WWWednesday: October 10, 2012

Have you all stopped crying over Dr. Who yet? Good, then let’s proceed with this week’s column, which I shall refer to as the “have you heard of these new things called e-books?” edition.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsFirst, Orbit Ebooks is offering five of its best selling e-books for $1.99 each in celebration of its five year anniversary. All the cover art featured in this column can be clicked on to take you to the purchase page for the book on Amazon. I took advantage of the sale to pick up The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin, an author I have been wanting to read for a long time. Of course, with my TBR mountain practically large enough to create its own weather system, who knows when I will get to it. Which book are you going to get? The sale is good on formats other than Kindle, but I can only link image once, so check for your preferred format. This is a limited time offer, so please check the purchase price when you click through!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Secondly, if you’re not familiar with Humble Bundle, they put together packages of all sorts of media goodness and the proceeds go to charity. Well, right now, they are partnering with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and have assembled a bundle of e-books from authors including Neil Gaiman, Paolo Bacigalupi and Cory DoctorowCheck out the link for more information.

And finally, John DeNardo over at the wonderful SF Signal blog alerted readers to this fun opportunity.

Baen Books has created a web-based, science fiction strategy game called Planet Baen, where players get to colonize a new world. It incorporates elements from many different Baen series as part of the normal gameplay, often focusing on a particular series in any given month. (October will features Larry Correia’s Monster Hunters International series. November will see more focus on Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga.)

Here’s the coolest part: It’s free to play and as you progress in the game, you win free ebooks from Baen’s ebook site, Baen Ebooks!

So, wanna have some fun and win free eBooks? Then check out Planet Baen!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

I am particularly a fan of civilization building games. I’m not sure if you’ve been watching the amount of stupid spewing forth from American Congresspersons who sit on science committees regarding science, and their total and complete lack of understanding of anything scientific, but a friend of a friend on Facebook attributed it to them never have playing Sid Meier’s Civilization. His two rules: 1) Always max out science. 2) Never mess with Ghandi. These two rules should go right alongside that other great rule for a happy life: Never get involved in a land war in Asia. The more I read world history, the more I realize that is a true statement. So play computer games! Save the world from choking on its own stupidity.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

In non e-book news…

As if The Hobbit coming out in December wasn’t enough for Tolkien fans, Houghton Mifflin announced that it has acquired the rights to a previously unknown Tolkien story, The Fall of Arthur, chronicling his last days. How did this story get buried in a footnote?
You can download a copy of Brian Sanderson’s novella, Legion, at Audible.com for free.fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsIn a little bit of “the future of science fiction is now” news, Felix Baumgartner plans to ride a fancy weather balloon up to “the edge of space” and then free-fall 23 miles (it should take about 4 1/2 minutes), in which it is surmised that he would break the sound barrier. Launch was delayed yesterday due to high winds, but he may try again today. On one hand, yay ingenuity and the human spirit and boldly going, etc. but on the other hand, whhhhhyyyyyy would you do that? Somehow breaking the sound barrier with your body does not sound like a good life plan. The whole event will of course be live-streamed so you can see what happens.The A.V. Club has a fantastic article on where to start with the work of Ursula K. LeGuin. This is part of their Gateways to Geekery series, where you can while away many a pleasant hour.

And finally, a little update on the status of Fantasy and Sci-Fi on the big, little and littlest screens.

  • Once Upon a Time has started airing its second season and is having fun playing with the lighter side of fairy tale land. Grimm is darker, delightful, and yummy. Seriously, tall dark and handsome and he can hit the hit the bad guy in the head with a medieval sledgehammer? Sign me up!
  • Revolution got picked up for a full season and according to everyone I have talked to, it sucks.
  • Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog debuted on TV last night. This cult classic deserves a wider audience. It definitely does not suck.
  • On the big screen, the sci-fi film Looper is getting rave reviews, and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie is also getting good reviews.
  • And on the little-little screen, Season Six of The Guild has started.
  • Also, Patrick Rothfuss, Terry Brooks, Cherie Priest and Brandon Sanderson discuss form and function in the third episode of The Storyboard. I love watching these videos because I’ve started dipping my toe into writing. If you like understanding why you love (or loathe) the books that you read, these are great discussions to watch or listen to. (I wanted to do NaNoWriMo but Kat said, “No!”)

So, what do you think about this week’s roundup? And what’s the coolest thing you’ve seen on the web this week?


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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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  1. Revolution is only bad if you pay attention to the premise, writing, logic, and chunks of acting. Otherwise . . .

    I’m a fan of Grimm and the show in my mind keeps getting better. On the other hand, Once Upon a Time always feels like it’s falling short of what it could/should be.

    Yes, more Horrible Singing!

    You have a problem with someone on a committee labeled “science” saying the world is 9000 years old? Picky, picky, picky . . .

    Gotta love the cheap ebook deals–my Kindle even feels heavier now!

  2. I actually gave up on Once Upon a Time last season, but I agree with you, Grimm is just great. I think Monroe may be my favorite character.

  3. But you have to do NaNoWriMo we already decided that on facebook.

  4. Lovely, meaty list — I’ve bookmarked half a dozen links, thank you! Shame about the US-only offer on audible, but we’re getting used to being the crummy poor relation.
    I saw Looper a couple of days ago, and if you ignore at least two humongous plot holes, it’s pretty good. Having said that, I think the comparison with the first Matrix film is a mistake; this film just doesn’t have the Wow effect.
    Grimm isn’t being shown in a place that’s accessible to me in the UK, so it will be the DVDs when they either arrive in the library or become affordable.
    This week, I’ve had most fun listening to Trader Tales at Podiobooks.com, after hearing about them at Whatever and picking up the first on Kindle. The author reads them himself, and though that’s usually a seriously bad idea, he’s pretty good — straight read, no attempt at characters, but okay nonetheless.

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