LoneStarCon 3 News Bulletins

The 2013 Worldcon is a little over a month away. Time to jump on some opportunities that need to be dealt with before the con.

Hugo Voting: July 31 at 11:59 CDT is the deadline to vote for the 2013 Hugo Awards. You must be a member to vote.

Writers’ Workshops:  Members interested in feedback on their stories can now book timeslots for LSC3’s writers’ workshops. E-mail the committee at writersworkshops@LoneStarCon3.org and include your membership number with your request.

A Trip to the Howard House: Join Robert E. Howard experts Mark Finn and Rusty Burke as they take you on a tour of Howard’s home town haunts, including a visit to the Robert E. Howard House and museum. Cost is $50 per person. The tour is scheduled for Wednesday, August 28. Seating is limited.

Sign up at the general payment page and select the “8/28 Bus Fare to Cross Plains” option. Pay your $50 there.

Dances at Worldcon: Not a deadline item, just one more news flash…

LoneStarCon 3 is running three major dances.

Firefly Shindig Contradance
Friday, August 30, 2013 – 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Join the Browncoats as we recreate the famous “Shindig” ball. Enjoy an evening of lively English and “frontier contra” dances and waltzes with San Antonio dance caller Lissa Bengtson and the fiddle-powered dance band Lost and Nameless Orchestra. All dances will be taught and called, and are easy to learn so everyone can join in. People with community or Regency dance experience should feel right at home. We’ll have a few prizes for the most authentic Shindig finery, from ballgowns and saris to tightpants and suspenders. But please – no dueling!

Conjunto Dance
Saturday, August 31, 2013 – 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Step into a real Tex-Mex Conjunto dancehall experience with the music of Los Paisanos de Chalito Johnson, one of the first families of the progressive San Antonio Conjunto sound (recently named to the Conjunto Music Hall of Fame). Cumbia, two-step, waltz, polka or just plain rock out to this infectious Tejano music. Instructors from the Guadalupe Dance Company will start the evening with a quick dance lesson and then the dance floor is yours. Did you bring along your cowboy boots, tooled leather belts, and hats? This is the night to wear them.

Steampunk-themed Late Night Dance
Sunday, September 1, 2013 – 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Swing out or get down and boogie with the band that’s taking the Steampunk dance scene by storm. Scott Bradlee (of Bioshock Infinite renown) and his Postmodern Jukebox ensemble transform the pop-chart hits of today into the anachronistic party favorites of a yesteryear that never was! This is modern pop reinvented with a classy, retro edge. We’ll wrap up the convention in high style with this cut-loose late-night club dance.

John Williams Tuning Up
for Star Wars Sequels

It’s official — John Williams will score the next Star Wars trilogy, Episodes VI, VIII and IX.

Empire is reporting —

The news of Williams’ involvement, although seemingly a foregone conclusion, is huge. With JJ Abrams on board as director, the smart money had perhaps been on his long-time composer Michael Giacchino coming aboard, but Williams’ themes are so indelible to the saga, whether it’s Duel Of The Fates, The Imperial March or Yoda’s Theme, that it’s a joy to see that the legendary composer will be returning to Star Wars.

“I look forward to returning to a galaxy far, far away,” said Williams in a video, played at Celebration Europe. “I actually feel like I never left it. I hope I can contribute something in the new films that will be worthy of your continued attention.”

Here’s what he has to say about the challenge —

Survival of the Wittiest

Jane Austen banknote

Jane Austen will replace Charles Darwin on Great Britain’s £10 note in 2017 reports the BBC.

Austen is described as the third author so honored, Shakespeare and Charles Dickens having preceded her. (Although Darwin wrote a famous book, too.) At any rate, she will be the first of the three named to have her work quoted on her note. Unfortunately, that is proving a mixed blessing —

The Guardian called the quotation about reading a “major blunder” by the Bank since it comes from the mouth of Caroline Bingley, “one of Austen’s most deceitful characters, a woman who has no interest in books at all,” who values them only for snob appeal and for a way to become closer to Mr. Darcy.

I like to imagine the Shakespeare and Dickens quotes they might have chosen.

Would it have brought the economy to a standstill if Shakespeare’s note admonished, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”?

On the other hand, the line Dickens wrote for Mr. Micawber is gospel —

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.


SF Conference at McMaster University

sf-interdisciplinary-genre-poster-400“Science Fiction: The Interdisciplinary Genre” is the title of a scholarly conference being held September 13-15 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The event honors Robert J. Sawyer’s archival donation to the University Library Collections.

In addition to Sawyer himself, special guests of the conference will be Order of Canada member John Robert Colombo, Aurora Award-winning author Julie E. Czerneda, Hugo Award-winning editor David G. Hartwell, Aurora Award-winning author Élisabeth Vonarburg, Hugo Award-winning author Robert Charles Wilson, and Chris Szego of Bakka Phoenix Books.

The tentative program schedule is here.

The Facebook event page is here.

More about the conference is here.

Sawyer is delighted to know that in making this donation he will be joining a distinguished company:

My archives will be housed and displayed alongside McMaster’s massive collection of Bertrand Russell material, its large H.G. Wells collection, and its extensive archival holdings in Canadian literature, including the papers of Pierre Berton, John Robert Colombo, Margaret Laurence, Farley Mowat, and publisher Jack McClelland.

Ellison Buyer’s Guide

If you want to get in the spirit of Harlan Ellison’s latest releases you ought to pay for them with pictures of Presidents. As, of course, you’ll want to do after reading these reviews:

Paul Anderson rates 7 Against Chaos, the new graphic story written by Harlan Ellison with art by Paul Chadwick and Ken Steacy, 4.5 skulls out of 5:

Together, Ellison, Chadwick, and Steacy create an epic story that feels both progressive but also a callback to any fan who started reading comics prior to the 1990s, when computers helped shape the look and feel of books. But, in spite of this, it is not a homage to those comics, nor “retro”.

Clay Stafford reviews the Subterranean Press reissue of Harlan Ellison’s The Deadly Streets, first published in 1958.

[The] writing, the characters, the plotting, and the situations still hold true.  The “daddy-o’s” didn’t bother me a bit and the prose goes down like a teenager in a log flume.

Judge Darryl Loomis at DVD Verdict approves the Blu-Ray of A Boy and His Dog:

It may not be the best piece of science fiction ever made, but A Boy and His Dog is one of the best genre adaptations out there. It has its problems and, for a time, seems like two different movies, but its humor and cynicism make up for any missteps. It’s a great time, one of my favorites of the genre, and it finally, after all these years, gets a proper home video release.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Argo Artifacts in CIA Museum

While you can’t visit the CIA Museum in person, you can experience the collection online.

The rescue of the “Canadian Six” is the true story made into the movie Argo.

On 4 November 1979, militant Islamic students took over the US Embassy in Tehran, Iran, and took hostage the 66 US personnel inside.  Avoiding capture that day were six US State Department employees who took refuge in the homes of Canadian Embassy officers.  The US Government developed several major operations to address this national crisis.  Among them was a scheme developed by a small team of CIA disguise and false-documentation specialists to exfiltrate the “Canadian Six” (as they became known) from the country….

After careful consideration of numerous options, the chosen plan began to take shape.  Canadian Parliament agreed to grant Canadian passports to the six Americans.  The CIA team together with an experienced motion-picture consultant devised a cover story so exotic that it would not likely draw suspicions—the production of a Hollywood movie.

The team set up a dummy company, “Studio Six Productions,” with offices on the old Columbia Studio lot formerly occupied by Michael Douglas, who had just completed producing The China Syndrome.  This upstart company titled its new production “Argo” after the ship that Jason and the Argonauts sailed in rescuing the Golden Fleece from the many-headed dragon holding it captive in the sacred garden—much like the situation in Iran.  The script had a Middle Eastern sci-fi theme that glorified Islam.  The story line was intentionally complicated and difficult to decipher. 

The CIA Museum also houses paraphernalia created for the mission:

“Studio Six Productions” accountrement:

“Studio Six Productions”, was the dummy studio set up by CIA to rescue the six Americans trapped in Iran at the Canadian Ambassador’s home…

“Studio Six Productions” logo items

…The CIA team set up “Studio Six Productions” and titled its new production “Argo.”

To lend credibility to the ruse, Studio Six Productions set up offices on the old Columbia Studio lot formerly occupied by Michael Douglas, who had just completed producing The China Syndrome.  A logo was created, and cards, stationery, and other logo items were produced.

Artists’ concerpts for “Argo”

The script had a Middle Eastern sci-fi theme that glorified Islam.  The story line was intentionally complicated and difficult to decipher.  Shown here are the artist’s concepts for the “film.”

Argo ads in Variety

Ads and articles were placed in Variety.  The ads proclaimed Argo to be a “cosmic conflagration” written by Teresa Harris (the alias selected for one of the six Americans awaiting rescue).

Beale Submits Response to SFWA

Theodore Beale (“Vox Day”) has turned in a 32-page response to SFWA’s investigative report alleging he violated membership rules and acted in bad faith. (Note: He did not post the text.)

SFWA is considering a motion to expel Beale made publicly by Amal El-Mohtar and internally by dozens of other members.

According to Beale, SFWA had given him until July 25 to provide any additional evidence he wanted the Board to consider. 

The SFWA By-Laws authorize the officers of the corporation, by unanimous vote, to expel any member for “good and sufficient cause.”

There are nine officers of the corporation — President Steven Gould, Vice President Rachel Swirsky, Treasurer Bud Sparhawk, Secretary Susan Forest, Western Regional Director Jim Fiscus, South Central Director Lee Martindale, Eastern Regional Director E. C. Myers, Overseas Director Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Canadian Director Matthew Johnson.

SFWA has never expelled a member in its history.