eldritchhobbit: (MST3K/Plot device)
I've been thrilled at the response my last "History of the Genre" segment on StarShipSofa has received. (It was a survey of some of the authors of Native American descent who have contributed to the genre of speculative fiction, including Vine Deloria, Jr., Sherman Alexie, Gerald Vizenor, Drew Hayden Taylor, Daniel Heath Justice, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and William Sanders.) Thanks so much to all of you who've been listening!

My newest segment, which discusses the classic Winston Science Fiction series for juveniles, is now available in the latest episode of the podcast. You can download it or listen to it here. If you check it out, I hope you enjoy. (A full list of my past podcast segments, with links, is available here.)

And now, a smile for your day (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] agentxpndble):

In other news...
  • Happy early birthday wishes to [livejournal.com profile] akaihyo, [livejournal.com profile] vonjunzt, and [livejournal.com profile] wiredwizard. May all three of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!

  • The latest issue of Innsmouth Free Press is out, and February is the fundraiser month for this eldritch publication. Read about the I Heart Innsmouth campaign here.

  • It's official: I'll be an author guest this spring at both StellarCon 35 and ConCarolinas 2011.

  • From Financial Times, a discussion with playwright Nick Dear on his new stage adaptation of Frankenstein (for more on this, see here and here).

  • Based on recent viewing, I have three quick film recommendations to share:

    -- Population 436 (2006) is a clever indie work of SF/horror that owes a debt both to Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. It views like a mix between an episode of The X-Files and The Twilight Zone, and I mean that as a compliment. It's definitely worth watching, especially if you like your horror to be gothic, psychological, paranoid, and light on gore. Fred Durst actually does quite a nice job with his supporting but key role, as well.

    -- The Last Enemy (2008) is a BBC miniseries depicting a new-future dystopian UK. It gets off to a slow start but soon becomes utterly captivating with its chilling depiction of the surveillance state and its abuses. (We'll be discussion sections of this miniseries in my graduate university course on the dystopian tradition.) Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Carlyle, unsurprisingly, give understated but quite powerful performances. I highly recommend this thought-provoking work.

    -- Monsters (2010) is a refreshing work of SF/horror set six years after an alien invasion. It follows the trek of a reporter and a tourist as they pass through an "infected zone" in Mexico to try to reach the United States. I'm not sure what I expected, but I was surprised and impressed by the fact this film focused on the characters' journey through the post-apocalyptic landscape, relying on good writing, big ideas, and solid cinematography rather than special effects or stunts. We need more genre movies like this.

Holmes: "I followed you."
Sterndale: "I saw no one."
Holmes: "That is what you may expect to see when I follow you."
- Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot"
eldritchhobbit: (Halloween)

Here are some links for your Thursday:
* From Boston.com: "The Top 20 Zombie Movies of All Time."
* From Oxford American: "Ten Great Novels of the Apocalypse."
* From io9: "When Americans Remake Foreign Horror Films: The Report Card."
* Frankensteinia has a great list of collections featuring stories related to or inspired by Frankenstein here.
* I am very excited about the new collection Jason Sizemore has edited: check out the Table of Contents for Dark Futures: Tales of SF Dystopia.

What can I say? This certainly seems bizarre, eerie, and speculative enough to fit perfectly in a Halloween-themed countdown. Did Charlie Chaplin catch a time traveler on film? (Tip: The Chaplin footage begins at about 2:37 in the video.)

What do you think?

Text of the Day: Today we have, for your chills and thrills, the short story "Spawn of the Stars" by Charles Willard Diffin (1884-1966).

Teaser: "The Earth lay powerless beneath those loathsome, yellowish monsters that, sheathed in cometlike globes, sprang from the skies to annihilate man and reduce his cities to ashes."

Read the complete story here.
eldritchhobbit: (Halloween)

There's a book coming out in a few days that I think will make excellent Halloween reading: The Last Man Anthology from Sword & Saga Press. The Last Man Anthology takes inspiration from one of my very favorite novels, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s The Last Man, and showcases short stories and poems that build on the theme of finality.

Here's the official description: "From experiencing the last snowmelt to taking part of the last day on Earth, The Last Man Anthology propels catastrophic literature into the twenty-first century while staying true to Shelley’s timeless themes of chaos and isolation. How would it feel to know you were experiencing your last day on Earth? What would the end of the world look like to the Greek gods, the last bookstore owner, or the last philosopher? Contributors include veteran writers Ray Bradbury, C.J. Cherryh, and Barry N. Malzberg, along with such classic sci-fi authors as H.G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jack London, and an assortment of contemporary writers from four continents."


Mary Shelley's novel The Last Man is available as follows:

In addition, I recommend three films for the Halloween season that depict Mary Shelley's historic visit with Lord Byron in Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva, the visit that spawned Frankenstein (and, for that matter, Dr. John Polidori's The Vampyre):

Text of the Day: Today's text is the short story "The Corpse on the Grating" by Hugh B. Cave (1910-2004). Enjoy!

In the gloomy depths of the old warehouse Dale saw a thing that drew a scream of horror to his dry lips. It was a corpse—the mold of decay on its long-dead features—and yet it was alive!

Read the complete story here.
eldritchhobbit: (MST3K/Plot device)
Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] cherylmmorgan, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] muuranker. May you both enjoy many happy returns of the day!

* My most recent StarShipSofa "History of the Genre" segment, which this month is about the young adult science fiction author David Severn, a.k.a. David Storr Unwin (1918-2010), is now available in the latest episode of the podcast. You can download it or listen to it here. If you listen, I hope you enjoy. (A full list of my past podcast segments, with links, is available here.)

* Here's an important article from Cory Doctorow in The Guardian. To quote Doctorow, "Baking surveillance, control and censorship into the very fabric of our networks, devices and laws is the absolute road to dictatorial hell."

* You may recall that I previously posted about Sherry Kelly's fascinating biography of Michael Dunn (the Academy Award-nominated actor of lasting Wild Wild West, Star Trek, and Get Smart fame). My friend Tim O'Shea of Talking with Tim has just posted a new interview with Kelly about her book.

* From Genevieve Valentine at Fantasy Magazine: "What YA Fantasy Means for Movies."

* From Brainz: "The 10 Greatest Apocalyptic Novels Of All Time." While there are some great novels on the list, other key titles are missing, perhaps most notably the haunting Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald.

* Speaking of post-apocalyptic fiction, I just finished This World That We Live In, the third book in Susan Beth Pfeffer's "Last Survivors" trilogy. If you liked Life As We Knew It and The Dead and The Gone, you'll want to read this, as it brings together the characters from the other two books. This latest installment seems to have missed some important opportunities, but it's still very compelling reading. Kudos to Pfeffer for refusing to take the easy way out with her ending (which I won't spoil for you here).

I'll leave you with Neil Gaiman reading from his children's book Instructions over images of Charles Vess's wonderful art.

After a while you get used to being cold, and hungry, and living in the dark.

But you can’t get used to losing people. Or if you can, I don’t want to. So many people in the past year, people I’ve loved, have vanished from my life. Some have died; others have moved on. It almost doesn’t matter. Gone is gone.

- Susan Beth Pfeffer, This World We Live In
eldritchhobbit: (illuminated manuscript)
Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] time_shark, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] alitalf. May you both have terrific days and wonderful years to come!

I'm a bit behind in my correspondence - we're sitting under about 9" of snow here, and my DSL's been down for the last two days (thanks to an unfortunate encounter between our phone line and a monster snow plow) - but I wanted to be certain to post with a few links.

First and foremost, I am very deeply saddened to mark the passing of one of my favorite contemporary authors. Rest in peace, Kage Baker. I first discovered her through her wonderful Company series, and I have read, loved, and taught her work for many years now. I know I am not alone in being grieved by her loss.

I also have a few other links to share:

* From io9: "Welcome to the Soft Apocalypse."

* Also from io9: "Is the Golden Age of Young Adult Science Fiction Already Over?"

* From The Spectacle, a discussion inspired in part by the above article and in part by my list of young adult dystopian fiction: "Pinning Down Dystopias."

* And here's a reading challenge from ParaJunkee's View: "The Dystopian Reading Challenge."

"Funny thing about those Middle Ages," said Joseph. "They just keep coming back. Mortals keep thinking they're in Modern Times, you know, they get all this neat technology and pass all these humanitarian laws, and then something happens: there's an economic crisis, or science makes some discovery people can't deal with. And boom, people go right back to burning Jews and selling pieces of the true Cross. Don't you ever make the mistake of thinking that mortals want to live in a golden age. They hate thinking."
— Kage Baker, In the Garden of Iden
eldritchhobbit: (Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan/Choose)
Thank you to everyone who has sent kind birthday wishes, virtual gifts, and goodies my way today. :) I am so grateful for you, my friends!

And, speaking of birthdays, happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] savageseraph and [livejournal.com profile] doctorwho42! May you both have wonderful days and fantastic years to come.

I have a few links to share:

* From [livejournal.com profile] lindajsingleton: "Are Aliens the Next Hot Book Trend?"

* From ActuSF: a new interview with Lois McMaster Bujold.

* From Sci Fi Wire: "18 Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Survivors Ranked From Best To Worst."

* From Spill: "10 Deadly Movie Epidemics."

* Happy first birthday, also, to Aural Delights, the little sibling of the audio science fiction magazine StarShipSofa! Speaking of which, nominations for the annual Sofanaut Awards are currently underway, and there are a number of great contributors, stories, and illustrations eligible for your votes. I am on the ballot in two categories in this nomination round, "Best Narrator" and "Best Fact Article Contributor." The polls are open! If you'd like to take part, you can vote here!

A few moments of silence ensued; then the captain demanded,--

"What think you of my life, gentlemen?"

Cyrus Harding extended his hand to the ci-devant prince and replied gravely, "Sir, your error was in supposing that the past can be resuscitated, and in contending against inevitable progress. It is one of those errors which some admire, others blame; which God alone can judge. He who is mistaken in an action which he sincerely believes to be right may be an enemy, but retains our esteem. Your error is one that we may admire, and your name has nothing to fear from the judgment of history, which does not condemn heroic folly, but its results."

The old man's breast swelled with emotion, and raising his hand to heaven,--

"Was I wrong, or in the right?" he murmured.

- from The Mysterious Island, Jules Verne
eldritchhobbit: (V for Vendetta)
Happy Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night. Today's a great day for reading a good book or watching a good film. :)

Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] madkestrel. May your day be fantastic and your next year the very best yet!

* On the latest PotterCast, the official podcast of the Leaky Cauldron, I once again join the wonderful Potter Pundits as a special guest to discuss the relationship of Gothic literature to the Harry Potter universe. Our spooky segment begins 32 minutes into the show, and you can listen to/download the podcast here. This is the second half of a two-part series; the first half of our conversation is available here.

* There have been several links recently related to dystopian/apocalyptic and/or young adult literature that I thought might be of interest:
-- "Teen Books Lure Grown-Up Eyes" (re: cross-reading)
-- "It's The End of the World As We Know It" (re: post-apocalyptic fiction)
-- "Why I Like to Write About the Apocalypse" (re: apocalyptic fiction)
-- "Research Reveals That Apocalyptic Stories Changed Dramatically 20 Years Ago" (re: apocalyptic fiction)

Have a great day, my friends!

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder, treason and plot,
I see of no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
eldritchhobbit: (Dr. Horrible/Coming Along)
Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] gondoriangirl, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] vivien529. May you both enjoy many happy returns of the day!

I have a few links to share...

* From io9, an excellent list in the ongoing "pre-Golden Age" series: "10 Scariest Eco-Catastrophes from Early Science Fiction."

* Sajbrfem (of Fifty Two Acts fame) is starting a "Women in Science Fiction" reading club. First book: The Female Man by Joanna Russ.

* This is the last week of the Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research. There are items for readers, for writers (including agent and editor evaluations and author critiques), and people who like to buy stuff. The SF/Fantasy section is here. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] marthawells, who has three of her autographed hardcover books in the auction!)

* On the latest episode of The Sofanauts podcast, I am part of a roundtable discussion on "the week in science fiction news" along with Jeremy Tolbert (of Escape Pod) and Paul Raven Graham (of Futurismic). You can stream or download this episode here.

* I am soon off to participate in ConCarolinas, where I look forward to seeing [livejournal.com profile] estellye, [livejournal.com profile] hinluin, [livejournal.com profile] witchcat07, [livejournal.com profile] arymetore, and [livejournal.com profile] sittingduck1313 -- and, I hope, [livejournal.com profile] sailingwest as well. Is anyone else attending? I will be online to a limited degree while I'm gone, and I'll be back on Sunday.

I'll leave you with this blast from the past. Until I saw this (and realized I could sing every word of the theme song), I'd forgotten I watched this as a child. Does this mean I was anime before anime was cool? (Oh wait - anime's always been cool. My bad.)

We must be strong and brave.
Our home we've got to save.
If we don't in just one year,
Mother Earth will disappear!
- "Star Blazers Theme," English version
eldritchhobbit: (Elsewhere)
Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] jalara! May your next year be the best yet!

I have some links to share...

* My review of Faith and Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon by K. Dale Koontz is now available in the hard-copy scholarly journal Mythlore and online at the Mythlore website.

* How can anyone resist a "Truffle Over Innsmouth"? Check out these chocolates inspired by H.P. Lovecraft ("Choconomicon") and Lord Byron, Dr. John Polidori, and Mary and Percy Shelley ("Gothic Weekend") at Polidori Chocolates. We wants them, Precioussss, yes we do.

* From Listverse: "15 Influential Early Works of Apocalyptic Fiction." I might add "The Comet" by W.E.B. Du Bois (1920), but on the whole, this list hits the high points of the pre-1940 literature, to my mind. (Thanks to Fredosphere!)

* Also from Listverse: "Top 12 Dystopian Novels."

* And from A Distant Soil, a thought-provoking guest post by [livejournal.com profile] scribblerworks: "Why Kirk is Mythic and Picard is Not."

"Grendel couldn't pay wergild. My theory? No pockets."
- from "Things Professor Drout Said: Spring 2009 Edition"
eldritchhobbit: (TOS/space hobbit)
Happy Mother's Day to everyone who is a mother (biological, step, or otherwise, to two-footed or four-footed children)! Also, happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] hisluvpet, with best wishes for many happy returns of the day!

I have a few links to share...

* A couple of people have asked me about my work on Star Trek and Arthuriana, which I referenced in my last post. My article ("The Sword in the StarShip: Arthuriana in the Four Incarnations of Star Trek") was published originally in 2000 in the now-extinct Winedark Sea; it's available online here as a PDF file. (Edit: For those of you whose browsers don't like this, you can also download the PDF file here. Please let me know if it needs to be uploaded again. Thanks!)

My book chapter ("Beam Me Up, King Arthur? Star Trek and the Arthurian Tradition") is due for 2010 publication in a collection edited by Michael A. Torregrossa and entitled The Reel Matter of Britain: Transformations of the Arthurian Legends on Film and Television. Thanks for your interest!

* The University of Nebraska Press is having a spring sale including 75% off of some of its science fiction publications from the Bison Frontiers of the Imagination imprint. See more here.

* From the Apex Book Company blog: Jacob Kier on "Why We Love the Apocalypse."

Because I feel that in the heavens above
The angels, whispering one to another,
Can find among their burning tears of love,
None so devotional as that of "Mother,"
Therefore, by that dear name I have long called you,
You who are more than mother unto me.
~Edgar Allan Poe
eldritchhobbit: (Read more science fiction)
Happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] silveraspen, and best wishes for many more to come!

I have a few links to share:

* My most recent "History of the Genre" segment (this one is about a pathbreaking dystopian short story, E.M. Forster's "The Machine Stops," which turns 100 years old this year) is available in the latest episode of StarShipSofa: The Science Fiction Audio Magazine, "Aural Delights No. 79." You can download it here, listen to it streaming here, or get it via iTunes under "StarShipSofa." A list of my other podcast commentaries, interviews, and unabridged dramatic readings is available here with links. To those of you listening, many thanks indeed! I hope you enjoy it.

* SFSignal has a terrific "Mind Meld" feature answering this question: "What are the "Forgotten Books" of science fiction/fantasy/horror?" Some outstanding titles are named, and I particularly like James Bloomer's list of apocalyptic fiction.

* io9 has a review of the 2008 anthology The Black Mirror & Other Stories: An Anthology of Science Fiction From Germany & Austria here: "German SF Through Two World Wars And The Berlin Wall."

Last but not least: once again, I have updated my working list of dystopian fiction written specifically for a young adult audience. I'm particularly interested in Earth-bound stories - and yes, I'm defining "dystopian" rather broadly in this case to include relevant post-apocalyptic works, as well. Suggestions are greatly appreciated!

--My Working List of Young Adult Dystopian Fiction, With Links )

"We are our own memory-keepers and we have failed ourselves. It is like the game we played in school as children. Sitting in a circle, one student whispers a phrase into another student's ear and the phrase is passed around until the last student in the circle repeats what she hears, only to find out it is nothing like what it is supposed to be.

"That is our life now."

- from The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
eldritchhobbit: (Firefly/River/Morbid&Creepifying)
I'm sorry for being so quiet of late. I've been dealing with some health issues that affect my vision, doing the whole hospital test thing, and that's slowed me down considerably. I'll do my best not to be absent long, but I'm not yet on the mend, so I apologize in advance if I'm slow at catching up with everyone.

That said, I had a wonderful time giving my keynote address ("Pushing the Boundaries of English Studies: From Middle-earth to Hogwarts") at the English Studies Symposium this past Saturday, and I'd like to thank everyone at Tennessee Tech University for their terrific hospitality!

In addition, I'd like to wish a happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] bellatook and [livejournal.com profile] thepirateship. I hope you both have fantastic days and fabulous years to come!

I also have some links to share:

Re: Audio

* Librivox.org has added a new unabridged reading of the remarkable The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson, a classic work of weird fiction and a significant influence on H.P. Lovecraft.

* I am a great fan of the music put out by the Prikosnovenie label. Now Prikosnovenie has a sampler called "The Four Winds of Prikosnovenie" for free download here featuring artists such as Artesia and Aythis, among others. Give it a listen!

Re: Reading

* The list of finalists for this year's Hugo Awards includes links to many of the works available online.

* Among the finalists for this year's Bram Stoker Awards is the short story "Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment" by M. Rickert, which I narrated for StarShipSofa here.

* The finalists for this year's Prometheus Awards from the Libertarian Futurist Society have been announced.

* And, in non-awards news, Abebooks has a nifty list of post-apocalyptic fiction here.

"You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.
As the peach-blossom flows down stream and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world apart that is not among men."
- Li Bai
eldritchhobbit: (Skeleton)

Originally uploaded by popartdks
LINKS OF THE DAY: At last! At last! As of yesterday, the (to my knowledge) very first unabridged audiobook recording of one of my all-time favorite novels is available for free download. Thanks to the wonderful volunteers at LibriVox, Mary Shelley's post-apocalyptic masterpiece The Last Man is now available for your listening enjoyment.

Here are a few other links related to Mary Shelley (1797-1851):

* The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: A Hypertext Edition is an excellent online edition of Mary Shelley's fantastic novel.

* My Hideous Progeny: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein explores Mary Shelley, her works, and her world.

* Don't miss this wonderful site!

LITERATURE OF THE DAY: On a note related to Mary Shelley, today's text is an excerpt from "The Giaour" by her friend, Lord Byron (1788-1824), a poem notable for including the first mention of vampires in English literature. This passage, which includes the reference to vampirism, conveys a terrible curse:

But thou, false Infidel! shall writhe
Beneath avenging Monkir's scythe;
And from its torments 'scape alone
To wander round lost Eblis' throne;
And fire unquench'd, unquenchable,
Around, within, thy heart shall dwell;
Nor ear can hear nor tongue can tell
The tortures of that inward hell!
But first, on earth as Vampire sent,
Thy corse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corse:
Thy victims ere they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are withered on the stem.
But one that for thy crime must fall, )

Read the entire poem.
eldritchhobbit: (Jeremiah/Smith/Wandering)
* Jeremiah, an excellent post-apocalyptic science fiction series by J. Michael Straczynski (creator of Babylon 5), will begin airing in syndication on the SciFi Channel tonight, July 10. In my opinion, the first season is very good, but the second season is simply fantastic. I hope this worthy series gains many new viewers! I highly recommend it.
eldritchhobbit: (Phantom/Old School)
Links of the Day: All three links are related to the literature of the day.

1. My Hideous Progeny: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (This site explores Mary Shelley, her works, and her world.)

2. The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: A Hypertext Edition (This is an excellent online edition of Mary Shelley's post-apocalyptic masterpiece — and one of my very favorite books.)

3. Don't miss this wonderful site!

Literature of the Day: This is a haunting little short story that's very much worth reading, especially near Halloween!

"Transformation" (1831)
By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

I have heard it said, that, when any strange, supernatural, and necromantic adventure has occurred to a human being, that being, however desirous he may be to conceal the same, feels at certain periods torn up as it were by an intellectual earthquake, and is forced to bare the inner depths of his spirit to another. I am a witness of the truth of this. I have dearly sworn to myself never to reveal to human ears the horrors to which I once, in excess of fiendly pride, delivered myself over. The holy man who heard my confession, and reconciled me to the church, is dead. None knows that once —

Why should it not be thus? Why tell a tale of impious tempting of Providence, and soul-subduing humiliation? Why? answer me, ye who are wise in the secrets of human nature! I only know that so it is; and in spite of strong resolve — of a pride that too much masters me—of shame, and even of fear, so to render myself odious to my species — I must speak.

Read the complete story here.
eldritchhobbit: (Byers/Lose It)
I am in the process of compiling a list of post-colonization/post-apocalyptic X-Files and Lone Gunmen fan fiction stories that feature all or at least one of the Lone Gunmen characters (Melvin Frohike, John F. Byers, Richard "Ringo" Langly). My current list is quite incomplete, so any suggestions or recommendations would be welcome. Many thanks!

My list thus far, in alphabetical order )

And just because:

"Watching X-Files with no lights on,
We're dans la maison,
I hope the smoking man's in this one."

from "One Week," Barenaked Ladies


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