Straczynski News Roundup About Ellison Foundation

The Lost Aztec Temple of Mars

J. Michael Straczynski has given Facebook readers an update about the accomplishments of the Harlan and Susan Ellison Foundation.

An initial round of improvements has been made to the Ellison house:

1) The first stage of improvements/repairs to the house has been completed in preparation for becoming a Memorial Library. This includes: structural repairs for leaks and other issues, installation of a state-of-the-art security system with cameras and a bunch of other wonderfulnesses, building a new back wall and reinforcing the property to keep the house from sliding downhill, and landscaping to create an area looking out over the valley for talks and other events. Stage Two will include repairing/renovating the Lost Aztec Temple of Mars, making other large repairs, putting in safety measures for folks visiting the library, and setting up audio and video systems to run during visits.

The October auction of items from Ellison’s collections has brought in enough income to put the Foundation on a solid footing:

2) This and other work for the Foundation, can now be paid for by funds earned by the recent Heritage Auction, which total approximately one million dollars. This ensures that the Foundation will be solvent and viable well into the foreseeable future.

An Ellison assistant continues to help and receive her full salary:

3) Even before this, back when I first came on as Executor, we informed Sharon, Harlan’s assistant for nearly 40 years. who was crucial to Susan coping with his passing, and is now helping with the Foundation and looking after the house, that she would continue to receive her full salary in perpetuity for the rest of her life.

The Foundation has filed as a California nonprofit corporation and is in good standing:

4) The Harlan and Susan Ellison Foundation is now a certified nonprofit corporation, which ensures that the company will be run according to all the state, local and federal rules and regulations governing such nonprofits long after I’ve gone to dust.

Commercial development of Ellison’s properties for the media, publishing plans for The Last Dangerous Visions and its predecessors, as well as a new collection of his greatest stories, are all in train:

5) Several of Harlan’s properties are now in active development for TV and film. More on this as and when I can discuss it.

6) In order to build up to the release of The Last Dangerous Visions as a major publishing Event, Blackstone Publishing will be releasing all of the DV books in sequence, starting with the original DV in Fall ’23, Again Dangerous Visions Spring 24, and TLDV Fall ’24.

7) A major publisher (holding off on the name pending a formal announcement by the company) recently won the rights to publish Harlan Ellison’s Greatest Hits in a fierce auction between several companies. The book presents 17 of Harlan’s most famous, award-winning stories that span his career. It will be published as a mass-market paperback, audio, kindle, and a collector’s edition illustrated hardcover, setting the stage for a deal to reprint all of Harlan’s prior collections.

Best of all, the book will be distributed through the company’s Classics line, which puts it in the same historical category as books by Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth, and other authors who have earned a place in American literature. This means it have a significant presence in bookstores, libraries and universities, will be covered by the mainstream press, and that it will be given the critical attention his work deserves.

Fundraising Continues For Maryann Harris, Wife Of Trailblazing Author Charles De Lint

[Three days remain in the Tamson House Arts Fest opportunity.]

By Julie Bartel: As you might have heard, MaryAnn Harris (artist, musician, and creative partner of Charles de Lint) has been in hospital since September 6, 2021 recovering from Powassan virus, an extremely rare tick-borne illness. She’s made incredible progress over the past year, but remains unable to breath or move on her own. (You can read the whole story here.)

The Tamson House Arts Fest is an online auction which will run throughout the month of November in support of MaryAnn and Charles. Our hope is to raise enough to cover the cost of the additional therapies that MaryAnn needs in order to go home, including increased physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and respiratory therapy, and mental health support. 100% of funds raised will go directly to Charles for MaryAnn’s care. With her blessing and in consultation with Charles and MaryAnn’s sister Lynn, we’re asking our community to join us in a virtual celebration of MaryAnn and Charles and we’re hoping you might be willing to donate to the cause and perhaps do a little holiday shopping for yourself or your loved ones. To visit the Tamson House Arts Fest online auction go to galabid.com/harrisdelintrecovery

The auction runs through November 30th, ending at 8pm MST.

Lukyanenko Comments on RT Host Anton Krasovsky’s Controversial Remarks

Russian news outlet Rise has posted Sergey Lukyanenko’s reaction to shocking statements RT presenter Anton Krasovsky made earlier this month while the sff author was being interviewed on his program. (See “During Lukianenko’s Appearance on Russia’s RT, Presenter Calls for Drowning Ukrainian Children”.)

On the air, after Lukyanenko said that when he was 12 years old he came to Ukraine, and even then his peers told him that “Ukraine was occupied by Muscovites,” Krasovsky said “They should have been drowned in the Tysyna (river). Just drown those children, drown them.” Alternatively, he said, they could be shoved into huts and burned. Lukyanenko merely replied, “In Russia [they] traditionally used rods. They are better than the river.” 

However, Sergey Lukyanenko, told the Russian news outlet Rise on October 23:

“I immediately expressed my opinion on this matter. Anton spoke, of course, very provocatively. I understand that this is such a journalistic technique. But it seems to me that such statements should not be allowed even within the framework of a provocative statement. Let it be on his conscience.”

(“Писатель Лукьяненко предположил, что призыв Красовского топить украинских детей был «журналистским приёмом” — “The writer Lukyanenko suggested that Krasovsky’s call to drown Ukrainian children was ‘a journalistic technique’”.)

Krasovsky was suspended by RT for his statements. However, The Daily Beast’s Julia Davis says RT’s editor-in-chief already is laying the groundwork for his return (“RT Boss Margarita Simonyan Hints She’ll Reinstate Host Anton Krasovsky, Who Suggested Drowning Ukrainian Kids”.)

Lukyanenko is a guest of honor of the 2023 Chengdu Worldcon.

Talking with Author and Narrator Travis Baldree

Guest Post By Jennifer Dowell, Managing Editor, AudioFile: No one was more surprised than author and narrator Travis Baldree when his cozy fantasy novel Legends & Lattes became a runaway hit—even before it was published. “I feel like I accidentally held my bucket under the right storm cloud,” Baldree says. He wrote it during National Novel Writing Month—something he’d tried before, but this is the first book he’d finished that way. “I narrate lots of action-adventure stuff. It’s always big stakes and the world’s going to end. And I’m also usually reading stuff that’s from the perspective of a guy. So I just wanted to write something that wasn’t that at all.”

Then he decided to self-publish the book and audiobook, which he narrated himself. “Because I work with all these indie authors, I was like, you know what? I want to go through everything that they go through because I like to learn stuff and I’m just curious what their side of the equation is.” Baldree got the book edited and commissioned a cover illustration. When he shared the cover art on Twitter, fantasy author Seanan McGuire retweeted it to her 74,000 followers. “Later on, she also read the book and said nice things about it. She added a whole lot of fairy dust to the proceedings.” The book continued to go viral on TikTok and Instagram. “It’s really rewarding because it’s a book about people mostly being nice, so if people like it, that’s what they liked. It’s a really pleasant feedback loop.”

Legends & Lattes was such a success that agents came calling, and Baldree ended up with a book deal. “It was all very not planned and not expected, and I’m kind of humbled by the whole thing,” Baldree says. Tor/Macmillan will re-launch the book in November, and Baldree, who’s now working on a sequel, will embark on a book tour in the U.S. and the UK. Luckily, audiobook fans don’t have to wait—Baldree’s Earphones Award-winning performance is available now.

Baldree’s day job as a narrator keeps him busy. “I think I do about 70 hours of audio a month,” he says. He was a video game developer before he was a narrator. Then he started narrating audiobooks “on the side, for fun.” More and more narrating work came his way. “At some point, a couple of years ago, I said, I actually like this better. So I retired from game development and switched to doing it full time and kind of haven’t looked back.” Now he narrates fantasy and GameLit titles, many for authors who are independently publishing their audiobooks. One of his favorites is Will Wight’s Cradle series, which Baldree calls an indie phenomenon and “absolute fun.”

When he’s not narrating or writing, what does Baldree do with his time? “Weirdly, I still like to read for fun. I read a lot of novellas. I like short, concise stories that I can finish in between sessions or on a break day. Liking words and liking writing is probably a good prerequisite for being a narrator.”


AudioFile Magazine is the place to discover more about audiobooks.  Every day, its reviews and recommendations tell you which audiobooks are worth your listening time. AudioFile reviews about 50 audiobooks a week, features narrator profiles, and awards exceptional performances with AudioFile’s Earphones Awards. AudioFile publishes in print, newsletters, and a blog, and podcasts daily recommendations on Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine.

Gofundme Appeal to Help Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki Attend World Fantasy Convention

Photo (right) by Richard Man.

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki made it to the Worldcon in Chicago after a suspense-filled visa application process and is able to stay in the U.S. til next February. While he’s here he’d like to attend the World Fantasy Convention 2022 being held in New Orleans from November 3-6. He’s also asking help in covering the extraordinary expenses caused by the last-minute travel changes to get to Chicon 8.

“Send Oghenechovwe Ekpeki to World Fantasy Con” is a Gofundme started by Jason Sanford.

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki is the first African editor to be a finalist for the World Fantasy Award, with the awards to be presented at the 2022 World Fantasy Convention in New Orleans. He’s nominated in the best anthology category for the first ever Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction anthology, which he edited and published. Ekpeki would like to maximize the opportunity of being in the States and attend the World convention. It’s an opportunity that would normally cost infinitely more without a visa and were he out of the country.

A successful previous fundraiser brought Ekpeki to this year’s Worldcon, where he was a finalist for two Hugo Awards. However, his gruesome battle with the US embassy in Nigeria for a visa and exorbitant fees and repeated payments resulting from that (including last-minute changes to his international flights) resulted in costs far exceeding what that fundraiser brought in. So this new fundraiser would also mop up those expenses as well.

The costs to be covered by this fundraiser are:

  • WFC Registration: $250
  • Flight to and from convention plus expenses: $1000
  • Hotel (5 nights): $1250
  • Resolving fees and payments from WorldCon 2nd visa hassle and resulting last-minute flight changes: $1500
  • Total: $4000

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki explained for File 770, “My visa is for 2 years. Though not a straight stay. I have to go out and in severally. At intervals. This first interval is 6 months. So I’m good till February.” Then he will go back out and return in March when he is a guest of honor at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts.

Before then he’d like to maximize the benefit of his trip to the U.S. by going to World Fantasy Con. “I am attending WFC because think about it, I’m already here. No need for visa hassle. Already went through that. No need for cross continental flights which are Uber expensive. Already did that too. It’s actually cheaper for me to attend. Since I already paid a humongous price to be here. It’s maxing out the work I took to get here attending. It’d be a loss of some of that effort if I didn’t.

“Another thing. A huge part of the reason for the Gofundme isnt just the WFC but to mop up the WorldCon expenses which were infinitely more than people know. Almost the entire money I crowdfunded was finished on just getting a visa interview appointment. People don’t know what it is leaving a Third World country for the U.S. Corruption plus racism plus discrimination.

“Then the whole war and another interview. Then cross continental flights booked within 24 hours of flying time. You know how expensive flights get when they are close? That’s thousands of dollars. Not my fault, because I got visa a day before the event. Then I missed a flight, booked another same day flight. I flew across 3 continents to get here.

“Then they forced me to book a return ticket I wouldn’t need. Cuz racism. Even though I had a visa. It’s been my own money, plus loans and so much more ingenuity the average person can’t imagine.

“Some of this is to recover those unexpected costs. But it made sense for me too. It would be penny wise pound foolish, a loss of a great chance not to attend World Fantasy Con, too. I want to max out my allotted stay, the six months. Because why do all that, and not?”

Gofundme for the Thomas Family

After spending over a month in the hospital, doctors have confirmed there’s nothing more they can do for Caitlin, 19-year-old daughter of Lynne and Michael Thomas. Jim C. Hines has started a Gofundme to help the Thomases: “Lynne and Michael Thomas”. Hines wrote in his appeal:

The Thomas family is facing one of the hardest things imaginable: the loss of 19-year-old Caitlin to medical complications from Aicardi Syndrome.

Caitlin has been hospitalized for more than a month. One or both of her parents, Michael and Lynne, have been with her the entire time. But medical tests have now confirmed there was nothing the doctors could do to resolve Caitlin’s recent complications. On October 7, Michael announced that they are in the end phase of Caitlin’s life.

Lynne and Michael are devastated, as are all of us who know them and Caitlin.

I’ve spoken a bit with Michael. It sounds like the medical costs of Caitlin’s treatment are covered. End-of-life costs are another matter.

The goal of this fundraiser is to cover those end-of-life expenses, and to hopefully provide a financial cushion to allow the Thomases to spend their remaining time with Caitlin – and when the time comes, to grieve – without also having to worry about money. All donations will go directly to Michael and Lynne (with the exception of GoFundMe’s processing fee).

Lynne, Michael, and Caitlin are well known and loved in science fiction and fantasy circles. Lynne and Michael are co-editors of the award-winning Uncanny Magazine. Caitlin is a familiar presence at SF/F conventions. Their family has touched countless lives.

Thank you for your support.

Donate here.

Rondon Receives Sentence for Murder Conviction

Luis R. Rondon, former King of the Society for Creative Anachronism’s East Kingdom, today was sentenced to twenty-five years to life in state prison in connection with the October 2019 murder of Deborah Waldinger reports the Orange County (NY) District Attorney.

Rondon had been convicted by a jury in October of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. The sentence is the highest authorized under the law for murder in the second degree.

Rondon, who was a peace officer and sergeant with the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority at the time of the murder, knew the victim through their activities in the Society for Creative Anachronism.

At the trial, prosecutors argued that Rondon had killed the victim by striking her repeatedly on the head with a recently purchased framing hammer, and then flew to California where he was later apprehended. Prosecutors argued that Rondon’s motive for killing the victim was that she had threatened to tell his wife about their relationship and that he feared losing his wife, his house and his pension.  

“I am gratified that this defendant received the maximum sentence for this particularly brutal murder that was made even more horrific by the fact that the victim was killed in her own home,” said District Attorney David Hoovler. “It is always disturbing when someone whose job is to promote public safety commits acts of senseless violence.”

Speculative Literature Foundation Opens Kickstarter for the Portolan Project

Nalo Hopkinson, Andrea Hairston, Sheree Renee Thomas, and Mary Anne Mohanraj.

The Speculative Literature Foundation has launched a Kickstarter appeal to fund the Portolan Writing Project.

The Portolan Project is an open-source creative writing and literature resource. SLF is creating lessons where they interview masters of the field (including so far George R.R. Martin, Nalo Hopkinson, Kate Elliott, Paolo Bacigalupi, etc.) and editors (such as Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden and Liz Gorinsky), on aspects of craft. These modules include study questions and writing exercises, both for people working on their own, and for teachers to use in the classroom.

At this first stage of the project, they’re raising funds to provide honoraria to teachers who are creating the lessons. They’ve created 10 modules so far and want to create 90 more in the next six months, so that we have 100 initial — enough to represent a wide range of writers, and let SLF start organizing them into ‘courses,’ such as:

  • speculative ecofiction (hopepunk and otherwise)
  • queer & feminist writers of the 70s: remembering our history
  • world-building: its challenges and delights
  • Black futures: on Earth, and elsewhere in the galaxy
  • vampires, fairies, and other supernatural beings (including Shakespeare!)
  • the map is not the territory: building realistic histories
  • and much more!

While the Portolan Project does not plan to become an accredited MFA, they hope to offer many of the same benefits of such a program, for free, to anyone in the world.

For more details, cool rewards, and a video of SLF Executive Director Mary Anne Mohanraj talking about the project, check out their Kickstarter for Phase 1.

[Based on a press release.]

SCA Removes King of An Tir

The Society for Creative Anachronism Board of Directors has removed Emerson Waite (SCA name Christian Bane), as King of An Tir, their membership territory encompassing the Pacific Northwest and parts of Western Canada. The “Resolution to Remove the Sovereign of An Tir” published yesterday reads:

On October 27, 2021, at a Special Meeting of the SCA Board of Directors, the Board took a rare step and unanimously voted to remove King Christian Bane as the current Sovereign of An Tir, effective immediately. The Board reached this painful decision after significant deliberation and with the advice of our Officers.

At this time, An Tir remains in the capable hands of Queen Helene d’Anjou, until the Coronation of the Heirs to the Throne. We wish great success to her Majesty in serving independently for the remainder of Her Reign.

The SCA Kingdom of An Tir’s borders include the states of Oregon, Washington, Northern Idaho, plus most of the Canadian Province of British Columbia, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories. 

An “Announcement of Board Motions” on the Kingdom of An Tir website quotes the full motions that were before the Board and the results of the voting.

Yesterday, October 27, 2021, the SCA’s Board of Directors met and took the following actions:

Motion by Ross Roegner to remove Emerson Waite (Christian Bane) as Sovereign of the Kingdom of An Tir, effectively immediately. Second by Dale Fong-Frederick. Opposed: None. Chairman Dan Watson exercised his option to vote and did so in favor of the motion. Motion carried. 

Motion by Dale Fong-Frederick to direct the Society Seneschal to issue a Temporary Removal from Participation in the Society to Emerson Waite (Duke Christian Bane) and to further direct the Society Seneschal to begin an investigation into possible sanctions up to and including revocation of membership and denial of participation, effective immediately. Second by Gigi Coulson. Opposed: None. Chairman Dan Watson exercised his option to vote and did so in favor of the motion. Motion carried. 

This sanction precludes attendance or participation in any manner at any SCA activity, event, practice, or official gathering for any reason, at any time. This includes a ban on participation in officially recognized SCA social media sites, officially recognized SCA electronic email lists, and officially recognized SCA webpages.  

Please note that Queen Helene is now acting as both the Sovereign and the Consort of An Tir.  Crown Prince Sven and Crown Princess Roukinn are still the Heirs of An Tir.  Coronation will still take place, as scheduled, at 12th Night in January.  All awards, peerages, and honors bestowed prior to these board motions are still valid. 

A discussion on Reddit has so far unsuccessfully tried to crowdsource the details behind the Board’s action.

A 2017 Facebook post by someone who said, “unfortunately” Christian Bane mentored her as an SCA fighter claimed “He can be cruel in his treatment of those in fealty to him, as well as manipulating those he harms into silence“ and pointed to a previous SCA disciplinary action against him.

Due to the potential for lawsuits, the SCA itself ordinarily does not give reasons for such decisions. The background tends not to come to light unless law enforcement is involved and the story makes the news, for example, as happened when an SCA King was arrested as a murder suspect in 2019.

SFWA’s “Magic and Mayhem” Fantasy StoryBundle Available ’til November 4

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has released their newest fantasy StoryBundle. The “Magic and Mayhem” Bundle is only available from October 13 to November 4, 2021 and can be purchased here: https://storybundle.com/fantasy.

StoryBundles are curated collections of books offered at a steeply discounted price. This collection features fourteen books from independent and small press fantasy writers that span the sub-genres of fantasy while showcasing magic-induced mayhem, from the hilarious to the horrible and everything in between.

J. Scott Coatsworth, chair of the SFWA Self-Publishing Committee, said, “We’ve significantly expanded our StoryBundle efforts this past year, and we’re delighted that the books in ‘Magic and Mayhem’ reflect so well the wide variety and the high quality of self-published, indie, and small press speculative fiction available today.”

The “Magic and Mayhem” StoryBundle is the result of an open submission call made by SFWA in the late spring of 2021, with books selected by the SFWA Self-Publishing Committee. The list of books is as follows:

Core Bundle

  • By the Pact by Joanna Maciejewska
  • Sekhmet’s Desire by Nova Blake
  • Tales of the Thief-City by Gareth Lewis
  • The Last God of Earth by A.J. Vanderpoel

Bonus Books

  • Darkmage by ML Spencer
  • Playing with Fire: a Magical Romantic Comedy by R.J. Blain
  • Ragnarok Unwound by Kristin Jacques
  • Cutie and the Beast by E.J. Russell
  • Phaethon by Rachel Sharp
  • Quincy Harker, Year One by John G. Hartness
  • Once Stolen by D. N. Bryn
  • Last Sword in the West by Ryan Kirk
  • Lady Changeling by Ken Altabef
  • 9 Tales of Raffalon by Matthew Hughes

Questions about the StoryBundle can be directed to the Self-Publishing Committee at [email protected].

[Based on a press release.]