Tor.com has put up all the ebooks they've been giving away over the last few months. This week only, so what are you waiting for? If you fancy a free electronic copy of Spin, Farthing, or Old Man's War, among others, get over there now.
In more cheerful (for certain values of cheerful) news, look what Locus has announced (scroll down to January 2009):

Cherryh, C. J. • Cyteen II: Regenesis • (DAW, hc)


W00t!


Also, another possible lifeboat in case LJ goes belly-up. Looks interesting.

Red Mars

May. 5th, 2008 09:46 pm
owl: Orange planet with moon. I think of it as Cyteen. (planet)
Bank Holiday. [livejournal.com profile] elerrina_amanya ran her leg of the marathon in 44 minutes.

I went for a long walk in the fields, and am reading Red Mars. I'd started it before, but I don't think I was in the right mood for it. The characters aren't that important, Mars is important. In fact at the minute I'm a little annoyed with the characters for having all these human concerns when they could be terraforming.
All over LJ: Arthur C. Clarke has died

He was the first scence fiction author I ever read. I was aged nine.

And Match it for Pratchett now has its own website
If you can manipulate gravity, that doesn't automatically give you an reaction-less drive, no? I'm kind of imagining creating a gravity well in front of your spaceship and falling into it, but wouldn't that be like pulling yourself along by your shoelaces?

Obviously you could still use it to stick yourself to the floor and avoid the disadvantages of freefall, stop smashing your passengers at high acceleration, deflect space debris, or create very small black holes in your enemies' stomachs :)
Note to self: When looking for a bit of reading before bed, you have to be insane to go for Cyteen.

I think it was the first Cherryh I ever read. Naturally I hadn't a clue what was going on until about halfway through. Every time I go back to it I cotton on to something else I missed on previous readings, and stuff I'd forgotten in between.

Sometimes I lift my head and go, "These people are designing psyches?! But they're all completely insane!" And if I'm reading late at night when it's quiet, I can start to think that the book itself is quietly reaching into my subconsciousness and rearranging stuff...

(no subject)

Aug. 3rd, 2006 08:47 pm
owl: Orange planet with moon. I think of it as Cyteen. (planet)
I bought a second-hand copy of Dune in a second-hand bookshop today, with a rather yukky maroon cover, but what can you expect for a couple of quid? My previous copy unaccountably disappeared a year or two ago. It had a musty, cinnomon-y smell that I associated with the story; it's what spice smells like, to me.

Baaaa

Mar. 23rd, 2006 08:56 pm
owl: Orange planet with moon. I think of it as Cyteen. (planet)
You Should Be a Science Fiction Writer

Your ideas are very strange, and people often wonder what planet you're from.
And while you may have some problems being "normal," you'll have no problems writing sci-fi.
Whether it's epic films, important novels, or vivid comics...
Your own little universe could leave an important mark on the world!

(no subject)

Mar. 6th, 2006 07:16 pm
owl: Orion Nebula hi-res by HST (science)
I picked up The Mote in God's Eye from a second-hand bookshop. I'd seen it around before, but the odd title put me off. So far it seems good—Royal Navy in space, strange object to be investigated, crew with strong humorous Scottish accents. I'm beginning to see why this site makes fun of Neofeudalism and Empires in Space—they seem to turn up fairly frequently.
'Space opera' isn't science fiction, actually; it's future fantasy, parallel to the sort with taverns and elves and magic swords. The tech is, in the Clarke phrase, sufficiently advanced to be magic, when it ins't all handwavium anyway. And it's not likely to lead to any book-burnings by rabid fundamentalists, either, because it doesn't actually mention the word magic. Hhm.
Here is a site rec:

The Tough Guide to the Known Galaxy

It's a rip-off of homage to Diana Wynne Jones's The Tough Guide to Fantasyland; it's hilariously funny and very true.
A few examples:

2) Aliens with Forehead Ridges. Much more common - especially in HOLLYWOOD SCIFI - than Really Aliens, these are species that look almost exactly like Earth Humans, except for some distinguishing visible feature such as, well, forehead ridges, or odd-shaped ears, or whatever. Sometimes they look rather less like humans, in which case (if friendly) they often resemble large teddy bears. *coughEwokscoughWookieescough*...Aliens with Forehead Ridges have become much less common in written SF (save for media tie-ins) than they were some decades ago. In written SF, the KNOWN GALAXY seems increasingly to be inhabited only by Earth Humans. However, Aliens with Forehead Ridges continue to thrive in Hollywood Scifi. This is for an obvious reason: the audience wants aliens of some sort, and Aliens with Forehead Ridges are the only kind that can be played by members of the Screen Actors' Guild.
Cut for length )

I do have a pet theory that the militarist SF subgenre is because the authors really want to write about a navy, but the historical one requires tedious research about Jutland or the Napoleonic wars or the Atlantic convoys in WWII, so you borrow the ranks and ship classes, move it into space and the future and voila, you can make up the rest. JMO, of course :D

I don't need to talk, as I read anything from space opera through Hornblower in space-type stuff to hard SF. The thing about the more "soft" end of the spectrum is that if the science is all hot air and handwavium anyway, it doesn't date so obviously (what [livejournal.com profile] ajhalluk (I think) calls the 'slide rule phenomenon'—1950s SF writers didn't foresee the advent of computers).

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