Tepper, Levin Marry

Debra Levin and Matthew Tepper wed in a Jewish ceremony at the LASFS clubhouse on June 30 in the presence of about 75 family members and friends.

A canopy lifted on four poles was carried into the main meeting room by members of the wedding party including John DeChancie and David Gerrold.  The canopy was blue fabric with an elaborate yellow design.

The principals came forward in procession, Rabbi Marcia Minsky, who presided over the ceremony, Tepper in a top hat and black tuxedo, and Levin wearing a white wedding gown beautifully trimmed in lace.

Minsky was assisted by Mark Poliner. Tom Safer cued the music. Other participants included Joyce Sperling, Eylat Poliner, Charles Lee Jackson II and Jerry Pournelle, plus several more whose names I didn’t know.

At the appropriate point in the ceremony, various people had the honor of reading one of the seven blessings, in Hebrew if they were able, otherwise in English translation. Jerry Pournelle recited the third blessing in English: “Blessed are You, LORD, our God, sovereign of the universe, who creates man.” Barry and Lee Gold did a glorious job reading the lengthy seventh blessing, first in Hebrew, and then in translation.

Matthew waved off the applause that began when people thought the service had ended, because he still needed to stamp on the glass – then the couple was introduced and applause resumed.

LASFS officers figured prominently in the service. The groom is club president, while his bride is vice-president-elect. Marcia Minsky and Eylat Poliner, are co-vice-presidents, and Charles Lee Jackson II is a Special Advisor.

It was a great occasion, and a chance to greet some old friends including Elst and Carole Weinstein, Regina Renante, Marty Cantor, and quite a few of those named above.

Hero Complex Interviews del Toro

Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro

Gina McIntyre’s interview with Guillermo del Toro for Hero Complex covers the spectrum from Pacific Rim’s larger-than-life ambitions —

He shot the film almost entirely on eight soundstages at Pinewood Toronto Studios; the scale of the production was massive. “We built parts of the robots, and the only thing that would fit in the largest stage in North America was the feet,” he said.

to del Toro’s most wounding setbacks —

He came to direct “Pacific Rim” only after two other efforts fell apart. First, he had set out to direct a two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” which ultimately became a trilogy helmed by Peter Jackson. Then there was his long-held passion project, a big-budget adaptation of “At the Mountains of Madness” by H.P. Lovecraft. The story of a scientific expedition to Antarctica that uncovers ancient life-forms collapsed after Universal declined to finance the film, a $150-million R-rated 3-D horror epic.

“When it happened, this has never happened to me, but I actually cried that weekend a lot,” Del Toro said. “I don’t want to sound like a puny soul, but I really was devastated. I was weeping for the movie.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Science Fiction on Sunday Morning

Three new clips of interest to fans have been posted on CBS’ Sunday Morning website.

The first minute of Passages pays tribute to the late Richard Matheson.

And there are two segments of Anthony Mason’s interview of Stephen King. In one, the horror writer and executive producer of Under the Dome takes Mason on a tour of the set.  In the other, King answers questions about his writing and career, and explains why he pulled his novel Rage out of circulation.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

SFWA Discipline

The motion to expel Theodore Beale (“Vox Day”) awaits SFWA’s new board, which takes office July 1.

Will they simply look at Beale’s tweets and posts, consider them in light of SFWA’s Bylaws, and give a quick thumbs-up or –down?

Likelier they’ll start by comparing the case with any other disciplinary precedents in SFWA history. Followers of professional sports know that inconsistent discipline often leads to lawsuits if a player believes the suspension he’s received for some violation is disproportionate to the penalty handed down for the same infraction in the past.

But is there much history to review? That answer is probably unknowable to outsiders. However, when Lawrence Watt-Evans left SFWA in 2006 after 24 years of membership he suggested there isn’t much, for he complained –

Other writers’ organizations kick out people when necessary, but SFWA, in forty-two years of existence, has never had the gumption to police itself. Members have lied and swindled and cheated, and yet SFWA has never expelled anyone, has never refused membership to anyone who had the necessary credentials.

The lone example of SFWA discipline that seems to be public knowledge is the very incident that triggered Watt-Evans’ complaint and his departure, SFWA’s decision to censure rather than expel David Moles.

In 2006, after Harlan Ellison groped Connie Willis onstage during the Hugo Awards ceremony, Moles became upset with colleagues he felt were defending Ellison in a private SFWA newsgroup. He made some of their comments public on his blog. (These appear to have been taken down, but related material Moles excerpted from public blogs and forums is still available at his old blog.) He wrote at the time, “I did not post those quotes lightly. This is not just another internet slapfight,” sounding like he considered his actions a variety of civil disobedience for which he expected and accepted certain consequences.

Some members attempted to get Moles expelled from SFWA. He was censured instead. He recalled the experience in a 2009 SF Signal interview – in a tone rather more glib than in 2006:

SoY: Rumor has it you were once formally censured by the SFWA. Care to elaborate?

DM: So, you may have heard about Harlan Ellison groping Connie Willis during the Hugo ceremony at the Anaheim Worldcon in 2006. (If not, google “Harlangate”.) A number of people who should have known better said some indefensible things in Harlan’s defense. I made a blog post excerpting and linking to some of these.

As it happens — I suppose it’s not accidental — the venue for many of these indefensible defenses was the SFF.net SFWA Lounge, a closed newsgroup accessible only to SFWA members and known for studied unpleasantness. Suffice to say that to a lot of SFWA veterans, my breaking the SFWA code of silence by reposting from a closed newsgroup was much worse — and much more worth talking about — than anything Harlan might have done, or anything the Anaheim incident (and reactions to it) might highlight about sexism and sexual harassment in science fiction.

That I wasn’t expelled from SFWA outright is thanks to then-SFWA president Robin Bailey, who fought the rest of the SFWA board to get my expulsion reduced to censure — a new process that had to be invented for the occasion.

Even today, censure is not provided for in the SFWA Bylaws, only expulsion, which makes one wonder how it worked.

However, I recall that the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society years ago voted to censure a member in lieu of expulsion, a procedure not explicitly provided for in its by-laws or standing rules. The members decided such an action could be authorized by a general vote.

SFWA obviously came up with a rationale of its own for imposing another type of discipline on Moles short of expulsion.

The Moles episode may have been on Beale’s mind judging by the way he introduced certain quotations from his own SFWA Forum posts on his personal blog. It was another way of baiting his colleagues. The Amal El-Mohtar motion, on the other hand, doesn’t dwell on such technicalities, it goes straight to the heart of the matter.

That is a motion endorsed by Moles, incidentally. He wrote on June 14:

I’m writing to ask you to take the strongest steps you think are allowable under our current bylaws to discipline Mr. Beale, whether that’s censure, expulsion, or some other punishment to be named later. At this point I’m not sure anything could be better for SFWA’s public image than to have someone like Mr. Beale outside it shouting loudly about how unwelcome he is in it.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the story.]

Gaiman in Glendale

Alex Theatre marquee.

Alex Theatre marquee.

Neil Gaiman appeared at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA on Thursday evening. People began lining up for good seats six hours before showtime.

The photo below was taken over twelve hours later, at 1:54 a.m., while Gaiman was busy graciously signing everything put in front of him. Whether it’s blurry because a fan took it with his cell phone, or just reflects how everyone felt after a marathon day, is for a poet to decide.

Neil Gaiman signing.

Neil Gaiman signing.

[Thanks to John King Tarpnian for the story.]

Cadigan Reveals Cancer

Pat Cadigan shared in her LiveJournal on June 27 that she has been diagnosed with cancer.

Well, I’m not comparing myself to Jay Lake or Iain Banks. I don’t have that many fans and, more to the point, I’m nowhere near terminal. My doctor tells me that removal of the offending parts will no doubt be the end of the matter and five years from now I can probably forget I ever had a problem.

But I gotta tell you, hearing the doctor tell me I had cancer was like being pole-axed. Over forty years ago, I was one of the anti-war demonstrators in the Mayday riots in Washington, DC. A policeman hit me with a billy-club. It was like that: blam!

Pat, however many fans you have (which is quite a few) I’m one and I hope you beat this thing.

[Via Ansible Links.]

ATom Art Tile on eBay

ATom TileAn iconic example of Arthur “ATom” Thomson’s fan art on a “new decorative wall tile” is up for auction on eBay, with the proceeds going to the Down Under Fan Fund. 

The tile is 4-1/4 inches a side, 1/4 inch thick. I believe “new” indicates the tile was made by someone besides ATom, using his art.

ATom was a British fanartist whose work is identified with the classic fanzine Hyphen and was sought by faneds everywhere. He won the TransAtlantic Fan Fund in 1964 and his visit to U.S. is chronicled in ATom Abroad. He was a five-time Hugo nominee and received the Rotsler Award, posthumously, in 2000.

The tile is a donation from Edd Vick and Amy Thomson.

[Thanks to Murray Moore for the story.]

Worldcon Goes Rune-y Tunes

Sassafrass, an a capella singing group, will present “Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok” at LoneStarCon 3 on Saturday, August 31.

Gods and myths of the Viking era will come to life in songs that narrate the history of the cosmos according to Viking legend, from the creation of the world to Ragnarok. The song cycle premiered at Balticon earlier this year.

This remarkable group recently raised over $16,000 through Kickstarter to fund both the Worldcon appearance and creation of CD and DVD versions of their Norse myth song cycle.

The full press release follows the jump.


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Own The 8080 That Hacked SAC

WarGames came out 30 years ago this month, the movie where Matthew Broderick’s character thought he’d hacked his way into a game and nearly set off World War III.

IT World reporter Phil Johnson wondered whatever happened to the old computer hardware used in the film, which consisted of these components —

As I wrote last week, [Broderick’s] room featured an IMSAI 8080 microcomputer, with an IMSAI FDC-2 dual 8-inch floppy drive, an IMSAI IKB-1 intelligent keyboard and an IMSAI (in actuality a Cermetek) 212A modem.

He discovered that the fellow who supplied the system for the movie, Todd Fischer, still has nearly all the pieces. There’d been a plan to auction it in London at Christie’s two years ago, but Fischer pulled out for various reasons. However, he wouldn’t mind selling it now for five or six figures.

Fischer also has created an extensive website and written thousands of words of technical neepery about the WarGames computers. Lots of pictures there, too. And for the rest of you internet connoisseurs, he’s included a chunk of verbal abuse from a Hollywood type who disliked being publicly corrected by Fischer about some details of the film’s history.

[Thanks to Steven H Silver for the story.]