Initiate salutation cascade, star-citizens! Seven years ago tonight, Stephen Colbert introduced Tek Jansen to the world. Originally a one-off parody of vanity fiction by media blowhards, the "super-awesome spectacular ultraspy" became the center of a small universe of comics, cartoons, and books, his exploits satirizing awful pulp sci-fi, rampant
Mary Sue "Marty Sue" syndrome, and the cheesy melodrama of 1970s Hanna-Barbera. Look inside for US/Canadian links to both animated seasons along with other content available on the web. [more inside]
Jonathan Strahan’s acclaimed Eclipse series of anthologies is coming to the web as Eclipse Online. The first story is The Contrary Gardener by Christopher Rowe, from Eclipse One.
The mash-up clip music group Electic Method re-mix and paste together sounds from Sci-Fi movies to create THE FUTURE
Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds, and Peter F. Hamilton discuss their books with fans (video). The Hydrogen Sonata, the 10th of Bank's Culture books, will be released October 12th, read the first chapter here. Meanwhile it's 20 years since Reynolds first started work on Revelation Space.
It was on a Monday, April second - I was cruising in the vicinity of Betelgeuse - when a meteor no larger than a lima bean pierced the hull, shattered the drive regulator and part of the rudder, as a result of which the rocket lost all maneuverability. [more inside]
Ted Chiang interview. Metafilter's own Ken Chen recently arranged an interview with author Ted Chiang, who's decorated like a Christmas tree with Nebula, Hugo, Locus, and other coveted sci-fi awards. (Previously on Metafilter: Chiang was the subject of what is so far the most popular Metafilter post of all time.) [via mefi projects]
After a 13 year hiatus Red Dwarf returns to the UK on Dave TV. The first episode airs this evening in the UK. Apparently all the main cast have been booked into the show this season albeit a bit older. [more inside]
How Philip K Dick transformed Hollywood, who could be Hollywood's next PKD and how PKD could change your life.
These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It's continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.
Hey Metafilter, you like John Carpenter's The Thing? Now, see the toys from the merchandising tie-in! (SLYT, NSFW, possible spoilers)
Atomic Rockets is chock full of stuff to tickle the imagination of anyone who has enjoyed science fiction accounts of space travel. You can move your cursor over the "Show topic list" button in the top right corner of the page and start exploring.
Author and librarian, Jess Nevins, offers The Black Fantastic: Highlights of Pre-World War II African and African-American Speculative Fiction. [more inside]
Aircraft Carriers in Space: Naval analyst Chris Weuve talks to Foreign Policy about what Battlestar Galactica gets right about space warfare.
His official title is continuity database administrator for the Lucas Licensing arm of Lucasfilm — which means Chee keeps meticulous track of not just the six live-action [Star Wars] movies but also cartoons, TV specials, scores of videogames and reference books, and hundreds of novels and comics.
Our home food dispenser broke and I had to wait 20 seconds at the check out counter, such inefficiency.
50 years of The Jestons and Why the show still matters. It was September 23, 1962 when ABC aired the first episode of The Jetsons. This was ABC's first color program and while it only lasted a single season, its impact, influence, and popularity is still felt today. Many of the predictions portrayed in the series are coming true.
Boojum, a spacefaring Cthulhu Mythos story run through the filter of Lewis Carroll by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear (Interview). A sequel in the same universe, Mongoose, Appeared in the Ellen Datlow edited anthology Lovecraft Unbound. An audio of Mongoose is available at the Drabblecast (part 1, part 2), as well as a further sequel, The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward (part 1, part 2)
The Bionic Wiki is a collaborative project to create the most comprehensive information database for the Bionic universe as presented in the 1970's science-fiction, action-adventure series, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. [more inside]
In 1994, theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a scheme for virtual faster than light travel using a real-world analog to the familiar science fiction trope known as "Warp Drive." The basic premise exploited certain space-time warping effects predicted by General Relativity to fold space-time, theoretically allowing a specially designed space craft to reach distant destinations effectively at FTL speeds without actually having to accelerate to light speed or beyond at all. There was, however, at least one major problem with the proposal: The math suggested it would require as much energy as the mass of the planet Jupiter to power the thing. But according to newer calculations based on a modified version of Alcubierre's original proposal, warp speed travel may now theoretically be within reach (warning: eyeball-gouging Space.com link), requiring drastically less energy than originally thought. Of course, not everyone's convinced there's anything to see here. And even so, prohibitive energy input requirements may not be the only serious challenge facing the development of real-world warp drive technology, so don't go packing your bags for that long overdue vacation to Risa just yet.
"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’.
Three conventions compared in the great geek sexism debate.
Time for Teletubbies: Radical Utopian Fiction - how the BBC children's show reveals our posthuman future.
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.
Snark is the universal solvent of cultural conversation. Someone mentions Hemingway; you mention cross-dressing, drinking, and short choppy sentences. Not only did you not have to read Hemingway, you have one-upped the other person by not having read it; you know more about it than they do because you know the important thing, that Hemingway doesn't need to be read. Star Wars has a plot straight out of a comic book, the indescribable beauty of an athlete's best moment is just ritualized combat, any given religion is a collection of three or fewer especially silly-sounding superstitions, all academic subjects are useless hazing intended to keep the wrong people from being hired, all peace protestors are just trying to get on television and soldiers are all unemployed hillbillies whose masculinity feels threatened so they've enlisted for a chance to commit war crimes. Occupy Wall Street is rebels without a clue (itself a plagiarized phrase), the Tea Party is scared old people, and nothing in the wide world matters compared to the general wonderfulness of the observer. [Some 3700 words from a science fiction writer deriding and analyzing the emptiness of snark as a rhetorical mode. Might need to click through Blogger's NSFW warning, though it's just text.]
... Buckaroo Banzai is paradoxically decades ahead of its time and yet completely of its time; it’s profoundly a movie by, for, and of geeks and nerds at a time before geek/nerd culture was mainstreamed, and a movie whose pre-CG special effects and pre-Computer Age production design were an essential part of its good-natured enthusiasm. What at the time was a hip, modern take on classic SF is now, almost thirty years later, almost indistinguishable from the SF cinema that inspired it in terms of the appeal to modern viewers: the charmingly old-fashioned special effects, and the comparatively innocent earnestness of its tone. - Danny Bowes [more inside]
Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea. Desolation and the Sublime on a Distant Planet. Mars-inspired artwork, commisioned by NASA, by Kahn & Selesnick (previously). [Via]
"Last week, I graduated from the 2012 Clarion Writer’s Workshop. And everything people tell you about it is true—it’s incredible, it’s transformative, it will make you into the writer you were meant to be, it builds unbreakable bonds with a ton of other brilliant writers. AND you’ll be devastated when it’s over. As I attempt to process my grief at Clarion’s end, I thought I would transcribe the copious notes that I took during the course of those six weeks." Clarion 2012: Every Brilliant Piece of Writing Advice (via jscalzi)
The PBS Idea Channel takes a look at how Minecraft can be a useful simulation for what life could be like in a post-scarcity economy where technology like Makerbots has become common. [slyt]
"... That’s the way with epiphanies: You can’t know in advance what they’ll be. Even me. I can see them coming, but I can’t understand something until I understand it.”T he man who can see the future has a date with the woman who can see many possible futures.
Homebuilding a 474mm tall model of "Robocain" from 1990's Robocop 2, complete with a working head. Clips of Robocain and the other Robocop prototypes from the movie. All photos from the project. Bonus music link: Front Line Assembly performing the Robocop 2 sampling Mindphaser live.
Impossible Dreams וידאו קסם "A sci-fi romance. Based on the Hugo award winning story 'Impossible Dreams' by Tim Pratt. Hebrew with English subtitles." [Via]
Comics artist Frazer Irving adapts Mary Shelly's Frankenstein in hauntingly beautiful black and white: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.
In need of a regular dose of audio short fiction, whether it's horror, crime, or pulp fantasy? Welcome to the District of Wonders, a collection of podcasts spun off from the award winning StarShipSofa (previously, previosly).
A six minute trailer has been released for the film adaptation of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, directed by Tom Tykwer and The Wachowskis. [previously]
What Isaac Asimov thought 2012 would be like: "Assuming we haven't destroyed ourselves in a nuclear war, there will be 8-10 billion of us on this planet—and widespread hunger. These troubles can be traced back to President Ronald Reagan who smiled and waved too much." [more inside]
The Library of America recently started an online companion to their 1950s Science Fiction Golden Era collection which includes cover art, interviews with authors and articles by writers on the genre. Previous link on LOA
"In a genre of its own—Live-Action Graphic Novel—The Intergalactic Nemesis saga is a hilarious, uplifting adventure of heroes-by-circumstance overcoming impossible odds. But the telling is what makes the experience of The Intergalactic Nemesis so incredibly unique: while three actors, one Foley artist, and one keyboardist perform all the voices, sound effects and music, more than 1,250 hand-drawn, full-color, hi-res, blow-your-mind comic-book images blast from the screen, all performed live." [more inside]
Guardian Book Club: Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks, Week one: John Mullan discusses the twist [more inside]
"Because we’re a smaller outfit, we can take some risks—find authors and manuscripts that are trying to move the genre forward."
ChiZine Publications (CZP) is an independent Toronto-based book publisher that is single-handedly changing the face of genre fiction in Canada. Though CZP was founded just four years ago and put out just twelve books per year, they are responsible for four of the six nominees for the the 2012 Best Novel Prix Aurora (Canada's highest honour in genre fiction). CZP grew out of the self-styled "dark fiction" 'zine The Chiaroscuro which has been publishing free genre fiction online since 1997. Their most recent release is David Nickle's tale of cold war psionic operatives gone rogue, Rasputin's Bastards.
Solaris, a new opera by German composer Detlev Glanert, to a libretto by Reinhard Palm based on the novel (previously) by Stanislaw Lem (previously), has its world premiere today at the Festspielhaus, Bregenz. [More inside] [more inside]
Through a spasm of serendipity whose mechanism I cannot begin to fathom, two inarguable masterpieces of Eastern European science fiction - Solaris by Stanislaw Lem and Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - have recently been accorded fresh translations. In this posting I would like to briefly consider the virtues of these new versions [...] [more inside]