Friday, July 29, 2005
MonkeyBrain Books update
Trying to catch up with all of the sundry administrative stuff I need to do before leaving for Glasgow next Tuesday, I spent a little time today updating the MonkeyBrain Books
site. Notably, adding a link to a CafePress
shop offering t-shirts and the like (which were requested more times than I could count at San Diego Comic Con), and our tentative 2006 lineup. Tentative because there are one or two other titles that we may be adding, but are still in the midst of negotations, and becuase at least one of these may end up sliding to early 2007, depending on what other deals go through. It still stings that our 2005 lineup, due to circumstances beyond our control, ended up so much smaller than we'd originally planned (three titles down from a projected... well, more than three), so we're trying to make up for some lost ground with next year's offerings.
MonkeyBrain Books is expanding its footprint a bit. With this fall's Adventure
anthology, we'll be making our first foray into fiction, having published only nonfiction genre studies previously, and next year's titles include Rudy Rucker's The Hollow Earth
, a novel, and Kim Newman's The Man from the Diogenes Club
, a short story collection. We've got one or two other exciting projects on tap, but too soon to talk about them, just yet.
To save on the clicky-cliky, here is the current lineup for 2006, in no particular order:The Art of John Picacio
by John PicacioThe Hollow Earth
by Rudy RuckerThe Man from the Diogenes Club
by Kim NewmanSuperhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre
by Peter CooganYear's Best SF Writing
edited by Jonathan Strahan & Gary K. WolfeBlood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard
by Mark FinnAdventure: Vol. 2
edited by Chris RobersonThe Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes
by Jess Nevins
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Best Idea Ever
I'm with Tom Peyer
on this one. Space Western Comics
(featuring Spurs Jackson and his Space Vigilantes, naturually) is probably the best comic series ever, judging by the title and covers alone. I mean, come on! Cowboys versus Nazis on Mars?!
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
I am a huge geek
Such a huge geek am I that words can scarcely express how excited I was to read the following in a BBC press release about the next season of Doctor Who
"Elisabeth Sladen resumes her role as the iconic character Sarah Jane Smith; remembered by a whole generation of Doctor Who fans as the assistant to both Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker."
And I'm told that there's a solid rumor that Sarah Jane will have K-9 in tow! Will wonders never cease?
Having found it vaguely interesting but never essential before now, this morning the NASA channel really proved its worth, as Allison, Georgia, and I were able to watch the full, uninterrupted launch of the Discovery, complete with the chatter between ground control and the Discovery crew. Georgia, aged eighteen months, wasn't terribly impressed, and Allison and I had mixed feelings about it. We're foursquare behind the notion of returning to space, and were overjoyed that the launch went off without a hitch. But at the same time, when we were given little glimpses of the stations in ground control, Allison summed up our reactions nicely when she said, "It all looks so old
." And, of course, it is. The vast majority of it as old as she is, at least. State of the art thirty years ago, no question about it, but starting to show its age. It was telling that the NASA commentator spent more time describing and discussing the "ground-based optical systems" (read: "cameras") than any other bit of technology involved in the launch.
I really want us, as in "humanity," to get to Mars, and I'd love nothing more than to have a permanently manned lunar base. But I can't help but think that if NASA didn't toss in every conceivable project and the kitchen sink every time they budget out a manned mission to Mars, that we'd be getting there a whole lot sooner. Something like Robert Zubrin
's Mars Direct, for example. It's frustrating to think that, had we started something like the Mars Direct program when I first read Zubrin's The Case For Mars
, we'd be there now
In somewhat related news, thanks to a link on John Scalzi
's blog, I just discovered that this
is what Saturn sounds like. Very, very cool.
Monday, July 25, 2005
I was, sadly, not one of those lucky few who were able to see a sneak preview of the final cut of Joss Whedon's Serenity
at Comic Con (though I know one or two who did, and I harbor a dark envy for it). However, this
almost makes up for it. Co-plotted by Joss Whedon, Dark Horse's "Serenity" prequel reads so much like the show's dialogue that I had to check twice to make sure I was actually reading a prequel and not a comic adaptation of the movie's script. Well worth picking up for anyone who enjoyed the television series or who looks forward to the flick. I take it this is mean to bridge the gap, as it were, between the series and the film.
The End of an Era
I am an avid "fan" of few things, but animation is one of them. This
is bad news, not because I'm bummed the world will be deprived of more gems like "Cinderalla 3," but because of what the closure represents. It really is the end of an era.
Apparently sometime since leaving for San Diego Comic Con and now, I've lost the ability to use all the parts of my brain. It's probably something to do with the fact that when I'm at conventions I indulge as many vices as possible, including caffeine and cigarettes, neither of which I consume at home. A week of hyper-stimulation, long days and late nights spent talking about genre fiction and comics, my brain keyed up to its highest pitch. Then I eliminate all stimulants again, return home to my regular routine, and try to get back into something resembling a regular schedule. The problem being that it takes a week or two to fully shift gears back to domestic normality, and next week I'm off to Glasgow for World Con, to be followed by a few days playing tourist in London. All my best laid plans for the work I'd get done in the interregnum between conventions (principally making considerable effort on finishing up Celestial Empire: Fire Star, for which my agent has been patiently waiting since sometime last year) have pretty much been flushed.
I've also been working intermittently the past few months on a long post about how the spate of articles in last month's Wired Magazine
got me thinking about remixing, and how it relates to my fiction. But since my brain turned off in the San Diego International Airport, I haven't made any progress on that, either.
Instead, here are some photos from Comic Con, to fill space until I start cogitating again.
My wife Allison and the Stormtrooper Elvis.
Allison and Stephenson Crossley, manning the MonkeyBrain Books booth (with our neighbors Pyr just behind them).
The view from our booth on Saturday. A literal mass of humanity.
The MonkeyBrain Books booths on Sunday morning, with me trying hard to look awake.
And, finally, apropos of nothing, the Samurai Stormtrooper.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Fantastic or Incredible?
Michael Chabon is truly "one of us." It's not been a secret for a good long while now, but it's always nice to be reminded. His Notes on the Fantastic Four
, from a mid-nineties pitch session, serves as a tantalizing little glimpse into what might have been, and makes one wish to inhabit the alternate reality in which this film got made, instead of this
"The world of the movie is a timeless, more innocent world, a world where Evil lives behind an Iron Curtain on the Dark Side of the planet, a world where, even in 1995, it is always November 21, 1963. Men still wear hats, kids are into hot rods and spaceships, women have bouffant hairdos, and New York City is the vibrant, shiny capital of the Free World. A Technicolor, bossa nova, Douglas Sirk world."
Interestingly, though Chabon points out that his plot bears a lot in common with Alan Moore's paean to the Fantastic Four and sixties-era Marvel in general, 1963
, it occurs to me that the flavor that Chabon describes here in much more in keeping with Brad Bird's The Incredibles
. I've been tinkering on a project for the last couple of years with Lou Anders that places superheroic-type characters in a very similar milieu (though to very different ends). Maybe it's just something about those kinds of characters that demands that kind of treatment.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
P2P Pilots and Hyperdistribution
An interesting write up on Wired News
about the leaked pilot to Global Frequency
, a television adaptation of Warren Ellis
's comic series. Especially interesting in light of ongoing discussions about how P2P in general, and Mark Pesce's notion of "hyperdistribution"
Whether all the internet buzz ultimately revives the show, Rogers said he has learned much from the leak and about the power of the internet.
'It changes the way I'll do my next project,' said Rogers. If he owned the full rights, he said, 'I would put my pilot out on the internet in a heartbeat. Want five more? Come buy the boxed set.' He urged other creators to do the same.
'It's a model and a reminder to the next guy who comes along,' he said.
In the extremely unlikely event that a passed-over pilot ends up getting picked up for development as a result of an illicit leak on P2P networks, this could be very interesting, and could conceivably usher in something very much like the utopian hyperdistribution model Pesce envisions. For my part, I think there's a lot to be said for John Rogers version of P2P distribution--make a direct-to-DVD series, post the first episode to BitTorrent as a free download, and then create an audience willing to purchase the DVD set at retail costs.
Friday, July 01, 2005
The Year's Best Science Fiction
This morning I picked up The Year's Best Science Fiction Twenty Second Annual Collection
, the latest in Gardner Dozois's long running series. I'm extremely vain, so the first thing I did was to check to see if any of my stories had received honorable mentions, and was delighted to see listed both "Red Hands, Black Hands," from Asimov's
, and "In the Frozen City," from John Klima's Electric Velocipede
. I was even more delighted to see MonkeyBrain Books mentioned several times in the Summation, including discussions of Lou Anders's Projections
and Michael Moorcock's Wizardry & Wild Romance
. Lou gets a few more nods his direction with mentions of Pyr and the like, so good on him. Great stories in the mix, too, from the likes of Paul Di Filippo, Kage Baker, Benjamin Rosenbaum, and Paul Melko. Gardner's invaluable analysis of the state of the field in his Summation, though, is what's really worth the price of admission, and what sets his annual collection apart from the other year's best offerings, as valuable as they might be.
A review by Stuart Carter on SF Site
, which I believe I saw on the writer's website, but which I don't think I've seen on SF Site before.