French actor Jean Topart (b.1922) died on December 29. Topart provided the voice of Maitre Sinh in La planète sauvage and appeared in the television movie Le testament du Docteur Cordelier and various French television series. In addition to his own work, he was highly sought after to dub French voices for American films.
Sound editor Mike Hopkins (b.1959) died on December 30 by drowning in a rafting accident on the Waiohine River in New Zealand. Hopkins worked on The Lord of The Rings trilogy and King Kong, and won an Oscar for his work on the latter film. Other genre work included The Transformers, Blade Runner, and Superman.
Actor Harry Carey, Jr. (b.1921) died on December 27. Best known for appearing in John Ford Westerns, Carey also appeared in several genre films, including Back to the Future, Part III, Gremlins, The Exorcist III, and UFOria. Carey has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Rich Horton, who reviews short fiction for Locus and has edited several Best of Year anthologies has been named reprint editor for Lightspeed magazine. Horton will assume the position in January 2013. Lightspeed is edited by John Joseph Adams and is a merger of Adams’s Lightspeed and Fantasy magazines.
NASA manager Jesco von Puttkamer (b.1933) died on December 27 at his home. Von Puttkamer immigrated to the US in 1962 and joined Wernher von Braun’s team in Huntsville, Alabama, where he worked on Apollo. He also worked on the Skylab program and helped rescue the space station when it would have been sold for scrap after it deorbited. While working at NASA, he also served as a Technical Advisor to Paramount Pictures for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. For more than a decade, von Puttkamer was responsible for the daily ISS Onorbit Status reports. In addition to published more than a dozen non-fiction books, he also published the Star Trek novelette “The Sleeping God.”
The finalists for the A.E. van Vogt Award, sponsored by the Winnipeg Science Fiction Association (WINSFA), ConAdian, the 1994 World SF Con, and Science Fiction Winnipeg (SFW) have been announced. The winner will receive a $1200 prize and a certificate. The award was named in honor of Canadian author and Grand Master A.E. van Vogt, who was born in 1912. Originally, the winners were slated to be announced in Winnipeg in September.
- Lady of Mazes, by Karl Schroeder
- Alphanauts, by Brian J. Clarke
- The Other, by Matthew Hughes
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who, the Royal Mail will be releasing official stamps. The main sheet of stamps will include eleven first class stamps, each with an image of one of the actors who portrayed the character. A second sheet of stamps will also be issued that includes one first class stamp depicting the TARDIS and four additional second class stamps depicting the Daleks, Cybermen, Ood, and Weeping Angels. The stamps will be made available in the spring of 2013.
Producer Gerry Anderson (b.1929) died on December 26. Anderson is best known for creating the British television series Thunderbirds and also produced Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999, and several other science fiction series. In addition to working as producer, Anderson wrote for most of the series he worked on. Anderson was diagnosed with mixed dementia in 2010 and saw a marked decline over the last several months.
Beginning on January 9, Freeport, Illinois’s Lindo Theatre will be presenting a ’50s Science Fiction Film Series, running a film on select Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. through April. The films selected will include The Thing from Another World, Them!, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Tickets are $5 per film, or $20 for the series.