Scifi and fantasy features from 2009.

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Its only Science Fiction - but do outsiders really get it?
01/12/2009. Hello everyone. People think something created today, be it technology or biometric identity cards, isn’t going to work and that it’s just Science Fiction, as if that’s the problem. You hear that a lot on TV chatshow interviews in the UK. I presume it’s also a common misjudgement in other parts of the world as well. Yes, we live in a Science Fiction world but to hear a statement that dismisses something simply because it’s futuristic or expensive makes a fallacy of all the developments we’ve had in the past fifty years. Are people becoming too complacent to what they have around them?

Honey Trap
01/12/2009. A Psi-Kicks story by GF Willmetts. More psionic short science fiction adventures from the pen of Uncle Geoff.

The Problems I See Most When Looking At Samples
01/12/2009. From the harrowed hand of GF Willmetts. Ten years of hitting the slush pile, both for novel length and short stories, some of the problems I’ve hit had to rely on stock answers simply so I could focus on the material’s other shortcomings. No one’s perfect but we all have common ground that needs work on.

Joe 90
01/11/2009. Uncle Geoff takes a look back at the curious case of Joe 90. These days if you took a school kid and brainwashed them with advanced equipment into becoming an assassin or super-spy, the least you could expect is a visit from social services... but what do we get? The Dollhouse and Chuck borrowing the concept!

01/11/2009. A very short - but solid - scifi story by GF Willmetts.

Minimalists don't make good collectors
01/11/2009. As a somewhat collector, as many SF fans including you the reader actually are, do you feel somewhat appalled at the prospect of going totally digital or haven't you given it much thought for where we might be in a decade's time?

Defying Gravity: an inside peek
01/11/2009. Actor Ron Livingston (last seen in Sex And The City, and Band of Brothers) stars in Defying Gravity, a new science fiction drama series from producer James Parriott (of Grey's Anatomy fame) and Michael Edelstein (aka Desperate Housewives). The thirteen part scifi series has already started to broadcast on BBC Two in October 2009.

Ron Livingston interviewed
01/11/2009. Actor Ron Livingston of Band of Brothers fame is interviewed about his lead role in the new scifi TV series, Defying Gravity, where he plays ship's engineer Maddux Donner on a mysterious mission to space which is being controlled by an alien intelligence known as Beta.

Tamzin Outhwaite talks scifi
01/11/2009. In the BBC's new scifi thriller, Paradox. DI Rebecca Flint is a high-ranking detective who always goes the extra mile to solve a case. However, when she is shown images by space scientist Dr Christian King of a disaster that appears not to have happened yet, her world and belief system is thrown into turmoil. Actress Tamzin Outhwaite, who recently starred in ITV's The Fixer, explains to SFcrowsnest what drew her to a science fiction thriller like Paradox and the part of feisty police officer Rebecca.

Quantum Leap
01/10/2009. or Alternative Reality Convergence Theory And Practice - a supposition by: GF Willmetts. The Quantum Leap Project experimental device was built by Nobel Prize winner Doctor Samuel Beckett between 1989-1995 to project one individual back across his or her own life-time.

Sideways Thinking
01/10/2009. Or the world needs more quirks. You might have noticed by now that I have a rather, shall we say, quirky way of looking at things. Take the fact that I read recently that said by the time you finish reading a paragraph, 800 babies will be born. Surely logic says that if you don’t read this paragraph then 800 babies aren’t likely to be born which is just as absurd cos you can’t turn time backwards. I mean, how would the parents-to-be know what your reading habits would be nine months down the line?

Avatar: preview screening
01/09/2009. Yesterday saw the world premiere of the trailer for James Cameron’s eagerly anticipated Avatar hit computer screens. The early opinion from those I’ve spoken to seems to suggest that after all the hype the trailer fails to deliver. And I’d have to say I agree. The CGI just didn’t look at all realistic.

You are here...
01/09/2009. Do you ever have or do a reality check? Not quite the same thing as an identity crisis where you’re not sure about your place in the universe. If anything, a reality check is the antithesis of that because you’re questioning what constitutes and makes your world as it is and your part in it rather than what makes you tick. In other words, is the world really as you see it?

Optional Choice
01/09/2009. A story by: GF Willmetts. Ever had a demon on your back that wouldn’t go away? Me? I got two. Only they aren’t really demons but me. A couple of me’s. Both look like me. A little older perhaps but undoubtedly me. Right down to my freckled cheeks and ginger hair. Well, all right, with a little dusting of white. Ginger washes out as you get older.

Thus I Refute Buzz
01/08/2009. Buzz Aldrin, notes Mark, recently complained that the lack of interest in the space program is much the fault of science fiction. Science fiction, he says, has raised people's expectations with its transporter devices and hyper-light travel. Real science, like space exploration, is slower and more cautious.

Torchwood: Children Of Earth
01/08/2009. An appraisal by: GF Willmetts. Bastards! Let’s add an adjective to that. Dirty bastards! I expect that was what many of you said while watching the five-part Season 3 of ‘Torchwood: Children Of Earth’. Very few characters got out by doing the right thing for the right reasons without looking after their own interests, including Captain Jack Harkness, a character tarnished by his own not very proud actions in 1965.

To err is everything
01/08/2009. The world is made from mistakes. When I first started writing this editorial I was only considering the history of mankind but it is actually the basis of everything in existence. After all, a stable universe wouldn’t have had a series of bangs that would have spawned the various galaxies. Stability would mean nothing at all happened. I mean, you’d hardly choose an explosion to start everything off if there was a better option, would you?

A Mid Day Session: Ken Macleod interviewed
01/07/2009. Ewan Angus interviews Scots science fiction author Ken Macleod about his latest novel, The Night Sessions, why he might set another book in the same world, why he is moving away from space opera and hard science fiction, and chats to him about his next novel - The Restoration Game.

Tim Powers interviewed: With Great Powers comes great Plot lines…
01/07/2009. Twenty six years ago, the prestigious Philip K Dick Award was given to a novel which had one of the worlds most convoluted plots. Starting out in modern day 1983, the uncomfortable and intelligent Hero Brendan Doyle is given the chance to give a lecture on a poet, in 1810. Mixing adventure, beggar guilds, evil clowns, motor accidents and pure madness, The Anubis Gates was an instant classic. I caught up with author Tim Powers to talk about the novel and to have a general chat about time travel.

Tom Hunter's Arthur C Clarke Awards wrap-up article
01/07/2009. It's now just over month since we announced the winner of this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award and I'm now starting to take stock of the year just gone and begin the prep for 2010. And, yes, we really do start thinking about this sort of stuff now. I'm probably slightly behind schedule in fact.

Speech for the Arthur C Clarke Awards ceremony April 2009 by Paul Billinger, chair of the judges
01/07/2009. As with last year we had a large number of submissions and for the first time we published the full list of submitted books via the Torque Control website. You can see a wide variety in the list which range from books that you would expect to be called 'science fiction' - the ones with spaceships and planets on the cover - to those that challenge people's notion of what is eligible for a science fiction award. I'd like to thank the publishers for their willingness to submit the books and for submitting them in a timely fashion, which does make it just that bit easier for the judges to give the books the consideration they deserve.

John Barrowman talks about Torchwood Children Of Earth
01/07/2009. Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones return to the good old BEEB for Torchwood Children Of Earth, a new five part sci-fi TV series for BBC One. The cast, John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd and Kai Owen talk to SFcrowsnest about the return of Torchwood.

Arise, Sir Christopher Lee: Mark looks at horror's first knight
01/07/2009. Many of you may have seen the film The Curse Of Frankenstein. The monster's creator has given up on the experiment actually working. Then the man he has built gets up on his own and in a jerky move, rips the bandages off his face to reveal a visage with lumpy scars and stitches. Apparently Victor Frankenstein had been more concerned with making a face that would function than making one that would look good. It is a classic moment of shock.

Life on hold
01/07/2009. On being the SFcrowsnest judge for The Arthur C. Clarke Award, by Pauline Morgan. Our Pauline gives a judge's personal insight into the hard work that it takes to pull off something of the scale of the Clarke Awards. An eye-opener for all the science fiction readers who simply roll out of bed one morning to read someone's 3rd hand cut-and-paste-copied blog about the winning author of such an award, chug a cappuccino, then immediately start bee-i-ching about who should or shouldn't have won.

Postcards from a lonely planet
01/07/2009. It’s hard to believe that its forty years ago this month that Neil Armstrong made the first steps onto the Moon. Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin made the second steps. Michael Collins in orbit, a bystander and only watched. Pretty much what we all did for the first most significant trip off-planet. Nothing like its Science Fiction equivalents but a step into a future we SF fans recognised so well even if it was nothing like early imaginings. No lunar life. No atmosphere. Just rock. Arthur C. Clarke’s prediction that there were seas of dust in ‘A Fall Of Moondust’ was also proved unfounded. Although I doubt if Science Fiction raised any expectation by that time as more was discovered about our solitary satellite.

The Ultimate Collection
01/06/2009. a story of the macabre by: GF Willmetts.

Quality over quantity
01/06/2009. One of the books I read many moons ago had a serious impact on my writing. If you ever peeked inside the book aptly called ‘The Book Of The Book’ by Idris Shah you would probably also get realise it was of little words and could be read in less than twenty minutes in a library. Indeed, many people at my school actually did that although whether it sunk in is debatable. Its message, however, will last you a lifetime.

Top five bad-ass females in scifi movies
01/05/2009. With women still fighting for their right for equal pay, there's one thing they can be sure of: when it comes to being bad-ass, they're equal all the way. To celebrate the release of Dragonball Evolution on April 8th 2009, a film containing two feisty females who show the boys one or two things about 'feminism' via the method of kicking some ass, we've put together a list of the five strongest, scariest, toughest women ever to fight their way across the screen.

Let the right horror director in: Thomas Alfredson interviewed
01/05/2009. The Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson takes the book Let The Right One In by author John Ajvide Lindqvist, and turns it into a hair raising affair. Here, SFcrowsnest interview him about vampires and all that is scary and some which is not. Sweden, he points out, may not have vampire myths but they do have a lot of stories about dangerous wolves.

Meet the Marsters
01/05/2009. James Marsters chats with about his new role in the film Dragonball Evolution, why it's tough being in make-up for four hours then having to pull a twelve hour working day, and why being a goofy mellow guy doesn’t mean you’re weak at all.

A chat with Chatwin
01/05/2009. Actor Justin Chatwin of War of the Worlds fame chats with about starring in the upcoming sci-fi film Dragonball Evolution, a live-action flick based on the manga created by Akira Toriyama. He tells us what it was like to work alongside Ghostbusters star Ernie Hudson, how he was thrown in at the deep end on War Of The Worlds, and what it was like to star in a scifi film with Tom Cruise.

Winning an Emmy
01/05/2009. Actress Emmy Rossum talks to the Nest about acting in Dragonball Evolution, training with marines, learning how to drive a motorcycle without killing Justin Chatwin, and why in the manga, her character Bulma is boy crazy.

Tennant Extra: Dr Who interviewed
01/05/2009. Lady Christina (Michelle Ryan) and Doctor Who (David Tennant) chat to the Nest about their recent picnic on Dune in the Easter special episode, Planet Of The Dead. Tennant chats about the sad lack of desert world landscapes in Wales, and his pure loathing for Lee Evans (okay: just kidding on the last one). Meanwhile, Michelle Ryan goes all bionic on us.

Astounding's Daughter: Sheri S. Tepper interviewed
01/05/2009. With fantasy and science fiction novels of the calibre of The Fresco, Singer from the Sea, Six Moon Dance, The Family Tree, Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Shadow's End, A Plague of Angels, and Sideshow & Beauty behind her, Sheri S. Tepper is one of America's greatest novelists. Her book The Margarets is in the running for this year's Arthur C Clarke Award, so what better time for fantasy author Stephen Hunt to sit down with her and chat about just what an early diet of Astounding and Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine can do to a lady of letters.

Fighting the Quiet War: Paul McAuley interviewed
01/05/2009. Science fiction novelist Paul McAuley has just been shortlisted for the 2009 Arthur C Clarke Award for his novel The Quiet War. He chats with fantasy author Stephen Hunt about why the default political debating position of SF shouldn't be Earth: bad, tyrannical and ossified; Colonists: smart and sympathetic; and why it's difficult to improve as a writer if you don't read other writers who are better than you.

The coming king of steampunk: Alastair Reynolds interviewed
01/05/2009. Alastair Reynolds chats with the Nest about his life and works as one of the UK's reigning princes of space opera, about his cunning plan to dominate the steampunk genre (not to mention the coming bakepunk genre), and why he is fascinated by science but lacking the mathematical aptitude to really swim in it.

Let there be Light Ages: Ian MacLeod interviewed
01/05/2009. Ian MacLeod, author of such SFF classics as Song of Time and Light Ages speaks to fantasy author Stephen Hunt about the junction between naturalistic and non-naturalistic fiction, and why his next science fiction novel is going to be set in alternate version of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Wake Up and Dream, dear reader.

Interviewed on the other side: Mark Wernham
01/05/2009. Mark Wernham is the author of Martin Martin's on the Other Side (from Jonathan Cape), one of the shortlisted works for this year's Arthur C Clarke awards. When it comes to science fiction, Mark's influences are writers like JG Ballard and Michael Moorcock, and he talks to the Nest about these, life as a Melody Maker journalist, and being stuck in a prison cell with a big red panic button.

Going digital
01/05/2009. Or Is there no place for hardcopy magazines any more? Discovering that the magazine 'Starlog' has gone out of business after thirty years in the business, says Geoff, not to mention several genre mags also getting the chop in the UK, should give anyone pause for thought.

Philip Jose Farmer (1918-2008) a retrospect by GF Willmetts
01/05/2009. Philip Jose Farmer is one of those names you think will go on forever and who, sadly, in February at the age of ninety is no longer with us. Farmer brought several things to Science Fiction.

Corden Bennet!
01/04/2009. James Corden, 50 per cent of the hero-duo battling it out in the Lesbian Vampire Killers movie, answers's cheeky questions about his new movie.

We've got the Horne
01/04/2009. Mathew Horne, the other half of the Gavin & Stacey comedy duo talks to the Nest about his part in the new Lesbian Vampire Killers flick. What with Shaun of the Dead, is this part of some new British renaissance of horror movie making - or just a sly chance for some Carry On-style comedy debauchery?

Rubbing the monolith: Tom Hunter interviewed
01/04/2009. The Nest's Paul Skevington talks to Arthur C. Clarke Award administrator Tom Hunter about running the UK's main literary science fiction award. Tom talks about the astonished reactions of some mainstream critics upon seeing literary authors on the Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist and pushing the boundaries of SF. Yes, he stands in the shade of the big man's monolith, as do we all.

Demon slayer or politically incorrect cop: Philip Glenister interviewed
01/04/2009. Everyone's favourite copper, brash but loveable DCI Gene Hunt, is back in time travelling sci-fi cop series Ashes to Ashes, policing the streets of early 1980s London. Actor Philip Glenister, recently seen as demon slayer Rupert Galvin in Demons and donning breeches as Mr Carter in Cranford, explains why he still relishes playing the politically incorrect Mancunian.

Keeley Hawes interviewed: from spy-fi to sci-fi
01/04/2009. Viewers last saw DI Alex Drake in despair in the scifi cop series Ashes to Ashes, after being unable to save her parents from the car bomb that killed them. It's now 1982 and Alex is settling into Eighties life while her memories of 2008 begin to fade. Actress Keeley Hawes, who starred in the first series of the BBC's spy-fi drama Spooks, plays the sassy DI and explains what is in store for Alex.

Doctor Who says Welcome Aboard to Uncle Geoff
01/04/2009. I'm not sure if this should appear in the review column or as a guide to putting this model kit together. For those of you living in the UK, you've no doubt seen the Doctor Who: Welcome Back kit adverts in the media mags looking very impressive although I did wonder how many of you were put off by lack of modelling ability.

Project Tic-Toc. An exploration of the Time Tunnel and how it worked and failed.
01/04/2009. If it wasn't for a budget-conscious Senator Leroy Clark, says Uncle Geoff, the top secret Project Tic-Toc also more commonly known as the Time Tunnel hidden below the Arizona Desert might have been a complete success. The premature test by its deputy scientist, Doctor Anthony Newman using his new radiation treatment trapped him on the Titanic in 1912 on the eve its destruction.

The long ironic arm of coincidence
01/04/2009. I'm a great believer in synergy. Mostly cos I see patterns line up so much in my own life and in other events. Things like only having to think I haven't seen a familiar face in town and up they pop within a couple weeks is a common occurrence, especially when I'm not looking for them.

Hugging the Hoodie: Jonas Armstrong interviewed
01/04/2009. Actor Jonas Armstrong talks to the Nest about playing the lasted incarnation of Robin Hood in the BBC's fantasy TV series, and tells us how he felt about donning the hood of justice without Maid Marian by his side.

From Spook to Guy Of Gisborne: Richard Armitage interviewed
01/04/2009. Richard Armitage sets the hearts a-fluttering with his bad-boy dark leather clad villain act from BBC One's 3rd series of Robin Hood. He chats with the Nest about murdering poor old Marian and wanting everything that Robin has.

Froggatt about it: Joanne Froggatt interviewed
01/04/2009. It's a brave girl who steps into Maid Marion's shoes in the BBC's Robin Hood TV series, not least because her life expectancy isn't exactly likely to last too long. Actress Joanne Froggatt is up to the challenge and loves watching fantasy on television, though.

Tuck-ing in: David Harewood interviewed
01/04/2009. Actor David Harewood chats with the Nest about playing Friar Tuck in the new Robin Hood - fat, happy and hair-challenged he ain't. In fact, his last role was playing Nelson Mandela and he trained in martial arts for the Tuck role.

Infrastructure: Look for the bare necessities...
02/03/2009. One thing the cold weather in Great Britain this February has shown is how dependent we are on infra-structure and the co-operation of various people to ensure personal welfare and even survival in this country. At the same time, it also showed how unprepared for an instant countrywide blizzard we are.

Who Without Blemish... a short story by GF Willmetts
02/03/2009. It was deemed as the next great thing. Television going digital meant finer pixel counts so blocking would be less intrusive and then to take advantage of it even more, a switch to High Definition even if HD made little sense to anything recorded up until a couple years before recording started that way. A tubed TV had a palate from combining three colours.

There's no accounting for taste, especially when having them defined in boxes
01/02/2009. I am lousy at picking favourites. Don't confuse this with preferences as that's more down to personal taste than favouritism. I mean I prefer Science Fiction but it would be a lot tougher to choose just one favourite author or film out of so many I like. Yet displaying such a list would surely indicate that is all you read which is obviously far from the multiple bookcases in my case.

The worse case of parallel evolution
01/01/2009. Humans, says Uncle Geoff in his first editorial of the new year, are the worse case of parallel evolution with a limb at each corner and a head at the top instead of up its..

Mark says goodbye to Forrest J. Ackerman, R.I.P
01/01/2009. I guess it is time to say good-bye to Forrest J. Ackerman. I knew that he was very highly regarded among the fans. I just did not realize how many people in how many news media were his fans. I thought there were a few monster geeks like me who knew of him, but I am seeing tributes come from all over the country. Apparently there were legions of us who owe a debt to Forry.

What makes for a good book?
01/01/2009. Uncle Geoff brushes the dust off his volumous collection of science fiction and fantasy novels and asks the question, just what does make for a good book?

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