Fans have created Tauran spaceships in Legos based on Marvano’s art for The Forever War graphic novel (1988) by Joe Haldeman.

I can’t think of a more appropriate choice for Legos builders when you consider the time it must take to assemble such things from plastic bricks.

[Via Joe Haldeman.]

Sidewise Award Nominees

This year’s nominees for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History (for works published in 2010) have been announced. I’ve linked to some representative reviews if you want to know more about them.
Short Form 

Long Form 

The Sidewise Awards have been presented annually since 1995 to recognize excellence in alternate historical fiction.

The Short-Form Award is presented for the best work of less than 60,000 words. This includes short stories, novelettes and novellas, and poems. One winner was a three-issue comic book series.

The Long-Form Award is presented for the best work longer than 60,000 words. This category includes individual novels and longer works. If a book is part of a series, it must be able to stand on its own to be considered. If it is part of a serial novel — a series in which the storyline is continuous and no volume can stand on its own — the complete serial novel will be considered when the final volume is published.

This year’s judges are Stephen Baxter, Evelyn Leeper, Jim Rittenhouse, Stu Shiffman, Kurt Sidaway, and Steven H Silver. 

The winners will be announced at Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon, on Thursday, August 18.

Airbus of the Future

What kind of passenger airliner will Airbus be making by 2050? One with some awe-striking capabilities:

Perhaps the most noticeable feature of the aircraft is the exterior, which will be produced with a smart-membrane that will turn transparent on command in order to make sure passengers who are cruising the skies will have an interesting view of the stars and clouds.

As soon as David Klaus read the news he started his due diligence investigation into the airplane of the future:

  • The unanswered question is if the contents of the plane are invisible as well, or do outsider observers see a bunch of people sitting in rows but no exterior?
  • Do people within the plane see interior fittings or is there no privacy in the toilet?
  • Will the flight attendants wear red bustiers with golden eagles or stylized-‘W’s over them?


[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.] 

Snapshots 66 Get Your Kicks

Here are 9 developments of interest to fans.

(1) “’Unicorn’ Brought Back From Extinction” is the headline of’s report about the Arabian oryx. When I read it my reaction was — “Extinction ain’t what it used to be!”  

This time Fox isn’t entirely to blame for the gaffe — Fox picked up the story from where it ran under the headline “Arabian ‘unicorn’ no longer extinct.”

And, technically, it may not be a gaffe. The wild Arabian oryx population was hunted to extinction. The species has been saved by a captive breeding program and it now is being reintroduced to the Arabian peninsula.  

But my goodness.

(2) On the StarShip Sofa message board “Gonzalo” offers a theory to explain why the Hugo rules were changed, opening the way for SSS to be nominated in the Best Fanzine category:

I suspect the set of people who draw up/amend the Hugo eligibility rules considered differentiating between paper/text-based fan material (whether a ‘zine or a “related work”) and other media (audio/video) and ultimately decided that they fulfil the same fan ‘need’ to share and discuss SF work and to form a community – irrespective of the mechanism used.

I’ve never seen such a lucid explanation from the rulesmakers, who will probably rush to appropriate it. What I “suspect” is that they never considered the possibility that their changes would open the category to podcasts, but are indifferent about it happening.

Gonzalo has other insights worth reading, though I take exception to one self-contradicting comment about the Hugo voters:

Absolutely – you could say it’s a self-selecting membership, which probably results in the same people voting for the same types of things time and again.

Same things again and again? Did somebody forget to tell StarShip Sofa that they won last year?

(3) I guess it isn’t the Year of the Jackpot after all. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Wiccan chaplain Patrick McCollum’s claim that the California prison system should add a celebrant of Wicca and other pagan or nature-based religions to its paid chaplaincy program.

The paid-chaplaincy program has evolved in California’s prison system since the 1930s, and today it employs clergy of the Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Native American faiths.

According to 2002 estimates, there are approximately 598 inmates in the system who identify themselves as Wiccan, a term that the ruling says includes “faith groups consisting of Wiccans, Goddess worshipers, Neo-Pagans, Pagans, Norse Pagans (and any other ethnic designation), Earth Religionists, Old Religionists, Druids, Shamans, Asatrus, and those practicing in the Faery, Celtics, Khemetic, Gardnerian, Church of All Worlds, Reclaiming, Dianic, Alexandrian, Iseum of Isis, Reconstructionist, Odinist or Yoruban Traditions, and other similar nature-based faiths.”

However, this decision had nothing to do with the court’s opinion about the merits of Wicca as a religion. Rather, the Ninth Circuit disallowed the volunteer chaplain’s attempt to stretch his employment discrimination argument into an assertion of inmates rights. Inmates are free to file their own claims against the chaplaincy program if they want — McCollum has no standing to do it for them.  

(4) PulpFest 2011, July 29-31 in Columbus, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Talbot Mundy’s first appearance in print with a showing of The Black Watch (1929), a film adaptation of Mundy’s “King of the Khyber Rifles” and the first sound picture by famed movie director John Ford. The film stars Victor McLaglen and Myrna Loy.

(5) “Now It Can Be Told” by Scott Shaw! depicts a humorous episode in San Diego Comic-Con history when Scott and his friends created a faux rock band to entertain fans at the con, and the big trouble they got into for some satirical lyrics.

(6) Mechnical arms, now used in a few factories, may have a future in medicine and art too:

The zeroG exoskeletal arm, resembling a limb that might have fallen off the Terminator, shares its roots with the Steadicam, which has revolutionized the way action movies are shot.

Equipois sees the same technology helping sculptors, surgeons and dentists work longer without getting tired.

(7) It’s kind of eerie looking at this abandoned Gulliver theme park in Japan

(8) Science Fiction Awards Watch gets into full swing about this time of year. Here are a few new awards shortlists they’ve posted:

(9) How well I remember Jack Harness as Duck Savage, the Duck of Bronze. I, too, was a member of the group he entered in the 1974 Westercon, my first and only masquerade appearance. We won “Best Humorous.” See a photo of Jack in his ripped t-shirt here.

[Thanks for these links goes out to Andrew Porter, David Klaus and Chronicles of the Dawn Patrol.]

Discworld Convention Nears

Terry Pratchett is expected at The North American Discworld Convention in Madison, WI over the July 8-11 weekend.

The con very recently lost its chair due to illness, so Emily S. Whitten, an experienced conrunner who chaired the 2009 NADWCon, has stepped in to finish the job.

She’s looking for volunteer help. If you’re interested, e-mail ewhitten (at) law (dot) gwu (dot) edu and please cc Vice Chair and Volunteer Coordinator Marg Grady, marg1066 (at) gmail (dot) com.

[Via SMOFS.]

Fantasycon Hotel Filling Up

Fantasycon 2011 will be held September 30-October 2 at the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton, UK. The committee advises that fans book by July 1 to avoid disappointment, as the rooms are going fast.

The con’s Guests of Honor are World Fantasy Award-winning author and critic Gwyneth Jones, Swedish horror writer John Ajvide Lindqvist, Peter Atkins, author of Morning Star and Big Thunder and Joe Abercrombie, screenwriter of Hellraiser II-IV  and Wishmaster and several best-selling fantasy novels.

Also coming is distinguished Special Guest Brian Aldiss, author of more than eighty novels, including Frankenstein Unbound and the “Helliconia” Trilogy

The full press release follows the jump.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

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2011 Munsey Award Nominees

PulpFest has announced 11 nominees for the 2011 Munsey Award. Past winners of the Munsey and Lamont Awards will select this year’s winner, who will be announced July 30 during PulpFest’s evening program.

  • Stephen Haffner, the “Big Poobah” of Haffner Press, has reprinted the early work of Leigh Brackett, Edmond Hamilton, Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, and Jack Williamson in handsomely-produced volumes.
  • Stephen T. Miller, (with Michael Cook) compiled Garland Publishing’s Mystery, Detective, and Espionage Fiction: A Checklist of Fiction in U. S. Pulp Magazines, 1915-1974. With Bill Contento, he compiled Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Weird Fiction Magazine Index (1890-2006), a guide to more than 900 different magazines, published on CD-ROM by Locus Press and updated periodically by the publisher.
  • Matt Moring has published more than fifty books dealing with the pulps. He runs Altus Press.
  • Laurie Powers wrote Pulp Writer: Twenty Years in the American Grub Street, an autobiography and appreciation of her grandfather Paul S. Powers. She also started Laurie’s Wild West, an Internet blog site for those interested in the pulps.
  • Garyn Roberts is the Chair of the Communications/English Discipline at Northwestern Michigan College. He has edited or co-edited some of the best collections from the pulps including A Cent a Story: The Best from Ten Detective Aces, More Tales of the Defective Detective in the Pulps, The Compleat Adventures of the Moon Man, The Magical Mysteries of the Green Ghost and The Compleat Great Merlini.
  • Phil Stephensen-Payne has produced many “working bibliographies,” (often in collaboration with the late Gordon Benson, Jr.) of speculative fiction writers. His Galactic Central website contains an online checklist of pulp magazines.
  • Anthony Tollin convinced Conde Naste to license authorized reprints of Doc Savage, The Shadow, The Avenger, and The Whisperer. His regularly issued Sanctum Books are some of the most popular reprints in the field today.
  • George Vanderburgh through his Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, has published nearly 400 books.
  • Dan Zimmer promotes greater awareness of pulp artists through his Illustration Magazine.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Comic-Con Says: Don’t Panic

Comic-Con is coming to San Diego once more on July 21-24 but several big movie studios aren’t says the New York Times:

Warner’s main studio operation is bringing nothing. Ditto Disney and DreamWorks. The Weinstein Company, a perennial presence, will also sit this one out. Even Marvel Entertainment, whose panel for “The Avengers” was a highlight of Comic-Con 2010, is on the fence about whether it will mount a major presentation.

Comic-Con, as a growing number of movie marketers are realizing, has turned into a treacherous place. Studios come seeking buzz, but the Comic-Con effect can be more negative than positive.

Whoa, baby! Surely you don’t mean that fans might do something more than just mindlessly cheer the promos? That would be a dangerous trend for sure. How long ago did that start? In the middle of the trailer for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis?

David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director or marketing, takes the view that these studios’ absence amounts to nothing more than a blip on the radar: “Not every studio comes every year.” And well might he do so, for other big studios will be on hand. Universal will be coming to promote Cowboys & Aliens, Paramount will roll the new Tintin movie, Twentieth plans to hype Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Sony wants to raise big expectations for The Amazing Spiderman, still a year away from theaters.

[Via SMOFS.]

Haffner Press Makes Splash

Stephen Haffner evidently kept things well-balanced at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention in April. He moved so many copies of Haffner Press editions of Williamson, Hamilton and Captain Future that he “had to sneak away for 8 hours in the middle of the night to the Secret Moon Base to get more inventory.” But he also snagged a lot of old pulps with tales by Henry Kuttner whose stories will be used in future projects.

Many more details in the full press release, which follows the jump.

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