Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Oh, and Harlan too...

The Master of the Short Story was given a special award at Worldcon. Guess Harlan said this would be his last con. And have you heard about the upcoming 6-episode anthology "Masters of Science Fiction" on ABC? They've shot one episode based on Harlan's story "The Discarded." Very cool. Now I have to go dig through my collection, see if I have a copy of that story somewhere...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hugo Awards, or Speaking of Connie Willis...

The 2006 Hugo Awards were announced on Saturday. Robert Charles Wilson took the best novel award for Spin. Also of note is yet another win by Connie Willis (she has sort of become the Meryl Streep of the Hugos, hasn't she?... winning nine times), this time for the novella "Inside Job." And the award for best related book went to Storyteller: Writing Lessons and More From 27 Years of the Clarion Writers' Workshop by Kate Wilhelm. Hmmm, seems like I've heard of that one before somewhere. Best dramatic presentation, long form went to Serenity. How could they have not given it the award? Also of interest, especially to us scifi-fantasy fans that have been around a while, is the Big Heart Award which was given to 90-year-old writer, editor and fan Forrest J. Ackerman; the award was also renamed the Forrest J. Ackerman Big Heart Award in his honor. Anyone who grew up, like I did, with Famous Monsters of Filmland will still have a soft spot for Uncle Forry.

Friday, August 25, 2006

December book?

Okay, I know I'm pushing it now, suggesting a title for our December book while we're still battling the heat of August, but I was browsing in the store and spotted Miracle and Other Christmas Stories -- and Megan & I had just been talking about Connie Willis -- and, well, so there it is. Just throwing it out there. See if it sticks. Kind of like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it's done yet.

Sept, Oct & Nov Selections

September = The Difference Engine

October = Mammoth

November = Three Days to Never

Thursday, August 24, 2006


There have been a lot of articles out there about Ray Bradbury turning 86. Guess that's a milestone for anyone, especially A-list scifi authors who just seem to keep on writing and writing and writing and writing. Coincidentally, I just yesterday finished listening to the audio book of The Illustrated Man, which for the most part I enjoyed. Bradbury has always seemed to have a particularly wide sentimental streak that is sometimes cloying, but the high-points are worth it. Have you read most of his books? Whaddya think? I know we've never chosen one of his books as our monthly selection, probably because we figure everyone's already read all his stories.

I heard a funny story from a fellow bookseller about a signing event with Ray at one of the S. California bookstores, where he asked the bookseller at the beginning of the event to go out and retrieve the bottle of Chivas Regal out of his car, which she did, and he got so inebriated through the course of the signing that he could barely sign his name by the time it was over. (They had poured the whisky into a mug from the cafe for him.) At the end, after all the customers had cleared out, she had to tell him, "Mr. Bradbury, I don't think you should drive yourself home."
To which he replied, "Are you telling me you don't think I'm in any condition to drive??"
"Well, yes. That's right," she said.
After a pause, he said, "Oh. Okay."
They called a taxi to get him home.
Probably the reason we've heard he doesn't drive...

Any Bradbury books you've particularly liked? Or disliked? How about the movie adaptations? I'd like to see Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 again... and read there's a new movie in the works of The Martian Chronicles.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

September discussion...

Since we're all probably going to be having one last barbeque of the summer, or going out of town, or doing the family-thang on Labor Day weekend, did we ever decide on an alternate Sunday for the September discussion? 10th? 17th?

Yeah, but will they use Ozzy's song on the soundtrack?

Remember that 70's rocker "Ironman" by Black Sabbath? Somehow still think of that song when I think of the comic book character. Looks like the movie version of the classic Marvel character, as well as Captain America, are in the pipeline. Looking forward to them. Who would you cast as Ironman? Or Captain America? I guess there have been rumors of Dominic Purcell being cast in the new Hulk movie, but I'd rather see him as Ironman. Give Eric Bana a second go-around at the Hulk! And Nathan Fillion would be a natural as Capt. America don't you think?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Seeker sounds very interesting. Anyone read McDevitt?

Nebula-nominated SF writer Jack McDevitt, whose novel Seeker just won the 2006 Southeastern Science Fiction Achievement Award for best novel, told SCI FI Wire that the book was in part inspired by his childhood fascination with Atlantis. "When I was 12, Amazing began publishing [Richard S. Shaver's] 'I Remember Lemuria,'" McDevitt said in an interview. "Later I discovered there were other lost places. So it was probably inevitable that eventually I'd take the subject on."

Seeker follows the far-future adventures of antiquities dealer Alex Benedict, McDevitt said. "One of the legends of his age is that, in ancient times, a group of colonists escaped a theocratic America and headed out in two starships to found a free colony 'so far from here that even God won't be able to find us,'" McDevitt said. "The ships and the colony disappeared and were never heard from again. In Alex's time, the story has become legend. No one knows how much, if any, of it is true. The colony was to be called Margolia, and it is the Atlantis of Alex's time. Over the centuries books have been written about it; expeditions have gone to look for it; it is the subject of the far-future equivalent of cinema. Then one day, a cup, apparently from [one of the lost ships], falls into his hands. And Alex, aided by his very competent assistant Chase Kolpath, begins a search for the truth."

The character of Alex Benedict was inspired by a famous literary detective, McDevitt said. "And, no, it's not Sherlock Holmes. It's [G.K.] Chesterton's Father Brown, whose mysteries were not so much a matter of figuring out who the killer was as how a given inexplicable event could have happened," he said. "[For instance,] why did a general, always known for a cautious approach to battle, recklessly charge a hill and lose most of his command?"

Friday, August 18, 2006

James Bond does Lord Asriel

Update: Daniel Craig (Casino Royale) will star in The Golden Compass, the first installment of an intended New Line trilogy based on the Philip Pullman series His Dark Materials, Variety reported. Craig will play Lord Asriel, a ruthless and mysterious adventurer who is the uncle of Lyra Belacqua, the young girl who journeys to a parallel universe to save her best friend. Craig will be reunited with Eva Green, who played Bond temptress Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale. In Compass, she plays a witch who helps the young girl navigate a world filled with shape-shifting and otherworldly creatures. If New Line goes forward with all three installments of Pullman's literary trilogy, Craig's character will be a fixture of each, based on Asriel's role in the Pullman books. Craig and Green join Nicole Kidman and newcomer Dakota Blue Richards in Compass, which begins production Sept. 4 in the United Kingdom. Craig will shoot the film and then return for the 22nd installment of the James Bond series, which has already been stamped with a May 2, 2008, release date.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Con-less in Vegas

What is it about Star Trek that brings out the Fanboy in me? Guess it's that whole thing about nostalgia for the characters you grew up with -- kind of like the music you listened to in high school that always comes back around, right? So here I am in Las Vegas for work and what's going on right here in Sin City this weekend? The 40th anniversary ST Con, and I'm stuck either at my stores, or driving through the hellacious traffic (have you driven in Vegas lately? It's freakin' dangerous and fuckin' RUDE out there -- takes "defensive driving" to a whole new level), or plopped in a hotel room, while William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, Nichelle Nichols, Brent Spiner (okay, I'm stopping now... the list is too long and I'm already depressed enough) are here in town, doing their thing over at the Hilton. I'd love nothing more than to put on my best scifi geek outfit (not sure exactly what that is, but pretty sure it would include my Princess Mononoke T-shirt), and go hang out with Denise Crosby and the rest of the trekkies. Oh, well, there's always the 50th anniversary con to look forward to! Right? Right??

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pigeon Whipping-Boy

Check this out... and see my very own Pigeon Whipping-Boy, the hero of pigeons everywhere. Protecting high ledges, rooftops and gutters from cats, maintenance men and other dangers. And of course he gets blamed for all the bad behavior of other lesser bird-protectors. (He harbors a secret grudge against Hawkman, but that's another story.) He flies through the city like the rat-with-wings that he is, swooping in on loose trash and breadcrumbs scattered by octogenarians in the park, making pretty cooing noises and shitting on the heads of pedestrians. Wow! I want to read that graphic novel! Create your own alter-ego, let us know how it comes out...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Be careful what books you recommend...

...because Sherril will probably read them! I'm just envious of her new reading chair... This from an email she sent me:

"Both Elantris and The Difference Engine are available in the library up here, so I have placed them on hold. I will be behind on Elantris, but maybe I can be finished with the other before you guys meet to discuss it! Lol. All of your suggestions on the BLOG are sure making a huge reading list for me! I have a spreadsheet with everyone's recommendations, and mark them off after I have read them. I made myself a nice reading corner in the house, surrounded by all my book shelves. We bought a nice leather recliner/rocker and put there, so I am all set now.

Keith likes the horror movies, so guess what I get to see? My least favorite genre of movie. Lol. He does reciprocate goes with me to my Sci Fi movies too. He even likes some of them. We saw the Descent with his oldest daughter while she was here. I think Keith still has bruises on his leg that match my fingers."

Disclaimer: That is definitely not a picture of Sherril. Nor is it meant in any way to depict barren Alberta. And I'm sure she would never leave her cat out in the snow. The dog however is an authentic depiction, I'm sure.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Currently reading...

Crossfire, by Nancy Kress. A group of several thousand people settle a Planet some 70 lightyears away from Earth. Neat story. There are a lot of mysteries being hinted at, from the private lives of the main characters to the events driving the story, and normally I consider such a story a bit silly, but Kress writes well, and instead of slogging through the book I can barely put it down. I think there are a couple of sequels.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Just to be obnoxious...

may i suggest: Mammoth by John Varley (available in mass market) and at the library.

"Multibillionaire Howard Christian is one of the wealthiest - and
most eccentric - men in the country. Not content with investing his fortune and
watching it grow, he buys rare cars that he actually drives, acquires
collectible toys that he actually plays with, and builds buildings that defy the imagination. But now his restless mind has turned to a new obsession: cloning a mammoth." "In a barren province of Canada, a mammoth hunter financed by Christian has made the discovery of a lifetime: an intact frozen woolly mammoth. But what he finds during the painstaking process of excavating the huge creature baffles the mind. Huddled next to the mammoth is the mummified body of a Stone Age man around 12,000 years old. And he is wearing a wristwatch."--summary

Although multibillionaire Howard Christian can afford anything, he has one wish—to recover and clone a mammoth. To that end, he hires science professor Matthew Wright to find a way to repair his time machine and solve a particular anomaly from the distant past involving a frozen mammoth, a Stone Age human, and a wristwatch. The author of Red Thunder excels in imaginative sf adventure, bringing together an intriguing premise and resourceful characters in a tale of mystery, suspense, and a voyage through time.--Library Journal review

Monday, August 07, 2006

Speaking of dragons...

Here's that book I had mentioned at the discussion, that I read years ago, Tea With a Black Dragon, though it had different (and better) cover art way back in the 80's when I first had it recommended to me and picked it up. Oh, wait -- forgot, I've got Google image search right here. Okay, can you tell the new from the original artwork? I'd take this as a good example of how artwork can not only encapsulate the spirit of a novel, but sell the book too. I mean, who the hell would buy the book from that new artwork, compared to the charming dragon that graced the original paperback? It wasn't a long story, but a memorable one. I'll have to dig out my old copy from down in the basement. R.A. MacAvoy... think I've read something else by her(?) too. The Book of Kells maybe?

September & October '06 Selections

September = The Difference Engine

October = ???

Okay, was there an October selection settled after I left on Sunday? (I was sorry I had to leave, would have loved to have stayed and chatted with Brandon some more -- really interesting guy, and there were lots of questions I would have liked to have asked him about his experiences with publishers, well, besides the one about drinking 7-Up at the bar...) I know Megan mentioned C.L. Moore, and Helge suggested Mistborn. Thought maybe Brandon might have made some suggestions... Enquiring Minds Want To Know.

And can you believe we're already looking at our books for FALL '06?!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Negative on Crispin

My daughter left me her copies of C.A. Crispin's Rebel Dawn trilogy. She told me she really loved those stories. They've been sitting by my bed for several months, now, waiting for me to get around to them. So I'm done reading all the other stuff, and I finally am desperate enough for something to read that I go for the Star Wars stories.

Sorry, Star Wars fans, but past experience with novels based on the movies hasn't made me eager. And Crispin's stories didn't change my mind. Ugh!

Clearly I look for different things in a story than my daughter does. I tried slogging through the first chapter, couldn't make it. If anyone else wants to give these three books a try, they're looking for a good home.