More awards have already been handed out at Worldcon, according to the 5th AnticipationSF Newsletter. The Aurora Awards have been handed out, and while I have read many of the nominated works, I don’t know a single one of the winners; which means I have a lot of excellent new science fiction to add to my To Be Read list. Also handed out were this years Sidewise Awards for Alternate History, and congratulations to Chris Roberson for his win with The Dragon’s 9 Sons, a very impressive book in a well built new universe; he also has a lack of speech statement about the award. Again, I am adding every book and story nominated that I haven’t already read to my list, and you might want to do the same. They also gave the results of the Ningen-Senkan Sensuikan (aka human battleship) contest, and I was very pleased to see Girl Genius listed under the Webcomics You Should Be Reading header, since it is my all-time favorite. And again, I will be checking out everything listed that I am not already familiar with, since that is one of the most important functions of Worldcon; making us all aware of what our peers think is worth some interest.
Cory Doctorow worried that folks might not find the 404 Wine Bar for his pre-Play performance meet-and-greet the other night in Chicago. But everyone can find his latest story, serialized at TOR Online, and read it as each chapter gets uploaded. The story is Makers, and for those of us who get cross-eyed after staring at the screen for 18 hours a day it will come out in print in the fall (what date in the fall is a variable dependent on which continent you live on). Or perhaps for those of us who can’t wait for the serialization to finish up in Jan 2010. But there is an extra, Online-Level draw on this one; the images with each chapter! Download and collect them all, then download the Flash/Java App that will allow you to create your own image structure for the story. This is the extended (I.E., Complete) story originally told on Salon as ThemePunks. Now you can finally find out how it turns out! The folks at Barnstorming are doing the graphics, and they are building them to inter-connect. Which means the Flash App, whenever it gets released online, will allow you to take the various tiles and build your own cover for the book. All in all, this looks like a fun ride!
This one looks better every time I see a new trailer. You can see them all at the Planet 51 official website, so you will know if you want to see it come November. And then there is the trailer for Tokyo!, the movie William Gibson tweeted about today (or yesterday, depending on your time zone), also looking very interesting. Robert J Sawyer, who already holds a number of awards, including the Hugo and Nebula, is up for another one. The Aurora Awards has his short story collection Identity Theft and other stories on the short list for Best Long-Form Work In English. Until the voting ends, you can read it online here.
Not books about Pirates, but pirating books. Ursela K LeGuin recently found some of her own books available online as downloads, even though neither she nor her publishers had authorized their release in that media. Text pirating has now joined audio and video as a top copyright violation, mostly due to the growing popularity of portable text viewers. There are a lot of legally free books and stories you can read online or download for your portable player (kindle, palmtop, cell phone, etc.). Some are there as a marketing tool to increase sales, some are available because the author released it under a creative commons or equivalent copyright license, some because the copyright has expired. Like everything else, there is a history and controversies about copyright laws, with multinational companies on one side, users of the intellectual properties on the other, and the actual creators lining up on both sides depending on individual inclination and attitude. Personally, I consider it the authors right to decide how they want their works to be made available. Having their work distributed without their permission and without compensation does not create a sustainable creative environment; authors deserve a payday as well.
After watching the Smashing Pumpkins Steampunk song yesterday, I had to track down the original 1902 French movie that inspired the video segment. Based on the 1865 story From The Earth To The Moon by Jules Verne, it was cutting-edge film making, with never-before seen special effects and production values. You can download the book to read on your computer or portable device, or read it online. You can also listen to the story online or download it for your portable media player (or burn it to CD) thanks to the good folks at Librivox. They remade the movie in 1958, but the original is the best. You can download your own copy for your permanent collection or just watch it online at Archive.Org.
I gave links to the pages that give you this years Hugo Award nominee writings yesterday. Today, I thought I should point out a classic; read Cordwainer Smith at this link. If you don’t know who he is, these stories will introduce you, as will Frederik Pohl’s Introduction to a truly great man, who also wrote some of the best science fiction of his era. The new Stargate Universe trailer is now online, as broadcast during the Battlestar Galactica finale Friday. It looks like it could re-energize the franchise.