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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

29 May 2004
Bookstore Closing
The Science Fiction & Mystery Bookstore, an Atlanta establishment for 20 years, will be closing on May 29. They will be holding a close-out sale that day with refreshments from 11 AM until everything's gone.

Tolkien House for Sale
The house in which J.R.R. Tolkien lived from 1930 through 1947 is going on the market for an asking price of $2.7 million. Located just north of Oxford, Tolkien is believed to have written The Hobbit and the beginning of The Lord of the Rings in the house, which contains six bedrooms. The professor who moved into the house when Tolkien vacated died recently.

Young Planet Discovered
Scientists have discovered what they believe to be the youngest planet yet found. Orbiting around the star CoKu Tau 4, 420 light years from Earth, the planet is less than a million years old. It was discovered by a team working with the Spitzer Space Telescope. CoKu Tau 4 is only a million years old. The Earth, by comparison, is 4.5 billion years old.

Fake Lalumière
Claude Lalumière reports that someone on the internet has been impersonating him and has gotten into heated debates with others. Any authentic messages from Lalumière will have lostpages in the e-mail address, either before or after the @ symbol. If you've received any messages from Lalumière which may be spurious, please contact him with whatever information you might have.

25 May 2004
Recuperating and Married
Author Laurie Marks, who was injured when her porch collapsed, has returned home from the hospital. This past weekend, on May 22, Marks married her longtime companion Deb Mensinger under Massachusetts's newly established right of same-sex marriages. Marks and Mensinger have been together for 18 years.

Heinlein Award to Clarke
The second annual Robert A. Heinlein Award has been given to Arthur C. Clarke. The award, bestowed by the Heinlein Society, will be presented at Noreascon 4 in Boston.

2004 Mythopoeic Award Finalists
The Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature is given to the fantasy novel, multi-volume, or single-author story collection for adults published during 2003 that best exemplifies "the spirit of the Inklings". The Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature honors books for younger readers. The Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies is given to books on Tolkien, Lewis, and/or Williams that make significant contributions to Inklings scholarship. The winners of this year's awards will be announced at the banquet during Mythcon XXXV, to be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, from July 30th-August 2nd, 2004.

Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, Adult Literature
Paladin of Souls, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Fudoki, by Kij Johnson
Changing Planes, by Ursula K. Le Guin
In the Forests of Serre, by Patricia A. McKillip
Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, Children's Literature
The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo
The Hollow Kingdom, by Clare Dunkle
Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke, translated from German by Anthea Bell
The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale
The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett

Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inklings Studies
Tolkien the Medievalist, edited by Jane Chance
Following Gandalf: Epic Battles and Moral Victory in The Lord of the Rings, by Matthew Dickerson
Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth, by John Garth
C.S. Lewis, Poet: The Legacy of His Poetic Impulse, by Don W. King

Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies
Algernon Blackwood: An Extraordinary Life, by Mike Ashley
A Charmed Life: The Spirituality of Potterworld, by Francis Bridger
Vampire Legends in Contemporary American Culture: What Becomes a Legend Most, by William Patrick Day
The Myth of the American Superhero, by John Lawrence & Robert Jewett
Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit: A Children's Classic at 100, edited by Margaret Mackey
National Dreams: The Remaking of Fairy Tales in Nineteenth-Century England, by Jennifer Schacker

More Records for Shrek 2
In addition for the highest opening for an animated feature on a Wednesday, it appears that "Shrek 2" will capture the title for the biggest debut weekend for an animated film after taking an estimate 104.3 million over the weekend. If the figures are correct, "Shrek 2" will also knock "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" out of first place for a Wednesday opening over the first five days and be second in first weekend take only to "Spider-Man." With $44.8 million in ticket sales for Saturday, "Shrek 2" dethroned "Spider-Man" for single day ticket sales.

23 May 2004
Beagle 2 Report
The inquiry into the failure of the British Beagle 2 spacecraft to Mars is expected to indicate that the failure of the spacecraft upon reaching the surface was the result of rushing the mission and inadequate funding.

Actor Richard Biggs (b.1961), who appeared on Babylon 5 as Dr. Stephen Franklin and who was active on the science fiction convention circuit, died on May 22. Biggs has also appeared on several soap operas and was currently filming the television series "Tremors" as Roger Garret. Initial indications are that he suffered from either an aneurysm or a massive stroke.

Sid Hoff (b.1913), the author of the child's classic Danny and the Dinosaur, died on May 12. Hoff also was an illustrator for the New Yorker and published more than 60 children's books.

21 May 2004
Moon Rock Stolen
A small piece of the moon given to Malta by Richard Nixon, has been stolen from the Museum of Natural History in Mdina on the island nation. The rock, no larger than a raisin, is believed to be worth 5 million dollars. It was recovered from the Taurus-Littrow region by Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt on the last lunar mission in 1972.

Star Wars Rumor Title
Although Lucasfilm hasn't confirmed it, Empire magazine has claimed that the title for the next Star Wars film will be Star Wars: Episode III: Birth of the Empire.

Enterprise Reprieved
UPN has announced that it has renewed Star Trek: Enterprise for a fourth season. Many had expected the network to drop the ratings-troubled show from its line-up. This past season has seen a revamping of the show, which will probably air on Friday nights next year.

Shrek Sets Record
The animated film "Shrek 2," which opened in theaters on Wednesday, May 19, has set a new record for animated films opening on a Wednesday, bringing in 11.8 million dollars. The previous record was set in 1999 by "Pokemon: The First Movie." On Friday, "Shrek 2" will expand to 4,163 theaters, marking the first time a film has been in more than 4,000 theaters on its opening weekend. The previous record was held by "X2: X-Men United," which debuted in 3,741 theaters.

Author Brian McNaughton (b.1935) has died. McNaughton received the World Fantasy Award in 1998 for his collection The Throne of Bones. McNaughton's novels include Satan's Love Child, Gemini Rising, and Guilty Until Proven Guilty. McNaughton had been in ill health for some time.

18 May 2004
Prometheus Finalists
The Libertarian Society has announced the finalists for the 2004 Prometheus Awards, given to science fiction which promotes the libertarian mindset. The awards will be presented at Noreascon 4, this year's Worldcon.

Best Novel:
Naked Empire, by Terry Goodkind
The Pixel Eye, by Paul Levinson
Spin State, by Chris Moriarty
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling
Sims, by F. Paul Wilson

Hall of Fame finalist 2003-2004 award year
It Can't Happen Here, a novel by Sinclair Lewis
Lord of the Rings trilogy, novels by J.R. Tolkien
The Weapon Shops of Isher, a novel by A. E. Van Vogt
"The Ungoverned," by Vernor Vinge
The Book of Merlyn, a novel by T.H.White

Private Rockets to Space
With the X-Prize coming to a conclusion at the end of the year, private companies are hurrying to meet the prize's stipulations. Only days after SpaceShipOne achieved a record altitude of 40 miles, the US Civilian Space eXploration team launched a rocket to a height of more than 100 km, the official boundary of space. US Civilian Space eXploration is the first private company to send a rocket beyond that border.

China Doesn't Aim for the Moon
Only days after announcing that their next manned launch would orbit two taikonauts, China has announced that it is shelving plans to land men on the Moon. Instead, the Chinese space agency will focus its efforts on a lunar orbital program and the construction of a Chinese space station. The space station should be in orbit by 2020.

Lord Ruthven Assembly Award
Andrew Fox won the Lord Ruthven Assembly Award for his debut novel, Fat White Vamprie Blues. The award, which is presented by the Lord Ruthven Assembly, a scholarly organization focusing on the vampire/revenant figure in a variety of disciplines, was presented at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the arts.

Mexican UFOs Explained
Julio Herrera, a nuclear researcher, believes that the series of lights filmed by the Mexican air force and released with the possible explanation of being UFOs was really ball lightning. He believes the lightning was attracted to the metal of the planes, giving it the appearance of intelligent maneuvering. Ball lightning, which is a mysterious phenomenon in its own right, has often been explained as the basis for UFO sightings.

Fiction Workshop at Black to the Future
The Carl Brandon Society and Humanities Washington will co-sponsor a special Writing the Other workshop as part of the Black to the Future Science Fiction Festival in Seattle the weekend of June 11-13, 2004. The three hour class, called "Writing the Other: Bridging Cultural Differences in Genre Fiction," will cost $20. For more information, or to register, visit

Actor Tony Randall (b.1920) died on May 18. Randall, best known for the role of Felix Unger on television's "The Odd Couple," played the title role in "The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao," based on the story by Charles Beaumont. Randall also provided the voice for one of the gremlins in the film "Gremlins 2: The New Batch."

13 May 2004
Clarke Award Winner
Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver has been named the winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

UFOs Over Mexico
The Mexican air force has released video images of eleven lights taken by air force pilots which they have been unable to identify. The footage, shot in March over the Campeche region, shows blurred images of several bright lights flying in formation. The video was taken by infrared equipment and released with the approval of the Mexican government.

2 Taikonauts To Orbit
China has announced the two taikonauts will be launched into orbit in 2005 in the Shenzhou 6 capsule for a mission scheduled to last between 5 and 7 days. Last year, China became the third nation to launch humans into space.

Great Die Off Crater Possibly Found
Scientists have located a candidate for a crater linked to the Great Die Off, which occurred 250 million years ago and wiped out 90% of all species living to end the Permian period and start the Triassic period. The possible crater, which is 120 miles wide, is located in the ocean just north west of Australia and is called the Bedout crater. By contrast the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan, which is often linked to the extinction of the dinosaurs, is 65 million years old and 125 miles in diameter.

12 May 2004
DUFF Results
Norman Cates has won the three-way race for DUFF in a close contest with Danny Oz and Erika Lacey. According to out-going DUFF administrator Julian Warner, the voting came down to preferences in the Australian rules ballot. Cates will travel to Noreascon 4 and around the United States later this year.

David to Phobos
Kathleen O'Shea David, formerly of Del Rey, has joined Phobos Books as an Associate Editor. David will work with John Ordover to develop and refine an as-yet untitled new line of science fiction and fantasy.

Burstein Elected to Library Board
Campbell Award winner Michael A. Burstein has been elected to sit on the Board of Trustees for the Brookline, Massachusetts Public Library. He hopes to increase the materials budget to keep up with inflation, get more authors involved in Library programs, and survey the genre fiction in the Library's current collection. Burstein was one of four trustees elected.

Abyss and Apex Summer Fund Drive Announced
The webzine Abyss and Apex has announced a Summer Fund Drive to help continue to provide fiction on a bimonthly basis. The zine, which is free, has been subsisting with no financial assistance except an occasional donation and is looking to bolster its coffers. A&A pays semi-pro rates and will offer prizes to those who join the fund drive.

Eastern Regional Director Resigns
Catherine Mintz has resigned her position as SFWA's Eastern Regional Director in order to focus her attention on her writing. SFWA President Catherine Asaro will appoint a new Eastern Regional Director to serve out Mintz's term. An announcement is expected within a week.

Magazines Debut
Wildside Press has announced the addition of two new magazines to its stable. Adventure Tales will reprint stories from the pulp magazines of the twentieth century. The magazine will appear twice a year and the premiere issue will include stories by Hugh B. Cave, H. Bedford Jones, and Captain A.E. Dingle. The second magazine, Underworlds, will be edited by Sean Wallace and William P. Simmons. The magazine will be published quarterly and will feature new noir-influenced stories of suspense, crime and supernatural fiction. Wildside currently publishes H.P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror.

Actor Anthony Ainley (b.1937) best known to fans for his role on "Doctor Who" as the Master opposite Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy, died on May 3. Ainley has suffered from poor health for some time. Ainley also appeared in the film "The Land that Time Forgot.

Fan Ken Uhland died in the afternoon of Saturday, May 8, 2004. Ken has been fighting cancer for a while and entered hospice about a month ago. In addition to being a volunteer on the convention scene for many years, Uhland also was active in coordinating MENSA events in the San Francisco bay area.

Comedian Alan King (b.1927) died of lung cancer on May 9 in Manhattan. King, who served as the Abbot of the New York Friar's Club, is best known for his stand-up comedy, but has also appeared in numerous films, in both comedic and straight roles. He provided the voice for the Supreme Commander in the animated film "The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars," based on the characters of Thomas M. Disch.

3 May 2004
Aurealis Winners
The 2003 Aurealis Awards for Australian speculative fiction were announced during Swancon in Perth. The Awards are sponsored by Chimaera Publications and Aurealis Magazine.

Division A: Science Fiction
Novels: Fallen Gods, by Jon Blum and Kate Orman
Short Stories: "Louder Echo," by Brendan Duffy

Division B: Fantasy
Novels: Abhorsen (Book 3 of The Old Kingdom Trilogy), by Garth Nix
Short Stories: "La Sentinelle," by Lucy Sussex,

Division C: Horror
Novels: Born of The Sea, by Victor Kelleher
Short Stories: "Love Is a Stone," by Simon Brown

Division D: Young Adult
Novels: (tie): Dragonkeeper, by Carole Wilkinson and Abhorsen (Book 3 of The Old Kingdom Trilogy), by Garth Nix
Short Stories: No Award

Division E: Children's (8-12 years)
Long Fiction: Mister Monday (Keys of the Kingdom book 1), by Garth Nix
Short Fiction: Lily Quench and the Lighthouse of Skellig Mor, by Natalie Jane Prior

The Peter McNamara Convenors' Award: Nick Stathopoulos, for his outstanding contribution to the field of speculative fiction illustration.

Lord of the Rings CD Specials
Howard Shore, the composer for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has announced that the soundtrack from the films will be released on a nine-CD set. The first eight will include the soundtrack from the films with the ninth CD containing previously unreleased music.

Author Robyn Herrington (b.1961) died on May 3 following a multi-year battle with cancer. Herrington's short stories have appeared in On Spec, Talebones, and Adventures in Sword and Sorcery. Her first story appeared in the anthology Return of the Dinosaurs and her final story was in New Voices in Science Fiction. Herrington worked as an acquisitions editor for Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, working to publish Australian author K. A. Bedford's Orbital Burn.

Author Basil Wells (b.1912) died on December 23, 2003. Wells began publishing SF in 1940 with the story "Rebirth of Man" in Super Science Stories. His short stories were collected in two volumes, Planets of Adventure and Doorways to Space. He published a few tales under the pseudonym Gene Ellerman and stopped publishing in 1957.

1 May 2004
Science Fiction Hall of Fame
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, which will move to Seattle to become part of the Science Fiction Museum, has announced this year's inductees. The celebration will take place for the last time at the Kansas University campus in Lawrence, Kansas during the weekend of July 8-11. This year's inductees will include Brian Aldiss, Harry Harrison, E.E. "Doc" Smith, and Mary Shelley. Aldiss and Harrison plan to attend the event.

Interaction Installment Plan
Effective Janue 1, the Interaction (Worldcon 2005) installment plan will be modified. From June 1, all installment sizes will increase to £40/US$75/Euro 60). New members to the plan will buy a supporting membership and then pay the installments each quarter. The total charge of the membership will be frozen at the time the supporting membership is purchased.

Orbital to Launch
A new British science fiction magazine, Orbital, is scheduled to launch in June of this year. The magazine will contain articles and interviews covering a variety of science fictional and science topics. More information can be found by writing to Orbital Magazine 1 Firshill Mews, Pitsmoor Road, Sheffield, S3 9AU, South Yorkshire, UK.

Birth Announcements
Author Roger MacBride Allen and Eleanore Fox became the parents of James Maury Allen. This is the couple's second son.

Fan Tammy Coxen gave birth to her first child, Liam Benjamin McGlohan, on April 26.

Atlanta fan Jerry Burge died on April 6. Burge was a founding member of the Atlanta Science Fiction Organization in the 1950s. Along with Carson Jacks, he published the first edition of Sam Mosowitz's The Immortal Storm in hardcover in 1954. Berg helped start the Southern Fan Press Association and was the art director of the short-lived "Witchcraft and Sorcery." Burge was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in December 2003 and in January, he underwent surgery to repair a heart valve.

Norwegian fan Johannes H. Berg (b.1956) died of cancer on April 29. Berg was diagnosed with cancer in November last year. He entered fandom in the early 1970s and became a conrunner and fanzine editor. He helped found the Oslo science fiction club Aniara in the 70s. From 1991, he published the monthly fanzine Kretsen. In 1998, he was the fan guest of honor at InterContact. Berg was serving as the Norwegian agent for Interaction.

Copyright © 2004 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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