Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Gardner Dozois leaving Asimov's

I interrupt my absence to point out that editor Gardner Dozois is leaving Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. Dozois has been at the magazine for something like 20 years and has won 14 Best Editor Hugos. He also does the annual Year's Best Science Fiction books.
Dozois' editing has had a profound effect on me. Asimov's was the first science fiction magazine I ever subscribed to and Dozois' introduced me to a wide range of authors and writing. I remember falling in love with Lucius Shepard's writing because of stories like "R&R" that were printed in Asimov's.
Dozois and Ellen Datlow (editor of Omni then, editor of Sci-Fiction now) are the two editors who have had the most influence over my reading. So it's something of a sea change to see Dozois leaving the magazine he's run for all these years.
Dozois has his own statement up at the Asimov's discussion boards.
Dozois leaves to “pursue other projects, including his own writing.” I don't think I've ever read a Dozois story. Well, hopefully that will change now.
(And Matt Cheney at The Mumpsimus does a much better job than I at looking back at Dozois' work at Asimov's. He also says: "At the moment, I can't think of any great magazine editor who has maintained the energy and excitement of their best years." I would just answer that Datlow is doing work today at Sci-Fiction that is just as good as what she did with Omni, and that's saying something.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Excuses, excuses

If you haven't noticed, things are quiet around these parts. I'm a bit busy making changes and what not, so I'm not going to be posting much in the near future. In a week or so, I should be back on schedule and, I hope, doing things a little differently. We'll see. More later.
In the meantime, check out Professor Hex. He's quickly making me irrelevant.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Nebula Awards announced

Hey, Jeff Ford won a Nebula Award! He won the Best Novelette award for "The Empire of Ice Cream," which is a great story you can read for free online. What are you waiting for, click the link!
Also well worth reading, Karen Joy Fowler's "What I didn't see" which won for best short story. It's also up at Sci-Fiction.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Supernatural Fiction Database

Tartarus Press is creating an online Supernatural Fiction Database. This is exciting stuff. Not only is it a great resource, but it will help me find new authors I'd be interested in. The proprietors suggest their Arthur Machen entry best shows what they are trying to achieve.
(Link found at Gambols and Frolics.)

Jonathan Lethem's Marvel Years

Jonathan Lethem writes about growing up with Marvel comics and specifically his arguments for and against Jack Kirby with his boyhood friends. It's a great read.
Also online, Lethem's story "Super Goat Man", which deals with a failed superhero, among other things.

Yum, trilobite

Trilobites were apparently the snack food of dinosaurs.

Taking the wet out of water

Tyco Fire and Security has invented a new firefighting device, water that isn't wet.
As part of a demonstration, Pelton submerged several items into a tank of Sapphire that was on the Good Morning America set. Books did not get wet. Electronics were not be destroyed. Items that were submerged in the liquid were dried in a matter of seconds, and showed no ill effects according to Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer and other members of the Good Morning America staff who saw items plunged into it.
(Link found at Cylindrical Primate Storage Unit.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Giant squid fandom stretches across blogosphere

Brokentype writes about everybody's favorite Giant Squid in a nice long essay filled with lots of interesting links. Most of it I've linked to at one time or another, but it's a great essay.
Also, he points to this poster of a giant squid fighting a T-Rex. How cool is that?

New York is full of zombies

David Wellington is writing a novel, Monster Island, about New York taken over by zombies. He's serializing it chapter by chapter on the Web. The first chapter opens with a boat pulling into Manhattan, passing the Statue of Liberty:
I thought maybe, just maybe they were alright, maybe they’d run to Liberty Island for refuge and been safe there and were just waiting for us, waiting for rescue but then I smelled them and I knew. I knew they weren’t alright at all. Give me your tired, your poor, your wretched refuse, my brain repeated over and over, a mantra. I was butchering Emma Lazarus but I couldn’t stop, my brain wouldn’t stop. Give me your huddled masses. Huddled masses yearning to breathe. “Osman! Turn away!”
There are seven chapters up so far.

The ultimate news story

Man bites dog to death in China. Apparently, a drunk man was nipped by a dog. He didn't like it much.
The infuriated inebriate then pounced on the dog and bit it repeatedly until it died.

Deadly squid guts

Wow, squid are dangerous even after death.
Three of four crew members found dead Sunday aboard a South Korean vessel at a fishing port in Oda, Shimane Prefecture, may have died from lack of oxygen due to a gas caused after the guts of squid in the hold of the ship rotted, police and Japan Coast Guard officials said Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The skies are falling

Professor Hex posts on things falling from the sky, from frogs and fish to piranhas and ice bombs.

"Our utter insignificance"

I saw this meme at Return of the Reluctant and decided to participate:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

RESULTS: Algernon Blackwood, "Ancient Sorceries and other Weird Stories" from the story "The Willows":
"Indeed, so vague was the sense of distress I experienced, that it was impossible to trace it to its source and deal with it accordingly, though I was aware somehow that it had to do with my realisation of our utter insignificance before this unrestrained power of the elements about me."

A dark thought for the day.

Delivery from the past

Post Office delivers postcard, 82 years later.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Shroud of Turin news

Apparently, there is a face on the back side, too.
These days though, Jesus has found new places for his image, like lava lamps (with pic!).

Codex Seraphinianvs

Thanks to Gambols and Frolics, I've found out about the Codex Seraphinianvs. Some claim it's the weirdest book in the world. It's a tome drawn and "written" by Italian artist Luigi Serafini.
The Codex is a collection of original artwork by Italian artist Luigi Serafini, presented as a travalogue or scientific study of an alien world. Unlike such alien worlds as Darwin IV in Barlowe's Expedition, which one might find in a science fiction novel, the world in the Codex is obviously some kind of perverse reflection of our own. All of the Codex is presented entirely in an obscure alien writing. This writing, in combination with the bizarre pictures, is what finally puts the Codex in its own league for weirdness. For instance, on one page is a "Rosetta Stone" - only it just translates Codex script into another alien language.
The Web site above has images from the book and some links for more information. It seems to me to be an attempt to create a modern version of the Voynich Manuscript. You can find a few links about the Voynich Manuscript here (scroll down).

A journey under Malta

Professor Hex links to this article on the Hypogeum in Malta, a subterranean burial chamber so large that people got lost and never returned. One teacher and her class of 30 never returned. Well, that's what this article claims anyway. Here's a snippet of some of the far out claims:
She claims that out of this lower tunnel on the far side of the chasm emerged, in single file, several very large creatures of humanoid form but completely covered with hair from head to foot. Noticing her, they raised their arms in her direction, palms out, at which point a violent "wind" began to blow through the cavern, snuffing out her candle. Then, some “thing” wet and slippery (apparently a creature of a different sort) brushed past her.
It's fascinating stuff, whether true or not.
You can see pictures of parts of the Hypogeum here. Here's an article that treats it more soberly as a tourist attraction:
For about a 1,000-year span, the Hypogeum served as a necropolis, a city of the dead that eventually housed the remains of about 7,000 people. It was one of many megalithic structures strewn across Malta, built by a complex Neolithic culture that mysteriously disappeared around 2500 BC.
Even without slimy things and hairy humanoids, the Hypogeum is interesting as an underground Stonehenge and home of a death cult of some kind. Thanks Hex!

Friday, April 09, 2004

Japanese tattoos don't say what you think

The Chicago Tribune does a great little article on what kanji character tattoos really mean. (You may need registration for the article, Metafilter suggests using anonymous/anonymous for your user name/password.)
I had a friend who lived in Thailand. She talked about how people there wore remaindered T-shirts from English speaking countries that said horrible things. One T-shirt was supposed to say DNKY, instead it said DYNK. Another said "I fuck horses" or something similar. If you don't know the language, you must be careful with what you wear, or get imprinted on your skin.

Killer asteroids

Scientists are coming close to surveying all the asteroids that could destroy human civilization. Next they plan on finding the less important city destroyers.

Do birds have cults?

Sparrows try to commit mass suicide by drowning.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Eyeball jewelry

In the Netherlands, people are getting the latest fashion trend, jewelry in their eyeballs.
Dutch eye surgeons have implanted tiny pieces of jewelry called "JewelEye" in the mucous membrane of the eyes of six women and one man in cosmetic surgery pioneered by an ophthalmic surgery research and development institute in Rotterdam.
The procedure involves inserting a 3.5 mm (0.13 inch) wide 1 piece of specially developed jewelry -- the range includes a glittering half-moon or heart -- into the eye's mucous membrane under local anaesthetic at a cost of 500 to 1,000 euros ($1,232).

There's a picture at the link.

The Passion of the Easter Bunny

A Pennsylvania church tried to teach kids about the crucifixion of Jesus by having actors whip the Easter Bunny.
People who attended Saturday's performance at Glassport's memorial stadium quoted performers as saying, "There is no Easter bunny," and described the show as being a demonstration of how Jesus was crucified.
Melissa Salzmann, who brought her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program was inappropriate for young children. "He was crying and asking me why the bunny was being whipped," Salzmann said.

"Satanic" attack on school

A school dormitory in Malawi was attacked in the night by a bare breasted assailant who beat several girls severely.
When the unknown assailant entered the room he appeared to have knelt down and suddenly started beating and hacking the helpless girls with what appeared to be a pipe, leaving blood sputtered everywhere including the walls, according to the girls.
The girls said the assailant seemed to have briefly gone out but reappeared briefly, grinned widely at the girls and then disappeared.

Police took the girls to a safe place and the beaten ones are being treated. But the assailant found them the next night.
Boarding mistress Bridget Muhemed said the assailant’s identity has not been established.
“We are still baffled by the whole incident. It has never happened before. Many believe this is either witchcraft or something to do with satanism. And how did he or she track down the girls and even know we had taken them to police?” she said.
The incident comes at a time when stories of vampires, blood suckers and trafficking in body parts are yet to die down in Malawi.

George Romero movie

George Romero is making a movie about a living dead rock 'n' roll band. Called Diamond Dead, the movie will be produced by Ridley Scott and has music by Richard Hartley, who did some uncredited work on "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and was the composer for "Shock Treatement." The Web site for Diamond Dead has a Flash trailer, a jukebox with Hartley's songs, and actual portions of the script as it goes through rewrites.
I just watched the trailer. It's basically just a list of names and then the character sketches of the main characters while some of the music plays. In concept, it looks interesting, if they can pull it off.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The Manchurian Candidate remake

I'm so tired of movie remakes, especially when they start tackling classics. Admittedly, I enjoyed both the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead remakes, but I still don't think they're necessary. And now, they're remaking one of the greatest films ever made, The Manchurian Candidate. It has a good cast and Jonathan Demme is a fine director, it may even be a good film. It's still pointless.

Perplexing UFO mystery

In a survey, the Scottish town of Bonnybridge was named the UFO capital of the UK. The survey was sponsored by Grolsch beer. The real alien question here: Why is a beer company sponsoring a UFO survey?

Letting others do my blogging

I was going to mention Jeff Vandermeer's new Web sites and articles online, but Trent at s1ngularity::criticism put together a nice post of all the relevant links. If your interested about Vandermeer's work (and you really should be) start clicking.

Jonathan Carroll interview has published the first in series of interviews, this one with Jonathan Carroll:

JC: When you're working in the fantastic it's as if you're boxing with the gloves off. There are no rules so anything goes. You want God to appear eating an ice cream cone? Fine. You want a woman to give birth to Hitler#2? Fine. When there are no rules there is certainly more chaos and it can be a lot harder work for the reader, but there's also a lot more room to move and maneuver. You can talk about things on the page that you couldn't in more "stable" fiction" because of that anything-goes element. When you read ["Corrections" author Jonathan] Franzen, you're going to a Chinese restaurant. You get what you expect and the only surprise is if the food there, invariably Chinese cuisine, is wonderfully prepared. When you go to my restaurant you have no idea what the food is going to be or if it will be well prepared. There's an element of doubt that isn't in the Franzen restaurant, maybe even dismay, but there's potential for wonder and all out delight that cancels out the other negative stuff if you like this "anything goes" sort of place.

Russians to build UFOs for U.S.

U.S. Naval Air Systems Command has signed an agreement with Russia's EKIP Aviation to produce flying saucer shaped aircraft. The ships are good for putting out forest fires and monitoring oil pipelines, according to the story. There's a picture at the site too.

Do-it-yourself Caesarean

The 40-year-old pregnant woman lived in an area of Mexico without running water or electricity and eight hours from the nearest hospital. She had lost a baby previously due to labor complications. She wasn't having that this time.
Dr R Valle, of the Dr Manuel Velasco Suarez Hospital in San Pablo, Mexico, said: "She took three small glasses of hard liquor and, using a kitchen knife, sliced her abdomen in three attempts and delivered a male infant that breathed immediately and cried."
Before losing consciousness, the woman told one of her children to call a local nurse for help.

(Found at Cylindrical Primate Storage Unit.)

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Tarantino, Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino wants to take on 007 with a low budget adaptation of "Casino Royale," the first James Bond book by Ian Fleming. He wants to bring Pierce Brosnan back as bond. But according to Dark Horizons, Brosnan has no interest in doing anymore Bond movies and the studio doesn't want him anyway.

A woman and her octopus

Japanese sculpture depicting woman and octopus sex. Not safe for work? (Found at Cylindrical Primate Storage Unit.)


Haunted house resident sets up Web sites to bring together people with similar problems.
People want a safe place to come and talk about their experiences, where nobody laughs at you or calls you crazy," says Fritz.
And now the group is gearing up for its largest, and most comprehensive, event: a two-day Spring Paranormal Get Together April 24-25. In addition to lunch and dinner at two haunted restaurants, the gathering will include a seance, professional ghost tours of two haunted locations (including a cemetery) and the chance to sleep in a haunted bed and breakfast.

Why do people who have had paranormal experiences want to sleep in a haunted place?
Meanwhile, another group is planning the Southeastern Paranormal Studies Intercollegiate Conference this weekend.
Conventional scientific research and unconventional ideas will be fused in an attempt to explain the unexplained, said Nelson Abreu, president of the Science of Self Club, who is hosting the event.
“We feel that giving a stage for serious scientific research on nonconventional topics is essential because scientific journals are censoring this type of work,” he said.

Meanwhile a night janitor at a courthouse and a film crew are dealing with ghostly encounters.

Easter Island cures cancer

Medical researchers have found that drugs made from bacteria in Easter Island's soil helps deal with kidney cancer. No word on side effects having anything to do with the size of your head.

All the religion news that's fit to print

Here's your Jesus roundup:

A new survey says more people believe Jews responsible for Christ's death. The survey takes into account that Mel Gibson movie everyone's talking about:
Generally, there is a correlation between seeing the movie, and expressing an intention to see it, with holding the view that Jews were responsible for Christ's death. This is especially the case among younger people. Of those age 18-34 who have seen the movie, 42% believe Jews were responsible for Christ's death. Similarly, 36% of those age 35-59 who have seen "The Passion of the Christ" express that view. Still, majorities in both of these age groups ­ whether they have seen the movie or not ­ say they do not feel that Jews were responsible for Christ's death.

In Texas, man sees "The Passion" and confesses to murder that had been ruled a suicide.

The Revealer reviews the South Park episode about "The Passion of the Christ" (which was a hilarious episode, I must say.)

Swedish textiles expert says he can prove the Shroud of Turin is real.
Swedish textiles expert Dr Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, who discovered the seam at the back of the cloth during a restoration project, says: "There have been attempts to date the shroud from looking at the age of the material, but the style of sewing is the biggest clue.
"It belongs firmly to a style seen in the first century AD or before."

Woman says the image of Jesus has appeared in her fireplace. It's not the first supernatural occurrence at her house:
"On January 2, 1999 the first word appeared on the wall," said Rose-Mary. "It was the Welsh for 'peace be with you'. In that first month we had about 20 words come and go.
"Since then pictures, crosses and Welsh words have been appearing all the time on the wall and around the fireplace in a brownish stain.
"They come and go. The words always seem to have a virtuous or religious connotation.
"Watching the fireplace in our house is as entertaining as watching the television!"

And Cosmopolitan has added a column on spirituality.

In politics the Bush administration accuses Kerry of using scripture for political purposes.
''John Kerry's comment at New Northside Baptist Church was beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse, and a sad exploitation of Scripture for a political attack,'' said Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt.
Because, the Bush administration would never use God in politics. As far as I'm concerned, both sides should shut up about God and starting worrying about politics.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Farscape returns

Sci Fi Wire reports that SciFi channel is picking up a Farscape miniseries, "Peacekeeper Wars."

Lansdale interview

Good interview with Joe R. Lansdale from the Houston Chronicle. The article includes a lot of biographical detail about the author that I didn't know. (Link found at Beatrice.)

Movies for the sick bed

So I've been sick for the last five days and have not felt like coming anywhere near the computer. Sorry for the derth of posts lately.
When I'm sick I can't concentrate on books or deep thoughtful movies, so I ended up watching lots of monster movies and action films this weekend. It's like chicken soup to me. So here are my capsule reviews:
"Equilibrium": Cool action rip-off of Fahrenheit 451. Christian Bale's action scenes are truly impressive.
"Deep Rising": Total popcorn movie fun. A big squid, octopus monster hidden inside a giant ocean liner, killing people off one by one. Good fun. Not much more.
"Impostor": One long chase scene. It captures a few good science fiction ideas, but mostly it's just characters running around.
"Mystery "Men": Funnier in concept than execution. I'm surprised at how good a rating Rotten Tomatoes gave it.
"Cabin Fever": Fun horror movie. Lots of references to 70s and 80s horror movies. Lots of humor. A good time. Gory.
"Underworld": Action movie with vampires and werewolves. Takes itself very seriously. Didn't buy the love story. Eh.
"Dog Soldiers": Surprisingly good low budget soldiers vs. werewolves movie. Kind of a "night of the living wolf" movie.

I also managed to crawl out of my hole long enough to see "Hellboy". I thought it was great. But then, I'm a big fan of the comic book and it's very true to the comic. Still, I though it was an exciting, fun movie with good characters and awesome monsters.
Back to regular linkage tomorrow.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Del Toro At the Mountains of Madness

Thanks to an off-hand mention at Caitlin Kiernan's Low Red Moon journal, I found out that Guillermo Del Toro, director of Hellboy, Kronos, Mimic and The Devil's Backbone, is also attached to direct an adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness. This is great. I saw Hellboy the other day and was very, very pleased. And The Devil's Backbone was truly a great spooky movie. I think he could really do the H.P. Lovecraft story justice.