Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bowie's Commander Tom as You've Never Seen It

Commander Hadfield on his recent stint on the ISS performs live the definitive version of Bowie's Commander Tom. Amazing achievement and video.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Movie News - Divergent

EW posted a photo from the upcoming movie adaptation of the best-selling Veronica Roth dystopian YA series Divergent. Featured is the central character Tris. According to Examiner.com (article and slideshow) filming production was going on starting Friday at the ferris wheel at the Navy Yard in Chicago where the picture is being filmed.



Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Walking Dead & Game of Thrones Art

Mark Tumber, a local artist (well quite a bit north of here actually) sent along some samples of his finely detailed pencil portraiture work he has done for The Walking Dead TV series and Game of Thrones series. If you are fan of either of these shows you may want to look further into obtaining a print for yourself. Either way it is quite beautiful work.
'The Walking Dead' (16"x20"), 50 limited editions for $100/ea (after HST) ... currently, #s 1-17, 20, 25, 26, 29, 30, 37, 40 & 50 have sold.

.... a 16"x20" pencil portrait celebrating the series. I'm currently 70% completed, which has taken over 80 hours of actual drawing time. When finished (in 2 weeks), I'll be making 50 limited edition prints of the art. These will be hand-pulled on acid-free, hot-press watercolour stock, then numbered & signed by me. Each will be $88.50 + HST ($11.50) = $100 + shipping. Currently, #s 1-3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 13, 18, 19, 23, 25 & 38 have already been reserved for buyers. 
CONTACT:

www.marktumber.com
www.facebook.com/MarkTumberIllustration






Giveaway Winner - Blood Trade Bog Tour


The Blood Trade Blog Tour contest has concluded and we have a winner selected randomly from among the entrants. The lucky winner is -

Michael Carter

A big thanks to Faith Hunter for having SciFiGuy as one of her blog tour stops and  providing a copy of Blood Trade for the giveaway.

Thanks to everyone that dropped by and participated!



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Book Trailer - Historical Fantasy

Busy, busy, no time for a proper post today, but I did come across this trailer for a book that's having some buzz - The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.  I like the look of the art. Of course the trailer doesn't tell you a heck of a lot.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day with Elizabeth Hand and Alan Dean Foster

Earth Day is an excellent opportunity to reflect on science fiction with an environmental theme. Do you have a favorite novel or story that could be dedicated to Earth Day?


Elizabeth Hand reflects: “I wrote a lot of post-apocalyptic things twenty years ago, but never in a million years would I have thought they would actually come true.”

Foster warns, “If we’re not careful, this is all going to be gone in 100 or 200 years,” echoing his novel Midworld, about the destruction of a delicate ecosystem after the arrival of humans.

One of my personal favorites on this theme is Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison made into the  1973 film Soylent Green with Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson (his last film).

Friday, April 19, 2013

TV Series Update - Bitten by Kelley Armstrong


As most will know by now, Kelley Armstrong's urban fantasy novel Bitten (2001) from her Women of the Otherworld series is coming to television, initially on Space. For American fans I am sure it will be picked up by SyFy at some point. The show starts principal shooting sometime this month in Hespeler Ontario for an early 2014 release and a planned 13 episodes. Hespeler is a stand-in for the Stonehaven/Bear Creek, New York location used in the novel. And lucky me, this location is only 15 miles from where I live.

Hespeler Village on the Speed River

Description:
Elena Michaels is the world’s only female werewolf. And she’s tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her–her temper, her violence–but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she’s growing content with that life, with being that person.

So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she’s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she’ll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.

CASTING

As of this past week most of the main casting announcements have been made. I've collected some images and descriptions with links to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) if you want to check out what they've been in before. Feel free to comment on the choices and whether they fit your with your vision of the characters.

      Greg Bryk                                     Laura Vandervoort
as Jeremy Danvers                              as Elena Michaels


Greyston Holt                                       Paul Greene
as Clayton Danvers                           as Philip McAdams
 

Paulino Nunes                                       Steve Lund        
as Antonio Sorrentino                             as Nick Sorrentino      
 

Natalie Brown                                       Michael Xavier
       as Diane                                       as werewolf Logan
               (Philip’s sister and Elena’s best friend in Toronto)
 
 
   Genelle Williams                                         Joel Keller       
as Logan’s girlfriend Rachel                          as werewolf Peter         
 
 .
Production Company: No Equal Entertainment


Thursday, April 18, 2013

TV Red Band Trailer - Hemlock Grove

Saw the promo for this in Shelf Awareness today. Apparently it debuts on Netflix tomorrow as a 13 part series.The article stated -
Entertainment Weekly noted that "what follows is two minutes of madness that make Hemlock Grove look a little bit like The Vampire Diaries if The Vampire Diaries had way more blood and nudity and worms crawling places and Famke Janssen swanning around a mansion in a tantalizing bathrobe. Also, Nazis."
Heck that just sounds like True Blood to me. Big name cast. It stars Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, Landon Liboiron, Dougray Scott, Penelope Mitchell, Freya Tingley and Lili Taylor. Of course I doubt it will be on Netflix Canada (known to us as American Leftovers because of the crappy selection compared to the US parent).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Catching Fire + Sea of Monsters

Two new genre movie trailers out this week. First we have the first trailer for Catching Fire (November 22), the second part of the Suzanne Collins YA trilogy and a fantasy followup - Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (August 7). Looking forward to the first but not too sure about the latter as the first one wasn't exactly stellar. Either of these on your "see-it-in-the-theatre-list"? You can check them out below and find other 2013 film releases under the Movie Trailers tab above.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire (November 22)

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (August 7)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Faith Hunter - Blood Trade Blog Tour (Interview/Giveaway)


Welcome to the Blood Trade Blog Tour celebrating the release of the 6th book in Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy series. Faith has joined me for a Q&A focusing on the series and in particular Jane that fans will appreciate. Faith also had a few questions for me on my thoughts about the books in audiobook form. In addition to the Q&A, Faith has also generously provided a copy of Blood Trade to be won in a draw from a randomly selected entrant (see form below to enter).

Let us know what you think and please leave a comment about the Q&A or your own experiences with Faith's books on audio. Faith will be by to respond to any questions you may have.

Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead…

The Master of Natchez, Mississippi has a nasty problem on his hands. Rogue vampires—those who follow the Naturaleza and believe that humans should be nothing more than prey to be hunted—are terrorizing his city. Luckily, he knows the perfect skinwalker to call in to take back the streets.

But what he doesn’t tell Jane is that there’s something different about these vamps. Something that makes them harder to kill—even for a pro like Jane. Now, her simple job has turned into a fight to stay alive…and to protect the desperately ill child left in her care.


FAITH HUNTER INTERVIEW

SFG: What is the most important element in writing fantasy—to you?

Voice. Character voice, narrative voice, authorial voice. All are different and all set the mood and tone of a book. Every single Point Of View character has to have a unique voice. When I write in Molly Everhart Trueblood’s POV, she thinks and sounds differently from the way that Jane Yellowrock sounds. Rick LaFleur’s voice is more different still. And of course, Beast, well, Beast is a voice that takes unique to new levels.

SFG: What do you see as the future of the fantasy genre? 

Last year, I took a shot at this question and this year I want to change my opinion totally. More romance and genre blending. More shape shifters. Darker stories.


SFG: If you could compare yourself to any of your written characters, who would it be?

From the Jane Yellowrock series, I probably resemble Molly some. I love my home and my herbs and my garden. And from the Rogue Mage series, I probably resemble the character Jacey. Which I suppose could mean that I think of myself as a secondary character in my own life. (laughs) Of course, both characters are mothers and way too sweet and homey to really resemble me.

SFG: Boots appear in Jane Yellowrock's world often. Tell us about the boots.

I love boots! I wear and collect the Lucchese boots that Jane wears in the books! I don’t, however, have combat boots like Jane wears on hunts. At five-feet two, plump, and a bit older than Jane, I think I’d look stupid in them!

SFG: Jane is tall and badass. Was there anyone you use to picture her?

Rhona Mitra http://m.imdb.com/name/nm0593961/ I’d love to see her do Jane in a feature for TV. Not that it is in the works. But I’d still love it!



SFG: Why hasn’t Jane gotten with Bruiser?

I honestly don’t’ know which man Jane will end up with. Jane is a healthy, unrepressed female, who respects her body and her souls, so she will eventually pick at least one guy, but even I don’t know which guy(s) yet.

Rick and Bruiser and Leo. All the men are a big part of her life. Jane likes one guy (Rick) but she can’t have him. Her Beast likes most of the predatory men in her life. Bruiser, however, is going through problems of his own. Leo hurt her physically and emotionally. So it’s hard to pick. To make it worse, Beast assures Jane that, “Big-cats do not mate for life.” How do you ignore info like that? And how much control will Beast have over Jane? I am totally not sure yet!

SFG:. Bitsa, Jane’s motorcycle and even her choice of weapons are almost characters in the book in some ways. How’d you come about those choices?

I dated a guy once who loved bikes. He collected, restored them, and rode them. He said they had personalities and I believed him, so I write that aspect of Bitsa into the book. Each of Jane’s weapons has its own personality too, in a way. Each blade has its own weight, balance point, etc. Each gun has its own weight, grip-feel, and let’s call it targeting point. Weapons are part of her life, but Jane is also aware that they are dangerous and be used for wrong. In BLACK ARTS, which I am writing now, Jane deals with that I her lifestyle when she had guests.
Could this be a Bitsa?

SFG: Will there be more books in this series?

Yes. I am writing BLACK ARTS now and loving it! I have three more books under contract. After that, it all depends on the readers and how faithful they are to the series. Fans who buy book make or break a series, and writers live on their joy and love of character and story. If fans buy books and tell their friends to buy books, then a writer gets contracts. So far, Jane Yellowrock is selling, If I do my job well and the fans like it well enough to do theirs, then yes. I can only hope!

SFG: The vampire society in your Jane Yellowrock novels is complex. How do you keep track of it all? It is hard!

I have lots of computer files that are in desperate need of updating, and (hopefully) at the time you are reading this, I am currently working with a co-writer on updating all the files (because I was lazy when I started them and didn’t keep them up to date) as we write the JANE YELLOWROCK COMPANION, for e-book release. I am writing the 7th book of the series, BLACK ARTS, and updating the files have reached critical levels!

SFG: You did an urban fantasy crossover collaboration with C.E. Murphy featuring her character Joanne Walker and Jane Yellowrock. Is there another crossover you'd like to do even if only theoretically?

It was great fun working with CE Murphy. I knew Catie (virtually) before we started talking about the project, because I had asked her to be one of early participants in www.magicalwords.net, the fantasy writing/reading site created by David B Coe /DB Jackson and Misty Massey and me. Catie became a great friend through the process of writing Easy Pickings, and even though Catie herself now lives across the Atlantic, Jane and Joanne Walker share a lot of the same tribal attributes, and personal foibles.

As to a crossover with another writer, I have nothing lengthy on the horizon but do have a lot of short projects I've discussed with various writer friends. But as always, finding the time is the biggest hurdle to leap.

Faith: Ok Doug. Now I'd like to turn the tables on you and ask you a few questions! I bet you rarely get that from one of your guests. LOL

This is definitely a first. I've done interviews on other sites as a guest but not on my own blog. I am happy for you to be my first. LOL Maybe it will start a trend.



Faith: Have you listened to the entire Jane Yellowrock series on audiobook or is Blood Trade the first for you in this format?

I'm proud to say I have listened to all of the Jane Yellowrock series on audiobook with the exception of Skinwalker, the first book. At that time I had not discovered the pleasure of well-performed audiobooks.



Faith: Does listening to an audiobook enhance the story for you or is it just more of a convenience?

For me it is a wonderful enhancement. I love to visualize when I read books but imagining character voices not so much. When you find a good narrator you hang on to them for dear life. Khristine Hvam is a terrific Jane and even better Beast. Her range of accents is phenomenal and most importantly she isn't merely reading the book - she is performing it. The narration really adds another dimension and takes the story to the next level.

Faith: Final question Doug! I promise! LOL For those readers who have been thinking about trying an audiobook but haven't just yet, what would you say to them about trying Jane in audio?

People always suggest audiobooks as a way to improve quality time during a trip or commute. But they are a wonderful supplement to reading books. Good narrators can make or break a story and in the Jane Yellowrock series we have a winner.  Readers new to audiobooks I think will be pleasantly surprised and delighted by the ease of slipping into the story and being carried away.

Faith: Thanks for having me here today Doug. I've had a great time with a great host. :) I hope you enjoy Blood Trade! The next book in the series, Black Arts, is due out January 2014 from Penguin/ROC. You can always drop by my Facebook page for the latest news on the series!


Thank you Faith for joining us and sharing Jane Yellowrock and Beast with us. Readers will have an opportunity to win a copy of Blood Trade by completing the ballot below. If you have a question or comment for Faith, please do so in the usual place and she will drop by to respond.

BLOOD TRADE ISBN Info:
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Roc (April 2, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0451465067
ISBN-13: 978-0451465061

Book Excerpt: http://www.faithhunter.net/wp/2013/02/27/blood-trade-excerpt-chapter-one/

Website: http://www.FaithHunter.net
Faith’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter
Jane Yellowrock’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janeyellowrock
Beast’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeastNotPrey
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HunterFaith

Other Novels in the Jane Yellowrock Series: 

   July 2009                             January 2010                         January 2011

      January 2012                        October 2012

Other Collections and Stories in the Jane Yellowrock Series: 

            eCollection                eCollection                eCrossover            Anthology Story

Audiobook Sample for Blood Trade:     Pause Blood Trade: Jane Yellowrock, Book 6


Monday, April 15, 2013

Blood Trade Blog Tour and a Little Defiance

Don't forget that Faith Hunter is with us tomorrow (April 16) on her Blog Tour for the 6th Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy release - Blood Trade. I just finished this in the audiobook form. This is an excellent installment with the non-stereo-typical Jane, tons of action and a series that seems to get better as it goes. Win a copy of the book in the contest. Tell your friends!


Science fiction fans are probably anticipating tonight's 2 hour launch of Defiance. There has been lots of buzz and featurettes about the investment in what I assume they believe will be a new SF franchise. I am hoping so too, but let's cross our fingers they live up to the hype. I plan a review of the opener later in the week.




Saturday, April 13, 2013

Steampunk Review - Vintage Tomorrows

Steampunk has not only been a hot literary genre for quite some time now,  but also a burgeoning cultural movement. It is not surprising that someone has assembled a thoughtful assessment of this culture.


THE BLURB
What would today’s technology look like with Victorian-era design and materials? That’s the world steampunk envisions: a mad-inventor collection of 21st century-inspired contraptions powered by steam and driven by gears. In this book, futurist Brian David Johnson and cultural historian James Carrott explore steampunk, a cultural movement that’s captivated thousands of artists, designers, makers, hackers, and writers throughout the world.

Just like today, the late 19th century was an age of rapid technological change, and writers such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells commented on their time with fantastic stories that jumpstarted science fiction. Through interviews with experts such as William Gibson, Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, James Gleick, and Margaret Atwood, this book looks into steampunk’s vision of old-world craftsmen making beautiful hand-tooled gadgets, and what it says about our age of disposable technology.

Steampunk is everywhere—as gadget prototypes at Maker Faire, novels and comic books, paintings and photography, sculptures, fashion design, and music. Discover how this elaborate view of a history that never existed can help us reimagine our future.
Vintage Tomorrow's by James H. Carrott and Brian David Johnson is an insightful and thought-provoking examination of Steampunk Culture. In the terrifically written Foreword, Henry Jenkins offers up a brief essay on the roots and context of Steampunk and provides varying definitions of its meaning. He also clearly states what it isn't and that is the oft-quoted "Victorian Science Fiction", a sentiment I whole-hardheartedly endorse.

Others have compared Steampunk culture as merely a form of retromania but Jenkins suggests that
"while retro-consumption is typically nostalgic and restorative, steampunk culture is generative and reflexive; it wants to create a culture which never existed before, but might have." 
And most telling he says,
"Steampunk is no more about the goggles than Cyberpunk was about the mirrorshades: they both simply constitute powerful metaphors for thinking about alternative ways of seeing the world."
Steampunk at Burning Man
Vintage Tomorrow's is divided up into 19 thematic chapters, contains a full index and is chock full of interesting photographs, although on the latter note I could have wished for better quality reproduction. Each chapter ably represents the historian and futurists observations strengthened by effective historical and contemporary quotes and excerpts from myriad of sources.

My favourite chapters included "Technology That Ships Broken" where Brian interviews Cory Doctorow, a popular science fiction writer and futurist in his own right. In their conversation Cory expresses his feelings about technology and the culture this way -
"Steampunk keeps alive the idea that tinkerability should be inherent in technology."
Cherie Priest, who many readers here will be familiar with from her Hugo-nominated Steampunk novel Boneshaker (2010) gets a chapter entitled, "A World-Destroying Death Ray Should Look Like a World-Destroying Death Ray". A fascinating and wide-ranging conversation on the sub-culture in which she has been a longstanding adherent.

There are many other conversations, debates and discussions with a host of mindful participants, but there is also an examination of cultural events, conventions, media venues and many others areas influenced by Steampunk. Reading this book greatly changed my view and perception of the steampunk movement and its contributions to cultural change and technology. There were many moments of "I didn't know that" and "wow, I can see the connection there."

I highly recommend Vintage Tomorrow's to anyone with a passing interest in Steampunk and essential reading for those that consider themselves fans of the culture or genre. The narrative is easy to read, told in an approachable and non-academic style. If a non-fiction book can be considered a page-turner, this is one. Steampunk you will find is much more than the pretty visuals and gadgets.

The book is available now. Details below. Purchasers also receive a free download of a companion booklet called Steampunking Our Future: An Embedded Historian's Notebook.

Publisher: O'Reilly Media / Make
Formats: Print, Ebook, Safari Books Online
Print: February 2013 Ebook: February 2013
Pages: 412
Print ISBN:978-1-4493-3799-5 | ISBN 10:1-4493-3799-6
Ebook ISBN:978-1-4493-3794-0 | ISBN 10:1-4493-3794-5




ABOUT THE AUTHORS

James H. Carrott
James H. Carrott may have been born a historian, but definitive proof awaits further mapping of the human genome. A self-described tech nerd, anachronist, game geek, fanboy, and contrarian, James has followed an eclectic career path that has taken him from the deepest recesses of America's colonial past to the future of gaming and entertainment and everywhen between. Among many other things, he's been a miniature strategy game national champion, co-founder of a community radio station, union steward and treasurer, host and producer of innumerable radio programs, and once had the San Francisco Mime Troupe over for supper. Prior to embarking on his Vintage Tomorrows adventure, he served as global product manager for Xbox 360 hardware. James (aka CultHistorian) is currently a freelance historian, writer and design consultant, researching cultural change to explore the future through the creative application of the past. He resides in Seattle, Washington with his two daughters in a little flat packed with books, comics, games, and toys. View James H. Carrott's full profile page.


Brian David Johnson
The future is Brian David Johnson's business. As a futurist at Intel Corporation, his charter is to develop an actionable vision for computing in 2020. His work is called "future casting"—using ethnographic field studies, technology research, trend data, and even science fiction to provide Intel with a pragmatic vision of consumers and computing. Along with reinventing TV, Johnson has been pioneering development in artificial intelligence, robotics, and using science fiction as a design tool. He speaks and writes extensively about future technologies in articles and scientific papers as well as science fiction short stories and novels (Fake Plastic Love, Nebulous Mechanisms: The Dr. Simon Egerton Stories and the forthcoming This Is Planet Earth). He has directed two feature films and is an illustrator and commissioned painter.
View Brian David Johnson's full profile page.

A documentary film has also been made and you can view this video interview Vintage Tomorrows: Inside the Steampunk Documentary at Fora.tv.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

SF Movies - Oblivion

I have added a new page tab above for Movie Trailers where I will list the top genre films coming out this year including science fiction, fantasy and urban fantasy. I encourage you check it out and leave a comment at any time about any of the films you are looking forward to or critique those you have already seen.

From time to time I get interesting PR packages for these movies and will share the links and information as they come in. Opening next weekend (April 19) is the big budget scifi film Oblivion with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman.  Visually it looks stunning and I look forward to catching this one.

Here are some of the interesting links and images from the film (and from behind the scenes) if you are curious or just want to find out more.

Tom Cruise stars in Oblivion, an original and groundbreaking cinematic event from the visionary director of TRON: Legacy and producers of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.

2077: Jack Harper (Cruise) serves as a security repairmen stationed on an evacuated Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying alien threat who still scavenges what’s left of our planet, Jack’s mission is almost complete. In a matter of two weeks, he will join the remaining survivors on a lunar colony far from the war-torn world he has long called home.

Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, Jack’s soaring existence is brought crashing down after he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Drawn to Jack through a connection that transcends logic, her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he thought he knew. With a reality that is shattered as he discovers shocking truths that connect him to Earth of the past, Jack will be pushed to a heroism he didn’t know he contained within. The fate of humanity now rests solely in the hands of a man who believed our world was soon to be lost forever.

Oblivion was shot in stunning digital 4K resolution on location across the United States and Iceland.

V I D E O S
A Look Inside


World of Oblivion


The Bubbleship


The Skytower


I M A G E S







L I N K S
Website: http://www.oblivionmovie.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/oblivion
Twitter: https://twitter.com/oblivionmovie #OBLIVION
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/OblivionTheMovie
Instagram: www.instagram.com/oblivionmovie #OBLIVION

Drone Defender App
Do you have what it takes to fulfill Tech 49's mission? Play Oblivion's Drone Defender for iOS and Android

Earth Is a Memory – Global Memory Map and Instagram
What would be a memory worth fighting for? Add your favorite memories to the Global Memory Map by uploading photos to Instagram and Twitter using #OblivionMemory. Visit www.earthisamemory.com for more details and to view the map. And be sure to Follow @OblivionMovie on Instagram for behind-the-scenes extras http://instagram.com/oblivionmovie 





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