News, Reviews, Resources, and Perspectives of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror
Sunday 31 December 2006
Feature: John Shirley reviews Pan's Labyrinth
Expertly directed, edited with an almost supernatural assurance and shot in Goyaesque colors, Panís Labyrinth is first an entertainment, an adult fairy tale... Some high fantasy fans may find Panís Labyrinth too relentlessly grim, but the rest of us discover in it a satisfying fusion of the gothic and the fairy tale; an anti-fascist masterpiece of cinematic magic realism.
Saturday 30 December 2006
Feature: Letter from Erle Melvin Korshak
With all the attention given, and rightfully so, to the passing of Arthur Wilson "Bob" Tucker I should like to add the following: Tucker was one of the three greatest, most prominent, most important science-fiction fans of all time...
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer generally deserves to be praised as a handsome, accurate adaptation of a bizarre and fascinating novel, a story that everyone should experience at least once. So, if you have never read Süskind's novel, you should definitely see this film; while if you have read the novel, you do not have to see the film, but you might enjoy revisiting its peculiar narrative in a different format.
Thursday 28 December 2006
Feature Review: Gary Westfahl on Children of Men
Unwilling or unable to fully explore the novelís singular premise, and overly inclined to drift into more familiar territory, the multiple screenwriters of Children of Men have failed to create a film about an awful dystopian future without children; instead, it is simply another film about an awful dystopian future well done in its own way, perhaps, but offering nothing that science fiction filmgoers will regard as particularly distinctive.
Features: Yesterday's Tomorrows: Graham Sleight
Graham Sleight's column "Yesterday's Tomorrows" from Locus Magazine, looking at classic works by Arthur C. Clarke and George R. Stewart, is reposted here with responses from readers and comments enabled.
Wednesday 22 November 2006
Features: More Letters
Sunday 19 November 2006
Tuesday 14 November 2006
Locus Magazine: Cory Doctorow Commentary
HD is poison for special-effects movies. Whatever sins are hidden in a standard-definition 12-inch TV set are thrown into stark relief by big, crisp displays. Whatever longevity can be wrung from a movie by releasing it to smaller, more forgiving screens is cut short by the living-room behemoths that are being pushed on us today.
Monday 13 November 2006
Feature Review: Gary Westfahl on Stranger Than Fiction
In all respects, it is a superbly well-made piece of entertainment, that may succeed both in making you laugh and moving you to tears... On the other hand, it is a film designed to make you feel good (the usual goal of popular fiction), not to make you think (the usual goal of great works of literature, and of science fiction).
Monday 23 October 2006
Go see it and watch very closely. (Indeed, you might want to see it twice, and then read the book for good measure.) If there's any justice in the world, this should be a strong Oscar contender for Best Picture. At last, a movie not for dummies. Two Van de Graaff generators up, way up!
Sunday 22 October 2006
Feature Review: Gary Westfahl on The Prestige
Even if it falls short of what Priest had in mind, The Prestige remains much more original and thought-provoking than the typical Hollywood offerings at this level. See it once, see it again, and you will be refreshingly intrigued and entertained.
Alert: This review contains "spoilers"...
Monday 9 October 2006
Sunday 24 September 2006
Lou Anders responds to Cory Doctorow's How Copyright Broke.
Saturday 23 September 2006
C.E. Petit and Don Sakers respond to Cory Doctorow's How Copyright Broke.
Wednesday 20 September 2006
Readers respond to Cory Doctorow's How Copyright Broke.
Monday 11 September 2006
Commentary from Locus Magazine
The Internet is a machine for copying things cheaply, quickly, and with as little control as possible, while copyright is the right to control who gets to make copies, so these two abstractions seem destined for a fatal collision, right? Wrong.
Monday 4 September 2006
There's two hours of our lives we'll never get back. What a great big mess of nothing at all. When you first see it, it doesnít make sense, and the more you think about it, the less sense it makes.
Wednesday 23 August 2006
Special Feature: Comments from the Poll
Voters in this year's Locus Poll and Survey were invited to add comments to their ballots. Here's what some of them said about the poll, about Locus, and about SF and fantasy in 2005.
Special Feature: Analysis of the Poll
How many voters vote in how many categories? Who would have won if only subscribers decided?
Monday 14 August 2006
Ours is a time of extreme morphological variability among short stories, and therefore among short story collections. To the casual observer, such variability may be overwhelming and may obscure some of the more interesting features of the contemporary short story. Here, then, is a guide to ten recent collections, and some of their distinguishing characteristics.
Monday 7 August 2006
This one coulda been a contender, until they threw in all the usual modern horror movie "shock for the sake of shock" crap. Solid direction by Neil Marshall gets wasted due to a gimmick-laden script, also by Neil Marshall.
Monday 24 July 2006
It looks like they tried to play it safe by making a mostly kids film with just enough crude humor to avoid a G rating. ... 10-12 year old boys will enjoy it a good deal; younger than that and it will probably be a bit too scary, while older than that will find it too tame and lame.
Friday 14 July 2006
Two libraries looking for good homes
Sunday 9 July 2006
Feature Review: Gary Westfahl on A Scanner Darkly
The quick phrases one might use to describe the film "animated movie," "science fiction movie," even "Philip K. Dick movie" all bring to mind certain expectations that this film simply does not fulfill... However, if they already know Dick's story a subdued, gut-wrenching portrait of the ravages of drug addiction in the 1970s, thinly disguised as near-future science fiction audiences will be delighted to observe what is both an imaginative and a remarkable faithful adaptation of this neglected novel.
Wednesday 5 July 2006
Commentary from Locus Magazine
As a science fiction writer, no piece of news could make me more hopeful. It beats the hell out of the alternative a future where the dominant, pluripotent, ubiquitous medium has no place for science fiction literature.
Sunday 2 July 2006
Feature Review: Gary Westfahl on Superman Returns
One can describe this film as more seamless and thoughtful than its predecessors, inasmuch as director Bryan Singer and writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, amidst all the inevitable thrills, also artfully contrive to offer some stimulating insights regarding why this durable superhero keeps coming back and why he keeps leaving.
Friday 23 June 2006
Special Feature: Locus Online's 2006 Poetry Poll Results
Locus Online voters select the best SF/Fantasy/Horror poems of all time led by Bruce Boston & Robert Frazier
Tuesday 13 June 2006
Claude Lalumière reviews Cinema Macabre, a book of essays on classic horror films, recalls his early experience with horror, and offers his own list of 15 favorite horror films.
Horror opened itself up to me once I realized that it wasn't all akin to Stephen King, Brian De Palma, or slasher films. There are other paths that lead to darkness, other ways to explore the dark.
Friday 19 May 2006
Special Feature: "Can You Read Me Now?" by Paul Di Filippo
Jogging through Penn Station, I was trying to call my wife, but I got Dan Brown instead.
New corporate sponsorships have allowed the MTV Fantasy Awards to shoulder the expense of having the judging panel for this year's award moved to a Malibu beach house, reports Levy Neo Kim.
Jacky Telemark Lisp has inside information about SFWA's change of the wording on the Grandmaster Award to be given Harlan Ellison next month in Tempe, Arizona.
The muckraking Smoking Gun website claims that Williamson's autobiography is riddled with fabrications and misrepresentations, reports Paoli du Flippi.
The new P.O.D. imprint will focus on bringing into print all of the spare words written by the most prolific of today's hot young writers of science fiction and fantasy, reports Hamey Tech Newt.
Longtime Star Wars novel publisher Del Rey announced that the first book in the line would be Slave Girl of Tattoine by Barry Malzberg and Mike Resnick, reports L. Ron Creepweans.
Locus Online's Paoli du Flippi talks with Barry Malzberg, named by billionaire Richard Branson as the first recipient of a free ride on the imminent space-tourist venture.
Wednesday 29 March 2006
Special Feature: Reviews by Gary K. Wolfe
Selected reviews from Gary K. Wolfe's Hugo Award-nominated Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996 cover books by Kim Stanley Robinson, William Gibson, Octavia E. Butler, and others
Thursday 23 March 2006
Feature: Letter from Jim Rigney / Robert Jordan
Jim Rigney, who writes as Robert Jordan, updates his health situation.
Special Feature: Gary K. Wolfe Excerpt
Read the Introduction to Gary K. Wolfe's Hugo Award-nominated Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996
Sunday 19 March 2006
V for Vendetta is a powerfully effective and affecting film. A few times, I was on the verge of tears; often, I was made nervous and uncomfortable (in a good way); several times, I felt exhilarated.
Contest Update:The contest to win a copy of Bantam Spectra's new edition of Jeff VanderMeer's City of Saints and Madmen is closed. Winners and correct answers are now posted.
Monday 13 March 2006
Overall, the film captivates. The visual and aural esthetics have clearly been carefully planned and thought out so as to be full-fledged storytelling elements. The fantasy ideas are worked out with rigor; the cast is engaging; the characters are intriguing; and, chronology problems aside, the plotting is clever and thematically tight.
Saturday 11 March 2006
Special Feature: Jeff VanderMeer excerpt
Excerpt from Bantam Spectra's new edition of Jeff VanderMeer's City of Saints and Madmen
Friday 10 March 2006
Thursday 9 March 2006
More on NYT's Dave Itzkoff, and Gary Westfahl, from Gregory Benford, Andrew Wheeler, Aaron Hughes, and Mark Tiedemann
Wednesday 8 March 2006
Patrick Nielsen Hayden on Dave Itzkoff
Tuesday 7 March 2006
Frank Wu on Gary Westfahl; Alex Irvine on Dave Itzkoff
Monday 6 March 2006
I am now prepared to argue that Asperger's Syndrome should not be regarded as a handicap or as a debilitating condition; rather, it is a tremendous asset, a set of beneficial traits that may someday be recognized as the characteristics of a new, and superior, form of humanity.
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Sunday 5 March 2006
John A. Pitts reports from the Octavia Butler memorial in Seattle;
Lucius Sorrentino and Elizabeth Hand respond to the New York Times' new SF columnist
Thursday 9 February 2006
Short Summary: In Season 2.0, Battlestar Galactica continues to be the best show on television and the best SF TV show ever. For the gods' sake, don't buy the Season 2.0 DVD box set!
Monday 23 January 2006
Feature Essay:Books by Salvador Plascencia, Lydia Millet, Rupert Thomson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Carol Emshwiller, Sarah Monette, Hal Duncan, Paul Park, Kelly Link, Joe Hill, Holly Phillips, Judith Merril, Sonya Taaffe, and others
Feature Essay:Howl's Moving Castle, Sin City, ReGenesis, comics by Darwyn Cooke, Charles Burns, Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely, books by Win Scott Eckert, Margaret Atwood, Tim Pratt, Lisa Tuttle, Tom De Haven, and Kelly Link
Sunday 15 January 2006
At its best, GitS:SAC is the most interesting, sustained postcyberpunk media work in existence, intellectually (if not visually) superior to the original movie, and almost worthy of direct comparison to the post/cyberpunk works which inspired it.
Tuesday 3 January 2006
Special Feature: Jon Courtenay Grimwood excerpt
Excerpt from Jon Courtenay Grimwood's new novel Felaheen, published this month by Bantam Spectra