Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Author August Starts Tomorrow

The 2009 edition of The Science Fiction Message Board’s “Author August” kicks off tomorrow, with a different author highlighted every day. Everyone is encouraged to post “photographs, reminiscences, cover scans, links to appropriate sites, reviews, and other reactions” about the author on their designated day. Here’s the list:

8/1 Alfred Bester
8/2 William Tenn (Phillip Klass)
8/3 Gene Wolfe
8/4 E.T.A. Hoffman
8/5 Norman Spinrad
8/6 Lucy Sussex
8/7 Robert J. Sawyer
8/8 Phillip Reeve
8/9 Ian McDonald
8/10 Ken MacLeod
8/11 Dan Simmons
8/12 S.M. Stirling
8/13 Sean McMullen
8/14 James Blish
8/15 Kelley Eskridge
8/16 Octavia Butler
8/17 Charles Stross
8/18 Colin Kapp
8/19 Fritz Leiber
8/20 Nicola Griffith
8/21 Hal Clement
8/22 J.G. Ballard
8/23 Alison Sinclair
8/24 E.C. Tubb
8/25 Neal Asher
8/26 Karl Schroeder
8/27 Jack L. Chalker
8/28 John Varley
8/29 Alan Dean Foster
8/30 David J. Williams
8/31 Kurd Lasswitz

Link (via BoingBoing)

Posted in Books & Authors July 31st, 2009 by Chip
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Enormous Prop Auction

PropProp house 20th Century Props is closing its doors and selling off its gigantic collection in a Web auction that runs through August 1.

When 20th Century Props decided they had enough, Great American Group was chosen to sell everything down to the bare walls. With over 40 years of collecting and buying, renting and selling, Harvey Schwartz, the owner of 20th Century Props is ready to retire. You’d be hard press to find any movie or television show that hasn’t had one of these props on the set. You’ll find the futuristic shower Tom Cruise used in “Minority Report” to an armchair that starred with Marilyn Monroe in multiple films to the Art Deco chandeliers from “The Aviator” & “Titanic” with Leo DiCaprio. Whether you are a movie buff, a collector, an interior decorator ar just a person with a thing for leopard skin furniture, you’d be crazy not to attend this auction. Bid on site or bid online from the convenience of your PC! Log onto our website at and view over 200,000 square feet of furniture, collectibles, antiques, figurines and artwork from every period in the history of the world.

They’ve got a simply absurd amount of stuff, so if you’ve ever wanted to own a little piece of Hollywood now’s your chance.

Link (via The Steampunk Home)

Posted in News July 30th, 2009 by Chip
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Where I Write

SwanwickPhotographer Kyle Cassidy was invited to a party at Michael Swanwick’s house in 2008.

While there I asked if I could see his Hugos, since I knew he had five of them. “Of course!” he said, jovially, and lead me up to his office. This I thought in stunned wonder as my eyes crept across the expanse of it, is a place of great significance and it needs to be seen. It was like I’d cracked open his skull and seen the gears of genius. The best way I can describe it is as a nest, made out of books, as intricate and well assembled as a Nevelson sculpture.

He photographed Swanwick in his lair, and was inspired to take similar photos of several other SF and fantasy authors in their workspaces. His work will have eight pages in the 2009 Worldcon program guide, and he’s currently looking for a publisher for a much larger collection. It’s interesting to see what each author’s space has to say about their personalities.

Link (via John Dickerson)

Posted in Books & Authors July 29th, 2009 by Chip
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Stem Cell Sutures

This is kind of brilliant. A team of biomedical undergrads at Johns Hopkins have built a machine which will weave a patient’s stem cells into surgical thread. When used as sutures, the thread delivers stem cells right to the injury, where they can help repair damage and reduce inflammation. They’re looking at it particularly for major orthopedic injuries where there’s a lot of damage and a high risk of re-injury.


Posted in News, Science July 28th, 2009 by Chip
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Zombie Chickens

(From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

Posted in Humor July 27th, 2009 by Chip
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Link Dump

Stamps from the Future – Postage stamps “commemorating” the first AI to pass the Turing Test, the achievement of FTL, and more.

Saarlac “Pitlow” Monster – Soft sculpture created for the “Stitch Wars” competition. I love the little Boba Fett helmet detail.

From Sand to Silicon – Neat presentation from Intel showing how computer chips are made.

Top Ten Ironic Ads from History – From Union Carbide to a safe driving PSA from James Dean.

The Top Seven Sexiest Women of Fantasy – I completely agree with #1.

Two Lovecraft Travelogues: A Short Tour of Lovecraftian New England and A New England Odyssey

Flip-top Zombie Shirt – This is hilarious.

The Great Internet Migratory Box Of Electronics Junk – Interesting project from Evil Mad Scientist Labs. If you tinker with electronics and have a lot of leftovers, you might want to get involved.

Posted in Ephemera July 24th, 2009 by Chip
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Trek in the Park

A group of part-time actors is performing the TOS episode “Amok Time” in Portland’s Woodlawn Park, with another set of performances scheduled for next weekend.

YouTube user dalgoda7 has uploaded several clips of the performance, such as the climactic lirpa fight.

Geek Orthodox happened upon last weekend’s performance by accident and took lots of pictures.

Here’s an article about the endeavor. I like that none of the actors are especially big fans, but one of their moms was so gung-ho that she sewed the costumes and loaned them props from her personal collection.

Posted in Movies & TV July 23rd, 2009 by Chip
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The More You Know

(via io9)

Posted in Humor July 22nd, 2009 by Chip
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Tauntaun Tutorial

ShadowboyMost of you are probably aware of the Great ThinkGeek Tauntaun Hoax of ‘Ought-Nine, wherein they sent out their yearly April Fools newsletter, one of the featured “products” was a Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, and there was a great disturbance in The Force as if millions of voices cried out, “I must have this.” ThinkGeek is still trying to get a license to produce them for reals, but just for the heck of it I decided to see how hard it would be to make something similar. The verdict: Kind of a pain in the neck, but do-able. Here are my project notes.

A disclaimer is in order: This is a one-off craft project that I did for my own amusement. I have no intention of selling these things, and I’d highly recommend against anyone else trying to. LucasFilm’s lawyers will eat your eyeballs, people.

Also, please note that this is really just a rough proof of concept and its intended recipient was a five-year-old who is not known for his restraint. I cut a lot of corners and didn’t bother with a lot of the detailing that I would have done if I’d been making it for a teenage fanboy. If you’re crafty and a little more dedicated you can easily make a much nicer one. (Or just hope real hard that ThinkGeek eventually gets its license, and then you can buy one.)

5 yards 45″ cotton fabric for lining*
6 yards 45″ grey fleece
1 twin-size package of high-loft quilt batting
5 yards muslin or other cheap fabric (optional–an old bedsheet also works)
1 yard brown cotton fabric for horn and saddle
Scrap of black cotton fabric
Fiberfill stuffing
Plastic eye (of the type used for stuffed toys)
8″ of snap tape (optional)
1 sleeping bag zipper (108″)

*A note about the lining fabric: I wrote to ThinkGeek and asked them if the intestine-print fabric they used in their mockup was real or Photoshopped. They were kind enough to reply with the unfortunate information that it’s a Photoshop job. If you simply must have the intestines, try Spoonflower, which custom-prints fabric on demand. I didn’t feel like dropping $20 a yard for the aforementioned five-year-old, so I just chose a sort of mauvy-pink solid color.

(Incidentally, a number of the details in the ThinkGeek photos were Photoshopped. The lady who did their prototype posted her build photos on Flickr, and she included comments about some of the digital changes they made to her design.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Ephemera July 21st, 2009 by Chip

Houston, Tranquility Base Here…

…The Eagle has landed.

It’s been 40 years today.

Where were you when you heard those words?

Posted in Space July 20th, 2009 by Chip
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