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Friday, February 26, 2010

Mervyn Jones, 1922-2010

posted @ 2/26/2010 01:16:00 PM PT 

Mervyn Jones, 87, died February 23, 2010 in Brighton, Sussex. Jones wrote 29 novels, only one of which was SF: On the Last Day (1958), about the Russian/Chinese invasion of Britain during WWIII.

Born in London on February 27, 1922, Jones turned down a spot at Oxford to go to New York University. He returned home to serve in WWII, serving in the 59th Anti-Tank Regiment and briefly becoming a German prisoner of war. After the war he contributed to Communist publications until becoming disillusioned with the party, and worked as journalist and novelist.

Obituary in the Telegraph, and Jones's entry in the online Encyclopedia of SF.


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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Aeon Award 2009 Winners

posted @ 2/25/2010 02:45:00 PM PT 

Ian Watson has announced the winners of the 2009 International Aeon Award contest for unpublished short speculative fiction. First place winner is "Frogs on My Doorstep" by Annette Reader, with a cash prize of €1000. Second place, with a prize of €200, goes to "Bridges" by Nick Wood, and third place, with a prize of €100, goes to "Canis Lupus, Rosa Canina" by Judith Brown. The three winning titles will be published in Albedo One.

Submissions for the Aeon Award 2010 are now open. 2010 judges will be Ian Watson, Anne McCaffrey, Mike Resnick, and Sam Millar. For guidelines visit Albedo One.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dreams of Decadence to Relaunch

posted @ 2/24/2010 04:18:00 PM PT 

Publisher Warren Lapine and editor Angela Kessler have announced that magazine Dreams of Decadence will be revived. While previously devoted to vampire fiction, the new incarnation will focus on urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Submission guidelines are available at the Dreams of Decadence website.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jim Harmon, 1933-2010

posted @ 2/23/2010 09:00:00 AM PT 

Jim Harmon, 76, died February 16, 2010 in Los Angeles of a heart attack. Harmon began publishing professional SF stories with "The Smuggler" in Spaceway (1954), and went on to produce at least 40 stories in the 1950s and '60s, mostly for Galaxy and If; some of those stories were later collected in Harmon's Galaxy (2004). He wrote one novel, The Contested Earth, in 1959, but it only saw publication in 2007 as part of The Contested Earth and Other SF Stories in 2007.

James Judson Harmon was born April 21, 1933 in Mount Carmel IL. In addition to SF, he also wrote detective and crime stories, but he was best known as an expert on classic radio shows and movies, earning the nickname "Mr. Nostalgia". The Great Radio Heroes (1967) remains a landmark work on the subject, and he wrote numerous other non-fiction work.

He contributed writing on comics to fanzine Xero, was editor of Monsters of the Movies from 1974-75, and edited two volumes of anthology series It's That Time Again in 2004 and 2006, featuring new stories about classic radio characters. Harmon received an Inkpot Award at the San Diego Comic-Con in 1977. He is survived by his wife Barbara.

The Encyclopedia of SF has more details.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

2009 Stoker Final Ballot

posted @ 2/19/2010 01:12:00 PM PT 

The 2009 Stoker Awards Final Ballot has been released:

Superior Achievement in a Novel
  • Audrey's Door, Sarah Langan (Harper)
  • Patient Zero, Jonathan Maberry (St. Martin's Griffin)
  • Quarantined, Joe McKinney (Lachesis)
  • Cursed, Jeremy Shipp (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
  • Breathers, S. G. Browne (Broadway Books)
  • Solomon’s Grave, Daniel G. Keohane (Dragon Moon Press)
  • Damnable, Hank Schwaeble (Jove)
  • The Little Sleep, Paul Tremblay (Henry Holt)
Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
  • Dreaming Robot Monster, Mort Castle (Mighty Unclean)
  • The Hunger of Empty Vessels, Scott Edelman (Bad Moon)
  • The Lucid Dreaming, Lisa Morton (Bad Moon)
  • Doc Good's Traveling Show, Gene O’Neill (Bad Moon)
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
  • "Keeping Watch", Nate Kenyon (Monstrous: 20 Tales of Giant Creature Terror)
  • "The Crossing of Aldo Ray", Weston Ochse (The Dead That Walk)
  • "In the Porches of My Ears", Norman Prentiss (Postscripts 18)
  • "The Night Nurse", Harry Shannon (Horror Drive-In 7/09)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
  • He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson, Christopher Conlon, ed. (Gauntlet)
  • Lovecraft Unbound, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Dark Horse)
  • Poe, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Solaris)
  • Midnight Walk, Lisa Morton, ed. (Dark House)
Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
  • Martyrs and Monsters, Robert Dunbar (DarkHart)
  • Got to Kill Them All and Other Stories, Dennis Etchison (Cemetery Dance)
  • A Taste of Tenderloin, Gene O'Neill (Apex)
  • In the Closet, Under the Bed, Lee Thomas (Dark Scribe)

Superior Achievement in Non-fiction
  • Writers Workshop of Horror, Michael Knost (Woodland)
  • Cinema Knife Fight, L.L. Soares & Michael Arruda (Fearzone)
  • The Stephen King Illustrated Companion, Bev Vincent (Fall River)
  • Stephen King: The Non-Fiction, Rocky Wood & Justin Brook (Cemetery Dance)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
  • Double Visions, Bruce Boston (Dark Regions)
  • North Left of Earth, Bruce Boston (Sam's Dot)
  • Barfodder, Rain Graves (Cemetery Dance)
  • Chimeric Machines, Lucy A. Snyder (Creative Guy)

Horror Writers Association members will vote to determine winners. Winning titles will be announced at the World Horror Convention, March 25-28 2010, in Brighton, England.

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2009 Nebula Awards Nominations

posted @ 2/19/2010 09:25:00 AM PT 

The 2009 Nebula Awards nominees have been announced:

Novel:
  • The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade)
  • The Love We Share Without Knowing, Christopher Barzak (Bantam)
  • Flesh and Fire, Laura Anne Gilman (Pocket)
  • The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan UK)
  • Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (Tor)
  • Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland)
Novella
  • The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, Kage Baker (Subterranean)
  • "Arkfall", Carolyn Ives Gilman (F&SF 9/08)
  • "Act One", Nancy Kress (Asimov’s 3/09)
  • Shambling Towards Hiroshima, James Morrow (Tachyon)
  • "Sublimation Angels", Jason Sanford (Interzone 9-10/09)
  • The God Engines, John Scalzi (Subterranean)
Novelette
  • "The Gambler", Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2)
  • "Vinegar Peace, or, the Wrong-Way Used-Adult Orphanage", Michael Bishop (Asimov’s 7/08)
  • "I Needs Must Part, the Policeman Said", Richard Bowes (F&SF 12/09)
  • "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast", Eugie Foster (Interzone 2/09)
  • "Divining Light", Ted Kosmatka (Asimov’s 8/08)
  • "A Memory of Wind", Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com 11/09)
Short Story
  • "Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela", Saladin Ahmed (Clockwork Phoenix 2)
  • "I Remember the Future", Michael A. Burstein (I Remember the Future)
  • "Non-Zero Probabilities", N.K. Jemisin (Clarkesworld 9/09)
  • "Spar", Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld 10/09)
  • "Going Deep", James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s 6/09)
  • "Bridesicle", Will McIntosh (Asimov’s 1/09)
Ray Bradbury Award
  • Star Trek, J.J. Abrams (Paramount)
  • District 9, Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (Tri-Star)
  • Avatar, James Cameron (Fox)
  • Moon, Duncan Jones and Nathan Parker (Sony)
  • Up, Bob Peterson and Pete Docter (Disney/Pixar)
  • Coraline, Henry Selick (Laika/Focus)
Andre Norton Award
  • Hotel Under the Sand, Kage Baker (Tachyon)
  • Ice, Sarah Beth Durst (McElderry)
  • Ash, Malinda Lo (Little, Brown)
  • Eyes Like Stars, Lisa Mantchev (Feiwel & Friends)
  • Zoe’s Tale, John Scalzi (Tor)
  • When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb)
  • Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)

Final ballots are due March 30, 2010 (only active SFWA members are eligible to vote). Winners will be announced at the 2010 SFWA Nebula Awards Weekend, to be held May 13-16, 2010 in Cocoa Beach, FL.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

WSFA Small Press Award Nominations

posted @ 2/11/2010 04:55:00 PM PT 

The Washington Science Fiction Association is now accepting nominations for its Small Press Award, given annually to an outstanding story of "imaginative literature" (17,500 words or fewer) published in the small press. Authors and small-press publishers are eligible to nominate, and need not be members of WSFA.

Visit the WSFA website for details on eligibility and the nomination procedure. The deadline for nominations is March 1, 2010. Winners are chosen by members of WSFA, and will be announced at Capclave, October 22-24, 2010 in Rockville MD.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kirkus Bought by NBA Pacers Owner

posted @ 2/10/2010 05:12:00 PM PT 

Kirkus was bought by shopping mall developer Herb Simon, who also owns the Indiana Pacers basketball team and co-owns independent bookstore Telecote Books in Montecito CA. Terms were not disclosed.

Simon's business partner Marc Winkelman will become chief executive of the company, now called Kirkus Media. Elaine Szewczyk will remain editor and Eric Liebetrau managing editor, and Winkelman says no immediate changes to the print edition are planned.

Link to New York Times story

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Clarion West Board Changes

posted @ 2/10/2010 04:11:00 PM PT 

Three new members will join the Clarion West Writers Workshop board of directors, and two long-time board members will retire. Kelley Eskridge, a Clarion grad, will become board chair; Kij Johnson, a Clarion West grad, will become vice chair; and Karen G. Anderson will join as a board member.

Deborah Fisher, the outgoing chair, will remain on the board, while outgoing vice chair Eileen Gunn and board member Kate Schaefer will retire. Gunn and Schaefer will continue to volunteer for Clarion West. Gunn says, "I'm enormously pleased at the amount of experience in writing, editing, and management that Kelley, Kij, and Karen bring to the Clarion West board, and I'm grateful that they are willing to guide the organization at a time when publishing and writing are undergoing huge changes. And I'm looking forward to some time off."

"Between them, Kate, Eileen, and Deborah have nearly 50 years of service to Clarion West," says Kelley Eskridge. "I'm honored that they trust me to step into such big shoes and grateful that they're willing to serve on the board, on committees, and as volunteers for years to come; that's the kind of community every nonprofit dreams of."

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

2010 Philip K. Dick Award Judges

posted @ 2/09/2010 03:58:00 PM PT 

The five judges for the 2010 Philip K. Dick Award have been announced. Works of science fiction originally published as paperbacks in the US during the year 2010 are eligible for the award.
  • William Barton, 2402 Huron St., Durham NC 27707-1916
  • Andy Duncan, 38 Teaberry Lane, Frostburg MD 21532-2301
  • Bruce McAllister, 1976 Fullerton Ave., Costa Mesa CA 92627-2232
  • Melinda M. Snodgrass, PO Box 23407, Santa Fe NM 87502-3407
  • David Walton, 4508 Chandler Drive, Brookhaven PA 19015-1611
Publishers are encouraged to mail copies of eligible books to all judges. Nominees will be announced January 2011.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

HWA Lifetime Achievement & Specialty Press Winners

posted @ 2/08/2010 02:49:00 PM PT 

The 2009 Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement winners are Brian Lumley and William F. Nolan. The award is presented to an individual or individuals whose work has "substantially influenced the horror genre."

The winner of the 2009 HWA Specialty Press Award is Tartarus Press. The award is presented to "a specialty publisher whose work has contributed substantially to the horror genre, whose publications display general excellence, and whose dealings with writers have been fair and exemplary."

The awards will be presented at the World Horror Convention, to be held March 25-28, 2010, in Brighton, England.

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Philip Klass (William Tenn) 1920-2010

posted @ 2/08/2010 11:00:00 AM PT 


Philip Klass, who wrote SF as William Tenn, 89, died February 7, 2010 of congestive heart failure.

Klass is best known for his satirical, humorous SF work. His first SF story was "Alexander the Bait" in Astounding (1946). Klass also wrote two novels, Of Men and Monsters (1968) and short novel A Lamp for Medusa (1968), and numerous non-fiction articles and essays, some of which were gathered in Hugo finalist Dancing Naked: The Unexpurgated William Tenn (2004). Klass was named SFWA Author Emeritus in 1999, and was Guest of Honor at the 2004 Worldcon.

Philip Klass was born May 9, 1920 in London. His family moved to New York when he was still a baby, and he grew up in Brooklyn. He served in the US Army during WWII as a combat engineer, and began writing in 1945 following his discharge. He taught English and comparative literature at Penn State for almost 25 years, retiring as professor emeritus. He is survived by wife Fruma and a daughter, Adina.

See the March issue of Locus for a complete obituary.
Photo credit Charles N. Brown 2001.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Fill out the Locus Poll and Survey

posted @ 2/05/2010 11:47:00 AM PT 

The Locus Poll & Survey is live!

Use this online form to cast your votes in the 40th Annual Locus Awards.

The deadline for voting is April 1, 2010. Winners will be announced at the Locus Awards Ceremony this June in Seattle.

(Internet Explorer users may see a security error on the link above. We're looking into the problem, which does not appear to affect other browsers.)

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HarperCollins & Hachette Join Macmillan

posted @ 2/05/2010 10:17:00 AM PT 

Following the ongoing Amazon/Macmillan conflict, HarperCollins and Hachette have now joined Macmillan. These publishers want to renegotiate Kindle e-book prices on the so-called Agency Model, in which publishers set prices and retailers keep 30% of the sales price. Under this plan, publishers will be able to offer a higher price for books when they're first published, and reduce the prices over time, probably in a range from $14.99 to $5.99. Amazon prefers to price new bestsellers at $9.99, a price many publishers feel is unreasonably low.

A Hachette spokesman notes that the agency model isn't "a way to make more money on e-books. In fact, we make less on each e-book sale under the new model; the author will continue to be fairly compensated and our e-book agents will make money on every digital sale."

On January 31, 2010, in a public post, the Amazon Kindle team wrote, "We don't believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan." However, now three of the "big six" publishers are asking for agency-model pricing.

Macmillan titles are still not available for sale at Amazon, except through third-party vendors.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2009 Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot

posted @ 2/03/2010 02:53:00 PM PT 

The 2009 Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot has been released:

Superior Achievement in a Novel
  • As Fate Would Have It, Michael Louis Calvillo (Bad Moon)
  • Sacrifice, John Everson (Leisure)
  • Eternal Vigilance II: Death of Illusions, Gabrielle Faust (Immanion)
  • Twisted Ladder, Rhodi Hawk (Tor)
  • Voracious, Alice Henderson (Jove)
  • The Bone Factory, Nate Kenyon (Leisure)
  • Audrey's Door, Sarah Langan (Harper)
  • Patient Zero, Jonathan Maberry (St. Martin's Griffin)
  • Quarantined, Joe McKinney (Lachesis)
  • Cursed, Jeremy Shipp (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
  • The Black Act, Louise Bohmer (Library of Horror)
  • Breathers, S. G. Browne (Broadway Books)
  • Slaughter!, Marcus Griffin (Alexandrian Archives)
  • The Dead Path, Stephen M. Irwin (Hachette Australia)
  • Solomon’s Grave, Daniel G. Keohane (Dragon Moon Press)
  • Dismember, Daniel Pyle (Wild Child)
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan (Delacorte
  • Damnable, Hank Schwaeble (Jove)
  • The Little Sleep, Paul Tremblay (Henry Holt)
  • Slights, Kaaron Warren (Angry Robot)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
  • Dreaming Robot Monster, Mort Castle (Mighty Unclean)
  • The Hunger of Empty Vessels, Scott Edelman (Bad Moon)
  • Rot, Michelle Lee (Skullvines)
  • The Gray Zone, John R. Little (Bad Moon)
  • "Diana and the Goong-Si", Lisa Morton (Midnight Walk)
  • The Lucid Dreaming, Lisa Morton (Bad Moon)
  • Black Butterflies, Kurt Newton (Sideshow)
  • Doc Good's Traveling Show, Gene O’Neill (Bad Moon)
  • Little Graveyard on the Prairie, Steven E. Wedel (Bad Moon)
  • Mama Fish, Rio Youers (Shroud)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
  • "Nub Hut", Kurt Dinan (Chizine 1/09)
  • "One More Day", Brian Freeman (Shivers V)
  • "Where Sunlight Sleeps", Brian Freeman (Horror Drive-In 4/16/09)
  • "Blanket of White", Amy Grech (Blanket of White)
  • "Keeping Watch", Nate Kenyon (Monstrous: 20 Tales of Giant Creature Terror)
  • "Plague Dogs", Joe McKinney (Potters Field 3)
  • "The Crossing of Aldo Ray", Weston Ochse (The Dead That Walk)
  • "The Outlaws of Hill County", John Palisano (Harvest Hill)
  • "In the Porches of My Ears", Norman Prentiss (Postscripts 18)
  • "The Night Nurse", Harry Shannon (Horror Drive-In 7/15/09)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
  • Harlan County Horrors, Mari Adkins, ed. (Apex)
  • He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson, Christopher Conlon, ed. (Gauntlet)
  • Mighty Unclean, Bill Breedlove, ed. (Dark Arts)
  • Lovecraft Unbound, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Dark Horse)
  • Poe, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Solaris)
  • Dark Delicacies 3: Haunted, Del Howison & Jeff Gelb, eds. (Running Press)
  • Butcher Shop Quartet 2, Frank J. Hutton, ed. (Cutting Block)
  • British Invasion, Chris Golden, Tim Lebbon & James Moore, eds. (Cemetery Dance)
  • Midnight Walk, Lisa Morton, ed. (Dark House)
  • Grants Pass, Amanda Pillar & Jennifer Brozek, eds. (Morrigan)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
  • Shards, Shane Jiraiya Cummings (Brimstone)
  • Martyrs and Monsters, Robert Dunbar (DarkHart)
  • Dark Entities, David Dunwoody (Dark Regions)
  • Got to Kill Them All and Other Stories, Dennis Etchison (Cemetery Dance)
  • Shades of Blood and Shadow, Angeline Hawkes (Dark Regions)
  • Unhappy Endings, Brian Keene (Delirium)
  • You Might Sleep..., Nick Mamatas (Prime)
  • A Little Help from my Fiends, Michael McCarty (Sam's Dot)
  • A Taste of Tenderloin, Gene O'Neill (Apex)
  • In the Closet, Under the Bed, Lee Thomas (Dark Scribe)

Superior Achievement in Non-fiction
  • Writers Workshop of Horror, Michael Knost (Woodland)
  • Esoteria-Land, Michael McCarty (BearManor Media)
  • Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues, Loren Rhoads, ed. (Simon & Schuster)
  • Cinema Knife Fight, L.L. Soares & Michael Arruda (Fearzone)
  • The Stephen King Illustrated Companion, Bev Vincent (Fall River)
  • Stephen King: The Non-Fiction, Rocky Wood & Justin Brook (Cemetery Dance)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
  • Double Visions, Bruce Boston (Dark Regions)
  • North Left of Earth, Bruce Boston (Sam's Dot)
  • Mortician's Tea, G. O. Clark (Sam's Dot)
  • Starkweather Dreams, Christopher Conlon (Creative Guy Publishing)
  • Voices from the Dark, Gary William Crawford (Dark Regions)
  • Barfodder, Rain Graves (Cemetery Dance)
  • Grave Bits, Todd Hanks (Skullvines)
  • Toward Absolute Zero, Karen L. Newman (Sam's Dot)
  • Chimeric Machines, Lucy A. Snyder (Creative Guy)


Horror Writers Association members will vote to choose final nominees from this list, and then vote again to determine winners. Winning titles will be announced at the World Horror Convention, March 25-28 2010, in Brighton, England.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pratchett Promotes Voluntary Euthanasia

posted @ 2/02/2010 11:38:00 AM PT 

Sir Terry Pratchett, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's in 2007, is arguing for the legalization of assisted suicide in the UK. Pratchett says Alzheimer's "is not nice and I do not wish to be there for the endgame."

Pratchett, the first novelist to deliver the annual BBC Dimbleby lecture, used his speech, "Shaking Hands with Death," to advocate for the rights of the terminally ill, and even volunteered to be a test case before a euthanasia tribunal.

Says Pratchett: "If granny walks up to the tribunal and bangs her walking stick on the table and says 'Look, I've really had enough, I hate this bloody disease, and I'd like to die thank you very much young man', I don't see why anyone should stand in her way."

Full story at the Guardian.

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2009 Locus Recommended Reading List

posted @ 2/02/2010 10:47:00 AM PT 

The 2009 Locus Recommended Reading List is now available online. The list is published as part of the 2009 Year in Review issue of Locus (February 2010). An extensive survey of SF publishing for 2009, the issue includes year-end essays by Locus reviewers discussing recommended titles; the Magazine Summary, which covers all the major print and online magazines and tracks numbers of stories published; the Book Summary, which looks at publisher reorganizations, imprint changes and new imprints, and charts all of the genre books seen, breaking them down by format, publisher, imprint, category, etc. It also includes the pull-out ballot for the Locus Poll and Survey.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

2010 Prometheus Hall of Fame Award Finalists

posted @ 2/01/2010 11:07:00 AM PT 

The Libertarian Futurist Society has announced the finalists for the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award:

"No Truce with Kings", Poul Anderson (1964)
"'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman", Harlan Ellison (1965)
"As Easy as A.B.C.", Rudyard Kipling (1912)
Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson (1999)

This category honors novels, novellas, stories, graphic novels, anthologies, films, TV shows/series, plays, poems, music recordings and other works of fiction first published or broadcast more than five years ago. Final voting will take place in June and early July of 2010. All members of the Libertarian Futurist Society are eligible to vote. The award will be presented in a ceremony at the 2010 World Science Fiction Convention, to be held in Melbourne, Australia.

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Kage Baker 1952-2010

posted @ 2/01/2010 10:20:00 AM PT 


Writer Kage Baker, 57, died January 31, 2010 of cancer at home in Pismo Beach, CA. Baker was best known for her Company series of time travel novels and stories. Company novel The Empress of Mars (2008) was an expansion of the eponymous 2003 novella, which won a Sturgeon Award and was a Hugo and Nebula finalist. Baker also wrote fantasy, notably Mythopoeic finalist The Anvil of the World (2003) and World Fantasy Award-nominated sequel The House of the Stag (2008). In 1999, she was a finalist for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She also published around 70 stories, including Hugo finalist "Son Observe the Time" (1999) and World fantasy finalist "Caverns of Mystery" (2008).

Baker was born June 10, 1952 in Hollywood CA, and spent most of her life there and in Pismo Beach. From the 1970s onward, she was an actor, artist, and director with As You Like It Productions (formerly the Living History Center, which started the first Renaissance Faire). She taught Elizabethan English to stage actors for 20 years and supplemented her income writing ad copy, but from the late '90s onward devoted most of her time to writing fiction. In 2009, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer, and underwent extensive treatment. However, the cancer metastasized to her brain. By mid-January 2010 doctors ceased treatment, and she died peacefully in the company of her family.

See the March issue of Locus for a complete obituary.
Photo credit Kathleen Bartholomew 2008.

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Macmillan vs Amazon

posted @ 2/01/2010 08:52:00 AM PT 

Amazon and Macmillan's ongoing disagreement about pricing models for e-books boiled over this weekend in a very public way.

Late Friday, Amazon pulled all titles by Macmillan and its imprints – including Tor, Forge, St. Martin's, and Farrar, Straus & Giroux – from its online store, even removing titles from customer wishlists and remotely removing promotional sample chapters from the Kindle e-reader. Macmillan books could only be purchased via third-party sellers hosted by Amazon.

Speculation ran rampant on twitter and in the blogs, but confirmation for the cause came only when Macmillan CEO John Sargent released an open letter on Saturday the 30th, reading in part, "This past Thursday I met with Amazon in Seattle. I gave them our proposal for new terms of sale for e-books under the agency model which will become effective in early March. In addition, I told them they could stay with their old terms of sale, but that this would involve extensive and deep windowing of titles. By the time I arrived back in New York late yesterday afternoon they informed me that they were taking all our books off the Kindle site, and off Amazon... I regret that we have reached this impasse."

Amazon wants to set its own prices for e-books – at $9.99 for most titles, though they often take a loss at that price, using the sales as a loss-leader and to spur sales of their Kindle e-reader. Publishers fear this aggressive pricing gives customers the impression that e-books should always be so cheap – and that eventually Amazon will demand higher discounts from publishers to keep those prices low.

Macmillan is pushing a progressive pricing model, where books will be initially offered a higher price, becoming cheaper over time, in a range from $5.99 to $14.99. The "agency model" – with publishers setting e-book prices, rather than allowing retailers to set their own prices – is expected to be used by Apple with their upcoming iBooks store, which has announced deals with five of the six major publishers, including Macmillan.

On Sunday Amazon – or at least the Kindle team – posted a response, noting Macmillan's push toward an agency model and saying: "We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books. Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it's reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book."

As of this writing, Macmillan books have still not been restored for sale on Amazon.

Among the many discussions online: writer Scott Westerfeld offers his take on the situation, and Tor author Tobias Buckell weighs in as well.

For more details and analysis, see the March issue of Locus.

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