Reno Wants the 2011 Worldcon, Too

Patty Wells has declared a bid to hold the 2011 Worldcon in Reno, Nevada.

Other committee members listed on the newly-unveiled website are: Aaron Curtis, Vincent Docherty, Don Glover, Mark Herrup, Rick Lindsley, Tammy Lindsley, John Lorentz, Jim Mann, Laurie Mann, Ruth Sachter, Larry Sanderson, Heidi Schaub, Joe Siclari, Edie Stern, Ian Stockdale, Geri Sullivan, Marc Wells and Ben Yalow. Proposed dates are August 17-21, 2011.

Patty and several other members of the bid have hosted regional conventions in their hometown, Portland, however, running a Worldcon there isn’t an option. “Portland doesn’t have the bedrooms, but I found a place that had such good, friendly facilities and is so pretty that I almost feel disloyal to Portland for liking Reno so much,” she wrote on the Smofs list. “For those of you who’ve worked with me on worldcons before, I hope you remember the experience as a positive one, and consider the experience of me and my committee, as well as the advantages of Reno as a site, when you vote next year.”

With site selection voting for 2011 a little over a year away, this would be what Ben Yalow calls a “sprint bid,” against a Seattle in 2011 committee that announced in 2006 and began actively campaigning at Nippon 2007. Seattle’s meeting facility would be the Washington State Convention and Trade Center located in Downtown Seattle. They would hold the con in August, too, according to a bid flyer, but I have never seen a specific date proposed.

Reno in 2011’s complete press release is behind the cut.

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Paul Parsons (1952-2008)

Paul Parsons died on May 19, reports Michael Walsh. According to Aly, Paul’s wife, he died of a sudden heart attack or stroke while driving.

“I’m rather stunned by the news,” Walsh wrote online. “[Paul and Aly] were part of the Unicon group, probably attended WSFA ages ago, but also, for the 2003 World Fantasy Con in D.C. were in charge of programming (and did a fine job).” They also created the restaurant guide for the Capclave in Silver Spring.

More Comment on Publishers Weekly Cutting Review Fees

Publishers Weekly’s decision to cut in half what it pays for reviews is still drawing fire. Kevin Allman has written a very good analysis of the controversy, which says in part:

[A] good PW review (particularly a starred one) can affect sales in the same disproportionate way that a New York Times rave theater review can disproportionately affect a show’s box office…. That’s a hell of a lot of clout for a $25 review. And a hell of a lot of responsibility to give to someone who can afford to work for $25.

Robert Asprin (1946-2008)

Myth Adventures author Robert Asprin passed away at home in New Orleans on May 22. A heart attack was the probable cause of death.

David Klaus had heard that Asprin was “Found dead on his couch, sf book in hand, when people came to get him to take him to Marcon,” where Bob was to be Guest of Honor this weekend.

Asprin’s death has been widely reported online, including on Cheryl Morgan’s blog where Thomas Green, a friend of Asprin, has posted a lengthy reminiscence.

Prior to becoming well-known as a writer, Asprin’s claim to fame was co-founding the Great Dark Horde of the Society for Creative Anachronism, where he liked to be hailed as “Yang the Nauseating.”

Smokeless Rockets

Reporters wrote about merry visions of smokeless space rockets and impulse-powered engines out of Star Trek when a propulsion system that emits nothing but heat was introduced this week at a conference in Southern California:

James Woodward, a history professor at California State University in Fullerton, presented his research into Mach-Lorentz thrusters Wednesday at the Future in Review conference here. Mach-Lorentz thrusters (MLTs), assuming they can be scaled up from lab tests, could provide a new source of propulsion that “puts out thrust without blowing stuff out the tailpipe,” Woodward said.

So they never got around to wondering why a professor of history would be making this kind of announcement….

[Thanks to David K. M. Klaus for the link.]

No Potter Book Will Save B&N This Year

Barnes & Noble reported its first quarter earnings on May 22, showing that sales dropped 1.5% among stores it owned a year ago. (Analysts look to “same store sales” for the market trend — B&N’s overall sales are higher due to new stores added to the chain.) The second quarter will compare even more unfavorably, because that is the period last year when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows was released.

[Thanks to John Mansfield for the pointer.]

The Way the Future Was

Here’s a curiosity for collectors: Andrew Porter has scanned images of nine postcards and two souvenir buttons he bought at the Hayden Planetarium that document the popularization of space exploration long before the first Moon landing. For example, the caption on one of them reads:

THE VIKING ROCKET. This authentic 45 foot precision instrument is an actual rocket composed in part of sections recovered from the wreckage of Vikings built by the Martin Company of Baltimore and used by the Navy to probe the upper atmosphere. A rocket like this reached an altitude of 158 miles in May 1954.

And of course, the diagram of the Solar system shows 9 planets. Ah, the good old days.