Thoughts from the SF Gateway

Gateway Essentials: Mercedes Lackey

31 January 2017

Mercedes Lackey was born in Chicago on June 24, 1950. She graduated from Purdue University in 1972, and has worked as an artist’s model, in computer programming, and for American Airlines. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts & Music, a small recording company specializing in science fiction folk music, and has worked in raptor rehabilitation.

Mercedes Lackey is one of the most prolific authors at work today, having published well over one hundred books since her first professional sale in 1985. As well as her numerous solo works, she has collaborated with a number of authors – most notably Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey.

We recommend Brightly Burning as an ideal introduction to her worlds.

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Posted in Authors, Essentials
Comments: No comments yet

Happy Birthday, Gregory Benford!

30 January 2017

Gregory Albert Benford was born on this day in Mobile, Alabama, in 1941. A leading writer of Hard SF, he received a BSc in physics from the University of Oklahoma, followed by an MSc and PhD from the University of California, San Diego. His breakthrough novel, Timescape, won both the Nebula and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards, and he has been nominated for the Hugo Award four times and the Nebula twelve times in all categories. Benford has undertaken collaborations with David Brin and Arthur C. Clarke among others and, as one of the ‘Killer Bs’ (with Brin and Greg Bear) wrote one of three authorised sequels to Isaac Asimov‘s Foundation series. He has also written for television and served as a scientific consultant on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Gregory Benford lives in California, where he was Professor of Plasma Physics and Astrophysics at the University of California, Irvine, a position he held until 2006, when he formally resigned in order to participate in a new bio-tech corporation dedicated to unplumbing the genetic governors of ageing in humans.

His best-known work remains the Nebula, John W. Campbell and BSFA Award-winner Timescape, which is available as an SF Masterwork and a Gateway eBook, but we would also recommend In the Ocean of Night, The Heart of the Comet (with David Brin) and Sailing Bright Eternity.

You can find Gregory Benford’s work via his Author page on the 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: No comments yet

We Support Galactic Journey for the Hugo!

27 January 2017

Ever since we became aware of it in the middle of 2015, Gateway has been a big fan of the Galactic Journey site, wherein the SF digest magazines of 55 years in the past are reviewed as if they had only just arrived through the letterbox.

We’ve conducted an interview with the head Time Traveller, Gideon Marcus, we’ve drawn readers’ attention to Galactic Journey reviews of Gateway books and authors, and now we officially endorse Galactic Journey for the Hugo Award in the Best Related Work category. (edit: we’re told the correct category is Best Fanzine)

Of course, there are many worthy potential recipients of the cherished rocket ship but we can’t think of another that so closely aligns with what we’re trying to do at SF Gateway. So if you have nominating privileges for the 2017 Hugo Awards, we urge you to include Galactic Journey on your ballot.  It’s interesting, it’s fun, it’s honouring SF’s legacy – and it’s Puppy-free!

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Posted in Awards, Commentary
Comments: 2

Gateway Essentials: Philip José Farmer

26 January 2017

Ninety-nine years ago, today, in North Terre Haute, Indiana, Philip José Farmer was born.

Winner of three Hugos, the SFWA Grand Master Award and the World Fantasy Award for life achievement, Farmer was a pioneer in introducing radical themes into SF. His 1952 novella ‘The Lovers’ is credited with breaking the taboo on sex in science fiction. It won Farmer the 1953 Hugo for best new writer, and established him as a major new voice in SF. His continued use of transgressive themes – particularly sexual and religious – made him an important bridge between the pulps and the New Wave, but he remains best-known today for his epic Riverworld sequence.

Riverworld is set on a strange world where every human being who ever lived has been resurrected along the banks of a seemingly-endless river. Beginning with To Your Scattered Bodies Go, which won Farmer the 1972 Hugo Award for best novel, it continues with The Fabulous Riverboat, The Dark Design, The Magic Labyrinth and Gods of Riverworld.

You can find Philip José Farmer’s work via his Author page on the 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: No comments yet

Guest TItle: The Massacre of Mankind

25 January 2017

It’s not often that we highlight new books. There’s an entire commentary/review ecosystem for modern SF publishing and, anyway, that’s not our remit; we’re the classic SF people. But every now and then a book comes along that we think our readers will be interested in, and one such title is The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter.

The authorised sequel to The War of the Worlds, written by one of the world’s greatest SF authors.

It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared.

So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat.

He is right.

Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war.

The Massacre of Mankind has begun!

 

‘Stephen Baxter is arguably Wells’s current representative on Earth’  BBC Inside Science, Radio 4

‘Stephen Baxter, a bright star in the British firmament of science fiction’ The Times

‘Baxter has cleverly extrapolated Wells’ themes and incorporates scientific theories of the day’ Financial Times

‘It’s exciting, tense, and more than big and clever enough to be something of a triumph‘ SFX

‘A welcome expansion of the War Of The Worlds story, and one that delights’ SciFi Now

‘Something new and wonderful’ Starburst

‘A novel that’s both an audacious exercise in alternative history . . . and a hugely exciting adventure’ SFX
 

The Massacre of Mankind is available now in hardback, audio and ebook, and Stephen Baxter’s earlier work can be found via his Author page on the Gateway website.

The War of the Worlds, and other H G Wells titles are available via H G Wells’ Author page on the Gateway website.

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Posted in Authors, New Releases
Comments: No comments yet

Masterworks Spotlight: The War of the Worlds

24 January 2017

No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most, terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

Thus begins one of the greatest – and, arguably, the single most important – science fiction books of all time: H G Wells’ The War of the Worlds.

With more than a century of literature between Wells’ opus and today, the alien invasion story can seem a little hackneyed, these days.  It has, after all, been depicted in literature, radio, film, television, comics and games; it has been used as allegory and warning; it has been subject to satire and criticism; it has been taken seriously and dismissed as ludicrous. But one thing all Gateway readers can agree on: it set in motion the most important and energetic form of literature of the twentieth century. As Adam Roberts says in his introduction:

He spent the whole of the 1890s creating from scratch conceptual templates that later generations of SF authors would laboriously work through: time travel and the romance of the far future in The Time Machine (1895); what we would nowadays call stories of genetic engineering in The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896); invisibility in The Invisible Man (1897) – none of these tropes had been used before. But of all his masterpieces of the 1890s The War of the Worlds is surely the most accomplished . . . This is one of the core narratives of science fiction, and it has rarely, if ever, been better articulated than in this genre-defining novel.

The War of the Worlds is available as an SF Masterworks paperback and an SF Gateway eBook. You can find more of H G Wells’ work via his Author page on the 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: No comments yet

Gateway Essentials: Keith Laumer

23 January 2017

Keith Laumer was born in Syracuse, New York. Prior to his career as a writer, Laumer was a United States Air Force officer and a diplomat. After war service, he spent a year at the University of Stockholm, and then took two bachelor’s degrees in science and architecture at the University of Illinois. His first story, ‘Greylorn’, was published in 1959, but he returned to the Air Force the following year, only becoming a full-time writer in 1965. Laumer was extremely prolific, producing work in  a number of series, along with many independent novels. After 1973, however, illness meant that he published more sparingly, and he eventually died in 1993.

For those looking to explore the many worlds of Keith Laumer we recommend the opening volumes of his three major series: Worlds of the Imperium, which opens his ‘Imperium’ series; Retief: Envoy to New Worlds, the first of his popular ‘Retief’ sequence; and Bolo, the first of his books about a miltary unit of sentient super-tanks. All three are available as individual eBooks and are collected in print in the Three By Laumer omnibus, which will publish in July.

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

Enjoy!

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Comments: No comments yet

Happy Birthday, Buzz Aldrin!

20 January 2017

Today is a great day to celebrate a great man.  We’re sure you’ve seen something about it in the media, and we wanted to throw our hats into the ring and add our voice to the millions who rightly view this man as a real hero – not just of the United States of America, but of the entire world.

Yes, today, Gateway celebrates Colonel Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, who turns 87 today.

What? Who did you think we were talking about?

Just twelve human beings have set foot on the Moon – a paltry return for almost half a century of know-how – and, with the passing, on Monday, of Eugene Cernan, half of them are now dead. Of this elite club of surviving astronauts, Buzz Aldrin is the eldest.

Aldrin had a distinguished military career as a fighter pilot before joining NASA and, of course, became the second person to walk on the Moon, which is kind of hard to top. Although, to some, he eventually managed it . . .

Happy Birthday, Buzz Aldrin!

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Comments: Comments Off on Happy Birthday, Buzz Aldrin!

Gateway Essentials: Robert A. Heinlein

19 January 2017

So where, one might ask, does one start with Robert A. Heinlein?

Well, frankly, you could start just about anywhere! Heinlein won the Hugo Award four times for best novel (for Double Star, Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, since you ask) during his lifetime and added another four posthumous Retro Hugos.  He was one of the so-called Big Three of SF authors, along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, and was often called ‘the Dean of Science Fiction’, so if you pick up one of his books at random, you’ve got a decent chance of reading something special.

However. Since one of the purposes of this site is to act as a guide through the classics of SF, it’s probably a bit of a dereliction of duty to leave it at that. So, if you press us, we’ll go out on a limb ( a pretty sturdy limb, of course) and say that you should start with one of his SF Masterworks: Double Star, The Door into Summer, Starship Troopers or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress . . .

. . . and, if when you still want more, move on to his famed ‘Future History‘ books: The Green Hills of Earth, Orphans of the Sky, The Man Who Sold the Moon, Revolt in 2100 and Methuselah’s Children.

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.

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Email
  • Print
Comments: Comments Off on Gateway Essentials: Robert A. Heinlein

Gateway Essentials: Michael G. Coney

18 January 2017

Michael Greatrex Coney was a British-born author who spent the last three decades of his life in Canada – including 16 years in the British Colombia Forest Service. His early work carried a sense of Cold War-inspired paranoia, but his repertoire was wide and perhaps his best novel, Hello Summer, Goodbye, is a wistful story of adolescent love on a far-distant planet.

Sadly, we didn’t manage to acquire the rights to Hello Summer, Goodbye, but you shouldn’t let that stop you exploring Michael G. Coney’s work. We recommend Mirror Image (the first in his ‘Amorphs’ duology, the second of which, Brontomek!, won the BSFA Award), over-population novel Friends Come in Boxes, or Cat Karina, the first novel in his ‘Song of the Earth’ sequence.

You can find more of Michael G Coney’s work via his Author page on the SF Gateway, 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
Posted in Authors, Essentials
Comments: Comments Off on Gateway Essentials: Michael G. Coney
1 2 3