Hey, You! Get Offa My Lawn!

In a video shown during the Monty Python Live (mostly) news conference in London, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones derides the comedy troupe’s reunion concerts as “a bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth and make a load of money.”

Jagger, busy watching the World Cup with another member of the Stones, Charlie Watts, refuses an offer of tickets: “Who wants to see that again? It was funny in the 60s.”

The five Pythons will put on 10 live shows this week at the O2 arena in southeast London.

Eric Idle is directing the shows. He told CNN they will perform many of their best-known sketches, plus new material. “Our motto has been ‘leave them wanting less.”

Frank M. Robinson (1926-2014)

Frank M. Robinson

Frank M. Robinson

Frank M. Robinson, best-selling fiction author, editor, collector and sf historian died June 30 reports SF Site News. He was 87. His health was known to be in decline, as he had been unable to participate in person as Special Guest at last month’s SFWA Nebula Weekend.

Among his many novels, Robinson considered The Dark Beyond The Stars his best but said Waiting was the most popular. Several were made into movies: The Power, which starred George Hamilton and Michael Rennie, and two collaborations with Thomas N. Scortia, The Glass Inferno, produced as The Towering Inferno and starring everyone in Hollywood from Paul Newman to O.J. Simpson, and The Gold Crew, retitled The Fifth Missile for the screen.

Robinson received the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award in 2001, and was voted First Fandom’s Moskowitz Archive Award for excellence in science fiction collecting in 2008. When he auctioned off his cherished pulp magazine collection in 2012 it fetched over a half million dollars.

He was an editor for Family Weekly, Science Digest, Rogue, Cavalier, Playboy (where he was responsible for “The Playboy Advisor”) and Censorship Today.

He authored several coffee-table volumes including Pulp Culture: The Art of Fiction Magazines and the Hugo Award-winning Science Fiction of the Twentieth Century: An Illustrated History.

Robinson served as a Navy radar technician in World War II. After receiving his discharge he took a degree in Physics at Beloit College. He rejoined the Navy during the Korean War.

He had a bit part in The Intruder, which starred William Shatner years before he did Star Trek. He also made a cameo appearance in the feature film, Milk, for the excellent reason that Robinson had worked as Harvey Milk’s speechwriter and was one of his closest advisers. In 1977, Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California.

Robinson explained that the connection happened practically by coincidence. He was in San Francisco on a writing assignment in 1973, when Milk, who owned a Castro Street camera shop, was preparing his second bid for city supervisor. Said Robinson — “I used to walk down to the Castro every morning for breakfast and pass the camera store. One day I fell into conversation with Harvey, and it came up that I was a writer. He said, ‘Hey, why don’t you be my speechwriter?’”

Murray Leinster House on the Market

Leinster house GloucesterAlthough the listing doesn’t mention it, this Virginia house currently offered for sale was the home of Murray Leinster/Will F. Jenkins from 1921 until his death in 1975.

“Clay Bank”, c.1700 Wonderful historic waterfront retreat. Sited on high ground with commanding view across York River to the Williamsburg area. This property is loaded with charm & grace, and offers a great opportunity for a family compound.

Murray_LeinsterLeinster was born in Norfolk, VA on June 16, 1896, and lived and worked in Gloucester County most of his life. This house is where he invented front projection and wrote most of his science fiction – doubtless including “Sidewise in Time,” for which the Sidewise Award for Alternate History (established in 1995) is named.

Leinster’s first writings appeared in The Smart Set and pulp magazines such as Argosy, Amazing Stories and Astounding Stories. He produced 1,500 published short stories and 100 books during his career.

[Thanks to Steven H Silver for the story.]

C.J. Henderson Could Use an Encouraging Word

By James H. Burns: I think C.J. (Chris) Henderson — author of the hardboiled Jack Hagee detective mysteries, many horror and fantasy tales (as well as several notable comic book titles and a hardcover novel collaboration with William Shatner) — might be annoyed that I always think of him as just this gentle innocent.

Because when I’d see him at his author’s table at conventions in the last several years, he at times seemed cantankerous, that is, until he would get engaged in a worthy conversation with pro, or fan, or passerby.

But I always think of Chris from the early 1980s, when we were contemporaries, writing for the fantasy and science fiction film magazines, and later, when we’d  spend happy hours at the old, wonderful Mystery Writers of America cocktail parties on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan (presided over by Chris Steinbrunner and then, when Steinbrunner ailed, Susan Dodson). And Henderson was just this incredibly decent and pleasant guy, along with his lovely wife, Tin.

(Besides, he laughed at my quip when sitting behind me at the press screening for the less than wonderful Bond film, A View To A Kill, and towards its kind of dull finale, when a white feline suddenly appeared, I said to my girlfriend next to me, “Ah! It’s Blofeld’s cat!”)

Chris has gone on to a lovely career, particularly distinguished by the vast VARIETY of his writing.

He’s also been an active presence at conventions for years, and two of his most frequent travelling companions, artist Ed Coutts and writer R. Allen (Rick) Leider (coincidentally, one of the very first professional writers I ever met, way back in 1976 when he was the media columnist for The Monster Times!), attest to his continued good will, and wit.

Word’s out that Chris is again having a tough time with his bout with cancer, and it occurred to me, as I heard the news today, what a good time this might be for all of us who have been touched by Chris’ kindness and imagination, to drop him a line:


I would bet the only element more prolific than Henderson’s output through the years has been the friends he’s made.

2014 Worldcon Program Outline Posted

LONCON3_logo_270wLoncon 3 Program: The committee has posted a day-by-day outline with the schedule of its major events and guest of honor appearances. It’s only a small sample of the 600+ programme items with around 900 participants – the full schedule will come later.

Hall Passes: Loncon 3 also has announced it will sell a limited number of Hall Passes, a type of admission that “provides an opportunity to sample some of the many elements of a Worldcon at a low price.”

Hall Passes allow bearers into the Exhibits Hall, open daily between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., which includes the dealers’ zone, displays of political cartooning, and a model railway inspired by the Discworld books of Terry Pratchett (plus many others), the art show, author signings, and a limited amount of art programming.

A Hall Pass does not include access to the main programme, major events or the hospitality hall/fan village. Nor will buyers receive WSFS voting rights or access to the Hugo Voter Packet.

Heinlein Bust Progress Report

Heinlein-faceRobert Heinlein is one of four people being added to the Hall of Famous Missourians this year. He and osteopath Andrew Taylor Still were chosen by an online vote, and the others were selected the Missouri Speaker of the House — women’s voting rights advocate Virginia Minor and former Congressman Mel Hancock.

Still and Hancock have already been inducted. I queried the Speaker’s staff when Heinlein will go in. They plan to do it during the House’s September Veto session — unless the funds are not raised by then.

Missouri’s rule is that the bust must be paid for by the public (not the state). The following money is needed: Bust – $9,500; Base – $2,000; Plaque – $250.

I have asked the Speaker’s staff how the public can make donations and will post any response here. I also have copied all the information I have to the President of the Heinlein Society, in case they are able to lend a hand with fundraising and identifying people to invite to the ceremony.

Brand Bookshop To Close

The Brand Bookshop in Glendale, CA will be closing its doors in August after 29 years in business.

(This is a different store than Mystery & Imagination, though on the same block).

Specializing in used books, Brand Bookshop opened in 1985. Jerome Joseph told the Glendale News-Press  the store was the idea of his business partner, Larry Mullen, a science fiction enthusiast.

Business has been tailing off since 2003, with bookstores forced to compete against the internet, further handicapped by a sagging economy.

The store will be selling all books for 50% off from July 1 until the store closes.

2014 Locus Award Winners

The winners of the 2014 Locus Awards were announced June 28 in Seattle.

Abaddon’s Gate, James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two, Catherynne M. Valente (Feiwel and Friends)

Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)

• “The Sleeper and the Spindle”, Neil Gaiman (Rags and Bones)

• “The Road of Needles”, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales)

Old Mars, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Bantam)

The Best of Connie Willis, Connie Willis (Del Rey)


• Tor

• Ellen Datlow

• Michael Whelan

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, Jeff VanderMeer (Abrams Image)

Spectrum 20: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood)

Tell Your Friends — I’m Batman

bat signal SMALLThe Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour has added a Batman Exhibit. Danny DeVito, who played The Penguin in Batman Returns, and Jim Lee, Co-Publisher of DC Entertainment, headlined a press event to officially launch the exhibit on June 26.

DeVito lit the Bat-Signal in the Studio’s Picture Car Vault, where tourists can see the Batpod, Tumbler and Batmobile. And he visited a life-sized likeness of himself as The Penguin at the Warner Bros. Museum, where props, costumes and other memorabilia are on display.

The Batman Exhibit will be featured on the tour for a limited time. The full 2 hour and 15 minute tour covers the studio’s 110-acre backlot located at 3400 W. Riverside Drive Burbank, CA.