The LA Times Hero Complex looks at diversity in SF and Fantasy fiction.
"I've been thinking recently about the way readers come to be in sympathy with characters in a story. This is something that isn't talked about much, and when it is it seems to be in terms of how to manipulate the reader. Indeed, I stopped reading Orson Scott Card for a different reason than the reason everyone else stopped reading him -- long ago he said in a book on how to write that you get reader sympathy by taking a sympathetic character, preferably a child, and doing something terrible to them, like for instance torturing them. Once I knew he was doing this on purpose it was like "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain", I couldn't enjoy reading because I felt manipulated. Also, torturing children? Really? That's the only way to make me care? I don't think so." -- Jo Walton's Wiscon speech on how to make readers care about your characters.
Orson Scott Card's Unaccompanied Sonata [Google Books], which he has called one of his favorite short stories, is an darkly enchanting tale about a boy who, at a young age, is taken from his family and brought to a house deep in the forest...
"So. I get it. The world used to agree with you. You used to be able to say things like, “I really like those lady writers in this industry, especially in swimsuits!” and your fellow writers, editors, agents, and other assorted colleagues would all wink and grin and agree with you, and Asimov would go around pinching women’s asses, and it was so cool!" -- Kameron Hurley is not amused by the ongoing sexism problems in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America or the idea that criticism of this is censorship. [more inside]
On Saturday, the premiere season of BBC America's Orphan Black finished up its first ten-episode run. The show has garnered praise and buzz for lead actress and relative unknown Tatiana Maslany: "There's no better special effect on television right now than Tatiana Maslany playing a variety of clones." [more inside]
UFO is a 1970 British science fiction television series about a secret military organization which defends the Earth from Alien invaders. The series was created by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson, who previously created the "Supermarionation" puppet TV series in the 1960's (Thunderbirds, Fireball XL-5), and would later create Space: 1999. The production is highly stylized, from the cars, hair styles, and future fashions to Ebert-worthy parties of the future, mesh space shirts and groovy theme music. [more inside]
In 1997, Last Unicorn gave Zug the chance at recreating Frank Herbert's 'Dune' through a new trading card series. He was originally told to base his work off of David Lynch's film, but after complications with licensing, "they told me to avoid similarity to Lynch's visuals" says Mark Zug. Mark Zug's Dune trading cards.
Because you’ve seen this story so many times, because you already know the nature and history of llamas, it sometimes shocks you, of course, to see a llama outside of these media spaces. The llamas you see don’t have scales. So you doubt what you see, and you joke with your friends about “those scaly llamas” and they laugh and say, “Yes, llamas sure are scaly!” and you forget your actual experience. -- We Have Always Fought: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative by Kameron Hurley.
How do you solicit freelance scripts for a science fiction television series that breaks the mold? You create a comprehensive guide to writing an episode of Star Trek. [more inside]
A Logic Named Joe is a short science-fiction story by Murray Leinster. Published in 1946, the story depicts data-mining, massively networked computers, search engines, privacy/censorship filters and internet porn. Read it here.
Richard Kadrey is not the most prolific novelist in the world. Still, every five, six years or so out comes another book like Metrophage, or Kamikaze L'Amour, dark, violent, intense works mostly set in and around Los Angeles with characters straight out of a good punk rock song. The self-confessing film nerd is probably best known for his Sandman Slim series, and if you're impatient for the forthcoming Dead Set novel, you can bide your time with a ton of short stories online. [more inside]
Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison & Gene Wolfe discussing Science Fiction in 1982 (slyt). And oh yeah, one of the moderators is Studs Terkel
As you know Bob, the gender inbalance within science fiction and fantasy has been a hot button item for a while now. As the just released Strange Horizons count of books reviewed and reviewers writing in sf publications in 2012 shows, this gender inbalance shows no tendency to decline just yet, with some notable exceptions. However it might just be that this gender imbalance is exacerbated in the count by the omission of RT Bookreviews? [more inside]
It is an apocalypse tale with no doomsday, a punk movie with no concert, a science fiction story with less than ten seconds of aliens - Repo Man: A Lattice of Coincidence, a look back at the 1984 classic film by cult director Alex Cox, whose current project is a crowdfunded adaptation of Harry Harrison's Bill, the Galactic Hero.
Starchaser: The Legend Of Orin (trailer) is an animated SF film released in 1985. Presented here in 11 parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11. Or perhaps you prefer the original 3D, in 13 parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13. [more inside]
"I should have known before Night Shade came to me with a deal that things were rotten. Instead, I got an email immediatley upon announcing that I’d inked the deal saying “You know they aren’t paying people, right?” Everything authors knew about the rotten abuse at Night Shade was shared in private. With a few exceptions (Moon and Williams, most notably) no one was talking out loud about what was happening. The SFWA was accomodating and gracious and gave them chance after chance. We should have spoken up. All of us." Kameron Hurley talks about the culture of silence surrounding the problems at Night Shade Books. [more inside]
The Smell of Orange Groves. This short story by Lavie Tidhar (author of Osama: A Novel) is part of his Central Station story cycle, taking place in or around Tel Aviv’s Central Station neighborhood sometime in the future. [more inside]
According to Lindner, his patient first began experiencing a strange feeling while reading fanciful adventure novels during his youth. "In some weird and inexplicable way I knew that what I was reading was my biography. Nothing in these books was unfamiliar to me: I recognized everything... My everyday life began to recede at this point. In fact, it became fiction—and, as it did, the books became my reality." At the further stage of this "psychosis," the patient "filled in the spaces" between the written stories with "fantasy 'recollections.'" -- So you thought otherkin and people believing they're the reincarnation of a fictional character were a modern thing? Well, it turns out science fiction author Cordwainer Smith might've been otherkin half a century before the term was first coined, if The Atlantic is to be believed. [more inside]
"There use to be just sci-fi [sic]; then along came New Wave, New Weird, Cyberpunk and countless other genres; now new writing is stepping beyond even these" -- The Irish Times discovers it can be hard to tell what's science fiction and what's fantasy these days.
Inside Secrets of the Making of Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan and "Space Seed" - of course Benedict Cumberbatch is totally not playing Khan, a genetic superman from 1993, in the new Star Trek movie. Maybe he'll sing a song.
"During a summer in the late 1960s I discovered an easy and certain method of predicting the future. Not my own future, the next turn of the card, or market conditions next month or next year, but the future of the world lying far ahead. It was quite simple. All that was needed was to take the reigning assumptions about what the future was likely to hold, and reverse them. Not modify, negate, or question, but reverse." -- science fiction critic and writer John Clute discusses the secret of predicting the future for Lapham's Quarterly's Future theme issue.
Davis and Ma wrote up a long list of one-paragraph game pitches to prototype. They would be small, manageable games that two people could complete on their own. The game they chose to go with would have to be finished within a year, because that was all they had budgeted for. Among the pitches inspired by board games, roguelikes and all the genres that excited them was a 2D, top-down management game called FTL. The Opposite of Fail - The making of FTL (Previously)
"When looking at a sample of bloggers reviewing SF/F, a majority of men will skew toward reviewing more men. A majority of women will skew toward a more equal gender parity, or the opposite in which they review a majority of women. There will be a handful of outliers." -- An analysis of the visibility of women in (online) science fiction and fantasy reviews and whether the gender of the reviewer impacts that visibility.
Valibation: It isn't in you, it is you. NSFW short film in which a man's addiction to his smartphone gets a bit out of hand. [Via]
The finalists for the 2012 Nebula Awards have been announced (list with free fiction links here), but there's still another two weeks to get in nominations for the 2013 Hugo Awards. However, for those works not fiting the regular award categories Tim Pratt and other science fiction writers, fans and interested parties on Twitter have been suggesting #FakeHugoAwardCategories . io9 collects some of the best.
Classic European science-fiction movies (1916-1961) you probably haven’t seen – but you should according to io9.
How To Write Drone Fiction: "One can easily and self-righteously claim the merits of writing non-fiction about drones by asserting a primacy of fact over “false fiction”. The problem is that one does not write non-fiction about drones." [more inside]
Bayesian analysis shows redshirts are not most likely to die on Star Trek:TOS. Although Enterprise crew members in redshirts suffer many more casualties than crew members in other uniforms, they suffer fewer casualties than crew members in gold uniforms when the entire population size is considered. Only 10% of the entire redshirt population was lost during the three year run of Star Trek. This is less than the 13.4% of goldshirts, but more than the 5.1% of blueshirts. What is truly hazardous is not wearing a redshirt, but being a member of the security department. The red-shirted members of security were only 20.9% of the entire crew, but there is a 61.9% chance that the next casualty is in a redshirt and 64.5% chance this red-shirted victim is a member of the security department. The remaining redshirts, operations and engineering make up the largest single population, but only have an 8.6% chance of being a casualty.
Last December Amazon blocked sales of the Ebook Spots the Space Marine by author M.C.A. Hogarth after a notice from gaming industry powerhouse Games Workshop that they had trademarked the phrase "Space Marine" and that Hogarth, and anyone else who uses it, is infringing. GW brought this complaint based on "Class 16" of their European tradmark. [more inside]
Sometimes you might find yourself sitting at a computer, wanting to read something. But you don't want something long. You're thinking, what about a short story, and possibly something in the fantasy or sci-fi realms? You're in luck! Here are four collections, for your reading pleasure: Apex Magazine short fiction | Baen Ebooks Free Library, which includes some short story collections | Eclipse Online, from Nightshade Books | Strange Horizons fiction archive, including podcasts of many stories. If this is overwhelming, io9 has a pick of 5 short stories from January, with synopses. [Previously: Plane of the Ecliptic, on the Eclipse series | This isn't your grandfather's science fiction, where "Exhalation" is from the Eclipse series]
Hollywood Reporter: "Duncan Jones is taking on Legendary Pictures' adaptation of the popular video game universe" [more inside]
The Snipist - a post-apocalyptic nightmare set in a post-rabies Britain (warning: absolutely bleak). A Gun For George - a short film about crime-writer Terry Finch, author of the 70s Kentish fiction masterpieces The Reprisalizer. [more inside]
And now he has a posse. Mefi's Own cstross and jscalzi plus Patrick Rothfuss, Mary Robinette Kowal and Jim Hines posed for a remake of the cover of the Poul Anderson book Young Flandry. Hines promised to remake the cover if his readers raised $5,000 for the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation. They raised over three times that amount and Hines gathered his cohorts and fulfilled his promise. [via]
"It's amazing what can be done with nothing more than a computer, time and a boatload of talent." R'ha is a short film created in seven months by aspiring director Kaleb Lechowski, 22.
Brattleboro Days, Yuggoth Nights: an interview with H. P. Lovecraft on a single postcard.
The Best Of Star Wars: Clone Wars - The CGI Star Wars spin off that made the franchise fun again for young and old reached it's 100th episode today.
Islam & Science Fiction is exactly what it sounds like: interviews with authors, art, and more on Muslims and the future. They've also released a book that you can grab for free, A Mosque Among The Stars
The Ghosts of Christmas - A spooky SF story for Christmas by Paul Cornell.