Now You Know the Rest of the Story

News services throughout the world reported that a Thai fireman turned superhero when he dressed up as comic-book character Spider-Man to coax a frightened eight-year-old autistic boy from a third-story ledge.

The Hugos being so much in the news this week, the last line of the Associated Press story really caught my eye:

Somchai said he keeps the Spider-Man costume and an outfit of Japanese television character Ultraman at the station in order to liven up school fire drills.

So when the chips were down, Ultraman got left in the locker and Spider-Man saved the day. When an Ultraman statuette decorated the Nippon 2007 Hugo base I laughed about a hypothetical New York Worldcon following suit with a Spider-Man base. Now who knows, if Somtow Sucharitkul held a Thai Worldcon they might really do it.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

First and Last Hugos?

Were the Hugo Awards meant to begin and end with the presentation of Jack McKnight’s handmade rockets at the Philadelpha Worldcon of 1953?

That’s the view expressed in a comment on the official Hugo website:

Because the awards presented in 1953 were initially conceived as one-off awards…

However, Michael J. Walsh points out that the 1953 Worldcon’s announcement of the award in its third progress report describes it as “the First Annual Science Fiction Achievement Awards” — not first and last…

When I redraft the official site’s Hugo history I will have to deal with this question.

Esther Cole, chair of the San Francisco committee which failed to reprise the Hugos in 1954, said on a panel in 1993 that she believed they were one-off awards, making the discussion yet another of those faanish theological controversies. We can wonder why she believed that. However, I’m not aware that anyone has shown she didn’t believe that.

Sometimes I wonder if the 1954 committee, having heard how Jack McKnight missed the Worldcon to finish the trophies, found no one would touch the project with a 10-foot-pole. But I haven’t found any evidence to support my speculation.

Snapshots 14

Five developments of interest to fans.

(1) If you habla Español, Roberto De Antuñano’s Ultralinea science fiction podcast may be for you. Roberto is the Entertainment editor for MSN Mexico (, and he’s been a sci-fi fan since the golden age of 12. “Ultralìnea” takes its name from the Spanish version of Dan Simmon’s “Fatline.” The first podcast discussed Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series. The latest argues whether Star Wars is science fiction or not – a familiar ploy that is just as successful in translation, judging by Roberto’s claim that the podcast has exceeded 200,000 downloads. (If the Crotchety Old Fan hasn’t already tried that one, I guarantee he will before next week.)

(2) Orbit is offering dollar e-books to readers on a rotating basis. The dollar titles are available at The January book is Brent Weeks’ epic fantasy, The Way of Shadows. Next month they’ll be offering Iain M. Banks’ Use of Weapons.

Kirk makes gunpowder(3) Using the gunpowder formula from the Star Trek episode “Arena”, a blogger takes the makings past TSA inspectors who have apparently never seen the episode. Her only trouble comes from inspectors who want to confiscate her dangerous bamboo flutes.

(4) I’d hate to be J.K. Rowling, hearing that my productivity determines whether British booksellers have jobs. As the Guardian sees it:

Not just one era came to an end this year, but two – and as a result publishers and booksellers will have to do without the main life-supporting drugs they’ve recently relied on.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard (currently number two, but after only 10 days on sale) looks likely to be JK Rowling ‘s last magical offering for some time, ending a series of roughly biennial mega-sellers that began with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire smashing records in 2000.

The Economist(5) Robert Sawyer pointed out on his blog that, in November, The Economist’s “World in 2009” issue included a “Calendar for 2009” whose first entry for August reads “Montreal hosts the World Science Fiction Convention, where an author’s fantasy can lead to a Hugo Award.”

[Thanks to David Klaus, Andrew Porter and John Mansfield for some of the items included in this post.]

Hugo Hunting Season Begins

The 2009 Worldcon committee is now accepting nominations for the Hugo Awards from eligible voters.

The public announcement rather unfortunately lumps the Hugo and Prix Aurora Awards together:

The nomination period for both the Hugo and the Prix Aurora Awards is now open. All Canadian residents and citizens may nominate for the Canvention/Prix Aurora Awards while all members of both Denvention 3 and Anticipation may nominate for the Hugo Awards.

Lee Kuruganti Wins Hugo Base Design Contest

(Denvention 3 Press Release) Lee Kuruganti has won Denvention 3’s competition to design the 2008 Hugo Award statue base.

Lee Kuruganti is a professional, digital artist based in Colorado. Her fantastic art has been published by Baen, Static Movement Online, Withersin, Spacesuits and Sixguns, the Lorelei Signal and Sorcerous Signals. She created the poster for the recent film Extinction. Kuruganti reports that “One of my favorite moments was being selected as an artist for an international mural project for Olympic Games Seoul.”

Kuruganti was a semi-finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of the Future Contest. She’s also done several solo shows, and has exhibited in many galleries.

Click to read the rest of Denvention 3’s press release

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