This month’s Internet Review of SF has an overview by Lavie Tidhar of UK small press publishing in 2005. Interesting reading, although it’s weak on the nonfiction side; it misses, for example, the two books that the Science Fiction Foundation published last year, not to mention the excellent Soundings. But the larger point is that, aside from PS Publishing, TTA Press, and one or two others, I’d been under the impression that there wasn’t really a UK small press scene. Certainly not in comparison to the proliferation of US ‘zines–LRCW, Say …, Rabid Transit, Electric Velocipede, Flytrap–and presses–Nightshade, Golden Gryphon, Subterranean, Small Beer (are they still small?)–and so forth. This article suggests otherwise. Plus, we now also have Farthing, which if nothing else (I haven’t read issues 2 and 3 yet) has some very pretty covers.
Lou Anders likes new Who whereas, as I suspect most people reading this will be well aware, I don’t. I keep watching it partly because everyone else keeps going on about it and I don’t want to feel left out, and partly because every so often it’s almost good. Steven Moffatt’s ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ earlier this season was one such occasion; the most recent two-parter has been another. I’m down with the whole pulpy-sci-fi-horror bit, really I am, and it had plenty of atmosphere. Unfortunately it was also deeply stupid. The “impossible orbit” was my favourite bit of nonsense, until someone pointed out to me that the ventilation shafts they were crawling through on Saturday–the ones where they had to keep pressurising and depressurising different segments–had handy mesh grates connecting them to the rest of the ship.
It’s Dave Itzkoff time again. This time he’s tackling the latest Nebula anthology. There’s a roundup of previous kerfuffle here, but I don’t think this review is going to inspire anything like the same sort of reaction. Not because it’s particularly less critical–he’s less than wild about a number of the stories, although he’s also effusive in his praise of Christopher Rowe’s ‘The Voluntary State‘ and Benjamin Rosenbaum’s ‘Embracing-the-New‘–but because he’s done a better job of grounding the subject he wants to talk about in the book under review. Geekiness in science fiction is certainly an issue, but Counting Heads seemed the wrong book to demonstrate it; nostalgia in science fiction is equally clearly an issue (although not new, as Meghan McCarron comments; personally I think someone should send Itzkoff a copy of Look at the Evidence [EDIT: or possibly some Delany]), and the Nebula Awards Showcases, or at least the ones I’ve read, tend to reek of it.