A Long Spoon December 18, 2014 A Long Spoon Jonathan L. Howard A Johannes Cabal story. Burnt Sugar December 10, 2014 Burnt Sugar Lish McBride Everyone knows about gingerbread houses. Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North December 9, 2014 Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North Charles Vess Happy Holidays from Tor.com Skin in the Game December 3, 2014 Skin in the Game Sabrina Vourvoulias Some monsters learn how to pass.
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Showing posts by: David Moldawer click to see David Moldawer's profile
Mon
Aug 25 2008 2:57pm

Mur Lafferty’s Playing for Keeps is Available As a Free PDF

Today, my buddy Mur Lafferty (author and podcaster extraordinaire) releases her excellent novel Playing for Keeps in a dead-tree version (available at Amazon) and as a free PDF.

Playing for Keeps is set in Mur’s Third Wave universe, where the world’s “other” superheroes—who don’t have the first-pick superpowers like flight and invisibility—try to make their own contributions to society with more colorful, if less overtly useful, powers. Mur has made this universe a sandbox for other writers to play in with great results. It’s a riveting read, and well worth the purchase or the download.

Playing for Keeps is available as:

* a serialized podcast (RSS),
* a free e-book PDF, and
* an actual honest-to-goodness book! (Amazon) <—Go buy this one!

Sat
Aug 9 2008 1:27am

Howdy from the West Coast

star wars slots

This is me playing the Star Wars slots on a stopover in the Las Vegas airport, on my way to sunny California for a week of sun, fun, and the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference (come on by if you happen to be in the SF area).

The Force wasn't with me on this one, unfortunately. My five bucks were gone in the flash of a lightsaber.

I may be on vacation, but I still plan to post a few times over the next week, so if anyone has any California-centric SF-related stories they'd like me to cover, drop a comment below.

Fri
Aug 1 2008 7:22pm

The Montauk Monster--Just a Scout?

Cryptozoologists of the world, rejoice. If you haven't seen it already, the blogosphere and real-world-o-sphere alike are buzzing with excitement about an amazing find:

The Montauk Monster?

Seriously, what the hell is that thing?

I raise the issue here because I want your feedback. If this little guy is more than just an everyday cryptid, more than just a previously unknown species or some sort of freakishly mutated cat, if it's a scout—I've always believed that, should an alien invasion actually come to pass, SF fans are the ones to keep company with if you want to survive.

[More horror below the fold...]

Thu
Jul 31 2008 1:46am

SDCC: Fraggle Rock Season 4 on DVD

In 1983, Jim Henson created Fraggle Rock, a groundbreaking piece of children's television that still feels fresh and relevant 25 years later. To celebrate the release of season 4 on DVD, as well as a 20-DVD, extras-packed set of the entire show run (both coming in November), Red Fraggle was on hand (with her "friend," Karen Prell), for a sing-along with a packed audience:

Direct link to YouTube video.

The video quality stinks, but it was also the only public appearance of a Fraggle ever, so hopefully any fans out there will get a kick out of it.

Dave Goelz (voice of Boober Fraggle, among many other Fraggles and Muppets) was also on hand to talk about the amazing environment Jim Henson created on-set.

Explaining his idea for the show, Henson told Goelz, "I want to do a television show that could stop war." Henson wasn't naive, Goelz explained, but he was an incredibly optimistic person. Henson wanted Fraggle Rock to be an allegory for the real world, offering lessons to kids (and adults) about resolving conflicts between individuals, species, and the environment.

Members of the cast and crew who came into the project less than thrilled about "working on a puppet show" soon became convinced that they had the best jobs around thanks to Henson's passion and vision for the show, and footage of the last day of shooting (part of the DVD extras) made it clear that nobody wanted to leave Fraggle Rock behind, despite the punishing weekly shooting schedule and long nights (the DVDs are worth the purchase for extras like that alone). I remember the show fondly (and my wife's crazy about it) so season 4 will be going on my Netflix queue.

Special Bonus Photo:

Some guy in the audience had an awesome Kermit puppet:

kermit the frog at Comic-Con

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see if he could do the voice...

 

Tue
Jul 29 2008 2:54pm

An Interview with Sherrilyn Kenyon

The other day, I interviewed author Sherrilyn Kenyon about her many books, including the New York Times-bestselling Dark-Hunter series, her hobbies, which include sword-collecting, and her new book, Acheron, due out August 5th. Take a look at the video, below:

Direct YouTube link.

Visit Sherrilyn Kenyon's official site here for more about the author and her work.

Sun
Jul 27 2008 7:20pm

SDCC: SF authors panel

Looking at our World panel

SF authors are some of the most compelling thinkers around. Scientists might be closer to the cutting edge of human understanding, but SF authors often possess a combination of amateur knowledge, curiosity, open-mindedness, and sheer instinct for entertainment that makes for really insightful commentary and discussion.

Yesterday's panel, Looking at Our World: Eye on the Future, featured a rousing discussion of the future by some eminent author/futurists: Robert J. Sawyer, Ann Aguirre, Tobias S. Buckell, William C. Dietz, Alan Dean Foster, Charles Stross, and John Zakour. Here are some highlights:

The panelists were asked why they prefer to write science fiction over other genres. Sawyer replied, "The future is indeterminate. Writing SF is an opportunity for me to be a part of the dialogue that determines what it's going to be."

And when it comes to getting the predictions right or wrong, he added, "If I say something will happen 100 years in the future, you have to understand that I plan to be alive then, so if you disagree with me on something I've written, we can argue about it then. You can't complain until the imaginary date has passed."

(Read more below the fold.)

Sun
Jul 27 2008 3:58pm

Tor.com Flickr Group

Direct link to droid video at YouTube.

I just wanted to bring your attention to the official Flickr group for Tor.com, where we're going to share our best SF-related photos from here on in. To see a slideshow of all our Comic-Con snaps to date, click here.
Sat
Jul 26 2008 10:36pm

SDCC: Reinventing the Superhero

New Gods coverPut on your thinking caps, kids, because I'm about to get academic on your asses.

(Speaking of which, I would love to have an actual, honest-to-goodness thinking cap. Is that something you can buy on Etsy? What does one even look like?)

The vast majority of panels here at Comic Con seem to be glorified press junkets, content-lite presentations that culminate in "sneak peeks" of something you'll be able to watch on YouTube the next morning (a thrill you're expected to wait in line an hour or more for the privilege of enjoying). When I saw a panel on the schedule promising an in-depth discussion of comic books that wouldn't actually be promoting something, well, I was thrilled.

The tiny room was at best a quarter full, natch. (A sneak peek of the new season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was taking place at the same time.) But plenty of insightful things were said, and I can still put Terminator episodes on my Netflix queue when they become available, so it's a win-win.

Dana Anderson, of the Maine Maritime Academy, compared the X-Men to Romantic heroes in literature. According to Anderson, what distinguishes the protagonists in the works of Shelley (both), Byron, et al from their predecessors is the fact that "they are self-aware": They know they are unique.

On the one hand, they have special talents, genius and creative inspiration. On the other, they are scorned and feared by the Industrial masses. They endure a "deep aloneness." (In other words, they are proto-geeks.)

(Read more below the fold.)

Sat
Jul 26 2008 12:27am

SDCC: Marvel

joe quesada

Con fatigue. It's inevitable. My fellow Tor.com bloggers are seasoned SF conners, able to trudge through miles of booths and shoulder aside hordes of sweaty fans while subsisting on nothing more than lukewarm con pretzels. But the sensory overload gets to me after only a day or so, and at this point I'm ready for a weekend of detox at Kripalu. Can anyone spare an ear candle?

To make things worse, despite the fact that it's a lovely city, San Diego pales in comparison to New York on two very important metrics: tap water and pizza. The water tastes like it was strained through a beet, and the pizza is more of a floppy cheese-flavored fruit roll-up than a proper pie. What's worse, my childhood heroes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were standing outside the pizza joint loudly trumpeting its quality. Et tu, Donatello?

When you're feeling overwhelmed, it's usually a good idea to pick something specific and cling to it like a raft in a storm. So I made today a Marvel day, following editor-in-chief Joe Quesada (see photo) and his merry crew through a series of panels.

The first two sessions made me feel very small. I'm a geek, obviously, and even though I've read hundreds of comic books—and dozens of books about comic books—I can't even come close to the depth and breadth of geek knowledge on display here. Not on the panel, although Quesada's a really smart and interesting speaker, but in the audience.

(Read more below the fold.)

Fri
Jul 25 2008 3:56pm

SDCC: The Greatest American Hero comic book

william katt

Enjoyed a lively session about classic TV series The Greatest American Hero, held to announce the launch of a new GAH comic book series coming out from Catastrophic Comics (star William Katt is the CEO).

The whole cast was there—William Katt, Robert Culp, and Connie Sellecca—as well as Dennis "Danger" Madalone, Katt's stunt double.

When I entered the conference room, they were playing a reel of what seemed to be every single instance of red-pajama-fueled hijinks from the show, with Danger as main character Ralph Hinkley crashing into walls, through windows, onto cars, and so on.

It was easily five full minutes long, set to the strains of Elton John's "Rocket Man." (Unfortunately, they haven't put the video online where I can find it, but I found a shorter one with the same general idea here.)

Brown-haired Madalone explained that, the first time he met Katt on set and saw that big, curly blond coif, he thought to himself: "We're gonna have to put a brown wig on that guy." He also wistfully recalled how, at age 5, wearing his own red pajamas, he would dive off the bed face-first into the dresser and throwing himself down the stairs. His parents thought he had a brain disease, but he was just a budding stuntman.

"Life," he thought, the first time he wore the suit, "takes you on a beautiful circle."

(Read more below the fold.)

Thu
Jul 24 2008 11:36pm

SDCC: Jim Butcher Interview

Jim Butcher at San Diego Comic-Con

Jim Butcher, New York Times-bestselling author of The Dresden Files, as well as the Codex Alera series, sat down with me for an interview in a cozy nook of the convention center—OK, it was a storage area.

I have to say, Butcher met a series of technical gaffes on my end with a degree of patience that would have filled his most famous creation, Chicago wizard detective Harry Dresden, with pride.

I asked Butcher about the origins of the Dresden Files: "I was in a writing class taught by Deborah Chester," he explained. "I had a degree in English literature, so I felt like I had to prove all her born-in-the-trenches theories of novel-writing wrong."

Butcher, who began the class set on writing a novel of sword-and-sorcery, struggled mightily until deciding (out of frustration) to reverse course and follow Chester's rigorous writing techniques to the letter, doing all the plot outlining and character background sheets and so on that the English literature folks often scoff at as the workmanlike tools of genre hacks. But in trying to prove Chester wrong, he ended up vindicating her theories.

"She looked at the first chapter and said, 'You did it. You're going to sell this.' " And Chester was right—Butcher had, out of sheer passive aggressiveness, given birth to the character that would make his name: Harry Dresden, a curmudgeonly professional wizard operating out of modern-day Chicago and listed in the Yellow Pages.

It took 5 years to go from that draft in the writing class to a finished book, but since then things have accelerated: the most recent novel in the series, Small Favor, debuted at #2 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, Butcher's highest spot yet.

"When a young writer comes up to me with an ambitious idea for a 20-book series," Butcher said, "I usually tell him to maybe try something smaller to start off with. But being ambitious worked for me because I didn't know how hard it is to get something like this published. That's why I celebrate ignorance—it's gotten me far."

(Read more below the fold.)

Thu
Jul 24 2008 6:57pm

SDCC: Doc Savage film announced

At a panel on Doc Savage, the pulp hero who inspired/was ripped off by the creators of Superman and Batman, among other creators of your favorite Golden Age comic book superheroes, long-time superhero movie producer Michael Uslan (who is also producing the upcoming Captain Marvel film) let slip that a new Doc Savage film adaptation is in the works.

Nice.

I recently read panelist Anthony Tollin's reprints of some Man of Bronze adventures—for those who don't know, the moniker refers to Savage's awesome tan—and while I wasn't blown away by it as pop literature, I did see some obvious seeds of Superman, including the snow-bound Fortress of Solitude.

So here's hoping the new Doc Savage movie is an improvement on the first one, Doc Savage: Man of Bronze (1975), and the second one, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984).

(Joke. Kind of.)

Thu
Jul 24 2008 5:25pm

SDCC: First Impressions

Good morning, Tor.com!

I'm David Moldawer, associate editor at St. Martin's Press and longtime SF podcaster at the Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas podcast. I'll be part of the Tor.com team here in San Diego covering this astounding orgy of geek-hood.

My geek-gasms started early: My flight was due to depart Newark Airport at 6pm last night. As I wandered the airport corridors, I spotted a much-more-petite-in-person Jennifer Connelly, along with that tall blond English guy from A Knight's Tale—I guess that's her husband (if I used emoticons, this is where I'd put a frowny face).

[More below the fold...]