SF Comedy – Look No Further

December 22, 2010

So while Distant Worlds and Distant Realms were the first titles to be commissioned under the Library’s F&SF imprint (now to be split into two separate imprints, have I mentioned?), the first anthology to actually release is a collection of SF humour, under the cover-your-mouth-and-snicker title of “Probing Uranus”.  Edited by Stephanie Kincaid and Tonia Brown, if you like SF and you like to laugh, this collection is worth your time.  Here’s the cover copy, the table of contents and the front cover art.

The aliens, time travelers, genetically altered life forms, and a host of other bizarre beings have landed, and they all have one objective: to make you laugh.
Collected in Probing Uranus are fourteen science fiction stories that range from the darkly humorous to the outrageous and zany. The strange and wonderful things you’ll encounter include an interstellar missionary, a plumber whose job is more complicated than you can imagine, two alien queens with some rather bawdy linguistic problems, and more mayhem than you can shake a mutant pumpkin at.

Prepare to be probed!


The Rectangle in Lewis J. Stanley’s Bells – Bill Thobaben

Judd Falcon, Missionary to the Stars – Ben Langhinrichs

Intergalactic Nuisance – Frank Dutkiewicz

They Keep Stealing my Things – Margaret Karmazin

On-Ramp – Tony Schaab

Dick Spigott, Interplanetary Plumber – H.F. Gibbard

Declination – Gus Ginsberg

A Beauty – Douglas Hutcheson

A Face Worse than Death – Sheila Crosby

Tangent – Ed Dempster

Red Vs. the Bug People – Stephanie Kincaid

The Continuing Adventures of Agent Jonas Maxwell, Intergalactic Security Agency: “The Fortress of Evil” – Jason R. Richter

The Wage of Dinosaurs – Cody Goodfellow

Head Games – Tonia Brown


Genre Movies for 2011

November 28, 2010

I’m not one to crap on someone else’s art.  To each their own, variety is the spice of life, infinite diversity in infinite combinations, and so on.  But if it doesn’t appeal to me or I didn’t enjoy it, I’m not too likely to recommend it, and  I’m unlikely to actively warn people away from it unless it really annoyed me or I feel like I’ve traded a small piece of my life and a few bucks for a kick in the junk.  Preamble ends now.

In the field of genre movies, 2009 brought a whole bunch of great genre movies in with the mediocre.  2010, not so much and I’m not holding out much more hope for 2011, but there are a few movies I might actually look forward to.  I can pick six so far.  Otherwise, from the copy I’ve read or the handful of previews, most of 2011 looks like it will be a good year for watching classic genre movies.

Still, here are the six Genre Movies of 2011 I’m most looking forward to.

Gnomeo and Juliet.  This appeals to several parts of my personality: the dad, the cartoon fan, the Shakespeare fan (not that I’ve read any Shakespeare in the last few years, but I will again someday).  The secret lives of garden gnomes.  I love it.  Or I will if it’s creative and shows some originality.

Battle: Los Angeles.  It’s been a while since we’ve had any kind of serious alien invasion, wreck the city/planet kind of movie.  The trailers look good on this one.  If the writing is decent, this may have the potential to out-Independence Day a classic.

Cowboys and Aliens.  Not an awful lot of Weird West makes it to the screen, big or small.  Harrison Ford back in an action role with Daniel Craig for backup?  I’m in.  Doesn’t hurt that the comic book was a good story, but don’t hold out for that same story.  Doesn’t usually work that way.

Green Lantern.  Speaking of comic books, any GL fans out there?  I was raised more on the Marvel universe than the DC, but I’ve always liked the Green Lantern.  (Well, maybe not always.  Things may have gotten a bit complicated with the whole rainbow of lantern colours available now, but I digress.)  I’m going to go on record early as saying this is likely to be the best superhero movie since the first Iron Man and I’ve already seen things in the trailer that impress me.  Holding out great hope here.

Paul.  Two British comic geeks pick up an alien just outside Area 51.  Really working the comic book theme, here, aren’t I.  Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogan?  I anticipate humour.

There will probably be other potentially good movies in 2011 – for example, I just saw a trailer for Sucker Punch that looked interesting, but I’m reserving judgement in spite of the giant robot samurai.  Eagle has some potential, too, maybe.  There are also probably a lot of things conspicuously absent from my list.  I’m okay with that.  I don’t plan to see most of those, anyway, because most of them look to rate a solid meh.  Maybe on DVD or Bluray, but not in the theatre.

On that note, just having good FX isn’t enough to get me into a theatre anymore and hasn’t been for a while; I have to believe there’s going to be a good story, too.  I’m tired of walking out of movies thinking, “Boy, did that suck.”  And really, I’m sick of reboots and I’m sick of sequels and prequels made decades after the mediocre (or even decent) originals, and I’m really sick of movies I have to go to the theatre a year later to see the end of.  Hollywood and its affiliates are increasingly not giving me what I need for my movie dollars anymore.

Books on the other hand… there are probably more books coming out in first month of 2011 that excite me than I’ll have time to read in the entire year.  And that is a beautiful thing.

Distant Worlds Progress Report

November 21, 2010

The short, short version:  final edits complete and out to the authors, some of them back already,interior art (!) in progress, cover art next up.

I’d really love to see this out before Christmas, but time is getting awfully tight for that, isn’t it.

Oh, and a happy NaNoWriMo to everyone crazy enough to participate this year.  My own massive brain dump is going very well in terms of pace, but I shudder to think about the quality of what I’m pumping into the keyboard for it.

Distant Realms TOC

October 4, 2010

In no particular order:

Katherine Shaw, “The Price of Justice”

Trent Roman, “The Battle of Transvaal”

Alfred D. Byrd, “The Seventh Proficiency”

Eliza Granville, “Snatchlings”

Robert J. Santa, “Turning Point”

A lot of really tough decisions to narrow down to this list.  Really tough.  Anyone who tells you an editor’s job is easy should rethink the statement.  More updates in a couple of days.

Overdue Progress Report

September 15, 2010

This sucks.

Did I complain about this for Distant Worlds?  I don’t think so.  I should have.  Making the final selections for an anthology is hard.  Really hard.  The anthology has space for five stories and I have a shortlist of fifteen, all of which are stories I really like.  No one ever promised me the job would be easy, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain, but it’s a tough process.

I probably shouldn’t whine in public, either, but it makes me feel a little better.  Sorry.

Accepts and declines will start going out tonight overnight.

On a different note, revision notes for Distant Worlds are done and all of the stories have gone back to the authors.  Two of them have been finished rather longer than the others and I’ve got them back already.  Getting closer all the time.

Genre Film, a Top 10 List

August 7, 2010

So I promised something a little more interesting for today.  I didn’t promise, however, that it would have anything to do with the anthologies.  Since I tossed up a status update on Tuesday, I thought something completely different might work.  If I’m wrong, ignore this post and check back next weekend.

So, what you’re getting instead is a list of my ten favourite SF/F films from the 21st century so far.  There are things that might be conspicuous by their absence (Avatar, for example.  Even though it was a good movie, it’s not making my top ten, but I’ll save that for another time.).  There are also movies I haven’t seen yet that I fully expect to really enjoy (Stardust and Moon spring to mind), movies I really wish I hadn’t seen (Pirates of the Caribbean II), and movies I have no intention of ever seeing (Hot Tub Time Machine, any of the Twilight films).  These last two categories deserve lists of their own, maybe.

Half of the movies on the list are animated.  I’m not sure if that’s a reflection of my coolness as a Dad or just the fact that as a Dad I’m more likely to get to watch the animated stuff.  With my oldest being almost 12, that’s starting to shift.

Quick, Robin.  To the list!

10. I, Robot.  It may not have been as true to the original story as Asimov fans might have liked, but it was a fun movie.  Lots of action, pretty impressive CGI for 2004, and Will Smith.

9. Spirited Away.  I’ve enjoyed a lot of Hayao Miyazaki’s work, though there are still a couple of his films I haven’t seen.  Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is probably my favourite, but if I were to put together an all time favourite anime list, there would be a lot of Miyazaki-san’s films on it.

8. The Emperor’s New Groove.  Oh, no!  A Disney film!  Wait, how is this genre?  Well, a completely made up Mesoamerican empire, magic potions that can turn people into animals who can still function as people, more or less, and talking squirrels.  How is it not Fantasy?

7. Titan A.E. Set a thousand years in the future after the Earth has been destroyed by rather odd aliens who have no real physical being.  Action, mystery, romance, and the ultimate survival of the human race at stake, not to mention a great soundtrack.

6. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.  The first Pirates movie was tremendously fun in spite of being based on a theme park ride.  Pirates, zombies, great FX and solid writing.  How can you lose?  Too bad about the sequels.

5. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.  A pulpy diesel-punk movie with everything you could ask for.  Giant robots, a mad scientist, brilliant heroes, rockets, amphibious fighters, and the biggest damned flying aircraft carrier you could hope for.  Not to mention a great story.  It’s really too bad this film didn’t get more recognition at the box office.

4. WALL·E.  You’ve got to be kidding me.  Three Disney movies in a top ten list that isn’t about Disney movies.  Yeah, well, Pixar doesn’t really count and we can make an exception for Wall·E, anyway.  We’ll all have fled our own accumulated filth to become floating wheelchair-dwelling blobs of fat and Wall-E will keep on trying to fix the mess we left behind seven hundred years after we bail.

3. Space Cowboys.  Four almost-astronauts from the sixties get called up for a special mission to repair an old Soviet satellite.  When those old guys are Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner, you know you’re in for a ride.

2. The Lord of the Rings.  I’m not going to distinguish between the three, instead I’ll treat it like all one movie just as Tolkien himself supposedly envisioned it as all one story.  But to be honest, the third was the best of the three.  Middle Earth come to life.  Yes, they took some liberties with the text to make it work for the big screen.  Were you surprised at that?  Not all of them made me happy, either, but it was still a great movie(s).

1. Appleseed.  This will be the first thing I buy on blu-ray when I get around to switching.  It’s based on a series of Manga books from the mid-80s by the same name.  This is a must watch for any SF or Anime fan.  An intricate story set in a apparently utopian society in a mostly post-apocalyptic world.  Spectacular visuals, tonnes of action, and plenty of characters to care about… cyborgs, robots, battlesuits, what’s left of the world in the balance.  106 minutes of pure geek-gasm.

So there it is, my top ten list of genre movies in the past ten years.  Not my ten favourite genre movies of all time.  That’s a different list that would be a lot harder to narrow down.

Hope no one minds if I cross-post this.

Update August 2nd

August 3, 2010

So I may be stretching the definition of Tuesday, since it’s already past 230 in the morning, but it’s closer to still being Tuesday than it is to being Saturday, when I’m supposed to be putting up an update of some sort.  Really stuck to that schedule, didn’t I?  I’ll try harder this week.

In the meantime, the update.

Distant Worlds: Contracts are out and the discussion has been broached about artwork.  Not a lot of progress there, and  I know it seems like I’m taking a ridiculously long time to do this, but parents with kids home for the summer will understand how hard it is to come by free time in July and August.  I’m making progress, just not as much as I’d like, not that there’s aything new about that.

Distant Realms: all responses out and I have sent a notice to everyone on the shortlist that it will likely be a couple of weeks before I start the round two reading.  I need to get the Distant Worlds revision notes done.

That’s all for today, I’ll try for something more interesting on Saturday.