Science Fiction News & Recent Science Review for the Autumn 2010

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.]

Autumn 2010

STAFF MATTERS

The Summer has been a long one for us. It began with Sci-Fi London at which Jonathan joined with SF author Tony Ballantyne, scriptwriter and media lecturer Philip Palmer, and microbiologist Simon Park to run a one-day workshop on SF film plotting and science coherence around the theme of 'Life in 2050'. Then Dan and he went along to Sci-Fi London's fun pub quiz and Jonathan lost his glasses. (Many thanks to the fan who handed it in and the SFL organisers who got them back.)
          In mid-summer, Graham, Simon & Elaine and Jonathan headed south for a long-weekend in Bedfordshire. Some weeks later, all the afore, together with Alan and Dan, met up again when our Antuza visited from Romania with partner Laurentiu. In addition to this being an excuse for a Concatenation party in the East Midlands, our Romanian guests had a Parliamentary visit (including tea with an MP) and also an inspection of the proposed UK 2014 Worldcon venue.
          But the big events took place at the summer's end with the New Zealand national convention and Worldcon in Australia.   Nick jumped the gun with an early holiday in Australia. Sadly circumstance meant that Tony had to drop out of going to the Worldcon, as did one of our reviewers (Sue G) who had wanted to go but due to house-hunting pressures could not make a return trip to New Zealand where she previously had had a year out. A couple of us were going to go but the con-organising portents were not encouraging. However Jonathan did make both New Zealand and Australia and managed to squeeze in the conventions between science and Parliamentary work in both countries. On the genre front he gave a talk (exobiology) and was on a panel (futurology) at New Zealand's national convention, and then in Australia he was on five panels (21st century demographics, medical bioethics, science limits, and two on climate change) at the Worldcon.
          We all hope for a decidedly more sedate autumn.

Concatenation staff 2010
A rare gathering of a number of the team this summer.
(Simon Geikie & Elaine Sparkes, Antuza Genescu, Graham & Donna Connor,
Jonathan Cowie, Laurentiu Demetrovivi, Dan Heidel and Alan Boakes.)

Elsewhere this issue (vol 20 (5) Autumn 2010) not mentioned above we have:-
          - An article on German Science Fiction up to 1945
          - and book reviews
          (See the What's New page)

Concat Site Alert Closure Reminder. We will keep our currently signed-up readers informed for a little while longer (possibly even a few years) but will be not adding new e-mail addresses to our private contact list. We now have had a regular publishing schedule (see bottom of linked page) for the past few years so you should know when we have new stuff up, and besides we also now post (low down on the front home page) a short, big-font message about the current and next posting.   While we send out a three-figure worth of e-mail alerts each time, we currently get a five-figure a month number of unique visitors downloading a six-figure worth of pages and so the 'site alert' service represents barely one percent of our visitors. Dropping the alert service is one less thing for us to keep secure and to do.

 

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.]

Autumn 2010

MAJOR HEADLINE LINKS

This season's science and SF prizes included: Australia's Ditmar Awards and other prizes, Britain's Clarke SF Award and Carnegie Medal, Canada's Solaris Prize, Germany's Kurd Lasswitz Preis, Finland's Tähtivaeltaja Award, France's Pépin, Japan's Seiun ('Nebula') Awards, New Zealand's Julius Vogel Awards, USA's Nebula and Eisner Awards, and finally there were this year's Hugo Awards (of which, yes, once again Concatenation's spring season's news was rather predictive).

Book news – Includes : write a novel for Terry Pratchett, the Tarzan is back, much e-book news as their sales grow, and the British SF imprint Angry Robot moves plus Harper combines its Australian and US imprints with its British Voyager SF/F imprint.

Film news – Includes: that of the Planet of the Apes franchise, all change for the forthcoming Hobbit films, the Alien franchise develops, and there may be a Quantum Leap film.

Television news – Includes: It Crowd and Sherlock get great viewing figures, Lost has a 15 minute post-series epilogue, the forthcoming zombie series Walking Dead gets much hype, and the BBC is to launch a brand new SF series Outcasts and well as a new series of Torchwood. Finally we have spoilers for the final series of Smallville.

News of SF and science personalities includes, among many, that of: scientist John Beddington and genre personalities Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen both of whom turn 90, Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice, Robert Sawyer and Norman Spinrad.

News of last season's SF events includes that of: Britain's Sci-Fi London, Sweden's Condense, Germany's Elstercon, the US ComicCon and DragonCon, New Zealand's Au Contraire and the 2010 SF Worldcon.

Major forthcoming SF events include: Britain's Festival of Fantastic Films, Sci-Fi London's OktoberFest, Novacon and the London bid for the 2014 Worldcon; the 2011 Eurocon in Sweden; and the 2011 US Worldcon.

Our short video clip links section this season includes, among others, links to: a promotional video for the 2014 London Worldcon bid, two Ray Bradbury video clips, two clips about this year's two The First Men in the Moon films, and trailers for the forthcoming films The Invasion of the Not Quite Dead and Resident Evil 4: Afterlife. – See the section here.

Notable SF books due out in the run up to December 2010 include: Ian Banks' Surface Detail, Adrien Bell's Reapers Are Angels, Gary Gibson's Empire of Light, Stephen Jones' edited anthology Zombie Apocalypse, Ian McDonald's The Dervish House, David Moody's Autumn, the paperback release of Hannu Rajaniemi's The Quantum Thief, Robert Rankin's The Amazing Japanese Devil Fish Girl, and a leather-bound H. G. Wells Classic Collection.

Notable fantasy due out in the run up to December 2010 include: James Herbert's Ash, a surprising e-book debut from Adrian James The Graveyard of Berenwek, Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars, Naomi Novik's The Tongues of the Serpents, and Geroge R. Romero's The Living Dead.

The Summer saw us sadly lose many SF and science personalities. These included: scientists Dax Copp, Martin Gardner, Cecil Ingold and Stephen Schneider, as well as SF personalities John Birchby, Everett F. Bleiler, Stepen Gilbert, Marina Holroyd, Frank K. Kelly, Jeanne Robinson and Joy Sanderson.

 

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.]

Autumn 2010

NEWS

MAJOR SCIENCE & SF NEWS

The 2010 Hugo Awards were announced at Aussiecon. Aussiecon 4 received a record number of nominations for the 2010 Hugo Awards: 864, up from 799 nomination ballots at Anticipation in 2009 and 483 at Denvention 3 in 2008. A shortlist from these was compiled and voted on by those attending the 2010 Worldcon. The principal category wins were:-
          Best Novel: TIE: The City & The City by China Miéville, and The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
          Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form: Moon, screenplay by Nathan Parker; Story and Direction by Duncan Jones
          Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form: Doctor Who 'The Waters of Mars' written by Russell T. Davies & Phil Ford
Other category win information can be found at thehugoawards.org.
Comment. Well it was an odd year. First off, the 'Best Novel' was a tie which itself is unusual. China Miéville's The City & The City win would not have been entirely unexpected to Concatenation regulars as we previously cited it as one of the best SF novels of 2009. We also cited Moon as one of the best films of 2009, but this is less remarkable as we cited 4 of the 5 Hugo nominees in this category as best films of 2009. In short, we continue to be on form.   Of course we still remain absolutely astounded that Lat Den Ratte Komma In [Let The Right One In] did not get nominated for the short list. Come on folks, we had already included it in best SF films of 2009 back in January and said that it had won many (56 awards to date) at fantastic film fests in many countries, as well as some more mainstream awards, and has been nominated for 16 more! Perhaps we should have mentioned that one of its awards was garnered at Cannes. So not to make the Hugo short list does arguably say something about Worldcon Hugo voters' genre cinematic literacy… Make of that what you will, but you might want to check out our book and film recommendations of 2010 this coming January (2011) in our Spring edition.

This year's Arthur C. Clarke SF Award for best British novel has been awarded to The City and the City by China Mieville. The award (not to be confused with the Arthur Clarke Awards for space exploration) was presented at the Sci-Fi London film fest. We cited this novel back in January as one of the best SF novels of 2009. Then at Easter The City and the City won a British SF Association Award for 'Best Novel' and subsequently it won the Hugo (see previous item above).

The 2010 Nebula Awards have been presented by the SF Writers of America for 2009 works. The principal category wins were:-
          Novel: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
          Novella: The Women of Nell by Kage Baker
The Ray Bradbury Award for best film was presented at the same time and went to District 9 (which of course back in January we rated as one of the best films of 2009).
Full details of all the category winners over at Locus.

Germany's Kurd Lasswitz Preis will be awarded at Elstercon 2010 in Leipzig. The principal category wins are:-
          Best Novel: Ein König für Deutschland, [A King for Germany] by Andreas Eschbach
          Best Foreign Work: The Android’s Dream [Androidenträume] by John Scalzi
          Best Translation: Ulrich Blumenbach, for the translation of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest [Unendlicher Spaß]
Kurd Lasswitz (1848-1910) of whom the German SF excellence awards are named, was a philosopher, historian of science, and SF writer. He kind of holds the same regard in Germany as H. G. Wells does in the British Isles. The awards were established in 1981. NOTE: This is Anreas Eschbach's sixth win, though still has a little way to catch up Wolfgang Jeschke's 11 wins.

France's Pépin ultra-short story competition results for 2010 have been presented:-
          Pépin d’Or [Gold Pepin]: 'Conte de Fées' ['Fairytale'] by Armelle Renoult
          Pépin d’Argent [Silver Pepin] and Prix du Jury: 'Proportionnelle' ['Prportional'] by Pascal Seyer
          Pépin de Bronze [Bronze Pepin]: 'Dicton Post-Apocalyptique' ['Post-Apocalyptic Conversation'] by David Osmay
The Pépin was created by Galaxies editor Pierre Gevart, the same Pierre who has also twice organised the French natcon. (More background here.)

The 2010 Carnegie medal for 'the most outstanding book for children' has gone to genre writer Neil Gaiman for The Graveyard BooK. The Carnegie is Britain's most prestigious children's book award. The Graveyard Book also won the 2009 Newbery Medal, from the American Library Association, and is the first book to win both prizes. (Of course last year The Graveyard Book won the Hugo for 'Best Novel'.) +++ More Neil Gaiman news below.

The 2010 Tähtivaeltaja Award (for science fiction published in Finnish) went to Vellum by Hal Duncan. The award is determined by a jury.

The 2010 Eisner Awards (the premiere US comics awards) were presented at the San Diego Comic-Con in the Ballroom at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The principal category wins were:-
          Best Short Story: 'Urgent Request' by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim, in The Eternal Smile (First Second)
          Best Single Issue (or One-Shot): Captain America #601 'Red, White, and Blue-Blood' by Ed Brubaker and Gene Colan (Marvel)
          Best Continuing Series: The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard (Image) (TV series news below.)
          Best Limited Series or Story Arc: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)
          Best New Series: Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image)
In addition the following deserve a mention for getting multiple Eisner wins: graphic novelist David Mazzucchelli (best recently known for Asterios Polyp) got wins in the Best Graphic Album–New award as well as Best Writer/Artist and Best Lettering categories; manga creator Yoshihiro Tatsumi for A Drifting Life and who got wins in the categories for 'Best Reality-Based Work' and 'Best U.S. Edition of International Material–Asia'); artist Jill Thompson for Beasts of Burden who garnered 'Best Publication for Teens' and 'Best Painter'; artist J. H. Williams III for Detective Comics who received 'Best Penciller/Inker', and 'Best Cover Artist' category wins; and writer/artist team Eric Shanower and Skottie Young for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz who got the aforementioned 'Best Limited Series or Story Arc' win as well as one in the 'Best Publication for Kids' category. For complete Eisner details see: wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Eisner_Awards.

Japan's 2010 Seiun ('Nebula') Awards have been presented. The principal category wins were:-
          Best Novel: Guin Saga series by Kaoru Kurimoto (published in N. America by Vertical)
          Best Translated Novel: The Last Colony by John Salsa
          Best Translated Short Story: 'Dark Integers' by Greg Egan (which in Britain appeared in Egan's collection Oceanic)
          Best Graphic Novel: Pluto by Naoki Urasawa, Osamu Tezuka, Takashi Nagasaki and Makoto Tezuka (published in N. America by Viz Media)
          Best Artist: Naoyuki Kato (for the third year in a row)
          Special Prize: the Late Takumi Shibano.
Full details are available on Wikipedia. 'Seiun' is the Japanese word for 'nebula'. The award is voted on by the delegates to Japan's natcon.

New Zealand's Julius Vogel Awards for 2010 were announced at the NZ national convention Au Contraire in Wellington. The category wins were:-
          Best Novel: Beyond The Wall Of Time by Russell Kirkpatrick
          Best Juvenile Novel: Brainjack by Brian Falkner
          Best Novella / Novellete: Wives by Paul Haines
          Best Short Story: (TIE) 'Corrigan’s Exchange' by Ripley Patton and 'The Living Dead Boy' by Grant Stone
          Best Collected Work: Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand edited by Mark Pirie and Tim Jones
          Best Artwork: 'The Test' by Serena Kearns
          Best Dramatic Presentation: Under The Mountain
          Best Professional Publication: Semaphore Magazine edited by Marie Hodgkinson
          Best New Talent: Simon Petrie
          Best Fan Writing: Simon Litten for SJV Watch and SFFANZ Reviews
          Best Fan Production: Coals to Newcastle (Short Film) by Yvonne Harrison
          Fan Publication: (TIE) Phoenixine edited by John & Lynelle Howell, and Time Space Visualiser edited by Adam McGechen
          Services to Fandom: David Lee Smith, the founder of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club
          Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Philip Mann
The Julius Vogel Award is given to citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand and is voted on by members of the New Zealand National Convention (including this year overseas attendees). The awards are administered by SFFANZ (the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand).

The Ditmar Awards were presented at Dudcon – the Australian national convention – within the Aussiecon 4 Worldcon. The category wins were:-
          Best Novel: Slights by Kaaron Warren
          Best Novella or Novelette: 'Wives' by Paul Haines
          Best Short Story: 'Seventeen' by Cat Sparks
          Best Collected Work: Slice Of Life by Paul Haines
          Best Artwork: Cover art of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #42 by Lewis Morley
          Best Fan Writer: Robert Hood for Undead Backbrain
          Best Fan Artist: Dick Jenssen for body of work
          Best Fan Publication in Any Medium: Steam Engine Time edited by Bruce Gillespie and Janine Stinson
          Best Achievement: Gillian Polack et al for the Southern Gothic banquet at Conflux
          Best New Talent: Peter M. Ball
The Ditmars are voted on by those attending the Australian national convention. This year because the Australian national convention (Dudcon) was held within the Worldcon, it was possible to spend all the nominal Dudcon registration fee on the awards and for the first time pins for the nominees. Indeed there was enough money for pins to be produced for all past Ditmar nominees.   Of note, the Canadian author Peter Watts, was present in his capacity as Dudcon GoH to present some of the awards

Other Australian awards were presented as part of the Australian national convention (Dudcon) within the Australian Worldcon. Namely:
          The Norma K. Hemming Award went to The Gene Thieves by Maria Quinn
          The A. Bertram Chandler Award went to Damien Broderick
          The Peter McNamara Award went to Janine Webb
          William Atheling Jr Award went to The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms,by Helen Merrick
The Norma K. Hemming Award is given for excellence in the exploration of race, gender, class and sexuality. This was the first time this award has been presented. The A. Bertram Chandler Award is given for outstanding achievement in Australian SF. The Peter McNamara Award is given to an Australian SF professional. The William Atheling Jr. Award is relates to criticism and reviews.

Canada's 2010 Solaris prize for the best SF/Fantasy short story in French has been won by Michèle Laframboise for her story 'Monarque des Glaces' ['Monarch of the Ice']. With the prize she picks up a cheque for Can$1,000 (£500) and her story was published in Solaris 175. This is the second time she has won the prize: the first being in 2006 with 'Le Vol de l’abeille' [''The Flight of the Bee']. The Solaris Prize is decided upon by a three-person jury. Michèle lives in Mississauga , Ontario. She has previously won other prizes including the Prix Cécile-Gagnon in 2001 for her first novel, the juvenile fantasy, Les Nuages de Poenix [The Clouds of Phoenix].

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World is re-invented. A series of novels for teenage readers called 'Return to the Lost World' features one Luke Challenger and is written by Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore.

New Zealand has new SF/horror writers Association – SpecFicNZ. SpecFicNZ was launched at Au Contraire the NZ NatCon. Among the services it will provide members there will be a regular newsletter. The new organization's logo was the result of a competition that was won by Glynis Jolly of Crossville, Tennessee, US. It is simple, marbled sphere with SpecFicNZ across it and against a night sky backdrop. SpecFicNZ's seven goals are:-
          1) to cultivate a supportive, connected community of speculative fiction writers, editors and publishers in New Zealand.
          2) to provide accurate, current and helpful information to that community. (Primarily through its newsletter and website)
          3) to spur members on to greater levels of craftsmanship and professionalism.
          4) to raise the public and publishable profile of the speculative fiction genre in New Zealand.
          5) to support existing markets and publishers of New Zealand speculative fiction and see more established.
          6) to foster fair and ethical practices in the speculative fiction industry.
          7) to treat its members like the valuable creative resources they are.
SpecFicNZ also sponsors an annual New Zealand Spec Fic Blogging Week which is taking place just as we post this autumnal news page on September 13-19th 2010.

This year's Eurocon Awards were presented at Eurocon in Poland. Alas, as we post this seasonal news bulletin three weeks after the event, neither the convention nor the European SF Society (under whose auspices the awards are conducted) have press-released or posted the results. However we understand from messages sent us that Stephen Baxter picked up an award as did a new, but leading Romanian SF website. Hopefully we will know more for our Spring edition.

2000AD's monthly Judge Dredd Megazine celebrated its 300th issue with a three issue run of larger page count. While 2000AD has been going since 1977, its companion, the Judge Dredd Megazine was launched in September 1990, which means its now 20 years old. This coming of age was marked back in July with issue no. 300 and the first of three increased page count monthly issues, alas (understandably) accompanied by a 20% increase of cover price to £5.99. (Will it go back down when the increased page count run ends?) Part of the celebration included a sequel to the classic Dredd 'America' saga together with Judge action in Brit Cit (Armitage), Hondo-City (Hondo-City Justice) and a Judge Anderson strip (no wishful thinking here please).
          Meanwhile the weekly 2000AD has marked it 1,700th issue. New thrills. New look. Same old Tharg.
          Also out late in the summer from the 2000AD stable was the collected early 1980s Stainless Steel Rat strip graphic novel: yes, this is the comic strip version of the character from the classic Harry Harrison novels. Splundig.
+++ Carlos Ezequerra news below.

SFX one of Britain's leading monthly SF magazines has published its 200th issue. This is quite an achievement given the tough market, and so congratulations are most certainly in order.

H.G. Wells inspired a £1,000 story competition for under-25s (linked with September's Wells Festival in Kent), which at first had no entries owing to two strict requirements: handwritten submissions and no horrid science fiction. 'Last year there were plenty of entries because the competition was open to writers of all ages and stories could include science fiction, depicting ghastly invasions of our everyday lives by all sorts of nameless horrors,' complained contest setter Reg Turnill (94). He subsequently dropped the unpopular conditions and extended the 20 July deadline… This news is nicked from the very peruse-worthy Ansible.

France has a national SF writing competition: ECO –FICTION Entries must be on the theme of sustainable development in the 21st century. Genre : Science Fiction. Size : 10,000 characters max ( including spaces ). Submission deadline: October 15, 2010 at midnight. Genre: Science Fiction. Length : 10,000 characters max ( including spaces ). End Date: 15th October 2010 at midnight. Further information is available at http://www.jceannecy.org.

Sci-Fi Wire has changed its name to Blastr and a has new URL blastr.com. SCI FI Wire launched in 1997 as a news site for Sci-Fi Channel focussing mainly on TV sci-fi but also carried some film SF news. The re-branding idea is that the site is 'blasting out interesting stuff'.

 

[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.]

Autumn 2010

PEOPLE: MAJOR SF & SCIENCE AUTHOR AND ARTIST NEWS

J. G. Ballard has had his archive acquired by the British Library. The archive consists of 15 boxes of notebooks and letters. It was acquired under the Acceptance in Lieu scheme and as such satisfies some £350,000 tax. The British Library expect to have sorted it all out ready for public access by the summer 2011. J. G. Ballard died last summer.

Iain Banks reminder that 'Surface Detail', his new 'Culture'' novel (an excerpt of which was read out at the British Odyssey 2010 Eastercon cum ESFS Euroconference), is due out in October and the paperback in February. +++ Ian will be GoH at this year's Novacon.

Prof. John Beddington, the British Government's Chief Scientific Advisor (the scientist who works with the Science Minister and who has direct access to the Prime Minister), has been knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. He was formerly the Head of Environmental Sciences and Technology at Imperial College, London. He has championed likely mid-21st century that have long worried environmental scientists and came up with the sound bite for this with the term 'perfect storm'.

Gregory Benford and his brother have a paper on ET communication. See the story in the science and SF interface section below.

Kit Berry has sold four novels of his formerly self-published, juvenile fantasy series for a six-figure sum. The first out is the Magus of Stonewylde. The series concerns an isolated, idyllic Dorset community ruled by a magus.

Ray Bradbury turned 90 in August. A belated very many happy returns from all of us at Concatenation mission control. +++ The BBC marked the occasion with a run of 5 Ray Bradbury short stories broadcast on BBC Radio 7. The stories were: 'Golden Apples of the Sun & The One Who Waits', 'Tomorrow's Child' , 'All Summer in a Day & The Fog Horn ', 'A Sound of Thunder ', and 'Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed'. These are also collected in the Ray Bradbury Stories vols 1 & 2. +++ See previous news on Bradbury's hybrid birthday last year. +++ See homage video links below.

Brian Clemens, the TV screenwriter, has received an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. His most famous creation has been the British TV series The Avengers.

Dave Clements the British SF fan and professional astronomical researcher, appeared on BBC Radio 4's Material World programme discussing imaging the deep universe. (Dave of course may be familiar to Concatenation's more devoted regulars as he previously provided us with an article on the hidden history of the Universe.)

Justin Cronin had an interview in the British newspaper Metro as part of his third novel but first genre novel, The Passage: his first two were mundane fiction. The Passage has sold well in the US and attracted film details – Ridley Scott is in the frame – reportedly earning Cronin £3 million to date. A vampire novel, it concerns a vampire plague caused by the hunt for a biomedical treatment to lengthen lifespan. The story focuses on post-apocalyptic survivors on a quest to find how to create a cure. In the interview he revealed that it was a decade-long struggle to become a writer and that you need to write every day.

Carlos Ezequerra is recovering from major surgery. You may recall that earlier this year he had to duck out of being Guest of Honour at the Odyssey 2010 UK national convention cum ESFS Euroconference. Carlos is perhaps best know for his artwork in 2000AD (see earlier). Our very best wishes for a full recovery.

Neil Gaiman returned to the British Isles for a visit back in June and appeared on BBC Radio 4's The Museum of Curiosity along with scientist and fiction writer and neuroscientist David Eagleman (whose 'Futures' story is here). Neil argued that comics were a major literary form and that he was fortunate to have done comics in the mid-1980s, which was a bit of a golden age with people like Alan Moore and Frank Miller. He also revealed that in addition to having 1.48 million followers on Twitter, he is into bee keeping – he has six hives – and that it was originally an idea that got out of hand. "Everybody should have a hobby that could kill them." +++ In the Independent (British newspaper) he revealed that his next novel was to have a vampire, but that given that there has recently been a glut of vampire books and films he has decided against it. +++ Neil also won the Carnegie (see earlier).

Guy Haley (former SFX co-editor and White Dwarf and Death Ray magazine editor) has been signed by Angry Robot for his first novels: two books in his Richards and Klein series. The series will be published in autumn 2011 in both the UK and USA. The deal includes worldwide physical and e-book rights. In 'Reality 36', readers are introduced to investigators Richards and Klein – the Holmes and Watson of the 22nd Century. Except that Richards is a highly advanced artificial intelligence, and Klein his German ex-military cyborg partner. Their first case takes them into the renegade digital realm known as 'Reality 36' and through the Great Firewall of China in search of a missing Artificial Intelligence Rights activist.

Charlaine Harris will be in Australia shortly after this season's news is posted. On 27th September 7pm she will be at the Federation Ballroom, Hotel Grand Chancellor. On 30th September 6.30pm she will be at the Hyatt Regency Perth. At both venues she will be giving a talk as well as signing books.

Ray Harryhausen turned 90 earlier in the summer and marked his milestone year by donating his models of monster to the National media Museum in Bradford. Also donated is his collection of models by other model makers including that of Willis O'Brien who is best known for King Kong.

James Herbert, the horror writer, has received an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. His books include The Secret of Crickley Hall, Nobody True, Once…, and Others…. . His novel The Fog was famously adapted to the big screen and the book itself has recently been reprinted by Pan. His latest book out is Ash from Macmillan.

Adrian James, who is well known on Britain's fantastic film circuit, has written his first fiction. James has, of course, already written much non-fiction on horror and cult film. This debut novel is decidedly horror but – and those who know him will not be surprised – some of the protagonists have a film connection. Called The Graveyard of Berenwek it is – as increasingly the way with new talent – being published as an e-book, for which see details in our forthcoming book section below.

Diana Wynne Jones has been ill with cancer but, after much consultation and discussion with family, has decided to cease chemotherapy. This follows on from her her fall necessitating surgery. Sadly the prognosis is not good. We wish fortitude to all concerned.

Anne Rice after 12 years of being in the Catholic Church has renounced Christianity in the name of Christ. She has quit being a 'Christian' because of the religion's attitude to birth control, homosexuality and science. She says, 'In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.'   Now, if you were unaware of Anne's beliefs and wondered how she reconciled these with writing vampire stories the answer is that she views her novels as transformative as are works such as Dante's Inferno and do not glamorize evil but are about the conflict between good and evil. She is currently working on a series about angels, where a contract killer is recruited by a seraph.

Robert Sawyer has returned to one of his long-term concerns, that of the demise of the professional SF author, in a blog post Are the days of the full-time novelist numbered?. This was then countered by a post by Robert Silverberg with professional SF writers have always been rare (that for our money might easily have been written by Joe Haldeman). Later Jerry Pournelle echoed Silverberg. Taking all three posts together, it boils down to being a full-time professional SF writer has always been difficult, restricted to the few and is likely to continue to be so. Sawyer says that in the past the glass has been half full and in future will be half empty and Silverberg and Pournelle say that the glass has always been half empty: there is merit to all posts but best read them all to get a sense of balance. +++ See our video clip link subsection below for a trailer for Sawyer's Watch.

Norman Spinrad has had surgery for his stomach tumour. It went well and he is out of hospital recuperating. Our best wishes for a full recovery. +++ Marking his coming out, so to speak, Norman has started a blog at normanspinradatlarge.blogspot.com. His latest novel is out from Tor (US) and is a heavily revised version of his e-book He Walked Among Us that came out in 2003. No news of a UK publication though as we previously reported it has been out in France. He has also had a cancer-related Nature 'Futures' story published opposite Nature's inside back cover on 5th August 2010.

Peter Watts. Some really good news spotted in The Australian Bullsheet. Congratulations to Cat Sparks for taking the initiative to raise money to bring Canadian SF author Peter Watts to Australia for the Aussie world SF con. Due to an altercation with border guards on the US/Canadian border, Peter Watts is no longer able to go to the United States, land of the free and home of the brave border guards. Aussiecon was an the opportunity for him to engage with the Worldcon SF community on neutral ground.

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.]

Autumn 2010

FILM NEWS

'The People vs. George Lucas' is a new documentary has had its premiere in Edinburgh. Made by Star Wars fan Alexandre O Philippe; though it is probably more accurate to describe him as 'former' Star Wars fan. Phillippe hugely enjoyed the first three films but found the prequels to be weak and the re-issued originals a bit of a rip off as they were only marginally tweaked. Speaking of The Phantom menace he says: "What can I say? It was massively disappointing. The first time around, I fooled myself into believing it was good. Then I went to see it again a couple of days later and then it really sunk in." 'The People vs. George Lucas' is the first film about George Lucas that is not endorsed by [his company] Lucasfilm.

Next Planet of the Apes film to ignore the original franchise. Called The Rise of the Apes, the next Planet of the Apes film will apparently not be based on the original franchise which saw intelligent apes from the future travel back to 20th century US to start a time loop. It looks like genetic engineering is what caused the uplift. Rupert Wyatt is to direct and James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow and now Andy Serkis have all been recruited to the cast.

Its all change for the forthcoming Hobbit films. The forthcoming Hobbit films have been beset by problems: there was Jackson suing New Line, Sam Raimi was to direct them, and earlier still it was Guillermo del Toro to direct but he is writing the screenplay. The latest news is that peter Jackson is in talks to direct both films back-to-back. There is also a very ambitious aim to make the films quickly with release dates in 2012 and 2013. (Just in time for the Hugos in London 2014.)

Next Alien film to be part of a trilogy and in 3D. Back in the Spring we reported the rumour that the next Alien film to be the first of a prequel trilogy. Well now this is increasingly seeming to be the case. Ridley Scott seemed enthusiastic about a 3D trilogy in an interview on antitcool.com.

New Logan's Run film and it is to be 3D. Logan's Run is being remade and its producer, Joel Silver, said on firstshowing.net that he wants it to be in 3D. No news yet as to how faithful it will be but then the original's plot was simply presented and never really fleshed out. For example, will we see more of the ruins and life outside of the dome?

It is all change at the Spiderman film franchise. The star Tobey Maguire and the director Sam Raimi have left. A new film is slated for 2012 that will focus more on Parker's high school days. To date the original films have earned a collective £1.6 billion (US$2.5 billion). The new film's director will be Marc Webb and has a script written by James (Zodiac) Vanderbilt. Putting on the spidy mask will be Andrew Garfield who is known from The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. (He also appeared in an episode of Dr Who as a young boy in a dalek infested early 20th century New York.

Men in Black III plot could well be a time travel loop in which a villain goes back in time to assassinate a Man-in-Black agent. This necessitates will Smith also going back in time to save the day.

Quantum Leap could become a film. Apparently Scott Bakula has revealed that Donald (Quantum Leap creator) Bellisario is working on the film script and has a Hollywood producer onboard. Alas Bakula is now too old reprise his original role, but it is hoped that Dean Stockwell might somehow be involved.

Walt Disney has sold Miramax for $660m (£422m) to investment group Filmyard Holdings. Miramax originally made its name with comparatively low-budget art-house style films. This selling follows last season's news of Miramax being wound up. Miramax were behind such fims as the Hellraiser and Scary Movies series as well as Sliding Doors, Mimic, From Dusk till Dawn not to mention film documentaries such as Fahrenheit 9/11.

Short video clips that might tickle your fancy….

Film clip download tip!: Homage to Ray Bradbury in honour of his 90th birthday.   See the 3 minute video here.

Film clip download tip!: Ray Bradbury prunes commercial.   See the video here.

Film clip download tip!: Ray Bradbury -- 'F*ck Me' tribute song..   See the video here but you have to either be a member of YouTube or log in as this is for over 18s.   Alternatively you can find out about the background to this song and see it without signing in here. +++ Apparently, rumour had it at this year's Worldcon that Ray Bradbury was not offended by the song's (ahem) colloquial lyrics.

Film clip download tip!: 2014 London Worldcon Bid Promotional Video. This is the video that accompanied the launch of London's 2014 Worldcon bid at the 2010 Eastercon Euroconference Odyssey. Great music from the Clash with their 'London Calling' song set against clips of SF film and TV scenes set in central London.   See the video here.

Film clip download tip!: Arnold Schwarzenegger compilation. A rather amusing take on Arnie's screen presence.   See the video here.

Film clip download tip!: Trailer for the novel Watch by Robert J. Sawyer. It is rather good.   See the video here.

Film clip download tip!: Trailer for BBC's The First Men in the Moon is now out. We reported on this two-parter last time.   See the trailer here.

Film clip download tip!: Not to be confused with this year's computer animated film of The First Men in the Moon.   The trailer of this is here.

Film clip download tip!: Trailer of Invasion of the Not Quite Dead is now out. It is a British-made comedy-horror concerning not quite zombies filmed in Wales and Grimsby.   The trailer of this is here.

Film clip download tip!: Trailer of Resident Evil: Afterlife is now out. This is the 4th in the Resident Evil series in which the infected have taken over much of the country.   The trailer of this is here.

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

For a reminder of the top films in 2009/10 (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 2010 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.]

Autumn 2010

SF BOOK TRADE AND RELATED TRADE NEWS

SF novel competition with a £20,000 book-deal prize is announced by publishers Transworld. Terry Pratchett is involved and the competition is called 'The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now Prize' novel needs to be firmly based on a past or future or alternative Earth. (So quite a bit of scope then.) Entrants must live in the British Isles (Britain and Ireland) or British Commonwealth countries and not yet have had a novel professionally published. The deadline is 31st December 2010. A shortlist of six will be announced at the end of March 2011 and the winner in May. Further details can be found at Terry's www.terrypratchett.co.uk.

Tarzan is back. Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy will be written by Andy Briggs and released in 2011 as part of a new series approved by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. The 2nd title will be in 2012 which will also be when Tarzan marks its 100th anniversary.

New award for New Zealand's unpublished writers of juvenile fiction. New Zealand's Storylines Trust and HarperCollins Publishers New Zealand have announced a new annual award on the children's literary scene: the Storylines Tessa Duder Award for unpublished writers of fiction for young adults, named in honour of one of New Zealand's best writers for young adults.

E-book sales overtake Amazon UK hardback sales. A significant milestone in the changing face of book publishing. Hardbacks had been on long-term decline and are now mainly bought by libraries and specialist collectors/readers (as well as read by book reviewers). Meanwhile e-book sales have been steadily increasing. The big question is how much of the paperback market will they displace (or may be add to)? However…

E-books still ignored by 68% of UK survey reveals. The Booksellers 3rd annual survey shows that 68% of UK consumers are 'unlikely' or are dead set against buying an e-reader. The survey was of 3,000 on-line book-buyers (so they are computer literate). Another surprise is who is interested in e-reader: it is not youngsters but 41-60 year olds!. Furthermore when the data is broken down by what sort of books it is the buyers purchase, not surprisingly it is non-fiction and SF readers (a combination also likely to be regulars of this site) who are most interested in e-books.

Wylie Agency, the author agents, have launched a digital imprint. Called Odyssey Editions it launched with 20 e-book titles and a 2-year exclusive deal to distribute through Amazon kindle.

First UK E-Book chart from Neilsen (the BookScan people) is dominated by the Stephanie Meyer 'Twilight' vampire series with titles in 6th, 7th and 8th place.

Science Fiction and Fantasy dominates nominations for the Nielsen Marketing Campaign of the Year category of the British Bookseller Industry Awards. The British Bookseller Industry Awards are the British Isles' (UK and Ireland) Oscars of the book trade. Nielsen are behind the mass market booktrade's sales figures and sponsor the campaign category of the Bookseller Awards. Now normally we would not cover this but for 2010 three of the seven short-listed nominations were science fiction and fantasy campaigns. Hodder made the shortlist with its campaign for Stephen King's Under the Dome. Orion's Gollancz had their campaign for Charlaine Harris' True Blood series of books (the campaign's still going, and Titan got in with its campaign of the re-issue of the Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons graphic novel Watchmen that tied in with the release of the film.   So that was SF in the nominations. Immediately below are the results…

British Isles book trade was down 5.5% for first half of 2010. Sales were down 5.5% of value (not numbers of books) to £699.6 million (US$1.12 billion) for the first half of 2010 compared to the first half of 2009. 2009 as a whole saw trade down by 1.2% on 2008 which in turn was down 1.5% on 2007 as a whole. The reason is not just the recession, though that is a good part of the cause. There have been no new mega sellers like Rowling or Dan Brown, and the closure of Channel 4's Richard & Judy Book Club has not helped. However, the early months of the 2010 summer have seen some growth. +++ Meanwhile british film spend is up 3% for the first half of 2010 though (ERA sales) home entertainment (DVD and games) are down 5.4% (to £1.846 billion). British music sales were also down 0.82%.

UK library threat. Lewisham is closing 5 libraries and Cambridgeshire is to reduce its library service. The Councils for Islington, Richmond, Cornwall and the Isles of Wight are all looking to trim their library service. School libraries are also being scrutinised: 7 have closed in South Wales alone.

Inaugural Bookseller Industry Awards held. These awards replace the Bookseller Retail Awards. Of genre relevance, Little Brown won the Publishing Tecchnology Publisher award in no small part to Stephanie Myer's Twilight vampire series that has sold 16 million copies worldwide. Meanwhile SF's Malcolm Edwards (Orion Deputy CEO) presented the Literary Agent of the Year Award to Luigi Bonomi.   The awards were presented after a dinner and were presided over by master of ceremonies Clive Anderson. The evening went of comparatively well and only one table got knocked over to cries of 'save the wine'.   However SF did feature in the awards' short-listing…
          Gollancz had been short-listed for the Bookseller Industry Awards Imprint of the Year. Of the half-dozen short-listed, one of Britain's leading SF imprints, Orion's Gollancz, was nominated. Normally the category consists of non-SF/F imprints so this really is news and despite not winning congratulations to the Gollancz team are truly deserved. 2009 was a good year for the imprint with strong Charlaine Harris and Flashforward sales (despite the overdrawn TV series). The imprint also has a strong foreign list as well as titles with a gaming crossover. (Indeed its recently published Metro 2033 has both a foreign author and a gaming tie-in.) Of course, we like Gollancz because it has a rolling programme of re-publishing its backlist and, of course, its SF Masterwork series. Splundig.

Angry Robot SF/F imprint re-launches with Osprey. The new SF/F imprint only established by Harper Collins in 2009 and which launched in N. America just a few months ago in the summer, is being re-launched as part of Osprey (a military history publisher). The imprint will continue to target teenage and post-teenage readers of SF and fantasy with publisher Marc Gascoigne and editor Lee Harris at the helm. Distribution for Angry Robot now lies with GBS (Grantam Book Services).

Harper Collins' is to combine it British, Australian and US SF/F imprints. The new single global imprint will be Harper Voyager. As the British imprint was Voyager this makes little difference to us, but US readers will see Eos merge into the new Harper Voyager imprint.

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter are teaming up to write a joint hard SF novel -- The Long Earth. Based on an idea that Terry had years ago (before Discworld took off taking up his time) it concerns Everett type parallel Earths. People can easily go to these multitude worlds in the biggest land grab ever, but metal cannot, so everyone has to manage with minimal technology and human resources are scarce as there are enough worlds for everyone if they want them. The book may be part of a series and they are looking at a 2012 launch from the publisher Doubleday.

Penguin celebrates its 75th anniversary. Penguin was launched on 30th July 1935 after publisher Allen Lane, travelling home from a visiting Agatha Christie, could not find cheap but good quality contemporary fiction at Exeter station. That summer he came up with the concept of the Penguin paperback with colour-coded titles (orange for fiction, blue for biography, green for crime), and works by Ernest Hemingway, André Maurois and Agatha Christie herself part of the launch list. Penguin soon published the likes of George Orwell and H. G. Wells and over 75 years has produced over 100,000 editions. Happy birthday.

Puffin is 70. Celebrations for which include the special production of 6 titles as a limited 1,000 run to be sold for £100 each. The titles of SFF note are James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl and Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.

Bloomsbury will be opening a division in Australia in January. Kathleen Farrar (currently UK marketing director) will head it up.

More trouble at writers agency PFD with redundancies. You may recall back in 2007some staff broke away to form United Agents and then in 2008 PFD was sold to Andrew Neil. Now (2010) PFD has been taken over by the agency Michael Forster to become 'The Rights House' but with fewer staff.

The Bookseller weekly magazine has had a questionable re-design and just five years after a rather good one. The colour-coded sections are fair enough (though regulars could already navigate the magazine (booksellers can actually read)). But the different fonts in different parts of the publication are not helpful, and for some the font for the forthcoming books section is not the easiest to read (albeit distinctive). Furthermore move from perfect binding to saddle stitch format means that readers cannot tell which issue is which from the spine when copies are stored on a shelf or in a stack. And now special supplements are physically bound into the weekly issues (not loose inserts) which means that specialist shop staff do not have them separate for longer-term use: supplements tend to have seasonal and not just weekly value. The saving grace is that the actual content remains the same.

More book trade news in our next seasonal news column in January 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.]

Autumn 2010

TV NEWS

The IT Crowd ended its 2010 series on a record high of 2.17 million viewers. Britain's Channel 4 sitcom is sort of the UK equivalent to The Big Bang Theory. 2.17 million equates to about 11.2% of Britain's terrestrial and satellite/cable TV audience for that midweek time of night. The IT Crowd DVD is now out.

Sherlock's final episode gets 7.3 million viewers. The three one-and-a-half hour shows that updated Sherlock Holmes to modern-day London has been hugely successful. The 7.3 million equates with an estimated 29.9% of the British audience share for that time of Sunday night. The big question is why were only three episodes made? If a series co-created and written by the financially successful Doctor Who folk and successful comedy The League of Gentleman, let alone starring top actor Dominic Humberbridge and Martin (The Office) Freeman, cannot get a proper run without making only three episodes to 'test the water', how can any other show stand a chance?   The series' DVD is now out.

Lost post-series epilogue video included on DVD. The recently released Lost: The Complete Sixth and Final Season and Lost: The Complete Collection DVD and Blu-ray releases have a 12-minute epilogue video. In it, we see two employees of the Dharma Initiative loading food pallets and we find out why there was a polar bear on the island. Dr Chang also is there and we find out why he uses different names. Ben and Walt meet, and Hurley pops up... This epilogue may not answer all the questions but it is a whole lot better than the cop-out final episode.

The Walking Dead, AMC's new SF/F series premieres in the US in October. Given the boom in zombie fiction it was only a matter of time before it appeared on the small screen. Fortunately rather than going for a series specifically created for TV, The Walking Dead was originally (is) an US monthly black and white comic (Image Comics ,2003 onwards): indeed it won an Eisner Award in the summer. The comic was created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore (replaced by Charlie Adlard from issue 7 onward) and recounts the travels of a group of people in a stricken by a zombie apocalyptic world. Though there are questions as to the cause of it all, the background does appear to be more fleshed out than with the Romero scenario. There have been 73 issues so far and so the story is well established. This means that AMC have an embedded story which should make it harder for them to muck up as is so often the case with TV scriptwriters: indeed Robert Kirkman regularly liaises with the TV series writers. There is no news yet as to when we will get to see it in Europe but it is probably only a matter of time as FX has obtained the global rights. (Note: there was a quite separate mini-comic series of the same title from Aircel in 1989.)

Outcasts is a new BBC SF series. The 8-part series is set in the year 2040 on a colony planet (so the physicists had better get busy developing FTL then). The series begins when the colony has lost contact with Earth but a last transporter ship is about to arrive. Though the BBC press blurb suggests that the series will largely have a soapy feel, there is a hint that there is something else at work on the planet. The series was originally commissioned back in 2007 and then the early promotional material revealed that the series concerns social outcasts and criminals who, in return for their 'liberty', are sent to be pioneers of a new settlement on a near-by planet. They contain a variety of different types: from the brilliant deviant to the petty thief. They are the 'outcasts', fascinating but ultimately dispensable who must build the conditions for a new life. The series is created by Spooks writer Ben Richards (who cries 'it is not sci fi') it will air in the spring 2011 on BBC1 and subsequently in N. America on BBC America.

Film starts on Torchwood: The New World in 2011. The new series will be a 10-parter scripted by Russell T. Davies. A global event triggers the reforming of Torchwood and then the action shits from Wales to Los Angeles and also Washington where two CIA agents join the team. Torchwood will be shown on BBC (British Isles and Netherlands) and on Starz, the US cable channel.

BBC's First Men in the Moon trailer is now out. See the link to it in our recommended video clip section earlier.

Smallville final series spoilers. Lois Lane returns for the whole series. Clark's foster dad also makes an appearance in some form: remember he died a couple of series back. The Green Arrow features in many episodes and Brainiac (James Marsters) returns. The last season begins shortly after we post this seasonal news page in September. +++ Smallville season 9 DVD is now out.

 

[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.]

Autumn 2010

EUROCON / WORLDCON NEWS

The 2010 Worldcon was held in Melbourne Australia. Some 2,034 people attended 17 parallel programme streams of mainly panels but covering everything to do with SF in all its forms: cinema, books, TV, and of course fandom. In addition there was a rather good film stream, something that has been quite rare for Worldcons in recent years. For the most part the programme was of a high standard thanks to the efforts of the contributors. The recently built modern Melbourne Convention Centre turned out to be an excellent venue with well-equipped rooms that held a couple of hundred for many of the parallel streams. There were also two larger halls that held around 500 and an even larger main hall for the extravaganza events such as the masquerade and Hugo Award ceremony. The film programme was simply one of the best of recent Worldcons! There was a good selection of independent films as well as a fair number from countries other than the US and ranging from SF through to fantasy and horror.   Much partying (as usual) took place in the evenings in gatherings run by future Worldcon bids, and primarily by Texas 2013, London 2014 and the surprise newcomer Wellington NZ 2020 among others. Kim Stanley Robinson was an excellent Guest of Honour who gave a number of thoughtful presentations including a remarkable one on the way we live our lives as we enter the 21st century. Nearby hotels, that were next to the airport skybus terminus at the rail station, meant that getting to the convention as well as from the convention building to the hotel parties was very straightforward, and just across the road there were numerous restaurants catering to many tastes and wallets. So all in all most attending seemed to have a very enjoyable time.
          However dig a little beneath the surface and there were problems. Registration was more than a little chaotic (some folk had to queue three times before they got their full programme pack and some of the staff seemed more than than a little disorganised). The programme timetable booklet did not have a map of the convention centre and so most people spent a fair chunk of the first half-day having to work out for themselves where everything was. Then it quickly transpired that other than for the films, the programme booklet schedule had more than its fair share of errors (inexcusable) and revised schedule sheets were quickly produced. Fortunately, these first day revisions largely held for the rest of the convention. The convention chair, Perry Middlemiss, handled matters as best as possible with a certain dignity and resoluteness that encouraged many volunteers to rally round: it transpired that a couple of key folk on the original committee simply resigned a few months prior to the convention leaving Perry and the con in the lurch. Those who were hosting bid parties then had a shock when the party hotel seemed to renege on what was thought to have been a contractual agreement and so suddenly a number of gatherings had to stump up hundreds of Australian dollars worth of corkage and serving fees. Of course, the cracks were beginning to show long before the convention (which is why a few of our team decided not to go). To cut a long story short, it was not surprising when at the end of the closing ceremony it was announced that the volunteers dead dog party had been cancelled. Aussiecon 4 was therefore a tale of two conventions: on one hand plenty of worthy events happened and enjoyable socialising took place, while on the other there was much make-do which was largely successful thanks to the many who helped out. Yes, of course there were those who whinged, but the on-the-day volunteers saved the convention from being a dismal failure and actually made it, for many, an enjoyable event. Nonetheless it may well be that a number in Australian fandom hope that the New Zealand 2020 Worldcon bid successfully takes off so giving Australia a decade's break from Worldcon running.

Worldcon 2011 has announced a new Guest of Honour: the Eisner Award winning comic book writer Bill Willingham. Best known for his creation of Fables (see Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall, Fables: Arabian Nights (and Days), Fables: Homelands, Fables: The Mean Seasons and Fables: Storybook Love), the award-winning urban fantasy series about folkloric characters exiled from their homelands to the mundane world. Willingham's current work includes writing the Angel series for IDW, working on the Justice Society series for DC Comics, Fables prose novel Peter and Max (Vertigo), and the short story "Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings" in The New Space Opera 2, edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan. Peter and Max was the first prose novel published by Vertigo. Willingham has also created the Elementals series, the Ironwood series, the Coventry series, and Proposition Player, among other works. Besides Vertigo/DC and IDW, he has worked for Marvel, Fantagraphics, Comico and TSR. While he started work as an artist, he is better known for his writing. Willingham's participation at Renovation is part of a wider recognition of the graphic form as an important aspect of science fiction and fantasy storytelling. Bill Willingham joins previously announced 2011 Worldcon Guests of Honour Tim Powers, Ellen Asher, Boris Vallejo and Ghost of Honour the late Charles N. Brown.

Chicago, US, won the bid unopposed to hold the Worldcon in 2012. The vote was taken at this year's Australian Worldcon, but it was not a surprising result (see previous news) and so there was a record low number of votes since records began (1974, ironically the vote was also taken at an Australian Worldcon). The Guest of Honours have also now been announced and are: Author: Mike Resnick; Artist: Rowena Morrill; Agent: Jane Frank ; Fan: Peggy Rae Sapienza; Astronaut: Story Musgrave; and Toastmaster: John Scalzi (author).

Worldcon 2013 has at the moment only one bid: Texas. Unless a new bid comes along, there will not be a need for a vote at the 2011 Worldcon, Renovation. However do not take anything for granted, and so we have asked Texas our standard question: 'what is Texas 2013's unique selling point?' Bill Parker (the bid chair) told us that Texas is the largest state in the US of A and San Antonio (the proposed hosting city) is central. Being large, it has a number of SF authors and the committee hope to have one as a Guest of Honour that has not been to a Worldcon for a number of years. They also hope to have an international GoH. It has considerable US heritage value being the site of the Alamo. San Antonio itself is a traditional vacation town and home of the River Walk: a paved area along dried out river, which is well worth exploring and next to the convention site. This Worldcon, if it wins the bid, will have a number of focus areas covering books, film and media SF. The convention itself will be called LoneStar 3.
          The Texas bid held good promotional bid parties at both the New Zealand national convention and the 2010 Australian Worldcon. Generously they provided space in the latter for the new New Zealand Worldcon 2020 bid to promote itself, so proving they have true fannish spirit. Yee ha pardner.

The London 2014 Worldcon bid now has a website www.londonin2014.org. Half a year ago previously reported that a bid was being mounted for a European Worldcon in 2014. Then it was officially launched back at the 2010 Eastercon cum ESFS Euroconference. The London 2014 website has details of the bid and the organisers' preparations as well as a list of supporters. The bid will be voted on at the 2012 Worldcon which is likely to be in N. America. Some of us of the Concatenation team visited the proposed venue London's Excel. There is certainly more than enough space and there are hotels nearby (5 minutes walk). However cheap catering was not found, in fact we found the site catering decidedly expensive, but presumably the organisers will attend to this. The organisers seem to be aiming for 6,000 attending and if they achieve this then the 2014 Worldcon will be the largest ever outside of N. America.
          The big question is what is the bid's proposed relationship to Eurocon? This needs to be sorted out before the 2011 Eurocon in Sweden as that convention will see discussion that will determine whether anyone else will bid for the 2014 Eurocon at the 2012 vote. (Hope you followed the somewhat complex logic due to needing fully-informed discussion to take place the year before the two-year vote so as to enable sound bids to be formed.) There are two options and both have equal merit. The first is that the 2014 London Worldcon bid intends to also bid to be a Eurocon. The advantage here is not that London 2014 (assuming it wins its bid to be a Worldcon) will attract more people to London in 2014 (mainland continental fans and pros will come regardless of whether or not it is a Eurocon) but that the Worldcon committee actively wants to see the London Worldcon have a very strong mainland European dimension and are prepared to ensure that the programme, exhibits, films, parties, Eurocon Awards and so forth reflect this.   The alternative is to recognise that mainland Europeans will come regardless and so for Worldcon 2014 to go for ESFS Euroconference status instead (so securing some promotional benefit) and therefore allowing there to be a separate Eurocon elsewhere in Europe earlier in 2014.   It may be surprising for some to consider that this last option could work rather well for a London 2014 Worldcon, as a Eurocon held in middle or Eastern Europe six months earlier would provide an additional promotion opportunity for London as well as provide Eastern and Central European fans the chance to discuss in the spring their own preparations for London at the end of the summer.   Whatever is decided, it is certainly clear that it would be far better for both the Worldcon bid as well as Eurocon regulars to have a clear idea of what they want/expect at the 2011 Sweden Eurocon rather than no idea at all with both parties simply muddling along: this last would certainly see synergies being missed. (There is further discussion on this below.) In short, what needs to be done is for the London Worldcon bid to inform the 2011 ESFS business meeting (at the Swedish Eurocon) whether or not (should it win the Worldcon bid) it intends in 2012 to bid to be a full Eurocon (explaining why), or alternatively seek to obtain ESFS Euroconference status (or even a third option of not having any connection with ESFS at all). Knowing this will greatly help potential Eurocon bids for the next few years.   +++ We have a link to the 2014 Worldcon bid music video earlier on in our short video link section. It is rather fun; do check it out.

Japan is bidding for the 2017 Worldcon. We have no news of the tentative New York bid for that year reported back in the spring.

New Zealand is running a bid for the Worldcon in 2020!!!! This surprise bid is not a hoax even if it is very much an enfant venture: it is New Zealand's first ever bid to run a Worldcon. The plus points are many. First, the young-ish committee has bags of enthusiasm (and this always helps). Second, as visitors to this year's NZ national convention found out prior to the Australian Worldcon, New Zealand is simply a breath-takingly marvellous country with stunning scenery and extremely friendly people. Third, unlike the all-too-common northern hemisphere Worldcons, New Zealand offers a different perspective on the cosmos with the Magellenic Clouds and Southern Cross in the night sky. Fourth – if this last is too mind-bogglingly dramatic for you – equally different, but more pedestrian, you can have hours (if not seconds) of amazement watching water go down your plug-hole the wrong way.
          As for the venue, there is a clutch of hotels and conference venue in the centre of the N. Island that could accommodate a normal-sized Worldcon. However, as the size of New Zealand fandom is only around a hundred strong (call it three hundred if new blood is attracted to a local Worldcon) then the capital Wellington could accommodate a Worldcon around 1,500. If possible, this would be the preferred option. The capital is very compact so that you can almost walk everywhere and there is plenty to do and see in Wellington (not least of which sites from the Lord of the Rings films) so that con-goers would be well advised to come a couple of days early to get over jet-lag and orientate themselves, and then stay on for a few days after the convention (not less than three days is recommended) to see the local sights.   In short, support this extremely brave bid, get a fresh perspective on the Universe, and back a Worldcon with a real difference by taking out a pre-supporting membership! Go on. You know it makes sense… :-)

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.

 

The 2012 World Fantasy convention will be held in Toronto, Canada. The World Fantasy Con Board has made the announcement but the website will not be up for a while.

Meanwhile over in Europe…

The 2010 Eurocon (Tricon) was held in Poland by the Czech border. The programme venues were split between the two countries and as such this made this Eurocon one of the more physically international of SF gatherings in terms of its setting. (Eurocon regulars may remember that the Romania 2001 Eurocon was originally meant to straddle the Romanian-Bulgarian border but that ambition was never realised.) Roughly some 1,500 attended Tricon to participate in a 12 parallel-streamed programme that covered authors, fantasy, anime, manga, Dr Who, Star Wars, Tolkien, role-playing games as well as SF, but not much science. The languages at the convention were Polish, Czech, Slovak and English (there was always at least one programme item in English).
          The venue twin towns of Cieszyn and Cesky Tesin are worth seeing. When the area was part of Austrian occupied Poland they were just one town, with the historic centre, including the castle, on the hilly east bank of the Olza river, and the more modern part, with the main railway station, on the west bank. Following the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, which broke up Austria Hungary, the river became an international border and the western part found itself in Czechoslovakia. It was renamed Cesky Tesin (Czech Cieszyn). They then had to build a new Town Hall and set up border posts at the bridge. Now both sides are in Schengen (the European Union border convention) and there are no border formalities at all, the old border posts are shops and art galleries, so you just walk across. It is not quite that simple, as the Czechs use crowns and the Poles use zlotys: so we were carrying two sets of money and constantly having to think 'which country am I in now?' Taxis from one side would take you to the other but could not pick up there. To signify this one driver put a pair of underpants over the taxi sign on the roof before crossing the border - a bit bizarre but it seemed to work. The convention was billed as dual nationality and had activities on both sides. The opening and closing ceremonies were held on the bridge where there was an impressive display of SF film posters. The procession was preceded by a brass band and included a platoon of Imperial storm troopers in full armour.
          It was a good con in an attractive historic town. The whole event went off rather well, one small criticism was that there was no place to congregate and socialise at the Polish University site when there was not an interesting item on the programme.
          Disappointingly, the organisers (and apparently the European SF Society officers let this pass at the Eurocon site-selection stage) decided to hold this year's Eurocon just a week before the Australian Worldcon and also it actually clashed with the neigbouring New Zealand national convention. Consequently, this year's Eurocon consisted almost entirely of Eastern Europeans with (naturally) Poles and Czechs dominating but with small but significant contingents from Russia, Ukraine, Hungary and Romania. There were also a few Scandinavians in the mix promoting next year's (2011) Eurocon in Stockholm and just two or three from Britain. Nonetheless in its own terms the convention was very successful and it enabled fans from a number of central and Eastern European nations to interact.
          On the European SF Society (ESFS) front, the business meeting was conducted much in the style of recent years and the ESFS Eurocon Awards were as usual presented. Here, for some reason, the results were neither press-released nor posted on either the ESFS or 2010 Eurocon's websites (at least they were not as we post this autumnal news some three weeks after the event). Finally, the site selection for 2012 took place. There were two bids. London lost by an overwhelming majority, which means that that the London committee's final in the trilogy of their biennial UK national Easter conventions will not be a Eurocon. In one sense this really is a decided shame as the first two of the current trilogy of biennial London Eastercons (all run by the same team) were very well organised and hugely successful. Also being held at Heathrow next to the airport, London 2012 would have made travel easy for mainland European visitors and enabled them to discuss the possibilities as to the European dimension of the likely London Worldcon in 2014 (more of which shortly). So instead it is off to Zagreb, Croatia in 2012 (see the next item). Yet in another sense the site selection outcome is not entirely surprising. Notwithstanding that the Zagreb team presented their bid well, Eurocons unofficially tend to alternate each year between Western and Eastern Europe, and 2012 is (unofficially) Eastern Europe's turn. Of course, the problem will arise in 2014 when London hosts the Worldcon (if it wins the Worldcon bid as is likely). Indeed this is a key reason why the London 2012 Eurocon bid did not win – folk assumed that the 2014 Worldcon would also be a Eurocon! Herein lies the importance of knowing what the Worldcon bid intends, and to have a full and frank discussion as to all the options. As 2014 could well see the Worldcon and Eurocon combine, as has happened in 1995 and 2005 (but not previous British Worldcons), this possibility (but not certainty) will make the 2013 site selection interesting and presents the ESFS officers with the challenge of steering discussion so that there is an equitable outcome for both halves of Europe between 2012 and 2015, and not least to get us returning to the alternate east-west track for the rest of the decade. Let us hope that they are up to it: one good sign is that this discussion did begin to take place at this year's ESFS business meeting. What we now need is to have a clear indication of the Worldcon 2014 bid team's European intentions.

The 2012 Eurocon will be in Zagreb Croatia. There is not much news yet as it is still very early days. (If we become a media partner with the 2012 Eurocon, as we have with a number of other Eurocons, then we will be well placed to keep you posted over the coming two years.) However there is a video presentation of their bid on their website (see our science fiction convention diary page for the link if you are reading this before 2012). Croatia has some stunning landscapes and Zagreb some lovely architecture. The only downside to the win is marginal in that the winning Zagreb 2012 Eurocon will be held close to Easter (and the British Eastercon which in 2012 will itself be twice the size of normal Eastercons as it is the last of the London biennial trilogy), so once again some western Europeans may not feel inclined to do two conventions so close together: doubly so as the winning 2012 Eurocon shares a Guest of Honour with the 2011 Eurocon. However being a little further south the 2012 Eurocon should attract Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgarians and some Italians. The other thing to remember is that Croatia is home to the well-established SFeraKon convention.

The European Science Fiction Convention (Eurocon) in 2011 (as previously reported) will be held in Stockholm, Sweden's capital, 17th – 19th June. It will also now be Sweden's national convention (Swecon). The decision was taken at this year's Swecon in Gothenburg but it was a forgone conclusion as the competing conventions declined to stand. The principal Guests of Honour will be Elizabeth Bear and Ian McDonald. See previous Eurocon 2011 news for more information and we hope to have far more of an update in the Spring. Meanwhile if you are planning on going (and if the 2007 Danish Scandinavian Eurocon is anything to go by) this Swedish Scandinavian Eurocon could be well worth attending. If you do decide to escape the June heat of southern Europe and attend, remember to arrive a day in advance as the evening before the convention sees a pre-convention social gathering! And of course it goes without saying that Stockholm is a wonderful capital city.

Eurocon 2013 – some thoughts. The vote for 2013 will take place at the Stockholm 2011 Eurocon. Further to the discussion earlier on, because of the 2014 possible (likely) London Worldcon it is not too soon to start thinking about the 2013 Eurocon bit. Finland, on the border between eastern-and western Europe, might make for a great Eurocon in 2013. Finncons are now very established as well as accessible and doable on a budget for Eastern Europeans. The Finns have contemplated running a Eurocon in recent years and 2013 could be just the ticket.   Another option would be Kiev, Ukraine for 2013. A marker for Kiev was put down by the Ukrainians at the 2010 European SF Society (ESFS) business meeting. The last Kiev Eurocon (2006) was reasonably successful on many fronts. If Kiev can actually integrate a European programme (showcasing western fanac to Ukrainain fans and vice-versa to western Europeans), rather than having completely separate tracks, then with their proven logistic ability, past success in attracting sponsorship, and enthusiasm, Kiev could make for a worthy 2013 option.
          Regarding 2014 itself, if we continue with the current alternating eastern-western European hosting nations then the London 2014 Worldcon would not be due to be a Eurocon as it would be Eastern Europe's turn. Hungary has a strong fan base with a number of Eurocon regulars and could well be a strong contender if it wished to hold a 2014 Eurocon early in the year so enabling the 2014 London Worldcon be an ESFS Euroconference late in August.
          (Remember a London Worldcon would continue irrespective of whether or not it was a Eurocon, and not all past British Worldcons have also been Eurocons. So having a separate Eurocon earlier in the year to a London Worldcon, that would instead be a Euroconference, is a realistic option. (An earlier-in-the-year 2014 Eurocon could serve to promote further the later 2014 London Worldcon to mainland Europeans not to mention enable them to discuss their forthcoming Worldcon contributions.) Also remember that the London 2014 Worldcon may not want to be a Eurocon: as said, being a Eurocon is unlikely to affect numbers attending, so much depends on how committed that Worldcon committee would be to ensuring that the continental European dimensions are enhanced and shine through the programme, displays, awards and parties.)
          Germany, especially former Eastern Germany, is also overdue for a Eurocon. These options are worth thinking about by both ESFS and the 2014 Worldcon bid team before ESFS next meets in Sweden. Indeed if the Worldcon bid team do not come up with an agreed view before then, then that in itself would speak volumes that Eurocon regulars will want to take into account.

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.]

Autumn 2010

FANDOM & OTHER NEWS

Sci-Fi London had another successful event back at the summer's beginning. We noted the principal films last time and as usual this included a number of UK and World premieres as well as themed marathon all-night screenings. This year's theme was 'Life in 2050' and a parallel one-day workshop on this topic was held for budding scriptwriters with Tony Ballantyne (SF author), Simon Park (microbiologist), Philip Palmer (scriptwriter) and Concatenation's Jonathan (life scientist). (Some pictures from the workshop can be found on Jonathan's satellite site.) Arguably the biggest social highlight for the average person attending was the pub quiz which was ably run as ever by the event's principal organiser Louis Savy. Conversely the social highlight for London's SF community's great and good was Sci-Fi London's opening party night which included the presentation of the Arthur C, Clarke SF award. Another Sci-Fi London is being planned for next year and there will be a mini-one-day October (2010) Fest. For details see www.sci-fi-london.com.

Sci-Fi London's Oktoberfest expands. It will now last for two-and-a-bit days 14th – 16th October. The main venue for films will be the Apollo Cinema Piccadilly but there will also be talks and panels at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and at a new venue for the fest, the Royal Society. The Royal Society (RS) for science is Britain's science academy to recognise and promote excellence in science research. It is conveniently located just down the road from the Apollo Cinema. (Back in 2007, Jonathan noted the proximity of the RS to the Apollo in his tips for attending Sci-Fi London.)

The 2011 UK Eastercon and national convention is Illustrious in Birmingham/Coventry. Actually it will be held at the Hilton NEC by Birmingham airport and exhibition centre. The convention will have more of a books focus than the more catch-all approach to SF of this years Odyssey2010. There will be two themes: 'military SF and 'SF through the ages'. Because of this numbers are expected to be more convivial at 550 – 650, and so it is a change of pace from this year's big bash. (Nothing wrong with that as variety is the spice of life.) The central England venue, on the west coast line and next door to the international airport, makes it easy to get to. The Guests of Honour are authors David Webber and Peter F. Hamilton together with space artist David Hardy and fan conrunner Vince Docherty. The last time this hotel was used was for the 1987 Eastercon at which Concatenation burst into existence.

The 2012 UK Eastercon and national convention will be Olympus 2012 in London. The vote was taken at this Eastercon. The GoHs so far include British SF author Paul Cornell and US fantasy writer George R. R. Martin (more will follow). The convention organisers are largely those behind this year's successful Euroconference cum British national conventionOdyssey2010 (see earlier) and the 2008 Orbital British national convention. If Olympus' organisers do do a similar job to that which they did for Orbital 2008, and Odyssey 2010, then this could be one of those Eastercons that really is a gathering of the British SF clans and so a convention for which it is worth keeping one's diary clear. More news to follow.

The 2010 Swedish national convention was held in Gothenburg in June. Sadly Russian author Dmitry Metro2033 Glukhovsky cancelled his attendance. However this loss was made up for by the other guests, Justina ('Quantum Gravity' series) Robson and Swedish author Nene Ormes. The principal programme stream was supported by another stream for most of the convention's two and a half days, so there was choice. Both guests had main programme interviews. Science items included ones on geo-engineering, string theory and first contact, plus there was a panel on the difference between hard and soft SF. There was a good evening banquet combined with awards ceremony. Next year's Swecon will be the 2011 Eurocon.

Acon (the Scandinavian convention) wins Sweden's Tentacle Award. The award is given by Gothenburg fandom for people or groups who build bridges between fan communities. Acon is a small convention that brings together fans from Scandinavia. (See previous short previous Åcon news.)

Comic-Con in San Diego (US) sells out again! The first San Diego Comic-Con was a small con of just 145 people but has steadily grown so that by last year 126,000 registrations had been sold with a cap on further registration put in place several weeks before the convention. This year (2010) the 126,000 cap took place even earlier back in early November 2009. Of course the four-day San Diego Comic-Con has long since ceased having a sole focus on comics and now sees much genre film and cult TV, not to mention a splattering of SF book promotion. The up-coming film Tron was being touted mercilessly. This was reflected in this year's official guests whose number exceeded 60! Of particular SFnal interest were: Ray Bradbury, Samuel R. Delany, Jon (Iron Man) Favreau, Charlaine Harris, Dusty Higgins, Tanya Huff, Stan Lee, China Miéville, J. Michael Straczynski, and Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. There were also film stars present to promote their forthcoming offerings such as Green Lantern, Mega-Mind and The Green Hornet. There was also quite a bit of news announced about forthcoming new TV series or new seasons of existing series such as Dexter, Futurama and Weeds. For aficionados, perhaps the most interesting news was that the film of the Max Brooks novel World War Z seems to be moving out of development hell with Brad Pitt cited as being firmly in the cast and a release date of the summer of 2012. And, of course, the event saw the Eisners awarded. With much fancy dress in evidence adding to the exhibits, once more the con was visually colourful. It largely all went off very well and there were many high points. Sadly though there was one downer due the actions of a couple of 'fans' (though perhaps that is not the right term for these individuals). Reportedly a scuffle broke out in Hall H, between two men who fought over a seat. One ended up stabbing the other around the eye with a pen. The police came and broke it up, but the incident still delayed the programme by half an hour. This, though, was an isolated incident. Finally, due to crowding and unmet demand, it looks like 2012 might well see Comic-Con's venue change…

Germany's Elstercon celebrates its 20th anniversary. The 10th biennial Elstercon will take place 17th – 19th September in Leipzig just after we post this season's news. Not only is Elstercon 10 marking its 20th anniversary, but also the 25th anniversary of the Friends of Science Fiction Leipzig (Freundeskreis Science Fiction Leipzig) and there is a book now available chronicling their first decades activities up to 1995. As has been usual with recent Elstercons, a highlight will be the presentation of the Kurd Laßwitz (Lasswitz) Prize. Elstercon guests this year include: Luke Kollmer (Austria), Christian von Aster (Germany), Ralph Ehrig (Germany), Boris Koch (Germany), Greg Bear (US) and Kristine Kathryn Rusch (US).

Festival of Fantastic Films (Manchester) back to Sachas while the new organisers are undermined. Having been at the Manchester Conference Centre (MCC) and Days Hotel for the past few years, the Festival is returning to Sachas Hotel. It has been there six times before up to 1998. Though the MCC is an ideal venue (and the service at the last event particularly good) the return to Sachas was prompted by a reported doubling of the MCC's conference rates. Debate exists as to whether the fest could have negotiated a better deal. As previously reported a new younger team was to have taken over running the Fest that was to have been headed by someone whose professional work was as an events organiser and so well-placed to negotiate deals. Again as previously reported, at the last Fest following a meeting of a number of the Fest's regulars and the organisers, it was thought that the organising torch had been handed from the now elderly organisers to a younger team with good grace. However, we have been told that following the event there was some acrimony: one of the old guard was reportedly most unhappy with what everyone thought had been agreed. How this exactly relates to the current change of venue cannot be determined but this split is not satisfactory. We at Concatenation do have an interest in the Fest's long-term viability as the Fest's founder, the late Harry Nadler, was involved with Concatenation's founding back in 1987 when we were a print semi-prozine.   Age affects us all, and so a handover of Fest organization to a younger team is only a matter of time. Consequently, any rift between one of the old-guard organisers and those who will ultimately be taking over is not good news. We all want the same thing and that is for the Fest's long-term viability to be assured which in itself would be the best tribute we can all make to Harry's memory.
          This year's Fest is 15th – 17th October at Sachas Hotel. Guests include: Producer/Director Bert I Gordon, Director/Writer Jim Groom, Screenwriter/Author Stephen Volk, Actress Susan Gordon, Actor/Director Derren Nesbit, Actress Eunice Grayson, and Actress Jane Morrow. There will be more than a score of films shown over the weekend in three parallel programme streams including those of the Independent Film Competition as well as the amateur short competitions. Other film professionals and authors will be attending as regulars, including horror author grandmaster Ramsey Campbell who will be running the auction. The Festival is Britain's longest running SFF/horror film event and second only in scale to Sci-Fi London. +++ See Darrell Buxton's review of the 2009 Festival of Fantastic Films. +++ See later for the sad news of Marina J. Holroyd RIP.

New Zealand's 31st national convention, Au Contraire 2010, was hugely successful on nearly all fronts. Normally NZ national conventions attract around 100 – 150 but this year (in no small part because the Australian Worldcon was the following weekend) some 230 attended, with around 70 of these from overseas. Sensibly, the con chair was a mistress of delegating and stuck to what she did best (managing the event) leaving the mistress of ceremonies to someone else who had more dynamic flair, who oozed enthusiasm all over the carpet. And so at the convention's start attendees were told that 'Au Contraire [was] not a democracy but an aristocracy of hard work, effort and style' and that 'it [was] a re-boot of traditional conventions' that engages 'in activities that are borderline legal'.   There were three main programmes plus con suite activities and a games area. The GoHs – Sean Williams and Elizabeth Knox – were approachable, jovial and informative. Tor editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden provided insights to SF publishing in the US. The fancy dress masquerade was small but entertaining (which should have meant that the judges were quicker in their deliberations but you can't have everything). Juliet Marillier expertly led an excellent workshop on 'voice' in writing. There was a book launch of a New Zealand anthology of SF/fantasy as well as the launch of New Zealand has new SF/horror writers Association – SpecFicNZ.. Even Concatenation's delegate seemed to entertain with a talk on exobiology to an increasingly packed hall, and a futurology panel with GUFF delegate James Shields. Then there were the Julius Vogel Awards, some jolly room parties (including one by the Texas Worldcon bid), not to mention filking, and a very lubricated comatose cat (dead-dog) party that somehow gave birth to a 2020 Worldcon bid. The only thing that did not go well were the film screenings (fans would have helped out with the screensaver if asked and some information as to changes in good time on the notice board would have helped).   The hotel was unusual in that there was a slightly cheaper hotel on one side (rooms had showers only, not baths) and which was older but with good condition décor, while on the other side there was a modern expensive hotel (with a glass and plastic look) but both had a common reception, bar and dining area between them: so convention attendees had a choice and zero venue commute problems.   Outside the convention, Cuba Street had plenty of restaurants and watering holes, and Wellington (which is a nicely compact city) had plenty of sights making it very much worth the visit all by itself. In short, a good time was had by all. New Zealand fandom can now relax knowing that it has put its best foot forward to good effect. Au Contraire may have been smaller than the Australian Worldcon the following weekend and so may seem to be in its shadow but, as biologists will tell you, it is not size that always counts…

DragonCon 24 was held in Atlanta, Georgia, US. Some 40,000 attended a programme of mind-bogglingly 60 parallel programme streams. Just about every SFnal/fantasy sub-genre was catered for in each of the main formats: TV, film and books. Major events included the annual parade down Peachtree Street, Friday Night Costume Contest, Awards Banquet and Ceremony, Masquerade. Panel subjects include comics and pop art, designer toys, gaming, costuming, alternate history, steampunk, anime, manga, sci-fi, fantasy, young adult literature, space, pirates, sceptics, pod-casting, classic and modern SF/fantasy television, and paranormal activity. Workshops include writers’ workshops, belly dancing, and art programs. Additional programming content includes late night parties, live concerts, and DJ hosted dances. This year's science and space programme streams included items on: digital imaging; evolution; space programmes; the Jet Propulsion Lab; Satellites; Live Astronomy; Brain Biology; Future Weapons; Making Booze; Space Start-Ups; Saturn's Rings; Invisibility; President's Spapce Policy; Mars; Voyager; Har Radio; Genetic Engineering; Kepler Telescope… among other items. In short, something for everybody.

Novacon to be 40 years old in November. Novacon is Great Britain's (and possibly Europe's) second longest running convention and will hold its 40th in November. The Guest of Honour this year will be the wide-screen, space opera maestro Iain Banks and the Special Guest will be the SF grandmaster Brian Aldiss. Novacons are associated with the Birmingham SF group and were for most of its history held in Birmingham until the city's hotels wised up to there always being an SF event there each November and so all put their prices up. The convention has for a few years been held elsewhere in the midlands and this year, for the second year in a row, will be held in Nottingham's Park Inn. Novacons usually have a single programme of talks and panels: nearly all the first decade of Novacons were additionally noted for showing a couple of art-house SF films. Novacons also have a dealers room and occasionally an art show. Much of the action takes place in the bar. Six hardy souls have been to all 39 Novacons and are registered for the 40th: Vernon Brown (this year's con chairman), ½ Cruttenden, Chris Morgan, Pauline Morgan, Rog Peyton and Tim Stannard. (Will there be a repeat of the synchronised drinking that took place back at Novacon 10?) Details: www.novacon.org.uk.

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.]

Autumn 2010

NET WATCH

The Australian Bullsheet has entered indefinite hiatus. The site has provided a monthly bulletin summarising Australian SF news for over 8 years and as such has been a very useful window on Australian fandom. Edwina Harvey (editor) and Ted Scribner (webmaster) have decided to have an indefinite rest due to growing commitments and, with the Australian Worldcon in August looming, decided that that was the time to call it a day. Though they have asked whether anyone wants to take over for the interim, it does rather look there will be a bit of an Australian shaped bullsheet gap in the internet for (we hope only) a while. The Australian Bullsheet will be particularly missed by those of us at Concatenation as we had good editorial liaison that facilitated our respective news coverage perspectives from opposite parts of the globe. We wish both Edwina and Ted well and hope that at some stage they will feel their batteries recharged and will want to resurrect their constructive and helpful fannish contribution.

Steam Punk Tales the new e-magazine from www.steampunktales.com has completed its first year. Issues are released bi-monthly at a cost of US$1.99 USD and has broadened its platforms from iPhone to include Adobe Acrobat, MobiPocket and Amazon Kindle. The first year has been profitable.

Gestalt Mash is a new genre comment blog at gestaltmash.com. Mainly British Isles based, its principal contributors are Jay Tomio, Ryhs Hughes, Richard Kadrey (author of Sandman Slim), Matthew Cheney (of the fantasy blog Mumpsimus), Ryan K. Lindsay, Elena Nola, and Hal Duncan (author of Vellum).

The new Lightspeed webzine now up. We reported its pre-launch last time but now has had four monthly issues under its belt. To give you a flavour, issue 3's contents were – Fiction: 'How to Become a Mars Overlord' by Catherynne M. Valente, 'Patient Zero' by Tananarive Due, ;Arvies' by Adam-Troy Castro, 'More Than the Sum of His Parts' by Joe Haldeman. Non-fiction: 'Dead Mars' by Pamela Gay (about the early life-bearing Mars), 'Bangs & Whimpers: A Look at the Top Five Doomsday Scenarios' by Carol Pinchefsky, an interview with Robert J. Sawyer 'Cyborg-netics' by Matt London.

Midnight in Hell the horror book and film webzine is having a strong 4th year. This quarterly sees both reviews and short fiction as well as carry convention reviews and has a film section. The deadline for contributions for the winter (December) issue is 15th November. For details visit "www.midnightinhell.com".

Twitter sees 20 billionth tweet posted. It took 4 years for twits to post 2 billion tweets on Twitter which happened in March 2010. But only four months since then for this to double again to 20 billion by the end of July 2010.

 

MISCELLANEOUS -- COMPUTER CORNER

Google Wave dropped due to low take-up. Launched just a year and a half ago, Google Wave is an e-mail, instant messaging and features that allowed people to collaborate on documents in real-time. However now Google are not going to continue to roll it out and will only keep the site going for another year, though they may introduce the technology to other of their products. Why people did not like the service is not clear, it was certainly innovative. Gogle themselves are philosophical saying that they celebrate failure as much as success and will continue to develop new technology some of which will be successful even if others are not.

Blackberry personal security challenged by governments in some countries. Blackberry devices allow confidential encrypted communication, but the governments of some nations do not like this purportedly because it allows criminal activity to be planned/conducted in secrecy. However legitimate businesses, let alone individuals, also have legitimate reasons for wanting their messages to be perfectly confidential. Matters came to a head over the summer with Saudi Arabia suspending Blackberry services. These were restored after a while but was a deal done? Blackberry denied that any had. Then in August India threatened Blackberry. This issue is bound to continue.

 

[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.]

Autumn 2010

LAST SEASON'S SCIENCE NEWS SUMMARY

GENERAL SCIENCE

The proton's estimated size has just got a lot smaller! Reported in Nature (vol. 466, p-213-217), European scientists led by Randolph Pohl, find that the proton's size compared to previous estimates is five standard deviations smaller. The estimate was done using muonic hydrogen (a proton orbited by a negative muon) rather than atomic hydrogen (a proton orbited by an electron) as muonic hydrogen's Bohr radius (the radius of lowest energy/ground state) is itself smaller. The results suggest that either the Rydberg constant has to be altered and/or current quantum calculations (hence theory) is wrong. +++ Dedicated Concatenation followers may recall that our physicist Graham has said for over half a decade that there is something wrong with the Standard Model necessitating a fundamental re-thing of sub-atomic physics.

Second Stonehenge found nearby. A second monument has been found just a few hundred metres from the original. This second site consists of a ditch (as does the original) but a ring of wooden posts (not stones). Like the original, the second site also dates to around 4,500 years ago.

World has warmest June ever on record.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reported that the combined ocean and land temperature for June 2010 was 16.2°C compared to the 20th century average of 15.5°C.

Britain's Research Councils plan for 20% austerity cuts. The UK Research Councils are the bodies responsible for using government (tax payer money) for fund science research. Despite politicians claiming to encourage Britain developing a knowledge-based economy with industry and commerce using the latest science and technology, the fallout of the 2008/9 financial crash and resulting governmental budget deficit, the Research Councils are facing difficult times for the next four years.

 

[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.]

Autumn 2010

ASTRONOMY AND SPACE

Much of Mars was shaped by water. Signs of water have previously been found in Mars' southern hemisphere but now they have also been detected in the northern hemisphere too by Europe's Mars express and NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Much of Mars' northern hemisphere is covered by younger rocks due to a massive collision early in its history after 4 billion years ago. Craters in the northern hemisphere exposing older strata suggest that rain and small seas were on Mars some 4.2 billion years ago. Given that the Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago and life arising somewhere between 3.5 and 4.2 billion years ago, there is a slim chance that microbial life arose on Mars in a very narrow window of opportunity. If it did there is a slim chance that it may have survived deep in geological strata.

Europe's Rosetta mission has asteroid Lutetia fly-by. Launched in 2004, Rosetta has already made one fly-by of Steins asteroid in 2008. Lutetia is a 100 km-wide, potato-shaped asteroid. The largest asteroid previously encountered by a probe was asteroid Mathilde which has only half the diameter of Lutetia. Lutetia itself was discovered in 1852 by Hermann Goldschmidt in Paris (whose Roman name is Lutetia). Rosetta will now go on to encounter comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in May of 2014. Then the probe will release a small Philae lander to go down to the comet's surface in November 2014. Asteroids are the focus of a number of missions and space-probe goals. Japanese Hayabusa mission has recently been to the asteroid Itokawa, and next year the US Dawn mission will go into orbit around asteroid Vesta. The US President Barack Obama says that Nasa should also have the goal of trying to send astronauts to an asteroid sometime in the 2020s.

Astrium EADS to suggest successor to Ariane 5 launcher. Ariane 5 first launched in 1996, has flown over 50 times and currently each year launches about half the World's larger telecoms satellites. Astrium EADS will report next year in time for ESA's meeting of European science ministers. Whatever design is put forward one factor will have to be cost as currently the new SpaceX launcher undercuts that of Ariane for low-Earth orbit delivery. Whatever Ariane 5's successor, it will need to be in service by 2025.

Strongest gamma burst not properly recorded by Swift orbital detector. Strong gamma ray bursts are thought to occur when dying massive stars turn into black holes. In June the Swift orbital detector (launched in 2004) picked up a burst so strong that there were too many photons to count making this gamma ray burst some five times stronger than the strongest previously detected. The event had its origins in a galaxy 5 billion light years away (our neighbour Andromeda galaxy by comparison is just 2 million light years away).

 

[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.]

Autumn 2010

NATURAL SCIENCE

H1N1 global pandemic over. It's official says World Health Organization (WHO). The "World is no longer in phase 6 of the influenza pandemic alert: We are now moving into the post-pandemic period," say WHO. However it warns that H1N1 has not gone away but entered a seasonal mode and some H1N1 hot spots will persist. WHO note: "This time around, we have been aided by pure good luck. The virus did not mutate during the pandemic to a more lethal form. Widespread resistance to oseltamivir did not develop. The vaccine proved to be a good match (statement WHO/06)."

Early humans inhabited northern Europe far earlier than thought: nearly 1 million years ago! Discovery of human presence in Norfolk, England, pushes back the record of early humans in northern Europe. Modern humans first entered eastern and southern Europe around 1.8 million years ago but were not have thought to have ventured north. This discovery shows that they were in England around 950,000 years ago some nine interglacials ago when the global climate was roughly as warm as it is today. However, without the benefits of even medieval technology, life must have been hard. The location is an ecotone (boundary between two or more ecosystems) being on the banks of the prehistoric Thames estuary before subsequent glacials (the cold parts of ice ages) caused it to be diverted close to its modern path. Consequently, these early humans had terrestrial woodland, freshwater, estuarine and marshland environments from which to secure food. The discovery has significant implications for understanding early human behaviour and survival.

Early 'pre-human' use of tools extended back to 3.2 million years ago. Homo habilis was long thought to be the first tool user until 1997 when evidence from Ethiopia extended the dating to about 2.5 million years ago. Now new evidence from Dikika in Ethiopia extends this even further to 3.2 million years ago. However the users were pre-human Australopithecus afarensis. The evidence is in the form of marks and abrasions on bones indicating tooled butchery (Nature vol 466, pp857-860).

More evidence found for early macroorganism life 2 billion years ago. With the exception of Grypania spiralis (coil shaped algae) the boom in macroscopic organisms took lace 1.0 to 1.6 billion years ago. Now the remains of another macroorganism have been found in the Gabon, Africa. These new remains are of a colonial algae that is thought to be engaged in aerobic respiration though the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere was far lower then than today.

Genetically Modified (GM) crops: the European Union states are to be allowed to make own decisions regarding GM crops. At the moment only Mon810 GM maize is the only GM food commercially grown in the EU for food. The Amflora GM potato is also grown but only for commercial starch (not food). The European Commission now allowing European nations to make their own GM decisions gives greater flexibility.

Genetically Modified (GM) crops found in the wild. A GM crop, herbicide resistant canola, has been found growing in the wild in N. Dakota. The news is not unexpected and is indicative of a poor monitoring and control of GM plants in the US.

 

[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.]

Autumn 2010

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.

 

Orbus by Neal Asher, Tor , pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-330-45760-6.
A Captain Orbus adventure. Rollicking space opera.

The Technician by Neal Asher, Tor, hrdbk, £17.99. ISBN 978-0-230-70874-7.
A stand-alone, space opera featuring two of the Polity series' characters.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, Virago, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-844-08564-4.
The paperback release of her latest SF novel (though of course she appears reluctant to admit that she writes anything as pedestrian as science fiction: perish the thought). We like her SF. Recommended.

Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks, Orbit, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-1-841-498935-5.
This is the much-awaited new 'Culture' novel (even though the last one was just a couple of years ago). 'It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. It begins with a murder. And it will not end until The Culture has gone to war with death itself…'

The Holy Machine by Chris Beckett, Corus, hrdbk, £14.99. ISBN 978-1-848-87462-6.
A debut novel that came out back in the summer but alas we were not told. Of it the trade says – presumably pitched at the mundanes (which may be why grubby SF sites were not informed) – it is where SF meets the 'literary' novel... In the 21st century (i.e. near-future) the World is taken over by religious fundamentalists. One place free of this is a rationalist city state. The novel's protagonists leave this city to explore outside…

The Reapers are Angels by Alden Bell, Tor, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-230-74864-4.
A quest novel as our protagonists traverse a post-apocalyptic US, encountering survivors and trying to avoid zombies. If you have not had enough of this season's proverbial glut of zombie offerings then this one looks promising.

Engineman by Eric Brown, Solaris, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-907-51942-0.
Space opera action adventure. Eric Brown has a good number of SF novels under his belt and they invariably are steady reads. This looks like a collection of shorts.

Guardians of the Phoenix by Eric Brown, Solaris, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-907-51914-7.
Following the Great Breakdown (due to overpopulation, global warming and resource conflict), the Earth's seas have dried up. Some survive in deep shelters. Others struggle in the remains of cities. In Paris, Pierre comes to a decision to leave with others to head south in search of water. OK, the biosphere science may be decidedly iffy, but this could be a good post-apocalyptic quest yarn. We have not seen it yet, but from the advance publication information we suspect it might well appeal to those who enjoyed Lee Wood's Faraday's Orphans (1996) or Zelazny's Damnation Alley (1969). This one's out a week before Christmas and might well be a good antidote to overdoing the festive season.

A Foreign Country edited by Anna Carro and Juliet Buchanan, Random Static, pbk, NZ$24.95. ISBN 978-0-473-16916-9.
This is a collection of 22 SF and fantasy short stories by New Zealand writers. There have only been a couple of previous NZ anthologies and none for several years. Random Static is a new NZ, speculative fiction small press and this is their third title. The anthology's theme is the future is a foreign country. Many of the stories reflect the authors' nation's condition: one of distance and separation yet belonging to a broader community. Also many of the stories arose out of the 2010 NZ national convention's (Au Contraire) short story competition and, appropriately, the book was launched at that convention. The print run will not be large yet, as this anthology is likely to appeal to SF/F collectors with an interest in non-North American and non-British Isles SF/F that dominates so much of the rest of our reading diet, it is well worth ordering sooner rather than later.

Eve: The Burning Self by HjaIti Danielsson, Gollancz, pbk,n £7.99. ISBN 978-0-575-09018-7.
This is part of the series that includes Eve: The Empyrean Age and is based on the on-line space opera game.

Against All Things Ending by Stephen Donaldson, Gollancz, £18.99, hrdbk. ISBN 978-0-575-07601-3.
Could this be the conclusion of the classic science fantasy ? See Graham's review of Fatal Revenant.

Guardians of Paradise by Jaine Fenn, Gollancz, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08326-4.
The last in the space opera trilogy that began with Principles of Angels and Consorts of Heaven which both Tony and Duncan like.

The Nemesis List by R. J. Frith, Macmillan, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-230-74891-0.
This novel is from the winner of the publisher Tor and Sci Fi Now magazine 'War of the Words' competition. Humanity has reached the stars but the price is an overly controlling Government needed to channel resources to keep the fledgling interstellar empire going. Ex-soldier Frank Pak just wants to keep his spaceship going and asks few questions when asked to transport a passenger. However when the passenger turns out to be the result of a pioneering genetic process both the Government and the resistance want this possibly future evolutionary version of mankind.   This is Frith's debut novel though has written many short stories.

Empire of Light by Gary Gibson, Tor, hrdbk, £17.99. ISBN 978-0-230-70681-1.
The third in the 'Shoal' space opera series that perhaps has the vague feel of Niven's 'Known Space' combined with Reynold's 'Revelation Space'.   The story follows on from Stealing Light and Nova War. This actually came out back in the summer but alas the Tor catalogue had not come out when we were compiling last season's forthcoming books. The good news is that the paperback will not be that far off. Recommended.

Zero History by William Gibson, Viking, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-670-91954-3.
Following a global financial crash a mysterious advertising agency is keen to get a slice of the military budget. For what it is worth, this is being promoted as 'literary' rather than genre but it very much has an SFnal riff and it completes the sequence of novels that includes Pattern Recognition and Spook Country.

Metro 2033 by Dimitry Glukhovsky, Gollancz, pbk, £8.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08625-8.
This is the paperback release of the spring's hardback (click on the above title to see the stand-alone review) of the post-atomic war novel that has taken eastern Europe by storm and garnered Glukhovsky (or Gluhovsky) a Eurocon Award in 2007. The computer game tie-in helps, but it is a rattling yarn with some black humour, and even where you think the novel may be going off-piste, with thought there is an easy explanation. The story concerns the survivors in Moscow's metro (which in real life has been designed as an air-raid shelter complete with space for underground warehouses). Then one day something, or somethings, break into one of the stations on a line to the north. Help is required from the centre of the metro where the best of civilization resides. However the journey there involves going through stations where strangers may be considered with suspicion, where extreme political regimes flourish and then there are the perils of the tunnels in between.

Darkside: Pax Britannia by Jonathan Green, Abaddon, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-906-73540-1.
Steam punk set on the Moon in an alternative 20th century. A stand-alone novel part of the 'Pax Britannia' series, so it’s a good chance to check out this universe without having to read the rest, but if you do like it then there are another 6 already out and three collected below (see next item).

The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus: Pax Britannia Vol. 1 by Jonathan Green, Abaddon, pbk, £9.99. ISBN 978-1-907-51936-9.
Ulysses Quicksilver is a dandy, adventurer and an agent of the throne in a steampunk alternative universe where Queen Victoria has not ruled for 160 years. This omnibus edition brings together three 'Pax Britannia' novels: Unnatural History (dinosaurs in London zoo's Challenger exhibit), Leviathan Rising (a Kraken like monster rises from the depths) and Human Nature (experimentation beyond Frankenstein).

The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton, Macmillan, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-1-405-08894-7.
The latest in the 'Void' sequence that includes The Dreaming Void which itself is related to his 'Commonwealth' books. This one is one of the definitive novels and Hamilton fans will not want to miss it. Those new to Hamilton need to be aware that he writes BIG books (high page count) and if you really like weighty tomes then this comes recommended.

The Dead by Charlie Higson, Puffin, hrdbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-141-38465-8.
Sequel to last year's zombie novel, The Enemy, for teenage readers that sold 25,000 hardbacks alone.

Zombie Apocalypse edited/created by Stephen Jones, Constable and Robinson, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-849-01303-1.
Zombies can be either horror SF or fantasy horror, but we have put this one in the SF section simply because it is set in the here and now on Earth. The premise is that an old zombie plague is released from a south London church and quickly spreads far and wide. Developments are captured in short stories, e-mails, and blogs written by many writers including some big names. This is an absolute must for fans of the lurching ones.

Gardens of the Sun by Paul Mc Auley, Gollancz, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08448-3.
This is the paperback release of the gripping, solar system space opera that followed on from The Quiet War that both Jonathan and Tony liked.

The Dervish House by Ian McDonald, Gollancz, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08052-2.
Building on his success with River of Gods,Cyberabad Days and Brasyl, this is another story set in a foreign land and stepped in its culture. This time it is 2025 and concerns the families of the House of Dervish in Istanbul. It is bound to do well and is a must for those who like their stories richly plotted set against a detailed, non-familiar background.

Autumn by David Moody, Gollancz, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-575-09128-3.
Now this first came out self-published purely in electronic form back in 2001, but this post-apocalyptic zombie story has apparently been a bit of an internet phenomena.

Version 43 by Philip Palmer, Orbit, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-841-49921-5.
Space opera.

Impact by Douglas Preston, Pan, pbk, £6.99. ISBN 978-0-330-50887-2.
Gem stones, meteor showers, gamma ray bursts from within the outer Solar System and a crater on Mars, together make an impact…

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi, Gollancz, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08888-7.
This debut novel was our advance Hot Tip back in the summer. This debut novel is set in a future with post-humans: an offender in a virtual jail is offered the chance of freedom but only if he commits a crime. There is a fair bit of trade buzz about this and Jonathan backs this up in his The Quantum Thief review.

The Amazing Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions by Robert Rankin, Gollancz, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-575-07873-4.
The master of far-fetched fiction returns. After Terry Pratchett, Rankin is probably Britain's most successful humorous speculative fiction author… Or was that just a load of old toot? He is a marmite author: you either love him or you hate him. This latest is a sequel to H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds in which Mars has become part of the British Empire. Spiffing, what!   Check out our reviews of The Brightonomicon, The DA-DA DE-DA-DA Code, Necrophenia, Retromancer and The Toyminator.

Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson, Voyager, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-007-26032-4. The paperback of the recent hardback concerning Galileo by day refining the telescope and presenting his Copernican case, and by night whisked off into the future to settle a debate on the moons of Jupiter.

H. G. Wells: Classic Collection by H. G. Wells, Gollancz, hrdbk, £20. ISBN 978-0-575-09520-5.
Now, if you do not have all of Wells' SF novels in your collection, or even if you are just two or three short, this is a real must for your seasonal book-buying list: indeed, it would make for a great present for that special friend/relation who has only been building their collection for a few years. This leather-bound omnibus brings together The Time Machine, The Island of Dr Moreau, The War of the Worlds, The First Men in the Moon and The Invisible Man. From the pre-publicity this seems a deluxe edition release of Gollancz's 2004 Five Great Novels.

Son of Heaven by David Wingrove, Corus, hrdbk, £17.99. ISBN 978-1-848-87424-1.
Part of the Chung Kuo series set in 2085 two decades after western civilization's collapse.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu, Corpus Books, hrdbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-1-848-87680-4.
Though not from a major SF publishing imprint (which could be a little worrying) this is a humorous grandfather paradox time loop. From the pre-publicity which is intriguing, the plot could either be rather good or have holes that regular SF readers will spot a mile away. We'll see. Anyway, it seems that here the protagonist instead of killing his grandfather, kills himself but himself as victim is trying to give him a manual on how to get by using time travel…

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.]

Autumn 2010

Forthcoming Fantasy and Horror Book Releases

The Hand Reared Boy by Brian Aldiss, Souvenir press, pbk, £9.99. ISBN 978-0-285-6351-6.
OK, so this is not fantasy 'fantasy' but an account of the sexual awakening of a teenage lad. It is though written by one of SF's most respected writers and is a welcome reprint.

Jasmyn by Alex Bell, Gollancz, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08445-2.
From the author of The Ninth Circle. A contemporary take on fairy tales and monsters.

Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie, Macmillan, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-230-74102-7.
A young-mother artist disappears in London's East End (once the haunt of Jack the Ripper). Her lawyer husband is the prime suspect but he too vanishes. This is more detective thriller than fantasy though with the Ripper there is a background horror riff.

The Usurper by Rowena Cory Daniells, Solaris, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-907-51906-2.
Sword and sorcery vaguely reminiscent of George R. R. Martin.

Stone Weilder by Ian C. Esslemont, Bantam, hrdbk, £20. ISBN 978-0-593-06444-3.
A Malazan army novel, part of the seemingly unstoppable Malazan sequence.

The Duke's Blade by John Courtenay Grimwood, Orbit, trdpbk, £11.99. ISBN 978-1-841-49845-4.
We have no info on this one other than it features a vampire assassin, but given the author probably recommended.

Ash by James Herbert, Macmillan, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-0-230-70695-8.
This is the long-awaited return of one of Herbert's best-loved characters, paranormal detective David Ash who has to deal with a haunted house. (James Herbert has also recently been honoured.)

The Armour of Achilles by Glyn Iliffe, Macmillan, trdpbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-0-230-52930-4.
The third in the Odysseus series set in the time of Troy. (The author studied classics at university.)

The Graveyard of Berenwek by Adrian James, is available as an e-book from Kindle and SharedPen.com.
This is a horror debut from the longstanding fantastic film aficionado Adrian James and so not surprisingly film comes into it...

The Silent Land by Graham Joyce, Gollancz, pbk, £9.99. ISBN 978-0-575-08389-9.
A couple caught in an avalanche make it to a deserted skiing village. But later when they attempt to leave they find themselves returning to it.

Hawkwood and the Kings: The Monarchies of God volume 1. by Paul Kearney, Solaris, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-906-73570-8.
Brings together three books into an omnibus edition in this fantasy where gunpowder and cannon co-exist with sorcerers and werewolves.   This offering is a little more different than it sounds, and is a good introduction to Kearney especially as vol. 2 is out in November (see next below).

Century of the Soldier: The Monarchies of God volume 2. by Paul Kearney, Solaris, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-907-51908-6.

Corvus volume 2 by Paul Kearney, Solaris, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-906-73576-0.
Historic/mythological military fantasy.

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King, Hodder, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-1-444-71254-4.
This is a collection of four novellas from the US grandmaster of horror. (By the way his recent Under The Dome was the novel of his that attracted the most hardback sales in the British Isles and it is going to TV.)

Blood Ninja by Nick Lake, Corvus, pbk, £6.99. ISBN 978-1-848-87388-9.
16th century vampires in Japan. Billed as young adult but actually suitable for older.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, Vintage, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-099-54934-5.
Romeo and Juliet as if between a zombie and a human.

The Tongues of the Serpents by Naomi Novik, Harper Voyager, hrdbk, £17.99. ISBN 978-0-283-63516-6.
More Napoleonic adventures with Captain Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire.

The End of the Line: An Anthology of Underground Horror edited by Jonathan Oliver, Solaris, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-907-51932-1.
The fiction herein is new and the theme is horror on and around the metro and underground rail as well as other places deep below. Other than the dark of night, surely it is the subterranean dark that instinctively gives us trepidation. This could be good. Contributors notable include Joe Lansdale.

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver, Orion, hrdbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-1-409-12378-1.
The first adult ghost novel from the successful juvenile writer. In 1937 a wireless operator goes to Norway for a posting in a remote northern settlement but finds more than cold…

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett, Doubleday, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-0-385-61107-7.
For Terry's younger readers.

The Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett and Josh Kirby, Gollancz, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-0575-0962808.
This is a welcome re-issue of Pratchett's take on the Faust legend with Kirby illustrations.

The Living Dead by George Romero, Headline, hrdbk, £17.99. ISBN 978-0-755-35991-2.
Surprisingly for some this is George Romero's first novel! Actually it came out in the summer but we found out too late for inclusion in last season's forthcoming books lists. Given who the author is, if you love zombie films then you'll just have to get this.

Dracula's Guest: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories edited by Michael Sims, Bloomsbury, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-1-408-80825-2.

The Best of Tomes of the Dead: Vol. 1 by Matthew Smith, Al Ewing and Rebecca Levine, Abaddon, pbk, £9.99. ISBN 978-1-907-51934-5.
Three reprints of the zombie novels: The Words of their Roaring, I Zombie and Anno Mortis.

Legacy's Price: Twilight of Kerberos by Matthew Sprange, Abaddon, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-907-51930-7.
A thief and shadow mage who runs the theives' guild finds the new ruling lord cooperative. However an ancient artefact calls and a race is on. This novel is billed as being in the vein of Robert Howard and Greg Staples.

Shadow's Son by John Sprunk, Gollancz, hrdbk, £18.99. ISBN 978-0-575-09600-4.
Debut novel about a freelance assassin who himself becomes a target.

Legacy by James Steel, Avon, pbk, £6.99. ISBN 978-1-847-56160-2.
In 1501 the Nubian deathstone is discovered by a medieval knight. The in 1941 Himler orders the SS to find it. Today a mercenary encounters it…

The Pan Book of Horror Stories edited by Herbert va Thal, Pan, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-0-330-51868-0.
This is a hugely welcome reprint of the 50-year-old classic featuring stories from old masters such as Bram Stoker, Peter Flemming, and C. S. Forester. An absolute must for horror readers.

The Herring in the Library by L. C. Tyler, Macmillan, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-230-71468-7.
When an author and agent get invited to dinner, the host mysteriously dies in a locked room. The distraught spouse asks the author to investigate. In the process they meet the author's fictional 14th century detective. Can he help solve this 21st century mystery? This one just missed being listed last time, but the paperback will not now be long off.

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.]

Autumn 2010

Forthcoming Science Fact and Non-Fiction SF

Dictionary of the (Un)Dead: Zombies by Dr Dale, Allison & Busby, pbk, £8.99. ISBN 978-0-749-00805-5.
Actually this is a humour book based on a show presented at the Edinburgh (comedy) Festival.

Pythagoras: His Lives and Legacy of a Rational Universe by Kitty Ferguson, Icon, hrdbk, £20. ISBN 978-1-848-31192-3.

The Art of Hammer by Marcus Hearn, Titan Books, trdpbk, £24.99. ISBN 978-1-845-6737-5.

The Truth About Santa: Wormholes, Robots and What Really Happens on Christmas Eve by Gregory Malone, Bloomsbury, pbk, £9.99. ISBN 978-0-408-81024-8.
One for the festive season.

The Big Questions by Steven E. Landsburg, Pocket, pbk, £7.99. ISBN 978-1-845-13488-4.
Uses physics and mathematics to address big philosophical questions.

The Sky At Night 13 by Sir Patrick Moore, Springer, trdpbk, £31.99. ISBN 978-1-441-96408-3.
This well-illustrated volume covers 40 episodes of the BBC monthly astronomy series (we guess 2006-9). If you are outside of Britain and are not aware of the series but have an (amateur) interest in astronomy then you will find this a fascinating volume not only covering aspects of amateur astronomy but reviewing astronomical research and space exploration news.

The Making of The Empire Strikes Back by J. W. Rinzler, Arum, hrdbk, £39.99. ISBN 978-1-845-13555-5.

The Rough Guide to Cult Movies Rough Guides, £9.99, pbk. ISBN 978-1-848-36213-0.
Covers over 1,500 films.

Elisabeth Sladen: The Autobiography of Elisabeth Sladen by Elisabeth Sladen, Arum, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-1-845-13488-4.
Sladen was the Dr Who assistant Sarah Jane who worked with Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and, in The Sarah Jane Adventures David Tennant.

The Brilliant Book of Dr Who 2011, Ebruy/BBC, hrdbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-1-846-07991-7.
An almanac of the 11th Doctor's first year.

The Naked Scientist: The Science of Everyday Life Laid Bare by Chris Smith, Little Brown, hrdbk, £12.99. ISBN 978-1-408-70249-9.

The Art of Drew Struzan by Drew Struzan, Titan Books, trdpbk, £24.99. ISBN 978-848-856619-4.
Drew drew Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter etc., film posters.

The Rough Guide to the Future by Jon Turney (editor), Rough Guides, trdpbk, £13.99. ISBN 978-1-858-28781-2.
50 predictions by scientists and others.

2030 by Rutger van Santen et al, Oxford University Press, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-1-953-7717-0.
Scientists and others provide essays on what they think things will be like a couple of decades from now. Biotechnology, climate change, infectious disease etc. Worth getting and putting aside for a couple of decades before reading.

Harry Potter Film Wizardry by Warner Brothers, Bantam, hrdbk, £25. ISBN 978-0-593-06648-5.
SFX, behind-the-scenes pictures, and a mine of visual information about all the films.

How Many Molehills in a Mountain? Measuring What You Don't Know in Terms of What You Do by Marcus Weeks, Ivy press, hrdbk, £9.99. ISBN 978-1-907-33226-5.

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.]

Autumn 2010

Forthcoming TV & Film Book Tie-ins

Star Wars: Year by Year – A Visual Chronicle from Dorling Kindersley, hrdbk, £35. ISBN 978-1-405-34167-7.
Colourful.

Doctor Who: The Only Good Dalek by Justin Richards and Mike Collins, Ebury/BBC, hrdbk, £16.99. ISBN 978-1-846-07984-9.
Graphic novel.

Dr Horrible Sing-Along Blog Book by Joss Whedon, Titan, £16.99. ISBN 978-1-848-56862-4.
Whether you loved or hated the musical the video that spawned this book, it won a Hugo in 2009.

 

[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.]

Autumn 2010

SELECTED RECENT DVD RELEASES

Alien Anthology [Blu Ray] £49.99 from 20th Century Fox.
These are all the Sigourney weaver/Ridley Scott Alien films on 6 discs. All four films are in high definition and two versions: the cinema original release and director's cut. Extras include deleted and extended scenes.

Back to the Future Trilogy Limited Edition Collector's Tin [Blu Ray] £59.99 from Universal.
3 discs. Many extras. Plus Blu-ray Collector's Tin includes- digipack blu-ray trilogy, Delorean blueprint, Outtatime number plate, Sports Almanac, Save The Clocktower poster, Lenticular photo of Marty's family.

The Big Bang Theory – Season 3 £24.99 from Warner.
If you have never checked it out, this comedy series is the US equivalent of The IT Crowd (see below). Scientists who are SF enthusiasts…. Sound familiar?

The Big Bang Theory – Seasons 1-3 £39.99 from Warner.

The Bionic Showdown £12.99 from Mediumrare.
Features both the $6m (£3.75m) Man and the bionic woman get together. But do they find that sometimes faster is not better…? This special was made after the series ended and originally came out in 1989. A villainous cyborg is on the loose…

Dr Who: The Cybermen Box Set £29.99 from 2entertain.
Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy adventures with 'Silver Nemesis' and 'Revenge of the Cybermen'.

Dr Who – The Complete Series 5 £79.99 from 2entertain.
This is series 5 in new money (since Ecclestone) and is the first Matt Smith series as the young embryo Doctor. OK, so this is over-priced and it will come down, but this edition does have some neat exclusive extras including 'Meanwhile in the TARDIS' - additional scenes, written by Steven Moffat and featuring Matt Smith & Karen Gillan, telling the story of what happens between episodes. Why was Amy floating in Space above Starship UK, and what happened after 'that' kiss between the Doctor and Amy?

Going Postal £24.99 from 20th Century Fox.
The 5th TV-film adaptation of a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. Possibly one of the better adaptations along with Hogfather.

Iron Man 2 £19.99 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
Not as action packed as the first film but many say it is almost as good.

The IT Crowd: Version 4.0 £19.99 from 2entertain.
This is series 4 of the surreal Channel 4 comedy show about two nerds in an IT support department led by a female manager who does not understand computers and who in turn reports to the company boss, a power mad misogynist. The series has had good ratings. One line to entice you: 'I have come here to drink milk and kick arse, and I have just drunk my milk.' Brilliant stuff.

Sherlock £19.99 from 2entertain.
Steven Moffat did the script for this 21st century re-boot of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. This could so easily have been a disaster in anyone else's hands but remember Moffat scripted the excellent Jekyll that itself was a modern take on Robert Louis Stevenson's novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), Sherlock stars Benedict (Hawking) Cumberbatch and Martin (The Office) Freeman and has had good ratings. This is hugely recommended!

Smallville: Season 9 £49.99.
This season has had great feedback from the fans. +++ We reported on season 10 spoilers earlier.

The Vampire Diaries – Season 1 £39.99 from Warner.
Based on the novels by L. J. Smith. It is Elena's first day back at Mystic Falls High School since the tragic death of her parents. Along with her Aunt Jenna, Elena tries her best to look after her troubled younger brother, Jeremy, and salvage what family they have left. The first day is already shaping up to be a struggle for Elena until she meets the mysterious new pupil, Stefan. Elena is touched that he can relate to what she is going through. What Elena does not know is that Stefan is a vampire, constantly resisting the urge to taste her blood. As their undeniable connection grows deeper, Stefan's dangerous older brother, Damon, shows up to wreak havoc on the town of Mystic Falls - and claim Elena for himself.

See also our film download tips.

To see what films we can expect in 2010, 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.]

Autumn 2010

R.I.P.

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

Corey Allen, the US television director who worked on a number episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space 9, died just a couple of days before being 76.

Larry Ashmead, the US editor, has died aged 78. Though he had a career as an editor, he had a scientific training as a geologist. Among those he edited was one Isaac Asimov.

Dede Allen, the US film editor of Terror From The Year 5000 (1948), Slaughterhouse-Five (1972), and The Addams Family, has died aged 86.

John Birchby, the British SF fan, has died aged 79. He is the last of the monthly London SF Circle White Horse regulars who still attended in its present Melton Mowbry abode. He was also a regular at London's weekly City Illiterate gatherings and continued to attend until a short illness brought him down. Quiet and friendly, he had a wealth of Brit fan and SF knowledge to share for those who wanted it. He will be missed, including by a few of us on the Concatenation team who had the privilege to know him on London's SF circuit.

Everett F. Bleiler, the US editor, has died aged 90. He is know for The Checklist of Fantastic Literature and co-editing the Year's Best SF anthologies (1949-1956) with T.E. Dikty.

Darrell J. B. (Dax) Copp, the physicist who did so much for British bioscience, has died aged 88 just as our last season's news page went to bed. Following graduation, Dax spent his professional life in science management mainly with learned societies but also quasi-autonomous non-governmental bodies (quangos). After a stint with the British Association for the Advancement of Science, in 1951 Dax was invited to be the first General Secretary of the newly formed Institute of Biology (IoB) that was established by the Biological Council (the affiliation of specialist biological learned societies) to be the professional body representing British life scientists. Under his leadership the Institute grew. It published the then acclaimed journal Biologist and saw the launch of the 'Studies in Biology' series of small books that were invaluable to undergraduates of a certain generation (1960s – 1970s). In 1958 Dax Copp (still while at the Institute) set up the Council for Nature. On his retirement from the Institute of Biology, Dax received an OBE in recognition of his services to biology for the nation. Sadly, subsequent to his retirement, the Institute of Biology's 21st century senior management saw: the Institute's membership decline; the selling off of its prestigious Kensington offices (2005); and finally the IoB's merger with its younger cousin the Bioscience Federation (2009/10). However a new body quickly emerged (2010) from this joining – the Society for Biology – with a new Chief Executive: a birth that Dax was able to witness just a few weeks before his death in April. Dax's life straddled science disciplines and brought literally tens of thousands of people together and influenced many times that. He will be remembered by all who worked with him as well as by many of the staff who came after him at the Institute of Biology.

Frank Frazetta, the US artist, has died aged 82. He worked on comics and film poster, but will perhaps be best remembered for his depictions of Conan as well as his Tarzan book covers.

Fernando Fernández, the Spanish genre artist, has died aged 70. His work is probably best known in Britain and N. America from appearances in Vampirella and Heavy Metal. Of SFnal note, he drew a number of comic adaptation of Isaac Asimov stories that appeared in a 1983 collection.

Martin Gardner, the N. American mathematics writer, has died aged 95. In addition to regularly writing for Scientific American he wrote dozens of books popularising mathematics, using puzzles to intrigue and entertain, as well as debunking pseudoscience. His 1952 book In The Name of Science was republished as Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science that debunked flat Earths and UFOs. Yet his only degree was in philosophy. He went on to found the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (now the Committee for Sceptical Inquiry). Of SF/F note he was an expert on Lewis Carroll and wrote the Annotated Alice that sold over a million copies. He wrote scores of other books. He also contributed mathematical puzzles to Asimov's magazine for a number of years in the late 1970's to '80s.

Stephen Gilbert, the Northern Irish writer, has died aged 97. His novels included: Landslide (1943) set in a parallel world; Monkeyface (1948) about an intelligent ape; and The Burnaby Experiments: An Account of the Life and Work of John Burnaby and Marcus Brownlow (1952) that concerns a kind of teleportation during dreams. He was also a successful businessman. There is some confusion as to whether he, or one Gilbert Ralston, wrote Ratman's Notebooks (1968) which was the inspiration for the film Willard (1971) that concerns an intelligent rat leading other rats.

Lea Henerson, the Australian SF fan, has died following a period of ill health.

Arthur Herzog,US author of the The Swarm (1974) has died aged 83.

James Hogan, the British born SF writer who spent much of his life in the US and then later Ireland, has died aged 69. An engineer, his first novel was Inherit the Stars (1977) in which the ancient remains of dead astronaut is found on the Moon. This novel had a number of sequels in the 'Gentle Giant' sequence. His best writing some argue was his earlier hard SF, his later stories left this and also revealed concerns about the green (environment) movement (this last included a non-fiction book). He wrote around a score of novels.

Marina J. Holroyd, the British SF fan, has died aged 54. Among Marina's activities was regular attendance at the Festival of Fantastic Films. Her death was unexpected and sudden. Our condolences to her partner, and also Fest regular, Jim Gallagher.

Dennis Hopper, the US actor/director, has died aged 74. His genre work included The Twilight Zone(1985), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Witch Hunt (1994), Waterworld (1995), Space Truckers (1996) and Land of the Dead (2005).

Cecil Terrence Ingold, the British mycologist, has died aged 104. He is known for his interest in aquatic fungi, especially their spore dispersal, and it is said that if he were mysteriously transported to anywhere on Earth he could roughly determine the latitude by the spores of stream fungi. In the 1930s he discovered what turned out to be an extremely common group of aquatic fungi (as well as plant symbionts) that later came to be known as Ingoldian hyphomycetes. He also published humorous fungi-related cartoons.

Frank K. Kelly, the SF fan and occasional writer, died the day before his 96th birthday. A number of his stories have been collected in Starship Invincible (1979). He also wrote much non-fiction as well as (political) speech copy.

F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre , the US-domiciled Scottish journalist and occasional SF author, has died in his early 60s. His death in a fire at his Brooklyn flat is considered possible suicide given some of the on-line messages he left such as 'this will be my last review'. He suffered from depression.

Ronald Neame, the British director, has died aged 99. His genre work included Blithe Spirit (1945, as cinematographer), Scrooge (1970) and Meteor(1979).

Jeanne Robinson, the US dancer and writer, has died aged aged 61. Her writing included collaboration with husband Spider. Their 1977 Analog story 'Stardance' won both Hugo and Nebula awards, which encouraged them to turn it into the novel of the same name. She had been ill for some time.

Joy Sanderson, the Brit SF fan resident in the US, has died aged 86. She was active in UK fandom for many years before her break with the late Vin¢ Clarke and her move to the US with Sandy Sanderson.

José Saramago, the Nobel-winning Portuguese novelist, has died aged 87. He occasionally used SFnal themes and his novel Blindness (1995) was recently turned into a film.

Stephen Schneider, the US mechanical engineer/plasma scientist turned climate scientist, has died aged 65 from a heart attack on a flight from Stockholm to London. An early loss for the climate community of this hugely respected scientist. Having in the 1970s expressed concerns as to possible global cooling from sulphate air pollution, he researched climate-forcing agents and in the 1980s concluded that human-induced greenhouse was dominating late 20th century climate trends. This about-turn could have damaged his credibility but instead his honesty added to it. Schneider advised a total of 8 US presidents. He continued to look at how aerosols cooled along with clouds and volcanic eruptions but also worked on trying to disentangle the overall long-term global warming signal from the highly variable (noisy) short-term data. His work was criticised by climate sceptics and even received death threats from white supremacists. This did not stop him from producing over 400 scientific papers throughout his career. He leaves his wife, the Stanford biologist Terry Root with whom in 2003 they both received the National Wildlife Federation's National Conservation Achievement Award.

Sharon Webb, the US author, has died aged 74. Her stories often had a medical dimension influenced by her work as a nurse.

Harry Whittington, the British palaeontologist, has died aged 94. He is best known for his extensive work on Burgess Shale fossils and was a Worldwide expert on trilobites and was one of the principal researchers to confirm the extent of the Cambrian boom.

Al Williamson the US comics artist, has died aged 79. An Eisner winning artist, he is best known for his work on Flash Gordon as well as artwork in Weird Science and Weird Fantasy magazines.

 

[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.]

Autumn 2010

INTERFACE: SCIENCE AND SCIENCE FICTION

The search for ET intelligence (SETI) has not worked because ET communicates in bursts Gregory Benford says. Writing with his brother in the journal Astrobiology he says that radio communication is very energy intensive and so communication would be by brief high energy bursts. The reason SETI has not detected signals is because they only listen in on a star sytem for a short while and then move on. Also they suggest that a smart species would broadcast along the radius line away from the centre of the Galaxy and that we should look back in that direction to see them. Also there are more, and more older, stars in that direction.

SF film director George Pál and British SF author Percy Greg have craters on Mars named after them. Hungarian George Pál directed films such as Destination Moon, When Worlds Collide, The Time Machine and the War of the Worlds which is the Mars' connection. Percy Greg is the author of Across the Zodiac, an 1880 novel about a spaceship journey to Mars that might perhaps be the first interplanetary journey to be depicted in an SF novel. Both the craters are in the southern hemisphere of Mars, east of the Hellas Planitia basin.

Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column in The Guardian has last season coverage that included:-
  - the European Union appraisal of nutrition supplement health claims and especially fish oil which is the best-selling supplement in the UK and whose global market is worth around £37 billion (US$55bn).
  - academic and industrial researchers and not just homeopathic and nutritionist quacks, spin their experimental results. The problem is that while there are good professional guidelines, there is no enforcement.
  - how in 1928 and 1933 H H Remmers, and in 1931 J E Walters that some of the earliest examples of randomised trials involve education methods but that a Conservative lobby group called The Centre for Policy Studies, and London's Mayor Boris Johnson, want a 'competition' to sort out whether 'synthetic phonics' is an effective method of teaching reading not.
  - 8-year-old Sarah Payne, whose murder led to Sarah's law that gives parents information on adults in contact with their children. Now the Home Office (a UK government ministry) says that the law has saved 60 children from abuse. Yet the well-produced report on which this figure is based does not contain the number 60! It finally transpired that 60 was the number of request made about people who had a previous abuse record. However this is not the same as saying that they would have committed further abuse.
  - pharmaceutical companies are still not registering more than half their drug trials and so poor results get buried. However, poor side effects do not simply vanish and pharmaceutical companies eventually get found out. AstraZeneca has paid out £125 million (US$200m) to settle a class action when more than 17,500 patients claim the company withheld information showing that schizophrenia drug quetiapine (trade name Seroquel) can cause diabetes. Why do not politicians act?
.
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.]

Autumn 2010

End Bits

 

More science and SF news will be reviewed in our Spring 2011 upload in January
plus there will also be 'forthcoming' Spring book releases.

Thanks for information, pointers and news for this seasonal page goes to: Alain le Bussy, Antuza Genescu, Adrian James, Ripley Patton, Pierre Gevart, Steve Green, Carolina Lagerlof, Roberto Quaglia, Boris Sidyuk, Jim Walker as well as several at both the Worldcon and the Eurocon for additional takes on those events, and not least the very many representatives of 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 Spring 2011 period – needs to be in before December 2010. 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.

To contact us see here and try to put something clearly science fictional in the subject line in case your message ends up being spam-filtered and needs rescuing.

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