Bleeding Edge Signing Party

Cover art for The Bleeding Edge

Cover art for The Bleeding Edge

The Bleeding Edge anthology co-editors William F. Nolan and Jason V. Brock are scheduled to be joined by contributors Ray Bradbury, Earl Hamner, Jr., George Clayton Johnson, R. C. Matheson, John Tomerlin, Lisa Morton, Cody Goodfellow, and Norman Corwin for a book signing at Mystery & Imagination Bookstore in Glendale, CA on Saturday, February 20. Additional “special” guests and other authors are also likely to appear.

The event starts at 3 p.m. Mystery & Imagination’s address is 238 N. Brand Blvd. in Glendale, CA.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

GRRM Octocon 2010 GoH

George R.R. Martin will be Octocon 2010’s guest of honor. The con takes place October 16-17 in Dublin, Ireland.

“Octocon has always been a welcoming relaxed and enjoyable convention for me,” writes James Bacon, “and I expect this year’s will be much more so.”

This will be the 20th Octocon and James says “I will be going for sure.”

[Thanks to James Bacon for the story.]

Crime and Punishment

Weekly World News reports that the Seventh Circuit upheld the warden’s order to a Wisconsin inmate — “No Dungeons & Dragons in Jail”!

He was told he could not have the materials because the game “promotes fantasy role playing, competitive hostility, violence, addictive escape behaviors, and possible gambling.”

Singer filed a federal lawsuit, saying the prison had violated his free speech and due process rights, but the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld the policy.

The decision read, “After all, punishment is a fundamental aspect of imprisonment, and prisons may choose to punish inmates by preventing them from participating in some of their favorite recreations.”

David Klaus, tongue in cheek, comments: “I guess Lee Gold had better not ever get arrested.” (Lee, of course, is the LASFSian who started a D&D apa, Alarums and Excursions, 35 years ago.)

David says the tabloids are always good for a laugh:

I saw my all-time favorite Weekly World News headline in a 7-Eleven on Duarte Rd. at the Arcadia/Monrovia border back in ’80 or ’81. It said, in all-capitals type big enough to fill the entire tabloid front page:


I should have bought a couple to pass around, I don’t know why I didn’t.

Pasadena Writing Seminar

The e-mail with the link wasn’t sent to me, so I really can’t complain that the website’s pitch isn’t aimed at me either. But here’s how organizers of a local writing seminar are trying to convince people that their event is worth its big price tag:  

If you wanted to become a great actor, would you be willing to pay $1,199 to learn from John Travolta, Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Jodi Foster and Tom Cruise telling you the ins and outs of the acting business for three full days? Of course you would…

If I wanted to become a great actor? Oh my.

But before I ever saw that line I’d already decided to visit the Superstars Writing Seminar website because the presenters named in the e-mail are Kevin J. Anderson, Brandon Sanderson, David Farland, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, whose reputations as knowledgeable professional writers precede them. Or as the leading lady told Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, “You had me at ‘Hello’.” Eric Flint was at ConDor a couple years ago and he is a very informative speaker.

The tuition is steep, although those who sign up before January 31 get in for $699. If anybody goes, I’d be interested in reading about their experience.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the link.]

BookExpoAmerica Evolves

ICV2 has a lengthy interview with Steve Rosato, the new Event Director of BookExpo America, about the changes planned for the BEA. There is increasing attention being paid to digital books. There’s also more support being given to electronic reporting from the show:

I also should probably include press and bloggers, a very active constituency for Book Expo. As press coverage seems to be shrinking in newspapers, at least with book sections disappearing or being folded into other sections and not being stand-alone any more, we have very aggressively gone after bloggers in particular who are more and more sort of picking up the mantle, where people are finding out about books and authors and what’s coming out and what’s new. The press office on the Book Expo show floor is new. It’s actually always been in another part of the building, in a meeting room or someplace nearby. We’ve moved it directly onto the BEA show floor. We’ve expanded it, we’re going to have free wi-fi in there, and we’re looking to give bloggers a place where they can work and get their stories out, and a place that’s very close to the action.

[Thanks to John Mansfield for the link.]

Interview with a Pirate

C. Max Magee was inspired by the Attributor report on e-book piracy to track down and interview someone who’s active sharing e-books via BitTorrent. “Confessions of a Book Pirate” covers a lot of ground — why a particular book is chosen, how it’s digitized, insights about the community around this activity, and how they feel about stealing (answer: just fine).

I do not pretend that uploading or downloading unpurchased electronic books is morally correct, but I do think it is more of a grey area than some of your readers may. Perhaps this will change as the Kindle and other e-ink readers make electronic books more convenient, but the Baen Free Library is an interesting experiment that proves that at least in that case, their business was actually enhanced by giving away their product free.

Whether sharing copyrighted work is really “a grey area,” it definitely isn’t a green area, as Maya Kaathryn Bonhoff says in a comment:

Alas, when the big nameless corporations who own our publishers lose money, they take it from the individual writer’s revenue stream. They don’t count the books you’ve downloaded free as sales and we don’t get those added to our “numbers,” so ultimately, it’s our pockets and our careers as writers that are being affected by big nameless piracy. Some of us choose to give away some of our work, but don’t you think perhaps it should be our choice?

The last line of the interview includes a name of fame in the sf community:

One thing that will definitely not change anyone’s mind or inspire them to stop are polemics from people like Mark Helprin and Harlan Ellison – attitudes like that ensure that all of their works are available online all of the time.

Andrew Porter took that as an opening to comment:

I am the original publisher of THE BOOK OF ELLISON, via my Algol Press in 1978. It is long since out of print. Despite Harlan Ellison claiming that the book was done without his permission, this is not correct-and I still have the cancelled royalty checks to him to prove it. Although I’ve approached Ellison about reprinting it, he refuses to allow this. As far as I know, it’s not available on line.

Any idea how a book pirate might respond to that revelation?

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the link.]

Sherwood Smith Joins Book View Cafe

Sherwood Smith ranks with Mythopoeic fans’ favorite writers, twice a finalist for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. She’s also many people’s favorite Mythopoeic fan, having been a creative force in the Mythopoeic Society since its early days.

(Wait! Can a fan be a pro? Can a pro be a fan? Nobody’s ever asked me this before!)

Now you can find her fiction at, beginning with her novelette “Being Real”, about striking back at reality tv when your life ends on the cutting room floor.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Thomas, Patterson, Older at 2/2 NYRSF Readings

At the next New York Review of SF Readings on February 2, curator Sheree Renée Thomas will be joined by Ama Patterson, a contributor to Thomas’ collection Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, and Daniel José Older, a participant in her Black Pot Mojo Reading Series in Harlem.

The full press release follows the jump.

[Thanks to Jim Freund for the story.]

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Critics Savor Bradbury’s Wisdom 2116

The Bradbury play I saw in previews has officially opened and the reviews are in. 

Don Grigware adroitly summarized the story for readers:

The message is clear and simple. A couple married for over 40 years cannot bear to think of the loneliness that will ensue after a partner’s death. One Christmas, they decide on most unusual but loving gifts. Each, without the other’s knowledge, commissions the village Marionette maker to fashion a youthful Robotic machine that will serve the function of a husband/wife. Alas, the overly energetic and over-zealous young do not make a perfect match for the old, and when they meet they quickly realize the disastrous consequences that will come of living together. The older couple accept their folly and out of complete love for one another resolve to make the most of the time that remains to them both.

Variety found the genuine marionettes to be one of the best things in the play, as did I:

There’s visual pleasure aplenty on the Fremont’s crackerbox stage but nothing quite so touching as real, tiny marionettes representing Mr. and Mrs. in youth and old age, achieving the same heart-tugs as a similar sequence in Pixar’s “Up” in affirming the joy of finally accepting life’s terms.

In Jackie Houchin’s review for California Chronicle she describes the crisis that brings on the end of the play – which I found a little rough for my tastes:

While Mr. Wycherly struggles to “turn off” his brainy and robust mechanical lady (Jessie McLean), Mrs. Wycherly is being ravished and perhaps injured by her “stallion buck” (Steve Josephson). Mr. Wycherly longs for “the plain and gentle, the soft and sentimental,” while Mrs. Wycherly yearns for the “comfortable and real,” not the “sizzling ideal.”

As they finally escape their younger selves and fall into each other’s arms, they understand that the “mellow flavor” of their elder love is like “vintage wine” to be savored to the last drop.

And at L.A. Splash Serita Stevens concludes:

This is indeed a show worthy of the creative majesty of Ray Bradbury and short as it is, shines on it’s own.  

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the links.]

A Satisfied Customer

Taral bought copies of the 2009 Hugo Award DVD and has this to say about the experience:

I just got the two copies I ordered from the website. While the disks were reasonably priced, the shipping & handling was outrageous, I thought. It was actually more than the cost of the DVD! I bought two, since it made the S&H seem a little less ridiculous, spread out over a pair.

The packaging is the standard plastic snap-shut case, with art borrowed from one of the con pubs. Nobody asked me, but I don’t mind that. I do mind that there was no credit to the artist, anywhere.

Production seemed good, though, to be honest, there was more than enough space for the Opening & Closing ceremonies as well. I noticed some edits. It’ll play on the computer with some program like Power DVD, but not Windows MP. Plays on the TV of course.

I’ve read Taral’s evaluations of many things over the years and taking everything into account I believe this is a favorable review…