Keeping a Weather Eye

I told Guy Lillian III via e-mail this morning that I can hardly imagine another one of these hundred-year-storms is homing in on New Orleans. I read news reports all the time about how much work needs to be done to put the place back together after Katrina, and now this. What a nightmare. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday morning:

The storm had downgraded slightly overnight from its Category 4 status, with winds in excess of 156, but forecasters expected the tempest to strengthen as it approached the mainland. New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin had earlier described Gustav as “the storm of the century,” packing far stronger winds and storm surges than even Hurricane Katrina, which raked across New Orleans three years ago, causing 1,800 deaths and vast flooding and destruction.

Guy and Rosy live in Shreveport, almost 300 miles from New Orleans, far enough inland that they expect to be shielded from the ferocious winds of this latest hurricane:

Once this bastard makes landfall it will probably dump a goodly bit of the Gulf of Mexico onto our area as it plows through. Shreveport has one virtue: it’s well inland, in the NW corner of Louisiana. We might get some street flooding but wind damage? Very doubtful.

As for fans in the New Orleans area, Guy has heard:

John Guidry is going to Atlanta to stay with family.Justin and Annie Winston are, so far, staying put. Justin will stay at home no matter what, just as he did during Katrina. Haven’t heard about anyone else.

Kryptonite or Horse Hockey?

Brad Meltzer’s new novel The Book of Lies claims to find the true origin of Superman in the 1932 death of Jerry Siegel’s father in Cleveland. The author outlined his case to Douglas Colton in USA Today:

“In 50 years of interviews, Jerry Siegel never once mentioned that his father died in a robbery,” says Brad Meltzer, a best-selling author whose novel, The Book of Lies, due Sept. 2, links the Siegel murder to a biblical conspiracy plot.

Michel Siegel died after a robbery, reportedly from a heart attack, though Meltzer writes he actually died of gunshots.

“[Think] about it,” Meltzer says. “Your father dies in a robbery, and you invent a bulletproof man who becomes the world’s greatest hero. I’m sorry, but there’s a story there.”

Either a story, answers Oregon columnist Steve Duin, “Or a book to sell.” Duin accuses Meltzer of pretending to break new ground on an angle that’s been previously explored by Gerard Jones (Men of Tomorrow) and Noblemen (Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman).

Cleveland journalists re-investigated the story, speaking with Siegel’s surviving relatives:

Jerry Siegel also never connected his father’s death to Superman before he himself died in 1996. And his widow Joanne, doesn’t think the robbery made Siegel or his co-creating friend Joe Shuster invent Superman to fight such crimes.
     In that period — the night of June 2, 1932 — police were called to his father’s second-hand clothing store at 3560 Central Ave. According to the police report, three men came into the shop and walked out with a suit without paying.
     Michel Siegel, 59, collapsed in the store and died.
     “At no time were any blows struck or any weapons used,” the report states.
The death certificate says Siegel had chronic myocarditis and died of heart failure. It reports no bullet wounds.
     Marlene Goodman and Irving Siegel, both cousins of Jerry Siegel, said most family members knew the truth, but some thought Michel was shot.

Whether Meltzer’s version is right or wrong, in helping create the superhero Siegel undoubtedly drew on many things — perhaps even the reign of The Untouchables’ Eliot Ness as Director of Public Safety in Cleveland during the mid-1930s, when he clamped down on gangsters while running both the police and fire departments.

Below (from USA Today): Artist Joe Shuster, artist Neal Adams, writer Jerry Siegel and Jerry Robinson, who invented The Joker in 1939, celebrate Siegel and Shuster’s agreement in 1975 with Time Warner

Shuster, Adams, Siegel, Robinson

Corflu Fifty Picks Curt Phillips

Rich Coad has announced Curt Phillips is the winner of the Corflu Fifty fan fund, wrote Randy Byers on the Trufen list. The fund will allow Phillips to go Corflu Zed in Seattle next year.

You can learn some more about Curt from this autobiographical bit on his website. He has an array of interests, the most dramatic being his participation in historical re-enactments. Click on the link to see Curt in uniform with the 30th Infantry Division at the 1998 Battle of the Bulge re-enactment.

Rich Coad told how the fund got started, in Vegas Fandom Weekly #98:

The Corflu Award is an outgrowth of the successful oneoff funds to bring Bruce Gillespie and William Breiding to Corflu Titanium in 2004 and to bring Harry Bell to Corflu Quire in 2006…. Andy Porter came up with the excellent suggestion of getting a group of fifty fans, each willing to donate 25 dollars or 15 pounds, to be the fund-raisers.

The Corflu Fifty supported Steve and Elaine Stiles’ trip to Corflu Silver in Las Vegas this year. And as Randy Byers says, the name Corflu Fifty reflects how many contributors they want to have, versus the 25 they already have. Interested fans can contact Rich Coad at richcoad [remove the extra space].

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Former Sohus Property Searched

Sohus property searched

With TV helicopters hovering overhead, authorities began an intensive search of the property where John Sohus and Linda Mayfield were living when they disappeared in 1985. Using cadaver-sniffing dogs and ground-penetrating radar, searchers commenced work on Friday, having waited until the start of the holiday weekend in an ill-fated attempt to minimize the disruption of life in the upscale San Marino neighborhood.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported:

The search for clues in the disappearance of John and Linda Sohus led them to two spots in the southeast corner of the backyard of their former home at 1920 Lorain Road, authorities said.

Using concrete saws, shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows, investigators focused on a patch of concrete near a swimming pool…

Meanwhile, suspect Clark Rockefeller remains in a Boston jail, where he is being held on other charges.

Update 8/31/2008: The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, on Saturday’s search results:

The latest search efforts, which began at 6 a.m. Friday and ended at 11:35 a.m. Saturday, focused on two “areas of interest” where investigators dug in the backyard.
     Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steven Whitmore said efforts were “very productive.”
     “The detectives came and thoroughly, meticulously searched that backyard,” Whitmore said.
     Officials dug holes about 6 feet in diameter and 3-4 feet deep, Whitmore said. One of the areas dug up was buried under concrete.
     He added detectives do not expect to return to the home.

September the First is Too Late

Star Trek: The Experience

Star Trek: The Experience will end its 11-year run at the Las Vegas Hilton on September 1.

I suppose it betrays my lack of eagerness to see this spectacle that I was in Las Vegas twice for sf conventions this year and didn’t go. But they expect big crowds this weekend, and some of the tickets for the final ride are being sold on eBay.

There won’t be a dry eye in the house Monday at 10 p.m. when they hold a special “decommissioning ceremony” after the final rides.

The STTE team are going to great lengths on this event, even doing research  for it to follow naval traditions so they can decommission ‘the time station’ and ‘close the temporal rift’ between the 24th century and the 21st century.

Years ago, when the first Polaris nuclear submarines were still in service, somebody speculated that when the day came they had to be decommissioned, the Navy would just fill the missile tubes with concrete and sink them to the bottom of the sea. That’s not how it’s really done, and fans likewise need have no fear that the replica Enterprise will end up as an artifical reef at the bottom of Lake Mead:

As for what happens to all the stuff inside Star Trek The Experience, TrekMovie has been told that all the props and replicas, including the items in the Museum, will go back to CBS and they will not be auctioned off.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the link.]

George Takei’s Heroic Afterlife

Access Atlanta talked to George Takei, who’ll be at Dragon*Con:

[He] nabbed his biggest role in years playing Hiro’s father on NBC’s hit show “Heroes.” He’ll be at Atlanta‘s Dragoncon festival this weekend to meet fans and gab about “Heroes,” the upcoming “Star Trek” film and his upcoming nuptials….

Q: I’ve already seen the first episode of the new season of “Heroes” and I see you’re still in it, even though your character is dead!

A: I’m there for about 10 seconds. That’s the way it is with “Heroes.” Nothing is ever as it seems on the surface. And you’ll manage to see a bit more of me throughout the season.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the link.]

Who Owns the Moon?

Can someone own land on the Moon? That was the question before the house at the Luna Philosophie on August 20. Luna Philosophie is the “salon and discussion” hosted by NASA’s CoLab at every full moon in San Francisco. Steve Durst from the Board of Directors of the International Lunar Observatory Association and Dr. William Marshal of NASA Ames each took a crack at the answer. Surprisingly, they both got it wrong! Neither seemed to know that two science fiction clubs already claimed the Moon. (See their video.)

It’s quite appropriate that the meeting happened across the bay from Berkeley, historic home of the Bay Area Elves’, Gnomes’ and Little Men’s Science Fiction, Chowder, and Marching Society. It was the Little Men who, in 1951, filed a claim for mining rights to 2,250 sq. mi. of the Moon. Their claim was widely reported in the media – even by Time magazine. Les Cole told the whole story in Mimosa 18:

Incidentally, filing a claim on the moon was old hat; the Bureau of Mines had hundreds of claims on file. But the Little Men’s claim was different in two ways: we would file before the U.N. — anyone of any sense could see that the U.S. Bureau of Mines had no jurisdiction on the moon — and we would file for a very small piece, not all of the moon; we weren’t greedy…

And then came The Letter. Don [Fabuns] and I worked on that one at some length. It was to be sent to the head of the U.N. Legal Department, and in it, we offered to cede back 85% of the mineral rights, all of any radioactives found (this was 1951, remember, and the romance with them had not yet fizzled), and perpetual U.N. rights to a presence in the triangular area. All the U.N. had to do was recognize our claim.

According to Les, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon his wife, Es, wanted to bill NASA $0.90/hour for parking.

Unfortunately, the governments of the world bigfooted all over the Little Men’s claim in January 1967 when they signed the Outer Space Treaty declaring that the Moon belongs to all mankind.

Science fiction fandom did not take this lying down. At a December 1970 meeting of the New England Science Fiction Association, “[Tony Lewis] showed the moon map from the Nov 1970 issue of Sky and Telescope. Hugo Gernsback crater was identified, as were Wiener, Ley, Verne, Wells, etc. As a result of this increase in cultural knowledge it was [moved, seconded and passed] that the Moon be designated NESFA’s Moon and that the Aerospace Cadets protect it.” NESFAn Harry Stubbs, then a Lt. Col. in the Air Force, was named commander of the Aerospace Cadets, holding the title “Lord of the Wings.” Later, Alan Frisbie and Paula Lieberman were also enrolled as Cadets.

NESFA shieldNESFA has kept a close eye on its property ever since. When there was a total eclipse of the Moon in July 1982, Tony Lewis wrote a letter protesting the unauthorized use of NESFA’s Moon. The club voted him responsibility for preventing the occurrence of any further unauthorized eclipses. In 1984, Chip Hitchcock reported that Walt Disney’s movie Splash abused NESFA’s Moon by having it wax in the wrong direction. Members voted Chip the job of writing their letter of complaint to Disney Studios’ publicity agency, Craig Miller’s “Con-Artists.”

NESFA even managed to turn Moon ownership into a money-raising tool. They created NESFA Realty Trust bonds to finance the purchase of their clubhouse in 1985.

Inexplicably, NESFA never seems to have objected to the practice of selling land on the moon. And they might want to issue a warning to all the entrepreneurs working on spacecraft to send to the Moon who plan to take ownership of the patch they land on, among them Luna Philosophie speaker Steven Durst himself:

[Durst is] linked to one of the Google Lunar [X Prize] competitors, Odyssey Moon, and he said during the talk that he hopes to scratch out his initials on one of the legs of a lunar rover and “claim his acre.”

Best Graphic Story Hugo
Will Be Given in 2009

Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon, has announced it will exercise its right to add a one-time Special Hugo category by awarding a Best Graphic Story Hugo. This will allow the category, added by a vote at Denvention 3, to take effect earlier than if it had to wait on the required ratification at next year’s Business Meeting.

Full press release appears behind the cut.

Continue reading

A Dozen for Denver

Rocky Mountain News office in 1800sConnie Willis has written one of the “Dozen for Denver” series of stories that will begin running weekly in the Rocky Mountain News on September 2.

The paper commissioned the first eleven stories from Willis, Margaret Coel, Joanne Greenberg, Pam Houston, Nick Arvin, Sandra Dallas, Manuel Ramos, Robert Greer, Arnold Grossman, Diane Mott Davidson and Laura Pritchett. The twelfth will be written by the winner of a contest, and will depict Denver of the future.

The authors’ stories cover the period from the 1860s to the present. And all have at least one thing in common: Larimer Street, the city’s oldest, is at least mentioned….

The stories that make up “A Dozen on Denver” will reveal something about the forces that made this the city it is today. The winning entry will tell us what life in the Denver of tomorrow might be like.

Judges for the contest include Rocky Mountain News staffers Sandra Dallas, books editor Patti Thorn, editor John Temple, as well as retired Tattered Cover bookseller Margaret Maupin, and publishing consultant Laurie Block, who was responsible for originating the idea.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the link.]

Future Worldcon/NASFiC Bids

It’s a good idea to compile this info and put it someplace I can find it again:

Seated Worldcons


Anticipation, Montreal (


Aussiecon 4, Melbourne (

Bids for future WSFS Conventions

2010 NASFiC

Raleigh, NC


Seattle (
Reno (




Texas (Maybe) (Bid website under construction (They’re said to be investigating Ft. Worth, Houston and San Antonio.)

Zagreb (Maybe) (See Cheryl Morgan’s blog (Colin Harris has speculated Zagreb may move to a later year than 2013, following the next UK/NL Worldcon.)

2014 or 2015

UK or the Netherlands (Ansible quoted James Bacon saying that three UK facilities are pursuing the con, and there are also three prospective Netherlands sites.)

2015 or 2016

San Diego (See Kevin Standlee’s post: Last December, Jim Briggs posted that 2015 was “penciled in.”) (Val Ontell has said she is looking into the possibility of hosting a World Fantasy Con as the stepping stone to a Worldcon bid.)