Snapshots 41

VSS Enterprise on captive carry flight.

Here are 6 developments of interest to fans:

(1) To quote Jean-Luc Picard, “Let history never forget the name…ENTERPRISE!” Virgin Galactic announced on March 22 that VSS Enterprise has completed her inaugural captive carry flight from Mojave Air and Spaceport.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic added: “Seeing the finished spaceship in December was a major day for us but watching VSS Enterprise fly for the first time really brings home what beautiful, ground-breaking vehicles Burt [Rutan] and his team have developed for us. …”

The VSS Enterprise test flight programme will continue though 2010 and 2011, progressing from captive carry to independent glide and then powered flight, prior to the start of commercial operations.

(2) Trek Today has posted a video of George Takei and husband Brad Altman encouraging gay couples to participate in the 2010 Census. In the message Takei wears his uniform from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan:

“[You may ask] why I’m still wearing this Starfleet uniform,” he said. “It’s to get you to actually listen to this important message, that affects how our community and marriages such as ours are viewed by this nation. Be counted!”“This is the first time in history the census is counting marriages like ours,” said Altman.

(3) Harlan Ellison volunteered his superb, Grammy-nominated vocal cords to dramatize the parody poem “I Will Not Read Your ***king Script” by Steve Jarrett, which turns Josh Olson’s essay of the same name into a version of Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham. (Not safe for work unless your boss edits The Village Voice.)

(4) Langford’s quite right, every fan will enjoy reading Graham Charnock’s Corflu Cobalt Report. One hilarious line after another. Mostly safe for work. What isn’t safe is for me to admit which lines made me laugh hardest.

(5) Letters of Note has posted two letters from Lewis Carroll apologizing with all the charm at his disposal for failing to arrange a railway ticket on time.

P.S. I must tell you candidly that the whole of this letter is a hoax, and that my real reason was—to be able to make you a nice little portable present. Friends suggested a corkscrew, a work-box, or a harmonium: but, as I cleverly remarked, “These are all very well in their way, but you can only use them sometimes—whereas a railway ticket is always handy!” Have I chosen well?

(6) David Klaus reveals the secret of The Mission: Impossible Revival that Never Was:

The recent death of actor Peter Graves reminds me of a story line for a revived Mission: Impossible series idea Bob Short told me about many years ago, long before the Australian-filmed Mission: Impossible revival series or the current movie series.

[Thanks to David Klaus and Andrew Porter for the  links in this article that weren’t thieved from Ansible.] 

Harlan Ellison and Josh Olson

Update 3/26/2010: Corrected Virgin Galactic link as recommended in David Klaus’ comment.

FAAn Voting Stats Released

Anyone interested in a detailed account of the FAAn Awards voting can get a report by clicking here (PDF file). My wholehearted thanks to the Corflu Cobalt committee for posting it so promptly.

A total of 43 fans cast votes this year. Nearly all of the races were competitive, however, the most dramatic outcome was in the Best Artist category where Steve Stiles edged Dan Steffan by a single point.

2010 FAAn Award Winners

The FAAn Awards were presented  at Corflu Cobalt in Winchester, England on March 21. Thanks to Peter Sullivan for posting the names of the winners:

Best Fanzine: Banana Wings (Claire Brialey & Mark Plummer)
Best Fan Writer: Claire Brialey
Best Fan Artist: Steve Stiles
Best Letterhack (aka Harry Warner Memorial Award): Robert Lichtman
Best Website: eFanzines (Bill Burns)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ted White
Number One Fan Face: Robert Lichtman
Best New Fan: Jacqueline Monahan of Las Vegas

D West was chosen Past President of FWA for 2009.

The 2011 Corflu will take place in Sunnyvale, California early in February. Chris Garcia and crew will host it at the Domain Hotel.

The first issue of Corflu’s daily newsletter The Cobalt Bomb is already online here. I thought its most helpful item was a notice to members hanging out in the bar that there was another bar open in the programme room.

Update 3/21/2010: Drplotka’s Flickr site has awesome photos from Corflu Cobalt, such as this 2010 Corflu group shot, and tableau of 15 TAFF winners from 13 races. (I shall think myself accursed I was not there!)

Corflu Cobalt Videos

Peter Sullivan has posted links to videos of Corflu Cobalt’s online webcasts of two major program items:

Earl Kemp interview at Corflu Cobalt – Bill Burns interviews Earl Kemp about his life, his work and his time in Science Fiction Fandom. (Lighting is very dark due to slide show, but audio is listenable)

Radio Play: The Adventures of Pat and the Electric Motorman – A ‘radio play’ performed live at Corflu Cobalt, 20th March 2010. Written by the InTheBar mailing list.

Corflu is happening in Winchester, England this weekend.

Corflu Cobalt Is Virtually Here

Corflu Cobalt begins March 19 in Winchester, England. If you can’t make it in person drop by the Virtual Consuite and follow the main program. Opening Ceremonies begin at 8:30 p.m. local time (20:30 GMT, 16:30 EDT, 13:30 PDT).  

The entire weekend schedule is listed here.

After Opening Ceremonies the Friday night program features “James Bacon Does Bob Shaw” (9 p.m.) and “The Explicator Strikes Back” (10 p.m.)

A Fortnight Left to Vote on FAAns

Corflu Cobalt is not far away and the committee is reminding everyone that Saturday, March 12 is the deadline to vote in the Fanzine Activity Achievement (FAAn) Awards.

You do not need a membership in Corflu Cobalt to vote. Anyone with the necessary knowledge of the people and their work is eligible.

Use the 2010 FAAn Awards ballot or send an e-mail. Corflu chair Rob Jackson says, “Anyone who feels suitably qualified to vote can e-mail their votes, just as a list and not necessarily on the ballot form itself, to Mike Meara, FAAn Awards Administrator, at: [email protected],org .

[Thanks to Rob Jackson for the story.]

Corfluish Developments

Corflu Cobalt is on the horizon. It begins March 19 in Winchester, England. The latest Progress Report shows a prolific number of well-known fanzine fans from both sides of the Pond have attending memberships. Just the chance to be in the same room as some of those historic figures ought to be all the reason anyone would need to go.

However, these adventures cost money and for fans with a shortage of it the good news is there will be internet video coverage of the program. Ian Maule successfully tested the con hotel’s WiFi system in October:

With the aid of a login/password provided by the hotel I managed to get the Ustream system to broadcast a nice view of the main convention hall. Peter Sullivan watched as I panned the camera around taking in scenes of chairs, tables, the floor and occasionally Mary, the Duty Manager, waving from behind the bar. Later Pat Charnock joined the test so we know the broadcast can be received in at least two places!

Another item of interest in the PR is a several-paragraphs-long explanation of why this year’s Corflu committee is tinkering (yet again) with the GoH tradition. 

Corflu is among the rare conventions that lay great stress on the egalitarianism of fans. How it handles the GoH-ship is one example. While Midwestcon, another proudly egalitarian convention, makes a point of having no GoH, Corflu goes to the other extreme and makes selecting the GoH a tortuous paroxysm of democracy.

On the first day of Corflu the committee produces a hat containing paper slips with the names of all eligible members. Whoever’s name is picked from the hat becomes the GoH. The only reason a member’s name will not be in the hat is if he or she has been GoH at some past Corflu (and already suffered) — or the member has followed the time-honored custom of bribing the committee to tear up the slip with his or her name (usually $20 US, this year 10 UKP).

In most years the GoH gave a speech at the Sunday banquet, a real stand-and-deliver moment. Last year’s Corflu was a pleasant exception — Andy Hooper took advantage of the opportunity of being on the Seattle committee to try and make the proceeding a little more humane. He allowed people to reject being GoH if their name was picked, and one or two people did before someone acquiesced to the dreaded honor.

Now I read that Corflu Cobalt is determined to restore the old regime, up to a point. The selected GoH will have to do something — whether it’s writing for the daily newzine, performing or speaking at the banquet.

The choice is yours – but given this extra flexibility, we don’t think it is quite right to say “Er, no thanks,” on the night as was allowed last year in Seattle.

The other privilege open to the GoH is that his or her table will have the honour of being the first in the queue to the Banquet buffet. As fans are not known for their lack of appetite, this could be quite a significant privilege.

True that. They may be onto something.

Another highlight of Corflu Cobalt will be the announcement of the 2010 Fan Activity Achievement (FAAn) Award winners. Deadline for voting is 24:00 GMT on Saturday March 13, 2010. There will be no voting during Corflu.

The last line in the progress report gives the local number to call for Dominos Pizza. Literary scholars will be studying its hidden meanings for years to come. Certainly no one could seriously hope the announcement will make people forget the international reputation of British cuisine. If they’d given the number of an Indian restaurant that delivers, that would have been be different.

2010 FAAn Awards Ballot

Corflu Cobalt has released the 2010 FAAn Awards ballot.

Fans aren’t required to have a membership in Corflu Cobalt to vote. But there is an eligibility requirement – “Anyone with the necessary knowledge of the people and their work is eligible.”

Any voter whose acquaintance with the field may not be self-evident to administrator Mike Meara should use the space provided on the ballot to name a fan (including contact information like an email address) who can vouch for them. Incidentally, should you be tempted to turn the tables on him, Meara published Lurk and Knockers from Neptune in the 1970s and 1980s and is currently active on various e-lists and in attending UK conventions.

The fanzine fans’ convention takes place March 19-21, 2010 in Winchester, UK. Attending memberships, which include the Sunday brunch banquet, currently go for £45 (UK) or $65 (US). Rates will go up after January 16. Supporting memberships are £10 (UK) or $15 (US).

[Via Ansible Links.]

UK Corflu in 2010

Corflu Cobalt will take place March 19-21, 2010 in Winchester, England. The bid was accepted at the recent Corflu in Seattle. Rob Jackson will chair. The Winchester Hotel will host the con.

Attending membership is £40 UK or $55 US til 31 May 2009; this includes the Sunday banquet. Supporting membership is £10 UK or $15 US. Paypal registration will be available soon. Until then, send memberships to Corflu Cobalt, 45 Kimberley Gardens, London N41LD, UK. (UK cheques payable to Pat Charnock.) US Agent: Robert Lichtman, 11037 Broadway Terrace, Oakland, CA 94611-1948, USA. (US checks payable to Robert.)

In addition to chair Rob Jackson the committee includes Pat Charnock (memberships), Graham Charnock (programme), John N. Hall (treasurer), and Linda Krawecke (hotel liaison). You can contact the con by e-mail at [email protected].