September 2007 Archives

September 28, 2007

M. John Harrison on Mundane SF

Jeff VanderMeer interviews M. John Harrison on the Amazon book blog. I love what he says about Mundane SF:

"While I agree with almost everything that Geoff Ryman and the Mundanes say about SF, I can't join them because I find it impossible to assign different levels of plausibility to acts of the imagination. If you limit yourself on the grounds that faster-than-light travel isn't "realistic," you might as well go whole hog and write only fiction set on the street where you live; if you limit yourself to that, you might as well go whole hog and write nothing but nonfiction; if you limit yourself to that, you might as well go whole hog, admit that writing is not the real world--and can't even successfully represent the real world--and give it up altogether.

I'd be happy to do that, and indeed I've already done all of those things more than once in the last forty years. But if you're going to write SF in the first place, why not lie back, admit it's a farrago, and enjoy it ? I think there's a great deal to be gained from revaluing and enjoying the distinction between the invented and the real. As long as you maintain that, SF's a great genre."

Bionic Woman to be shown on ITV early next year

Whilst talking about ex-EastEnder's star Michelle Ryan's success in The Bionic Woman the BBC also say:

"The Bionic Woman is due to be shown in the UK early next year by digital channel ITV2."

Although the ITV site has no news I can find and no holding site where I'd expect it.

Start of The Invasion to be shown on SciFi UK

"The first 10 minutes of The Invasion will premiered exclusively on the SCI FI channel, at 10pm on Tuesday 9 October."
That's the UK SciFi channel. Interesting  move, not sure I've ever heard of a film having it's first ten minutes shown on TV as advertising. The film was released in August in the US, but will be released in the UK on 12th October.

September 27, 2007

Brad Paisley, Online, with Shatner

Brad Paisley has a video for a song called Online, which includes a William Shatner cameo, and frequent insults to Star Trek fans. Which, I think, is fair. [Via Deanna Hoak]

I have no idea whether this is a new song or not. Presumably Mr. Paisley is quite famous in the US, being a country singer.

"I'm so much cooler online."
For the record, I'm so much cooler offline.

Knight Rider, the return?

SciFi Wire has news that Knight Rider may be set for a return.

"The new show will explore the idea of "evil" cars to offset the heroic talking K.I.T.T. car"
I could never work in TV or films, I just can't think crazy enough things. Wouldn't it be better and cheaper just to reshow the original series?

Heroes - Season 2 Episode 1

No spoilers here.

So, the first episode of the new Heroes season. It was enjoyable. Not earth shatteringly brilliant, not without fault, but fun. Hiro is still the main reason to watch.

Best comment about the episode so far? (In response to what tried to be blatant product placement but was in fact lost on me because I had never heard of that particular car model.)

Sci Fi Ranter Girl:
"Dear Nissan,
When your cars fly, I'll be interested.
Love, Cat."

September 26, 2007

Flight of the Conchords - The Humans Are Dead

The Flight Of The Conchords television show was shown on the BBC for the first time last night. How often do you hear songs about robot uprisings killing all the humans on BBC4? Not very often, hence it's worth celebrating.

September 25, 2007

Doctor Who, Up Pompeii!

The latest Doctor Who press release has lot's of (minor) spoilers including details of the Doctor taking a trip to Pompeii.

Titter ye not!

BSFA awards open for nominations

If you're a BSFA member you can now nominate novels, short fiction, artwork and non-fiction for the BSFA 2007 Awards. Basically you can nominate anything published in 2007. The deadline for nominations is midnight (GMT) on Saturday 19 January 2008, and you send in nominations by email.

So, what did I read that was published this year.....

The Sarah Jane Adventures - Episodes 1 & 2

Yesterday the first two episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures were shown on the BBC (the first one on BBC1, the second straight after on the digital channel CBBC).

It was okay. I think perhaps I'm a bit too old for it! Suddenly Doctor Who doesn't look so much like a kids show (which let's face it, it is). The setup is this: Sarah Jane lives in a suburban house with a super computer thingy in her attic, her teenage son turns up and together with two other teenagers they start fighting alien invasions etc. The first two episodes they fight The Slytheene, which if you remember can be killed by vinegar. Not so difficult a foe then. They also turned off the sun for a while, using a big lever, and it went blue, which is interesting.

Just good enough to keep the kids interested in the Doctor Who franchise until the new series of Doctor Who.

September 24, 2007

2000 AD Radio 4 documentary

The 2000AD Prog Slog has news that Radio 4 broadcast a documentary about 2000AD on Saturday hosted by Phil Jupitus. You can listen to it again on the BBC Radio Player. It's okay, just a history of the comic really, but it's nice to hear an interview from Pat Mills.

September 23, 2007

What it's really like to be a SF writer

Do you want to know what it's really like to be a SF writer? Tricia Sullivan's Livejournal is my favourite blog at the moment, summing up succinctly and amusingly what SF writers really have to go through. She's doing progress updates on her new novel. Each writing update is like a writing themed episode of Outnumbered.

A list of SF TV Show Premieres

Over at SciFi Ranter Girl, Cat has a list of SF TV shows starting new series this week.
I shall of course watch Heroes (yes, I was wrong about it) (the BBC is up to episode 10 by the way).
I shall have to watch The Bionic Woman to boggle at Michelle "strike a light guvnor" Ryan's accent.
I shall try and catch The Sarah Jane Adventures, although it's probably on at kid-o'clock pm.

September 21, 2007

More Star Wars TV details from George Lucas

George Lucas reveals some more details about the upcoming Star Wars TV shows, both sound very cool...

The animated Clone Wars TV Show -
"It's a lot of battle stuff, and it's obviously the Clone Wars, so it's a war picture." 
"We're going to do a hundred episodes. I think we're on No. 40 right now. We'll probably end up with 50 to 60 episodes before we start to put it on the air."

The live actions Star Wars TV show -
"It's set between movie Episodes III and IV, when the Empire has taken over. It's like Episode IV in that the Emperor and Darth Vader are heard about -- people talk about them -- but you never see them because it doesn't take place where they actually are. There are stormtroopers and all that, but there are no Jedi."
"We're going to do a hundred of them, too."

Via Star Wars Blog

The Heinlein Archives - you have to pay

"The Heinlein Archives presents digital copies of the entire collections of Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein in downloadable form for research and academic purposes"
Sounds good, until you realise you have to buy them, with money.
Via Slashdot.

September 20, 2007

Comments working, now with OpenId

Thanks to Ariel for letting me know that my comments were broken. They're not only working now, but you can also sign in with OpenId, so that's using Livejournal, Vox and accounts amongst others.

Let me know if you have problems...

Catherine Tate doesn't know much about Doctor Who

Catherine Tate says:

"This is how un-into-it I was before: I didn't know that there was more than one kind of alien; I just thought it was always the Daleks."

If only, that were true for some alien episodeds (Slytheen, you're rubbish).

Unfortunately even the worst aliens can get a reprieve in a spin-off series.

September 19, 2007

Dinosaur Pirates In Space

Oi oi me 'earties!

What's better on this fine day than talkin' like a pirate?

Dinosaurs in space that talk like a pirate.

Star Wars game to be released on the Wii. Wiimotes as Lightsabers!

This is what I've been waiting for all my life, The Force Unleashed, on the Wii. Wave a wiimote around to control your lightsaber.

"The Wii version, in development by Krome Studios, will also add an exclusive duel mode in which players can compete head-to-head with their friends to determine the ultimate Jedi Master."

Also check out the awesome concept artwork on the games site.

Here's the official press release.

Via Boing Boing Gadgets.

September 17, 2007

Pictures of Star Wars characters in urban backgrounds

Cédric Delsaux has some amazing photos of Star Wars characters super-imposed against urban backgrounds.
The gallery on his site in flash, but nice and big, or there's an html version here.
[Via joey interactive]


Or what about some countryside?


I missed Jonathan Ross in Search of Steve Ditko

Last night, as part of BBC four's Comics Brittania, was a programme called Jonathan Ross in Search of Steve Ditko...

"Stan Lee is famous as the author of the Spider-Man stories, but the man who designed the characters, illustrated the comics and came up with many of the storylines, co-creator Steve Ditko, is virtually unheard of. In this documentary, Jonathan Ross, a lifelong fan of Ditko's work, hopes to tell his story."

Sounds, good. Never fear that I forgot and watched Michael Palin in Albania, that's what the BBC iPlayer is for. Except that it's not on the iPlayer. I can only assume it's because there's a repeat on Thursday 20 September 12.30am-1.30am (what a stupid time). At least, I hope so. So far my experience of the iPlayer has not been good. Bet it's on bittorrent somewhere.

September 15, 2007

Crystal Rain / Ragamuffin - Tobias Buckell

I've just read Crystal Rain and it's sequel Ragamuffin , by Tobias Buckell, back-to-back, so I thought I'd review them both in one go.

Continue reading Crystal Rain / Ragamuffin - Tobias Buckell.

September 14, 2007

flash and Gordon adverts

For those people bemoaning the state of the new Flash Gordon series, it could be worse. Look what we have to put up with in the UK....

A Light Saber "Simulator"

A completely pointless, but fun for a minute on a friday afternoon, lightsaber simulator.

An in depth analysis of crewmember deaths in Star Trek

A serious analysis of the Red-Shirt Phenomenon in Star Trek by a marketing consultancy.

  • Yellow-shirt crewperson deaths: 6 (10%)
  • Blue-Shirt crewperson deaths: 5 (8 %)
  • Engineering smock crewperson deaths: 4
  • Red-Shirt crewperson deaths: 43 (73%)

"The red-shirt survival rate is slightly higher when Kirk meets women than when a fight breaks out."

September 13, 2007

Star Trek Insurrection on Joost UK

Joost has done a deal with Paramount Pictures in the UK. They now have a load films on Joost, including Star Trek Insurrection and Trekkies. Not amazing for SF yet, but for free and including films such as Breakfast At Tiffany's, it's not a bad start.

[Via a Joost email newsletter]

September 12, 2007

Weeping Angels are the scariest

"The Weeping Angels have been voted this year's Scariest Monsters in a poll of over 2,000 Doctor Who Adventures readers."

It probably helped that Blink was one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever.

Furniture doing Chewbacca impressions

Cabinets, vacuum cleaners, children, dogs. Everyone can sound like Chewbacca.

September 11, 2007

Tron 2 director announced

Disney have announced that Joseph Kosinski is to direct the sequel to Tron, cunningly titled Tron 2. He's also down for the completely pointless remake of Logan's Run. The good news is that he's already working on a Light Cycle sequence.

Time to get out your glowing neon clothes.

Red Dwarf episodes online

Somehow all of the Red Dwarf episodes are online. Surely not legal?
Season 3 is my favourite. Backwards, Polymorph and Timeslides....oh yes.

Build your own Gonk Droid

Something else to make for people who have too much spare time on their hands - a Gonk Droid from Star Wars.

[Via Star Wars blog]

Total Recall remake?

There's rumours going around that Total recall is going to be remade, because the intended sequel turned into Minority Report or something. None of it makes sense.

The only sure thing is that film makers in Hollywood are crazy. How many cool original scripts must be floating around in the world? Please stop remaking things. Please.

Torchwood going down well in the USA

It appears that Torchwood is going down well in the USA.
But that's after one episode.
Shame it didn't live up to its potential.

Dear Aunty Beeb,
       Please make series two of Torchwood good.
        Big Dumb Object

September 10, 2007

A pictorial comparison of spaceship sizes

Here's a picture showing the compararive sizes of some famous spaceships.

Ever wondered how big an Executor Class Star Destroyer was compared to Babylon 5? Or the Battlestar Galactica? Or Deep Space Nine? Or the Enterprise? Or a Borg cube? Or Moya from Farscape? Or the spacestation in 2001? Or a monthership from V?

They're all there, and more.

I have no idea how accurate the pictures are, but it looks cool and it's good fun.

How To Make a K9

 "we decided to make a K9 to go with our TARDIS" -

Well, of course. has detailed instructions on how to make a K9 in true Blue Peter style.

[Via Star Wars Blog]

Clarion Writers' Workshop announces resident writers for 2008

The Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop hs announced it's writers in residence for 2008. They are:

The workshop is held on the campus of the University of California, San Diego and the dates for 2008 are from 29th June to 9th August.

Wow. What an awesome collection of writers. I would so love to go to that. Unfortunately the chances of me ever having 6 weeks, in California, over summer, for a writing course, are approximately zero.

September 7, 2007

How to blog like Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow gives some tips in a video interview on how to be a succesful blogger.
Cory's always an interesting speaker, his blogging tips are common sense, but unfortunately mean that you should write sensible titles for your posts. Which is a shame.

Via Thomas Crampton.

Science Fiction Awards Watch Hugo Changes Poll. Vote now.

Science Fiction Awards watch has a poll about how you would change the Hugos. Go and vote.

Gollancz Future Classics

Niall is talking about Gollancz's Future Classics series at Torque Control, and rounds up the links and discussions. He also, finally, comes to the conclusion that Fairlyland by Paul McAuley is stunning. Which is good, because it is.

The Gollancz website seems mysteriously quiet on the subject, so I nicked the list from UK SF Book News [1]:

Two I've read, two sitting on the shelf waiting for me, two that are so thick they put me off, one which I really want to get and one which I'm indifferent about because of a bad experience with a previous book by the author.

1. And changed the Amazon Associates Id in the vague hope that one day I'll actually get some money from them. Any money. Enough to pay my hosting perhaps?

September 6, 2007

The Sarah Jane Adventures and the Slitheen

The Sarah Jane Adventures starts soon and one of the monsters has been revealed... the Slitheen.

Oh dear, only the worst alien from the entirety ofthe new Doctor Who series.

September 5, 2007

The Guardian asks "Who should be the next Doctor Who?"

In a small comment piece the Guardian discusses who should be the next Doctor in Doctor Who. Names mentioned : James Nesbitt, Daniel Radcliffe, Paul McGann, John Barrowman, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Bill Nighy.

The article of course has errors. For a start, it's The Doctor, not Doctor Who. Also, since when was the Paul McGann TV film the only Doctor Who film?

September Ansible is online

September 4, 2007

Cool SF Bang Bang T-shirts

Bang Bang T-Shirts has a couple of cool SF shirts...

September 3, 2007

BBC buys Heroes

The BBC now has exclusive rights for Heroes on terrestrial and multichannel from the second series onwards.

Under the deal, the BBC will have the option of buying all content beyond series two at a pre-agreed price.

Cool. A good SF show on terrestrial TV first. Until Sky offer a gazillion pounds to buy it.

BBC Doctor Who site celebrates the Hugo win

The official BBC Doctor Who site has acknowledged winning a Hugo (or two) for Doctor Who. Which is nice.
I watched The Girl in the Fireplace again today, it's a wonderful episode.

Also the official press release about the Doctor Who gap year is online. Although "There are no pictures and no interview opportunities available." So forget your tricky questions to Tennant.

No full Doctor Who series in 2009

The BBC have announced that in 2009 there will be just three Doctor Who specials and not a 13 part series. However there will be another full series in 2010. And David Tennant will be in the 3 specials. Bet he's not going to do the series in 2010, although no official word. Presumably this will also be when they switch the crews and someone takes over from RTD.

Nostalgia And Comics is 30 years old

FPI Blog has a post about Nostalgia And Comics, a comic shop in Birmingham (the real one), which is thirty years old.

Just the name brings back memories. Going into Brum on Saturdays (which involved a bus, a quick shuttle train, and a proper train), heading out the back of New Street, down to Nostalgia And Comics, when the road was still built up high like an over-pass, blocking out all the light. Very cool. So many comics I knew nothing about, searching for old issues of 2000AD... And then over the road to J Pass music to buy some guitar tab books.

Those were the days.

September 1, 2007

The SF Site catalogues Year's Best Science Fiction

SF Site has catalogued the Year's Best Science Fiction books, you can sort it by author, story title and volume. Useful. And makes me want to buy some old volumes.

John Meaney is fit

I knew John Meaney did martial arts, but now he reveals a sample week of training. So that's how you keep fit as a writer!

My personal theory is that exercise is bad for you.

Hugo-a-go-go 2007

And The Winners are....

Seen first on Science Fiction Awards Watch, who also have more analysis. And here's the official site.

As usual I haven't read or seen everything and can't comment other than how I feel about the winners. Well, I'm happy for Ian McDonald, because his last two books are awesome. I'm not entirely surprised that Glasshouse didn't win, despite enjoying it immensely I think it lacks something to make it a classic. I would have guessed at Blindsight winning, purely down to it's free availability, but no. (It's still in my to-read pile). I thought the James Tiptree biog was interesting, if not gripping.

Films, well they were all pretty good, still haven't seen Pan's Labyrinth but everyone says it's great, so that's fine.

TV, quite happy with Girl In The Fireplace, it being one of the best Doctor Who episodes in New Who.

All the other stuff I really don't have much of an opinion about, surely they're mainly down to exposure?

The SFWA really don't get it

So the SFWA issue a DMCA order to Scribd to take down stuff they say is copyrighted. It gets BoingBoinged by Cory. Every finds out about it. Everyone goes to Scribd (which I had never heard of until now).

Here's stuff on Scribd tagged ScienceFiction