Frederik Pohl Remembers Jack Vance

Frederik Pohl, one of the founders of science fiction, is still writing novels at age 93 and has a blog he updates regularly. The Way the Future Blogs recently noted the death of another legend of the genre, Jack Vance. Pohl recalls being editor of Galaxy magazine in the early '60s when a Vance manuscript came in: ... "I've got a new story from Jack Vance that I love. It's called The Dragon Masters, and it's about a race of dragon-like creatures from a distant planet who are at war with the human race. The ... read more

The World Already Has Enough Artists?

I maintain a list on Twitter of all Hugo Award-nominated best novel writers who use the service. A lot of cool stuff comes over the relatively low-traffic list, particularly related to science and creativity. At a Connecticut Forum event for high school students, the comics and science fiction writer Neil Gaiman was questioned by a teen who had been discouraged from being a director because there are "enough artists in the world." Gaiman's answer is perfect. ... read more

Two Science Fiction Novels I Didn't Finish

I hit a bad streak reading novels this month. My house is overflowing with books I've been meaning to read, so I will give up on a novel when I've abandoned all hope of being entertained. I figure if I'm not enjoying a book after 50 to 75 pages, it's time to bail. I reached that point with Wilson Tucker's The Year of the Quiet Sun (1970) and Philip K. Dick's The Divine Invasion (1981). Quiet Sun is a Nebula Award-nominated time-travel novel by the late Wilson "Bob" Tucker. He was an active science fiction fan who ... read more

Predicting the Next Hugo Award-Winning Novel

For the last two years I've voted in the Hugo Awards, yearly literary honors for science fiction and fantasy (but mostly science fiction). I skipped the best novel category because I hadn't read most of the works, which is no fun at all since that's the biggest award. So when the 2010 Hugos are decided next spring, I'd like to have completed enough of the nominated novels to make an informed vote. This won't be easy, since I only read around one book a month. But after digging into the history of the awards, I've ... read more

Locus Awards Change Rules, Foil Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow's short story collection Overclocked was nominated this year for a Locus Award, a science fiction honor voted on by the public and tabulated by Locus magazine. Votes were accepted online, and several links during the balloting on Doctorow's ginormously popular Boing Boing blog helped his book receive the most votes in that category. But if you check out the award winners, you won't find Doctorow's book on the list. Locus changed the rules after voting was over, deciding to give votes from its ... read more

Voting Ends for This Year's Hugo Awards

Today's the last day to vote on the 2008 Hugo Awards, which will be given out at the World Science Fiction Convention next month in Denver. I joined the convention as a supporting member last fall to vote for the first time on the awards, which began in 1955 and have become the most coveted prize in science fiction. In April, the Hugo nominees were announced. All of the nominees in several categories can be read for free online, including short stories, novellas, novelettes and fanzines. Four of the five best ... read more

Robert Heinlein's Encyclopedia of the Future

One of the things I enjoy about reading old science fiction is grading the speculative guesses about the future. In his 1954 novel The Star Beast, Robert Heinlein imagines the encyclopedia of the future, a giant mechanical supercomputer that occupies an entire building: The universal dictionary in the British Museum was not more knowledgeable than the one in the Under Secretary's office; its working parts occupied an entire building in another part of Capital, and a staff of cyberneticists, semanticians and ... read more