mundens: Pixie -like angel with fiery wings (Burning Angel)
Just found out that Philip Jose Farmer has died.

For the reason why I feel this is worth mentioning above many of the others we've lost, you just need to read these paragraphs from the CNN report :

Critics said Farmer was the first author to address adult sexual themes in science-fiction novels.

Jonathan Strahan, an editor and critic for Locus magazine, said Farmer treated sex seriously, not in a juvenile manner or for cheap thrills.

"It wasn't pornography and it wasn't just about the sex of it," Strahan said. "It was about the sexuality of people in an interesting and intelligent way."

He was 91, so he's had a good innings

Hugos

Aug. 10th, 2008 08:39 pm
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
The episode of Dr. Who entitled Blink just won the Hugo award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, beating out the only other real contender (IMO), Razor. Of the five nominations, three were BBC productions, the winner, Human Nature / The Family of Blood from Dr. Who, and the episode entitled Captain Jack Harkness (the dance, the kiss) from Torchwood. The only other nominee was the episode World Enough and Time from Star Trek The New Voyages.

Season 1 of Heroes was nominated as a series for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, as were the adaptations of The Golden Compass, Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix, and Walt Disney's Enchanted, but the winner was the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust.

Note all three original novels were by British writers. Thus, of ten nominees, six were British or based on British novels, as well as both winners. Also, the only original long forms were a TV series and a fairy-tale Disney film. One wonders whether one should mourn the death of the original SF movie?
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
I wonder what most people think that line from the Divinyl's I Touch Myself means? Still, a fun song. Should probably be sung more often by guy's in drag. :)

It's been fun listening to well known old music on headphones for a change. I notice things I've never noticed before. Like f'rinstance, in U2's I Will Follow, I remember the driving guitar and insistent drumbeat, but I never before noticed the tinkly tuned bottle xylophone percussion (with the occasional broken bottle) that fills the space.

Songs like Bryan Adams' Run To You, now I can actually hear and think about the lyrics, make me wonder why do such things ever get popular? Sort of like the recent song Lips of an Angel. Why do people like songs that are sympathetic to guys cheating?

Whereas when I can hear the words to Roxette's Joy Ride, I just <3 it.
She has a train going downtown
She's got a club on the moon
And she's telling all her secrets
In a wonderful ballon
Oh she's the heart of the funfair
She's got me whistling her private tune
And it all begins where it ends
And she's all my magic friend






Which is somewhat of a contrast in mood to Fluke's Atom Bomb but follows the same basic pattern of describing an admirable lady's assets :
Baby's got an atom bomb
A motherfucking atom bomb
Twenty two megaton
You've never seen so much fun
Baby's got poison gas
Baby's got heart attacks
Baby's got pain on tap
Baby, gimme some of that








Discovered that was used in The Saint movie, which provides a Segway segue into..

For lovers of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, there's a real interesting series of interviews on BoingBoing with Syd Mead, the designer of Blade Runner's visual look (and several other SF movies, for that matter). He talks about the multiple different opening sequences designed for the film, and the replicant Zhora's breast-shaped "dream-pod", though you have to put up with Cisco adverts while watching it!
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Largo)
People reading this are probably familiar with the demonstration of evolution in clocks. The other night I was listening to some keyboard music (the piece from the end credits of Rah Xephon), and became fascinated with the way keyboards have evolved. I have also finished reading Permutation City by Greg Egan. I say that because it's "Autoverse" may have been responsible for these thoughts as well.

Apologies to any musical historians for any mistakes in the following, I'm making it up as I go along. The keyboard began as a lyre. The lyre evolved into the harp, until it had too many strings for one person to reach and pluck, so someone laid it on it's side and mechanized the plucking, creating a harpsichord. This then evolved into the piano. Various attempts at generating other types of music from the controlling mechanism of a keyboard followed, organs of various sorts. Then, just like clocks, keyboards suddenly translated into the electronic world. They still had keyboards, but internally they employed electronics to generate sound. Next they moved from electronic to digital.

I'm wondering, can other pieces of human technology be modelled like the clock? And more importantly, can we design such an evolutionary simulator in such a way that once it reaches the current phase, it can continue evolving, with the simulation giving as an idea of how we should evolve our tools? In other words, can such an evolutionary simulator actually be used to generate innovation?

As mentioned I finished Permutation City. It felt a bit light after reading Diaspora, a bit like three or four separate stories that happened to occur in related space-time, and I think I may have missed part of it. Or maybe it was edited badly. But it does have one benefit over Diaspora, it does actually have a plot (or three), and it has characters that make more sense. I think part of the problem I had with Diaspora was that the protagonists were, as described, too far from human for their acting human to make sense, it was a somewhat forced attempt to allow the reader to care for non-human entities by making them seem human. In Permutation City all the characters are humans or models of humans, with one or two beginning to become something more, so it works better for me.

Looking forward to beach houses and role-playing this weekend!

And finally, this post from Midori made me smile, and even, truth be told, get a bit misty-eyed, so I pass it on.

Free Tor?

Feb. 11th, 2008 11:20 am
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Death)
Passing on from /. in case any of the sf buffs on my flist missed it :
Tor Books is launching a new site and running a campaign in which they are giving away e-books (free as in beer) until the site goes live. To get in on the deal, fill out the form at their site, and each week you will receive a newsletter containing links to download a new book. The first two books are Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson followed by Old Man's War by John Scalzi.
According to the Tor site :
This program will end when the site launches, but you can keep the free books; we won’t be erasing them with our orbital attack electromagnets. (Yet.)
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Guilleman  40K)
I was reading an old White Dwarf today, and discovered the following passage of alien anal rape from Ian Watson's Deathwing.
A coccyx of bleached bone jutted into space, bearing the sphincter at its tip like a quartet of triangular haemorrhoids clutched within bands of livid muscle. Where the heads of these scarlet protuberances touched, a tiny hole still puffed acidic discharge. The nose of the torpedo impacted rupturingly in that meatus, wrenching its tissue open, burrowing deeper, convulsively with thrusts of its jets as the Fists clung to stanchions.

The torpedo rocked as a shaped charge on the nose-cone erupted, blasting a passageway ahead. Swiftly the spring-loaded cone itself petalled open, becoming a fourfold hatch pressing fiercely against the inner anal walls in the manner of a surgical dilator. “Out, out, out!”

This rectum of the alien ship curved rightward, a-slosh with steaming cloacal fluids, banded with slowly pulsing purple peristaltic sinew. The high shriek of escaping atmosphere had already diminished to a whistle as the injured anus cramped tighter, reflexively, around the girth of the plasteel troop-carrier which had penetrated it.
Kids read this stuff! :)
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Somewhere over Australia I read yet another Australian-written aftermath scenario. Is it because of Australia's great deserts that the land generates so much armageddon fiction? Or is it that belief, perhaps first articulated in On The Beach, that Australia's remoteness and the hardiness of Australians both native and imported would mean they would be survivors of any old world catastrophe?

I say "yet another" aftermath scenario, but that is not meant disparagingly, because most of those others are great, such as Greg Egan and Sean McMullen.

There is something freeing about a long distance flight. While in the back of my head is sorrow for loss of the weekend [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly and I were to share, and worry for her distress, and our missing of cuddles, there is nothing I can do about it now. In fact, there is nothing at all I can do about anything but sit, relax, read, eat good food, and and string together words into sentences.

No matter what is happening in the world, I don't know about it, and I can't affect it. We could be in a Down to a Sunless Sea situation I would not know and I would be powerless to act. Which why I feel reading Tess Williams' Map of Power is somewhat ironic. One part of the book's heroic tryptych Kass, is in just such a situation aboard a moon-orbit habitat, whose populace try to continue with the orders to preserve Earth's genetic heritage, while going slowly crazy because it seems no-one on the post-apocalyptic planet remembers them.

I think Map of Power is a book [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly would like. The phraseology reminds me of hers in some ways and one part of the tryptych, the arctic-dwelling huntress Cheela, named "Heart of the Tribe" by the Mythmaker, embodies a pagan outlook that I think would resonate. The final part of the tryptych, and the only male, at this stage of the story seems bent on recovering hated civiliizaton but is being used by his step-father to create another empire. Pretty sexually stereotyped at present, the characters, so we'll see how the rest of it goes over the remaining hours of this flight.

But I was speaking of the freedom of flight. Not being able to affect anything outside this winged cigar, and not having anything pressing I can do in this unconnected space, I can fully relax in a way rarely possible when on the ground. This frees my mind to play with words and thoughts in a way I have not done for some time. I'm actually finding it pleasurable to write for no other reason than because I can and because I feel like it. Self-indulgent of course, but to paraphrase Wilde, there's no one else here to indulge.

Looking out over the sea of clouds buffeted in a fragile aluminium eggshell kept aloft only by the continual burning of kerosene offerings to the gods of aerodynamics, I am inspired by it's vastness. Looking down on New Zealand and Australia, I am struck by how small we, and most of our works are, but at the same time the pervacity of our affect on the surface. Thousand year old red deserts are marked by thousand mile long die-straight trails

I am somewhat annoyed at the luck of my colleague G though. He's the one who ended up sitting next to the hot Asian chick with the interesting flame tattoo on her hip whose name is Kae for ten hours. Why is it I kept expecting her to turn into a cat?

I have been getting nice food, but it keeps reminding me of [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly. For instance the lovely salmon appetizer reminded me of the salmon that she cooked for me once, showing me salmon could in fact taste nice, and the bite of the slices of ginger in the stir-fried chicken reminded me of other gingers I have known. :)
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Jet Black)
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association of America (SWFA) has been issuing bogus DMCA take-down orders to Scribid to remove educational booklists, free webzines such as Ray Gun Revival, and works licensed under Creative Commons, such as Cory Doctrow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.

Those at the SWFA should be feeling a bit worried right now, as a DMCA take-down requires a sworn statement from the sender that the works in question are actually infringing and that the sender has the right to handle copyright issues related to those works. Now it's possible that some SF writers from the USA have, in fact, given the SWFA the legal right to act as their representatives in copyright issues, but I would not have thought that to be the norm.

Actually given the complete lack of intelligence shown by those working for the SFWA in this case, if I was a member, I'd probably cancel membership.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Dominion Tank Police)
Just had to pass this on from [livejournal.com profile] elfs, the latest Diesel Jeans advertising campaign

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