Get on Board Journey Planet

Chris Garcia, James Bacon and a roomful of enthusiastic fanwriters produced Journey Planet in an hour at Orbital, the 2008 Eastercon.

“It went well,” says James, “but an hour was not enough and despite terrific help and efforts… It’s rough and ready and it’s available now as a PDF (5.2 meg) to download on”

James declares there are some amazing contributions, including:

  • An interview with Hugo nominee John Scalzi about Fanzines and Blogs.
  • Sketches that Neil Gaiman originally drew in 1990 that appeared in the fanzine Gerald.
  • An article by Dave Langford about his involvement with an Eastercon.
  • A discussion about Alice in Sunderland between Niall Harrison and Bryan Talbot from Torque Control.
  • An personal perspective on the release of the Sandman comic.
  • A selection of blog posts by tubewhore about the stations which get mentioned in Neverwhere.

“Also in the hour we had contributions of art, photos and writing from Peter Sullivan, Christina Lake and Lillian Edwards, Mike Scott, Linda Wenzelburger, James Shields, Yvonne Rowse, Ian Sorenson, Jim De Liscard, John Coxan, Anna Raferty, Ang, Flick and Max.”

James expects Chris will fine-tune it all into issue one, version 2 when he gets home from his TAFF trip, “And finds time to sort out the errors or rushedness that is a fanzine produced at the hasty ‘at con’ speed.”

James and Chris thank Orbital, Bill Burns on and all contributors. They hope you check it out. “And we accept no responsibility for the dalek slash.” Well, who would?

File 770 30th Anniversary Issue

File 770’s 30th Anniversary issue is now available at Thanks to the indefatigable Bill Burns for taking time out from his Eastercon trip to post it.

Here you can read John Hertz chronicling the Nippon 2007 Worldcon. There’s a classic photo of John Pomeranz in Japanese formal clothing next to George Takei at the Hugo ceremony. And Bruce Gillespie adds his salute to Big Heart Award winner Robin Johnson.

Chris Garcia, Taral Wayne, Mark Leeper, Marie Rengstorff, James Bacon and Francis Hamit celebrate the anniversary with their own special features.

Tim Marion tells about the massive project to organize his old fanzines and his nostalgic rediscovery of apas populated by New York City fans of the 1970s, in “Fannish Archiving Blues.”

Brad Foster’s cover on this issue is also his 71st contribution to File 770, going back to 1984.

The PDF file contains information about how to subscribe to the paper edition, too.

Quacks Exposed

When the Southern California Medical Museum in Riverside, California holds its annual open house on Sunday, April 27 the topic will be “Medical Quackery.” Speakers Hans Davidson, M.D. and Stan Korfmacher, M.D. will tell about the pills, potions, plasters and poisons that have been deceptively presented as cures for medical problems.

Well-known fan Elliot Weinstein, M.D., is co-curator of this museum. He is also a long-time collector of devices used by quacks who promised relief from all kinds of ailments.

Other displays in the Museum house medical artifacts, historical photographs, medical books dating back to 1843, and a life-sized diorama recreating a typical 1900-1920 era examination room.

The Museum’s centerpiece exhibit is always something of special interest, like co-curator Davidson’s attention-grabbing “bleeding and sucking exhibit” which told why bleeding was considered the basis of medicine even as late as the mid-1800’s. The medicinal properties of the leech were also admired(!)

I attended the Museum’s Lewis and Clarke themed open house in 2003 and learned a lot, including a wonderful non-medical tidbit — William Clark spelled mosquito 26 different ways in his journal but never once got it right. A page devoted to the 2003 open house includes a beautiful photo of Elst and Carole Weinstein in their best 19th Century outfits.

Brin’s Universe Featured in Computer Graphics Contest

David Brin announces that the Computer Graphics Society of Digital Artists has opened a “Grand Challenge” for individuals artists or teams to illustrate moments or scenes or trailers based upon his Uplift Universe. The contest deadline is June 9. “Tell your artist friends!” Brin urges. “The results are likely to be stunning.”

This 360 view of Brin’s study is also worth a look.

Gillespie Wins McNamara Award

In the wake of  Swancon 2008, the Australian National SF Convention,  Bruce Gillespie writes, “You might be interested that I won at the weekend Australia‘s other ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ (that is, other than the A. Bertram Chandler Award, which is usually for people who were part of Australian SF before the 1980s). It’s the Peter McNamara Award, named in honour of publisher, entrepreneur (the Aurealis Awards) and general good person Peter McNamara, who died of a brain tumour only a year after John Foyster. I haven’t actually seen a copy of whatever was said at the weekend, but here’s the message I prepared in advance to answer it:

“Robin Johnson accepted the Big Heart Award in Japan last year, he said that he was ‘gobsmacked’ to win, and nobody understood the word. If I say I’m gobsmacked at receiving the Peter MacNamara Award this year, you’ll know what I mean. And even that’s an understatement. Not only am I honoured to receive an award in the name of Mac, the most congenial, hardworking bloke in Australian SF in the last 25 years, but I’m very much honoured by the distinguished company I’m now keeping. Thanks very much to this year’s judging panel, and everybody in the Australian SF community.

“I’ve rarely made any money out of my interest in SF and publishing, but I can claim to have been around a long time. I published my first magazine at school at the age of 14, before I had heard of fandom. When in 1963 I heard about these little magazines called fanzines, in which I could publish whatever I wanted, I knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My thanks to all the people who have helped me since January 1969, when SF Commentary first appeared. Thanks to John Bangsund, Lee Harding, John Foyster and George Turner, my  original mentors, the many people who have contributed reviews, articles and letters since then, and in recent years, the amazing people, such as Thomas Bull and David Lake, who have kept alive my magazines through their financial contributions. Thanks also to my international co-editors of Steam Engine Time, Paul Kincaid and Maureen Kincaid Speller for the first few issues, and Jan Stinson recently. Thanks also to Carey Handfield and Rob Gerrand, my partners in Norstrilia Press, which blazed the trail from 1975 to 1985 for Aphelion Books and the many small-scale publishers that came after. And thanks most of all to Elaine, my wife, who has put up with all this publishing for the last thirty years.”

Entering the Lists

The Locus Recommended Reading List is a widely-respected memory jogger that many fans consult while filling out their Hugo Award nominating ballots. It’s wide-ranging: this year’s list included 61 novels in various categories, plus other books and dozens of novellas, novelettes and short stories.

Diana’s book did it, so I was personally curious how rare it is for something to make the Hugo ballot that wasn’t on the Locus list. This year there were four “unlisted” fiction and related book nominees.

Best Novel
Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer (Tor; Analog Oct. 2006-Jan/Feb. 2007)
The Last Colony by John Scalzi (Tor)

Best Short Story
“Distant Replay” by Mike Resnick (Asimov’s May-June 2007)

Best Related Book (from the Locus Non-Fiction and Art book categories)
The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community by Diana Glyer; appendix by David Bratman (Kent State University Press)

Last year was a different story. Only the 2007 Hugo-nominated novelette “All the Things You Are” by Mike Resnick (Jim Baen’s Universe Oct 2006) was absent from the Locus list.

Hugo Housekeeping

Statistics: Mary Kay Kare, Denvention 3 Hugo Administrator, received 483 valid nominating ballots. She will release all the other statistics after the ceremony in August.

While the WSFS Constitution does not require the release of additional statistics at this time, I pointed out to Mary Kay in an e-mail earlier in the week that Worldcons commonly have announced the nomination ranges in each category of the final ballot. I sent her the text of Nippon 2007’s press release, and she exercised her prerogative not to follow the example.

When John Lorentz, who was L.A.con IV’s Hugo Administrator, put together the final ballot in 2006, the information for each category included the high low end of the range of votes for the items in that category, the number of ballots received with items in that category, and the total number of items in that category that received votes.

Rockets: The final ballot lists all the writers from the Hugo-nominated series Heroes. Is the committee thinking about ordering lots of extra rockets, just in case?

Mary Kay wrote online, “Nope, we won’t be giving them all rocketships should Heroes win. We could have just listed the name of the show’s creator and the studio but I thought it would be nice to list them on the ballot. I like someone else’s idea of providing two rocketships and letting them sort it out.”

What else are superpowers for?

Additional Names on the Ballot: Evelyn Leeper asked about the policy of listing, in addition to authors and editors, those who wrote the introductions and forwards to books.

Mary Kay answered her, “Those additions were specifically requested by the writers of the books. We honored the author’s requests where we could but do not consider those people Hugo nominees as such.”

Links to Read Nominees: Asimov’s has already posted links to the three 2008 nominees it published, Nancy Kress’ Fountain of Age and Safeguard, and Karen Joy Fowler’s Always. Others have already been added to the official web page, and more are coming.

Update: 3/22/2008: Webmisstress Laurie Mann says a few thousand people have read the nominee list at the Denvention 3 site, but only one of them, a Swede, noticed that Chabon’s book title contained a typo (it should be “Policemen’s”). Mary Kay says even Chabon made no comment about the same misspelling in his notification e-mail.