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Every day, items of interest to you arrive in our email. Our bi-monthly format doesn't lend itself to daily updates. However, this is a small inconvenience to our Contributing Editor Steven H Silver. He's begun this column which will fill you in on recent news in science fiction. We'll be updating the page as he sends in new items.

Did you miss something? Have a look at last month's news page.

Material for possible inclusion here should be sent to Steven H Silver at

28 October 2002
TAFF Deadline Extended
Victor Gonzalez has announced the extension of the deadline for candidates to file for the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund until November 30, 2002. The race, which will send a North American fan to Britain, has so far garnered only one candidate, although another is reported to be considering running. If there are two candidates, balloting will run from December 1 through February 28.

The Metropolitan Police have lost a case against the BBC over the rights to the style of the blue police telephone box used for several years as the TARDIS in the Dr. Who television series. Following the BBC's registration of the TARDIS as a trademark and merchandising, the Metropolitan Police filed suit. The courts ruled in favor of the BBC, stating that the BBC has built up brand recognition as a time traveling device while the Metropolitan Police have built up the brand recognition as an area of policing and street furniture. The Police were ordered to pay £850 and court costs.

"Small" Planet Discovery
Astronomers believe they may have discovered a planet with a mass only 10% that of Jupiter in orbit around the star Epsilon Eridani, about ten light years away from Earth. If confirmed, the planet, with an orbit similar to Pluto's, will be one of the smallest objects discovered outside the solar system. The technique used to discover this planet, based on the study of dust rings surrounding the star, may be use din the future to find planets which are Earth-sized.

26 October 2002
Richard Harris (October 25)

Richard Harris (b.1930), an actor most recently known for his role as Albus Dumbledore in the first two "Harry Potter" films, died peacefully. Recently, Harris announced that he was undergoing chemotherapy since being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. Despite that, he was optimistic that he would be able to reprise his role of Dumbledore in the third Harry Potter film, scheduled to begin filming in January. His first film was "Shake Hands with the Devil" in 1959.

24 October 2002
Craig Mills (October 15)
Nikolai Rukavishnikov (October 19)

Craig Mills (b.1955), the author of four fantasy novels beginning with The Bane of Lord Caladon (Del Rey, 1982) died at his home, evidently of an heart attack. Mills studied acting in college and acted on stage in New York for four years before moving to California and taking up his writing career. In addition to four original fantasy novels, he also wrote the gaming tie-in King's Quest #1: The Floating Castle. Although Mills attended conventions in the San Francisco area, he was quiet and may not have been known to many.

Nikolai Rukavishnikov (b.1932), a Soviet cosmonaut who made three trips into space, died of an heart attack. Rukavishnikov's first mission was aboard the Soyuz 10 in 1971. Although the mission was to deliver the first humans to the Salyut-1 space station, a faulty hatch meant that access to the station was not possible and the mission was aborted. His second mission was in 1974 as part of the Apollo-Soyuz joint missions on Souyz 16. His final mission occurred in 1979 on Soyuz 33. Upon preparing to dock with the Salyut-6 space station, his engine failed, leaving him unable to maneuver. His backup engine fired, but failed to work properly, resulting in the first known landing of a space craft under manual control.

18 October 2002
Dinosaur Mummy Found
Volunteer fossil hunter Dan Stephenson discovered the fossilized mummified remains of a duckbill dinosaur, nicknamed "Leonardo" in the summer of 2000. Scientists have been able to study the fossil to determine the texture of its skin as well as the contents of its stomach. Nate Murphy led a team that presented a paper on "Leonardo" at The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's annual meeting in Norman, Oklahoma. The fossil is complete except for a portion of the animal's tail.

16 October 2002
Harry Knowles, of the Ain't It Cool News website, claims that it was not Shea O'Brien Foley who provided him with a preview of "Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones."

The Library of Alexandria
A year after it unofficially opened, the Library of Alexandria has officially opened. The current manifestation of the library has been in the works since the 1980s and has been guaranteed independence of the library administration. The administration hopes that it will be the centerpoint for freedom of expressions and ideas which are lacking throughout much of the Middle Eastern world. The original library, on whose site many archaeologists believe the current library has been built, was founded in 295 B.C. by Ptolemy I Soter, the successor of Alexander the Great. While the original library held 500,000 volumes, the current library holds 240,000, but has space for 4 million books. It also has a digital archive of more than 10 billion web pages dating back to 1996.

Russian Rocket Explodes
A Soyuz rocket carrying a research satellite exploded seconds after liftoff from the Plesetsk cosmodrome. Debris showered the launch site, killing a serviceman and injuring eight others. The rocket was carrying European research equipment. A similar Soyuz rocket is scheduled to carry three cosmonauts to the International Space Station on October 28, but that launch may be postponed. The Soyuz has been in use since it took Yuri Gagarin on the first manned space flight in 1961.

DUFF Nominations Open
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2003 DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) race. The winner will travel from North American to The Australian National Convention in Perth, April 17-21, 2003. Candidates must have 3 North American and 2 Australasian nominators. All nominees must submit a 100-word platform and a $25 bond. The deadline for nominations is November 15, 2002. Nominations or questions can be addressed to either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere administrators:
Naomi Fisher & Patrick Molloy, DUFF North America Co-Administrators, P.O. Box 9135, Huntsville, AL 35812, U.S.A.,
Julian Warner, DUFF Australasia Administrator, 13 Frederick Street, Brunswick, Victoria 3056, Australia,

15 October 2002
ET Old and New
Despite earlier reports that only the revised version of ET would be released on DVD, Steven Spielberg has announced that both versions will be available on the standard DVD package. Initial reports were that the only way to get a copy of the original film was to purchase a $70 collector's edition. When Spielberg re-released ET earlier this year, he digitally altered scenes and changed some of the dialogue.

Star Wars Arrest
Shea O'Brien Foley, a former production assistant for Lucasfilm, was arrested a charged with 13 counts of felony theft. In addition to $450,000 worth of Star Wars material, Foley passed along a DVD of "Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones" to Harry Knowles of the Ain't It Cool News website more than two months before the film was released. Foley has posted a $200,000 bond.

Harris Has Cancer
Actor Richard Harris, most recently known for the role of Albus Dumbledore in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" has announced that he is suffering from cancer. Harris, who has received the Last Rites twice earlier in his life, was taken to hospital during the filming of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," necessitating a stand-in for many of his scenes. It is unknown if he will be able to film "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," which is scheduled to begin filming in January.

14 October 2002
German Phantastic Awards
The German Phantastic Awards were presented at the Buchmesse Convention near Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany on October 12. Votes were cast by more than 1400 readers. The awards were begun in 1999.

Best German Novel: Elfenfeuer by Monika Felten
Best Foreign Novel: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Best Short-Story: "Die letzte Fahrt der Enora Time" by Andreas Gruber
Best Anthology/Collection: "Die letzte Fahrt der Enora Time" by Andreas Gruber
Best Serial: "Maddrax"
Author Of The Year: J.R.R. Tolkien
Best Translation: Monika Angerhuber for "In a Foreign Town, in a Foreign Land", Thomas Ligotti
Best Feature: "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
Best Tv-Series: "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer"
Best Actress: Liv Tyler as "Arwen 'Evenstar' Undůmiel" in "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
Best Actor: Ian McKellen as "Gandalf the Grey" in "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
Best Internet-Site:
Honor-Award: Peter Jackson for Directing "Lord of the Rings"
Flop Of The Year: "Planet of the Apes" (Remake by Tim Burton)

Writers Against War
In a move reminiscent of the Viet Nam era, more than 118 authors, including sf authors Michael Moorcock, Robert Killheffer, A.M. Dellamonica, Douglas Lain, Ellen Datlow, John Kessel, Karen Joy Fowler, L. Timmel Duchamp, Steven Utley, Charles N. Brown, Phyllis Gotlieb, Victoria Strauss, Kathryn Cramer, Kelly Link, and Lisa Goldstein, have signed a petition calling for the United States to stop war preparations against Iraq, all countries to destroy their weapons of mass destruction, and the resumption of weapons inspections with Iraq.

Cage Comics
A portion of Nicholas Cage's comic book collection raised more than $1.6 million at auction in Dallas on October 10. The collection included the first issue of Action Comics, which depicted the debut of Superman. Action #1 was sold for $86,500, more than $15,000 more than its pre-auction estimate. The 1940 issue of Detective Comics #38, which introduced Robin, was sold for $121,000. Cage, who has been collecting for several years, auctioned off 400 items from his collection.

Dennis Patrick (October 13)

Dennis Patrick (b.1918), an actor who appeared in episodes of "The Twilight Zone" and played Jason McGuire and Paul Stoddard on "Dark Shadows," was killed in a fire in his home. He is believed to have died of smoke inhalation. Patrick was also battling cancer and was receiving kidney dialysis. Patrick also appeared in The Time Travelers, The Bionic Woman, and Lost in Space. In 1951, he played televisions first vampire in an episode of Stage 13.

13 October 2002
Fan Injured
Pixie Garcia, a dealer and fan who attends numerous conventions each year, was in an accident on her way to Con-Text in Tulsa on October 10. Her fully loaded van suffered a blow-out and, when she stepped on the brakes, they locked up. Following the accident, she was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa and has been diagnosed with spinal injuries and fractures, broken ribs, and head trauma. She was unconscious and given blood. It appears that there is a high possibility that she will be paralyzed from the waist down and will almost definitely suffer from some paralysis. Garcia can not currently receive packages or calls.

10 October 2002
Star Wars in Thirty Minutes
Following its success at the 1999 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the play "Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes" will make its US premiere at the Coronet Theatre in West Hollywood. The play, which was adapted and directed by Patrick T. Gorman, runs half an hour and reduces the three original films into a comedy. The play has received sanction from George Lucas and will run from October 25 through November 23.

9 October 2002
SESFA Award Nomination Period Extended
Scifidimensions has announced that it is extending the period of nominations for its first Southeastern Science Fiction Achievement (SESFA) Awards until November 1. The rules state that at least 75 nominations must be received in order to continue the award. According to the scifidimensions website, they are significantly lower than that number. In order to nominate, a person must join SESFA for an annual fee of $7. If there are not enough nominations by the new deadline, memberships will be rolled over for 2003.

Planet Orbiting Double Star
A Jupiter sized planet has been discovered in orbit in the Gamma Cephei system. The planet orbits around the primary star at an estimated distance of 1.5 astronomical units (AU). The secondary star in the system also orbits around the primary star at a distance of 19 AU. An astronomical unit is equal to the distance of Earth from the sun, or 149,600,000 km. This is the first time a planet has been discovered in orbit around a close-knit binary system. The system was discovered by a research team at the University of Texas. Gamma Cephei is approximately 45 light years away.

Director for Prisoner of Azkaban Named
"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" director Chris Columbus has announced that he will not direct "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," the third film in the series based on J.K. Rowling's series of books. Instead, he will turn directorial duties over to Alfonso Cuaron, whose previous films include "A Little Princess" and "Y Tu Mama Tambien." Columbus, who also directed the forthcoming "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," has said he will remain on the set as executive producer for the film.

Bob Wallace (October 4)

Bob Wallace (b.1949), a computer programmer who was Microsoft employee #9, died unexpectedly at his home. Wallace was instrumental in creating the shareware industry and is often credited with coining the phrase "shareware." Wallace was the first Microsoft employee to leave with stock options, although he left to found Quicksoft in 1983, three years before Microsoft went public. At Quicksoft, Wallace developed PC-Write, a word processing program. Wallace believed that both computing and drugs had the potential to expand the mind and in 1998 he established a foundation to research psychedelic drugs.

8 October 2002
Transplutonian Object Discovered
The largest object to be discovered in the solar system since Pluto was found in 1930 has been discovered orbiting in the Kuiper Belt beyond Pluto. The 800-mile diameter object, known officially as 2002 LM60, is half the size of Pluto. Discovered by Michael Brown and Chadwick Trujillo of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena using a ground-based telescope and later confirmed using the Hubble, the object has been nicknamed Quaoar (kaw-whar) after the creation force in Tongva mythology. The Tongva are the native inhabitants of the Los Angeles basin.

Filling Out the Ranks
Noreascon 4, the 2004 Worldcon to be held in Boston, has announced that they currently have members from 47 states and 8 provinces. The first people to join from currently unrepresented states or provinces and territories will receive a free Noreascon 4 T-Shirt. In addition, the offer is being extended to new members from currently unrepresented nations or United States territories.

Your Father's Darth Vader
James Earl Jones has announced that he has signed a deal to reprise his role as the voice of Darth Vader for the third, as yet untitled Star Wars prequel. Jones, who did not originally have credit in the original Star Wars film, provided a voice for the character acted by David Prowse. In The Phantom Menace, the role was played and voiced by Jake Lloyd and by Hayden Christensen in Attack of the Clones.

Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire Announced
The Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire for best translated novel was awarded to Jamil Nasir's Tower of Dreams. The winner for best French language novel is Michel Pagel for Le Roi d'Aout (The King of August). The best translated short story winner is "Leningrad Nights," by Graham Joyce. The awards will be presented at the end of October at Utopiales 2002.

Earthlight Editor Appointed
Darren Nash has been named the new Senior Editor of Earthlight, the science fiction arm of Simon & Schuster UK. He replaces John Jarrold, whose resignation was announced in June.

Creation of Created By
Ralph Vicinanza has formed a new agency, Created By, for the purpose of creating an interface between the science fiction world and Hollywood.

6 October 2002
Gaiman Wins Lawsuit
A lawsuit in which Neil Gaiman sued Todd McFarlane over breach of agreement in over copyright interest in the Gaiman-created character Angela from McFarlane's "Spawn" comic was settled by a jury trial. The jury determined that Gaiman had an interest in the character and the case will now go to a penalty phase to determine damages and awards.

Fans Marry
Anita Rowland and Jack Bell were married on Saturday, October 5. Andy Hooper officiated at the ceremony. Rowland wore a dress made by Kate Schaefer.

Dalvin Coger (October 2)

Dal Coger (b.1921), a fan since the 1940s, died from a post-surgery antibiotic resistant bacterial infection. Dal attended his first convention, Michicon II in 1942 and lived in the Slan Shack of Battle Creek before entering the military during World War II. While in California, he connected with LASFS before being sent to France. About twenty years of gafiation (getting away from it all) followed. In the mid-1970s, now a professor of African studies in Memphis, he re-entered fandom in Memphis and wrote fanhistorical articles, some of which appeared in the fanzine Mimosa.

3 October 2002
San Jose Big Winner
According to the San Jose Convention Center, which hosted ConJosé last month, the Worldcon brought an estimated US$9.8 million into the San Jose area. The amount includes money spent on transportation, food, lodging, tourism and other incidentals.

3 October 2002
Apollo 13 Launched
In its first two weeks of re-release to IMAX theaters, the 1995 film Apollo 13, based on the ill-fated 1970 lunar mission, took in $456,534 at the box office. The film was converted to IMAX format using a process which removed grain and sharpened images at a cost of $2 million. Apollo 13 is the first live-action feature length film converted to IMAX and the second feature-length film to receive the treatment, following Disney's re-release of the animated film Beauty and the Beast earlier this year.

Home of First European Born in North America Found
University of California archaeologists have announced that they have unearthed a Viking longhouse in Iceland which is believed to have been the home of Snorri Thorfinnsson. According to an early-thirteenth century saga, Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir and Thorfinn Karlsefni traveled to Vinland (possibly in Newfoundland) in 1004 and had a son, Snorri, in 1005. The age and location of the Icelandic longhouse are consistent with descriptions of Snorri's house given in the sagas.

Armstrong Speaks
On 19 September 2001, Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, took part in the Johnson Space Center Oral History Project, allowing himself to be interviewed by Stephen Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley. The interview, which has been transcribed and has recent been made available as an Acrobat file on the Johnson Space Center Oral History Project website, covers Armstrong's life and career from a trip to the National Air Races as a child to the present. Unlike many of the other members of the astronaut corps, Armstrong has really spoken in public about his experiences. Armstrong's transcript, along with scores of others, can be downloaded from

1 October 2002
Sunburst Award
The Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic was presented to Margaret Sweatman on September 26 for her novel When Alice Lay Down With Peter. The award was presented at the Winnipeg International Writers Festival and is given each year to a Canadian author who has published either a novel or book length collection of speculative fiction.

Sawyer Receives Alumni Award
Robert J. Sawyer, author of Hominids, was honored with an Alumni Award of Distinction from his alma mater, Ryerson University, in Toronto. Sawyer graduated from Ryerson with a Bachelors in Radio and Television Arts in 1982.

Kessel Play Performed
"A Clean Escape," a play based on John Kessel's 1985 story of the same name, was performed in Lubeck, Germany. The story of a pre-emptive nuclear strike by the United States was first performed in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1986.

Correction: Australia in 2010 Bid
Last month, SF Site reported that a Melbourne Australia fan group had launched a bid for a 2010 Worldcon. This is incorrect. In reality, a Melbourne fan, Stephen Boucher, made an off-hand comment about chairing a worldcon and other fans began throwing money at him. Before the end of the con, the ersatz bid produced T-Shirts, a website, and pre-support forms. As of October 1, Melbourne in 2010 has raised approximately US$5000. It has also spawned a hoax bid by Australian fan Bruce Gillespie for Melbourne, Florida in 2010 and a Brisbane, California NASFiC in 2010 bid by Cheryl Morgan and Kevin Standlee.

Obituary (September 30)
Australian author and fan Wynne Whiteford (b.1915), who entered the hospital last week and was not expected to make a full recovery, slipped in and out of a coma for the last few days before he died on September 30, apparently in no pain. Whiteford began publishing fiction in 1934 with the story "Beyond the Infinite." His first novel, Breathing Space Only, was published in 1980. Whiteford will be cremated and a small wake will be held on October 11.

Copyright © 2002 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a four-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings (DAW Books, January, February and March, 2003). In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.

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