Not a Mock Turtle

A convention ad flutters loose from my copy of Instant Message and declares, “The Turtle Moves.” Yes, and says it’s moved to Phoenix over Labor Day Weekend of 2009, where fans will hold The First North American Discworld Convention. Terry Pratchett will be a GoH. What is the right interpretation of this sign? Is another group joining Dragon*con in poaching the traditional (with increasing randomness) Worldcon weekend? Far from it.

Anticipation, the Montreal Worldcon of 2009, takes place almost a month in advance of Labor Day: August 6-10; the identical dates for this year’s Denvention, as a matter of fact. Is it only old fire horses like me who hear “Labor Day” and think it should mean a science fiction convention? Obviously my calendar is blank and I may have to give Discworld a whinny.

Discworld conventions have been held since 1996, never before in North America. Chair Lee Whiteside and Hotel Liaison Mike Willmoth, two leading committee members, have such impressive resumes after working many Westercons, NASFiCs, WFCs and Worldcons that even fans completely unfamilar with past Discworld-themed conventions will have every reason to gallop over to Phoenix for more fun in the desert.

2008 Down Under Fan Fund Race

DUFF voting continues until January 31. Will fans choose Steve & Sue Francis of Louisville, KY or Murray Moore of Mississauga, Ontario?

James Bacon wrote me, “DUFF has gone all electronic,” so I immediately had to try that: all electronic has been a siren call to fannish ears since the days of reel-to-reel fanzines.

Jean Weber designed the electronic DUFF ballot posted here.  Her site also takes donations to DUFF via PayPal, a great convenience because voters must make at least a minimum $(US)5 donation. Data entered on the ballot is transmitted to an e-mail address at Jean’s domain, and automatically forwarded to Norman Cates, Australasian DUFF Administrator, without Jean seeing it.

Fans who prefer to print and mail their ballots will find a downloadable PDF file of the ballot here.

Steve & Sue Francis, in their Platform, say “We are entering our names as candidates for the DUFF selection to continue our goal of making new friends wherever we go, and a second trip to Australia would provide an excellent opportunity to do so.” Their nominators from North America are Pat Molloy & Naomi Fisher, Pat & Roger Sims, James Briggs & Sandra Childress; from Australasia: Eric Lindsay, Stephen Boucher & Janice Gelb.

Murray Moore wants to win for several good fannish reasons, plus one more: “I want to meet the descendants of my master criminal English relative who stole a loaf of bread.” His North American nominators are Mike Glicksohn, Hope Leibowitz, Lloyd & Yvonne Penney; and his Australasian backers are: Bruce Gillespie, Jean Weber & Eric Lindsay.

The Past Through Today

Right now, File 770.com is using WordPress’ default design, a sort of Kodacolor blue theme called Kubrick. It may be named after the director of 2001, but you can see it’s not the least bit stfnal. So the look will be changing once I find another theme I really like. There are thousands to choose from. Discovering that I can’t stand to read white text on a black background has made me rule out the most stfnal-looking themes I’ve seen thus far. Plenty of people have learned to code their own: maybe I will sometime. Alan White has done several full-color File 770 logos over the years, and one of them would be a great visual centerpiece.

Today I learned that WordPress can import posts from certain already-existing blogs. I was successful in retrieving everything posted to my old Prehensile blog – say about 11 posts. I used Prehensile to learn a little about blogging. I also used it to archive a few articles I wrote for Trufen.net, especially the ones that depended on the embedded links to such a degree they didn’t translate well to print.  That explains why there are now some articles on the site timestamped earlier than File770.com’s launch in January 2008.

Sing a Song of Worldcon

Denvention 3 is sponsoring a song-writing contest. What do you think would make a good theme song for a Worldcon — “Rocket Man”? “Hijack the Starship”? “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again”? 

Well, none of those songs are eligible. No wonder they need your help! Can you write them a terrific song?

Entries must fit Denvention 3’s theme, “A Mile Closer to the Stars.” They may be original music and lyrics, or new lyrics set to existing music.   Here are the official rules: You can enter the contest in one of two ways: 

  • Send lyrics and an MP3 of your song to filk@denvention.org.
  • Mail lyrics and a CD or cassette tape to Blind Lemming, c/o Short Planet Productions, PO Box 13092, Denver, CO 80201 

Other rules: The contest deadline is May 31, 2008.   The winning song will be performed at the convention. Songs will be judged on how well they fit the theme, quality of writing, and how well the music fits the song. Submissions may be original music and lyrics, or new lyrics set to existing music. Submissions won’t be returned.  Supporting or attending members of Denvention may submit a song.  The winner may, if unable to perform the song at the convention, select an attending member to perform the song. Submission allows Denvention 3 the right to publish the lyrics and perform the song at the convention. Copyright reverts to author. If you have any questions about the contest, please E-mail filk@denvention.org.

Denvention 3: Hugo Nominating Ballots

Progress Report 2 for Denvention 3, the 2008 Worldcon, is now available online. You can view or download Progress Report 2 here. Progress Report 3 will be published in April 2008.

Hotel information is online at here, but people can’t make a hotel reservation until January 21.

The pdf of the Hugo nomination ballot is online here.  The online ballot will be activated shortly over here.

Diana Glyer Wins Imperishable Flame Award

Diana Glyer’s The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community has won the Northeast Tolkien Society’s 2007 Imperishable Flame Award for Tolkien/Inklings Scholarship. Her book tells the story of the Inklings, the writers group that met in Oxford through the 1930’s and 1940’s to read their work aloud and offer feedback. The group’s 19 members included Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, and C. S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia. 

Nominees for The Imperishable Flame are named by the Northeast Tolkien Society. This year, the winners were chosen by readers of the Journal of the Northeast Tolkien Society, participants in the NETS Yahoo online group, and visitors to the Herenistarion.org website.

Northeast Tolkien Society chairs Anthony S. Burdge and Jessica Burke told winners, “We see your work as an inextinguishable light amongst the rest, guiding future generations to further understanding and education, leaders in community functions and creativity.”  

The Company They Keep has received enthusiastic reviews from the Times Literary Supplement, Green Man Review, Mythlore, Mythprint, the SF Site, and Tolkienlibrary.com. It was named a Core 1000 book by Yankee Book Peddler, and a recommended title by the American Library Association’s Choice magazine.

Diana Glyer’s exploration of the Inklings shows how many ways that the members of this group encouraged, critiqued, and on occasion, even rewrote each other’s work. For example, after Tolkien asked for feedback on a long poem Lewis not only criticized it but actually re-wrote several sections of it for him. When Tolkien abandoned all hope of finishing The Lord of the Rings, Lewis took him to lunch and made him promise to write more of the tale. And unforgettably, Charles Williams, an Inkling, once wrote a poem that prompted Lewis to write a letter saying that his work was getting to be so good, “I’ve a good mind to punch your head when next we meet.”

A 30th Birthday Present for File 770

Happy 30th birthday, File 770!

You never know how long a fanzine will be around. When the first pages rolled out of the mimeograph in January 1978, I decided it was premature to order personalized license plates. But by now, the zine has outlasted 5 cars.

Today File 770 celebrates a milestone birthday by expanding onto the Net. Diana’s Christmas present to me was the registered domain name.  I’m just starting to learn the things I’ll have to know to make a site that looks interesting and works well.

There’s already plenty of fannish news at hand, so time to begin!

Mike Glyer