science fiction


V.22 No.21 | 5/23/2013
jackvance.com

In Memoriam

RIP Jack Vance

The cusp of the demon is the iPad in your lap

If you said “Jack who?” you might want to know George R.R. Martin once called him the greatest living science fiction writer and a master of fantasy “right up there with Tolkien.” That’s right, buddy, Tolkien. Unfortunately, as of Sunday, May 26, 2013, he no longer qualifies as living and will have to settle for merely being the greatest.

Carlo Rotella’s overview of Vance’s significance as a writer in The New York Times Magazine is probably the best thing I’ve ever read about him. I suggest you read it too. “The Eyes of the Overworld” (from the second Dying Earth book) is a prescient and deeply ironic metaphor for this avatar-obsessed virtual non-life we’re cultivating as a race of touchscreen and phone addicts. And this, 40 years before FaceBook. It’s also hilarious. Thank you, Jack Vance, for just being you.

V.22 No.16 | 4/18/2013

video games

Webgame Wednesday: A Small Talk at the Back of Beyond

A Small Talk at the Back of Beyond is an innovative short story game. In this sci-fi puzzler, you awake in the dark to an unfamiliar voice. About the only game mechanic you have available to you is your ability to talk. Start up a conversation and you might just figure out what the heck is going on here.

V.20 No.36 | 9/8/2011

Arts Feature

Five Seven Five

The winners of our 19th annual Haiku Contest

It wasn’t easy editing the results of our 19th annual haiku contest. Below the winners wax poetic on subjects ranging from “APD” to “Erotic” to “Breaking Bad.”

V.19 No.35 | 9/2/2010
“Sure, it’s minimalist, but it’s chic.”

Couch Potato

I Like to Watch (Instantly): Moon, A Scanner Darkly

Notable minimalist science fiction titles from the Netflix Watch Instantly world

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Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Matt Berry, Kaya Scodelario, Benedict Wong, Malcolm Stewart, Dominique McElligott, Robin Chalk, Rosie Shaw

Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) stars (in fact, is the only star) in this micro-budgeted sci-fi miracle. Rockwell plays an astronaut stuck on far side of the moon supervising a lonely mining station. One day, he stumbles across, well, himself. Is he going stir crazy or are other forces at work? Director Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie) has fashioned a smart, convincing slice of sci-fi minimalism here.

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V.19 No.14 | 4/8/2010

Books

The First New Roger Zelazny Novel in 15 Years

Purely by accident, in the Mystery Section of a local bookstore (and I'm not a big mystery fan, but a loud weird-out-nerd-out conversation in the Science Fiction section forced me over a couple of aisles. Guys, keep it down, there are girls in here), I noticed a spine with " Zelazny" on it. Turns out it was a manuscript discovered posthumously in Zelazny's piles, lost for 30 years. That's from around the time of My Name is Legion but it's not science fiction; it's a spy/crime/adventure novel, and that's fine with me. I've said it before: nobody writes a classier fight scene than Zelazny, and few manage to propel a story with mystery as well as he did. Anyway, I haven't read it yet because I'm bogged down in Jungle Tales of Tarzan (haha) but at least I have something to look forward to besides drinking and getting made fun of for reading books with monsters on the cover.

V.19 No.3 | 1/21/2010

History Lesson

DayBird Historical Events of February 11

55 – Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, heir to the Roman Emperorship, dies under mysterious circumstances in Rome. This clears the way for Nero to become Emperor.

1531 – Henry VIII of England is recognized as supreme head of the Church of England.

1916 – Emma Goldman is arrested for lecturing on birth control.

1938 – BBC Television produces the world's first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of the Karel Capek play R.U.R., which coined the term "robot".

1953 – President Dwight Eisenhower refuses clemency appeal for Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.

1990 – Nelson Mandela, a political prisoner for 27 years, is released from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa.

2006 – Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney accidentally shoots Harry Whittington in the face, neck, and upper torso while hunting quail.

V.18 No.50 | 12/10/2009
The heart-warming holiday classic!

NM Blogosphere Roundup: Xmas movies, best and worst, wisdom and war toys

Is-it-really-the-end-of-the-decade-already? Edition

Science fiction writer Victor Milán’s favorite Christmas movie is … Die Hard? Whoa. In the same spirit, I guess mine is Brazil.

Speaking of science fiction. And favorites. MJH reveals “Number 1 on My List of the Worst Top Ten Lists of the Best Top Ten Sci-Fi Movies of the Past Decade.” I agree this list is dorky, but Primer and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are not the problem.

M.G. Bralley gives himself a retrospective on the occasion of his 300th “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” post. As always, nice pix.

Blah blah eroding our liberties blah blah. Gosh, Eye on Albuquerque is so wise. First comment on this post nicely deflates its myopia and selective memory.

Finally, just in time for Xmas, a couple of lefty-liberal anti-war-toy moments from Albuquerque's Raging Grannies and Haussamen blogger Michael Swickard. Sadly, my own opinion on this stuff is way too complex to go into here. Sniff.