12.07.2017

Netflix to adapt John Scalzi's Old Man's War

Great, now I have to get Netflix, I guess. Ugh. The book series (one of my personal favorites) was grabbed up by Syfy back in 2014, but as such things go, nothing happened with them and the rights reverted back to Scalzi. Hopefully, the same won't happen with Netflix because the books really are quite good and it would be interesting to see them adapted to screen.

12.06.2017

I think the bigger story here is that CompuServe still exists

File 770 has a post up about the imminent demise of CompuServe's SF forums and while the loss will suck as such things do, I'm more shocked that CompuServe is even still around. I mean, they've been owned by America Online (another relic) since 2003, but the fact that survived that long is amazing.

But on a more serious note, this sucks. While I didn't know these forums exist until today, it still sucks because internet forums are a major source of fannish activity. I used to hang out at SF forums back in the late 90s and early to mid-00s, talking about Star Trek, the then new Battlestar Galactica, and whatever was going on with the now former Star Wars Expanded Universe. Good times.

10.27.2017

Recent reads: Spinneret and A Call to Duty

I've been meaning to post about the science fiction novels I've read since my last roundup and wow, is it ever slim.

 First up is Spinneret by Timothy Zahn. It was an interesting book, but didn't really wow me. The story is about humanity finally making it to the stars, only to discover that all the planets in this part of the galaxy have already been spoken for and there's no sharing.

Well, almost all of the planets. There's one, whose name I can't remember, that is habitable, but not inhabited. The United States (there's no world government in this story and the Soviet Union still exists) leases the planet in what the rest of the world regards as a boondoggle.

Why has this planet gone uncolonized? Because it's completely devoid of metals. As you can guess, the plot revolves around why and the attempts of the main characters to protect the colony once the secret is revealed. It's not a spoiler since it's included in the summary on the dust jacket, but the planet's big secret is that an ancient alien civilization built a huge machine that absorbs metals through the ground and converts them into huge cables that it then launches into space. The cables are invulnerable, have a highly adhesive surface and other properties that make them highly desirable.

A big reason why I read it was because of the cover, which reminded me of one of those 4x strategy games, like Master of Orion. Like I said, Spinneret is good but not great. It's worth reading, but don't expect to be bowled over.

Next is A Call of Duty by David Weber, Timothy Zahn, and Tom Pope, who's name isn't on the cover but is credited in the foreword. Weber and Zahn explain in the foreword that the reason Pope's name wasn't included was for marketing reasons. There was concern that having three people's names on the cover would make potential readers think that A Call to Duty was a short story anthology and not everybody likes reading those. They also point out that Pope's name would appear on the covers of the sequels and it has.

So anyways, A Call to Duty is the first book in the Manticore Ascendant series that acts as a prequel to the rest of the Honorverse. I'm debating doing a separate post about this book later on, so I'll keep it brief here. The story follows three plotlines. The first is about Timothy Uriah Long, a young man who craves order and discipline in his life, so he joins the Royal Manticore Navy. The second plotline follows the attempts by a group of politicians to get rid of the RMN in favor of the interests of their leader, Lord Breakwater. This is still the relative early days of the Star Kingdom of Manticore, when they were still a single system entity and had yet to discover the wormhole junction that would make them a major power.

The third plotline and the one that ties the other two together revolves around a group of mercenaries who are planning to steal two warships from a major ship sale that the Republic of Haven holds later on in the book.

All kinds of shenanigans and hijinks ensue that make A Call to Duty a fun and exciting book to read. I recommend it.

9.19.2017

There's ch-ch-changes coming to Rayguns and Space Suits

Via Wookieepedia.
So I've been meaning to post this for a while and just hadn't gotten around to it just now. After five years and not enough posts, I've decided to bring about major changes to this blog. I've been feeling lately that while RSS is a science fiction blog, it hasn't really been science fiction blog. Oh sure, I'll post a trailer for an upcoming movie or a picture of something sci-fi related, but there's been no true focus on the genre in a long time, if ever, so that's why I've decided to refocus Rayguns and Space Suits as a fanzine dedicated to talking about and covering the science fiction genre to the best of my abilities. With that, comes a major change: No more Star Trek. I created a fan blog for the series last month called Strange New Worlds where all future Star Trek content will go. I did this largely because it felt like RSS was in danger of becoming a de facto fan blog, which is something I didn't want.

So what will you see on here? broadly, anything that is science fiction but isn't Star Trek. More specifically, I plan on writing about sci-fi books I'm reading, thoughts on the different subgenres, news, and more. I know that Rayguns and Space Suits will never match the stature of other, much more famous fanzines like File 770, but I still feel like it's something worth doing.

If anybody has any thoughts or suggestions, then please leave them in the comments below.

9.09.2017

RIP Jerry Pournelle

It's always a tragedy when we lose a great of science fiction, especially one who, but all accounts, never let politics or disagreements with others stop him from giving a helping hand it was needed.

I'm not going to pretend that I read any of his books or that I'm going to add any to my TBR pile just because he died (personally, I never liked the idea of reading an author's books just because they died, too ghoulish), but that's not going to stop me from raising a glass to his memory and his contributions to the genre we all love.

Rest in peace, sir.

8.13.2017

Here's a video of new Doctor Jodie Whittaker reacting to 13th Doctor cosplayers

Because we haven't even seen what the new Doc is going to be wearing and she was just announced less than a month ago, but of course there are already people cosplaying her. Gotta love the fandom.



(via Tor.com)

8.11.2017

Women dominate the Hugo Awards

You can see all of the nominees and winners here, but suffice to say, goddamn.

Best Novel: The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin.
Best Novella: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.
Best Novelette: The Tomato Thief by Ursula Vernon.
Best Short Story: Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal El-Mohtar.
Best Series: The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold.
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer: Ada Palmer.

Overall, women won 15 out of the 17 categories and counting Palmer netting the Campbell (which is award at the Hugos but isn't a Hugo), they won 16 altogether. Not a bad performance and well deserved. Oh, I'm sure there will be grumblings and teeth gnashing from a certain segment of the fandom over this, but I'll say here what I said on my Tumblr:
Write better. The success of women and writers of color at the Hugos and other SFF lit awards has nothing to do with their ethnicity or identity and everything to do with them just being better writers, editors, etc.
Being white, straight, and/or identifying with your assigned gender (because let's not overlook the fact that these groups include women) does not automatically mean you win awards.

Unless you create your own or manipulate a poorly planned one. *coughcoughDragonAwardscoughcough*

In any case, congrats to all of the winners and nominees.
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