November 01, 2008

Notes From A DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

It’s not quite the Christmas season yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start looking for gifts, or for things to put on your list.  Here’s some stuff that might appeal to a genre movie buff.

First up is the giant pink Jedi in the living room:  Love ‘em or hate em, the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy has been out on DVD for some time, and if you’ve just been avoiding them altogether, now is your chance to get all three movies in one.  This special edition package contains all the bonus material from the previous releases, and has a documentary that hasn’t been previously released.  If you are going to own it, this may be the way to go.

October Bestsellers

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2. The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan (UK)
3. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
4. Nation by Terry Pratchett
5. Anathem by Neal Stehenson
6. Temporal Void by Peter F. Hamilton (UK)
7. Return of the Crimson Guard by Ian Cameron Esslemont (UK)
8. White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages
9. Leather Maiden by Joe R. Lansdale
10. A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire tie with
         Half a Crown by Jo Walton

Mass Market:
1. Halting State by Charles Stross
2. Making Money by Terry Pratchett
3. The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy
4. The Last Colony by John Scalzi
5. Extraordinary Engines edited by Nick Gevers
6. Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley
7. The Merchants' War by Charles Stross
8. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
9. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
10. Necropath by Eric Brown

Trade Paperback:
1. Steampunk edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
2. Shadow of the Scorpion by Neal Asher
3. The Living Dead edited by John Joseph Adams
4. Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson
5. The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

Just Stop, Already!

by Alan Beatts

A few months ago I was chatting with some friends about those series where one should just stop part-way through.  It's not surprising that this happens to some sequences of novels.  Most fiction work is subject to "Jumping the Shark," whether it be novel series, television programs, or movie franchises.  (As an aside, that term was coined about the old TV show, "Happy Days," about which there is almost universal agreement that the point when the show became unwatchable was when one of the major characters actually jumped a shark . . . while on water skies . . . wearing, fer' gods' sake, a leather jacket and shorts).

What surprised me was the almost universal agreement among those present (which included two editors, two publishers, three booksellers, and several readers).  For your amusement let me present some of our conclusions.

Overheard at The World Fantasy Convention

This is a feature that appears periodically, as we attend conventions and overhear things.  The tradition of keeping track of anonymous overheard bits and bobs started for us at the 2002 ConJose in San Jose, where trying (or trying not to) fill in the blanks on overheard conversations made us laugh so much that we made it a tradition.  In this issue we share the newest "overheards" from the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary.  Thanks to Alan Beatts and Rina Weisman for their help in collecting quotes.

"Facebook is, like, mostly for 15-year-olds who can't talk to each other but really want to mate."

"The fake fur covers on the manuscript were a dead giveaway."

"'Crazy' is the new black."

"No, really, you're very entertaining when you're drunk."

"My theme for the con was 'Get Therapy!'"

"I saw the Moody Blues recently.  All of those chubby sixty-something year-old hippies smoking pot were kind of depressing."
"Yeah, and then there was the audience!"

"But freeloading is a lot of fun."

"I had to drive 30 miles to find a coffee shop to write in!  Every Starbucks between the Pacific Ocean and the [Interstate] 5 Freeway is packed full of screenwriters."

"THE LOVELY BONES is the feel-good rape/murder novel of the year."