly sent me (and signed too, cool). After that it's not worth planning, I have an agile reading list.
Coming up, a couple of reviews, a competition, (the crowd goes "oooooh") and some good old fashioned blogging.
And of course I can return to the interweb. If anything important happened this weekend and has finished, I'm not going to know, because I'm just about to hit Mark All As Read on Google Reader.
July 21, 2007
July 20, 2007
I guess it's a caper novel
July 19, 2007
Star Wars The Ultimate Visual Guide Special Edition is one of those big hardback DK books that looks slick and very pretty. The Special Edition version has been released to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, and has a few extras from the original edition. (I can't tell you exactly what because I only have the SE version, but the blurb says there's new stuff on comics, merchandise and Celebration). It's one of those books that you pick up, flick through and go "oooh", it has big colour pictures, lots of artwork, a shiny silvery dust jacket and that lovely new book smell. The presentation is really very nice and for a book like this that's a good chunk of the appeal.
Jetse analyses the Interzone slushpile for May, saying what worked for him and what didn't. Interesting reading.
For the record, I sent a near furture post catastrophe quantum computer story, which Jetse said "...while "Reboot" is a very good story, it still did not stand out enough for me to lift it from the slushpile". Which actually makes me feel quite good (a rejection with praise is surely the best type of rejection!).
July 18, 2007
You've got to be quick in this modern day bloggywebnet.
The F&SF giveaway....
Dear Blogger:I'm sorry to report that the giveaway promotion for our Sept. 2007 issue has ended and you will not be receiving one of the freebies from us. We received approximately 250 requests for the 40 giveaway copies!
July 17, 2007
The Guardian Unlimited is moaning about the Radio Times top 20 SF shows list, because they decided to exclude Doctor Who. Which makes Red Dwarf number one, which is not so bad. BUT HOLD ON! Torchwood better than Babylon 5, The Prisoner and Battlestar Galactica? Ha ha. Now I know it's a joke.
1 Red Dwarf
2 The X Files
4 Life On Mars
5 Buffy The Vampire Slayer
6 Star Trek: The Next Generation
7 Stargate SG-1
8 Star Trek
9 The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy
10 Quantum Leap
12 Blake's 7
13 Twin Peaks
16 Babylon 5
17 The Prisoner
18 Battlestar Galactica
20 Lost In Space
July 16, 2007
Maybe I'm misremembering things, but I'm sure only a month ago there was a discussion in the blogosphere about whether SF would end because we can't imagine the future, and I was saying, didn't we talk about this month? And then I got lost in a recursive loop. Except I didn't because all time is now in many worlds and... something...
Anyway, it's happening again.
The best response I've read so far is on SF Diplomat (and yes I'm taking a soundbite quote out of a few hundred words that you should read):
"There is no correct way to write SF and anyone who says "this isn't SF" is a dinosaur and a fool. SF is anything you say it is."
"The future is gnarlier than futurism."
SCI FI Channel will revive its popular original show Farscape as a Web-based series of short films on SCIFI.COM's SCI FI Pulse broadband network. [Via Sci Fi Wire] Ten episodes have been ordered.
This could be good if they go easy on the muppets.
4. Magic for Beginners (coll 2005), Kelly LinkAnd I still have an unread copy of The Trial (Kafka) on my shelf too.
Do people write stuff like this, The Right Time to Become a BSG Fan, just to provoke a reaction?
"When I first heard rumblings about a reimagined version of Battlestar Galactica on the Sci Fi Channel, I instantly dismissed it as not for me. I can stomach science fiction, but I'm not into "those" kinds of shows. I assumed it was another Star Trek rip-off or one of the endless stream of Stargate or Farscape clones. But I'm a serious TV watcher, and I enjoy genuine quality, not some geeky little show about robots and spaceships."
I seem to remember hearing about this before, but now the BBC has think confirmned it, Torchwood has broken out of the BBC3 ghetto and will be shown on the more mainstream BBC2. Don't know why.
Also confirmed, James Martsers makes a special guest appearance. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Also confirmed Alan Dale (yes, it's Jim Robinson from Neighbours) makes a star appearance. Oh how the slightly mighty have fallen.
Also not confirmed, Jason Donovan to appear in The Sarah Jane Mysteries. Oh.
July 13, 2007
Via Bucks Free Press:
K9, daleks and timelords descended on a quiet High Wycombe street last week as residents went Doctor Who crazy.
They had a Doctor Who themed street party. Well, why not?
It's always nice to read or he authors talking about their books, it's even better to see then talking about their books. William Gibson has a slick edited video imterview about Spook Country on his website.
I went to a William Gibson booksigning once, at Andromeda in Brum, I think it was Idoru, anyway after he signed my book I held out my hand to shake his. He hesitated, and looked at me in a sligthly distrustful way, as though maybe my skin had a rare nerve affecting poison that might infect him, then finally shook my hand.
July 12, 2007
Being a book of short stories it's quite hard to sum up the book without seeming a little vague. My best attempt is that I found most of the stories wonderful. Are you already reading between the lines?! He's a detailed breakdown of each story to explain further.
I finally got around to reading the post on Torque Control about the Readercon Panel "Reviewing in the Blogosphere".
It seems to boil down to the same old discussion: are reviews on blogs rubbish?
My answer: Some are, yes. But it's all subjective anyway, isn't it?
This article made me laugh, discussing how TV SF often gets science stuff wildly inaccurate...
"Most people can't get their minds around just how big the universe is. So it should come as no surprise that mostwriters can't either. This is chiefly true of creators of TV, film, and video game SF. Creators of written science fiction can be positively obsessive about accuracy."
My favourite example?
"In, the Enterprise was frequently "the only ship in the quadrant", despite the fact that there are, by definition, only four quadrants in the entire galaxy. "
Rotten Tomatoes, the film review site, has their 100 Best Reviewed Sci-Fi Movies. (Not sure how old this is because I stumbled upon it via delicious.)
Their top 10 is as follows:
- Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
- Minority Report
- The Empire Strikes Back
- Children Of Men
- The Host
- Star Wars (A New Hope)
Wow. Erm. Interesting.
July 11, 2007
Back to The Sun for more Doctor Who news. Keep calm...
"KYLIE Minogue will frill Doctor Who fans by dressing as a sexy French maid in this year’s Christmas Special.
The petite pop princess wears knee-high boots, sexy stockings and a lacy black and white costume to play gorgeous Astrid."
Almost lyrical the Sun's prose isn't it? Check out that alliteration. Better be careful or I'll be reading Heat before I know it. Oh, and there's a picture.
Almost lyrical the Sun's prose isn't it? Check out that alliteration. Better be careful or I'll be reading Heat before I know it.
Oh, and there's a picture.
The Sun says that Geoffrey Palmer and Clive Swift will appear in the 2007 Doctor Who Christmas Special.
As usual, don't believe everything The Sun says, but it seems at least plausible.
I reckon RTD will leave Doctor Who once he has exhausted the supply of well known Britishh actors to use.
<blockquote>"...an uproarious comedy that follows a group of young friends on a cross-country quest to break into Skywalker Ranch and see Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace before it is released."
Will be shown at Celebration Europe this weekend. Here's the details
Fanboys Rough Cut Premiere
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Platinum Stage, Level 3
ExCeL Convention Center
I only got a Facebook account recently. I was trying to resist.
Initially I didn't see the point, and to be honest, it's not much different then all the other web communities out there. However it does get more interesting when you add more friends and join some groups.
Arial at the Genre Files has names his seven highly-recommended genre aggregator blogs and it includes Big Dumb Object, which is very nice.
Joe Gordon - The Forbidden Planet Blog Log
Niall Harrison - Torque Control
Iain Emsley - Yatterings
Paul Raven - Velcro-City Tourist Board
JP Frantz and John DeNardo - SF Signal
Andrew Wheeler - The Antick Musings of GBH Hornswoggler, Gent
...and yes, I read all of them except Yatterings and Anticks, to which I have just subscribed.
When I decided to start a SF blog it was because I couldn't find any that I wanted to read. As soon as I started I found SFSignal, and then the SF blogosphere has continued to become larger and more interesting. For anyone just dipping into SF blogs, there's a real community out (th)here now, plenty to keep you going if you love SF, so drop by and say hello.
July 10, 2007
Charles Stross hits the high traffic big time of the BBC website with a version of his "lifeblogging, diamond storage" essay.
It's a fun read, and has a picture of Mr. Stross looking out a window.
And a picture of a diamond.
Funnily enough I've been contemplating doing something like this myself, mianly because I have loads of flash fiction pieces that I can't find anywhere to send. The general response to a 300 word story has been that it's too short. Maybe I haven't found the right market for micro flash SF stories yet?
However, I was going to do this after the big redesign. Oh yes, a redesign is itching in my mind, probably to coincide with the release of MT4.
Over at Velcro City Tourist Board, Paul says that Science fiction is a floating point variable, not a binary.
I prefer to think of Science fiction as a base class and a book is a multi-inheritance capable derived class. ;-)
Or even: IScienceFiction, IFantasy, ICyberpunk. Although not sure what the base IScienceFiction interface would have as method. ContainsSpeculation() maybe?
"this result doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t look like a controversy; it looks like a joke."Put your flak jacket on and watch the comment thread of that post.
July 9, 2007
"The three year old, meanwhile, is as happy as Larry. Dr Who didn't scare her at all. Indeed, she tries to help out by shouting "I am a human Dalek, Dora!" from the adjoining room, at crucial moments."Also some good comments:
"Children have to watch Dr Who, else what they would talk about in the playground?"and
"Just don't let her watch any more Dr Who, same for the 6-year old." Are you MAD? That would definitely be derelict parenting
The Guardian has some SF book "reviews". Actually they're more like micro-reviews, with only enough word count to get the blurb out and a one sentence thought. Eric Brown did the reviews, bet it was a right pain getting them down to those few words.
"You want them in how many words?!"
July 8, 2007
July 6, 2007
Justina Robson, who gave me the best writing advice I've ever had - "don't give up", has been interviewed by John Scalzi on Ficlets. And a very interesting interview it is too.
"I’m one of those lifetime scribblers who started out filling legal pads with Star Wars fiction and stories about ponies and ended up writing for a living."
July 5, 2007
It's Star Wars Celebration Europe soon (13th-15th July at the Excel Centre in London), but the website doesn't really have a lot of detailed information about what is going on. However Dorling Kindersley Books have mailed me to say that on their stand they'll have signings by the author and the two illustrations of You Can Draw Star Wars who are Bonnie Burton, Tom Hodges and Matt Busch, plus there will be a competition to win exclusive signed artwork.
There's something about the Star Wars illustrations books that satifies the true Star Wars geek inside me. When I was kid I had to make a Death Star out of a cardboard box, now you can get a look at what's really inside (well, officially real in fiction terms, not real real, because really it was just a lump of plastic). The DK website also has a gallery of how they build up the illustrations, using Slave 1 as an example. Cool artwork.
July 4, 2007
Oh. Is it Better The Devil You Know?
Meanwhile Martha Jones will be in 3 episodes of Torchwood. If you care. They're all just Spinning Around.
In better news, Especially For You, Kylie will appear in the Christmas special, and I Wouldn't Change A Thing. David Tennant, ooh, I Should Be So Lucky. Kylie, I Can't Get You Out Of My Head. I mean, Put Yourself In My Place, go on, you can Confide In Me, now the Word Is Out, If You Were With Me Now, what would you say? And don't give me any of that Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi. I wonder what the Kids think?
July 3, 2007
July 2, 2007
I finally got some pictures uploaded of the Brasyl trade paperback design. I have to share them because the book looks so cool.
The cover is that silver stuff that goes all rainbowy when you look at it at an angle (that's the technical Physics explanation). Notice Richard Morgan swearing on the front.
Underneath the front cover is an inner cover with cool artwork. Notice the cutout letters in the front cover.
The back is pretty too.
New Doctor Who finished its third series with an episode that didn't live up to the expectation.
July 1, 2007
- Where or When - Steven Utley (PS)
- Dark Alchemy - edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois (Bloomsbury)
- Glasshouse - Charles Stross (Orbit)
- Contract - Simon Spurrier (Headline or www.itsallaboutthemoney.co.uk)
- Parasite Positive - Scott Westerfeld (Atom)
- Twilight - Stephenie Meyer(Atom)
- The Harlequin - Laurell K. Hamilton (Orbit)