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Monday 30 September 2002


§ The 2002 Sunburst Award, for best novel-length Canadian fantastic literature of the year, went to Margaret Sweatman's When Alice Lay Down with Peter (Alfred A. Knopf Canada). The award was announced Thursday, September 26, at the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, and included a cash prize of $1,000 and a "sunburst" medal.

Other shortlisted works for this year's award were by Candas Jane Dorsey, Hiromi Goto, Thomas Wharton, and Robert Charles Wilson. Judges were Douglas Barbour, Nalo Hopkinson, Tanya Huff, Hazel Hutchins, and Don Hutchison. Details are on the website:

Sunburst Award Website
Margaret Sweatman

Publishing and People

  • Michael Crichton was tied up and robbed by two armed men in his Santa Monica home last week. The Associated Press account is here; or click here for a PDF archive of last Tuesday's Santa Monica Daily Press with its account.

  • Ellen Datlow was featured in a New York Times Circuits article (with photo) last Thursday concerning the debate on how to rebuild the World Trade Center site, a debate that originated online.
    "I wanted to participate in what's going to happen next," said Ellen Datlow, 52, a science fiction editor who became the de facto leader of Group 4, the one that met downtown. "This is all I can do — there is nothing else I can do to make this happen. I'm not a government official. I'm not someone with any say except a New Yorker who cares very much about what happens to the city."
    Meanwhile, Datlow has posted photos from several recent SF events on her website:

  • DAW Books [website] will insert a statement in its books beginning January 2003 to inform readers about the problems of electronic piracy. The statement is similar to the notice that paperbacks with stripped covers are stolen property.
    The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal, and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.
    Penguin Putnam, distributor of DAW Books, will suggest that its imprints follow suit.

  • John Kessel's play "A Clean Escape", based on a story published in Asimov's in May 1985 and first performed in Raleigh NC in 1986, was staged this Summer by a senior high school class in Lubeck, Germany, which set up this website about the play, the author, and the play's background. The story is about a pre-emptive nuclear war launched by the United States that devastates the surface of the planet.

  • The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary has included numerous SFnal terms in its latest update (as reported by CNN and The Times [requires registration], among others). "Klingon", "warp drive", "dilithium", "parallel universe", "Jedi", and "the Force" are all included, though terms from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series are still too new for inclusion; "muggle" is still a marijuana cigarette.

  • Robert J. Sawyer was presented with an Alumni Award of Distinction from Toronto's Ryerson University, where Sawyer graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in Radio and Television Arts. He's one of only 30 out of 100,000 Ryerson alumni so honored to date. Because of the main classroom building's rows of student lockers, Ryerson's nickname has long been "Rye High," which, Sawyer notes, makes him now the official Rye High Sci-Fi Guy.

    Meanwhile, Sawyer has an article, Privacy, Who Needs It?, in the current issue of Canada's Maclean's magazine.

  • Nancy Stouffer's lawsuit against Scholastic, Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling for alleged infringement by Rowling's Harry Potter series against earlier works by Stouffer was dismissed by the District Court of the Southern District of New York on the grounds of fraud perpetrated by Stouffer. (Yahoo News story.) Comments and analyses of the case by SF folks include this by Teresa Neilsen Hayden and this by John Savage.

Sunday 22 September 2002


§ Robert L. Forward, SF writer and physicist, died September 21, 2002 of brain cancer at the age of 70. Forward was a senior scientist at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California, for over 30 years, and was one of the hardest of 'hard' SF writers beginning with novel Dragon's Egg in 1980, about intelligent life on the surface of a neutron star; the novel won both the Locus and Seiun Awards. Other novels included its sequel Starquake (1985), the "Rocheworld" series beginning with The Flight of the Dragonfly (1985), Martian Rainbow (1993), and most recently Saturn Rukh (1997). He also published associational nonfiction Future Magic and Mirror Matter: Pioneering Antimatter Physics with Joel Davis (both 1988).

An obituary prepared by Dr. Forward himself, focusing on his scientific career, is posted on the SFWA website.

Dr. Robert L. Forward Home Page
Los Angeles Times obit


§ The British Fantasy Awards winners for 2002 were announced September 21 at British Fantasy Convention, or FantasyCon, in London.

  • The Night of the Triffids, Simon Clark (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Volume Twelve, Stephen Jones, ed. (Robinson)
  • Aftershocks, Paul Finch (Ash Tree Press)
  • "Goblin City Lights", Simon Clark (Urban Gothic: Lacuna and Other Trips)
  • PS Publishing
  • Jim Burns
  • British Fantasy Awards

    Winners of the 2002 Rhysling Awards, for works of SF and fantasy poetry, are as follows:

  • "How To Make A Human", Lawrence Schimel
  • "We Die As Angels", William John Watkins

  • Friday 13 September 2002


    § Lloyd Biggle, Jr., SF writer and musicologist, died September 12, 2002, after a 20-year battle with leukemia and cancer. His interest in music appeared in many of his works, which began with short story "Gypped" in 1956. Other notable short works included "Monument" (1961), a Hugo nominee later expanded into a novel, and "The Tunesmith" (1957), recently selected by Orson Scott Card for the anthology Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century. Biggle's novels, which began with The Angry Espers in 1961, were mostly space operas on social and ecological themes: they included the Jan Darzek sequence, beginning with All the Colors of Darkness in 1963, about a human private eye serving on the galactic Council of the Supreme; and novels about the Cultural Survey including The World Menders (1971) and The Still, Small Voice of Trumpets (1968). In recent years Biggle wrote mystery stories and novels. He was founding Secretary Treasurer of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and edited Nebula Award Stories Seven in 1972. In the 1970s he founded the Science Fiction Oral History Association.

    Biggle is survived his wife Hedwig, daughter Donna Emerson, and son Kenneth Biggle. Cremation has already taken place; friends may visit the family on September 15th from 2pm to 8pm at the Janowiak Funeral home, 320 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of White Plains, NY, or Arbor Hospice, of Ann Arbor, Michigan. An obituary by Kenneth Biggle appears in today's Ann Arbor News. A complete obituary will appear in a future issue of Locus Magazine.

    § Marion K. "Doc" Smith, retired professor of English at Brigham Young University, died 2 September 2002 of cancer. Considered one of the finest science fiction teachers in the country, he was a longtime advocate of the genre at the school. From his classes came the semipro magazine The Leading Edge; the annual Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium; and over two dozen professionally published writers and editors including Diann Thornley, M. Shayne Bell, and David Wolverton.

    Dr. Smith was drafted into the Army in February 1953 to serve in Korea. In all, he served 39 years in various branches of the Army (infantry, artillery, armor, and engineer) and Air Force (MAC, TAC, and SAC) and achieved the rank of Chief Master Sergeant and Fire Chief. In Springville, Utah, he helped organize and direct a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) with a local volunteer fire department. Dr. Smith was 69. He was buried near his home in Springville.

    Wednesday 11 September 2002

    Farscape Fans React

    § The Sci Fi Channel's cancellation of a fifth season of the TV series Farscape has ingnited outrage from fans that's typical of many such cancellations — though this time fans include such SF/F/H professionals as Caitlín R. Kiernan (author of Silk and Threshold), who is seeking other writers and creators willing to lend their support to the series. Kiernan, who can be contacted at, has written editorials calling for Farscape's rescue at both Gothic.Net and (Crackers Do Matter: Why Farscape Is Worth Saving). For further information, see any of the following sites:

    Save Farscape
    Nebari.Net 1.0

    September 11th

    § One year ago, the SF community in New York City reacted to the terror attacks:

    9.21 Letters from New York City
    9.17 Report from New York City, by Marleen Barr
    9.15 Updates from New York City
    9.11 Reports from New York City

    Sunday 8 September 2002

    Ackerman Woes

    § Today's Los Angeles Times updates Forrest J Ackerman's status: he's sold Ackermansion to pay for legal bills, his collection of movie memorabilia is being sold off on eBay, and he's living in a rented five-room house. With comments from Frank Darabont, Ray Bradbury, and Harry Knowles...

    The two-story, 5,800-square-foot mansion perched on winding Glendower Avenue in the Los Feliz hills once had more than 300,000 science-fiction and horror film items, crammed into every nook and cranny. ... But now the 18-room house known as "Ackermansion" feels more like a mausoleum. The walls are barren, showing only nail holes and loops of old adhesive tape. Floors are littered with curios, boxes of letters, books and film photos. Hanging in the basement is a Dracula cape that Ackerman said had been worn by Bela Lugosi.

    Los Angeles Times

    Outside Looking In

    § Metro, "Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper", covers ConJosé:

    THE MOST DISTINGUISHED GATHERING of science-fiction writers and readers in the world took place over the weekend in San Jose. ConJose (a.k.a. the World Science Fiction Convention) drew literary luminaries like Robert Silverberg, Ursula K. LeGuin and local novelist Tad (Outlander [sic]) Williams. An important event to be sure, and guess what the logo was: a cartoon shark called "Hugo de Shark" sporting a propeller beanie and a clown suit. How are science-fiction fans supposed to get any respect?

    Metroactive Features

    § And from SF Weekly...

    The second floor of the McEnery Convention Center is already bustling with Jawas and Faeries and Federation pilots and Marvin the Martians and furry beasts and partially built robots and men with laser guns and women with swords and white-haired seniors with goofy little propeller hats who are just a sampling of the 6,000 science-fiction and fantasy fans who have come from all over the world to attend the 60th annual World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon as it is better known in fandom parlance. I come to learn there are no fewer than 600 panels, six dances, two ceremonies, 20 concerts, 85 readings, 45 kaffeeklatsches, and 125 hotel-room parties being presented here over the course of five sleepless days. There is no real way to prepare.

    SF Weekly

    Thursday 5 September 2002

    More Worldcon News

    • Glasgow won the bid to host the World Science Fiction Convention in 2005, which was made without formal opposition, though there were numerous write-in votes. The ConJosé website gives complete voting results. The convention will be called Interaction, to be held earlier in August than is usual, 4-8 August 2005. Guests of Honor (GoH) are professionals Christopher Priest, Robert Sheckley, and Jane Yolen, and fan GoHs Greg Pickersgill and Lars-Olov Strandberg.

      The World SF Convention was previously held in Glasgow in 1995. Next year's convention, 2003, is in Toronto; the 2004 convention is in Boston. Bids for 2006 are in play from Los Angeles and Kansas City, while Japan is actively bidding to host the convention in 2007.

    • The Hugo committee released lists of 2002 Hugo and Campbell Award Nominees and Honorable Mentions, in decreasing order of nominations including the next 10 or so nominees in each category that did not make the final ballot, along with totals in each category for voters, items, and votes. The information is also available here in text or Word document format.

      The final ballot voting breakdown is given here. Official rules for tallying votes are available in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution, under Section 3.11 (scroll down), while the rules summary on the Emerald City site includes (at bottom of the page) an explanation of how second- through fifth-place rankings in each category are officially determined.

    • The World Science Fiction Society business meeting at ConJosé ratified a motion initiated last year to split the "Best Dramatic Presentation" category in two, creating a Long Form award for works (principally movies) longer than 90 minutes, and a Short Form award (principally TV episodes) for works under 90 minutes. The two categories will be in effect for next year's Hugos, administered by Torcon III in Toronto. Previosly Hugo rules allowed only single episodes of TV series to be nominated in the Best Dramatic Presentation category, which many voters felt unfairly restricted the chances for TV shows to compete for the award.

    • The WSFS business meeting extended for another year the Hugo eligiblity rule allowing works to be nominated that were published outside the US prior to the eligibility year but first published in the US in the eligibility year. The rule is designed to compensate for the many Hugo voters in the US who do not see English language works by British (and Australian) writers that appear in their countries a year or more before being published in the US. In effect for the past two years, this rule allowed both China Miéville's Perdido Street Station and Ken MacLeod's Cosmonaut Keep to appear on the 2002 ballot, and MacLeod's The Sky Road to appear on the 2001 ballot.


    § J. Lee Thompson, film director whose works included Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes in the early 1970s but whose biggest hit was The Guns of Navarone in 1961, died August 30, 2002, at his summer home in Sooke, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, at the age of 88.

    Los Angeles Times

    Earlier September News

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