Monday, August 31, 2009

Quasar Dragon on Hiatus!

Our very good friend Dave Tackett writes in his blog of online science fiction resources QuasarDragon:
  • QuasarDragon will be going on hiatus for an indeterminate amount of time. However, I will still be sending links to SF Signal so please check them out for free fiction links (e-fiction, audio fiction, comics, etc) as well as all the other cool stuff they regularly post.
All of us at BMU wish Dave the best and hope to see him back soon.

Abandoned Towers issue #4 sneak peek


I know this is only the first of September, but issue 4 goes live on Nov. 1 and well... I thought you might like a taste of what's in it.

So, here's the table of contents to whet your appetite:


Table of Contents
Editorial: Regrets by Bill Weldon, Editor vii

Featured Story
A Warm Welcome By Rob Mancebo

Poetry
From the Barrow by Carol Allen
Ice Curtain by Rie Sheridan Rose
Dance By J.Lynn Collins
Goya’s Painted Faces by John William Rice
Sasquatch by Scott Green
Reflection of Doubt by Carl Scharwath
Railroad Werewolf by Harry Calhoun
The Curse by Ed Blundell
The Day I Became a Murderer by H. Earl Wilkinson
Watch the Spirit by Christopher D. York
Forgotten Friendships: A Voice of Arthur Pendragon by Chad Weiss
Aussie Tourist's Lament by Arthur Mackeown
Amongst Faerie Oaks by Richard H. Fay

Fiction
Recall by Shawn Scarber
Nothing Like It on Planet Earth by Bernie Brown
Honour without Sacrifice by Chad Weiss
The Greatest Adversary by Billy Wong
The Final Wave by TW Williams
The Grass Is Always Greener by Tricia Ferguson
First Man by Mark Laurence
A Prayer for the Little Ones by Deborah Walker
Answer Me! by Stephen Patrick
Prey by Aurelio Rico Lopez III
Everyone's a Critic by Tim McDaniel
Penderfyn’s Goal by David M Pitchford
Troll Hounds by Shawn Neely
The Broken Pipes of Drei City by Jeffrey Beesler
Requisitions by Tim McDaniel
On Why I Joined SFReader by S.J. Higbee
Central Park by Bradley H. Sinor

Nonfiction
Number Eight Wire by Lyn McConchie
Interview with Joy Smith
Scherezade’s Repast Created by Jaleta Clegg

Artists in this issue
Rie Sheridan Rose - Waterfall Icicles photo, Arthur Wang -Everyone’s a critic illustration, A.R. Stone - Illustrations for From the Barrow, Reflection of Doubt,Aussie Tourist’s Lament, Shahin Rismanchi - KcadroKcud cartoons, Richard H. Fay - Robin Hood coloring page, Amongst Faerie Oaks illustration, Scott P. Vaughn - Tears of the Dragon illustration

118 pages in all.

But, remember, you don't get to read ANY of it if you don't buy it. None of the content in the print issues is ever published online. (and you'll never find any of the online content in the print issues, either)



Sunday, August 30, 2009

End of August Abandoned Towers update


Fall is just around the corner. Can you believe it’s already the end of August? Man the summer sure flew past!
Over at Abandoned Towers things have been flying pretty fast too. We’ve had all sorts of cool stuff come in during August. New cartoons, new stories, new poems, new odd reviews and new… everything.

The big news now, of course, is that issue #4 is right around the corner. And since we only publish 3 issues a year, guess what that means? We’ve been in business for a year! Issue 4 goes live on Nov. 1, and to give you a taste of what’ll be in it, here’s an excerpt from Timothy McDaniel’s science fiction story “Everyone’s a Critic”

Melton was unsure of what had awakened him. He was still very sleepy; perhaps a truck had rumbled by on the road outside his apartment window. It was 10:42 according to the bedside clock; sunlight was pushing through his window blinds.
Well, he was awake now, and he might as well get that manuscript to the post office. Every moment of delay would be another moment in which he was denied the fame that publication would surely bring.
He threw off his blankets. The room was a bit chilly, and he was in his underwear, so he snagged his fuzzy robe off the floor and pulled it around him. He'd get a quick shower, then off to the post office, and then have a snack before going back to sleep.
Melton was tying his robe as he left his bedroom. He glanced right just before he entered the bathroom, and found that he was not alone in the apartment.
A man sat at his computer, a floppy disk in his hand. He looked up, and seemed as startled as Melton, his eyes wide and his mouth open. He was youngish, tall and thin, no more than twenty or so, with cropped brown hair and a black sweater and jeans.
The man seemed unarmed, and more than that, he seemed scared. This gave Melton a certain measure of bravado. "Who are you?" he croaked -- well, maybe the trace of bravado hadn't quite made it to his voice. He began casting his gaze about the apartment, looking for a possible weapon. The only thing that looked at all useful was the floor lamp, and he began edging that way.
The man stood up, his hands outspread in supplication -- and now Melton saw "Revenge" magic-markered on the label on the floppy the man was holding -- the disk with his latest story!
Given confidence by this surrender, but his throat still dry, his heart still hammering, Melton repeated his question. "Well? Who are you, and what are you doing here?" He seized the floor lamp. Could he cross the room, and get to the phone in the kitchen? He wasn't sure.
The man seemed to search for words, and then said, "Excuse me. I'm a thief." His voice was strangely accented, like he usually spoke German or Japanese or something.
Melton saw the man's eyes flicker towards something on the coffee table -- a small plastic device that looked like a remote control, except that it had little blinking blue lights on it.
The man saw Melton's look, and lunged for the device, but as he snatched it up Melton got a good hold of the floor lamp and swung it like a hockey stick. It connected with the man's hand, sending the device hurtling against a wall where it cracked open, spilling electronic innards onto the carpet.
Melton brought the lamp back up and waved it threateningly at the stranger, but the man, unimpressed, simply stared at the remains of his device. Then he slumped in the chair, cradling his hand.
"Who are you?" said Melton.
The man looked up. "My name is Reginald Jordan," he said.
Jordan -- that was in Syria, Melton thought. Middle Eastern, anyway, though the guy didn't really look it. Probably a terrorist of some kind.
"Who the heck are you?"
Just then there was a cracking noise as the wood around a lock splintered, and the front door flew open. A tall woman strode into the room like an avenging fury. Melton squawked and scrambled away, trying to keep equally distant from each of the strangers. He clutched the lamp close in front of him. The cord popped out of the outlet with a jerk.
The new arrival looked to be about the same age, equally thin, but was much shorter, and with orange -- not red -- hair. In her left hand was a device like the one Melton had demolished.
She threw a string of nonsense syllables at the man, and he responded similarly.
"Hey, hey, English!" said Melton, raising the lamp threateningly. Then he lowered it again. It was heavy. "Who, I mean what, are you? What's going on?" The woman just looked at him. "You'd better talk!" said Melton, raising the lamp again, breathing hard. A cold sweat plastered the sleep-frizzed combover against his forehead.
"We might as well," said the man, in English. "You don't know what a man of his sensibilities might do with that pole. Besides, who'd ever believe him?"
The woman nodded, reluctantly. "I guess you're right."
Melton lowered the lamp again. "So? Who are you?"
"I am Literary Agent Susan Trout." The woman gestured to the man. "Agent Reginald Jordan."
"And..?"
"You are a writer, Mr. Welch," said Agent Jordan.
"Why, yes!" Melton smiled, putting down the lamp. "But I haven't been published yet. If you're an agent, maybe.."
"We know. You've been sending out manuscripts, and they come back with form rejections, or are lost in the mail."
"How could you know that? I don't know you people. Are you from the magazines? You hardly needed to break in here, just to see my work..." Melton's voice trailed off. It had occurred to him that these people were trying to steal his work, not publish it.
"No, Mr. Welch. We are not from the magazines. We're from the year 2434, actually. We're with an organization called the Futurians."
"Stupid name."
"Well, it sounds better in our language."
"It's some local fan club, right? You probably want me to give a talk to your group? But busting in my door…”
"No, Mr. Welch. We're from the future. We've come back in time to make sure that you never get published."

In other news, the Writer’s of the Future and Illustrator’s of the Future awards for 2009 were just held. The Writer’s of the Future contest has been held for 25 years as of this year, and most of the big name science fiction authors were involved in it some way. This year was glittering, and web cast to a global audience. They are important contests, not only because the winners are handed fairly large cash prizes, but because they’re incredibly good stepping stones toward a serious writing career. Here at Abandoned Towers we’re doubly pleased. One of our favorite authors, Jordan Lapp, and one of our artists, A.R., Stone were both winners this year.

If you haven’t heard of Writer’s of the Future, you should really check ‘em out. And get a copy of this year’s anthology too.

That’s all for now. Until next time, have a nice day.




Saturday, August 29, 2009

Eureka nets a 22 episode order for season 4

Airlock Alpha writes that the SyFy channel ordered 22 episodes for the fourth season of Eureka. That's four more than the 18 in the current season!

There is little doubt that Eureka is one of SyFy's most popular programs. The ratings have slipped a little lately, down to 2.7 million from an opener of 2.8 million at season 3 premier, so writers have been tasked with bringing up the audience with show ideas like a two part musical.

complete Airlock Alpha article


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Returning SF & F shows for the fall season


Mark Wilson from About's SF/F blog lists the returning science fiction and fantasy program for this season.
Dollhouse Returns Sep. 25 More Info
Fringe
Returns Sep. 17 More Info
Ghost Whisperer
Returns Sep. 25 More Info
Heroes
Returns Sep. 21 More Info
Legend of the Seeker
Returns Nov. 7 More Info
Medium
Returns Sep. 25 More Info
Sanctuary
Returns Oct. 9 More Info
Smallville
Returns Sep. 25 More Info
Supernatural
Returns Sep. 10 More Info

Monday, August 24, 2009

Warehouse 13 up for 13 more!


Mark Wilson writing in the About.com scifi /fantasy blog notes that the SyFy channel has reupped Warehouse 13 with ta da 13 new episodes ordered and scheduled to air during the summer of 2010.

Cast members returning for another round include Eddie McClintock (Pete), Joanne Kelly (Myka), Saul Rubinek (Artie), and Allison Scagliotti (Claudia). No mention of Leena (Genelle Williams), which is no surprise, I mean how many times have you seen her on screen and when you do its a "who's that again?" Leena has got to be one of the most underwritten character I recall in a sci-fi show....I would hazard a guess that the character is red shirted soon.

So if you're a fan like I am, time to celebrate. We all know that the name has changed but the stuff inside is still hard to figure out and that it received ANY episode buys at all is amazing knowing full well Sci-Fi oh excuse me SyFy's propensity for canceling any show that is even remotely entertaining.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

DVD Review: Babylon A.D.


Babylon A.D.

based on the novel Babylon Babies by Maurice Georges Dantec.

Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz
Produced by Ilan Goldman

Starring
Vin Diesel
Michelle Yeoh
Mélanie Thierry

The first thing you know that something went very wrong on this picture is the wiki page I looked at budget and gross revenue...70 million and 71 million respectively.

Huston....we have a problem.

So, lets look at the movie first.

Set a few decades into the future, the movie opens in a Russian city. Due to overpopulation, terrorists and global warming, the cities and town are violent and dangerous. Diesel's character Toorop is a mercenary and an American ex-patriot. Toorop is hired by Russian mobster to deliver a young woman to America. That's about the whole movie. Diesel using a variety of weapons and vehicles to transport the young woman and her companion without knowing why. As it would happen, the young woman Aurora is much more that it would seem. To say exactly, would be too much of a spoiler, but saying there are political and religious implications and repercussions if she reaches New York and several factions are fighting for control of her.

The Plot is not fully realized in the film. Or to be more precise the movie is long on action and short on plot, even though it seems at every turn there is a back story being hinted at. Once or twice, its good to set up a character, but at the forth or fifth time, it's annoying because its clear that the film has no intention of back filling this history.

One curious shot is the opening sequence which shows of all things, the ISS obviously the worst for wear, which seemed really incongruous. I mean it appears that the solar panels are totaled but the hull looks solid...so what would have caused this kind of damage....and why so bad in just a few decades?!! I mean we have junk floating around since the 50s and 60 that looks like the day it was launched.... so to me it was more like 100 plus years...but I am nit picking..

What really made me want to take the dvd out and throw it was the ending scene which I will not do a spoiler again but only to say that I swear, they used "there's a storm coming" Honest!!!

So lets talk about the dvd, since this is a dvd review. I have to ask Why did they bother!? You have the movie and a selection of languages PERIOD! the special features?! Trailers for OTHER MOVIES! even the making of short is for another movie!!!! What a complete waste of time for the dvd format!! No deleted scenes, no making of short, no director cometary NOTHING! This is an embarrassment for 20th Century Fox. Lazy and cheap hardly worth renting let along buying!

The movie is not as bad as reviewers had it during it's original release, but as a DVD the movie is a complete waste of time. PASS

Creating Artificial Personalities

The Daily Galaxy has posted a great article written by Luke McKinney, concerning ongoing work to produce artificial personalities. Now before we get all hyper weird on this subject, I have to say that I am a believer in the split between mind and body, or the brain. The brain is the structure capable of supporting the software that we think of as the "mind". The reason I am bringing this up at all is that at some point researchers are going to be able to build hardware that will be on par with a human brain. But just building the hardware does not imbue it with a mind. But hardware capable of the massively parallel processing that the human mind is capable of requires software well beyond the if this happens do this, that is prevalent in today's robotic equipment. If we want to get anywhere near Asimov's positronic powered robots, we are going to have to throw out virtually all of the presently held ideas on how a robotic or artificial personality would operate.

But even so, A research collaboration between Samsung and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology are tackling this enormous project in an unusual way and with an unusual model.

The article is something that should be read in it's entirety here

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Leonard Nemoy explains origins of Vulcan greeting

Now here is a piece of tv history that I am sure that the hard core Star Trek fans know but the averave viewer may never have picked up on. The history behind the Vulcan greeting. Here is Leonard Nemoy with the background info.

Thanks to SF Signals for the original post




Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Inflatable Heat Shields? NASA says yes

NASA has successfully demonstrated how a spacecraft returning to Earth can use an inflatable heat shield to slow and protect itself as it enters the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds. The shield consisted of a 10-foot diameter, mushroom shape, made of several layers of silicone-coated industrial fabric, which was inflated with nitrogen after the test craft was released about 124miles in altitude. The shield experienced maximum atmospheric heating at apx. 6 minutes into the flight and 50 miles up and lasted 30 seconds.

Now that NASA has shown proof of concept, they plan to scale up to more advanced aeroshells capable of handling higher heat rates.


video

Complete story here

Monday, August 17, 2009

Klein Bottles and Kool Stuff


According to wikipedia, in mathematics, the Klein bottle is a certain non-orientable surface, i.e., a surface (a two-dimensional manifold) with no distinct "inner" and "outer" sides. Other related non-orientable objects include the Möbius strip and the real projective plane. Whereas a Möbius strip is a two-dimensional surface with boundary, a Klein bottle has no boundary. (For comparison, a sphere is an orientable surface with no boundary.)

What that means, for those of you that don’t speak math, is something rather mind boggling. It’s a 3 dimensional object that has no dimensions.

Wait, let’s back up and see if we can make this make sense. Most of us played with Mobius strips when we were kids. For the benefit of those that didn’t, a Mobius strip is a long strip of paper that is given a half-twist then taped together. It makes a sort of slightly twisted figure eight. You place the strip on the table, and start drawing a line down the center of the inside, moving the paper along as you go. After a while, without raising your pencil, the line you are drawing gets back to where it started in one continuous loop. And when you look at the strip you see that you’ve drawn on both the inside and the outside, all without breaking contact with the paper. Pretty neat trick, that.

Well a Klein bottle works the same way except that you give a sphere a half twist and after you do that, no matter where you put the liquid, and you CAN fill it up with liquid, all the volume is on the outside of the sphere. There’s no inside any longer. Figure that one out. After all, it’s still a three-dimensional object. It still had height, depth and width. It just doesn’t have any volume any longer.

There are lots of things like this Klein bottle in math. Strange abnormalities that make fun of the solid world we live in and most of us more mundane types take comfort in the fact that they’re all fantasies and daydreams that scientists just theorize about. But the Klein bottle is real and you can buy mugs and bottles right now. Not that they’re easy to clean. You’d think that a mug which keeps all it’s liquid on the outside would be a snap to wash up after you’re finished with it, but unfortunately gravity exists so in order to keep all that liquid from hitting the floor the outside where you pour the beer is inside, umm under… well maybe behind… there’s glass in the way! The liquid winds up between two surfaces and you can’t get to them all that easily.

Sounds confusing? Maybe, but think just how freaked out your dinner guests will be the next time you serve them their favorite libation in a Klein mug and tell them to be careful, all the liquid’s on the outside!

For more information, or to order your very own Klein bottle, just go to http://www.kleinbottle.com/







Science Fiction in a nutshell



So what is Science Fiction? What is Fantasy? Why do some people hate them and others find them the coolest stuff around?

Science Fiction is nothing more than fiction based in science. If you tell a story where technology of some sort plays a part, you're technically telling a science fiction story. However for the term Science Fiction to be meaningful, something else is necessary. Here's an example. Assume the story is about 2 cave men. One of them creates a brand new device that comes to be known as the wheel. Technically, that's a science fiction story. The wheel is certainly technology. But would we, today, consider a simple wheel to be all that amazing? Not as amazing as the cavemen do. So for the story to meet what the majority of readers consider science fiction, the technology needs to be something that they themselves consider at least a little bit amazing. Either that or the plot needs to be written so well that they are able to identify with the characters to the point that for the short time they are reading the story the science that the characters are encountering feels amazing.

In the example of the cavemen and the wheel, if the story is all about Og and Blog fighting over Oola and her cave, and the wheel just gets a side mention, the reader isn't likely to feel any amazement about the technology. But if the story is written through Og's eyes about the amazing things that suddenly happen in his life because of the wheel, it stands a far better chance of being considered some form of science fiction by those that read it.

Science Fiction comes in a wide variety of flavors as well, from "Hard" science fiction where the story is mostly about the technology and the plot is secondary to "Soft" science fiction where the entire setting is in some kind of technological setting but the plot and characterizations are primary. Space opera, science fantasy (such as star wars) and other sub-genres such as space westerns serve to muddy the waters when trying to define science fiction.

Fortunately for most readers, it's not necessary to worry about what subcatagory a book they happen to be enjoying might fall into. Those are details that marketing people, publishers, bookstore owners and the like agonize over, but for the general reading public if the story is fiction (I.E. made up), it's written well, and they can connect with the science then it qualifies as good science fiction.

If you're looking for a few science fiction authors to check out, I suggest starting with the greats: for example Issac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. Then move on to some new, fresh authors such as Sarah Wagner, Michael H. Hanson and Douglas E. Richards.




Thursday, August 13, 2009

Review: PUSH


PUSH - PG-13
Cast: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle
Director: Paul McGuigan
Released: February 6, 2009

Synopsis: A group of Americans with "abilities", some of which include telekinetic and clairvoyance hide from a U.S. government agency called The Division, in Hong Kong.

The Division a shadowy government agency tasked with finding and enhancing people's psychic power with the intent of creating an army of super powerful people for assassinations, espionage and it's like. Nick Gant played by Chris Evans, a telekinetic "mover,” has been in hiding since the Division murdered his father. Nick is forced out of hiding when Cassie Holmes, a 13-year-old clairvoyant “watcher,” seeks his help in finding an escaped “pusher” who may hold the key to ending the Division’s program.

As you can see, the plot line is much like say Firestarter, XMen, Mutant-X and their ilk. Oh and if this movie doesn't remind you of Painkiller Jane I don't know what would! Oh and Heroes? Oh yeah, this could almost be Heroes Hong Kong!

I would like to say that what was lost in originality was made up for with a really interesting plot, but that's not the case, Quaid, Scott and Barrymore could have done this movie with nary a rewrite. I would like to say that the special effects were better...but every time we see a physic power in action all we are given is an X-files black eye thing oh and the pushers have neat pastels when they start smackin on each other and a serious lower bowel rumble every time they hit something....I suspect that there was some skivies being changed after the fight scenes. I swear I saw a "these are not the driod you are looking for" scene!

Ok, well, for those of you that have NOT checked this movie out, here is the trailer. The movie is available on DVD.



Strange backward orbiting planet discovered


Tim Sayell sends in an odd article from Yahoo News. I will probably get this wrong, but let me see if I can set it up right. It is a given that planetary systems like ours are made up of interstellar dust that that condenses and becomes stars and sometimes planets. Planets orbit the primary in the same direction as the primary which is simple Newtonian physics which in this case means that any angular velocity is retained as the material of the system condenses. Which means that whatever way the primary is spinning, the planets will spin for the most part in the same direction. Whats more, the system as a whole will spin in the same direction as the original cloud's motion. So whatever way the parent star rotates, so do the planets and the planets will orbit in that very same direction.

Except for a recently discovered planet that orbits the wrong way, backward compared to the rotation of its host star. Discovered by the UK's Wide Area Search for Planets, W.A.S.P. 17, as it has been designated, is 1000 L.Y.s away, and may have had a close encounter with another huge planet that may have acted like a sling-shot, throwing WASP 17 into a retrograde orbit. Another option is that WASP 17 may have been a rogue planet that was captured by its sun in its odd orbit. It is thought that this was the case with Neptune's large moon Triton.

Post by Tim Sayell

Space.com's article

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2009 Hugo Awards


Here is a partial list of the 2009 Hugo Award winners:










  • Best Novel: The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
  • Best Novella: “The Erdmann Nexus”, Nancy Kress
  • Best Novelette: “Shoggoths in Bloom”, Elizabeth Bear
  • Best Short Story: “Exhalation”, Ted Chiang
for a complete listing, click the article title or here to go to the official award site

Picture from IO9

Fall 2009 new SF TV shows

Mark Wilson on the About sci-fi/fantasy blog, posts about some of the new programs that are due to start during the 2009 fall premiere season. Here are some of the highlights:
  • FlashForward Premieres Sep. 24, 2009 ABC - What would you do if you were given a glimpse of the future? Would you accept your destiny, or try to change it? In this case the whole world is being given a glimpse of their future.....
  • The Prisoner Premieres Nov. 2009 AMC - In the 1967 British series, of the same name, Patrick McGoohan never quite knew what was going on or why. The miniseries was filmed extensively on location in Namibia and South Africa, all as part of the show's skewed reality.
  • Stargate: UniversePremieres Oct. 2, 2009 Syfy - Instead of being planet-based and hopping through stargates to random strange worlds, SGU strands its team on a spaceship built by the Ancients, far from human civilization. (hasn't this been done by the Star Trek? Anyone remember Voyager?)
Check out the sci-fi/fantasy blog for more shows, information and cast photos here

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Saturn's Rings to Disappear!


Tim Sayell sends in an article from Yahoo News that proves that just when you think you have things figured out, the Universe throws in a curve.

I did not know that Saturn's rings disappear! It's true and it's one of those things that you say to yourself...damn I should have known that! DUH!

Here is how it works. We know Saturn's rings are mostly made up of stuff that reflects light. Now the rings are truly odd creatures. The are 170,000 miles wide but only 30 FEET thick. Why is that important? Well consider, at 170,000 miles wide, they can reflect a serious amount of sunlight as long as they are at right angles to the sunlight. But at 30 feet thick, were there ever a time in Saturn's 29.7 year orbit around the sun that the rings are edge on, they would reflect almost no light. Well guess what, Saturn has an inclination (Like Earth's that causes the seasons) and so every 15 years Saturn's rings present themselves edge on and effectly disappear!

When will it happen? Well it starts August 11th when the rings will appear to fade until they are for all intents invisible and reappear by September 28.

Read more here from the article that Tim sent in


There is quite a lot more about some of the science that will be going on throughout this process by NASA's Cassini spacecraft and some interesting science info.

Thanks Tim!

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Pestworld Links!!!!


Anyone that is following the podcast knows that we have been doing material by Colin P. Davies over the past year. We started off with stories from his excellent collection Tall Tales on the Iron Horse and as of late we have been doing a specially rewritten Pestworld series. The series is wildly entertaining, plus Colin has been been adding to the the Pestworld milieu with new creatures, more topography in Pestworld and expanding on the wildly funny "reference" Pest and Pestilence"

To keep track of all the additions, Colin has added a page to his regular home page colinpdavies.com with a Pestworld page here.

As Mr. Davies puts it:
  • This includes Pests and Pestilence, links to the show and scripts and the obligatory map.
Check it out!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Review: Tesseracts 13

Tesseracts 13
edited by Nancy Kilpatrick & David Morrell
Trade PB 315pp $16.95 usd Edge www.edgewebsite.com
release date 09/15/2009

23 really top notch stories. The math says that this is less than 75 cents per story. I don't care what market you're in, that's a good deal. If you're not familiar with the Tesseracts series, all the authors are Canadian and the theme is speculative fiction. Not any outright fantasy but no hard core science fiction either. Now that is not a complaint. I think the editors have a bold strategy in accepting stories that could play as fantasy, while others would be comfortable in horror or science fiction. Something for everyone is too well worn for Tesseracts when in truth the reader that feels comfortable reading say "Stone Cold" is going to feel equally comfortable with "An Abandoned Baby Carriage" where one story is about a possible contagion has the infected feel like they are slowly freezing and another spins around a baby carriage left in an deserted playground. All the while the protagonist's reality is so warped that until the end, one wonders if they or the carriage is a figment or both. Either could be fantasy and either could be science fiction. Most of the stories tread the boundary very masterfully. But then others will boldly plant their stories well within a field. An excellent example is Rebecca Bradley's "Kids these Days". Bradley's tale takes you to a world where there is an absolutely devastating illness that destroys the chances of a future generation, and Bradley finishes with a brilliant twist that leaves you smiling at how deftly you were handled all the while you are breathless at the scope of the reality. Or Belkom's "Quints" is a masterful weave of history and a possible future and a doctor caught between his oath and knowing what is in store for all involved is asked to choose. Here I was astounded by the level of research that is usually only afforded to those that would read a novel and we are given great history, science, medicine and a possible future, told at a breakneck pace but in an environment of quiet and desperation. Mark my word....Quints or something like it next year, Hugo or Nebula... and do you remember Silvia Moreno-Garcia with her story Maquech earlier on BMU? Oh wait until you read Bed of Scorpions!

Hey, hands down recommendation from me on Tesseracts 13. Whatever it takes to get this collection in your hands....you will not be disappointed!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Surrogates, what would it be like to go anywhere and do anything?

Have you heard about the movie Surrogates? Well here is a semi promo and a bit about the future of telerobotics. The info is good, but it's the movie that looks wild!




Thursday, August 06, 2009

John Kessel reads Nebula Award winning "Pride And Prometheus"


Yeah, I know.....that address is freereads! JP Kelly's site...You're right! Jim is hosting John's reading! Here is what he writes in Freereads:
  • Here is Part One of the Nebula Award winning "Pride And Prometheus" written and read by my pal John Kessel who has graciously agreed to share his work with my Free Reads listeners. Check out John's website
Run time for part 1 is 29:06 and if you download it the size is 13mb


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

LHC's troubles continue to mount


According to an article in the NYT Space & Cosmos section - faulty electrical connections plus the already discovered vacuum leaks continue to push back the full power tests. As many as 5000 splices in the super-conducting cables need to be redone otherwise the resistance in the splices will prevent the LHC from going to full power. It has also been discovered that many of the super-conducting magnets can no longer perform at the specified high currents. Before the magnets are installed, they are slowly exposed to higher and higher current loads there by conditioning them. Many magnets will have to be removed and "retrained" if the collider is to reach its' target of 7 tev or 7 trillion electron volts. Without reconditioning LHC may only reach 6.5 tev and it should be noted that a great deal of time would be be need for the retraining.

After being informed that it would be winter sometime before they could set a date for full power restarts, many scientists at LHC opted to move to Fermilab, where the Tevatron accelerator has been in operation for a decade.

Many scientists have stated that they would be happy with even 5 tev from the LHC as that is substantially higher than Fermilab's Tevatron which can reach 1 tev.

complete NYT article

Vader Hammertime? WTF!?


Ok, I am officially OFF Star Wars forever!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Eureka's S.A.R.A.H.


Fans of SyFy's Eureka will like this little video where Colin Ferguson gives us a walk through of S.A.R.A.H.




Saturday, August 01, 2009

AntipodeanSF Issue 134 online!

AntipodeanSF online flash magazine editor Nuke writes:

Just a short note to let you know that AntipodeanSF Issue 134 is now available for your enjoyment at our usual web address: http://www.antisf.com.au


And here is a list of the stories available this month:

The Morning After By Jan Napier

Grugrag cracked an eyelid. His optic looked more like a rotting tomato than a body part. Its owner braved the outside world, and squinted at the rising sun.
"Looks like a giant fruit loop. How revoltin'."
...

What Lurks In Empty Spaces By Andy Arnold

Robyn hoped it was gone.
The hope, the desire, the aching need of it raced through her veins. It had to be gone.
But it might not be that easy. It lurked in empty spaces, areas where there was nothing but air.


Deli Slices By K.J. Hannah Greenberg

Roy owned the only drive-thru funeral business in Maine. Before that, he trafficked in pickled calves' feet and had tried to publish flash fiction. From Ellsworth to Blue Hill Bay, Roy peddled young cow knuckles, but only sold them to Hungarian tourists laid over at Bar Harbor. Per his micro prose, all thirty-two of his works had been rejected by editors insistent on both plot and character.


Down To The Sea In Ships By Dr. Michael Schaper

"Can you build me a boat?"
Eliah was a wealthy man, and it showed. Tall and tanned, he stepped out of his limousine, barely acknowledged the pony chauffeur who held the door open for him, and strode up to my office.
I looked at him cautiously. "What exactly are you looking for?"


Ophelia By S.A. Harris

Morgan Light was born in a shack to culturally decrepit parents. It was a necessary injustice that would shape the man he would become. With little education and severe economic disadvantage afflicting him, Morgan "done what good I felt would make me money", to use his vernacular. He never settled with a woman. He stole, lived on the streets, and abused substances.


The Big Sell By Shaun A. Saunders

George decided he needed a quick snack. Perhaps it was the relentless drone of advertising on the car radio, or the army of billboards marching along the motorway, but somewhere deep in his mind lived the thought that he deserved a bite. Now.


Eighty One Steps Down By Steve Duffy

Eighty one steps down — three times three by three times three — to an object that rests on a pedestal in the centre of an empty room. A room intact, the only room still whole in a castle of ruins above. Indeed, a once glorious castle now reduced and all but forgotten, betrayed by a friend in the leisure of dinner — the kind of treachery that wrought its own justice in time.
Yet the room still stands, is still guarded.


The Virgin & The Defiler By Michael Barry

One city pursues another across the Great Plain.
In Cegandar, "He-Flees," silk pagodas sway over wooden wagons, and the smooth sounds of flutes and tenors rise upon a warm western breeze.


Tree Spirit By Liz Simmonds

I had a little while to wait, so I went down to the riverside, to the Ugly Trees. They had always fascinated me, ever since I came to Pluth as a raw management recruit. I'd found peace on the river bank — with slim and graceful Sister trees to the left of the path, and gnarled, brown-trunked others to the right.


Waiting For Challenger By Ashley Hibbert

Seven stars of Challenger smiled up at me as they walked single file along the ramp between the launching tower to their shuttle. Their simple attire made them appear like missionaries, spreading the word of humanity.
One after another, they entered the airlock, yet before disappearing from the world watching her, Christa McAuliffe, New Hampshire high school teacher, turned and waved to the camera.