Five developments of interest to fans.
(1) If you habla Español, Roberto De Antuñano’s Ultralinea science fiction podcast may be for you. Roberto is the Entertainment editor for MSN Mexico (www.prodigy.msn.com), and he’s been a sci-fi fan since the golden age of 12. “Ultralìnea” takes its name from the Spanish version of Dan Simmon’s “Fatline.” The first podcast discussed Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series. The latest argues whether Star Wars is science fiction or not – a familiar ploy that is just as successful in translation, judging by Roberto’s claim that the podcast has exceeded 200,000 downloads. (If the Crotchety Old Fan hasn’t already tried that one, I guarantee he will before next week.)
(2) Orbit is offering dollar e-books to readers on a rotating basis. The dollar titles are available at onedollarorbit.com. The January book is Brent Weeks’ epic fantasy, The Way of Shadows. Next month they’ll be offering Iain M. Banks’ Use of Weapons.
(3) Using the gunpowder formula from the Star Trek episode “Arena”, a blogger takes the makings past TSA inspectors who have apparently never seen the episode. Her only trouble comes from inspectors who want to confiscate her dangerous bamboo flutes.
(4) I’d hate to be J.K. Rowling, hearing that my productivity determines whether British booksellers have jobs. As the Guardian sees it:
Not just one era came to an end this year, but two – and as a result publishers and booksellers will have to do without the main life-supporting drugs they’ve recently relied on.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard (currently number two, but after only 10 days on sale) looks likely to be JK Rowling ‘s last magical offering for some time, ending a series of roughly biennial mega-sellers that began with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire smashing records in 2000.
(5) Robert Sawyer pointed out on his blog that, in November, The Economist’s “World in 2009″ issue included a “Calendar for 2009″ whose first entry for August reads “Montreal hosts the World Science Fiction Convention, where an author’s fantasy can lead to a Hugo Award.”
[Thanks to David Klaus, Andrew Porter and John Mansfield for some of the items included in this post.]