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Amazing Relaunch

The world's old science fiction magazine will live again. Amazing Stories, created in 1926 by Hugo Gernsback and published in a variety of incarnations until 1995, will be relaunched this summer by Wizards of the Coast, Inc. The new Amazing Stories will ''showcase a variety of fiction and artwork from popular science fiction and media-based fantasy entertainment'', according to the press release.

The magazine was most recently published by TSR, Inc., which purchased it in 1982, transformed it to a glossy format through 1994, then reverted to digest size before ceasing publication in 1995. The editor then was Kim Mohan.

Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a well-known gaming company whose products include the Magic: The Gathering(R) trading card game, acquired TSR in 1997.

Kim Mohan will resume editorship of Amazing Stories, but the new magazine will be notably media-oriented. Two or three stories per issue will be based on films, syndicated TV programs, and games. Another four to six stories per issue will be traditional science fiction and fantasy (SF preferred). Reviews, editorials, features, and commentaries will also be published.

The new Amazing Stories will be published quarterly in a four-color, 8 by 10 7/8 inch magazine format, distributed to most book, hobby, game, and SF specialty stores. The retail price will be $4.99.

Executive Editor Pierce Watters asks that submissions be made in hard-copy. The pay rate is 6-8 cents per word, with stories in the 2,000 - 8,000 word range preferred. Writer's guidelines will be available shortly. For more information, contact Pierce Watters or editor Kim Mohan.

(posted Fri 6 Feb 98)

Clarke Knighthood Ceremony Delayed

Arthur C. Clarke, due to receive his knighthood from Prince Charles this week in Sri Lanka, asked for the ceremony to be postponed following allegations about his sex life.

The controversy began Sunday, February 1st, with an article in the Sunday Mirror, a London tabloid, claiming Clarke had admitted being a pedophile and had paid for sex with boys. On Monday Clarke was quoted in the London Times as saying: "There is no truth whatsoever in the allegations that the Sunday Mirror are making against me, and they are very hurtful".

In asking for the postponement, Clarke said he did not want to embarrass the Prince. He also said he was taking legal advice.

On Thursday Clarke issued the following statement:

Statement by Sir Arthur Clarke
5th February 1998

As -- obviously -- I am taking legal advice, I cannot go into details, but I realise that responsible members of the media deserve some kind of statement, and that silence can easily, though wrongly, be taken as an admission of guilt.

Having always had a particular dislike of paedophiles, few charges could be more revolting to me than to be classed as one. However, as I have already said, the allegations are wholly denied. Indeed the accusations are such nonsense that I have found it difficult to treat them with the contempt that they deserve. My conscience is perfectly clear.

In any event, I categorically state that "The Sunday Mirror"'s article is grossly defamatory and contains statements which in themselves and by innuendo are quite false, grossly inaccurate and extremely harmful.

However, one good thing which has come out of this is that I have received support from so many friends and admirers all over the world; some of whom I never knew I had. I wish to take this opportunity to thank them for their support and express my regret for the embarrassment the allegations in the "Sunday Mirror" have caused to them and others.

(posted Tue 3 Feb 98, amended Thu 5 Feb 98)

BSFA Awards Shortlist

The shortlist for the 1998 British Science Fiction Association Awards has been released:

Best Novel
A Son of the Rock, Jack Deighton (Orbit)
Signs of Life, M. John Harrison (Gollancz)
Earthquake Weather, Tim Powers (Legend)
The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell (Black Swan)
Jack Faust, Michael Swanwick (Orion/Millennium)

Best Short Fiction
''War Birds'', Stephen Baxter (Interzone 126, Dec 1997)
''Thigmoo'', Eugene Byrne (Interzone 120, Jun 1997)
''The Emperor's New Reality'', Pat Cadigan (New Worlds, ed David Garnett)
''The First Man Not to Walk on the Moon'', Richard Kadrey (Back Brain Recluse 23)
''Last Day of the Carnival - 36 Exposures'', Paul Kincaid (Back Brain Recluse 23)

Best Artwork
''The Wood Wife'' by Brian Froud (cover of The Wood Wife by Terri Windling)
Page 27 Interzone 124 by Dominic Harman (Interzone 124 illustrating ''Secrets'' by Ian Watson)
''The Black Blood of the Dead'' by SMS (cover of Interzone 116 illustrating ''The Black Blood of the Dead'' by Brian Stableford)
''The Golden Key'' by Michael Whelan (cover of The Golden Key by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Robertson & Kate Elliot)
''A Child of the River'' by Paul Young (cover of A Child of the River by Paul McAuley ; cover of Interzone 123)
The short-list is nominated by the membership of the BSFA. Winners are determined by a vote of the membership of the BSFA and the members of the annual British National sf Convention (Eastercon). This year's awards will be presented at the 1998 Eastercon (Intuition) on the evening of Sunday April 12th at the Jarvis Piccadilly Hotel, Manchester, England.

This is the 29th year of the British Science Fiction Association Awards, which are given to works published in the UK. Last year's winners were Iain M. Banks' Excession, Barrington J. Bayley's ''A Crab Must Try'', and Jim Burns' cover for Ancient Shores. Previous fiction winners include John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar (1970), Christopher Priest's Inverted World (1975), J. G. Ballard's The Unlimited Dream Company (1980), Thomas M. Disch's ''The Brave Little Toaster'' (1981), Brian W. Aldiss' Helliconia Spring (1983) and Helliconia Winter (1986), Geoff Ryman's ''Love Sickness'' (1988), and Terry Pratchett's Pyramids (1990).

(posted Wed 28 Jan 98)

Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist

The shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, for the best science fiction novel that received its first British publication in 1997, has been announced:

Titan, Stephen Baxter (HarperCollins Voyager)
Glimmering, Elizabeth Hand (HarperCollins Voyager)
Days, James Lovegrove (Phoenix)
Nymphomation, Jeff Noon (Doubleday)
The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell (Black Swan)
The Family Tree, Sheri S. Tepper (HarperCollins Voyager)
This year's judges are Tanya Brown and Dr. Andrew M. Butler (representing the British Science Fiction Association) and John Clute and Farah Mendelsohn (representing the Science Fiction Foundation). The administrator and Chairman of the Judges is Paul Kincaid. The winner, who receives an engraved bookend and a prize of £1000 donated by Arthur C. Clarke, will be announced at a ceremony at the Science Museum in London later this Spring.

This is the 12th year of the Clarke Awards. Last year's winner was Amitav Ghosh's The Calcutta Syndrome. Previous winners include Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (1986), Geoff Ryman's The Child Garden (1989), Paul J. McAuley's Fairyland (1995), and two books by Pat Cadigan -- Synners (1991) and Fools (1994).

(posted Tue 20 Jan 98)

Nebula Preliminary Ballot

The preliminary ballot for the 1997 Nebula Awards has been released. The ballot is available online at the SFWA website (sorted, within categories, by title) and here (sorted by author).

The Nebula Awards are a function of the Science-fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). This is the 33rd year of the awards, which are given in four fiction categories: novel, novella, novelette, and short story. The lengthy preliminary ballot is composed of all works that have received a required minimum number of nominations (10) during the past twelve months. Voting on this ballot will determine the final ballot of five works per category (plus, optionally, a sixth item per category added by the Nebula jury); voting on the final ballot will determine the winners. The results will be announced during the Nebula Awards Weekend, May 1-3, 1998, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Nebula rules allow each work to accumulate nominations for a period of twelve months from its month of publication. Since many works take nearly a full year to accumulate the minimum required for the preliminary ballot, the majority of works on the preliminary ballot are from the calendar year prior to the nominal year of eligibility. Thus this preliminary ballot for the ''1997'' Nebula Awards has mostly works first published in 1996, works that are ineligible for this year's Hugo Awards and Locus Awards (though they were eligible last year).

A number of works on the preliminary ballot are available, in whole or in part, online. See the list on the SFWA website.

(posted Mon 12 Jan 98)

Philip K. Dick Award Nominations

Nominations have been announced for the 1997 Philip K. Dick Award:

William Barton, Acts of Conscience (Warner Aspect)
Stepan Chapman, The Troika (Ministry of Whimsy Press)
Susan R. Matthews, An Exchange of Hostages (AvoNova)
Richard Paul Russo, Carlucci's Heart (Ace)
Denise Vitola, Opalite Moon (Ace)
Catherine Wells, Mother Grimm (Roc)

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually for distinguished science fiction published as a paperback original in the United States. The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society. Results will be announced at Norwescon 21 in Seattle, Washington, on April 10th 1998. The 1997 judges are Paula E. Downing (chair), Brooks Landon, Carter Scholz, Stephanie A. Smith, and Robert Charles Wilson.

This is the 16th year of the Philip K. Dick Awards. The first winner, from 1982, was Rudy Rucker's Softare. Other past winners include William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984), two by Tim Powers, The Anubis Gates (1983) and Dinner at Deviant's Palace (1985), and Bruce Bethke's Headcrash (1995). The award is not limited to novels; the winner for 1990 was Pat Murphy's collection Points of Departure. Last year's winner was Stephen Baxter's novel The Time Ships.

(posted Mon 12 Jan 98)

Sir Arthur C. Clarke

The British New Year's honors list released Tuesday, January 30th, includes a knighthood for Arthur C. Clarke ''for services to literature''. Clarke, best known as the co-author of the book and film 2001: A Space Odyssey, is quoted by AP: ''I am so delighted that I am going to indulge myself today'' -- by breaking dieting rules to have some Christmas pudding, and then by playing a game of table tennis.

The most prominent name on the list of nearly 1000 people knighted or otherwise honored by Queen Elizabeth II was rock star Elton John. Other literary figures included were novelist and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and novelist David Lodge, both named Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE, a title Clarke already holds).

Past figures with connections to science fiction who have received knighthoods include Kingsley Amis, Fred Hoyle, A. Conan Doyle, and H. Rider Haggard -- but all for accomplishments other than science fiction or fantasy writing. Clarke is the first to be honored whose work is principally SF.

(Note: Though CNN reported that Clarke's knighthood is honorary and he is thus not entitled ''Sir'', this is apparently an error stemming from confusion over honors bestowed upon persons living overseas. Clarke's name appeared on a separate ''Diplomatic and Overseas'' list because he has lived in Sri Lanka for 40 years. But since he has not renounced his British citizenship, the title ''Sir'' still applies. Thanks to Dave Langford for background and other information.)

(posted Wed 31 Dec 97, amended Fri 9 Jan 98)

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