The Virginia State Legistlature has passed a resolution making June 27, 2009 Will F. Jenkins Day. Jenkins wrote under a variety of pseudonyms, most notably “Murray Leinster.” His science fiction stories include “A Logic Named Joe” and “The Runaway Skyscraper.” Jenkins won the Hugo for “Exploration Team” and the Retro-Hugo for “First Contact.” The Sidewise Award for Alternate History was named for his short story “Sidewise in Time.” Jenkins’s family is planning a ceremony for that date.
NASA and the European Space Agency have announced plans to team up for two unmanned missions to the outer planets. The Europa Jupiter System Mission will carry instruments to first study the Jovian system before putting satellites into orbit around Europa and Ganymede to monitor the moons and study the Jovian magnetosphere and its interactions with the moons. The Titan Saturn System Mission will include an orbital satellite around Saturn’s moon Titan and a probe to explore the conditions on the cloud-covered moon.
A nearly complete Columbian mammoth skeleton, believed to date to 40,000 years ago, has been discovered on a construction site near the La Brea Tarpits in Los Angeles. The mammoth is believed to have been in his forties and showed signs of having lived with broken ribs and possibly a cancerous growth. The site also contained remains of lions, bison, sloths, lynxes, and other animals.
NESFA bestowed the title of Fellow of NESFA on two individuals at Boskone 51 on February 14. Geri Sullivan and David Hartwell were both recognized for their contributions to science fiction and fannish culture.
Chuck Crayne (b.1938) died on his seventy-first birthday, February 16. Crayne was a founder of NASFiC and BoucherCon. He had been suffering from back pain for the past month and went to the hospital, where he went into heart fibrillation. Crayne leaves behind his wife, fan and author Dian Crayne.
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf, Jr. (b.1910) died on February 14. Knopf was the son of the founder of the publishing house that bears their name, but he left in 1959 and founded Atheneum. Following a merger with Scribner and later Macmillan, he managed the Scribner Adult line of titles. At Atheneum, Knopf published fantasy authors including Anne McCaffrey, Patricia McKillip, and Ursula K. Le Guin, among others. Knopf retired in 1988.
British Author Edward Upward (b.1903) died on February 13. Upward published his first novel, Journey to the Border, in 1938 and returned to writing after his retirement in the 1960s. Many of his novels included fantastic elements and, at the time of his death, he was believed to have been the oldest author living in Britain.
Author Richard Gordon (b.1947) died on February 7. Gordon, who wrote under the pseudonym Stuart Gordon, began publishing science fiction in 1972 and wrote at least ten science fiction and fantasy novels through 1990. In addition, his non-sf novels, written as Alex R. Stuart, often included elements of speculative fiction.
Terra Incognita launches a free monthly podcast of Australian SF read by the authors. Readings include works by Cat Sparks, Adam Browne, and Sean Williams. The podcast also includes reviews of recent Australian speculative fiction. The podcast is available through iTunes.
The SFWA has announced that director/writer Joss Whedon will win this year’s Ray Bradbury Award. The award was created in 1992 by Ben Bova, but only sporadically presented since then and recognizes a substantial and superior body of work. Beginning in 2010, the award will be presented annually. Whedon is being recognized for his work on “Buffy, Angel, Firefly and the Serenity film, as well as Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog.”