September 2011 Archives

September 26, 2011

Strange Horizons Needs Your Support

You know Strange Horizons right? They publish awesome SF online for free. Which is nice. They also have cool columns and reviews and poetry. I don't really need to tell you this do I? You all read it don't you? And you'd all like it to remain online and free and groovy, obviously. In which case, to show your support, why not partake in their annual fund raising drive?

If giving some money to support a wonderful online publication isn't enough of a reward, THEY HAVE PRIZES!

Spread the word.

September 24, 2011

This week I have mostly been...

...reading Reamde. It's big. 500 pages in. Loving it. 
...reading Writing Fiction and doing the exercises.
...watching Doctor Who.
...watching Fringe Season 2.

September 10, 2011

Rare Star Wars Photos

mental_floss has some awesome old photos from the sets of the Star Wars films, like this:

Carrie, Harrison and Mark seem to be having a rather lovely time.

September 6, 2011

Outpost - Adam Baker

I wasn't even intending to start reading Outpost by Adam Baker.  I had mentally queued Outpost after Reamde by Neal Stephenson, which was due to arrive at my door any day. However I thought I'd read the first page to get a feel. Which turned into the first chapter, and then I couldn't put it down. I finished it in record time for recent books, a mere couple of days.

Outpost is a fast paced apocalyptic Science Fiction thriller, set in the Arctic aboard an isolated oil refinery. It's not revolutionary SF but it takes some well worn tropes and crafts fast paced action out of the ideas. It's one of those thrillers when everything keeps getting unimaginably worse, cranking up the tension and the action and the pace. The sort of novel you can very easily imagine being turned into a Hollywood action film.

There's a few interesting choices the characters have to make, my favourite: would you prefer to live in luxury at the expense of safety, or a bare but safe(r) existence? And there's also some examination of the purpose of living: when you're living in a bleak, black Arctic, what's the point? What keeps us as humans going? It's not deep philosophy but does show the characters struggling with these questions.

The (very) end let me down a little bit, but it made perfect sense and fits the overall tone of the story. I think I was just looking for something else after all the tension, not going to say any more, spoilers.

I thoroughly enjoyed Outpost. If you want a novel that pulls you through it at breakneck pace I think you'll like it too.

September 1, 2011

September's Ansible Is Online

David Fury, scriptwriter for Lost, recalled a memorable moment of liaison with the ABC-TV network: 'There's an episode in which [the long-term character] Said is being tortured by the French woman, and she is giving up the story of how she got there, and she was there with a research team, and Said asked her what were they studying, what was their expertise, and she said, "Time." And the network said, "You can't say that, that's veering into science fiction." [Audience laughter.] And at this point, we'd had a paraplegic stand up and walk, we'd had a smoke monster no one had seen, and they're going "No, no, no, you can't have this 'Time' thing, it's too science-fiction, the audience won't go for that."