Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

SF at Dark Roasted Blend

Did you know that Dark Roasted Blend had a whole sub-site devoted to science fiction? Then why didn’t you tell me? Because it’s huge. And kind of awesome.

They boast reviews and ratings of over 10,000 SF&F books and stories, all kinds of “best of” lists, pulp artwork, author interviews, and other time-wasters beyond counting.

The main DRB site has lots of interesting sections, too, including steampunk, futurism, robots, and more. I’d recommend clearing your afternoon before clicking any of those links; you’re going to be there a while.

Posted in Books & Authors, Computers & Internet December 31st, 2008 by Chip
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Space Exists in Your Shoes


No, really.

The space program is responsible for giving us a lot more than Tang. The NASA site has a neat little Flash application that illustrates some of the ways that space exploration impacts our daily life.

You can view various rooms in “NASA @ Home” and see everyday products which were developed as spinoffs of the space program. “NASA City” lets you enter an airport, hospital, grocery store, and several other locations to view tools and machinery which had their beginnings with NASA. Entering a location will pop up a menu of products which you can click on for a detailed description.

The navigation interface takes a little getting used to, but it’s fun to surf around and see how many everyday items are offshoots of the space program. It’s also good ammunition to show someone who questions whether we should keep funding NASA research.

Link (via The Presurfer)

Posted in Space December 30th, 2008 by Chip
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Trivia Answers

The answers to our trivia quiz are:

Answer 1: “The Star.” The supernova had been the Star of Bethlehem

Answer 2: E) Orson Scott Card

Answer 3: Mars.

Answer 4: C) 17,500

Answer 5: Jupiter

Answer 6: True! NORAD tracks Santa’s progress from the North Pole as he delivers toys worldwide. You can see where Santa is at:

Answer 7: Connie Willis

Answer 8: B) DANCE IN BLUE

Answer 9: SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. Side note: This features Pia Zadora as Girmar, one of the Martian kids (she started doing bad movies early).

Answer 10: C) He rips your head off and stuffs you full of toys. The robot, voiced by John Goodman, has a malfunction in his program that makes him think everybody is naughty.

Answer 11: Jesus Christ

Answer 12: A) Gene Wolfe

Answer 13: Tim Powers and James Blaylock

Answer 14: True! The show was broadcast only once (in 1978), then forever banished to Lucas’ movie vaults because it was so doggoned bad.

Answer 15: Patrick Stewart.

Answer 16: D) Love, understanding, and good will to men

Answer 17: Spider Robinson

Answer 18: A) Scully’s sister. She believes that the child is the daughter of her deceased sister, Melissa.


Answer 20: D) Wheels

Answer 21: Damon Knight

Answer 22: B) Night of the Meek. Legend has it Serling wrote the episode just to see Art Carney play Santa Claus.

Answer 23: William Gibson


Answer 25: True! According to Paramount’s Syndication Group, there are no specific Christmas-themed Star Trek episodes.

Posted in Ephemera December 29th, 2008 by Chip

Well Put.

Young George

(Click for full size.)

From Abstruse Goose, who never fails to amuse.

Posted in Humor December 26th, 2008 by Chip
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Happy Holidays!

Alien SantaWe have come to visit you in peace and with goodwill.
— Klaatu

Here’s wishing you a bright and joyous holiday from the whole O*W*C gang!

If you’re feeling ambitious, send answers to these Christmas-themed SF trivia questions to The first one to get ’em all right wins a prize! Answers will be posted next Monday.

(p.s. – The O*W*C hosts regular SF trivia chats. If you’d like to participate, keep an eye on our schedule!)

Question 1: In this classic short story by Arthur C. Clarke, the remnants of a now-destroyed civilization are found within the Phoenix Nebula, the leftovers of a supernova that was once visible from Earth. Name it!

Question 2: The play “A Dixie Christmas Carol,” an adaptation of Dickens’ classic tale, was written by what well-known SF author?
A) Isaac Asimov
B) Allen Steele
C) Ursula Le Guin
D) Andre Norton
E) Orson Scott Card

Question 3: In Allen Steele’s Hugo-nominated “Zwarte Piet’s Tale,” Santa Claus comes to the colonies on what planet?

Question 4: “Santa Physics” has calculated that in order to make all of his deliveries, Santa’s sleigh must move at 650 miles per second. Flying at this speed, how many G’s of centrifugal force would the jolly old elf have to endure?
A) 175
B) 1,750
C) 17,500
D) 175,000
E) 1,750,000

Question 5: Jack McDevitt’s “Promises to Keep” is the story of a mission to save a woman stranded on Callisto five Christmases previously. Callisto is one of which planet’s moons?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ephemera December 25th, 2008 by Chip
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It’s an SF Christmas

SantabotTake a break from the holiday hubbub and enjoy these SF-related Christmas links:

Miss Cellania’s SciFi Christmas – All kinds of, um, miscellania about everything from Star Trek-themed Christmas ornaments to Little Timmy Cthulhu’s Christmas Miracle.

Pulp SF Magazine Christmas Covers – Lots of neat vintage covers with holiday themes.

SF Holiday e-Cards – Cthreepo, Odds & Alien,,, SciFi Slacker

Evil Santas of Science Fiction – io9’s list, from Santron to Jack Skellington.

DeviantART’s SF Holiday Wallpaper – Unusual art for computer wallpaper. I like “A Very Dalek Christmas.”

Creepy Christmas – This site is posting a scary Christmas-themed short film December 1-25. Click on the calendar to view ’em all.

Christmas Tauntauns – Be prepared to have this song stuck in your head for a while.

Posted in Ephemera December 24th, 2008 by Chip
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Happy Birthday Difference Engine

On December 23, 1834, Charles Babbage announced the invention of the Analytical Engine.

According to London’s Science Museum:

The designs for the Analytical Engine include almost all the essential logical features of a modern electronic digital computer. The engine was programmable using punched cards. It had a “store” where numbers and intermediate results could be held and a separate “mill” where the arithmetic processing was performed. The separation of the “store” (memory) and “mill” (central processor) is a fundamental feature of the internal organisation of modern computers.

Wonder what he’d say if he could see a modern computer. Or even a hand calculator, for that matter.

Posted in Computers & Internet December 23rd, 2008 by Chip
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Link Dump

Time to clean up the ol’ Drafts folder.

Most Annoying Post-Apocalypses – A list from Topless Robot.

Squid Crafts – All kinds of patterns and instructions for making our favorite cephalopod.

Best Skin-Melting Scenes in SF – Now here’s a rather creepily specific list, courtesy of io9.

Alien Loves Predator – One of my favorite Webcomics has revived itself after a long absence. Best to start at the beginning.

Just in time for the holidays: Bid on a chance to have a newly-discovered bat species named after you or a loved one.

Chernobyl Matryoshka – Makes you chuckle and wince at the same time.

The 8-Bit Tarot – Tarot cards done in 8-bit video game style.

“Creative” Grooming – These people need a hobby.

Ashes to Caches – Amusing look at high-tech ways to dispose of your mortal remains.

Office Poltergeist – Little software widget to help you “haunt” a co-worker’s computer.

Tales of the Plush Cthulhu – Aaaaaaawwwww. (The FAQ is amusing, too.)

Ubuntu Satanic – Dark and spooky skin for Ubuntu Linux. This is all wrong, though. It’s Windows that’s for the damned.

This is my favorite Wondermark cartoon of all time.

Posted in Ephemera December 22nd, 2008 by Chip
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Galileo, Galileo, Galilei –
He did experiments with a force he couldn’t see.
(Could not see, yeah.)
He found that all things fall to earth at the very same speed.
(Very same speed, yeah.)
He didn’t know it yet, but that was due to gravity.
Schoolhouse Rock

The Pope has marked the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s use of a telescope. He’s admitted that even though the popes are infallible, they might have been wrong, y’know?


Posted in News December 21st, 2008 by Chip
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But Mom, it’s a Documentary!

Tomorrow the History Channel will air a very special episode of “The Universe” exploring the subject of sex in space.

As man moves to colonize the cosmos, the realities of sexual relationships and reproduction need to be addressed. Probe the physiological, psychological and cultural challenges of sex in space. From the sex act through birth, look at how the extreme environments of space exploration might effect copulation, conception and developing human tissues, as well as how issues around sex might impact the emotional lives of astronauts. Get to the bottom of the rumors to find out if space sex has already happened, and look at how the burgeoning space tourism business may soon lead to a boom in space sex.

(Also, try to say “space sex” three times fast.)

It’d be amusing to see the ratings for The Universe normally vs. the ratings for this particular episode.

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Movies & TV, Space December 19th, 2008 by Chip
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