John Scalzi's Hugo-winning, existentialist comedy space opera novel Redshirts is being adapted into a TV series by FX -- it's a natural! This is just wonderful news -- intelligent, funny science fiction from a novelist who plays with the tropes of the field, it's just what TV needs. Congrats, John!
Here's my review of Redshirts: "Redshirts both realizes and transcends its premise, and is at once a tribute to, and a piss-take on, the best and worst that space opera has to offer. It's the sort of thing that science fiction is especially good at, and the sort of thing for which Scalzi is justifiably loved."
Stephanie sez, "At the national radio program To the Best of Our Knowledge, we've joined with Mars Trilogy author Kim Stanley Robinson and Star Trek: The Next Generation's Gates McFadden for a national science fiction writing contest. Robinson chooses the winners; McFadden and her Los Angeles-based theater company dramatizes them for the radio. The contest ends March 1; the top three entries will air on TTBOOK in April."
Kriana sez, "On Sci-Fi Saturday Night (the podcast) we find and interview cool people who are doing incredibly cool things. Last August we had the privilege of talking to Jason Chen, founder of StoryBundle.com (and formerly of LifeHacker and Gizmodo), about his new site, alternative business models, and how we could support up and coming authors. After the show, Jason invited the cast to curate a bundle of our favorite indie authors, and we enthusiastically accepted."
Just Ella is a new short film from Jim Munroe, creator of the awesome science fiction mockumentary Ghosts With Shit Jobs. It was made for the Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge, and is a taste of a new Jim Munroe project called Haphead, which will be made with the same crew and cast as "Just Ella." Jim's looking for production volunteers in Toronto for Haphead, email if you want to help
The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. Check out previous episodes here.
This time around we're kicking off our February book pick, A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin. If you're looking for the first tale a of a boy who attends a school of wizardry, we've got the goods, as well as what Ms. Le Guin, who wrote her book in 1968, thinks of Ms. Rowling. Plus The Clarion Workshop deadline is looming and USC and Intel make one author's world come alive.(Read show notes here).
Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!
In each episode of Gweek, I invite a guest or two to join me in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. This time my guests were Joshua Glenn, a Boston-based author and semiotician, and co-author of Unbored, a bestselling collection of family activities; and Rob Reid, and entrepreneur and author of the science fiction novel Year Zero.
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Naomi Novik isn't just a talented author (she won the John W Campbell Award for best new writer in 2007 on the strength of her fabulous Temeraire novels, which retell the Napoleonic wars with dragons providing air-support!), she's also a profound thinker on the questions of reuse, remixing, intellectual freedom and copyright.
Last week she gave testimony (PDF) to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet that described the way that creators rely on their ability to remix in order to create new and original works.
One thing I love about Novik is her intellectual honesty and her willingness to cut through the self-serving, romantic mythology of the wholly original creator, and to both acknowledge and celebrate the fact that her originality comes about by taking the works that others created before her and adapting them through her own artistic process, "Original work, work that stands alone, doesn't just pop up out of nowhere. It is at the end of a natural spectrum of transformation."
I also appreciated her strong arguments as licensing as a substitute for robust fair use: "On the purely practical level, the vast majority of remix artists doing non-commercial work simply don't have any of the resources to get a license — not money, not time, not access."
Novik's testimony is admirably summarized by Dr Matthew Rimmer in this Techdirt post. Rimmer is a global expert in fair use and copyright, and he highlights many of the most salient features of Novik's testimony.
I would like to publicly express my gratitude on behalf of writers everywhere to Naomi Novik for standing up for a fair deal for creators and audiences in Congress.
A reader sends us The 2014 Campbellian Anthology, a free and DRM-free ebook (.epub and .mobi) with 111 authors eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and over 860K words of fiction."
Clarion is a six-week, intensive boot-camp for science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction writers. It counts among its graduates some of the very greatest writers in the field, from Octavia Butler to Bruce Sterling, as well as Lucius Sheppard, Kathe Koja, Nalo Hopkinson, Eileen Gunn, James Patrick Kelly, Ted Chiang, Tim Pratt, Tobias Buckell, and many others.
I'm an alumnus myself, as well as a frequent instructor and a member of the volunteer board of the Clarion Foundation, the nonprofit 501(c)3 that oversees the workshop. Clarion isn't the only way to become a better writer and to learn about the industry and how to earn a living in it, but it is absolutely one of the best. My own experience in 1992 was life-changing for me, and has left me committed to the workshop for life.
Charles writes, "It's hard to imagine how we would have gotten all of the whiz-bang technology we enjoy today without the discovery of probability and statistics. From vaccines to the Internet, we owe a lot to the probabilistic revolution, and every great revolution deserves a great story!
"The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences has partnered up with the American Statistical Association in launching a speculative fiction competition that calls on writers to imagine a world where the Normal Curve had never been discovered. Stories will be following in the tradition of Gibson and Sterling's steampunk classic, The Difference Engine, in creating an imaginative alternate history that sparks the imagination. The winning story will receive a $2000 grand prize, with an additional $1500 in cash available for youth submissions."
In each episode of Gweek, I invite a guest or two to join me in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. This time my guests were Michael Pusateri, a television technologist, inveterate tinkerer, cooking geek, and cycling enthusiast, and Rob Walker, a technology and culture columnist for Yahoo Tech, a regular contributor to Design Observer, and The Workologist columnist for the New York Times Sunday business section.
Grant Louden is an artist in Milton Keynes who is working on a series of incredible sculptures based on the spaceships from classic sf pulp covers. The first one is Star Dwellers, based on Colin Hay's cover for James Blish's novel. Louden collaborated with Hay on the piece, and officially licensed it. The build is an amazing mix of Fimo, model parts, car body filler, and custom castings in rubber and resin. Needless to say, the detail is fantastic.