Some SF Nonprofits At-Risk

A number of nonprofit organizations in the science fiction field that are at risk of losing their tax-exempt status because they failed to file required returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009 can save their status if they file by October 15, under a one-time relief program from the Internal Revenue Service.

Affected organizations are named in the state-by-state “List of Organizations At Risk of Automatic Revocation of Tax-Exempt Status”. The entities on the list have return due dates between May 17 and Oct. 15, 2010 and the IRS has no record of them filing.

I searched six state lists for anything with “science fiction” in the name, getting hits in California, Florida, Massachusetts and Texas, but nothing in New York or Oregon. Here’s what I found:

Exempt Organizations At-Risk of Revocation – California



Exempt Organizations At-Risk of Revocation – Florida


Exempt Orgs At-Risk of Revocation – Massachusets



Exempt Organizations At-Risk of Revocation – Texas




The South Florida Science Fiction Society Inc. and the Gaylaxian Science Fiction Society are the most familiar names I encountered. This information may be useful to someone if the groups are still active.

The unfamiliar groups I searched on Google.

The San Francisco Area Science Fiction Association ran the 1987 Westercon; there’s nothing online about its recent history.

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. in California was associated with Joseph Prevratil, now-retired CEO of the organization that runs the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Ten years ago he announced a plan for a saucer-shaped science fiction museum adjacent to that attraction.

The National Hall of Fame of Science Fiction and Fantasy in Texas was a project in the news about 25 years ago.

I came up with nothing for Justicecon.

The group showing the clearest signs of life is the Martha’s Vineyard Science Fiction Association, credited as sponsor of a writers’ workshop taking place next month according to the event’s website.

Overserved at The Drink Tank?

Two of the last three Best Fan Writer Hugos have been won by Hugo nominated novelists. Taral vents his frustration that more people don’t find this controversial in “The Way the Futurian Blogs,” an article in The Drink Tank #259 (PDF file). I’m not a fan of the accompanying graphic, an altered paperback cover of Pohl with a hole in his head — both distasteful and disrespectful.

Also not very perceptive, if the idea behind the image is to fault Pohl for winning. Pohl did not ordain this result, his victory came out of a popular movement. I understood this much better after hearing the tone in Andrew Trembley’s voice as he told fans at Westercon how much he loved reading anecdotes about the history of the sf field on Fred Pohl’s blog. At that moment I thought d’oh! I’d forgotten what it is like to hear these stories for the first time. Some I heard as a young fan from Pohl’s First Fandom contemporaries. Others I read in Pohl’s 1978 autobiography The Way the Future Was. To the latest generation of science fiction fans they are brand new. And they’re great stories. And they’re about science fiction, which (big news here) a lot of science fiction fans still find interesting.

Yes, I tried to persuade fans to go in another direction and vote for someone else. Somebody who’s not already a famous sf writer. Guess what? I lost. World ends, film at 11? No, and what’s more, I’m even allowed to like the winner.

Standlee Posts Aussiecon Videos

Kevin Standlee’s video of the Aussiecon 4 Hugo Awards Ceremony is now online here at

Kevin warns there is one-minute gap in the coverage beginning just before the tie for Best Novel was announced, the length of time it took him to notice the camera had unaccountably turned itself off.

He’s also posted his video of the Worldcon Chairs Photo Session at Aussiecon 4 on

Update 09/18/2010: Changed Vimeo link per Kevin’s announcement.

Authors Team up to Fight Oil with Ink

Book View Café has created a benefit anthology, Breaking Waves, to help the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Relief Fund of the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

The collection features over 30 stories by an array of best-selling and award-winning authors. There’s a previously-unpublished Ursula K. Le Guin poem, and a chapter from Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book The Sea Around Us. Vonda N. McIntyre, Judith Tarr, Deborah Ross, Sarah Monette, David D. Levine, David Gessner, and Lyda Morehouse are among other contributors. Tiffany Trent and Phyllis Irene Radford edited the collection.

“We are delighted to put our experience to work for this important project,” said Sarah Zettel, an award-winning science fiction author and managing director of Book View Café. “What’s happening in the Gulf affects all of us, and we all need to do what we can to help alleviate the burden on the people and the environment.”

The book is available in epub, pdf, mobi, and prc formats in the Book View Café bookstore ( and will be coming to the Kindle bookstore soon.

[From the BookViewCafe press release.]

Gerrold Coming to Star Trek Experience on 9/18

David Gerrold will speak, attend a reception and autograph books at Riverside Metropolitan Museum in Riverside, CA from 1-4 p.m. on September 18.  Star Trek the Exhibition is a touring exhibit of authentic Star Trek sets, costumes, props from all five Star Trek television series and eleven Star Trek feature films. It opened in June and runs through February 28, 2011.

Gerrold’s events are open to anyone who purchases a general admission ticket ($15 adults, $12 children/seniors 65+).

On September 18 the museum also opens its new “Celebration of Science Fiction” display of Star Trek memorabilia from UC Riverside’s Eaton Collection.

[Thanks to Diana Glyer for the story.]

John Hertz: What a Worldcon

By John Hertz (reprinted from Vanamonde 901):

I’ve come from L.A. to the Worldcon,
To the Aussiecon-Four’s-hopes-unfurled con.
All its meeting and such
With s-f friends, as much
As we can, makes it September’s Pearl con.

Flick said this limerick wasn’t bad enough for the newsletter, Voice of the Echidna, of which she was editrix. Alison Scott in the London office contributed several drawings of echidnas. The Aussiecon III newsletter was The Monotreme, which might have been all right except for a mascot drawing of a platypus, with sunglasses and a lapsize computer (do platypuses have laps?), so that in one issue (duly sent us Supporting Members) an irritated echidna complained “The Monotreme? THE Monotreme?” and something had to be done.

Robert Silverberg said “This is the first time I’ve had a propeller beanie tipped to me.” I said “There’s always a first time.” On Hugo Night, I presented Best Fanwriter, which he accepted for Fred Pohl. The Laurie Mann photo on Pohl’s Weblog shows James Daugherty co-head of Hugo Night holding the trophy, me having stepped back, Silverberg speaking, Garth Nix the Master of Ceremonies. A few minutes earlier I accepted Best Fanartist for Brad Foster. Pat Sims and Robin Johnson gave the Big Heart to Merv Binns, whom Johnson in his Fan GoH speech had called the center around which Melbourne s-f had agglutinated for forty years. Right after the ceremony there were Flick and her folks with the voting analyzed on one sheet of paper, the nominating on the other side, copies for all.

In the Art Show, Kyoko Ogushi the con’s Japan agent had brought prints by Nawo Inoue, Naoyuki Katoh who was in the 2007 Worldcon paint-off with Bob Eggleton and Michael Whelan, Masaru Ohishi, and Eiji Yokoyama who again sold everything he sent. In the Masquerade, the Masters of Ceremonies were Nick Stathopoulos who designed this year’s Hugo trophy base, and Danny Oz; my co-judges were Lewis Morley who engraved the Hugo trophies, and Marilyn Pride who was Four for Four i.e. attending each Aussiecon; Morley, Pride, and Stathopoulos were the 1986 DUFF delegates, so we were DUFFers together. On Thursday night at Beverley Hope’s party for her and Roman Orszanski’s new fanzine Straw & Silk I learned Orszanski too was Four for Four. There were ribbons. I’d left early, about 1 a.m., and there in the street peering at my name-badge – I’d put my hat in my shoulder-bag – was Sharee Carton wondering if I knew any good parties, so I sent her to Hope.

Panel discussions are the stomach of our cons. Everything deemed fodder goes into them, some digested. On fanhistory panels Chris Nelson showed fine videos using the Convention Centre’s high-tech lecterns. He had gathered images of contemporary fanzines, prozines, and people, and had made graphs, including maps with colored circles for how many letters from which cities appeared in prozine letter-columns. On the Forties panel Alan Roberts and Art Widner traded stories about trading letters sixty years ago. I moderated the Fifties panel. Justin Ackroyd conducted the crowded Fan Funds auction, with intermittent help including mine. He took off his shoes and worked in his socks.

It was grand making new acquaintances and meeting fanziners in person, including Renaldo the Party Sheep. The Program Book treated generously the Fan Funds, DUFF, and me. Karen Babcock did wonders for disabled access and by the end had a Hero badge. Alan Stewart collated the annual edition of WOOF (World Organization Of Faneditors, invented by Bruce Pelz). There was not one drinking fountain in the Convention Centre. But Australia had Mars bars.

Taking Home Hugos, Then and Now

You don’t need to be told how different airport security is today from what it used to be. Controversies about that subject are constantly in the news. But my jaw dropped when I read about the problems Cheryl Morgan had taking her Hugo home from Aussiecon 4. She really experienced something I only vaguely worried about when I flew home with a Hugo from another Aussiecon 25 years ago.

I transported my Hugo to the plane in a carry-on bag after deciding it would be safer there than in my suitcase. In 1985 security checkers inspected passenger carry-ons with an x-ray machine at the entrance to the boarding lounge. I knew my hunk of solid metal shaped like a mortar round would show up quite spectacularly so I went through the line rehearsing an explanation for the guard about my “literary award.” But I need not have bothered, and my pride suffered a little when he looked up and said, “Oh, you’ve got one of these too.” The guard had already checked in Charlie Brown with his Hugo for Locus and Fred Pohl with a Hugo he’d accepted for Jack Williamson.

Today’s scanners display an even more impressive image of the Hugo. Unfortunately, the guards are not in the least jolly about it. 

Cheryl Morgan had a horrible experience a few days ago trying to depart Australia with her Hugo packed in checked luggage:

Firstly the check-in lady did not pass my comments about the Hugo in the bag on to security (the Thai Airways staff admitted to this). Secondly, having found the Hugo (which I must say lights up magnificently on the scans – I saw a print-out), the security people did not check with the airline, they called the police. And the police, having got involved, were determined to treat the whole incident as a potential terrorist threat.

There’s a lot more detail on her blog, all of it adding up to a nightmare.

Cheryl was finally turned loose. She made her flight in spite of everything and wrote afterwards, “Thankfully all my fears came to naught, and the suitcase and Hugo arrived safely at baggage claim in Heathrow.”

It may not always be true that all’s well that ends well, but Cheryl and her Hugo having reached England together it’s a little less problematic that as word of Cheryl’s predicament spread someone allegedly contacted Australian artist Nick Stathopoulos, designer of this year’s Hugo base, asking if he could make a replacement. He told his Facebook friends, “Cheryl Morgan’s Hugo Award may have been blown up at Singapore airport….” I swallowed the hook long enough to e-mail Cheryl and ask if she’d subsequently discovered damage to her Hugo.

Cheryl cleared things up directly. “You’ll note that Nick also mentioned Singapore, while my post mentions Bangkok. You may want to Google the Australian term ‘larrikin.’ Alternatively you may just want to kick Nick’s butt next time you see him.”

Larrikinism, I now know, is the name given to “the Australian folk tradition of irreverence, mockery of authority and disregard for rigid norms of propriety.” One might say larrikin is the mundane Australians’ word for “faanish humor.”

One last note: The Aussiecon 4 committee offered to have the Hugos shipped and almost half the winners accepted, whether to avoid security hassles or just yielding to the convenience.

Harold Gould Passes Away

Actor Harold Gould died on September 11 of prostate cancer. He was 86.

He was probably best-known for playing con man Kid Twist in the Academy Award winning movie The Sting.  

A popular character actor, Gould’s extensive resume of television appearances included many sf and fantasy programs, often playing a military officer or a doctor. These included the original Twilight ZoneThe Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Green Hornet, The Invaders, The Wild, Wild West, I Dream of Jeannie, The Ray Bradbury Theater, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and The New Outer Limits.

Kevin McCarthy Dies

Kevin McCarthy, immortalized by the B-movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, died September 11 at the age of 96.  

The movie was selected as one of the American Film Institute’s Top 10 science fiction films of all time in 2008, quite an achievement for a film that had a special effects budget of less than 15,000 dollars.

A by-product of living anywhere in the LA area is that one’s home is never far from a house, street or landmark made famous in the movies. I lived four years in Sierra Madre just a few hundred paces from the town square featured in Body Snatchers. (It’s actually a triangle, but I offer the same rationalization Tom Smothers gave for yelling “Fire!” when he fell into the chocolate.)

McCarthy ended up better known for being chased by Body Snatchers pod people than for playing Willy Loman’s son in Death of a Salesman although the latter role earned him an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor.

He was an actor who got a great deal of work throughout his life, though little of it was in the genre. He did star in the horror comedy Piranha and do a cameo in the remake of Body Snatchers, both in 1978. One of his most visible roles in later years was as President Truman in a one-man show “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!”

Psychological Distance

The day after Aussiecon 4 ended, Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon, issued a press release drawing attention to the “changing of the guard.”

“With four of the last six Worldcons held outside the U.S., it’s great to bring Worldcon to Reno for the first time,” said Patty Wells, Renovation’s chair. “We hope to welcome back many fans who may have missed the last couple of conventions as well as reach out to new fans who have never been to Worldcon.”

I hadn’t thought that 2009’s “outside the U.S.” Worldcon was really that far away, Montreal being a mere 331 miles from the center of the publishing universe in New York. But when I said so several fans answered that the requirement of crossing the U.S. border was a more important deterrent than the trivial distance involved. (We had this discussion before Peter Watts’ border experience — I wouldn’t have to be convinced now.)

How many fans will feel that a Worldcon held in Reno is psychologically less far away than the geographically-nearer Worldcon in Montreal?

The full press release follows the jump.

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