(1) GETTING HITCHED. Congratulations to Brian Keene on his successful marriage proposal to Mary SanGiovanni. Read about it in Keene’s “Letters From the Labyrinth 305”. (And see the proposal video on TikTok.)
… What I neglected to mention was that I intended to propose to Mary during that trip. Centralia is an abandoned mining town that has been on fire underground for nearly 100 years, and was the basis for many things in the horror genre, including Mary’s favorite — the Silent Hill franchise. The ghost town has special significance for us, as we took a trip there together very early in our relationship, and have continued to go back at least once a year for the last eleven years.
While Centralia’s original graffiti highway was destroyed during the pandemic, there are still plenty of roads there with graffiti on them (as well as abandoned buildings deep on the woods and hidden entrances into the mines, if you know where to look). So, John Urbancik and I drove up there the week before, and I spray-painted a proposal on what used to be a residential side street. This was known as Plan E.
Plans A through D were considered, however…
Click through to find out those imaginative but ultimately discarded options.
… People have already begun inviting themselves to the wedding, and Christopher Golden and Rio Youers have started planning hijinks, so everything is going about as you’d expect so far. I have been assured that I can DJ our reception, so that’s okay.
Oh, and the honeymoon is going to be a cross-country book signing tour so stay tuned for that. It was Mary’s idea. I wanted to go to Alaska or Easter Island but she needs to sell copies of Alien: Enemy of My Enemy, so a honeymoon tour it is….
(2) KEEPING COUNT. “Liaden Universe® InfoDump Number 130” has a roundup of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s forthcoming publications, how to get signed copies, and what ebooks will be available. It also tells where you can see them early next year, and clocks some remarkable career milestones.
Lee and Miller have applied to be in-person panelists at Boskone 60 (February 17-19, 2023). There is a new process in place this year, and we’ve not yet heard back concerning our applications. More news when we have some.
Lee and Miller will be Writer Guests of Honor at Heliosphere, April 28-30, 2023 in Piscataway NJ. Artist Guest of Honor will be David Mattingly.
*As above, Salvage Right is the 25th Liaden Universe® novel.
*It is also Lee and Miller’s 29th collaborative novel, and 100th collaborative work.
*It is Sharon Lee’s 34th novel.
*And! It brings Lee-and-Miller’s total lifetime collaborative words written to Three million, seven hundred fifty-eight thousand, four hundred and eight.
(3) MEDICAL UPDATE. Ryk E. Spoor needs the help coming from his “A Series of Unfortunate Events” Gofundme even more than before. He wrote today:
As many of you know, my hope that things would settle down has not QUITE worked out as I planned…. as I’m writing this from the ICU of our local hospital, having had a heart attack.
I appreciate very much everything all of you have done for us, and ask that you share the fundraiser around again, as obviously this is going to add a quite significant expense to our household.
(4) SCARE IN THE AIR. Shat chats with Ethan Alter of Yahoo! Entertainment about his great Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet”. “William Shatner explains why his classic ‘Twilight Zone’ episode still frightens flyers” at Yahoo!
… “Nightmare” was a more ambitious episode than the small-scale “Nick of Time,” which also meant that The Twilight Zone‘s budgetary restraints were more evident, at least to Shatner. Specifically, he found himself skeptical of the episode’s gremlin, who was played by stuntman Nick Cravat in a costume that didn’t exactly strike fear into the star’s heart. “What was amusing was the acrobat who was in a little furry suit on the wing of the [plane],” Shatner says now. “There were times when I looked at him, and I thought: ‘This is maybe the worst thing I’ve ever done!'”…
(5) MEMORY LANE.
1985 — [By Cat Eldridge.] Bradbury’s Crumley Mysteries
Although Bradbury was far better known for his genre writings, he did from time to time write rather good mysteries, mostly as short stories and scripts. So is the case with the Crumley Mysteries, penned over an eighteen-year period starting in 1985.
They were by no stretch of the imagination his first as he’d been writing mysteries in a shorter form since the Forties, but these are his first full-length mysteries. There are three here — Death Is a Lonely Business, A Graveyard for Lunatics and Let’s All Kill Constance.
They are all set in the Golden Age of Hollywood, which is definitely a setting that Bradbury really likes. They have the same two primary characters, detective Elmo Crumley and the narrator who is never named. He set the entire premise up with a short story, included in the Subterranean 2009 collection of these novels, Where Everything Ends. It is a rather weak take on the premise compared to the three novels.
I’ve read them and I think the first two are quite excellent. The third one, Let’s All Kill Constance, I think is just weak with a mystery that just doesn’t hold up.
Our Green Man reviewer noted that Bradbury created great characters in these novels: “Crumley, the cop who just happens to also be a writer; Fannie, the 380-pound sedentary soprano; A.L. Shrank, the psychiatrist with the downbeat library; Cal, the incompetent barber with the ragtime past; and John Wilkes Hopworth, the ex-silent film star who still pines for former love Constance Rattigan.”
This is Bradbury so don’t expect hard-boiled anything here. These novels are what you get when a writer is kinder gentler so everything is indeed soft-boiled and no, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Bradbury gives us a somewhat idealistic version of the era and the people inhabiting it.
It is available used on AbeBooks and the like. I won’t say it’s particularly affordable as it’s not.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born October 30, 1896 — Ruth Gordon. You’ll likely best remember her as Minnie Castevet in Rosemary’s Baby. (Trust me, you don’t need to see Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby.) She’s quite excellent as Cecilia Weiss in The Great Houdini, and that pretty much sums up her genre work save Voyage of the Rock Aliens which keeps giving me the giggles. Serious giggles. (Died 1985.)
- Born October 30, 1923 — William Campbell. In “The Squire of Gothos” on Trek — a proper Halloween episode even if it wasn’t broadcast then — he was Trelane, and in “The Trouble With Tribbles” he played the Klingon Koloth, a role revisited on Deep Space Nine in “Blood Oath”. He appeared in several horror films including Blood Bath, Night of Evil, and Dementia 13. He started a fan convention which ran for several years, Fantasticon, which celebrated the achievements of production staffers in genre films and TV shows and raised funds for the Motion Picture & Television Fund, a charitable organization which provides assistance and care to those in the motion picture industry with limited or no resources, when struck with infirmity and/or in retirement age. (Died 2011.)
- Born October 30, 1951 — P. Craig Russell, 71. Comic illustrator whose work has won multiple Harvey and Eisner Awards. His work on Killraven, a future version of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, collaborating with writer Don McGregor, was lauded by readers and critics alike. Next up was mainstream work at DC with his work on Batman, particularly with Jim Starlin. He also inked Mike Mignola’s pencils on the Phantom Stranger series. He would segue into working on several Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné projects. Worth noting is his work on a number of Gaiman projects including a Coraline graphic novel. Wayne Alan Harold Productions published the P. Craig Russell Sketchbook Archives, a 250+-page hardcover art book featuring the best of his personal sketchbooks.
- Born October 30, 1951 — Harry Hamlin, 71. His first role of genre interest was Perseus on Clash of The Titans. He plays himself in Maxie, and briefly shows up in Harper’s Island. He was Astronaut John Pope in the genre adjacent Space miniseries. On the stage, he’s been Faust in Dr. Faustus.
- Born October 30, 1958 — Max McCoy, 64. Here for a quartet of novels (Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Sphinx, Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth, Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs and Indiana Jones and the Philosopher’s Stone) which flesh out the back story and immerse him in a pulp reality. He’s also writing Wylde’s West, a paranormal mystery series.
- Born October 30, 1972 — Jessica Hynes, 50. Playing Joan Redfern, she shows up on two of the most excellent Tenth Doctor stories, “Human Nature” and “The Family of Blood”. She’d play another character, Verity Newman in a meeting of the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, “The End of Time, Part Two”. Her other genre role was as Felia Siderova on Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) in the “Mental Apparition Disorder” and “Drop Dead” episodes.
(7) GHOSTPLUSTERS. The New York Times needs its clicks, too: “The Dos and Don’ts of Living in a Haunted House”.
…Many Americans believe that their home is inhabited by someone or something that isn’t a living being. An October study from the Utah-based home security company Vivint found that nearly half of the thousand surveyed homeowners believed that their house was haunted. Another survey of 1,000 people by Real Estate Witch, an education platform for home buyers and sellers, found similar results, with 44 percent of respondents saying that they’ve lived in a haunted house.
Researchers attribute increasing belief in the supernatural to the rise of paranormal-related media, a decline in religious affiliation and the pandemic. With so many people believing that they live with ghosts, a new question arises: How does one live with ghosts? Are there ways to become comfortable with it, or certain actions to keep away from so as not to disturb it?…
(8) ZERO SUM GAMERS. [Item by Michael Kennedy.] Business Insider writer Samantha, Delouya argues that Meta is trying to follow Google’s lead in stealing back market share from Apple. So, does that make Meta’s vision of the metaverse the next Android? Well, maybe not. “Mark Zuckerberg is trying to do what Google did with Android — but he learned all the wrong lessons”.
… However, there’s one main difference between Google’s attempt to escape Apple’s supremacy and Meta’s gambit: there was already proof of consumer demand for the product Google was allegedly duping. Apple had sold 1 million of its first-generation iPhones just 74 days after its introduction.
Google’s pivot paid off. Will Meta’s?
Google saw where Apple was going and continued to develop its Android platform to match Apple’s iOS. The company has also continued to invest in making its smartphones, a device it knows people want.
Google’s bet paid off. Android is now the dominant mobile operating system worldwide.
But Google was a fast follower; Meta’s pivot could be more dangerous because it’s investing in a largely untested product: the metaverse.
“It’s a massively huge risk, and I think the primary risk is there are no tangibles right now,” Zgutowicz said.
Some analysts on Wall Street are skeptical Meta will pull this off.
“Even if the Metaverse does turn out to be the immersive hardware-based vision that Meta articulates, will Meta really be the winning hardware provider to consumers?” Martin asked in a recent note. ….
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Ahrvid Engholm, “Orange Mike” Lowrey, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]
I’m collecting alocasias, a plant originally from Indonesia and northern Australia. You might know them as elephant ears which is one of their species,
They range in price from reasonable to, well, a bit pricey. I’ll be done collecting houseplants for the year in a fortnight as overnight temps won’t be ideal for shipping.
Well, second, maybe.
Folks, really – Ryk needs help. For those that aren’t familiar with the whole story, his royalties from his novels published by Ring of Fire Press (most? all? not in the 1632 universe) were his income. When RoFPress shut down, with no royalty payments (no one knows the financial state of the shuttered Press other than Eric’s widow, and her accountants), he lost all his income.
He’s a good guy, and a good author. Let’s help our own (and yes, I’ve just sent some money a second time).
A tiny stash of archival-quality storage bags has fallen into my hands. Protection for the most treasured of my small quantity of physical books!
Maybe most ghosts are low key and non-dramatic and hardly anyone ever notices them, other than the occasional cat or baby.
I’ve been watching guitar virtuoso Billy Strings celebrate Halloween by playing a three-day bluegrass opera version of Lord of The Rings, complete with costumed band (bass player Gandalf transformed from gray to white tonight) and filking of his own songs, as well as appropriate covers. Rumors abound as to who might possibly show up to play Saruman. Highly entertaining and recommended, replays are available on his livestream site.
Since it’s coming on Christmas…
Oh I wish I had a pixel I could scroll away on
(6) As I recall Joan Redfern is implied to be an ancestor of Verity Newman, so Jessica Hynes plays two members of the same family.
3) Ryk has some books from Baen, but royalties are iffy as always. (Misty Lackey likes to point out that more people make a living playing pro baseball in the U.S. than as professional writers.)
3) For those of us old enough to remember the glory days of fandom on USENET, Ryk Spoor was known in places like rec.arts.sf.fandom and .written, as well as at alt.callahans, as “seawasp”.
(1) If you know those authors, that was the perfect place for a proposal. 🙂
(3) Dang. I hope the rights are straightened out soon — for Ryk and all the other authors. I’ve shared the link. I might have donated earlier as well. (Like others, I first knew him as Sea Wasp.)
(6) Today I learned that William Campbell created a con and helped raise money for the Motion Picture & Television Fund. And he couldn’t just use his Squire of Gothos mirror to make those things happen.
I know a lot of performers (and writers) help out both conventions and charities, and I wish those things were better known among fans who don’t attend a lot of cons.
I finished reading T. Kingfisher’s The Twisted Ones, which is still $1.99 at the usual suspects, and find that I am an unastute reader — I read the author in question when I was a teenager, but I am sixty-something now and, even though Ambrose’s remarks on morality did vaguely put me in mind of that author, I didn’t twig that there was a particular story involved. If you want details on that you can skip to the Afterword, but it’s probably better not to.
I can say that there is much for the unastute reader to enjoy, and that it is mostly horror very well done, with a light seasoning of humor. And now I can go reread the other guy.
Brief-lived Meredith moment: Subterranean Press is offering a free eBook version of Ray Bradbury’s Skeletons, but only until the end of the day.
It’s files and pixels I recall
I really don’t know scrolls at all
Funny you should draw on that Judy Collins song — it’s really been on my mind today.
Yes, I freely own that I had already been earwormed by today’s title.
(And I do remember it being on one of Mom’s Judy Collins LPs when I was growing up.)
…which was written by Joni Mitchell.
Michael J. “Orange Mike” Lowrey says Ryk has some books from Baen, but royalties are iffy as always. (Misty Lackey likes to point out that more people make a living playing pro baseball in the U.S. than as professional writers.)
Not true. The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps track of such things and it says that claim is way off.
Combined there are six thousand Minor and Major League Baseball players, mostly in the Minors. The BLS says the number of writers and authors in the United States from 2011 to 2021 increased from 43,000 to over 49,000.
There are only thirty MLB teams with twenty five teams, that means the majors have seven hundred and fifty players. The minor leagues, to put it bluntly, often play crap.
There’s a reason in Bull Durham that the players are trying so hard to get to the Big Game.
Does the BLS tell what the average self-identified writer/author is making from their work?
We know what the minimum is that a Major Leaguer gets, $700,000. That’s a product of collective bargaining, in an industry were media rights are very lucrative for league owners.
Er, yeah, like we meant to say, Joni Mitchell….
Mike Glyer says We know what the minimum is that a Major Leaguer gets, $700,000. That’s a product of collective bargaining, in an industry were media rights are very lucrative for league owners.
That’s deceptive as it’s based on the player staying up for so many days in the Majors. The owners game it by bringing a player up for a few days and then send him right back down — the collective bargaining agreement says that technically he wasn’t up long enough to be considered covered by their agreement.
We’ve actually had players appear in the World Series that didn’t qualify for a share of the World Series dividend players get because they didn’t meet the minimum number of days in the Majors to be covered by the collective agreement.
There’s a very good article here on what the real numbers are. The numbers get distorted by the handful of really wealthy players.
What the minimum is doesn’t get distorted by anyone else’s salary. It’s simply the minimum.
In your haste to throw shade on my point you’re forgetting what you were trying to claim. Because if somebody was a writer for only “a few days” there’d be no reason to think they’re making any money from it at all.
Of course, the Judy Collins cover is very nice.
Yes, I remember Seawasp from the debates about the Baen edits of Schmitz’s works.
(6) Jessica Hynes (as Stevenson) was also in Spaced, which is very genre-adjacent and very good.
(yes, I am way behind on the scrolls, why do you ask?)