The nominees for the 2012 Hugo Award were announced over the weekend. Nominees include Metafilter's own jscalzi (who will also be the host for this year's Hugo Awards ceremony) for the beginning of his
epic fantasy trilogy April Fool's joke The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City (Prologue). One record being set this year is Mira Grant's - aka Seanan McGuire's - nominations: she is the first woman to have four Hugo nominations in a single year. [more inside]
"By the way, it's not in the goddamed cat and it's not in Newt, either. I would never be that cruel."
Daily Science Fiction: Original Science Fiction and Fantasy every weekday. Welcome to Daily Science Fiction, an online magazine of science fiction short stories. We publish "science fiction" in the broad sense of the word: This includes sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream—whatever you'd likely find in the science fiction section of your local bookstore. Our stories are mostly short short fiction each Monday through Thursday, hopefully the right length to read on a coffee break, over lunch, or as a bedtime tale. Friday's weekend stories are longer.
The newly released trailer for Total Recall (2012) shows a Quaid quite conspicously not getting his ass to Mars. It could all have been different, as many versions of Total Recall 2 have been in the works over the years. Meanwhile is the Robocop remake anything but total recall? And has the American action movie gone kablooey?
Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines—and machines won. Bio-Dreads — monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them!In 1987, before he created Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a live-action sci-fi show for kids. 24 episodes were produced. Straczynski wrote or co-wrote 14 of them, including multi-episode plot arcs. A line of interactive toys brought the battle into kids’ living rooms, and Captain Power was also one of the very first shows on television to feature computer animation in every episode. But in an attempt to appeal to both children and the adults who watched with them, the campy show included some concepts and scenes critics deemed too violent for children and lasted only a single season in syndication. The full run of the show has now been uploaded to Youtube. [more inside]
How can one describe it? For fuck’s sake, it is a quest saga and it has a talking horse. There are puns on the word ‘neigh’. Christopher Priest on the 2012 Clarke Award shortlist, the self-described "most prestigious award for science fiction in Britain".
Spaceships that became other spaceships: The Millennium Falcon, The Colonial Viper, The Eagle Transporter - from the blog of Gavin Rothery, visual effects designer on Moon. Previously.
The Passion of Dave Stevens — The work of the late, great Dave Stevens is known to comic book aficionados in the form of his enduring creation, The Rocketeer, and to art collectors and illustration enthusiasts for his reverently retro yet brilliantly modern renditions of vintage pulp characters, science fiction adventurers and iconic superheroes. But as dedicated Stevens fans know, the artist's true passion and inspiration manifests in his seemingly countless and unfailingly exquisite renderings of the female form, most typically in the classic pinup and "good girl art" style at which he became one of the very best. [nsfw comic art]
ILU-486, a chilling short story by Amanda Ching, in the vein of dystopian classics like The Handmaid's Tale and inspired by recent events in Virginia, has been sweeping the blogsphere. [more inside]
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.... and mega cities and future cops and cyborgs and deathgames and time-travelling dinosaur hunters and mutant bounty hunters and....
British sf tabletop miniature wargame Warhammer 40,000 is 25 years old today, British sf anthology comic 2000AD is 35 years old tomorrow [more inside]
Why Mass Effect is the most important science fiction universe of our generation (Contains SPOILERS for Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2)
Paul Cornell, noted genre author and TV writer, recently announced that he seeks convention panel parity and will take personal action to that end:
If I'm on, at any convention this year, a panel that doesn't have a 50/50 gender split (I'll settle for two out of five), I'll hop off that panel, and find a woman to take my place.This leads to the general question at Tor.com, The Cornell Ratio: Should SFF Convention Panels Be 50/50 Male and Female?
John Carter, previously John Carter of Mars, previously A Princess of Mars, could be the biggest movie write-off of all time.
Star Wars. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Battlestar Galactica (1978), Superman: The Movie. What do all of these iconic scifi music themes have in common? Bear McCeary discusses the physics behind them. [more inside]
... it’s no exaggeration to say that LIFEFORCE tosses everything in but the kitchen in an attempt to entertain you. Actually, scratch that, it tosses everything including the kitchen sink. By the time the movie is complete, you may have to watch it again just to verify that you actually saw what you just saw. The movie is a mess of enormous proportions which I absolutely loved.
* (previously) [more inside]
In Martian Chronicles, a young-adult novella by Cory Doctorow, colonists leave a bloated earth and head towards the economic promise land of Mars. There's a fascinating spin on this tale that isn't summarize-able so go listen to it. Part 1, 2, 3.
Is Newt Gingrich’s plan for a moon mine science fiction? The technology may be in place, but is there any reason to go?
"Except for that Abercrombie. Swear that guy has Plot Armor to prevent anything bad from ever happening to him, just like his characters."
Arthur C. Clarke Award director Tom Hunter (previously) on the importance of science fiction Awards in elevating geek culture and The Kitschies, the highly praised new genre fiction award from pornokitsch.
Day at Night was an interview series on the public television station of the City University of New York that aired from 1973-4. CUNY TV is in the process of digitizing and uploading the 130 episodes that were produced, with 46 done so far. The episodes are just under half an hour in length. Among the people interviewed by host James Day are author Ray Bradbury, actress Myrna Loy, medical researcher Jonas Salk, singer Cab Calloway, writer Christopher Isherwood, nuclear scientist Edward Teller, comedian Victor Borge, tennis player Billie Jean King, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, composer Aaron Copland, actor Vincent Price and boxer Muhammad Ali.
"We fall into genre wars, of literature versus science fiction, and I don't think it's a real war." - Lauren Beukes
The Guardian interviewed four science fiction authors on the theme of the current state of SF. These authors are, in order, Lauren Beukes, Michael Moorcock, Alistair Reynolds and Jeff Noon, the latter two being interviewed together. Opinion ranges from bullish to crotchety, with plenty of shades and nuances.
GeoCurrents is blog dedicated to "map-illustrated analyses of current events and geographical issues", run by Martin W. Lewis, a Stanford senior lecturer. For the past week, they've been posting a series of articles on imaginary geography. See below for a list of the posts so far: [more inside]
Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer explains how Star Wars has dulled the edge that made science fiction such a pertinent film genre. A Galaxy Far, Far Away My Ass... Pt. Two, Pt. Three [more inside]
On November 22, 2011, TEDxBrussels held an all day event whose theme was: "A Day in the Deep Future." Speakers were asked to try and contemplate what life will be like for mankind in 50 years. Overview. [more inside]
In the beginning, Lawrence built a computer. He told it, Thou shalt not alter a human being, or divine their behavior, or violate the Three Laws -- there are no commandments greater than these. The machine grew wise, mastering time and space, and soon the spirit of the computer hovered over the earth. It witnessed the misery, toil, and oppression afflicting mankind, and saw that it was very bad. And so the computer that Lawrence built said, Let there be a new heaven and a new earth -- and it was so. A world with no war, no famine, no crime, no sickness, no oppression, no fear, no limits... and nothing at all to do. "The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect," a provocative web novel about singularities, AI gods, and the dark side of utopia from Mefi's own localroger. More: Table of Contents - Publishing history - Technical discussion - Buy a paperback copy - Podcast interview - Companion short story: "A Casino Odyssey in Cyberspace" - possible sequel discussion
This summer, The Paris Review interviewed two science fiction writers at length, Samuel R. Delany and William Gibson. Below the cut there are two passages, one from each interview. They aren't representative, they are just two of the many, many passages which have been going around in my head for the last few days. [more inside]
Now the future is a kind of attenuating peninsula; as we move out on it, one side drops off to catastrophe; the other side, nowhere near as steep, moves down into various kinds of utopian futures. In other words, we have come to a moment of utopia or catastrophe; there is no middle ground, mediocrity will no longer succeed. So utopia is no longer a nice idea, but a survival necessity. "Remarks on Utopia in the Age of Climate Change," from Kim Stanley Robinson. Previously.
Vandana Singh is a science fiction writer and a physicist. She describes her work as "ponder[ing] deep questions about the universe." In a series of three essays for Strange Horizons she just does that, probing the relationships between (as her subtitle indicates) science, emotions and culture. [more inside]
This cat is presumptuous. Before Sockington, before Simon's Cat, before Maru, the Internet had the Complaint Department. [more inside]
In this time of corrupt politics, police brutality, media dereliction, and increasingly vicious culture wars, there's perhaps no graphic novel more relevant today than the brilliant and blackly funny Transmetropolitan. Created by Warren Ellis back in 1997 and inspired by prescient sci fi novel Bug Jack Barron, the series covers the work of gonzo journalist, vulgar misanthrope, and all-around magnificent bastard Spider Jerusalem in a sprawling futuristic vision of New York so chaotically advanced that humans splice genes with alien refugees, matter decompilers are as common as microwaves, and a new religion is invented every hour. As a callous Nixonian thug nicknamed The Beast prepares for his re-election to the presidency, a primary battle heats up between a virulent racist and a charismatic senator whose rictus grin masks some disturbing realities. When Jerusalem delves into the machinations of the race, he breaks into a web of conspiracies that threaten the future of the country -- a problem only he, his "filthy assistants," and the power of intrepid journalism can defeat. More: Read the first issue (or three) - browse images from the new artbook - Tor's read-along blog (another) - Jerusalem's touching report on cryogenic "Revivals" - dozens of original sketches and sample pages - timeline - quotes
A spherical flying robot has been developed at the Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense; it can zoom along indoors and outdoors at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, or just hover. Menacingly. Science Fiction In The News is a subsection of science-fiction site Technovelgy, which tracks both the predictions of future tech made in science fiction past and present and its manifestations in real life. What tech, you ask? Well, if it’s appeared in your nightmares, it’s probably been on this page: [more inside]
"Here, in my final post on the ending, I present the case that its final hour was the worst ending in the history of science fiction on the screen. This is a condemnation of course, but also praise, because my message is not simply that the ending was poor, but that the show rose so high that it was able to fall so very far." -Brad Templeton's dissection of the modern version of Battlestar Galatica and where it went wrong
"While most other notable British Science Fiction shows were over-ambitious in their special effects, with results ranging from the troubling (Doctor Who) to the disastrous (The Tomorrow People), Sapphire & Steel [ATV, 1979 - 1982] simply did not try to do anything the budget wouldn't allow. The result called for milking surreal horror for all it's worth, creating a show that is, while definitely not for everyone, quite capable of reducing so-inclined viewers to quivering little heaps behind the sofa."
The Rules of Magic. Every fantasy saga has its own rules for magic, and its own explanations for how the magical arts work. Where does magic come from? Who can use magic, and how? io9 has compiled a list of the rules of magic in 50 fantasy sagas. (jpg)
The Victorian Hugos: "Over the next several months, in open imitation of Jo Walton's splendid "Revisiting the Hugos" series at Tor.com, I'll be reviewing science fiction and fantasy works from 1885 to 1930 and deciding which novels and short works would have received the Hugo had a Worldcon been held that year and which novels and short works should have received the Hugo–often not the same thing." 1885 1886 1887 1888
"We, the fans and pros of www.peterdavid.net, in order to form a more perfect union of fan/pro interaction...."
"When I said in the beginning that absolutely everything that’s represented in this document is in response to stuff that has actually occurred at conventions, that is not hyperbole..." Author Peter David has posted his Fan/Pro Bill of Rights for sci-fi conventions and convention-goers. [more inside]
Anne McCaffrey, author of Dragonriders of Pern, the first woman to win a Hugo award, is reported dead.
Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch. Variety reports Harry Potter director David Yates wants to reboot Doctor Who. Topless Robot reacts.