Trivia answer: 56 was my employee number when I worked for K-Mart in the summer of 1970.
Now for 9 developments of interest to fans…
(1) The opening of Hugo nominations also means the beginning of the long season of elbow-jogging and outright vote-begging from people who obviously feel the purpose of the award is to “recognize the best in science fiction, plus the stuff I wrote.”
So, if you swing that way, at least try to be as humorous as Jason Cordova who is pitching hard for people to nominate his novel Corruptor:
Have I no shame, you ask. Hell no. If I had shame I wouldn’t suggest you use nominating me to assuage your white guilt. Yeah, I have more nationalities and races in me than Nina Hartley. You want a list? Fine…
I have Uyghar (Chinese minority), Spanish (General Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba is a distant relative), German (Saxony, from John George) and British (some peasant wench) in me. I also have a smidgen of Blackfoot (Native American), but I don’t see it and generally don’t claim it.
So see? Vote for the… uh… American guy. Damn it, there went my whole argument. *grumble*
…Well, nominate me anyways. It’d be cool to stand up there with John Scalzi and say “I blame him for this award”.
Jason, I’m tempted.
(2) Speaking of John Scalzi, life is full of odd coincidences. Can you imagine anybody being less representative of Scalzi than Representative John Boehner, his Congressman and now Speaker of the House?
(3) Book pirates no doubt hailed this new product introduced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, Ion’s do-it-yourself scanner for books, magazines, and comics:
Fed up of paying through the nose for e-books? Ion, the company best known for its USB turntables, is readying a gadget that will help you digitise your paperbacks, hardbacks, magazines and comics.
Called the Book Saver, it’s a large frame into which you place an open book. Tap the Scan button and the spread is digitised and dropped onto an SD card, ready to be transferred to your computer. Each page is saved separately, thanks to the unit’s two flash-equipped cameras.
(4) Duncan Jones, director and co-writer of 2010 Hugo winning film, Moon, blogs about the arrival of the trophy:
It was back in September 2010 that MOON had the honor of winning a prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, a fantastic achievement, beating fellow nominees Avatar, District 9, Star Trek & Up.
We featured a lovely pic of the award in the original announcement, designed by Nick Stathopoulos, described as “An organic Art Nouveau Hugo”
And now the award itself has found its home with Duncan in LA, pictured here with Sam Bell’s original suit from MOON. What a stunna!
(5) Slate Magazine has a grim story about “Swords: The murder weapon of nerds”:
That is to say, the sword is the weapon of nerds. It’s also the weapon of schizophrenics. And, most of all, it’s the weapon of schizophrenic nerds.
Consider how Michael Brea described his mother’s slaying in November: ‘I felt like Neo from THE MATRIX.’ Then he added, ‘It’s a powerful sword’ — as if his murder weapon had been forged by goblins. It’s said there are crimes of passion and crimes of logic. Brea’s was one of science fiction and fantasy.
(6) Even regular old swords in the hands of peasants inflicted ghastly damage at the Battle of Towton, archeologists have shown:
The skeletons had clearly been the victims of great violence. Many display the same frenzied wounding as Towton 25. “Imagine one of those movie scenes with people closing in on a cornered individual,” says Christopher Knüsel, one of the original team of archaeologists and now at the University of Exeter. “Usually the camera has to pan away because you cannot show some things. Here you see it.”
Over 28,000 soldiers died in this 1461 battle, the turning point in the Wars of the Roses.
(7) Ed Park comments that Bill Patterson’s Heinlein bio is well-written, in a review for the LA Times. I agree. Yet Park also feels he was told a lot more than he needed to know about such things as the day-to-day treatment of Heinlein’s tuberculosis. I figure – what else is a science fiction fan reading a bio about Heinlein for but to get that level of detail? Besides, David McCullough had just as much to say about John Adams’ illness during a diplomatic mission to Holland, and McCullough is one of the best biographers around.
(8) A recent status on Facebook: “Richard Desk is thinking that if we have to change key words in the novels of Mark Twain because a contemporary audience may find them offensive, perhaps we need to go back and revise Orwell’s 1984 so that Big Brother fellow doesn’t seem so cruel — after all, it might offend dictators.”
(9) Count on The Register for hard-hitting science journalism like this story, “Runaway hydroponic fungus attacks real-world Starship Voyager”:
The Leicestershire Trekkie who turned his flat into a replica of the Starship Voyager spent two years battling an alien mould attack, unaware that it was caused by a dope farm in the property below…
[Thanks for these links goes to Andrew Porter, Vincent Docherty and David Klaus.]