Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

20th Anniversary of Hubble

The Hubble Telescope had a rocky start, with its budget concerns in Congress and later need for contact lenses, but few regret the project now in view of the outstanding science that was a direct outcome of the space telescope. NASA is now celebrating 20 years of Hubble Telescope science. There, you'll find a small collection of the most outstanding images and videos in the Hubble gallery, along with a Hubble model, "greatest (science) hits," timeline, and a way to send messages to the Hubble team. At the Hubble site, you'll find a much larger collection of Hubble images as well as links to news and their expansive gallery.

If you're interested in the future of NASA science, here is the infrared Webb Telescope site.

Flash Fiction Online SF/Fantasy writers: surely one of the images linked to above will inspire a flash story for us. Get busy!

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

British Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards Short List

The British Science Fiction and Fantasy Association has announced their short list for the BSFA Award.

Novel

  • China Mieville - The City and the City, Macmillan

  • Stephen Baxter - Ark, Gollancz
  • 
Adam Roberts - Yellow Blue Tibia, Gollancz

  • Ursula Le Guin - Lavinia, Gollancz

Short Fiction

  • Ian Watson & Roberto Quaglia - "The Beloved Time of Their Lives" - The Beloved of My Beloved, Newcon Press

  • Eugie Foster - "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast" - Interzone
  • 
Ian Whates - "The Assistant" - The Solaris Book of Science Fiction Volume 3
  • Ian McDonald - "Vishnu at the Cat Circus"

  • Kim Lakin-Smith - "Johnnie and Emmie-Lou Get Married" - Interzone
  • Dave Hutchinson - "The Push," Newcon Press

Go to the BSFA Award site for more, including the art and non-fiction awards and links to the authors' sites.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Orson Scott Card Interview by David Steffen

David Steffen is a Flash Fiction Online staffer. He managed to snag Orson Scott Card's attention for an interview. You can read the interview of Orson Scott Card on David Steffen's blog, Diabolical Plots.

Perhaps one of the more interesting topics of the interview was Mr. Card's description of a work in progress. Pathfinder is a world in which the first Earth time/space-jumping spacecraft divides into 19 copies, including the people. The civilizations are isolated and develop independently.

Says Mr. Card:

Technology is deliberately hidden so it has to be developed anew, and starting with the identical gene pool, every colony has eleven thousand years in which to develop their own civilizations – and their own genetic differences – before they catch up to the “present” of the ship’s original jump through spacetime.

Nice interview, David. Good luck with the blog.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Review of Flash Fiction Online

Sam Tomaino at SF Revu has a review of recent short fiction, including a review of the December 2009 issue of Flash Fiction Online. That FFO issue is here. Thanks, Sam.

Sam also has reviews of Apex Magazine, the Thoughtcrime Experiments anthology (in which Yours Truly has a story), Jim Baen's Universe (one of the final issues of that great magazine), Shimmer, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Avatar: Pico Review

If all you want is a fresh plot and deeply drawn characters, Avatar is not the movie for you. (Ha.) But if it is a three-hour fest of freshly conceived, stunning visuals that you seek, you can hardly do better.

Premise: a paraplegic ex-marine, Jack Sully (Sam Worthington) is mind-controlling a hybrid human/native (Avatar) of the planet Pandora to help influence the natives to relocate from their mineral-rich location...or else.

The natives of Pandora (the Na'vi) live in a world with an embarrassment of riches of flora and fauna. The Na'vi are the predominate species, giant and willowy by human standards, and live among floating mountains and phosphorescent forests, in harmony with all living things, including the planet Herself. This, of course, cannot go on with stock good and evil human characters wanting their minerals.

Looking at this movie as a visual, rather than a storytelling effort, my main criticism would be that the Na'vi are always shown in huge, adult gatherings (including the big battle in the finale) or in flying beast-taming, ritualistic quests. They are interesting folk, but their family life is absent. Na'vi children make a couple of passing appearances only. I think the film would have been far richer to have spent fifteen minutes out of the three hours on Na'vi family life. That aside, the money was worth the price of admission on the visuals alone.

Spoiler: don't worry; you'll have the story figured out within ten minutes of the start of the movie. You've already figured out the basic story from the premise, right? If you've seen films like Medicine Man, you won't experience any shocking turns and twists.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jim Hines' SF/F Humor Roundup: 2009

SF/Fantasy/Humor author Jim Hines started a list of humorous SF/F fiction published in 2009, including short fiction and novels. How can I explain why he did this? Um, I don't need to; Jim explained just fine:

Humor tends not to be taken seriously, and rarely makes the award ballots. It’s a shame, because humor can be as powerful, popular, and flat-out good as any other story.

Jim Hines' humor list includes a story first published at Flash Fiction Online by Rod M. Santos, "I Foretold You So." You'll recognize many other names on the list, including Mike Resnick, Nancy Fulda, Cory Doctorow, Terry Pratchett, and Jim Hines.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Disney Online E-books Play

Through DisneyDigitalBooks.com, Disney Publishing Worldwide is offering an online e-book service for readers from 3 to 12 years of age. This is a no-device service (ie, no e-book reader such as the Kindle required). Disney has about 500 books online now and intends to continuously expand the offerings. This includes traditional storybooks and chapter books and newer material, such as Hannah Montana material. The service will include features such as storybook creation and a personal space.

Some industry observers [1 2] claim this is an attempt at an industry-defining move, marketing directly to parents, and requiring no special devices. The annual subscription is about $80. There is a monthly subscription of about $8. These subscriptions are for up to three children in the household, according to the DisneyDigitalBooks.com. They have a free trial, presently.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Pining for a Discworld Movie?

Are you pining for a Discworld movie? Would you settle for a fake trailer for a non-existent film. By way of SF Crowsnest, here is a fake Discworld trailer for the non-existent Guards! Guards! film, based on the actual, same-named Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is Fantasy Insinuating Itself into Science Fiction?

FFO went all the way to the end of the universe for a link to this story. This National Post has an interesting article that questions whether fantasy is over-taking science fiction. (Of course it is because of Harry Potter.) More interesting are the examples of fantasy intruding into science fiction (which I assume makes it science fantasy). In the new Star Trek movie, which I enjoyed quite a bit, the characters invoked time travel via red matter, an unexplained substance. I remember uttering a WTH when that substance was introduced so casually. The National Post writer refers to this as a magic substance, and therefore fantasy, but at the same time undermines his argument a bit implying it was an instance of bad writing in the screenplay. I think it was more the latter and could have been replaced with a Time Travel button in the command module. It was annoying but didn't ruin the film. The article is enjoyable. Go there to see the writer's (Philip Marchand's) interesting comments about Carl Sagan's dance with the devil in Contact.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

SFWA Web Site Updated

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has vastly improved the appearance and usability of their website. The style and design is improved and more logically organized. They appear to be adding more industry news as well.

If you'd like to see the previous site for comparison, here is a link from archive.org's WayBack Machine, from March 2008.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WSFA Small Press Award Finalists

SF Awards Watch, SF Site and others have announced the finalists for the WSFS Small Press Award. Here is the premise of this award, according to the WSFA (Washington Science Fiction Association) web site:

The award is open to works of imaginative literature (science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.) published in English for the first time in the previous calendar year. Furthermore, the Small Press Award is limited to works under 17,501 words in length that were published by a small press.

Here are the finalists:

  • “Drinking Problem,” by K.D. Wentworth, Seeds of Change
  • “Hard Rain at the Fortean Café,” by Lavie Tidhar, Aeon Speculative Fiction Magazine
  • “His Last Arrow,” by Christopher Sequeira, Gaslight Grimoire: Fantastic Tales of Sherlock Holmes
  • “Silent as Dust,” by James Maxey, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show
  • “Spider the Artist,” by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, Seeds of Change
  • “The Absence of Stars: Part 1,” by Greg Siewert, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show
  • “The Toy Car,” by Luisa Maria Garcia Velasco, (translated from Spanish by Ian Watson) Aberrant Dreams

Small gripe: why is it that--across the board--the official awards sites are the last sites on the planet to post their own results (or are so efficient at hiding them that they might as well not post them)?

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 Chesley Awards for SF/F Artists

The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA) has named the winners of the 2009 Chesley Awards. Here are a selection of the winners:

  • Best Cover Illustration - Hardcover: Donato Giancola for A Book of Wizards edited by Marvin Kaye (SFBC, April 2008)
  • Best Cover Illustration - Paperback: John Picacio for Fast Forward 2 edited by Lou Anders (Pyr, October 2008)
  • Best Cover Illustration - Magazine: Matts Minhagen for Clarkesworld (April 2008)
  • Best Interior Illustration: Donato Giancola for The Wraith by J. Robert Lennon (Playboy, 11/2008)
  • Best 3-D: Vincent Villafranca for Otherworldly Procession (Bronze)

You can see the winners in the other categories and all the nominees here. Unrelated to the award, is an artist gallery that seems to be in its fledgling stage, but has quite a few samples.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

2009 Hugo Award Winners

The 2009 Hugo Awards winners are in. Here is the official, complete list of Hugo Award winners. Here is a selection of the winners:

  • Best Novel: The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury UK)
  • Best Novella: “The Erdmann Nexus”, Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2008)
  • Best Novelette: “Shoggoths in Bloom”, Elizabeth Bear (Asimov’s Mar 2008)
  • Best Short Story: “Exhalation”, Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two)
  • Best Graphic Story: Girl Genius, Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones, Written by Kaja & Phil Foglio, art by Phil Foglio
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: WALL-E Andrew Stanton & Pete Docter, story; Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon, screenplay; Andrew Stanton, director (Pixar/Walt Disney)
  • Best Professional Artist: Donato Giancola
  • Best Semiprozine: Weird Tales, edited by Ann VanderMeer & Stephen H. Segal

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer: David Anthony Durham

Here, you can see the details of the voting and nominations (PDFs).

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

2009 Sidewise and Prix Aurora Award Winners

SF Scope reports the 2009 winners for the Sidewise Awards for alternate history and the Prix Aurora Awards for Canadian science fiction and fantasy.

Here are the Sidewise nominees. The official site as not posted the winners, yet, but SF Scope has posted them here.

Similarly, SF Scope has posted the winners of the Prix Aurora Awards, here.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review of Flash Fiction Online at SF Revu

Sam Tomaino at SF Revu has a review of the June 2009 issue of FFO, which should have this link after the June issue is published, otherwise, it is the current issue.

Sam was complimentary of all of the June stories, especially this one:

"Branwen’s Revenge" by Sarah Adams is a retelling of the old collection of Welsh myths called The Mabinogion. Branwen had been married off to a king who did not appreciate her. He made her a scullery maid and abuses her. Every day she sings to the mockingbird "Alas for Branwen the White, who suffers every day!" Will her brother hear her call? This was a beautifully written piece.

Sam also reviews the most recent editions of Analog Science Fiction and Fact (Sept.), Asimov's Science Fiction (August), Black Static Eleven (June/July), Greatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine (Spring), Jim Baen’s Universe (June), Sybil's Garage (#6, May), and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (August/September) .

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Campbell and Sturgeon Award Winners 2009

According to the University of Kansas Center for the Study of Science Fiction:

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award for the best science-fiction novel of the year is one of the three major annual awards for science fiction.

Although this award is announced officially at a banquet later in July at the university, the result is out, according to Locus magazine, a tie:

  • Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (Tor), and
  • Ian R. MacLeod's Song of Time (PS Publishing)

Here is the long list of finalists.

Also reported by Locus magazine is the winner of the the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, for the year's best short fiction, presented at the same banquet: "The Ray Gun: A Love Story" by James Alan Gardner (Asimov's 2/08)

Here is the long list of finalists for the Sturgeon Award.

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Locus Award Winners 2009

The literary award season is about over. Today, there are two results to report. Following this report of the Locus Awards will be the Cambell and Sturgeon winners.

The Locus Award is a readers' poll award conducted by Locus Magazine, with the original intent to inform Hugo award voters. The Locus Award honors the publishers of the works. This year's winners include:

  • Science Fiction Novel: Anathem, Neal Stephenson (Atlantic UK, Morrow)
  • Fantasy Novel: Lavinia, Ursula K. Le Guin (Harcourt)
  • First Novel: Singularity's Ring, Paul Melko (Tor)
  • Young-Adult Book: The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, Bloomsbury)
  • Novella: "Pretty Monsters", Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters)
  • Novelette: "Pump Six", Paolo Bacigalupi (Pump Six and Other Stories)
  • Short Story: "Exhalation", Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two)

The remaining categories are found here. Here is the 2009 Locus Award long list (finalists) .

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Monday, June 8, 2009

SF/F TV Broadcast Shows for 2009/2010

SFF World has a list of science fiction and fantasy shows for the 2009/2010 season (U.S.), including new and returning shows. Some of the highlights of the new shows include:

  • ABC: Eastwick (based on the John Updike novel and movie "Witches of Eastwick")
  • ABC: Flash Forward (based on Robert J. Sawyer SF novel)
  • CBS: Merlin (BBC import)

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