Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Among SFnal topics, I sometimes opine about genre movies. What I seldom mention are short movies -- and today I'll take a step toward remedying that omission. With a hat tip to Scott for sharing this link, see (from Cracked.com) "5 Epic Sci-Fi Movies You Can Watch In Under 10 Minutes."

Spoiler alert: don't read a description till after you've watched the corresponding movie.

(Isn't the word "movie" well past its use-by date? Are we still supposed to be impressed that the images move? We got past "talkies," so why not retire "movies?" "Film" is likewise dated in the digital era. You and I -- and more and more theaters -- don't roll film. We stream bits! But I digress.)

ANYway ... those vids explore the broadest meaning of SF: speculative fiction. For real science fiction, the hard stuff, the kind of thing engineers (rather than vampires) will want to sink their teeth into, consider "Spectrum's Summer Science-Fiction Reading List: 19 classic and recent tales, starring engineers as the heroes." I can't say I'm familiar with every book on this list -- but to judge by those I have read, you won't be disappointed.

What else is in SF news? After years of official denials of any Area 51 (do you remember the president's surprise in Independence Day?), the CIA has now admitted to Area 51's existence. While I could refer you to some matter-of-fact article about how Area 51 was a base for the U2 (the spy plane, not the Irish rock band), the Onion's coverage is more fun.

Genre books are among the most likely to sell in ebook format, and SF is high up among those genres (one part of my recent post Whither publishing?). That makes the latest twist in DoJ's war against Apple and publishers over ebook pricing -- also a part of the aforementioned post --  (sort of) genre news. From the Washington Post, see "Publishers object to US remedy in Apple price-fixing conspiracy case in NY over e-book prices." The gist:

Publishers who have settled an electronic book pricing dispute with the federal government objected Wednesday to penalties the government wants to impose on Apple Inc., saying it will hurt publishers rather than the personal electronics giant. ...
“Rather, under the guise of punishing Apple, they effectively punish the settling defendants by prohibiting agreements with Apple using an agency model,” lawyers for the publishers said.
And that's all the SF news that's fit to print (er, chisel in electrons) ...


Anonymous said...

At least keeping the old terms helps us to understand ... in a vague way ... what went on before. It can also miscommunicate. Your recent series in ANALOG stresses requiring a historian to translate long transit messages in InterstellarNet; terms in our own language have changed so much. One doesn't wish to be hoist on one's own petard.

Edward M. Lerner said...

Then I guess we likewise need to remember the far older meaning of "petard. ":-)