Monday, May 29, 2006

A Recently Unearthed Treasure

Mission to Zar
Short Story
Level 6
Louis Anders
Briarwood Christian School
(age 10 or thereabouts, we assume)

The time was about the middle of the twenty-fourth century. The place, a small space craft ordered to explore the square planet of Zar. The reason for this unusual mission was that the planet's surface was caving in. This was disrupting the gravity on the Earth and Mars.

The captain, talking to himself said, "Sniff, I may never see my wife and dog, Ruff, again." The captain pulled out a picture.

Overhearing, the second in command said, "Gee, your dog sure is ugly!"

"That's not my dog; that's my wife!"

"Sorry, Captain."

"That's okay. My wife thought it was Ruff, too," sighed the captain.

The ship enters the atmosphere and is instantly pulled down by Zar's gravity.

They landed on a large mountain. "Captain," said one of the men, "the gravity meter ray shows that another cave-in would occur about now--!"

The cave in hits and the mountain is reduced to a small hill. They traced the point of damage to a small underground tunnel.

After following the tunnel for hours they came to a large cavern miles below Zar's surface. It was inhabited by thousands of huffles! They were digging tunnels in the dirt to live in. This was causing the cave-ins.

Taking out eight inflatable space-rockets they tied one to each end of the planet.

Now they huffles could tunnel as much as they liked and Zar wouldn't cave in.

The End

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The First Law lives in Japan

So, first they produce the most impressive robot so far in terms of its locomation, which can take stairs, jog, pick objects up off the floor, dance, turn sideways, and they name it Asimo in honor of the late Isaac Asimov. Now, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, & Industry is working on codifying the first real-world versions of Isaac's three laws of robotics. I swear, it's getting to where I have no patience for people who don't understand why science fiction matters. Last week's Rise of the Cybermen two-parter may have been the weakest Doctor Who yet from season two, but watching all those people walking around on screen with bluetooth phones in their ear (or the parallel world equivalent) just brought home the degree to which we are all living in the future. No, we don't all have air cars yet (though Boeing finally invested in that guy's idea and there is a prototype), but in so many ways, people who don't get, understand or appreciate science fiction because it "isn't real" are just fish missing the water around them. I mean, what the hell is this blog anyway, if not my very own Captain's Log. Just as every cell phone owes its existance to Kirk's communicator. And more and more every day, the features on the latest sports cars come to resemble a hybrid of Bond's Austin Martin and the Batmobile. We live now in yesterday's dreams. Our future and our children's future is being plotted out now. It's no coincidence that SF is on the rise in India and China even as it's disdained here. Attitudes about science and science fiction go hand in hand. And you can't build a world you haven't imagined first.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Cover Story @ B&N

Paul Goat Allen's review of Cover Story: The Art of John Picacio is now online at Barnes & Noble's website. Says Paul:

"Boris Vallejo. Michael Whelan. Frank Frazetta. Todd Lockwood. Picacio deserves to be included in this elite list of extraordinary speculative fiction artists. But Cover Story confirms that he may be the best there ever was. A must-have for art connoisseurs as well as fans of science fiction/fantasy, this book proves that John Picacio is, simply put, the Picasso of speculative fiction."

Be sure to check out Picacio's website too.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Pyr Love in the Blogs

Jonathan Strahan has some nice things to say about Ian McDonald's River of Gods:
"This surprising and wonderful novel managed to re-establish (or even establish in some places) McDonald’s reputation as one of the best writers working in the field today."

Meanwhile, Louise Marley's very kind comments about the Pyr line overall lead her to reflect on the place of independent publishing in general.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Because it will let us update book-related news much faster and more efficiently than the old system (I email the wonderful and overworked Mark Hall at Prometheus, who codes it into the HTML), presenting - drum roll please -

Pyr-o-mania: the Pyr blog!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

2 Very Nice Reviews...

...which I can't resist sharing:

"Genre fans who enjoy spirituality-powered novels that delve into religious and mythic belief systems (Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt, Hal Duncan's Vellum, et al.) should prepare to be blown away: Sean Williams's The Crooked Letter -- winner of Australia's Aurealis and Ditmar Awards for Best Fantasy Novel -- is finally available in the States! .... The first installment of a projected four-volume saga entitled Books of the Cataclysm, The Crooked Letter is equal parts arcane fantasy, postapocalyptic thriller, and Lovecraftian horror. Ever wonder what happens to people after they die? Williams's exploration into the various realms of the afterlife is as engaging as it is disturbing -- a page-turner of the highest order." - Paul Goat Allen, Barnes and Noble Review

“Then every so often there comes along a novel, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, say, or China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station, or Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, that seems to do it all. Extrapolation, a sense of wonder that grabs you by the throat and won’t let go, lush carpets of setting, a profusion of ideas, complex representations of characters, soundings of society at every level, all the resources of language. River of Gods is such a novel…River of Gods clamors and roars and rings and resounds…” - James Sallis, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July 2006

Monday, May 01, 2006

Bilsang: We have a Winner!

As you may recall, last February Mike Resnick and I announced a contest "of sorts" to create the rules to the game Bilsang, apparently a popular pastime in Mike's galaxy of the 4870s A.D.

Bilsang - which is described as being a simple game that anyone can learn in a few minutes and which requires only a flat surface and twenty identical pieces, and is harder than it looks - is introduced in Mike's upcoming novel Starship: Pirate.

Now, I'm happy to announce that Resnick-fan and Dragon Magazine contributor Alex Wilson has won the contest, as judged last week by Mike and myself. Alex's Bilsang rules will appear in the appedices of Starship: Pirate when the book appears this coming December.

Thanks to everyone who sent in entrees, and a big congratulations Alex.