Thursday, May 12, 2011
"I'm working on a project with an outside organisation, and I need some feedback from devoted SciFi readers.
If a SciFi author were to be brought here to Wellington, who would you most like to hear speak or talk to?
It can be an emerging author (with, say, two or three successful books published), or an established author. It also needs to be someone who has been reviewed well in either general reviewing sources, or in specialist magazines like Locus.
Please give me your suggestions and the reason why they appeal to you, or might appeal to others. I have a few suggestions of my own, but I'd really love to hear yours."
Sunday, July 05, 2009
For more about Julie Czerneda, visit her website: http://www.czerneda.com/
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Image courtesy of New Zealand Electronic Text Centre of Victoria University.
In 1889, Sir Julius Vogel wrote what was probably New Zealand's first full-length science fiction novel, Anno Domini 2000 - A Woman's Destiny. The book describes a New Zealand in the year 2000 where most positions of authority are held by women - at the time of writing, a radical proposition. In 2000, New Zealand's Head of State, Governor General, Prime Minister, Chief Justice and Attorney General were all women, as was the CEO of one of the country's largest companies, Telecom. Vogel was a prominent New Zealand journalist and politician, and he himself served as Prime Minister of New Zealand in the 1870s.
For those of you who have not read it yet, and who are tolerant of the idea (and the practical challenges) of reading an "eBook", you can download Sir Julius Vogel's futuristic novel from the webpage of the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre.
Image courtesy of New Zealand Electronic Text Centre of Victoria University.
The Sir Julius Vogel Awards, which are administered by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand, were created in 2001 to honour New Zealand writers and artists. You can see a list of the award winners for 2009 by clicking here.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
"The next Get-Up-and-over Fan Fund is now open for nominations. If you know what this means, are an Australasian fan, and have a desire to attend the sixtieth British Eastercon, LX, then you need to contact me. You'll need to find three nominators in Australasia, two nominators in Europe, and send me a 100 word platform and an AUD25 bond.
Nominations will close on or around 8 September, and ballots will be immediately distributed. Voting will run until shortly after Novacon (14-16th Nov).
Please disseminate widely."
Notes from Ross.
GUFF is the fan fund which sends fan delegates between Australasia and Europe. Many of you will have met the current European delegate Ang Rosin when she attended Conspiracy 2 last year. The current Australasian delegates are Damien Warman and Juliette Woods from Adelaide.
I’m helping Damien out with the logistics this side of the Tasman, so if you want to run or just have any questions about GUFF or fan funds in general let me know.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I’ve been toying with the idea of organising and editing a collection of short stories. The overall concept is to write fairy tales that feature interesting, whether admirable or flawed, female characters who are the heroes of their own stories. I want to include stories that fit into the broadest possible interpretation of the fairy tale genre: dark, humorous, modern, traditional etc. I prefer the idea of original stories with original characters as there are many revisionist fairy tales out there already but if someone has a great idea for a spin on a traditional tale or character, than that’s great.
My ideal timeline would be to have a writers meeting in the middle of the year (around June) for everyone to meet and read the stories as a group (whether first drafts or polished versions) in a spirit of mutual praise, support and constructive criticism/suggestions. Anyone who wanted to be included in the project but couldn’t attend the meeting could email me their stories.
A deadline for finished versions of the stories would be set for two months after that meeting.
1. Absolutely NO naïve waifs or victimised princesses as main characters. Protagonists can be any age or species but any happy endings must be the result of the protagonist’s actions not merely being rescued by a Prince Charming type or any Fairy Godmother cheesiness (although the latter would be fine in a tale told from the point of view of a Fairy Godmother.)
2. Editorial preference would be given to tales with female protagonists although I can see how stories could have male protagonists and still be in keeping with the tone of the collection. For example a tale about Prince Charming being fed up with rescuing Princesses and finding true love with the strong and financially independent Blacksmith, Gertrude Strapping, would be entirely in keeping with the project. Obviously it is open to authors of either gender.
Comment if you are keen to be involved in the project or have further questions or thoughts.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Also, wanted to plug the upcoming 2008 NZ Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, Conjunction. The event will be held 21-24 March (Easter weekend) at the Copthorne Plimmer Towers in central Wellington. If you are a science fiction fan and have never been to a convention before, this is a great opportunity to get out there and meet the community!
The guest list includes Peter F Hamilton, author of the "Night's Dawn" trilogy and other popular SF novels, along with Elizabeth Moon who brought us the Nebula and Heinlein award-winning author of "Speed of Dark", among others. From New Zealand will be Philippa Ballantine, author of "Chasing the Bard". Doctor Who fans take note--we have Kate Orman and Jon Blum, writers of many of the most popular original Doctor Who novels.
Activities at the convention are being finalised now, and the convention committee (of which I am affiliated) want to hear from you! Please send us an e-mail if you would be interested in running a programme event or participating in some manner. We need volunteers to help with all aspects of the convention.
Conventions like Kapcon and Conjunction are run byfans, for the fans. The more people participate, the more successful the event will be. So, if you haven't signed up yet, I hope you will do so soon and I look forward to seeing you at the Con!
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
"Newtons Sleep will be officially launched at 1pm on Saturday 12 January, at the Toi Pōneke Gallery, Wellington Arts Centre, 61 Abel Smith Street (near Real Groovy), Wellington, New Zealand. The author will be attending the launch via video linkup, and works by cover artist Emma Weakley will be displayed.
Also, a short Prelude for Newtons Sleep is now online in pdf format. This serves as a teaser for the story, and will not be part of the actual book.
Faction Paradox started off in the Doctor Who novel line, but subsequently split off into a separate continuity and its own book series. The Faction-related DW books were amongst the most interesting, most controversial, and best written books in the series, and the separate Faction universe stuff has been uniformly excellent"
Three Monkeys note - I don't know anything about this specific work so don't hassle me aboth the apostrophe, but it is a genre publication and it is being published by a well known Wellington SF identity who you will probably know. For this reason, I think it is worth supporting.
Friday, November 16, 2007
So the question is: do you want a quiz that pushes you or do you want a fun style end of year deal that everybody can get most of the answers?
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Vermithrax, the vicious fire-breathing wyrm from the film Dragonslayer (1981), was the winner of the last poll ("Vote for your favourite movie dragon"). The full name of this dragon was Vermithrax Pejorative, which roughly translates from latin to "The worm of Thrace who make things worse". Indeed, this dragon is the meanest of all the ones in our lineup, rivaled perhaps only by Smaug of Lonely Mountain.
"In fact, if it weren't for sorcerers, there wouldn't be any dragons. Once, the skies were dotted with them. Magnificent horned backs, leathern wings... soaring... and their hot-breathed wind. Oh, I know this creature of yours... Vermithrax Pejorative. Look at these scales, these ridges. When a dragon gets this old, it knows nothing but pain, constant pain. It grows decrepit... crippled... pitiful. Spiteful!" - Sorcerer Ulrich of Cragganmore.
Thus begins the story of Dragonslayer, as a delegation of villagers from Urland seeks the help of the last known sorcerer to rid their village of the reptilian pest. Dragonslayer is notable for being one of the few fantasy films to present a reasonably accurate portrayal of life in the middle ages (with the exception of magic and dragons, of course!). The clothing, weapons, villages and landscapes are gritty and realistic. Carefully intermixed are plot threads that remind us that we are at the heart of Britain as it shifted from paganism to Christianity. This could have actually been a real place, making the threat of the dragon that much more real. With the possible exception of Peter McNicol, who does not quite seem right for the role of the sorcerer's apprentice, the cast is excellent. Both heroes and villains (especially) are multi-dimensional, complex and conflicted. Ralph Richardson is quite convincing as Ulrich, while King Casiodorus Rex (played by Peter Eyre) is exactly the sort of purple-slippered monarch you would expect to be making deals with dragons.
The special effects for Dragonslayer featured a mixture of animation and live action puppetry (on a very large scale). The conceptual design for Vermithrax was done by artist David Bunnett. Industrial Light & Magic's Dennis Muren, Ken Ralston and Phil Tippett oversaw the miniature SFX, while Disney's special effects shop, with Danny Lee and Brian Johnson, produced the life-size dragon props. Dragonslayer is notable for being the first film to utilise go-motion, a variation on stop-motion animation which was developed by ILM. The technique improved upon traditional stop-motion because it enabled the puppet to be filmed in real time, creating blur and making it appear more lifelike.
For those of you who are really into modeling and really into dragons, this might be the model kit for you...
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Today's TVNZ's Breakfast show yet again featured another look at the franchise, this time from an academic point of view. Guest Claudia Marquis, of the University of Auckland's English Department, joined the show to talk about her thoughts on the book, the long-term impact on children and reading, and its status as a piece of legitimate literature. Generally she was complimentary of the Potter tales and felt that the characters offered good role models. As to the lasting effects of readership as a result of all this, she was more a little more dubious.
When asked about the popularity of the series, she suggested that it was 'in the right place at the right time." To paraphrase: 'At the time the first Harry Potter book came out, the divorce rate in stories for children had actually exceeded the real world divorce rate. Kids were looking for something fun and wanted a break from reality.' On the question of the academic merits of Rowling's work, she was diplomatic and acknowledged that Rowling has grown as a writer with each book. As so many others have suggested, Claudia felt that Rowling could occasionally benefit from a stronger Editor (Order of the Phoenix needed to shed about 200 pages).
Claudia did take the opportunity to highlight some writers she liked more when it came to junior fiction. Philip Pullman was mentioned for his 'His Dark Materials' trilogy, as well as some Kiwi authors including Vicky Jones and Margaret Mahy.
And, on that note, I'll end this post with a link that may be of interest to you aspiring writers in our ranks. I Should Be Writing is a podcast/weblog site by writer Mur Lafferty who's spent the last few years navigating towards getting her works published. Admittedly, the publishing landscape in the United States is different than in New Zealand, but may still be worth a listen.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I'm having trouble getting the customised layout for the Phoenix log to show up properly in every browser. I use Firefox, and it shows up fine there, but in MS Explorer there are layout problems (missing background, text errors, things out of alignment). I did not notice this until I loaded it at work the other day.
At any rate, sorry about that and I'll keep working on it. I would like to get the page looking at least acceptable in every browser. If anyone out there has experience with XML and would be willing to assist me in this, it would be hugely appreciated.
Otherwise, I have managed to add a few widgets and content features to the sidebar, and am going to work on keeping a Google Calendar as well. Please let me know if you have anything to add to the calendar, any suggestions for content in general, or thoughts about ways to make the blog more engaging and useful to our membership.
Along these lines, I encourage you guys to post some things! Even if it's a link to an interesting article or book review you saw on the web, or a neat piece of SF/Fantasy artwork. Longer articles and stories are best saved for Phoenixine, but it would be good to have some activity on the site as well. Besides, if I am the only one posting it looks rather silly and I am starting to feel a bit self-conscious...
OK there's my combined lecture/plea. Hope you guys are enjoying the polls. Ideas very welcome for those as well!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Robby the Robot was constructed by Dr. Morbius, utilising technology left behind by an ancient civilisation called the Krell. Robby can synthesize artificial gems of large size and analyse or duplicate any food or chemical mixture, all within the space of his body. One scene from Forbidden Planet features Robby making fifty gallons of liquor for the chief chef of the United Planets Cruiser C-57D. The man's excitement can hardly be contained. Robby is also capable of defending himself, and those around him, so long as it does not conflict with his primary programming to not harm humans.
Robby’s sterling reputation, flashing dome lights and valiant efforts in the fight against alcoholism have not gone unappreciated by robot fans. In 2004, Robby was officially inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame. You can view his honoured place in the lineup by clicking here.
If you were stranded on an alien world, which of these artificial lifeforms would you want with you? R2-D2, Robbie the Robot, Data, Model B9 or Number Six?
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Ollie Record Productions, 1978
The friendly rivalry between Wellington and her northern sister city continues! In addition to slightly higher temperatures, Aucklanders can soon lay claim to one other thing that Wellington does not have: a live performance version of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of the War of the Worlds is coming to Auckland's Vector Arena on Friday, 28 September.
war machine in this original artwork by Mike Trim from the 1978 album
The show, which apparently features a giant martian war machine, sold out to huge crowds in the UK and has also been touring Australia. Even if you can't go see it, I encourage you to check out the official website for live show production, especially if you haven't heard or seen the original album before.
In addition to information about the live tour, it features heaps of information about the original production, including artwork from the album. Some of the artwork by Peter Goodfellow, Geoff Taylor and Michael Trim was quite spectacular. Perhaps best of all, the site features a stream of the music (classified as 'progressive rock' by Wikipedia) from the original album, complete with narration by Richard Burton.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Babylon 5 will soon return to the small screen with a direct-to-DVD film! This is the first in a proposed series of anthology format direct-to-DVD releases. The DVD contains two interwoven stories featuring three B5 universe regulars (Sheridan, Lockley and techno-mage Galen) and some new characters, including a Centauri Prince. Below is the short description from the official site:
Times change. Dangers remain. 10 years after he became President of the Interstellar Alliance, Sheridan prepares for a fateful Babylon 5 reunion that could prevent Earth’s impending doom…if he will also compromise his core principles. Meanwhile, commander Lochley confronts an unexpected interloper on the way station – a being whose presence makes the B5 freeport the crossroads between heaven and hell.
In Voices in the Dark, Series creator J. Michael Straczynski reunites with stars Bruce Boxleitner and Tracy Scoggins in two richly imagined stories set after the events of the original series. Richly imagined, too, is Straczynski’s vision of the 23rd century (including a dazzling New York City) – a vision made more spectacular via filmmaking technology unavailable during the original series.
You can visit the Babylon 5 Official Website to view the official trailer, get information about the production, and view the Great Maker's video logs. The Lost Tales can be pre-orderedat a discounded rate on Amazon, as well as from the official site.
(representing works for the 2006 calendar year)
For a complete listing of nominations, visit SFFANZ web site
The Assassin of Gleam
by James Norcliffe (Hazard Press, 2006).
BEST SHORT STORY:
“Western Front, 1914"
By Peter Friend
(Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, March/April 2006)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM:
Produced by South Pacific Films Ltd
BEST FAN WRITING:
For his column “Wot I Red On My Hols” published in Phoenixine.
Alan’s work can also be viewed by clicking here.
BEST NEW TALENT:
Douglas A. Van Belle
Doug has had “Small Blue Planet for the Pleasantly Insane” published in issue 16 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (2004/2005) – this story will be reprinted in the inaugural ASIM Best of SF anthology in 2007. Doug also had “Slag Fairmont: Psychic Zone Ranger” published in issue 27 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (2007). Additionally, Doug had a story “Aliens don't poop” in Antipodean, and a serialized novel that used to be on Quantum Muse
FOR SERVICES TO FANDOM:
John and Lynelle Howell
For their sterling work editing Phoenixine
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Wellington was the site of this year's national SF convention. The guests of honour included sci-fi and fantasy writer Eric Flint, comics author and artist Dylan Horrocks, cyber punk author Marianne de Pierres, fantasy writer Isobelle Carmody and web comic author Fred Gallagher (aka Piro). Fan GoH was Barbara Clendon of Barbara's Books.
It started out friendly enough...but then things went sour
Programming at the con was full of interesting subject matter, ranging from writer's workshops to radio-controlled battle tanks. It offered a good mix from several sub-genres that would appeal to a broad fan base.
Unfortunately, you cannot attend everything, but the events I did attend were very enjoyable. I particularly liked Dylan's mini-workshop on drawing, as it has since gotten me off my arse and I have taken up artistic endeavors again after a long pause. Also of mention were two panels that took me by surprise: Alan Robson's Handle on Heinlein and Geographies of the Imagination presented by Russell Kirkpatrick. I have a renewed interest in picking up some Heinlein after Alan's talk, and I was simply fascinated by the darker side of maps as revealed by Russell. Ross's Across the Tasman was an excellent bridge to learning more about SF/Fantasy fandom goings-on in Oz, and his quiz was (as usual) a good opportunity for all of us finally have a use for all that carefully-accumulated useless knowledge about all things fantastic.
Special events included a costume contest, where the audience members were also required to wear masks (or be forced to wear a government-provided 'silly mask'...I brought my own). The costumes, though perhaps few in number, were all of very high quality and imaginative. It was also nice to see so many young people in the contest, and at the Con in general. The future generation of Fans...
Some people improvised with newspaper when it came to the masks.
Others killed cows and took their heads, which seemed rather drastic at the time.
Lastly, of most special note was the announcement of the winners of the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. There were many great nominees and the suspense was huge. Unfortunately, I don't have all the information in front of me about who won! But, look for that to be added as an edit to this post very soon.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Friday, June 01, 2007
I'm switching the Phoenix (B)log to the new Blogger templates, and will be doing some work on restoring the appearance of the site to what you are used to. This will likely take me a couple days of blundering about with HTML specialisations, so I wanted to warn you. Speaking of this, if you have any suggestions for widgets or other improvements to the site that you would like to see added, now is a good time!
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
I am turning 30 soon, and am having a party so that people can help me celebrate or commiserate as takes their fancy. All Phoenixers are, of course, invited.
Saturday, 26 May
7pm until whenever
My house. Or Norman's house if you prefer. Email me at email@example.com if you don't already know where that is. ;-)
See you there!
Thursday, April 26, 2007
wrastling. No matter how you pronounce it, it's still disturbing)
Friday, April 06, 2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
As usual, the meeting will be held at Turnbull House, Bowen st - Wednesday 11th April, 7.30pm.
Please pass this information on.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
For more information including details of the categories, have a look at the SJV info on the SFFANZ site. Voting and presentation of these awards will occur at Conspiracy 2 in June.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Friday, March 02, 2007
This month we have a panel discussion "Just how big is our genre?" Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Alternate history, slipstream - the whole shebang. Just what is the scope of what we profess to be fans of?