Sunday, October 30, 2011

George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards To Be Adapted Into Film |

George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards To Be Adapted Into Film |
George R. R. Martin’s popular superhero anthology series Wild Cards is to be made into a movie by SyFy Films and Universal Pictures.

Regular readers will reconginze Wild Cards as a shared universe of superpowered people featuring stories written by some of the top names in the SF field.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Finished reading Kill The Dead by Richard Kadrey

Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel (Sandman Slim Novels)Finally got around to finishing this book. The weird thing is that it took months to read it because I was savouring it. The noir-style urban fantasy with nuggets of wry humor is one of my favourite styles of fantastic fiction. That's why I enjoy Butcher's Dresden Files, Green's Nightside, and even Pratchett's Vimes/Night Watch. A great book that continues from Sandman Slim and expands the Heaven/Hell story in interesting ways. I enjoyed it so much that I would only read a chapter or two at a time, particularly after finishing a mildly disappointing book. I'm looking forward to Aloha from Hell.

Finished The Passage by Justin Cronin

Finished reading The Passage by Justin Cronin. Well written with interesting characters and a unique take on the whole Zombie/Vampire/Outbreak thing. The story line of the little girl in the first half of the book was masterful. I found the ending weak. There was no dramatic or clever conclusion. My first thought as I got to the end was that I would now have to wait for the sequel. I also felt that there were some awkwardly structured passages in the last part of the book. Well worth the read but I would have waited for the second book before starting in on the first.
At least the last book of del Toro's Strain trilogy is out now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Wertzone: The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding

The Wertzone: The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding:
The crew of the Ketty Jay, fresh from defeating an incursion of the nefarious Manes, have been hailed as heroes and have become minor celebrities across the lands of Vardia. Avoiding notoriety and seeking their next job, Captain Frey and his crew have relocated to Samarla to undertake a train heist.

Also on the pile.

November Releases - top of the pile

Fiction Affliction: November Releases in Fantasy |
Two that I'm putting on the top of my reading pile:

Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini (Nov. 8, Knopf)

Not so very long ago, Eragon Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider, was nothing more than a poor farmboy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders. Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances. Fourth and final book in the Inheritance series. [Young Adult]

The Alloy of Law, by Brandon Sanderson (Nov. 8, Tor)

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds. Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history — or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice. One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn, who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will. After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs. Fourth in the Mistborn series.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New App Turns a Tablet into a Braille Keyboard - Maybe new i-face for the rest of us

New App Turns a Tablet into a Braille Keyboard - The Digital Reader:
What the team ended up doing was developing an app that adapted to the user rather than have the user adapt to the app. The app is designed to duplicate a Braille keyboard, which has only 8 keys. But instead of having the user find the keys, the app finds the user’s fingers.

Two things:
1. I like this as an example of a device that some thought of as a commercial electronic device that was a gadget without a valid use turned into a something really cool.
2. Its fine that there is now a cheap braille keyboard, but what about me? It would be cool if this kind of technology could be bootstrapped to a new more efficient keyboarding method. My typing speed/accuracy is horrible on my resistive 7-inch tablet. Maybe this will lead to something new and interesting.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Finished Reading Snuff, Night Circus, Clockwork

The Night CircusThe Clockwork Rocket (Orthogonal) Finished reading Snuff by Terry Pratchett and enjoyed it so much it inspired me to finish The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Reading a good book gives you such a high sometimes that you immediately go out looking for that high again. Night Circus did that, but Clockwork missed the mark.

|Terry Pratchett |Snuff I knew even before I was halfway through the first chapter that I was going to enjoy the new Discworld novel more than any of the books I've read in the last few months. Pratchett applies his sense of humour at two levels: the slapstick and poop-joke, "low brow" humour that catches you by surprise you can't help laughing out loud at and the subtle and clever look at culture and personal relationships.

Commander Vimes takes the wife and kid to the country for a two week vacation and stumbles upon a case that he cannot ignore. The three three threads that run through the book are Vimes's conflict with his inner darkness, Vimes's relationship with his family and position in society, and the position of Goblins in Discworld culture.

Its a Vimes-centric story with wifename, son-name and Willikins the butler/gentlemans gentleman visiting the Country house and estate. Vimes meets up with the local "color" in the form of the local inkeeper, smith, and sherrif.

The bad guys in the story resonate with current events as they are the wealthy/powerful who think they can make up the law as they need it to serve their own purposes. Vimes represents the law as serving everyone, not just the rich.
You are more important than girls in service. You are more important than anybody else in the Watch. You are mistaking value for worth, I think.’
Pratchett is not all silliness and fantasy adventure. Snuff tries to share a flavour of what middle ages village life was like. Learning about a word like gongfermor is always a treat.
Gong farmer (also known as a gongfermor, gongfermour, gong-fayer, gong-fower or gong scourer), was a term that entered use in Tudor England to describe someone who dug out and removed human excrement from privies and cesspits; the word "gong" was used for both a privy and its contents.

‘What sort of thing were you thinking of writing, Jane?’ The girl looked embarrassed. ‘Well, commander, at the moment I’m working on what might be considered a novel about the complexities of personal relationships, with all their hopes and dreams and misunderstandings.’ She coughed nervously, as if apologizing.
Pratchett takes a poke at Jane Eyre (Sense and Sensibility) I wonder if he read Sense and Sensibility and Zombies.
It’s not all in your head, commander: no matter what you hear, I sometimes hear it too. Oh dear, you of all people must recognize a substition when you’re possessed by it? It’s the opposite of a superstition: it’s real even if you don’t believe in it.
Even if its not a real word its a cool idea.
...feared that moment was coming closer. Possibly only the presence of Feeney was holding the darkness at bay, the dreadful urge to do the hangman out of his entitlement of a dollar for the drop, thruppence for the rope and sixpence for his beer. How easy it is to kill, yes, but not when a smart young copper who thinks you are a good guy is looking to you. At home, the Watch and his family surrounded Vimes like a wall. Here the good guy was the good guy because he didn’t want anyone to see him being bad. He did not want to be ashamed. He did not want to be the darkness.
The theme of darkness important moreso than adding goblins. Most important, of course, is the funny:
‘You know, I’ve got lots of poo,’ said Young Sam proudly. ‘I keep it in jam jars and I’ve got a lab o ra tory in the lava tory. Have you got any ele phant poo? It goes – and here he paused for ef fect – ‘dung!’

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dennis Ritchie, 1941-2011: Computer scientist, Unix co-creator, C programming language co-inventor – Boing Boing

Dennis Ritchie, 1941-2011: Computer scientist, Unix co-creator, C programming language co-inventor – Boing Boing:
He was the co-inventor of the C programming language, and a central figure in the development of Unix. He spent much of his career at Bell Labs. He was awarded the Turing Award in 1983, and the National Medal of Technology in 1999.

"Ritchie's influence rivals Jobs's; it's just less visible," James Grimmelman observed on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Wertzone: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (3rd Edition) goes live

The Wertzone: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (3rd Edition) goes live:
A quick look through the encyclopedia suggests this is a monumental, massive addition to the canon of SF reference works, likely to supplant its predecessor as the definitive guide to the genre and possibly likely to supplant TVTropes as the website you go to check out one article and end up spending an afternoon there :-)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Your favorite author, brought to you by a wealthy patron - Art in Crisis -

Your favorite author, brought to you by a wealthy patron - Art in Crisis -
To judge by what works on Kickstarter, however, democracy won’t offer any improvement. Those flashy garnishes are exactly what the public cares about. The most successful book projects have an already-established audience, an attractive creator, a high-concept premise and/or an affiliation with someone famous.

Neil Gaiman interviews Sir Terry Pratchett – Boing Boing

An interview with Sir Terry Pratchett – Boing Boing:
it is amazing how all those little things you read in all those second-hand books suddenly turn up and hand you a plot. As a matter of fact I did a lot of interesting work for Monstrous Regiment in lesbian book shops.

Neil Gaiman interviews Terry Pratchett for Boing Boing. Well worth the read as the two of them have a shared history so the usual interview questions get a bit of a different spin.

While at Boing Boing also check out Cory Doctorows's review of Snuff. I finished reading it in the wee hours this morning so I may need a nap before I try a draft at my own review. Needless to say it is a must read for Pratchett fans.

If you're not a Pratchett fan... Whats wrong with you?

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Terry Pratchett Novel is out - Snuff

Everything is put on hold while the latest Discworld Novel is consumed. This one is a Commander Vimes/Night Watch novel. A lot of poo jokes, but tastefully done of course.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lev Grossman’s The Magicians to Become a Television Series |

Lev Grossman’s The Magicians to Become a Television Series |
Lev Grossman’s The Magicians has been optioned and Fox is planning on turning it into a series.

Don't know if its gonna be a regular series, mini-series, or movie(s). Since its Fox my expectations are not too high.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Final Repairman Jack Novel coming out this month

Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing October Releases in Urban Fantasy, Horror, and Paranormal Romance |

The Dark at the End, by F. Paul Wilson (Oct. 11, Tor)

Bound by his promise to Glaeken, Jack has refrained from making any direct moves against Rasalom. But things have changed so there’s nothing holding Jack in check any longer. Other changes are occurring as well. Jack is healing at an accelerated rate — much like Glaeken did when he was immortal. This can only mean that Glaeken’s time is almost up and when he dies, Jack takes his place. Rasalom continues to plot against the Lady. Twice she has died and returned; a third time and she will be gone, leaving a clear path for the Otherness to infiltrate this reality. But Ernst Drexler forms an uneasy alliance with Jack, while Dawn Pickering is searching for her supposedly dead baby. Now the stage is set for Jack’s massive assault on Rasalom. The final Repairman Jack novel.

I'm always a bit leery about starting a series. When the gap between new novels is more than a year it is hard to get back in to the series. I rarely re-read a book and reading the summary of previous books often doesn't do the job for me.

Now that the Repairman Jack series is concluded I'm gonna start with the first book (Legacies) and work my way through the 15 books in the series.