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Scifi and fantasy features from 2006.

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The Allegiance of Star Wars
01/03/2007. Author Timothy Zahn interviewed about his latest novel, Star Wars: Allegiance, and his fifth Dragonback book, Dragon and Judge, which is coming out in May of this year.

Will the real Quatermass please step forward
01/12/2006. Nigel Kneale, an important force in British science fiction drama, is dead. Mark looks back at his life and his greatest creation, Quatermass, as well as his other works such as The First Men In The Moon and 1984.

An interview with Juliet McKenna
01/12/2006. Juliet E. McKenna is the author of the series The Tales of Einarinn and The Aldabreshin Compass, the final volume of which, Eastern Tide, is published by Orbit this autumn. Juliet talks about writing, reading, fitting in her novels around the school run, and the potential dangers of taking a fat cheque from film producers.

Desperately Seeking Sergei (part 1 of 2)
01/12/2006. A Psi-Kicks story by GF Willmetts.

Desperately Seeking Sergei (part 2 of 2)
01/12/2006. A Psi-Kicks story by GF Willmetts.

Dave Cockrum (1943-2006)
01/12/2006. An obituary of a comicbook artist, by GF Willmetts.

Global warming isn't Science Fiction
01/12/2006. This is the opening line of a speech by British Prime Minister Tony Blair last month. It gave Uncle Geoff pause for thought. Think about it. How many Science Fiction stories have you heard or read about which centres on global warming? A cursory look only really revealed one obscure one and I'm not even sure if it looks at contemporary effects. As to SF films and TV shows, the results have been even slimmer.

Travelling at the speed of Net
01/11/2006. Speed is relative to everything else, says Geoff. Nothing is ever stationary. Although what we see depends a lot on how far it has to travel to get to you. That's not to say there aren't absolutes. Take the speed of light. If it travelled instantaneously we'd see the night sky in a different light...literally.

Just Some Poor Lost Soul
01/11/2006. Short fiction from Lori L.E. Simpson. I wonder if you even notice me standing here, staring at you with hungry eyes. You probably think I am just another homeless weirdo, some girl after money or booze or pot.

Drew Karpyshyn interview
01/11/2006. An interview with Drew Karpyshyn, author of Star Wars Darth Bane, on how working in computer games helped Drew better understand the concepts of agency and motivation, and the differences between writing for games and writing novels.

The mystique of the fifties science fiction film
01/11/2006. This year at the World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles, our Mark attended a panel on the 1950s science fiction film. On the panel was Bill Warren. Now Warren has to be one of the world's leading experts on the science fiction films of the 1950s. He is the author of Keep Watching The Skies, a massive two-volume film-by-film study of science fiction films from 1950 to 1962. Bill asked the audience a question that was very apt. He wanted to know what was the special appeal of the science fiction films of that decade, the 1950s.

Readercon 17 report (Part 1 of 2)
01/11/2006. A convention report by Evelyn C Leeper. Readercon 17 was held at the Burlington Marriott, July 7th-9th, 2006. Attendance was probably around 500 people. Readercon is a literary SFF convention, so there was no art show, masquerade, etc.

Readercon 17 report (Part 2 of 2)
01/11/2006. A convention report by Evelyn C Leeper. Readercon 17 was held at the Burlington Marriott, July 7th-9th, 2006. Attendance was probably around 500 people. Readercon is a literary SFF convention, so there was no art show, masquerade, etc.

The ones who get left behind
01/10/2006. Thanks to everyone contacting me who contacted me last month after my editorial about my Mum who died in August. It really must have struck a nerve far more than my usual editorials so hope I can be excused something on a similar topic covering the aspect of grief and how it affects people.

No Noah's Ark
01/10/2006. Flash Fiction ... Forget about global warming as there's a greater alternative coming. Alternative is the right word. I've been there and there's no getting away from it.

Notes from the (video) revolution
01/10/2006. Excuse me, says Mark, if he gets a little nostalgic for the coming of this piece of technology and how it really changed the world of the technically-inclined cinema fan. Or one like him. VCRs did not come into common use until the mid-1980s and, in fact, he did not really rush to get one.

Trailer park report: live-action films, part 1
01/10/2006. Here's Mark continuing with his coverage of the trailers for upcoming films shown at the recent World Science Fiction Convention in the USA.

Thoughts on time travel
01/10/2006. Recently I watched the film The Time Machine again. That is one science fiction film that never ages. In part that is because none of it is set in the present. This film always sparked a disagreement between Evelyn and me about the nature of time travel. Assume the story were true. If today you went down into the cellar of the Time Traveller's house, would you see the Time Traveller there frozen like a statue or would you not see him there at all?

The Hooded Man
01/10/2006. New BBC Robin Hood fantasy television series prepares to hit the small screen in the UK. In this SFcrowsnest.com feature, actor Jonas Armstrong is interviewed about his role as the proto-hoodie.

X-Men: The Last Stand (Frank's Take)
01/09/2006. Sadly, X didn't mark the spot convincingly this time around for director Brett Ratner's third instalment involving our beloved mutant misfits, finds Frank. In X-Men: The Last Stand, Ratner fills up on the eye-popping action pieces and lets everything colourfully go BANG and BOOM with each overindulgent explosion.

Augusta May Willmetts, 1920-2006. My Mum
01/09/2006. Life is measured in moments, says Geoff. The moment you are born. The moment you die. Moments between can vary a lot. Exams. Jobs. Marriage. Children. Victories. Losses. Turning points. You don't remember every day and night. You just remember the moments that were important to you. Happy and sad. This is one of his sad moments.

Armageddon's Children: an interview with Terry Brooks
01/09/2006. Fantasy author Brooks on why his Word and Void series could run to as many as nine or ten books, on making the connections between the present-day world of the Word and Void and the far-future world of the Shannara books, and why he thinks the SFF genre is doing just fine.

Power vacuums always fill
01/08/2006. This editorial is getting changed daily based entirely on the situation with Israel and Lebanon, says Uncle Geoff. It's one of those times where its impossible to stay within subject when there is a war escalating in the Middle East and the casualty rates rise so I hope you can forgive my concern for both sides. Let's hope any commentary will still have some meaning by the time

Torching Torchwood
01/08/2006. Doctor Who: The Torchwood Season - an appraisal by GF Willmetts. If you want to know what happened in each of the stories of the latest season of Doctor Who, says Uncle Geoff, may he recommend you look elsewhere. Certainly there is enough already on the Net to spoil any surprises you might have if you don't live in the land of its birth, Great Britain.

Interview with Josh Conviser
01/08/2006. The author of Echelon discusses his latest novel, Echelon - think spy-fi -cyberpunk spiced with Bourne Identity-style intrigue.

Time travel on television
01/08/2006. We just finished watching "Texas Ranch House" (or as Mark calls it, "Prairie Dog House") on PBS, and I have concluded that there are some major underlying problems to the whole notion of putting modern people in historical living conditions.

Against civilised warfare
01/08/2006. Nothing has done more to corrupt humanity than the attempt to civilise warfare, notes Scots science fiction author Ken MacLeod. Just War Theory is an utter perversion of the moral sense, a doctrine of literally mediaeval barbarism, invented by clerics to regulate wars between Christian kings. Its finest moral discrimination to date is that it's legitimate to kill a munitions worker on his way to work, but a crime to kill him on his way home.

The geography of Planet Beach
01/08/2006. There is a business near my house called Planet Beach. This name has always bothered me. You may see the name and leave it at that. I take it a step further. I start thinking about the mathematical meaning of Planet Beach.

Aaron Allston interview
01/07/2006. An interview with Aaron Allston, author of Star Wars Legacy of the Force: Betrayal. Arron talks about Sith philosophy thinking about the personal ethics of the so-called bad guys in his novels.

SciFi Soccer
01/07/2006. Given the choice between football and watching paint dry, says Uncle Geoff, he goes for the latter. Seeing a tiny air bubble burst makes his day. Correction: make that slow-drying paint just to make it more exciting.

The real James Bond
01/07/2006. In a recent conversation I referred to James Bond as a super-hero, at least in the films. Not everybody agrees with me that Bond is a super-hero. He is supposed to be just very proficient at doing whatever he does. It has been a while since I have read the books. I am not sure what I say here applies to the books, but in the films I think that Bond is a super-hero and that his powers are luck and coincidence.

The Return of the Water Engine
01/07/2006. A friend has said that she recently had seen a news item talking about a water-powered car. She thought that she had seen the item on CNN news. At first I had wondered if it was an April Fools joke, but she had seen it in May, not on April 1st. My friend insisted that she had seen the story and she later pointed me to a reference to it. It did indeed seem to claim that there was a car with a water engine.

Lunacon 2006
01/07/2006. Evelyn C. Leeper brings you a convention report from the depths of the USA's Hilton Hasbrouck Heights. She looks at the state of fandom, alternative history and asks what are the out-of-print works we miss the most?

Hal Duncan interview
01/06/2006. An Interview with Hal Duncan, fantasy author of Vellum, The Book of All Hours. The Big D on trailer-park biker-chick fairies and writing around the Jungian model of the psyche.

My Dudgeon
01/06/2006. There is a word you hear occasionally that really exemplifies a state of mind, says Mark. Do you like the word dudgeon? Do you know what it means? I think that may be a test of age. If you are young you probably have never heard of the word.

Wake Up
01/06/2006. Short fiction from the pen of Danny O'Connor.

Science Fiction made me do it!
01/06/2006. How many of you have been inspired by your favourite SF or horror book, film or TV series to go out and repeat an action for real or blame what you've done on said things when caught? If you haven't then put your hands down. Also put your hands down if it was only at a convention in fancy dress, you're really a cyborg or proven alien (that includes a proper medical biopsy!).

Illegal Prime Numbers
01/05/2006. It has come to Mark's attention that there is such a thing as an illegal prime number. Well, there are all sorts of prime numbers. There are Mersenne primes and Fermat primes for example, but this was the first he had ever heard anyone refer to there being an "illegal" prime.

Forbidden Planet's 50th
01/05/2006. Last month was a small anniversary that should not go unmentioned, says Mark. On the 15th of last month (oddly the Ides of March), we passed the 50th year since the release of one of the most imaginative and influential science fiction films ever made. That film is the visionary Forbidden Planet - once claimed to be the first science fiction film to ever take place entirely in space.

Be afraid. Very afraid.
01/05/2006. Should there be more cautionary science fiction tales, and, if necessary, add a bit of optimism while at it? Uncle Geoff investigates.

Speculation or Science Fiction Friction? (or when labels meet)
02/04/2006. There's been some recent talk about the labelling of Science Fiction, says Uncle Geoff. Old topic. Nothing learnt. Static subject. My turn to have a say on the matter. Oddly enough, this has little to do with the overall meaning of our genre. I think my definition that Science Fiction covers stories where one or more changes to reality has to be upheld throughout the story still stands.

Interview with Naomi Novik
01/04/2006. Fantasy author Naomi Novik interviewed about His Majesty's Dragon, a new book that has been described as Master and Commander meets Dragonriders of Pern. Novik talks about bringing a little Patrick O'Brian and Jane Austen to the world of sword and sorcery.

Interview with Peter Hamilton
01/04/2006. The author of Judas Unchained talks about how necessary is it for a science fiction writer to keep up with the latest theories and developments in physics and other sciences, religious fundamentalists censoring scientific inquiry, and how to keep the number of characters and sub-plots stretching across books at a dazzling level.

An Interview With Nick Scovell
01/04/2006. The adaptor and director of the theatre production of The Evil Of The Daleks talks about the trials and challenges of bringing a rather lost Doctor Who episode to the stage in the UK.

Where I get my other ideas from
01/04/2006. A couple of weekends ago, Scots science fiction author Ken Macleod was a Guest of Honor at Boskone. He had a great time, and would like to thank all the good folks at NESFA who made it possible. He hasn't yet had time to write a con report, though he may yet. Meanwhile, here is his GoH talk, more or less as delivered.

What I did not like about Spider-Man II
01/04/2006. Now Mark realises that most of America liked the movie Spider-Man II, he feels he should get out his list of complaints about the second film before the third launches out into the world's cinemas.

Timothy Zahn: Outbound
01/04/2006. An interview with SFF writer Timothy Zahn, author of the Star Wars novel Outbound Flight. He talks about how Outbound Flight began life as a throwaway line, why it took so long to get out of the gate, and how the original impetus came from Lucasfilm.

Philcon 2005 (Part 1 of 2)
01/04/2006. Doyen of the US SFF convention scene, Evelyn C Leeper brings you her latest con report from Philadelphia's largest annual science fiction event, Philcon. She sits in on the great SF issues of our age - debates such as Does the Hugo Still Mean Anything? and Livin' La Vida Dorka: How to Live a Fannish Life.

Philcon 2005 (Part 2 of 2)
01/04/2006. Doyen of the US SFF convention scene, Evelyn C Leeper brings you her latest con report from Philadelphia's largest annual science fiction event, Philcon. She sits in on the great SF issues of our age - debates such as Does the Hugo Still Mean Anything? and Livin' La Vida Dorka: How to Live a Fannish Life.

A box is limited only by the size of the walls you give it
01/03/2006. An ability Uncle Geoff takes for granted, is being able to look at things from different perspectives and viewpoints or what is commonly called thinking outside of the box, or really outside his own personal mindset. A useful asset for any science fiction editor or writer.

Of mutant bread and Frankenstein
01/03/2006. Evelyn got a new kind of bread. It is called "Extreme Wheat Bread." Now most people would not give that a second thought. I am not most people. I am not sure what makes bread extreme. They show sweaty football players on the bag. Not a sight I like to look like over breakfast. That makes the bread experience not so much extreme as repugnant. I did notice that the bread seems to lead an unnatural life. This stuff can be weeks old and it still feels fresh.

Revolver: Mark's Take
01/03/2006. Revolver, written and directed by Guy Ritchie, comes off like Jim Thompson crossed with Philip K. Dick. It is hard to say if it will go better with a crime audience or a science fiction audience. Con games. Chess games. Mind games. They all mix in the hands of a villain you will not guess, says Mark.

The Pixelated Pixie
01/03/2006. Short fiction from the pen of Bob Lock. A touch of cyberpunk with the dormant pixie of pixels.

Miss Oberon Regrets (Part One of Two)
01/03/2006. A Psi-Kicks story by GF Willmetts.

Miss Oberon Regrets (Part Two of Two)
01/03/2006. A Psi-Kicks story by GF Willmetts.

Barb & JC Hendee interviewed
01/02/2006. One of the most famous husband and wife teams in the fantasy and horror-writing world talk about researching medieval Serbia and Yugoslavia, loving Buffy and Angel, and consider the literary mafia who make judgments as what is or isn't literature.

Religion, ethics, and genetics
01/02/2006. Mark looks at the standard Sunday school view of history and the belief that nobody would be virtuous without a fear of God. But might any ideology - and a belief in morality is an ideology - have a genetic basis instead?

Don't do this at home!
01/02/2006. Kids have always played their favourite characters in their games, notes Uncle Geoff. When westerns were popular, gunfights at the OK Biscuit. Along came detective shows, it was cops and robbers. With Science Fiction, super-heroes and super-humans, the stakes just got a little higher especially when it could be enacted on TV and films. Fertile areas for games providing you didn't get too carried away with climbing instead of pretend shooting.

A conversation with Charlie Huston
01/01/2006. The author of Already Dead chats about what sets the vampires of his novel apart from the bloodsuckers familiar to readers of Stoker, Rice, and Hamilton, as well as to fans of Buffy and Angel.

Johnny And The Bomb
01/01/2006. New from the BBC, Johnny And The Bomb is a time-slip story based on the book by Terry Pratchett. It's an adventure that takes Johnny Maxwell and his pals back into the Second World War.

Schrödinger's Pill
01/01/2006. Flash fiction from the pen of Ray Tabler.

That only makes it worse (or reality should depend on the hand of the writer)
01/01/2006. What tends to distinguish Science Fiction from fantasy of any sort is the avoidance of using deus ex machina, says Uncle Geoff, a rough translation of which means 'the hand of god', for sorting out a story problem or solution. It's the sort of thing amateur writers do when not pre-planning a story and writing themselves into a corner without any viable, sensible or plausible solution.

Humans: Keep Out!
01/01/2006. Many science fiction stories are based on humans exploring the galaxy at some point, says Uncle Geoff. Very few focus on mankind being confined to our Solar System let alone being confined there by aliens for one reason or another. Based on our current lack of manned space exploration, he doubts if we will be going very far any time soon.

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