To those of you (and I know that there are a few) awaiting that announcement regarding Atlantis’s 5th season – I’ve received definite word that absolutely, positively, fer-real, the big press release is coming out this Monday. We’re just awaiting word on one final piece of the puzzle…
Here at the nominees for late March-early April’s book of the month club selections in the categories of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Vote for the titles you’d like to read/discuss. The polls will remain open until midnight Sunday. The winners will be announced in Monday’s blog entry.
The Fantasy Nominees:
Jeffrey Ford’s The Empire of Ice Cream
(From Booklist: “A book that opens with a story about creatures who live their entire existences in sand castles, from when youthful builders abandon them to when the tide destroys them, demands readers possessing a healthy sense of wonder and the willingness to embrace the bizarre and fantastic. The title story beautifully twists the experience and senses of a synesthetic musician to answer the question, what would happen if synesthetic experiences took on physical forms? “The Weight of Words” takes the phrase seriously to explore the sinister potential of print. “Boatman’s Holiday” depicts what Charon, the boatman of Hades, does on vacation. Giants and unidentifiable alien creatures, fairy tales, the intertwining of wonder and terror, and fantastic views of both the strange and the ordinary all appear in this marvelous collection, with Ford’s comments on his inspiration and motivations appended to each story.”)
Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind: The King-Killer Chronicle, Day 1
(From Publishers Weekly: “The originality of Rothfuss’s outstanding debut fantasy, the first of a trilogy, lies less in its unnamed imaginary world than in its precise execution. Kvothe (“pronounced nearly the same as ‘Quothe’ “), the hero and villain of a thousand tales who’s presumed dead, lives as the simple proprietor of the Waystone Inn under an assumed name. Prompted by a biographer called Chronicler who realizes his true identity, Kvothe starts to tell his life story. From his upbringing as an actor in his family’s traveling troupe of magicians, jugglers and jesters, the Edema Ruh, to feral child on the streets of the vast port city of Tarbean, then his education at “the University,” Kvothe is driven by twin imperatives—his desire to learn the higher magic of naming and his need to discover as much as possible about the Chandrian, the demons of legend who murdered his family.”)
The Science Fiction Nominees:
Gregory Benford’s Timescape
(From Amazon.com: “It’s 1998, and a physicist in Cambridge, England, attempts to send a message backward in time. Earth is falling apart, and a government faction supports the project in hopes of diverting or avoiding the environmental disasters beginning to tear at the edges of civilization. It’s 1962, and a physicist in California struggles with his new life on the West Coast, office politics, and the irregularities of data that plague his experiments. The story’s perspective toggles between time lines, physicists, and their communities. Timescape presents the subculture and world of scientists in microcosm: the lab, the loves, the grappling for grants, the pressures from university and government, the rewards and trials of relationships with spouses, the pressures of the scientific race, and the thrill of discovery. ”
Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer
(From Amazon.com: “John Percival Hackworth is a nanotech engineer on the rise when he steals a copy of “A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer” for his daughter Fiona. The primer is actually a super computer built with nanotechnology that was designed to educate Lord Finkle-McGraw’s daughter and to teach her how to think for herself in the stifling neo-Victorian society. But Hackworth loses the primer before he can give it to Fiona, and now the “book” has fallen into the hands of young Nell, an underprivileged girl whose life is about to change.”)
The Horror Nominees:
Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box
(From Publisher’s Weekly: “Middle-aged rock star Judas Coyne collects morbid curios for fun, so doesn’t think twice about buying a suit advertised at an online auction site as haunted by its dead owner’s ghost. Only after it arrives does Judas discover that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of one of Coyne’s discarded groupies, and that the old man’s ghost is a malignant spirit determined to kill Judas in revenge for his stepdaughter’s suicide. Judas isn’t quite the cad or Craddock the avenging angel this scenario makes them at first, but their true motivations reveal themselves only gradually in a fast-paced plot that crackles with expertly planted surprises and revelations.”)
F. Paul Wilson’s The Keep
(From Amazon.com: “Thus reads the message received from a Nazi commander stationed in a small castle high in the remote Transylvanian Alps. And when an elite SS extermination squad is dispatched to solve the problem, the men find a something that’s both powerful and terrifying. Invisible and silent, the enemy selects one victim per night, leaving the bloodless and mutilated corpses behind to terrify its future victims. Panicked, the Nazis bring in a local expert on folklore–who just happens to be Jewish–to shed some light on the mysterious happenings. And unbeknownst to anyone, there is another visitor on his way–a man who awoke from a nightmare and immediately set out to meet his destiny.The battle has begun: On one side, the ultimate evil created by man, and on the other….the unthinkable, unstoppable, unknowing terror that man has inevitably awakened.”)
Well, I’m off to Fuel with Marty G. tonight. Breakdown and pics tomorrow.
Today’s video: Snow Bunny II: The Quickening. Scroll down to check it out or click the following link –
K8T writes: “Does Fondy have fashionable outfits for a 10week old female Norwegian Buhound?”
Answer: I’m sure she does. And maybe a hat to go with it.
Cindee writes: “I just bought a copy of Elizabeth Moon’s “Command Decision”. Have you ever read it?”
Answer: I haven’t, but her Speed of Dark is one of my favorite books.
Kath in Baltimore writes: “Also, I couldn’t help noticing the gaps in the fence are kind of wide. Has Lulu every tried to or successfully escaped?”
Answer: When we first got her, I let her out front. She casually slipped through the bars and started grazing on the other side of the fence. Thankfully, she’s now too hippy to squeeze through.
Prior of the Ori writes: “McKay said that the planet was where they first developed Drone technology, does this mean they never had it back in the Milky Way?”
Answer: No, that was an oversight. The drone technology was developed in the Milky Way, but the mini-drone version was perfected in Pegasus.
Matt S. writes: “Do you feel the Wraith are a success in how they’ve been written and developed, and do you feel they are as effectively entrenched as an enemy with a backstory and impact as the Goa’uld were by this same point in that series?”
Answer: I think that what makes a villain great is their depth as characters – not merely as foils for our protagonists, but as interesting personalities. If you do a season by season comparison with SG-1, the goa’uld definitely had the advantage in this respect because a) they were human in appearance and b) were far more colorful. The goa’uld were fun villains because it was easy to differentiate them as individuals with differing, occasionally conflicting agendas. In the case of the wraith, I think it wasn’t until the show’s third and fourth season that they really began to take on some of these same characteristics, conveyed through backstory elements like the ongoing wars between the various factions, our unlikely alliance with them, and the introduction of Todd. I also think that Michael, in many ways, helped to bridge the gap between functional adversary and villain-you-love-to-hate.
Fran writes: “Are there any good schnitzel places in Vancouver?”
Answer: Hell, yes. Go to The Budapest on Main (corner of 16th) and order the Transylvania Platter for 3 (which will get you three types of schnitzel).
Hannah writes: “How often do you writers find yourselves being surprised by your characters?”
Answer: Our characters are always growing – either on the page or through the performances of our actors – so, yes, they are fully capable of surprising us.
DJ writes: “What color are Joe Flanigan’s eyes?”
Answer: Believe it or not, I haven’t noticed.