In tune with Close Encounters of The Third Kind
01/12/2008. For Uncle Geoff, re-watching the three versions of the film 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind' raised some odd questions regarding first contact with an alien species visiting Earth, assuming director/writer Stephen Spielberg isn't too far off the mark with how humans would react. Logistically, an alien species would not be exactly world conquerors nor even wishing to impart their knowledge or wisdom to the primitive apes that populate this planet.
The ruckus about Pluto
01/12/2008. Mark recently got into a discussion with an older science fiction fan about Pluto. He had brought it up jokingly saying the ninth planet was now supposedly no longer a planet.
Nostalgia is always something that appears better than we thought it was
01/12/2008. Something I give some thought to occasionally is how the past can seem better than the present. Granted there is a habit of remembering only the good things not the bad from our childhood. As youngsters, when we're experiencing things the first time around we have nothing to compare it to so its no wonder we feel golden-eyed about it.
Why science fiction needs a little magic
01/12/2008. Mark's wife Evelyn has been reading the book Beyond Star Trek by Lawrence M. Krauss. Krauss is the author of The Physics of Star Trek, in which he looks at the science of Star Trek from the point of view of a physicist. He is not just a physicist...
Upcoming 2009 fantasy and science fiction book releases - part II
01/12/2008. Back in August 2008, the Fantasy Book Critic posted an article that showcased his pick of the best upcoming 2009 book releases. That spotlight really only scratched the surface of what 2009 had to offer though, so now he is back with Part Two, which is a little bigger, and hopefully, better. So enjoy, and please note that all release dates are subject to change and that any covers depicted are not necessarily the final version.
Upcoming 2009 fantasy and science fiction book releases - part III
01/12/2008. And here's the 3rd and final part of The Fantasy Book Critic's look at the best upcoming 2009 book releases for the scifi and fantasy genre. There's a few SFF novels here that will be on our reading list for next year, that's for sure.
Gareth L Powell interviewed
01/11/2008. Science fiction and fantasy author Gareth L Powell is interviewed by Gareth D Jones. He talks about his novel Silversands and writing works of short fiction for the likes of UK SFF magazine Interzone.
01/11/2008. Apparitions is a new BBC fantasy horror drama that looks at priests fighting possession and satanic conspiracy. All out war between good and evil is imminent and it's time to choose sides. British actor Martin Shaw stars as Father Jacob, a Roman Catholic priest who is working to promote candidates for sainthood but is drawn against his will into the world of exorcism. The idea for the series came from Martin as he had long wanted to play an exorcist and it was subsequently picked up by ace SFF writer Joe Ahearne - Ultraviolet, Doctor Who etc. SFcrowsnest looks behind the scenes at Apparitions and interviews Martin Shaw, who is always very Professional(s), as well as others from the cast.
01/11/2008. A really short story of Halloween by: GF Willmetts.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
01/11/2008. As you might have noticed in the past couple months of reviews, Uncle Geoff has been looking at the second 'Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers' film and, more recently, the first season of 'The Invaders' 1960s TV series - anyone else having problems getting their DVD player playing this?
Skipped in science fiction
01/11/2008. Last month, says the ex-editor of the Science Fiction Book Club, Andrew Wheeler, it seemed like the whole science fiction and fantasy field was obsessed with skipping. Greg Frost was skipped by Borders. Toby Buckell was skipped by Borders. Pat Cadigan was outraged. Gwenda Bond was more thoughtful. Many other people examined their liberal guilt about buying from a chain store, and were vaguely uncomfortable about the whole thing.
Inside the Blogosphere: Science fiction and fantasy's bedroom antics
01/11/2008. In science fiction and fantasy, should sex be included in the narrative or not? Should there be different standards for its inclusion in young adult or adult literature? John Ottinger throws the thorny question to a panel of leading scifi bloggers. What should those standards be? What are your personal standards and why?
Sarah Jane Adventures returns for second series
01/10/2008. Sarah Jane, Doctor Who's former companion returns to the TV screens in BBC Children's drama adventure series produced by Russell T Davies.
Godzilla after Cloverfield
01/10/2008. Mark R. Leeper was on a panel at Denvention in which the topic of giant monster movies was discussed. It got him thinking about them and how the film Cloverfield will affect them. For most of his life Godzilla has been a cultural icon. Godzilla is today one of the most recognisable fictional characters in the world, perhaps.
Sword and Sandal Films
01/10/2008. Our Mark asks whatever happened to old Steve Reeves movies?
Media Tie-ins: A Little More
01/10/2008. A lot more discussion have been going on regarding media tie-ins, making SM Duke realise how big an issue this really is in the genre world. Lou Anders wrote a fascinating post and in it he quoted someone else who likened the bias in genre fiction against media tie-ins to the bias of non-genre folks against genre.
Jeff Carlson interviewed: A plague on both your houses
01/10/2008. John Ottinger chats with science fiction author Jeff Carlson about his Plague trilogy, a series of scifi novels concerning a nanotechnology-based plague driving humanity to the edge of existence - and a very high one at that: mankind retreats to the tops of mountains to survive.
Meeting the Marauder: an interview with Casper Van Dien - Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
01/10/2008. Casper Van Dien, star of Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, chats about why his Johnny Rico has failed to be promoted in the military, Ed Neumier's directorial debut, Casper's role in Mask Of The Ninja, and kicking some bug butt in fighting-mean power armour.
Mapping science fiction and fantasy
01/10/2008. Is the map the territory? This issue, John Ottinger asks a panel of SFF bloggers to discuss their opinions on the use of genre maps in science fiction and fantasy novels. Is cartography only for directionally-challenged readers, and do they ever add to a novel, or simply dumb it down?
An Interview with Joely Sue Burkhart
01/10/2008. Conducted by Kelly Jensen. Author of four books, Joely Sue Burkhart is quite the reader herself, her tastes ranging from mythology to romance. She lives with her husband and three children in Missouri. By day, she's a computer programmer with a Masters of Science degree in Mathematics. By night, she conjures tales of romantic fantasy.
01/10/2008. A Psi-Kicks story by: GF Willmetts. Mary Travers hazel eyes flashed open, sparkling and full of life. There was also a sudden flash of anger mixed with sadness immediately followed by the sensation of solution. So many emotions but only one decision. The right one in every way.
There is always a way to find money to spend
01/10/2008. If anything, Geoff thinks that we in the Science Fiction community have a greater awareness than we are credited with. Not that he necessarily wants to be gloomy, more from the point of view of some positive aspects that puts us in a better light.
The wizardry of Merlin
01/09/2008. Merlin is a new thirteen part fantasy drama series on BBC One that aims to update the tale of the infamous sorcerer of Arthurian legend for a family audience. The mythical city of Camelot, in a time before history began. A fantastical realm of legendary beasts and mysterious peoples. A dangerous world in which the ruthless tyrant, Uther Pendragon, has banned magic. When Merlin, a young man gifted with extraordinary magical powers, arrives in the kingdom, he quickly makes enemies, including the heir to Uther's crown, the headstrong Prince Arthur. They aim to do for fantasy what Smallville did for Superman.
The Merlin interviews
01/09/2008. SFcrowsnest looks at the actors who appear in the new Merlin TV series, including John Hurt who plays a dragon (little-known fact: he also did the voice work for Watership Down), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's own Anthony Head who plays evil-type Uther Pendragon.
Meet the Bloodheir: Brian Ruckley interviewed
01/09/2008. Brian Ruckley talks to our Aidan Moher about his fantasy novels Bloodheir and Winterbirth, about how he came to the internet late but has now fully embraced it, and his involvement in the publishing process of his books.
The best science fiction and fantasy novels of 2009: Part One
01/09/2008. Robert Thompson, aka The Fantasy Book Critic, brings SFcrowsnest a round-up of his pick of the best up-coming fantasy and science fiction novels for 2009. Part two is promised soon as soon as more catalogue details are sent in to him. Get to it, Rob.
01/09/2008. A short story by: GF Willmetts. In the future you have to use your loaf. In fact, the kinder people in the population might just invite you to one of their bread parties...
01/09/2008. A species' survival really depends on two things. The speed of propagation and making a niche in the ecology. Sometimes they can both work together, especially if you can evict or even eat your competitors. Saying that, creatures that prey on you aren't that big a problem cos its possible for a species to evade and propagate wildly to out-live the deadliest carnivore.
02/08/2008. An appraisal of the fourth season of Doctor Who by GF Willmetts. How, asks Geoff, to write a review of season four of Doctor Who without spoiling it for everyone who hasn't seen it across the world?
Robots and Slaves
02/08/2008. Our science fiction reading group is discussing a shorter work this month, says Mark. It is Jack Williamson's novelette With Folded Hands, which appeared first in Astounding Stories in 1947. In the story a man who sells in mechanicals - basically robots - finds his business dying when new superior robots come along to compete. The new robots, streamlined black humanoids - are in every way superior to the robots he had been selling. But the new robots have more than superior technology; they have an ideology.
Bugbears Of The Grammatical Kind
02/08/2008. We all have bugbears, says Uncle Geoff. Things that crawl under your skin and nag at you to say something when something is clearly wrong. They can range from simple to complex things and you often wonder why they don't bother other people or if they do why aren't there more complaints. One of his tends to be grammar and punctuation, an occupational hazard mostly because I deal with it all the time.
Rolling some thunder with John Varley
02/08/2008. SFF author John Varley talks to Shaun Duke about how writing science fiction is all he knows how to do, why the core of SF is concepts that you get by reading in science and other SF stories, and how all John's ideas just come out of the blue.
Cheap pleasures and cheaper thrills... and Jane Austen
02/08/2008. Science fiction in particular, says SF author L.E. Modesitt, has tended to mix a combination of elements - a sense of transition from where we've been as a society, a commentary on the present, and an extrapolation depicting one of any number of possible futures. Given the current popularity and market place domination of the F&SF genres by fantasy, it's often hard, especially for new readers, to realize that for almost a century, science fiction was certainly far more prevalent and dominant than fantasy.
A PostScripts with Pete Crowther
02/08/2008. SFcrowsnest book reviewer Gareth D Jones sits down with editor Pete Crowther and chats about his genre magazine, PostScripts, about why Pete looks for writers and stories that can create a sense of wonder and awe, and why the science fiction and fantasy scene needs more magazines and not fewer.
Geek Confidential with Rick Klaw
02/08/2008. Author Rick Klaw talks to Matt Staggs about why geek isn't a dirty word and there is nothing wrong with it, his novel Geek Confidential: Echoes from the 21st Century, and why, for years, Rick refused to discuss his grandfather with anyone.
Warrior and Witch: Marie Brennan interviewed
02/08/2008. Fantasy writer Marie Brennan talks to the Fantasy Book Critic about her Warrior/Witch duology, writing a historical fantasy novel set in the Elizabethan Age, the joys of faerie fiction, and why she's tinkering with some YA experiments.
Avoiding real and fantasy taxes
02/08/2008. While I may not be the only writer to do so, I'm certainly one of the very few to present the taxation problem from the viewpoint of a ruler in a fantasy novel. For those interested, the character is Creslin, in The Towers of the Sunset. The entire issue of taxation, both in fantasy worlds and in real worlds, seems to be stereotyped in terms of "taxes are bad for the poor and too low for the rich."
The Stross Formula
02/08/2008. Another in Jonathan McCalmont's series of genre and mainstream criticism essays. This piece began as a review of Saturn’s Children (2008), but as I began to write, I came to realise that many of the things I did not like about the book were not flaws in the individual text but actual patterns, present in many of Stross’ works that have started to grate upon me due to their repetition. Therefore, rather than simply write a review and claim that Saturn’s Children feels overly familiar, I thought it better to write about what I think is an increasingly formulaic writing style that has come not only to characterise Charlie Stross’ work, but also to confine it within a state of arrested development.
In memory of Stan Winston (1946-2008)
01/07/2008. Stan Winston brought Visual Imagination to the Screen. Mark's original article for this week, the fourth part of series of four, had to be postponed a week so that Mark can note the following milestone in the field of artistic expression of fantasy and science fiction.
Fantasy and science fiction writers: popularity and influence
01/07/2008. Literary critics, says SF author L.E. Modesitt, like to write about the importance of an author and his/her work, but many of them seldom put it quite that way. They write about themes and styles and relationships and relevance, but, most of the time, when they write about an author, they're only guessing as to whether an author will really have a lasting influence over readers and culture and whether anything written by that author will resonate or last beyond the author's lifespan.
A little more visceral: Jacqueline Carey interviewed
01/07/2008. Rob - aka The Fantasy Book Critic - reviews Jacqueline Carey's novel Kushiel's Mercy, then gets Jacqueline in the interview chair to chat about her epic fantasy writing, going to China to research her latest tome, Naamah's Blessing, and her love of the sheer escapism and the sense of wonder fantasy evokes.
All Cannes-ed out
01/07/2008. SF author Philip Palmer, creator of such great novels as Debatable Space, reports about what it's like to be a shy(ish) science fiction writer at the Cannes Film Festival. True to the code of the geek, he was surrounded by glamour and beautiful women and gorgeous men and beautiful Mediterranean skies ... but he sat and read SFF novels instead.
Emperor of the Malazan: Steven Erikson interviewed
01/07/2008. Fantasy author Steven Erikson gamely sits down with the Fantasy Book Critic to discuss his works, including Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen and Reaper's Gale, why the latter featured more humour and tragedy than any other book in the series so far, and why his ninth novel will be a cliffhanger.
Science fiction, literature, and the haters
01/07/2008. Jake Seliger asks why so little science fiction rises to the standards of literary fiction. Most novels expend all their ideas at once, and to keep going would be like wearing a shirt that fades from too many washes. Even in science fiction, very few if any series maintain their momentum over time.
Decadent urbanism: Jay Lake interviewed
01/07/2008. Rob, aka The Fantasy Book Critic, gets his teeth into SFF author's Jay Lake's Mainspring, while Jay sits down in the interviewee's chair to discuss the lateralisation of the Renaissance idea of God the watchmaker, how his childhood was spent in Southeast Asia and West Africa, and steampunk.
Keeping between the hedges: Paul Kearney interviewed
01/07/2008. Fantasy author Paul Kearney talks with Aidan Moher about the need to write, his shocking breakup with publisher Bantam, the joy of working with Solaris, why writers like Alan Garner knock Philip Pullman into a cocked hat, and his love of a good fantasy map at the start of a novel.
The unblemished novellist: Conrad Williams interviewed
01/07/2008. Our Rob talks with horror and fantasy author Conrad Williams about his short stories, writing what occurs to him, coping with self-confidence problems, and getting Virgin Books to publish his novel The Unblemished as a mass market paperback.
Running with the Dogs: Nancy Kress interviewed
01/07/2008. Science fiction author Nancy Kress is interviewed by fellow SF writer Mike Brotherton about why she is fascinated by the way viruses and bacteria can mutate, loving the works of Ursula LeGuin, and waking up early and usually spending the whole morning writing.
It rains when it shines
01/07/2008. In this month's editorial, Uncle Geoff asks have you ever noticed how your perception of the world is determined by the condition of the weather? After all, we are very much weather dependent for mood swings and perception on what we see and feel around us to the world even before the rest of the universe hits us.
Mindscanned: an interview with Robert J. Sawyer
01/07/2008. Our glorious editor GF Willmetts sits down with Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer to chat about whether aliens visiting Earth are likely to be friendly or aggressive, dropping pop-cultural references into his books, why Rob's turning down offers to write short fiction for $1.25 a word, and why what really attracts people to scifi is the need to be amazed.
Algis Budrys (1931-2008): a remembrance by GF Willmetts
01/07/2008. Algirdas Jonas Budrys, the Prussian-born science fiction author more commonly known as Algis Budrys was a rare talent and died on 9th June 2008. Very little of his material was released in the UK and the odd books of his that our Geoff has in his collection ended up being lucky finds.
Not With A Bang
01/06/2008. Short fiction from the pen of GF Willmetts. The perils of FTL space flight prove just a little more dangerous than anyone had predicted...
All I ask is...a...little...cooperation!!!
01/06/2008. With the disasters in Burma and China compounded by the regimes reluctance for international help in times of crisis, it's sad, says Geoff, to report paranoia and mistrust still survives in this century. Then again, as with the case of Burma, as the country rarely enters the news, outside of some of the charity organisations, how many of you knew about its political regime until recently?
Sound and fury, signifying ...?
01/06/2008. When it comes to the manners and quality of debate in science fiction fandom, SFF author Richard K Morgan has a question that won't go away, that must just, indeed be asked. Just what the hell is wrong with us? Yes, it's time for When Fans Attack II!
Godspeaker: An interview with Karen Miller
01/06/2008. Fantasy author Karen Miller talks about why the writing style in her novel Empress is different from her other work, how the research for her world involved looking at ancient cultures such as the Hittites, Sumer, Mesopotamia, Persia, Babylon and Sparta, and why she entwined her magic system so closely with religion.
Hidden Reality: Michelle Sagara West interviewed
01/06/2008. Fantasy author Michelle Sagara West talks with John about her latest novel, The Hidden City, a prequel to the other novels she has written set in the same world, writing reviews for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and her other life as a bookseller. Wow, that's a lot to pack in.
Greg Keyes interviewed
01/06/2008. Fantasy author Greg Keyes chats with Rob about his Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone series, why he deviated from his original outline for the books, and the fun he takes in twisting fantasy tropes.
A cold look at The Cold Equations
01/06/2008. One of the best-remembered and often-discussed science fiction stories, says Mark, is The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin from the August, 1954 issue of Astounding Stories. In itself it is a poignant little short story that simply presents a lamentable and unromantic fact.
Human, understand thyself: Scott Mackay interviewed
01/06/2008. Canadian speculative fiction author Scott Mackay chats with John about Ihis new book, Omega Sol, where he explores a basic human theme, that of belief in a higher power, and why he takes it one science fictional step further and postulates a hyperdimensional part of the universe that in many respects operates on a spiritual plane.
The Faerie Queene: Marie Brennan interviewed
31/05/2008. Fantasy author Marie Brennan chats with Chris about her new novel Midnight Never Come from Orbit, writing about the faerie court of London, and how she gets her fodder from archaeology, anthropology, and folklore.
Sword, Sorcery, and Small White Dogs: An Interview with Rosemary Jones
01/05/2008. Rosemary Jones is the author of the Forgotten Realms novel Crypt of the Moaning Diamond as well as several short stories. she answered a few of John's questions about shared world fiction, humor in fantasy, and children's books.
Writers and societal illusions
01/05/2008. Last week, my editor, his assistant, and I were discussing some elements of a book I'd turned in. I use the word discussing in very loose terms. My editor was having a hard time with the situation in the book. I won't go into the specifics here, because some of you might read the book, but both my editor and I did agree on the facts, on the credibility of the situation, and the culture.
Blood is Deeper than Water: An Interview with Pamela Freeman
01/05/2008. Pamela Freeman is a noted Australian author of children's fiction. Her first adult novel, Blood Ties, is set for release in April 2008, with the sequel, Deep Water, in September or October of the same year. The final book in The Castings Trilogy, Full Circle, does not yet have a release date. As well as being a skilled epic fantasy writer, she is a mom, wife, and educator. She is also fastest responder our John has ever interviewed.
Thoughts on writing success
01/05/2008. Jim Baen and Eric Flint, as well as other fiction writers and editors, have both made statements to the effect that every writer and publisher is competing for a reader's "beer and movie money." While not always literally true, their underlying point is all too accurate. A successful fiction writer has to leave his or her readers feeling that their time and funds were well-spent.
From the Polity to Crete: Neal Asher interviewed
01/05/2008. Neal Asher chats to our Robert Thompson about his Polity universe, his new novel, Line War, writing a follow-up novel to The Voyage of the Sable Keech, and why Neal's now moved - at least part of the year - to Crete.
01/05/2008. Paul Melko, author of a book of short stories, Ten Sigmas, chats to SM Duke about how he had to use the short form to explore a variety of different technological avenues (including one about superheroes) from the dangers of fiddling with the past to the dangers of traversing between universes/dimensions. He also talks about why his characters have to make bad decisions.
The SF Future: More of the same - except better or worse?
01/05/2008. Recently, in his column about Arthur C. Clarke in the New York Times, Dave Iztkoff explored whether present and future writers would be as successful as Clarke had been in envisioning future technologies. Over the years, various writers and academics have attempted to quantify in a rough fashion just how accurate SF has been in predicting the future.
Flying with iron angels: Alan Campbell interviewed
01/05/2008. Alan Campbell talks to Robert Thompson about his Deepgate Codex books. A former designer and programmer of the video game series Grand Theft Auto, Alan made his writing debut in 2006 with the fantasy novel Scar Night.
01/05/2008. Mark R. Leeper is getting up a petition to rearrange the titles of Jules Verne's best-known (in other words filmed) novels. Now what do he mean by that?
TV Heaven - Battlestar Galactica
01/05/2008. What with fantasy author Joe Abercrombie's tornado of excitement created by his own releases, reviews, signings, and convention attendances in March, and the tidal wave of resulting reviews, he's realised that he's utterly neglected his important duties as far as slagging off other people's hard work goes. Time to put that right...
Interview with Kate Elliott
01/05/2008. Fantasy novellist Kate Elliott - aka Alis A. Rasmussen - author of Shadow Gate, chats to our Rob about writing lurid adventure fiction, and her ideas on HBO-style characterization and detail with a big canvas and complex narrative.
Meet the Empress: an interview with Karen Miller...
01/05/2008. Author Karen Miller yacks with Chris H. about the joys of writing the first novel in her new Godspeaker trilogy, why the magic system in Godspeaker is quite different to her Kingmaker/Kingbreaker duology, and how she likes to cocoon herself in a kind of warm, dark bubble so the outside world doesn't intrude on her writing.
The theoretical man: Michael Swanwick interviewed
01/05/2008. SFF author Michael Swanwick talks to Aidan about taking conventions of the genre and spinning them on their head, his novel The Dragons of Babel, why four hundred pages appears to be his natural length, and Darger and Surplus, - his post-Utopian con men.
One heckuva turn: Lois McMaster Bujold interviewed
01/05/2008. Fantasy comes in all forms, notes Robert Thompson. Epic fantasy. Dark fantasy. Contemporary fantasy. Historical fantasy. Erotic fantasy. Then there’s The Sharing Knife series by award-winning author Lois McMaster Bujold (The Vorkosigan Saga, The Spirit Ring, the Chalion novels) which is an altogether different kind of fantasy…
They're steaming: Ann and Jeff Vandermeer interviewed
01/05/2008. Rod Lott of the excellent Bookgasm blog dons his brass goggles for a chat with Jeff and Ann Vandermeer about their latest book, Steampunk. Bring on the airships and Captain Nemo.
Torchwood: Season Two
01/05/2008. An appraisal of Torchwood by: GF Willmetts.
01/05/2008. An appraisal of the Bionic Woman by GF Willmetts.
What constitutes freedom?
01/05/2008. A common theme used in Science Fiction is that of the oppressed fighting against tyranny often on a wider scale than a single country. Most SF tends to present the picture in black and white than shades of grey. At ground level in the 'Star Wars' films, the planets in the Empire don't seem that badly off, providing you don't annoy the stormtroopers or their nice Emperor or his henchman.
Arthur C. Clarke (1918-2008) a remembrance by GF Willmetts
01/04/2008. With the death of Arthur C. Clarke, we've lost another of the original Grand Masters of Science Fiction. A former denizen of my home county Somerset in Great Britain, Arthur C. Clarke made his mark on the world that I doubt if few Science Fiction authors will do so under similar conditions again. He'll be sorely missed.
Free ebooks, three points, and a whole lot of rambling
01/04/2008. Author Tobias Buckell looks at the curious matter of science fiction and fantasy authors giving their novels away as free e-books, then snaffling the increased sales of their print titles. We're not at the Napster stage yet, it seems, when it comes to works of fiction.
Standing under the Tower of Shadows
01/04/2008. Fantasy author Drew Bowling talks to our Aidan about how a 21 year old college student found himself with a publishing deal with one of the biggest publishers of fantasy novels on the planet, having his friends poke fun at him for writing about castles and dragons, and having fun playing with the English language.
My Arthur C. Clarke memory
01/04/2008. There are probably few readers of this notice who do not know that Sir Arthur C. Clarke died in Sri Lanka recently, says Mark. He has seen Heinlein die and Asimov die. Clarke was the last of the three writers he grew up thinking of as the giants. But he felt he had a special connection to Clarke.
Science fiction as a literature of discontent
01/04/2008. Back when I was in college at the University of Massachusetts I was a member of the science fiction club. At the same time the school had a university-wide art magazine called Spectrum, paid for as part of our tuition. It had poetry and fiction and experimental art. One day an issue came out and it had a piece of art with the title A Meeting of the Science Fiction Club. It was just a picture of some bizarre-looking people. I doubt that the artist had ever been to the real club. He was just trying his style at drawing people who looked just a little off kilter.
By Any Other Name
01/04/2008. (Very) short fiction from the pen of author Ray Tabler. The Hestolian captain was just entering the compartment when his first contact specialist burst in from the tunnel connecting the two ships...
What, other than my omnipotence, scares you about me?
01/04/2008. In recent months Uncle Geoff has been asked a couple times the rather odd question as to who he actually writes for here at SFCrowsnest? Well, he doesn't know your name and the only common denominator he does know is you're sitting facing a computer monitor and have a passion for science fiction and fantasy.
UK sci-fi: 2008 Arthur C. Clarke Award nominees announced
10/03/2008. Science fiction authors Matthew de Abaitua, Stephen Baxter, Sarah Hall, Steven Hall, Ken MacLeod and Richard Morgan are the six authors shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2008, the UK's main prize for science fiction literature.
Arthur C. Clarke Award - Long-list Figures 2008
10/03/2008. Who made the cut for this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award, who was submitted (and who was submitted and excused their own work), plus lots of sports facts for scifi, fantasy and science fiction fans everywhere.
Indistinguishable from Magic: Tom Hunter, Arthur C. Clarke Awards, interviewed
10/03/2008. On the day of the shortlist announcement for the 2008 Arthur C. Clarke Award, SF Crowsnest's own Jessica talks to award administrator Tom Hunter about how the Clarke awards are perceived by readers and science fiction fans, being compared to the Man Booker Prize, and promoting UK literary science fiction.
Arthur C Clarke Award short profiles: Matthew de Abaitua
10/03/2008. Snowbooks first published Matthew de Abaitua's debut novel The Red Men in October 2007.
Arthur C Clarke Award short profiles: Stephen Baxter
10/03/2008. Coming out of the Interzone stable of authors, Stephen Baxter's first published science fiction novel all the way back in 1991 was Raft. The same year SFcrowsnest started online on AppleWorld, in fact.
Arthur C Clarke Award short profiles: Sarah Hall
10/03/2008. Sarah's Arthur C Clarke award-nominated novel, The Carhullan Army, features near-future nastiness with an overpopulated UK broken on the back of runaway climate change, living on the breadline as a Cuban-style client state of the USA - fed wheat and oil by a fascist US fundamentalist Christian junta.
Arthur C Clarke Award short profiles: Steven Hall
10/03/2008. The Raw Shark Texts is Steven Hall's first work and was published in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
Arthur C Clarke Award short profiles: Ken MacLeod
10/03/2008. Ken MacLeod is a Scottish science fiction writer with strong socialist leanings based near Edinburgh - and he is a good friend with fellow SF jock Iain M Banks.
Arthur C Clarke Award short profiles: Richard Morgan
10/03/2008. In 2002 Morgan's published his first book Altered Carbon, a cyberpunkish tale with war hero PI Takeshi Kovacs swapping his mind through various clone bodies. The movie rights for Altered Carbon were sold for $1 million big ones to Joel Silver, allowing Morgan to give up his English-teaching day job.
Influences, ideas, and A Game of Thrones
01/03/2008. Fantasy author Joe Abercrombie writes about the development of his work, playing RPGs, a diet of reading the Grey Mouser and Moorcock, and his dark yearnings for all that lies on the grittier side of epic fantasy.
King of the Croppers: Kevin J. Anderson
01/03/2008. SFF author Kevin J. Anderson talks to Robert Thompson (aka the Fantasy Book Critic) on why his Saga of Seven Suns series sums up sums up everything he loves about the science fiction genre, continuing the Dune franchise with Brian Herbert, authoring The Last Days of Krypton, and the success of his Star Wars tie-novels.
01/03/2008. A Psi-Kicks story by GF Willmetts. Another piece of Psi-Kicking short fiction from Uncle Geoff in the style of all those great 1960s TV series such as The Avengers, The Challengers, The Prisoner et al.
From his pen comes thunder: Felix Gilman interviewed
01/03/2008. Genre author Felix Gilman chats about his debut novel Thunderer, why getting the book sold was a close thing, and why he doesn't read a huge amount of fantasy himself.
A fool for world building: David Keck interviewed
01/03/2008. The fantasy author of In the Eye of the Heaven talks to Robert Thompson about his life and works, why he can’t tell you how complex the capitalisation of silly invented clergyman’s titles gets, and juggling his job as a middle school teacher with writing.
How Sputnik changed your life
01/03/2008. Scottish science fiction novellist of some reknown, Ken Macleod, chats about the impact of the Sputnik launch - a potted version of the talk he gave at the Satellite 1 con. Oh, and he's thinking of getting a t-shirt printed to read 'Fandom is where people contradict you just to be polite'. Sounds like a slogan to live by!
The forces of Strange Fiction
01/03/2008. It's a tricky thing, all this genre and sub-genre. Luckily, we have Scottish author Hal 'Vellum' Duncan on hand to throw some light on the twisty subject. Our various genres have more in common than they have against each other. Much of that faith is founded on Hal having come up through science fiction as a fan, being transferred to fantasy as a writer, and realising as a critic (of sorts) that many of the techniques he was using were horror!
Sailing the wide fanta-sea: Robert V.S. Redick interviewed
01/03/2008. Chris Hyland, aka the Book Swede, sits down with fantasy author Robert V.S. Redick to chat about his début novel, The Chathrand Voyage. He's all at sea with this one! Six hundred sailors. One hundred Imperial marines. Sixty tarboys. Fifty passengers. Twenty languages. Eleven blood vendettas. Ten festering centuries of black magic. 429 years of global war. One enchanted ship. Three months to seal the peace or lose it forever to a madman’s conspiracy, in fact!
Why Fantasy isn’t crap, and SF isn’t better
01/03/2008. Hal Duncan’s been writing very interestingly about genre divides lately - and he’s made Al Robertson think about distinctions between Fantasy and Science Fiction, and in particular the way in which genre critics can position Fantasy writing as being innately conservative, and Science Fiction as being innately radical.
Never challenge a Goblin to a game of Rakachak: Jim C. Hines interviewed
01/03/2008. Fantasy writer Jim C. Hines - author of Goblin Quest, Goblin Hero etc - tells John about why goblin books could get awfully depressing, doing the local science fiction and fantasy conventions, and on writing a mashup of fairy tale princesses and Charlie's Angels!
The Physiognomy of Jeffrey Ford
01/03/2008. Genre writer Jeffrey Ford interviewed by our Charles on winning a World Fantasy Award, plotting nothing in advance, the value of a good editor and creating novels while battling dyslexia.
Science and Science Fiction are class-mates not rivals
01/03/2008. December might be a long time back now but allows for a different and still pertinent perspective. Yuletide in Great Britain brought its usual spate of lectures shown on TV. One for our home-market, named the Richard Dimbleby Lecture named after the father of another pair of famous TV journalists, had the speaker, scientist entrepreneur Dr. J. Craig Venter, attributing a couple things as only seen in Science Fiction as if they were never expected to happen in real life.
The Tech of Trek
01/03/2008. Blogger Pat Molloy considers the weighty matter of why the technology of Star Trek must be updated. Hmmm. Warp factor 1960s, anyone?
The Joe Himself: Joe Abercrombie interviewed
01/03/2008. Aidan interviews that rising legend in the fantasy novel field, Joe Abercrombie (himself). His book The Blade Itself has won praise from both fans and critics - but beware, fantasy fans, for he admits he will continue to try and sabotage the careers of his contemporaries. That Brian Ruckley, he's going to be Joe's bee-itch!
Fangs for the memories: Being Human
01/03/2008. Being Human is a TV tale of a regular flatshare … at least, it is if you are a vampire, a werewolf or a ghost. This new BBC Three drama stars a cast of actors – Guy Flanagan (Totally Frank), Andrea Riseborough (Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley) and Russell Tovey (The History Boys) – alongside Adrian Lester (Hustle). Being Human explores what it's like trying to find where you fit into the grand scheme of things when you live with an unusual affliction: like being undead, yah-ha-ha!
Ashes To Ashes
01/02/2008. It's 1981 in the UK: the year of the royal wedding, the Brixton riots, Bucks Fizz winning the Eurovision Song Contest – and the year that Gene Hunt (actor Philip Glenister) takes London's police force by storm in the fab time travelling cop drama Ashes To Ashes. The creators of the BBC's weirdest cop show talk to SFcrowsnest.com about the new series. We're on it, guv.
Philip Glenister interview
01/02/2008. Actor Philip Glenister who plays DCI Gene Hunt in the surreal time travelling cop drama Ashes To Ashes talks to SFcrowsnest.com about high-speed chases, how scum is scum wherever you are, and riding a speed boat going under Tower Bridge carrying a very big machine gun. He's the Guv!
Cast interviews: Ashes to Ashes
01/02/2008. Keeley 'Spooks' Hawes talks about her lead role in Ashes to Ashes and what it's like to be haunted by an evil-looking clown, Dean Andrews chats about his role as DS Ray Carling (he's as hard as nails), DC Chris Skelton (played by Marshall Lancaster) is now a tech geek, while Montserrat Lombard talks about her role as the new girl on the WPC block.
01/02/2008. Car chases, superhero kung-fu and crime-fighting comedy collide in the warped world of Phoo Action – a new 60-minute drama special for BBC Three. Based on characters created by Jamie Hewlett (aka creator of the Gorillaz and Tank Girl) for comic strip Get The Freebies, Phoo Action is set in 2012, when London is in the grip of mutant criminals, The Freebies. Only Terry Phoo, a hapless Buddhist kung-fu cop, and unruly teenage heroine Whitey Action, the daughter of Police Chief Benjamin Benson, can save the UK. Phoo Action is directed by Euros Lyn whose credits include the episode of Doctor Who: The Girl In The Fireplace. Creator Jamie Hewlett and the cast talk to SFcrowsnest.com about what it takes to beat Britain's evil mutant villains.
Intelligence isn't the highest point of evolution merely a facet being explored.
01/02/2008. Let's talk evolution, suggests Uncle Geoff. The natural selection variety not that intelligent design malarky and how it applies to the human race.
Speculative fiction and the value of the formula
01/02/2008. In book reviewing and literary analysis the term formula or formulaic has become something of a mild pejorative. To have your novel or short story deemed formulaic is to have your novel be dismissed as not a worthwhile read, you are seen as being commercially motivated, and usually as lacking any creativity in your writing.
The science fiction event horizon
01/02/2008. Science fiction has always been about speculation, says James Wallace Harris, and some old SF writers even called it speculative fiction. Humans have always speculated about what’s possible, with what if scenarios, so even though the word science had not been invented, I believe there were science fiction writers since the dawn of time.
Weaving the colors: Jeffrey Overstreet interviewed
01/02/2008. Author Jeffrey Overstreet talks to our John about writing fantasy that is whimsical and wild, finding echoes of the great fairy tales in his works, and how he ended up marrying the woman who first recommended the novel Winter’s Tale to him.
The science in my science fiction: books versus movies
01/02/2008. Hard SF author Mike Brotherton, the author of Star Dragon, writes about the suspension of disbelief in genre books and movies and the fine art of keeping a science fiction story real. As far as film producers are concerned, minor problems - what they call refrigerator door problems - are okay.
Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem interviewed
01/02/2008. Charles Tan interviews the writing team of Melanie and Steve Rasnic Tem. They chat about writing dark fantasy/horror and magical realism, expanding their novella The Man on the Ceiling into a full novel, and looking at rewriting as a path to a better story.
F&SF fiction as an Arthouse relic?
01/02/2008. Author LE Modesitt looks at the state of US science fiction publishing as it stands today, with its ever-decreasing midlist print runs, how F&SF publishers have been devoured by large multinationals, and why the kids are more interested in taking their daily dose of SFF on a Nintendo handheld rather than a piece of a dead tree.
The Automatic Author: A. Lee Martinez interviewed
01/02/2008. Genre writer A. Lee Martinez chats with our Charles about his novel The Automatic Detective - a retro-scifi crime noir novel. ALM tells us why Edgar Rice Burroughs was one of his biggest influences, why writing visually probably comes from his comic book-reading background, and how his novel Gil's All Fright Dinner got optioned by New Line Cinema for a movie.
Procrastination, stupidity, or species suicide?
01/02/2008. An asteroid appears likely to hit the planet Mars, says author science fiction LE Modesitt. Several years ago, a large comet impacted Jupiter, and its fragments created disturbances in the Jovian atmosphere that could have encompassed much of earth. Geologists have discovered the remnants of massive craters on earth itself, most of which totally restructured the environment and the atmosphere, not to mention life itself.
Robin Hobb interviewed
01/02/2008. Fantasy author Robin Hobb talks to Robert Thomspon (aka the Fantasy Book Critic) about her new novel, Renegade's Magic, why writing a fantasy trilogy is a single task, why character building is as important as world building, and why her favourite readers are the ones that say: I trust you. Take me for a ride!
The fall of a Crystal Rain
01/02/2008. Genre author Tobias Buckell talks about his long and painful journey trying to get his science fiction novel Crystal Rain - where the alien Satrapy confine and marginalize humanity to the fringes of a galactic confederation - produced as a graphic novel.
Real-world, real-time science fiction?
01/02/2008. When retail sales levels for the United States were recently announced, says US author LE Modesitt, stock prices in the USA immediately dropped, and a number of large retailers immediately announced plans to close down "unprofitable" outlets. His initial reaction was to think that, well, if sales were down, that would be understandable. Except sales weren't down. They were up. three percent! SFF authors couldn't make this stuff up.
Jennifer Rahn interviewed
01/02/2008. SM Duke, creator of the The World in the Satin Bag blog, talks to scifi author Jennifer Rahn about why a small press will keep you in their catalogue indefinitely, getting a huge kick out of the weirdness of Tanith Lee, her work on a companion novel to The Longevity Thesis, and why the easy type of magic doesn't seem very interesting to her.
Not quite human
01/01/2008. With the release of Beowulf, says Mark, we got a chance to see how far the film industry has gotten in the realistic depiction of humans in animation. I thought it was just a little off of being realistic and they reminded me of the way humans looked in Shrek.
The Shadow In The North
01/01/2008. Philip Pullman and Billie Piper talk about the Sally Lockhart books and the BBC TV series based on them. In The Shadow In The North, an elderly lady loses her money on an investment, a conjuror is pursued by thugs, a clairvoyant sees a brutal murder in a forest, a glass coffin then whispers the name of the richest man in Europe. These seemingly unconnected events set Sally Lockhart on the trail of an evil far more awful than she could ever imagine – the Hopkinson Self-Regulator – a super-weapon in the hands of a Scandinavian madman Axel Bellmann.
Fantastic Women: Rachel Caine
01/01/2008. Author Rachel Caine on why speculative fiction has always been her first love, the lousy hours and stress of being a writer, and her Weather Warden series of novels. Rachel is interviewed by fantasy writer Karen Miller, author of works such as Kingmaker and Kingbreaker.
Fantastic Women: Lois McMaster Bujold (Part I)
01/01/2008. Author Lois McMaster Bujold on the universe and times of Miles Vorkosigan, her start as a writer, and how for her, making up the story and writing down the story are two separate activities. Lois is interviewed by fab fantasy writer Karen Miller.
Fantastic Women: Glenda Larke
01/01/2008. Author Glenda Larke on her exotic life, the Random Rain Quartet, reading Guy Gavriel Kay for atmosphere and story skills, and having a slap-up feed before starting work. Glenda is interviewed by Karen Miller, herself a fantasy author of works such as Kingmaker and Kingbreaker.
Bloggers of the SFFphere Part II
01/01/2008. The second part of the roundtable where Aidan Moher, the creator of A Dribble of Ink, goes ahead and gathers several his favourite bloggers, ties them up in a room, and picks their brains. SFF bloggers spend so much time putting the minds of authors under the knife that Aidan thought it would be interesting to take a look at another side of the industry that doesn’t get examined.
Science fiction: the other god that failed
01/01/2008. Science fiction, it is often plausibly argued, is a literature about technology and what it does to humans. But what if this view of the genre is wrong? What if science fiction (SF) is not really about technology at all but something else. What if SF is at its core a religious genre, a literature about the search for transcendent meaning in a post-Christian world?
I am not Legend
01/01/2008. I am Legend was a brilliant book says fantasy author Joe Abercrombie, but you really need to forget all about it if you watch the new Will Smith movie based on that novel. The studio seems intent on simplifying, schmaltzifying, and dumbing this film down more than ever.
Terry Goodkind interviewed
01/01/2008. Why the earliest memories of fantasy writer Terry Goodkind are telling himself stories, why he will sometimes spend half a day on one paragraph, the tight schedule for his last book in the Sword of Truth series, and why the fantasy elements of his books are no more important than the romance, the intrigue, the political maneuvering and the historical fiction elements.
God of the Slushpile: John Joseph Adams interviewed
01/01/2008. John Ottinger, best known for his great blog Grasping for the Wind, was fortunate enough to strike up a correspondence with John Joseph Adams slush editor with The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF). Well known for his ability to find gems in piles of slush, Adams was recently guest editor of the Pirate Issue of Shimmer Magazine, and will be publishing his first anthology, Wastelands, with Night Shade Books in January 2008. In the following interview he discusses these two works as well as recommends some of his favorite short fiction authors.
01/01/2008. Blogger and owner of The Shape of Days, Jeff Harrell, is not going to mince words here: this article is nerdy. It’s incredibly nerdy. You know all those web sites out there that are really, really nerdy? With the exception of the ones about Japanese cartoons, this post is nerdier than all of them combined. Jeff looks at the magic engines of the Battlestar Galactica and finds all sorts of implausibilities.
The Wright stuff
01/01/2008. Science Fiction & Fantasy writer John C. Wright is well-known for his epic space opera trilogy, and more recently, for his fantasy adventure novels. Avi Abrams, ace blogger at Dark Roasted Blend, was curious about John's take on the state of fantastic adventure fiction today and asked him a few questions about his life, work and appearance in the original anthology of military science fiction Breach the Hull.
The SF community & black kettles
01/01/2008. Science fiction, says Uncle Geoff, is a genre to be proud to say you belong to and a measure of eccentricity to be healthy with than to be without. It doesn’t bite or scare or hurt anyone except in the content of what you watch or read and there are so many more of us today that it no longer a dirty word. Be proud.
Libertine Rush - Domino Dynamo
01/01/2008. A new Psi-Kicks story introducing Libertine Rush – the lady from Haiti with the interesting dead brother. From the pen and twisted imagination of one G.F. Willmetts.
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA