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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Books

Off the Bookshelf: Evolutionary Void, Realms of Cthulhu, iPad Book Readers

by Ken Newquist / December 14, 2010

 The Evolutionary VoidAfter a long hiatus because of too much to do at work, I've finally gotten back to reading fiction ... because of work. Specifically because of the iPad I'm trying out at my day job.

I work at a college, and we're piloting the iPad to see how tablets might be integrated into the academic environment. Part of that is trying out the different e-reading software out there, and that gave me the perfect excuse to get a new book. Or rather two new books: The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton and Realms of Cthulhu, published by Reality Blurs.

SF Site: mid-November 2010 book reviews

by Ken Newquist / November 22, 2010

The latest edition of SF Site is online with reviews of Conflicts by Ian White (a military SF anthology about all manner of future wars), Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (a vampire book in which the lead character is a woman in love with a vampire, trying to catch a non-vampire killer who's hunting women in love with vampires ...

Off the Bookshelf: Century Rain, Reversing the Anthology, Temporal Void

by Ken Newquist / June 28, 2010

I finally finished New Moon by Stephanie Meyers, and I have to say the vampire/werewolf/teenager love triangle left me cold. The main character, Bella, is whiny and unsympathetic, and she's exactly the sort of emotional heatsink that I'll be telling my son to avoid in ten years or so.

Finishing the book allowed me to move on to my proper summer reading list, starting with Century Rain and The Space Opera Renaissance. While both books were already on my bookshelf, I did still find myself buying another book for the list: Peter Hamilton's The Dreaming Void.

Nuketown's Summer 2010 Reading List

by Ken Newquist / June 6, 2010

For the last two years my family's been invited to vacation with our friends at their cabin on Lake Champlain, a cabin with an outhouse, battery-powered appliances, minimal internet connectivity and a hammock. It is, in short, the perfect place to read. And that, of course, means its time to put together my Summer Reading List for 2010.

Lightspeed SF Magazine Launches

by Ken Newquist / June 4, 2010

Lightspeed, a new science fiction magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, has launched. Published by Prime Books, it will feature four short stories a month, the first of which is "I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno" by Vylar Kaftan. New short stories will be released weekly, but you can buy the entire issue at one time as a download in Kindle, iBook, and ePub formats.

I'm happy to see this -- short fiction hasn't fared all that well on the web in the last decade, with magazines like Event Horizon and SciFiction coming and going, but recently we've seen an uptick with Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show and Tor's fiction offerings. The world could definitely use more SF short fiction, it's the format that helped launch the genre, and I think it's one that needs to be nourished.

The Periodic Table Of Super-Powers

by Ken Newquist / May 20, 2010

Super powers have been spawned by almost every element known to man (and plenty that aren't) so it only makes sense that they should be transformed into a periodic table of their own. The Periodic Table Of Super-Powers is a handy chart that breaks down superhero backgrounds by origin, physical powers, and mental powers. It's a fun, quick read for anyone who loves comic books.

$1.99 for a digital comic? I'll pass

by Ken Newquist / April 3, 2010

The Marvel Comics app for the iPad is out, offering 500 titles at $1.99 a pop. Reading comics is one of the reasons I'd like to get an iPad but speaking abstractly (I have neither the app nor the iPad), $1.99 is too expensive.

Cover price for a comic these days is $2.99, which occasional spikes to $3.99 for super-sized issues. I'd consider paying $1.50-$1.99 for a current-run title -- that'd save me $0.50 to $1 a comic, which isn't bad.

Unfortunately, that's not what Marvel's selling online. The books they're selling through the Marvel app appear to be back issues -- in some cases, 4-5 year old back issues. I'm interested in buying older digital comics -- in fact it could be a great way to read those titles I skipped because they were tangential to my collection -- but I'm not going to spend $1.99 for the privilege. The price descripency becomes even more glaring when you realize that the Marvel Comics Unlimited subscription service for digital back issues gives you full access to 5,000 comics for $9.99 a month (or $4.99/month with an annual subscription).

Off the Bookshelf: Cole Protocol, Skies of Pern, Century Rain

by Ken Newquist / March 15, 2010

Cover: The Cole ProtocolAfter a fiendishly busy January and February, I've finally had a chance to take a deep breath and spend some time reading. First up on my early spring reading list is The Cole Protocol by Tobias Buckell, a Halo Universe novel involving the quest to prevent the alien Covenant from securing navigation data leading to Earth.

On deck is The Skies of Pern by Anne McCaffrey, one of her last in the classic science fiction setting which features telepathic dragons and their human riders battling the alien, sky-borne menace of Thread, followed by Century Rain, near-future apocalypse/time travel/alternate reality book by Alistair Reynolds.

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