Saturday, May 30, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle on End of the Century
Texas writer, editor and publisher Chris Roberson pays home to at least three British masters of fantasy and science fiction in End of the Century (Pyr; 486 pages; $15; trade paperback). Set in a trio of timelines, this epic saga mixes Arthurian legend, Victorian sleuthing and the misadventures of an epileptic young woman in turn-of-the-millennium London.
In sixth century Britain, young Galaad comes to the court of King Artor with tales of a tower of glass and a woman in white who pleads for rescue. The other knights are dubious, but Artor, bored with the mundane details of administering a kingdom, agrees to set off on a quest. In the 1890s, as England prepares for Queen Victoria's Jubilee, consulting detective Sandford Bank and his lovely companion Roxanne Bonaventure investigate a series of gruesome murders in which the victims have been dismembered with an impossibly sharp blade. And in London of 2000, 18-year-old Alice Fell searches for the truth behind her visions of ravens, a glowing jewel and a stranger with ice-chip blue eyes.
Roberson, author of "Here, There & Everywhere" and "Paragaea: A Planetary Romance," coordinates the multiple plots with panache, keeping each interesting in itself while seeding them with clues that pay off up and down the timelines. The book is dedicated to Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore and Kim Newman, and it's not hard to discern their influences on the secret societies, mystical lore and pulpy derring-do featured in "End of the Century."
Roberson has his own unique strengths as a writer, however, and he is developing a literary cosmology well worth further exploration. If he sometimes resorts to bald explication of the scientific/philosophical underpinnings that govern his multiverse, its a forgivable lapse in the face of so much invention and clever storytelling.
Secret Saturdays console game
Here's what may be the proverbial straw: Jay Stephens shares the details of the forthcoming Secret Saturdays console game, "Beasts Of The 5th Sun."
"... players will take control of multiple characters that include the entire Saturday family... and some select Cryptids to fly, swing, pole vault and battle enemies. Players will adventure through 10 action packed levels in amazing environments from dangerous jungles to lost undersea cities to collect and interact with more than 50 never-before-seen Cryptids. Along the way, players will record the details of each find in their very own Cryptipedia. Fun puzzle elements allow players to locate hidden Cryptids and discover new paths as they fight recognizable enemies from the show including Van Rook, Piecemeal, Munya and the evil V.V. Argost."
There's a preview clip of the game play over at Kidzworld.com, and it doesn't look bad at all.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Little, Golden, Better
My kid, at 5 years old, looks askance at any book that doesn't have the gold-foil tape of a Little Golden Book over the spine. And she adores dinosaurs. Put those two great tastes together, and I think we're going to have a winner.
In tangentially related news, Sarah Albee, who's penned loads of Sesame Street kids books that are perennially favorites around our house, has a new Little Golden Book coming out in July illustrated by Julia Woolf, Halloween ABC.
John Berlyne's Powers: Secret Histories
Berlyne spent years putting this thing together, and it shows. A loving, exhaustive overview of the work of Tim Powers, complete with never-before-seen "behind the scenes" material.
If the bare description alone isn't enough to sell you on it, the good people at PS are prepared to help. They've posted a free 24-page PDF sampler of the contents, and here's how they introduce it: "It includes a chunk of the bibliography section that lists every edition of Powers’ seminal The Anubis Gates, as well as China Mieville’s tribute to the novel, examples of Dick Berger’s exclusive artwork, excerpts and notes and doodles by Powers himself, and much more - and it still represents just a fraction of what the book itself contains."
So if "exhaustive overview of the work of Tim Powers" isn't enough to get you to order a copy (now shipping!), check out the PDF and join us here on the side of the angels. As for me, I'm looking forward to finishing up the World Fantasy Award judging so I'll have a chance to sit down and give Powers: Secret Histories the attention it deserves!
Toy Story 3 teaser
[UPDATE: That link is already dead, but the official site is now live. Enjoy.]
Toy Story 2 was the rare sequel that was better (much better, in fact) than the original. I have confidence that Pixar wouldn't have gone back to that well unless they thought they could it again. I look forward to seeing what they've come up with.
The Four-Toed Statue
So who is it? To be honest, I don't think I ever would have guessed.
Starlog on End of the Century
A Sixth Century knight... A Victorian Age pair of professional adventurers... A runaway American girl in 1999... In END OF THE CENTURY, three apparently disparate elements are linked in a series of exploits involving a search for the Holy Grail. Their destinies weave in and out of different London eras as each of them are, in turn, threatened by an enemy that seems far more than human.
Roberson does a nice job of tap dancing here, deftly moving the narrative throughout various time periods without allowing any of them to become stale. And the three sets of "heroes" are well balanced: the classic knight Galaad, the cosmopolitan team of Blank and Bonaventure and the resourceful teenager Alice Fell. Rather than stereotypes, the author offers up archetypes. Roberson understands that a genuine villain calls for genuine heroes to meet in combat, and in END OF THE CENTURY, he gives readers a memorable cast of characters.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Hal Duncan Interview
Buckaroo Banzai in “Supersize Those Fries!”
Here's the design for the Banzai Institute West, built into an abandoned missile silo, and designed by Doug Drexler. (Drexler talks about the concept in a bit more detail here.)
Here, have some mockup album covers by Jimmy Vanover Sr. for “The Hong Kong Cavaliers”.
How about a Drexler sketch of Emilio Lizardo in his new "potato tech"?
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Star Wars: How It Should Have Ended
Well, here for your delectation is "How Star Wars Episode IV Should Have Ended":
Seductive Espionage: The World of Yuki 7
Now, half of Fleet Street Scandal, Kevin Dart, is about to release a book that encompasses all of that, Seductive Espionage: The World of Yuki 7.
Seductive Espionage is an overview of the "Yuki 7" spy films of the 1960s, including movie posters, lobby cards, film stills, the whole shebang. Of course, there never was such a thing as a "Yuki 7" film, but that's not stopping Dart.
With the help of Stephane Coedel, Dart has put together a "trailer" for the book, disguised as a trailer for "A Kiss from Tokyo," a Yuki 7 adventure. Behold:
The book is available for preorder from the Fleet Street Scandal site, in both regular and limited editions. I've placed my order. Why haven't you?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The Cherokee-Godzilla Treaty of 1827
Monday, May 25, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
SFFWorld on End of the Century
An important element that comes across in End of the Century is the sense of adventure and larger things at play. I got the sense that Roberson had a lot of fun writing this novel. While it is a rollicking tale (or trio of them), things like the power of memory and story, and a cosmology we only see hints of are both hinted at and embedded like Easter Eggs within the novel. In other words, he adds these details as great parts of the story but these details also work as a wink to readers who are familiar with Roberson’s writing.Thanks, Rob!
All told, Roberson manages to interlink the three story strands in a satisfying manner and kept me hooked until the very end of the novel. Another terrific novel from Roberson and the fine folks at Pyr.
Cookie Monster Interviewed
Friday, May 15, 2009
Adam Berg's "Carousel"
Here's how Slash Film described the project last month.
Check it out.
Directed by Adam Berg, Carousel is a 2 minute 19 second short film sponsored by Philips. The film offers an exploration into one single frozen moment of time in a robbery gone wrong in one Hard Boiled-inspired continuous tracking shot. The story line is obviously taking a cue from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, featuring a swat team who has moved in to a decimated hospital, entering into a shootout with a bunch of robbers wearing sinister clown masks. Around 90 per cent of the footage and stunts were captured in camera.Created entirely by Stink Digital, this new interactive campaign promotes Philips’ latest entrant into the television market, the CINEMA 21:9. Berg conceived it to work as an endless loop. Visitors to the microsite therefore have the option to ‘spin’ through the film’s single take shot repeatedly, to stop on a specific frame, or to watch it at the preordained speed. The film also contains embedded hotspots, which, when triggered, transport the viewer seamlessly from the heavily posted film to a behind-the-scenes version of the same shot.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
After doing a little digging, however, it looks like there might actually have been a Star Trek ARG, and that if so this summary is very likely for real.
In which case I can only say, WTF? I mean, seriously?
Star Trek Movie Annotations
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
John "Theodore" Locke
House of Mystery #13 - out now!
House of Mystery #13, which contains my short story "13th Time's the Charm," illustrated by the legendary Neal Adams, is in comic shops now.
Here's the full listing from the May 2009 solicitations for DC Comics, in case you need a refresher...
HOUSE OF MYSTERY #13
Written by Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham and Chris Roberson
Art by Neal Adams, Ralph Reese, Sergio Aragones and Eric Powell
Cover by Esao Andrews
Variant cover by Neal Adams
For its landmark 13th issue, HOUSE OF MYSTERY presents a special anthology featuring four separate stories written by Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham and novelist Chris Roberson. This issue features the unique visuals of four artists including Neal Adams, Ralph Reese and Sergio Aragones, as well as a painted tale by Eric Powell (The Goon). Each story pays homage to that unluckiest of numbers.
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Esao Andrews), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Neal Adams). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale May 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • MATURE READERS
There's a preview of the issue, including a few pages of the story by Willingham and Powell, online at Myspace.
I picked up a copy of the variant cover by Neal Adams, myself, which is tangentially related to my story.
But whichever cover you get, you're looking at quality stories from Sturges and Willingham, and art by Neal Adams, Ralph Reese, Sergio Aragones, and Eric Powell. What more could you ask for? Run out and buy a copy now! And remember, they make great stocking stuffers!
And when you get done reading it, head over to the Clockwork Storybook forums and let us know what you thought!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Even More Trek
I'm doing loads of OCR scanning this week, getting the next MonkeyBrain title ready for print, and I've been watching lots of TOS while the scanner does its business. Currently playing is Journey to Babel.
Monday, May 11, 2009
- John Rogers has some interesting thoughts on Kung Fu Monkey about the character arc, or lack thereof, of James Tiberius Kirk in the new flick.
- Will there be a sequel? Well, as it happens, work has already begun.
Star Fleet's Newest Recruit
Georgia sat riveted through the whole thing, and when it was over her favorite bits were the time when the captain had to eat a bug, and Scotty's little alien friend who keeps climbing on things. We stopped at Target on the way home, to get her a treat for being such a good moviegoer, and that's when we discovered the Star Trek toys that had arrived since the last time we went shopping.
Needless to say, as a dad who has seen all of Star Trek to date and a mom who has seen most of TNG and all of DS9 and Enterprise (and though she denies it now, at one point she seriously suggested, for all of a minute, that we have a Klingon wedding ceremony when we got married), we were pretty jazzed that our five year old was getting excited about Trek. And so we may have gone a little overboard in buying her Star Trek toys.
Here she is, phasers blasting. She's got them set on "Stun" (you can tell by the blue light), and is "freezing" me as I take her picture.
Then once she got done shooting me she busted out the tricoder and started scanning for signs of life.
That's the Enterprise Bridge playset she's got, augmented with a few editions. These toys are actually quite clever, with each of the small-scale action figures coming in a package with their chair and duty station from the bridge. The Bridge playset comes with Kirk, the conn (complete with helm and navigation), a few computer terminals, the forward viewscreen, and the matt itself, on which is printed the location of each of the other stations. As you get additional action figures (we got Simon Pegg... erm, I mean, "Mr. Scott.") you just plop them with their chair and station on the appropriate spot. Also included with the action figures is a little clip-on Starfleet emblem that can double as a figure stand.
Of course, we weren't going to get her all of them (well, not yet at least), so Georgia has had to pad out the crew of the Enterprise with stand-ins.
That's a couple of dollar-bin bendie aliens at the helm and navigation, and Kirk's pet cat beside the Captain's chair. What, you don't remember Jim Kirk's pet cat from the movie? Well, according to Georgia if he didn't have one, he should have...
Georgia Discovers the iPod
But the earbuds kept falling out of her ears, so the iPod went back onto the table pretty quick, a minor curiosity.
Then last week she picked it up again, wanting to hear more music, and I remembered a pair of clunky noise-cancelling headphones I had in a drawer. I swapped them out for the earbuds and showed Georgia how to put them on, and then...
She figured out the (admittedly very simple) controls on the nano pretty quickly, and started scanning through to find songs she might like.
Then, whenever she found something she really dug, she would dance around the living room, having a grand time.
Friday, May 08, 2009
I have seen Star Trek
If you love Trek, go see it. If you've always hated Trek before now, go see it--you won't hate it anymore...
The Shatner Menagerie
Thursday, May 07, 2009
For Your Consideration: "Slaughter Shack"
2008 Sidewise Awards Nominees
Press Release: 2008 Sidewise Awards NomineesAllow me to be the first to congratulate Terry Pratchett on winning the 2008 Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History - Long Form. Nation is one hell of a novel, and deserves any awards a grateful reading public wants to bestow on it.
The 2008 Sidewise Awards will be presented at Anticipation, the 67th Worldcon, to be held in Montreal, Canada from August 6-10, 2009. The Sidewise Awards for Alternate History were established in 1995 to recognize excellence in alternate history fiction. The winners are selected from a panel of judges that currently includes Stephen Baxter, Evelyn Leeper, Jim Rittenhouse, Stuart Shiffman, Kurt Sidaway, and Steven H Silver.
For more information about the Sidewise Award, visit http://www.uchronia.net/
sidewise, or contact Steven H Silver, the Award Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"A Brief Guide to Other Histories," by Paul J. McAuley (Postscripts #15)
"G-Men," by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Sideways in Crime, edited by Lou Anders, Solaris)
"Night Bird Soaring," by T.L. Morganfield (Greatest Uncommon Denominator, Autumn/08)
"The People's Machine," by Tobias Buckell (Sideways in Crime, edited by Lou Anders, Solaris)
"Poison Victory," by Albert E. Cowdrey (F&SF, 07/08)
"Sacrifice," by Mary Rosenblum (Sideways in Crime, edited by Lou Anders, Solaris)
The Affinity Bridge, by George Mann (Snowbooks/Tor, 2009)
The Dragon's Nine Sons, by Chris Roberson (Solaris)
Half a Crown, by Jo Walton (Tor)
Nation, by Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins/Doubleday UK)
Swiftly, by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
And big congratulations to my pall George Mann for the nomination garnered by his freshman debut. Nicely done, George! And to Lou Anders for clearly picking a good crop of alt-history stories for Sideways in Crime!
This is my fourth time on the Sidewise ballot, but my first in the Long Form category, and I couldn't be more honored to be included in such company.
Secret Saturdays chapter books
The Secret Saturdays Film Manga books aren't the only serialized publications by Del Rey/Random House to launch this summer. We're also going to get cool little chapter books, like the one shown above (Vol. 3, The Call Of Kur), featuring art by the likes of series director Scott Jeralds and the ever-wicked Ethan Beavers. The first two in the series will be adaptations of the Hibagon and Kumari Kandam episodes. Add the Field Guide into the mix, and you've got yourself quite a Secret Saturdays Library!At night Georgia and I have been working our way through the Jaffe/Caldwell Wonder Woman books, Scott Morse's Magic Pickle chapter books and comics, and now Eric Wight's new Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom. These Secret Saturdays books should hit the shelves right on time, looks like.
Masked Avenger Studios' The Rocketeer
It's available from Electric Tiki, the latest in their "Classic Heroes" line.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Muppets Rawk and Cheap Thrills
If you're not familiar with the original, here it is:
And just to make matters more confusing, in 1994 there was a real Sesame Street album called Cheep Thrills, that featured a parody of Crumb's cover.
In any event, here it is. The level of invention is just dazzling.
Graff Publishing edition of Dragon's Nine Sons
Book of Secrets
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
But look, how could I pass this one up? Peter Jackson produces a film by Neil Blomkamp that mines some of the same ground that gave us Alien Nation, reimagining refugee immigrants as crash-landed aliens, but this time in a faux-documentary style. Definitely looks interesting.
The Mercury Men
More info on the forthcoming serial can be had at mercuryseries.com. And just check out the Saul Bass-inspired "teaser poster."
The serial begins this fall, it seems. Rss feeds are available for the video podcast and for the news feed, if you're interested. (Me, I've already added them both to Google Reader...)
Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film as "Fun, Watchable"
Dan Meth's "Trek Yourself!"
I made a brand-new cartoon for Comedy Central spoofing that new Star Trek movie coming out Friday. My version imagines what it would have been like if this prequel was made in the 80’s/90’s heyday of teen comedies. Kirk, Spock, and the gang in high school… hmmmm.
Doc Shaner's Doc Savage
I've raved (and raved) about Evan "Doc" Shaner's work before. He's one to watch, I think. If you're not convinced, just check out this latest piece he posted to his blog last night.
There's loads more terrificness in the link.
Well, he *is* a Doctor...
If you aren't reading Landridge's The Muppet Show Comic Book from Boom Studios, you are really missing out. The second issue went on sale this week, and if anything is even better than the first.
Greg Van Eekhout's "Last Son of Tomorrow"
Go read Greg Van Eekhout's short-short-story "Last Son of Tomorrow" over on Tor.com.
John was born with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, and he often wondered why. But as a boy, it was simply wonderful to have those abilities. He could lift his father’s tractor overhead before he learned to read. He could outrace a galloping horse. He couldn’t be cut or bruised or burned. He could fly.
But his life was not a trading card with a heroic-looking photograph on one side and a convenient list of his abilities on the other. He had to discover himself for himself. It took him years to realize he could fire laser beams from his eyes. That he could force his lungs to expel nearly frozen carbon dioxide. And it wasn’t until his mid-thirties that he realized he’d probably stopped aging biologically somewhere around the age of twenty-two.
His parents weren’t perfect people. His mother drank, and when she did, she got mean. His father had affairs. But when they understood that the baby they’d found abandoned on the edge of their farm wasn’t like other children—was probably, in fact, unlike any other child who’d ever been born—they cleaned up their acts as best they could. They taught themselves to be better people, and then they conveyed those hard-won lessons to their son. They were as good as they could be. When they died while John was away at college, he decided if he could be half as wise, as kind, as generous as they were, then he could be proud of himself.
Monday, May 04, 2009
- New Scientist has posted a piece by Anil Ananthaswamy on mapping the multiverse, which covers several of the various justifications for multiple universes (though, interestingly, the piece appears to make no mention of Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation).
- From Metafilter I learnt that, at Russell Crowe's request, Nick Cave wrote the script for a sequel to Gladiator, reimagining Maximus as an eternal warrior. What the--?! (Want to see a synopsis?)
- Also from Metafilter, a nice overview of William S. Burroughs's comic book (well, essentially) Ah Puch, a collaboration with Malcolm McNeill that remixed characters from the Mayan Dresden Codex on backgrounds taken from Hieronymous Bosch.
- From Lee Moyer comes the news that Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta's Starstruck will be reprinted in a new 13-issue series from IDW. In addition to the reprinted material, colored of course by the inestimable Mr. Moyer, each issue will contain a new Girl Guides episode scripted by Ms. Lee with pencils by Kaluta and inks by Charles Vess. Result!
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Bruce Ross's Doc Savage
The Land of Ooo
A larger version is available here, and a truly enormous version is here.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Auto-Tune the News: Obama Flashback
Jonathan Nix's The Missing Key
From the little I've seen, The Missing Key will be one to seek out.
Friday, May 01, 2009
(I've only had a chance to skim the contents so far, but it doesn't appear that my favorite bit of post-1984 fiction gets a mention, that being Charlie Stross's "Big Brother Iron." I believe it's only appeared in the Toast collection, but if you haven't read the story it is definitely worth seeking out.)