Thursday, August 27, 2009

Farenheit 451 (no relation)

As fire is much on my mind this week it is a coincidence that those nice people (grovel) at Harper Collins sent me a graphic novelization of Ray Bradbury's Fareheit 451 to review.
It must be well over tthirty years since I read the original novella and then the expanded (short) novel version. god, that makes me feel old. But it is one of those novels where the idea possibly transcended the actual work itself sand left an indelible mark on everyone who read it and, eventually, on society itself. I guess it's one of those books that everyone feels they've read, or possibly should have read, though i wonder how relevant it is to society today. Perhaps there is an internet version waiting to be written.
The graphic version - The Authorized Adaptation - is by Tim Hamilton, with an introduction by Bradbury himself. Relying on memory it seems to be a faithful interpretation and even maintains that period feel SF of this era (forties/fifties - the first version was written n the forties, the rest in the fifties). And i'm still trying to work out whether I like it that way or not. At first I thought the artist/adapter had missed a chance to sybtly update the piece and make it more relevant to today. the I thought tha tit was more effective as a period piece. Now, I'm not completely sure. I'd love to hear from others who have read it as to how they feel. In the end i was a little disappointed, mostly because Idon't think the story is particularly visual in conception or in execution. This si a book about words - surely the very antithesis of agraphic novel. But that is possibly merely my own prejudice.
For those who don't know the plot - check out Wickipedia, it's essentially the same as the book.
I guess this is a pretty good (and painless) introdcution to what might be considered one of the true classics of the genre. Unfortunately I feel that it does not bring enough to the table in an of itself to make it truly worthwhile. Though I wonder how much more i might have taken from it had I not been so familiar with the story already. And I must also wonder how any of the target market could have avoided the essential details of the original which seem to be ingrained in the very molecules of the air - a bit like 1984 really.
(Published by Harper, Voyager. paperback, 150 pages, £10.99)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fire Sale

Anyone want a car, slightly burned. Check out the photos on my Facebook page.
Last night I got up to check noises outside the house - at the behest of Stacey. Holy Crap, Batman! My car was on fire. According to the police someone walked into my driveway and, not a dozen feet as the crow flies from where I sleep, poured petrol over my car and put a match to it.
Fortunately we got everyone out of the house safely and the fire brigade arrived before the flames spread to the interior and the highly flammable upholstery, or even the petrol tank.
I have a theory but it is extremely slanderous or libelous or whatever. But the police have taken away the remains for forensic examination in detail. They seem to think there was something more than malice in the act. There was also coincidence.
I bought the car less than six months back. The dealer has had the car for six weeks of that time trying to fix a problem. They lied to me about significant details prior to purchase. I have evidence. The police told me they are prosecutable. They had agreed, much to my surprise, to replace the car. I was due to bring the car back this afternoon.
Coincidence or what?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Con Fever

Finally back home at last and working on a fine case of jet lag.
Had a ball at Worldcon. Met lots of good folks but it just gave me a taste for more regular Worldcon attendance. Unfortunately I won't be able to afford to go to Australia next year. So it's going to be two years before my next one. I've got withdrawal symptoms already.
Any suggestions?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Size Matters

Last night at 8.00 p.m. I sat on a panel called Size Doesn't Matter to discuss how small press operations are filling a niche for beautiful editions or unusual content. Most of the audience had a familiar look about them. In fact over half the audience had eaten dinner with me directly beforehand.
Despite that it was a lively and interesting panel. Jacob Wiesman (apologies for the spelling if necessary) from Tachyon Publications told us about his latest product - a novella by Jim Morrow called Stumbling Towards Hiroshima. The premise sounded fascinating: the US government during WWII ran a secret project to breed fire brreding dragon from genetically altered lizards. Unfortunatley they were too docile to use as a weapon so the gov. hired an actor - based on Lon Chaney Junior - to don a Godzilla suit and kick the shit out of a mocked up Tokyo to scare the crap out of the enemy.
Also on the pael were Ben Jeapes, formerly of Big Engine and Ron Drummond whose company, Incunabula, are producing a 25th anniversay edition of Little, Big by the incomparable John Crowley. This edition will feature 300 illustrations adapted from the art of Peter Milton and will be cloth bound on acid-free paper. It sounds beautiful and at least two of the Albedo team will be buying copies when available. The bad news is that it will cost $95.00 plus a lot of postae - the book weighs in at seven pounds apparently. It is also unlikely to be ready for a while. It has been in proscess for six years so far. Check it out at
Then of course we went to the Delta hotel to party. I may be wrong but I think that for the first time I went to a party at Worldcon to which I was actually invited. Will wonders never cease. The host was Claude Lalumiere whgose latest latest collection, Objects of Worship was being launched by CZP. Lots of free beer and great company. Claude is a wonderful host and may actually be part -Irish. He certainly drank like it. Also there was Neil Clarke who chatted long into the night and introduced me to Mary Robinette Kowal winner of the 2008 Campbell Award.
Robert Silverberg dropped by but I unfortunately did not get the opportunity to speak to him. Probably just as well as i may have been a bit the worse for wear. Hard to believe, but true.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Semi-Prozine Hugo Saved

Congratulations to Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld on an excellent campaign, carried through to its ultimate result. At this morning's business meeting of the WSFS (of which, being a member of Worldcon, I am a member) there was a vote on the amendment to the WSFS constitution that would cancel the Hugo category for semi-prozine. And it was kicked out. So the semi-prozine Hugo is safe for the time being. I think everyone was in agreement that the category needed to be reviewed and revised, and a committee was set up (just what the world needs right now) to make reccommendations for amending the category.
More importantly there was a disaster at the party hotel last night. Too many punters turned up and security stopped access to the party floors of the hotel. We arrived late and joined the queue, but we're not great at standing in line. So we went to the bar. By the time we finished in the bar it was too late for partying. But today we will not be stopped.
Yesterdays panels were on What Fans don't understand about Publishing and Writing Across Boundaries. The first was on distribution and marketing and turned out to be very interesting (surprisingly). I learned a lot about the physical distribution of books that I didn't know and we discussed newer distribution methods - mostly electronic, through the internet.
Writing across boundaries was moderated by Melinda Snodgrass who may be the best - certainly the most friendly and least arrogant - moderator I have experienced. I look forward to sitting on panels with her in future. Unlike most, she was more interested in getting across the message of the panel than hearing the sound of her own voice.
Coming soon - Size Doesn't Matter.

Friday, August 7, 2009


So I've travelled halfway across the Western world to Canada and last night we discovered that there are very few vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Montreal. We even tried one thaqt was mentioned in the con restaurant guide as not having much vegetarian food. They had none and almost laughed at our enquiry. But we got fed. Eventually. Even the vegetarian.
Then we went to the Tor room party. Met Bill Fawcett and his lovely wife, Jody Lynn Nye, whom I haven't seen in years - not since a long-ago night in the (now sadly defunct)Tree of Idleness restaurant in Bray.
Bill introduced me to Larry Niven but unfortunately I'm not important enough for the likes of him. Or maybe he's gust a grumpy old ******* (how many letters in person?).
We also met up with Colin Harvey who is not yet too important for the likes of Albedo One. But he might be soon. Will he still drink with us when he's a superstar? We'll still be drinking anyway.
Two panels this morning. One at the ungodly hour of nine a. m. on editors who write and how it afects them. Good panel, though Mike Resnick found it too early in the morning to show.
Next up was a time travel panel. But its focus was on movies and television. I love movies and television but I really knew very little about the specifics of the relevant movies. So I spoke off the point as usual and made inappropriate jokes.
Two more panels later on . I'll update tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

See Facebook

Sorry folks, I'm a complete nube at this blogging lark. I cannot work out how to get a scan of the cover up here. So check me out on Facebook. It'll be worth it. It's a nice cover. Honest!

Stop me and Buy One

Most attendees at Worldcon will already be in Montreal. I, however, will not be departing for the con until tomorrow morning VERY EARLY. Perhaps it is for the best. We had planned on releasing a sneak preview of Albedo One issue 37 and I didn't get my hands on it until Tuesday. Cutting it a bit fine, I know, but we will have it in Montreal for anyone who is interested. It features a wonderful story from Robert Reed, whom you will all know, and another piece by an author whose first language is not English - Offline by Gustavo Bondoni from Argentina. I must also give a diversity nod to T D Edge's A most Notorious Woman because it features a character from Irish history who may be new to most of our overseas readers - that woudl be most of our readers period.
See you in Montreal.
Stop me and buy one.