Tuesday, 27 September 2011


The book for October is Philip K Dick's theological SF work VALIS. Published just a year before his death in 1982, it is about Horselover Fat (who as author surrogate both is and is not Dick) and his experience of God.

Philip K Dick (1928-82) was described by The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction as ‘one of the two or three most important figures in 20th century US SF’. Over his career he wrote more than 50 books, won the Hugo for ‘The Man in the High Castle’, the BSFA award for A Scanner Darkly’, and had his work made into a number of major Hollywood films (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, A Scanner Darkly, The Adjustment Bureau, etc)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

2011 Hugo results

The votes have been counted, the tuxedos pressed, and the 2011 Hugo rockets presented to the deserving. But who were they?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Where are we now? A Greenbelt 2011 talk by Simon Morden

Blue Pill – Red Pill

I like the film The Matrix. And yes, it is a shame they never made any sequels. In The Matrix, a young computer hacker called Neo starts to realise that reality isn’t quite what it’s supposed to be. He ends up being offered a choice by Morpheus.

“You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

I’m going to offer the writers in the audience a similar choice: you can listen to what I have to say, and decide it’s not for you. You’ll wake up tomorrow, and the world won’t have changed. Or you can decide I’m on to something here – and it could end up changing everything.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

A Total Lunar Eclipse Over Tajikistan

OK, it's not science fiction, but the thought that it was a magical event.

This is an extremely cool video of a total lunar eclipse over Tajikistan

Latest Dr Who trailers

The BBC have released the trailer for episodes 8 - 13 of the current series and it is looking good

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Curse of Chalion

This month’s book (well, this month and next) is Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Curse of Chalion. It won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature and was nominated for the Hugo, Locus Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards, subsequently vindicated with the sequel Paladin of Souls, which won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards for best novel. Bujold has actually won the Hugo four times (a record only beaten by Robert Heinlein), Locus three times and the Nebula twice with her novels, making her one of the most feted SF&F authors.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Locus Awards 2011 Winners

The winners of the 2011 Locus Awards have been announced:

Best Science Fiction Novel

Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis
  • Surface Detail, Iain M. Banks
  • Cryoburn, Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Zero History, William Gibson
  • The Dervish House, Ian McDonald

Best Fantasy Novel

Kraken, China Miéville
  • Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Fuller Memorandum, Charles Stross
  • The Sorcerer’s House, Gene Wolfe

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

SF and the Gender Divide

Following on from the Guardian SF&F special in May there has been a lot of debate on the blogosphere regarding the gender divide in science fiction, exemplified by this article on the SFWA website by Cheryl Morgan.

In response to the British Library’s summer exhibition: “Out of this World”, which celebrates science fiction right back to its earliest incarnations, the Guardian asked a number of prominent SF&F authors (mostly male) to nominate their all-time favourite SF. Nearly all the men and most of the women picked male authors. Nicola Griffith on her website did some maths and found that females accounted for only 4% of these recommendations.

Do women really write so little good SF? Is there a male conspiracy at work? Are we as a book group contributing to gender inequality?

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Matt Smith to return for new Doctor Who series

Matt Smith has signed on to appear in a new series of Doctor Who, the BBC has confirmed.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Nebula Award Winners Announced

The 2011 Nebula Award Winners are:

Winning Novel:

Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis

Also Nominated:

The Native Star by M.K. Hobson
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Echo by Jack McDevitt
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Life is a Beach

An original short story by Peter Willox
The first I knew of my mother’s demise was the alarm in my eye. I was at work at the fusion plant so I flipped down the clear screen on my helmet and read the auto message from Mum’s implant. She had died at a clinic in Birmingham, coordinates attached. I buzzed the clinic. Something had “malfunctioned” on her ‘stay young’ driver. There was nothing they could do. Could I pick up her ashes and deal with them according to her will (attached)?

The Quantum Thief

Nominated by Peter W, chosen by Rodney (one of our increasing number of remote members), the book for this month is The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi, which is described as a far-future thought experiment SF detective novel.


'If you dropped Greg Egan's hard physics chops into a rebooted Finnish version of Al Reynolds with the writing talent of a Ted Chiang you'd begin to get a rough approximation of the scale of his talent. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I read it. Hard to admit, but I think he's better at this stuff than I am. And The Quantum Thief is the best first SF novel I've read in many years -- Charles Stross

Saturday, 14 May 2011

BSFA Award 2010 Winners

The 2010 British Science Fiction Awards ceremony at the 62nd Eastercon convention, Illustrious 2011, has announced this year's winners:

Friday, 6 May 2011

Equations of Life

Simon Morden, author of The Lost Art and Another War, and contributer to this site, has a new book out: Equations of Life. Its London cyberpunk distopian setting is alreading getting excellent critical review.

Samuil Petrovitch is a survivor. He survived the nuclear fallout in St. Petersburg and hid in the London Metrozone - the last city in England. He's lived this long because he's a man of rules and logic. For example: GETTING INVOLVED = A BAD IDEA.
But when he stumbles into a kidnapping in progress, he acts without even thinking. Before he can stop himself, he's saved the daughter of the most dangerous man in London. And clearly: SAVING THE GIRL = GETTING INVOLVED.
Now, the equation of Petrovitch's life is looking increasingly complex: RUSSIAN MOBSTERS + YAKUZA + SOMETHING CALLED THE NEW MACHINE JIHAD = ONE DEAD PETROVITCH.
But Petrovitch has a plan - he always has a plan - he's just not sure it's a good one.
You can read an extract, or find more information at Simon's website or that of his publisher, Orbit

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Book club short story vote

As you may have seen, the Hugo nominations for 2011 have been released (list on http://sfbk.blogspot.com/2011/04/2011-hugo-award-nominees-announced.html).

As the four nominated short stories are all available online, I thought that it might be a good idea if we had our own vote (using AV in the best Tory (and Hugo) tradition). If you are interested, would you like to read the following and place them in order of preference, “1” for first place, “2” for second and so on. If you dislike a story then don't give it a vote. I will use the Hugo methods on http://hugos.renovationsf.org/vote/ for the sums.

Get me your votes by May 14th and I will announce the winners on the 16th. It will be interesting to see how they compare to the “real” vote announced in August.

Monday, 25 April 2011

2011 Hugo Award Nominees Announced

The nominations are out for this year's Hugo Awards:

Best Novel

Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Dervish House by Ian McDonald

Feed by Mira Grant

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

The Difference Engine

Our next reading is The Difference Engine by Bruce Stirling and William Gibson.

Fresh from their successes in creating the cyberpunk genre, they turn the clock back and imagine what might have been had Charles Babbage created his mechanical computer, initiating the information revolution 100 years early.

While they did not create the genre, The Difference Engine made it mainstream reading. Steampunk is possibly the major SF genre of the present day, spilling out into popular culture, film, and fashion. This is where it came of age.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Sarah Jane’s Awfully Big Adventure

Elisabeth Sladen, known to millions as Sarah Jane Smith, died today aged 63 following a battle with cancer.

She first appeared in Doctor Who in the 1973 episode The Time Warrior as Sarah Jane as the investigative journalist swept up into the Doctor’s work with UNIT, in this case dealing with the first appearance of a Sontaran. She travelled with both Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker for four series, returned in 2005 with David Tennant in School Reunion, and was given her own show, The Sarah Jane Adventures in 2007.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Nebula 2010 nominees

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has announcd the nominees for the 2010 Nebula Awards.

The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of SFWA. The awards will be announced at the Nebula Awards Banquet on Saturday evening, May 21, 2011 in the Washington Hilton, in Washington, D.C.. Other awards to be presented are the Andre Norton Award for Excellence in Science Fiction or Fantasy for Young Adults, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and the Solstice Award for outstanding contribution to the field.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

2011 Hugo Award Nominations Are Open

Renovation, the 2011 World Science Fiction Convention, has announced that the 2011 Hugo Nominations are now open.

Go to the Hugo Awards website for more information on how to submit nominations and ballots.