Gerhartsreiter Prelim Date Set

Christian Gerhartsreiter, charged with the 1985 murder of LASFS member John Sohus, will have his preliminary hearing on January 18, 2012. An Alhambra Superior Court judge set the date at a hearing on October 17. It has already been delayed twice, reports the San Marino Patch:

Defense attorney Brad Bailey told Patch Monday that he estimates the hearing will last six days.

During the preliminary hearing the prosecution presents evidence and the judge decides if enough exists for the case to go to trial. The defense previously said they expect the case to go to trial.

Deputy District Attorney Habib Balian requested the date aloud in the courtroom Monday and defense attorneys Brad Bailey, Jeffrey Denner and Kenneth Kahn agreed, as did Gerhartsreiter, to the hearing date.

The defense has received 11,000 pages of discovery for the case as well as several DVDs and video tapes.

Future Worldcon Bids

Here is a summary of ongoing bids for the Worldcon pieced together from the “Fannish Inquisition” at Renovation and online discussions I’ve seen since then:

2014: London

If the bid is successful, the convention will be held from August 14-18, 2014 (Thursday to Monday) in the International Convention Centre, which is part of the ExCeL exhibition centre complex in London’s Docklands. 

London in 2014 bid committee members Claire Brialey and James Bacon just won Hugo Awards at Renovation — Claire for Best Fan Writer and James for Best Fanzine (The Drink Tank, also edited by Christopher J Garcia).

During the ”Fannish Inquisition” at Renovation a member of the audience asked an unusual question and Petréa Mitchell captured the response: “The proposed site does have a variety of hotel types, but sadly, none of them is old enough to be haunted yet.”

2014 NASFiC: Phoenix, Arizona (using a facility in Tempe)

In Reno, Mike Willmorth said the planned location is the Tempe Mission Palms in downtown Tempe, Arizona.  It has been the site for previous events like the 2009 North American Discworld Convention and FiestaCon (Westercon 62).

Asked if Phoenix might try to combine NASFiC with Westercon, Willmorth said no, he was aware Utah is bidding for the 2014 Westercon and he didn’t want to “step on toes.”

2015: There are two bids, Orlando, Florida and Spokane, Washington. Spokane’s dates would be in mid-August, and Orlando’s would be Labor Day weekend.

Orlando, Florida: Adam Beaton made a presentation at Reno, and later answered questions I posed by e-mail:

We do think our facilities are a plus to our bid – we’re also planning on extending our room block far enough both before and after Worldcon so anyone who chooses to also enjoy Walt Disney World and Orlando can do so at a reduced resort rate.  How far is currently under negotiation.

Yes, we are bidding the traditional Labor Day weekend, which will be September 2-6, 2015 (Wed-Sun).  No, we’re not daunted by Dragon*Con in Atlanta – one thing I brought up at the meeting is that we honestly do not feel Worldcon vs Dragon*Con is a zero sum game, meaning for Worldcon to win Dragon*Con has to lose.  There’s enough fandom to go around for everyone.  Frankly, we’d rather work with Dragon*Con (like what Chicon 7 is doing) than try to work against them, which benefits everyone across the board.  

Now having said that, we’re also realists.  We do want people to come to Worldcon, and Disney is fully aware of Dragon*Con.  Disney has said they would like us (the bid committee) to “use the Disney name” to help get people to Orlando for Worldcon while also providing incentives for people to come to Worldcon rather than Dragon*Con, and a lot of what we’re talking about is really still under negotiation.  But two things that we are talking about that may give people an idea of what kinds of incentives to expect are free wireless internet for Worldcon attendees (both in the function space and in their hotel rooms), and “after 4 p.m.” theme park tickets for Worldcon attendees on Sunday to allow our attendees to have the option of visiting the theme parks after Worldcon is over.  

You had also asked about our committee.  Currently we have myself, Steve Davidson, Eva Whitley, Mary Dumas, Gary Farber, Jarrod Cooper, Adam Ferraro, Colette Fozard, and Pam Larson.  We also are fortunate enough to have Frank Wu as our official artist.  

Spokane, Washington: The bid is being run by Alex von Thorn. Bobbie DuFault and Sally Woehrle are the prospective Worldcon co-chairs if they win.

They propose to use the Spokane Convention Center which offers over 320,000 sq. ft. meeting space. The facility provides 23 meeting/breakout rooms, a 25,310 sq. ft. ballroom and a junior ballroom that is 13,730 sq. ft. A long list of hotels are engaged, the largest being the Doubletree, Red Lion at the Park and the Red Lion River Inn.

The bid invites presupports ($20) and “Friend of the Bid” memberships ($120), which can be paid for online at the bid website.

The announced committee is: John Ammon, David-Glenn Anderson, Patricia Briggs, Carolyn Cherryh, Bobbie DuFault (Convention Co-Chair), Jane Fancher, Bruce Farr, kT Fitzsimmons, Jerry Gieseke, Char Mac Kay, Randy Mac Kay, Tim Martin, Michael Nelson, Carole Parker, Pat Porter, Gerald Power, Rhiannon Power, Sharon Reynolds, Susan Robinson, Marah Searle-Kovacevic (Bid Vice-Chair), Chris Snell, Danielle Stephens, Bill Thomasson, Ann Totusek, Tom Veal, Alex von Thorn (Bid Chair), Tracy Williams, Mike Willmoth (Hotel Negotiation), Sally Woehrle (Convention Co-Chair), Drew Wolfe, Kate Mulligan Wolfe, Chris Zach.

2016: Kansas City

Co-Chairs: Team LOL – Diane Lacey, Jeff Orth, Ruth Lichtwardt; Committee: Margene Bahm, Warren Buff, Aurora Celeste, Sydnie Krause, Parris McBride, Tim Miller, Jim Murray, Paula Murray, Mark Olson, Priscilla Olson, Joel Phillips, John Platt, Susan Satterfield, Keith Stokes, Rene Walling.

They have signed contract with the rights of first refusal with their proposed facilities, Bartle Hall and the Kansas City Convention Center. They expect to have close to 80% of the downtown hotel rooms and 60% of the Convention Hall space.

2017: Nippon, and New York. (Neither represented at Reno.)

Kevin Standlee says Mike “Mr. Shirt” McConnell is still planning to bid for New York in 2017.  According to Petrea Mitchell, the New York bid won’t start active campaigning until 2013.

2018: New Orleans

Ray Boudreau spoke for New Orleans, calling it a “pre-bid” although it did have a party at Renovation.

Committee member Jessica Styons told File 770 a few months ago, “Obviously we are in the early stages of building support, gauging interest and staking a claim but we are interested in all comments, offers of support and assistance.” Rebecca Smith, chair of CONtraflow, also is working on the bid.  

2020: New Zealand.

The New Zealand bid is led by Norman Cates, a past DUFF delegate.

There’s an open question where a New Zealand Worldcon would be held:

“We have briefly investigated convention facilities in New Zealand. A World Con in New Zealand is expected to draw 1500 to 2500 (tops) people.  There are two in Auckland and one in Wellington that could support a World Con of this size.”

Update 10/30/2011: Corrected my New Zealand geography gaffe, per comment.

CART Broadcasts “The October Country”

California Artists Radio Theatre (CART) is returning to XM Sirius on Books & Drama Channel 80. Their broadcast debut comes on Halloween and they will perform Ray Bradbury’s The October Country

The production features William Windom, Beverly Garland, HM Wynant, Marty Maguire, Linda Henning, Leslie Easterbrook, John Bliss, John O’Callaghan, Paul Keith, and Peggy Webber. Tune in October 31 at 6:00 p.m. PDT.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Wild Cards Movie in the Works

The screen rights to the Wild Cards superhero anthology series edited by George R.R. Martin have been acquired by Syfy Films, a joint venture between Syfy and Universal Pictures.

Co-creator of the shared universe Melinda Snodgrass will write the screenplay for the project. The Hollywood Reporter says Martin and Snodgrass will executive produce.

One of the unique aspects of the books ­ (the series has changed publishers several times, it is now on volume 22) is the way the characters evolve. Some age, some marry, some die, new ones are introduced, building a tapestry of stories. Meanwhile, on the author front, the senior generation of writers has made way for new ones such as Paul Cornell (Doctor Who) and Carrie Vaughn (the Kitty Norville book series). The many creators were one reason why dealmaking took months to wrap up before THR was able to exclusively report the news of the film project.

Dick Estate Sues for Movie Bonus

The Adjustment Bureau grossed $128 million worldwide. It was based on Philip K. Dick’s story “Adjustment Team,” optioned by a filmmaker in 2001. But the Dick estate has been forced to sue for $500,000 in bonus payments because the company that financed the movie, Media Rights Capital, declared a month after the film’s release that the story is in the public domain:

…Media Rights Capital, which financed the film, told the estate it had discovered the story to be in the public domain, partly as a result of its publication in 1954 in a magazine called Orbit.

In its suit, the Dick estate says that Orbit’s use of the story was unauthorized, and had been unknown to Mr. Dick, who, after his death in 1982, would become famous as the writer of stories on which the movies “Blade Runner,” “Total Recall” and “Minority Report” were based.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Halloween Party at Mystery & Imagination

Mystery and Imagination Bookshop in Glendale, CA will have a day-long Halloween party on Saturday, October 29 from 1-6 p.m. with special guest George Clayton Johnson.

Lisa Morton, a Bram Stoker award winning horror author, will be reading and signing her just released book Monsters of L.A. at 3 p.m.

At other times of the day they’ll have: L. J. Dopp, illustrator and author, Maria Alexander, local genre author, and Tony Gleeson, illustrator, reading and/or signing.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

A Future for Small Copyright Claims?

The U.S. Copyright Office is studying how the current legal system hinders or prevents copyright owners from pursuing low-dollar copyright infringement claims with an eye to reducing existing barriers to litigaton.

While the Act offers the possibility of statutory damages and attorney fees, these benefits are not available in all cases and parties cannot recover them until after the copyright owner has engaged in a potentially long court battle that requires up front costs.

The Copyright Office has been asked by Congress to study the obstacles facing small copyright claims disputes, as well as possible alternatives. Specifically, the Office is to undertake a study to: (1) assess the extent to which authors and other copyright owners are effectively prevented from seeking relief from infringements due to constraints in the current system; and (2) furnish specific recommendations, as appropriate, for changes in administrative, regulatory and statutory authority that will improve the adjudication of small copyright claims and thereby enable all copyright owners to more fully realize the promise of exclusive rights enshrined in our Constitution. The initial notice of inquiry seeks comment on how copyright owners have handled small copyright claims and the obstacles they have encountered, as well as potential alternatives to the current legal system that could better accommodate such claims.

Francis Hamit, who sent along the link, comments:

Not that I’m bragging or anything, but I believe that I was the first to suggest this with my essay in the September/October 2006 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review entitled “Stop Thief”.

This is the link to the full Notice of Inquiry [PDF file].

Mowatt Interviews TAFF Contenders

Jim Mowatt’s conversations with all three 2012 Trans Atlantic Fan Fund candidates are available in a new podcast.

Jacq Monahan, Warren Buff and Kim Kofmehl, three highly articulate fans, talk about who they’d like to meet, where they’d like to visit, and answer the question “Why TAFF is still relevant?”

After listening, I find it harder than ever to choose just one!

[Via Ansible Links.]

Kramer Fights Extradition

Ed Kramer is fighting extradition to Georgia. His public defender in Connecticut, Ken Bunker, contested Georgia’s bid to have him returned at an October 27 hearing.

“He has every right to contest the process,” Bunker said. “Most people waive their right to contest extradition. Waiving means they are giving up their rights. All he is doing is not [giving up his rights].”

If Kramer wins, then Georgia’s efforts to bring him back will have failed, said Kevin Russo, a prosecutor for the State of Connecticut.

Kramer is presently free on bond after being charged by Milford, CT authorities with risk of injury to a child, a felony. He had been caught staying in a motel room with a 14-year-old boy.

The charges in Connecticut carry a maximum 10-year sentence, those in Georgia a maximum 60-year sentence, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

[Thanks to Nancy Collins for the story.]