Paul Williams (1948-2013)

Paul Williams 1988 American Booksellers Assn photo by and copyright c 2013 Andrew Porter

Paul Williams at the 1988 American Booksellers Assn. Photo by and copyright © 2013 Andrew Porter.

Paul Williams, who began publishing fanzines as a teenager and at age 17 founded the legendary rock zine Crawdaddy!, died March 27 at the age of 64. He had been in hospice care since February suffering from early-onset dementia, attributed to the brain trauma he suffered in a 1995 bicycle accident.

Williams published Crawdaddy! from 1966 to 1968, the magazine’s distribution rapidly growing from 500 to 25,000 copies. Those historic issues can be accessed here.

Then, Williams ended the magazine and began a new phase of his life, as described in Billboard:

Following the initial success of Crawdaddy!, Williams closed up shop in New York and moved to Mendocino, Calif. where he traveled with Timothy Leary and “ended up at John and Yoko’s Bed-In for Peace in Montreal.” It was also around this time that Williams struck up a friendship with the influential science fiction author Philip K. Dick, a relationship that continued after Dick’s death, when Williams was named his literary executor. Williams is credited with helping to secure Dick’s literary legacy.

It took a long time for Dick’s reputation to gain its current stature. As Malcolm Edwards explains in his fine appreciation, Williams was instrumental in starting it on the way.

As an sf reader, which I assume you probably are, you should honour him as one of the two principal figures who kept the name of Philip K. Dick alive in the decades following his death. Paul was a close friend of Dick’s, and his 1975 Rolling Stone article “The True Stories of Philip K. Dick” was the most significant piece of writing about him published during his lifetime. (It later formed the basis of a book, Only Apparently Real, which was in turn the first book about Dick.) When Dick died in 1982, Paul was named his Literary Executor, and he worked tirelessly in conjunction with Dick’s long-time literary agent Russ Galen (the other hero of this story) to keep his name alive. Paul founded and ran the Philip K. Dick Society, which attracted hundreds of members in scores of countries. The small publishing company he ran together with David Hartwell published Dick’s novel Confessions of a Crap Artist– the first time any of Dick’s non-sf novels from the 1950s saw the light of day.

Gregory Benford paid Williams this tribute: “He was a stone sf fan from junior high, deflected into rock, but with the instincts of a fan and the smarts to see where rock could go, following the curve of sf and jazz and earlier American inventions. His kind of cross-conversation invigorated all fields he touched, from Dylan to Sturgeon to Phil Dick to all those idiosyncratic visionaries who lurk among us, bless them all in their fevered pace.”

[Thanks to Gregory Benford for the story.]

Snapshots 107 Suspicious Person

Here are 12 developments of interest to fans.

(1) Priceline’s next round of commercials features Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco  playing William Shatner’s daughter. The link takes you to a “behind-the-scenes” video with a funny reference to the TV series.

(2) But Captain Kirk isn’t merely a historic reference, he’s still fighting aliens

Shatner got into it with his old adversary again to promote Star Trek: The Video Game, which pits Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock against a new and radically redesigned race of Gorns (meaning, they can actually open and close their mouths). So it was the ideal occasion to re-create one of the most memorable moments from the original “Star Trek.”

With a stuntman in a replica Gorn costume — most of the original was destroyed, and the head sold at auction for $27,500 in 2006 — Shatner once again throws down some of Kirk’s signature moves: double fists to the back, judo chop to the neck, and the paralyzing ear clap. Though this time the octogenarian doesn’t do Kirk’s iconic flying drop kick.

(3) Amazon’s Jeff Bezos decided to spend some of his zillions locating and retrieving the Saturn rocket engines used to launch the Apollo moon mission — the first stage that fell into the ocean.

The Bezos expedition returned enough major components to rebuild two Saturn V F-1 engines — out of the 65 that were launched between 1967 and 1973 — for display. Despite claims last year that the engines were specifically from Apollo 11, Bezos now says the history of the engine parts he recovered may not be known.

Inspecting the raised pieces, Bezos reported that many of the parts’ original serial numbers are missing or partially missing, which may make mission identification difficult.

“We might see more during restoration,” Bezos wrote.

(4) The Literature Map is a fun toy, displaying around the writer you enter a compass of other writers’ names based on various shared traits. John King Tarpinian has preloaded Ray Bradbury for this demo (who else?) —

(5) The Supreme Court recently handed down a decision against the entertainment industry, ruling in favor of Supap Kirtsaeng, an immigrant from Thailand who challenged the $600,000 he was ordered to pay for willfully infringing a textbook publisher’s copyrights when he sold books first purchased overseas in the U.S. through eBay.

The important ruling deals with the first-sale doctrine under U.S. copyright law, which allows for the reselling of acquired copyrighted works without the authority of the original copyright owner. Advocates for Kirtsaeng argued that limiting the first-sale doctrine would cause manufacturing to fly overseas and imperil the reselling of many goods including films and music.

(6) The FBI’s Hottel Memo containing second-hand reports of UFO sightings in New Mexico around 1950 is the most popular file in its reading room. The agency never found it as interesting as the true believers:

The FBI denied that the memo constituted evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial spacecraft — and said Hottel’s report was never taken all that seriously. Instead, it was considered “an unconfirmed report that the FBI never even followed up on.”

Yes, the truth is out there. And it is: The FBI didn’t think this was any big deal.

(7) Stephen and Tabitha King  have offered to foot one-third of the $9M cost of renovating the Bangor, Maine library if the city can find people to pay the other $6 million.

(8) The spirit of Mystery Science Theater 3000 lives on.

Few can riff as well — or as lucratively — as the alumni of “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” the 1990s cult TV show about a human and his robot buddies skewering B-movies while stuck in space.

And former host Michael J. Nelson, aka Mike Nelson, should be applauded for taking clever commentary to a place where it had never successfully gone before: crowd-funding site Kickstarter. A campaign seeking financial help from strangers ended Wednesday, raising nearly $264,860, about five times its goal.

But it may be Nelson’s move to give power to the people that really encouraged riffing to thrive. Nelson moved to San Diego and created RiffTrax in 2006 as an outlet to offer fans his quirky commentary on movies. A few years later, he opened the system to anyone, with iRiffs, which enables people to create and sell their own movie commentaries.

The piece includes 7 tips on making your own Riff, not the least of which is, “Don’t talk over the dialogue.”

(9) Lots of amusing Star Wars bits at Wired.

(10) Uh,Scope Bacon Mouthwash? I assume Scalzi already knows all about this.

(11) You’d think Captain Cook was paid by the island, otherwise it’s hard to fathom why he mapped Sandy Island — an island that isn’t there. And it’s not the only one.

The question is, How many more phantom islands are sitting on maps, waiting to be Un-Discovered? Right now, all over the world, mapmakers are removing Sandy Island from their maps. It’s no longer on Google. It will not appear in the next National Geographic map.

Frank Jacobs has written about Bermeja, a Mexican island that has been on maps of the Yucatan since the 16th century. It’s disappeared. (Did it sink?) There’s New Moore Island, off India in the Bay of Bengal. It rose out of the water in 1970; By 2010, it was covered again. Sannikov Land, in the arctic sea off Siberia, first sighted by an explorer in 1811, then “seen” again in 1886 and 1893, was finally visited by the Soviet ice-breaker Sadko. They found…nothing.

Some of these islands were once actually there, some not. We may be at the dawn of a new cartographical era, where mapmakers rush about un-discovering what we once discovered.

 (12) On the theory that if it hasn’t happened on the internet it hasn’t happened yet,The Atlantic has revived speculation that Paul Linebager (“Cordwainer Smith”) was Kirk Allen, the patient in “The Jet-Propelled Couch,” a case study from Dr. Robert Lidner’s bookThe Fifty Minute Hour. The book was published in 1955, Brian Aldiss suggested the connection in 1973. Both Alan Elms and Lee Weinstein(New York Review of Science Fiction, April 2001) have searched for a definitive answer.

[Thanks for the links goes out to John King Tarpinian, Gary Farber, Taral, David Klaus, Michael Walsh and Stu Hellinger.]

2013 Hugo Award Nominees

The 2013 Hugo Award shortlist was announced at multiple conventions around the world and by several online sources on March 30.

Best Novel (1113 nominating ballots cast)

  • 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
  • Blackout, Mira Grant (Orbit)
  • Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, John Scalzi (Tor)
  • Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW)

Best Novella (587 nominating ballots cast)

  • After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
  • The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
  • On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
  • San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, Mira Grant (Orbit)
  • “The Stars Do Not Lie”, Jay Lake (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012)

Best Novelette (616 nominating ballots cast)

  • “ The Boy Who Cast No Shadow”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit For Eden, PS Publications)
  • “ Fade To White”, Catherynne M. Valente ( Clarkesworld, August 2012)
  • “ The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi”, Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
  • “ In Sea-Salt Tears”, Seanan McGuire (Self-published)
  • “ Rat-Catcher”, Seanan McGuire ( A Fantasy Medley 2, Subterranean)

Best Short Story (662 nominating ballots cast)

  • “ Immersion”, Aliette de Bodard ( Clarkesworld, June 2012)
  • “ Mantis Wives”, Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
  • “ Mono no Aware”, Ken Liu ( The Future is Japanese, VIZ Media LLC)

Note: Category has 3 nominees due to the minimum 5% requirement of Section 3.8.5 of the WSFS constitution.

Best Related Work (584 nominating ballots cast)

  • The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, Edited by Edward James & Farah Mendlesohn (Cambridge University Press)
  • Chicks Dig Comics: A Celebration of Comic Books by the Women Who Love Them, Edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Sigrid Ellis (Mad Norwegian Press)
  • Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who, Edited by Deborah Stanish & L.M. Myles (Mad Norwegian Press)
  • I Have an Idea for a Book … The Bibliography of Martin H. Greenberg, Compiled by Martin H. Greenberg, edited by John Helfers (The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box)
  • Writing Excuses Season Seven, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler and Jordan Sanderson

Best Graphic Story (427 nominating ballots cast)

  • Grandville Bête Noire, written and illustrated by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse Comics, Jonathan Cape)
  • Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks, written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
  • Saga, Volume One, written by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Media)
  • Saucer Country, Volume 1: Run, written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Broxton and Goran Sudžuka (Vertigo)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (787 nominating ballots cast)

  • The Avengers, Screenplay & Directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios, Disney, Paramount)
  • The Cabin in the Woods, Screenplay by Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon; Directed by Drew Goddard (Mutant Enemy, Lionsgate)
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro, Directed by Peter Jackson (WingNut Films, New Line Cinema, MGM, Warner Bros)
  • The Hunger Games, Screenplay by Gary Ross & Suzanne Collins, Directed by Gary Ross (Lionsgate, Color Force)
  • Looper, Screenplay and Directed by Rian Johnson (FilmDistrict, EndGame Entertainment)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (597 nominating ballots cast)

  • Doctor Who, “The Angels Take Manhattan”, Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
  • Doctor Who, “Asylum of the Daleks”, Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
  • Doctor Who, “The Snowmen”, written by Steven Moffat; directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Wales)
  • Fringe, “Letters of Transit”, Written by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Akiva Goldsman, J.H.Wyman, Jeff Pinkner. Directed by Joe Chappelle (Fox)
  • Game of Thrones, “Blackwater”, Written by George R.R. Martin, Directed by Neil Marshall. Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO)

Best Editor, Short Form (526 nominating ballots cast)

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Stanley Schmidt
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form (408 nominating ballots cast)

  • Lou Anders
  • Sheila Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  • Toni Weisskopf

Best Professional Artist (519 nominating ballots cast)

  • Vincent Chong
  • Julie Dillon
  • Dan dos Santos
  • Chris McGrath
  • John Picacio

Best Semiprozine (404 nominating ballots cast)

  • Apex Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore and Michael Damian Thomas
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
  • Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke, Jason Heller, Sean Wallace and Kate Baker
  • Lightspeed, edited by John Joseph Adams and Stefan Rudnicki
  • Strange Horizons, edited by Niall Harrison, Jed Hartman, Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Abigail Nussbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Dave Nagdeman and Rebecca Cross

Best Fanzine (370 nominating ballots cast)

  • Banana Wings, edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
  • The Drink Tank, edited by Chris Garcia and James Bacon
  • Elitist Book Reviews, edited by Steven Diamond
  • Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Emma J. King, Helen J. Montgomery and Pete Young
  • SF Signal, edited by John DeNardo, JP Frantz, and Patrick Hester

Best Fancast (346 nominating ballots cast)

  • The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
  • SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester, John DeNardo, and JP Frantz
  • SF Squeecast, Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente (Presenters) and David McHone-Chase (Technical Producer)
  • StarShipSofa, Tony C. Smith

Best Fan Writer (485 nominating ballots cast)

  • James Bacon
  • Christopher J. Garcia
  • Mark Oshiro
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • Steven H Silver

Best Fan Artist (293 nominating ballots cast)

  • Galen Dara
  • Brad W. Foster
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Maurine Starkey
  • Steve Stiles

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (476 nominating ballots cast)

Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2011 or 2012, sponsored by Dell Magazines. (Not a Hugo Award, but administered along with the Hugo Awards.)

  • Zen Cho*
  • Max Gladstone
  • Mur Lafferty*
  • Stina Leicht*
  • Chuck Wendig*

*Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.

I followed the announcement on CoverItLive, co-hosted by Kevin Standlee and Cheryl Morgan. Standlee said their audience peaked at 182 viewers. Geri Sullivan commented that Minicon’s livestreamed announcement had 843 views.

Cheryl Morgan’s analysis included the observation that 11 of 18 fiction nominees are by women, and that Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant’s 5 nominations was a Hugo Awards record for a single year. 

A record 1343 valid nominating ballots (1329 electronic and 14 paper) were cast by members of the 2012-2014 World Science Fiction Conventions.

The list above comes from Kevin Standlee on


Faunt in CNN’s Bounty Report

SF fan Doug Faunt, among the crew members rescued from the HMS Bounty when it foundered during Hurricane Sandy, is quoted in CNN’s latest report.

A lot of the information comes from testimony given at hearings held by the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board investigation in February in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Faunt is introduced with this description:

Doug Faunt, 66, had been with the Bounty for five seasons as its volunteer electrician. After two decades working at IT giant Cisco Systems, he could afford to follow his tall ship passion without getting paid. The wiry, balding, white-bearded resident of Oakland, California, possessed valuable knowledge about computers, engines and communications equipment.

The CNN reporter reached out to survivors, including Faunt, and learned they have kept in touch.

Some say the captain’s decision to leave Connecticut put the crew’s lives in danger. But the Bounty’s shipmates came together to save themselves. And they continue to look after each other.

“They’re my family,” said the Bounty electrician, Doug Faunt. “Closer than my family.”

Earlier this month, Faunt and five of his shipmates reunited to sail once again.

This time, a 14-foot Sunfish had to do.

The reunion was hosted by deckhand Anna Sprague in the quaint Georgia beach town of Tybee Island, just outside Savannah, where Sprague first fell in love with the Bounty.

Scornavacchi was there, as were ship’s cook Jessica Black and deckhands Mark Warner and Jessica Hewitt. They took turns in the tiny boat, enjoying nice sailing weather: temperatures in the 70s, mostly sunny, winds around 10 mph. It was a great chance to catch up, hang out and let off steam after the stressful hearings.

Some survivors have been talking about teaming up to buy a new vessel. “We already have a crew,” Faunt said with a smile. “We just need a boat.”

Faunt himself has posted a little bit about his latest doings on his LiveJournal. There he gives a qualified endorsement to Outside Magazine’s story Sunk: The Incredible Truth About a Ship That Never Should Have Sailed.

Gerhartsreiter Trial Update 3/29

The prosecution in the Gerhartsreiter murder trial spent the week leading jurors through Christian Gerhartsreiter’s transition from his “Chichester” to “Clark Rockefeller” identity.

Gerhartsreiter is charged with the 1985 bludgeoning death of LASFS member John Sohus, whose body was found in 1994 buried in the backyard of the property where John, his wife Linda, his mother Didi, and tenant “Christopher Chichester” (Gerhartsreiter) then lived. Linda has not been seen since that time. 

Gerhartsreiter, who also disappeared in 1985, soon resurfaced on the East Coast under the name Christopher Crowe. As Crowe, Gerhartsreiter gave a Connecticut acquaintance a white pickup truck registered to the Sohuses, prosecutors said. When authorities traced the vehicle to Connecticut they tried to contact Gerhartsreiter and question him about the couple’s disappearance.

Witness Mihoko Manabe met Gerhartsreiter in 1987 at Nikko Securities, a Japanese brokerage firm with a New York City office. Manabe worked there as a translator, and Gerhartsreiter, whom she knew as Crowe, was the head of a bond trading department. Eventually they began dating, and then lived together in her Manhattan apartment.

When a Greenwich, Connecticut detective tried to contact Gerhartsreiter about the Sohus case he changed his name, dyed his hair, and shredded his trash.

“He was always paranoid that someone would be rifling through our trash,” Manabe said. “He always shredded all of the addresses, shredded the garbage and we (always) threw (it) out in a public place. “

Manabe recalled when he began using the Rockefeller name.

In 1989, Manabe and Gerhartsreiter took a trip to Camden, Maine, to look for wedding venues. Gerhartsreiter made a reservation at a restaurant using the name Clark Rockefeller. It was the first time he used the name, she said.

He continued to use it, she said, because “he liked the attention that he got.”

Manabe, who spoke quietly on the witness stand, said she was embarrassed to answer questions about the couple’s relationship, which lasted until 1994, when she broke up with him.

“It’s not part of my life I like to talk about or remember,” she said.

“Chichester” was fired from Nikko Securities after its HR department found out that his name wasn’t real. He told Mahabe his real name was “Christopher Chichester Mountbatten.” He got a new job at Kidder, Peabody and Co., another New York securities firm. But he walked away from that job shortly after the Greenwich police detective began trying to meet him at the office.

Ralph Boynton, who was his boss at Kidder, Peabody, testified that he tried on several occasions to arrange a meeting between the detective and Gerhartsreiter at his firm’s New York offices.

Boynton said he did not tell Gerhartsreiter that the detective was looking for him. However, each time the detective was waiting, Gerhartsreiter failed to show up, Boynton said. Finally, Boynton said that in a telephone conversation, Gerhartsreiter asked for an extended leave of absence from the firm, saying “his parents were in harm’s way and possibly being kidnapped by foreign elites.”

By 2000, Gerhartsreiter was living part-time in Cornish, New Hampshire under the name Clark Rockefeller. There he met Christopher Kuzma, who testified that the two remained friends until 2008. Rockefeller made a lot of claims to his friend, among them:

  • He raised bees and was a “microagronomist”;
  • He had a private jet, but the family thought he was using it too much and it was too expensive
  • He and other members of his family had personal chefs on Nantucket Island
  • He owned property in Montana and was neighbors with Kevin Costner in Wyoming
  • He was going to audition for a new version of “Star Wars” and once went on a trip with the movie’s theme composer, John Williams;
  • He was a member of a committee in New York charged with making sure the governor’s mansion there was kept “up to snuff “
  • He consulted with the Conservative Party in Great Britain, which he referred to as “Her Majesty’s opposition “
  • He was a member of the World Bank
  • He helped developed a theory of particle physics known as “The Casimir Effect” and was testing it onboard the International Space Station, before he sold his company to Boeing.

Kuzma said he never questioned Rockefeller’s truthfulness, even though others did.

Links to local reports:

Pasadena Star-News: Murder suspect changed name, hair color and stopped driving when cops sought him for questioning

LA Times: Ex-girlfriend recounts Rockefeller impostor’s paranoia

Pasadena Star-News: Fake Rockefeller trial: Murder suspect told friend outrageous lies

L A Times: Rockefeller impostor avoided East Coast detective, witness says

Pasadena Star-News: Murder suspect claimed to be Quaker, pacifist in TV interview

Slattery Wins PKD Award

Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery (Tor Books) has won the 2012 Philip K. Dick Award, presented this weekend at Norwescon.

The annual award goes to a distinguished science fiction paperback original published in the United States. It is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust

The awards judges were Bruce Bethke, Sydney Duncan, Daryl Gregory, Bridget McKenna, and Paul Witcover (chair).

[Via Cheryl Morgan.]

Three Swords in the Fountain

As the new season of HBO’s Game of Thrones begins the editors at every news outlet and literary website are assigning articles about the meaning of it all. Here are three pieces I recommend.

Andy Greenwald’s “Winter Is Here” for Grantland is filled with interesting observations about the way HBO’s Game of Thrones is changing the medium – really, making TV more like a book.

Washington Post critic Hank Stuever stands up for inexpert admirers of Game of Thrones like himself who love the show although they’re unable to keep track of its details. Stuever argues the series’ popularity is revealing about the American audience:

That “Game of Thrones” has achieved zeitgeist status should offer a shred of hope for anyone who prematurely mourned the American attention span. It turns out we can pay meticulous attention when we want to. Imagine if the power exerted in analyzing and comprehending “Game of Thrones” could be exerted on the debt crisis?

This era was made for such a story. “Game of Thrones” is a reward for people who know too much. It’s one of the few places on TV where they can use their advanced multi-tasking and light-speed comprehension skills; where, at last, one can sink deeply and satisfying into the couch and feel like that college degree is doing more than accruing interest.

John Lanchester’s commentary for the London Review of Books deals collectively with the novels and TV series in a glib and entertaining style.

These are not peripheral figures but richly imagined, textured, three-dimensional portraits of central characters: the kind many writers couldn’t bear to kill off. Nobody needs to give Martin any advice about how he needs to slaughter his darlings.

Lanchester blabs rather too many plot points — so beware if you haven’t already read the books.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the last link.]

Straczynski’s Back

Netflix has ordered 10 episodes of Sense8, a science fiction drama produced by Andy and Lana Wachowski in partnership with J. Michael Straczynski.

Just what it will be about has yet to be made public. The Wachowskis only toldThe Hollywood Reporter —

“We’re excited to work with Netflix and Georgeville Television on this project, and we’ve wanted to work with Joe Straczynski for years, chiefly due to the fact his name is harder to pronounce than ours, but also because we share a love of genre and all things nerdy,” said Andy and Lana Wachowski. “Several years ago, we had a late night conversation about the ways technology simultaneously unites and divides us, and out of that paradox Sense8 was born.”

The show will debut in late 2014.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Richard Griffiths (1947-2013)

Richard Griffiths: actor, age 65, died March 28 reportedly from complications following heart surgery. As well as playing Vernon Dursley in five of the Harry Potter movies (2001-10), he appeared as a terrorist in Superman II (1980), Swelter in the tv adaptation of Gormenghast (2000), Hermann Goering in Jackboots on Whitehall (2010) and King George in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011). He also provided the voice of Jeltz in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005).
[Thanks to Steve Green for the story.]