Sunday, August 29, 2004

None Claim "No Favorite Author"

Scott beats Kubrick and Clarke with Dick

Simms strikes again

Dick beats Clarke (and Bradbury)

The title is (c) Simms

Cartoon Brew

Cartoon Brew A good blog about animation. Look for news on Ren and Stimpy!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

The algebraist

Guardian Excerpt from a new Banks novel

Friday, August 27, 2004

Have e-books turned a page? | CNET News.com

Have e-books turned a page? | CNET News.com: "'There's no good DRM, period,' she said. 'Publishers all want heavy-duty DRM, but the problem is that anything you do gets in the way of buying and using e-books. "

Friday, August 20, 2004

The House of the Scorpion: SFDG Meeting Report

We met last night and discussed Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion . Peter Kuchera was back, and arranged for us to have good cookies, drinks coupons (for coffee or soda), and a large number of comfortable chairs. Peter said he would try to come to future meetings as much as possible.

Ignacio started the voting by giving the book a rating of 6, and most people sitting near him followed suit. Chris Stanley thought she might be alone in giving it a 9, but Raja also gave it a 9. (Raja thinks he and Chris and liked the book because it was a fast, enjoyable, reasonably-well-written story.) The voting record (in no particular order) was Ignacio 6, TC 6, Lisa 6, Dru 7, Jeff 6 ("5 out of 5 for writing, 1 for enjoyment"), Alek 4, Chris 9, Judy 7, Kate 8, Raja 9, Peter 7.

The discussion wandered a bit (which is fine, of course). One person (was it Judy?) started off by saying she enjoyed the (major) part of the book that took place in the compound, with the strange relationships; when protagonist Matt left the compound, it became less interesting. Judy also praised the book for its social consciousness, and for presenting a realistic view of how a child would look at and think about these things. Raja said that it took him a while to warm up to the book; it seemed a bit predictable and even a tad bit condescending at first. The stuff in compound was good, but seemed predictable ... until the twist with what his "mother" Celia was feeding him, and why. Alek wished that Matt had manifested, or at least struggled with, dark tendencies that paralleled El Patrón's very dark nature, and for him a perfect sequel would be Matt becoming very like El Patrón as he got older. Raja pointed out that that would probably have been too dark for a Young Adult book, and that the fact that genetics wasn't destiny was a key theme of the book, as shown by Matt's unexpected musical talent. Another softening that Raja thought was due to the book's Young Adult nature was the fact that at the end, Matt wanted to come back and free the eejits, removing their surgical brain damage. Raja was very skeptical that their brains could be fixed that easily.

The group also seemed to feel that except for the idea of the "country" of Opium, there weren't any new Science-Fictional ideas in the book. Indeed, the author didn't seem to know what to do with the antigravity(!) cars, and we never got a glimpse of what life was like in the future United States.

Next month's Borders meeting will be on September 23, 2004 to discuss Singularity Sky by Charles Stross. After some interesting voting, the group consensus was for the next meeting after that to be on October 28, 2004 to discuss Stranger in a Strange Land. The issue of whether to read the cut (1961) or
uncut (1990) edition came up; ultimately, the group followed Gregory's idea that in discussing this very libertarian novel, we should let individuals choose for themselves which edition to read ;-)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Meeting at the Trojan Horse, August 12, 2004. Thanks Glen! We'll miss you! Posted by Hello

Monday, August 16, 2004

Evil Science University

Evil Science University I asked Kate where's ESU, and she came up with this link. Of course, it's not the ESU I was thinking of, after her NY Marvel guide...

From the Travel Channel (yes, the Travel Channel)

Marvel Super Heroes' Guide to New York City: The Travel Channel is still busy trying to locate Gotham City...

Heinlein Society: Stranger vs Stranger

Here's an interesting short article comparing the cut (1961) and uncut (1991) versions of Stranger in a Strange Land. Author G. E. Rule (who apparently wrote this piece ten years ago) has a strong preference for the uncut, going so far as to say “ I never particularly liked [the original, cut version of] STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. For many years I didn't know why. I just knew that it didn't ‘taste’ right to me.” He goes on to compare several passages, showing where Heinlein's distinctive voice was toned down considerably.

In my humble opinion, I prefer the uncut version for the same reason Rule does: It presents Heinlein's voice more clearly. However, it isn't night-and-day for me: I picked the cut Stranger in a Strange Land as one of the Five Best SF Books Ever, years before the uncut version was available. Also, I was mildly surprised that Rule didn't mention the first major change on the first page: when the uncut version was first available, and I was skimming it (in Howard's bookstore, if I recall correctly), that change jumped out at me. I was pleasantly surprised, because (a) it seemed truer to Heinlein's style, and (b) amused me to realize how well I knew the text of Stranger. I knew then and there that I needed to buy the Uncut Stranger.

Jude Law Eager For Watchmen

'Jude Law told the Empire Online Web site that he is interested in playing Ozymandias in Darren Aronofsky's upcoming film version of Alan Moore's graphic novel Watchmen. Law told the site that he is an avid comic-book collector. "I still go to comic shops, Forbidden Planet [a major SF bookstore in London—Raja [And NY-Ignacio, but Kate told me!]], and look through back issues of the ones I love," he said. "I was a big fan of Johnny Nemo and Strange Days, Parallax, you know those? But I haven't gotten into anything recently, not like I did with [Moore's] From Hell and Watchmen."' More...

Aronofsky To Direct Watchmen

'Darren Aronofsky has signed on to develop and direct a big-screen version of Watchmen, based on the DC Comics title, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Screenwriter David Hayter (X-Men, X2: X-Men United) is on board to pen the script and Paramount Pictures will finance and distribute the adaptation of the seminal comic book created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons in 1986.' More...

Whedon: Serenity Comic Planned

'Joss Whedon—who is directing the upcoming SF movie Serenity, based on his canceled Fox TV series Firefly—told fans at Comic-Con International that he also intends to write a new series of comic books based on the universe and characters. Speaking to thousands of fans in the San Diego Convention Center on July 25, Whedon said, “We have every intention of putting out a comic book of Serenity as well.”' More...

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Heinlein links by Alek

Alek posted a series of Heinlein-related links hoping Stranger in a Strange Land gets chosen as our next book.

A call for papers for a Heinlein conference

A review of a book about Stranger in a Strange Land

An interview with Heinlein

Known Space: The Future Worlds of Larry Niven

Although I haven't been too happy with his recent works, Larry Niven is surely one of the all-time greatest Americans to write hard SF. His “Known Space” was a staggering and exciting series, in a time when publishers discouraged series writing (how things have changed!). The wonderful thing about Known Space is that it gives a feeling of real history, and of history shaped largely by technological advance. Can anyone think of any other series that does this?

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Klarg of Gorn: Self Help from Star Trek Alien Monster! Why is this here? Ask Gregory! ;-)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Bruce Sterling talks

The Long Now Foundation: library Alex pointed us to the Sterling talk here.

A blog commenting it, and then Gregory added this link. And Alek also went on a tangent about PDA's

Whedon and X3

Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel: "Nobody has approached me about the X-Men franchise,' Whedon said"

Buffy's future

Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel: "As for a proposed Buffy animated series, Whedon said, 'A presentation is being made. It hasn't been bought anywhere, but it's still in the creating stages, so it's still a possibility.'"

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

EE Times -Conference kicks off synthetic bio revolution

EE Times -Conference kicks off synthetic bio revolution: "Just as object-oriented programming constructs allowed programmers to quickly combine previous software modules into more complex systems, the BioBricks++ system has standard interfaces for all DNA segments that can be combined in any sequence using commercially available enzymes. "
Thanks Gregory!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Lawrence Oliver in film, posthumously

Lawrence Oliver in film, posthumously: "Olivier's dialogue was recorded by another actor."

Friday, August 06, 2004


Hi, Raja here. Ignacio wanted to set up a blog for SFDG-related stuff, so here it is. He's set things up so he, I, and Kate can post freely, so I expect that we will. Also, I think we have the ability to edit each others' postings, so things may get interesting here ;-).

For anyone who just stumbled across this: The SFDG is the Bloomington Indiana Science Fiction discussion group (click the link to go to our home page, which I maintain). Ignacio has a blog. Kate has a blog. I have a blog too.

[Ignacio adds:] Ignacio was the first one to be infected with the blog meme, after his wife noticed the "Blog it!" button in the Google toolbar. Afer various instances of nagging from/to Kate and Raja, and inspired by the collaborative Boinga Boinga blog, I thought it'd be easier to keep an interesting blog if we pool our resources.


DORK TOWER review of I, Robot (film)

DORK TOWER... and "I' Robot".

[Raja: Ignacio posted this link to an IMHO pretty amusing review of the I, Robot movie, as viewed from the perspective of the die-hard Asimov fan. If you don't approach the movie from that perspective, you'll probably enjoy the movie more.]