Thoughts from the SF Gateway

SF Gateway Omnibus of the Week: D G Compton

17 April 2014

From the vaults of the SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to the beguiling work of the critically acclaimed D. G. Compton.

 

Trade Paperback | eBook

 

D.G. Compton is best known for his prescient 1974 novel, The Continuous Katherine Motenhoe, which predicted the 21st century’s obsessions with media voyeurism and ‘reality television’. It was filmed as Death Watch in 1980 by Bertrand Tavernier. This omnibus collects three of his incisive SF novels, Ascendancies, Synthajoy and The Steel Crocodile.

You can find more of D. G. Compton’s work via his author page on the SF Gateway website, and read more about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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SF Masterwork of the Week: Jem

16 April 2014

A cynical and compelling tale of politics, exploitation and colonisation on another planet from the Hugo and Nebula-winning Grand Master, Frederik Pohl.

The discovery of another habitable world might spell salvation to the three bitterly competing power blocs of the resource-starved 21st century; but when their representatives arrive on Jem, with its multiple intelligent species, they discover instead the perfect situation into which to export their rivalries.

Subtitled, with savage irony, ‘The Making of a Utopia’, Jem is one of Frederik Pohl’s most powerful novels. This new edition includes an introduction by award-winning author Lisa Tuttle.

Jem is available as an SF Masterworks paperback. You can read more about Frederik Pohl in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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The Unsinkable Ship

14 April 2014

102 years ago today, the most famous of all maritime disasters occurred: the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg south of Newfoundland. The Titanic’s hull containing sixteen separate airtight compartments, causing some to refer to it as ‘unsinkable’, but the iceberg opened five of these compartments to the ocean and the rest is history: it sank, five days into its maiden voyage, resulting in the loss of over 1,500 lives.

The Titanic has fascinated explorers, historians and writers for over a century, now, prompting salvage expeditions, films and, of course, novels. All very interesting and timely, but none of this would usually be considered fodder for a site dedicated to classic SF – unless one of those novels was written by one of the all-time greats of science fiction, Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

It is 2010. In two years’ time it will be the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic. Two of the world’s most powerful corporations race to raise the vessel but there are other powers at work, and chaos theory comes into play as plans progress – and six preserved bodies are found.

This novel incorporates two of Arthur C.Clarke’s passions – deep sea exploration and future technology – in a fast-moving tale of mystery and adventure. As operations proceed, the perfectly preserved body of a beautiful girl is found. She was not on the ship’s passenger lists.

The quest to uncover the secrets of the wreck and reclaim her becomes an obsession . . . and for some, a fatal one.

 

The Ghost From the Grand Banks was written in 1990, when the Titanic centenary was still a dozen years in the future, and Clarke approaches it with the rigour and imagination we’ve come to expect from a Hugo Award-winning Grand Master. It’s a book that is often overlooked among the more straightforwardly SFnal of his works, but we think it’s stood the test of time – as, indeed, has the strange allure of the tragic event that inspired it.

The Ghost From the Grand Banks is available as a Gollancz paperback and an SF Gateway eBook.

 

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Posted in Commentary
Comments: 1

New Book of the Week: Unseen University Challenge

11 April 2014

‘Right, your starter for ten, no conferring: Which beginners’ course at Unseen University was taught by Jeophal the Spry?’

Bzzzzzzz

‘Quirm College for Young Ladies, Sto Helit.’

‘Algebra?’

‘No, I’m afraid it’s Beginners’ Dematerialisation. Which occult force opened the bronze doors of the great Temple of Om without the touch of any human hand?’

Bzzzzzzz

‘The Assassins’ Guild School, Teatime.’

‘Sorcery?’

‘Hydraulics. Let’s try another one: what revolutionary new financial concept, imported by a tourist from the Counterweight Continent, caused most of Ankh-Morpork to burn down?’

Bzzzzzzz

‘Quirm College for Young Ladies, Thogsdaughter.’

‘Supply Side Economics?’

‘No, fire insurance.’

 

It’s going to be a long night . . .

 

 

Don’t neglect your education: Unseen University Challenge by David Langford & Terry Pratchett is our New Book of the Week.

 

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Posted in New Releases, Whimsy
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SF Gateway Omnibus of the Week: L. Sprague de Camp

10 April 2014

From the vaults of the SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to the varied work of author, editor and critic, L. Sprague de Camp.

 

Trade Paperback | eBook

 

Although arguably best known for his continuation of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, de Camp was an important figure in the formative period of modern SF, alongside the likes of Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein. In a career spanning seven decades, he won the Hugo, World Fantasy Life Achievement and SFWA Grand Master Awards. This omnibus collects three previously out-of-print classics: Lest Darkness Fall, Rogue Queen and The Tritonian Ring.

You can find more of L. Sprague de Camp’s work via his author page on the SF Gateway website, and read more about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

 

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The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: Images of London (and Others)

9 April 2014

It should no longer come as a surprise to hear how clever the editors of the indispensable Encyclopedia of Science Fiction are.  But if 4.3 million words of scholarship aren’t enough for you, the Prosecution offers Exhibit A: the automatically-generating Images of London Slideshow.

As they say on the site:

With the 2014 London Worldcon getting closer, we thought it would be fun to put together a slideshow of London cover-art images as a new feature of the SF Encyclopedia Picture Gallery – and here it is .

There are other slideshows coded as well: Balloons & Airships, Robots & Androids and The Solar System stand out to us, but you may well find your eyeballs tempted by other topics.

So, what are you still doing here?  Go. Go explore the wonders of the SFE – and while you’re there, don’t forget to sample the hugely entertaining On This Day function – a perennial SF Gateway favourite.

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SF Gateway: the Arthur C. Clarke Award-winners

8 April 2014

A few weeks ago, we highlighted our success over the lifetime of the BSFA Awards, with SF Gateway and Gollancz combined having a staggering 33 of the 43 winners to date. We’re hoping that will go up to 34 out of 44, when this year’s award is announced 65th Eastercon in Glasgow, the weekend after next, with Paul McAuley‘s Evening’s Empires and Christopher Priest‘s The Adjacent Gollancz’s representatives on an exceptionally strong five-book shortlist.

With the award season almost upon us, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award following hot on the heels of the BSFA Awards, we thought – in for a penny, in for a pound – that we’d take a look at how our books have fared in the UK’s other premier genre award. And the answer, again, is: very well, thank you. Although we couldn’t claim to have quite the stranglehold we have over the BSFA (well, we could . . . but we’d be lying), books published by Gollancz or SF Gateway account for a very creditable 12 out of 27 winners. as before, some have always been Gollancz titles, while others were first published by other imprints but are Gollancz or SF Gateway now . . .

1988 The Sea and Summer, George Turner (SF Gateway eBook | SF Masterworks paperback)
1989 Unquenchable Fire, Rachel Pollock (SF Gateway eBook | SF Masterworks paperback)
1990 The Child Garden, Geoff Ryman (SF Masterworks paperback)
1991 Take Back Plenty, Colin Greenland (SF Gateway eBook | SF Masterworks paperback)
1992 Synners, Pat Cadigan (SF Gateway eBook | SF Masterworks paperback)
1992 FoolsPat Cadigan (SF Gateway eBook)
1996 FairylandPaul McAuley (SF Gateway eBook |Gollancz paperback)
1999 Dreaming in Smoke, Tricia Sullivan (SF Gateway eBook)
2003 The Separation, Christopher Priest (Gollancz eBook |Gollancz paperback)
2007 Nova Swing, M. John Harrison (Gollancz eBook |Gollancz paperback)
2008 Black Man, Richard Morgan (Gollancz eBook |Gollancz paperback)

 

Not too shabby, if we do say so ourselves – and, of course, there remains the chance that we’ll make it 13 out of 28 should either Philip Mann‘s The Disestablishment of Paradise or Christopher Priest‘s The Adjacent triumph on the 1st May.

Coming Soon: the Nebula Award-winners . . .

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Posted in Awards, Commentary, News
Comments: 1

Robert Silverberg’s Reflections: April 2014

7 April 2014

 

‘Where Silverberg goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow’ 

Isaac Asimov

 

 

Reflections is a regular column by multi-award-winning SFWA Grandmaster Robert Silverberg, in which he will offer his thoughts on science fiction, literature and the world at large.

This month: Borges, Leinster, Google

Today I mean to sing the praises of Google, which I think is the most important single component of the phenomenon that is the Internet.  That is no small statement, and, lest I be thought to be in the pay of that vast search-engine organization, I will quickly offer some disclaimers.  I am not a Google stockholder.  I am not a Google executive or a Google employee.  (I have never been anybody’s employee since the day, 58 years ago, when I graduated from college.)  I don’t even know any Google executives or employees, even though I live just a hop and a skip from Silicon Valley. What I am, just as most of you are, is a Google user, day in, day out.  I understand that some of Google’s expansionist ways as a corporation have drawn criticism.  But my concern here is with Google as a search engine, not as a corporation.  That search engine is essential to modern life.  Without it, we might very well drown in our own data.  It has rescued us from that dire fate, and, in so doing, I believe it has changed the world.

 

You can read the rest of the column here, and find Robert Silverberg’s eBooks here. Please note: each column will remain on the site for one month only.

 

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Posted in Commentary, Reflections
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Fantasy Masterwork of the Week: Lord Darcy

4 April 2014

Randall Garrett was a prolific contributor to Astounding and other SF magazines of the 1950s and 1960s. He acted as a mentor to a young Robert Silverberg and is best known for his innovative Lord Darcy stories, which take place in an alternate version of our world where the Plantagenet dynasty never fell.

 

Welcome to a world where the Plantagenet kings survived, the laws of magic were discovered and the physical sciences never pursued. In the resulting Anglo-French Empire, a detective like Lord Darcy needs more than a keen mind and an observant eye. Luckily, Darcy can call on the aid of Master Sean O’Lochlainn, forensic sorcerer.

 

This omnibus contains all of the Lord Darcy stories as well as the only Lord Darcy novel, TOO MANY MAGICIANS, and has a new introduction by Michael Dirda.

 

 

Lord Darcy is available as an SF Masterworks paperback and an SF Gateway eBook. You can find more of Randall Garrett’s work via his author page on the SF Gateway website and read more about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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SF Gateway Omnibus of the Week: Robert A. Heinlein’s The Past Through Tomorrow

3 April 2014

From the vaults of the SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to the extraordinary work of the grandmaster of SF, four-time Hugo Award-winner, Robert A. Heinlein.

 

Trade Paperback | eBook

 

This one-volume omnibus of Heinlein’s famous ‘Future History’ timeline, contains all of the stories, novellas and novels that make up one of the richest coherent narratives in all of science fiction literature. The collections and novels comprising The Past Through Tomorrow are The Man Who Sold the Moon, The Green Hills of Earth, Revolt in 2100, Methuselah’s Children and Orphans of the Sky.

 

You can find more of Robert A. Heinlein’s work via his author page on the SF Gateway website, and read more about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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