February 2011 Archives
February 28, 2011
It’s that time of year again, Clarke Award season!
Torque Control has the full list of books that have been submitted this year. You can call it the long list for shorthand but what it really is, is the list of books that publishers have submitted to be considered for the award: 54 in all, from 22 publishers/imprints.
Head over to Torque Control for the chance to win the entire shortlist by guessing what the actual shortlist will be. Yes, nigh on impossible, but worth a shot.
My guess? I really don’t know, haven’t read most of them, haven’t really got a clue but as a real uneducated guess….
The Dervish House, The Windup Girl, Lightborn, Zoo City, Kraken, Monsters Of Men.
February 27, 2011
Missed last week. Never mind here’s the catch-up, including last week.Listened
- Working my way through Cory Doctorow’s collection With A Little Help. I think I’ll do a full review at the end. Here’s what I listened to this week:
- Other People’s Money
- Pester Power
- Power Punctuation
- Visit The Sins
- Finished Zero History by William Gibson, review on the way.
- Started reading The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaneimi
- Outcasts, which has been bumped to Sunday nights and I’m beginning to lose interest in.
- Episodes, which finished and was funny with a touch of bittersweet.
- Hustle finished, the series was a usual great fun.
- Being Human, which I’m also losing interest in. It’s lost that spark of originality and is now chucking all the horror clichés into the mix.
- Submitted lots of stories again.
- Started writing some new scenes for a story I’m editing.
- Generated some story ideas.
February 24, 2011
Love looks like a cool indie Science Fiction film about an alien trapped on a space station. I think I saw the original trailer a while ago, this is the new one. I hope it gets a wide release in the UK because I really like the look of it.
(Thanks to Dave for the link.)
February 23, 2011
It looks like a horror movie, on the Moon. With astronauts.
(Thanks to Dave for the link.)
February 22, 2011
February 16, 2011
February 14, 2011
Things I most want this week:
- Never Let Me Go. Trailers everywhere, trying to avoid spoilers as I haven’t read the book.
- Paul. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have been everywhere promoting Paul this last week, and of course they have been funny. And every clip I’ve seen of Paul has made me laugh. I think I may be part of the target demographic.
- More time to read. As usual.
- More time to write. As usual.
February 13, 2011
These week-notes seem to be getting later each week. It’s almost next week. But better late than never. Relevant(ish) things I’ve done this week:
- Human Readable by Cory Doctorow. I guess the story must be novella length as it was a 1.5 hours long, narrated excellently by Spider Robinson. It’s a story of emergent networks, the benefits they bring versus the freedoms we may lose, and what may happen if people start gaming them. So, it has the technical SF stuff you’d expect from Cory, but it also has a lovely emotional thread. A love story, but with some complications. I enjoyed it a lot.
- Being Human. As mentioned on this blog, not enjoying this series as much.
- Episodes. Still funny.
- Outcasts. A promising start.
- Zero History by William Gibson. Finding it difficult to get into, London, Paris, aloof and feeling a bit empty.
- Almost keeping on top of the blogs. Even made my way through some of my backlog.
- A few hundred words of a story, which has an initial idea but no plot. Some things never change.
- More stories submitted. More rejections.
February 10, 2011
The first series of Being Human was fresh and funny and sad and scary. Even the pilot.
The second series of Being Human upped the stakes with greater peril and a bit more horror.
The third series of Being Human, so far (3 episodes in), seems to have lost the wittiness and the emotional core. Now the characters are becoming caricatures of themselves: Mitchell is mopey and angsty, Annie is irritating and George's wittiness seems nullified by Nina. Instead of the almost mundane dealings of a strange household we now have larger Vampire plots and dealings with the afterlife. The central enjoyment of the odd household is getting lost in the trappings of Horror genre.
I've never been a big fan of Horror, but I liked the human emotion of Being Human. I liked the sad life of a Vampire despite its cliché, somehow the handling in Being Human made it feel real. But now there seems the temptation to throw the genre sink at it. It's like taking great Science Fiction, with characters at its core, and throwing more aliens at it. Blood! Death! Cage fights! Old vampires! Zombies! Unnecessary.
It's a shame. I hope it picks up. I hope it remembers what made it brilliant.
February 9, 2011
Outcasts episode 2 continues the story immediately after episode one. This time we have new colonists, a creepy prayer group with a cult leader and rogue clones.
It didn’t live up to the promise of the first episode but it wasn’t bad. It was let down by the fact that the new plots this episode seemed rather predictable: a hostage situation, an imminent power struggle, a man with presumably a violent past. Well, it’s predictable if you’re a SF fan, perhaps the rogue clones would be a surprise other people.
What is still good is the density of the story, everyone has a story and the plots are seething to kick off. I suppose it’s what we expect now after Lost but still.
The visual were still okay, but inside better than outside, which is starting to look a bit like South Africa. Somehow the first episode felt a bit more alien. Oh, and I like the lens flares, of course.
It still has plenty of potential but needs to impress with the next episode.
February 8, 2011
Two of my favourite TV shows from the last few years are Spooks and Hustle, so if you take the TV company, Kudos, which made not only that but also Life On Mars, and you get the creator of Spooks, Ben Richards, to work together on a Science Fiction show I’m going to be excited. Right? Correct. What I’ve been waiting for, a serious attempt at adult SF by the BBC, called Outcasts.
The first episodes starts with a large spaceship heading towards a planet, of course, and so far so good, the visuals being fine, the spaceship looking a bit old and battered. The spaceship is a transporter for colonists, fleeing from Earth to Carpathia, a planet in the Goldilocks Zone which has been settled for ten years. The planet is earth-like, it was filmed in South Africa and looks suitably dramatic, but the settlement still looks a bit ramshackle.
The initial dialogue was not promising, quite a few explanatory sentences that were shoe horned in to explain things. Yeah, I know that prime-time SF will have to deal with audiences that aren’t SF literate but the blatant exposition was a bit rough and unnatural. Still, after the set-up it settled down to reveal a few interesting plots woven together: the arrival of the new settlers, the tension between the security forces and the expeditionary soldiers, the mystery of what happened on Carpathia in the early days. All pleasingly kicked off to mesh together. It feels like there’s a bold theme running throughout the series about whether the human race could start again and make a better society, a proper SF idea at it’s core, and hopefully one that’s fully explored in the future.
The visuals were also good, the interior shots reminded of Bladerunner, with bright lights through blinds except with added computer screen displays, whilst the outside shots were bright and almost bleached. Interesting.
Acting wise it was good too, Jamie Bamber particularly entertaining as the off-kilter soldier Mitchell, whilst Hermione Norris does a scientist version of Ros from Spooks, plenty hidden in her past.
And yes, I enjoyed it. There was every chance that my expectations would be let down seeing as I’ve been looking forward to it so much, but they weren’t. And even more promising is that there appears a whole snakes nest of plot threads ready to burst out and ensnare the characters. I’m looking forward to the next seven episodes….
February 7, 2011
Things that I most want this week:
- Outcasts! Starts tonight BBC1 9pm.
- Never Let Me Go. Saw the trailer at the cinema and it looks great.
- Some peace and calm.
- Another hour a day.
February 6, 2011
- Scroogled by Cory Doctorow, read by Wil Wheaton. Enjoyable and scary SF story about how Google could turn evil and what it would mean.
- Black Swan. Tense, stylish and made me look away from the screen a few times. A well acted and well directed psychological thriller. Not SF but odd enough to not really be considered mainstream. I thought it was good, but don’t go and see it if you’re after a fluffy ballet film.
- Being Human. Not sure about series 3. Will try and write up why.
- Episodes. Still making me laugh.
- Zero History by William Gibson. Not far into it. It feels strange. Odd. Not at all SF. Disappointed that it’s set in London which makes it feel very mundane. Hope it picks up.
- Google Reader says “From your 111 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 962 items, clicked 64 items, starred 0 items, shared 3 items, and emailed 0 items” but I often mark items as read when I haven’t read them so those stats mean nothing. I can tell you that it feels like I read too many blogs and never get to spend time reading the interesting stuff, I currently have a list of twenty posts or so waiting for some time.
- Plenty of submissions.
- Negligible fiction writing.
- Zero blog writing.