Pixel Scroll 9/22 Several species of small, furry animals gathered together in a cave and scrolling with a pict

(1) Sasquan GoH and ISS astronaut Kjell Lindgren knows what day it is —

It’s Bilbo’s and Frodo’s birthday!

(2) But that’s not today’s only important birthday. Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer announced the arrival of their “humble bundle” —

He was born at 8:37 in the morning on September the 16th, which is, I am told, the commonest birthday in the US.  It was a long but rewarding labour. The name on his birth registration is Anthony, but mostly I call him Squeaker. He makes the best noises in the world, mostly squeaks and peeps and snuffles.

Amanda is an amazing mother. I am changing nappies (or diapers, if you are not English) and enjoying it much too much. This is wonderful.

(3) George R.R. Martin has something of his own to celebrate — “A New Record”:

For now, let it suffice to say that the Emmy looks very good in my TV room, and while it IS an honor just to be nominated (as I have been, six times before), it’s even cooler to win.

(4) Today in History:

1986 – The TV show “ALF” debuted on NBC.

2004 – The pilot episode of “Lost” aired.

(5) Run away! Run away! “Burger King’s Halloween Whopper will be its first intentionally frightening burger”:

We’ve seen a lot of scary fast food over the years but now Burger King is reportedly coming out with a new Whopper that’s intentionally frightening. Fast food blog Burger Lad seems to have obtained some leaked pictures of a special Halloween Whopper that will feature pitch-black buns. As you can see in the photo above, this does not look like an appetizing burger — it rather looks as though Burger King has slapped a slab of beef and some vegetables in between two large pieces of charcoal.



(6) I don’t like that grub, but I do like this garb!

(7) I’ve been waiting for this – Steve Davidson’s latest look at “The 1941 Retro Hugo Awards (Part 5 — Dramatic Presentation Short Form)”.

So far as radio plays go, there’s plenty to listen to, though again, many of the originals are simply not archived anywhere accessible.  Superman is an obvious choice;  an episode or two from Lux Radio or Mercury Theater may whet your appetite.  Don’t forget to check out the Blue Beetle too, as well as taking the opportunity to compare the Green Hornet’s radio appearances against the serial show.

(8) The “’Star Trek’ virtual tour will recreate every deck of the Enterprise” comes with a nice 12-minute animation.

You’ve probably seen a few attempts at recreating worlds in game engines, but never at this level of detail. Artist Jason B is working on the Enterprise-D Construction Project, an Unreal Engine-based virtual tour that aims to reproduce all 42 decks in the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation. While it’s not quite photorealistic, the attention to detail in this digital starship is already uncanny — the bridge, shuttle bay and other areas feel like lived-in spaces, just waiting for the crew to return. Jason is drawing on as much official material as he can to get things pixel-perfect, and he’s only taking creative liberties in those areas where there’s no canonical content.


(9) Mothership Zeta officially launches in October, but Editor Mur Lafferty, Fiction Editor Sunil Patel, Non-fiction Editor Karen Bovenmyer have posted sample Issue 0 at the website. The magazine will be a quarterly, “crammed with the best, most fun speculative fiction.” Read Issue 0 now, containing work from:

  • Ursula Vernon
  • Rhonda Eikamp
  • John Chu
  • Andrea G. Stewart
  • Elizabeth Hand
  • Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

(Note: “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon originally ran in Apex Magazine in 2014.)

(10) The Star of the Guardians Indiegogo Campaign has raised over $20,000. Thanks to our contributors,we can now fund the conceptual artwork and the illustrated storyboard book. We can also ensure that all of our amazing perks will be delivered to all of our contributors.

The goal of the campaign is to raise $55,000.

Star of the Guardians

(11) Joe Haldeman is interviewed by Brian Merchant in “The Author of Our Best SF Military Novel Explains the Future of War”.

Now, it’s becoming closer to reality—3D printers may soon allow anyone with the right hardware to manufacture deadly weaponry at home. Obscene weapons are increasingly obscenely easy to find. “Once we have that access to abundant materials, and anyone can print out a hydrogen bomb, we’re about an hour away from total destruction,” he says. “We are just a hair’s thread away from a large disaster.” The future of war is distributed, in other words. But we are just as ill-equipped to deal with our violent impulses now as we were four decades ago, Haldeman says.

“I don’t think we’ve learned any fundamental thing about solving the problem. We’ve learned more about why people do seek violent solutions,” he says. “That doesn’t mean we have the social mechanism to address it.” His words resonate, depressingly, when you consider that the US now averages one mass shooting per day, and that the trend is only accelerating upwards.

“We have people who just go down to the K-mart and just buy ammunition, and they could kill a few dozen people before we can do anything,” he says. “[M]ore brute force is available to individuals, with no obvious improvement in the individual’s ability to responsibly apply that force. Or decide not to use it.” War, it seems, has been distributed.

Hence the forever warring, in smaller theaters.

(12) “Hear Radio Dramas of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy & 7 Classic Asimov Stories” at Open Culture.

If you’re thinking that the epic scale of Asimov’s sprawling trilogy—one he explicitly modeled after Edward Gibbon’s multi-volume History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire—will prove impossible to realize on the screen, you may be right. On the other hand, Asimov’s prose has lent itself particularly well to an older dramatic medium: the radio play. As we noted in an earlier post on a popular 1973 BBC adaptation of the trilogy, Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card once described the books as “all talk, no action.” This may sound like a disparagement, except, Card went on to say, “Asimov’s talk is action.”

(13) The supermoon lunar eclipse happens this weekend:

The supermoon lunar eclipse of 2015 will occur Sunday, Sept. 27, and is a confluence of three events: a full moon; a lunar eclipse, in which the Earth blocks the sun’s light from hitting the moon; and lunar perigee, when the moon is in the closest part of its orbit to Earth. The last time such a confluence happened was in 1982; there were just five instances of it in the 20th century. This time around, viewers looking from the Americas, Europe, Africa, western Asia and the eastern Pacific Ocean will have a chance to see the show.

(14) A new Mars exploration tool — “’Mars Trek’ Is Google Earth for the Red Planet” on Motherboard.

If you are one of the thousands of people who would like to start a new life on Mars, you might want to get an early start on scouting out some premium real estate options. Fortunately, NASA has created a new Google-Earth-style web app for the red planet, providing the Mars-eyed among us with a way to virtually explore their fantasy destinations in stunning detail.

“Working with our expert development team at [the Jet Propulsion Laboratory], we have just released our latest product, Mars Trek,” said NASA project manager Brian Day in a video about Mars Trek released today. According to Day, this “web-based portal allows mission planners, scientists, and the general public to explore the surface of Mars in great detail as seen through the eyes of a variety of instruments on a number of spacecraft.”

… Beyond these experiments, you can also calculate the trip time between two points on Mars, explore the adopted homes of NASA rovers and landers, and, if you are feeling really ambitious, 3D-print full sections of the online map. Day and his team also plan to add more features soon, including speculations about landing sites for future projects like the Mars 2020 rover.


[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Will R., and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day GSLamb.]

Nebula Awards in Photos

Winners and accepters at Nebula Awards ceremony: (L to R) Steven Gould, Nancy Kress, (?), (?), Ursula Vernon, Larry Niven, Stanley Schmidt, (?), (?), (?)

Winners and accepters at Nebula Awards ceremony: (L to R) Steven Gould, Nancy Kress, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Scott Edelman, Ursula Vernon, Larry Niven, Stanley Schmidt, Usman T Malik, Sam J Miller, and Matthew Kressel. Photo by Ernest Lilley.

This collective shot of winners and accepters of SFWA awards was taken by Ernest Lilley after the Nebula Awards ceremony on June 6. I could use a hand (several hands!) identifying all the people in the photo. [Thanks to everyone for helping to fill in the caption.]

Kathi Overton also gave permission to repost her photos of the ceremony.

Nancy Kress accepts Nebula for "Yesterdays Kin." Photo by Kathi Overton.

Nancy Kress accepts Nebula for “Yesterdays Kin.” Jody Lyn Nye stands at right. Photo by Kathi Overton.

Larry Niven accepts SFWA's Damon Knight Grand Master Award. Photo by Kathi Overton.

Larry Niven accepts SFWA’s Damon Knight Grand Master Award. Photo by Kathi Overton.

Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette)  receives her Nebula nominee certificate at a pre-banquet ceremony. Photo by Kathi Overton.

Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) receives her Nebula nominee certificate from SFWA President Steven Gould at a pre-banquet ceremony. Photo by Kathi Overton.

Stanley Schmidt accepts the Solstice Award. Photo by Kathi Overton.

Stanley Schmidt accepts the Solstice Award. Photo by Kathi Overton.

Event Coordinator Steven H Silver at the podium. Photo by Kathi Overton.

SFWA President-elect Cat Rambo, Event Coordinator Steven H Silver at the podium, Kate Baker, and SFWA President Steven Gould. (And Nick Offerman’s loaner guitar.) Photo by Kathi Overton.

SFWA Grand Masters Larry Niven, Joe Haldeman and Connie Willis. Photo by Kathi Overton.

SFWA Grand Masters Larry Niven, Joe Haldeman and Connie Willis. Photo by Kathi Overton.

Forever War May Not Take Forever To Reach the Screen After All

Warner Bros. has outbid Sony for the rights to Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War reports Deadline.com. Richard Edlund, who had the rights for 27 years, moved on after the project had been in development for seven years at Fox with Ridley Scott.

The project shifted over in the past month to [Channing] Tatum’s Free Association production company and Roy Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment. They will produce along with Edlund and Louis Tedesco who brought the project to Lee on behalf of Edlund. Lee teamed up with Film 360 to produce the project.

Jon Spaihts will write the script based on Haldeman’s book, a 1976 Hugo and Nebula winner.

Spotlight on The Heinlein Society

Heinlein Society logoKeith Kato was elected the fourth President of The Heinlein Society at its September 7, 2014 meeting. He succeeded LA-area fan and LASFS member Michael Sheffield, who chose not to run for the Board again.

Keith is someone I have known for over 40 years — and he has played host to many of you at his famed Worldcon chili parties. Keith hopes you will help him fund Heinlein’s bust for the Hall of Famous Missourians (click here).

In addition to President Keith Kato, the Society’s other new officers are Minnesota fan Geo Rule as Vice President-Secretary, and Baltimore fan John Tilden as Treasurer. The Board of Directors (in order of elected seniority) consists of Joe Haldeman, Jerry Pournelle, Michael Cassutt, Connie Willis, Washington fan John Seltzer, and Texas fan Betsey Wilcox.

Apex Publishes War Stories

War_Stories COMPApex Publications’ new anthology War Stories: New Military Science Fiction, edited by Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak, contains 23 sf and fantasy stories dealing with the effects of war on soldiers and the people who love them.

The collection was funded by successful Kickstarter appeal where the editors promised —

War Stories isn’t an anthology of bug hunts and unabashed jingoism. It’s a look at the people ordered into impossible situations, asked to do the unthinkable, and those unable to escape from hell. It’s stories of courage under fire, and about the difficulties in making decisions that we normally would never make. It’s about what happens when the shooting stops, and before any trigger is ever pulled. 

Two of these extraordinary stories can be read free online.

Karin Lowachee’s “Enemy States” is one of the best things I’ve read this year. Here’s a short quote without spoilers:

It didn’t occur to me until later that you’d lied about the experience. That you just wanted an excuse to do something I loved. That you dived in so readily and risked your limbs for an extra day together. “I’m not bad with machinery,” you said. “Just not used to roads.” We walked back to the garage, five miles pushing the bikes on snow–dusted road, with rockets from the base launching in the distance, returning your brothers and sisters to the stars. The contrails carved white across the blue sky, making wedgewood out of the Earth’s canopy.

Karin Lowachee

Karin Lowachee

In this story emotion is at the forefront, yet it also conveys a detailed and unexpected universe in a matter-of-fact way – no infodumps. I was very impressed. It’s the first of the author’s works I’ve read and after finishing it I opened Google and began a crash course in Karin Lowachee. I learned she’s been writing for a long time. Alex von Thorn interviewed her a dozen years ago for SF Site — Next time I talk to him I must ask what he’s reading now.

The collection also reprints Joe Haldeman’s 1992 story “Graves,” which first appeared in F&SF and can be read online at Nightmare Magazine.

You tell people what you do at Graves Registration, “Graves,” and it sounds like about the worst job the army has to offer. It isn’t. You just stand there all day and open body bags, figure out which parts maybe belong to which dog tag—not that it’s usually that important—sew them up more or less with a big needle, account for all the wallets and jewelry, steal the dope out of their pockets, box them up, seal the casket, do the paperwork. When you have enough boxes, you truck them out to the airfield. The first week maybe is pretty bad. But after a hundred or so, after you get used to the smell and the godawful feel of them, you get to thinking that opening a body bag is a lot better than ending up inside one. They put Graves in safe places.

Haldeman takes the reader on a battlefield tour of places no human wants to be – with a payoff that makes those horrors feel familiar and safe by comparison.

Among the other well-known contributors are Linda Nagata, Ken Liu, and Jay Posey.

The full table of contents follows the jump.

Continue reading

Photos From Day 1 of Loncon 3

Scenes at the 2014 Worldcon, shot by Francis Hamit:

Loncon 3 Guests of Honor Bryan Talbot, Jeanne Gomoll, Robin Hobb, with co-chair Steve Cooper at the press briefing.

Loncon 3 Guests of Honor Bryan Talbot, Jeanne Gomoll, Robin Hobb, with co-chair Steve Cooper at the press briefing.

Loncon 3 co-chairs Steve Cooper and Alice Lawson at left. Guests of Honor John Clute and Malcolm Edwards at right, during press briefing.

Loncon 3 co-chairs Steve Cooper and Alice Lawson with Guests of Honor John Clute and Malcolm Edwards.

Inside the ExCel at Loncon 3.

Inside the ExCel at Loncon 3.

Sales tables at Loncon 3.

Sales tables at Loncon 3.

Millennium Falcon exhibit at Loncon 3 -- .

Millennium Falcon exhibit at Loncon 3 — <http://www.loncon3.org/exhibits.php#70>.

Robbie Bourget, co-chair Anticipation, 2009 Worldcon.

Robbie Bourget, co-chair Anticipation, 2009 Worldcon.

Gay and Joe Haldeman at Loncon 3.

Gay and Joe Haldeman at Loncon 3.

Clarke Center Lifts Off With Public Events

The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination will launch this month with a series of free events on the UC San Diego campus. 

May 1 through 31, 2013

“Remembering Sir Arthur C. Clarke”
Remembering and celebrating the diverse genius and joie de vivre of Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Artifacts and items are from the collection of Wayne and Gloria Houser. During the May 21 reception only: Special display of original paintings of Clarke book cover art on loan from Naomi Fisher, and space science posters by Jon Lomberg. Curated by Carol Hobson, and co-sponsored by the UC San Diego Library.
Seuss Room Foyer, Geisel Library, UC San Diego

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

1-5 p.m., “Visions of the Future”
An afternoon of conversations and presentations featuring Clarke Center affiliates on their visions of science and culture 33 years into the future (in honor of Clarke’s imagining of 2001 in 1968).
Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall, Qualcomm Institute, UC San Diego

7 p.m., “The Literary Imagination”
A conversation between authors Jonathan Lethem and Kim Stanley Robinson presented by the Helen Edison Lecture Series, UC San Diego Extension and the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination
Price Center West Ballroom, UC San Diego

Tuesday and Wednesday, May 21 and 22, 2013

“Starship Century Symposium”
A two-day event devoted to an ongoing exploration of the development of a starship in the next 100 years. Scientists will address the challenges and opportunities for our long?term future in space, with possibilities envisioned by Freeman Dyson, Paul Davies, Peter Schwartz, John Cramer and Robert Zubrin. Science fiction authors Neal Stephenson, Allen Steele, Joe Haldeman, Gregory Benford, Geoffrey Landis and David Brin will discuss the implications that these trajectories of exploration might have upon our development as individuals and as a civilization.
Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall, Qualcomm Institute, UC San Diego
Note: Seating is limited, but the two-day event will be offered via live streaming video at http://imagination.ucsd.edu.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reception 6-8 p.m., “Remembering Sir Arthur C. Clarke”
Remembering and celebrating the diverse genius and joie de vivre of Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Artifacts and items are from the collection of Wayne and Gloria Houser. During the May 21 reception only: Special display of original paintings of Clarke book cover art on loan from Naomi Fisher, and space science posters by Jon Lomberg. Also screening of documentary film, “Arthur C. Clarke: The Man Who Saw the Future,” a BBC/NVC ARTS Co-Production in association with RAI Thematic Channels, 1997. Curated by Carol Hobson, and co-sponsored by the UC San Diego Library.
Seuss Room Foyer, Geisel Library, UC San Diego

Created by UCSD and the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, the Clarke Center “will honor the late author and innovator through activities that will focus on cultural, scientific and medical transformations that can occur as we increase our understanding of the phenomena of imagination and become more effective at harnessing and incorporating our imaginations in our research and daily lives.”

UCSD’s Sheldon Brown, professor of computing in the arts in the department of visual arts, is the director of the center. The center’s associate director is David Kirsh, professor and former chair of the department of cognitive science.

In addition to drawing upon a wide range of disciplines and collaborations, the Clarke Center will engage the creative worlds of media, the arts and literature to help with discovery. UC San Diego’s unique relationship with speculative fiction and science fiction authors, including Kim Stanley Robinson, David Brin, Nancy Holder, Greg Benford, Vernor Vinge, Greg Bear and Aimee Bender, will allow the center to dismantle traditional boundaries and forge new ways of thinking about the future.

Hamit: LepreCon 38
A Con The Way They Used To Be

Joe and Gay Haldeman

By Francis Hamit: LepreCon 38, held April 5th through 8th in Tempe, Arizona, was, in many ways, a return to the kind of science fiction/fantasy convention that got me into Fandom in 1978.  Leigh and I have not been going to many conventions in recent years, so this was only my 108th.  The WorldCon in Reno, where we spent almost all of our time in the poker room at the Peppermill, was one of two we attended in 2011, followed by Bubonicon in Albuquerque a week later.  Neither was the kind of friendly, welcoming experience you want to repeat and both carried a sense of ‘been there, done that’ that made us wonder why we’d bothered.  Certainly it was not money well spent, but since it was part of a longer book tour, we endured anyway.

LepreCon 38 invited us, and wanted us both on the program, and we hadn’t been to a previous one for many years.  But we remembered those kindly as small relaxicons where interesting programs and great conversations were to be had.  Tempe is where Arizona State University is, and the hotel, the Tempe Mission Palms, is right next to the campus and the Mill Street neighborhood half a block away reminded me of Iowa City when I first lived there in the  mid 1960s.  Very mellow, positive vibes.

The hotel is also very fan friendly, with a very soft security posture, great rooms and plenty of opportunities for that writers’ sport of people watching.  It is an aircrew and military pilot hotel, with a good restaurant.  One need not leave the whole weekend, but if one does, Mill Street is nearby.  I made early morning pilgrimages to the local Starbucks.

Patti Hultstrand did an outstanding job of putting together a program that would do a much larger convention proud.  Some panels, unfortunately, outnumbered the audience, and some were cancelled because no audience appeared. This was especially true for readings where one lesser-known author after another found themselves addressing an almost empty room. One of the frustrations for panelists I heard more than once was that a panel they wanted to attend was often opposite one they were on, which might account for the low attendance at so many of them. I was in five events, but only made one panel as audience member.  It was a very diverse program with lots of options, but perhaps, next time, “less is more”?

I have the impression that a much larger attendance was anticipated than actually came. Certainly there were almost none of the usual suspects from Los Angeles , which is only a seven hour drive away.  Aside from myself, my roommate and editor Leigh Strother-Vien, and Michael Donahue, I don’t recall seeing another L.A fan there.   That might be because of the current economic problems, but it’s a pity because it was a very good event.

Mike Donahue only came over for one day, and that was because the convention very kindly scheduled a panel with the both of us about our forthcoming motion picture Marlowe, which is based on my 1988 stage play, “MARLOWE: An Elizabethan Tragedy”.  Since becoming a film director, Mike has thrown himself into one low-budget project after another and now is in various stages of completion with three features. Only one, Pool Time, has been released.  Complicating matters was the looming demise of Barry Workman, a close friend of his.  But people were very interested and showed up for that panel, which is helpful in creating “buzz”, and we also sold a few copies of the first-draft screenplay at a signing and from a dealer’s table.

I was also on a military-related panel with Joe Haldeman, who was the Author Guest of Honor.  So were seven other people.  Joe being there was another reason for me to attend.  He and I were classmates at the Iowa Writers Workshop in the 1970s.  We were on a similar panel at the 2008 WorldCon in Denver, after which he became very ill.  He was a combat engineer in Vietnam and Agent Orange put him in the hospital with a near-fatal bout of pancreatitis.  In Reno he was still obviously suffering from the aftermath, so it was very good to see him looking healthy again in Tempe.  I had been worried about him.  I had my own illness last fall, after Reno, not as serious, but still very scary.  The panel was nine guys who’d all been in the military, and started by outnumbering the audience, but eventually filled even.  Joe and I were not the only ones on that panel old enough to be Vietnam veterans.  There were a surprising number of ex-military, some of them with long careers, on the program and at the convention.  It gave us something to talk about.  War stories were exchanged.  Nor was it entirely a male conversation.  There were at least two other female veterans aside from Leigh.

The proximity to ASU should have drawn some new fans, but there was a noticeable “graying of Fandom” at work.  Very few kids and very few young adults and teenagers. The hotel is a little on the pricy side, but the security was kind enough to look the other way from those who chose to sleep in the courtyard or some of the smaller lobbies. The convention security, colorfully designated “The Watch”, was also abundant and well-run.  Steve Lapota, another ex-combat engineer in Vietnam , was in charge and also a genial host.

The media guest of honor was Steven Furst, of Animal House and Babylon 5 fame, and he was, if not entirely one of us (I am told it was a paid appearance), an interested tourist who decided to throw an Animal House style Toga Party.  That was right after my third panel of the day and, in deference to my own months-long recovery from complex pneumonia, I went to bed instead.  Mr. Furst also gave panels on film directing and related topics.

The Green Room/ Staff Lounge and the Consuite were at opposite ends of a long hallway on the second floor and on the other side of the hotel from the room where Leigh and I were staying.  Some of the function rooms with program items were also there, while the Dealers’ Room, Art Show and Registration were across the courtyard on the ground level.  It made for a lot of walking, but was not as tiring as it might have been.   Con-kibble was plentiful, as were sandwiches and hot entrees, and a generous selection of soft drinks and bottled water.

So this was, for me, a return to the kind of convention that first got me to be a convention-going fan.  These days, age and health have a big impact on whether or not we’re going to go to one, and like, Jerry Pournelle, I’m not inclined to go unless I can contribute by being on a program item or two…and sometimes, not then. (We no longer do LASFS events.)

But this was one I’d be happy to repeat. Everyone was very nice, and no one was promoting any kind of agenda or trying to bully anyone else.  Fandom the way it used to be.

LepreCon registration.

Patti Huldstrand handing out program assignments.


Fans have created Tauran spaceships in Legos based on Marvano’s art for The Forever War graphic novel (1988) by Joe Haldeman.

I can’t think of a more appropriate choice for Legos builders when you consider the time it must take to assemble such things from plastic bricks.

[Via Joe Haldeman.]

Haldeman on NPR April 14

Joe Haldeman is scheduled to be on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” with Neal Conan on April 14. Gay Haldeman’s announcement says Joe will be talking about the effect his experience in the Army has had on the rest of his life.

The program’s website will let you research the show’s schedule on your local station. It also offers podcasts of the show after it’s aired.

[Thanks to Joel Zakem for the story.]