Posts Tagged ‘sci-fi’

Lit-Links: Writer’s Blog

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Yes, writers have them sometimes. 

My favorite sf-writer John Scalzi has a very succesful blog called Whatever. The post that gained Whatever eternal fame?: a photo of a cat with bacon taped to its side. ( No, I am not kidding)

And another favorite of mine is Charlie’s Diary. The blog of sf-writer Charles Stross. Full with reflections about the future of technology by a ( somewhat) grumpy scotsman.

Some writers are more famous as bloggers than as writers. Like Cory Doctorow . He is one of the main bloggers of the biggest Blog on the net: Boing Boing. He also has his own blog called Craphound and, apparently blogs from a high altitude hot air balloon wearing goggles and a red cape.

Technically not a famous writer but who cares when it is Wil Wheaton, better known to the Trekkies as Wesley Crusher! Wil Wheaton has a blog about all things geeky and nerdy called WWdN: In Exile

And some writers claim they do not have a blog, like fantasy author George R.R. Martin famous for his Song of Fire and Ice saga. It’s just something that looks a lot like it: Not a Blog 

Hugo Award Winners announced

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

hugo.jpgthe-yidish-policemens-union.jpgThe winners of the 2008 Hugo Awards for science fiction have been announced! (Is it really a year already since Rainbows End won?). This year’s award for best novel went to Michael Chabon for The Yiddish Policemen’s Union . It’s a great piece of speculative fiction with a really good story. It’s also a surprisingly literary choice,  having already been a mainstream bestseller, proving again that Hugo winners are excellent starting points if you don’t normally read sci-fi but would like to try.

Lit Links: August 7th 2008: Sci-Fi Special Edition

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

This week I’ve been working extra hours on the first floor in Amsterdam, covering for colleagues on holiday. Especially for all the lovely customers I’ve helped this week, here’s a special collection of sci-fi lit links.

Thirteen great opening sentences from science fiction. According to anyway. I bet you could come up with better ones.

Science fiction words. More science fiction words.

balliardian.jpgBallardian” is an adjective “resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in  JG Ballard’s novels & stories, esp. dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes & the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.”Wikipedia The brilliant Boing Boing points out a flickr pool of Balliardian photos.

Why does so little science fiction rise to the standards of literary fiction? Good question. As someone who hasn’t read sci-fi (except for the more literary speculative fiction of Atwood and Orwell) this was a really interesting read.

steve-schofield.jpgNot strictly sci-fi, but fascinating, the photographer Steve Schofield has an online gallery of his portraits of people in costume. Not cosplay, as such: most of them are characters from popular sci-fi films, but there’s a a good helping of pioneers and injuns too.

Also from, prompted by the news that Buzz Aldrin thinks that sci-fi killed space travel: Does sci-fi help or hinder real science?Actually, I’m only posting that link because I really like this rebuttal, which argues that science-fiction and science-fantasy are two entirely different things.

The Long Now Foundation aims to provide a counterpoint to what it views as today’s “faster/cheaper” mindset and to promote “slower/better” thinking.  Neal Stephenson’s new novel Anathem was inspired by the Clock of the Long Now, or was it the other way round?

Neal Stephenson (again – he’s on the promo trail, obviously) lectures on the (un)importance of genres in literature.  If you have about 40 minutes to spare, that is.

Lit Links: June 9th 2008

Monday, June 9th, 2008

compass.jpgTwenty-three cases where the book was beter than the film. Surely there are more than 23! Who can think of cases where the film was as good as (or better than!) the book?

The Pop-up bookshop. Before our keen Sabuda and Carter collectors get too excited, it’s not a shop that sells pop-up books but a portable book shop that pops up. (Try saying that ten times fast.) What a clever idea.

Say How? How to pronounce the names of authors and various other public figures.

comma-sutra.jpgThe Comma Sutra shirt, if you like inappropriate punctuation. (Which reminds me, I was in my native UK last week, and just could not believe the amount of punctuation abuse that goes on there! Don’t they teach British kids how to use the apostrophe any more?)

An interesting thesis about visually representing world tourism: travel-guide-thesis.jpg“Using data from the UN World Tourism Organization I made a guidebook to every country in the world. The number of pages in each book corresponds to the number of tourist arrivals in that country in 2005. When viewed on a shelf, one year’s worth of ‘experience’ is presented in a condensed physical model that can be shifted and rearranged to visualize where tourists travel and where they don’t.”

rd2dunecover.jpgWhen Sci-Fi series outstay their welcome. Is there a point at which some sci-fi writers should just stop writing their most popular series? How many installments is too many?

The English Pen World Atlas is a site where you can see what books were written in or about the country you live in (or want to visit). The site is dependent on user input, so content is a little sparse, but it will be one to watch. And you could always help them out by adding to the database!

And finally, just what you always needed to know: How to make a handbag out of your old hardcovers.



Monday, March 10th, 2008

American Book Center owner Lynn discovers cyberpunk with Cory Doctorow

doctorow1.jpgLast year in September, curious about the cross media festival, PICNIC, I helped sell books at this summer festival in the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam. Although I didn’t get to hear his lecture, author Cory Doctorow was kind enough to sit down at our tiny stand and sign his books. I was lucky to witness to the invigorating conversations he had with people interested in his work. Several months later, I picked up one of Doctorow’s books from our warehouse to read over the holidays….