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News for May 2010

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Neal Stephenson creates book experiment

Neal Stephenson creates book experiment

Neal Stephenson, the American author of Anathem, and the Cryptonomicon (amongst others) has begun to create a collaborative experiment in 21st century publishing with renowned author Greg Bear, Nicole Galland, Mark Teppo and others.

This experiment, titled "The Mongoliad" is a serialised story that is going to be available via custom reader applications on the iPad, iPhone, Android and Kindle and is being designed to be as interactive as possible.

The novel itself is based around the fears over the invasion of the Mongols as they threaten Western Europe in 1241 AD. Stephenson's ideas behind the novel are...

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written by Ant on Wednesday 26th May 2010
Article

Artificial Life Created!

Artificial Life Created!

A truly historic achievement, for the first time in history Artificial life has been created by man. Researchers led by Dr Craig Venter of the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in Maryland and California have managed to construct a bacterium's "genetic software" (called Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0) and transplanted it into a host cell.

The resulting microbe behaved and looked identical to the species dictated by the completely synthetic DNA.

The researchers hope that they will eventually be able to design and create bacteria which will perform useful functions such as absorbing greenhouse gases, acting as a fuel or even a medicine. Dr Venter bel...

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written by Ant on Thursday 20th May 2010
Article

Is Voyager 2 sending us Alien Messages

Is Voyager 2 sending us Alien Messages

33 years ago (August 20, 1977), NASA launched Voyager 2 out into space, the probe was intended as both a time capsule and an attempt to contact Alien intelligence. To this end Voyager 2 carried a Golden Record that contained a voice message in 55 languages welcoming any Alien it may encounter in the vastness of space. Also on the record were sounds from nature and a selection of classical music from all over the world along with 115 images encoded in analog form.

Written on the exterior of the craft was a message from the US President of the time Jimmy Carter:

We cast this message into the cosmos? Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way ...

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written by Ant on Thursday 13th May 2010
Article

Angry Robots break away from human masters!

Angry Robots break away from human masters!

Angry Robots break away from human masters!, you heard it right, those ever so angry robots have split from their human masters over at HarperCollins UK and are now independent Robots, backed by experts Osprey Publishing.

They will continue to plot and scheme from their Nottingham lair and will still be controlled by Head Robot Marc Gascoigne and his henchman Lee Harris and will still both work tirelessly to publish top notch books.

This change has meant that the novels scheduled to be released in April/May will now be set back to September. All the current titles / authors will remain with the exception of the Kylie Chan Dark Heaven t...

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written by Ant on Tuesday 11th May 2010
Article

Google to enter e-book market

Google Books

Google has gone one step closer to it's monetizing plans for all those millions of books the company has so far digitized. "Google Editions" will be non-platform specific and will enable customers to download to a variety of devices.

It must be said that Google does have a vast library of literature at it's disposal, over 12 million books at last count (both in print and out of print) which is much greater than Amazon or indeed Apple. There is however a dark legal cloud still hanging above Google's head after a consortium of publishers, authors and book-sellers have tried to block Google's right to distribute these works by forming the Open Book Alliance. The New York court ...

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written by Ant on Saturday 8th May 2010
Article

Outstanding Scifi Concept Art

Beyond Cylons and Warp Drive: Phenomenal Sci-Fi Concept Art

There is a great post over at the photoshop tutorials website PSD TUTS which showcases 40 outstanding Scifi concept artworks.

Featuring some breath-taking images by some very talented artists, it's well worth a look:

Beyond Cylons and Warp Drive: Phenomenal Sci-Fi Concept Art

...

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written by Ant on Friday 7th May 2010
Article

Philip K Dick's Exegesis to be published

Philip K Dick's Exegesis to be published

It has been announced that the late Philip K Dick's memoirs are finally to be published in two full volumes. The Exegesis is essentially a collection of Philip's hand written notes which include his infamous visions, his ideas on religion and what the visions could have meant along with comments about his writing and autobiographical information.

In 1974, while receiving a delivery of pain medication for recently removed wisdom teeth, Philip K Dick experienced a vision, that he believed was religious in nature and thought to be triggered by the delivery person's necklace (an early christian symbol). Since that time Philip received a...

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written by Ant on Thursday 6th May 2010
Article

Ringturn wins the April People's Book Prize

Rinturn wins the April People's Book Prize

Ringturn, the science fiction novel of off-world human colonisation by the talented writer John C Mawson has won the April 2010 People's Book Prize.

The People's Book Prize is a national competition that aims to discover talented authors and is voted for entirely by members of the public.

The Competition runs 3 categories, Fiction, non-fiction and children's books and each month a novel with the most votes is awarded the winner for that month and goes forward as a finalist in the annual People's book prize Awards. The annual award is presented this year on the 21st July 2010 at "The Stationers' & Newsp...

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written by Ant on Thursday 6th May 2010
Article

Philip K Dick Award Winner

Philip K Dick Award Winner

This years winner of the esteemed Phillip K Dick Award is for the novel "Bitter Angels" by the novelist "Sarah Zettel" who first burst onto the literary scene with the 1996 novel "Reclamation". Since then she has seen a number of novels published with 2 complete series (Isavalta and Camelot) along with a number of single volume novels.

Between 2006 and 2009 Sarah had a rough time getting her novels sold, which is believed to be one reason why she has written her latest novel (and the winner of the award) under the pseudonym of C L Anderson.

Sarah was unaware that the novel had even been nominated and is both honoured and humbled by the award. she was quoted...

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written by Ant on Thursday 6th May 2010
Article

Tom Tom signs up Darth Vader

Darth Vader, the ex Jedi knight / Sith Lord and father of Luke and Leia Skywalker is amongst Star Wars characters who have signed up with the GPS manufacturer Tom Tom to provide their voice for the in car GPS systems. Other characters to take part include Han Solo, C3PO and Yoda.

You can see a video of Darth record his voice for the part here, and believe me it's hilarious:

...

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written by Ant on Thursday 6th May 2010