Monday, June 7, 2010

Links Blast Off

Some cool and interesting things from around my corners of the Internet:
  • Sandra McDonald put together a Periodic Table of Women in SF/F. [Via Cheryl Morgan] I'm heartened by the fact that Cheryl and Farah Mendlesohn are included (due to them being Hugo winners and all). Having some non-fiction-type women in there gives me hope.
  • You know the journal Nature, the publisher of bleeding-edge research claims in multiple fields? Turns out that they've got a pretty good website that's accessible without an institutional subscription, Nature News. They also have a special section completely dedicated to covering the Gulf Oil Spill. That's science journalism that I have confidence in.
  • The newest entry in the sf/f magazine field is Lightspeed, edited by John Joseph Adams. I'm definitely sympathetic to the stated desire to have more focus on sf in the online fiction magazine field. But out of the gate I have to say that I preferred Clarkesworld's current Nina Kiriki Hoffman story "Futures in the Memories Market" to the inaugural Vylar Kaftan story in Lightspeed, "I'm Alive, I Love You, I'll See You in Reno." YMMV. However, Lightspeed has an iPhone app, which is mighty cool. I've already downloaded it. It's free, but I actually wish I could use it to chip in the $2.99 for a full issue. a) I'd like to support what they're doing; and b) I'd like to get the whole issue at once instead of waiting for content.
  • Ideas for mega-engineering projects. [Via darn near everyone, but I saw it first in Futurismic.] Make the Moon a solar collector and beam the energy to Earth! Space hotels, floating cities! Can I get a heck yeah! (Although having recently read an excellent book on engineering disasters, Inviting Disaster by James Chiles, these designs do smack a bit of hubris.)
  • SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket with a dummy Dragon cargo capsule. The launch had its problems and delays, but the ascent itself looked good. They hoped to recover their first stage, but apparently it broke up on either descent or landing. There's so much tension right now between NASA-centric space plans and commercial-centric space plans that everything is loaded with added baggage and significance. But I'm very happy for the SpaceX team for their success.
  • Over at Strange Horizons, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro has started a new reviewing project. He's planning to review all the volumes of Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories. The volumes were published between 1979 and 1992 and covered the years 1939 to 1963. I'm obviously a big fan of going back and reading the antecedents of the genre, so I wish him all the luck in tackling a project this big. You can read the first installment this week at SH.

Sorry to mix up the sf and the science so randomly there, but that's fairly indicitive of the inside of my brain right now. Only 66 days left until my Masters degree is done!


TStanulis said...

Why do you find Bester's 2 novels not enjoyable? I am just curious, as you clearly have an affinity for alot of other old-school stuff. I enjoyed the hell out of both of them and I have read probably something like 5% of what you have (or maybe that is my problem???).....

TStanulis said...

I fail...somehow this was posted under the entirely wrong place...ugh...meant for your newest entry obviously.

Karen Burnham said...

Hi! Well, Bester's novels tend to be quite dark, and I didn't find the characters easy to empathize with. In "Stars My Destination" Gully Foyle does some reprehensible things in his quest for vengence. In "Demolition Man," 5 years later on I don't really remember any of the characters clearly. Also, Bester's prose style isn't my favorite. However, I appreciate them quite a bit: they have amazing plotting, world building, and were very influential. It's really just a difference between "like" and "appreciate." It all depends on what you're looking for, I guess.