Today’s Trivia Question 3/31

Rank the 2006 Best Novel Hugo nominees in the order they finished in runoff voting. The five works are listed here in alphabetical order by author.

  • Learning the World by Ken MacLeod [Orbit, 2005; Tor, 2005]
  • A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin [Voyager, 2005; Bantam Spectra, 2005]
  • Old Man’s War by John Scalzi [Tor, 2005]
  • Accelerando by Charles Stross [Ace, 2005; Orbit, 2005]
  • Spin by Robert Charles Wilson [Tor, 2005]

The answer appears after the jump.

Continue reading

Miller and Delany at NYRSF Readings 4/21

The award-winning writing talent of Sam J. Miller and Samuel Delany will be featured at the New York Review of SF Readings on April 21.

Sam J. Miller is a writer and a community organizer. He is a winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, and a graduate of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop. Sam will be reading a specially pared-down version of his Nebula-nominated story, “We are the Cloud.”

Samuel Delany‘s science fiction novels include Babel-17, The Einstein Intersection, Nova, Dhalgren, and the Return to Nevèrÿon series. The winner of four Nebula awards and two Hugo awards, Delany was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2002. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named him a Grand Master in 2013. He is a professor of English and Creative Writing at Temple University in Philadelphia.

The event takes place in the Brooklyn Commons at 388 Atlantic Avenue. Doors open at 6:30, the readings begin at 7:00 p.m.

The full press release follows the jump.

Continue reading

Passing the Bar in Birdman

St_James_Theatre_NYC_2007 COMPBy James H. Burns: There is no bar to the East of the St. James Theatre on Broadway.

At least, not the one in Birdman.

The bar is actually a few blocks away. Through the magic of filmmaking (that old canard), and the surrealism of this movie, many things are out of place —

Or in a new place, anyway, as the drums keep beating.

44th Street, where so much of Birdman takes place, is one of the New York boulevards I know best —

So the film held moments of a personal joy for me, that may not necessarily be there for others.

But there are certainly enough science fiction and fantasy tropes in the movie to make it a worthwhile viewing experiment for any genre enthusiast.

(And there’s at least one extraordinary sequence, towards the end, that I realized, may have always been one of my heart’s secret desires!)

There’s one more intriguing note, without giving away any spoilers to this Oscar-winning movie that seems to have infuriated so many.

At one point, we’re in front of the Holy Cross School–in real life, on 43rd just across 8th Avenue, towards 9th. For over a decade, beginning in the early 2000s, the Catholic school’s gymnasium was the scene of several collectables and nostalgia shows (featuring many pulps, comics and movie ephemera), run first by Gary Lyons, and the next series of shows, promoted by Brendan Faulkner and Frank Oviatt.

Both obviously, and covertly, Birdman abounds with such landmarks.

Those real, and of the neverwas.

Bergmann’s Rebuttal Now Online

F. J. Bergmann has posted the full text of her rebuttal to WisCon’s report about her alleged harassment of Rose Lemberg here.

Note: The WisCon report is not a published document (a copy was provided to Bergmann so that she could respond with any comments), however, the rebuttal was written for an audience that knew its contents. As a result Bergmann did not restate all the context for some arguments that an outside reader would find helpful.

Context 28 Is Cancelled

Predictions about the demise of Context, an Ohio science fiction convention, may yet prove true. Committee member Sharon Palmer issued a statement today that the 2015 event will not take place:

The Fanaco Board regrets to announce that Context 28 has been canceled. Refund checks to anyone who preregistered were mailed on March 29. Thank you for your support.

If you have any questions, please contact: Context PO Box 163391 Columbus OH 43216

This confirms what author Ferrett Steinmetz tweeted in February:

Harassment complaints made by several attendees at Context 27 in September resulted in a publicly-announced 5-year ban of the accused staffer, however, the committee was torn apart by dissension over the way the process played out. Efforts to reorganize the leadership were reportedly unsuccessful.

Lomberg’s Cosmos Archive To Auction

Art for Cosmos by Jon Lomberg.

Art for Cosmos by Jon Lomberg.

Artist Jon Lomberg enjoyed a 25-year collaboration with the late Carl Sagan, illustrating The Cosmic Connection (1973) and providing work for Cosmos, Broca’s Brain (1979), and the cover for Sagan’s novel, Contact (1985). And Lomberg’s Cosmos Archive will go under the hammer at Heritage Auction’s Rare Books Signature Auction on April 8-9 in New York.

A long descriptive article about the art can be read at the link.

This incredible archive includes sixty-two original signed paintings, drawings, and sketches; forty-seven signed one-of-a-kind prints of special effect paintings used in the series, four signed retouched photos from the series, thirteen sheets of signed storyboards (including dozens of drawings), approximately twenty documents and notes related to the series, production photos, and one stereoscopic viewer with slides testing dimensionality of the “Milky Way Approach” sequence from the series.

On the other hand, some of Lomberg’s best-known work can never go to auction because it’s already left the solar system.

His work also includes designing artwork and material for various NASA interstellar exploratory missions, including artwork for the famous “Voyager Golden Records,” the gold-plated copper record albums that were mounted in both Voyager spacecraft, each launched by NASA in 1977. It is just possible (though, admittedly, not very likely) that the first images of Earth and Mankind seen by an extraterrestrial civilization will be those done by Lomberg.

Fortunately, his incredible Galaxy Garden is no farther away than Hawaii. It models the Milky Way to scale with a garden of living things:

A fountain in the middle of the garden marks the “gravity well” with a bimodal jet so water is going both directions. Out on the galactic arm corresponding to the position of our solar system, the place where the Sun would be is marked by a tiny jewel on a leaf. Driving home the scale involved, Lomberg says all the stars we can see with the naked eye are either on that same leaf or an adjoining leaf!


Richard Clear (1943-2015)

Richard Clear shows off an original Brundage Weird Tales cover painting at PULPcon (year unknown). Photo by Robert Weinberg.

Richard Clear shows off an original Brundage Weird Tales cover painting at PULPcon (year unknown). Photo by Robert Weinberg.

Book dealer and former Pulpcon committee member Richard Clear passed away March 21. He was 71 and had been ill for a number of years.

He began collecting magazines and in 1973 opened the Dragon’s Lair comic book store in Dayton, Ohio.

He became a valuation expert, compiling the Old Magazines Collector’s Price Guide (1974) and serving as an advisor to the magazine portion of Time-Life Encyclopedia of Collectibles (1979).

In 1983 he moved to Tampa and opened Merlin’s Books.

The 1988 Pulpcon gave him the Lamont Award, for outstanding effort in keeping alive the memory and spirit of the pulp magazine era.

He later moved back to Ohio and continued his book business online. Having been involved with Pulpcon in its early years, around 2008 he resumed participating on the con committee, however, the event soon became moribund. His historic role was acknowledged in a death notice posted by Pulpfest.

The family’s memorial is here. Clear is survived by his longtime companion Nancy McAnespie, grown children Richard Clear, Barbara Curry, Lisa Lawson, and Michael Clear, and many grandchildren.

2001 Shuttle Model Fetches Six-Figure Bid

21553709_1m BIGA screen-used model Aries 1B Trans-Lunar Space Shuttle from 2001: A Space Odyssey auctioned for $344,000 on March 28.

In the movie, Dr. Heywood R. Floyd rides the shuttle from the space station to the Moon to investigate a monolith buried in the crater Clavius.

The model measures 32″ high, 27″ wide, 28″ deep and has a diameter of 94″.

It was purchased by AMPAS for probable display in the Academy Museum Of Motion Pictures which is expected to open in 2017.

The model is one of the rare surviving items made for Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film. He ordered most of the things destroyed to prevent them being reused in other movies. This particular model was given in the 1970s to an art teacher for use in classroom instruction.