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.

2014 Deutscher Phantastik Preis

The 2014 Deutscher Phantastik Preis winners were announced October 11 at BuchmesseCon in Dreieich, near Frankfurt, Germany.

Best Novel in German
Ann-Kathrin Karschnick: “Phoenix – Tochter der Asche” (“Phoenix – Daughter of Ashes”)

Best Debut Novel in German
Gaby Wohlrab: “Eldorin – Das verborgene Land” (“Eldorin – The Hidden Land”)

Best International Novel
Terry Pratchett: “Dunkle Halunken” (“Dodger”)

Best German Short Story
Miriam Schäfer: “Claire” (“Claire”)

Best Anthology/Story Collection:
Christian Vogt [editor]: “Eis und Dampf” (“Ice and Steam”)

Best Book Series
“DSA – Das schwarze Auge” (“DSA – The Black Eye”)

Best Graphic Artist
Mia Steingräber

Best Work on Secondary Literature
“Geek!” (a magazine)

Best Website

[Via Sci-Fi Portal.]

Today in History 10/18

Moby Dick script dustjacket1851: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville was published.

It was an important book in American literature and central to a big step in Ray Bradbury’s screenwriting career. Here’s a video of him speaking about being hired by director John Huston to work in Ireland and write the motion picture script of the classic novel.

A true story inspired the novel. Nathaniel Philbrick wrote a history about it and that is about to become a movie in its own right. Ron Howard’s In The Heart of the Sea opens March 13, 2015.

In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance.  The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.  But that told only half the story.  “In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive.  Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.

Chris Hemsworth stars. Here’s the trailer.

Frosty on Mercury

Your average science fiction reader probably includes Mercury, planet closest to the Sun, on the list of places where having “a snowman’s chance” is a bad thing. However, that depends where the snowman is standing. If it’s in a crater near Mercury’s north pole, he may be quite comfortable.

Two decades ago, Earth-based radar images of Mercury showed polar deposits that were predicted to consist of water ice. That was confirmed by NASA’s Mercury Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft through instrument measurements. Now MESSENGER also also provided optical images of the ice and other frozen volatile materials within the permanently shadowed craters around the planet’s north pole.

Nancy Chabot, the Instrument Scientist for MESSENGER’s Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) and a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory is on her way to unraveling the next mystery:

“One of the big questions we’ve been grappling with is ‘When did Mercury’s water ice deposits show up?’ Are they billions of years old, or were they emplaced only recently?” Chabot said. “Understanding the age of these deposits has implications for understanding the delivery of water to all the terrestrial planets, including Earth.”

Overall, the images indicate that Mercury’s polar deposits either were delivered to the planet recently or are regularly restored at the surface through an ongoing process.

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