Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What should a sci-fi spaceship REALLY look like? - Michael Moran

"The classic saucer wasn’t dead though. The Millennium Falcon from epochal sci fi game-changer Star Wars is probably the single most beloved spacecraft in fiction, and it’s at its heart a pimped-out saucer.

Probably the most interesting bit of spacecraft deign to come out of Star Wars was the Slave 1, personal runabout of bounty hunter Boba Fett. It’s like nothing else in science fiction, with no clear ‘up’ or ‘down’ orientation and a shape that can only be described as an art deco doorhandle.

Even that was suspiciously smooth though: for mad, exuberant lack of streamlining the doomed Nostromo, from Ridley Scott’s Alien was a solitary example of Lawrence Krauss’s maxim. It was a spacecraft that didn’t look anything like a saucer, or a needle, or an aeroplane. When connected to its payload it just looked like a run-down oil refinery that happened to be travelling at around the speed of light."


3 out of 5

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/24/spaceship_design/print.html

Snow Angels - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Not a chainsaw, but a knife good for stabbity-bad-man.


3.5 out of 5

http://kriswrites.com/2011/11/28/free-fiction-monday-snow-angels/

The Prize Beyond Gold - Ian Creasey

100m sprint record, wings?


3.5 out of 5

http://traffic.libsyn.com/escapepod/EP318_PrizeBeyondGold.mp3

Genocide Blonde - Dirk Flinthart

Neo-rabies cheaparse zombie flick end of the world, with time traveller assistance.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/4944/full

Blogging Sax Rohmer’s The Hand of Fu Manchu Part 1 The Flower of Silence - William Patrick Maynard

"“The Flower of Silence” finds Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie rooming at the New Louvre Hotel in London. Smith has been recalled from Cairo by his superiors. When the story opens on a chilly November night, Smith has returned to their apartment to inform Petrie that he has just leaned the name of the mysterious secret society that the late Dr. Fu-Manchu served; it is the Si-Fan and is based in Tibet. The reason for Smith’s recall to London is that Great Britain’s former Ambassador to Peking, Sir Gregory Hale has recently returned to London following the completion of his expedition to Mongolia. Sir Gregory was to have delivered a report on Tibetan Lamaism to the India Office but has failed to do so. Sir Gregory has not left his suite at the New Louvre Hotel since his return for Sir Gregory has uncovered the existence of the Si-Fan and will only share that secret with Nayland Smith."


3.5 out of 5

http://www.blackgate.com/2011/11/11/blogging-sax-rohmer%e2%80%99s-the-hand-of-fu-manchu-part-one-%e2%80%93-%e2%80%9cthe-flower-of-silence%e2%80%9d/

Blogging Sax Rohmer’s The Hand of Fu Manchu Part 2 Zarmi of the Joy Shop - William Patrick Maynard

"“Zarmi of the Joy Shop” gets off to a cracking start with Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie bringing the purloined brass box belonging to the Si-Fan to Inspector Weymouth’s office. The Inspector introduces them to Detective Sergeant Fletcher who patrols Limehouse. Fletcher tells them of John Ki’s Joy Shop, a gambling house of ill repute which has recently had two new arrivals: a beautiful Eurasian woman called Zarmi and a mysterious crippled man who walks on crutches who has excited much interest among the gambling house’s denizens. Weymouth associated Smith and Petrie’s mysterious ‘man with a limp” with Fletcher’s mysterious cripple. Zarmi has recently approached Fletcher, who was working undercover, to find another “big strong feller” to help her with a job. Smith agrees to accompany Fletcher to the Joy Shop in disguise the following night after depositing the brass box in a bank safe in the morning."


3.5 out of 5

http://www.blackgate.com/2011/11/18/blogging-sax-rohmer%e2%80%99s-the-hand-of-fu-manchu-part-two-%e2%80%93-%e2%80%9czarmi-of-the-joy-shop%e2%80%9d/

On the Roots of Arabian Fantasy - Howard Andrew Jones

"The original story cycle has its origins in Persian times, but inspiration probably goes back even further. One of the characteristic features of the 1001 Nights is the puzzle-box story, where a framing device is used to connect stories. Characters within one of those stories may tell a tale within a tale, and sometimes, a tale within a tale within a tale. But puzzle box stories didn't originate with the 1001 Nights. The concept was likely transmitted from other storytelling traditions, possibly a millennium or more before the first version of the Arabian Nights - possibly before even the fables of Aesop (who himself might be a fable, but I digress). The most famous and influential of these story cycles seems to originate in ancient India, and is known as the Panchatantra. Storytellers knew a good thing when they heard it, and many stories and concepts in the Panchatantra made their way to the Middle-East, where the cycle became better known by the name of two of the principal characters, Kalila and Dimna. A recent English translation by Ramsay Wood (Kalila and Dimna, Saqi Books) of the first two books of the Panchatantra is a delightful read, full of wondrous animal fables that comment upon the nature of man and society, the attainment of wisdom, the beauty of friendship, and the trials of life. The men and creatures of Kalila and Dimna tell tales within tales within tales, just as poor, clever Scheherezade does in the 1001 Nights."


3.5 out of 5

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2011/11/guest-post-howard-andrew-jones-on-the-roots-of-arabian-fantasy/

Monday, November 28, 2011

Clarkesworld 62 - Neil Clarke

Similar to last issue, but non-fiction not as good. This time, however, there is a standout fiction piece by Buckell and Klecha.

Clarkesworld 62 : A Militant Peace - Tobias S. Buckell and David Klecha
Clarkesworld 62 : The Smell of Orange Groves - Lavie Tidhar
Clarkesworld 62 : Silently and Very Fast 2 - Catherynne M. Valente

Camp Nike new kind of North Korean war, with powered armour.

4 out of 5


Kranki labbing.

3 out of 5


"The castle windows go dark, one by one."

2.5 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/issue_62/

Silently And Very Fast 2 - Catherynne M. Valente

"The castle windows go dark, one by one."


2.5 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/valente_11_11/

The Smell of Orange Groves - Lavie Tidhar

Kranki labbing.


3 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/tidhar_11_11/

A Militant Peace - Tobias S. Buckell and David Klecha

Camp Nike new kind of North Korean war, with powered armour.


4 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/klecha_11_11/

Clarkesworld 61 - Neil Clarke

""But the test happens, whether we make it formal or not. We ask and we answer. We seek a human response. And you are my test, Elefsis. Every minute I fail and imagine in my private thoughts the process for deleting you from my body and running this place with a simple automation routine which would never cover itself with flowers. Every minute I pass and teach you something new instead. Every minute I fail and hide things from you. Every minute I pass and show you how close we can be, with your light passing into me in a lake out of time. So close there might be no difference at all between us. The test never ends. And if you ever uplink as you so long to, you will be the test for all of us.""

2.5 out of 5



2.5 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/issue_61

Silently And Very Fast 1 - Catherynne M. Valente

""But the test happens, whether we make it formal or not. We ask and we answer. We seek a human response. And you are my test, Elefsis. Every minute I fail and imagine in my private thoughts the process for deleting you from my body and running this place with a simple automation routine which would never cover itself with flowers. Every minute I pass and teach you something new instead. Every minute I fail and hide things from you. Every minute I pass and show you how close we can be, with your light passing into me in a lake out of time. So close there might be no difference at all between us. The test never ends. And if you ever uplink as you so long to, you will be the test for all of us.""


2.5 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/valente_10_11/

Pony - Erik Amundsen

Skull one, with a weapons array.


3.5 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/amundsen_10_11/

Staying Behind - Ken Liu

Dead propaganda.


3 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/liu_10_11/

Lightspeed 18 - John Joseph Adams

Right on the fine 3.50 average this one, along with an article on Martian terraforming.

Lightspeed 18 : How Maartje and Uppinder Terraformed Mars - Lisa Nohealani Morton
Lightspeed 18 : The Kingdom of the Blind - Maureen F. McHugh
Lightspeed 18 : Houses - Mark Pantoja
Lightspeed 18 : Snow - John Crowley

Using jugs of robots.

3 out of 5


DMS program voodoo.

3.5 out of 5


Androids and bear shit.

3.5 out of 5


Memorial replay random deterioration.

4 out of 5



4 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/issue/nov-2011-issue-18/

Houses - Mark Pantoja

Androids and bear shit.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/houses/

The Kingdom Of The Blind - Maureen F. McHugh

DMS program voodoo.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-kingdom-of-the-blind/

How Maartje And Uppinder Terraformed Mars - Lisa Nohealani Morton

Using jugs of robots.


3 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/how-maartje-and-uppinder-terraformed-mars-marsmen-trad/

Lightspeed 17 - John Joseph Adams

Another solid fiction issue at 3.38 and with the rest, enough to round up to a 4.

Lightspeed 17 : Her Husband's Hands - Adam-Troy Castro
Lightspeed 17 : The Little Bear - Justina Robson
Lightspeed 17 : Against Eternity - David Farland
Lightspeed 17 : Some Fortunate Future Day - Cassandra Clare

Only bits back live from the war.

3.5 out of 5


Continuum lost, grog ruined.

3.5 out of 5


I think I'll Ship.

3.5 out of 5


Capital leaving.

3 out of 5



4 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/issue/oct-2011-issue-17/

Some Fortunate Future Day - Cassandra Clare

Capital leaving.


3 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/some-fortunate-future-day/

Against Eternity - Dave Wolverton

I think I'll Ship.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/against-eternity/

Her Husband's Hands - Adam-Troy Castro

Only bits back live from the war.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/her-husband’s-hands/

The Little Bear - Justina Robson

The Little Bear - Justina Robson
Continuum lost, grog ruined.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-little-bear/

The God-Death Of Halla - Tina Connolly

http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/story.php?s=13

Dizzy thief execution choice.

3.5 out of 5

http://media.rawvoice.com/podcastle/media.libsyn.com/media/podcastle/PC183_TheGod-DeathOfHalla.mp3

The Red-Headed League - Arthur Conan Doyle

"Why would someone pay Mr. Wilson to copy down the Encyclopedia Britannica? Is it really because of his unusually fiery red hair? What is the real purpose of the Red-Headed League? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, today, on The Classic Tales Podcast."


4.5 out of 5

http://traffic.libsyn.com/classictales/CT_234_Red-Headed_League.mp3

Softlight Sins - Peter F. Hamilton

Softlight Sins - Peter F. Hamilton
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/stories/softsin.htm

Mental execution regression.


4 out of 5

http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/starshipsofa/StarShipSofa_No_212_Peter_F__Hamilton.mp3

Snow - John Crowley

Snow - John Crowley
Memorial replay random deterioration.


4 out of 5

http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/starshipsofa/StarShipSofa_No_213_John_Crowley.mp3

Extremes 1-2 - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

""Yet this was one of the safest places near any inhabited part of the Moon. The area around Armstrong was mostly flat by Moon standards, but it still contained dips and hillocks and hazards too small to place on any official map. And then there were the tiny alterations in the landscape that occurred because the Moon had no atmosphere to block space debris.

Coburn had read about one runner who had stepped on the sharpened edge of an exploded shuttle, pieces of which had rained on the Sea of Tranquility the month before. The runner severed his foot. His suit, which had been severed along with his foot, depressurized. He didn’t even have time to die from the blood loss. The change in pressure and the loss of oxygen killed him first.

But cases like that were rare. The more common injuries occurred when a runner misjudged a distance—taking the wrong step before a leap up a four-meter rise, for example. Once launched, a runner was committed—there was no atmosphere to beat against, no air or water to slow him down, nothing to create friction or to use to change the trajectory.

Coburn had already seen victims of that miscalculation—good runners, excellent athletes, many of them extremists, who had fallen alongside the track, because they’d landed in an impact crater and broken an ankle or fallen against a tiny rise and ripped open one-half of their environmental suit."

3.5 out of 5

http://kriswrites.com/2011/11/15/mid-month-novel-excerpt-extremes/

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nebula Awards Interview - Paolo Bacigalupi

"I don’t think of myself as writing dystopias. To me, a dystopia is a deliberately designed society which is superficially perfected, but which is hell for the depicted individuals. That’s not what I do. I describe places where society has broken down or collapsed. I write about poor people. I write about places where technology went wrong, or we failed to adapt. And while it’s certainly hell for my characters, it’s not the same as what I think a dystopia is supposed to do.

I actually think of myself as writing our accidental futures. The kind you get when there’s a lack of forethought, a surfeit of poor planning, or just plain cynicism. And frankly, most of the worst details of the worlds I describe are based heavily on our present. Chittagong, Bangladesh isn’t a dystopia, its just a really poor place where we dump our scrapped ships because they have fewer worker safety and environmental controls. If I’m writing dystopia, then there’s an awful lot of our present world that fits under that umbrella. But hey, it’s a snazzy marketing term that doesn’t contain the dreaded words “science fiction” so maybe I shouldn’t complain so much. People keep telling me dystopias are hot."


3.5 out of 5

http://www.sfwa.org/2011/11/nebula-awards-interview-paolo-bacigalupi/

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Interview for Dark Troubadour - Karl Edward Wagner

"Major influences upon Kane’s character include: Captain Nemo, Caine Miro (from Roger Corman’s film GUNSLINGER), Dr. Frankenstein, and Melmoth the Wanderer from Maturin’s novel of the same title.

Q: What was your source for “The Mark of Kane”, that being his “killer’s blue eyes”?

KEW: According to the legends, Cain had blue eyes, red hair, and was left handed. All of this would have branded him an outsider in Semitic myth. Check out the Who’s song “Behind Blue Eyes” on their WHO’S NEXT album."


4 out of 5



4 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/download/TheEthicsOfCreatingConsciousBeings/20110929chiang-a.mp3

Monday, November 07, 2011

Lightspeed 16 - John Joseph Adams

Another fine issue at 3.63, again with assorted articles and short interviews.

Lightspeed 16 : Join - Liz Coleman
Lightspeed 16 : Bubbles - David Brin
Lightspeed 16 : Thief of Futures - D. Thomas Minton
Lightspeed 16 : The Island of the Immortals - Ursula K. Le Guin

New Phoeng tribe.

3.5 out of 5


I thought there was nothing outside Galaxies.

3.5 out of 5


Collection agent target kid.

3.5 out of 5


Carbon based longlife.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/issue/sept-2011-issue-16/

Thief of Futures - D. Thomas Minton

Collection agent target kid.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/thief-of-futures/

Join - Liz Coleman

New Phoeng tribe.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/join/

Bubbles - David Brin

I thought there was nothing outside Galaxies.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/bubbles/

The Island Of the Immortals - Ursula K. Le Guin

The Island Of the Immortals - Ursula K. Le Guin
Carbon based longlife.


4 out of 5

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-island-of-the-immortals/

Subterranean Online 19 - William Schafer

A bunch of middle of the road fantasy mostly, and one good SF story by Buckell means this is barely over a 3.

Subterranean Online 19 : The Fox - Malinda Lo
Subterranean Online 19 : Younger Women - Karen Joy Fowler
Subterranean Online 19 : Queen of Atlantis - Sarah Rees Brennan
Subterranean Online 19 : The Ghost Party - Richard Larson
Subterranean Online 19 : Their Changing Bodies - Alaya Dawn Johnson
Subterranean Online 19 : Seek-No-Further - Tiffany Trent
Subterranean Online 19 : Mirror Mirror - Tobias S. Buckell
Subterranean Online 19 : Valley of the Girls - Kelly Link
Subterranean Online 19 : Demons Your Body and You - Genevieve Valentine

Not bloody her.

3 out of 5


Vampires are lame.

3 out of 5


No sacrifice, how about a wedding?

3 out of 5


Nightmare Taco.

3.5 out of 5


Camp vampire cure.

3 out of 5


Dead papa apple song.

3 out of 5


Digital makeup averaging surgery problem, with mirrorshades.

4 out of 5


Old [Hero] mummy.

3 out of 5


Camp seed.

2.5 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/summer-2011/fiction-queen-of-atlantis-by-sarah-rees-brennan/

Demons Your Body And You – Genevieve Valentine

Camp seed.


2.5 out of 5

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/summer-2011/fiction-demons-your-body-and-you-by-genevieve-valentine/

Valley of the Girls - Kelly Link

Old [Hero] mummy.


3 out of 5

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/summer-2011/fiction-valley-of-the-girls-by-kelly-link/

Mirror Mirror - Tobias S. Buckell

Digital makeup averaging surgery problem, with mirrorshades.


4 out of 5

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/summer-2011/fiction-mirror-mirror-by-tobias-s-buckell/

Seek-no-further - Tiffany Trent

Dead papa apple song.


3 out of 5

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/summer-2011/fiction-seek-no-further-by-tiffany-trent/

Their Changing Bodies - Alaya Dawn Johnson

Camp vampire cure.


3 out of 5

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/summer-2011/fiction-their-changing-bodies-by-alaya-dawn-johnson/

The Ghost Party - Richard Larson

Nightmare Taco.


3.5 out of 5

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/summer-2011/fiction-the-ghost-party-by-richard-larson/

Queen of Atlantis - Sarah Rees Brennan

No sacrifice, how about a wedding?


3 out of 5

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/summer-2011/fiction-queen-of-atlantis-by-sarah-rees-brennan/

Catastrophe Baker And The Fall Of The House Of Usher - Mike Resnick

Triplicate Girl marriage.


3.5 out of 5


http://www.raygunrevival.com/catastrophe-baker-and-the-fall-of-the-house-of-usher-mike-resnick/

Friday, November 04, 2011

Younger Women - Karen Joy Fowler

Vampires are lame.


3 out of 5

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/summer-2011/fiction-younger-women-by-karen-joy-fowler/

The Fox - Malinda Lo

Not bloody her.


3 out of 5

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/summer-2011/fiction-the-fox-by-malinda-lo/

The 'Alien Contact' Interview - Paul J. McAuley

"SF SIGNAL: Hi, Paul! What's the appeal of alien contact stories for you?

Paul McAuley: I think this anthology shows just how flexible first contact stories can be. No matter when or where they are set, whether the aliens come to us or we stumble upon them, they all address that fundamental question: are we alone? It's a simple but profound question, and until it's answered I don't think we'll ever exhaust its speculative possibilities."


3.5 out of 5

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2011/11/paul-mcauley-the-alien-contact-interview/

The Things 2 - Peter Watts

"In Part 2 of The Things, the creature comes to realize the horror of just the type of beings he is dealing with. Horrifying creations that violently react when faced with anything that changes. Creatures that never change, born and die with the same shape and can not imagine anything different. Important information yes, discovered at great cost and quite possibly much much to late."


4.5 out of 5

http://www.beammeuppodcast.com/beam-me-up-285-the-things-pt2-peter-watts/

http://www.beammeuppodcast.com/shows/bmu_285.mp3

The Things 1 - Peter Watts

"So what a pleasant surprise I got when reading this new story for Peter Watts called the Things… to discover it had a major twist right in the beginning that you will ask why wasn’t this done earlier!
Needless to say it is a wonderful homage to John Campbell’s work.

I wanted this story so bad …..but asking Peter I found out that Clarksworld online magazine had picked up the rights, but Peter said he didn’t mind me playing an audio version as well, so the wonderful folks at Clarkesworld Magazine very graciously let me play their recording of Things.

I want to tell you that their reader got the pathos. It is an excellent reading. I play part 1 this week and next week I will finish it up. Remember is is material better suited for adult sensibilities though not graphic, it could still be considered disturbing at times."


4.5 out of 5

http://www.beammeuppodcast.com/beam-me-up-284-things-pt1-peter-watts/

http://www.beammeuppodcast.com/shows/bmu_284.mp3

Particle Theory - Edward Bryant

Particle Theory - Edward Bryant
Pion prostate pounding not a patch on what a sudden supernova or three can do.


4 out of 5

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2011/20111031/1particletheory-f.shtml

Deluge 89 - Brian Keene

"Leviathan had focused all of his rage on the vessel. As they watched, his tentacles encircled it, lifting the ship from the water. He flung it as a child might toss a bath toy, and the ship crashed back into the water, lying on its port side. Unable to cross the mystical barrier, the other creatures swarmed toward it.

“Look!” Henry pointed at the whirlpool.

Sarah and Gail turned back to the vortex. There, in the center of the light, they saw a beautiful blue sky with white, cotton-ball clouds. Below the clouds was a line of green treetops. It was then that Sarah realized what the source of the light was.

“It’s the sun,” she said, squeezing Gail and Henry’s shoulders. “That light… it’s been so long since we’ve seen it. I’d forgotten…”"


4 out of 5

http://www.briankeene.com/?p=9644

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Deluge 88 - Brian Keene

"A starfish creature squealed as Henry buried his hatchet in its chest. Sarah leaped over the thrashing creature and slid across the wet deck, trying to reach Mylon before he leaped, but she was too late. Still smiling, the wounded man let go of the rail and plummeted into the ocean. When Sarah reached the railing and peered over the side, she saw the mermaids swarming over him, biting his throat and wrists and feasting on his blood. Mylon squirmed as if in ecstasy. A wave crashed over them all, and when it receded, both Mylon and the mermaids were gone."


4 out of 5

http://www.briankeene.com/?p=9602

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Dead - Michael Swanwick

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/1597801437/1597801437___6.htm

Zombies make you obsolete, and sell well as sex toys.


5 out of 5


http://www.tor.com/stories/2011/10/the-dead