Briefs and Links
Monday 20 November 2000
Greg Bear has won the Endeavour Award, given to an SF or fantasy book by a writer from the Pacific Northwest, for the second year in a row, for Darwin's Radio (Del Rey). Bear won last year for Dinosaur Summer. Other finalists for this year's award are listed on the award's website.
As previously reported, Ray Bradbury received a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation, presented during the National Book Awards ceremony November 15 in New York City. The NBF website has posted a profile of Bradbury and a statement from Bradbury upon being told of the award.
The New York Times has run a belated (though extensive) obituary of Curt Siodmak, who died September 2.
Authors whose first published works have appeared in 1999 or 2000 are eligible for the 2001 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which will be voted with next year's Hugo Awards and presented at the World SF Convention in Philadelphia. (However works must appear in books or magazines with 10,000 copies in print to qualify a writer for nomination.) James Van Pelt invites eligible authors to submit their names to him at email@example.com for inclusion on the The John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award Eligible Author Web Site.
Monday 13 November 2000
This obituary of L. Sprague de Camp quotes David G. Hartwell and Frederik Pohl:
This one quotes Robert A. Heinlein:
The best fantasy is usually no more than light wine, the worst mere soda
pop. ... I would class de Camp's fiction as a very dry martini.
Another brief De Camp obituary:
Other obituaries of SF figures have appeared recently:
PW Daily announced yesterday that MightyWords.com, the online e-book publisher, will no longer sell works of self-published authors, except in certain categories. It's what their customers want: "brand-name business, technical, health and fiction titles from well-known authors."
Thursday 9 November 2000
Margaret Atwood has won Britain's Booker Prize for The Blind Assassin (published in the US by Doubleday), her first win after four nominations. The novel is a story within a story within a story, one of which is a potboiler sci-fi novel called "The Blind Assassin". Atwood is best known in the SF field for her 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale.
Best of 2000
Amazon.com is first out with lists of the best books (and bestsellers) of 2000, with editors' choice selections in each of its many subjects. The top 10 SF selections are:
A list of 10 more editors' choices lists books by Gene Wolfe, Robin McKinley, Louise Marley, Gregory Benford, Paula Volsky, George R.R. Martin, Elizabeth Haydon, Martha Wells, Charles de Lint, and Rudy Rucker.
- The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman (Knopf)
- Ceres Storm, David Herter (Tor)
- In Green's Jungles, Gene Wolfe (Tor)
- Daemonomania, John Crowley (Bantam)
- Dark Matter, ed. Sheree R. Thomas (Warner Aspect)
- Shrine of Stars, Paul J. McAuley (Eos)
- Crescent City Rhapsody, Kathleen Ann Goonan (Eos)
- The Collapsium, Wil McCarthy (Del Rey)
- The Telling, Ursula K. Le Guin (Harcourt)
- The Chosen, Ricardo Pinto (Tor)
Amazon's list of SF Bestsellers of 2000 is led by Robert Jordan's Winter's Heart (which was only just published on November 7), and includes various Dungeons & Dragons volumes and backlist reprints.
The Horror 2000 editors' choice leads with Kathe Koja's Extremities and includes books, some reprints, by Stephen King, William Peter Blatty, Tom Piccirilli, Peter Straub, Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, Graham Joyce, and Mark Z. Danielewski.
Some genre-associated books appear in other categories. The Literature and Fiction Editors' Choice includes Seamus Heaney's Beowulf (#2), Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (#5), and Michel Faber's Under the Skin (#13). The Children's Books Editors' Choice leads with Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass and places Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at #3 and Lemony Snicket's The Austere Academy at #9. Pullman is #2 on the Teens Editors' Choice list (and Robin McKinley is #10 on that list).
Steve Allen, TV comedian, author, and composer, died October 30 at the age of 78. Allen wrote and moderated the 1970s TV series Meeting of Minds, which staged conversations between various historical figures from Emily Dickinson to Charles Darwin. He spoke out on social issues, such as violence and vulgarity in the media, and criticized Americans' ignorance about history, geography, and science, coining the term 'dumbth' to describe the slow-witted and bumbling. He criticized religious belief but supported religious charities that helped the poor, and supported skeptical organizations such as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). Allen wrote at least two SF stories, including "The Public Hating" (Bluebook 1955), reprinted in Judith Merril's SF: The Year's Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy and later in David G. Hartwell's The World Treasury of Science Fiction.
Robert E. Cormier, author of young adult novels including The Chocolate War, died November 2 at the age of 75. Among his other books was Fade (1988), a multigenerational fantasy novel about a family with an inherited power of invisibility. It was a World Fantasy Award nominee in 1989.
Friday 3 November 2000
People & Publishing
Stealth Press, founded last year by Craig Spector and whose editor-in-chief is Patrick LoBrutto, launched November 1. Its specialty is 'rescuing' worthy out-of-print titles in all genres for reprinting in new hardcover editions, with marketing through the Internet rather than traditional bookstore distribution. (It is not an e-book or POD publisher.) Stealth's first four titles are books by Peter Atkins, Robert Fowler, Peter Straub, and Robert Vaughan; upcoming titles include Orphans of the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein. [Aside: the upper right photo accompanying this Nov. 2 New York Times article on home networking shows a man looking at the Stealth Press website; it was easier to see in print.]
The first annual James White Award, for best short story by an unpublished writer, was given to Mark Dunn for his story "Thank Tank" on October 22 in Dublin.
Frederick S. Clarke, founder and publisher of Cinefantastique, died October 17 at the age of 51.
Stephen King is writing a musical with John Mellencamp.
The Real World
An Oklahoma high school accused a student of casting a magic spell that caused a teacher to become sick. The 15-year-old student was suspended; the school seized notebooks in which she wrote horror stories; the ACLU is suing the school.
Quarterly UK magazine The Third Alternative is conducting the TTA Literary Prize competition for unpublished stories up to 6000 words that are SF, fantasy, horror, slipstream, or cross-genre. Deadline is December 31; first prize is £1000. For further details, see:
Brill's Content's second annual "Influence List" (in its November issue; not available online) includes, among its "50 high-impact media players who shape our world", Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. As well as Oprah Winfrey, critic James Wood, filmmaker Spike Jonze, literary agent David Black, and web mavens Harry Knowles and Jim Romenesko.
Entertainment Weekly's "101 most powerful people in entertainment" for 2000 (in its October 27 issue) also includes Rowling and King -- J.K. Rowling in 5th position (up from 101st last year), Stephen King in 13th position (41st last year). Others:
Steven Spielberg (with fellow DreamWorks partners Katzenberg and Geffen) 4th; Oprah 14th; George Lucas 23rd; James Cameron 25th; M. Night Shyalaman 77th.
CNN's "informal survey of academics, media people and staffers" came up with the following "scariest books of all time":
- Bram Stoker's Dracula
- Stephen King's The Shining
- William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist
- the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe
- and Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House
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