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Worlds Without End Blog

Grand Master Reading Challenge October Review Winner: Glenn Hough Posted at 10:34 AM by Dave Post

Dave Post

Grand Master Reading ChallengeGlenn HoughThe October GMRC Review Poll is now closed and our winner is Glenn Hough (galleyangel) for his review of Joe Haldeman’s The Accidental Time Machine. Congrats to Glenn! In case you missed it, Glenn recently launched a new blog series for us called SF Manga 101 that you should check out. We’ll post number two in the next few days.

For his efforts, Glenn will receive a GMRC T-shirt, a button and a set of commemorative WWEnd Hugo Award bookmarks as well as his choice of book from the WWEnd bookshelf. All runners-up will be getting a button and a set of bookmarks.

So far our 170 participants have logged 662 books read and have posted 205 reviews which is a big jump from last month. It looks like folks are really trying to catch-up. I managed to get a few books read last month myself. Thanks to everyone for your participation and best of luck completing your challenge!  The end is near!

GMRC Review: The Listeners by James E. Gunn Posted at 3:56 PM by Val


WWEnd Grand Master Reading ChallengeGuest Blogger and WWEnd member, valashain, reviews science fiction and fantasy books on his blog Val’s Random Comments which we featured in a previous post: Five SF/F Book Blogs Worth Reading. Val has posted many great reviews to WWEnd and this is his tenth for the GMRC. Be sure to visit his site and let him know you found him here.

The ListenersI haven’t been very adventurous in my reading for the Damon Knight Grand Master reading challenge. Seven of the ten books I’ve read so far have been by authors I have read other works of, while two others were acknowledged science fiction classics. For the eleventh read I decided to pick a book by someone I knew very little of. James Gunn doesn’t have as long a bibliography as some of his contemporaries and quite a lot is short fiction. He made quite an impact on the genre nevertheless. Besides writing, Gunn is a noted critic and teacher as well as the director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The Listeners (1972) is a fix-up novel, various parts of it appeared in Galaxy Magazine and Fantasy and Science Fiction between 1968 and 1972. It is probably his best known novel, but apparently not one instantly recognized as a masterwork. Gunn missed out on all awards and nominations save one for the Campbell award in 1973. There have been a whole bunch of editions of this book with different forewords, introductions and afterwords. The copy I’ve read is a 2004 edition which features an introduction by H. Paul Shuch, an American physicist heavily involved with SETI, a foreword by Thomas Pierson, founder of the SETI Institute, and and afterword by the late Freeman J. Dyson, British-American mathematician and physicist. I guess this book is still well loved in scientific circles.

In 2028, the SETI’s search for extraterrestrial life is still ongoing without ever having picked up a single signal that indicates intelligent life. Director Robert McDonald, a staunch believer in the project, is facing ever more difficulties keeping SETI funded. McDonald himself is beginning to wonder if the project is worth the personal sacrifices he has to make. Then, a signal is received that is unmistakably of alien origin. A broadcast is received from a the direction of the star Capella, 45 light years distant. It changes everything. The project, the world, our place in the universe. Humanity is about to enter into a conversation with a ninety year time lag.

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Forays into Fantasy: C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Posted at 1:51 PM by Scott Lazerus

Scott Laz

Scott Lazerus is a Professor of Economics at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado, and has been a science fiction fan since the 1970s. The Forays into Fantasy series is an exploration of the various threads of fantastic literature that have led to the wide variety of fantasy found today, from the perspective of an SF fan newly exploring the fantasy landscape. FiF will examine some of the most interesting landmark books of the past, along with a few of today’s most acclaimed fantasies, building up an understanding of the connections between fantasy’s origins, its touchstones, and its many strands of influence.

The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeBetween them, J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis have been credited with reinventing and reinvigorating fantasy literature for the second half of the twentieth century, both creatively and, ultimately, commercially. Amazingly, the two writers most influential on modern fantasy were both professors of medieval language and literature at Oxford University, as well as being good friends, during the period in which they wrote, respectively, The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. Both were members of an informal reading and writing group known as the Inklings, where they discussed their works in progress and their ideas about fantasy. The two were also bound by the shared experience of fighting in the trenches of World War I, and by their devotion to Christianity. In 1931, Tolkien was among those who helped convert the atheist Lewis, though Lewis did not embrace Tolkien’s Catholicism. The religious background of an author is not something that will come up often in my survey of fantasy, but in this case it is relevant to an understanding of Lewis’s work, nearly all of which is related to his religious ideas in some way.

Given their many affinities, then, it may come as a surprise that Tolkien expressed strong dislike for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950), and the six subsequent Narnia volumes. Yet comparing it to Tolkien’s work may explain why. Tolkien, after all, is heralded as the master of what has come to be known as world-building, spending years inventing the languages, history, and geography of Middle Earth prior to writing The Lord of the Rings. This world building is probably the most influential aspect of his work, its popularity creating a large readership that would subsequently be accustomed to accepting secondary world fantasies—stories set in imagined lands with no necessary connection to ours—as a genre in itself. Fans demanded more of it, leading to the fantasy publishing boom that began after the paperback publication of The Lord of the Rings in the late ‘60s.

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GMRC Review: The Day After Tomorrow by Robert A. Heinlein Posted at 10:52 AM by Carl V. Anderson

Carl V.

WWEnd Grand Master Reading ChallengeOn his blog Stainless Steel Droppings blogger Carl V. Anderson reviews SF/F books and movies, conducts author interviews and even hosts his own reading challenge: The 2012 Science Fiction Experience. This is Carl’s fifth GMRC review to feature in our blog.

The Day After Tomorrow

6 Men–against 400,000,000

So the dramatic language of the back cover states, a battle against impossible odds, “the adventures of a handful of soldiers of the future, fighting to save America from a deadly invasion”.

Major Ardmore has just arrived at the secret location of a small scientific enclave as the news is broken that the United States has been summarily defeated by a combined Japanese/Chinese force referred to in this undisclosed future as the PanAsians. In an effort to stay protected from the spread of communism in Russia the United States had spent decades essentially ignoring the world outside its borders only to see Europe fall and the red menace coalesce the Asian and Indian continents into a juggernaut of world power. The PanAsians look upon the Americans as a lower species and with superior forces occupy and enslave the American people, creating a system in which the citizens of the United States are by and large an impotent and cowed populace.

Ardmore arrives to find that this group of scientists has discovered, through an accident of testing, a weapon that may provide the key to the return of freedom to the nation. That is, if Major Ardmore can marshal this 6-person team into a strategic force to infiltrate and reclaim America.

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World War Z Movie Trailer: These Zombies are Fast but Brad Pitt is Faster Posted at 8:17 AM by Dave Post

Dave Post

Seems like there has been a lot of negative talk about this film. I suppose anytime you have re-shoots and revisions and you miss your opening date you’re going to get a lot of haters but the trailer looks pretty cool. The zombies are OMG fast and they swarm over each other like ants which is really terrifying to think about. I mean, damn! I’ve been ready for the slow zombie apocalypse for years but I doubt my preparations are enough to handle that!

What do you think?  Have you read World War Z by Max Brooks?  Does the trailer look like the book at all?  It’s been tagged as read 39 times and has garnered a sold 4 star average from 24 ratings here on WWEnd.  Are you concerned that Hollywood has screwed the pooch again?

SF Manga 101: An Introduction Posted at 4:38 PM by Glenn Hough


Glenn Hough (gallyangel) is a nonpracticing futurist, an anime and manga otaku, and is almost obsessive about finishing several of the lists tracked on WWEnd. This is the first of Glenn’s new series on SF Manga where he’ll provide an overview of the medium and the place of science fiction in it.

Hi.  How are you?  Welcome.  Glad to see you.  Welcome.  Please, sit anywhere.  Splendid.  Splendid.

A bit ago one of our fearless leaders at WWEnd asked me if I’d like to do a blog concerning SF Manga.  I guess he rather liked the short summaries I’d been doing over in the forum section, so why not expand things a bit for a blog?  Sure, why not.

My hope is that as we all get more familiar with SF Manga that some of you will will soon have a copy of Nausicaa next to your copy of Dune.  Or on your shelf will be The Demolished Man, next to Dying Inside, next to Akira.  Or even, on the shelf next to that 1st Pantasia Press hardcover of Neuromancer (you lucky sod) will be a first run flipped and censored edition of Ghost in the Shell, followed by a second run unfliped uncensored edition of Ghost in the Shell.  And hopefully each and every title I’ll be blogging about will gain a few more fans from my humble efforts.

But first I think we need an intro to help lay out the landscape we’re going to be traversing together.  This is the common starting point, just in case someone is coming to all of this totally cold as I’m sure some of you are.

Manga is the Japanese word for comic book or comic strip.  It’s used in America to denote comics specifically from Japan.  It also denotes an artistic style.  There is a very different visual style between Japanese and American comics.

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The National Space Society of North Texas (NSS-NT) Posted at 8:26 PM by Ken Ruffin


Tired of waiting months – or years – to hear about the next exciting space mission?  Did the August 2012 media coverage of Curiosity make you curious, then leave you with a feeling that could be called Space Withdrawal Sickness?  Are you now thinking of telling someone that you have SWS?  Well, if you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the National Space Society of North Texas (NSS-NT) just might be the place for you.

WWEnd has invited NSS-NT to post a new space article each month on the blog, and here we are with our first post.  All of WWEnd’s space enthusiasts can rest assured that NSS-NT is keeping apprised of the latest and greatest news in space travel and space development. NSS-NT is the Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area – and beyond – chapter of the National Space Society (NSS).  Both the Chapter and the HQ are celebrating 25th anniversaries in 2012.  We are here to stay.

So, Mr. Space Guy, nothing has happened in space recently, except the MSL/Curiosity landing on Mars in August and the SpaceX Mission in October, right?  WRONG!  At this moment, NASA has dozens of active missions studying the Sun, four of our solar system’s planets, our Moon, a variety of space telescopes, and Expedition 33 aboard the International Space Station (ISS).  Also, there are other NASA Missions currently en route to our solar system’s largest planet, to the largest asteroid, to a famously-demoted former planet and its neighbors, and two other NASA missions en route to being the first of humankind’s creations to leave our solar system.  I won’t even mention all the successful completed missions!

What do you mean, dozens of Missions? The only space news I’ve seen all year has been the Curiosity landing, two SpaceX missions, and shuttles going to museums!  The news media covers what is believed to be of interest to the majority of the public.  However, NSS-NT presents what matters to “space enthusiasts”. There is a great deal of current space news, and there is much more to come.

Want, or need, more info?  Go to, contact, and of course check here for the next monthly post. Also, on the second Sunday of each month in the DFW metro area, NSS-NT has a presentation of new information from NASA, commercial spaceflight (including SpaceX), NSS, and/or related organizations, and visitor admission is free. Our November meeting speaker is a former NASA engineer! Thanks for your attention, and we look forward to hearing from you.


The Hobbit Official Soundtrack – Radagast the Brown Posted at 7:34 AM by Charles Dee Mitchell


The first musical score for The Hobbit has been released: “Radagast the Brown” composed by Howard Shore.

2012 World Fantasy Award Winner Posted at 6:11 PM by Dave Post

Dave Post

Osama The 2012 World Fantasy Award winners were announced tonight at the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto, Canada. The winner for best novel is:

  • Osama, Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)

The other nominees in the novel category were:

See the complete list of winners in all categories.

Congrats to Lavie Tidhar for the win! Osama was also nominated for the 2011 BSFA and the 2012 Campbell awards. What do you think of the result? Were you expecting it to go to one of the other noms? Among Others had to be the favorite after bringing home the Hugo, Nebula and BFS.


WWEnd Grand Master Reading Challenge: October Review Poll Posted at 11:57 AM by Dave Post

Dave Post

Grand Master Reading ChallengeWe featured 5 GMRC reviews in the blog for October and it’s time to cast your vote for the best.

You don’t have to be a GMRC participant to vote and the poll will remain open until November 15th so you have plenty of time to read the ones you missed.

Winner gets the following:

  • GMRC T-shirt – your choice of colors so long as it’s black
  • GMRC button – you can never have too much flair
  • Set of WWEnd Hugo Award bookmarks guaranteed to hold your place in any paper book.
  • Book of your choice from the WWEnd bookshelf – winner gets a list of titles to pick from
  • Everlasting Glory – So you’ll have that goin’ for ya. Which is nice.

Runners up will get a GMRC button and a set of bookmarks. Thanks to all our reviewers and good luck!