dc: The Doctor looking out from Laurel & Hardy film (Dr Who)
 I'm amazingly wiped out, possibly after having the 'flu vaccination at the weekend. Or it could just be the change in the weather. (This time last week I could still get away with T-shirt and a light jacket; this week, it's more heavy jacket weather.) 

There's a wee season of SF films at the GFT. Tonight is Death Watch - the 1980 Bertrand Tavernier film, starring Harvey Keitel and Romy Schneider, based on D.G. Compton's The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe and filmed in Glasgow. I'm tempted to go to see it (and Alphaville and The Thing and Frau im Mond...) despite having it on disc. On the other hand, I could easily crawl back into bed and sleep. :-)
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
If you missed it, there's an interview with Ken MacLeod (at Odyssey) on the Morning Star's website.
dc: (The Doctor)
A little while ago I asked if anyone recognised a book, with desertification, WWIII and aliens. Success! [profile] dan_golem correctly identified it as Cold Allies by Patricia Anthony. :)
dc: (The Doctor)
An acquaintance is trying to find a book he read some time ago. He thinks it was published in the early 90s and that it was the author's first published novel. It features:

  • widespread desertification as a result of climate change
  • World War III results from that, as Africa & the Middle East invade Europe
  • aliens appear and do inexplicable things (they are seen as lights on the battlefield)
  • the story is told from multiple viewpoints.
Does anyone have any idea what novel this might be?
dc: (Doctor)
Ansible’s out, with an amusing selection from Thog and the usual bizarre collection of comments on SF from the mundane world. This time, too, there is a blatant ad supporting [livejournal.com profile] bugshaw’s TAFF bid — now that is more impressive than a badge ribbon! ;o)
dc: (Doctor)
1. Hmm. In some ways, I’m not feeling too bad at the moment, although my sinuses (well, one of them) are still throbbing a bit after that recent URTI. What is much more troublesome is the energy problem just now: I seem to be running on about half my normal available energy most of the time, and, most days recently, it just plummets mid-afternoon. It’s getting so I practically pass out for a couple of hours. Not good, and a bit troubling given that we are just over two weeks away from Eastercon. I’m thinking that it might be a bit stupid to volunteer for anything, which I had been thinking I would like to do. Bugger.

2. My ribs are aching at the moment, but that’s because we have spent the past week catching up with Green Wing, which we unaccountably missed the first time it was shown. Good that C4 are reshowing it before series two starts on Friday; I don’t think it would make a lot of sense if you just dropped into it in the middle (although making sense is not really the first thing that comes to mind in connection with it). It probably should be slightly troubling that it reminds me of hospitals I have worked in, as well as some people I have come across.

3. One thing I have been wondering about is future technology, and how the way SF writers today see it will look in 30 or 40 years’ time. I suspect that it probably won’t look quite so dated as some of the stuff in SF from the 1960s — but who knows, perhaps it will. What prompted this is that two of the books I’ve read recently were written in the 60s: Solaris, by Lem (who died on Monday), and The Long Result by John Brunner.

Both these books are set some time in the future, the Brunner at least two or three hundred years, Solaris possibly further (it’s pretty indeterminate, but the planet itself was discovered something like a century and a half before the book starts, and it is clear there was already an established spacefaring culture then). Despite that, the most sophisticated forms of information storage envisioned by the authors are tapes and microfiche. It doesn’t impede enjoyment of the books, it just seems so… quaint. There is less of the jarring technology in The Long Result, probably because Brunner was actually thinking about the technology; Lem doesn’t seem to have been interested in that, what he was interested in was the encounter with the incomprehensible. For that reason, the occurrence of archaic technology isn’t so distracting as it might have been in another setting. Still, whenever I go back to Solaris, I find I have forgotten that this was published in 1960.

Things like the microfilm libraries, tape recorders, having to wait for the valves to warm up on a transmitter: these are all understandable given 1960s technology. I do sometimes wonder, though, what was in Lem’s mind when he envisioned a future where mankind has starships travelling far from Earth (Solaris being a planet of a binary star system hidden from Earth’s view by an interstellar dust cloud), and has the technology to float a scientific station over Solaris on gravitors, yet the protagonist gets from the starship to the station in a capsule which seems no more advanced than a Mercury or Voshkhod, even descending to the station on parachutes (which is incredible, really). But, as I say, he wasn’t focussed on the technology.

Looking around the stuff being published today, I wonder what will look quaint in 2046?

4. I know this is hardly a unique sentiment, but if I hear one more fuckwit film producer or academic type say of some piece of SF (literary or cinematic) that it isn’t really SF because it isn’t about spaceships and laser pistols or doesn’t involve expensive special effects, I’m inclined to start finding out names and addresses and set about purchasing things like baseball bats.

5. I am very amused that the idiot City Manager (what is that, anyway?) [livejournal.com profile] wibbble spoke of the other day has grasped that he has now been the subject of an article in The Register (I know, he was directly told, by [livejournal.com profile] wibbble if no one else, which I doubt, but even so I would not put money on him understanding that), and that as a result, many, many geeks are emailing him. He doesn’t like it and wants El Reg to make it stop. No, he didn’t say please.

6. Probably just as well I am low on energy at the moment, as it seems those bastard Tories and the Lords have caved on the ID card bill. Now, it would be good if the LibDem leader were to go around making a great ruckus about this and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, to try to get across to the public what exactly this government is up to. Fat chance, I think. I wonder what the SNP will have to say on it.

7. And so to bed.
dc: (Doctor)
The Hugo Awards nominations have been announced. Here are the nominations in three of the categories:

Best Novel

Learning the World – Ken MacLeod
A Feast for Crows – George R.R. Martin
Old Man’s War – John Scalzi
Accelerando – Charles Stross
Spin – Robert Charles Wilson

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Batman Begins
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Battlestar Galactica: “Pegasus”
Doctor Who: “Dalek”
Doctor Who: “The Empty Child” & “The Doctor Dances”
Doctor Who: “Father’s Day”
Jack-Jack Attack
Lucas Back in Anger
Prix Victor Hugo Awards Ceremony (Opening Speech and Framing Sequences).

Some thoughts... )
dc: (Doctor)
Just saw on BBC4 that the new adaptation of Fred Hoyle and John Elliott’s 1961 classic A For Andromeda will be shown next Monday night, 9pm. Unlike the original, this is a single hour-and-a-half production rather than a serial. This is a good time to be an SF fan. :)

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