Your Hole on Mars

There are 500,000 unnamed craters on Mars and you know how nature abhors a vacuum — which explains that sucking noise coming from your wallet. For as little as $5 is offering people the opportunity to “name features on a Mars map that will become landmarks to future explorers!”

All existing Mars crater names, including IAU names, have been grandfathered into the Uwingu Mars map. Prices for newly named small craters begin at just five dollars, and increase with crater size. Give it a try!

And these are officially-recognized names? Um, actually, no.

How will our Uwingu Mars feature names be used? They’ll be used by anyone using Uwingu’s Mars maps. For now that’s just the public, but soon, we hope, scientists and space missions to Mars will be using these maps too.

Basically what you get is a downloadable certificate and a spot on Uwingu’s internet-accessible name map. I suppose this racket is simply an updated version of the International Star Registry’s “Name-A-Star” business that’s been with us since 1979.

And you can see Uwingu’s owners are keeping pace with the latest developments in astronomy — because they’ll also let you name an exoplanet for $4.99.

[Thanks to Morris Keesan for the story.]

New SFWA Bulletin To Printer

Bulletin203_cover_front-e1393306714278The SFWA Bulletin will shortly be moving from stasis box to mail box. Issue 203 will be the first published since last May, ending a hiatus triggered by controversy over sexist art and articles in issues 199-202.

The next number is guest-edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts, winner of the 2013 Best Fan Writer Hugo, with a cover by Galen Dara, winner of the 2013 Best Fan Artist Hugo. (Perhaps I’m the only one who finds this ironic.)

Yet another red-haired babe decorates the cover, but this one is wrapped from crown to toe in Middle-Eastern silks. Anyway, popular wisdom holds you can’t tell a book by its cover – although that was probably just as true when Red Sonja was on it. Issue 203 features pieces by Sheila Finch, Richard Dansky, James Patrick Kelly, Cat Rambo, Ari Asercion, Michael Capobianco, Russell Davis, M.C.A. Hogarth, Nancy Holder and Erin Underwood, among many others, and interviews with Eileen Gunn, Adam Rakunas and 2013 Norton winner E.C. Myers

Editors Roundtable at Baltimore SF Club 3/22

A free, public roundtable on “The State of Short Fiction” will be held by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society on March 22 featuring editors Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld), Scott H. Andrews (Beneath Ceaseless Skies), Jonathan Landen (Daily Science Fiction), Norm Sherman (Escape Pod), Bill Campbell (Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond), plus authors Erica Satifka and Sarah Pinsker. Pinsker will moderate.

  • Neil Clarke, editor and publisher of three-time Hugo-winning semiprozine Clarkesworld Magazine, is a two-time nominee for the Best Editor Short Form Hugo. Neil’s first original anthology, Upgraded, will be released later this year
  • Scott H. Andrews is a chemistry lecturer, an editor, and a writer. He was co-Fiction Editor of The William and Mary Review for two years. His literary short fiction won a $1000 prize from the Briar Cliff Review; his genre short fiction has appeared in venues such as Weird Tales, Space and Time, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, and On Spec. He was a 2013 finalist for the World Fantasy Award for his editing and publishing of Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
  • Jonathan Landen is co-editor of Daily Science Fiction, an online magazine of sci-fi, fantasy, and slipstream stories.
  • Norm Sherman is the editor of the fiction podcasts Escape Pod and Drabblecast. His eponymous folk music CD debuted in 2007.
  • Bill Campbell, editor of Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond, is a native of Pittsburgh and an alumnus of Northwestern University. He has written Sunshine Patriots, My Booty Novel, and other novels. He hosts a weekly podcast The Bill Campbell: Misanthrope Show on
  • Erica Satifka‘s fiction has previously appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, and Ideomancer, among others. She currently lives in Baltimore with her husband Rob and three needy cats.
  • Sarah Pinsker is a Baltimore-based writer and singer/songwriter. She has made over twenty story sales, to magazines including Asimov’s, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and numerous anthologies. She has three albums out on various indie labels and a fourth forthcoming.

The panelists will survey the field’s past, present, and future. Who are the new voices people should be reading? How do you fund a magazine or anthology? What makes a story work for podcast?

The event begins 8 p.m. at the BSFS clubhouse, 3310 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21224. RSVP or share the event with friends on Facebook here.

Preceding the roundtable discussion, the BSFS book club, “The Ray Gun Club,” will meet at 6:30 PM at BSFS to discuss the classic “Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula K. Le Guin. All who have read the book are welcome to come out, talk with us about it, and then stick around for the short fiction roundtable.

Follow the Baltimore Science Fiction Society on Facebook or on Twitter @BaltimoreSciFi.

Starlog Magazine Free Online

Now you can read Starlog for free over at the Internet Archive. The magazine began in 1976 and its heyday was in the 1980s although it continued to appear until about five or six years ago.

I egoscanned the site and – hooray – found two pieces of mine Starlog published once upon a time.

In Issue #110 is my quiz “No Trivial Pursuit: The Hugo Awards” (page 19). Despite so many of the answers being obsolete it’s still a fun read.

And my Science Fiction Clubs list was serialized over six issues, #122, #124, #125, #126, #127 and #128. Mainly of interest if you are looking for your name in print. (This was definitely the peak of Baby Boomer generation fandom. How sobering to realize just 10 years later I was writing “Is Your Club Dead Yet?”)

[Via Robert Sawyer and io9.]

Hertz: That Golden Boskone

By John Hertz: While we wait to hear about Boskone LI (14-16 Feb, Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel), I thought I’d give you one more souvenir of Boskone L.

The earliest Boskone conventions were hosted 1941-1945 by the Stranger Club; Boskone I of a new series in 1965 by BoSFS the Boston S-F Society; NESFA (New England S-F Ass’n) took the helm with Boskone V. “Boskone” for Boston + con refers to E.E. Smith’s Lensman series.

Boskone has one Guest of Honor. Along with that come an Official Artist; a Featured Filker (Boston’s history with filk music being mighty), later called Featured Musician; a Special Guest, fan or pro (some people being both); a Hal Clement Science Speaker; and a NESFA Press Guest (Nesfa Press being the publishing pseudopod of NESFA).

At Boskone L last year the GoH was Vernor Vinge; OA, Lisa Snellings; FM, Heather Dale; SG, me; SS, Jordin Kare; NPG, Jerry Pournelle. You can see my report here.

The inimitable Fo’ Paws made a spiffy tote bag. I’m not very electronic, but if I’m clever lucky or skillful I’ll have gotten you a nice picture, and you can see the NESFA emblem on the space ship.

Boskone 50 icon by Lisa Snellings.

Boskone 50 icon by Lisa Snellings.

Help Ed Green Get on Reel Deal

Ed Green, one of fandom’s working actors, has posted his YouTube audition for The Reel Deal reality tv show. Go to his YouTube video and like and comment on it. With your support he can make the cut!

Here’s the Reel Deal’s deal

Combining the celebrity attraction of Dancing With the Stars, the drama of Extreme Home Makeover, and the making dreams come true factor of American Idol, The Reel Deal will pair celebrities you know and love with unknown talented actors, directors, writers and composers, to create a brand new short film, from scratch, in just 3 days!

The show’s celebrity cast will be announced by March 1.

Meantime, in Round 1 aspiring contestants are instructed to post a YouTube video explaining “why YOU deserve to be on the show, why people would/should watch you, and what makes you great TV!”

The top 500 semifinalists will get to compete head-to-head against their category in timed auditions.

2013 Nebula Nominees

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have announced the 2013 Nebula Nominees.  Member voting will be open through March 31 and the winners will be announced during Nebula Awards Weekend, May 15-18 in San Jose.

Best Novel

  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
  • Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
  • Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
  • A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
  • The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)

Best Novella

  • ‘‘Wakulla Springs,’’ Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages ( 10/2/13)
  • ‘‘The Weight of the Sunrise,’’ Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s 2/13)
  • ‘‘Annabel Lee,” Nancy Kress (New Under the Sun)
  • ‘‘Burning Girls,’’ Veronica Schanoes ( 6/19/13)
  • ‘‘Trial of the Century,’’ Lawrence M. Schoen (, 8/13; World Jumping)
  • Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)

Best Novelette

  • ‘‘Paranormal Romance,’’ Christopher Barzak (Lightspeed 6/13)
  • ‘‘The Waiting Stars,’’ Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)
  • ‘‘They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass,’’ Alaya Dawn Johnson (Asimov’s 1/13)
  • ‘‘Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters,’’ Henry Lien (Asimov’s 12/13)
  • ‘‘The Litigation Master and the Monkey King,’’ Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/13)
  • ‘‘In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,’’ Sarah Pinsker (Strange Horizons 7/1 – 7/8/13)

Best Short Story

  • ‘‘The Sounds of Old Earth,’’ Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed 1/13)
  • ‘‘Selkie Stories Are for Losers,’’ Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/7/13)
  • ‘‘Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer,’’ Kenneth Schneyer (Clockwork Phoenix 4)
  • ‘‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,’’ Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13)
  • ‘‘Alive, Alive Oh,’’ Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (Lightspeed 6/13)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

  • Doctor Who: ‘‘The Day of the Doctor’’ (Nick Hurran, director; Steven Moffat, writer) (BBC Wales)
  • Europa Report (Sebastián Cordero, director; Philip Gelatt, writer) (Start Motion Pictures)
  • Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, director; Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, writers) (Warner Bros.)
  • Her (Spike Jonze, director; Spike Jonze, writer) (Warner Bros.)
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, director; Simon Beaufoy & Michael deBruyn, writers) (Lionsgate)
  • Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, director; Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, writers) (Warner Bros.)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo)
  • When We Wake, Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin; Little, Brown)
  • Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central)
  • The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
  • Hero, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
  • September Girls, Bennett Madison (Harper Teen)
  • A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty (Levine)

HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Stephen Jones and R. L. Stine will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Horror Writers Association on May 10th as part of the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet at the World Horror Convention 2014 in Portland, Oregon.

Stephen Jones’ 125+ published books have been translated throughout the world. His work in the horror field has been widely recognized — he was guest of honor at the 2002 World Fantasy Con and the 2004 World Horror Con.

R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series has sold over 300 million copies in the U.S. and been published in 32 languages. His other popular children’s book series include Fear Street, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room, and Rotten School. His anthology TV horror series, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, recently won an Emmy Award as Best Children’s Show.

HWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award is given “in acknowledgment of superior achievement not just in a single work but over an entire career.”

Winners must have exhibited a profound, positive impact on the fields of horror and dark fantasy, and be at least sixty years of age or have been published for a minimum of thirty-five years.

Past Lifetime Achievement Award winners include Stephen King, Anne Rice, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Ramsey Campbell and Peter Straub. Recipients are chosen by a committee.

Mrs. Peel, We’re Needed!

By James H. Burns: This might be neat, to mark the debut of The Avengers this week on Cozi TV (afternoons at one).

If one remembers the absolute fascination Diana Rigg as Emma Peel held for millions upon millions, once upon a time, the revelation is absolutely extraordinary.

In 1966 and 1969, Rigg, on her own, made two short films, where she essentially played Mrs. Peel once again!

The Diadem was shot in Germany, and The Mini-Killers three years later, in Spain (roughly around the same time, perhaps, as Rigg’s work in the 007 film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.)

Apparently, these were ultimately marketed as home movies in Germany, but that likely wasn’t their original intent.

I discovered some interesting speculation on these films in an old thread over at The Classic Horror Film Board, but there’s yet another mystery:

While hardcore Avengers fandom has apparently known about these shorts for quite a while, their existence, for most genre enthusiasts, has been unknown.

Particularly for those of us who were at least on the outskirts of the collectors market in the 1980s (and beyond), you would think that the discovery of these mini-Riggs (quasi-Peels?) would have been major news!

The larger mystery has always been that the impact of Rigg as Mrs. Peel was never evidently quite recognized by Hollywood, or the community’s British filmmaking counterparts. Even a modestly budgeted, IF well written and lensed, Mrs. Peel movie could have been gangbusters in the mid-’70s.

She turned down the chance to guest star in The New Avengers later in the decade, but the producers then did something which still seems inexplicable, and which most fans have never seen:

They basically wrote off the character.

In Part One of “K is for Kill (The Tiger Awakes)”, Rigg is seen in a brief cameo when John Steed places a phone call to her. She ultimately, and rather standoffishly, as I recall, tells him that her name is no longer Mrs. Peel…

When I saw this on its CBS Late Night premiere over thirty-five years ago, I was astonished. Why just throw such a moment away?

(And if the internet is to be believed, the sequence is even odder: Historians say the producers used some OLD footage of Rigg, and had it dubbed by Sue Lloyd…)

Those unfamiliar with The Avengers might wonder about all this attention…  So below is one more clip, a rather lovely tribute. While you won’t necessarily gleem Dame Rigg’s dramatic chops, or verbal wit and dexterity and charm — it should certainly help show why more than one generation found her “simply irresistible”.