Thoughts from the SF Gateway

Androids Will Dream of Electric Sheep . . .

30 May 2014

. . . real soon now!

As alluded to on Wednesday, we have news of an androidal nature. And it is this: BBC Radio 4 will be airing a new adaptation of Philip K. Dick‘s seminal Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in just a couple of weeks.

As part of their Dangerous Visions season, BBC Radio 4 will present the two-part adaptation (as we understand – we could be wrong), starring James Purefoy and Jessica Raine and directed by Sasha Yevtushenko, beginning Sunday 15th June at 15:00.

Make a note on your calendar and stand by for replication!

 

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Posted in Masterworks, News
Comments: Comments Off on Androids Will Dream of Electric Sheep . . .

SF Gateway Omnibus of the Week: Gregory Benford

29 May 2014

From the vaults of the SF Gateway, the most comprehensive digital library of classic SFF titles ever assembled, comes an ideal introduction to Gregory Benford, one of the great hard SF writers.

 

Gregory Benford is a Professor of Plasma Physics and Astrophysics, expertise he turns to great effect in his widescreen hard SF epics. Best known for the Nebula Award-winning Timescape he has written in some of SF’s greatest playgrounds, penning a sequel to Sir Arthur C. Clarke‘s great novella ‘Against the Fall of Night’, and contributing an authorised sequel to Isaac Asimov‘s Foundation books. This omnibus collects three of his best works: Artifact, Cosm and Eater.

 

You can find more of Gregory Benford’s work via his Author page on the SF Gateway website and read about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

 

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Comments: Comments Off on SF Gateway Omnibus of the Week: Gregory Benford

SF Masterwork of the Week: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

28 May 2014

Philip K. Dick’s seminal Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is our current Masterwork of the Week because: exciting stuff (we’ll tell you on Friday). And who better to walk us through the cyberpunk streets of future Los Angeles than Gollancz‘s very own Stephen Baxter (He knows the lingo, any good author does)? Here’s his take on the novel that would become world famous as the text behind Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, with thanks for our good friends at SFX, in whose SFX Book Club feature this piece first appeared [PDF] . . .

Nearly 30 years ago Philip K Dick, 39 years old, published the novel that became the centrepiece of his career. In 1982 Ridley Scott adapted Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? to become the movie Blade Runner, which would bring Dick’s name to a wide audience. But there’s much more to the book than that, influential as the movie remains, and it’s a good entry point to Dick’s work.

Androids, set in San Francisco 1992, is the story of Rick Deckard, hunter of androids (“replicants” in the film). Earth has been left poisoned and depopulated by a “World War Terminus”, and androids, meant as servant-slaves for colony worlds, have been leaking back to the home world. “Do androids dream?” Deckard asks himself. “Evidently; that’s why they occasionally kill their employers and flee here.” Read more…

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Comments: Comments Off on SF Masterwork of the Week: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Happy Birthday, Harlan Ellison!

27 May 2014

Today is the birthday of one the greats of modern science fiction, Harlan Ellison: author, editor, screenwriter, legend. Although, as noted in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, ‘most of his large oeuvre is better described as nonfantastic, or fantasy, or horror’, it is hard to overestimate Ellison’s influence on the field.

From award-winning short fiction such as ‘I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream’, ‘A Boy and His Dog’ and ‘The Beast That Shouted Love At the Heart of the World’ to his work as an editor on the groundbreaking Dangerous Visions anthology, to the screenplay for fan-favourite Star Trek episode, ‘The City on the Edge of Forever’, Harlan Ellison bestrides the history of modern SF like a colossus. And today he turns eighty.

Happy Birthday, Harlan Ellison – and thank you!

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Posted in Authors
Comments: Comments Off on Happy Birthday, Harlan Ellison!

Spam of the Week

26 May 2014

In common with all websites where comments are enabled, we get our fair share of spam. For the most part, we delete this with contemptuous slap of the keyboard, but occassionally, we get one that we feel deserves a wider audience.  Take this for instance:

In this box are the links to each of the Valentine’s Day digi stamps found above.
Cats love a place to snuggle and one that can warm them.
This grants a single feline some personal space
away from the rest of the group and home in general.

My web site … hello kitty accessories

Leaving aside the fact that there was no box or any links to the three-months-too-late Valentine’s Day digi-stamps, and skating over the trademark-provoking name of the spammer’s website, we think there’s kind of poetic beauty in this little splodge of cyber salad. If you delete the first and last lines, you could even read it as cat-themed haiku (albeit one that obeys pretty much none of the rules of the form):

Cats love a place to snuggle and one that can warm them.
This grants a single feline some personal space
away from the rest of the group and home in general.

I think there’s something in that for all of us. Don’t you?

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Posted in Whimsy
Comments: Comments Off on Spam of the Week

SF Gateway Omnibus of the Week: Robert Holdstock

22 May 2014

Although we’ve mentioned this volume before, we thought we’d take the opportunity to follow up the cover reveal for Mythago Wood, with another Robert Holdstock-related post, for those who missed the last piece about this recent omnibus.

 

Before the World Fantasy Award-winning Mythago Wood put him on the map as one of modern fantasy’s finest and most original voices (a reputation reinforced by the publication of his extraordinary re-imagining of Arthurian myth, The Merlin Codex), Robert Holdstock wrote SF. This omnibus contains two of his early SF novels: Earthwind and Where Time Winds Blow and a collection of his highly-acclaimed short fiction, In the Valley of the Statues, which contains the original ‘Mythago Wood’ novella (which was nominated for the World Fantasy Award and won the BSFA Award).

You can find more of Robert Holdstock’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.

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Comments: Comments Off on SF Gateway Omnibus of the Week: Robert Holdstock

SF Masterwork of the Week: A Case of Conscience

21 May 2014

Our current Masterwork of the Week is James Blish’s seminal treatment of religion in SF, A Case of Conscience, which we are delighted to be publishing with a new introduction by Ken MacLeod, which is full of the insight and critical acumen one would expect from one of modern SF’s most rigorous thinkers:

Father Ramon Ruiz-Sanchez is a Jesuit, and the biologist of a four-man team exploring Lithia, an extrasolar planet with intelligent alien inhabitants whose nature poses an agonising spiritual and intellectual problem for the priest. He has no problem with the fact that aliens exist – the Church was debating the plurality of worlds long before Galileo, and has more answers to that question than there are angels on a pinpoint . . .  No. Ruiz-Sanchez’s problem is that the Lithians are too good. They follow a moral code identical to that of Christianity, and they follow it flawlessly. They know nothing of money, nationality, government, or crime. They seem as innocent of sin as Adam and Eve were before the Fall. Yet they have no notion of God. They entertain no supernatural beliefs of any kind, and suffer no pangs of conscience. And that, to Ruiz-Sanchez, means they’re too good to be true.

 

Father Ramon Ruiz-Sanchez S.J., is a part of a four man scientific commission to the planet Lithia, there to study a harmonious society of aliens living on a planets which is a biologist’s paradise. He soon finds himself troubled: how can these perfect beings, living in an apparent Eden, have no conception of sin or God? If such a sinless Eden has been created apart from God, then who is responsible?

Winner of the Hugo Award for best novel, 1959.

 

A Case of Conscience is available as an SF Masterworks paperback and an SF Gateway eBook.

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

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Comments: Comments Off on SF Masterwork of the Week: A Case of Conscience

Cover Reveal: Mythago Wood Fantasy Masterworks 30th Anniversary Edition

20 May 2014

Some time ago – in the uncomfortable vicinity of twenty-five years, in fact – I was meeting some friends in a pub (yes, yes, I know: plus ça change!). Because I habitually associate with erudite dipsomaniacs, the topic turned, sooner rather than later, to what we were reading.  My friends were currently in the middle of an eclectic range of books – military non-fiction, 18th century history, space opera, the latest popular science book – and then the question came to me. As it happened, I was between books; however, I’d just been to a bookshop (remember them?) and picked up something that looked interesting.

‘What’s it about?’ I was asked.

‘I have no idea,’ I replied, ‘it doesn’t say, but it looks interesting.’

And to back up my assertion, I showed them the book. The front cover bore a flash in the bottom right-hand corner announcing the book as ‘the World Fantasy Award-winning novel’, alongside a quote from The Spectator proclaiming it to be ‘Indescribably enchanting . . . a celebration of fantasy’.  The back was bare apart from another quote: ‘”A new expression of the British genius for true fantasy” Alan Garner, author of The Owl Service‘.

And that was it. No description, just a haunting Geoff Taylor illustration and those two quotes.  And, of course, the title and author: Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock.

I often wonder what that younger version of me would think, had he known that a dozen or so years in the future, he would be in another pub, in another hemisphere, sitting across a table from Robert Holdstock, setting the world to rights over a shared love of Belgian beer. Absent a working TARDIS, we’ll never know, but the current version of me considers Mythago Wood to be one of the greatest ever works of British (and, indeed, world) fantasy and knows for a fact that Rob Holdstock, apart from being an absurdly talented writer,  was one of the nicest men you could wish to meet.

I am absolutely delighted – as is everyone at Gollancz, where Rob had many friends – to be able to share the cover for our upcoming Fantasy Masterworks 30th Anniversary Edition of Mythago Wood. I think it treats the book as the modern classic it undoubtedly is, as well as reflecting the earthy vibrancy and primordial energy of the book.

I think Rob would have loved it.

The cover design is by Graeme Langhorne, who produced the beautiful series style for the re-launched Fantasy Masterworks, and the amazing artwork is by Grzegorz Domaradzki, who is responsible for many other lovely covers in the series.

Mythago Wood will be available as a Fantasy Masterworks paperback in November this year, with a new introduction by Neil Gaiman.  It is currently available as an SF Gateway eBook, which we will be updating with the new cover and introduction to coincide with the paperback publication.

Edit: Apologies for originally stating this would be an SF Masterwork – of course, it will be a Fantasy Masterwork. Thanks to Paul for pointing out the mistake.

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Posted in New Releases
Comments: 6

Title Update

19 May 2014

This is a public service announcement: the SF Gateway downloadable spreadsheet [opens in Excel] has now been updated.

Happy Monday!

 

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Posted in Housekeeping
Comments: Comments Off on Title Update

The Science Fictional World: 16th May

16 May 2014

Hey, everyone! It’s May 16th – and you know what that means!

Er . . . no?  No, nor do we, really, but one of the very interesting things about science fiction is that it is now so culturally all-pervasive and such an integral part of conceptualising the science of the last hundred years or so, that that you can pick almost any date at random and find something that feels linked. Don;t believe us? Here are some of the events that have occurred on 16th May that we think might be of interest to SF fans:

1920 – Joan of Arc was canonised in Rome. OK, more historical/fantasy than SF, but still . . .

1929 – The first Academy Awards were held in Hollywood. Queue almost a century of moaning about genre films being ignored by the Oscars.

1940  – Yvonne Craig, the actress who played Barbara Gordon/Batgirl in the 1960s Batman TV series was born. HOLY RIGHT-UNDER-THE-COMMISSIONER’S NOSE, BATMAN!

1960 – The first working laser was demonstrated at Hughes Research Laboratory in California. Laser. Mmmm. . .

1963 – Astronaut Gordon Cooper returns to Earth, after orbiting the Earth 22 times in the Project Mercury capsule.  Astronauts! The Right Stuff! Top Gun!

1969 – The Soviet spacecraft Venus 5 lands on the planet . . . er . . . Venus.  ‘Nuff said.

1971  – David Boreanaz, famous in genre circles for his portayal of Angel in Joss Whedon series Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and eponymous spin-off Angel, was born. <sigh> Joss Whedon . . .

1992 – The space shuttle Endeavour  lands safely after its maiden voyage. Don’t get us started on the closure of the shuttle programme!

Happy May the 16th!

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Comments: Comments Off on The Science Fictional World: 16th May
1 2 3