Science Fiction

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 ... (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 ... (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 ... (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 ... (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, ... (read more)A visitor to the Drudge Retort remembers Andre Norton, the science fiction author who died Thursday at age 93: I was an indifferent and sullen youth, prone to acting out at school occasionally, and as a result, was sent to the library as a kind of holding cell/punishment. One day, bored out of my mind, I reached back and grabbed the first book that my hand fell upon and started reading. It was Ms. Norton's Witch World. My love of reading started with that book, which led me to Bradbury, ... (read more)

Church of the Risen Elvis

Because Atlanta courtroom killer Brian Nichols was read parts of The Purpose-Driven Life by his last hostage, CNN is republishing an interview the book's author did last November on Larry King Live. The book sounds like 336 pages of merciless flogging, based on the simplistic platitudes that the author, Rev. Rick Warren, inflicts on King ("The middle letter of pride is I, and the middle letter of sin is I"). The middle letter of tripe is I, too, reverend. But I'm linking to call attention to ... (read more)