Omni Suspension Official
Omni Online has posted an official statement announcing the suspension of the website. As earlier reported, the site will remain accessible, including the last several months' fiction, the forums, and unmoderated chat rooms. Also as expected, there are no plans for a revival of the print magazine. Reports elsewhere about the return of Omni to print, apparently based on unofficial speculation by someone at General Media Publishing, were never substantiated.
Omni began publication in October 1978 as the brainchild of Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione. The contents mixed popular science, fringe science, and science fiction with high quality graphics and artwork. Ben Bova left his editorship of Analog to become Omni's first fiction editor, though he remained there little over a year. Robert Sheckley followed for almost two years. Ellen Datlow took over in October 1981 and has remained fiction editor ever since. Despite limited space for fiction, with typically only 2-4 stories per issue, Omni was the prestige publication for SF short fiction for nearly two decades, due both to editorial taste and its (relative to other SF magazines) extravagant budget. Its last print issue, dated Winter 1995, was published in January 1996.
Omni published two of William Gibson's earliest stories, ''Johnny Mnemonic'' (May 81) and ''Burning Chrome'' (Jul 82). Other memorable publications, many of them award winners, were George R. R. Martin's ''The Way of Cross and Dragon'' (Jun 79) and ''Sandkings'' (Aug 79), Gardner Dozois's ''Morning Child'' (Jan 84), Greg Bear's ''Tangents'' (Jan 86), Roger Zelazny's ''Permafrost'' (Apr 86), Howard Waldrop's ''Flying Saucer Rock & Roll'' (Jan 85), ''Ike at the Mike'' (Jun 82), and ''Night of the Cooters'' (Apr 87), Octavia Butler's ''The Evening and the Morning and the Night'' (May 87), George Alec Effinger's ''Schrödinger's Kitten'' (Sep 88), Connie Willis's ''At the Rialto'' (Oct 89), Ted Chiang's ''Tower of Babylon'' (Nov 90), Harlan Ellison's ''The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore'' (Jul 92) and ''Mefisto in Onyx'' (Oct 93), Terry Bisson's ''England Underway'' (Jul 93) and ''They're Made Out of Meat'' (Apr 91), and Michael Swanwick's ''Radio Waves'' (Win 95).
Since the suspension of the print magazine a number of original stories have been posted to the Omni Online website, including Robert Silverberg's ''Hot Times in Magma City'', Pat Cadigan's ''Death in the Promised Land'', and Paul Park's ''Get a Grip''. In addition, several ''round-robin'' stories have been composed by groups of authors in the last year. The last round-robin story, a four-way collaboration by Kelley Eskridge, Graham Joyce, Ed Bryant, and Kathe Koja, was completed yesterday, April 16; authors posted their segments themselves. So far no title for the story has been selected.
(posted Fri 17 Apr)
British Science Fiction Association Awards
Winners were announced on April 12th at Intuition, the 1998 British National Science Fiction Convention, in Manchester, England.
NovelThis is the first BSFA win for SMS after eight previous nominations. Stephen Baxter won two years ago for his novel The Time Ships. This was Mary Doria Russell's first BSFA nomination. Her book also won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award and is on the shortlist for this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award.
(posted Tue 14 Apr)
Philip K. Dick Award Winner
The winner for the distinguished original science fiction paperback published for the first time during 1997 in the US was announced April 10th, at Norwescon 21 in Seattle, Washington. A special citation was also named.
WinnerThis year's winner is the first in the history of the award to be published by a small press. The Philip K. Dick award, presented annually, is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society. The judges were Paula E. Downing (chair), Brooks Landon, Carter Scholz, Stephanie A. Smith, and Robert Charles Wilson. (The full list of nominees is here.)
Judges for the 1998 award are James Alan Gardner, Angus MacDonald, Lance Olsen, Jeff VanderMeer (chair), and Sarah Zettel.
(posted Mon 13 Apr)
Hugo and Campbell Awards Nominations
Nominations for the 1998 Hugo Awards were released April 10th. A total of 471 eligible voters (members of last year's and this year's Worldcons) cast ballots. The deadline for returning final ballots is July 10th, 1998. Awards will be presented to the winners on Friday, August 7th, at Bucconeer, the 1998 World Science Fiction Convention, in Baltimore, Maryland. Two categories contain six nominees due to ties for fifth place.
The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer is not a Hugo, but a separate award sponsored by Dell Magazines. It is voted in the same manner, and on the same ballot, as the Hugos.
This year's ballot marks the first-ever Hugo nominations for Castro, Devney, Duncan, Gardner, Grant, Johnson, Levinson, Lewis, Loehr, and Sanders. Ten others have been nominated once before, including Baxter, Burstein, Fowler, and Truesdale, while nine others have two prior nominations, including Edelman, Kelly, Reed, Simmons, and Steele.
Mike Glyer and Charles N. Brown each appear on a Hugo ballot for the 35th time this year -- they're the all-time nominations leaders. (Glyer tallied both his 34th and 35th with this ballot.) This year also marks Langford's 30th and 31st nominations, Whelan's 28th, Silverberg's 27th, Porter's 23rd, Maitz's 20th, Schmidt's 19th, Hartwell's 17th and 18th, Dozois's 17th, and Resnick's 17th.
Considering only writing nominations -- for novels, short fiction, other forms, and nonfiction (not including as editor) -- Silverberg leads among those nominated this year with his 23rd nomination, followed by Resnick's 15th, Wolfe's 8th, and Haldeman and Swanwick's 7th. Silverberg is now just one short of Harlan Ellison's record 24 writing nominations (though he leads Ellison 27 to 24 in total nominations).
Previous writing winners on this year's ballot include 4-time winner Haldeman (who won once for a novel, The Forever War), 3-time winners Resnick and Silverberg, and Clute, Kelly, Landis, Simmons (for Hyperion), and Steele, who've won once each.
Of writers who have never won a Hugo, this year's nominations are the 8th for Gene Wolfe and the 7th for Michael Swanwick. Only Michael Bishop, with 9 nominations to date, has received more nominations for writing without having won, while Jerry Pournelle ties Wolfe with 8.
Previous non-writing winners nominated this year include Gardner Dozois, 9-time winner in the best editor category; Michael Whelan, 11-time winner for best artist (plus 2-time winner in other categories); Locus, 19-time winner as best fanzine or semiprozine; and David Langford, 11-time winner as fan writer (plus 3-time winner for Ansible as best fanzine).
Of non-writers who have never won a Hugo, this year's nominations are the 19th for Schmidt, the 18th for Hartwell, the 12th for Canty, the 10th for Cherry, and the 9th for Leeper. Along with Arthur D. Hlavaty (12), Michael Bishop (9), and Stephen E. Fabian (9), these are the record holders for earning Hugo nominations without having won.
(posted Fri 10 Apr)
Stoker Final Ballot
The Horror Writers Association has announced the final ballot for this year's Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement. The winners will be announced at the HWA's annual meeting and awards banquet in New York City on June 6th.
This is the 11th year of the Stoker awards. Over half those nominated this year, including Tim Powers, Stephen Dedman, John Clute, and Scott Edelman, appear on a Stoker final ballot for the first time. Frequent past nominees Stephen King and Joe R. Lansdale are nominated for the 11th time each this year (they tie for most Stoker nominations ever). The late Karl Edward Wagner receives his 6th Stoker nomination on this ballot, Lucy Taylor her 5th, Ramsey Campbell, Brian Hodge, and Stephen Jones their 4th each.
Both King and Lansdale have won Stokers 4 times previously. Jones has won twice before; Campbell, Newman, Taylor, and Wiater once each. (Overall, Harlan Ellison and Robert R. McCammon tie for most Stokers won, with 5 each. Dan Simmons and Nancy Holder match King and Lansdale with 4 wins to date.)
Wagner holds the record for most Stoker nominations, now 6, without ever having won. Of this year's nominees, Brian Hodge is next, nominated this year for the 4th time.
(posted Fri 10 Apr)
Clarke Allegations ''Demolished''
Allegations made against Sir Arthur C. Clarke by a London tabloid concerning his sex life have been ''conclusively demolished'', in the words of Sir Arthur's executive secretary. Accusations of pedophilia were made by the Sunday Mirror in an article run February 1st, days before Prince Charles was scheduled to formally invest Sir Arthur with his knighthood ''for services to literature''. Though that ceremony was postponed, Clarke attended the Sri Lankan 50th Independence Day Celebrations and was warmly greeted by Prince Charles. (Photo, left to right: Lenin (Clarke's assistant), Sir Arthur Clarke, President Kumaratunga of Sri Lanka, Prince Charles.)
According to a statement from Clarke's executive secretary, the local broadcaster who made the most serious charges against Clarke has now sworn, under oath, that they were completely false. Other reports linking Clarke to organizations and individuals involved in child-abuse cases have also been proved to be fabrications, and some of the reporters concerned are now themselves under investigation.
The whole affair was apparently an attempt to embarrass the government on the eve of Prince Charles' visit. Colombo authorities are now investigating individuals who have been engaged for several years in attempts to discredit Clarke. Clarke's lawyers are now considering what further action to take.
Clarke issued the following statement:
Since the Independence Day Banquet, at which I was very happy to have received sympathetic greetings from dozens of ambassadors and other dignitaries, I have also received a flood of good wishes from friends, known and unknown, all over the world. And here in Colombo, perfect strangers now go out of their way to wish me well - and to congratulate me on the millions in damages they fully expect me to collect. It has even been suggested, ironically, that in the long run my legal income may far outstrip my literary one...On Tuesday April 7th, CNN reported that Clarke is so pleased with the outcome of the investigation that he may travel to London, health permitting, to formally receive his knighthood.
(Previous Locus Online news story.)
(posted Thu 2 Apr, amended Wed 8 Apr)
Omni Online Ceases Publication
Omni Online has ceased publication as of March 31st. Its entire staff, including long-time fiction editor Ellen Datlow, has been laid off, though editor/producer/art director Rob Killheffer will remain on staff cleaning up the site for two more weeks. The website contents will remain available indefinitely, including the fiction, and the in-progress "round robin" story, which is posted directly by the participating authors, will be completed. A formal press release from General Media concerning the future of Omni is expected shortly.
(posted Tue 31 Mar 98, amended Wed 1 Apr)
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