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Science fiction

The New Weird is the new New Wave?
October 30, 2014 | 12:12 pm

fanficReaders like me who cut their teeth on the New Wave of science fiction of the late 1960s and 1970s will remember the intellectual and imaginative energy of that period, the freewheeling mash-up of genres, the political and social awareness, the maturity and sophistication of much of the writing compared to most of what comprised the genre before. An adolescent genre - or rather, one stuck in a permanent delayed adolescence - suddenly grew up. In the UK, it was all about authors like Brian W. Aldiss, J.G. Ballard, M. John Harrison, Michael Moorcock, and Christopher Priest; in the U.S.,...

A new Humble Bundle is available!
July 11, 2014 | 9:15 am

humble bundleVia Boing Boing comes this news, that a new Humble Bundle is available. These popular book bundles let you pay whatever price you want for a complete collection; those who pay more than the going average are entitled to bonus books and other content. The newest bundle is sci-fi themed, and contains the following titles: - The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough - The Reluctant Swordsman by Dave Duncan - Freehold by William Dietz - The Time of the Dark by Barbara Hambly - Wingman by Mack Maloney. And the bonus books for those who pay more: - Spellsinger by Alan Dean Foster - I Have No Mouth...

SFWA ‘doubles down’ in support of Douglas Preston’s petition
July 8, 2014 | 6:26 am

sfwaPassive Guy over at The Passive Voice reports receiving an email from SFWA headed “SFWA doubling down,” clarifying its position on signing onto Douglas Preston’s open letter decrying Amazon’s hardball tactics in its negotiation with Hachette. (Odd that they didn’t also send it to me, given that TPV carried the story I posted about it in the first place.) The letter reads as follows: SFWA’s support of Douglas Preston’s open letter reflects our concern about Amazon’s tactics in their dispute with Hachette and the way those tactics are impacting writers and their careers. We are,...

Cosplay, cosmopolitanism and culture
April 30, 2014 | 10:25 am

MondoConI was lucky enough to spend Sunday at Hungary's biggest leading convention, Tavasi MondoCON,  in brilliant sunshine and surrounded by brilliant costumes. I was blown away by the scale of the event and the dedication put into the costumes, in a country of just under 10 million, which hardly counts as the wealthiest, most sophisticated or most cosmopolitan destination even in Central Europe, let alone Europe as a whole. Yet the ensembles not only were very well executed, they also showed deep knowledge of all the choicest details of anime and manga, never mind Western films, comics and series. And...

Not much comfort in Hugo, Nebula Awards
April 29, 2014 | 2:13 pm

hugo nominations 2014As almost any reader who ever logs on the Internet is probably aware by now, this year's Hugo Awards have attracted more than their slice of controversy. For a start, there was the Hugo own goal with the alarmist Twitter campaign against Jonathan Ross hosting the Awards. Then there was an eruption on the right flank with the inclusion of work and recommendations from Larry Correia and notoriously bigoted commentator Vox Day in the Hugo nominations list. So far, this year's Nebula Awards nominations have not stoked similar passions that I've noticed, but these are Awards voted on by members...

The vitriol of Twitter: How social media torpedoed Jonathan Ross hosting the Hugos
March 4, 2014 | 1:12 pm

Twitter as kid with red crayonHere’s an interesting article from The Nation about problems the feminist movement is having in discussions on Twitter. The fundamental problem is “intersectionality”: people in the feminist movement are other things besides “just” female—they’re rich or poor, they’re white or minority, and so on—and people at one end of a spectrum find things to be angry at the people on the other end about, even though they ostensibly share a common cause. And this anger is compounded by the Twitter discussion medium, whose short bite-sized chunks can lead to a spectacularly toxic environment. I don’t really have anything to...

Appointment of British comedian Jonathan Ross as Hugo Awards emcee triggers brief spat
March 1, 2014 | 11:21 pm

Jonathan-RossToday saw another blowup in a series of memorable events in recent history pertaining to sexism and science fiction. And the SFWA wasn’t even involved this time! The organizers of LonCon3, the London SF convention playing host to Worldcon and hence the Hugo Awards this year, announced today that British TV personality Jonathan Ross had agreed to emcee the Hugos. This immediately sent a shockwave through the community, because Ross has a history of raunchy and sexist humor on the air. A number of prominent SF writers and personalities declared their dismay, including Seanan McGuire, who tweeted: ...

The SFWA might just stay relevant after all
February 20, 2014 | 11:12 pm

apologycatHere’s an epilogue to the SFWA kerfuffle I posted about a couple of days ago: the central figure in the article, Sean Fodera, has posted a public apology to Mary Robinette Kowal for his unprofessional remarks (which she has accepted), and also a clarification on his attitude about women in SF. (The apology was apparently so popular that it caused SFF.net to go down for a while. It seems to be back up now, but just in case, screencaps are available at Radish Reviews.) In the apology, Fodera explains that his antipathy toward Kowal was not because she was a woman,...

Is the SFWA losing its relevance?
February 18, 2014 | 3:25 pm

“This is the song that doesn’t end…it just goes on and on my friend…” To mix musical metaphors, I’m getting that whole “second verse, same as the first” feeling as I look at the latest vitriol to come out of the whole Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) sexism affair (which we’ve covered in more detail here, here, and here). A few days ago, an article appeared on The Daily Dot blog citing posts from the public discussion forums on SFF.net pertaining to the latest round of ugliness. SFF.net is the discussion forum website of the SFWA, but has always...

Just when you thought science fiction couldn’t get any more adolescent…
February 11, 2014 | 12:15 pm

[caption id="attachment_107487" align="alignright" width="192"] Andrew Hamilton and Dave Truesdale - fighting for your right to bootie[/caption] And just when I might have felt the slightest smidgeon of self-doubt or contrition about my last post on science fiction, along comes a fresh sci-fi controversy to prove my point - in exhaustive, exhausting, relentless, grotesque, ridiculous detail. Yes, I'm talking about Dave Truesdale, founder and managing editor of the sci-fi review magazine Tangent, and now vigilante crusader for First Amendment rights to ogle big-bazoomba'd buxom blizzard-bound broads on the covers of the Bulletin of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SWFA) -...

Science fiction: A failing genre?
February 7, 2014 | 2:21 pm

Science fiction author and self-proclaimed geek fan Daniel Haight has made a post that calls into question the behavior of the sci-fi fan community - and the continuation of the genre. Entitled, "How Sci-Fi is Failing Fans (and How We Can Get it Back)", the post states that: "  The science fiction of 2013 is not what I grew up with and I’m hoping we can turn that around in 2014.   Science fiction is our mutual heritage of imagination and storytelling and it is threatened by some very destructive behaviors." And although Haight bemoans some ebbing support from the media...

Greetings from the future!
January 21, 2014 | 8:47 pm

Screenshot_2014-01-21-20-41-29 (1)I live in the future. (And here’s how it works. No, seriously.) I just deposited a couple of checks by taking photos of them with my smartphone. My new bank, Chase, supports deposit by smartphone app. Today was my first chance to try it out, and I was amazed at how easily it was accomplished. In the old days, back in Springfield, getting a check would have meant bicycling several blocks to the nearest ATM to deposit it. Here, I just pulled up the app, punched in an amount, snapped photos of the front and back of...