Ladies, gentlemen, permit me to present to you the stone cold weirdest SF music ever recorded: ELP’s 1971 magnum opus Tarkus. Interestingly, Tarkus backwards is Suk Rat, which must be more than a coincidence, because that’s precisely what the song “Tarkus” does. It sucks a rat. It sucks a rat’s balls. It sucks a futuristic cyborg rat’s balls. Continue reading Sucking rats: Tarkus by Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Michael Basnett, Sparklers (ILT Books, 2003)
[pp.757. $24.95. ISBN: 723483445127]
Readers may remember Canadian writer Basnett from his Substars trilogy (Density, the second volume of which, was nominated for the De Granville Prize). Sparklers is a fat stand-alone volume in the same mode, which is to say it is a fast-paced galactic space opera with an ingenious central premise and occasional moments of poetry. Basnett is quickly becoming a writer worth noticing. Continue reading Book review: Michael Basnett – Sparklers
Kramer Wand, me:topia (Indicia, 2009)
[pp.197. $20.00. ISBN: 723485522826]
“Great title”, said a friend when I emailed him to say I’d received this book to review; “what’s it about? No, don’t tell me, let me guess—”
I bet this book is arguing that the problem with utopia has been too large a concern with the other feller, too much ‘you’ and not enough ‘me’. I’d wager it’s written by an ex-hippy, somebody now wearing a silk suit and driving an open-top BMW, who’s come to see that self-love is the road to a harmonious society. I’ll go so far as to imagine a sentence from this book: ‘how can we love others if we don’t first love ourselves, and love must be the basis of any utopia. Am I right?
I mention this because, like my friend, I assumed from the title that this book would be a 21st-century revisioning of hippy idealism through the ‘ethical selfishness’ of the late twentieth-century: but, like my friend, I could not have been more wrong. Continue reading Book review: Kramer Wand – me:topia
The excitement in the academic community at the discovery of four new Nietzsche notebooks has percolated, to some extent, into the general culture; and a palpable thrill has echoed through the SF community with the news that one of these notebooks contains Nietzsche’s thoughts on the—then—new genre of science fiction: Einleitende Studie, Also Sprach Zukunftsromane. The Adam Roberts Project, in conjunction with Futurismic Publishing Incorporated, is proud to be the first to reprint a selection of these Nietzschean apothegms; the full edition will be published later this year, in a dual-language edition, by Unwahrscheinlicheraben Buchbindung. Continue reading Nietzsche on science fiction
Thomas Hodgkin, Denis Bayle: a Life (Badger Books 2009)
[pp.321. £20.00. ISBN: 724381129524]
This is a novel with an interesting conceit, written by a newcomer to SF (although according to Hodgkin’s own author bio, he has published a number of mainstream novels). The book takes the form of a biography, complete with preface, scholarly apparatus, timeline and everything else. The subject of the story is a fictional Science Fiction author, the Denis Bayle of the title, but the point of the book is less to tell a life story (Hodgkin doesn’t give Bayle that interesting a life).
Continue reading Book review: Thomas Hodgkin – Denis Bayle: a Life