Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Whatever (John Scalzi)

“When the Yogurt Took Over: a short story” —

“When the yogurt took over, we all made the same jokes – “Finally, our rulers will have culture,” “Our society has curdled,” “Our government is now the cream of the crop,” and so on. But when we weren’t laughing about the absurdity of it all, we looked into each others’ eyes with the same unasked question – how did we ever get to the point where we were, in fact, ruled by a dairy product?”

just plain funny? think about it…

Posted in Books & Authors, Humor October 4th, 2010 by ceejaydp
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NSFW, But Highly Entertaining

Rachel Bloom from Upright Citizens Brigade really likes her some Ray Bradbury. (Yesterday she reported that Mr. Bradbury had seen the video and enjoyed it.)

As someone commented over at BoingBoing:

If I were Bradbury, I would open every lecture, panel, and signing with this video for the foreseeable future: “Before we begin, have you seen this?”

Posted in Books & Authors, Humor August 20th, 2010 by Chip
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Heinlein Symposium at

Tomorrow Tor Books will release the first volume of the authorized Heinlein Biography Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, and to tie in with the event they’re having an “online panel discussion” to discuss his work.

Jo Walton, John Scalzi, Charlie Stross, and several others have posts exploring Heinlein’s life, themes, and legacy. Love him or hate him, it’s undeniable that he had a massive impact on science fiction.

(Hat tip to CJ)

Posted in Books & Authors August 16th, 2010 by Chip
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The SFF Masterworks Meme

The SF and Fantasy Masterworks Reading Project is a group blog “dedicated to reading and reviewing Gollancz’s series of genre classics in its entirety.” The site has inspired a few people to list the SF books in the series that they’ve read (in bold) and/or own (in italics). Play along! It’s fun!

The original list broke out ten special hardback editions, seven of which were also published in paperback. I’ve omitted the duplicates, hence the wonky numbering.

Between Shadow and me we own almost all of these titles, so I’m not going to italicize; I’m clearly well behind in actually reading them, though. I suck.

II — The Left Hand of Darkness — Ursula K. Le Guin
V — A Canticle for Leibowitz — Walter M. Miller, Jr.
X — The Day of the Triffids — John Wyndham

1 — The Forever War — Joe Haldeman
2 — I Am Legend — Richard Matheson
3 — Cities in Flight — James Blish
4 — Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? — Philip K. Dick
5 — The Stars My Destination — Alfred Bester
6 — Babel-17 — Samuel R. Delany
7 — Lord of Light — Roger Zelazny
8 — The Fifth Head of Cerberus — Gene Wolfe
9 — Gateway — Frederik Pohl
10 — The Rediscovery of Man — Cordwainer Smith
11 — Last and First Men — Olaf Stapledon
12 — Earth Abides — George R. Stewart
13 — Martian Time-Slip — Philip K. Dick
14 — The Demolished Man — Alfred Bester
15 — Stand on Zanzibar — John Brunner
16 — The Dispossessed — Ursula K. Le Guin
17 — The Drowned World — J. G. Ballard
18 — The Sirens of Titan — Kurt Vonnegut
19 — Emphyrio — Jack Vance
20 — A Scanner Darkly — Philip K. Dick
21 — Star Maker — Olaf Stapledon
22 — Behold the Man — Michael Moorcock
23 — The Book of Skulls — Robert Silverberg
24 — The War of the Worlds — H. G. Wells
25 — Flowers for Algernon — Daniel Keyes
26 — Ubik — Philip K. Dick
27 — Timescape — Gregory Benford
28 — More Than Human — Theodore Sturgeon
29 — Man Plus — Frederik Pohl
30 — A Case of Conscience — James Blish
31 — The Centauri Device — M. John Harrison
32 — Dr. Bloodmoney — Philip K. Dick
33 — Non-Stop — Brian Aldiss
34 — The Fountains of Paradise — Arthur C. Clarke
35 — Pavane — Keith Roberts
36 — Now Wait for Last Year — Philip K. Dick
37 — Nova — Samuel R. Delany
38 — The First Men in the Moon — H. G. Wells
39 — The City and the Stars — Arthur C. Clarke
40 — Blood Music — Greg Bear
41 — Jem — Frederik Pohl
42 — Bring the Jubilee — Ward Moore
43 — VALIS — Philip K. Dick
44 — The Lathe of Heaven — Ursula K. Le Guin
45 — The Complete Roderick — John Sladek
46 — Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said — Philip K. Dick
47 — The Invisible Man — H. G. Wells
48 — Grass — Sheri S. Tepper
49 — A Fall of Moondust — Arthur C. Clarke
50 — Eon — Greg Bear
51 — The Shrinking Man — Richard Matheson
52 — The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch — Philip K. Dick
53 — The Dancers at the End of Time — Michael Moorcock
54 — The Space Merchants — Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth
55 — Time Out of Joint — Philip K. Dick
56 — Downward to the Earth — Robert Silverberg
57 — The Simulacra — Philip K. Dick
58 — The Penultimate Truth — Philip K. Dick
59 — Dying Inside — Robert Silverberg
60 — Ringworld — Larry Niven
61 — The Child Garden — Geoff Ryman
62 — Mission of Gravity — Hal Clement
63 — A Maze of Death — Philip K. Dick
64 — Tau Zero — Poul Anderson
65 — Rendezvous with Rama — Arthur C. Clarke
66 — Life During Wartime — Lucius Shepard
67 — Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang — Kate Wilhelm
68 — Roadside Picnic — Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
69 — Dark Benediction — Walter M. Miller, Jr.
70 — Mockingbird — Walter Tevis
71 — Dune — Frank Herbert
72 — The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress — Robert A. Heinlein
73 — The Man in the High Castle — Philip K. Dick
74 — Inverted World — Christopher Priest
75 — Cat’s Cradle — Kurt Vonnegut
76 — The Island of Dr. Moreau — H.G. Wells
77 — Childhood’s End — Arthur C. Clarke
78 — The Time Machine — H.G. Wells
79 — Dhalgren — Samuel R. Delany
80 — Helliconia — Brian Aldiss
81 — Food of the Gods — H.G. Wells
82 — The Body Snatchers — Jack Finney
83 — The Female Man — Joanna Russ
84 — Arslan — M.J. Engh

(via Big Dumb Object))

Posted in Books & Authors July 12th, 2010 by Chip

They May as Well Close Down the Internet

Because the Pinnacle of Awesome has been achieved.


Click to enlarge. If you think you can take it.

Information about this vision, and the contest attached to it, is here.

Posted in Books & Authors, Conventions & Fandom June 2nd, 2010 by Chip
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A Century of Gernsback

Hugo Gernsback’s novel Ralph 124C 41+: A Romance of the Year 2660 was first serialized in Modern Electrics magazine almost a century ago in April, 1911. Which, by most accounts, really sucked. But it also helped to kick off SF as a genre.

Ars Technica has an article about Gernsback and his contributions.

Posted in Books & Authors May 5th, 2010 by Chip
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Is a Deus ex Machina Science Fiction?

BoingBoing posted about this essay by Terry Pratchett, wherein he claims that Dr. Who is not science fiction because he’s gone well beyond “sufficiently advanced technology” and seems to be careening into the realm of straight up magic.

People say Doctor Who is science fiction. At least people who don’t know what science fiction is, say that Doctor Who is science fiction. Star Trek approaches science fiction. The horribly titled Star Cops which ran all too briefly on the BBC in the 1980s was the genuine pure quill of science fiction, unbelievable in some aspects but nevertheless pretty much about the possible. Indeed, several of its episodes relied on the laws of physics for their effect (I’m particularly thinking of the episode “Conversations With The Dead”). It had a following, but never caught on in a big way. It was clever, and well thought out. Doctor Who on the other hand had an episode wherein people’s surplus body fat turns into little waddling creatures. I’m not sure how old you have to be to come up with an idea like that. The Doctor himself has in recent years been built up into an amalgam of Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ (I laughed my socks off during the Titanic episode when two golden angels lifted the Doctor heavenwards) and Tinkerbell. There is nothing he doesn’t know, and nothing he can’t do. He is now becoming God, given that the position is vacant. Earth is protected, we are told, and not by Torchwood, who are human and therefore not very competent. Perhaps they should start transmitting the programme on Sundays.

The comments on BoingBoing went from zero to wharrgarbl in about 30 seconds, arguing about the nature of SF vs. fantasy and where the Doctor falls on the continuum. I think I more or less agree with the commenter who argues that a deux ex machina weakens SF without necessarily derailing it entirely, but I do have to question whether the Doctor’s tendency to solve every problem that way perhaps moves him out of the sphere of science fiction and toward something more akin to fantasy.

What do you think?

Posted in Books & Authors, Movies & TV May 4th, 2010 by Chip
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“Wrinkle in Time” Graphic Novel Announced

Despite L’Engle saying that she never wanted her books to be illustrated, artist Hope Larson has been tapped to adapt the YA classic A Wrinkle in Time as a comic book graphic novel. The work will apparently eventually tie in to the planned movie. Geeks of Doom has more.

They also ask readers if they’re looking forward to the new visual form of the work or if they’re purists who feel the novel should remain solely in its original form. I think it’d be nice if the graphic novel and/or movie introduces new readers to the book, and am choosing to pretend–as I routinely do with movie adaptations of novels–that the film shares the book’s title purely by coincidence. If you pretend that a movie has nothing whatsoever to do with the book it’s based on, it’s much easier to avoid disappointment.

Posted in Books & Authors May 3rd, 2010 by Chip
1 comment

Walking Away from Omelas

A few days ago the Pharyngula blog had a thoughtful post on the child-molestation meltdown currently wracking the Catholic church. In discussing the faithful’s attempts to protect guilty priests at the expense of their victims, it drew a parallel with Ursula K. Le Guin’s beautifully depressing short story, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (which if you haven’t read, the text is here. Go read it right now. I’ll wait). It continued:

In the story, some few people reject the terms of the sacrifice, and this is where I have mixed feelings about it: they quietly leave the city, alone, to go somewhere else, somewhere they can’t even imagine. They are “the ones who walk away from Omelas,” after all. They are the ones who will not accept bliss if it’s founded on another’s pain.

But I don’t know, it doesn’t seem enough. The story seems to accept that there is an act that cannot be committed: that protest and tattling are not an option, that no one ever sees that there is a justice in bringing the oppressed to light and doing something. Or even questioning whether a child’s sacrifice is at all causal in bringing about their happiness. It’s a thoughtful story, but it needs a sequel, “The Ones Who Storm the Gates of Omelas”.

I (and many of the commenters on the site) thought that was a particularly moving idea and wanted to share it. As one of them commented, the willingness to give up one’s own life to save another’s is humanity’s greatest strength and most potent weapon.

Posted in Books & Authors April 9th, 2010 by Chip
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Geek a Week

ScalziArtist Len Peralta (of Monsters by Mail fame) has begun a project called Geek a Week: For 52 weeks he’s going to interview a notable geek and then create a trading card with their likeness and “fun facts” about them.

John Scalzi was the most recent geek, providing the secret to his success (“Exploit Your Laziness”), and his trading card is completely wonderful: Front | Back (in particular I love the tattoo on his arm).

Peralta also has a running list of geeks he’d like to “collect,” and says he’d be grateful to anyone who can help put him in contact with them.

(via Whatever)

Posted in Books & Authors March 31st, 2010 by Chip
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