Category Archives: uncategorized

Let there be indexing

I’ve just finished creating an index of all my full-length reviews (see tab at the top). Been meaning to do it forever, but somehow my good intentions usually end up losing in the never-ending battle with procrastination. Anyway, it’s done now and I hope it’s helpful.

Through the wormhole — 10/8/09

A few weeks ago Kim Stanley Robinson wrote an article for New Scientist, Science fiction: the stories of now. It’s a stirring defense of the genre and its importance in today’s world. Robinson criticizes the jurors of Britain’s Booker award for judging “in ignorance” when they routinely overlook sf. You tell ’em, Kim!

By going here you can find an audio file of a radio program titled “The subversive side of science fiction.” This aired on an NPR affiliate in Louisville, KY, and features two guests, both sf authors/editors/scholars: Amy Sturgis and James Gunn. I loaded it on my mp3 player and listened to it while taking a walk one night. Good show.

If you haven’t yet seen the movie District 9, just don’t make any plans to see it in Nigeria; it seems they’re offended by it and are pressuring theaters not to show it. The reason?

Information Minister Dora Akunyili told the BBC’s Network Africa programme that she had asked the makers of the film, Sony, for an apology. She says the film portrays Nigerians as cannibals, criminals and prostitutes.

To which one person replied:

“It’s a story, you know,” he said. “It’s not like Nigerians do eat aliens. Aliens don’t even exist in the first place.”

This article in National Geographic News is about predictions made by H.G. Wells that have come true.

Soon you’ll be able to see the pilot episodes for a couple of Gene Roddenberry shows that could have been. From the sound of it though, I’d say it’s a good thing he went with Star Trek instead.

Costumes of the sci-fi stars will be on display at the California Museum in Sacramento, running through January 10. Way too far from me, but maybe you’re luckier than I am.

Here’s something I found interesting. It’s an interview with Patrick Gygar, who is the director of the Maison d’Ailleurs (“House of Elsewhere”), a science fiction museum in Switzerland.

And lastly, the Wall Street Journal’s Book Lover column received a letter from a woman asking how to get her 13-year-old nephew off of reading science fiction and onto other genres. To her credit, the columnist, Cynthia Crossen, defended the boy’s interest in sf, and told his aunt:

So Aunt B.’s mission is to gradually nudge the boy along the spectrum from Godzilla and 50-foot women to H. G. Wells, Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein and Douglas Adams.

Excellent advice.

Through the wormhole 9/13/09

Linky time again.

Sci Fi Wire has a map of 68 must-see sci-fi sites around the U.S. (with a few in Canada as well). Museums, buildings and locations used in movies, that sort of thing. Some of them are pretty lame; and hey, what’s The Texas Chainsaw Massaacre doing in there? The Midwest seems under-represented, with only James T. Kirk’s birthplace in Riverside, Iowa. They forgot about the Superman statue in Metropolis, IL — not far from where I grew up.

Here’s a list of reality shows and mainstream dramas that could be improved with the addition of sci-fi elements. I like the Dirty Jobs in Space idea.

Star Trek aftershaves. “Smell like the future, because tomorrow may never come.”

Here’s a graph at io9 showing science fiction television trends over the last 40 years.

Physicist Michio Kaku is a really cool guy; I see him on a lot of science shows and documentaries (the History Channel’s series The Universe for instance). Here he discusses how many science fictional technologies — like invisibility, teleportation, and time travel — are actually closer to reality than to fantasy. I recently watched a few episodes of another History Channel program, That’s Impossible (narrated by Number One himself, Jonathan Frakes), which explores the same ideas — the growing reality of laser weapons, force fields, and other sci-fi staples. Interesting stuff.

Domed cities on Mars or other planets have long been a common image in science fiction. Could they actually be coming to Earth?

Ben Bova talks about science fiction and why politicians should read more of it.

Isaac Asimov’s phycohistory may have more of a basis in reality than you thought.

A galaxy full of SF/F/H sites

I guess I’m a little late in posting this, but here I am, doing my duty (I’m such a damned procrastinator). John at Grasping for the Wind went to the trouble of compiling this massive list of sites/blogs that include, as at least a portion of their mission, reviews of science fiction and/or fantasy and/or horror. Everyone’s been posting this on their blogs in order to expose people to some new review sources, and to generate a lot of cross-traffic. Here’s John’s master list. Take a look, and enjoy all this literary goodness.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Romanian French Chinese Danish Portuguese German

A


7 Foot Shelves
The Accidental Bard
A Boy Goes on a Journey
A Dribble Of Ink
Adventures in Reading
A Fantasy Reader
The Agony Column
A Hoyden’s Look at Literature
A Journey of Books
All Booked Up
Alexia’s Books and Such…
Andromeda Spaceways
The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
Ask Daphne
ask nicola
Audiobook DJ
aurealisXpress
Australia Specfic In Focus
Author 2 Author
AzureScape

B


Barbara Martin
Babbling about Books
Bees (and Books) on the Knob
Best SF
Bewildering Stories
Bibliophile Stalker
Bibliosnark
Big Dumb Object
BillWardWriter.com
The Billion Light-Year Bookshelf
Bitten by Books
The Black Library Blog
Blog, Jvstin Style
Blood of the Muse
Book Love Affair
The Book Bind
Bookgeeks
Bookrastination
Booksies Blog
Bookslut
The Book Smugglers
Bookspotcentral
The Book Swede
Book View Cafe [Authors Group Blog]
Breeni Books

C


Cheaper Ironies [pro columnist]
Charlotte’s Library
Circlet 2.0
Cheryl’s Musings
Club Jade
Cranking Plot
Critical Mass
The Crotchety Old Fan

D


Daily Dose – Fantasy and Romance
Damien G. Walter
Danger Gal
It’s Dark in the Dark
Dark Parables
Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews
Darque Reviews
Dave Brendon’s Fantasy and Sci-Fi Weblog
Dead Book Darling
Dear Author
The Deckled Edge
The Doctor is In…
Dragons, Heroes and Wizards
Drey’s Library
The Discriminating Fangirl
Dusk Before the Dawn

E


Enter the Octopus
Erotic Horizon
Errant Dreams Reviews
Eve’s Alexandria

F


Falcata Times
Fan News Denmark [in English]
Fantastic Reviews
Fantastic Reviews Blog
Fantasy Book Banner
Fantasy Book Critic
Fantasy Book News
Fantasy Book Reviews and News
Fantasy By the Tale
Fantasy Cafe
Fantasy Debut
Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings
Fantasy Literature.com
Fantasy Magazine
Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin’ News and Reviews
Feminist SF – The Blog!
Feybound
Fiction is so Overrated
The Fix
The Foghorn Review
Follow that Raven
Forbidden Planet
Frances Writes
Free SF Reader
From a Sci-Fi Standpoint
From the Heart of Europe
Fruitless Recursion
Fundamentally Alien
The Future Fire

G


The Galaxy Express
Galleycat
Game Couch
The Gamer Rat
Garbled Signals
The Geeky Bookworm
Genre Reviews
Genreville
Got Schephs
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review
Grasping for the Wind
a GREAT read
The Green Man Review
Gripping Books

H


Hasenpfeffer
Hero Complex
Highlander’s Book Reviews
Horrorscope
The Hub Magazine
Hypatia’s Hoard of Reviews
Hyperpat’s Hyper Day

I


I Hope I Didn’t Just Give Away The Ending
Ink and Keys
Ink and Paper
The Internet Review of Science Fiction
io9

J


Janicu’s Book Blog
Jenn’s Bookshelf
Jumpdrives and Cantrips

K


Kat Bryan’s Corner
Keeping the Door
King of the Nerds

L


La Bloga
Lair of the Undead Rat
Largehearted Boy
Layers of Thought
League of Reluctant Adults
The Lensman’s Children
Library Dad
Libri Touches
Literary Escapism
Literaturely Speaking
ludis inventio
The Luminous Page
Lundblog: Beautiful Letters

M


Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf and Book Review
Mari’s Midnight Garden
Mark Freeman’s Journal
Mark Lord’s Writing Blog
Marooned: Science Fiction Books on Mars
Martin’s Booklog
MentatJack
Michele Lee’s Book Love
Missions Unknown [Author and Artist Blog Devoted to SF/F/H in San Antonio]
The Mistress of Ancient Revelry
MIT Science Fiction Society
Monster Librarian
More Words, Deeper Hole
Mostly Harmless Books
Multi-Genre Fan
Musings from the Weirdside
MyBlog2.0
My Favourite Books
My Overstuffed Bookshelf

N


Neth Space
The New Book Review
NextRead
Not Free SF Reader
Nuketown

O


OCD, Vampires, and Rants, o my!
OF Blog of the Fallen
The Old Bat’s Belfry
ommadawn.dk
Only The Best SciFi/Fantasy
The Ostentatious Ogre
Outside of a Dog

P


Paper Spaceships
Paranormality
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
Patricia’s Vampire Notes
The Persistence of Vision
Piaw’s Blog
Pizza’s Book Discussion
Poisoned Rationality
Popin’s Lair
pornokitsch
Post-Weird Thoughts
Publisher’s Weekly
Punkadiddle
Pussreboots: A Book Review a Day

Q


R


Ramblings of a Raconteur
Random Acts of Mediocrity
Ray Gun Revival
Realms of Speculative Fiction
Reading the Leaves
Review From Here
Reviewer X
Revolution SF
Rhiannon Hart
The Road Not Taken
Rob’s Blog o’ Stuff
Robots and Vamps

S


Sacramento Book Review
Sandstorm Reviews
Satisfying the Need to Read
Science Fiction and Fantasy Ethics
Science Fiction Times
ScifiChick
Sci-Fi Blog
SciFiGuy
Sci-Fi Fan Letter
The Sci-Fi Gene
Sci-Fi Songs [Musical Reviews]
SciFi Squad
Scifi UK Reviews
Sci Fi Wire
Self-Publishing Review
The Sequential Rat
Severian’s Fantastic Worlds
SF Diplomat
SFFaudio
SFFMedia
SF Gospel
SFReader.com
SF Reviews.net
SF Revu
SF Safari
SFScope
SF Signal
SF Site
SFF World’s Book Reviews
Silver Reviews
Simply Vamptastic
Slice of SciFi
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Solar Flare
Speculative Fiction
Speculative Fiction Junkie
Speculative Horizons
The Specusphere
Spinebreakers
Spiral Galaxy Reviews
Spontaneous Derivation
Sporadic Book Reviews
Stainless Steel Droppings
Starting Fresh
Stella Matutina
Stomping on Yeti
Stuff as Dreams are Made on…
The Sudden Curve
The Sword Review

T


Tangent Online
Tehani Wessely
Temple Library Reviews
Tez Says
things mean a lot
Tor.com [also a publisher]
True Science Fiction

U


Ubiquitous Absence
Un:Bound
undeadbydawn
Urban Fantasy Land

V


Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic
Variety SF
Veritas Omnia Vincula

W


Walker of Worlds
Wands and Worlds
Wanderings
Wendy Palmer: Reading and Writing Genre Books and ebooks
The Weirdside
The Wertzone
With Intent to Commit Horror
The Wizard of Duke Street
WJ Fantasy Reviews
The Word Nest
Wordsville
The World in a Satin Bag
WriteBlack
The Written World
The Wry Writer

X


Y


Young Adult Science Fiction

Z


Romanian


Cititor SF [with English Translation]

French


Elbakin.net
Mythologica

Chinese


Foundation of Krantas
The SF Commonwealth Office in Taiwan [with some English essays]
Yenchin’s Lair

Danish


Interstellar
Ommadawn.dk
Scifisiden

Portuguese


Aguarras
Fernando Trevisan
Human 2.0
Life and Times of a Talkative Bookworm
Ponto De Convergencia
pós-estranho
Skavis

German


Fantasy Seiten
Fantasy Buch
Fantasy/SciFi Blog
Literaturschock
Welt der fantasy
Bibliotheka Phantastika
SF Basar
Phantastick News
X-zine
Buchwum
Phantastick Couch
Wetterspitze
Fantasy News
Fantasy Faszination
Fantasy Guide
Zwergen Reich
Fiction Fantasy

A B C D E F G H <a I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Romanian French Chinese Danish Portuguese German

Book meme: My Life as Literature


Here’s a fun book meme I recently saw somewhere — I don’t recall exactly where. I wish I knew where it started so I could give proper credit. Oh well, such are the vagaries of the blogosphere. Copy the following questions, and answer them using only the titles of books you have read in 2009! Have fun. If you join in, or have already done so, please leave a link so we can all see your answers.

___________________________________

Describe Yourself: Man Plus

How do you feel: The Hollow Man

Describe where you currently live: The Ruins of Earth

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The City and the Stars

Your favorite form of transportation: Star Bridge

Your best friend is: Lady of Mazes

You and your friends are: The Immortals

What’s the weather like: A Deepness in the Sky

Favorite time of day: From This Day Forward

Your life has been like: A Bridge of Years
(I re-phrased this one; the original read, somewhat clumsily, “if your life was a”.)

What is life to you: The Gold at the Starbow’s End

Your fear: Anachronisms

What is the best advice you have to give: Consider Phlebas

Thought for the Day: This Is Not A Game

How I would like to die: The Demolished Man

Campbell said all fiction is science fiction

I just read something of interest. John W. Campbell, the influential editor of Astounding and shaper of many of SF’s Golden Age authors, once wrote in one of his editorials:

That group of writings which is usually referred to as “mainstream literature” is actually a special subgroup of the field of science fiction — for science fiction deals with all places in the Universe, and all times in Eternity, so the literature of the here-and-now is, truly, a subset of science fiction.

(Quoted in Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century, Edward James, 1994.)

That’s a different way of looking at things. You have to admit there’s a certain kind of truth to it.

So to all the anti-SF literary snobs out there: you’re reading science fiction too! Deal with it. 😉

Through the wormhole (links, 8/20/09)

Hmmm… I guess I should get one of these regular link features going around here, which are so popular around the blogosphere. I’ve been lazy, I admit; especially in the last few months, with nothing posted but book reviews. Anyway, I’m going to call it “Through the wormhole,” and I’ll try to do this at least a couple times a month, or more as time permits. Enjoy!

__________________________________________________

It seems Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics need a few changes.

In the continuing quest to mine the past for movies to remake, Warner Bros. sets its sights on Outland.

UFO sightings seem to spike after big blockbuster sci-fi films. Well duh! Little green men like a good movie now and then too, don’t you know?

Are fantasy and supernaturalism having too much of an effect on science fiction? When it comes to tv and movies, I think there may be something to the author’s contention.

Sign of the times: ecological catastrophe stories are going mainstream, rather than being the sole province of science fiction:

In short, environmental fiction is moving away from its roots in science fiction and is becoming part of mainstream literature – as is revealed by some of the most recent novels to tackle themes of climate change and the like.

HBO is developing a series based on Robert Silverberg’s The World Inside. Consider me intrigued. I’ll watch it. The fact that I don’t have HBO presents a minor problem, though. Oh well, I’ll cross that bridge later.

This guy cautions that we shouldn’t let our imaginations runs so wild that we forget about real world problems:

Fantasists ponder a future of superlongevity, superintelligence, and superabundance—as if wishing will make it happen. Meanwhile, people are dying. [….] Reading a lot of science fiction (which I do, and which I heartily encourage) can lead a person to think that if something has been imagined, then it must be possible. This is one of the risks of enjoying speculative fiction, and it’s made more acute by engaging uncritically in a community of like-minded believers.

It’s a point worth making. I can see how unquestioning acceptance of certain SF premises could, theoretically, influence someone’s beliefs, behaviors, votes, etc. For example, if you believe it’s inevitable that humanity will create off-world colonies within the next century or two, you might not be too worried about overpopulation. Or if you believe that medicine and genetic engineering will cure all major diseases in the near future, you may not put as much effort into a healthy lifestyle. However, I don’t really know anyone who’s so out of touch with reality that they make such decisions based on what they see or read in science fiction. And rather than blinding us with unrealistic expectations, I think SF actually provides more of a beneficial effect, by highlighting different problems and situations that maybe we hadn’t thought about before. Still, the general tone of the article seems to be “let’s keep things in perspective,” and it’s hard to argue with that.

On the Truthiness of Simulation:

Fiction is not true, but it is like truth. It’s truthy.

Of course good fiction (books, movies, games) has a certain realism — or truthiness — to it. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to connect to it at all, and it would be pretty useless.