Ray Bradbury Birthday Week

When Ray Bradbury marks his 90th birthday on August 22 his hometown of Los Angeles will honor him with a seven-day celebration. Today, August 20, the Los Angeles City Council “adopted forthwith” a resolution proclaiming Ray Bradbury Week in Los Angeles, August 22-28, 2010.

Here are some of the many events and exhibits taking place:

The Writers Guild Foundation is presenting a Ray Bradbury Exhibit at Shavelson-Webb Library in the WGA, west building.  Bradbury materials such as book and script covers from the library collection will be presented in a couple of display cases. The library is open to the public 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays–Fridays; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays (closed the last Friday of each month). LOCATION:  WRITERS GUILD, FIRST FLOOR, 7000 W. THIRD, LOS ANGELES.

On Monday, August 23 the Diversity Department of the Writers Guild of America, west presents Ray Bradbury’s one-act play, “The Better Part of Wisdom,” read by James Cromwell (“That’ll do pig.”) Set in 1950s London, the drama centers on a dying, 80-year-old Irishman enduring a farewell tour of relatives who discovers that his beloved grandson is gay. Directed by Steven Paul Leiva. LOCATION:  WRITERS GUILD, 7000 W. THIRD, LOS ANGELES – SECOND FLOOR. TIME: 7:00PM. INFO: (323) 782-4589. RSVP: diversity@wga.org with “Wisdom” in subject line

On Tuesday, August 24 the Playboy Foundation will present a screening of Fahrenheit 451 starring Julie Christie, Oskar Werner and Cyril Cusack. The film will be preceded by a discussion with Ray Bradbury and Hugh Hefner moderated by Los Angeles Times reporter and Hero Complex blogger Geoff Boucher. LOCATION: WRITERS GUILD THEATER 135 SOUTH DOHENY DRIVE, BEVERLY HILLS  (JUST SOUTH OF WILSHIRE). TIME: 7:00PM. RSVP: Simone at 312.373.2049.

On Thursday, August 26 the Los Angeles Public Library’s Richard J. Riordan Central Library will host a special screening of Ray Bradbury’s The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, starring Joe Mantegna, Esai Morales and Edward James Olmos. LOCATION: RICHARD J. RIORDIAN CENTRAL LIBRARY, MARK TAPER AUDITORIUM 630 WEST FIFTHE STREET, LOS ANGELES. TIME: 7:00PM. RSVP: EMAIL  rbw451@aol.com with “Ice Cream” in subject line.

On Saturday, August 28 the Paley Center for Media presents “Ray Bradbury on Television,” three television productions based on works by Ray Bradbury. Doors open to the Center at Noon and admission is free. The screening schedule is as follows: 1:00 PM Ray Bradbury Theater: The Banshee (1986)  An episode from the landmark cable TV series, The Ray Bradbury Theater, and based on Ray’s autobiographical short story about his relationship with famed film director John Huston when Ray was in Ireland writing the screenplay for Huston’s Moby Dick.  Starring Peter O’Tool as the Director and Charles Martin Smith as the Writer.  2:00 PM American Playhouse: Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby is a Friend of Mine (1982). Starring Fred Gwynne (The Munsters) as “Charles Dickens” and featuring Ray Bradbury as the voice of the boy as a man. 3:00 PM The Peabody Award-Winning The Electric Grandmother (1982). Starring Maureen Stapleton, Edward Herrmann and Paul Benedict. LOCATION: THE PALEY CENTER FOR MEDIA, 465 N. BEVERLY DRIVE, BEVERLY HILLS. RSVP: 310-786-1036

There are two other birthday events, not part of the week in LA but that deserve mention somewhere.

First,  UCLA has posted a tribute website. After all, that’s where Ray typed Fahrenheit 451 on rental typewriters in the Powell Library basement. There are videos and graphics and a quiz. I only scored 6 out of 7 — surely you can do better.

Second, The Saturday Evening Post is featuring a new story by Bradbury—“Juggernaut”—in the September/October issue. The Post’s collaboration with Bradbury traces back to 1950 when it published his short story, “The World the Children Made.” Over the years the Post has published 14 short stories and two poems by Ray.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian and Steven Paul Leiva.]

Update 08/21/2010: Video of Ray’s appearance at the LA City Council is here on Facebook (registration required).

Ray Bradbury’s 90th Birthday Party

Ray Bradbury's "Cake of Fire"

Ray Bradbury’s 90th birthday celebration got off to an early start on August 15 at Christine and Malcolm Bell’s Mystery and Imagination Bookstore in Glendale.

“Something north of 300 friends and fans of Ray showed up for the first of many events celebrating Ray’s milestone birthday,” reports John King Tarpinian. “George Clayton Johnson, William F. Nolan, Peter Atkins and Marc Zicree among others came to share their love of Ray. There was an open mike so people could roast Ray. Needless to say the crowd sang Happy Birthday before Ray blew out the candle of his flaming book shaped cake. The cake’s pages listed every book of Ray’s from Dark Carnival to his upcoming Juggernaut. The two hours went by all too quickly.”

Pandemonium Press No.54 published this list of the well-known and sort-of-known well-wishers:

Leah Allers, Actress;  Roger Allers, Co-director, The Lion King;  Whitney Scott Bain, Protégé and Screenwriter;  Ron and Margaret Borst, Collectors;  John Dayton, Friend;  FX Feeney, Writer;  Lawrence French, Cinefantastique Magazine;  Alan Neal Hubbs, Director, Pandemonium Theatre Group Productions;  George Clayton Johnson, Author and Screenwriter; Richard Kaminsky, Friend (Chicago, Ill.);  Robert Kerr, Actor in the Pandemonium Theatre Company;  Greg Koudoulian, Shel Dorf Fan Club;  Arnold Kunert, Friend, Producer/Director and US Agent for Ray Harryhausen;  David Marchant, Friend and Representative for the Forrie Ackerman Estate;  Alla Matusov, Principal, Green School of Hollywood;  William F. Nolan, Author and Screenwriter;  William Pappas, Fan and Actor (San Diego, CA);  John Rafanello, CEO and Chief Visioneer, Wonderworld Entertainment  + Disney Imagineer;  Earl Roesel; Mr. and Mrs. Jason Sunni, Friends and Documentary Producers;  Phil Tippett, Visual Effects Artist, Tippett Studios (San Francisco, CA);  Soul Trang, Writer (Austin, TX);  Steve Wollenberg, Actor, Pandemonium Theatre Company Productions;  Phil Yeh, Cartoonist.

Several people shot pictures of the party. This gallery includes a great photo of Tarpinian wheeling the vast “Cake of Fire” through a crosswalk on the way from Porto’s Bakery to the bookstore. Here is Drew Baker’s gallery. And William Wu’s site has extensive coverage.

The photos in this post were taken by John King Tarpinian.

WFSA Award Short Fiction Nominees Announced

Finalists for the 2010 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction are these stories from 2009:

  • “each thing i show you is a piece of my death” by Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer, published in Clockwork Phoenix 2, edited by Mike Allen, Norilana Books (July 2009).
  • “Images of Anna” by Nancy Kress, published in Fantasy Magazine, edited by Cat Rambo (September 2009).
  • “James and the Dark Grimoire” by Kevin Lauderdale, published in Cthulhu Unbound, edited by Thomas Brannan and John Sunseri, Permuted Press, (March 2009).
  • “Race to the Moon” by Kyell Gold, published in New Fables, Summer 2009, edited by Tim Susman, Sofawolf Press (July 2009).
  • “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” by Eugie Foster, published in Interzone (January 2009) / Apex Magazine (August 2009), edited by Andy Cox (Interzone,) / Catherynne M. Valente (Apex).
  • “Siren Beat” by Tansy Rayner Roberts, published in Twelfth Planet Press, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (October 2009).
  • “The Pirate Captain’s Daughter” by Yoon Ha Lee, published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies issue #27, 10/08/2009, edited Scott H. Andrews.
  • “The Very Difficult Diwali of Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram” by Jeff Soesbe, published in DayBreak Magazine, edited by Jetse de Vries (October 2009).

The winner is chosen by the members of the Washington Science Fiction Association, all voting done using texts with the identity of the author and publisher stripped. They hope this improves the chances of the winner being picked solely for reasons of its quality, and they’re probably right.

But who creates the pool of nominees? It’s tautological that a work can’t win unless it makes the ballot. Any room for bias to gum the works there?

Not really. According to The Rules, nominations come through a wide-open process. “Small press publishers and periodicals may nominate up to three (3) stories, published by themselves or others. A writer may nominate one (1) story, published by herself/himself or others. A WSFA member may nominate one (1) story.” Then five members of WSFA screen the submissions and produce the list of finalists.

The award will be presented at Capclave over the October 22-24 weekend.

[This is part of a continuing series titled, “It’s probably still news to someone.” Thanks to Michael Walsh for the link.]


Oceanic Airlines gear.

In the interest of full disclosure I must admit I never saw a single episode of LOST. Yet I was fascinated by the media phenomenon surrounding the show and read any number of articles about it. That’s why I have occasionally reported on it here.

And while the show may be over the fun hasn’t ended because LOST will follow the recent marketing trend with a public auction of its props and doodads shortly after the denouement of the series. We all know that the Roddenberrys and a few others offered some Star Trek stuff through mailing lists. Now a generation later there are a lot more people interested in buying artifacts from tv series and the networks and production companies have learned to strike while the iron is hot — to sell these things instead of putting them in storage.

Profiles in History, in partnership with ABC Studios, will auction the props, costumes and set pieces from the series LOST on August 21 and 22 at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, CA.

The catalog is online. There will over 1000 lots, the proverbial “something for everyone” with many items likely to go for affordable prices. Worldwide bidding begins at 1p.m. PDT both days. Bids can be placed in person, via mail, phone, fax or live on the Internet.

See full details in the press release following the jump.


Dial mechanism from the signal room of the lighthouse.

Nuclear bomb core detonated in Season 5 finale.

Continue reading

KC in 2016 Worldcon Bid

On the theory that it’s always news to somebody (a theory I plan to write about before long), let me be the last to tell you that a Kansas City in 2016 bid was launched at the NASFiC.

The leadership is Ruth Lichtwardt, Jeff Orth and Diane Lacey (she lives in Toronto). Lichtwardt and Orth are veterans of KC’s annual ConQuest, and the trio worked effectively as last year’s (2009) Hugo Administrators.

The bid has a Twitter feed, there’s a kcin2016.org website under construction, and they’ve got a Facebook page (registration required).

Help the Poll!

One of ArmadilloCon’s wonderful traditions (since 1983) is the Fannish Feud game show. Having Pat Cadigan as its whip-cracking emcee for many years naturally helped its popularity enormously, but I’m sure they still have a lot of fun with it. And you can help make sure they do! Fill in your answers to the Fannish Feud Poll so there will be something to unveil when the host shouts, “And the survey says…!”

Self-Publishing With Lulu

I often post news about self-publishing here, but this story genuinely hits close to home. Earlier this month Diana wrote a blog post titled Should You Give Lulu.com a Try? about her generally satisfactory experience creating a book through one of the better-known self-publishing sites:

The books look very good and the turn-around time is fast. They do a brilliant job of boxing your books: the packaging is very sturdy. I especially like the flexibility of their service: you can place your early orders conservatively and then simply order more books in small batches as you have need. Still, there are a few things I wish I had known…

Light 10 Candles for Locus Index to SF Awards

Here’s an awfully good question. Mark R. Kelly of Locus Online wonders why there isn’t any link from the Hugo Awards or Nebula Awards site to his database The Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards (which just celebrated its tenth birthday).

…I can’t help but noticing that the Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards is seldom linked from other sites. It doesn’t seem to have much of a profile, or presence. I visit both the Hugo Awards site and the Nebula Awards site, for example, and notice, most obviously, that neither site has indexes to nominees; there is no way I can look up Connie Willis, or Neil Gaiman, and find out how many nominations or wins they have for those respective awards. You would have to search through the annual listings and tabulate them manually. Whereas the Locus Index to etc. has had such nominee indexes for a decade now. One might think proprietors of those other sites might have noticed. Apparently not. (Yet they do link to a couple other SF awards sites, which similarly lack indexing.)

Certainly I owe a great big thank you to Kelly for his work. I frequently refer to the Locus Index to SF Awards when writing for this blog. It would make enormous sense for the fans behind the official Hugo Awards site to add a note advising everyone that this goldmine of information is available.

Kelly also asked readers whether the title of the database makes it seem likely to be just an index to the Locus Awards, thinking that might be a reason for its low profile. I’d say don’t blame the “brand name” if this excellent tool isn’t used as often as it deserves. Instead, ask “How often do bloggers actually bother researching the stuff they write about science fiction awards?”

John Hertz: 2010 NASFiC Notes

By John Hertz: [Reprinted from Vanamonde 898 by permission.]   Reconstruction” was the 10th Occasional North America Science Fiction Convention, 5-8 August, Raleigh, North Carolina, at the Convention Center and nearby Marriott and Sheraton hotels, the Marriott adjacent with a connecting passage; the NASFiC is occasioned by the World S-F Convention being overseas, as this year (Aussiecon IV, the 68th Worldcon, Melbourne, 2-6 Sep), so that we’ve only had ten since inventing them in 1975; Author Guest of Honor Eric Flint, Graphic Artist GoH Brad Foster, Fan GoH Juanita Coulson, Toastmaster Toni Weisskopf; attendance about 650; chairman Warren Buff, who assured me the name was jes’ fine for a con in the South and I should have seen the others proposed. If London wins its bid for 2014 we’ll need a NASFiC then; hearing mutterings of Cincinnati, I proposed “Consul.”

Weisskopf’s fine conviviality was everywhere. Foster and Coulson, whom I rarely meet in person, were welcome sights; she is herself a Londoner – London, Ohio. James Bacon, whose friendship with Chris Garcia is a frightening fruitful fact, masterminded a United Kingdom party – actually, there were no parties, the Marriott didn’t permit any; this was a reception or “meet and greet” – over two nights, with U.K. cheeses, biscuits, drinks, fans, and a London in 2014 film. Garcia hosted the Fanzine Lounge. I led three Classics of S-F talks: J. Campbell, “Who Goes There?” (1938); R. Heinlein, Farmer in the Sky (1950); M. Shelley, Frankenstein (1831). Mary Robinette Kowal had phoned during June to see if we could associate Regency Dancing with her reception to launch a new fantasy set in the Regency; we managed to put both on the same night, dancing first, after which I found her in the Marriott wearing period clothes and having sold all her books.

Kowal was on a panel discussion I moderated, “Editing, the Necessary Evil”, Dan Hoyt, Chris Jackson, MRK, Stanley Schmidt, Lawrence Schoen. I had objected to “Evil” and offered “Editing, the Necessity”, for which I was made moderator. Kowal said “Maybe I like a proposed edit because it shows I didn’t get something across.” Schmidt told of a response “Thank you for your comments, I made the changes you suggested and sold the story to Gordon van Gelder.” Another panel I was given to moderate, having argued it shouldn’t be done at all, was “Butchering the Sacred Cows” (i.e. at s-f cons), on which were Jennifer Liang, Dan Reid, Jim Stratton, Alex von Thorn; at previous cons I’d found this a ranting place for people with a peeve, the Art Show, autograph sessions, the Dealers’ Room, exhibits, the Masquerade, panels; we managed a little better; I suggested If you’re trying to grow wheat, a rose is a weed, and we talked of directing traffic. There are also Hertz’ Corollaries to Sullivan’s Law, That which is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as having no function, will come to have no form, and If you grieve some form is in disrepair, find and point out its function.

The weekend was jolly, the many errors were outweighed, the fifteen pizzas which appeared at the Dead Dog Party [after the con has formally ended and until the last dog is –] promptly disappeared, and Weisskopf at Closing Ceremonies said it was “a lovely proof of principle for NASFiC.”