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Hugo Nominations Open

January 30, 2016 at 1:35 pm
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Nominations are now open for the 2016 Hugo Awards.

You can nominate online at

Those still using paper can also download a ballot and mail it in.

On-line works better, though. A mailed ballot, once mailed, is done. On-line, you can fill in a few choices now, then add or change later. The nominations are opening now, but won’t close until March 31. So if you know a few things you want to nominate, and you have your PIN, put them down now. You can always change ’em later.

Of course, you do need to be a worldcon member to nominate. That is to say, a member of this year’s worldcon (MidAmericon II in Kansas City), or last year’s (Sasquan in Spokane), or next year’s (in Helsinki). If you hold a membership in any of those you’re good.

If not, though, you need to act NOW. To qualify, you need to buy a membership in either KC or Helsinki by JANUARY 31, and the last time I looked, that was tomorrow.

You can sign up at:

Even if you can’t come to worldcon, you can still nominate and vote by buying a supporting membership. But attending is better, if you can make it. Finland has never hosted a worldcon before, but Helsinki is a great city, so ’17 should be a hoot and a half. With saunas. As for KC, MidAmericon I in 1976 was my favorite worldcon of all time, and if MAC II is even half as good, it will be terrific.

What you nominate is, of course, entirely up to you.

But please, NOMINATE. I have been beating that same drum for a decade, and this year it behooves me to beat it even louder. Nominate the stuff that you enjoyed best last year. Let your own individual voice be heard.

Yes, I have recommended some stuff I liked, in older posts below. And I will be doing more of same in the near future. But remember, that’s just me saying, “hey, I liked this, you might like it too, take a look.” No one should ever nominate anything just because someone else tells them to.

((This is has been a fannish service announcement)).

All Hail the Champions

January 25, 2016 at 9:59 pm
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Thirty-two teams started the season, became twelve, became eight, became four. After Sunday we are down to two. Congratulations to the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, who will meet in two weeks in Super Bowl L.

I watched the championship games, of course. Not much to say about them.

The afternoon game was a blowout. Must have been very painful for Cardinals fans, and a romp in the park for Carolina fans. Though I did wonder at halftime when the Panthers were only up by 17 points; the preceding week they’d enjoyed a 31-0 lead over Seattle, yet barely hung on to win. But this week Carolina decided to show up for the second half as well. I really thought Arizona would give them more of a fight. Carson Palmer looked dreadful.

The morning game was exciting. Too exciting for my taste; until that two-point pass fell incomplete, I really feared that Brady and the Pats would pull it out. Denver’s pass rush was amazing. I have never seen Brady smacked around so much, even in the two Super Bowls where the G-Men beat him. Evil Little Bill made a blunder by not kicking that field goal late in the fourth when he had the chance; in hindsight, that would have been the difference.

It is always great to see the Patriots lose. And I take some solace knowing that it was losing that game to the Jets that put the championship in Denver rather than New England. It would be have been an entirely different game in Foxboro.

Anyway, the Pats are going home, and the Broncos are going on. It would be wonderful if Eli’s Big Brother could end his career with another ring… but I fear that is not likely to happen. The Panthers just look too tough.

We’ll see. That’s why they play the games.


This Week at JCC

January 23, 2016 at 2:35 pm
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We opened a cool new time travel movie last night at the Jean Cocteau:


Take a peek.

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We’re also showing ORION: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, about a masked Elvis impersonate, and holding over THE AMAZING NINA SIMONE.

See you at the movies.

RIP, Dave

January 22, 2016 at 6:56 pm
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The news of David G. Hartwell’s sudden and tragic death has been all over the net for the past few days. Most of you reading this probably know already. He fell while carrying a bookcase section down a flight of steps, hit his head, and died of a massive brain bleed.

For those of us who knew him, the news was as shocking as it was sad. Just a few months ago, David was dancing at the Hugo Losers Party at Sasquan, and seemingly having a great time. He was 74, it is true, but he was still strong and sharp and vital, and should have had a lot more years. Dozens of moving tributes to David’s life and career have already been posted. There’s not much that has not been said, but I feel compelled to add my own few words.

I have known David for a long, long time. I first met him at a con… a worldcon, or perhaps a Lunacon, it is hard to recall. I was a young writer, and he was a young editor… at New American Library (Signet) in those early days. Later he moved to Berkley, and still later to Pocket Books, where he founded the prestigious Timescape line.

In the early days, the NAL and Berkley days, David and his first wife Pat were also resident proctors at Bard Hall, a graduate dormitory at Columbia University. There were always a few empty rooms at the dorm, so when impoverished young SF writers came to NYC, David and Pat would put them up. One Christmas season I was the impoverished young writer in question, and I stayed in a dorm at Bard Hall for a week. The best part of that stay were the nights I sat up talking with David. I was greener than summer grass in those days, still years away from my first novel; I got a graduate course in publishing that week, and learned more about the history of science fiction on his couch than from all the books I’d read. (Heard some choice gossip too).

Some years after that came Tor, where he has been a mainstay for oh, these many decades. Tor’s long long track record as the preeminent publisher of science fiction and fantasy in the United States is based in no small part to the work of David G. Hartwell. Oh, and he did a lot more than that too. With Robert Weinberg and Kirby McCauley, he founded the World Fantasy Convention and has continued to supervise and help run it ever since. He administered the convention’s award, the Howards, for decades. He helped to start THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION, one of the premiere critical journals in our field.

Professionally, our paths crossed a number of times. At one point David was editor of a short-lived SF magazine called COSMOS, where he bought my story “Bitterblooms” (still one of my favorites) and made it the cover story. At Berkley, he was a bidder when my first novel DYING OF THE LIGHT was put up for auction. He didn’t win — Pocket Books and another publisher both outbid him — but as fate would have it, he became my editor anyway a few year later when he moved to Pocket to found Timescape. He was the editor on my second novel, WINDHAVEN, my collaboration with Lisa Tuttle. And thanks to that, he had an option on my next book, which turned out to be FEVRE DREAM. But when I turned that one in, David did something very ballsy and unselfish… he passed it along to another editor at another imprint at Pocket, Anne Patty of Poseidon Press, because he knew that she could pay me more and get out more copies (Poseidon was a bestseller imprint) than he could. FEVRE DREAM turned out to be my biggest success to date, in no small part thanks to David’s gesture. Shifting it over was not necessarily the best thing for Timescape, or for David himself, but it was the best move for me and my career. Not everyone would have done what he did. It was a remarkable kindness.

I never worked with David again after that, but we remained friendly through all the years that followed, though the only time we ever really saw each other was at cons. David was a great editor… but he was also a fan. He never missed a worldcon that I can recall, nor a World Fantasy once those got rolling, and he could be found at many a Philcon, Boskone, Lunacon, and Readercon as well. Some editors go to cons for strictly professional reasons; they do panels, take their writers out to dinner, and then repair to their rooms. Not David. He was as much a fan as a pro, and you’d find him at the SFWA suite, the Tor party, the Baen party, the bid parties, the bar, the Hugo Losers party… wherever there was good fellowship and good cheer and good talk to be found. David G. Hartwell was a trufan.

And when two a.m. came rolling around, he would sing.

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Good night, David. You’ll be missed.

Playoff Football

January 17, 2016 at 10:26 pm
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The NFL playoffs are in full swing, and of course as a football fan, I watch them.

However, I have to confess, since neither the Jets nor the Giants are involved, I don’t watch them with the same level of attention that I do when one of my teams is playing. I often work while watching… going over a copyedited manuscript, paying bills, balancing my checkbook, whatever. When something exciting happens, I can always rewind to watch what I missed. The wonders of having TIVO (I do love my TIVO).

So I really don’t have much to say about this weekend’s contests. Except…

The Patriots won. Bummed me out. Boring game too. I expected more of the Chiefs.

The Broncos won. No surprise, but that one was closer than I expected. Given the losses the Steelers have suffered, I thought it might be a blowout, but Pittsburgh hung in there gallantly. I have a lot of respect for the Steelers. The Rooneys, like the Maras, are one of the class ownerships in the NFL. I was glad to see Peyton advance, though. Can’t help but hope he ends his career with another ring. But first he needs to beat Brady and Evil Little Bill.

The Carolina / Seattle game was strange. Almost a repeat of the Giants game against Carolina during the regular season, minus the Beckham/ Norman war. Complete domination by Carolina in the first half, during which they built up a 31 – 0 lead. In the second half, they don’t show up. Almost blew that one, just as they almost blew the Giants game. Someone needs to tell the Panthers that NFL games last 60 minutes, not 30.

As for the Green Bay/ Arizona game… words fail me. That game was insane. Especially the ending. Discount Doublecheck indeed… Aaron Rodgers made what were essentially TWO Hail Marys to move from his own endzone to a TD. I have never seen anything like it. Impossible, really. And then came the overtime coin toss, and the bloody coin doesn’t flip. Plainly eldritch forces were at work. The end, with Larry the Fitz taking it over, was amazing and exciting and, I think, satisfying for any football fan not from Wisconsin. But hey, a great game, if a crazy one. I am glad neither of my teams was involved. Those last ten minutes would have killed me.


Meow, Meow

January 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm
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This week’s PASATIEMPO had a great update on the work going on with Meow Wolf and their House of Eternal Return.

Here’s the link, for them what’s interested:

Listen To This

January 11, 2016 at 3:08 pm
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Got some exciting news for Wild Cards fans… and for fans of audiobooks.

We’ve got a new deal in place for Wild Cards audiobooks. This time we’ve signed with Random House Audio, the same good folks who have been bringing you the great audiobook versions of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, as well as ROGUES, DANGEROUS WOMEN, and my other anthologies.

Brilliance Audio did the audio editions of the first two volumes in the series, WILD CARDS and ACES HIGH, the last one coming out in 2011. Random House will be picking up the series with the third volume, JOKERS WILD, the first of our full-on mosaic novels.

Luke Daniels was the reader for the two Brilliance volumes, and did a fine job. But as long time fans of the series know, the Wild Cards books are team efforts featuring interwoven stories by a number of different writers set against a common background. Even in a shared world, however, not everything is shared; every writer has his own characters, and every character has his own voice.

Random House Audio wants to capture that with these new audiobooks. Instead of a single reader, therefore, JOKERS WILD and the volumes to follow will feature a multiplicity of narrators, a different voice for every viewpoint character.

JOKERS WILD, the first of our full mosaics, is a seven-way collaboration, set on the fortieth anniversary of the first Wild Cards Day in New York City. All the action takes place in twenty-four hours, and is seen through seven sets of eyes. The writers (and their respective viewpoint characters) were Lewis Shiner (Fortunato), Melinda M. Snodgrass (Roulette), John Jos. Miller (Wraith), Edward Bryant (Sewer Jack), Leanne C. Harper (Bagabond), Walton Simons (Demise), and your truly (Hiram Worchester).

We’ve assembled a very exciting group of readers to give them voice. You’ll hear:

Prentice Onayemi, reading Fortunato,
Pam Grier, reading Roulette,
Molly Quinn, reading Wraith,
Ray Porter, reading Sewer Jack,
Felicia Day, reading Bagabond,
Stephen McHattie, reading Demise,
Ron Donachie, reading Hiram Worchester.

Recording is taking place in London, Edinburgh, Denver, Taipei, Toronto, Burbank, and Los Angeles; we went all around the world to assemble this team.

I can hardly wait to hear how this amazing group of actors bring our characters to life.

Rams on the Move

January 11, 2016 at 9:15 am
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The latest news from the NFL: Los Angeles is getting the Rams back.

The San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders, who also wanted to move to LaLaLand, lose out… or maybe win, depending on how you look at this. The league chose the Rams and their plans for a new stadium in Inglewood over the Chargers and the Raiders and their joint scheme for a new stadium in Carson. They did say the Chargers could have a year to decide if they want to join the Rams in LA, presumably sharing the yet-to-be-built Inglewood stadium. (The Chargers would be fools to take them up on that, if you ask me. San Diego has faithfully supported the Chargers for half a century, while LA has not proven it can support one NFL team, let alone two).

I feel sorry for my friends in St. Louis. This is the second time they have lost a franchise. First the Cardinals, now the Rams. They deserve better. St. Louis is a great town (Archon is great con too, for what it’s worth). A great sports town. LA isn’t. If there is ever another round of expansion in the NFL, let’s hope they get a new team.

Still… since the league was determined to get a team back to LA, and the candidates were the Chargers, the Raiders, and the Rams, I am glad they picked the Rams. “St. Louis Rams” never sounded right to me. “Los Angeles Rams” did, and does. (Yes, I know they started in Cleveland, but that was before my time). There is history there. And I’m old school, so I like history. Okay, true, the Chargers had history in LA as well, since they started there… but that was in the dawn of the AFL and they only played in LA for about five minutes. And the Raiders have history in LA too… but that was always wrong. The Raiders belong in Oakland… and the Chargers belong in San Diego, preferably in their powder blue uniforms.

Will LA support the Rams? Maybe at first. Novelty always counts for something. And after too, so long as they are winning. But if they start to lose? Don’t count on it. There’s a reason both the Rams and the Raiders left LA back in 1994. You know, during my years in TV, I went to a number of NFL games while I was out to LA. Mostly in the Coliseum, which is where the Rams will be playing until their new playpen is ready. How did I ever get tickets? you may wonder. Did I have a season pass? Not hardly. Did I buy them from a scalper? No need. I just walked up to the box office on game day and said, “I’d like a ticket.” Good seats too. The Coliseum was always half empty at the games I attended (mostly when the Jets or Giants were visiting). And half of the people who were there seemed to be rooting for the visitors.

But maybe this time will be different. Maybe.

I don’t know if the Chargers or the Raiders will stay put now, or try to move somewhere else. If they do move, however, I hope the NFL makes them change their names. If we have to shift franchises around, the way to do it is the way they did the Cleveland to Baltimore move, where the team moving leaves its original name with the city, and gets a new name for the new place. That’s much to be preferred than the Baltimore to Indianapolis model. The Colts name should have stayed in Baltimore, just as the Browns name stayed in Cleveland.

Of course, the best model of all is Green Bay, where the team is owned by the city and the fans and will never move. Would that we had more of those… but I fear the NFL would never allow it.


Wild Cards Weekend

January 10, 2016 at 11:28 pm
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No, no, not my Wild Cards books… NFL football.

All four road teams won. So much for home field advantage.

“Life is miserable and full of pain,” I often say, when the Giants and the Jets go down to defeat. But I have to say, this weekend’s games put my own miseries into proportion. Yes, yes, the Jets have breaking my heart since 1969… but at least I am not a Vikings or a Bengals fan. (Though I have friends who are both. Hi, Mike. Hi, Steve). In all my years of watching football, I don’t think I have ever seen two such agonizing losses. If they had happened to one of my teams, I’d… I’d… god, I don’t know what I’d do. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Next week it’s on to the divisonal round. Someone please beat the Patriots and I will be happy.


Screening of ‘The Forest’ and an exclusive Skype Q&A with Natalie Dormer

January 10, 2016 at 1:42 pm
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/>Music: Wailing and Screaming
Hello from Ogre Jenni! I am not George R.R. Martin. Not even close. Believe me, I’m just as sad about this as you are!

And I'm sorry.

On Saturday, January 16th the Jean Cocteau will screen Natalie Dormer’s latest film, The Forest. Following the film screening, we will meet up with Natalie via Skype for an exclusive Q&A with this talented and incredibly charismatic actress. That’s right—audience members get to ask her any question they want! Within reason…don’t get too weird.

Dormer is well known for her roles in Game of Thrones (Margaery Tyrell), The Tudors (Anne Boleyn), The Hunger Games (Cressida), and more. She gets ALL the amazing costumes!

The Forest is a supernatural horror film about a woman whose identical twin sister has mysteriously vanished. While investigating her sister’s disappearance, she receives a cryptic phone call suggesting that her twin entered Japan’s notorious (and very real) Suicide Forest at the base of Mt. Fuji. She hurriedly travels to Japan, and despite several warnings enters the dangerous and bewildering woods. She soon discovers her sister’s abandoned tent—along with a host of malicious spirits.

Which really shouldn’t come as a surprise. C’mon, it’s clearly haunted as all hell.

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As the forest’s macabre moniker plainly suggests, this place is a well-known destination for suicides—especially by businessmen at the end of the fiscal year. The only location in the world with a higher suicide rate is the Golden Gate Bridge. How’s that for depressing?

Many people in Japan believe that the numerous suicides have created a terrible supernatural force that permeates the trees and generates a ghastly array of paranormal phenomenon. There are also ancient beliefs and traditions surrounding the forest, including the practice of “ubasute,” which involves leading an elderly or sick person to a remote place to die of exposure, thirst, starvation, or animal attacks.


And on that note—if you live near Santa Fe or are just visiting our lovely city, drop by the Cocteau!

*If you are suicidal, please seek professional help or call a suicide prevention hotline. Your life is well worth saving, and we don’t need more spooky ghosts flying around.