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News for January 2009

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Is Amazon Launching a New Kindle?

Is Amazon Launching a New version of the Kindle?, there is much speculation swirling around the internet after a picture was spotted with a sleeker looking Kindle reader. Amazon haven't done anything to deny the rumor, instead they have organised a press conference on 9th February at the New York Morgan Library & Museum.

The event will be overseen by Chief executive Jeff Bezos, which is being held less than a mile from the hotel where the company unveiled the original Kindle.

The Kindle, which is still only available in the USA, has been a moderate success - allowing Amazon to quickly take command of the small but much-heralded electronic book market. The current $359 (...

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written by Ant on Thursday 29th January 2009
Article

New Red Dwarf dates confirmed

Red Dwarf

It has been confirmed that the brand new Red Dwarf episodes will be shown on Digital TV this easter. The first episodes, a two part story called "Back to Earth" will be shown on Friday 10th April 2009 at 9pm on digital channel Dave. This will be followed by a special episode with no sets, special effects or autocue and finally a behind the scenes making of episode, showing the making of the first two new episodes. The original four cast are reunited (Dave, Lister, Cat and Kryten) along with Cloe Annett as Kochanski, and filming is due to begin in february.

The story for the main special episodes goes along the lines of: When Lister's busy day of annoying Rimmer is interrupted by a monstrou...

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written by Ant on Wednesday 28th January 2009
Article

The Graveyard Book wins Newbery Medal

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard book by Neil Gaiman has won this years Newbery Medal, the USA's most prestigious award for Children's Literature. The Newbery has been awarded annually since 1922 and is named after the 18th century book publisher John Newbery.

The award is presented by the American Library Association (ALA) and past winners have included authors Madeleine L'Engle, Lloyd Alexander and Lois Lowry. Other awards of note include Terry Pratchett's Nation winning both Printz Honor Books and Odyssey Honor Audiobooks, and for the Alex Award, The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick.

For more info...

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written by Ant on Tuesday 27th January 2009
Article

Winners of the 2008 Aurealis Awards

Aurealis Awards

The winners of the 2008 Aurealis Awards, given for the best works in Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy have recently been announced. The winners are:

Best Science Fiction Novel: "Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait" by K.A. Bedford Best Science Fiction Short Story: "The Empire" by Simon Brown Best Fantasy Novel: "The Two Pearls of Wisdom" by Alison Goodman Best Fantasy Short Story: "Sammarynda Deep" by Cat Sparks Best Horror Novel: "The Seance" by John Harwood Best Horror Short Story: "Painlessness" by Kirstyn McDermott...

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written by Ant on Tuesday 27th January 2009
Article

Nominations for the BSFA awards

The nominations are in for the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) awards, with the winners due to be announced during eastercon LX 2009 (11th April 2009), which is the National British Science Fiction convention and is staged in London.

BSFA Nominations

The Nominations are:

Best Novel Anathem by Neal Stephenson Flood by Stephen Baxter The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway The Night Sessions by Ken Mcleod Best Short Fiction Crystal Ni...

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written by Ant on Monday 26th January 2009
Article

MP calls on government to protect independent booksellers

An MP in the Ribble Valley has called on the government to protect independent booksellers after a much loved and well known independent book shop, Kaydee bookshop, in Clitheroe, Lancashire is having to close it's doors.

Kaydee Bookshop was named independent bookseller of the year in 1992, but due to to the incredibly tough current market is having to close down at the end of this month, after 60 years in business. This will mean the loss of nine jobs.

This follows earlier news that the UK's only specialist crime bookshop, Murder One in London, will also close at the end of January, and adds to official figures that show the number of independent bookshops in the UK has plummeted by ...

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written by Ant on Sunday 25th January 2009
Article

Scifi and Fantasy Books you must read, by the Guardian.

The Guardian online has been recently running a series called 1000 books you must read, and today turns to the Genres of Science fiction and fantasy. For some reason Horror has also been included in this category and there are also a surprising variation in these books being recommended.

Included in the list are old favorites like The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Isaac Asimov`s Foundation ...

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written by Ant on Saturday 24th January 2009
Article

Terry Pratchett, Living with Alzheimer's

Terry Pratchet

Sir Terry Pratchett (OBE) has been working with the BBC to film a special 2 part documentary about how he is living, coping and fighting early onset Alzheimer's.

The series shows Sir Terry's personal journey through the reality of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and his quest to understand the condition as he endeavours to find ways of slowing, mitigating or even reversing its course.

The first part of the documentary starts at the beginning of 2008 shortly after Sir Terry's diagnosis, having been a hugely productive and successful author, writing over 47 novels and selling over 60 million books worldwide, the prospect on not being able to remember or...

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written by Ant on Saturday 24th January 2009
Article

Lee Evans in Doctor Who Special?

Lee Evans

According to a comedy website called Chortle Lee Evans is going to be playing a role in the next Doctor Who special, to be shown at Easter which has been titled Planet of the Dead. This is the same special episode that sees Michelle Ryan as the companion.

Lee Evans, while a very hyperactive stand up comedian (who draws very large crowds) is also an accomplished actor, having starred in films including Something About Mary, Mouse hunt and The Fifth Element.

...

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written by Ant on Friday 23rd January 2009
Article

Sony wins film rights for Asimov's Foundation

foundation

Sony has won the rights to make the film of one of the greatest classic Science Fiction Novels, Foundation by Isaac Asimov. The project is due to be directed by Roland Emmerich who's most recent film 2012 is due to be released in Cinemas 13th November 2009.

Isaac Asimov originally wrote Foundation as short stories for Astounding Science Fiction. The novel is a complicated story about the human race, scattered throughout the galaxy on many planets, living under the rule of the Galactic Empire. A psychohistorian who can scientifically read the future sees an imminent empire collapse and prepares to save the knowledge of ...

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written by Ant on Thursday 22nd January 2009
Article

Barak Obama a Scifi Fan?

It has been widely reported that Barak Obama, the new president of the USA is a big fan of Science Fiction. He knows his superheroes and much prefers the struggling Spiderman / Batman characters rather than the "have it easy" Superman Heroes.

He told an audience in Wyoming that he "grew up on Star Trek" and that he "believes in the final frontier". He has been lucky enough to give the vulcan signal to Leanard Nimoy ad as a kid collected Spiderman and Conan the Barbarian comics.

Even more impressive is that he has read all of JK Rowlings Harry Potter books. Maybe this will be encouragement for more people to pick up a book and read (especially Scifi or Fantasy), which could already be h...

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written by Ant on Thursday 22nd January 2009
Article

2012 film delayed until November

2012, to be seen 13th November 2009

The new 2012 film, which see's an apocalypse of a worldwide scale, has been delayed by Sony from the original date of 10th July to the 13th November. A number of reasons are thought to be the cause of this delay, mainly due to the strong line up of summer films Sony already has scheduled. Angels and Demons is due on the 15th May 2009 while Terminator Salvation (which Sony has international distribution rights for) opens worldwide on the 22nd May.

Also released on the 13th November is the new Sherlock Holmes film (starring Robert Downey Jr) and The Tooth Fairy, followed closely o...

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written by Ant on Wednesday 21st January 2009
Article

Michelle Ryan in Doctor Who Special?

michelle-ryan

Michelle Ryan has been spotted on the set of the next Doctor Who special "Planet of the Dead", scenes of which were being filmed at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

This gives some credit to the rumors flying around that she was going to be the next companion. According to Russell T Davies, each of the four special episodes this year will have their own companion. Other favorites to play the Doctors companion next years are Lilly Allen and Kelly Brook.

...

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written by Ant on Monday 19th January 2009
Article

Is this World just a Hologram?

A Hologram?

Ok before I get labelled a nutter (what do you mean too late!) I had better explain this bold question. For the past 7 years German Scientists have been conducting an experiment (called the GEO600) to look for gravitational waves - ripples in space-time thrown off by super-dense astronomical objects such as neutron stars and black holes. These have been predicted since 1916 by Albert Einstein but so far never directly observed.

To accomplish this they have built a 600 meter long detector in Hanover. They have yet to find any evidence of Gravitational waves but they might inadvertently have made the most importan...

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written by Ant on Sunday 18th January 2009
Article

New evidence for Life on Mars

Mars

There has been new evidence that could indicate life on the Red planet Mars, NASA scientists report. Large quantities of Methane in the atmosphere must be caused by one of two possibilities.

The first is a geological process, the second a biological process. If Methane is being caused by a biological process it is most likely to be microorganisms living beneath the permafrost layer and could be survivors of an earlier time when mars was covered with water.

The possibility that water covered the surface is a strong one due to the recent discovery of Carbonates found on the surface.

There is also a theory that life may have begun on Mars and then been transported to Earth on a ...

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written by Ant on Sunday 18th January 2009
Article

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by JRR Tolkien

Tolkien

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by JRR Tolkien is set to be published in May 2009 following christopher tolkiens editing.

The volume was originally written in the early 1920's even before the hobbit and the lord of the rings and tells the story of the Norse legend of Sigurd and the Fall of the Nilfungs. This was also the legend that inspired Wagner to write Der Ring des Nibelungen (the ring of the nibelung).

Very few people have ever read the unpublished manuscript and is is thought the work is narrated poems. It is knownb that Sigurd and the Dragon has been one of tolkiens major influences in his later novels. Tolkien is also known to have written a translation of beowolf an...

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written by Ant on Saturday 17th January 2009
Article

Pandemonium wins award

Pandemonium

Pandemonium, the fantasy novel written by Daryl Gregory has won the 25th annual William L Crawford award for best book length work of fantasy.

Daryl's debut novel is a chronicle of one man's desperate quest to free himself from a demon that took him over when he was just a child.

The award is named after the publisher who launched the first Scifi/Fantasy speciality press in 1935 with the publication of Eugene George Key's Mars Mountain.

Other Finalists this year included Doug Dorst's "Necropolis", Felix Gilman's "Thunderer" and "Last Dragon" by JM McDermott.

The award will be presented at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts that run...

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written by Ant on Thursday 15th January 2009
Article

Dream recorder may become reality

Brains!!!

A Laboratory in Japan is claiming to have created a prototype that can read and visualy record human thoughts. The ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories first move was to "tune" the device by showing test subjects 400 images and measuring their cerebral responses.

Then they carried out their first, successful test. The letters of the word "neuron" were shown to their test subjects and a blurry but definitive image of those letters was then reconstructed by the device.

It is effective but actually relatively simple technology, examining the electrical signals sent to the visual cortex and then converting them into graphics on a computer screen. In practice, if perf...

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written by Ant on Sunday 11th January 2009
Article

Ian Mckellan to play Gandalf in the Hobbit?

Ian McKellan

Is Ian Mckellan to play Gandalf in the Hobbit?, though not totally confirmed, it has been confirmed he will be involved in the new film being directed by Guillermo Del Toro.

He was quoted as saying:

" As Guillermo del Toro's directing it, I should be so lucky. And in New Zealand, a place I love, so it's almost an ideal job for me."

Meanwhile, McKellan said that he has not seen a script yet for the proposed X-Men spinoff film featuring his character, Magneto. David Goyer has written a script, but it has not made it to the actor yet.

The success of the upcoming prequel film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which stars Hugh Jackman, could determine Magn...

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written by Ant on Friday 9th January 2009
Article

New Doctor Who Named

Doctor Who

The Actor Who will play the eleventh Doctor in 2010 has been announced in a special Doctor Who Confidential.

Matt Smith, who has previously acted alongside Billy Piper in the 2006 adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke and also in the follow-up, The Shadow in the North, will be the youngest doctor ever at 26 years old, 3 years younger than Peter Davidson was when he became the 5th Doctor in 1982.

When learning the news, Matt said:

" I feel proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity to join a team of people that has worked so tirelessly to make the show so thrilling."

"David Tennant has made the role his own, brilliantly...

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written by Ant on Sunday 4th January 2009