A couple of items have surfaced recently that make for interesting reading. Firstly, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have announced the Nebula Award winners for 2007.

The winners are a diverse bunch.

Winning novel is The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon

I read this book on holiday last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s not often that something totally different comes along but this book was unlike anything I’d read before. A surprise winner for me, but utterly deserving. The other nominees in the category were:

Odyssey by Jack McDevitt
The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman
The New Moon’s Arms by Nalo Hopkinson
Ragamuffin by Tobias Buckell

Other Nebula winners for 2007 were:

NOVELLA: “Fountain of Age” by Nancy Kress
NOVELETTE: “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang
SHORT STORY: “Always” by Karen Joy Fowler
SCRIPT: Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro

Pan’s Labyrinth was one of my favourite films of 2007 and I’m really glad to see it score a Nebula.

The Andre Norton Award (for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy) went to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

One of my all time favourite authors, Michael Moorcock, was named recipient of The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. Read the full article about that award here.

On the subject of great books (excuse the tenuous segue), Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper has released a list of the fifty best cult books of all time. Interestingly, they can’t even define what a cult book is, and freely admit as much, but simply claim that “you know [one] when you see one”.

See just how cultish your reading habits are by checking out their list. It is a pretty interesting collection. See the online article here.

And finally for now, firstshowing.net have revealed a poster for the new Batman movie that was released as part of the viral marketing campaign. Seriously, how awesome is this:

Now I’ll readily admit to being a completely hopeless Batman tragic – he’s my favourite hero in any form of fiction. Harder than Riddick, cooler than Han Solo, more tortured than Rick Deckard, darker than Lobo. You have to put the hours in to truly understand the Dark Knight. For this reason, I have been appalled year after year by the utter tripe that gets vomited out purporting to be a Batman movie. Even Tim Burton, master of the dark and macabre, cast Michael Keaton as the Bat and killed the Joker on his first outing. What should have been cinemas highest moment was a steaming turd of epic proportions. Then along came Chris Nolan with Batman Begins. It had some flaws and took some liberties with the story, but was, on the whole, awesome. Now he’s made another one and by the look of this poster, he’s going to pull out a masterpiece again. Here’s hoping.

I’ll stop gushing now.