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Month: October 2017

Do androids really dream of electric sheep?

by Paul

The other day, we linked to a post that talked about how the title, Blade Runner, originally came from an obscure novel by Alan E. Nourse. I was reminded of that when I came across a review of Blade Runner 2049 in The London Review of Books. It’s a pretty good review in general, more measured than some […]

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Clarke at 100: The Fountains of Paradise

by Paul

Categories: Books

Reportedly, Arthur C. Clarke himself regarded The Fountains of Paradise as his best novel. He could be right. As we’ve noted already, the big hits of his career, 2001, A Space Odyssey and Rendezvous with Rama and their respective sequels, actually represent a decline in the quality of his writing. Characters have become less clearly distinguished, less fully […]

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3 Finnish sf writers you should be reading

by Paul

Categories: Books

Our peripatetic journey around a world of science fiction that isn’t entirely Anglo-American brings us to Finland, a country that has developed its own particular take on fiction with a weird inflection. And there are three contemporary writers that really stand out, so much so that if you’ve not read them yet you are missing […]

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Julian May

by Paul

Categories: People

The death has been reported of Julian May. She was 86. Julian May had been active in science fiction fandom in the early 1950s, and was married to the editor and publisher, T.E. Dikty, from 1953 until his death in 1991. She had a story, “Dune Roller”, published in Astounding in 1951, but most of […]

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Elsewhere

by Paul

Categories: Lists

Time to check out what is happening elsewhere on the web.  The other day we wrote about the “Great Peculiars” of science fiction, one of which was Howard Waldrop, (whose best short fiction is collected in Things Will Never be the Same and Other Worlds, Better Lives), so it’s good to see this profile of a writer […]

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How to build your SF Reference Library: Essays

by Paul

Categories: Books

If you start getting into the more academic areas of science fiction criticism, then you’re going to have to get used to dealing with essays. Much academic criticism comes in the form of essays (come to think of it, many books are really compilations of essays). Some of these are heavy going (there are always […]

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5 ways history changed

by Paul

Categories: Books

They are called “jonbar points”, from the moment in Jack Williamson’s The Legion of Time when a small boy, John Barr, picks up either a magnet or a pebble. One choice turns the world towards the good Jonbar empire, the other turns it towards the bad Gyronchi empire. They are, other words, the point of change […]

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Discovering the Award Winners: Birth of the Hugos

by Paul

Categories: Awards

The organizers of the 1953 Worldcon, known as PhilCon II, were looking for a centrepiece event for their convention. They decided on an award ceremony. The awards would be known as the Science Fiction Achievement Awards, and would be voted on by members of the convention. At the time there was no plan to continue […]

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4 “Great Peculiars” of Science Fiction

by Paul

Categories: Lists

Over at Tor.com, Walter Jon Williams has an excellent article about Cordwainer Smith, who he memorably describes as one of the “Great Peculiars” of science fiction. By this he means distinctive writers who are impossible to imitate. Start reading a story by Cordwainer Smith and you know immediately who the author is. There is something […]

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Books to look forward to in October, part 3

by Paul

Categories: Books

And here we go with the final selection of the books you’ll want to read this month. The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman Yes, I know, another fantasy. But if you aren’t excited by Pullman returning to the world of His Dark Materials, where have you been hiding for the last […]

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