Bhob Stewart Memorial and Scholarship Announced

Remembering_Bhob_Stewart COMPSome of Bhob Stewart’s former students and other friends will hold a memorial gathering in Boston at the New England School of Art & Design (NESAD) on Thursday, October 23 at 4:00 p.m., followed by a reception at 5:00 p.m.

If you need more information, contact Brad Verter – brad (dot) verter (at) gmail (dot) com

NESAD also has announced a scholarship fund in Stewart’s name:

The New England School of Art & Design (NESAD) community joins the art, film and literary world in celebrating the life and professional contributions of Bhob Stewart. Bhob taught at NESAD from 1970?84 and was much beloved by students and colleagues.

To contribute click on this link, go to “annual fund,” select “NESAD FUND,” and note “Bhob Stewart” in the “other” field. Or send checks directly to Suffolk University with Bhob’s name in the memo field. Address them to: Laurie Cormier, Suffolk University, Office Of Advancement, 8 Ashburton Place, Boston, MA 02108.

[Thanks to James H. Burns for the story.]

Lynda Bellingham (1948-2014)

Lynda Bellingham OBE, who starred in the 14-part Doctor Who serial The Trial of a Time Lord in 1986 as the Inquisitor, died of cancer on October 19. She was 66.

She was born in Montreal but adopted out to English parents at the age of 4 months.

Bellingham had many non-genre roles and from 1983 to 1999 British TV viewers also saw her as the mother in the “Oxo Family” commercials.

[Thanks to Steve Green for the story.]

Eric Farrell: Applying Music and Pop Art Marketing Insights To DIY Publishing

IN_THROUGH_ASSETIntroduction: Eric Farrell is the author of In Through the Out Door, an online serialized science fiction novel available at www.ericmatthewfarrell.com

On a quiet street on the outskirts of Greenwich Village, Saul Selinger stumbles across a grandfather clock frozen in time. When he realizes it’s the same one buried deep within his sub conscience, it sets off a bizarre adventure that questions where he’s been, what he’s done, and the very state of the world he lives in.  

Each week, readers can discover a new “episode” of Farrell’s novel and, he explains, “find themselves enthralled in a moody, graphic world where two men struggle with faith, peace of mind, and the will to live.”

Eric Farrell is a reporter by trade, having written for a variety of college, local and metro publications in the LA area, including the Orange County Register. In Through the Out Door is his first novel. Farrell posts regular updates on his Facebook page.

In this guest post, Farrell discusses the influences on his DIY book marketing from the music and pop art industries. 

By Eric Farrell: Outside a quiet suburban 7-11 convenience store a young, aspiring rapper once approached me and shoved a hastily put together mixtape into my hands, telling me that yes, he would love it if I could donate some money to his cause, but more than anything else he was just grateful to have someone take a chance on his music.

For some reason, that single memory, years ago at this point, has stuck with me as a particularly aggressive, effective way of marketing. As an author, in a different entertainment medium entirely, it’s become increasingly apparent just how much more effective other disciplines of the arts are at marketing.

More importantly than the divide itself is the willingness for authors in a tenuous, shifting world of publishing and marketing to adapt to the changing marketplace and reader base. Let’s be real here: a lot less people get jazzed about reading than, say, movies, or television, or music, and as a result it’s a constant need to up sell your work – especially for authors that aren’t well established like myself.

For that reason, I’ve unwittingly been heavily influenced by the intense, visceral grassroots form of marketing that the young kid outside the 7-11 utilized that day. The independent music scene can teach the world of DIY literature a lot about adversity, persistence and the prudent need to stand out. Here in LA, dating all the way back to the eighties with the rise of hair metal and still lingering about today, it’s not uncommon to see a barrage of intrusive flyers featuring an artist’s name in bold typeface plastered about the entire city. Is it hamfisted? Yes. Is it effective? I genuinely believe so.

It’s not just the marketing that the writing world can take some tips on, though. Dare I say it, television and film does dialogue – does writing in general – better than we do a lot of the time. Where dense fiction falls prey to stiff, forced dialogue, a weekly hour-long drama can yield dialogue so utterly evocative and organic it draws you in and keeps you hooked. There is something about the timing and structure of a television show, or a movie, that benefits writing in a concise and expressive way. A line of script is written with the intention of its specific intonations being directed to an actor. A page of script is written with the intention of it seeming real when put on the screen.

What I’m getting at, ultimately, is accessibility. The quick-witted, pragmatic dialogue of television and film is easily digestible and creates a pace that’s more palatable to modern tastes than the often methodical, occasionally archaic style of literature. I’m not going to say we have to cater to a different group of people entirely, because first off that term is pejorative and alienating but second because it’s not a different group of people, it’s a changed group of potential readers. Viewers don’t even watch television in the same way that they used to: instead of barging through the door to watch the latest episode of Breaking Bad, they DVR it and watch it on their own time. Or they’ll catch it on Netflix in the future. These aren’t a different group of television viewers – it’s the same people, they’ve just grasped at the new media in front of them.

In the reading world, it’s the same: people don’t read actual newspapers, they get quick, one sentence push updates on their phones. Instead of sitting cross-legged in the aisle of a bookstore, browsing the jacket summaries of a stack of novels, people kick back on their sofas and browse through their phones for the same information, or scan their tablets. Since these gadgets essentially allow consumers to read, watch, and listen all on the same device, there is already an inescapable assimilation between the different disciplines of entertainment. On my money, people aren’t going to take to dense speculative fiction after immediately watching an episode of the hottest current television drama.

That dialogue people love to soak up in movies and television really works effectively in novels as well: it’s not hard to digest yet it’s never insulting any intelligence, plus since it’s so organic it adds a whole new level of immersion into the story. It can be utilized in dialogue and description itself, painting a picture eloquently and concisely that instantly arouses without the need to dig for the beauty to begin with.

There is no need to lament this progression of taste. If we did, we would all write like Mary Shelley, and praise be, it would be upon a scourge to the dregs of society, but alas it is not an appeasing endeavor such as the opening of the skies to the heavens and by degrees an ineffectual relationship with the manufacture of currency, and thus we find it pertinent to crawl back into our respective hovels to refigure our creations.

Literature has lost its sense of savvy and, compared to the other entertainment media, has held strong as the most aloof of the bunch when it’s come to adapting to the changing marketplace and readership. Like anything, this world has its hardcore fans who sniff at the pages of used books like fiends, shuddering at thoughts of ebooks. They’ll always be loved and treasured by authors like myself for their element of loyal enthusiasm that sustains morale. Are they enough, though?

Patten Seeks Stories For “The Furry Future”

fplogoAnthropomorphic fiction expert Fred Patten is editing The Furry Future, an anthology of original fiction, for FurPlanet Productions. He’s still looking for proposals, though the window will close in a couple of weeks.

The theme is the future, with furries. Utopias, dystopias, dramas, comedies, on Earth or in interstellar space, all furry or how the first furrys are bioengineered, why humans bioengineer furrys, how the human public reacts to furrys, furry scientists inventing the future, marketing for furrys (what products will a furry population want to buy), and so on. We would prefer stories set in a strong furry or mixed human-furry civilization, rather than strong s-f in which the characters are only incidentally furry, or “funny animal” stories where the characters are obvious humans just superficially anthro animals.

fred-patten

Fred Patten

Patten’s deadline to accept proposed submissions is November 1, 2014, and the deadline for finished stories is December 1, in order to allow the book to go on sale January 15, 2015.

The Furry Future will be 120,000 to 150,000 words, with from ten to fourteen stories by different authors. Additional specifications –

Length:  5,000 to 20,000 words preferred.  Shorter is okay if you have a good idea.  Longer than 20,000 words – let’s discuss it.

Payment:  FurPlanet’s usual ½¢ per word, upon publication, plus a copy of the book. Authors may buy additional copies at a 30% discount.

Fred adds: “This is an open submission anthology, so we expect many authors who have not been in one of my anthologies before.  If you have any friends who would like to submit a furry short story, tell them about this.  If you would like to recommend a writer, tell us about him or her.”

He can be contacted at fredpatten (at) earthlink (dot) net

[Via Dogpatch Press.]

Vijay deSelby-Bowen Passes Away

Vijay Bowen at Boskone 34 in 1997. Photo by Rob Hansen.

Vijay Bowen at Boskone 34 in 1997. Photo by Rob Hansen.

Past TAFF winner Velma J. “Vijay” deSelby-Bowen died October 18 in Seattle after a long struggle against cancer.

As the 1999 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate she attended Reconvene, the British Eastercon in Liverpool. When notified she’d won, Vijay told Dave Langford, “The first thing I believe I said was ‘AAAAIIIIIEEEEE!’” While she never wrote a trip report, she definitely left her mark as the subject of photos taken at the con and published in Hot Ansible Action.

She was related to another TAFF delegate, Elliot Shorter (1970), her first cousin once removed.

Vijay discovered fandom in New York around 1982. She became active in Lunarians, serving as club secretary, and worked on Lunacons.

Her life adventures included modeling rubber and latex clothing which she described in an article for Science Fiction Five-Yearly titled “A Model Fan or, Your Ass Is on the Net.”

When she needed cancer surgery in 2013, her friends in fandom raised funds to help with her medical expenses.

She is survived by her longtime companion Soren (Scraps) deSelby.

[Via Curt Phillips on TAFF FB page.]

Return of the Space Shh!uttle

The X-37B is back. Photograph by Michael Stonecypher/U.S. Air Force.

The X-37B is back. Photograph by Michael Stonecypher/U.S. Air Force.

By James H. Burns: Many years ago, I can remember the idea being floated that there was a secret manned space program…

And, at first, as a kid, while I relived my anger over the Apollo program — and most of its subsequent progressions — being cancelled: I was hopeful! Better a secret manned space program, I believe I felt, than the near-total abandonment of what should have been our 1970s and ’80s and beyond destiny in space.

…All of which I’ve been reminded of, by this week’s return from space of our clandestine cavalier, our military shuttle….

A top secret US robot space plane landed back on Earth on Friday after a 22-month orbit, officials said, although the craft’s mission remains shrouded in mystery.

The unmanned X-37B, which looks like a miniature space shuttle, glided into the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California after having launched on December 11, 2012, on a mission that military officers say is still strictly secret.

Ed Green’s Oktoberfest Moment

Ed Green, LASFS President emeritus and veteran commercial actor, appears in this Passenger music video — you’ll see him at about 1:26 playing a tuba. His musical effort and intensity is apparent from his bright red face, although the fact that it was 106 degrees on the day they shot the video may also have something to do with it.

Hevelin Fanzines To Be Digitized By University of Iowa Libraries

Rusty Hevelin at a Boskone in the 1970s. Photo by Andrew Porter.

Rusty Hevelin at a Boskone in the 1970s. Photo by Andrew Porter.

Over 10,000 fanzines in the Rusty Hevelin collection will be scanned and incorporated into the UI Libraries’ DIY History interface, it was announced on October 17.

Hevelin’s collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries after his death in 2011.

Peter Balestrieri, curator of science fiction and popular culture collections, writes:

We’re starting with the earliest from the 1930s and going up to 1950. That gives us First Fandom and Golden Age plus post-war. And that’s just the beginning. We’re inviting a select group of fans (and I’m not sure yet who’ll they’ll be, that’s something that you and File 770 might be able to help with) to help transcribe the text of these fanzines in an apa-style working group (Greg’s idea). We are not placing full reproductions online; that way, we respect copyright and privacy. Instead, we’re building a searchable database that will contain the full text of the zines.

The transcription will enable the UI Libraries to construct a full-text searchable fanzine resource, with links to authors, editors, and topics, while protecting privacy and copyright by limiting access to the full set of page images.

Balestrieri adds:

I’m very excited about it and very grateful to everyone that’s made this happen, especially the University’s Office of Research and Development and Library Administration, who originated the idea and were generous with funding to get it started. Please let folks know and I’ll be in touch as Greg and I work out the details of how the transcription will happen.

To learn more about the project and to follow its progress, visit here.