Star Wars Figure Auction 1/28

Leia Organa COMPStar Wars fan Craig Stevens has been collecting the action figures from the series since he was a child. He’s noted for posing them in stunning dioramas, including one that arrays hundreds of Storm Trooper figures.

Now he’s decided to auction a selection of his mint-on-card figure collection and hopes the buyers will treasure them as much as he has —

It will be terribly heart wrenching to see my items sold but I am sure that each one will go to a very good home and be protected and cherished by my fellow collectors. With so few mint-on-card figures surviving to the present day in perfect condition, preservation must be a high priority. With Vectis taking care of the auction, I am confident that my collection will be passed to the very best hands.

The two-day auction begins January 28 at 10:30 a.m. (the auction house is in England, so beware of the right time zone.)

A list of available items is here and it all seems a jolly amble down memory lane — figures of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, Lando Kalrissian, Boba Fett (the list goes on) – til you get to the Palitoy Star Wars Death Squad Commander, which sounds like something Draco Malfoy finds in his Christmas stocking.

Local Performance of Lewis’ Great Divorce on 1/25

Anthony Lawton of the Mirror Theatre Company will give his superb one-man performance of C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce at Aliso Creek Church in Aliso Viejo on Sunday, January 25.

Lawton portrays more than a dozen characters in the adaptation.

The play is the story of Clive, who, along with a motley crew of malcontents, takes a bus ride from hell to heaven.  They are offered a chance to stay in heaven forever if they like, but the choice between joy and miserable loneliness proves to be much harder than they would have guessed.  The piece is a feast of rich language, profound psychological insight, and humor.

Admission is free. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. Address: Aliso Creek Church, 2A Liberty, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656.

Straczynski Picked To Script Red Mars

Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski will write Spike TV’s Red Mars, based on the first book in Kim Stanley Robinson’s trilogy about the terraforming of Mars.

HBO’s Game of Thrones co-executive producer Vince Gerardis is the producer, and author Robinson is a consultant.

All three novels in the trilogy won major sf awards — Red Mars (Nebula), Green Mars (Hugo) and Blue Mars (Hugo) — and are esteemed as examples of hard sf.

In recent years Straczynski has written the Clint Eastwood feature The Changeling and co-wrote Thor and World War Z. On the TV side, he is wrapping the first season of Sense8 for Netflix, an sf series he co-wrote and executive produces/runs with the Wachowskis.

Man In The High Castle Pilot Free on Amazon Prime

Episode one in Amazon’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Hugo-winning novel  The Man in the High Castle can be viewed free online. An alternate history in which the Allies lost World War II, the production is highly atmospheric, smeary, hazy and dingy as if fogged by doubts about its own reality.

The first installment establishes a tangled, Dickian web of conspiracy, fear and lies –  ironically, made a bit more science fictional by its faithfulness to the technology of 1962, in which surveillance cameras are not everywhere, the TV does not look back at you, and counterespionage forces have to go knock on doors (or heads) to find things out.

Executive produced by Ridley Scott, The Man in the High Castle pilot was scripted by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) and stars Luke Kleintank and Alexa Davalos. Runtime is 61 minutes.

Kowal To Give Writing Workshop in Ferguson

Mary Robinette Kowal is teaching a free writing workshop in Ferguson, MO on January 24. The better people are prepared, the better their voices can be heard.

For some people, getting a story out is more difficult than for others. This isn’t about talent, it’s often about opportunities and privilege. Because of the intersection of class and race in the United States, many of the people whose stories are the ones we most need to hear, are also not in a position where they can afford the time and money to take a writing class. So, I’m partnering with the Ferguson Municipal Public Library to offer a free writing workshop.

Full details and a link for use in registering for the workshop are here.

New Benjanun Sriduangkaew Story on Tor.com

Tor.com published a new story by Benjanun Sriduangkaew, “And the Burned Moths Remain”, on January 14.

In October, 2014 John W. Campbell nominee Sriduangkaew was revealed to be the same person as the blogger Requires Hate. The writer’s history was documented in Laura J. Mixon’s “A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names”.

After spending two days trying to limit the sniping and counter-sniping, Tor’s moderators shut down comments on January 16.

SF Writers Create Book To Aid Navy Vet After A Fire

Life After Ashes cover COMPOver 50 sf authors, including Nisi Shawl, Lucy A. Snyder, Gary Braunbeck, Tobias Buckell, and Laura Resnick, are providing stories for Life After Ashes, an anthology created to help raise money for the family of a Navy veteran and fellow author who lost his home in a fire.

Writer, Navy vet and single father Greg Campbell and his children, Isaac and Scarlett, lost everything when the house burned down this month, including childhood mementos, keepsakes and photos of his late wife, and family pets. Tia Fix Rumbaugh, Isaac’s stepmother, started a crowdfunding campaign to help the family get back on their feet.

The idea for the anthology came up after Steven Saus offered digital copies of his own books as rewards for backers. “I’d just met Isaac, one of the children who lost their home. Not only is his father an author, but Isaac is an aspiring writer himself and an avid reader. It just seemed natural. Then when other authors asked if they could contribute stories as backer rewards, I knew we had the start of something special.” (The full press release about the book is here.)

Life After Ashes will be available in ePub, Kindle, and PDF formats to anyone who contributes $25 or more to the crowdfunding campaign raising money for the family. Access the donation site here.

Rumbaugh says the book is having a great impact on the family. “This anthology isn’t just about raising funds to help the Campbells and give people an amazing read from award-winning authors – it’s a cause, it’s a quest, it’s an idea turned into physical hope; hope for Greg, hope for Isaac, hope for Scarlett. Life isn’t all about loss. Life can rise up from the ashes.”

[Thanks to Steven Saus for the story.]

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer 2

Here is what Marvel labels as the second trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, in theaters May 1. Or is it really the third? It is by count of a cranky writer at Forbes —

Yes, this is the third Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer that Marvel and Walt Disney have released since the initial teaser leaked back on October 22nd, 2014.  That initial teaser, which was supposed to debut on October 28th before getting leaked online, was followed up by a slightly different variation on the same trailer which in turn dropped the morning of November 12th, 2014. So two months later to the day we get this third trailer, meaning that Walt Disney’s has put out three distinct full-length Avengers 2 trailers in 82 days, for an average of one trailer every 27 days.

Rumor Batman v Superman Split In Twain

Could Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice be taking a cue from Peter Jackson? The latest buzz on Nerd Reactor says the project is being turned into two films.

Behind the rumor is a photo posted at Clevver Movies (on Facebook) which  shows the title of the first film to be Part 1: Enter the Knight, and below that the second title Part II: Dawn of Justice.

The same title card indicates the release date for part 1 will be October 23, 2015 and for the sequel March 25, 2016.

Bradbury House Lives On
In Shadow Show #3

Shadow-03Ray Bradbury’s yellow bungalow is beautifully recreated in IDW’s Shadow Show #3, which was published January 7 at about the same time the wreckers started taking down the original. This is the third in a series of five comics paying tribute to Bradbury and his work.

Tour Ray’s home in this preview from the comic.

As Dave MacPhail summarizes in his post about Shadow Show #3 on The Big Glasgow Comic Page:

The first story featured is “Weariness,” written by Harlan Ellison, which gives us a look at the end of the universe as we know it. The next story, “Live Forever!” by Bradbury biographer Sam Weller and Mark Sexton, brings Ray Bradbury himself into the story, as a young reporter unveils the master storyteller’s secrets.