Monday, June 23, 2008

My preciousss...

I am almost never willing to pay the cost of a new hardcover book. I made one of my rare exceptions recently, however, because Alastair Reynolds’ The Prefect is out in the United States. In the other Revelation Space books we hear a lot about the golden age of Yellowstone and the Glitter Band, but all we ever saw was the decaying wreckage of that society. Writing my post about utopias in science fiction has put me in the mood for this sort of thing. I’m enjoying it quite a bit so far, and it definitely seems to have that Alastair Reynolds weirdness/creepiness I love.

Equally cool- cooler, actually, because it was free- is the ARC of Tobias Buckell’s Sly Mongoose that just came in the mail from FantasyBookSpot. I just recently became a Buckell fan after I read Crystal Rain and loved it, so I’m definitely excited about this one.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Forgotten Lore column: Neal Asher

My new article on Neal Asher is up at Crucial Taunt. Have a look.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Glen Cook group

I should have mentioned this when I posted about my Glen Cook article, but it slipped my mind at the time. If you’re on Facebook, I run the Glen Cook fan group there. Come on over and join us.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, June 9, 2008

Yes, I actually sit and think about stuff like this

John Scalzi recently had a post on an interesting subject: What sets off your urge to nitpick ?

Here’s mine, and it’s a weird one. One of my “gateway drugs” into science fiction was Star Trek: The Next Generation. Unfortunately, I now find Star Trek somewhat bothersome due to the fact that, as it is usually portrayed and described in the show, the transporter doesn’t actually move your body from one point in space to another- it destroys your body and assembles a new one at the target site. It doesn’t even have to be the same matter- remember the episode where it turned out that Commander Riker had a clone produced by a transporter mishap? No one on the show ever acknowledges the disturbing implications of this: Taking the explanation for the transporter at face value, most of the characters are killed several times a season, sometimes several times an episode, and replaced by a newly created doppelganger with the same memories as the original.

In fact, we’ve never actually seen the real Jean-Luc Picard- he was killed years before the series began. Perhaps his constituent atoms were absorbed into the ship’s replicator system- which is said to incorporate transporter technology- and turned into the very cup of Earl Grey tea that his replacement unwittingly consumed later that day.

Damn it, why couldn’t Gene Roddenberry just bite the bullet during the original series and pay for a few seconds of shuttle landing footage when the crew goes to a planet, instead of throwing the transporter in at the last minute? I ought to be able to relax and ogle Marina Sirtis in the comfort of my own home without having to deal with the sort of unspeakable metaphysical horror built into the very foundations of the Star Trek universe.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Glen Cook review

My new Forgotten lore column is up over at This week it's about Glen Cook and the omnibus collection Chronicles of the Black Company. I hope you like it.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday link roundup

So, now I know how I and everyone I love are going to die: at the cold steel hands of rebelling cyborg monkeys. Futurismic reports that scientists have inserted electrodes into the motor cortex of a Macaque monkey with its limbs restrained, which then successfully used thought alone to retrieve a marshmallow with a mechanical arm. I’m estimating an over/under of eight years before the bulk of humanity is exterminated, with the survivors enslaved and sent to toil 16 hours a day in the marshmallow quarries under the watchful (electronic, infrared-vision equipped) eyes of their gleaming metal Macaque overlords. Adjust any long-term career plans accordingly.

Over at, they’ve got “5 Awesome Movies Ruined by Last-Minute Changes.” Ironically enough, I caught a few minutes of the original theatrical version of Blade Runner, one of the listed movies, on television a few nights ago. I have to disagree with the Cracked writer’s claim that Ford sounds like he’s reading his lines for the voiceovers at gunpoint; I think “acting while in a deep coma” captures Ford’s tone better. He achieves an almost “Richard Burton in Exorcist II” level of utter indifference. They also mention “So I’m the Asshole” as a possible alternative title for Richard Mattheson’s I Am Legend, which I believe was the original working title for Oedipus Rex before Sophocles changed it due to negative feedback from test audiences.

There’s no reason for me to link to this Peter Watts post, except that it contains the phrase “propels himself anally” and I have the maturity of an 8-year old.

News from the Glamorati has a feature on “15 Celebrities Who Sang… But Shouldn’t Have.” Not surprisingly, Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space tops the list. Joey Lawrence, who was inexplicably famous for a few weeks when I was growing up, also makes an appearance. Sadly, they leave out John Carradine’s poignant interpretation of the theme song of Night Train to Mundo Fine (AKA Red Zone Cuba.) Then again, they are talking about celebrities who sang, and I’m not sure the noises Carradine makes during the song that plays in that movie’s credits technically qualify. Perhaps there will be a “15 Celebrities Who Croaked Out Anguished Groaning Sounds While Musical Instruments Played in the Background…But Shouldn’t Have” list in the near future.

Stumble Upon Toolbar