Posted on December 4, 2021 Posted by John Scalzi 10 Comments
Colonel Snuggledorf on View From a Hotel Window, 12/4/21: Seattle
Jeff Baker on View From a Hotel Window, 12/4/21: Seattle
Laura W on View From a Hotel Window, 12/4/21: Seattle
A Potted History of Cyberpunk: Part 3
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Everything Wrong With Peter Jackson’s “The Fellowship Of The Ring” In 7 Minutes Or Less
Even The Fellowship Of The Ring is not safe!
SF Tidbits for 12/4/09
Published On: December 4, 2009
Interviews/ProfilesThe Agony Column interviews Zoran Zivkovic.The Agony Column has a recording of the SF in SF Panel Discussion with S. G. Browne, Jeff VanderMeer and Terry Bisson (podcast).Fantasy Magazine interviews Aidan Doyle.Grasping for the Wind interviews Natasha Bennett.Stomping on Yeti interviews Daniel Abraham.Booklife interviews Nathan Ballingrud.NewsFantasy Magazine needs interviewers.Google Settlement, Supplemental Notice.AbeBook's Most collectible books sold in November include a Continue Reading →
Thoughts on the Heroes Mid-Season Finale
Published On: December 4, 2007
Last night was the writers' strike-imposed mid-season finale of Heroes. And I have to say…meh. I still maintain that, overall, Heroes season 2 has sucked. There was one shining moments two weeks ago (with the episode "Cautionary Tales") where it looked like there might have been a turnaround since some moments recaptured all that was good about season one. But Continue Reading →
Tube Bits For 12/04/2007
Published On: December 4, 2007
The Mercury News reviews Tin Man and says it's 'more dour than dark, lacking the sense of humor and witty references to the original that are part of both versions of "Wicked.''' They also criticize the mis-casting of the actors. I'm not sure I necessarily agree. I'm not sure what they were expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised with Tin Continue Reading →
SF Tidbits for 12/4/11
Published On: December 4, 2011
NewsAudible.com names Daryl Gregory's Raising Stony Mayhall as their Best Zombie Book of the year. Cliffhanger Productions announces Shadowrun Online game, based on the popular RPG. [via DailyPop] ArticlesKarl Schroeder on The Deepening Paradox.Will McIntosh on Soft Apocalypse: My Book My Movie.Jamie Todd Rubin on Star Trek: Enterprise.David Moody on The Autumn artists - David Naughton-Shires.Josh Vogt reviews Death's Heretic Continue Reading →
Worst Book Reviews
Fatima Daas' (German-)Prize for Contemporary Literature in Translation-winning The Last One
Anti-Life by Vee Tat Lam
By: Aaron Heil
3 Dec 2021
There are gaps in all human relationships where information is withheld, and machines can fill them with inference—or with harder data from another source.
The Best of World SF, Volume 1, edited by Lavie Tidhar
By: Duncan Lawie
1 Dec 2021
The playing field, of course, is not yet level—but Tidhar’s selections for this book seem to offer a substantial case that the world has indeed changed.
Friday, December 03, 2021
By Bernard Cornwell
This is the 23rd entry in the Sharpe saga; a
series of historical fiction adventures by British writer Bernard Cornwell
centered on the character of Richard Sharpe. The inspiration for the books came
from C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower novels about a Royal Navy officer’s
career from midshipmen to Admiral of the Fleet during the time of the
Napoleonic Wars. Because he could not find a similar series for the British
Army, Cornwell decided to write it himself.
His novels and short stories chart the career of a young London orphan who enters
the army rather than go to jail. It begins in “Sharpe’s Tiger” with Sharpe a
private in the 33rd Regiment of Foot who is continually promoted
until he finally rises to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in “Sharpe’s Waterloo.” The books were
so popular as to inspire a British TV series which starred actor Sean Bean.
We are fairly certain Cornwell’s legion of readers will need
no coercion from this reviewer to pick up this new chapter in Sharpe’s
fantastic life. As this is our first exposure to the character, we trust our
thoughts will inspire other novices to the fold.
“Sharpe’s Assassin” begins only a few short days after the
historic battle of Waterloo
and Napoleon’s defeat. The French army is in tatters and fleeing south to Paris followed by the
victorious British and Prussian troops. When the Duke of Wellington learns of a
conspiracy among French officers to have him assassinated in retaliation for
the defeat, he assigns Sharpe to proceed to the capital and there ferret out
the assassins. Sharpe and his companions, junior officers under his command,
begrudgingly take on the mission though all of them sick and tired of war that
seems endless in their eyes.
Once in the City of Lights,
Sharpe eventually finds evidence of a French battalion under the command of a
skilled officer known as the Monster. From the reports he uncovers, this fellow
named Lanier may very well be his equal in military tactics and ferocity. With
days of the British Army’s arrival, Sharpe foils a plot to blow up the mansion
in which Wellington
and his staff are residing. Ultimately he confronts Lanier face to face and
confirms his opponent is a very real threat and their eventual conflict will
most likely leave one of them dead.
Writer Cornwell’s genius is terrific depiction of combat
scenes. His knowledge of period weaponry is perfect and his ability to pull the
reader into the action itself is masterful. By the books final battle sequence,
we found ourselves cheering Sharpe and his men as they rally under his banner
for one final, glorious victory. “Sharpe’s Assassin” is delight to anyone who
appreciated good historical adventures. It made us wish we’d met Richard Sharpe
a whole lot sooner.
Posted by Ron Fortier at 5:46 AM 0
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◄ Dec 2021 ►
Editorial Matters - December 2021 by Gayle Surrette
FUTURES Exhibit at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building
A Better Way of Saying by Sarah Pinsker
1637: No Peace Beyond the Line (Ring of Fire) by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon
In Fury Born by David Weber
Knot of Shadows (Penric & Desdemona) by Lois McMaster Bujold
Professor Charlatan Bardot's Travel Anthology to the Most (Fictional) Haunted Buildings in the Weird, Wild World edited by Charlatan Bardot & Eric J Guignard
The Stowaway by James S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth
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Saturday, November 20, 2021
Audio Series: Four Eyes
Our audio series ”The Authors Read. We Listen.” was originally hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It’s a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.
Today, Alisha Bashaw joins us and reads an excerpt from her new book Four Eyes: A Memoir of a Millennial Caregiver. Alisha is is a writer, musical theater enthusiast, and an equine and mental health therapist. While in graduate school across the country from her family in 2012,her parents suffered illnesses that took Alisha back and forth between duty and desire, mystery and the known, and pursuit of her own identity and caregiving for family. She began the long stint of learning to let go of the things she held dearest while completing grad school and eventually moving home to help care for her folks. After a five-year battle with death, Alisha’s parents passed, and Alisha began to learn how to live life as a young adult orphan.With a front row seat to her parents’ declines, and a battle between guilt and individuation of her own, Alisha sought meaning for herself and her parents through the healing world of organ donation. She sees life as a story, and couldn’t get through hers without playing and singing music, hanging with her beloved cat, Olive, and reveling in the immense power of kindness. She fully embraces the belief that “I don’t know” is a complete answer, and that love and mystery prevail. She resides in Aurora, Colorado.
Listen to Alisha read an excerpt from her book below:
TNBBC · Four Eyes Reading
What it’s about:
Can Alisha find balance between self-sacrifice and individuation, or will she watch herself slowly fade away in the process? Eight months into graduate school in a new city, Alisha’s mom suffered a heart attack on her dad’s 60th birthday, rerouting her entire life and demanding that she catapult into full adulthood. Four Eyes: A Memoir of a Millennial Caregiver chronicles the story of Alisha’s struggle to find meaning in the seemingly pointless repeated defeats of her parents’ chronic illnesses that orphaned her in her early 30s. Assuming a caregiving role for her parents in addition to pursuing her own developing life path, Alisha struggles through old maps of thinking where guilt and shame reigned until others were pleased, and she was utterly exhausted. Her witty journey to make sense of it all takes her straight into battle with the crippling grief and powerful darkness that threaten to take over entirely. And to win, she must let go of all she once knew, and follow the unknown into the world of organ donation, deep resiliency, and answerless faith. Sometimes the answer is ”I don’t know.”
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UNBROKEN BONDS is the fictional tale of four teenage girls who develop a lifelong bond of friendship while they are incarcerated in the Frances Weston Home for Unwed mothers; a place where it is expected the girls surrender their newborns to sealed adoptions. The guilt, shame and secrecy of their shared history is the shaky foundation on which they rebuild their lives once they’re released from the home. As they navigate adulthood during the turbulent 1960s in the Deep South,the sisterhood between them is their strength, sanity and soft place to land. The four women support each other as they all, in their unique way, find the life she makes for herself. When tragedy strikes, they
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The students in the literature class come to believe that above all, for a book to be great, to be revered by their teachers and society, and to be worthy of the term "Literature" it must have a clear and undeniable message that can be identified through the hunting of symbols and literary allusions. In short, a book has to be about something, the more profound the better. Because of this, the student gets the idea that the way fiction writers create their stories is by beginning with a profound idea and then inserting clues by way of symbols and sly secret messages into a story so there will be no mistake as to what exactly that big idea is and why it's important. With this stilted view, fiction writing becomes a mechanical process. Start with the big idea, and then round up some characters and scenery in order to serve as a vehicle for it.
The results of this process are very often deadly boring. Because the emphasis is put on the logistics of engendering the big idea, the characters are afterthoughts; thin, pale creations to be bullied about by an author so that they will do what's necessary to serve the conveyance of meaning. Likewise, the world of the story, the setting of the characters' lives, must adhere to the same controlling demands. Characters become slaves who are put through their paces in a world that lacks all verisimilitude since it lacks the element of chance or surprise, and the writer becomes a puppet master. There might be a big idea at play, but the fiction, due to the writer's desire for control will be lifeless.
Fiction writing isn't about getting up on your soap box and lecturing the world about the way things should be. Fiction writing is first and foremost about describing experience. If you want to relay a big idea to readers, write an essay. If you want to write fiction, concentrate on what happens next. The secret to writing effective fiction is not to exert more control as you might want to in driving a car, but instead to exert less control, to take your hands off the wheel and let the characters and their stories lead you. It is to see the characters clearly in the imagination, sense their personalities, desires, motivations, and to simply follow them and record what they do and what they experience in their world. Only in this way can the writer experience a sense of discovery and convey that sense of discovery, surprise, immediacy, to the reader.
The better a writer's craft becomes, the more adept the writer becomes in rendering her vision, what she sees the character doing or experiencing in her imagination. The less conscious, overt control a writer brings to bear on the characters, the more there is a chance for the chaotic, errant power of the imagination to imbue the story. And this is where fiction can become truly profound. Exerting less control, the writer allows a kind of "subconscious wisdom" to infiltrate the story. I put the term in quotes because I don't really have words to adequately describe the phenomenon. The writer may not even be conscious of the fact while writing, but it is through this type of process that real symbolism and a true coherence can enter the fiction. The process is not mechanical but organic. The writer's efforts are in service to the story, not the other way around.
Finding the perfect words to nail the description of a place or character cavorting in the imagination, is, for an author, as profound as it gets. Releasing conscious control of characters and letting them guide you through their world is profound. Discovering what happens next in the story instead of dictating it is profound. If all these things are at play in a writer's fiction, the reader's experience of the story will be profound, and after reading, when analyzing the work, investigating what is at its heart there will be for each different reader an idiosyncratically profound experience.
Now I would be disingenuous if I were to t
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The Wide World of Photography: Past, Present and Future
Cclapcenter.com is no longer available here. Please visit〓facebook.com/CCLaPCenter〓instead.
Photography: Youngest Son of the Visual Arts
Of all the major artistic media, only photography appeared relatively late in the course of human history.
While people have been writing, painting, and composing music for thousands of years, they have only been taking photographs since 1826. In that year, French scientist Joseph Niépce snapped the world’s first photo (entitled ‘View from the Window at Le Gras’) at his country estate.
This website is created and run by photography enthusiasts for photography enthusiasts. Conveniently broken up into easily digestible sections, it offers a range of written and visual material on the exciting world of photography.
Two Centuries in Photos
It’s hard to believe, but cameras and photography are still less than 200 years old. In the 195 years since the camera’s invention, however, numerous men and women have achieved immortality by mastering the novel art form.
This website offers a range of excellent photo galleries highlighting masterpieces by history’s greatest shutterbugs. Photographers featured in the gallery section include Ansel Adams (1902-1984), Henri Cartier Bresson (1908-2004) and Walker Evans (1903-1975), among many others.
But while this website is keen to pay tribute to celebrated photographers of the last two centuries, it does not dwell entirely in the past. Instead, this site also covers contemporary photographers and the cutting-edge photo technology they are using these days.
What’s more, by becoming a regular visitor to this site, amateur photographers can obtain helpful advice from their professional counterparts, from the best times of day for taking still photos to the most suitable schools to attend for a career in the field.
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GoodGamers.us, a no-ads (except Google AdSense) gaming review site that claims to be mostly free of political ideologies and does not pay its staff.
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Over the past few years, revenues from advertising have dropped off, while at the same time postal costs have risen significantly. As a result, our cash reserves were depleted until expenses began to come out of pocket. Unfortunately, we are now at a point where we cannot afford to continue this. Nevertheless, we will maintain the web site and the server, and we will continue to post material as it comes our way -- just not as twice-monthly issues, as we have done in the past.
With the lack of interest in posting, the discussion forum has been closed.
In Memoriam: 2015
a memorial by Steven H Silver
Science fiction fans have always had a respect and understanding for the history of the genre. Unfortunately, science fiction has achieved such an age that each year sees our ranks diminished. Deaths in 2015 included Alice K. Turner, Leonard Nimoy, Tanith Lee, Jon Arfstrom, George Clayton Johnson, Suzette Haden Elgin, Sir Terry Pratchett, Christopher Lee and Peter Dickinson.
The Blood Red City by Justin Richards
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This is the second novel in the author’s Never War sequence, and as might be expected, picks up almost where the first book ended. Ambitiously, the action aliens and Nazis sprawl across the USA, Germany, the Greek island of Crete, occupied France, Stalin’s Russia, and good old Blighty. Once again it’s a hell-for-leather scramble between those loyal to the Third Reich or the Allies, with the alien Vril following their own agenda and playing both sides against the middle.
By Force of Arms by William C. Dietz
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
In the latest volume in the Legion of the Damned series, Booly comes back from the brink of what could have been disgrace as a hero to his men who risked their lives for freedom. Now Naa Commandos are set to protect him, yet assassins come to try and take over their encampment. The author fleshes out the characters and their lives, their doubts, loves and hopes. Booly’s rescue mission to get back Maylo gives us an idea of what kind of man he is, and what others think about him.
The Dark Arts of Blood by Freda Warrington
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
This story is separated into two parts with several smaller chapters that create an epic feel about it. These vampires seem more sophisticated than, say, the ones from a Stephen King novel. Their settings are bourgeois in their development and the characters never lose their edge. While the previous three novels have set the scene and developed the characters, this, the latest in the series, has a twist in the tale of which Sandra is very fond ever since reading Roald Dahl’s deliciously disturbing stories.
Of Bone and Thunder by Chris Evans
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Every day the men of Red Shield have to face the Collective as they need to keep the Kingdom enemy free in Luitox. Here while they play the waiting game for their enemy to approach, we hear the war from several viewpoints during the story and many of the accounts aren’t what the Kingdom’s rulers might expect. The men are tired, hurt, stressed-out and at times bored out of their brains, and who can blame them? Their enemy is sneaky, dangerous and worthy of being feared as they never show themselves if they can help it, and they aren’t the sort of enemy who fights en masse.
The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This is the tale the last Hand; five people with supra-natural abilities, keeping the Law and Lore in an alternate Dickensian London. The Oversight was established to police and maintain the borders between the world of men and the darkly magical Sluagh. For many years an uneasy balance was achieved, mostly by mutual adherence to the rules that govern what is permitted from both sides. Then came the Disaster.
A Conversation With Rick Riordan
An interview with Steven H Silver
On merging Greek and Egyptian mythology:
” It wasn’t too difficult [to merge Greek and Egyptian mythology] because historically the Greeks and the Egyptians were
09-18-15: A 2015 Interview with William T. Vollman
08-31-15: A 2015 Interview with Susan Casey