Here are 8 developments of interest to fans.
(1) If not for Dr. Martin Luther King, Nichelle Nichols would have abandoned Star Trek and the role of Uhura. Her reminiscence about their encounter is quoted on Dangerous Minds:
“Yes, Ms. Nichols, I am that fan. I am your best fan, your greatest fan, and my family are your greatest fans…. We admire you greatly ….And the manner in which you’ve created this role has dignity….”
I said “Dr. King, thank you so much. I really am going to miss my co-stars.” He said, dead serious, “What are you talking about?” I said, “I’m leaving Star Trek,” He said, “You cannot. You cannot!”
I was taken aback. He said, “Don’t you understand what this man has achieved? For the first time on television we will be seen as we should be seen every day – as intelligent, quality, beautiful people who can sing, dance, but who can also go into space, who can be lawyers, who can be teachers, who can be professors, and yet you don’t see it on television – until now….”
(2) The Locus opinion survey of the best short sf of the 20th and 21st Centuries (asking voters to rank the top novellas, novelettes, and short stories of each) certainly puts Ted Chiang in the spotlight. His fiction came in at the top of the poll in 3 of the 6 categories.
I never expected the results to match my preferences, so I was pleasantly surprised by the Best Novelette (20th Century) category where I agreed with almost everything that finished in the top 10. Though I’d dump “Bicentennial Man” for sure.
10 Best Novelettes from the 20th Century:
- Daniel Keyes, “Flowers for Algernon” (1959)
- Isaac Asimov, “Nightfall” (1941)
- Roger Zelazny, “A Rose for Ecclesiastes” (1963)
- Isaac Asimov, “The Bicentennial Man” (1976)
- George R. R. Martin, “Sandkings” (1979)
- Alfred Bester, “Fondly Fahrenheit” (1954)
- Harlan Ellison, “A Boy and His Dog” (1969)
- Greg Bear, “Blood Music” (1983)
- Octavia E. Butler, “Bloodchild” (1984)
- Tom Godwin, “The Cold Equations” (1954)
(3) David Klaus reports, “Fans are building a full-sized, you-could-walk-in-it model (which even George Lucas himself never built for any film or theme-park attraction) of the Millennium Falcon.”
As Chris Lee explains his project:
This is a quest to build the ultimate Star Wars prop: a 1:1 scale ESB/ANH hybrid Millennium Falcon with complete, correctly scaled interior. Yes, I have completely lost my mind, just like most of my friends and family say. Except for those close Star Wars fan friends, who say “cool, can I help?”.
(4) Corey Kilgannon’s excellent article for the New York Times about bookseller Ben McFall points out that a fine bookstore is about relationships as much as inventory:
Mr. McFall is the dean of the clerks and the institutional memory of the fiction section, where he sorts, prices and shelves hundreds of books a day. And he is often the one pulling books off the shelves for customers….
Back at his stall, he resumed his incessant sorting and culling of books that are carted over nonstop from the buying counter in the rear of the store.
There, the buyers — headed by the Strand’s owner, Fred Bass, 84, whose father, Benjamin Bass, opened the store in 1927 — acquire books all day long and pass all the fiction to Mr. McFall’s book-strewn nook a few shelves away.
“I like this spot because I can hear Fred but he can’t hear me,” the soft-spoken and unflappable Mr. McFall said. “That’s how I like it, because I like to say what I think.” …
Mr. McFall said he had spurned offers to manage other bookstores, and added, “I’m perfectly willing to sell low-end dresses here if it means keeping the Strand in business.”
(5) Thunder Child’s Steve Vertlieb reports recent Rondo Award “Monster Kid Hall Of Fame” recipient George Stover has been has been hospitalized with a life threatening blood clot. “He was admitted to the intensive care unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Baltimore with a blood clot that began in his leg, and then progressed to his lungs. He’s on blood thinners, and is being closely monitored by the hospital staff. George is one of the nicest, most gentle souls you’d ever want to meet. Prayers on his behalf from his friends and admirers around the country would be deeply appreciated.” Vertlieb is running updates on Facebook.
(6) Everyone is sending me the link to the BBC news magazine article about Jim C. Hines. Yes, plenty of sf book covers feature striking or provoctive images of women. And yes, when a bald, pasty-faced, middle-aged white guy assumes the poses one sees women depicted in on some of those book covers, they do look ridiculous. But if he was posing as Miles Vorkosigan or Conan the Barbarian he would look ridiculous, too. So I don’t know that I’d depend on that as a true test of whether the covers are sexist. What has certainly been proved is that he’s a genius at getting people to look at his blog.
(7) James Bacon criticizes the removal of Alan Moore’s Neonomicon comic book series from a North Carolina county library system in a post for Forbidden Planet, a controversy documented by The Guardian in a December article:
“She (my 14-year-old) came into my living room and asked me what a certain word meant, and I said, ‘Honey, where did you hear that word?’ I said, ‘That’s a nasty word. We don’t use that in the house,” mother Carrie Gaske told local news broadcaster WSPA in June. Gaske went on to file a challenge to the novel over its “sexually graphic” images.
Her daughter had borrowed the book from the adult section of the library, using an adult card, according to WSPA. A committee then voted to keep the book on shelves, WSPA reported, but their decision has been overruled by the library’s executive director Beverly James, who “did not feel the book’s content was appropriate for the library system’s collection”.
[Thanks for these links goes out to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter and David Klaus.]