Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Couple Quick Notes

As the title says, just a couple quick notes:
  • Work on the Summer, 2007 issue has begun. It will be online in a couple weeks.
  • If you're interested, I've posted to the Some Fantastic website the review of John Scalzi's Old Man's War that I wrote for the New York Review of Science Fiction at the beginning of last year.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Issue #11 Delayed

Sadly, I will post the Winter, 2007 Issue sometime during the second week of February rather than on schedule within the next few days. I haven't been late in posting an issue before, and I'm hoping that this is the last time it happens.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

At iTunes Store for Free: Lectures for Spring, 2006 SF Course

Just as a PSA for all the other SF fans who might be interested, I just wanted to pass on that while randomly searching through the podcasts at the iTunes Store, I stumbled upon Prof. Courtney Brown's lectures from his Spring, 2006 Science Fiction and Politics course at Emory University. They're available for free and include discussions of Darwin's Radio, Uplift War, Ender's Game, Neuromancer, Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep, The Forever War, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Brave New World and The Left Hand of Darkness. I haven't listened to any of them yet, but I am in the process of downloading them all to my computer. I'll provide a brief review of the first few lectures once I've had the time to listen to them myself.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

50 Most Significant SF&F Books Meme

I actually commented on the SFBC list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novel back when the list first came out in the beginning of 2003. However, a meme using the list and new discussions of it have recently flaired up in fandom -- someone needs to tell me why this suddenly become a hot topic in the sf&f community again after it laid fallow for a few years. Anyway, here's the meme about the list, with my responses.

This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club. Bold the ones you've read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished, underline those you own but haven't read, and put an asterisk* beside the ones you loved.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov*
3. Dune, Frank Herbert
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein

5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson*
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick*

9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.*
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish

16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card*

23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick

34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon*
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys

41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut*
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson*
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein

47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

King Begs Rowling to Spare a Life (Snark)

Apparently, John Irving and Stephen King are asking J. K. Rowling to spare Harry Potter's life in the final Harry Potter installment. I find King's plea horribly ironic given how many times he's destroyed civilization and killed characters, both minor and major throughout all his fiction. It's sort of like Stalin trying to tell... well... anyone that they should respect the rights of all other humans on the planet.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cover Problems

I'm starting to a bit sorry for Syne Mitchell. I'm reading her latest novel, The Last Mortal Man, as a bit of pleasure reading before I continue reading the books I have promised to write reviews for. Thus far, it's a nice little read -- well paced, with nicely drawn-out characters and a slightly different take on the nanotechnology than I recall reading before. However, the publisher, Roc, has done her a disservice in the back cover summary and in the cover illustration.

The back cover summary starts as follows: "In the twenty-fourth century..." Already, we have a problem. The main narrative of this book takes place in 2186 (a number of events, back story for the main event, take place beforehand). I know I haven't had my math skills rigorously tested in a while, but I figure that as the late twenty-second century. Big difference. Actually, it has little bearing on the events of the story, but some copy editor or fact checker could have easily caught that slip.

Then, there's the cover.

There are a few problems with this illustration:

  1. Assuming that's supposed to be Jack, one of our protagonists, on the cover, this scene doesn't exist in the book. The destruction of Manhattan takes place off-stage and he is nowhere near it when it happens. In fact, he only sees live pictures of its destruction.
  2. Jack is deathly allergic to the nano-designed biology that encompasses the earth, and anytime he's in a major metropolitan area, he needs a full-body isolation suit for protection.
  3. If that's not Jack, then this is a very unusual human being, because nearly every adult on the planet has undergone some sort of nano-engineering. And unless he is unmodified, he should be dying from the very thing destroying New York.

I don't know much about how these things happen in the publishing world. But clearly, Roc has done a major disservice to Ms. Mitchell in handling the cover of her book.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

F&SF Blogging Promotion

Right now, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is using a blogging promotion to get word out for the July issue, which is now at newsstands and bookstores. I was fortunate enough to get one of the free issues as part of the promotion and hoped to post a review of it as it hit the streets. Alas, I wasn't able to finish it -- I'm only halfway through. However, I can say with certainty that Terry Bisson's "Billy and the Unicorn" and R. Garcia y Robertson's "Kansas, She Says, Is the Name of the Star" are worth the $3.99 cover price alone.

If you don't already subscribe or haven't already picked it up, by all means do so.