Today in History, January 31

Apple Corps building at 3 Savile Row, site of the Let It Be rooftop concert.

Apple Corps building at 3 Savile Row, site of the Let It Be rooftop concert.

1969: The Beatles gave their last public performance — on the roof of their Apple Corps headquarters.

1933: The Lone Ranger made his radio debut.

2004: David Bradley, the man who wrote the computer code Ctrl+Alt+Delete (forces computers to restart when they will no longer follow other commands), retired from IBM after 28.5 years with the company.

A Kerfuffle in Transylvania

Phil Foglio blogged how unhappy he is about the lack of communication from Tor concerning the future of the Girl Genius books.

Tor published a hardcover omnibus edition of Girl Genius collecting Phil and Kaja Foglio’s first three books in one volume. Afterwards the Foglios asked when the paperback would come out, and about doing a follow-up collection of the next several books in the series. They say a year went by with no response from their (unnamed) editor at Tor.  Even the Foglios’ agent couldn’t get an answer.

Phil ran into another Tor senior editor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, at the 2013 Worldcon and enlisted his help, but by autumn became impatient for action and frustrated that Nielsen Hayden also wasn’t answering e-mails. So in the January 29 post Phil not only teed off on Nielsen Hayden but asked everyone on the internet to join in voicing their disapproval on Patrick’s Facebook page. (Curiously, to him alone, still no mention of the editor actually working on Girl Genius.)

Today Patrick explained his side of things on Making Light, including the caveats he’d given Phil about his schedule.

What happened next? Well, despite what I said to Phil about not being in a position to help him until late November, September wasn’t even over before I began getting emails from Phil’s agent demanding that I deal with this and/or instruct Phil’s editor to deal with this—emails in which it was clear that, in Phil’s agent’s eyes, I was now Part Of Phil’s Problem At Tor.

And Patrick emphasized that the people at Tor who are the source of Phil’s complaint don’t report to him. Senior editors report to the publisher; Tor doesn’t have an editor-in-chief; Patrick is not the other editor’s boss. It does Phil no practical good to bury him in complaints.

Bottom line: As far as I can see, Phil’s problems with Tor are being dealt with now. Sending me dozens of angry emails isn’t going to get them dealt with any faster or better. If you want to send me email telling me I’m a craphead for not having answered Phil Foglio’s emails from late November to mid-January, okay, guilty as charged. But I’m not the guy on a golden throne proposing and disposing the actions of all the other senior editors at Tor.

The thing that struck me is how many writers I’ve heard agonize about how slowly the publishing process works – with every publisher. It takes forever to get a decision about a submission. When a book is accepted, it takes another year or three to grind through the editorial process and reach market. Writers fear that infinite patience is likely to be rewarded with maximum delay, but are also wary about doing much elbow-jogging and ending even worse off. Since Phil’s post goes well beyond elbow-jogging – a body slam is more like it, and on the wrong party — I wonder if Girl Genius still has a future at Tor or will the publisher cut the Foglios loose as Phil more or less seems to hope at this point:

I mention that we’ve been selling graphic novels fairly well for quite awhile, and that we’d cheerfully give them pointers. However, if they just can’t wrap their heads around it, which seems obvious since after three years they have yet to sell through the initial print run (We’d have done it in 16 months- and that’s with no advertising, which is a fair comparison, as they did no advertising either), then we’ll just sing a chorus of “So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You”, and then we’ll publish them ourselves, because if there’s one thing we know how to do, it’s publish and sell Girl Genius graphic novels.

Heinlein Bio Draws Closer

Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better by William Patterson, Jr. is scheduled for publication June 2014.

Advance copies are already in the hands of people it’s hoped will write a nice blurb. You lucky dogs!

It’s available for preorder from Amazon now. (I’d link Tor or Macmillan, too, if their sites were taking preorders.)

Comic-Con Gets A Dear John Letter

Impenetrable crowds! Lines! Longer waits for ever-shorter panels! The expense! At Epic Geekdom RM Peavy gives 8 reasons for not going to the San Diego Comic-Con this year.

4.  Purchasing badges:  Every year, it feels like the Hunger Games and the odds never seem to be in my favor.  We have been together for at least ten years now, and every year it gets worse and worse.  There are virtual waiting rooms, crashing sites, lottery systems, a line to get in a line, and half of you was wasted so I could maybe get a ticket for the next year to see you.  No thank you.  You should be making it easier for me.  Have you ever thought about ME?  There is no more advance purchase for next year for those already attending.  I used to be able to walk up on Friday and purchase next year’s ticket, and now I don’t even know what building it is to register.  It’s like I don’t even know you.

One commenter even argued he has a higher-quality experience watching the con on video:

I can see the panels on YouTube. Oh, you waited eight hours but you were there when Loki did his little speech? When Nathan Fillion took a call from Joss Whedon? I saw it on YouTube from the comfort of my own home. Thanks to G4, I caught interviews the SDCC people didn’t.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the link.]

Myke Cole at WORD Brooklyn on 2/5

Myke Cole (the Shadow Ops series) will join Adrian Bonenberger (The Afghan Post), Phil Klay (Redeployment, coming March 2014) and moderator Ryan Britt to talk about war and PTSD at WORD Brooklyn on February 5 at 7 p.m.

Cole explains on his blog

If I do this right, it’ll be serious without being heavy, and you might even find a thing or two inspiring. Only one way to find out. Hope to see you there.

Law and Order: Irascible Intent

Narrator: In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by three separate yet equally important groups: the police; the district attorneys; and those who process Ed Kramer’s complaints. These are their stories.

Sound effect: Boink-boink.

Ed Kramer, sentenced to 34 months of house arrest in December, has filed a motion for contempt against his probation officer reports the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Officer (Urie) Josey … refuses to follow the Medical Procedure Order by requiring his prior approval to attend any medical appointments,” the motion said, “and has threatened immediate arrest of the Defendant if he does not obtain his prior approval for medical appointments.”

Kramer’s plea agreement allows him to leave home for medical appointments by notifying the GPS company tracking his movement and later providing proof of the visit to his probation officer.

The motion alleges that Josey’s insistence on prior approval violates the order and has caused Kramer significant medical distress.

“During the night and early morning of January 4, 2014, (Kramer) experienced extreme breathing problems and attempted to obtain Officer Josey’s permission to seek emergency medical care, preventing Defendant from receiving emergency care for 7 hours,” the filing said.

Kramer says these requirements also caused him to miss a medical appointment on January 6.

His motion asks for the probation officer to be cited and “specifically ordered” to follow the agreement.

[Thanks to Nancy Collins for the story.]

BSFA Awards Shortlist

The finalists for the 2013 British Science Fiction Awards have been released.

Best Novel

God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Del Rey)
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
Evening’s Empires by Paul McAuley (Gollancz)
Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth L. Powell (Solaris)
The Adjacent by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)

Note: The Best Novel Award is only open to UK publications.

Best Short Fiction

Spin by Nina Allan (TTA Press)
“Selkie Stories are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons)
“Saga’s Children” by E. J. Swift (The Lowest Heaven, Pandemonium)
“Boat in the Shadows Crossing” by Tori Truslow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Best Artwork

Cover for Tony Ballantyne’s Dream London by Joey Hi-fi (Solaris)
Poster for Metropolis by Kevin Tong (tragicsunshine.com)
“The Angel at the Heart of the Rain” by Richard Wagner (Interzone #246)

Best Non-Fiction

Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer (Abrams Image)
“Going Forth by Night” by John J. Johnston (Unearthed, Jurassic)
“Sleeps with Monsters” by Liz Bourke (Tor.com)

The finalists for the BSFA Awards are nominated by the membership.

The winners will be announced at Satellite4 (Eastercon) on April 20.

Video of Bradbury Library Dedication

Better late than never! After the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library in Los Angeles was dedicated to Ray Bradbury on September 23, 2013, Steven Leiva, Harlan Ellison and George Clayton Johnson convened upstairs in the Ray Bradbury Room to talk about their mutual friend. Video of the panel shot by John Sasser has now been posted on YouTube.

Loncon 3 Passes 5K Members

Loncon 3, the 2014 Worldcon, passed the 5,000 member mark on January 26. With seven months to go, the committee projects it will be the largest Worldcon ever held outside the United States.

The current record holder is Intersection, the Glasgow Worldcon of 1995, which posted total membership of 6,524 and drew 4,173 attendees.

The Loncon 3 committee says more than 4,000 — over 80% — of Loncon 3’s members have attending memberships. That is the same proportion enjoyed by the last Worldcon in the UK (Glasgow, 2005). A new factor in play since then is the Hugo Voter Packet — it remains to be seen if there will be an influx of supporting members joining to vote on the Hugos and get access to the Packet.

Co-chair Alice Lawson also likes the younger demographic among the members. “The Loncon 3 team is particularly pleased that so many Young Adult members have signed up, as we want to make this Worldcon as accessible, dynamic and inclusive as we can.”

The full press release follows the jump.

Continue reading

Carol Carr’s Collection

Carol Carr: The Collected Writings is available from Ramble House with her short story “Look, You Think You’ve Got Troubles” — reprinted 12 times, notably in Jack Dann’s memorable Wandering Stars collection – other short fiction “Inside,” “Wally À Deux” and “Tooth Fairy,” plus articles and poems.

Karen Haber’s comments from the Introduction are enough to make anyone want to immediately read Carr’s work —

She has the sharp focus, love of wordplay and whimsy, attention to detail, and grace in phrasing that characterize superb writing. She embraces all the humor and pathos of the human condition, bringing a good dose of anger—and leavening silliness—to the mix.

She’s sold every piece of fiction that she’s written. She’s appeared in the highly respected Omni magazine, scooped up by its fiction editor Ellen Datlow, and twice in Damon Knight’s anthology series, Orbit.

Carol Carr: The Collected Writings brings together a wide range of her most engaging work: the five short stories she calls her oeuvrette, as well as poetry, fanzine articles, and appreciations of writers in and around the field of science fiction. It’s all lip-smacking good.

Excerpts from the book are available free here.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]