Nova Awards Expanded

The Nova Awards, which have recognized excellence in British fanzines since 1973, are receiving a major update. Now all UK and Irish fans will be eligible to vote, not just the members of Novacon.

Ballots can be downloaded from the Novacon website, Votes will be accepted via e-mail.

The award winners are announced at Novacon, scheduled this year from November 11-13.

The full press release follows the jump.

[Thanks to Steve Green for the story.]

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Crotchety is Amazing

Steve Davidson (The Crotchety Old Fan/The Classic Science Fiction Channel) received notice on September 28 that his application for a trademark for Amazing Stories has been granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Davidson explains:

Amazing Stories has had a rocky history, stumbling along through bankruptcy (when Gernsback lost ownership), through a series of publishers and editors – Teck Publications, Ziff-Davis, Ultimate (where it enjoyed a brief and all too short resurgence under the tutelage of Ted White), Dragon Publications and, through a series of corporate buy-outs, ended up as a Hasbro (toys) property and licensed to Paizo Publications, which re-introduced it as a mass-media/geek culture mag until its demise in 2005.

By 2007, Hasbro had abandoned the trademark. Davidson, who was managing the intellectual property department of an R&D firm at the time, routinely reviewed the status of some favorite marks. Noting the lapse for Amazing Stories, he filed an application for the Mark in 2008.

Davidson aspires to revive it as an online magazine.

The full press release follows the jump.

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The 9000 Names of Hal

There’s a simple explanation why HAL 9000 sings “Daisy” as its intelligence is draining away.

Arthur C. Clarke was visiting his friend John Pierce at Bell Labs Murray Hill in the Sixties and saw a demonstration of an IBM mainframe running a voice recorder synthesizer (vocoder) that recreated the song “Daisy Bell.”  Clarke included the idea in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Here is a video of a similar demonstration [YouTube file].

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

More Plummer on the Horizon

Attending Renovation inspired Mark Plummer to explore the history of the Trans-Atlantic Fan fund in his latest column for Strange Horizons, “Paraphernalia: Beyond the Enchanted Convention to the Enchanted Peter R. Weston Memorial Defibrillator Station” —

The roots of TAFF go back to at least 1941, when D. R. Smith suggested in the pages of the December 1941 issue of Futurian War Digest that after the war British fans should club together to bring leading American fan Forrest J Ackerman to the UK. It never came to anything, but Ackerman himself later initiated The Big Pond Fund which sought to bring British fan and New Worlds editor Ted Carnell to the US.

Once you’ve read Mark’s column you’ll know the answer to the question: “What TAFF delegate took the Queen Mary to America?” More importantly, you’ll learn why this is an enduring fan institution.

And if you appreciate Mark’s column, show it today is by participating in Strange Horizon’s annual fund drive:

For over a decade, Strange Horizons has pursued a number of goals: to encourage and support new writers of speculative fiction from diverse backgrounds; to provide a home for readers looking for fiction that expands the possibilities of sf, and discussions of the same; and to offer content free of change while still paying contributors professional rates, without being dependent on advertisers or corporate interests.

Niall Harrison reminds me, “We’re an all-volunteer outfit, and we run off reader donations, so this is pretty important for us!”

Pratchett Coming to America

Sir Terry Pratchett will promote his latest Discworld novel, Snuff, next month at events in New York and Washington D.C.

He’ll be at the Barnes & Noble – Tribeca on Thursday, October 13 at 6:00 p.m. There will be priority seating for those who buy a book.  (Barnes & Noble-Tribeca, 97 Warren Street, New York, NY 10007.)

The next day, Friday, October 14, he will be discussing the book in the National Press Club ballroom in DC at 7 p.m. An admission is charged. See site for details.

Read an excerpt from Snuff here.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter and Michael J. Walsh for the story.]

Beating the Drum for Marlowe

Francis Hamit’s “A Pre-Announcement on the Re-Publication of Marlowe: An Elizabethan Tragedy” follows the jump. It says, in short, he will soon be taking pre-publication orders for a book edition of his hard-to-find script.

The play’s 1988 production was praised by an LA Times critic:

In this world premiere of a play about the secret life of Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare is a supporting character, at one point graciously taking playwrighting tips at the dawn of his career from the already established Marlowe.

The thrust of the drama (subtitled “An Elizabethan Tragedy”), written, researched, and directed by Francis Hamit, is Marlowe’s double life as a spy in the service of his queen. Staged at the Globe Playhouse and launching a canon of Marlowe’s plays to be staged by the Shakespeare Society of America, the production is historically gripping, portraying the arrogance of a genius who played too many cards for his own good.

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Silver: 2011 Rebel and Phoenix Winners

By Steven H Silver: The Rebel and Phoenix Awards were presented Saturday night at Fencon VIII and DeepSouthCon.  I presented the Rebel Award to Brad W. Foster for his work as a fan artist.  Toni Weiskopf presented the Phoenix Award to Selina Rosen for her work on Yard Dog Press and with up and coming authors. Gary Robe presented the Rubble Award to Bill Parker for bringing the Worldcon (and two years of work) to Southern fandom.

2011 Albacon Cancelled

Albacon, the Albany, NY convention has been cancelled for 2011. It had been planned for the October 21-23 weekend.

Christopher J. Ford, President of the organization that runs the con (LASTFA), says there may still be a modified writers workshop and a fan gathering on Friday evening but no decisions have been made.

Paid registrations will either be returned or transferred to 2012 as requested. Dealers and Artists fees will be returned.

The 2011 event only had 43 pre-registered members as of September 20. The concom reportedly had decided to pull the plug if they didn’t reach 125 a month before the con.

Albacon plans to return in 2012 and there is a new webpage for it.

Rich Lynch in China

Rich Lynch appears in an AP photo — here, left background — taken of China’s Science and Technology Minister and the U.S Secretary of Energy at the 4th Carbon Sequestration Forum (CSLF) Ministerial Conference in China on September 22.

Hard to know how transitory this link is, so look fast!

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the link.]

Light Finishes Second

Light, don’t look back — something may be gaining on you.

A team of experimental physicists at CERN say they have measured neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light.

They beamed muon neutrinos from an accelerator at CERN outside Geneva to a detector at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, about 450 miles away, to see how many showed up as a different type, tau neutrinos. Neutrinos come in a number of types, and have recently been seen to switch spontaneously from one type to another.

The neutrinos in the experiment were detected arriving 60 nanoseconds sooner than if they’d been traveling at lightspeed.

Were they wind-assisted? Should they be tested for steroids? Well, it’s no laughing matter to scientists who depend on Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity to explain their other observations.

And this didn’t happen only once. The physicists, working on the OPERA collaboration, measured the travel times of neutrino bunches some 15,000 times, a level of statistical significance that in scientific circles would count as a formal discovery.

Stephen Parke, a theoretical particle physicist at Fermilab in Batavia, IL, suggests the findings will be explained without invalidating special relativity:

It’s possible the neutrinos’ passage hadn’t been timed accurately. Or maybe the neutrinos were traveling through different dimensions, taking shortcuts from Geneva to Gran Sasso.

Shortcuts through other dimensions? Is that a quote from Doctor Parke or Doctor Who?