The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have announced the recipients of this year’s Solstice Award, presented for significant impact on the science fiction or fantasy landscape. The awards will be presented during the Nebula Award Weekend in Arlington, Virginia on May 19. This year’s recipients include Octavia Butler and John Clute. Butler’s fiction delved into sociological, political and religious issues, explored gender, sexuality and cultural identity. She looked for the problems in the world, and tried to find answers and solutions. Clute is the author of several collections of criticism and critical essays on the genre, as well as the 2001 space opera, Appleseed, whose most notable work is a trio of reference works: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.
The Speculative Literature Foundation has announced that e-mail problems between February 23 and March 8 caused numerous applications and submissions for the SLF Older Writers Grant to bounce. They apologize and invite applicants to resubmit. A grant of $750 is available to any writer of speculative literature older than 50 who is just beginning to work professionally in the field. Applications are due on March 31 with the winner announced on June 1.
Fan Don Markstein (b.1947) died on March 11. Markstein was a founder of the comics APA Apatoons and the founding editor of NOSFAn. Markstein was a member of the New Orleans SF Association and the Southern Fandom Press Alliance. He co-chaired DeepSouthCon in 1968 and 1973 and in 1978 he was honored with the Rebel Award. In the internet era, he gained widespread fame as the founder of Toonpedia, an on-line resource for all things cartoon.
Actor Leonardo Cimino (b.1917) died on March 3 Cimino, who feared his distinctive appearance would work against him as an actor, appeared in Dune, The Seventh Sign, Amityville II: The Possession, Waterworld, and Rappaccini’s Daughter. His acting career was launched when he took a dance class with José Ferrer, who championed him as an actor and frequently arranged for him to be cast in films in which Ferrer was appearing.
Artist Moebius (b.1938, born Jean Giraud) died on March 10. Moebius is best known for his work in the comic Heavy Metal and also worked on numerous films, including Alien, Tron, The Fifth Element, Space Jam, and The Abyss. He did work for Marvel Comics and did the concept art work for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unproduced film version of Dune Giraud also used the pseudonym Gir for some of his work. In 2011, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
The winner of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, given annually for gender-bending speculative fiction, have been announced. The awards will be presented at Wiscon on Memorial Day weekend. This year’s judges included Karen Meisner, James Davis Nicoll, Tansy Roberts, Nisi Shawl, Lynne Thomas..
Redwood and Wildfire, by Andrea Hairston
Furthermore, an honor list of six works was announced:
Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray
“The Nones of Quintilus,” by L. Timmel Duchamp
God’s War, by Kameron Hurley
The Universe of Things, by Gwyneth Jones
“The Other Graces,” by Alice Sola Kim
“Seven Sexy Cowboy Robots,” by Sandra McDonald
“After the Apocalypse,” by Maureen F. McHugh
The Freedom Maze , by Delia Sherman
The Courier’s New Bicycle, by Kim Westwood
Screenwriter Richard Carpenter (b.1933) died on February 26. Carpenter, who began his career as an actor in 1957 and appeared in The Black Arrow, Out of the Unknown, and The Terrornauts. Beginning in 1967, he began to write for television, including episodes of The Borrowers, Robin Hood, The Ghosts of Motley Hall, and Catweazle. In 1994, he produced the fantasy film Stanley’s Dragon.
French actor Pierre Tornade (b.1930) died on March 7. Tornade provided the voice of Obélix in several Asterisk films from 1985 to 1994 and before that provided other voices in the series. He also appeared in a television adaptation of Le passe-muraille.
Actress Joan Taylor (b.1929 as Rose Marie Emma) died on March 4. Taylor starred in the science fiction films 20 Million Miles to Earth and Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. She was a regular on The Rifleman and appeared in episodes of Men Into Space and Lights Out. Her husband, Leonard Freeman, produced Hawaii 5-0, and after his death in 1974, she produced the show until it was cancelled in 1980.
Fan and book dealer Dick Spelman (b.1931) died on March 6 following a battle with cancer and a week after being diagnosed with pneumonia. Spelman began attending conventions in 1952 at TASFIC and in the 1970s began running a book company focusing his sales at conventions. He sold his company to Larry Smith in 1991. Dick also chaired Windycon IX in 1982 and was on the board of directors for Chicon IV that same year. After he retired, he moved down to Florida.