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There and Back Again

To define the world of The Hobbit is, of course, impossible, because it is new. - C.S. Lewis reviews The Hobbit. Why Smaug Sill Matters. Tolkien, Alignment, Non-Violence, and Why Hobbits are Required for Middle-earth to Survive. "‘Smaug’ is about almost absolutely nothing". Scientist maps climate of Lord of the Rings.
posted by Artw on Dec 8, 2013 - 157 comments

Faculty X

Colin Wilson has passed away at the age of 82. He rose to fame in the 50s with The Outsider, which made him a figure amongst Britain's Beat movement and Angry Young Men. His writing has spanned the fiction and non-fiction, with an interest in the paranormal and the occult, his thoughts on which he blended with HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos to produce The Mind Parasites. A TV series based on his The Space Vampires, also the basis for the movie Lifeforce (previously), is currently planned. Wikipedia page, 2004 Guardian interview, Times Obituary (subs only).
posted by Artw on Dec 7, 2013 - 40 comments

Ask Nicola

Nicola Griffith recommends good lesbian science fiction novels.
posted by Artw on Mar 19, 2013 - 50 comments

On Chicago Public Schools Censoring Persepolis's Images of Torture

Suffice it to say, Persepolis is quite a work. It’s a testament to the power of the graphic novel. The art’s simple linework helps the story feel unpretentious and direct. Persepolis was adapted as a 2007 French animated film, written and directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. Among other honors, it was nominated for an Academy Award. Why would someone want to ban such a book?
posted by Artw on Mar 16, 2013 - 33 comments

How the Future Changed

Space Cartoons to Space Psychedelia: How Sci-Fi Book Covers Evolved
posted by Artw on Jan 10, 2013 - 19 comments

There is always a last time for everything

Is Science Fiction promoting pseuodoscience? Is it not really better than fantasy? Is it exhausted and dying, per Paul Kincaid (part 1, part 2), a sort of genre-writing version of completing a list of The Nine Billion Names of God? Does physics-bothering unrepentant space case Alistair Reynolds have a compass pointing the way forwards?
posted by Artw on Dec 19, 2012 - 84 comments

"If you’re not getting it wrong really a lot when you’re creating imaginary futures, then you’re just not doing it enough."

Wired talks to William Gibson: on Why Sci-Fi Writers Are (Thankfully) Almost Always Wrong, on Twitter, Antique Watches and Internet Obsessions, and and on Punk Rock, Internet Memes, and ‘Gangnam Style’.
posted by Artw on Sep 15, 2012 - 55 comments

Don't even Blink...

Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks
posted by Artw on Sep 14, 2012 - 64 comments

Target: NuWho

What if New Who had Target Novelisations just like the old Doctor Who?
posted by Artw on Sep 7, 2012 - 58 comments

South Wales, and Beyond the Infinite

What I wrote was unquestionably fiction — was fantasy. Among Others has magic and fairies. But I was writing fantasy about a science fiction reader who had a lot of the same things happen to her that happened to me. It’s set at the end of 1979 and the beginning of 1980, and it’s about a fifteen year old just when I was fifteen, and from a family like mine and in the time and place and context where I was. I was using a lot of my own experience and memories. But this is Mori, not me, and she lives in a world where magic is real. Jo Walton, who as editor for tor.com revisisted the Hugos 1953-2000, now has one of her own, taking home the 2012 Best Novel Award for Among Others. Other winners include Kij Johnson for her Novella The Man who Bridged the Mist (excerpt) and io9 regular Charlie Jane Anders for her novellete Six Months, Three Days. The Best Graphic Story award went to the webcomic Digger by Ursula Vernon. E Lily Yu took home the Bets New Writer award (technically not a Hugo) and was also nominated for her short story The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees. A couple of TV shows you have heard of also got awards. Links to many of the nominated stories here.
posted by Artw on Sep 3, 2012 - 51 comments

The Drowned World

J.G. Ballard and the alchemy of memory
posted by Artw on Sep 1, 2012 - 24 comments

The story of OMG seriously?

Katrina Lumsden reads the Fifty Shades of Grey books so you don't have to:
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed
(contains animated gifs)
posted by Artw on Aug 5, 2012 - 189 comments

The Stephen King Universe Flow Chart

Gillian James charts the connections in the Stephen King universe* Meanwhile The Guardian is rereading King begining with Carrie and Salems Lot, CNN has discovered The Gospel of Stephen King, and in further Castle Rock news a new movie version of It is being made.
* Not including The Dark Tower
posted by Artw on Jun 11, 2012 - 70 comments

Nook finds it's niche

Barnes and Noble is spinning off Nook into a subsidiary business after a $300M deal with Microsoft which gives the Redmond company a 17% stake, bringing an end to a patent dispute between the two companies and sending shares skyrocketing. Commentary from John Scalzi and Tobias Buckell. Meanwhile the Kindle Fire, Amazon's competitor to the Nook tablet, has grabbed over 50% of the Android tablet market.
posted by Artw on May 1, 2012 - 91 comments

Apple and the Big Five

The U.S. has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five of the largest publishers, alleging a conspiracy to rig the pricing of e-books. Simon & Schuster, Hachette and HarperCollins have agreed to settle, though Macmillan, Penguin and Apple continue to contest the charges. Some background from WIRED: Bigger Than Agency, Bigger Than E-Books: The Case Against Apple and Publishers
posted by Artw on Apr 11, 2012 - 192 comments

Storm in a tea state

Shakespeare's The Tempest banned by Arizona schools
posted by Artw on Jan 17, 2012 - 131 comments

Phil Collins' solo efforts seem to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying in a narrower way, especially No Jacket Required and songs like "In the Air Tonight" and "Against All Odds"

"Patrick Bateman was me. I was Patrick Bateman…" - Bret Easton Ellis interviewed.
posted by Artw on Oct 4, 2011 - 151 comments

The means of production

‘Everyone is a worker.’ That is a powerful statement, if you think about it. Richard Scarry wasn’t afraid to paint contemporary American society in such bold strokes. Nor was he afraid to explain commerce and capitalism to children. - What Do People Do All Day.
posted by Artw on May 4, 2011 - 34 comments

The Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad's forgotten novel about invaders from the Fourth Dimension.
posted by Artw on Jan 14, 2011 - 18 comments

Newly weird

Jeff Vandermeer discusses Amazons top 10 SF/Fantasy books of the year, which he selected in consultation with Amazon editors : Part 1, Part 2.
posted by Artw on Nov 4, 2010 - 28 comments

Skiffy

Skiffy - a huge collection of classic science fiction book covers, featuring the likes of Chris Foss, Bruce Pennington and John Schoenherr.
posted by Artw on Oct 2, 2010 - 15 comments

The Library of Dream

This is all rooted in a vision I had, of William S. Burroughs as a CIA agent, and Philip K. Dick as his young henchman, going head-to-head with notorious gangster and pervert Adolf Hitler somewhere in Hamburg to find out where Hitler is shipping all the computers he can get his hands on. - In another world Charles Stross wrote this sprawling work of Alternate History instead of the Merchant Princes books. Fictional books are of course themselves a common them in Alternative History stories, from The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in The Man in the High Castle to Adolf Hitlers pulp novel Lord of the Swastika in The Iron Dream. Stanisław Lem was particularly enamoured with the idea of the fictional book, and wrote two volumes of reviews and introductions for them, lovingly described here by Bruce Sterling.
posted by Artw on Sep 23, 2010 - 87 comments

Death Shadow of the Blood Dragon

The annual Orbit books survey of Fantasy cover art: Fantasy Art, The Changing Fashion of Urban Fantasy Heroines, Color trends in Dragons, Title Trends and Fonts.
posted by Artw on Aug 23, 2010 - 74 comments

Shelf life

I'm like a character in a dystopian science-fiction novel, holed up in a cave full of cultural artefacts, waiting for the young Jenny Agutter to arrive in a tinfoil miniskirt, fleeing a poisonous cloud on the surface, to check out my stash and ask me: "Who exactly was the Quicksilver Messenger Service? Who was this Virginia Woolf? What kind of man was Jonah Hex?" - Stewart Lee on comics, books, CDs and shelves. Many, many feet of shelves.
posted by Artw on Aug 1, 2010 - 26 comments

The Book Tower

Book owners have smarter kids
posted by Artw on Jun 4, 2010 - 114 comments

Portrait of the young writer as a literary sponge

The 10 Most Harmful Novels for Aspiring Writers
posted by Artw on May 15, 2010 - 144 comments

Common Misconceptions About Publishing

Charles Stross exposes some common misconceptions about publishing. How Charles Stross got into the writing game.
posted by Artw on May 2, 2010 - 48 comments

A special kind of person with special weird things they go to...

China Miéville has won his third Arthur C Clarke award for his crime/weird fiction novel The City and The City - making him the first person to win the prize three times. Somewhat emotional video of him accepting the prize, where he thanks one special crime reader in particular, his mum, who passed away before it's publication. 10 Questions about China Miéville. An A-Z of China Miéville - 1, 2. An extract from his next novel, Kraken. A Bas Lag Wiki. A discussion of the best genre crossovers. An out of season Christmas tale.
posted by Artw on Apr 30, 2010 - 71 comments

Bad horse

Good Show Sir - a blog of the worst science fiction and fantasy book covers from the deepest depths of second hand bookstores around the world.
posted by Artw on Mar 27, 2010 - 67 comments

Starships, sofas, Hugo awards, podcasts, gambles and wind-ups

Due to a rewording of the rules Science Fiction podcast StarShipSofa (previously, previously, previously) could be eligible for a Hugo award. Meanwhile the current episode features The Gambler (text version here), a story by Paolo Bacigalupi - best known as the author of The Windup Girl, one of TIME Magazine's ten books of the year ("Not just science fiction, mind, but fiction, generally") and almost certainly a favorite for the Hugo's best novel category.
posted by Artw on Feb 19, 2010 - 32 comments

back tattoo, back tattoo, weapon, moon, corset

SciFiGuy.ca explores the infinite wonder and beauty of the Urban fantasy book cover (youtube, bad music) (via).
posted by Artw on Feb 2, 2010 - 64 comments

Satan Satan Satan Satan

The devil rides out - How Dennis Wheatley sold black magic to Britain.
posted by Artw on Jan 30, 2010 - 23 comments

Metastasis

SffMeta - Metacritic for Science Fiction.
posted by Artw on Dec 20, 2009 - 40 comments

Tomes of ancient lore

Although it's commonplace nowadays to assume that J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings was the primary source of inspiration for Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax when they created the world's first tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons, a careful examination of the game suggests otherwise... James Maliszewski on The Books That Founded D&D. Some disagreement.
posted by Artw on Nov 24, 2009 - 109 comments

Tell me of your homeworld, Usul

Chris Foss concept art for Dune, with bonus Nostromo. The images were produced for Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1974 attempt at filming the story, with other artists involved including Moebius and HR Giger. Though the project failed Jodorowsky collaborated further with Moebius to lay the groundwork for his own Dune-like comicbook universe (and a trailer for an animated version of it was even created). More visions of Arrakis can be seen on this page of Dune cover artwork through the ages, with bonus midi Toto.
posted by Artw on Nov 20, 2009 - 97 comments

New Worlds and Old

The Readers of Boing Boing interview Michael Moorcock
posted by Artw on Jun 18, 2009 - 42 comments

...I didn't actually read the link...

It’s only natural that if you wish to present yourself as a well-read person, a certain degree of complete bullshit is required. There’s no shame in lying about what you’ve read. There’s only shame in getting caught. Then you look like a doofus, and an illiterate one at that... How to lie about books.
posted by Artw on May 28, 2009 - 73 comments

How to get sued part [n] : Post about Harlan Ellison

Dreams With Sharp Teeth – clips from a Sundance Channel documentary on science fiction writer (and somewhat litigious colourful character) Harlan Ellison. Harlan says pay the writer. (via)
posted by Artw on May 19, 2009 - 101 comments

The Last Man in Europe

1984: The masterpiece that killed George Orwell
posted by Artw on May 9, 2009 - 79 comments

Dagger of the Mind

The SF Signal Mind Meld feature poses science fiction related questions to a number of SF luminaries and the scientist, science writer or blogger. Subjects have included the best women writers in SF, taboo topics in SF, underated authors and the most controversial SF novels of the past and present. The also cover lighter topics, such the role of media tie-ins, how Battlestar Galactica could have ended better (bonus Geoff Ryman) and the realistic (or otherwise) use of science on TV SF shows.
posted by Artw on May 6, 2009 - 17 comments

Keeping it indy

Book sales are down. Powells, the largest independant bookseller in the US, is asking staff to scale back hours or take sabbaticals. Will you buy a book from an independent bookstore this Christmas?
posted by Artw on Dec 12, 2008 - 193 comments

Don'tgive me no jibber-jabber

Man-up with Stephen King.
posted by Artw on Oct 13, 2008 - 137 comments

Storytime with Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's latest work, The Graveyard Book, is a kind of undead Jungle Book, with a man-child being raised by various ghosts and ghouls rather than animals. He's been the whole thing a chapter at a time on each stop of his American promotional tour, and posting the videos online (and blogging about it of course), which means that with tonights reading the entire thing will be available online.
posted by Artw on Oct 8, 2008 - 38 comments

Flesh and Blood

Dacre Stoker presents: Dracula... the sequel!
posted by Artw on Oct 6, 2008 - 37 comments

God Emperor of STFU

7 Reasons Why Scifi Book Series Outstay Their Welcomes
posted by Artw on May 15, 2008 - 99 comments

Dianetics is one of them, ho ho.

50 best cult books from The Telegraph.
posted by Artw on Apr 26, 2008 - 85 comments

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