Time for another round-up of things I’ve noticed elsewhere on the world wide web.
Let’s start with one of the true masters of science fiction, Brian Aldiss, whose The Complete Short Stories has now reached the 1960s, though it takes four volumes (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) to cover the decade. (Incidentally, if Amazon is to be believed, we’ll have to wait until 2049 to see the volumes for the 1970s and beyond – somehow I think that may not be quite accurate.) Anyway, there’s an interesting little piece here that explores his origins as a writer.
Maybe it’s just because I have my eye in, or maybe there’s a genuine increase in such traffic, but I’m noticing quite a few more pieces about science fiction from other parts of the world. So here are a few:
Geoff Ryman has started a series of posts introducing 100 African Writers of SFF.
Alongside that, here’s a piece introducing African science fiction films.
Another piece about films records the rediscovery of a cult Turkish film, The Man Who Saves The World, which is popularly known as “the Turkish Star Wars“.
Let’s not forget that science fiction was very big in the Soviet Union during the communist era, and here’s a link to some amazing sf art that came out of the Soviet Union during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
And since we’re talking about science fiction from around the world, here’s a blog that deals in Speculative Fiction in Translation.
Meanwhile, science fiction’s inferiority complex shows up again in yet another list of sf books for people who don’t read sf. It’s a good list of books, but it really doesn’t live up to its title. Can you imagine anyone who wasn’t already familiar with sf being able to cope with the aliens and language complexities of China Mieville’s Embassytown? I suspect the same author’s The City and the City would be a far better introduction to the genre for non-sf readers. Hm, maybe I’ll have to do a post on this subject myself at some point.
And there’s been a bit of a controversy over the new novel by Ben Winters, Underground Airlines, because the New York Times decided he was being daring by tackling slavery in an sf novel. As this piece at Slate shows, such an attitude ignores an awful lot of science fiction, especially the work of Octavia Butler. As Ben Winters himself points out, he had written: “a blog entry I had done a couple weeks earlier, which specifically highlighted Kindred. It breaks my heart that people think I am ignoring Butler”. I don’t suspect Winters of ignoring Butler, but I do suspect the New York Times, and most other mainstream media, of ignoring science fiction. And all too familiar story.
The Guardian points us to a wonderful collection of television sf, which featured work by “a Who’s Who of literary talent: Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, John Wyndham, JG Ballard, EM Forster and JB Priestley”. It’s good to know that Out of the Unknown is available again.
Finally, if you’re intrigued by what science fiction writers do with time in things like Out of the Unknown, check out how physicists regard time: “The future does not exist. It does not! Ontologically, it’s not there.”
From Nebula and Hugo Award–nominated Carolyn Ives Gilman comes Dark Orbit, a compelling novel featuring alien contact, mystery, and murder.
Reports of a strange, new habitable planet have reached the Twenty Planets of human civilization. When a team of scientists is assembled to investigate this world, exoethnologist Sara Callicot is recruited to keep an eye on an unstable crewmate.