NASA Astronaut Named Sasquan Special Guest

Lindgren is the Jedi on the front left.

Lindgren is the Jedi on the front left.

Sasquan has announced NASA Astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren will participate as a Special Guest of the 2015 Worldcon while aboard the International Space Station serving as a Flight Engineer for ISS Expedition 44 and 45.

“My path to space has been paved with books,” says Lindgren, who has a long list of favorite sf and fantasy authors — Orson Scott Card, Tom Clancy, Arthur C. Clarke, Ernest Cline, Joe Haldeman, Robert Heinlein, Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, C. S. Lewis, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Neal Stephenson, Kim Stanley Robinson, J. R. R. Tolkien, Vernor Vinge, Bill Watterson, and Connie Willis.

Lindgren is a board-certified practitioner of emergency medicine and aerospace medicine and holds a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Colorado.

His work on board the International Space Station will include conducting a variety of experiments involving crystal growth, zero-g combustion and robotics.

The full press release follows the jump.

Continue reading

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015)

Terry Pratchett in 2011.

Terry Pratchett in 2011.

Terry Pratchett passed away March 12 at home surrounded by his family reports his publisher. He was the author of 70 books, among them 40 in the Discworld series of comic fantasies that began with The Colour of Magic in 1983.

Pratchett’s first sale was a short story, “The Hades Business,” published when he was 15. Early in his career he worked as a journalist and as a press officer for nuclear power generating utility.

Once he turned to fiction full time he enjoyed phenomenal popularity. Pratchett was the top-selling and highest earning UK author in 1996. In 2008, he was top author on The Bookseller’s first-ever “evergreen” list of 12 titles that had never fallen out of the top 5,000 since Nielsen BookScan began collecting data, three of which were his early Discworld novels The Colour of Magic, Mort and The Light Fantastic. (He was also near the top of the list of writers whose books were thieved from UK bookshops, with The Colour of Magic placing third on the list of Ten Most Stolen Books in 2009.)

Pratchett co-authored The Science of Discworld with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, a Hugo nominee in 2000.

He participated in ”Science Fiction’s 50th Anniversary Family Reunion” at Noreascon Three (1989):

Terry Pratchett recalled that at newsstands in Britain the good magazines were on the top shelf and sf was on the bottom shelf, from which he argued the shortness of old British sf fans was a matter of natural selection. More seriously, Pratchett said he learned from sf that mathematics was actually interesting, which no one else was telling him. “Good old sf – whenever I’ve needed you, you’ve always been there.”

He was a guest of honor at Noreascon 4, the 2004 Worldcon.

In December 2007, Pratchett announced that he was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. He immediately became an active spokesman about Alzheimer’s and its impact on individuals and society. In 2008 the Daily Mail published “Terry Pratchett: ‘I’m Slipping Away A Bit At A Time…And All I Can Do Is Watch It Happen’”, the author’s extraordinary essay on his Alzheimer’s affliction:

I spoke to a fellow sufferer recently (or as I prefer to say, ‘a person who is thoroughly annoyed with the fact they have dementia’) who talked in the tones of a university lecturer and in every respect was quite capable of taking part in an animated conversation.

Nevertheless, he could not see the teacup in front of him. His eyes knew that the cup was there; his brain was not passing along the information. This disease slips you away a little bit at a time and lets you watch it happen.

He also investigated “assisted suicide” (although he disliked that term), wrote a public lecture, Shaking Hands With Death, in 2010 and in 2011 presented a BBC television documentary on the subject titled Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die. However, The Telegraph reports that his death was natural.

Pratchett was knighted by the Queen for his services to literature in a 2009 ceremony, Elizabeth dubbing the kneeling author on each shoulder with her sword.

Although he did not win a Hugo or Nebula, he received many other accolades: a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement (2010), the Andre Norton Award (for YA sf/f, presented by SFWA in parallel with the Nebulas) for I Shall Wear Midnight (2011), the British Science Fiction Association Award for his novel Pyramids (1989), the Mythopoeic Award for Children’s Literature for A Hat Full of Sky (2005), and the Prometheus Award for his novel Night Watch (2003). An asteroid (127005 Pratchett) is named after him.

Gaiman Pratchett Good OmensLast April Sir Terry Pratchett was the Author of the Day for the Opening Day of the 2014 London Book Fair. In December he and his friend and collaborator Neil Gaiman made cameo appearances in BBC Radio 4’s production of Good Omens.

After learning of his friend’s death, Neil Gaiman published an emotional tribute.

Admitting he knew Sir Terry’s death had been coming, he said, “it made it no easier”.

I woke up and my email was all condolences from friends, and requests for statements from journalists, and I knew it had happened. I’d been warned.

Thirty years and a month ago, a beginning author met a young journalist in a Chinese Restaurant, and the two men became friends, and they wrote a book, and they managed to stay friends despite everything. Last night, the author died.

There was nobody like him. I was fortunate to have written a book with him, when we were younger, which taught me so much.

I’ll miss you, Terry.

I’m not up to writing anything yet. Maybe one day.

The public acknowledgement of Pratchett’s passing included these three tweets on his Twitter account:

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Update 03/12/2015: Corrected an award citation to British Science Fiction Association Award.

Your Emergency Holographic 2015 Hugo Short Fiction Reading List

1989 Hugo Award winners. Photo by Robert Sneddon. From Fanac.org site.

1989 Hugo Award winners. Photo by Robert Sneddon. From Fanac.org site.

A little over 48 hours remain before the Hugo voting deadline. The little silver rocket is about to launch and there are still blank spots on your ballot.

Aiyee!

Forget about the novel category. That’s barely enough time to read one or two books. (Yes, Marty Massoglia and Don D’Ammassa – I know that is enough time for you to read a dozen novels… I’m speaking about the rest of us.)

So what about short fiction? Wouldn’t it help if somebody compiled the short fiction from a lot of recommendation lists and the links where you could find it? And what if a lot of these turned out to be free reads! Think how much damage you could do to your Hugo ballot before Tuesday, March 10 at 11:59 p.m. PDT!

Note: ( * ) Marks the free reads.

Caution: The fine story “Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer” by Megan Grey is eligible for the 2016 Hugos, not this year’s.

Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin weblog

Best Novelette

Best Short Story

Andrew Hickey

Best Short Story

Joseph Tomaras

  1. “Bonfires in Anacostia” by Joseph Tomaras ( * )
  2. “Thirty-Eight Observations on the Nature of the Self” by Joseph Tomaras from Phantasm Japan
  3. “Resurrection Points” by Usman T. Malik, from Strange Horizons ( * )
  4. “Five Stages of Grief after the Alien Invasion” by Caroline M. Yoachim, from Clarkesworld ( * )
  5. “Dharmas” by Vajra Chandrasekera, from Shimmer ( * )

Jason Sanford

Best Novellas

Best Novelettes

Best Short Stories

Lytherus

Best Novella

Best Novelette

Best Short Story

The Book Smugglers

Best Novelette

Best Short Story

Sad Puppies 3 – Brad Torgersen

Best Novella

Best Novelette

  • “The Journeyman: In the Stone House” – Michael F. Flynn – Analog magazine June 2014
  • “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” – Rajnar Vajra – Analog magazine July/Aug 2014
  • Championship B’tok” – Edward M. Lerner – Analog magazine Sept 2014
  • Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” – Gray Rinehart – Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show

Best Short Story

Rabid Puppies 2015 – Vox Day

BEST NOVELLA

  • “One Bright Star to Guide Them” by John C. Wright, Castalia House
  • “Big Boys Don’t Cry” by Tom Kratman, Castalia House
  • “The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright, City Beyond Time / Castalia House
  • “Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright, , The Book of Feasts & Seasons / Castalia House
  • “Flow” by Arlan Andrews Sr., Analog November 2014

BEST NOVELETTE

  • “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by John C. Wright, The Book of Feasts & Seasons/ Castalia House
  • “The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn, Analog June 2014
  • “Championship B’tok” by Edward M. Lerner, Analog Sept 2014
  • “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”, by Rajnar Vajra, Analog July/Aug 2014
  • “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show

BEST SHORT STORY

Abigail Nussbaum

Best Novella:

Best Novelette:

Best Short Story:

SF Signal – David Steffen

BEST NOVELETTE

BEST SHORT STORY

SFWA – 2014 Nebula Award Nominations

Novella

Novelette

Short Story

2015 Hugo Nominating Deadline Imminent

The deadline to nominate for the 2015 Hugo Awards is mere days away. Votes must be cast by March 10 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

Eligible to nominate are those who on January 31 were —

  • Attending or supporting members of Sasquan (the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention), or
  • Attending or supporting members of Loncon 3 (the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention), or
  • Attending or supporting members of MidAmeriCon II (the 2016 World Science Fiction Convention).

A PIN is required for online voting. Voting instructions and the link to a tool for researching PINs are available on the Sasquan Hugo nominations webpage.

Helsinki in 2017 Crafts

Robot bank advertises Helsinki in 2017 bid.

Robot bank advertises Helsinki in 2017 bid.

The Helsinki in 2017 is promoting itself with a wide variety of crafts using the bid logo, the items given as prizes when people support and friend the bid.

Crystal Huff says, “There are a lot of people who can’t afford to support Helsinki with money, but who want to help. So they’ve found really clever ways of infusing the bid with their enthusiasm by making all sorts of awesome things. One person is even brewing mead made with tar syrup from Finland, to be used for our Sasquan parties!”

Items people have made for Helsinki include:

  • knit polar bear hats
  • tie-dyed t-shirts
  • magnets
  • bubble wands
  • chocolate in the shape of the bid logo
  • Moomin-shaped cookies
  • Xmas ornaments
  • lavender and rosemary sachets
  • wooden keychains
  • necklace pendants
  • a robot bank
  • several different kinds of earrings
  • bracelets
  • a crown (which Mur Lafferty decided she had to own)
  • a superhero-style cape
  • temporary tattoos (purchased, but the three designs were created by the bid)

Several Finns made the earrings and keychains, and all the felted crafts were by Eppu Jensen who is a professional crafter. Cat Valente is working on a dress made of bid t-shirts. The robot bank was produced by a group of fans at a paint-your-own-pottery place in Boston. They also produced a cheese plate and picture frame, but I don’t have photos of those at the moment.

Dublin in 2019 Will Adjust Presupporter Rates On 3/31

The Dublin in 2019 Worldcon bid, which broke through the 500 supporter level this month at Boskone, has announced it will adjust the cost of its various types of presupports on March 31 in response to fluctuating international exchange rates.

They are also adding a new level of Young Adult (YA) supporter. Eligible for this rate is anyone who will be under under 26 as of the first day of the 2019 Worldcon.

They’re announcing the change now because they don’t object at all if you want to support them immediately at the current prices.

Categories and Rates will be as follows:

Supporter Type $ £
Pre Supporting / Réamh tacadóir 20 15 12
Backer/ Ard tacadóir 45 35 28
YA Friend / Cara Óg 65 55 45
Friend / Cara 130 105 85
Super Friend / Cara Iontach 270 220 175

The full press release follows the jump

Continue reading

Helsinki Translates Worldcon Voting Directions Into Many Languages

Helsinki worldcon-only-you COMPHelsinki in 2017 has people representing 26 different countries participating in their Worldcon bid. Symbolic of that international involvement is a project to translate the site selection voting information into other languages.

Crystal Huff says, “All of us also speak English, but we’re really trying to ‘put our money where our mouth is’ in coordinating an international effort that would produce a really international Worldcon. That, for us, includes making information available in languages other than English, for those who don’t natively speak English but are excited about Worldcon.”

This is a campaign, so the post they’ve been translating unabashedly supports Helsinki. The original English text has already been translated into Finnish, Swedish, Chinese, German, Spanish and Irish/Gaelic. There are French, Japanese, and Dutch versions on the way.

Here are the links.

(Original English version ) So You Want to Vote on Worldcon Location? Yay!

Chinese version

(Finnish) Näin äänestät Worldconin Helsinkiin

(Irish/Gaelic) Ba mhaith leat vótáil ar suíomh Worldcon? Go hiontach!

(German) So, Du möchtest also über den Ort der Worldcon abstimmen? Hurrah!

(Spanish) ¿Quieres votar por la sede de la Worldcon? ¡Genial! (¡En Español!)

Swedish version

Helsinki is in a hotly contested race with bids for Montreal, Nippon and Washington DC. This kind of creativity might have more than just symbolic value, it could add needed support at the site selection ballot box.

Sasquan Gets Big Membership
Influx in January

Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon, had a tremendous membership spike in January, an increase in total members of more than 30%. Why? A rate hike was going into effect February 1. Worldcon bids for 2017 are begging supporters to join. We’re now in the calendar year that the con will take place. And January 31 was the deadline for joining Sasquan if you wanted to nominate for the Hugos (if you weren’t already eligible as a member of LonCon 3 or MidAmeriCon II.)

I’ll leave as an exercise for the readers which reason is responsible for the most membership purchases….

Sasquan Total Members
12/21/2014 3,737
1/31/2015 4,952
Increase 1,215

 

Adult Attending Members
12/21/2014 2,508
1/31/2015 2,950
Increase 442

 

Supporting Members
12/21/2014 1,047
1/31/2015 1,765
Increase 718

I requested these numbers from the committee, so although they’re a little different than what’s posted on the Sasquan site they’re good for drawing this comparison.