Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Amazing Hoosier Sci-Fi writer passed away...

This makes me sad, one of the greats!

"Author Philip Jose Farmer died in his sleep Wednesday, according to a message on his Web site.

Farmer was known for his science-fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. He was 91.

The Peoria, Indiana, native's most popular work was his "Riverworld" series, written in the 1970s.

Joe Lansdale, a critic, writer and friend of Farmer's, credited Farmer with changing the face of science fiction.

"I just can't begin to tell you how important he is to the field as well as other fields," Lansdale said.

Critics said Farmer was the first author to address adult sexual themes in science-fiction novels."

The CNN obit:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Earth Crisis track up!

The first song to be released off of the Earth Crisis Reunion album "To the death" is up on their myspace.

Here is what Scott had to say...

"That's right, come over to the page and check out the new song To Ashes! In case you aren't aware the new record is called To The Death, and will be released in Europe on 4/20/09 and in North America on 5/5/2009. Also we have a new page design, a few new youtube videos, and some banners.
Thanks to FXV Digital for the myspace layout!

Here's some updates on what's been going on lately. We shot a video for To Ashes with David Brodsky. It's in the editing stages right now and hopefully we'll have something to show everyone soon. Paul Romano is working diligently on the layout for our new record and you can see some of the images in the new myspace design. We've been doing a bunch of interviews. Terrorizer has 2 features on us this month and keep an eye out for a feature in Decibel. That's it for now, we hope you like the new tune.
Leave some comments, show us some love!

Check out our friends below, they've work really hard for us lately!

www. myspace. com/fxvdigital
www. myspace. com/mgenyc
www. myspace. com/workhardened"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Book Review: Black Glass new Cyberpunk by John Shirley!

Black Glass by John Shirley

Anyone of who actually reads my blog regularly already knows that John Shirley is one of my favorite authors. So the fact that I am loving and reviewing his new book is not exactly a shocker. If you don’t know who John is he was vocalist for Portland first really great punk band Sado-nation and has since then been writing amazing novels like Wetbones, Crawlers and Demons to name a few. He also wrote lyrics for Blue Oyster Cult and the screenplay for “The Crow.”

In the late 70’s through the early 90’s John was one of the leading authors in a science fiction sub-genre called cyberpunk. The most famous of cyberpunk books was by William Gibson most well known for his novel Neuromancer.

There are other great cyberpunk authors my favorites being John, Rudy Rucker, and Bruce Sterling. All of which were influences on my cyberpunk novel I finished in January called “The Very Last Drop.” All these guys traded letters back in the day and most of them had worked together on short stories. John’s cyberpunk novels were some of the first. Transmanicon, City come a Walking and The eclipse trilogy were ground breaking. City come a walking is like a punk rock Dark City(15 or so years before John’s Crow director made that movie). City is must read of mind bending science fiction and it’s hard to believe it was released in 1980. Ahead of it’s time is an understatement.

So this brings us to Black Glass. Last year Shirley stunned his fans saying he was returning to cyberpunk, writing a new novel based on an old idea. Sometime back in the day he and William Gibson had developed a screenplay together. Nothing came of it but the idea stayed with John so recently he asked Gibson if he could have a go at it.

The result is the best modern crack at cyberpunk since Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon. That book won the Phil K. dick award on it’s release and it would a crime if Shirley didn’t get one here.

Sure the technology and the setting is modern but this novel feels like 60’s sci-fi pulp novel in tone, probably more so than Shirley’s earlier Cyberpunk novels. That is far from an insult coming from me I love retro sci-fi. Of course the only thing retro here is the noir tone.

This future detective novel is wonderful mystery that doesn’t unfold as easily as some novels do. When it’s over this is a rare case of shit “I could totally read another 100 or so pages of that.”

The story is of a hard-boiled ex-cop who goes to prison to protect his brother. In prison they “unmind” him and use him as a slave. After four years he is released and the forces that were after his brother are immedialy on his case. There is murder, intrigue, nasty corporations and great political messages about our upcoming future.

Vintage Shirley, if you a fan you need this. If you like hardcore sci-fi you need this. Get it already!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Karl Earth Crisis has a new side project

The first song is pretty good and has a killer breakdown. The second song I'm not to into until Karl starts doing his thing. This band also features members of Sworn Enemy who Earth crisis toured with last year.

Well I'm talking Karl and Sworn Enemy Those of you reading Europe make sure to check Freya while they are in your part of the world, they are doing a crazy long tour that lasts through April I think.

Stayed tuned EXC fans, new album is coming in April so we should check new tracks soon I hope. Also I have been asked to write some pieces about Earth Crisis for a blog called XstuckinthepastX which if you care about Straight Edge hardcore you should read. I know a good number of the peeps who read my blog don't care about that stuff, so stay tuned for some cool book reviews coming up too.

Just about to finish John Shirley's Black Glass and it's a killer novel.

Friday, February 13, 2009

In the newspaper for being a total geek

I'm the third one going right to left. Randall is the one whose face is all fuzzed out. It must mean he is possessed by satan, or seitan.

More BSG tonight. It's all coming to a head!

Read the article here:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Book Review The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow Book Review

I first heard of the Sparrow (by anthropologist Mary Doria Russell) a few weeks back when I was thumbing through an old issue of Cemetery Dance. In an interview British horror author Tim Lebbon used the Sparrow as a book that had recently disturbed him. He said “I know it’s Science Fiction, but because of what happened I thought of it as horror.” Well as a huge fan of dark brooding Science Fiction I looked it up at my library and I just finished it today.

Let me start by saying that I think it’s one of the best books I’ve read all year, even though it was marketed in a way that irritates me to no end. I’m not sure if the author is behind this, I suspect the publisher. You see even though the novel is about a first contact mission between humans and aliens on another planet this book was not Science fiction but a “Literary classic.”

As if saying that this book doesn’t belong in the Sci-FI ghetto. Which is of course bullshit. Many brilliant literary classics came out of Science Fiction and this is just another one.

Enough about that. The Sparrow is a brilliant and important novel with many messages to convey. The story that balances Science fiction realism Like Arthur C Clarke did best with very solid and real characters that Stephen King is perhaps the best at.

There are many ways in interrupt this novel so the ways the issues are introduced produce more questions than answers. Which is to say no matter how much you pay or how much time you put into this book it’s worth it.

It is the story of a group Jesuit missionaries who are sent on a mission to an alien world to make first contact with a species that has been sending out radio signals. When they leave they know very little about the species and have barely started to translate the songs.

Due to the nature of the people on the mission the novel becomes a giant exploration of faith. The author has stated she was inspired by all the ways that history judged Columbus and European first contact.

Of course humans misunderstanding and ignorance of an entire culture that developed on another not only makes for a foreboding narrative but is an excellent way to look at the ways the human race has failed.

Great book. Great Science Fiction Book.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Book Review: Sheep and Wolves By Jeremy C. Schipp

Sheep and Wolves by Jeremy C. Shipp
Raw Dog Screaming Press, 161 pages

I almost never have trouble finding the words to describe a book that I loved but Sheep and Wolves is one that presents me with a challenge. I could do what almost every other review of the book will do. I’m sure they’ll tell you have strange this book is but strange just is not strong enough of a word.

There is no moment reading this collection where you feel grounded in reality. For some readers this will be a huge turn-on or turn off. The atmosphere of SAW maybe surreal but I don’t want to give an impression that Shipp doesn’t bring very real unsettling moments he just does it differently than most horror writers.

Conventional horror wisdom is that you create characters and situations that the reader can relate to build suspense from there. Most of the horror in this collection doesn’t come from moments of suspense slowly rolled out against our characters. Shipp creates a horrific ecosystem of surreal prose that the characters have to inhabit.

Short but sweet tales with no wasted words Shipp tightly weaves each story together like a really tight basket. The opening story I took to be an exploration of patriarchy but here is the thing – I am not sure about that. That is not a slight on Shipp, he has created several stories that could and probably are interpreted in various ways.

My favorite stories in the collection were “Those Below, Long Metal Sigh and American Sheep.” I recommend this book for fans of dark surrealist fiction. If realism is crucial to your reading experience you’re not likely to get what Shipp is offering. I hope you are looking for it because he deserves your attention.

Readers of my blog would probably be interested to note that Jeremy is a vegan.
I reviewed his novel Vacation in 12/07 here on the blog. So check out that review/book as well.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

PDX is for BSG geeks

Portland is a great place to be a BSG geek.

So living in Portland is not perfect, riding the bus is always an adventure because the level of insane methheads that Trimet transports around the area is pretty nuts. It’s one of the reasons why people in Portland ride bikes everywhere even when it’s raining biblical style outside. I digress.

As vegan I have written at length about what a great place this city is to live in, and yes that is true. As a horror geek this is great place thanks to the HP Lovecraft film, as a metal geek we have metal night at the old school arcade ground control. We have cheap seat $3 theaters all over the city. Our theaters play classic movies on the big screen weekly.

One of them is the Baghdad Theater. Historic beautiful theater with a full balcony, yes it’s the one that Chuck Palahniuk wrote about being haunted in fugitives and refugees. Awesome theater. They have provided my inner geek with yet another reason to love living in Portland.

The Baghdad is running the last 10 episodes live on the big screen for free every Friday until it ends. Last Friday’s episode included a Q and A with the writer of the episode. Battlestar with a screaming crowd of over 1,000 dedicated geeks is fracking rad. Hearing the whole crowd yell “So say we all!” tickled my inner geek.

And wow the last episode of Battlestar was amazing. They are really kicking ass as we get to the end.