Locus Award

Tagged: Award

Popular Award voted on by readers of the leading sf news magazine (or Newszine) Locus, and presented annually since 1971. Each year's Locus awards normally honour work first published in the previous year. Thanks to their exceptionally wide reader base, these sf awards have come to share the stature of the Hugos (which reflect the preferences of fans and professionals who attend the annual Worldcon) and the Nebulas (which reflect the professional judgment but also sometimes the internal politics of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). Where the Hugo and Locus awards differ, it is often thought that the Locus assessment is the more accurate reflection of general reading tastes. Th...

Van der Graaf Generator

Tagged: Music

UK prog-rock band comprising Peter Hammill, Hugh Robert Banton (1949-    ) and Guy Evans (1947-    ). Highly regarded in the narrow world of English prog, the group released a series of musically soursweet and ornately complex albums whose obscure lyrics trace out fantastical versions of ordinary life that shade, often, into a more structured fabulation. The first album, The Aerosol Grey Machine (1969), though not the group's best, has an arresting, quasi-surreal New Wave sf flavour. Better is The least we can do is wave to each other (1970), a meditation on the porous boundaries between hard science and alchemical mysticism that manages notable sophistication and nuance. Best of all is H to...

Goodman, Dickie

Tagged: Music | People

(1934-1989) US record producer who with his aspiring songwriter friend Bill Buchanan (1930-1996) launched both their careers with the comic novelty record "The Flying Saucer Parts 1 and 2" (1956). Inspired by Orson Welles's radio broadcast War of the Worlds (1938), it is credited with being the first record to use the "break-in" technique, which evolved into modern-day sampling. Buchanan and Goodman respectively play a news anchor and a roving reporter who interviews the witnesses to a flying saucer landing (see UFOs). The answers to the questions are in the form of short snippets from popular records of the time. This use of soundbites from other artists resulted in a lawsuit, but the case...


Tagged: Theme

The division of people into simple archetypes of good and bad, Heroes and villains, has always been stronger in popular literature than in more serious fiction; indeed, the essence of the serious novel of character has ever been to explore the shades of grey between the moral absolutes of black and white. Thus sf's villains are mainly associated with Pulp-magazine sf, not just in the post-1926 specialist sf magazines but in the pulp magazines generally from the 1890s onwards. The history of villainy in popular literature of this sort is sociologically fascinating in the way that it reflects the fears and bigotries of the societies that produced it, especially insofar as commercial fiction is...

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