June 27, 2017

In For the Long Haul, Fixing the Future

In our natural habitat.

So, how are YOU holding up? Today marks two weeks since the inauguration/coronation of El Presidente, and like many, it’s tough to keep the old nose to the grindstone and focus on writing. This isn’t the usual distraction of kids/TV/yard guys around the house that’s easily shut out with ear defenders (yes, we occasional type with 105 Db proof-rated ear defenders on. Sometimes, I even wear a back brace, too) or a good blast of death metal music. [Read more...]

Review: The Nebula Awards Showcase 2013

On sale now!

It’s the dream of many a science fiction author.

The Nebula Awards are one of the biggest recognitions in the world of science fiction. Every year, the Nebulas honor the very best in sci-fi novels, novellas, short stories and poetry.

This week, we take a look at the best of the best in the Nebula Awards Showcase 2013, edited by Catherine Asaro and out from Pyr Books. Whether your interest leans toward the fantastical, or harkens back to the hard “rockets & rayguns” of science fiction past, the 2013 compilation brings it all together for you in one tome. [Read more...]

Review: Alien Pregnant by Elvis Edited by Ester M. Friesner and Martin H. Greenberg.

  

A Sci-Fi Classic!

Its gotta be true, it’s in print, right? This week, we dig back into the Astroguyz science fiction library of the strange and curious to bring you Alien Pregnant by Elvis, an anthology of 36 tabloid inspired tales that could have sprung right from the supermarket checkout line. From a Martian memorial to Elvis to 2,437 (who counted ‘em?) UFOs sighted over New Hampshire, it’s all here in tales woven in a stranger-than-fiction fashion. [Read more...]

June 2010: Life in the Astro-Blogosphere.

 

A Curious "One Belted" Jupiter! (Photo by Author).

A Curious "One Belted" Jupiter! (Photo by Author).

  

   Summer is upon us, as most backyard astronomers begin to look forward to “crossing the hump” of the summer solstice. You won’t know it until fall, but the nighttime starts slooooowly creeping back into the northern hemisphere this month. What follows is a gathering of all things astronomical and what you can expect to see on the Astroguyz collective radar in the coming month; [Read more...]

Review: The Drabblecast by Norm Sherman.

 

(Credit: The Drabblecast).

(Credit: The Drabblecast).

 

 

Alright; this post has been a long time in coming… a few months back, we reviewed Escape Pod as one of the ultimate greats in science fiction podcasting. More than once, we’ve heard host Steve Ely refer to wonders of a podcast known as The Drabblecast. Noting that it’s the only podcast out there that’s he’s routinely jealous of is high praise indeed, so we vowed to give it a listen. We’re now totally hooked! In fact, with the current hiatus of Escape Pod, The Drabblecast has moved to top of our pod catcher list. Advertized as “bringing strange stories to strange listeners…” host Norm Sherman never fails to bring quality stories on a weekly basis. And I wouldn’t merely pigeon hole the content as just sci-fi; the strangeness can cover the intersecting genres of horror, fantasy, and often lends a Twilight Zone bent to things. Norm’s production skills and comedy input is first rate, and from rotifers to art and Mongolian Death Worms gone mad, his insight never fails to amuse. Check out Norm’s musical and video compilations as well; he’s truly a jack of all trades. So just when does he like, eat or take in sustenance? Or has his alien species evolved past such menial things?

The tone of The Drabblecast reminds us of the old live radio shows of old, were the narrators were responsible for providing their own sound effects. Mr. Sherman takes a direct lineage with these broadcasters of yore to new digital heights. A nod to this styling was even given in the recent two part saga, The Golden Age of Fire Escapes, complete with authentic scratchy commentator voicing.

So, what, might you ask, is a drabble? Although the etymology of the term is subject to some controversy, the term is generally attributed to Monty Python circa 1971. A drabble is a short-short story or “Flash fiction” piece of exactly 100 words. These are also showcased in the Drabblecast, and Norm suggests you try it out and submit one (or one hundred) to him. I find Drabbles a wonderful way to “kick start” the creative writing juices; they say that no one likes the writing process, but everyone likes the feeling of having written. A drabble is a good way to get that quick warm fuzzy feeling without having to push the brink of insanity by writing at a Stephen King-like pace.

And for those who feel a drabble is just too much, Mr. Sherman even features “Twitfic” from a certain 140- character site. Follow him as @Drabblecast and perhaps belt out one of your own.

Now in its third year, The Drabblecast is at 161 episodes and counting. Each podcast episode is also commemorated by unique icon artwork contributed by the fans.  I find like Escape Pod, The Drabblecast is best consumed in those moments before sleep invades consciousness, although we can’t vouch for what might happen to your sanity if you load up your pod-catcher with every episode and simply doze off. In the last few months, some of our favorite episodes have been;

Dr. Diablo Goes Through the Motions by Saladin Ahmed: What’s a super-villain to do when he gets bored with the corny routines and canned dialogue?

The Second Conquest of Earth by L.J. Daly: Alien invasion with a twist; conquest is long over, but humans may yet gain dominion over their captors in a unique way. I love it when a new spin can be put on an old theme!

Joanierules.bloggermax.com: Joan of Arc, blogger style!

The Drabblecast also hosts several three story Trifecta episodes, all of which have been outstanding! In closing, I’d say if you only listened to one fiction podcast on a weekly basis, let The Drabblecast be it. Downloads are up on ITunes or straight MP3 feed for the rest of the internet universe. And don’t forget the Mega Beasts and Drabblecast B-Sides links! This is definitely a load up for a desert island kinda podcast… and just think, you’ll be hip, uber-cool, and down in with some of the coolest in strange fiction, sci-fi or otherwise!

Escape Pod: The Ultimate in SciFi Podcasting!

 

 

 

A must on ye ole' Nanopod...(photo by Author).

A must on ye ole' Nanopod...(photo by Author).

 

Pssttt! I’m gonna let you on a secret, a podcast that by very mention of its name will put you in the realm of the ultra-hip. For over a year now, topping our pod-catchers list has been a gem called Escape Pod. Run by the prolific guru of sci-fi Steve Eley, it is only one of two (including the Drabblecast) science fiction pod casts that make our must listen to list every week…in fact, the Drabblecasts’ Norm Sherman is now a frequent host on Escape Pod, perhaps in his evil bid to conquer sci-fi podcast-dom. [Read more...]

Themes in Science Fiction.

HG Wells: The first and last word in Scifi? (Public Domain image).

HG Wells: The first and last word in Scifi? (Public Domain image).

Zombies. Ray-guns. Spacecraft that defy physics. Sure, sci-fi is rife with, well, bad plot devices that you could fly an Imperial Star Destroyer through. But if you subsist on a steady diet of the fantastic, a set of themes emerge. Here is an Astroguyz tongue-and-cheek original, a quick baker’s dozen of the themes that we’ve identified and tagged in the wild. Feel free to submit your own! [Read more...]

The Universe of Astronomy Podcasting.


Ipod.

The Beaten & Battered Astroguyz Nano…(photo by author).

Technology has changed nearly every aspect of astronomy. We’ve gone from auto guiding long exposures on hyper-sensitized film to automated observatories that patrol the skies while we sleep. Technology is just plain cool. It’s hard to imagine that slightly more than a decade ago, the Internet was non-existent, processors were measured in kilobytes, and the latest issue of Sky & Telescope was telling us about that brief comet that had already come and gone. [Read more...]