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2008 Nebula Awards – Final Ballot

Nebula Final Ballot
SFWA is proud to announce the nominees for the 2008 Nebula Awards. The awards will be presented at the 2009 Nebula Awards® Weekend, April 24-26, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. For more information on the awards and the Nebulas Weekend, please visit the Nebula Awards Website. (You don’t have to be an author to go – and they’re a LOT of fun to attend )

Novels
Little Brother – Doctorow, Cory (Tor, Apr08)
Powers – Le Guin, Ursula K. (Harcourt, Sep07)
Cauldron – McDevitt, Jack (Ace, Nov07)
Brasyl – McDonald, Ian (Pyr, May07)
Making Money – Pratchett, Terry (Harper, Sep07)
Superpowers – Schwartz, David J. (Three Rivers Press, Jun08)

Novellas
“The Spacetime Pool” – Asaro, Catherine (Analog, Mar08)
“Dark Heaven” – Benford, Gregory (Alien Crimes, ed. Mike Resnick, SFBC, Jan07)
“Dangerous Space” – Eskridge, Kelley (Dangerous Space, Aqueduct Press, Jun07)
“The Political Prisoner” – Finlay, Charles Coleman (F&SF, Aug08)
“The Duke in His Castle” – Nazarian, Vera (Norilana Books, Jun08)

Novelettes
“If Angels Fight” – Bowes, Richard (F&SF, Feb08)
“Dark Rooms” – Goldstein, Lisa (Asimov’s, Oct/Nov 07)
“Pride and Prometheus” – Kessel, John (F&SF, Jan08)
“Night Wind” – Rosenblum, Mary (Lace and Blade, ed. Deborah J. Ross, Norilana Books, Feb08)
“Baby Doll” – Sinisalo, Johanna (The SFWA European Hall of Fame, ed. James Morrow & Kathryn Morrow, Tor, Jun07 [trans. from the Finnish by David Hackston])
“Kaleidoscope” – Wentworth, K.D. (F&SF, May07)

Short Stories
“The Button Bin” – Allen, Mike (Helix: A Speculative Fiction Quarterly, Oct07)
“The Dreaming Wind”- Ford, Jeffrey (The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales, ed. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Viking, Jul07)
“Trophy Wives” – Hoffman, Nina Kiriki (Fellowship Fantastic, ed. Martin H. Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes, DAW Jan08)
“26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” – Johnson, Kij (Asimov’s, Jul08)
“The Tomb Wife” – Jones, Gwyneth (F&SF, Aug07)
“Don’t Stop” – Kelly, James Patrick (Asimov’s, Jun07)

Scripts
The Dark Knight
“WALL-E”
The Shrine – Stargate Atlantis, Aug 2008

Norton Award
Graceling – Cashore, Kristin (Harcourt, Oct08)
Lamplighter – Cornish, D.M. (Monster Blood Tattoo, Book 2, Putnam Juvenile, May08)
Savvy – Law, Ingrid (Dial, May08)
The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Pearson, Mary E. (Henry Holt and Company, Apr08)
Flora’s Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa from a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room) – Wilce, Ysabeau S. (Harcourt, Sep08)

Posted in Books & Authors, Conventions & Fandom, News February 27th, 2009 by Gandalara
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Mars Has a Water Cycle

At least, a little one.

Scientists are still poring over data gathered from the Phoenix Mars Lander, but think they’ve found evidence that water vapor is collapsing into the Martian soil at night. The thin films of “unfrozen water” (not as free-flowing as water but more mobile than ice) are enough to allow some chemistry and might even support some biology.

The article doesn’t extend a lot of hope that conditions are sufficient to support life currently, but this helps bolster the argument that conditions might have been favorable in the fairly recent past.

Link

Posted in News, Space February 27th, 2009 by Chip
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See-thru sea-life

This is just bizarre.
(I can never remember how to upload a picture, so here’s the URL)

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

The things at the front of its head that look like eyes are actually nostrils. The green bodies inside its head are the eyes.

Posted in News, Science February 26th, 2009 by Gandalara
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Boom!

Carlos Labs has a cool doodad that shows the thermal damage if you hit a target (like a city) with various nukes…or a big asteroid.

I have no idea if sound is also applied – my speakers don’t work.

Try it on a city you love. Or one you don’t.

I nuked Disneyland :-)

Ground Zero

Posted in News February 26th, 2009 by Gandalara
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Review: Foundation

Another archived review from the prolific and opinionated JohnT….

—————

Let’s start with the standard info. Be warned that this book has been reprinted quite a number of times by different publishers:

Name: Foundation
Author: Isaac Asimov
Published: 1951 in novel form, though the individual stories within were published in Astounding magazine in the proceeding decade.*
Publisher: Avon Books. Currently, Bantam books owns the publishing rights.

The scope of this discussion is the original novel.

Synopsis:

Foundation, and its two sequels Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation, tell the story of the collapse of the Galactic Empire and the efforts by a group of scientists to shorten the period of anarchy after the Fall. The novel starts by introducing us to the world of Hari Seldon, the founder of Psychohistory, a mathematical study of psychology which Seldon developed into a very powerful tool for predicting the general flow of history. Seldon is aware that the millennia-old Galactic Empire that he inhabits is in its last days, and while he can do nothing to prevent the crash, his studies in Psychohistory have made him aware of a plan of action that could, if successful, compress the resulting Dark Ages from 30,000 years to a “mere” 1,000. Foundation tells the story of the first 150 years of Seldon’s plan.

“The Psychohistorians”, the first chapter, introduces us to Hari Seldon and shows his efforts to have the two Foundations set up in time before the Empires collapse – we learn that one Foundation is to be placed on the planet “Terminus”, which is located on the periphery of the Empires rule, but we do not learn the location of the 2nd Foundation. Terminus is a metal-poor planet, and is one that is quite vulnerable to attack.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Books & Authors February 26th, 2009 by Chip
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World of Tears …

Philip Jose’ Farmer died this morning in his home in Peoria, Illinois. He was 91.

Posted in Books & Authors, News February 25th, 2009 by Gandalara
1 comment

Review: Perdido Street Station

I’ve been digging through the archives of our old message boards (which succumbed to spam long ago but recently arose, phoenix-like, from its own digital ashes), and unearthed some book reviews that a user with the handle JohnT wrote some time ago. I wanted to feature a couple on the blog, because they’re very thorough.

(And JohnT, if you’re out there, drop me a line so I can give you proper credit.)

—————

First, the boring stuff:

Name: Perdido Street Station
Author: China Mieville
Publisher: Del Rey, paperback, 720 pages.

Warning: in my reviews/posts, I tend to beyatch about the things I didn’t like rather than dwelling on the stuff that I liked. Overall, I kind of liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for “something new and different.”

If I had to give a title to what I want to say, it would be something like:

Stephen R. Donaldson, foul mouth little snots, and a really bad Cheryl Ladd movie

Huh?

When I read SR Donaldson’s The Gap series, I felt pretty much the same way that I felt when I read PSS – this guy has got some serious, hardcore mental/emotional issues. If you haven’t read the Gap, the most prevalent emotions in the book(s) are pain: these people suffered. When one reads PSS, Mieville tries for the same type of effect: he bombards the reader, not with pain, but with the grotesque. These people suffer too, but not by choice, but by location.

He is so in love with his setting that at times he forgets the story – long descriptive passages where he seemingly tries to come up with even more disgusting ways to get the point across: New Crobuzon is a nasty city, not one for the faint of heart or delicate of manner – it is squalid, filthy and a generally horrid place to live.

Typical passage, this one dealing with the protagonist (Isaac) and his ladyfriend (Lin):

His arse itched. He scratched under the blanket, rooting as shameless as a dog. Something burst under his nail, and he withdrew his hand to examine it. A tiny half-crushed grub waved helplessly on the end of his finger. It was a refflick, a harmless little khepri parasite. The thing must have been rather bewildered by my juices, Isaac thought, and flicked his finger clean.

“Refflick, Lin,” he said. “Bath time.”

Lin stamped in irritation.

New Crobuzon was a huge plague pit, a morbific city. Parasites, infection and rumour were uncontainable. A monthly chymical dip was a necessary prophylactic for the khepri, if they wanted to avoid itches and sores.

And he goes on, and on in this manner for hundreds of pages: description after description of the sort of horrors 12 year old boys like to scare each other with – done, admittedly, with more style and verve than one would expect from a prepubescent tyke, but still in the same manner. A long-ago Harlan Ellison description of a now-forgotten author repeatedly came to mind while reading this book: “He attacks the reader with the sort of sensory images one would expect from a teenager who enjoys saying “fuck” in front of his grandmother.”*

He adds grotesquery after grotesquery to a point where it overwhelms the reader: The protagonist is screwing an insect, Lin (the insect) has an art commission from a gangster so horrible in appearance it gives even her pause, punishments for crimes involve having the criminal “remade**” at the whim and mercy of the jailer, etc, etc.

About 200 pages in, he kind of remembers that he is telling a story and gets things moving along. Isaac, in dealing with a scientific commission to regrow a pair of wings for a criminal, puts out a call for all manner of flying things so that he can study the motion and physics of flight. One of the creatures that he received is a caterpillar that, upon leaving the pupae stage, transforms into a creature so deadly that even the denizens of Hell*** are afraid of it.

Isaac is finally able to defeat the moth (and a few others that the original moth released), but one wonders…. Why? Why bother?

About a decade ago an old friend and I watched this really craptacular Cheryl Ladd/Kris Kristofferson movie entitled Millennium****. Here’s the IMDB description:

An investigator seeking the cause of an airline disaster discovers the involvement of an organization of time travelers from a future Earth irreparably polluted who seek to rejuvenate the human race from those about to die in the past. Based on a novel by John Varley.

The biggest problem that I had with the movie is that the “future earth” was so bleak, so joyless, that the viewer had trouble understanding why anybody would want to save it. Same thing goes for the world of New Crobuzon – this city is so squalid, life is so unpleasant there the reader is left wondering why anyone would go to the bother of rescuing it from the moths?

The story itself is pretty standard – protagonist unknowingly puts self/society in danger, the heat gets turned on him by the government/bad guys, he (knowing that they don’t understand what they’re dealing with/how to deal with it) saves the day using means unknown to anybody but him. If you enjoy setting more than story (and don’t mind disturbing visuals), I recommend this book quite highly. If you are into brilliant turns and twists of plot, well-developed characters, and tight storytelling, then you might want to avoid this one.


*Paraphrased. Hell, he might have been talking about a movie, but I’m sure I got the gist of it right – the damned phrase has stuck with me for well over a decade now.

**As in they might make you half man/half dog and then put you in a brothel.

*** Possibly my favorite passage of the entire book.

**** Most enjoyable for the scene where Ladd is chain-smoking cigarettes while simultaneously eating a salad. Puff-bite, puff-bite.

Posted in Books & Authors February 25th, 2009 by Chip
1 comment

SF Trivia

So I ran across this “Are You a Science Fiction Scholar?” quiz in my archives, and think it’s a bit on the easy side (I got 11/11; how about you?). However, since we get a lot of readers who hit this blog and never explore further, it occurs to me that it might be worth mentioning the O*W*C’s own trivia game.

You don’t win anything except bragging rights, but there are several hundred questions and you can play as long as you like. It’s fun to see how many in a row you can get right.

(We also periodically host trivia contests–with prizes and everything!–in our nightly chats. Check our schedule for dates.)

Posted in Ephemera February 24th, 2009 by Chip
1 comment

Hugo Nominations

My yearly reminder – Hugo nominations close on next Saturday February 28th at 11:59 PM Eastern time.
http://www.anticipationsf.ca/English/Hugos

All you potential Hugo nominators (people who attended last year’s Denvention 3, and/or have registered for this year’s Worldcon Anticipation) have just a couple days to get your nomination ballots in!

If you’re submitting your nominations online, sooner is rather better than later, since computers are notorious for being in a world of their own. So don’t wait until the 28th: now is good.

If you don’t nominate … DON’T COMPLAIN!

Recommendations can be found at
Hugo Recommendations on LJ
Nesfa Recommendations
Locus Magazine
Authors Eligible for the Campbell

Posted in News February 24th, 2009 by Gandalara
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:::giggle:::

Steampunk

Para Abnormal makes me happy.

Posted in News February 23rd, 2009 by Chip
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