Science Fiction/Fantasy News & Links
Mark Evanier shows off the cover to his upcoming book Kirby: King of Comics, and explains what this book is (a big, heavily-illustrated look at Jack Kirby’s comics work) and what his next book will be (a much longer, text-heavy biography of Kirby).
Columnist Alex Stein, in the Guardian, likes to argue with a friend about the use and importance of science fiction. (He’s on the side of the angels) Sadly, Stein seems to be content to argue that there’s some good stuff out there amid the dreck, rather than calling the friend on his category error – the unnamed friend stacks the deck by using the new Transformers movie as the SF exemplar and “some new French slow-burner about adultery” as his example of “real life.” The equivalents of a good serious “real life” movie are movies like Gattaca, or 2001, or Blade Runner; if you want a “mainstream” comparison movie on the same level as Transformers, you’ll have to dig up something like Monster-In-Law. Defenders of SF need to point out that there’s just as much “real life” dreck as fantastic dreck – and our dreck at least has cool pictures to go with the lousy plots.
The Baltimore Sun reports on an exhibition of Star Wars paraphernalia at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum in Baltimore. The materials are all from the collection of Thomas Atkinson, who runs the Star Toys Museum.
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist has a sample page from a French graphic novel adaptation of Robin Hobb’s “Farseer Trilogy.”
The Houston Chronicle asks “Is there a Future for Serious Sci-fi?” As usual, they ask people who write books to comment, but only seem to care about big flashy movies…which are, by their nature, deeply unserious.
In its Solomonic way, CBS News has declared the Harry Potter novels – the single best-selling series of books in the modern world – to have just attained “cult” status. Does anyone there have a clue what “cult” actually means?
Central Michigan University professor Anne Hiebert Alton has sent out a press release touting herself as a Harry Potter expert and promoting her availability for comment on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Hey, I’m available for comment, too! And so are probably a couple of million teenagers who know the books better than either of us, but who don’t have any pulpit to proclaim their special insights…
SF Scope reports on the replacement officers for the Science Fiction Writers of America – three officers resigned earlier this year – who are Alma Hromic Deckert (who writes as Alma Alexander) as Secretary and Russell Davis and Bud Sparhawk as regional directors.
The TV Tropes Wiki complains that “SciFi Writers Have No Sense of Scale,” but immediately qualifies that by explaining that, while the visual media nearly always get everything wrong, the people who write books are “positively obsessive about accuracy.” Many blunders are laid out, and entertaining explanations are given.
Jeff VanderMeer reposts his classic 2005 list of his five worst readings ever.
Jeff Somers, author of The Electric Church (which I now think I’m going to read next), has been – he claims – locked in a hotel room and forced to blog by his publisher. In today’s installment, they cut off the water…
Drew Karpyshyn (author of Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction and one of the masterminds behind the Knights of the Old Republic game) asks the question: who was the most powerful Sith of all time? (He doesn’t quite answer that question, but he does ask it.)
Jonathan McCalmont, the SF Diplomat, explains how to fix Torchwood.
Fantasy Book Critic is running a contest in which he’s giving away eight Neal Asher novels to one lucky winner.
SF Signal, on the other hand, has a current contest in which the prize is one book – Tobias S. Buckell’s Ragamuffin – but the book will be signed by the author.
Got deep pockets? SF Scope reports that Romania’s Bran Castle, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, is for sale…but the owner, a New York architect and descendant of the royal family, hopes to get $135 million for the place.
Author Karl Schroeder (Sun of Suns, among others) has heard that people are gaming in the world of his current series, and he loves the idea.
SF Revu reprints a great essay from David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer: “How Shit Became Shinola: Definition and Redefinition of Space Opera.”
And, finally, every single Internet joke, meme, and stupid typo in one world-spanning LOLcats strip.