Friday, August 26, 2011


It's been a while since I posted here, and I regret that.  I've been swamped with classes starting this week.  My job duties have changed with the new semester, so I've got a whole new set of plates to juggle.  Also, I have an out of town job interview on Monday that I've been trying to find time to prepare for.  After I get back, I should start posting again.  My goal when I set this blog up was to try to post at least once a week.  When things settle down, I should be able to meet that deadline at least part of the time.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Congratulations to the Hugo Award Winners

The Hugos were given out last night at Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention, in Reno, Nevada.

The winners are:

Best Novel:                      Blackout/All Clear                             Connie Willis

Best Novella:                   The Lifecycle of Software Objects      Ted Chiang

Best Novellette:                "The Emperor of Mars"                        Allen M. Steele

Best Short Story:              "For Want of a Nail"                            Mary Robinette Kowal

Best Related Work            Chicks Dig Time Lords                      Lynne M. Thomas
                                                                                           and Tara O'Shea, eds.

Best Graphic Story           Girl Genius Volume 10:                        Phil and Kaja
                                                                                            Folio, art by Phil Folio

Best Dramatic Presentation , Long Form:                Inception

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form:                Doctor Who:  "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang"

Best Professional Editor, Long Form:                      Lou Anders

Best Professional Editor, Short Form:                     Sheila Williams

Best Professional Artist:                                         Shaun Tan

Best Semiprozine:                                                  Clarkesworld

Best Fanzine:                                                         The Drink Tank

Best Fan Artist:                                                      Brad W. Foster

Also, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which is not a Hugo, went to Lev Grossman

Futures Past and Present/Adventures Fantastic would like to congratulate all the nominees and especially the winners.  A list of winners and all nominees can be found here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

RIP, Colin Harvey

It is with great sadness that Futures Past and Present/Adventures Fantastic learned today of the death of Colin Harvey.  He passed away of a stroke at the age of 50.  He was far too young.  Angry Robot Books has posted this remembrance.  I've only read one of his novels, Winter Song.  It was one of the first books I reviewed.  I loved it and was hoping he would return to that universe.

He will be missed.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Kate.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Further Adventures on the Planet of Adventure: Jack Vance's Servants of the Wankh

Servants of the Wankh
Tschai:  Planet of Adventure 2
Jack Vance

In the second installment of the Planet of Adventure series, Adam Reith and his companions Traz Onmale and the Dirdirman Anacho set out to return the Flower of Cath to her homeland and while there receive help in building a spaceship to return home.  Due to a convoluted standard of shame that I'm not sure I ever completely understood, she ends up jumping overboard during the voyage.

Much of the first book was a sword and planet adventure.  It may have been because I was constantly being interrupted while reading Servants over a period of days, rather than finishing it in a single day, but it seemed to me that this was more an adventure of wit and manners.

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of adventure.  Our hero is stranded on the Planet of Adventure, after all.  Much of the conflict was cultural rather than physical, with wit and cunning being two of the weapons employed.  That's especially true after they reach Cath. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Finally, A Voice of Reason

Lee Martindale has weighed in on the ratio of male/female writers in Year's Best lists and anthologies.  I tried to post a reply, but wasn't able to.  I don't have a Livejournal account, and I couldn't figure out how to log in from Google, so I'm replying here.  Finally, someone with credentials who speaks with a voice of reason.  If you read my interview with Lee, this shouldn't surprise you.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Jetsons and Modern Technology

I'm trying to finish a book to discuss here, but in the meantime here's an interesting comparison to the Jetsons and modern technology.

Monday, August 1, 2011

They Don't Write 'em Like That Anymore: Jack Vance's City of the Chasch

City of the Chasch
Tschai, Planet of Adventure:  1
Jack Vance

This is the first book in a tetralogy.  I picked it up along with books 3 and 4 when I was in high school, but couldn't find the second volume.  This was in the pre-intenet days.  I eventually did come across it, but never got around to reading it at the time.

I'm at a conference this week, and needed something to read on the plane when I had to keep the Nook turned off.  (Preparing for the conference is why I haven't posted anything here lately.)  I had only read this book in the series, and that was...a long time ago.  I couldn't remember a thing about it and decided to give it another try.

I loved it!  This is an old fashioned planet story, about an Earthman on a lost world trying to make his way home through all sorts of exotic alien races.  It's the sort of stuff that's in far too short supply these days.