Babel-17 (1966) by Samuel R. Delany

Babel-17 1st“’All the misunderstandings that tie the world up and keep people apart were quivering before me at once, waiting for me to untangle them, explain them, and I couldn’t’” (ch. 2).

Talk about a novel that transcends that limited retro-future aesthetic, Babel-17 chugs way ahead of its respective decade as even authors today fumble to attain the ethers of a world like Samuel Delany has dreamed. Strange, beautiful, and futuristic, Babel’s lingering noir tone coalesces with a techno-background that brings to mind the cyberpunk of the 80’s and 90’s, without so much of a “jacking-in” or a singularity event. Laser lights and crystal interfaces streak the scenery while disembodied ghosts and surgically-accessorized lowlifes aid our unflappable heroine as she chases down a mysterious language, all while wearing copper lipstick. Continue reading

Big Sky fanzine, the Hugos, and other updates

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Want to increase your SF cred? You must check out Big Sky #3 & #4, the latest editions of the gorgeous book review fanzine, released this month for LonCon3. Issues #3 and #4 are dedicated to the Gollancz SF Masterworks list, in which SF fans share their thoughts about critically acclaimed works of the genre. Contributors include familiar names from the SF world, including some of my favorite writers, critics, and fellow blogger buddies from around the web. (Some of my reviews are in there, too.)

What else has happened lately? Continue reading

Carson of Venus (1938) by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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This barely happens.

Carson is an all-around swell guy. Muscular, with sharp reflexes, he can win any fight. With a good head on his shoulders, he can wheedle his way out of a trap with calm, cool logic. His affability charms even his enemies. His good heart and moral code guide him to make the right decisions. Upright, confident, and in control, Carson has no powers in the superhero sense, but his personal advantages bring him near the pinnacle of invincibility– and when those fail him, he taps his endless supply of cosmic luck. Continue reading

Let’s Go to the Hugos: 1994!

The 2014 Hugo Awards ceremony is today, August 17th at LonCon3! As we count down to the big moment, let’s review the best novel nominees from previous decades.

Next up: 20 years ago! (See my previous posts on 195419641974, 1984 & 2004.)

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1994 Winner

1994 was a good year. The U.S. enjoyed an economic boom, gas was 99 cents per gallon, and Kim Stanley Robinson won the Hugo Best Novel Award for Green Mars!

 

 

 

The other nominees weren’t bad, either: Continue reading

Let’s Go To the Hugos: 1984!

The 2014 Hugo Awards ceremony is this Sunday, August 17th at LonCon3. As we count down to the big day, let’s review the best novel nominees from previous decades.

Next up: 30 years ago! (See my previous posts on 195419641974, & 2004.)

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1984 Hugo Winner

1984 brought us crack-cocaine, minivans, and the discovery of the AIDS virus. Kathryn Sullivan became the first woman to walk in space, Apple’s Mac PC was released to the technomasses, while The Karate Kid, Sixteen Candles, The Terminator, Ghostbusters, The NeverEnding Story, and This is Spinal Tap! transformed 80’s pop culture.

And David Brin’s Startide Rising won the 1984 Hugo Award for Best Novel! Continue reading

1939 Retro Hugo Awards Announced!

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Today at LonCon3 the winners of the 1939 Retro Hugo Awards were announced. See the full list here. Mary Robinette Kowal (Shades of Milk and Honey, 2010) and Rob Shearman (Doctor Who) hosted the event, which looked dazzling on Ustream.tv, even though none of us viewers could really hear what was going on. I would normally comment on the clever things people said and did, but because I couldn’t hear anything, I’m going to take the vain route and say that Mary looked gorgeous and I want her dress.

The winners [my comments in green]: Continue reading

Let’s Go to the Hugos: 1954!

The 1939 Retro Hugo Awards ceremony is this Thursday, August 14th at LonCon3. As we count down to the big day, let’s review the last group of Retro Hugo Best Novel nominees.

Next up: 60 years ago! (See my previous posts on 19641974, and 2004.)

Fahrenheit_451_1st_ed_coverIn 2004, Hugo voters had an opportunity to vote for the Retro Hugos of 1954 because no best novel category was offered at the 1954 LonCon I Hugo Awards ceremony. (The 2014 WorldCon will host the 1939 Retro Hugos.)

In 1954, Vietnam heated up, McCarthyism peaked, and Brown v. the Board of Education abolished systematic segregation of U.S. schools. William Golding published Lord of the Flies, the first Godzilla film premiered in Japan, and Burger King opened its doors.

And Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 might have won the Hugo Award for Best Novel? Maybe? Continue reading