(1) GENRE L.A. At last weekend’s 2017 Genre-LA Creative Writers Conference, dozens of professionals were on hand to share their experience and insight, among them Howard Hendrix, Gregory Benford and Robert J. Sawyer. Thanks to Greg for the photo —
(2) LIFE GOALS. Steve Barnes also spoke at the conference, and posted afterwards about his mission as a writer.
Last weekend I spoke at the GENRE L.A. science fiction/fantasy writer’s workshop, and boy oh boy, do I wish you could have been there! I did two panels, but more importantly connected with friends and students from across the country. One panel was on “Editing secrets of the Pros.”
On this one, I was with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, my buddies and partners, and once again was overwhelmed with how blessed I’ve been to have these giants in my life. The wisdom I’ve gleaned from them over the decades has made ALL the difference in my capacity to thrive in my chosen field…and I HAVE to thrive here, because it is about 50% of my planned outreach to change the world.
Grasp the importance of that: I don’t just write to make money. Or to express myself. Or to have fun…although all those things are important. I write to create ONE MILLION AWAKE, AWARE, ADULT HUMAN BEINGS on the planet. That dream powers me through all obstacles.
(3) CUTTING IT CLOSE. You’ve got a little time left to submit your 31st Annual Asimov’s Readers’ Award Ballot. The online form must be completed by February 1,
From short stories and novellas to novelettes and poems – and even best covers! – let us know your Asimov’s favorites this year. Winners join the pantheon of Asimov’s authors who represent the Who’s Who of science fiction writers over the past thirty years.
(4) MYSTERIOUS FIEND. Mac Childs argues the advantages of playing “Peekaboo with the Devil: Strategies for Hiding and Revealing Your Antagonist” on the Horror Writers Association blog.
Just like any relationship, the special bond between a horror protagonist and her antagonist benefits from a little bit of mystery. In this case, the hero is a proxy for your readers, and the mystery comes from your story’s scariest villain, be it a human serial killer or a demonic creature or the mad scientist who, when left unattended for a few minutes, will inevitably create a horrific zombie plague.
There are a host of reasons why keeping your baddie cards close to your chest can help your story’s tension and overall terror levels. Obviously, if your plot line is even remotely similar to a mystery, you don’t want to give away the killer in the first act. You can stoke the tension by keeping your villain shrouded.
(5) WHERE CREDIT IS DUE. George R.R. Martin wants to make sure people understand that Gardner Dozois is sole editor of a new anthology, however, they have plans to edit more books together in the future.
My friend Gardner Dozois, long-time anthologist and winner (many many times) of the Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor, has a big new fantasy anthology coming out this fall. It’s called THE BOOK OF SWORDS, and it’s about… well… swords. Y’know. “Stick ’em with the pointy end.”
I have a story in the book. “The Sons of the Dragon” is the title.…
However, there is a lot that’s wrong out there as well. THE BOOK OF SWORDS is not my book. I didn’t write but a small part of it, and I didn’t edit it, nor even co-edit it. Gardner is one of my oldest friends and he and I have co-edited a number of anthologies together. We did OLD MARS and OLD VENUS together. We did SONGS OF LOVE & DEATH and DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS together. We did the huge award-winning cross-genre anthologies WARRIORS, DANGEROUS WOMEN, and ROGUES together. But we did not do THE BOOK OF SWORDS together….
Truth be told, I loved editing those anthologies with Gardner, and we want to do more together. We’re talked about MORE ROGUES and EVEN MORE DANGEROUS WOMEN, since those two books were hugely successful, and we have definite plans for OLD LUNA and, who knows, maybe eventually OLD MERCURY and OLD PLUTO and OLD URANUS. But we’re not doing any of that NOW. The anthologies, much as I loved them, were taking too much of my time, so I stepped back from them… until I finish THE WINDS OF WINTER, at least. Once that’s done, maybe I can sneak another one in…
(6) RECOMMENDATIONS. Editor Rich Horton shares his “Hugo Nomination Thoughts: Short Fiction: Short Story”.
Lots of stories listed there, and they are all good stuff. Noticeable is, of course, Rich Larson, who really had an excellent year. I think there’s a nice mix, too, af fantasy and SF, some funny stories, some quite dark, hard SF, far future SF, action, philosophy. I’m leaning towards the top five listed stories (though, really, as with the other categories, all these stories are worthy) for my nomination ballot.
(7) FUNDRAISER. I remember searching used bookstores to complete a run of these — “Analog Science Fiction & Fact; The 25 Bedsheet Issues”. A Canadian collector is selling his for $300 to support a local convention. They are still up for grabs at this writing.
All proceeds from the sale of this complete set will go directly to benefit Keycon, Manitoba’s premier SF/Fantasy convention.
All 25 issues are in good+ and VG condition. No loose covers, torn, loose, or missing pages. Some minor shelf wear from long time storage, but less wear than may be expected for magazines of this age.. Each issue bagged. All proceeds from the sale of this complete set will go directly to benefit Keycon, Manitoba’s premier SF/Fantasy convention.
(8) SUPER STARS. ScienceFiction.com says the actress we knew as Lois Lane will become a super-villain: “Teri Hatcher Returns To The Super-Verse With A Mystery Role On ‘Supergirl’”.
Teri Hatcher gained fame playing iconic comic book character Lois Lane on ‘Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’, a romantic comedy spin on the comics that aired for four seasons on ABC television from 1993-97. Now she is returning to the world of DC Comics with a recurring role in the back end of ‘Supergirl’ Season Two. The role is a mystery, but is known to be the major villain and will span multiple episodes.
Hatcher played Lois opposite Dean Cain’s Clark Kent/Superman. Cain, of course, has a recurring role on ‘Supergirl’ as Supergirl/Kara’s adopted father Jeremiah Danvers. Fans can only cross their fingers in hopes that the two will have a ‘Lois & Clark’ reunion on ‘Supergirl’.
Hatcher previously made another guest appearance on a Super show, ‘Smallville’ on which she played Ella Lane, the mother of Erica Durance’s Lois.
(9) TRIVIAL FACT OF THE DAY. The shoes Neil Armstrong wore when he first walked on the moon — size 9-1/2 medium and worth $30,000 a pair — are still on the moon. They along with other material had to be jettisoned to compensate for the weight of the moon rocks the astronauts collected.
Even a pair of Air Jordans doesn’t cost that much!
(10) NOT DEAD, ONLY RESTING. The Spaceworks company wants to have a real-world stasis chamber ready by 2018.
A process traditionally used to treat cardiac arrest or traumatic brain injury is now showing promise as a possible method to enable long-term space travel through hibernation. Behind this effort is John A. Bradford, president of Spaceworks, and making this a reality is much closer than you might think.
Doctors refer to this strategy as something called “therapeutic hypothermia.” Essentially, the body is cooled slowly to a temperature between 32 and 34 degrees Celsius (normal body temperature is 37C). This will slow down both heart rate and blood pressure, giving doctors additional time to work on serious health issues.
The patient stays in stasis for about 2-4 days, although the technique has worked for as long as two weeks without any measurable harm. There’s evidence that even longer periods of stasis may be possible: a Japanese man once survived 24 days in a hypothermic state after a fall off a mountain ledge in Japan.
Bradford hopes through additional work to extend the safe period for stasis out to months, and says this technology and the equipment necessary can be automated easily and made space-ready.
Now, don’t assume that these stasis chambers will be like those you see in science fiction movies. While single person pods do work well, having enough of these would add a lot of additional weight to a spacecraft. Instead, Spaceworks is working on an open chamber capable of holding multiple crew members.
(11) CALL FOR PAPERS. The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) has invited papers for its affiliate session about “Popular Print Culture” at the 2017 South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) Convention, November 3-5, 2017, in Atlanta. Abstracts due by June 1. Contact details are at the link.
Potential topics include print culture, history of the book, authorship, publishing history, ephemera, illustration, publishers’ archives, production, circulation, and reception. Papers addressing this year’s convention theme, “High Art/Low Art Borders and Boundaries in Popular Culture,” are especially welcome. What connections can be made between print culture/book history and the diverse world of popular culture? How has print culture reflected popular taste from the early modern world to the present?
Possible topics include:
Gothic Ghost stories
Westerns Popular magazines
Newspapers Romance novels (Mills & Boon, etc.)
Ephemera (postcards, pamphlets, broadsides, advertising, etc.)
The evolving study of middlebrow writing
The borderlands of popular print culture (historical, geographical, etc.)
…Proposers need not be members of SHARP to submit, but panelists must be members of both SAMLA and SHARP in order to present.
(12) BY HIS BOOTSTRAPS. Applications are being taken for the “Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture” at Northern Illinois University through May 31.
The University Libraries, Northern Illinois University, invite applications for the Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture. Funding is available to scholars who will be using materials from the Libraries’ major holdings in American popular culture. These holdings include the Albert Johannsen and Edward T. LeBlanc Collections of more than 50,000 dime novels, and the nation’s preeminent collections related to Horatio Alger, Jr., and Edward Stratemeyer. Eligible collections also include our comic book, science fiction and fantasy literature, and American Popular Literature Collections. Topics which could draw on the collections’ strengths might include the plight of urban children, image of the American West in popular literature, widespread use of pseudonyms, and stereotypical portrayals. Preference will be given to applicants who signify an interest in conducting research related to Horatio Alger, Jr.
The 2017 Fellowship award consists of a $2000 stipend.
The deadline for applications is May 31, 2017, with research taking place between July 1 and December 31, 2017.
Named for the founder of our journal, Richard “Dale” Mullen (1915-1998), the Mullen fellowships are awarded by Science Fiction Studies to support for archival research in science fiction. Starting with the 2017 competition, we have four categories of awards:
- Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
Amount: Up to $3000
- PhD Research Fellowship
Amount: Up to $1500 Number: 2 awards are available each year
- MA Thesis Research Fellowship
Amount: Up to $1000 Number: 2 awards are available each year
- Collaborative Undergraduate Research Award
Amount: Up to $250 Number: 2 awards are available each year
Application Process All projects must centrally investigate science fiction, of any nation, culture, medium or era. Applications may propose research in—but need not limit themselves to—specialized sf archives such as the Eaton Collection at UC Riverside, the Maison d’Ailleurs in Switzerland, the Judith Merril Collection in Toronto, or the SF Foundation Collection in Liverpool. Proposals for work in general archives with relevant sf holdings—authors’ papers, for example—are also welcome. For possible research locations, applicants may wish to consult the partial list of sf archives compiled in SFS 37.2 (July 2010): 161-90. This list is also available online.
(14) WIELDING A BRUSH. Larry Correia tells readers how to get started in one of his favorite hobbies, painting miniature figures, in a tutorial at Monster Hunter Nation.
Since I usually post my Work In Progress minis on Facebook I’ve been having a lot of people asking me questions. So this is going to be the big tutorial post for everything you need to know to get started with basic mini painting. And if you search, there are a lot of other tutorials out there, from painters way better than me, and then there are higher level tutorials that go into great depth just about particular techniques. Every little thing I talk about, somebody else has a big article about just that step.
Miniatures. This is easy. If you don’t have a cool Local Game Store (always support your LGS!) go to www.frpgames.com or www.miniaturesmarket.com and pick whatever you think looks fun. Warning. This is addictive and these little buggers can get expensive. Always check the clearance bin. Especially when you are learning, it is cheaper to learn on something that you snagged for 75% off. If you want something really cheap to learn and practice on, look up Reaper’s Bones. They are a soft plastic, but they paint up just fine. (also Bones are made out of a material that doesn’t require priming, so when you are starting out you can skip that step and just get to base coating)…
(15) BLADE RUNNER HOMAGE. A team of filmmakers has been working for three years on their self-funded homage to Blade Runner and other Eighties sci-fi movies called “Slice of Life”. They’ve created enough material by now to produce a trailer.
“Slice Of Life” is an original short Science Fiction film set in the Blade Runner universe. The whole film is made the old school way like the legendary SciFi movies of the 80’s (Star Wars, Alien and already mentioned Blade Runner). Think miniatures, matte paintings, rear projections – You won’t find any CGI here!!! Slice Of Life is a love letter to the Science Fiction genre of the 80’s. The production is on for the last three years and it is completely self funded.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer Sylvester.]