Indianapolis fan Donna Stump (b.1944) died on April 8. Stump was active in Chicago and Indianapolis fandom for several years, beginning in Star Trek fandom and attending the first InConJunction in 1981. The following year, she attended her first Worldcon in Chicago and went on to become a regular Worldcon attendee, attending a total of 20 Worldcons, her last one being in Chicago in 2013.
Actor Richard Brooker (b.1954) died on April 8. Brooker portrayed Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part III, Oghris in Deathstalker, and Leon in Deep Sea Conspiracy. Brooker also served as a stunt coordinator and appearing in many documentaries about the Friday the 13th films.
Robert Silverberg has been named the Toastmaster for this year’s Nebula Awards Weekend, scheduled to take place in San Jose, CA the weekend of May 17-19. Named an SFWA Grand Master in 2004, Silverberg is the author of Lord Valentine’s Castle, Dying Inside, and numerous other works of science fiction and fantasy.
Actress Annette Funicello (b.1942) died on April 8. Funicello was one of the original members of The Mickey Mouse Club and went on to a successful career in film, including making many “Beach Blanket” films with Frankie Avalon. She made her big screen debut in The Shaggy Dog and also appeared in Babes in Toyland, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, and Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.
Robert J. Sawyer has announced the short list for the first Lifeboat to the Stars Award. The award is being presented to the best work of science fiction of any length published in 2011 or 2012 contributing to an understanding of the benefits, means, and difficulties of interstellar travel. The first winner will be announced at 2013 Campbell Conference in Lawrence, KS the weekend of June 13-16 and includes a $1,000 prize.
- Tau Ceti, by Kevin J. Anderson and Steve Savile
- Bowl of Heaven, by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven
- “Twenty Lights to `The Land of Snow’,” by Michael Bishop
- “A Country for Old Men,” by Ben Bova
- “Lucy,” by Jack McDevitt
- Blue Remembered Earth, by Reynolds, Alastair
- “The First Day of Eternity,” by Domingo Santos (translated by Stanley Schmidt)
Night Shade Books has announced that it will be closing their magazine Eclipse Online effective immediately. All stories in inventory are being released. The online version of Strahan’s anthology series was launched in October 2012 and included stories by Christopher Rowe, Eleanor Arnason, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lavie Tidhar, Susan Palwick, and E. Lily Yu. According to the publisher, all stories have been paid for and no new ones will be considered.
Comic artist Carmine Infantino (b.1925) died on April 4. Infantino helped create many of the Silver Age heroes for DC, including the Barry Allen Flash and Black Canary. He also worked on the classic “Flash of Two Worlds” storyline. He took on editorial tasks at DC as well. Later, he developed the Star Wars comic.
Fan and movie critic Roger Ebert (b.1942) died on April 4. Ebert, who is best known for his television shows with Gene Siskel reviewing films and the creation of the thumbs up/thumbs down movie review system, got his start as a fanzine writer while in high school, publishing the zine Stymie and having his writing appear in Xero, Yandro, and other zines. Although he did spend some time distancing himself from his fannish roots, he returned to write the introduction to The Best of Xero. In college, he was a member of the Champaign-Urbana Science Fiction Association.
British author Basil Copper (b.1924) died on April 3. Copper’s first story, “The Spider,” appeared in 1964 in the Fifth Pan Book of Horror Stories. Beginning in the 1970s, many of his works were published by August Derleth and Arkham House. Following Derleth’s death, Copper edited Derleth’s Solar Pons stories into a two volume omnibus. In 1975, his collection, From Evil’s Pillow, was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. He also wrote non-fiction works on vampires and werewolves.
Publishers Weekly has announced that Night Shade Books is in sale negotiations with Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing to sell its assets, including titles under contract. The press has had financial difficulties for several years, and recently let editor Ross Lockhart go. Several of their authors have also left the company. At the same time, SFWA, which has been working with Night Shade Books for several years, including a probationary period, has announced the press will be delisted as a qualifying market.