Resistance Hires On

Several major talents have joined the Australian sf film and television project Resistance — producer Toby Pease (Steven Spielberg’s Pacific, Superman Returns, Charlotte’s Web, The Matrix trilogy, Scooby Doo and Titanic), supervising producer Gary Kurtz (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and The Dark Crystal, a two-time Academy Award nominee), composer Guy Gross (Farscape, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert), concept illustrator Charles Kenway (Babe, Babe: Pig in the City, The Matrix and Mad Max), and visual consultant Andrew Lesnie, the Academy Award-winning director of photography who created the look for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The full press release appears after the jump.

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Brian M. Thomsen Passes Away (1959-2008)

Brian M. Thomsen (b. April 13, 1959), well-known for co-writing Julius Schwartz’s autobiography Man of Two Worlds: My Life in Science Fiction and Comics, died suddenly on September 21. Author, anthologist, a consulting editor for Tor, Thomsen was a popular figure in the sf field.

Harlan Ellison has a short, grief-stricken notice on his website. (Coincidentally, Ellison and Thomsen co-wrote this obituary about Julie Schwartz following his death in 2004.)

See more information at

Proulx and Hopkinson win Sunburst Awards

The Sunburst Awards for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic were won by “Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet” by Joanne Proulx and “The New Moon’s Arms” by Nalo Hopkinson. This was Hopkinson’s second win; she also won a Sunburst Award in 2003. Proulx’s Sunburst is the first winner in the new separate category for young adult speculative fiction.

See full article at

Adios, Jules Verne reports:

DOOMED SPACECRAFT:  Jules Verne is about to become a fireball. On Sept. 29th, with NASA aircraft looking on, the 22-ton European spacecraft will plunge into Earth’s atmosphere over the south Pacific Ocean and harmlessly disintegrate. Jules Verne recently spent five months docked to the space station where it delivered supplies, used its engines help the station avoid a piece of space junk, and served as an impromptu bedroom for the ISS crew. Mission accomplished, the doomed spacecraft is now making its final orbits around Earth glowing about as brightly as Polaris (the North Star). U.S. and European observers are favored with flybys this weekend.

Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for viewing times.

[Via Chronicles of the Dawn Patrol.] 

Update 9/29/2008: The Jules Verne’s fatal re-entry yielded some gorgeous photographs.

Moshe and the Archbishop

Archbishop John J. Myers

John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark and a Tor science fiction author, gave an interview to Jeff Diamant that was recently posted to Inside New Jersey. Editor Moshe Feder is also quoted:

“You have to admit, I’m being a good sport about this,” says the archbishop of Newark. John J. Myers, the spiritual leader of 1.3 million Catholics, a man who wears well the stateliness of his high church office, who goes through life addressed as “Your Excellency,” who is revered in Catholic circles as a canon lawyer and a proud, conservative rock of his church, is, at this moment, speaking through the face hole of a costume space helmet he has donned at the request of his guests. In a few minutes, standing in the grassy yard of his summer residence in Hunterdon County, he will even don pointy Spock ears and a pair of alien antennae. The bespectacled archbishop is doing this to promote and discuss a fun and uncanonic part of his life — his love of science fiction and, specifically, Space Vulture, a sci-fi novel he published in March with childhood friend Gary Wolf…

The publisher, Tor Books, loved the idea of promoting a book written by an archbishop and a ‘toon creator. And in what somehow seems fitting for this eclectic project, the editor was a guy named Moshe. That’s Moshe Feder, who enjoyed editing a Catholic honcho almost as much as Myers enjoyed writing the book. “There’s a slight incongruity: ‘Moshe Feder, graduate of yeshiva for 12 years, editing the archbishop,’ ” Feder joked. “It’s like if I went to Notre Dame and was editing a famous rabbi.”

[Via Andrew Porter and Ed Meskys.]

Snapshots 4

Here are six developments of interest to fans:

(1) The New York Times ran an obituary for pioneer Trek fan Joan Winston quoting other equally historic fan personalities:

“Most of us belonged to the Lunarians, a science fiction club, and we attended Lunacon, their convention, but there was a sense that ‘Star Trek’ fans were not real sci-fi fans,” said Devra Langsam, a fellow organizer of the first “Star Trek” convention and the editor of Spockanalia, the first “Star Trek” fanzine.

Elyse Pines, a friend of Ms. Langsam’s, proposed a gathering specifically for “Star Trek” fans. A mutual friend brought in Ms. Winston, who used her show business contacts to secure tapes of 15 “Star Trek” episodes, a blooper reel and the presence of Roddenberry. She also requested a few moon rocks from NASA.

“I just assumed that a day or two before the event the mailman would bring us a little postal package full of moon rocks,” she later told Mr. Shatner. Instead, NASA dispatched a trailer truck with two tons of memorabilia that included a genuine spacesuit stuffed with a mannequin astronaut.

(2) Ursula LeGuin and Shaun Tan will be among the authors present for the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival, October 21-26.

(3) Haven’t got your fill of articles about the doomed book publishing business? Look no farther than the recent issue of New York Magazine and a piece titled “The End“:

The book business as we know it will not be living happily ever after. With sales stagnating, CEO heads rolling, big-name authors playing musical chairs, and Amazon looming as the new boogeyman, publishing might have to look for its future outside the corporate world…

“What I’ve heard from editors is, ‘My judgment doesn’t count any longer’ … There used to be a reason to get into publishing… Whether they know it or not, they all want to be Maxwell Perkins. It’s a kind of secondary immortality. They didn’t flock to publishing because they want to publish Danielle Steel.”
– Kent Carroll, formerly of Carroll & Graf, now running Europa Editions.

“[Book trailers are] all the rage right now, but I would love to see an example of one video that really did generate a lot of sales. There’s a sense of desperation.”
– Bloomsbury’s Peter Miller

(4) Here’s a link to a touching article in the LA Times about Greg Lintner, the IRS employee killed in the Metrolink crash on September 12.

(5) Mary Reed and Eric Mayer’s interesting posts about their mystery writing appear at Business-Online-Info. There I also found this link to an excellent new interview with them that poses some very creative questions.

(6) Leonard Nimoy appeared on the September 20 edition of NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me“, playing their game called “You’re not that Spock, either” which required him to answer three questions about the expertise of Dr. Spock, child-rearing. (The link is to a menu of the show’s various segments.)

[Includes links courtesy of John Mansfield and Andrew Porter.]

Shorter Improving

Mike Walsh posted here that he and Elspeth Kovar visited Elliot Shorter on September 18:

He’s in good spirits. He’s been hearing from folks he hasn’t heard from in … well, decades. High school friends even.

A few days earlier, someone copied me on Mark Blackman’s month-old e-mail with another visitor’s encouraging words after seeing Shorter on August 20. Due to markups from multiple forwards, he wasn’t quite sure who to credit for writing it:

I visited Master El today, and when I walked in he was sitting up in bed, and eating real food!!  Ok so, it was kinda mooshed up, but it was real peas, rice, some kind of meat with gravy, juice, and sherbet. This was the first real solid food he has had since May 1st! Oh, yeah, and feeding himself, not being fed, he was actually able to hold the spoon and getting it to his mouth….

So, anyway, in my not so humble opinion, El is getting somewhat better, getting good care, and is eagerly accepting his physical therapy. Another cool thing is that the relatives of his roommate are actually old friends of his too.

Oak Hill Rehab Center
544 Pleasant Street
Pawtucket, RI 02860
Room 314A

Keep those cards, letters & visits coming, gang, because each one seems to make him stronger.

If MTV Ran the Space Program

NASA has posted a cool computer generated animation of the Constellation Lunar Mission with a jazzy sound track.

The video, “Constellation Rocks!“, demonstrates how NASA will use Earth Orbit Rendezvous in the Constellation program (rather than the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous as was done in the Apollo program) to return to the moon.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

The Stepford Fairy Princesses

A writer for the Boston Globe discusses what’s sacrificed when fairy tales are sanitized:

Yet something important is lost when a child’s introduction to fairy tales comes in such whitewashed form. It’s not just Rapunzel: In toys, movies, and books, the old fairy tales are being systematically stripped of their darker complexities. Rapunzel has become a lobotomized girl in a pleasant tower playroom; Cinderella is another pretty lady in a ball gown, like some model on “Project Runway.”

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the link.]