Clips from Eurocon2011 in Stockholm

Swedish Educational TV recorded several Eurocon2011 programs for airing in September. A couple of “teaser” videos are posted at YouTube.

Although the panels are in English, the titles as you might expect are in Swedish. I’ll bet fans who are familiar with sf jargon will be able to guess what the titles mean anyway.

Dumpa information med stil [YouTube file] 3:34 minutes. Features Elizabeth Bear, Charles Stross and others.

Inspirationen till Elizabeth Bears böcker [YouTube file] 8:15 minutes. An interview with Elizabeth Bear.

Here, also, is a gallery of Tommy Persson’s photos from the convention.

[Via Ahrvid Engholm and Andrew Porter.]

Squeeing with the Best of Them

Star-powered SF Squeecast launches June 30. Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, and Catherynne M. Valente will use their new monthly podcast to bring attention to SF works “that make them happy” — both new discoveries and old favorites. Besides the group book discussion there will be an irreverent question and answer segment and the occasional topical discussion.

The contributors are some of the field’s most popular rising writers. Elizabeth Bear has won two Hugos and a Theodore Sturgeon Award (The Jenny Casey Trilogy, The Jacob’s Ladder Trilogy). Paul Cornell is a Hugo-nominated New York Times Bestselling television, comic book, and prose writer. Senan McGuire is a Campbell Award-winner, Hugo-nominated New York Times Bestselling author and musician Seanan McGuire (October Daye series, Feed as Mira Grant). Lynne M. Thomas is a Hugo-nominated editor and curator Lynne M. Thomas (Chicks Dig Time Lords, Whedonistas). Catherynne M. Valente is a Hugo-nominated, Tiptree and Andre Norton Award-winning New York Times Bestselling author (Palimpsest, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making).

Murray Leinster Bio On the Way

Will F. Jenkins was so successful writing science fiction under the name Murray Leinster that it’s his nom de plume who’s the subject of a biography.

Murray Leinster: The Life and Works by Billee J. Stallings and Jo-an J. Evans is forthcoming from McFarland. James Gunn provides a foreword, and the volume includes 40 photos

The authors are Jenkins’ youngest daughters. Stallings, who lives in Moorestown, New Jersey, will be on the Readercon program July 14-17. She is active in historical preservation. Her sister, Jo-an J. Evans, has written about fashion and design. She lives in London.

Murray Leinster’s private and literary life are examined, from his first writings for The Smart Set and early pulp magazines such as Argosy, Amazing Stories and Astounding Stories, through SF’s Golden Age and to his death in 1975. He produced 1,500 published short stories and 100 books during his career. The biographical volume also features a short story and essay by Leinster, as well as previously unpublished poetry and letters.

[Thanks to John Hertz for the story.]

Update 06/29/2011: Corrected spelling of publisher — thanks Bill Warren!

I’ll Keep Looking

James Bacon e-mailed to let me know he has written a post for the Forbidden Planet blog, “Women and Science Fiction? Are You A Misogynist?”

It’s a suavely-phrased tribute to any number of novels by women authors he’s read, enjoyed and now recommends. One of them is available free online — always the right price for fans.

There’s just one thing missing. That loaded word in the title, misogynist, never appears in the body of his article.

The Russian playwright Chekov’s wise advice applies to occasions like these: “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.”

2011 British Fantasy Awards Shortlist

The 2011 British Fantasy Awards shortlist has been announced.

BEST NOVEL (AUGUST DERLETH FANTASY AWARD)

Apartment 16 – Adam Nevill – Pan McMillan
Demon Dance – Sam Stone – The House Of Murky Depths
Leaping, The – Tom Fletcher – Quercus
Pretty Little Dead Things – Gary McMahon – Angry Robot
Silent Land, The – Graham Joyce – Gollancz

BEST NOVELLA

1922 – Stephen King – Hodder & Stoughton
Humpty’s Bones – Simon Clark – Telos
Ponthe Oldenguine – Andrew Hook – Atomic Fez
Sparrowhawk – Paul Finch – Pendragon
Thief of Broken Toys, The – Tim Lebbon – ChiZine

BEST SHORT STORY

“Beautiful Room, The” – R B Russell – Nightjar
“Fool’s Gold” – Sam Stone – NewCon
“Lure, The” – Nicholas Royle – Solaris
“Otterburn” – Jan Edwards – Estronomicon
“Something For Nothing” – Joe Essid – PS Publishing

BEST COLLECTION

Full Dark, No Stars – Stephen King – Hodder & Stoughton
Gravedigger’s Tale: Fables of Fear, The – Simon Clark – Robert Hale
Last Exit for the Lost – Tim Lebbon – Cemetery Dance
One Monster Is Not Enough – Paul Finch – Gray Friar
Walkers in the Dark – Paul Finch – Ash Tree

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Back From the Dead: The Legacy of the Pan Book of Horror Stories – Johnny Mains – Noose & Gibbet
End of the Line, The – Jonathan Oliver – Solaris
Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 21, The – Stephen Jones – Robinson & Constable
Never Again – Allyson Bird & Joel Lane – Gray Friar
Zombie Apocalypse! – Stephen Jones – Robinson & Constable

BEST NON-FICTION

Altered Visions: The Art of Vincent Chong – Telos
Cinema Futura – Ed. Mark Morris – PS Publishing
Fantastic TV: 50 Years of Cult Fantasy and Science Fiction – Steven Savile – Plexus
M P Shiel: The Middle Years 1897-1923 – Harold Billings – Roger Beacham
Shrieking Sixties, The – Darrel Buxton – Midnight Marquee

BEST ARTIST

Ben Baldwin
Daniele Serra
Les Edwards
Paul Mudie
Vincent Chong

BEST SMALL PRESS

Atomic Fez – Ian Alexander Martin
Gray Friar Press – Gary Fry
Pendragon Press – Christopher Teague
Telos Publishing – David J Howe and Stephen James Walker
TTA Press – Andy Cox

BEST MAGAZINE/PERIODICAL

Black Static – Andy Cox – TTA
Cemetery Dance – Rich Chizmar
Murky Depths – Terry Martin – The House Of Murky Depths
Shadows and Tall Trees – Michael Kelly – Undertow Publications
Strange Horizons – Susan Marie Groppi

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL

Clint – Mark Millar – Titan
Grandville Mon Amour – Bryan Talbot – Jonathan Cape
Neonomicon – Alan Moore & Jacen Burrows – Avatar
The Mountains of Madness – Ian Culbard – Self Made Hero
Unwritten Vols 1 & 2, The – Mike Carey & Peter Gross – Titan Books

BEST FILM

Alice in Wonderland – Tim Burton – Walt Disney
Inception – Christopher Nolan – Syncopy Films
Kick-Ass – Matthew Vaughn – Lionsgate
Monsters – Gareth Edwards – Vertigo Films
Scott Pilgrim vs The World – Edgar Wright – Universal Pictures

BEST TELEVISION

A History of Horror With Mark Gatiss – Mark Gatiss – BBC
Being Human – Toby Whithouse – BBC
Doctor Who – Steven Moffat – BBC
Sherlock – Steven Moffat – BBC
True Blood – Alan Ball – HBO

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

One of My Favorite SF Stories

Nancy Jane Moore is curating a new Favorite Science Fiction poll at Book View Café Blog expressly offered as a counterpoint to the canvass of favorite sf recently taken by at NPR. Her poll is governed by 7 rules that might as easily have been inspired by public outcry against the dread Guardian poll. For example:

2. The I’m Tired of Hearing About the Golden Age Rule.

4. The Sop to Short Fiction Writers Rule: Short stories, novellas, novelettes — all are OK.

7. The Expanded Russ Pledge Rule: There’s a lot of superb SF that wasn’t written by white men in the U.S. and U.K. Include it.

I’m not a habitual poll-taker. If I responded to this one I would certainly list Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Borders of Infinity,” one of the five best sf novellas I’ve ever read.

I didn’t begin reading the Vorkosigan saga until 1997 – I remember, because I bought my first Bujold novel in a bookstore while waiting for Titanic to start in a nearby theater.

What makes “Borders of Infinity” a favorite of mine? That may come from wanting to identify with how Miles – a man – meets the challenge of being dropped into a POW camp with nothing (literally, as camp inmates rob him of his clothing as soon as he arrives), then overcomes his own fear and despair to create relationships that help lead everyone to freedom.  If the liking is to some extent gender-based, well, what we bring to stories has a lot to do with why some are our favorites, no?

Years later when I became conscious of the high esteem I felt for this oft-reread novella I wondered if it had won both the Hugo and Nebula, or just one of them. And I was astonished to discover it failed to win any awards. It wasn’t even nominated.

There was a reasonable explanation, however. “Borders of Infinity” had been eclipsed by another Bujold novella published the same year, “Mountains of Mourning,” which did win both awards. (I really should have remembered that, having written about Bujold’s problem with her 1990 Hugo in Mimosa 14.)

In the context of the times the voters’ choice makes sense. In 1989 the Vorkosigan saga had barely begun. “Mountains of Mourning” revealed many new and fascinating details about Miles and his homeworld. While both stories delivered the kind of emotional punch that is a hallmark of Bujold’s early work, the winning novella commented most directly about women’s lives in a patriarchal society. I like the winning story a great deal, too.

An additional reason award voters may have had for favoring “Mountains of Mourning” is that as an sf mystery it had to satisfy the requirements of both genres. On the mystery side, that meant the reader had to be allowed a fair chance to see the evidence the detective used to solve the mystery before that solution was revealed. In contrast, at the end of “Borders of Infinity” readers learn a teensy little (well, hugely important actually) bit of information known to Miles from the beginning has been left unmentioned, giving a deus ex machina feel to the resolution.

Can’t say that bothered me – even the prisoners in the story suspect Miles has an unrevealed reason for orchestrating things as he does, and success depends on Miles overcoming a series of challenges without help from the outside.

But I understand these storyteller sleight-of-hand tricks bother some more than others. Like the way some are incensed that in the middle of E. T. when it looks like the title character has suffered a tragic demise, he is restored by some ill-explained phony-baloney medical coincidence. My take — no problem! Aren’t you happier E. T. isn’t dead and it isn’t the end of the movie? And do we want Miles to fail and die in that prison camp? Certainly not! 

Ellison’s Health Overshadows
Hall of Fame Induction

Harlan Ellison will be inducted into the SF Hall of Fame tomorrow, June 25. Neil Gaiman will accept on his behalf. Ellison had not been expected to attend, however, a new CNN report says the reasons are dire:

Ellison, who had been extremely ill for several months, said in a telephone interview that he’s in the “last stages of something.”

“And I don’t have a cold,” he sarcastically noted.

Editor Gardner Dozois and artists Vincent Di Fate and Jean “Moebius” Giraud are also being inducted.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Stand By To Abandon Galaxy

“This is the most colossal cosmic smash-up ever witnessed in the universe” says New Scientist:

A bundle of galaxies, nicknamed Pandora’s cluster, turns out to be the result of a violent crash between at least four separate galaxy clusters that lasted hundreds of millions of years…

The splattered remains suggest several galaxy clusters have collided over about 350 million years. Bright visible galaxies make up 5 per cent of the mass, while searingly hot gas that glows in X-rays makes up 20 per cent. The rest is dark matter, a mysterious invisible substance that gives itself away only because its gravity bends light from background galaxies.

“See there, wouldn’t want to be there,” says David Klaus:

It’s a rough clue to what we’re going to look like when Andromeda hits the Milky Way in about three billion years. Depending on where it is in its galactic orbit the Solar System will either be eaten by the giant multiple black hole as the galactic centers merge, or flung out of the galaxy completely.

That would be bad.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

Chip in for Journey Planet

Yay me! I was the first backer of Journey Planet’s Kickstarter initiative asking fans to contribute to pay the cost of printing their next issue:

Journey Planet is doing a tripartide issue, using an editor in the US, one in the UK and our special guest editor in Australia! We’re going to put the issue out in August at the WorldCon in Reno and have decided to try and print more than any other time in our history. In the past, we’ve had writers such as Niall Harrison, Alastair Reynolds, John Scalzi, Chris Garcia, James Bacon, Claire Brialey, Paul McCauley, Peter Sagel (of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me) and many, many more! 

We’ll be printing at least 200 copies of Journey Planet, whcih will be far more than we’ve done before. We’re expecting a hefty issue, and we’ve got material from around the world already!

We’ll be using 100% of the funds to get the issue printed.