I guess I was not paying attention because I had no idea they were re-booting Fantastic 4. If ever there was a superhero movie that needed re-booting this is it. Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m not a huge fan of the re-boots either but these are cool characters and they did such a crap job the first time around it made me sad. And I have to say I like what I’m seeing in this trailer. They’re obviously going for a little more realism and I like that they’re taking the origin story back to childhood to make a little more room for character development.
I don’t know anything about this young cast but I already like them better than the previous cast. Even, **gasp!** black Johnny Storm. You just know that’s going to ruffle more than a few feathers. Perhaps these guys can manage a little more drama and a little less camp than the last bunch.
What do you think? Ready to give the 4 another try after those horrid movies they gave us last time around?
Book Giveaway: Classical Traditions in Science Fiction Edited by Brett M. Rogers & Benjamin Eldon Stevens
It’s been some time since we last ran a book giveaway contest but we’re back now with a doozy. Instead of our typical fiction offering we’ve got something a little more highbrow for you this time: Classical Traditions in Science Fiction edited by Brett M. Rogers & Benjamin Eldon Stevens from Oxford University Press. CTSF is the first collection dedicated to the rich study of science fiction’s classical heritage, offering a much-needed mapping of its cultural and intellectual terrain. Told you it was highbrow.
We have 2 copies to give away: our first place winner will receive a hardcover copy, worth $89.10, and our second place winner will receive a paperback copy. As always, we’ve made it super easy to enter. All you have to do is re-tweet this tweet:
— Worlds Without End (@WWEnd) January 26, 2015
or comment here in the blog and you’re in – easy peasy. Do both and double your chances! We’ll have a random drawing and announce the winners next Monday so tweet away and don’t forget to tell your friends.
So now you know about the contest I’ll leave it for Brett and Ben to tell you about their book.
From its very beginning to its most recent moments, modern science fiction (SF) has looked back to Greek and Roman antiquity as a source of inspiration for ideas, images, and important questions. Classical Traditions in Science Fiction (CTSF) looks at some of the ways in which SF has looked to the future in part by looking back.
For example, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), arguably the starting point of SF, is subtitled “Or, The Modern Prometheus,” referring to the ancient myth of the Titan who stole fire, a symbol of technology, and gave it to humankind. The subsequent punishment of both Prometheus and humankind in the myth, like the consequences for creator and creature in Shelley’s haunting novel, suggests that our relationship to technology is a complicated one: even as we are awestruck by what we can do, we are asked to wonder how science and technology may affect our humanity. (Frankenstein is discussed at length in CTSF chapter two, while Prometheus is treated in the introduction, excerpted here, and in a related post on OUPblog.)
Likewise, nearly two hundred years later, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games Trilogy (2008-2010 as books, ongoing in films) asks how much we might give up so as to have access to technology of a different sort: in the pursuit of safety and security in society, are we sacrificing essential liberties? Collins invites us to ask this question by imagining a future version of the United States of America modeled on visions of ancient Imperial Rome, in which the ethically shallow excesses of a small libertine class are built on systems of oppressive, militaristic exploitation and control. Will our future thus resemble, in undesirable ways, the ancient past? (The Hunger Games are treated in CTSF chapter 13.)
In these two examples and many others, SF turns to ancient Greek and Roman mythology, literature, history, and art to raise questions about what it means to be human in an increasingly technoscientific world. At the deepest level, that connection matters because the methods by which we reconstruct the ancient past is much like how we speculate about the future: in both cases, we work to imagine a world in ways unlike our own… so as to see our own world, our present, more clearly.
We hope all of this is as fascinating to other readers of SF (and fantasy!) as it is for us. Check out the book, available now on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes; visit the book’s facebook page for excerpts, related events, and more; and attend our upcoming conference on “The Once and Future Antiquity,” March 27th-29th at the University of Puget Sound. We’re also very happy to answer questions and have conversations at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Our thanks to Brett and Ben and the folks at Oxford University Press for the opportunity to bring this exciting new work to our fans attention. Best of luck to everyone!
I’m guessing most of you have seen this already but in case you haven’t here it is. The Expanse, based on the series of the same name by James S. A. Corey (shared pen name for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) is coming to SyFy. See? If I had said HBO we’d all be juiced as hell! But since it’s SyFy we have to pause and consider first.
These are the people responsible for Sharknado (1,2 and 3), Sharktopus, Mansquito, Dinocroc vs. Supergator, Piranhaconda, Megapython vs. Gatoroid, Frankenfish, and oh so many more like them. I found a list of 206 SyFy movies on IMDB and never a one has ever earned more than a 5.6 out of 10 with most sitting in the 2-4 range. There’s a bit of damning evidence.
On the other hand they seem to fare a little better with their series. They made 2 Dune miniseries that were pretty decent on the whole, for the SyFy channel anyway, and there was of course Battlestar Galactica and that 12 Monkeys looks pretty decent so far and there are a number of semi-watchable shows in there like Warehouse 13 and some incarnations of Star Gate.
But always the caveat “for the SyFy channel” has to be appended to any sort of praise to set the bar low enough to be believable. Admit it. When I mentioned the Dune miniseries above you cringed a little bit but then the caveat hit and you relaxed. Your sudden burning urge to correct me dissipated.
So what can we expect from The Expanse? Well, as of now I’d say 10 episodes and hope that it will be pretty good, “for the SyFy channel”. Any more would be be nice but we’ve been down this road too many times before to hold out for too much. Still, I’ll watch because hey, sci-fi!
I’ll admit the trailer does look pretty snazzy. The ships look really cool and the interiors look to be varied and interesting. Lots of faces in there that I recognize and many that I have liked in other things – that bodes well. And the writers gave us Children of Men and Iron Man? And who doesn’t like the notion of a zero-g booty call? And the bit about paradise paved over? I like that too. Ah…. stupid hope, tempered as it is, has me by the beard again, I guess. I’d love for SyFy to prove me wrong and hit this one outta the park.
What do you think? Does the trailer do anything for you? Have you read The Expanse? Are you feeling more sanguine about the show than me?
So the internet is starting to buzz about Ridley Scott’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s 1963 Hugo Award winning The Man in the High Castle. I discovered it late last night in a deep internet dive and finished it off just now during my lunch break. I’m not sure how I missed that this was a thing, especially since it is produced by Ridley Scott, but I did and I thought maybe some folks around WWEnd might not be aware of it either.
The pilot episode is free to watch on Amazon Instant Video (US only apparently) and is part of their Pilot Season where you get to watch a number of pilots and cast your votes for the ones you would like to see made into full a season. The Man in the High Castle is by far the most interesting of the bunch, at least from a genre fan perspective, and it’s really really good – great story, very high production values and some really good acting – and you can’t argue with Rufus Sewell as the baddie. That dude is just creepy.
I would like to see much more of this show so do go over and check it out. You can also check out some clips over on The Wertzone to get a taste. If you like it be sure to take the survey on the Pilot Season page and be sure to spread the word. Let’s make this the one they pick! If you’ve seen it, let us know what you thing of it.
This seems a bit low-key (I purposefully passed on the opportunity to go with Lo-ki) for an Avengers movie trailer. I kinda miss the “BWAAAAA” action music we’ve come to expect/hate in these action trailers. The music in this one is actually a bit depressing. And I think I’d rather see Hulk and Giant Iron Man fighting together rather than each other too. Oh well, Marvel knows they’re getting my money anyway.
The 2014 Philip K. Dick Award nominees have been announced:
- Elysium, Jennifer Marie Brissett (Aqueduct Press)
- The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, Rod Duncan (Angry Robot)
- The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, Meg Elison (Sybaritic Press)
- Memory of Water, Emmi Itäranta (Harper Voyager)
- Maplecroft, Cherie Priest (Roc)
- Reach for Infinity, Jonathan Strahan ed. (Solaris)
First prize and any special citations will be announced on Friday, April 3, 2015 at Norwescon 38 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport, SeaTac, Washington.
Have you read any of these? What looks good to you on that list?
Everything in the universe is older than it seems. Blame Einstein for that. We see what a thing was when the light left it, and that was long ago. Nothing in the night sky is contemporary, not to us, not to one another. Ancient stars exploded into ruin before their sparkle ever caught our eyes; those glimpsed in glowing “nurseries” were crones before we witnessed their birth. Everything we marvel at is already gone.
Yet, light rays go out forever, so that everything grown old and decayed retains somewhere the appearance of its youth. The universe is full of ghosts.
But images are light, and light is energy, and energy is matter; and matter is real. So image and reality are the same thing, after all. Blame Einstein for that, as well.
So a few weeks ago we added 5 great new book lists to WWEnd and we’re finally getting around to telling you about them. The Defining SF Books of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s are lists by James Wallace Harris a friend of WWEnd and the creator of The Classics of Science Fiction list which is one of our most popular lists. No stranger to lists is he.
We found these lists some time ago on Jim’s Auxiliary Memory blog and we’ve been working with him the last few months to get all the books added to our site and build out the lists. (A special thanks to our Uber Users for the data entry!) Jim wrote up some great short intros to each of the lists and we’ve included links over to his blog so you can read the original articles where he explains his reasons and methodology for picking these books.
Each of these lists is representative of the best remembered books from the decade and each is divided into 2 sections. The first section is a selection of 12 books that might/could/should be remembered and read into the 22nd century. These are taken from the list proper and are the books that have influenced the genre for years. These are books with real staying power. You’ll recognize most of them as widely acknowledged genre classics and many of them come from the SF Masterworks series.
The second part of each list are books grouped by year published. These vary in length from year to year. Some years, like 1968, are particularly strong and have as many as 26 books while others, like 1978, fall a little short and have as few as 3 books total. As usual, if you’re a WWEnd member you can see at a glance just how many from each decade you’ve read and of course a lot of these are new to the site so you may find some books that you’ll need to tag as read or add to your reading list.
If you’re looking to read a sampling from each decade you can simply focus on the top 12 books from each list. Those 60 books alone are a good cross section of what the genre had to offer for those fifty years. If you want to read deeper into a specific decade these lists are a great place to find recommendations. In fact, one WWEnder has just started a Roll-Your-Own Reading Challenge based on the 50s list. Check out The Definitive 1950s SF Reading Challenge if you’re ready to dive into the first list. And, by the way, there are currently 31 other challenges to chose from too so you’re sure to find something to strike your fancy for 2015.
A huge thank you to Jim Harris for creating the lists and for his help in implementing them on WWEnd. We think you’re really going to like these new lists. Read on!
In case you’ve never seen it CoolVibe is indeed a cool site for genre fiction fans. From their about page:
Coolvibe is a site dedicated to showcasing the best and most inspirational digital art from around the web — be it science fiction, fantasy, retro, 3D, illustrations, vector art, and virtually everything else.
Case in point is this wicked cool Steampunk Iron Man by Mateusz Ozminski, an artist from Poland. The range of styles on CoolVibe is wide and eclectic so you’re sure to find something there that you’ll like. Check ’em out.
Welcome to another year of the Roll-Your-Own Reading Challenge! Last year’s RYO was nothing short of amazing and we have reason to believe that this year’s will be even better. Why? Well, it looks like we’ve got most everyone back from last year already and you guys and gals are already coming up with some great new challenge themes. And, of course, most of the crop of challenges from last year are back for another go ’round. And let’s not forget the handful of challenges that are continuing from last year as well. It’s never too late to join in those too.
But you all know us well enough to know that we’re not just going to run the same RYO over again without some improvements. Unfortunately we’re still wrapping up the new features – the flu season kicked our asses and we’re still trying to recover. But rest assured you’re going to like the new features when they come – and don’t worry about waiting for us to catch up. Join in the challenges that float your boat as you will. The new stuff will dovetail right in seamlessly and give you some new options to modify your challenge schedule down the line.
If you are a challenge host be sure to create a discussion thread for your challenge participants to congregate in. We had some pretty good threads last year with folks planning strategies, discussing books, finding recommendations and ultimately exercising their bragging rights to finished challenges.
We hope we can up the participation this year and there’s those new features mentioned above to add fuel to the fire. If this is your first chance to try the RYO there are lots of experienced folks around here to answer your questions and advise you. You’ll note right away the “gaming” that goes on with challenge participants hunting down those books that will meet requirements for multiple challenges. I seem to recall one WWEnder finding a single book that counted for 7 challenges! It’s great fun and allows you to dip into more challenges than you would think possible. We had several members who jumped into over a dozen different challenges last year and this year will be much the same. There are just so many compelling themes (30 so far!) to pick from, how can you choose just one?
Lastly, I want to take a minute to offer our sincerest thanks to everyone who participated last year and made it such a joy to organize, especially our Uber Users! In the last year they’ve entered over 5,000 books into the WWEnd database with the majority of those being user requested books for the RYO. They’re making the RYO work and we could not do this without them. Our hats are off! Thank you. So much enthusiasm and effort went into adding, reading and reviewing books that we were just blown away and we really appreciate the camaraderie and support everyone shared. It certainly has helped us build a better community here and we hope that we will just continue to grow and grow. There are some great people here and you might just find some new friends – even if they’re on the other side of the planet!
Thanks everyone and Read On!