Welcome back to What’s Up in Sci-Fi #6. A sampling of science fiction news across the mediums. From movies, to books, to real life, and any bits in between that I can think to list. I have no doubt the format will change as I figure out what works and what doesn’t. This is by no means a comprehensive list of what’s happening, but it should whet your appetite!
Movie and TV News
I mentioned Arrival a while back during one of these. Its finally in theatres! Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, Arrival looks to be a fantastic film. A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications upon first contact. Oddly enough, I just finished reading a book that involved a linguist translating alien language in first contact. I liked the book, but I’m very interested to see how the movie handles this basic plot.
Dr. Strange is out and getting some mixed reviews, though overall reception seems to be positive. However, there’s the issue of whitewashing a key character (and making that character a female doesn’t help at all), as well as lack of a decent villain. Still, even with the issues being raised, people aren’t complaining too hard. I’m guess because of Cumberbatch.
National Geographic is launching a mini-series called Mars. Only 6 episodes about how the” first manned voyage from Earth to Mars leads to a 2032 mission to colonize the red planet” .It looks very intriguing. And the best part is you don’t have to wait until November 14th to watch the premiere. You can actually stream it now from the National Geographic website. Cool, yeah?
Featured Vimeo Short
This is surprisingly well-shot and rather interesting to watch. I wanted to see more!
Retro Robots by Hofarts on DeviantArt
Interesting Looking New Releases
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter: Nominated for the Phillip K. Dick Award, a science fiction fairy tale set in a collapsing future America about a girl and the android she falls in love with.
When Cat Novak was a young girl, her father brought Finn, an experimental android, to their isolated home. A billion-dollar construct, Finn looks and acts human, but he has no desire to be one. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection.
His primary task now is to tutor Cat. Finn stays with her, becoming her constant companion and friend as she grows into adulthood. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, Finn struggles to find his place in the world. As their relationship goes further than anyone intended, they have to face the threat of being separated forever.
Bridging Infinity: The latest volume in the Hugo award-winning Infinity Project series, showcasing all-original hard science fiction stories from the leading voices in genre fiction.
Sense of wonder is the lifeblood of science fiction. When we encounter something on a truly staggering scale – metal spheres wrapped around stars, planets rebuilt and repurposed, landscapes transformed, starships bigger than worlds – we react viscerally. Fear, reverence, admiration – how else are we to react to something so grand?
Bridging Infinity puts humanity at the heart of these vast undertakings – as builder, as engineer, as adventurer – reimagining and rebuilding the world, the solar system, and even the entire universe.
This continuation of the award-winning Infinity Project anothology series features bold new stories from Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Gregory Benford, Zachary Brown, Pat Cadigan, Kameron Hurley, Scott Lynch, Vonda N. McIntyre, Hannu Rajaniemi, Allan Steele, and many more.
Invisible Planets: Award-winning translator and author Ken Liu presents a collection of short speculative fiction from China. Some stories have won awards; some have been included in various ‘Year’s Best’ anthologies; some have been well reviewed by critics and readers; and some are simply Ken’s personal favorites. Many of the authors collected here (with the obvious exception of Liu Cixin) belong to the younger generation of ‘rising stars’.
In addition, three essays at the end of the book explore Chinese science fiction. Liu Cixin’s essay, The Worst of All Possible Universes and The Best of All Possible Earths, gives a historical overview of SF in China and situates his own rise to prominence as the premier Chinese author within that context. Chen Qiufan’s The Torn Generation gives the view of a younger generation of authors trying to come to terms with the tumultuous transformations around them. Finally, Xia Jia, who holds the first Ph.D. issued for the study of Chinese SF, asks What Makes Chinese Science Fiction Chinese
For more new releases for the month of November, check out:
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy books of November 2016 from Barnes and Noble.
Goodreads’ Science Fiction New Releases.
Read This – A Classic Sci-Fi Suggestion
Look, new sci-fi is all well and good. There’s been some awesome stuff published recently. But the classic science fiction, the ground-breaking stuff? It’s still as good today as it was decades+ years ago when it was published. So, here’s a sci-fi book suggestion for you.
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. I’m sure you’re familiar with the name, and you’ve probably seen one of the movies, but have you read the book? If not, you’re missing out!
They came from outer space — Mars, to be exact.
With deadly heat-rays and giant fighting machine they want to conquer Earth and keep humans as their slaves.
Nothing seems to stop them as they spread terror and death across the planet. It is the start of the most important war in Earth’s history.
And Earth will never be the same.
- CRISPR Gene Editing has found a way to fix Sickle Cell.
- The Mary Sue has an interesting article / rant on Women in Military Science Fiction.
- Unbound Worlds had a ‘fun’ list called 5 Threats to Civilization We’re Just Not Thinking About. Definitely some books on there to make you think, though the only one I’ve actually read (The Hot Zone) was a DNF for me.
- Anthony Carter, writing for The Good Men Project, talks about Why Black People Need Science Fiction .
- Sara Gailey, writing for Tor, has an excellent article up called Mentally Ill Women Belong in Your Stories, Too. Well written and thought provoking.
- Futurism reports that Microsoft’s Speech Recognition Tech has reached human parity.
- Maybe the first science fiction novel wasn’t the ones we typically think of? Maybe it’s a 400 year old book called The Chemical Wedding.