Snapshots .22

Here are 6 high-caliber developments of interest to fans:

(1) Jeff Prucher, of Brave New Words, admitted to The Guardian that he got into hot water by crediting of the term “genetic engineering” to Jack Williamson’s 1941 novel Dragon Island:

[A critic pointed out] that Williamson has admitted that “some scientist beat me by a couple of years.” “Thanks for pointing that out,” Prucher replied to his critic. “Add it to the list of Words You Might Think Came from Science Fiction but Actually Came from Science.”

(2) We interrupt our regularly scheduled “End of Publishing As We Know It” broadcast to report the discovery that the economic collapse has a silver lining. Says the New York Times: sales of romances, SF, and fantasy are up, up, up!

Such escapist urges are also fueling sales of science fiction and fantasy, said Bob Wietrak, a vice president for merchandising at Barnes & Noble. Mr. Wietrak said sales of novels with vampires, shape shifters, werewolves and other paranormal creatures were “exploding,” whether they were found in the romance, fantasy or young-adult aisles,

(3) The Sunday Times (UK) offered an homage to John Wyndham on April 5:

The mole men of Broughton put the brakes on Google… No wonder they didn’t want the cameras around; indeed, the Google car driver wants to be thankful he wasn’t eaten on the spot, or vaporised with a death ray. They should get the army to seal off the village; that’s what they’d do in a John Wyndham novel. … 

(4) Great White Snark posted “The Top Eight Awesome Things About Starship Troopers.” Who knew there was even one? (Via SF Signal.)

One minute there are alien guts and then the next there’s a group shower scene. This is exactly how my brain worked at the age of fourteen and I’m sad to admit it’s the way it works now.

(5) A New York Times article speculates that advances in communication are depleting the stockpile of familiar literary twists:

Technology is rendering obsolete some classic narrative plot devices: missed connections, miscommunications, the inability to reach someone. Such gimmicks don’t pass the smell test when even the most remote destinations have wireless coverage.

Andrew Porter is sure the headline would read “Gandalf Rescued from Top of Orthanc” …after he calls friends using his cellphone.

And before the final item, a warning:


(6) In a recent episode of the cable tv series House a supporting character rather suddenly committed suicide. The character, Kutner, was a smart young doctor who had suffered the loss of both parents to violence at an early age, though his suicide came as a complete surprise to the other personalities in the show.  Immediately after, Fox posted “memorial site” for Kutner. Laurie Mann spotted this intriguing line in Kutner’s bio:

“He enjoyed science fiction and was a frequent participant in the Clarion Science Fiction Workshops.” 

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