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Worlds Without End Blog

WWEnd Update: Novel Ratings Avatars Posted at 9:59 AM by Dave Post

Dave Post

We’ve just updated the novel page to display member avatars in the novel rating. Click “+ Member Rating” to see all the members who read and/or rated the novel. You can click on the avatars to go to that member’s profile to see what other books they liked etc.

Ender’s Game has gotten a lot of reads as you might expect. Check it out.

Ender’s Sequel (for real, this time) Posted at 9:28 PM by Rico Simpkins

icowrich

Ender in ExileYeah, Orson Scott Card has written plenty of follow-up books to his 1985 classic, Ender’s Game.  None of them, however, satisfied the reader’s question about what happened next.  The events of Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide happen thousands of years later, Ender’s Shadow was a retelling of the original novel, and Shadow of the Hegemon jumps back to the 22nd, century, but nowhere near the events of the Formics war.  Then there were all those prequel short stories, and then….well, you get the point.

Orson is a tease.

Well, it seems he has finally taken pity on us.  Finally, Mr. Card aims to satisfy with a direct sequel to Ender’s Game, depicting Ender as a teenager, unable to return to Earth.  This novel promises to fill in the gaps between Enders Game and Speaker for the Dead, and presumably results in Ender deciding to board the interstellar ship that push him forward in time.  Look for this book to get a nomination or two.  You can find a press release here.

 

The Anne Rice book you won’t want to read? Posted at 7:43 PM by Rico Simpkins

icowrich

Anne RiceBritish Fantasy, Locus, and World Fantasy Award nominee, Anne Rice, is one of the most commercially successful authors in the WWEnd database.  Why, then, would her next book not qualify to win any SF awards?  Well, for starters, it isn’t a novel, and it isn’t SF (speculative fiction, for those not geeky enough to already know).

That isn’t why her fans are up in arms, however.  This is:  The book pretty much explains why she will never write another Anne Rice vampire thriller again.

Yes, that’s right, Anne is out  of the Goth business (has been for a while, too).  The Detroit Metro Times reviews her latest, entitled Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession.  The autobiographical treatise details her (re)conversion to Catholicism and her abandonment of all things goth.

Personally, I think Catholicism is plenty goth, and vampyric tales are usually best told with heavy doses of the highly ritualized religion, which happens to be my own.  Nevertheless, I’m sure plenty of WWEnd readers have opinions on this.  Religion and goth horror… do they mix?

A Game of Thrones on HBO Posted at 5:49 PM by Dave Post

Dave Post

This looks promising!  According to /film, HBO has given the go ahead to produce a pilot for George R.R. Martin‘s A Game of Thrones series.  There are a several things that excite me about this:

- I read the first 3 books of this series and found them to be quite good.  I got distracted with other stuff and never got back to finish out the series so if they do make it I can finally see how it all turns out.

- The plan is to make each book in the series into an entire season!  That is brilliant!  I hate when a book, or indeed a series of books, gets condensed into a movie or miniseries.  You lose so much detail!  The council of Rivendell scene in The Lord of the Rings movies is a prime example.  They can tell the whole story and they won’t have to make the kind of cuts that inevitably kill character development and back story.

- After watching half an episode of Legend of the Seeker I’m primed for somebody to make a good fantasy series and HBO has made some excellent shows.  Rome anyone?

- Since it is HBO you can bet they will pull no punches.  There is some serious violence and gratuitous sex in Martin’s world and we’ll get to see it all as only HBO can deliver.  Uh…. Rome anyone?

What do you guys think?  Can HBO pull this off?

Happy Birthday, Mr. Gaiman Posted at 9:14 PM by Rico Simpkins

icowrich

Neil GaimanThe man who gave us American Gods, Stardust, and Anansi Boys has, in return, been given another year of life. There’s a nice new birthday tribute to the man on FindingDulcinea. One of his books nabbed two wins and six nominationaccording toour Book Trakr, leaving us to wonder which he has more… nominations or birthdays?

Reply to this post in the forum.

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Benedict fans rejoice! Posted at 9:46 AM by Rico Simpkins

icowrich

The second Alex Benedict novel was nominated for Nebula Award, and the third one won the damn thing (it also picked a Campbell nom, to boot).

Now, author Jack McDevitt has penned a fourth novel highlighting the unusually talented space-travelling antiquities dealer:  The Devil’s Eye, published by Ace and on the shelves as of last Tuesday.  I wonder how many nominations this book will receive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reducing the Miraculous to the Mundane (with apologies to Joan Didion) Posted at 6:50 PM by Rico Simpkins

icowrich

Whether or not our SF authors intend to be futurists, we often look to them to answer the perennial question: what’s next?  It may be true, as Arthur C Clarke maintained, that a “suffiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.  That is precisely why some, like Geoff Ryman, want no part of the stuff.  After all, if science can do anything, where’s the challenge in prediction?

To this end, Ryman (as he elaborates in last week’s interview with NebulaAwards.com) wants to ban the following tropes from modern science fiction:

• No FTL, no wormholes, warps etc as magic wands around that
• No Very Fast travel without time dilation
• No time travel
• No parallel universes based on quantum uncertainty
• No telepathy
• No aliens

We at Worlds Without End [okay, some of us...okay, maybe it's just me] couldn’t agree more.  That is why we will be adding Mundane SF to our list of sub-genre tags.  Please look up any award winning book that you think qualifies as Mundane and tag it (I just added Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge).

 

Liz Williams on your iPhone? Posted at 4:59 PM by Rico Simpkins

icowrich

Liz WilliamsLiz Williams , has been making her mark on the WWEnd awards list, with nominations for the British Science Fiction, British Fantasy, and Arthur C Clarke awards, plus three noms for the Phillip K Dick award. It’s only a matter of time before she starts winning them. We’re pulling for you, Liz.

How does a gothic novelist pull down nominations for science fiction awards? Ms. Williams combines goth and science in unusual ways, setting her characters on the surface of Mars in Banner of Souls, the fictional worlds with names like Nehm in Darkland or “the planet of Latent Emanation (where does she pick these names?) in The Poison Master.

Now, Liz is mixing the old with the new again by making digital books available online. Her publisher, Baen Books has just launched webscription.net, a new ebook commerce site that is compatible with the Kindle and iPhone platforms, where they are highlighting three Liz Williams books, Snake Agent, The Demon and the City, and Precious Dragon.

 

Science Fiction is Now Posted at 7:00 PM by Rico Simpkins

icowrich

In so many ways, classic science fiction authors predicted technologies that are in everyday use now. Think Star Trek communicators and everyday cellular flip phones.

The most recent example of sci-fi becoming sci-fa(ct) is already out. In Vernor Vinge’s latest, Rainbows End, children are depicted playing their videogames not in their living rooms in front of the television, but outside.  I work for a co-op dedicated to getting people (especially children) outside, so you can imagine how delighted I was at the prospect of technology that actually takes you outdoors.  The technology in this book, however, might leave a parent wistful for the antiquated yet charming x-box days.

The tech works like this: Everyone (well, not everyone, but everyone who is anyone) in Vinge’s world views their surroundings with enhanced vision.  A virtual layer is superimposed on the world with a contact lens display screen.  Forget CRTs being replaced by LCD.  There is no need for a computer screen because displays now live under your eyelid.  Sound far fetched?  It’s being done.

The contact lens, however, is just another interface.  As amazing as this technology seems to us, it will be taken for granted in short order.  The real technology power will be in the hands of programmers.  Vinge predicts whole virtual worlds that will be experienced not in dimly lit apartments (a la Nueromancer), but in the light of day.  The students of fictional Fairmont High (at least the ones who actually show up to class rather than attend virtually, which they can do) run outside to recess and play games outside and layer virtual worlds over real objects to create adventure.  Would you like to do that now?

You can.  The guys at Groundspeak have been developing an interactive gaming system called WhereIGo with a functionality that harkens back to Zork.  Garmin’s latest handheld GPS, the Colorado, is the first GPS device capable of running this program, although can also use a GPS enabled palm unit.  So, think back to when you played Zork in 1980.  For those of you who weren’t around (or perhaps were around but weren’t quite the geek I was) in 1980, Zork was text based game.  You start out in a room with several doors.  You navigate the game by inputting simple commands like “exit left doorway” or “open treasure chest”.  Even later games like Doom or Quake were merely graphically enhanced versions of Zork.  WhereIGo makes the great outdoors your virtual world by using a GPS interface like the Colorado.  Instead of inputting those kludgy sentences (like Zork) or using a joystick (like today’s games), you input your virtual actions by actually moving around in the world.  I am currently working on adapting these games for REI.  Soon, you will be able to play these games at local stores (you already can at the Seattle and Portland locations).  Here’s what a WhereIGo enable Colorado looks like:

So, here’s an example.  A programmer goes to a local park and starts to input data.  The big oak tree in the middle of the park can be anything in the game.  When you go to that tree, something will happen in the game.  Perhaps there is a street sign that can provide a clue that you might need in the game.  The only way to continue playing would be to go get that clue.  Since the Colorado is a GPS, the game knows where in the game you are.

Games like WhereIGo are in their primitive stage, at the moment, but give the programmers some time, and they will create a rich world that can easily be ported through something like those contact lens displays.

That virtual world is coming fast.