- Expanded Collated Contents of the Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, Links). This has been updated and is now almost completely complete (allowing for the possibility of additional stories acquiring links) with the addition of the last of the “Year’s Bests,” Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, Jemisin, ed.
- “Links” posts. Shortly after I posted last week’s, I edited it, moving the “Science Fiction” and “Science” sections to the top and putting the others with “Music” at the bottom under “Other.” This one also reflects that order (allowing for occasional “Site News” exceptions) and future ones presumably will also.
- Northwest Smith: Some of the sturdiest pillars of Golden Age science fiction. This article has strange notions of when the Golden Age was and what hard SF is but I’ll take any promotion of CLM & NWS.
- 100 Best Horror Novels And Stories : NPR. Not SF, of course, and some are not even fantastic but it still seems like an interesting list, especially for including short fiction. (Thanks to Tor.com for the link.)
- Introduction – Classics of Science Fiction. As foreshadowed in “Links (2018-08-08)” (Science Fiction #1), Piet Nel and James Wallace Harris present their “Classics of Science Fiction Short Stories.” As excellent as “Bloodchild” and other stories cited more often are, any list that has “Nightfall” tied for third place has something off about its citation list and I say this not as an Asimov fan but simply as a guy who has a zillion anthologies and a zillion copies of “Nightfall.” That said, I’d strongly recommend ten of the eleven stories in the top three ranks and don’t notice a significant deviation from that ratio until the stories with six or seven citations and there are still numerous superb stories all the way down. A great reading list and great service to the field.
- Interview: Ashley Blooms on “Hainted” : The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. The author of the best story in the latest issue of F&SF talks a little about it and its neglected background.
- 1920-08-22 Ray Bradbury
- 1915-08-24 James Tiptree, Jr.
- 1958-08-25 Tim Burton
- 1911-08-26 Otto Binder
- 1922-08-27 Frank Kelly Freas
- 1749-08-28 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- 1916-08-28 Jack Vance
- 1948-08-28 Vonda N. McIntyre
Linked names above go to bios. Linked names below go to free works online.
I’m not as big a fan of Bradbury as many, but I enjoyed Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and a few other stories. Tiptree (Alice Sheldon) is one of the greatest story writers of all time but her first novel, Up the Walls of the World, shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Otto Binder is one half (the greater half, so to speak) of one of my favorite pseudonyms, Eando Binder, (with his brother, Earl=E-and-O Binder) and who wrote some interesting things, including the Adam Link stories, the first of which gave its name to the much more famous I, Robot of Isaac Asimov. Vance wrote a million things, including The Languages of Pao, The Dying Earth, and numerous other stories such as those collected in The Best of Jack Vance. McIntyre is best known for various award-winning things like Dreamsnake (which I didn’t like) and Star Trek ties (which I haven’t read) but I note her for writing the extraordinary novella, “Aztecs,” which she expanded into Superluminal. While the story worked perfectly well as a story, I was curious enough to buy the book (though it’s suffered the fate of so many and has gone years without being read).
Goethe‘s a bit of an outlier but, hey, Faust! (Much like Dante’s masterpiece, few people (and publishers) seem to realize that this has more than one part). Freas had an incredibly long and prolific career and his work has already been featured on this blog in “Review: The Trouble with You Earth People by Katherine MacLean.” And Burton has been involved in an extraordinary number of movies I’ve enjoyed a great deal. The six films he wrote and/or directed from 1988’s Beetlejuice to 1994’s Ed Wood (including Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the ’89 and ’92 Batman movies) are all good and some later ones are, too.
- Sprawling galaxy cluster found hiding in plain sight: Bright light from black hole in a feeding frenzy had been obscuring surrounding galaxies — ScienceDaily. Interesting reflection on assumptions and with ramifications for universal matter and much more.
- Study confirms truth behind ‘Darwin’s moth’ — ScienceDaily. Because you can never test things too much or martial too much proof.
- NASA’s Opportunity Rover on Mars Still Silent 2 Months into Epic Dust Storm. Here’s the first of a couple of follow-ups on current missions. This isn’t yet tragic as the dust is still dissipating but the sooner we hear back, the happier I’ll be.
- NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Hits 1st Deep-Space Milestones On Its Way to the Sun. In much happier news: so far, so good.
- A timescale for the origin and evolution of all of life on Earth — ScienceDaily. Can genomic information fill in the sparse early fossil record?
- The Prevalence of ‘Water Worlds’. “Water, water, every where, nor any drop (for life) to drink.”
- Backreaction: Roger Penrose still looks for evidence of universal rebirth. As Niels Bohr may have said of another, “We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.” Fodder for SF writers and reminiscent of Nietzsche (though this would vary rather than strictly recur) and at least the original version of one of my favorite novels, Charles Sheffield’s Between the Strokes of Night.
- The History Blog » New findings confirm temple of Artemis site. If you’re interested in Greek temples (and, after all, who isn’t?) then you might enjoy this.
- The History Blog » Gold horse head shines on public display. “Quintilius Varus, give me back my horsey!”
- Concerns Grow About Space Force Diverting Funds from Other Military Priorities. Fitting in with the Psoviet desire to have us abuse, and become estranged from, our NATO allies, they’d also love to have us waste money and bureaucratic overhead on a “Space Force” which would not increase our capabilities in space and would degrade our capabilities on Earth. As big a fan of all things “space” as I am, this obviously has no benefits for America.
- Calvin and Hobbes: Bus Stop Musings – GoComics. Forgot to post this last week. GoComics has put together another batch of C&H (and only repeated a couple from the last).
- Warner Bros.’ Three Merrie and Looney Versions of “The Three Little Pigs” | Tor.com. This is a write-up on humor, rather than humor, itself, and it’s quite a stretch for Tor.com, but it’s a great article (except for eliding how the wolf ended up in Hell—a mishap while trying to take care of the brick house) and I’ll take any opportunity to share Looney Tunes. I guess it’s actually an opporlooneytunity.
- xkcd: Dark Matter Candidates. Paint! And a great janitorial tooltip.
This came out a few days ago…