Lawrence Schoen on Linguistics, Hypnosis and Cuisine — With a Side of Buffalitos

Lawrence Schoen has been nominated for a Hugo for best short story, 3 Nebulas for best novella, and a Nebula for best novel, as well as a Campbell for best new writer.  He is the editor-publisher of the Paper Golem anthology small press, a founding member of Codex Writers Group, a graduate of the Taos Tookbox, the editor of the Eating Authors blog, and a recipient of the SFWA’s service award.  He is a hypnotism and linguistics aficionado and is fluent in Klingon.  He has a B.S. in psycholinguistics and a M.S. and Ph.D. in psychology.

CARL SLAUGHTER:   Let’s start with a really big topic.  How does linguistics fit into science fiction?

LAWRENCE SCHOEN:  I think you can make a case that about the time of the New Wave we started seeing more science fiction with an emphasis on “soft sciences” (e.g., anthropology, psychology, sociology) in addition to or instead of the classic “hard sciences” of hard SF (physics, chemistry, biology). Linguistics is a natural extension of this, and the first impact of this on my own reading, lo some four decades ago, was when I discovered Le Guin’s novels (I have no doubt others were addressing some of the same topics before her, though perhaps not as rigorously or consistently).

The focus shifts from things (spacecraft, planets and stars, intergalactic empires) to people (customs and behavior of aliens and humans from other realms/times, etc.). The stories are writ smaller, more personal. What we lose in scope, we gain in individual relevance. But it’s not just a matter of scale. I would argue that it yields a qualitatively different kind of “wonder.”

CS:  What have you discovered in your study of memory and does it fit into science fiction?

LS:  Most people (by which I mean, folks who haven’t made a point of studying cognitive psychology beyond that one undergraduate course they slept through back in their junior year of college) tend to think of “memory” as a single thing, like it’s a big file cabinet in the mind where we keep things. Digging a bit deeper we find that there are many different kinds of memory (back in my professoring days, I would invoke the parable of the blind men and the elephant — hint: the elephant is memory), and getting into the details of the various flavors of this aspect of mind can be quite captivating to readers, particularly when you take some piece that we all know and use every day and either give it a new wrinkle or simply take it away from a protagonist. But then, a lot of the history of psychology (and general medicine, for that matter) involves studying people who have some deficit and understanding the working person by examining what is lacking.

CS:  What is hypnosis, what are the common misconceptions about hypnosis, and does it have a place in science fiction?

LS:  One way to understand hypnosis is to say it is the deliberate creation and/or manipulation of a trance state. Trance is a perfectly natural phenomenon. We all go into trance every day. Trance occurs any time you separate your awareness from your environment. So, if you’ve ever been lost in a good book or film (and I know you have), you’ve entered a trance state. Likewise, that common experience of driving home after a long day from work and suddenly you find yourself parking the car with no conscious memory of the drive, that was trance.

This is NOT what most people think of when they think of hypnosis, but I’d argue that’s because what most people know about hypnosis is utterly wrong and informed only by popular culture. Which is great if you want to defend against the mesmerizing gaze of a vampire, but otherwise not much help.

Hypnosis is the deliberate manipulation of an altered state of consciousness. As such, it has as much of a place in SF as the author can utilize it to tell a compelling story. But, that’s the same criteria I’d apply to any question of”does X have a place in SF.”

CS:  Why the interest in Star Trek and what has been your involvement in/contribution to the Trekkie community?

LS:  Since 1992 I’ve been involved in promoting the use and study of the Klingon language. I’m the founder and director of the Klingon Language Institute. I’ve given lectures at conventions and museums in a dozen or more countries, and I’m responsible for organizing language practitioners, and the creation of such projects as have resulted in publishing Hamlet, and the Tao Te Ching, and Gilgamesh, in Klingon. As well as an annual, international conference of Klingon speakers that in 2016 will enjoy its 23rd year.

But I came to Klingon because of a fascination with language in general (and constructed language in particular) that actually began two decades or so before that when I fell in with some fans who were playing with Tolkien’s Eldarin languages.

Dr. Lawrence Schoen

Dr. Lawrence Schoen

CS:  Is Paper Golem still publishing?  Who and what have you published and what have you learned along the way?

LS:  My small press continues, but it’s had to take a distant backseat due to demands on my time as a novelist. The main focus has been in two directions. The first is a series of novella anthologies, because when I started Paper Golem there were very few markets where a writer could sell a 20-40K story. The second is a series of single author collections, basically exciting new writers that didn’t have a novel contract yet but who I thought were writers to watch.

As for learning along the way, editing has taught me a considerable amount about my own writing. Seeing how other authors create particular effects of style and pacing and plot has informed my work. It’s been a real win-win journey.

CS:  Why the fascination with cuisine and how did you get so many speculative fiction authors to share extensively about their experiences with food?

LS:  The protagonist of my Buffalito stories and novels is a stage hypnotist who goes by the name of the Amazing Conroy. Food is his weakness. Any time he visits a new place, he has to sample the local cuisine. When he was wealthy, he went to fancy restaurants and when he was broke he ate at local dives. He’s a foodie. I started my Eating Authors blog series using his predilections as an excuse to invite other authors to tell me about their most memorable meal. Part of the thinking was to drive more traffic to my blog by getting content from more recognizable names, but only part because about half of the authors I invite are brand new novelists eager to pimp their first book. So here too there’s a bit of “paying it forward.” The final piece of the series is that I believe readers like to get a little peek into the minds of the authors they read, and seeing the what and why of a great meal provides that.

CS:  BTW, what’s the current head count at Eating Authors.

LS:  I think I’m at just over 260 thus far (not counting the episodes that I have on deck, awaiting the turn of the calendar). The series started on Monday morning, June 6, 2011, and I’ve only missed a single Monday since then.

CS:  I interviewed Loren Rhoads and she shared how food was a part of a her Templars series.  Any other Eating Authors contributors talk about food in their stories?

LS:  Some do, but usually only as an aside. The one question that I ask if “What’s your most memorable meal?” If they get to that by way of invoking what a character ate in a story, that’s fine, but it’s not what I’m interesting in for the blog.

CS:  What did you do to for the SFWA that they were grateful enough to give you their service award?

LS:  It’s a mystery to me. I’d been the head of the Election Committee for about eight years, and took a turn on the Norton Award jury some while back, and I’ve lent my resonance and volume to some SFWA auctions at cons now and again, but seriously I think they should have given the prize to someone else. But too late for that, and I’m not giving it back. I’m particularly happy with it for two reasons: 1) because it’s named for Kevin O’Donnell, and I really enjoyed his books, and 2) because Gay Haldeman was the one to present it to me and she is just one of the sweetest people in the world.

CS:  Elephant’s Graveyard was up for a Nebula.  The main characters are advanced Earth animals.  How much of human characteristics do they retain and how much of their old animal nature do they retain?

LS:  The term “advanced” may be a bit misleading. David Brin tends to use the term “Uplifited,” but I went with a more restrictive “Raised Mammals” which I like to abbreviate as RM. In any case, we’re talking about imposing sapience on a variety of species that don’t otherwise possess it, and presumably altering their physiology so they walk around upright and are able to be tool users (i.e., hands and fingers and opposable thumbs). These are all, arguably, human characteristics, but what else is? And likewise, what constitutes an animal’s nature? I did a fair amount of ethological reading for Barsk and tried to transition traditional species traits to the respective raised mammals in the book. Thus, the elephants have a sexually stratified society, all the adult males are off on their own in bachelor apartments or rooming homes or lodges. Adult females live in large households of extended families with groups of sisters and cousins and aunts, and all the children, not unlike elephants in our world.

CS:  Does it matter that they are animals?  Could they be humans without affecting the plot?

LS:  Yes and no. There is a major plot point that I don’t want to give away that hinges on them being animals. But for the most part, no, they’re people. People who happen to be descended from elephants or yaks or sloths. They have complex motivations and goals, and interact with one another according to their nature as people more so than because of their species, though of course some of their respective world views are shaped by their physiology and species specific behaviors.

CS:  What do we hope to learn from Elephant’s Graveyard?

LS:  That probably depends on who you are or who you ask. I’ve had people come up to me and insist that the book is about this thing or that thing, and while I can see why they might think as they do, I don’t agree. Though, any book should be an interactive experience, and so all those differing perspectives are valid in and of themselves. I’m still not sure if being the author really gives me the final say in the matter.

For me, the lesson is that friendship transcends even death, that the relationships we create in life define who we are and how the universe will remember and understand us.

CS:  What exactly is a Buffalito?

LS:  Also known as a “Buffalo Dog,” a “Buffalito” is an alien creature about the size of a breadbox that bears a very strong resemblance (except for size) to an adult American Bison. Also, they have big, anime eyes. They are capable of eating anything, from conventional food to the plastic containers it came in, everything from metal to toxic waste. And through the miracle of a biology we do not understand, they perform what amounts to internal acts of fission and fusion, because everything that goes in the front end comes out the back as pure oxygen.

One buffalito, Reggie, is the companion animal of the Amazing Conroy, the stage hypnotist protagonist I mentioned earlier. At another level, I suppose it’s fair to say that I started writing about buffalo dogs because I was mourning the loss of my own canine companion of eighteen years. Mind you, I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing. I thought I was just writing funny stories. I had to have someone else point it out to me after she’d read the first Conroy novel. That’s when I realized that it was okay to stop mourning that dog and I went off to the shelter and found another that needed a home. That’s coming up on six years now. It’s good to have a dog again.

CS:  Do the main characters in your Buffalito series find adventure or does adventure find them?

LS:  The latter. Seriously, Conroy just wants to do his act and grab a good meal now and then. Stuff just happens, people make assumptions, or have plans, or both, and like it or not they drag Conroy into their own agendas. Sure, he ends up saving the day, but he is at best a reluctant hero.

CS:  How long will the Buffalito series continue?

Assuming another publisher picks them up, I have a story arc that runs another five books (and includes two spinoff novels, and possibly a spinoff series). But that’s a ways down the line (unless that mysterious publisher shows up with a bonus incentive!).

CS: What’s on the horizon for Lawrence M. Schoen?

LS:  I have ideas for at least two more books involving our friends on Barsk, and there’s plenty of room left to write other novels in that same universe (lots of other RMs on many other worlds). I also want to write a series of shorter stories about other characters on the planet Barsk, some of whom are contemporary with Jorl and Pizlo, and others who are from the planet’s history.

Meanwhile, I’m also working on the first book in a new fantasy series that involves the entelechies of cities and how they exist to push civilization forward. Among other things, it lets me go back seven thousand years, and bring Gilgamesh to modern Philadelphia (you know, as one does).

Beyond that, I have several short stories and a novella to write, both for my own amusement and to play in the backyards of other authors, pushing myself to grow by trying new things. It’s all very exciting.

Schoen Wins 2016 Service to SFWA Award

Dr. Lawrence Schoen

Dr. Lawrence Schoen

Dr. Lawrence Schoen is the winner of the 2016 Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award for his work on the group’s election committee.

Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen has spent several years heading the election committee, working to find suitable candidates for the SFWA Board of Directors.  His success is demonstrated by the number of candidates who have run for the board and the broad range of experience represented by the board members.  In addition to his duties as the head of the election committee, he has often volunteered his time to help SFWA staff tables at conferences and makes himself generally available when help has been needed.

The award will be presented to Schoen on May 14 at the SFWA Nebula Conference in Chicago.

The Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award recognizes a member of SFWA who best exemplifies the ideal of service to his or her fellow members. O’Donnell won the Service Award in 2005. He passed away in 2012.

Pixel Scroll 12/28 The Android Who Was Cyber-Monday

(1) VITA BREVIS. Arnie Fenner’s tribute at Muddy Colors to artists and cartoonists who passed in 2015 is excellent.

(2) DOCTOR STRANGE. “First Look at Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange” at Yahoo! Movies.

The first official glimpse of Benedict Cumberbatch as Marvel hero Doctor Strange graces the new cover of Entertainment Weekly, and the biggest revelation is that he probably isn’t spending much time in the makeup chair. The actor sports facial hair and a cloak that will be familiar to comic-book fans, as well as Strange’s powerful amulet, the Eye of Agamotto.

(3) DARTH ZIPPO. “Watch This Homemade, Gas-Powered Lightsaber Destroy Things” at Popular Science.

The entire thing was built and modified from existing components, using a replica Skywalker lightsaber shell, a section from a turkey marinade injector, and several 3D printed parts to make it all work together. The result is a finished product by a Youtube craftsman that is neither as clumsy or random as a blaster.

 

(4) PALMER AND SHAVER. “When Good Science Fiction Fans Go Bad” is a companion article to Wired’s “Geeks Guide To The Galaxy” podcast which interviewed Ray Palmer’s biographer and learned about the Shaver Mystery.

Author Fred Nadis relates the strange story of Palmer in his recent biography The Man From Mars, which describes how Hugo Gernsback, founder of the first pulp science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, helped inspire his readers to create a better future.

“He saw [science fiction] in very practical terms of shaping the future,” Nadis says in Episode 182 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “Almost a visionary experience of imagining the future and new technologies and what they could do, but he also felt like we had to spread this faith.”

If you’re interested in comparing viewpoints, here’s a link to the post I wrote about fandom’s response to Richard Shaver.

(5) WRITING NEUROMANCER. William Gibson’s 2014 piece for The Guardian, “How I wrote Neuromancer” was news to me, and perhaps will be to you.

On the basis of a few more Omni sales, I was approached by the late Terry Carr, an established SF anthologist. Terry had, once previously, commissioned a limited series of first novels for Ace Books – his Ace SF Specials. Now he was doing it again, and would I care to write one? Of course, I said, in that moment utterly and indescribably terrified, something I remained for the next 18 months or so, when, well out of my one-year contract, I turned in the manuscript.

I was late because I had so very little idea of how to write a novel, but assumed that this might well be my first and last shot at doing so. Whatever else might happen, I doubted anyone would ever again offer me money up front for an unwritten novel. This was to be a paperback original, for a very modest advance. My fantasy of success, then, was that my book, once it had been met with the hostile or indifferent stares I expected, would go out of print. Then, yellowing fragrantly on the SF shelves of secondhand book shops, it might voyage forward, up the time-stream, into some vaguely distant era in which a tiny coterie of esoterics, in London perhaps, or Paris, would seize upon it, however languidly, as perhaps a somewhat good late echo of Bester, Delany or another of the writers I’d pasted, as it were, on the inside of my authorial windshield. And that, I assured myself, sweating metaphorical bullets daily in front of my Hermes 2000 manual portable, would almost certainly be that.

(6) INTERNET TAR. Ursula K. Le Guin tells readers at Book View Café she never said it:

The vapid statement “the creative adult is the child who survived” is currently being attributed to me by something called Aiga

https://eyeondesign.aiga.org/design-quote-creative-adult-is-child-who-survived-ursula-le-guin/

…Meelis pointed out this sentence in the 1974 essay “Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons?” (reprinted in the collection The Language of the Night):

I believe that maturity is not an outgrowing, but a growing up: that an adult is not a dead child, but a child who survived.

Nothing about “creativity” whatever. I just said a grown-up is somebody who lived through childhood — a child who survived….

It is high time that this sentence, “The creative adult is the child who has survived,” be attributed to its originator, Prof. Julian F. Fleron.

If he did not originate it, and wishes to be freed from the onus of supposedly having done so, that’s up to him or to those who wish to preserve his good name. I just wish, oh how I wish! that he hadn’t stuck me with the damn thing.

(7) SCHOEN. Lawrence M. Schoen is interviewed by Sara Stamey at Book View Café.

Can you tell us about your small press, Paper Golem, which aims to introduce readers to fresh new authors? Any advice for those interested in setting up a small press?

More than a decade ago, one of my graduate students lured me away from academia to come work for him in the private sector as the Director of Research at the medical center where he was CEO. The result was fewer work hours and more money. I mention this because it meant that I was in a position to start a small press, going into the venture not with an eye toward making a fortune (stop laughing!) but rather the more modest goal of breaking even and using the press to “pay it forward.”

(8) STRAUB SELLS HOUSE. “Horror Author’s Not-Scary UWS Townhouse Sells for $7M” reports NY Curbed.

Despite the nature of author Peter Straub‘s work—he’s a horror author known for Ghost Story, The Throat, and his collaborations with Stephen King—his former Upper West Side townhouse is very much not terrifying. The gorgeous home, located on West 85th Street, was built in the 1880s and has some of its original details, including a stained-glass panel over the staircase and six fireplaces. It went on the market back in April, but unsurprisingly went quickly; according to StreetEasy, it sold at the beginning of the month, for slightly under its original $7.8 million asking price. (h/t 6sqft) Coincidentally, Straub’s daughter Emma, an author herself, recently sold her equally gorgeous townhouse in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.

Andrew Porter commented, “This is very disturbing news. I’ve known Straub for decades. He recently decided not to attend the World Fantasy Convention, held the beginning of November in Saratoga Springs NY, because of health concerns. I wonder if the effort of climbing up and down all those stairs finally got to be too much for him.”

(9) COINCIDENCE. Hundreds of readers “liked” the mainstream political graphic David Gerrold posted on Facebook but it seems an ill-considered choice by someone who recently hoped to convince people an asterisk had another meaning than ASSH*LE.

(10) MYTHBUSTER. Sarah A. Hoyt’s discussion of “The Myths of Collapse” is a good antidote to misinterpretations of history that are fairly common in the backstory of created worlds, however, it is also intended as political advice, and while fairly mild as such YMMV.

1 Myth one — collapse creates a tabula rasa, upon which a completely different society can be built.  Honestly, I think this comes from the teachings on the collapse of Rome and the truly execrable way the middle ages are taught.

First of all, once you poke closer, Rome only sort of collapsed.  Depending on the place you lived in, your life might not have changed much between the end of the empire and the next few centuries.  I come from a place where it’s more like Rome got a name change and went underground. In both the good and the bad, Portugal is still Rome, just Rome as you’d expect after 19 centuries of history or so.

Second the society that was rebuilt wasn’t brand new and tabula rasa but partook both of the empire and the incredible complexity of what happened during collapse.

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

In 1894, Antoine Lumiere, the father of Auguste (1862-1954) and Louis (1864-1948), saw a demonstration of Edison’s Kinetoscope. The elder Lumiere was impressed, but reportedly told his sons, who ran a successful photographic plate factory in Lyon, France, that they could come up with something better. Louis Lumiere’s Cinematographe, which was patented in 1895, was a combination movie camera and projector that could display moving images on a screen for an audience. The Cinematographe was also smaller, lighter and used less film than Edison’s technology.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born December 28, 1922 — Stan Lee

(13) SF-LOVERS. “Scientists on their favourite science fiction”:

We invited scientists to highlight their favourite science fiction novel or film and tell us what it was that captivated their imagination – and, for some, how it started their career….

Matthew Browne, social scientist, CQUniversity

Consider PhlebasIain M. Banks

I love a lot of science fiction, but Iain M. Banks’ classic space-opera Consider Phlebas is a special favourite.

Banks describes the “Culture”, a diverse, anarchic, utopian and galaxy-spanning post-scarcity society. The Culture is a hybrid of enhanced and altered humanoids and artificial intelligences, which range from rather dull to almost godlike in their capabilities….

Perhaps the best thing about Consider Phlebas (apart from the wonderfully irreverent ship names the Minds give themselves) is the fact that a story from this conflict is told from the perspective of an Indiran agent, who despises the Culture and everything it stands for.

My own take on the book is as an ode to progressive technological humanism, and the astute reader will find many parallels to contemporary political and cultural issues.

(14) THE CLIPULARITY. The December 28 Washington Post has a lengthy article by Joel Achenbach about whether robots will kill us all once AI becomes smarter than people. He references Isaac Asimov and Vernor Vinge and discusses the nightmare scenario developed by Nick Bostrom about whether a machine programmed to make something (like paper clips) Goes Amok and starts ransacking the world for resources to make paper clips, destroying everything that gets in its way.

People will tell you that even Stephen Hawking is worried about it. And Bill Gates. And that Elon Musk gave $10 million for research on how to keep machine intelligence under control. All that is true.

How this came about is as much a story about media relations as it is about technological change. The machines are not on the verge of taking over. This is a topic rife with speculation and perhaps a whiff of hysteria.

But the discussion reflects a broader truth: We live in an age in which machine intelligence has become a part of daily life. Computers fly planes and soon will drive cars. Computer algorithms anticipate our needs and decide which advertisements to show us. Machines create news stories without human intervention. Machines can recognize your face in a crowd.

New technologies — including genetic engineering and nanotechnology — are cascading upon one another and converging. We don’t know how this will play out. But some of the most serious thinkers on Earth worry about potential hazards — and wonder whether we remain fully in control of our inventions.

(15) BAEN AUTHOR JOHN SCALZI. John Scalzi explains why his next novel won’t be out until 2017 in “Very Important News About My 2016 Novel Release (and Other Fiction Plans)” but makes it up to everyone by highlighting several pieces of short fiction that will be in our hands next year including….

* A short story called “On the Wall” which I co-wrote with my pal Dave Klecha, which is part of the Black Tide Rising anthology, co-edited by John Ringo, for Baen. Yes, that John Ringo and that Baen. Pick your jaws up off the floor, people. I’ve made no bones about liking Baen as a publisher, and I’ve noted for a while that John Ringo and I get on pretty well despite our various differences and occasional snark. Also, it was a ton of fun to write in his universe and with Dave. The BTR anthology comes out June 7th.

This news was broken in August but may have been overlooked by fans occupied by another subject at the time….

Black Tide Rising’s announced contributors are John Ringo, Eric Flint, John Scalzi, Dave Klecha, Sarah Hoyt, Jody Lynn Nye, Michael Z. Williamson, and Kacey Ezell.

(16) WRITER DISARMAMENT TALKS STALL. “George R.R. Martin and Christmas Puppies” is Joe Vasicek’s response to the recent overture.

Now, I don’t disagree with Mr. Martin’s sentiment. I too would like to see reconciliation and de-escalation of the ugliness that we saw from both sides in 2015. And to be fair, Mr. Martin does give a positive characterization of what’s going on right now with Sad Puppies 4. That’s a good first step.

The trouble is, you don’t achieve reconciliation by shouting at the other side to lay down their guns first. You achieve it by hearing and acknowledging their grievances. You might not agree that those grievances need to be rectified, which is fine—that’s what negotiations are for—but you do have to make an effort to listen to the other side. And it’s clear enough that Mr. Martin is not listening.

The core of the Sad Puppies movement is a rejection of elitism….

(17) OUT OF DARKNESS. Were reports that Mark Lawrence is a Grimdark author premature? In Suvudu’s “’Beyond Redemption’ Author Michael R. Fletcher: ‘NO SUCH THING AS GRIMDARK’”, Lawrence says he meant “Aardvark”….

Does anyone actually set out to write grimdark?

I certainly didn’t. I thought Beyond Redemption was fantasy, and maybe dark fantasy if you wanted to label it further. But then I live under a rock.

So I reached out to a few of the authors who have been accused of defiling reality with their overly dark writings.

All quotes are exact and unedited.

Mark Lawrence (Author of The Broken Empire series, and the Red Queen’s War series): “aardvark.”

Other quotes follow, from Django Weler, Teresa Frohock, Scott Oden, Anthony Ryan, Tim Marquitz, and Marc Turner.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Will R., and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

San Marino Worldcon Bid: Faux But Fun

San marino Worldcon bidThe new San Marino in 2019 bid asks “Why settle for a convention in a city when you could have an entire country?”

If they win, they’d like to run a 3,000-person Worldcon beginning August 7, 2019.

Even if they don’t – which I suspect is their preference — they will have succeeded in drawing attention to the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, presented at the Hugo ceremony but inevitably overshadowed.

We think this is a mistake, that there should be more noise made about this award. Every year, the list of nominees should be a blazing signpost of authors you should be watching, or better still, reading.

The bid will underscore its message by publishing at least three volumes of an anthology series, Cream of San Marino: Stories by Campbell Award Nominees.

Lawrence Schoen, the editor, says they will only be available to preupporters. The first volume will include work by these 22 authors:

Charles Sheffield, Dan Wells, Daniel Marcus,  David Brin, Elissa Malcohn, Elizabeth Bear, Joel Rosenberg, John Varley, Judith Moffett, Julie Czerneda, K. J. Bishop, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, Laura Resnick, Lawrence M. Schoen, Lev Grossman, Max Gladstone, Michael Burstein, Michael Kandel, Michaela Roessner, Ruth Berman, Seanan McGuire and Shane Tourtellotte.

So the bottom line is that the bid is a hoax but the anthologies are real.

The first official bid party will be November 22 at Philcon in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Presupport information is on the bid website. A basic presupporter gets their choice of one volume of the anthology series, higher levels get more volumes — and loftier titles.

2012 Endeavour Award Finalists

Five novels are finalists for the 2012 Endeavour Award, which honors a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book, either a novel or a single-author collection, created by a writer living in the Pacific Northwest:

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
City of Ruins by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
River Marked by Patricia Briggs
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
When The Saints by Dave Duncan

The finalists were selected from entries read and scored by seven preliminary readers. The winning entry will be chosen by 2012 Endeavour judges Gregory Benford, Lawrence M. Schoen, and Susan Shwartz.

The award comes with a $1,000 honorarium.

The winner will be announced November 2 at OryCon, Oregon’s major science fiction convention.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Klingon Language Institute
Leads in to Renovation

Want to hear some buy’ ngop (“Great news!”)?

For three days before the Worldcon, Lawrence M. Schoen will be leading the Klingon Language Institute’s annual summer conference (qep’a’) in Reno. The official verbal battles begin Sunday morning, August 14, and run through Tuesday evening, August 16. Advance registration is $35, or $40 at the door.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Wooster’s Comments on Invented Languages Book

By Martin Morse Wooster: I finished Arika Okrent’s In the Land of Invented Languages (Spiegel and Grau, 2009). The book mentions sf fandom in several places. She attended a Lojban conference that was held at the 2006 Philcon. She also discusses Suzette Haden Elgin’s feminist language Laadan, and discusses Wiscon’s role in promoting discussion of this language. She also says that Lojban adapted some of Laadan’s features, and did so because of Lojban founder Bob LeChevalier’s connections with fandom. Finally, there are several chapters about Klingon, and the work of Lawrence Schoen’s Klingon Language Institute is discussed.

I wouldn’t say that artificial language fandom is something that spun off of sf fandom (except for Klingon) but rather that artificial languages are something that fans are interested in.

Diana would want to know that Tolkien is discussed, including his creation of Quenya. But I thought the Tolkien discussion was rather slight.