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July 2003 Offworld Report

01/08/2004. Contributed by Stephen Hunt

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SFF imprint Earthlight is axed, John Jarrold angrily speaks out on this, Richard E Grant becomes the new Dr Who, why Clarion matters, Eric Van Lustbader is interviewed, and a fab review of POD-based SFF fiction (hint, it's really, really bad).

All the choice news, articles and comment that is - somewhat - fit to print which appeared offworld the 'Nest last month.

PICK OF THE MONTH

My Week as a PoD Person
Print on Demand, or POD, has been touted as a technology to liberate SFF authors from the yoke of the publishing house oppressors. But what kind of quality do you get in POD works of science fiction and fantasy? This fascinating article trawls various small-press and self-published works, and finds - largely - a stink-bag of complete pants … along with a few jewels in the rough.


WEIRD SCIENCE & REAL SCIENCE

Them Cogs of Precognition
This European Space Agency report looks at the most promising investments for future technology, based on a studied wish-list borrowed from diverse arts. Their methodology led to them cobbling together more than two hundred technical dossiers about what might be 'the next big thing'

Droids Don't Bite
Not all droids are Terminator-class menaces to humanity. ArtBots, a robot talent show, shows children the cuddly side of bots.

Super Powers To Go
The real science behind fictional super powers such as regeneration, teleportation and weather control.

Behind the Pentaquark
A new type of subatomic particle has been discovered with far-reaching consequences for mankind's understanding of matter-level science.

The Time Travel Manual
Time Travel in your basement? All you need is an understanding of theoretical physics, control of the space- time continuum and a bit of cosmic string.

US Goes Hypersonic
The United States is planning to build an unmanned hypersonic bomber capable of striking any target in the world within two hours.

Floating High on Antigravity
The antigravity devices called lifters have no moving parts, no fuel and no shortage of hobbyist experimenters - even inside NASA.

Hulk Think
Wil McCarthy looks up the science behind the Marvel Comics' green machine in his piece entitled The Mathematics of Hulk.

Nasa Strato-Plane Bombs Out
The prototype solar plane intended for use as a cheap terrestrial satellite system is destroyed in an accident in the Pacific.

Snap. The Alien Solar System Similar to Sol
British scientists find a star with a planet in the same orbit as Jupiter - and this Jupiter-like planet is the key to allowing ET life to develop.

Fly Me to The Stars
Oh dear, will we ever have the power systems necessary to reach deep space?


INTERVIEWS

Carol Berg Interviewed
Fantasy author CB chats about her splendid Rai-kirah saga.

Eric Van Lustbader Interviewed
The fantasy author behind the Pearl Saga, Eric Van Lustbader, is interviewed.

That Caulfield Lass
Emma Caulfield, alias Anya in Buffy, puts the fans in a tizzy with her plans to quit her role as everyone's favourite vengeance demon. She chats about this and her new movie, Darkness Falls.

A Devil of a Time
David Boreanaz talks about a new meaner Angel in the Buffy spin-off TV series.

Jon Courtenay Grimwood Interviewed
The creative talent behind El Isk talks about SF's Arabesk series of novels.

The Great Garland
Alex Garland interviewed - he's the screenwriting brains behind 28 Days Later, don't you know.

Ian R. Macleod Interviewed
The author of The Great Wheel and The Light Ages comes clean about his work and life.

Mostow on Mostow
The director of T3: Rise of the Machines, Jonathan Mostow, chats about life with Arnie.

Hulking Large
Somewhat famous Hollywood powerhouse Ang Lee chats about bring the big green thing to the silver screen.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Has a Quick Bite
The author behind the vampire hero Saint-Germain talks about writing horror.


GAMES

Used Droid Going Cheap
Money and artifacts from the Star Wars Galaxies game are turning up on auction sites for real money barely a month after it opened its virtual doors.

Beam Them Out Now
Activision wants to burn its contract to churn out video games based on Star Trek. The games house claims Viacom has allowed Trek's franchise to rot, ruining the gaming license's value.

The Force Isn't With Them
Would-be Jedi knights and Ewoks have been forced to wait to discover their destiny in the online Star Wars Galaxies game as glitches strike.

The Hidden Life of Dungeons and Dragons
A new book presents a behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of game culture, through the eyes of one of its leading fans no less.

Gamers Not Nerds - True
According to a survey, most gamers are not nerdy antisocial chaps; apparently the lovely ladies also like to play games.

Doomed Raider
The new Lara Croft video game comes in for a lot of stick from fans and critics.

Women; The Secret Market
With the gaming audience equally divided between men and women, why aren't programmers going after the female market?

Magic Online Bulks Up
The publisher of the world's favorite collectible fantasy card game creates an online counterpart - including real-world prices for digital objects - and is greeted by howls of laughter. One year on, Wizards of the Coast is coining it in grinning all the way to the bank.


LITERATURE

Reaching for The Stars
Fantasy is stealing the market from the more traditional science fiction genre, but it's still a tough solar system out there for S&S authors.

Gemstar Bins its eBook
Gemstar eBook - alias ex-Nuvomedia - has sadly stopped making all of its eBook reading devices and halted eBook novel sales after racking up even more losses.

A Life in SF Reading
Revisiting one of science fiction's more neglected heroes.

Booker Winner Disses Potter
Booker winner AS Byatt claims Harry Potter is written for people whose imaginations are "confined to soaps, reality TV and gossip".

Potter-Mania Sweeps World
The waiting is finally finished for the thousands of fans who lined up all over the world to snap up the fifth and latest book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.

Pakistan Pirates Hit Harry Potter
Pirated versions of the latest Harry Potter book appear on sale in Pakistan - outselling JK Rowling's official version.


NEWS

The Extermination of Earthlight
Simon & Schuster shockingly axes their fantasy and science fiction imprint Earthlight.

John Jarrold on Earthlight Elimination
The ex-head and founder of Earthlight sends an angry and righteous rocket towards the corporate assassins of Earthlight.

Grant takes on DR Who role
The ninth incarnation of DR Who is to be played by the ever-disheveled British actor Richard E Grant, according to the BBC.

Museum Reveal Rings Secrets
Lord of The Rings fans get to explore the sorcery behind the movies SFX at a London museum.

Why Clarion Matters
Many angry messages have been sent to Michigan State University to support restoring funding to the Clarion Writer's Workshop. But the MSU administration stays silent.

Harry Potter Home for Sale
Harry Potter fans will have to save if they want to buy the latest piece of Potter memorabilia.

Harry's The Man
Hollywood honors legendary SFX artist Ray Harryhausen.

Science Fiction's Biggest Fan Passes Away
Jason, who recently died at age 86, was ten years old when Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mastermind of Mars, printed in the Amazing Stories Annual of 1927, caught his imagination.


TRAILER TRASH

Freddy vs Jason

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Terminator 3

The Hulk

Elf

28 Days Later

Sinbad - Legend Of The Seven Seas

Tombraider: The Cradle of Life

The Punisher


CONS

The 12th Annual Anime Expo
Japanese animation used to be big in the USA. But where does it go next?


COMICS

Coloring In Comics
WASP super-heroes still rule the gene, but characters of other colors – and not just goblin green - are now pulling on their underwear outside their clothes.

Marvel Make Money
The Hulk becomes the latest Marvel Comics character to hit the big screen, following in the lucrative of footsteps of Spider-Man, X-Men and Daredevil.

Diana Becomes Super Hero
Diana, Princess of Wales is to be reincarnated as a mutant cartoon hero in a title from Marvel Comics.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Reviews of The Absolute Edition of TLEG By Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, as well as Top 10: Book Two.

Lalumière On Ellis
Among others, Lalumière reviews graphic novels by Ellis, Robertson, Milligan and Ewins.


AWARDS

Sturgeon 2003
This year's Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalists are released.

Locus Awards '03
The latest Locus Awards - given to winners in Locus Magazine's annual poll - get trotted out at Westercon in SeaTac, Washington.


MOVIES AND MEDIA

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
TLEG assembles a splendid team of heroes to battle a plan for world domination, and then, just when it seems about to become a real corker of an adventure movie, plunges into incomprehensible action and idiotic dialogue.

Tron Gets An Upgrade
Twenty years of SFX innovation after Tron was first released, fans of the SF cult movie will soon be back in the film's futuristic bike race - this time on a computer screen.

Flawed Pirates Still Swashbuckling Fun
Johnny Depp stars in Pirates of the Caribbean, a film based on a ride of the same name at a Disneyland theme park.

The Cyborg Who ... Governed Me?
In what may be the oddest political campaign kick-off in history, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as a pensionable robot in Terminator 3.

SF Tales – Game Stylee
Three-dimensional games are usually associated with Quake, but the underlying technology lends itself to telling tales too - and a new genre of animated movies, called machinima, has grown up to exploit it.

Westfahl on Terminator
Gary Westfahl looks at Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Metal Guru
The New Yorker also looks at Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Terminator 3 - Space Opera?
In the dawning days of science fiction, there was a chasm between the concept-oriented authors and those who churned out space opera.

The Terminator at 55
The machines-crushes-humanity franchise sadly starts to show its age.

Looking Back in Anger
Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later comes under the microscope.

Tarantino Movie Sliced and Diced
Quentin Tarantino's new fantasy martial arts movie Kill Bill is to be divided into two films. The movie, with Uma Thurman as a kick-ass female assassin, is being released as two separate 90-minute movies after the first take came in at over three hours.

Hulk Breaks Blockbuster Mould
Why old Ang Lee's Hulk is nothing like other super hero movies such as Spider-Man, Batman or Daredevil.

Sinbad Hears Linux's Siren
Animators worrying about how to create SFX for Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas got a surprise hand from Linux. The new DreamWorks movie is the first created entirely using the open-source operating system.

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