Yes, I am a true Space Cadet, and I have the certification to prove it. As if you didn’t already know by now, if you have been following these blog entries. I am not sure if I feel the need to hide this attitude because even SF Geeks are more popular than Science Freaks, but hopefully you will find a few of these links worthwhile… assuming any of them still exist after all this time.

Yes, I am a true Space Cadet, and I have the certification to prove it. So what kind of web sites does a space-case like me visit for fun? I thought I would share a few of them, in the hopes you might find them worth your time as well (you’re reading this Blog, aren’t you?).

A great first stop is the Astronomy Picture of the Day from the folks at Nasa. These images are not only great eye candy, the text that comes with them can even teach you a bit about the subject for that day.

Also from Nasa is the Human Space Flight site. If there are people off the planet at the moment, this one will give you all the details. Webmasters take note, this page is worth a visit just to see how a really good home page layout can improve the quality of the browsing experience.

For the True Believers like myself, the Planetary Society web site gets regular visits. Carl Sagan’s old gang is doing a lot of important work, and there is information here you don’t want to miss out on.

Then there are the news channel pages, always worth a visit. A few good ones include SpaceRef, a great place to keep up with the latest developments. Another is Space Dot Com News, the news page for one of the best space pages online. And lets not forget the Seti Update Page, the place to learn about our progress in finding out if we are alone.

IP is at the heart of creative works, such as books, movies, and radio plays. Intellectual Property belongs to those who created it; some of them sign contracts to hand their work over to companies and corporations, but most hold onto it for dear life. After all, it may be their only shot at immortality on this planet, and what creator doesn’t want to be remembered beyond their time?

Recently I touched on Baen Book’s excellent Baen Free Library, and Project Gutenberg. I think the artist’s view of things is important. After all, they are the ones who actually create the Intellectual Property that the companies with the overzealous legal departments and hyperactive bean counters are supposedly protecting.

So how do the artists feel about this? Well, surprise, lots of them are not getting a warm-fuzzy about how well they are protected, and almost none of them are seeing the results of these legal battles in their bank accounts. Here are a few links to give you an idea; you can find a lot more by a visit to your favorite search engine.

Orson Scott Card has been writing award-winning SciFi for a bunch of years now, with a twist: his stories are concerned with Ethics, and how the protagonist deals with them. Which makes his take on the issue even more incisive.

http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2003-09-07-1.html

Janis Ian is a musician who has been on both sides of the issue; from her personal experience comes a unique perspective.

http://www.janisian.com/article-internet_debacle.html

Lois McMaster Bujold writes scifi with heart, and I love her Miles Vorkosagen stories. Her comments on the Book Distribution industry might help put all this into a framework that makes sense. And on the best ways to use the new tools to help the future grow into what it should be.

LM Bujold on Book Distribution

Eric Flint, author of the 1632 paratime series (and a lot more), also has some thoughts on the best way to approach this question. This link represents the results of Eric’s conversations with Jim Baen, and their combined commitment to the future, and How To Do It Right.

http://www.baen.com/library/

If you have more links to add here, on either side of the issue, please send them my way!

Still about the authors… if no one is creating the books, who will read them? Linked to the copyright clean works that are so central to the genre.

What is this doing here, you ask? This isn’t quite science fiction… or is it?

Project Gutenberg is the Internets oldest producer of FREE electronic books, to quote their ABOUT page. Way back in 1971, Michael Hart thought it would be a great idea if lots of famous and important texts were freely available to everyone in the world. Since then, he has been joined by tons of volunteers who share his vision.

If that isn’t living in the future, I don’t know what is. It took over 2 decades before most major publishing houses even noticed there was a Net, and had their marketing departments put web sites up.

If you need another reason to visit this site, check out the list of Authors who’s works are downloadable here. H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Mary Shelly; and then there are the lesser known classics, like Edwin Abbott’s Flatland, Abraham Merritt’s The Moon Pool, or William Harben’s The Land of the Changing Sun.

This site belongs in your bookmark collection; trust me on this!

Project Gutenberg

There are no stories without the story tellers. The Authors are at the heart of the matter, and whatever I can pass on may be useful to someone that loves that Author…

Most Authors have there own Web Sites, but most search engines give you 2,000 links, with 1,999 of the results being Fan Sites about the author, or some of their works. The fan sites are often some of the best sites on the web (although the search engines don’t have a ranking for quality, so there will be plenty of turkeys in the results), with info and details you can find nowhere else. And some authors are so impressed with a fan site that they will make it their official web site; that has to bring a special grin to the face of the fan who built it! But it also makes it hard to know what should be included as an official site, so Forry Ackerman, David Brin, and a number of others loose out on being included in this list until I can confirm the links.

Sometimes you just want to visit the home page of your favorite author. Here are a few Author Site links for you to visit, to start your collection…

Brian Aldiss: Brian Aldiss
Kevin J Anderson: Kevin J Anderson
Steven Baxter Steven Baxter
Greg Bear: Greg Bear
Gregory Benford Gregory Benford
Terry Bisson: Terry Bisson
Jack Chalker Jack L Chalker
C.J. Cherryh C. J. Cherryh
Thomas M. Dish Thomas M. Dish
Terry Dowling Terry Dowling
Harlan Ellison harlanellison.com
James Alan Gardner James Alan Gardner
Lisa Goldstein Lisa Goldstein
Simon Ing: Simon Ing
Nancy Kress : Nancy Kress
Ursula K LeGuin Ursula K LeGuin
Edward M. Lerner: Edward M. Lerner
James Morrow: James Morrow
Rudy Rucker: Rudy Rucker
Fred Saberhagen: www.berserker.com
John Shirley: John Shirley
Bruce Sterling: Bruce Sterling
Michael Stanwick: Michael Stanwick
Alastair Reynolds Alastair Reynolds
Walter Jon Williams: Walter Jon Williams
Jack Williamson: Jack Williamson

I have a lot more links in my collection, and find new ones all the time, but this should get you started!
A lot of my favorite authors are not yet on this list, so expect updates. If you are a sci-fi/fantasy author, feel free to email me with your home page link!

I am addicted to reading. So of course I feel the need to pass on links to great sites to download quality books and stories from. File this under Geek, I guess, and all thanks to Jim Bean and the team of world-class authors he gathered under his wing…

The web site at Baen Books doesn’t have the look and feel of those slick multi-national conglomerates with unlimited marketing budgets. In fact, it reminds me of the internet version of the classic pulps, like Astounding, Analog, or Asimov’s (to mention just the A’s).

And the content is just like that; real people with a real commitment to quality writing, and getting that work out to the public. And other aspects of the classic pulps are there as well; the free exchange of ideas, the sense of community, the sense of wonder, and even the cover art of the site (the home page background, although the book’s cover art displayed is also quite nice).

Don’t be fooled by the look; if you pop the hood and look at the source code there is some very elegant scripting working on both the client and server sides of this site, beyond what FrontPage5.0 can give you. All of which makes me feel like I am among friends when I visit, but it isn’t the reason I feel the need to include this site.

The reason is the books, and the attitude.

For the books, just look at the list of authors who choose to use them as an outlet; http://www.baen.com/author_list.asp. Any publisher who can attract Poul Anderson, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jack L. Chalker, David Drake, Esther Friesner, Larry Niven, David Weber, and a host of others has to be doing something right.

I believe that something right is the attitude. Jim Baen seems to be someone who believes in what he is doing, and is doing it the way the folks who brought us WorldCon, Fandom, and the Pulps did; the Futurian Society would be proud! Let me give you some examples….

Attitude can best be picked up by checking their FAQs page.

Community means just that; a group of people exchanging ideas, agreeing (or more often not) on a range of concepts they hold in common, or at least want to explore together. Every sci-fi fan should have Baen’s Bar in their collection of BBS/Forum links. What makes this one even more fun is the fact that some of the the authors read them, have their own Topics, and often Post.

Commitment is here with a vengeance, and a twist. The twist is the authors and publishers are all, by nature, living in the future (or in some cases, the deep past). It is who they are, after all, and why they create these stories and worlds. So they bypassed the mistake the RIAA was making, and embraced the new technologies to enhance their goals, rather than alienate their audience with it. Kind of makes me wonder if Eric Flint knows Janis Ian (she is doing the same thing with her online music, although I doubt either of them considers themselves a leader or revolutionary on the Electronic Freedom front); he started with a casual comment to Jim B. that resulted in one of the best things the internet has to offer; the Baen Free Library! For those of you who believe in the Gutenburg Project, you will feel right at home here. And for the few Corporate Executives who wound up here by mistake, take note. This is a perfect example of appropriate use of technology to achieve your goals; the paradigm has shifted, and your marketing head will love emulating this (if they have the intelligence to understand what they are doing).

The bottom line is, visit and bookmark this site. The base URI is http://www.baen.com/, and make sure to take your time checking out all the wonderful things you will find there!

Philip K Dick wasn’t any more prolific than most other authors.
But by my latest count, more of his stories were turned into
movies than any other author, with the possible exception of
Robert A Heinlein. And the Why of it matches with Heinlein as
well. RAH was looking for the core meaning of what it took for
a human to control the universe. PKDick was looking for the
answer to the question of what it is to be human.

Movies made from Dick stories include:

Novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, movie “Blade Runner”

Novel “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”, movie “Total Recall”
(also an uncredited writer in the TV series “Total Recall 2070”,
based on that same story)

Short Story “Imposter”, movie “Imposter”

Short Story “Second Variety”, movie “Screamers”

Short Story “Minority Report”, movie “Minority Report”

Short Story “Paycheck”, movie “Paycheck”

Novel “Colony”, TV Broadcast “Colony”, Radio Show “X Minus One”

Short Story “Nervous Breakdown”, short film “Nervous Breakdown”

The movie based on his novel “A Scanner Darkly”, called “Drug Taking
and the Arts”, released in 1994, might not be worth mentioning if it
were not for all the other folks who appeared in it as themselves:
Brian Aldiss, J.G.Ballard, Allen Ginsberg, Francis and Laura Huxley,
Timothy Leary, and a whole lot more. Or maybe the fact that this
one was a lot closer to being a documentary, rather than a scifi
story, is why I feel hesitent to include it here.

The PKDick links include:

Paycheck Trailer

http://www.philipkdick.com/

IMDB Entry