Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Let's Play FTL: Faster Than Light

Hey, all. Having realized a few months ago that I still wasn't quite as much of a dork as I might be, I've recently begun to dabble in Let's Play videos. Since it's science fiction-related, I thought I'd post a recent ongoing one here, a perilous interstellar journey through Subset Games' unforgiving space combat/strategy/roguelike-like game FTL: Faster Than Light! With the Federation torn by civil war, the fate of the galaxy lies in the hands of me, my loyal first mate/friend from college Dave, and the brave crew of the USS Alderaan. God help us all.

The original recording of this predates some valuable lessons learned about audio quality, and I have a voice that might charitably be described as "G-man from Half-Life after he'd eaten a bag of sugar and been punched in the lip," but if you enjoy this sort of thing I encourage you to check it out anyway. And if you like it, I hope you'll consider subscribing to keep up with future episodes.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Richard Biggs, rest in peace

Today is the 10th anniversary of the death of actor Richard Biggs, who played Dr. Stephen Franklin on the classic science fiction TV series Babylon 5. Babylon 5 was one of my favorite shows growing up; had it not existed, this blog might not either, and Biggs' character and performance was one of the many things I loved about it. Sadly, he died at the age of only 44.

This video was made by editor/producer John E. Hudgens, who was responsible for a number of Babylon 5 promotional videos and created this tribute to Richard Biggs when he was unable to attend Biggs' memorial service in person. Many thanks to him for making it available online.

Rest in peace.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Neal Asher's books finally getting published in the US

Some very good news for American science fiction fans: Someone is finally publishing all five books in Neal Asher's Ian Cormac series in the United States of America- Gridlinked, The Line of Polity, Brass Man, Polity Agent, and Line War. Previously, people here who wanted copies of these books have had to resort to importing foreign editions of most of them. 

I say “most of them” because Tor Books made the odd decision to release the first book in the series, Gridlinked, in the US and then just skip to the third one, Brass Man, before seemingly giving up on American publication of the series entirely. Anyone reading Brass Man before the The Line of Polity is probably going to be quite confused.

Now, my working assumption- by no means an irrefutable one, but a sound starting point in the absence of strong evidence to the contrary- in most matters is that people who have a significant stake in understanding a subject will know it better than those that don't. Incentives matter. So I'm entirely open to the possibility that publishing the first book in a series as a mass-market paperback, skipping the second book, publishing the third book as a trade paperback, and then skipping the rest of the series somehow makes financial sense. But heck if I can figure out why or how.

Happily, that situation has been rectified by Night Shade Books (now under the auspices of Skyhorse Publishing), who have already done fine work bringing some of Asher's other books to the States. The Line of Polity and Polity Agent are now available in American trade paperback editions, with Line War scheduled for release this October. Two stand-alone novels set in the Polity universe, Hilldiggers and The Technician, and the second book in the Spatterjay series, The Voyage of the Sable Keech, are also scheduled for this or next year. Hopefully there will be even more to come.

I've been a big fan of Neal Asher's work since stumbling on Gridlinked at Barnes and Noble back in 2006- it was one of my very first reviews, in fact. The need to import most of his books has long been irritating, and his lack of a physical presence in bookstores largely prevents people here from finding him the way I did. If you're interested in science fiction featuring interstellar societies, artificial intelligence, transhumanism, insanely hostile planetary ecologies, imaginative and incredibly creepy aliens (“The Engineer,” dear God), lots and lots of action, and- despite being an author best-known for large-scale space opera mayhem- some quite affecting and unusually realistic portrayals of people seldom done justice in fiction (e.g. a recovering victim of extreme psychological trauma in Orbus or a child on the autistic spectrum in Shadow of the Scorpion), check him out.

Stumble Upon Toolbar