Science Fiction News & Recent Science Review for the Summer 2011

This is an archive page. Go here for the latest seasonal science fiction news.

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

STAFF MATTERS

More sad news: Further to last season's news of friends departed there is sad news of the loss of Marjorie Edwards whom a number of us knew through our former MaD (Manchester & District) SF and Festival of Fantastic Film connections. Our thoughts are with Tony and Kate.

 

Elsewhere this issue (vol 21 (3) Summer 2011) not mentioned above we have:-
          …an article on best and worst horror films as well as our annual look at the top ten UK box office SF/F films for the year to Easter, SFnal-ish oddities and science whimsy with Gaia and many SF/F book reviews. See What's new.

 

Help support Concatenation: Get Essential Science Fiction which is also available from Amazon.co.uk. In addition to helping this site it makes a great present and helps you do your bit to spread the genre word. See also news of signed copies from Porcupine Books (who can send you copies cheaper than Amazon...).

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

MAJOR HEADLINE LINKS

This season's science and SF prizes included: Britain's SFX awards and Russia's Horror film awards… Which is really about it as the big awards season will be over the summer.

Book news – Includes : British authors' tax squeeze, the current trends in the British and USA book trades, more closure of British libraries, closure of bookshops in Australia, British Isles and US; the opening of Hungary's first internet SF e-book store; the growth of the e-book agency model for paying authors; e-book pricing; Harper Collins insistence on its authors being moral; good news for Macmillan US authors; and there is a new SF editor at Gollancz.

Film news – Includes: that of Old Man's War becoming a film; the possible Lovecraft story film; possible Blade Runner spin-offs; Philip K. Dick's Radio Free Albemuth film; and gossip of potential Alien,Terminator and Logan's Run revivals.

Television news – Includes: poor ratings for the US series The Event and Britain's Outcasts; much Dr Who news; the renewal of the US version of Being Human; George R. R. Martin's pleasure with Game of Thrones; and new TV series Alphas, Legend Quest and a Battlestar Galactica spin-off.

News of SF and science personalities includes, among many, that of: Douglas Adams, Margaret Atwood, Orson Scott Card, Neil Gaiman, Joe Haldeman, Stephen King, Ursula K. LeGuin, Georg R. R. Martin, Paul McAuley, Hannu Rajaniemi, J. K. Rowling, and Peter Watts.

Other news includes: a new online French SF site Yggdrasil Magazine; Australia's SF Bullsheet returns; the Czech SF magazine XB-1 is reborn, and there is a new SF short story site. Plus: Wikipedia deletes SF fan groups; Google Books has more legal trouble; and Gerry Anderson postage stamps.

News of last season's SF events includes that of: the SFX Weekender, as well as goings on in Romania.

Major forthcoming SF events include: the SF Eurocon in Sweden, the Worldcon in Nevada (US), the British Library SF season, Sci Fi London, World Free Comic Day (in many countries), Derby's Alt.Fiction, Spain's Austurcon and Estonia's Estcon.

Our short video clip links section this season includes, among others, links to: a Aussiecon 4 video review of the year; and what Spock saw on his scanner
– See the section here.

Notable SF books due out in the run up to September 2011 include: A Brief History of the Future; The Last Christian; Shift; Embassytown by China Miéville; The Map of Time; By the Light Alone by Adam Roberts; Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer; The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse; and Blackout by Connie Willis.

Notable fantasy due out in the run up to September 2011 include: a reprint of the classic The Call of the Cthulu and Other Weird Tales by H. P. Lovecraft; Dragon's Time by Anne & Todd McCaffrey; and Anno Dracula by Kim Newman; .

The Spring saw us sadly lose many SF and science personalities. These included: Scientists Christian Lambertsen and astronaut John Mike Lounge.   SF personalities, the Belarusian writer Nicholas Trofimovich Chadovich, April Rose Derleth, Romania's SF master Ion Hobana and Diana Wynne Jones.   As well as SF fans Britain's Marjorie Edwards and Canadian Mike Glicksohn.

 

Jump to other specialist news using the section menu below or else scroll down to get everything…

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

NEWS

MAJOR SCIENCE & SF NEWS

STOP PRESS (24th April)   The nominations for the 2011 Hugo Awards for 'SF achievement' covering the year 2010 were announced at the British national Eastercon convention, next to the Birmingham NEC. The nominations for the principal Hugo categories were:-
Best Novel:-
          Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
          Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold
          The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
          Feed by Mira Grant
          The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form:-
          Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
          How to Train Your Dragon
          Inception
          Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World
          Toy Story 3
Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form:-
          Dr Who: 'A Christmas Carol'
          Dr Who: 'The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang'
          Dr Who: 'Vincent and the Doctor'
          Fu*k Me, Ray Bradbury written and sung by Rachel Bloom
          The Lost Thing written by Shaun Tan; directed by Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan
Other categories briefly. The 'Best Semi-Prozine' category saw worthy nominations for Interzone and Locus.   The 'Best Novelette' category as usual consisted of nominations of works published in either Analog or Asimovs.   Finally, the 'Best Related Work' category saw a nomination for Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001 by Gary K. Wolfe (from Beccon Publications) (Of course, as with last year, we are a little delighted with this nomination for Beccon Publications which, like Concatenation, grew out of the BECCON series of conventions in the 1980s.)
          The winners will be announced Saturday, August 20th, 2011, during the Hugo Awards Ceremony at Renovation in Reno, Nevada, USA.
Comment.   Regarding the 'Best Novel' category, we only had one of our suggestions for best SF books of 2010 nominated. Are we slipping?   Well, one of the just three books nominated and published in Britain (in addition to the US) was not that bad. In fact we only had the one sent to us the previous year for review. As for the other two, well Orbit are patchy with what they send us for review and we never had their titles. No doubt some of the other nominations will be published in the British Isles in the future and our review panel will get to see them then. Meanwhile, remember that the Hugo Award for 'science fiction achievement' is mainly voted on my N. Americans, and also that works of fantasy are eligible. (Don't ask why this is not a separate category as with the Locus Award.)   On the film front, the two 'Best Dramatic Presentation' category nominations were again disappointing but for two different reasons.   Again the 'Long Form' Dramatic Presentations' were dominated by Hollywood box office earners (as can be seen from our UK 2010/11 box office SF/F top ten for the year to Easter). Only a couple of our recommendations for best SF/F films of 2010 nominated, and one of these we only included (as we said) because it was bound to be a high box office earner for the year and not for its SF achievement quality. Furthermore, sadly none of our other film worthies were nominated (at least last year one of our other 'worthies' recommendations was nominated for and, indeed, won the Hugo for 'Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form'). So again we must ask, are we slipping?   Well, given the number of box office earner children's films that were nominated, perhaps this tells you more about how many adult films those nominating Hugos see in a year, and especially perhaps how many they do not see outside of their local high street cinema at art house and genre film fests compared to us.   As for the 'Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form', this business of a number of the shortlist going to the same TV show is getting a little wearing: three out of the five for one show!   Now, we do not have anything against Dr Who, indeed all the SF2 Concatenation core team absolutely love it. But why cannot the Hugo rules have the nominations go to the show rather than a specific episode (perhaps the episode most being nominated could be the one put on the voting ballot)? This would enable other shows to get a look in at the nomination stage. Having said that, given the average Hugo nominator's taste in films, it would probably be the big Hollywood studio shows with mass appeal that would dominate and not the small studio productions that as often as not are the ones that exhibit genuine SF achievement. (Sigh.)   Finally, there was one 'Short Form' bright spot with the nomination for Fu*k Me, Ray Bradbury that was made during Ray Bradbury's 90th birthday year and about which we alerted you last year. Yes, we really do look after you wonderful folk.

STOP PRESS (24th April) The British SF Association (BSFA) Awards were announced at the UK Eastercon (Britain's national convention). The principal category win was for 'Best Novel' and this went to The Dervish House by Ian McDonald.

STOP PRESS (27th April)   The 25th Arthur C. Clarke Award has been presented at the 10th Sci Fi London (SFL). (Note: These are the book Clarkes, and not the space Clarke Awards.) Following a brief introduction by Louis Savy (SFL Director), the evening's MC was the chair of the Clarke Award secretariat, Tom Hunter. Tom spent a little time looking back at the past 24 years of the award: indeed the award was first presented at the same UK national convention that established SF2 Concatenation. He also made the point that this was a time of change for the Clarke Award as Arthur Clarke's initial sponsorship endowment has run out. (So any potential sponsors -out there seeking to further the genre and/or their profile – as current sponsors SFL and SFX magazine do – might want to get in touch with Tom.)   The award it should be said, is not strictly for SF in its purest (more hard) form that Arthur himself wrote, but for broader speculative fiction: many of the past winners' stories have had fantasy as much as science fantastical elements, and /or been more strong in their (ahem) 'literary' dimensions rather than any particular SFnal sense… And so we come to this year's winner.   Prior to the Award there was some discussion among Britain's genre circles and it was no secret that the clear favourite of this year's Clarke short-list was the title, The Dervish House, that is being nominated for a Hugo this year as well as the winner of this year's BSFA Award for 'Best Novel'. However, in addition to the favourite, there was an outside rider and SF2 Concatenation's man on the spot just happened to be seated at the front right next to this individual's party during the awards: so we can say that there really was some tension in that vicinity… The winner of the 2011 Arthur Clarke Award went to Lauren Beukes for Zoo City.   (For those interested in checking the winner out, Zoo City sees Lauren enter Philip Pullman territory.) This is only Lauren's second novel and the win firmly confirms her arrival as a force within contemporary genre fiction circles. It is also a delight for their publisher, the relatively young, Angry Robot. +++ SF2 Concatenation previously reviewed Lauren's first novel Moxyland. Of which Jonathan said that though "it did not push all my buttons the way I like…"   "Of course you are most certainly not me and I am sure that for many Moxyland will be fresh, hip (or whatever the in-word of the moment is), and invigorating. My advice: have a browse and see for yourself. For those who like this sort of thing it is a real treat."

New Zealand earthquake – no SF pros or fans lost. Fortunately none of New Zealand's SF community were lost to the earthquake that hit Christchurch last September during the Australian Worldcon that immediately followed New Zealand's natcon 'Au Contraire'. However there are plans to produce an SF anthology with royalties going to the New Zealand Red Cross that did sterling work during the disaster.   Then there was a second earthquake that was not as strong as the first but did more damage due to it being closer to the surface and laterally closer to the city of Christchurch that has tall buildings. Injuries and loss of life took place mainly because many people were at work in the city centre in multi-storey buildings.

Japan earthquake and tsunami – no news yet of SF fans and pros, but genre auction website created to raise relief donations. GenreForJapan.wordpress.com has been receiving books from authors and publishers in both Britain and N. America with proceeds going to the Japan Tsunami Appeal run by the British Red Cross.   The earthquake triggered a tsunami which did most of the damage and resulted in many thousands of deaths. One of Japan’s old boiling water reactors (BWRs) lost coolant and a number of its units are in trouble with radioactivity released. (The problem with BWRs (as with PWRs) is that though when you lose coolant you lose the moderator, hence shut the reactor down (which takes time), you also get heat build up that may result in a meltdown.) As we post this page we are talking about a nuclear incident more of the scale of Windscale and not Chernobyl. Though this is serious, the human mortality is very much the result of the tsunami.

The SFX magazine awards were presented at SFX Weekender. The principal category wins were:-
          Best Novel: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
          Best Film: Inception
          Best Film Director: Edgar Wright for Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
          Best TV Show: Doctor Who
          Best TV Episode: The last ever (sic) episode of Ashes To Ashes (UK original)
          Best Actor: Matt (the embryo) Smith (Doctor Who)
          Best Actress: Karen (policewoman) Gillan (Doctor Who)
          Best Comic Or Graphic Novel: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 8 by Joss Whedon and Georges Jeanty
          SFX Outstanding Contribution Award: Terry Pratchett
Terry said that he does not usually like receiving lifetime achievement-type awards as usually they are given by people who have never before given him an award but feel that they should give him something. But as he has had a few SFX Awards before, he will particularly treasure this one.   Of note in the Graphic Novel category were the runners up Batman And Robin by Grant Morrison and various artists, and The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard.   Of note in the Best TV Show category was the runner up Misfits (which we certainly rate as one of the Best TV offerings of 2010 (we also similarly previously rated the winner too).   Indeed we similarly rated the winner of the SFX Best Film as one of the Best SF Film offerings of 2010.   For those wondering, the average age of those voting for the SFX Awards is probably quite a bit younger (by at least a couple of decades) than that of the Hugo Awards.

The first Russian Horror Film Awards have been presented in Moscow at a film fest. The principal wins, as voted for by attendees, were:-
          Best Film: Resident Evil 4: Afterlife
          Best Russian Horror: Phoebus: Club of Fear
          Best Director: Oliver Parker (Dorian Grey
          Best Actor: Benicio Del Toro (Devil I)
          Best Actress: Milla Jovovich ( Resident Evil 4: Afterlife)
          Best Special Effects: Resident Evil 4: Afterlife

First Spiderman, Amazing Fantasy, comic sells for £685,000 (US$1.1m). The near-mint 1962 edition (graded at 96) was sold at auction to an anonymous collector. +++ Back in 2010 we reported that a 1938 edition of Action Comics No 1 introducing Superman had been sold for US$1m (£646,000) in the US. (The afore £/US$ exchange rates relate to those at the time of the respective auctions.)

Czech SF magazine XB-1 reborn as Ikarie sort of metamorphoses. News reported on Jason Sandford's website is that the Czech SF magazine Ikarie has ceased publication due to the publisher apparently wishing to focus on lifestyle magazines. With a full-colour cover and black and white interior, Ikarie contained between five or six stories in each issue in addition to reviews and non-fiction. Over the years Ikarie published both Czech authors along with translated stories from Anglophone SF authors.   Ikarie was so named after the Czech SF film Ikarie XB-1, which itself sprang from the late 1980s Czech SF almanac that was called XB-1, XB-2 etc.   (Are you following this?)   The good news is that the now former Ikarie editor Vlado Ríša and his editorial colleagues have started a new magazine called XB-1.   In short Ikarie has in effect had a name change to accommodate a change in publisher. All good luck to XB-1 and all who sail in her.

Locus magazine now also digital. Locus magazine is the Hugo Award-winning trade magazine for the N. American SF book community, but also contains much British Isles SF book news such are the overlaps between the SF book markets either side of the Pond. Typically issues have a couple of SF / fantasy author interviews, news round-up, Worldcon news, book listings of titles out, plus each year there is a comprehensive reader survey and, of course, the Locus Awards, of which some say that its splitting fantasy and SF makes it more representative than the Hugo of meaningful Science Fiction achievement. The new Locus digital edition arrives to subscribers via e-mail on the first of the month (hence earlier than the postal edition over here (Europe)) and includes PDF, e-pub and Kindle formats. There are also cost savings: a six-month subscription to the digital issue is only US$27.00 or for a year's worth US$48.00 for 12 issues. If you like to receive print and digital issues, they charge only US$1.00 per month to add digital to US print subscriptions. Good news for us over here is that the international-rate overseas print subscribers receive the digital issue as a free bonus!

The Australian Bullsheet has been re-launched. -- see the full story in the Net Watch subsection further on below.

CIRCUSOZ, Australia's premier contemporary circus, are putting on a Steampunk-themed show in Melbourne from 22nd June to 17th July (2011).

Gerry Anderson British Thunderbirds postage stamps to mark 50 years since Supercar (1961). (Shhh, lets forget the science fantasy Torchy (1959) or the western Four Feather Falls…) Supercar and then Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90 and The Secret Service were all SF puppet shows set in the 21st century (which in the middle of the 20th seemed such a long way off). Each was (accidentally?) successively made for a slightly older audience starting with Torchy appealing to toddlers. And so Gerry Anderson's sci fi TV shows caught and then surfed a generational window, of just a few years apart in age, providing them with television SF throughout the 1960s and '70s. He then went on to make the mixed live action and models UFO (his best series) before Hollywood investment (Anderson himself admits) took control resulting in the visually effective but the plot and character basis incoherent Space 1999… Anyway, that is the history.   At the beginning of the year (2011) the Royal Mail launched a commemorative set of stamps. There were three 1st class stamps: Joe 90; Captain Scarlet (original not the 21st century remake); and Thunderbirds. Then there were three 97p stamps: Stingray; Fireball XL5 and Supercar. In addition there were four plasticised 3D Thunderbird stamps (41p, 60p, 88p and 97p): Royal Mail's first 3D stamps and centre piece of the set. All could be obtained in a commemorative pack complete with information sheet and comic strip factsheet. It may be that the complete sets can still be obtained from the Royal Mail, but hurry while stocks last. The set may well increase in SF value for a decade or two (while the Anderson generation of viewers are still alive) and in philately value for longer… All those on Concatenation's book review team 'stood by for action', having their spring books sent to them using these stamps.

Tolkien Estate sues US author Stephen Hilliard over proposed use of J. R. R. Tolkien as a character in his forthcoming novel Mirkwood. Mirkwood is a historical novel and, as in common with other novels that use real-life characters (see Stephen King news later on). But the Tolkien Estate had trademarked the name 'Tolkien' and asked him not to release the book. Stephen Hillard has filed a counter asking the court to declare his right to publish based on fair use and the First Amendment. Of course Stephen Hilliard is not the only author to face legal silliness this season (see Stephen King news later on). Pity the Tolkien Estate can't be sued for trivialising the name of Tolkien.

The British Library (London) is having a Science Fiction summer season with an 'Out of this World' exhibition 20th May – 25th September (2011). It is the British Library’s first exhibition to explore science fiction through literature, film, illustration and sound. It will challenge visitors’ perceptions of the genre by uncovering gems of the Library’s collections from the earliest science fiction manuscripts to the latest best-selling novels. Visitors will discover an interactive space based on ‘other worlds’ presented by science fiction including: Alien Worlds; Future Worlds; Parallel Worlds; Virtual Worlds; the End of the World and the Perfect World. Each will draw on a variety of exhibits, multi-media interactives, film and sound to experience new surroundings and ask questions such as: ‘who are we?’, ‘why are we here?’, ‘what is reality?’ and ‘what does the future hold?’ It is being held at the PACCAR Gallery at the British Library and admission to the exhibition is free. Opening hours are: Monday 09.30 – 18.00, Tuesday 09.30 – 20.00, Wednesday – Friday 09.30 – 18.00, Saturday 09.30 – 17.00, Sunday and English public holidays 11.00 – 17.00.
          Throughout the summer there will be an accompanying events programme will feature some of the great science fiction writers of recent decades including:-
          China Miéville (20 May)
          Iain M. Banks (31 May)
          David Lodge and Stephen Baxter (8 June)
          Audrey Niffenegger (10 June)
          Michael Moorcock, Brian Aldiss (21 June)

Awfully Wonderful: Science Fiction In Contemporary Art runs from 15th April – 14th May, Sydney, Australia. Exploring a spectrum of seductive, terrifying and fantastic potential futures, the exhibition presents new and existing work by eleven Australian artists including time machines, hand made robots, meteorological instruments, interplanetary communication, mars gravity simulation, wearable technologies and apocalyptic visions. (www.performancespace.com.au) News courtesy the Australian SF Bullsheet.

China's Science Fiction World, Earth's largest circulating SF magazine, to mark 300th issue. The special SFW's issue will be released in May (2011), with special columns and an unique feature.

SFX magazine has had an upgrade. SFX is, of course, one of Britain's three leading SF magazines. (Think Starlog plus if you are American, or MIR Fantasy but without the computing if you are from Sov Bloc countries.) The April issue sports a re-design and – according to the folk at Sci-Fi London – the technology that when you open it there is a TARDIS sound. Appropriately, the April issue also has a Dr Who interview.

Chinese epic SF finally complete. Three Body: Dead End, written by Liu Cixin, was published at the end of 2010,which means the 'Three Body' trilogy, a monumental masterpiece of Chinese science fiction, was finally complete. The 'Three Body' Trilogy is the only bestselling science fiction in the last thirty years. Being the leading and best-seller SF author in China, Liu Cixin began writing science fiction in the early 1990s and published his first short story in 1999. Over the past decade he has won multiple awards for his fiction and has become the most popular domestic science fiction author. +++ For further background see part of Sherry Yao's article on SF in China. +++ News of possible Liu Cixin story is in the film news subsection below.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

PEOPLE: MAJOR SF & SCIENCE AUTHOR AND ARTIST NEWS

Douglas Adams is to have a recently discovered story published. Years after his death, a draft script and production notes by Douglas Adams for a Tom Baker Dr Who adventure have been discovered. BBC books plan to publish it as a Dr Who novelization. The story is called 'Shada' which was to have been the planned finale to the 1979-1980 season of Dr Who but was stopped due to industrial action at the BBC. Who scriptwriter Gareth Roberts is completing the story. BBC Books said, "Douglas Adams' serials for Doctor Who are considered by many to be some of the best the show has ever produced. 'Shada' is a funny, scary, surprising and utterly terrific." It will be published in March 2012. +++ More Dr Who news in the TV subsection below.

Margaret Atwood jetted in to London from Canada specially for the 14th World Book Day. That evening, along with 24 other authors, she gave an open air reading t an assembled crowd in Trafalgar Square. The evening was hosted by Graham Norton (a popular chat show host in Britain).

Ken Campbell's biography, A Great Caper, was in April 'book of the week' on BBC Radio 4 with 15 minute readings each day Monday to Friday. It was a trip down memory lane for a couple of Concatenation's original team who enjoyed Ken's work, and indeed his company a couple of evenings (and a number of pints) at the 1979 Worldcon as well as at a performance (with Brian Aldiss) of The Science Fiction Blues at Greenwich. And yes, Radio 4's A Great Caper did include recounting some of his SFnal and science exploits. Moreover, the narrator (Toby Jones) successfully captured an element of Ken's tone of voice. Just one taster. Once when someone asked Ken why he did what he did, Ken replied: "For the good of Man: for the collective soul of Mankind."  Brilliant stuff.

Trudi Canavan will be signing copies of her latest fantasy The Rogue at London's Forbidden Planet bookshop 6pm – 7pm Thursday 5th May.

Orson Scott Card has been urging folk to check out the seven part Marvel comic prequel to Enders Game called Formic Wars: Burning Earth. He has worked with comic-book co-writer Aaron Johnston on the series and is continuing to do so on a series of forthcoming Ender prequel novels. "What's always fascinated me about the novel Ender's Game is where it begins. It's brilliant," says Aaron Johnston. "The story of Ender Wiggin is the story of the Third Formic War. So from page one there's this incredible back-story that haunts the entire world. The Formics have nearly destroyed the human race twice before, and the whole world has changed completely because of it. The Formic Wars comics, and the novels that will follow, is that back-story brought to life. How did the human race win two wars we should have lost? Who were the men and women who made the pivotal decisions and took the necessary action that saved the world?"

Adam Christopher has probably become the first SF author to have been discovered by their publisher on Twitter. Angry Robot has pounced upon the debut novel of British-based New Zealander in a deal for World rights to two novels across all formats by Angry Robot editor Lee Harris. Empire State is a story of superheroes, and a city divided in two. Detective Rad Bradbury picks up the trail of a murderer, only to discover that the world he has always known is a pocket universe, recently brought into existence by an explosion of phenomenal power. With a superhero on his tail he crosses into a city that bears a remarkable resemblance to his own – a city called New York. There he uncovers a deadly threat to the Empire State, and finds that the future of both realities is at stake. Empire State will be published in January 2012, with a second, superhero-themed fantasy, Seven Wonders, to follow before the end of that year.

Carol Emshwiller will have had her 90th birthday on 12th April just as we are embedding and posting this SF2 Concatenation seasonal posting. The New York Review of Science Fiction marked the occasion for her with readings, an interview in Brooklyn and added jollity from a comedic magician.

Lionel Fanthorpe, Britain's greatest SF writer if quantity (over 150 novels) is your criterion, was on BBC Radio 4 in a programme called The Priest, the Badger and the Little Green Men. He reviewed his writing career with Badger books. Effectively he recapped the essence of his Hatfield PSIFA talk, which was given again shortly after at the 1983 British Eastercon, Albacon II. Back in his Badger books day he would write for 10 shillings (10/- or 50p) a novel and sometimes turn out a novel in a matter of days (early 1950s to mid-1960s). Of course back then Britain had real money including: farthings, florins and half-crowns. The programme showed how one man, armed with a mind like a mental grasshopper, a dictaphone and a good rug became the most prolific sci-fi (yes, 'sci-fi') author on the planet.

Neil Gaiman has done the script voicing for his appearance in The Simpsons in an episode with a title that is a Biblical play of words called 'The Book Job'. He played himself but was asked: "Can you do an American accent that would sound to Americans like Dick Van Dyke's English accent sounded to you?"   The episode will probably be screened early in 2011 in N. America and shortly after on Channel 4 in Blighty. +++ More Neil TV: it looks like Neil has been scripting an episode of Dr Who.

Joe Haldeman has had more surgery. Last year we reported that Joe Haldeman had surgery for a twisted bowel. The current treatment is the follow-up surgery. His wife Gay reported that it went well. Our best wishes for a speedy recuperation but he seems to be doing well enough. The latest news is that he is back riding his bike, returning to his astronomical telescope (which had sprung a leak gaining rainwater), and complaining about the World Invasion: Battle LA film… You may recall that Joe is a Vietnam vetran and the Battle LA line that particularly killed him was the sergeant saying, admit ray-gun shooting alien craft devastating Los Angles, 'this is not a drill'. Yup, Joe's back on form. +++ More Joe-watching-film news in that he enjoyed Source Code but he wrote basically the same story, or at least the same setup, almost twenty years ago. 'The Cure', which was in Terry Carr’s Universe 3 (1993) and his own collection of shorts, None So Blind. It is about a man who keeps being recycled through virtual reality scenarios where he dies; at first he has no idea why it is happening, but slowly he comes to realize that he’s in a hospital undergoing some experimental treatment that has gone awry. In the film, the protagonist goes through the same experience over and over, which would be a lot less expensive to film. In Joe's, he is in the Yukon for one paragraph, and then in Vietnam, and then in outer space, and so forth. The pattern’s similar.

The pseudonymous Nathan Hawke has signed a three-book deal with Gollancz for his action, adventure fantasy series involving the protagonists 'Gallow'. The series features a hero who will appeal to the readers of David Gemmell – flawed but true. Gallow finds himself on the wrong side of wars, through his belief in honour. As the series progresses, he must deal with the consequences of his actions and the truth of his relationships with others whose sense of honour is more tarnished than his own. Apparently the author is one that will come to signify a fast-moving and violent, but evocative and intelligent, read… All three books will be published in quick succession in 2013.

Robert Holdstock’s genre contribution has been remembered in a special booklet that was circulated with the British SF Association’s Vector magazine (no. 265) edited by Niall Harrison.

Stepen Hunt has had a rant over BBC's The Books We Really Read. That programme exclusively focussed on 'literary fiction' excluding popular genres such as SF. Stephen Hunt notes that mundane litcrits calling their fiction 'literary' implies that other genres are somehow non-literary… And so it goes.

Paul Kearney’s novels British and US rights have been acquired by Solaris publishers. Two of his previously-published ‘Sea Beggars’ novels plus a third and final volume, Storm Of The Dead will be published in a one-volume omnibus, following the success Monarchies of God books in this form with Solaris (who also publish his Macht novels, The Ten Thousand, Corvus and the forthcoming Kings of Morning. The omnibus book is due for publication late in 2012.

Stephen King has announced that his next novel will be a time travel story about someone attempting to prevent Kennedy's assassination. It will be called 11/22/63 and will be released 8th November by Hodder (and also Simon & Schuster US). Yes, this is an old concept (cf. 'Tikka to Ride' Red Dwarf (1997), the films Timequest (2002) and Running Against Time (1990) based on the book A Time to Remember (1986)) but it will be interesting to see how this master of the horror thriller will manage it. +++ Meanwhile, Stephen is being sued his 2008 over a claim that his novel Duma Key were stolen from plaintiff Rod Marquardt's 2002 Keller's Den: both books use the word 'earthbound'; in one a digital clock reads 2.19 and the other 3.19; characters in both say ' what do you think?'; and so forth. Our sympathies to Stephen King for having to defend himself over such tosh.

Ursula K. Le Guin demonstrates the subtlety of a miners' outing in an open letter to Rupert Murdoch that confesses a sin. It was due to the new HarperCollins (US) contract that exhorts authors to be law-abiding and moral. She says: "Before I wrote my book Emily Brontë and the Vampires of Lustbaden, which you published this fall and which has been on the Times Best Seller List for five straight months, I committed bad behavior (sic) and said bad words in public that brought me into serious contempt in my home town." What larks.

Gail Z. Martin could be forgiven for having not much time for writing since she has had a marathon run of SF con attendance this Spring attending Arisia in Boston, Chattacon in Chattanooga in Tennessee, and Lunacon 54 in Rye Brook, NY. She also has seen every weekend in February in bookstores with the launch of her novel The Sworn. However, March will see her miss the Arizona Renaissance Festival and Stellarcon due to a diary mix-up, but hopes to be in Arizona for the 2012 event. As for the rest of this year, she plans to attend: Balticon (Hunt Valley, MD), ConCarolinas (Charlotte, NC), Hawthorn Moon Online Sneak Peek Event, DragonCon (Atlanta, GA), Capclave, (Gaithersburg, MD), and Philcon (Cherry Hill, NJ). All of which (for our many international regulars) are in the US. She also has a new website at www.AscendantKingdoms.com.

George R. R. Martin has married Parris, his long-term partner of some thirty years.

Paul McAuley appeared on a rather eclectic and exotic edition of BBC Radio 4's Monday morning programme Start the Week presented by Andrew Marr. Paul commented on John Gray's musings on immortality, which included downloading someone into cyberspace. Paul commented that perhaps it is not so much downloading the human mind into computers but translating aspects of it as a computerised simulation of a copy of someone's mind.   Kathleen Richardson talked about robots purportedly to mark the 90th anniversary of Karel Capek's publicly using the term 'robot' in the play R.U.R.: Rossum's Universal Robots [R.U.R.: Rossumovi Univerzalni Roboti]. (Though we at SF2 Concatenation note that both the Clute-Nicholls SF encyclopaedia and the Prucher SF Oxford dictionary give the date of the play as 1920, not 1921. This makes Kathleen's marking of the anniversary a year out. However, the play's Prague premiere is dated as 1921. Incidentally, apparently Karel's brother Josef coined the term: though did not bring it to public attention.)   Paul McAuley's principal contribution to the Radio 4 programme was imagining what it might be like to live and work out among the gas giants (which, of course, formed the basis of his The Quiet War and The Gardens of the Sun).

China Miéville it seems is not having his Swamp Thing run of comics taken forward. However he is now involved in a new comic venture 'London Intrusion'. See his website chinamieville.net/tagged/London_intrusion.

Michael Moorcock sadly continues to be pestered by health problems: the latest being he has lost a foot to surgeons. Our best wishes for his post-operative recuperation.

Kim Newman has one of those rare achievements in having both a fiction book (Anno Dracula) and also a non-fiction book (Nightmare Movies) are coming out this season.

Christopher Paolini is looking forward to having quite a promotional push for the latest, fourth and final, novel in his juvenile fantasy in the global bestseller 'Inheritance Cycle' that will be published this autumn. Inheritance will be published in the British Isles on Tuesday 8th November 2011, simultaneously with the Australia, Canada, New Zealand and US, priced £18.99. It will also be available in e-book and audio editions. Publication will be backed by a major marketing and publicity campaign, including cinema advertising, innovative and content-rich digital marketing activity, a book video trailer and media coverage. The first three books in the series have sold over 25 million copies Worldwide, including more than 4 million copies in the UK and its export region market. The first three in the series – Eragon, Eldest and Brisingr – will be re-issued in paperback in Britain on 7th July (2011) with new cover designs.

Terry Pratchett has added £10,000 to a reward to help catch the killer of 31 swans in Somerset. Ten dead swans were discovered on Tuesday near Wedmore. The RSPCA began its investigation after the first six birds were found dead on 30th January 2011. They had been shot in the head with airgun pellets. One of the swans which survived an earlier attack is still recovering at Secret World's centre in East Huntspill. Terry said he was 'incensed at the news'. The reward currently stands at £26,080 made up from £5,000 from three anonymous donors, £10,000 from Terry and £1,080 from the general public.

Hannu Rajaniemi's publisher has revealed the title of The Quantum Thief's sequel: it will be called The Fractal Prince. It continues the adventures of Jean le Flambeur, the post-human thief, who is still out of prison, but not free. To pay his debts to Oortian warrior Mieli and her mysterious patron the Pellegrini, he has to break into the mind of a living god. Planning the ultimate heist takes Jean and Mieli from the haunted city of Sirr on broken Earth to the many-layered virtual realms of the mighty Sobornost. But when the stakes of the pellegrini's game are revealed, Jean has to decide how far he is willing to go to get the job done…

Rod Rees has had sold the French rights in his four-novel Demi-Monde series to Thibaud Eliroff at the French publishers J’ai Lu. The first volume will be published in the autumn of 2012, with the rest of the series following at roughly eight-month intervals. This means that the rights to the series have now been sold in eight countries outside the British Isles; the others, in addition to France, being: the US, Germany, Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Italy.

J. K. Rowling has been on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in which as a hypothetical castaway she has to chose 8 records she would want to have with her. Her coices were: The Beatles 'Come Together'; The Smiths 'Bigmouth Strikes Again'; Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 'Appassionata'; (her favourite) Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major - 1st movement; R.E.M. 'Everybody Hurts'; Marianne Faithfull 'Guilty'; Jimi Hendrix 'All Along The Watchtower'; and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 'Requiem' in D minor. The book she would have with her on the island would be the SAS Survival Guide.

William Shatner had his 80th birthday. NASA joined the throngs of fans wishing the Star Trek actor a happy 80th birthday in the form of an online Twitter note to TV's original Capt. James T. Kirk. +++ William does a message to NASA space shuttle.

Norman Spinrad, who had had surgery for a stomach tumour last year, has after many months of chemotherapy, had a CAT scan that has revealed no signs of its return. He is now in remission. If he is still clear in a few years' time he will be officially cured.

Neal Stephenson suggests NASA ditch their rockets… See the Interface – Science & SF subsection at the page bottom.

Lavie Tidhar will be signing his novel Camera Obscura at London's Forbidden Planet bookshop 6pm – 7pm Tuesday 19th April. This is just a few days after we post this season's news so we hope if you are interested this news gets to you in time. If not the book is out from publishers Angry Robot at £6.99.

Peter Watts got hit with a serious case of necrotising fasciitis (more luridly known as 'flesh-eating disease') in mid-February. It all happened innocently enough when Peter went to get a health check skin biopsy as a response to an earlier trouble.

For SF author websites click SF author links.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

FILM NEWS

Scalzi's Hugo-nominated novel Old Man's War has been optioned for being turned into a film.  Of course many SF novels have been optioned but their films have never materialised. (For example Haldeman's The Forever War has kept on being optioned for about a couple of decades now and there is still no sign of the film.) However it seems that there is a reasonable chance that a film of Old Man's War may see light of day in a couple of years time as apparently Scott Stuber is producing, with David Self adapting the book and Wolfgang Petersen as the film's director. So the key folk are in place.

The film of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness now in development hell. A couple of years ago we reported that Guillermo del Toro may have been to direct the film. However it seems that he is adamant that it is made for an adult audience (and R-rated horror film in the US) so as to do Lovecraft's story justice. However reportedly Universal Studios seems hesitant to commit £93m (US$150 million) that producer James Cameron reckons is needed if the audience is reduced in size due to being adult-only. ) Del Toro is apparently now thinking of directing a large-scale alien invasion film called Pacific Rim. It is possible he could return to At the Mountains of Madness afterwards if Cameron can secure studio backing.

Blade Runner spin-offs on the cards. This news will either delight you or make you shudder… Warner Brothers has sold the Blade Runner spin-off rights to Alcon Entertainment. Apparently the contract precludes a Blade Runner re-make but Alcon can make spin-off productions on concepts and situations introduced in the film. Alcon were the folk who did the recent Book of Eli and also Insomnia. It is said that Alcon are considering Christopher (The Dark Knight) Nolan about Blade Runner matters.

Radio Free Albemuth, a new Philip K. Dick film, will be coming to a screen near you shortly. This has been a long time in the making and, though no release date has been announced as we compile this Summer season newscast (in April), it will soon be coming out. Already some film clips are circulating and so we guess that it should be out later this summer or in the autumn. The film is based on the 1985 Philip K. Dick novel of the same name that was published posthumously, but an earlier, loose version appeared as the novel VALIS. It concerns a paranoid government and alien broadcasts. The film, directed by John Alan Simon.

Anne Hathaway is the new Catwoman. Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle, the slinky but twisted woman known as Catwoman, in next year’s (2012) Christopher Nolan film The Dark Knight Rises. Catwoman first appeared back in the original 1940s Batman comics as 'The Cat'.   Actresses previously portraying her include Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriwether in the 1960s television series starring Adam West, as well as Michelle Pfeiffer memorably in sewn tight leather in the Michael Keaton Batman film directed by Tim Burton in 1992. Then in 2004, Halle Berry starred in the film Catwoman that significantly departed from the comics, and so deservedly flopped at the box office.

Paul is Britain's early Spring top SF film. On its launch it entered the British Isles (GB & Ireland) weekly cinema box office charts at number one, taking £5.5 million (US$8.85m). Consequently Paul will make it into our annual UK cinema box office chart for the year to Easter. The film stars the Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz comedy duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (two nerds) who encounter an alien grey as they pass by Area 51 as they cross the US by camper van.

China's Liu Cin Xin's short story 'The Village Teacher' has been bought by HTV Film. It is very likely to be filmed by Ning Hao, China's young commercial film directors. 'The Village Teacher' is about a dying teacher in rural China who is giving his last lesson to his children, unconsciously save Earth from being destroyed by the Imperial Fleet, by teaching his children the three laws of Newton. Ning Hao's wife, Xing Aina, is now doing the adaptation.

Terminator revival rumours abound. To cut to the chase, Pacifor currently holds the franchise rights, Universal is thought to be interested in buying them, and William Wisher (Terminator 2) has apparently written scripts for two new films (the word for what it is worth is both post-apocalyptic but with time travel).

Alien revival rumours continue to abound. Further to our brief previous season's Alien news there is talk that the new film might feature the giant alien (that was fossilised) from the first Alien film.  But note, this is just talk.

More Logan's Run revival talk. Further to last autumn's Logan's Run news. Apparently it has gained a director and a lead actor but, as the proposed new film has already had two directors, we will not confirm this to you just yet.

Possible new Red Sonja film. Apparently the producer Avi Lerner says he has a director and is actively looking for a lead actress.

Dune re-make cancelled. Back in 2007 we reported that the film Dune may be re-made. This re-make attempt saw two directors and several screenplays come and go before finally getting a script (by Chase Palmer) that the producers and Paramount liked. However, the US$100m budget was ultimately too much for Paramount and with the four year film right option about to expire they pulled the plug. +++ Dune has already been screened twice already as a 1984 film and a 2000 Sci-Fi Channel (Syfy) miniseries.

World War z film threatened. And just when last autumn the news from Comic-Con was so good. we reported the early move to make the film of Max Brook's zombie apocalypse novel back in 2008 but apparently are having difficulty getting a studio to stump up the estimated US$125 million budget.

Lucasfilm is again legally challenging British engineer Andrew Ainsworth, who designed the Star Wars storm trooper armour, in the UK Supreme Court. We reported on this at the beginning of 2007 but Ansible has just reported the update. The High Court and Court of Appeal ruled that these creations are mere props – copyright-protected for 15 years, making it OK for Ainsworth to produce and sell copies. Ainsworth designed the armour but was not employed by George Lucas and so claimed ownership of the intellectual rights.

Short video clips that might tickle your fancy….

Film clip download tip!: SF of the year Worldcon video mashes were a couple of the highlights of the Aussiecon 4 Opening and Hugo Award ceremonies in Melbourne last September. They were another fun creation from Britain's Mark Slater. – See the 7.5 minute video here.

Film clip download tip!: Date an SFnal hero? Humorous 2.5 minute vid as to a new dating service for superheroes. – See the video here.

Film clip download tip!: What is on Spock's scanner Funtastically humorous classic Trek mash. – See the video here.

Film clip download tip!: Star Trek song: 'I'll Be YourStar Trek Girl'. – See the 5 minute video here.

Film clip download tip!: The Incident at Tower 37 An environmental SF short animation. An incident at Tower 37 makes its manager realise that its siphoning of water is affecting life in a nearby lake. – See the 10 minute video here.

Film clip download tip!: Star Vors is a new Russian comic film with a jaunty song as a promotional trailer – See the 5 minute video here.

Want more? See last season's video clip recommendations here.

For a reminder of the top films in 2010/11 (and earlier years) then check out our top Science Fiction Films annual chart. This page is based on the weekly UK box office ratings over the past year up to Easter. You can use this page if you are stuck for ideas hiring a DVD for the weekend.

For a forward look as to film releases of 2011 see our film release diary.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

SF BOOK TRADE AND RELATED TRADE NEWS

Authors' tax concession may go. Listed British authors currently can carry over some of their income into the next tax year should their income take them into the next tax bracket. This is important for those authors who in one year may have substantially more income than another and so they pay tax at their average income rate. Now the Office of Tax Simplification is considering dropping this concession. The Society of Authors is lobbying to stop this move.

British Isles book sales were down 3.6% in December in cash terms, the down turn was more in terms of volume of sales. 2010 as a whole saw mass market fiction sales up but printed book sales were down 3.2% over 2009. One area of printed book sales that is growing (albeit a small sector) is that supermarket share is up at 14% from 12% market share in 2007. Book exports were also strong to India and China though sales to the latter have not reached their potential. E-book sales also saw continued growth.

Only one of Britain's big 4 publishers saw growth in 2010. Penguin saw growth of 14% to £159m.  Meanwhile Harper Collins saw trade down by -14%, Hachette UK -11%, and Random House down -2%.

Publisher Quercus bucks the trend with annual growth at 100%. This is the second year that this British publishing house has had triple figure growth. (We reported last time that Quercus is starting an SF imprint).

The US book trade in the final 5 weeks of 2010 fell by 7.8%. 110.7 million books were sold compared to 120m a year earlier. However Barnes & Noble reported that it sold a million e-books on Christmas Day!

Continued closures of Britain's public libraries. The continuing saga previously covered of library closures as part of local government spending cuts due to the recession and having to bail out the banking sector, continues to be bad news. The Minister for Culture, Ed Vaisey, ruled out an enquiry into library closures except on a case-by-case basis. This basically means that he has washed his hands of responsibility as case-by-case local spending concerns are the responsibility of local (not national) government; conversely, adherence to the Libraries Act is a Ministerial matter. Many are worried that once a public library is gone it is hard to get back. Several years down the line, when the banking sector has paid back its debt to the government, the economy has grown and there is the funding again available for libraries, the libraries and librarians simply will not be there. See also www.twitter.com/fight4libraries and the hash tag #savelibraries.

Continued closure of British Isles bookshops. Sadly several branches of the Waterstones book chain have just, or are about to, close. Branches lost are/were in: Dublin, Colchester, Worcester, Guildford, Stafford, Hemel Hempstead, Coventry, Tiverton, Luton and Chelmsford. Much regrets.

Continued closure of US bookshops Sadly some 227 of the 640 bookshops in the US Borders chain are to close. Borders US has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Some suggest a key error for Borders came in 2001 when it contracted out its e-commerce business to Amazon as Amazon had no incentive to promote Borders. Borders started selling e-books from its own website from 2007 but buy then has lost its market share. It also hired four CEOs who reportedly were without book-selling experience in five years.

Australasia bookshops bankrupt. REDgroup Retail has been placed into voluntary administration. REDgroup includes Angus & Robertson, Borders in Australia, and New Zealand’s Whitcoulls, with a combined staff of around 2,500. The bankruptcy not connected to the Borders (US) as that has different owners. However all bookshops are under pressure from internet book retailers.

SF-Portal, the Hungarian SF webzine, has launched Hungary's first SF e-book store. SF-Portal E-Book currently publishing well known Hungarian authors like Peter Zsoldos, the most impacting author in Hungarian sci-fi history and Sandor Szelesi, who won the Eurocon Award for Best Author in 2007. SF-Portal E-Book is planning to publish new young authors in late 2011. They would like to publish other European authors also – if you have a proposal send an e-mail to Jun Miyazaki, the webmaster at SF Portal: jun [DOT] miyazaki [-AT-] sfportal [DOT] hu. SFportal E-Book publishes e-books in two major formats: .epub and .prc (which one is kompatible with Amazon's Kindle). They are not using any DRM. "Digital Rights Management is useless, not protecting the authors or publishers and not user-friendly... in fact most of the times DRM is just tiresome for the readers" - says Jun.

Should early edition e-books be more expensive? OFT to investigate. The background first. E-books are cheap to reproduce but face the same editorial and author costs not to mention marketing expense and so forth as physical paper books. Even so, allowing for these costs, e-books are usually a cheaper than paperbacks. The problem comes with hardbacks as the difference of an e-book price and a hardback is so considerable that a standard price hardback may be undervalued (or unable to compete) with a far cheaper e-book. Yet libraries (and some collectors no doubt including some of SF2 Concatenation'sper book for authors or alternatively give publishers a financial boost (assuming the same percentage profit margin) to publishers for their editorial and marketing upfront investment. All well and good, but some retailers want to offer cheap e-books as soon as the hardback comes out and sometimes even have promotional loss-leaders to sell an e-book at below the market value as loss-leaders. Conversely, publishers want e-books to be more expensive in the months the hardback edition is out and then to become cheaper when the paperback edition is released. (Just as DVDs are more expensive while films can only be seen in cinemas and before they have been aired on TV.) So who should determine e-book price: the wholesaler (and/or retailer) or the publisher (with the retailer acting as a selling agent for the publisher)? These then are the two models: the wholesale model and the agency model of e-book pricing… Now returning to the latest news…
          Britain's governmental Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has launched an inquiry into e-book pricing and whether or not the agency-model constitutes unfair trading. Apparently someone has been complaining to the OFT about the agency-model. It is not known who the complainant(s) is (are) but it is a matter of public record that the internet book retailer Amazon do not like the agency-model.   More news on this to follow, as this story will run.

Pay less for e-books than paper books? Less than half buyers expect to! A Mintel survey of British Isles book buyers has revealed that 48% of all book buyers and surprisingly 41% of e-book reader owners, expect e-books to be cheaper. Equally surprisingly 49% of e-reader owners say that they prefer owning and reading a real (paper) book. Currently 8% of book readers own an e-book reader and 5% a tablet PC. E-book reader and tablet PC owners are expected to increase.

e-Books should only be borrowed from libraries at most 26 times reportedly say HarperCollins (US). Currently libraries lend hard copy (printed paper) books. Popular books wear out and so need replacing (hence repeat purchasing from the publisher). Conversely, e-Books (which are already cheaper than paper books) never wear out. Now the Library Journal says that it is HarperCollins who has come up with a proposed limit of 26 times an e-book is lent and then the library must purchase another. Leaving aside whether or not this 26 loans limit may be too low, this news has upset a number in the librarian community. However, to be charitable, publishers do have to protect the intellectual value of their products and so this debate is likely to run.   What is less understandable is that some publishers (apparently including HarperCollins (US)) want libraries to pass on patron data of those who borrow their books. There seems to be a legitimate data protection concern here.

You must be a moral author for HarperCollins (US) or lose your contract and advance. The US continues to lead the evermore litigious world as HarperCollins introduces a [ http://ereads.com/2011/01/are-you-a-moral-author.html ] new clause to its authors' contract exhorting them to be lawful and moral else have their contract revoked and having to return any advance paid. In short, the author is at risk if the "Author’s conduct evidences a lack of due regard for public conventions and morals, or Author commits a crime or any other act that will tend to bring Author into serious contempt, and such behavior (sic) would materially damage the Work’s reputation or sales, Publisher may terminate this Agreement and, in addition to Publisher’s other legal remedies. Author will promptly repay the portion of the Advance previously paid to Author, or, if such breach occurred following publication of the Work, Author will promptly repay the portion of the Advance which has not yet been recouped by Publisher".   A number of writers have expressed concern including Ursula K. Le Guin.

Macmillan US ensures authors have not suffered because of last year's dispute with Amazon. The Amazon dispute concerned the price it was selling e-books for (especially during the early post-publication period when only higher priced hardbacks are available in non-electronic paper format) and was reminiscent of the Amazon dispute with Hachette over discounts: both saw the respective publisher'-group's books' buy buttons withdrawn from the Amazon site. Macmillan have now calculated the lost sales incurred and split the cost with Amazon to pay authors for lost royalties. Interestingly calculations suggest that authors did not loose that much as the public simply bought the e-books elsewhere (which is presumably one reason why Amazon eventually agreed to Macmillan's terms).   In addition the book trade has settled on authors receiving 25% of net receipts for e-Books. Macmillan have adjusted their royalties to authors for e-Books upwards accordingly.

New SF editor at Gollancz. Following Jo Fletcher's departure Marcus Gipps joins the Gollancz SF editorial team. Marcus was former Sales and Events Manager at Blackwell on Charing Cross Road, London. As well as production editorial work he will be liaising with authors, agents and the genre community. Meanwhile Gillian Redfearn, who joined Gollancz six years ago, has been promoted from Senior Commissioning Editor to Editorial Director, reporting to Deputy Publishing Director Simon Spanton. Darren Nash, who moved from Orbit, joined the team in September 2010 as Digital Publisher. Jon Weir has been promoted to Senior Publicity Manager and Charlie Panayiotou remains in place as Editorial Assistant.

More book trade news in our next seasonal news column in September 2011. Meanwhile check out the forthcoming SF and forthcoming fantasy book lists sections (see the mini-index immediately below…).

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

TV NEWS

The Event part 2 of the season gets drop in US viewers. At its season launch in the US last autumn it had nearly 11 million North American viewers. Then there was a mid-season gap before it came back in March (2011) with two consecutive episodes with 5.53 million total viewers in the first hour and then a drop of over half a million for the second programme immediately followed: overall the show's ratings trend has been one of decline. Aside from them milking the concept, tortuously dragging it out over many episodes straining the patience of viewers, could a reason be that it became apparent halfway through season one that the screen story-writers do not have a junior school level science qualification? And it began so well (as were the ratings): there was an attempt to assassinate the President by worm-holing a flying jumbo jet onto him; those behind the attempt were long-lived humans (we were led to believe they are humans because they have had children with humans); the US government has some of these long-lived humans in captivity; but that these humans come from elsewhere… This made us wonder whether they were from a parallel Earth or from Earth in the future… Or even humans who had been historically taken by aliens and returned to monitor Earth…Gosh, what is going on? This is the sort of puzzle that intrigues SF fans. And then quite quickly it all went pear-shaped before getting even worse. Apparently the long-lived humans were in fact aliens from another world whose Sun is going supernova. Apparently the super nova gamma radiation from their nova sun will take a year to get to their planet (so their home planetary system's habitable zone is around a light yeas out!), and finally they can radio their planet in another star system from Earth and get a reply in a few days… (So, so much for the speed of light.) Puleeze! If Hollywood wants to do a fantasy then do a fantasy. If it wants to do Science Fiction then for goodness sake devise a series that hangs together for those with a basic science education and not tread all over biology, astronomy and physics. Isn't N. America meant to have a technologically based society with predominantly basic science literate citizens? +++ The UK terrestrial Channel 4 second half of season 1 began in March.

Meanwhile over in Britain we have our own TV sci-fi detritus…

BBC series Outcasts, that was a flop in the British Isles, is to air in N. America. Warning! This news item is for our N. American cousins. We previously summarised the premise underpinning Outcasts prior to its screening. The series concerns a newly founded colony on an alien Earth-like exoplanet following some unspecified catastrophe (decay?) of Earth. Now, we in the British Isles had eagerly been awaiting Outcasts as the BBC famously cancelled the re-booted Survivors so as to release funding for new productions. Sadly the BBC has a somewhat patchy record when it comes to adult science fiction, not withstanding the success of the family appeal of the children's SF programme Dr Who, because the BBC more often as not turns to those without any discernable knowledge of SF for many of its projects (in this case it went to the creator of the espionage series Spooks): they would have been better basing the series on an established SF work such as British author Paul McAuley's Secret Harmonies (1989) which has a similar setting. The first episode is dire, over-scripted (would a little child keep quoting the poem 'Tiger, tiger, burning bright'?), and the programme was replete with badly handled SF tropes that left many questions unanswered (such as: how come a decaying Earth can afford interstellar missions, why does the colony (deprived of an industrial base) use so much processed consumables, the disposable attitude to non-replaceable equipment, how the colony feeds itself given 'white outs', why the colonists thought the genetically enhanced humans caused a head-glowing (don't laugh) virus infecting children.. etc., etc.). The most intriguing item in episode 1 (repeated at the beginning of episode 2) was the commander of an incoming ship asking the colony if that was a human voice he was hearing? This at least presented the possibility of him thinking he might be hearing non-human voices, be they alien or artificial intelligence. However, as we quickly learned, this was expecting too much of the series' writers. The plot has three strands: rebellious, colony-exiled genetically enhanced humans seeking revenge; a political leader from the second ship seeks to control the colony; and the planet itself which seems to have some sort of intelligence (think Lem's Solaris (1961 story and 1972 film) but Lem did it better). The leader of the colony (played by Liam Cunningham) has a passing resemblance, and accent, to the actor Patrick Stewart in a role akin to, and in the manner of, Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Outcasts is poor fiction at best, which makes it dire science fiction. But do not take our word for it. The ratings were revealing. Episode 1 attracted 4.45million viewers (17.85%). Only one of the subsequent episodes (episode 2) made it into BBC1s weekly most-viewed top 30 with 5.27 million viewers. Ratings then declined to below 3 million and so the BBC gave up on it, shifting it an hour later it from its prime-time slot. This series is literally a world away from quality British television SF offerings such as Jekyll or Channel 4's Misfits, and to think that we actually lost a possible 3rd series of Survivors because the BBC wanted to invest in this facile and derivative shite is a smack in the face to British television licence payers. Rant (and warning) over. Good luck America.

Dr Who's 32nd season (6th in new money) will begin a couple of weeks after we post this season's news page and split into two. April 23rd sees the transmission of The Impossible Astronaut' with 'Day of The Moon' on the 24th. The second part of the season will commence in September. Neil Gaiman’s episode four is thought to feature a SIDRAT, a mysterious woman known as the War Lady and the voice of Michael Sheen. +++ In case you miseed it a lost Who episode by Douglas Adams news is covered earlier on this page. +++ More Who season news following…

James Corden to see inside Dr Who TARDIS. Comedy actor James (Gavin and Stacey) Corden previously appeared in the Matt Smith Dr Who episode 'The Lodger' as Craig Owens. The BBC has now revealed that the character of Craig Owens proved popular last year that he will be back in the forthcoming series. James described him as 'an ordinary bloke' but part of the character's appeal was his quiet bravery and charm. He became firm friends with the Doctor and we're now looking forward to seeing that friendship renewed! He will appear in the 12th episode of series 32 (or 6 since the Who re-boot).

Matt Smith has signed on for Dr Who's 33rd season (7th in new money) and is thought he may stay for the show's 50th anniversary in 2013. This scotches some rumours circulating last summer (which we did not report) that Matt Smith would be leaving the series: remember Eccleston only did one.

Torchwood Miracle Day will begin airing in the US on Starz on 8th July (2011).

BBC sued over Dr Who's Davros by its alleged creator: a former 13 year old fan. Davros was a character in the Beeb Beeb Ceeb series Dr Who who founded/bio-engineered (literally) the Daleks. However back in 1972 Steven Clark (now 51) says he entered a competition run in the comic TV Action in which entrants were asked to create a comic-strip villain, and Mr Clark claims he invented the name Davros and sent in a drawing of the character along with a handwritten essay called 'The Genesis Of The Daleks: The Creation Of Davros'. His drawing was of a ‘half-man half-Dalek’ with an additional eye in the centre of his forehead, a headset, epaulettes, plus a withered left hand. He recognised the character when he saw it on TV but thought he had lost his copy of his entry to the competition. However, he recently found a copy. Though the competition was run independently of the BBC the judges included the then Doctor Who, Jon Pertwee, script editor Terrance Dicks and the producer Barry Letts. Mr Clark. When a teenager he could not legally challenge the BBC as he thought he had lost the copy of his entry. Now he has found it again, he has now launched High Court proceedings against the BBC and its commercial arm BBC Worldwide who have been using the character for the best part of 40 years.

The Doctor Who Experience exhibition will take place at London's Olympia 2, Hammersmith, up to 29th May (2011). Tickets £18.05 for the 90 minute walk through (though arrive 10 minutes ahead of your pre-booked session).

The US version of Being Human has been renewed by SyFy… Which begs the question as to what was wrong with the British original? It is still going strong over here but apparently because US TV series seasons are longer (13 or more episodes) and ours shorter (6 in the case of the first series of Being Human as Brit TV does not milk story arcs) the US second series is likely to very different to that of the original British 2nd series and we in BritCit are currently on our 3rd series with the 4rth in pre-production… Hope you can follow all that.

George R.R. Martin is pleased with Game of Thrones, the forthcoming TV adaptation of his Ice and Fire books. George said that while he initially had 'mixed feelings' about A Song of Ice and Fire being adapted into any visual medium, it was the passion and reverence for the mythology by the series' producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss that persuaded him it was going to be fine. Apparently, there are few changes to the original books and that he has been an active part of the show's creative process and Martin himself has written episode eight. The ten-episode series premieres on HBO in N. America on 17th April 2011 just after we post this season's news page, and in the British Isles on Sky Atlantic on 18th April. +++ A Game of Thrones is the first book in A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. It was first published on 1996. The novel has won the 1997 Locus Award, and was nominated for both the 1998 Nebula Award and the 1997 World Fantasy Award.

Alphas is a new series coming to SyFy. Premiering in July, it concerns a team of folk you have above average-abilities. (Think vaguely of The Champions.) They take on cases that have stumped the CIA, FBI etc.

Legend Quest is a new series coming to SyFy. Premiering in July, Ashley Cowie, a symbologist (and by the way no relation), as he travels in search of history's greatest relics and artefacts believed to hold hidden powers and/or are of mystical importance.

Battlestar: Blood & Chrome to bethe next Battlestar Galactica spin-off. It is set during the 10th year of the first Cylon war. As the conflict between humans and their creation, a sentient robotic race, spreads across the 12 colonial worlds, a fighter pilot is assigned to the Galactica… This one is currently being developed and may (just may) be out by the end of the year.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

EUROCON / WORLDCON NEWS

The 2011 Worldcon (in Reno, Nevada, US) will see a musical opening night. The opening night in August of the five-day Worldcon will be a festival of music and science fiction that will also feature our Special Guests, the band Tricky Pixie, a performance of Godson the only musical written by the SF author Roger Zelazny, and a special appearance of Dr Demento. Dr. (Barry Hansen) Demento has been broadcasting his free-wheeling, unpredictable mix of music and comedy in the US for more than forty years. Demento's programme has long been a showcase for new singers and comedians, including 'Weird Al' Yankovic. Dr Demento has attended numerous SF conventions, and his show has long contained music by such noted filk artists as Tom Smith, Leslie Fish, Frank Hayes and even the author Joe Haldeman. Dr. Demento's radio show first appeared on local LA radio stations in 1970, was syndicated to a national audience in 1974, and he continues today to produce a new show each week. The first of several Dr. Demento compilations was released in 1976. +++ The Reno Independent Film Fest, being held as part of the Worldcon, has had submissions from Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the US. Here we particularly draw your attention to: the Blaster Award-winning The Astronomer’s Sun (Great Britain); Remote (Canada); Unearthed (USA); One Man and His Dog (Britain) and the simply brilliant Delta Award-winning Pigeon Impossible to which we gave you a YouTube link a year ago. (Yes, we spoil you loveable people rotten.) +++ The advance registration rates (US$195) for the 2011 Reno Worldcon cease to apply from mid-July. The rates on the door will be higher. +++ See here for previous Renovation Worldcon 2011 news.

Why folk go to a Worldcon? An online survey carried out by the 2011 Worldcon (in Reno, Nevada) has revealed that 44% of folk cite one or more of the following as things they look forward to most at a Worldcon: enjoying the programme; seeing old friends; making new friends; and meeting and talking to SF&F professionals. Surprisingly only 8% go for the Hugo Awards ceremony and 5% cite the fancy dress masquerade as one of their top three reasons for attending a Worldcon. Over a thousand participated in the survey. The question is does this importance of the programme and socialising with fans and professionals apply to other conventions?

The 2012 Worldcon in Chicago (US) rates have just gone up. The full attending rate went up from 1st April (2011) from US$155 to US$175: so book now if you are going before the rates go up again (probably after this year's Worldcon). We previously reported on the 2012 Worldcon Guests of Honour, however we note that one of them has a one-page 'Futures' story on this site. Splundig.

Future Worldcon bids. The vote to host the Worldcon in 2013 will be taken at this year's Reno Worldcon with a choice between Zagreb (Croatia) and Texas (US). However as the Zagreb has not even got a website, Texas is bound to win: why Zagreb continues to pitch following the fall of the Iron Curtain is a mystery: when Europe was cold war divided, bidding for a Worldcon was one way Eastern European fans would have an excuse to give their authorities to go to the West for Worldcons but this no longer applies...   Then the 2012 Worldcon in Chicago sees the vote for the Worldcon in 2014 but as currently the only bid is for London, and as Britain hosts above-average Worldcons, that bid is likely to win.   Further away there are bids for Japan in 2017 and New Zealand in 2020 that was launched at the 2010 NZ national convention. +++   STOP PRESS Zagreb 2013 has not filed its documentation necessary for the ballot.

Links to Worldcon websites can be found from the World SF Society on www.wsfs.org.

For links to Worldcon bid websites check out the Worldcon bid page.

 

Meanwhile over in Europe…

Eurocon 2011 – Stockholm, Sweden. By now most of you will have decided whether or not you are going to the 2011 Eurocon in June (if not see past season Eurocon 2011 news). However if you are going, don't forget that there is going to be a get-together the evening before the event so check their website for news (if you are reading this in 2011 then the website is on our convention diary page). Also when you arrive at Stockholm's largest airport (Arlanda), the train or bus is your best bet to get to the city centre. (The Arlanda Express train takes about 20 minutes and leaves from the station below ground between terminals 4 and 5.) Avoid taxis as they are very expensive in Stockholm and never ever use an unlicensed taxi not just for all the obvious reasons but because they typically charge at least double. If you find you must use a taxi then ensure it is a licensed one: licensed ones not only have their logo's painted on the doors but also yellow plates with a small 'T' on them, so look for _both_ these diagnostics. Stockholm is generally a safe city at night, usual cautions notwithstanding.

Links to current/forthcoming Eurocon websites can be found from the European SF Society on www.esfs.info.

For a list of national and major conventions, check out our convention diary.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

FANDOM & OTHER NEWS

Romania news. The Spring usually a quiet month in the SF calendar saw much going on in Romania. Events included:-
A two day Helion Days to mark the 30th anniversary of the Helion SF group. Helion (with the H. G. Wells Society) did: much of the regional organising for the 1994 Eurocon; has produced a fairly regular semi-prozine over its years; and held a number of social events as well as mini-conventions. Apparently, from those invited to this one, it went rather well. Two SRSFF (Romanian Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy) members – Feri Balin and Dario Pecarov – received the Helion Award for their short stories, and Danut Ungureanu (who, some Concatenation groupies may remember, was a guest at the 2nd International Week of Science & SF) and Marian Truta gave talks. There was also a tribute to Ion Hobana.
          SRSFF organised two meetings of the Prospectart SF Society (a Bucharest SF group run by SRSFF) at the Calderon Centre. The first was in February, in memory of Ion Hobana. The second was in March, and has Dan Ursuleanu as its guest. Dan was responsible for Romania's first national radio SF show (1982) SF Radiolibrary, (in 1984 this became Explorers of Tomorrow's World and then presented by Stefan Ghidoveanu (which for a season included a 'Letter from London' by one miscreant Jonathan)).
          Finally there was Romania's first book fayre dedicated to SF which was organised by bookblog.ro and called FinalFronteir.ro.
This last also saw the launch of the anthology Steampunk - A Doua Revolutie [Steampunk - The Second Revolution] and the collection H. G. Wells - Utopia Moderna [H. G. Wells - Modern Utopia] edited by Mircea Oprita, as well as the non-fiction books Alternative Critice [Alternatives in Criticism] by Catalin Badea Gheracostea, and Art Wasn't Quite Crime: The Context, Themes and Consequences of (Post-)Cyberpunk Fiction by Florin Pitea. There were other activities at the fayre including a sumo fight with robots.

The Australian Clarion South SF writers workshop has had to go on indefinite hiatus. Clarion South had to change venues at short notice in 2009 following the sale of the Griffith University's (Brisbane) accommodation facilities to a private provider. The new venue was out of its price range and after some searching the next cheapest option would result in a price hike of over a double for workshop participants. The Clarion South organizers will continue to look for a venue that enables to run the workshop in the format for which it has become famous. They will also investigate other configurations and opportunities that might give the workshop a future in Australia. +++ Clarion South is a spin-off of the US Clarion SF writers workshop that was established in 1978 by Damon Knight.

Clarion West Writers Workshop will run from 19th June to 29th July (2011) in Seattle, US. Clarion West is an intensive six-week workshop for writers preparing for professional careers in science fiction and fantasy, held annually. Instructors for the 2011 Clarion West Writers Workshop will be Paul Park, Nancy Kress, Margo Lanagan, Minister Faust, L. Timmel Duchamp, and Charles Stross.

SFX magazine held its 2nd SFXWeekender convention in February. There were some 3,000 attendees, up on last year which was around the 2,500 mark. Well, it was bound to be success given the first one. The Pontins venue in February, with the cold, isolation, basic chalets, had a Darwinian effect in ensuring that only real sci-fi (in the fan sense of the term) enthusiasts went. This combined with the con having TV stars as well as authors, plus having the colour of much fan fancy dress, ensured that there was an energetic and fun atmosphere. TV stars present included Star Trek's George Takei and Red Dwarf's Craig Charles. Comics fans had Dan Boultwood, Al Ewing, Leigh Gallagher, Tony Lee, Pat Mills, Keith (2000AD current master) Richardson, Bryan Talbot, and legendary comic's journalist Dez Skinn. Book lovers had: Joe Abercrombie, Stephen Baxter, Paul Cornell, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Peter F Hamilton, China Miéville, Gary Gibson, China Mieville, Terry Pratchett, Adrian Tchaikovsky and David Wingrove among others. And among others there were a plenty too as you would get at any of the good larger Brit Eastercons. There were also film screenings including notably of Monsters. The registration price was far more than for a 5 day Worldcon, but did include accommodation, though this (and the site's location) did mean that there were hardly any (if any) day visitors and those living nearby commuting.   And then there were the SFX Awards. Next year the SFXWeekender is moving venue to Prestatyn, North Wales 3rd -4th February 2012.

Sci-Fi London (SFL) announces initial 2011 programme items. Further to last times news of the SFL 10th anniversary 23rd April - 2nd May '11, some details have been confirmed. There will indeed be two all-nighters at the Apollo Cinema, Piccadilly, London. The first one will be a ‘Royal Wedding All-Nighter’ taking place on the eve of the real-life (Gawd bless her) Royal wedding, Thursday 28th April, and featuring some classic black-and-whites: The Corpse Vanishes and Bride Of The Monster with Bela Lugosi; Bride Of Frankenstein with Boris Karloff; Bride Of The Gorilla with Lon Chaney Jnr; and I Married A Witch with Veronica Lake. There will be bucks fizz on arrival and it kicks off at 11.30pm. As they say about SFL’s all-nighters "cheaper than a hotel". The second all-night marathon is Saturday 30th April and celebrates 20 years of Manga Entertainment in the UK. Yes, the company that brought Anime to the UK are 20 and SFL is screening a selection of amazing films: Akira in glorious HD, Eden of the East-Air Communication, Eden of the East-King of Eden, 2001 Nights: To and Redline. Tickets for these are on sale March until it sells out so visit the SFL website (see ‘April’ in the convention diary page for the internet address if you are viewing this in 2011). Other SFL all-nighters will include and Italian sci-fi all-nighter featuring The New Barbarians and a comedy all-nighter with five MST3K classics!
          There will of course be loads of films during the day including the usual UK and European premieres and independents many of which sadly may not get a general cinema release but will make it to DVD in a year’s time (if you can find them) and some of these will in turn a couple of years later become cult and so be commonly available. In short we at SF2 Concatenation do urge you to check out the programme on the SFL website a couple of weeks before the event and decide what you want to see. However we do know that the final film of this year's Fest will be the UK premiere of James (Slither) Gunn's new, non-superhero, comedy adventure Super. There will also be the UK premiere of Lunopolis, and indie which explains why we have not gone back to the Moon since 1970's because there is something already on it… And also the UK premiere of Zenith, a paranoid, baroque fantasy, set in a bleak future in which geneticists have eradicated unhappiness, a huge black market in emotional and physical pain-inducing drugs is thriving. Jack (Peter Scanavino) is a dealer who offers his customers the welcome phenomenon of pain. When Jack receives a mysterious videotape of his dead father, he sets out to unmask the conspiracy behind the origins of this dystopian world.
          For budding SF film makers there is the SFL 48hr Challenge with (so far) over 350 teams to make a short SF film in 48 hours on April 2 using some props and a line of dialogue given at the start. And there is still time to enter. In addition to prizes for the best entries, the overall winner will win a feature film development deal with Vertigo. (You may have seen some of the previous SFL finalist short films between programmes on the SyFy Channel (Europe).)
          For those into fancy dress there will be a parade from BFI Southbank to London Film Museum on Sun 24th April. Expect cosplayers, a few hundred zombies, over 100 Stormtroopers, Batman and other caped heroes... Who will you go as? (Or go to see?) (There will be limited cloakroom facilities for those that really need them.) In addition to all of this for SF book buffs there will be the A. C. Clarke Award presentation. This last is an invitation only event but many SF litcrits will be eagerly awaiting the results.
          Finally (in addition to much more going on), of note there will be the lunchtime pub quiz which is always great fun… Phew. Happy 10th SFL.

Free Comic Book Day on 7th May (2011) in Austria, Britain, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, North America (Can & US), Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey plus a few other places. Free Comic Book Day is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE to anyone who comes into their stores. It is a great way of broadening your taste in comics. Many publishers have provided free comics including the biggies like Marvel and DC in America and Rebellion with 2000AD in Europe. Taking the latter as an example, 2000AD is having a special edition for Free Comic Book Day that is intended to give curious Earthlets a taste of what 2000 ADis all about: future law enforcer Judge Dredd tackling a sentient talking bomb; ancient barbarian Sláine battling a demonic foe; a brutish pack of genetically-modified guardians fighting giant insects in post-apocalyptic Kingdom and the terrifying body count left by the mysterious alien assassin Shakara!. Check out www.FreeComicBookDay.com to see which stores are participating. (See top left of the home page for the FCBD store locator for N. America and immediately below it the International Store Locator for other countries' stores. Different shops have policies on how many free comics you can receive, but you will receive at least one free comic if you enter a participating shop location unless of course they run out of the freebies: so get there early.)

Alt.Fiction 2011 will be on25th-26th June, at QUAD, Market Place, Derby Alt.Fiction marks its fifth year with a fantastic weekend for readers and writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Bringing together some of the UK's leading talent in the genre, Alt.Fiction presents a full programme of readings, panels, workshops, podcasts and much more over two days, giving you the chance to hear from your favourite authors, find out more about the world of publishing and learn more about the writing process. This year's Guests of Honour are bestselling science fiction author Alastair Reynolds and acclaimed comic book writer and novelist Dan Abnett. They will joined by speakers, authors: Tony Ballantyne, Cathy Brett, Keith Brooke, Mark Chadbourn, Stephen Deas, Paul Finch, Juliet McKenna, Mark Morris, Adam Nevill, Mark Charan Newton, Sarah Pinborough, Robert Shearman, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Conrad Williams and Chris Wooding, as well as SF agent John Jarrold. Web address is   www.altfiction.co.uk

Spain's Asturcon in July may give Eurocon in June a run for its money. Last year's Asturcon saw an impressive list of participants for a small convention of around 200, including: Larry Niven, Joe Haldeman, Ian Watson, Steve Redwood, Juan Miguel Aguilera, Elia Barceló, Rafael Marín and Víctor Conde. If you fancy a holiday in Spain then the convention will be held in Gijón (Asturias), 22nd to 24th of July. Details http://www.asturcon.org.

Estonia's national convention details have just been announced for 22nd-24th July. We have put the web link and basic information on the diary page, which you can find if you are looking at it this year (2011). It is a small con (about 80) in a very quiet rural area and with a semi-camping/hostelling and self catering approach.

The 22nd Festival of Fantastic Films returns to Days Hotel, Manchester (21st 23rd October). Derek Fowlds (who starred in Yes Minister and also many horror films) is confirmed as a Guest of Honour along with Derren Nesbitt (actor) and Renee (Quatermass Experiment, The Earth Dies Screaming) Glynne (actress). C. P. Lee a Salford University film studies lecturer will also be giving a talk. There will be the usual three programme streams including one of vintage horror, SF, fantasy and one of recent and new independents, and of course the international short film competitions. The return to the Days Hotel was due to demand by fest regulars and this year at the same rates as two years ago. As the Days is just 6 minutes walk from Manchester Piccadilly station (which itself has a rail connection to Manchester Airport), getting there could not be easier.   +++ Last year's Festival of Fantastic Films reviewed. +++   Sad Marjorie Edwards news.

For a list of national and major conventions and their web links check out our convention diary.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

NET WATCH

The Australian Bullsheet has been re-launched. The Australian Bullsheet is Australia's on-line monthly SF newszine. We previously reported in the spring that last autumn (2010) that it had entered indefinite hiatus. It was re-launched in February (2011) by Wendy Palmer with the support of Winterbourne Publishing and the Western Australian Science Fiction Foundation.   This team is the third in the Bullsheet's history. It was originally published by Marc Ortlieb from 1995 to 2002 and then from 2002 to 2010 by Edwina Harvey (editor) and Ted Scribner (webmaster). It made the Hugo long-list for Best fanzine in 2010. Archives of these earlier runs can be found at fanac.org.   Each monthly edition is being released on the first Sunday of the month. The web-address remains the same at www.bullsheet.sf.org.au.

A new site, Four Star Stories, publishes four different Science Fiction and Fantasy stories, four times per year and presents the work of four artist per year.

SF Signal has launched an online community. SF Signal is a leading US site that has daily uploads (contrary seasonal little us) mainly with links to newly posted SFnal material. It has now launched an online community for its regulars. It has been created for people who love SF and fantasy books to share their opinions. There are lots of ways to chime in and get the most out of the community – take a few polls to start rating books you care about, and check out the latest reviews from your fellow members to share your comments and compliments. See http://community.sfsignal.com .

New online French SF site: Yggdrasil Magazine. It will be published seasonally (like SF2 Concatenation), four times a year and have news, reviews as well as fiction. Of course it is in French and so will mainly be of interest for those of whom speak the language, but also to SF authors and international conventions seeking to disseminate information to French SF aficionados. The first issue will be out close to the time we post this seasonal newscast (mid-April 2011). The first year's worth of themes for its various issues will be:#1 The City; #2 (June/July/August) Heirs to Lovecraft; #3 (September/October/November) It was once… ; #4 (December/January/February): the end(S) of the world.   The name Yggdrasil comes from Norse (Viking) mythology.

Google Books six-year effort to put make all books available on the internet is once more criticised by a judge. Further to previous judicial criticism, Judge Denny Chin, of a US district court in Manhattan, rejected a 2008 settlement that Google forged with writer and publisher. This new ruling concludes that the US$125 million deal would give the Internet giant the ability to 'exploit' books without the permission of individual copyright owners. "While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many," Judge Chin rules, Google's current pact would "simply go too far." The deal would, "give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission." He also suggested that rather than let copyright owners of books 'opt out' of the agreement, copyright owners should have the choice to 'opt in'. Google's has previous form and earlier said that 'opt-in' would not be viable.

Microsoft has made an anti-competition complaint against Google to the European Commission. OK, so this is bit of pot and kettle given both companies seek internet dominance. Microsoft says that Google uses its leading position in the search market to restrict Microsoft services. It cites a number of practices, including Google limiting the ability of MS Bing to index web content as well as the exclusivity of the proposed Google Books out of-print on-line archive. +++ A EC ruling in 2003 was made that Microsoft had unfairly privileged its Windows Media Player over other streaming technologies by embedding it into the Windows operating system. It was fined £381m, and then a further £194m in 2006 for failing to fully comply with the original ruling.

Wikipedia deletes SF fan groups. At the end of February File 770 notes Wikipedia SF fan deletions with articles about the Northwest Science Fiction Society of Seattle and the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society already deleted, the former by request of an editor whose handle is RadioFan, the latter by request of RHaworth. And that a list at the WikiProject Science Fiction page shows RadioFan also wants to delete entries for the Bay Area Science Fiction Association, Orange County Science Fiction Club, Ottawa Science Fiction Society. Much discussion follows most of which centres around what constitutes a proper source.   (+++ Having reported all this, and in case anyone wonders, the last thing we at SF2 Concatenation want is our own Wikipedia page. Being mentioned where appropriate on other Wikipedia pages is always interesting, but having our very own page, and then feeling obliged to ward off Wiki-graffiti types, would be too much for us with which to cope.)

 

MISCELLANEOUS -- COMPUTER CORNER

Playing illegal copies of video games on chipped consoles cost at least £1.45 billion a year in lost sales. It is estimated that this results in around a thousand lost jobs in Great Britain & NI and indeed total software sales in the UK were down from £1.9 billion in 2008 to £1.45 billion in 2010 according to the Association of UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), which speaks for the games industry.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

LAST SEASON'S SCIENCE NEWS SUMMARY

GENERAL SCIENCE

Tevatron experiment strongly hints at previously unknown particle (and no, its not the Higgs, it's unknown!). The US based Tevatron is the most powerful particle accelerator collider other than Europe's large hadron doobres. It might hint at a new force of nature and certainly upsets the standard model (which we can already hear our physicists say, 'told you so').

Humans were in N. America 15,500 years ago, before Clovis culture. Pre-Clovis humans have been a source of some debate: the Clovis culture were thought to be the first humans in N. America. Now stone tools have been found near Buttermilk Creek, Texas. (Remember a creek in the US does not have to be on the coast.) The discovery was reported in the journal Science. Although some previous claims of pre-Clovis artifacts have been controversial, other archaeologists say the new research is highly convincing.

Anti-laser built. Physicists have built a device that can cancel out a laser beam: a so-called anti-laser. The device, created by a team from Yale University (US), is capable of entirely absorbing an incoming laser beam. Their device focuses two lasers beams of a specific frequency into a specially designed optical cavity made from silicon which traps the incoming beams of light and forces them to bounce around until all their energy is dissipated. Altering the wavelength of the incoming light means that the anti-laser can effectively be turned on and off, and that could be used in optical switches hence in optical quantum computing.

China's drought could have global implications. Some areas of China have gone 150 days without any significant rainfall, affecting more than five million hectares (12.4 million acres) of crops: an area about half the size of South Korea. Wheat losses are likely to be in the order of a number of million tonnes. China is one of the World's largest producers and consumers of wheat. More than 2.5 million people lack drinking water, particularly in the eastern and central provinces of Shandong and Henan, which each have around 95 million inhabitants.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

ASTRONOMY AND SPACE

Happy birthday humanity in space. April (2011) marked 50 years since Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. It was also 30 years since NASA's first shuttle flight. +++ 2011 is also the 60th anniversary of the pill.

Most Earthlike sized planet found. A system has been discovered 39 parsecs (127 light years) from us (Sol), near the constellation of Hydrus, that is thought to contain as many as seven planets: the most populous system found outside our own so far. Discovered by a team at the University of Geneva (Switzerland) lead by Christopher Lovis, five of the planets are a similar size to Neptune and another is roughly the size of Saturn. A seventh possible planet seems to have a mass about 1.4 times that of Earth and is the smallest extrasolar planet discovered so far. But its orbit about its star is equivalent to just 2% of that of Earth and so will be and extremely hot world. (Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2011.)

Space shuttle Discovery makes final voyage landing on 9th March (2011). Discovery was the third shuttle in NASA's fleet and operated between 1984 and 2011. With a cumulative total of one full year (365 days) in space she's been in space the longest of any spaceship from Earth. The spacecraft takes its name from four British ships of exploration named Discovery, primarily HMS Discovery, one of the ships commanded by Captain James Cook during his third and final major voyage, 1776–1779. Discovery was the shuttle that launched the Hubble Space Telescope. The second and third Hubble service missions were also conducted by Discovery. It has also launched the Ulysses probe and three TDRS satellites. Discovery has been chosen twice as the return to flight orbiter, first in 1988 as the return to flight orbiter after the 1986 Challenger disaster, and then for the twin return to flight missions in July 2005 and July 2006 after the 2003 Columbia disaster. Discovery also carried Project Mercury astronaut John Glenn, who was 77 at the time, back into space during STS-95 on October 29, 1998, making him the oldest person to go into space.

NASA's Messenger becomes first probe to orbit Mercury. It took a lot to get the probe into its elliptical orbit with many planetary assists. Mercury's closeness to the Sun means equator surfaces can reach more than 600C; but even so there may be ice at the poles in craters in permanent shadow. One of the answers scientists hope the mission may answer is why is the planet so dense with so much iron. The craft is hoped to last at least a year which should give it time for over 700 orbits. +++ European and Japanese space agencies (ESA and JAXA) are also having Mercury missions this decade.

Britain is to HQ the Square Kilometre Array. The headquarters will be at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire. The agreement to run the Square Kilometre Array from Jodrell Bank was signed in Rome by Australia (core site 1), China, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa (core site 2), France, Germany, Italy, and the UK. Some 20 countries are involved in the £1.3bn (1.5bn euros) venture. Construction could begin by 2016, with the telescope probably completed by 2024 (but with intermediate abilities realised earlier). Though the array will involve radio telescopes in many countries, the combined collecting area of all the dishes together would be about 1 km2. The idea of having the dishes in several countries in a scatter pattern 3,750 miles (6,000 km) across is that the resolution of the combined array telescope would be the same as that of a single telescope 3,750 miles across. The idea of all the dishes combined having an area of 1 km2 is that it can capture radio images of as small an intensity (have the sensitivity) as a single dish 1 km2.
          The array should be able to: test relativity by accurately measuring timing of pulsars orbiting black holes (there may be one out there but it may be a long way away). It should be able to map a volume of the universe containing a billion galaxies and so get a better understanding of the large-scale structure of the Universe. It will map galactic magnetic fields. It might even be able to detect extremely weak extraterrestrial radio signals, and could search for amino acids (that are the building blocks of proteins) by identifying signature spectral lines and so detect planets likely to harbour alien life.
          Phase 1, that provides~20% of the total collecting area at low and mid frequencies should be complete by 2019.

Rotating black holes 'twist light'. This may be a way to detect black holes. Space-time becomes distorted near a black hole and a rotating black hole drags space time frames so that while a photon may think (if it could think) that it is going in a straight line, it would in fact be travelling in a spiral. Light passing close to the black hole would also be affected. measuring this would be difficult but it is thought that the very largest telescope arrays might be used such as the Very Large Array in New Mexico, and the coming Square Kilometre Array and Atacama Large Millimetre Array telescopes.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

NATURAL SCIENCE

Rinderpest cattle disease all but wiped out. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has announced that Rinderpest is all but eliminated. Rinderpest is an acute, highly contagious and often fatal myxovirus infection of cattle, sheep and goats. When the disease arrived in Africa at the end of the nineteenth century between 80% and 90% of cattle and buffalo on the continent were killed. "As of mid 2010, FAO is confident that the rinderpest virus has been eliminated from Europe, Asia, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, and Africa." A formal announcement on the eradication of rinderpest is expected from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) next year. When confirmed, rinderpest would become only the second viral disease - after smallpox - to have been eliminated by humans.

The idea that the sense of smell is based on a quantum effect is gaining credibility. previous work has demonstrated that flies can detect the difference between the same chemical molecule composed of different isotopes. The latest work, by Andrew Horsfield of Imperial College London, suggests that an electron encountering a molecule will change its energy state due to the molecule and that knowing the change of the energy state tells you what molecule was encountered.

Early arthropod-like appendaged fossil worm found dating from Cambrian (~500 million years ago). The walking cactus-like animal, called Diana cactiformis in an evolutionary sense seems to be between the group velvet worms (Onychophora) and phylum Arthropoda (exoskeleton animals that include: crustacea, insects, and arachnids). This early diversification of animals is of interest to evolutionary biologists.

Regenerating heart tissue found in very young mammals. While fish can replace heart tissue throughout their lives, adult mammals cannot. Now Hesham Sadek and Eric Olson of Texas University have found that one-day old mice can regenerate heart tissue. 15% of heart tissue was removed from one-day old mice and the animals had fully recovered tissue and organ function within two months. However the same procedure did not work for one week old mice. The discovery has potential implications for the treatment of heart disease (Science. vol 331, p1078-1080).

Evidence for neurotransmitter implicated in sexual preference. For a few years now the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytrypamine (5-HT) is required for male sexual preference. Now researcher Yan Liu and his team have experimental evidence that this is so in knockout mice demonstrating that orientation can change with an injection of a metabolic intermediate (5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP)). The results indicate that 5-HT and serotoergic neurons in the adult brain may regulate mammalian sexual preference (Nature, vol.472, p.95-99.).

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

FORTHCOMING BOOK RELEASES

Forthcoming Science Fiction book and graphic novel releases

The following 'forthcoming' listings (SF, fantasy/horror, and popular science/non-fiction SF/fantasy)
relate to UK releases (with just a few exceptions).
It aims to let you know the main English language genre and popular science books currently coming out for the European market.
It is not a complete listing and depends on us being given details.
We only occasionally include titles from N. American major publishers and only where we know there is European distribution.
If you wish for a more complete listing then Locus publishes occasional British listings in its magazine.

 

Embedded by Dan Abnett, Angry Robot, pbk, £10.99. ISBN 978-0-857-66090-9.
A journalist and gets embedded with the troops in an interstellar war by having a chip implant of yourself inserted into a soldier. However when the soldier gets injured, and brain dead, the journalist has to take control and survive…

Tva Baby by Terry Bison, PM Press, pbk, £10.99. ISBN 978-1-604-86405-2.
This is a collection of short stories.

Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle, Vintage Classics, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-099-52904-0.
This is a reprint of the original SF classic, La Planète des Singes (1963), that spawned a cult time-loop series of films. Hah, this should stir up all that criticism about the various endings…

The Lost Fleet 1: Dauntless by Jack Campbell, Titan Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-857-68130-0.
Space opera.

The Lost Fleet 2: Fearless by Jack Campbell, Titan Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-857-68131-7.

The Lost Fleet 3: Courageous by Jack Campbell, Titan Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-857-68132-4.

The Lost Fleet 4: Valiant by Jack Campbell, Titan Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-857-68133-1.

The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier – Dreadnought by Jack Campbell, Titan Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-857-68136-2.

A Brief History of the Future by Stephen Clarke, Black Swan, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-552-77758-2.
What if teleportation was really possible? Richie Fisher is about to find out… Clarke is the author of a million selling A Year in the Merde.

Leviathan Wakes by S. A. Corey, Orbit, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-1-841-49988-8.
This is a space opera. A hauler of ice between Saturn's rings and the asteroid belt stumbles across a derelict space craft…

The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, Vintage Classics, pbk, £6.99. ISBN 978-0-099-52852-4.
A welcome reprint of the 1912 classic about an expedition that finds a plateau and an isolated (refugia) ecosystem with dinosaurs…

Zendegi by Greg Egan, Gollancz, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08620-3.
Can we accurately simulate a real person's character in a computer? This Egan tale is set in the very near-future (well 2012 is almost here) Iran. See Jonathan's review of Zendegi's trade paperback. This is the mass market paperback release.

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Peerless Peer by Philip Jose Farmer, Titan Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-857-68120-1.
The sleuth whose superpower is ultra-detecting clues, and his partner take to the skies to combat the nefarious Von Bork… We assume that this is a very welcome re-print of Farmer's The Adventures of the Peerless Peer by John H. Watson M.D. (1974).

Guardians of Paradise by Jaine Fenn, Gollancz, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08327-1.
Space opera adventure and this is the paperback release of last year's trade paperback previously reviewed.

After Dark by Antoine Fugua et al, Radical, pbk, £10.99. ISBN 978-1-935-41745-3.
Graphic novel, post apocalyptic SF.

Zero History by William Gibson, Penguin, pbk, £8.99. ISBN 978-0-560-91955-2.
Set in contemporary London, this is a story of the internet and networks. Alas we know little more than this.

The Last Christian by David Gregory, Hodder, pbk, £8.99. ISBN 978-1-444-70137-1.
In the future we have gained the potential for immortality. But at what cost?

Time Bomb by David Hine, Radical, trdpbk, £10.99. ISBN 978-1-935-41740-8.
Graphic novel. A team must travel back in time to stop Hitler using a doomsday bomb. (Thought the Strontium Dogs had already done that one?)

Shift by Stephen Kring, Bantam Press, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-0-595-06654-6.
A techno-thriller about a CIA mind-control experiment, mental abilities and a plot to assassinate the President of the US. Kring created the TV series Heroes.

The Dervish House by Ian McDonald, Gollancz, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08862-7.
Well this is one of the novels that back in the spring (2011) we suggested was one of the best books of 2010. Check out Ian's review of Dervish House's A format paperback and also Nadia's review of The Dervish House. Since we cited it as being one of the best books of 2010 it has been shortlisted for both the BSFA and the Clarke Awards. This is the mass market (that's the smaller format) paperback edition release.

Absorption by John Meaney, Gollancz, £7.99, pbk. ISBN 978-0-575-08534-3.
This is a space opera of sorts set in episodes in Viking times, the 20th century, and future. Check out Peter's review of Absorption's trade paperback. This is the (smaller format) mass market paperback release.

Embassytown by China Miéville, Macmillan, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-230-75076-0.
On the outskirts of the Galaxy humanity has found an alien culture with whom they have difficulty communicating, so necessitating specialists. A new ambassador to this world heralds trouble… Miéville has attracted much litcrit acclaim and certainly his writing style is vivid with characters presented succinctly yet seemingly rounded. His writing so far seems to lend more to fantasy elements than the harder SF the space opera promotional material the publisher has been giving out for this new title. Whatever the case, many will be eagerly awaiting this, his latest, offering from the author of The City and ytiC ehT and Kraken.

Modern Times 2.0 by Michael Moorcock, P M Press, pbk, £8.99. ISBN 978-1-604-86308-6.
Originally this came out as part of a collection and this is its first British stand-alone release (so check your collections). It connects 1960s London with Obama's America. Moorcock needs no introduction to old hands, but those whose interest in the genre has only bloomed in recent years may care to note that Moorcock is known for an SF 'multiverse' series, the 'Elric' fantasy series, and the Jerry Cornelius science fantasies. Moorcock was, of course, the discoverer of London in the 1960s.

Theories of Flight by Simon Morden, Orbit, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-841-49946-8.
This is the second in the Metrozone series of the decaying jungle that is the future London.

The Map of Time by Felix Palma, Harper Collins, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-007-34412-3.
This is a debut novel but the advance publicity blurb sounds intriguing, The lover of an heir to a fortune is murdered by Jack the Ripper. With the SF author H. G. Wells somewhere in the mix, can Jack be identified?

Hell Ship by Philip Palmer, Orbit, £8.99. ISBN 978-1-841-49944-4.
This is a space opera involving a rogue craft.

Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds, Gollancz, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08827-6.
Little news on this as yet other than it is the first in a new trilogy concerning the family of Akinya across 10,000 years… Which means that, unless FTL is involved, this is purely a spiral arm jobby. Alastair R. is well known to us and, let's face it, we like his hard SF. (Other stand-alone reviews of Reynolds' novels on this site include: Century Rain, Chasm City, Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days, Galactic North, House of Suns, The Prefect, Pushing Ice , Redemption Ark, Revelation Space and Zima Blue).

Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds, Gollancz, pbk, £8.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08850-4.
A hard SF puzzle of a novel with steampunk elements and warped physics. The clues are there as to what is going on but you really have to pick up on them and (for seasoned buffs) engage your hard SF mind. If you do not, then don't worry as the ride is wonderful. This is the mass market paperback release of last year's hardback and trade paperback edition (though we seem to have reviewed the hardback twice).

By the Light Alone by Adam Roberts, Gollancz, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08365-3.
In the future hunger has been abolished… Unless that is you choose to experience it… (Other stand-alone reviews of Adam Roberts books on this site include: Gradisil, I am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas, Land of the Headless, The McAtrix Derided, Salt, Splinter, Star Warped, Stone, Swiftly, and The Va Dinci Cod.)

Shrapnel: Hubris by Nick Sagan, Radical, trdpbk, £10.99. ISBN 978-1-935-41737-8.
Graphic novel space opera from the author of Edenborn.

Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer, Gollancz, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-575-09508-3.
This is the final in the www trilogy in which the internet nourishes an artificial intelligence. We have previously reviewed the earlier titles in the series: Wake and Watch.

The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse by Steven C. Schlozman, Bantam Press, hrdbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-593-06787-1.
Remember the zombie plague a few years back? Of course you do. Well, Dr Stanley Blum's detailed record of the analyses he made during that time has been discovered and his notebook has now been made available to the public by Bantam Press. (Schlozman really is a clinician by qualification.)

15 Miles by Rob Scott, Gollancz, £7.99, pbk. ISBN 978-0-575-09387-4.
This is a right mix of forensic science, gothic horror, and terrorism thriller as a plague from beyond the grave looms. Consider it a technothriller with a supernatural dimension.

Flashback by Dan Simmons, Quercus, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-857-38124-8.
Don't know nothing about this as we post this page but Dan Simmons has form. See stand-alone reviews of The Endymion Omnibus, Hyperion, Ilium, Olympos and The Terror.

Veteran by Gavin G. Smith, Gollancz, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-230-75076-0.
Space opera-ish, slightly hard SF and much action when an alien slips under Earth's defensive screen necessitating a retired military type (living nearby) to go and find him/it. One thing leads to another as things are not what they seem and suddenly our hero is on the run. This is the mass market paperback release of last year's previously reviewed hardback and trade paperback.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne, Vintage Classics, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-099-52849-4.
This is a welcome re-print, and a chance to check to ensure that you have this classic in your collection, of French author Jules Verne's 1864 science fiction novel about a caving expedition deep into the Earth.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, Vintage Classics, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-099-52853-1.
This is a welcome re-print, and a chance to check to ensure that you have this classic in your collection, of French author Jules Verne's 1870 science fiction novel about an idealist turned terrorist (Captain Nemo) and his electric (is there a hint it could it be nuclear powered?) submarine.

By Schism Rent Asunder by David Weber, Pan Macmillan, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-330-52159-8.
In the nine centuries since the creation of the world, the Church of God Awaiting has grown all-powerful as the keeper of men's souls. But can a cybernetic avatar of someone – who died the day before creation and who was born on a murdered world called 'Earth' – save the day?

By Heresies Sent by David Weber, Pan Macmillan, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-330-52161-1.
The sequel to the previous book.

A Mighty Fortress by David Weber, Pan Macmillan, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-330-52160-4.
The previous book's story continues.

Blackout by Connie Willis, Gollancz, hrdbk, £14.99. ISBN 978-0575-09927-2.
It is Oxford 2060 and three history dons go back in time to observe ordinary folk during WWII… Now some of you may remember Willis' Doomsday Book (1992) when time travelling researchers go back to plague-ridden Medieval Oxford, and this novel came top of the Locus best SF poll in 1993 (and so was included in our encyclopaedic listing of Essential SF: A Concise Guide). She is also the author of Passage.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson, Simon & Schuster, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-857-20413-4.
An AI supercomputer goes rogue and before you can say 'Arnie's Terminator' it is hell bent on wiping out the human race… Now all this is familiar SFnal territory but what makes this slightly intriguing a prospect to read is that the author had a PhD in robotics and is also the author of the popular science book How to Survive the Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe by Charles Yu, Corvus, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-848-87682-8.
The 2011 first mass market paperback release of the 2010 novel that is attracting quite a bit of attention. It is a time travel tale by Charles Yu with a protagonist called Charles Yu who maintains time machines. It is far harder SF than Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveller's Wife and will appeal to those who liked David Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself. It is a debut novel and a good one.

Our latest in-depth reviews of recent fiction books can be found linked from the whats new index.

In depth reviews of hundreds of fiction books can be found linked alphabetically by author off the reviews index.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

Forthcoming Fantasy and Horror Book Releases

Red Glove by Holly Black, Gollancz, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-575-09676-9.
This is the sequel to White Cat. Magic has been outlawed in the US since 1929 and those with such talent must keep a low profile…Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey, Gollancz, trdpbk, £14.99. ISBN 978-0-575-09366-9.
Conclusion to the series.

The Scar-Crow Men by Mark Chadbourn, Bantam Press, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-593-06251-7.
Sword and sorcery.

Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper, Gollancz, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-575-09615-8.
A debut novel and first of the 'Wild Hunt' sequence.

Order of the Scales by Stephen Deas, Gollancz, hrdbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08381-3.
Now mankind is on the edge of destruction due to the free dragons.

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan, Canongate, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-1-847-67944-4.
This is the story of Jacob Marlow, the last werewolf in Britain who only wants to die but he has many enemies…. It is billed as a hybrid of horror and noir.

Pilgrims by Will Elliott, Quercus, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-0-857-38137-8.
First in the 'Pendulum' trilogy.

The Stranger's Woes by Max Frei, Gollancz, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08979-2.
Frei is a Russian author with some cred in Sov Bloc, and who previously gave us The Stranger. Think China Mieville’s The City and the City, and maybe even a combination of Dr. Seuss and the Gormenghast trilogy or J. K. Rowling on acid.

The Vampire Dimitri by Collen Gleason, Mira Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-077-8-30461-6.
Vampires all erotic in Regency times.

Waking Nightmares by Christopher Goldman, Simon & Schuster, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-1-847-37791-3.
A vampire novel.

The Mall by S. L. Grey, Corvus, hrdbk, £14.99. ISBN 978-0-857-89042-9.
Horror in a Johannesburg shopping precinct (or 'mall' as they say in the rebel colonies).

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley, Bantam Press, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-593-06704-8.
Passion, seduction, witches, warriors and ancient history mingled with mythology. What if Cleopatra did not die in 30 BC but was an immortal? This is a debut novel.

Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton, Headline, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-755-35359-3.
A vampire hunting adventure with Anita Blake.

Ryder on the Storm by David Hine, Radical, pbk, £10.99. ISBN 978-1-935-41744-6.
Graphic novel fantasy action mystery set in an alternate Lovecraftian world complete with demons.

The Inheritance by Robin Hobb, Voyager, hrdbk, £20. ISBN 978-0-007-27377-5.
A collection of her novellas and shorts.

Life, Liverty and the Pursuit of Sausages by Tom Holt, Orbit, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-1-841-49507-1.
A comedy of transdimensional tomfoolery from the author of Paint Your Dragon.

Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute by Jonathan L. Howard, Headline, hrdbk, £19.99. ISBN 978-0-755-34798-8.
The protagonist Johannes has much going for him, but not necessarily his somewhat in-exact powers of necromancy…

Epitaph by Shaun Hutson, Orbit, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-841-49763-1.
Thriller horror.

Odin's Wolves by Giles Kristian, Bantam Press, hrdbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-595-06166-4.
Viking mayhem.

Ghouls, Ghouls, Gouls: A Ghost Hunter Mystery by Victoria Lauries, Signet, pbk, £6.99. ISBN 978-0-451-23197-0.
Latest in the best selling mystery fantasy series.

Echo City by Tim Lebbon, Orbit, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-841-49937-6.

The Wild Girls by Ursula K. LeGuin, P. M. Press, pbk, £8.99. ISBN 978-1-604-86403-8.
This is a revised and updated edition of the 2002 Locus Award-winning novelette.

The Twilight Reign: Ragged Man by Tom Lloyd, Gollancz, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08560-2.

The Call of the Cthulu and Other Weird Tales by H. P. Lovecraft, Vintage Classics, pbk, £8.99. ISBN 9780-099-52848-7.
A welcome reprint and a chance to ensure that your collection has in it Lovecraft's work as after all he was virtually the leading master of fantastic and horror fantasy of the first half of the 20th century.

Dragon's Time by Anne & Todd McCaffrey, Bantam Press, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-0-593-06620-1.
Due to the dragon plague, there are no longer enough dragons to fight the deadly Thread. And if you did not know it, McCaffrey's (now McCaffreys') dragon novels have a substantial following.

Iron Crowned by Richelle Mead, Bantam Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-553-82610-4.
Third in the 'Dark Swan' urban fantasy series about a shaman for hire.

The Ritual by Adam Nevill, Macmillan, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-230-75492-8.
Four university friends are on a hike in a boreal, sub-arctic forest when they stumble across evidence of a pagan sacrifice… Adam Nevill is becoming a bit of a rising star what with his Apartment 16 doing so well. So if you are into horror this one may well be worth your making a point of checking out.

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman, Titan Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-857-68083-9.
In 18888 Queen Victoria married one Count Dracula and began turning England's population into the undead… +++ Kim Newman also has a non-fiction book out this season with Nightmare Movies.

The Book of Transformations by Mark Charan Newton, Pan Macmillan, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-230-75006-7.
The third in the 'Legends of the Red Sun' sequence. A new and corrupt emperor seeks to rebuild the ancient structures of Villjamur.

The Tongues of the Serpents by Naomi Novik, Voyager, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-007-25678-5.
Dragons on the Napoleonic high seas. This is the mass market paperback release. See David's review of last year's hardback of The Tongues of the Serpents.

The Alchemist in the Shadows by Pierre Pevel, Gollancz, pbk. £7.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08442-1.
Swashbuckling romp with a dragon.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, Gollancz, pbk, £8.99. ISBN 978-0-575-09744-5.
Debut sword and sorcery novel published for the first time in the British Isles.

Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk, Gollancz, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-575-09602-8.
Some books are dangerous. This one is murder!

Black Halo by Sam Sykes, Gollancz, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-575-09023-0.
Ship wrecked survivors on an island encounter lizard men…

The Twelfth Insight by James Redfield, Bantam Press, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-593-06697-3.
The fourth in the Celestine series but now takes it into the near future showing us that 2012 is not about the end of the world. Will has found a fragment of a mysterious document which seems to be the first step on a path of spiritual revelation.

Rome: The Coming of the King by M. C. Scott, Bantam Press, hrdbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-593-06542-6.
Historical fiction noted for its well researched detail into day-to-day Roman lives.

Hereward by James Wilde, Bantam Press, hrdbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-593-06488-7.

Black Lung Captain: Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding, Gollancz, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-575-00519-0.

Our latest in-depth reviews of recent fiction books can be found linked from the whats new index.

In depth reviews of hundreds of fiction books can be found linked alphabetically by author off the reviews index.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction SF

Amazing Space: 200 Complex Space Facts For People Who Like Graphs by Anonymous, Turnaround, pbk, £6.99. ISBN 978-9-186-28313-1.
Includes why astronauts can't burp in space… So a must read before going on the piss in orbit.

Time Travel: A Writer's Guide to the Real Science of Plausible Time Travel by Paul J. Nahin, John Hopkins University Press, pbk, £13.50. ISBN 978-1-421-40082-2.
Alas we do not know anything more than this.

Science Fiction Writers featuring Isaac Asimov et al, British Library (Audio), £10.20p. ISBN 978-0-712-35113-3.
Science fiction writers discuss the genre. This is an absolute must for the avid SF reader.

God Collar by Marcus Brigestock, Bantam Press, trdpbk, £11.99. ISBN 978-0-593-06736-9.
A bed-wettingly funny rant against both believers and non-believers of the World's religions by one of Britain's most hilarious satirist. It follows his own examination of his God-shaped hole that opened up following the death of his best friend. A scathing book that is both funny and thought-provoking. Recommended.

Tardisbound: Navigating the Universes of Dr Who by Piers D. Britton, I B Taurus, pbk, £15.99. ISBN 978-1-845-11925-6.
For Who buffs.

Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes by Deepak Chopra, Bantam Press, hrdbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-593-06810-6.
Using traditional mainstream beliefs, this writer offers new spiritual laws to transform your life. He argues that we need superheroes to help save ourselves and the planet. With superpowers, superheroes offer us a vision of a world that can change.

The Solar System by Marcus Chown, Faber, hrdbk, £20. ISBN 978-0-571-27771-1.
Marcus is an established science writer so this could be a good one for budding astronomers.

The Reason Why: The Miracle of Life on Earth by John Gribbin, Allen Lane, hrdbk, £20. ISBN 978-1-846-14327-4.
It is good to see this science writer is still producing books after all these decades. And yes, the author is a guy who likes his SF as much as his science (as he told us back in the early 1990s). With this latest offering he looks at how Earth, of all places, came to be a home for life that ended up in you reading this.

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris, Bantam Press, hrdbk, £20.00. ISBN 978-0-593-06486-3.
Many – be they religious or secular – think that science has nothing to say on the subject of human values and indeed some say that sciences failure here is a modern-day raison d'être for continuing with religion. However philosophy, neuroscience and maths do provide some answers. (The author holds a pair of dungarees in neuroscience and philosophy.) Richard Dawkins seems to like him.

British Science Fiction Film and Television: Critical Essays by Tobias Hochscerf, McFarland & Co, pbk, £29.99. ISBN 978-0-786-44621-6.
For artsy students.

How It Ends: From You to the Universe by Chris Impey, W. W. Norton, pbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-393-33998-7.
Not one for depressives, but probably a topic we should all get to know about. Good reading for a rainy day.

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean, Doubleday, pbk, £8.99. ISBN 978-055-277750-6.
Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? Why did the Japs kill Godzilla with missiles of cadmium (Cd, 48)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history? The Disappearing Spoon follows the periodic table throughout history. A must for chemists and Fortean folk.

Proust was a Neuroscientist by Joshua Lehrer, Canongate, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-1-847-67785-3.
How famous writers, painters and composers were ahead of neuroscience's understanding of the human mind's way of receiving and processing sensory information.

The God Species: How Humanity can Change the Earth by Mark Lyons, Fourth Estate, pbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-007-31342-6.
We need to move from mutually assured destruction to mutually assured survival.

Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Super Hero by Grant Morrison, Cape, hrdbk, £17.99. ISBN 978-0-224-08996-8.
Charts the history of superheros from Superman's beginning in 1938 – today.

Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s by Kim Newman, Bloomsbury, pbk, £30. ISBN 978-1-408-80503-9.
Despite the non-Brit word 'movies' in the title, this is actually an absolute must for any devotee of horror fantastic film: Newman is up there with the late John Brosnan when it comes to knowledge of fantastic films. This is not a straight reprint of his work of the same title some 20 years ago, but a completely revised, updated and extended edition to the extent that you should consider it a new work: he apparently has even re-assessed his earlier analyses given the passing of the decades. Recommended. +++ Also he has a vampire fiction out this season with Anno Dracula.

We Are Not Alone: Why We Have Already Found Extra-Terrestrial Life by Dirk Schulze-Makuch and David Darling, One World, pbk, £9.99. ISBN 978-1-851-68788-6.
Despite sounding as if this could be flaky, it is actually a very sober (and readable) exobiology analysis that not only looks at possibilities of life in the Solar System but also a hypothesis based on some of the space probe results back from Mars. This is the cheaper paperback edition of last year's hardback.

Who's That Girl? The Autobiography of Elisabeth Sladen by Elisabeth Sladen, Arum Press, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-1-845-13488-4.
The autobiography of the actress who first became famous for being the Tom Baker Dr Who assistant Sarah Jane and who currently has her own children's Who spin-off show, which means that she has also worked with the recent Tennant and Smith Doctors.

Eden by Tim Smit, Eden Project Books, trdpbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-1-905-81127-4.
Marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the amazing domed Eden botanical gardens that has seen around a million visitors a year, been used in Dr Who ('The Waters of Mars') and been an extraordinary music venue.

The Origin of Our Species by Chris Stringer, Allen Lane, hrdbk, £25. ISBN 978-1-846-14140-9.
Despite the unsubtle, almost to the point of disrespect, play on Darwin's iconic book title, this is actually just the book you'll want if you wish to learn about how we humans evolved as a species. (And we should all really have a biological understanding of our evolutionary origins, as well as of course where we are going even if only down to the pub.) Chris Stringer is the British Natural History Museum's expert on human evolution and has over the years produced some eminently readable texts, and very learned essays, and much other work on this topic.

The Man Who Invented the Daleks: The Strange World of Terry Nation by Alwyn Turner, hrdbk, £20. ISBN 978-1-845-13609-3.
Terry Nation's contribution to British television SF has been considerable. Not only did he invent the Daleks, he was the person behind Blakes 7 and The Survivors.

Fantasy Film: A Critical Introduction by James Walters, Berg, pbk, £17.99. ISBN 978-1-847-88308-7.
This is aimed at 'undergraduate students' studying those pretentious arts dungarees. But it does look at the genre and so may well be very good, or equally absolutely atrocious. Alas we do not know any more than that.

Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: The Book by Joss Whedon, Titan Books, pbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-1-848-56862-4.
Now some of you will no doubt remember this internet bit of fun back in 2008 from Joss Whedon (who was the person behind the quite separate and excellent Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series (not the film)). As a bit of fun it, and given who Joss Whedon was, this sing-along blog attracted some attention. It even won the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, but it is this sort of thing that actually gives the Hugo Award (for Science Fiction achievement) a bad name: fun may be but it was hardly SFnal excellence or 'achievement'.  Anyway, now we get the book, but hang on a mo… actually our records show that it came out last year in the autumn! This does rather suggest that the announcements in the book-selling press for a release this spring mean that Titan are trying to shift unsold stock… Come on Hugo voters. Do your thing and put Titan out of their misery. After all if you had not voted it an award they may not have printed so many copies…

Brian now has autographed copies of -- Essential Science Fiction: A Concise Guide by Jonathan Cowie & Tony Chester, Porcupine Books, £8.90, pbk, 272pp. ISBN 0-954-91490-2. E-mail Brian (follow the Porcupine Books link) first to check availability. Also Essential is now available from Amazon.   Jump to the new specific Amazon link earlier on (but it's cheaper from Porcupine). If you enjoy Concat then you can support us by getting this book either for yourself or a friend and there are postage discounts for getting more than one copy and a further discount is available if buying several for an SF group or SF class.

 

Our latest in-depth reviews of recent non-fiction SF and popular science books can be found linked from the whats new index.

In depth reviews of many science and SF non-fiction books can be found off the non-fiction reviews index.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

Forthcoming TV & Film Book Tie-ins

Primeval: Fire and Water, Titan Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-857-6803-1.

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi – Conviction by Aaron Allston, Century, hrdbk, £19. ISBN 978-1-846-05690-1.

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi – Allies by Christie Golden, Arrow Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-099-54275-9.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit – Siege by Karen Miller, Arrow Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-099-53323-8.

Dr Who: The Year of Intelligent Tigers by Kate Orman, BBC Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-849-90173-4.

Dr Who: Blue Box by Kate Orman, BBC Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-849-90180-2.

Dr Who: Unnatural History by Kate Orman & Jonathan Blum, BBC Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-849-90181-9.

Dr Who: The Gallifrey Chronicles by Lance Parkin, BBC Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-849-90176-5.

Dr Who: Trading Futures by Lance Parkin, BBC Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-849-90177-2.

Dr Who: Father Time, by Lance Parkin, BBC Books, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-849-90178-9.

On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers, Corvus, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-84887512-8.
Adventure that launched the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Star Wars: Holostar by Michael Reaves & Maya Bohnhoff, Arrow, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-099-54283-4.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

SELECTED RECENT DVD RELEASES

Age of the Dragons £15.99 from Metrodome.
Loosely inspired by the classic novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Age of the Dragons is set in a world where the mythical beasts are hunted down for fuel. As Captain Ahab (Danny Glover) and his crew scour the medieval realm for the precious bounty, it becomes clear Ahab's personal mission is one of dark vengeance…

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 19.99 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The latest Narnia film on DVD.

Doctor Who - Earth Story £29.99 from 2entertain Video.
This is a double DVD release to give us one Peter Davison, two part story, 'The Awakening' which is tightly plotted, and final 5th Doctor tale, and one William Hartnell, 1st Doctor, 4 part story, 'The Gunfighters' (arguably not the best Hartnell adventure but nonetheless welcome to see it on DVD).

Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 239.99 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Three adventures. First, 'The Seeds Of Death' with Patrick Troughton in an ice warrior tale. Second, Jon Pertwee's 'Carnival Of Monsters' with assistant Jo. Finally 'Resurrection Of The Daleks' with Peter Davidson, that has London Docklands, likely lad Rodney Bewes, and assistant Tegan's departure.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 £24.99 from Warner Home Video.
The first part of the final HP film. This two disc set has plenty of extras.

Skyline £19.99 from Momentum Pictures Home Entertainment
This film came out last year and is a hard SF alien-invasion-of-Earth tale vaguely reminiscent of Wells' War of the Worlds: humans are taken by the aliens. All in all a rather good romp if you ditch the poorly conceived last three-minute ending (which does tend to spoil it so try to ignore the final moments).

Hydra £9.99 from Scanbox Entertainment.
A former marine has been kidnapped with three ex-convists and taken to an island where they are hunted for sport. All well and good with this done-before theme, however the reason why the island is deserted and shunned by locals is that there is a monster there! Now both the human hunted and hunters become prey… This film (certificate 15) came out a couple of years ago. Run of the mill fare but OK if you are stuck in a wet weekend and want something undemanding.

The Last Lovecraft £12.99 from Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment.
This adventure comedy came out a couple of years ago and is OK (providing you know who Lovecraft was)… Jeff is just an ordinary bloke stuck in a dead-end job. But then he discovers he is the last living relative of famous horror novelist, HP Lovecraft, and finds he is entrusted with finding an ancient relic and saving the human race! With the help of his best friends – the comic book loving Charlie and Lovecraft super-nerd Paul – he sets out to save the world. What they do not know is that Lovecraft's monsters are very real!

Soylent Green £12.99 from Warner Home Video.
This is the latest DVD release of the dystopic environmental film loosely based on the classic Harry Harrison novel Make Room, Make Room (1966). You must have seen it? It stars Charlton Heston and also (the last appearance of) Edward G. Robinson. Heston is a detective in a future, overcrowded New York and Edward G. Robinson does the chasing down of records on his behalf. When a rich (he can occasionally afford real meat) director of the Soylent corporation is murdered in his home it smacks of a set-up job, but who did it and why? Harry (understandably) thought the film took some liberties with his book but the film is a great 1970s SF Hollywood experience and the opening credit sequence is brilliant as is Edward G. Robinson's character's death scene. If you have not got this in your DVD collection then now is the chance.

Star Trek: The Original Series Complete £99.99 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
All the classic Treks on 79 discs.

See also our film download tips.

To see what films we can expect in 2011, check out our forthcoming film diary.

To see our chart ratings for last year's films, nearly all of which are now available for DVD hire, then check out our most recent annual film top ten.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

R.I.P.

The Spring sadly saw us lose the following science and SF personalities:

Daniel Bell, the British sociologist, has died aged 91. He is most famous for coining the term 'post-industrial society'. Two of his more important works are: The End of Ideology which predicted a post-Marxist, post-conservative era, and The Coming of the Post-Industrial Society, in which he prophesied the shift from a manufacturing economy to one based on technology.

Baruch Blumberg, the US biomedical scientist, has died aged 85. His work included identifying the hepatitus B virus, showing how it causes liver disease. He shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1976. He also became NASA's first director of its Astrobiology Institute in Moffett Field ,California, US.

Peder Carlsson, the Swedish translator and fan, has died aged 65. Among those he translated were Philip K. Dick and Ursula K. Le Guin novels.

Nicholas Trofimovich Chadovich, the Belarusian SF & fantasy writer, has died after a long illness aged 62. He lived and worked in Minsk in the transport sector. His first sale was a short story 'Violator' (1983) for the newspaper Banner of the Young and was written in collaboration with Yuri Brayderom (who himself died in 2007). This was to mark the beginning of a long collaboration between these two writers under the joint name of Braydera Chadovicha. Together they wrote a number of juvenile novels and became recognised as leading Soviet writers of fantasy and SF for the young. Their early stories were, for the most part, humorous fiction or satires, and can be found in the collections The Settlement on the Edge of the Galaxy (1989) and Hell on Venus (1991). Amongst their most acclaimed work is the novel Perun's Arrows which won them a Dniester, the Moldovan Republic State Prize. But they are arguably best known for 'The Path' sequence of books that begins with The Gospel of Timothy (1991). Chadovich and Brayderom together wrote about a score of novels.

Nicholas Courtney, the British actor, has died aged 81. He is best known for playing Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in Dr Who: the show's longest serving human character. However, he first had a bit part in Dr Who (a William Hartnell adventure) as Space Security Agent Bret Vyon in 'The Daleks' Master Plan''. He first played stiff-upper lipped Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart in 'The Web Of Fear' (fighting the Yeti with Patrick Troughton as The Doctor) in 1968 but was quickly promoted to Brigadier in 'The Invasion' (cybermen) the following year (again with Troughton), and was a principal co-star throughout the Jon Pertwee years. He then appeared in an adventure with every other subsequent Doctor of the show's original run prior to its hiatus. His character was also referred to in the revived series. In 2008 a played a part, his last on TV for the Who-universe in the spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. His other genre TV appearances included The Champions, The Avengers, and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

April Rose Derleth, the US publisher, has died aged 56. She was the daughter of co-founder August Derleth who co-founded publishers Arkham House and she was responsible for running the company from 2002. Arkham House’s founding came about from the literary legacy of the late H. P. Lovecraft and is known for keeping older works in print. April sought to return the company to its original emphasis on classic weird fiction and horror.

Marjorie (Marge) Edwards, the long-standing British SF fan, has died aged 63. Based in Manchester, she had been in British fandom since the 1960s and was the wife of fellow Brit fan Tony Edwards: they were married in 1968. Both were active with the British SF community, Tony himself was on the committee of the 1968 and 1972 British Eastercons along with various members of the Manchester and District (MaD) SF society, and naturally Marge was there too helping out. She was also an active participant in the MaD society spin-off, the Delta SF Film Group's filmmaking; her most notable role involved falling into a large tub of (real) porridge in Castle of Terrors. When Tony, along with Harry Nadler of the MaD Society and others, established Manchester's Festival of Fantastic Films, Marge could be found behind the registration desk. Her daughter Kate also became a Fest regular. Marge was a Fest fixture right up to the latest Festival of Fantastic Films (2010) and will be missed by that convention's regulars as well as many longstanding Brit SF fans: there will be a decided gap at this year's festival. Our heartfelt condolences to Tony and Kate.

Bernd Eichinger, the German film producer and director, has died aged 61. His genre offerings among others included the first three Fantastic Four films and four of the Resident Evil films.

Mike Glicksohn, the Canadian SF fan, has died aged 64. He is known in the SF community for co-founding the Ontario Science Fiction Club (OSFiC) and for winning a Hugo with his first wife for their fanzine Energumen in 1973. The discussion he helped spark in Worldcon fandom ended up with the creation of the 'Best Semiprozine' category for the Hugo Award in 1982. Robert Sawyer named the entire human race 'Gliksins', as called by Neanderthals on a parallel Earth, in Mike's honour in the novel Hominids. Mike was diagnosed with cancer in 2005. He is greatly mourned for by Canadian and Worldcon fandom.

Ion Hobana, one of Romania's academic SF grandmasters (arguably Romania's greatest living SF academic) died of cancer in a Bucharest hospital aged 80. He was recognised as a major force in Romanian SF both before and after the 1990 revolution. Before 1990 as a writer attending Romania's national conventions and as a genre academic. As well as after 1990 at conventions and as an author of scholarly works. Not only this, he got publishers to translate many western European science fiction novels into Romanian and provided introductory editorials for these.  A number of us at SF2 Concatenation> had the privilege of meeting Ion at the 1996 and 2001 Eurocons and if you wanted to describe him in a single word then it would be as a gentleman. His is known in Romania for the quote: 'We owe a debt to the children of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow'. He will be much missed and long remembered by Romania's SF community as well as those of us outside of Romania in the European SF community who had the opportunity to meet him.

Brian Jacques, the British children's fantasy author, has died aged 71. His best known works were arguably the 21 novels of the Redwall series set in an abbey populated by animals. The books also became a TV series and there was even an opera based on them. They have been translated into 29 languages and sold 20m copies globally.

Diana Wynne Jones, the British fantasy author, has died aged 76. Her writing straddles that of former classic fantasy writers, such as E. Nesbit and C. S. Lewis, and modern writers. Indeed Lewis was one of her lecturers at Oxford, as was one J. R. R. Tolkien. Among her most popular creations is the Chrestomanci series (novels and short stories, 1977 onwards), in which a nine-lived enchanter operates across multiple realities as a civil servant in charge of preventing the abuse of magic; the series includes an odd (at the time) school story, Witch Week (1982), which today we can see has similarities to the subsequent Harry Potter stories. Referring to this in 2003 she said, "I think that she [J. K. Rowling] read my books as a young person and remembered lots of stuff; there are so many striking similarities." Her other novels include: The Ogre Downstairs (1974), The Time of the Ghost (1981) and Fire and Hemlock (1985). Her science fantasy novel Archer's Goon (1984), was nominated for the World Fantasy Award and also became a BBC series (1992). Her novel Howl's Moving Castle was adapted as a Japanese anime in 2004, by Hayao Miyazaki, and a dubbed release into English came out in 2005 with an early screening and highlight of the film programme at the 2005 Glasgow Worldcon cum Eurocon. Her non-fiction The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (1997) was nominated for both a Hugo Award for Nonfiction, and the; World Fantasy Award.

Ruth Kyle, the US fan, died early in January aged 81. Her extensive fanac included being secretary to the 1956 Worldcon. Her husband who survives her is Dave Kyle. The news escaped us last season but we picked it up courtesy of Ansible.

Christian Lambertsen, the US inventor of an early scuba unit, has died aged 93. His unit enabled carbon dioxide to be filtered (absorbed) and so enabled a divers air to be re-breathed. This reduced bubbles and so was of interest to the navy. The device never became commercial and in 1943 Jacques Cousteau invented the popular aqua lung. Lambertsen went on to investigate health conditions associated with diving and his expertise was used by NASA for astronauts.

John Mike Lounge, the US astronaut, has died aged 64. He flew on three shuttle missions between 1985 and 1990, including the first mission after the Challenger disaster on the Discovery shuttle. From 1989-1991, Lounge served as the Chief of the Space Station Support Office. After leaving NASA, he worked for SPACEHAB and in 2002 became Director of Space Shuttle and Space Station Program Development for Boeing.

W. J. Maryson (real name Wim Stolk), the Dutch fantasy author, has died aged 60. He is known in the Netherlands for De Heer van de Diepten that won the 2004 Elf Award, and in Anglophone countries for De Torens van Romander which was translated into English as The Towers of Romander.

Simon van der Meer, the Dutch physicist, has died aged 76. He co-shared the Nobel Prize for physics (with Carlo Rubbia) in 1984 for discovering the W and Z particles (that carry the weak force). This necessitated getting protons and anti-protons to collide. This work was undertaken at Europe's CERN.

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

INTERFACE: SCIENCE AND SCIENCE FICTION

First interactive e-graphic novel uses SF to teach science with Dinosaurs Across America. Dinosaurs Across America was a normal graphic novel that taught US school pupils about geography. And now, thanks to TWP Digital Solution -interactive digital book product by print management specialist Tien Wah Press (TWP) it comes to iPad screens as well as an e-book for PC. This interactive version has Patrick and his friends bring the reader on board a spaceship here one can read the first introductory pages and then into a special room where one can zoom in on details for each state, click on a puzzle map to place all the states where they belong and when clicking on each state, see the panel for that state as seen on the print version with Patrick and friends telling the reader some fun and important facts about it. There is also a timeline you can click to see when each state joined the union. Patrick and friends can be moved all around and played with by kids as they enjoy their experience either on the iPad or their PC. "We’re all pretty ignorant when it comes to geography; these comics have made it easy and fun for kids to learn the facts about all 50 states. Now the interactive version makes it even more engaging and engrossing," say the publishers.

SF author Neal Stephenson suggests that NASA ditch the rockets. The suggestion was made as part of a journal Nature feature (vol.472, p.27-29) on this year's man in space 50th anniversary. NASA should throw itself into radically cheaper ways of getting into space: a task that only it can do, and that would help to restore the lustre and esprit de corps of a legendary organisation. Alternative launch methods since the 1950s have included laser and microwave powered propulsion, orbital tethers, space elevators (hi ya Clarke), Verne guns, airplane assisted launch (hi ya Gerry Anderson UFO), and scramjets. None of these has taken hold, not because they are crazy (although some might be) but because NASA ploughed vast cold war spend into rockets giving them a lead unassailable by mere free enterprise. The current budget squeeze is an opportunity to eliminate many programmes that would normally be untouchable in normal economic times and then in the future NASA can rededicate itself to radical advances that half a century ago had the power to awe the World.

Space shuttle crew get Star Trek wake up call on it last mission. William (just 80) Shatner no less recorded a special variation of the classic Trek introduction for the crew of the space shuttle 'Discovery' at the start of one of the days on its final mission. "These have been the voyages of the space shuttle Discovery." This was 34 years after the Shuttle programme began with a spacecraft called Enterprise. The shuttle programme will come to an end later this year You can see the video clip of it here.

Star Trek tractor beam is possible. Using lasers can attract particles over a short distance. The trick is to use a special type of laser, a Bessel beam, that has a precise pattern of peaks and troughs in its intensity. A Bessel beam would create something like the ripples surrounding a pebble (the particle) dropped in a pond. What happens is this, as the atoms or molecules of the target absorb and re-radiate the incoming light, the fraction re-radiated forward along the beam direction can interfere and give the object a 'push' back toward the source. US physicist physicist Philip Marston proposed something analgous to this in 2006 using sound waves. This latest research comes from Chinese scientists.

German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg's has resigned as it came to light his PhD contained plagiarised sections. The once popular politician, 39-year-old baron had been considered by some to be a future chancellor. He submitted his resignation to Premiere Merkel after two weeks of front-page coverage as to the authenticity of his PhD thesis: one newspaper called him 'Baron Cut-and-Paste'. His (non-science) PhD was from the University of Bayreuth and on constitutional developments in the US and EU.

Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column in The Guardian has last season coverage that included:-
  - Lancaster University issuing a press release about a mobile phone app that purportedly distinguishes between callers being children or adults pretending to be children, but the university refuses to name or disclose the academic paper on which this app is based.
  - The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MRHA) has closed its consultation on how it should label homeopathy sugar pills. You may not think this is a difficult task, but politics makes it so.
  - Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's claims that his economic reforms of the National Health Service are based on evidence. Ben Goldacre says he is "not in favour of, or against, anything here: all health service administrative models bore me equally. But when Lansley says all the evidence supports his interventions, as he has done repeatedly, he is simply wrong. His wrongness is not a matter of opinion, it is a fact, and his pretence at data-driven neutrality is not just irritating, it's also hard to admire. There's no need to hide behind a cloak of scientific authority, murmuring the word 'evidence' into microphones. If your reforms are a matter of ideology, legacy, whim and faith, then, like many of your predecessors, you could simply say so, and leave 'evidence' to people who mean it."
  - on research how police drug/explosive sniffer dogs are not as effective as is thought due to dog handler interaction and placebo effect. They took 18 dog and handler teams. They ran a search, in one of four conditions: Sometimes there was nothing to find; sometimes an empty box with a sign on it telling the handler this was the target; sometimes there was a box of sausages; and sometimes there was a box of decoy sausages, with a sign on it, telling the handler this was the target. The dogs were to search and the handler to ignore the signs…
  - the lack of transparency at the European Medicines Agency and former staff becoming pharmaceutical consultants.
  - that UK government proposals to have cigarettes in plain packs will cut smoking is not based on empirical market studies as has been claimed by politicians.
The collected Goldacre 'Bad Science' articles up to last year are now available in book form. You can see all the examples of Goldacre's Bad Science for free at www.badscience.net.

 

 

[The other key sections within this seasonal newscast are: Major Headline Links |
News which contains: Major Science & SF News, People: Major SF Author, Science Writer and Artist News; Film News; SF Book Trade News; TV News; Eurocon/Worldcon News; Fandom & Other News; and Net Watch |
Last Season's Science News Summary including: General Science, Astronomy and Space and Natural Science |
Forthcoming Book Releases including: Science Fiction Forthcoming Fantasy & Horror Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction and Forthcoming TV & Film Tie-ins Book Releases | Selected Recent DVD Releases |
R.I.P | Interface: Science and SF | End Bits.]

Summer 2011

End Bits

 

More science and SF news will be summarised in our Autumnal 2011 upload in September
plus there will also be 'forthcoming' Autumn book releases, plus loads of stand-alone reviews.

Thanks for information, pointers and news for this seasonal page goes to: Bill Burns, Angel Carralero, Ahrvid Engholm, Antuza Genescu, Jun Miyazaki, Pam Page, Boris Sidyuk, and Sherry Yao Xue and not least the very many representatives of SF groups and professional companies' PR/marketing folk who sent in news. These last have their own ventures promoted on this page.   If you feel that your news, or SF news that interests you, should be here then you need to let us know (as we cannot report what we are not told). :-)

News for the next seasonal upload – that covers the Autumn 2011 period – needs to be in before the end of August 2011. News is especially sought concerns SF author news as well as that relating to national SF conventions: size, number of those attending, prizes and any special happenings.

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