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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

25 October 2004
Brazil Launches Rocket
Brazil, which suffered a major loss when a rocket exploded on the pad last year, has successfully launched its first rocket into space. The VSV-30 was launched on October 23 from the Alcantara launch site and spent about seven minutes in microgravity.

Voices In Your Head
IT Conversations has announced the creation of "Voices in Your Head," an interview show which focuses on science fiction authors and the effect of technology on art. The premier episode will feature host Dave Slusher interviewing author James Patrick Kelly.

Author William J. Widder (b.1926) died in the middle of October. Widder was the author ofThe Fiction of L. Ron Hubbard: A Comprehensive Bibliography and Reference Guide to Published and Selected Unpublished Works and Master Storyteller: An Illustrated Tour of the Fiction of L. Ron Hubbard. The latter work was nominated this year for the Hugo Award for Best Related Work.

19 October 2004
Lucas Honored by AFI
The American Film Institute has announced that it will honor director/producer George Lucas as its 33rd Lifetime Achievement recipient in June 2005. The award will come less than a month after Lucas releases Star Wars: Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. In addition for the Star Wars films, Lucas is known for the Indiana Jones movies, American Graffiti and more. His various companies have also pushed the boundaries of special effects creation in Hollywood.

Comics artist Irv Novick (b.1916) died of complications from a recent fall. He began drawing comics in 1940, working on Archie. He drew the premiere for The Shield and was the lead superhero artist for MLJ. He later moved to DC and spent most of the rest of his career there. From the 1960s to the 1980s, he drew Batman and also did work on Flash.

Tetsuo Yano (b.1923) died on October 13. Yano was a Japanese author whose story "The Legend of the Paper Spaceship" was first published in English in 1984. He translated nearly off of Robert Heinlein's work into Japanese and worked to introduce American and British science fiction to Japan. Last November, Yano underwent surgery for a cancerous intestine.

Betty Hill (b.1919) died on October 17 following a battle with lung cancer. Hill gained international notoriety in 1961 when she and her husband Barney claimed they were abducted by a UFO for two hours on September 19. In addition to promoting UFO awareness, Hill was active in the NAACP and adoption.

14 October 2004
Kessel Story Removed From Curriculum
Following complaints by a parent, John Kessel's short story "Stories for Men" was removed from the class curriculum at Seaside High School in Seaside, Oregon. An English teacher, Jan Priddy, gave students a choice between reading Kessel's work or a story by Mark Twain. One of the students who elected to read Kessel's work complained to her mother about the story's sexual content. Kessel has offered to speak to teachers, parents and administrators about the work. The incident occurred during Banned Books Week.

Green Arrow Companion Has HIV
DC Comics has announced that Green Arrow's companion, Mia, will be revealed to be HIV positive. This is the highest profile comic book to feature a main character with HIV. Mia has been part of Green Arrow's world since he rescued her from the streets two years ago. The book is written by Judd Winick, who was part of the MTV show "The Real World" in 1993. One of his roommates on the show died of AIDS the following year.

Who Is Buried in Petrarch's Tomb?
Scientists planning to recreate the face of the Renaissance poet Petrarch have determined that the skull found in his tomb belonged to a women who died around 1280. Petrarch, who lived from 1304-1374 is best known for the Rime sparse, dialogues, and treatises. Along with Dante Alighieri, he is known as one of the fathers of the Renaissance.

11 October 2004
Interaction Rates to Rise
Interaction, the 2005 Worldcon in Glasgow, has announced that rates will increase on December 1. Currently, and attending membership is £95/US$170/EUR 145. After December 1, the rates will be £110/US$195/EUR 165. Children and supporting membership rates will remain unchanged.

Actor Christopher Reeve (b.1952) died of heart failure on October 10. Reeve burst on the scene in 1978 with his portrayal of Superman/Clark Kent in the film "Superman" and went on to reprise the role in three additional films. He went on to star in other genre films, including "Somewhere in Time," based on Richard Matheson's World Fantasy Award winning novel Bid Time Return, and "Village of the Damned." In 1995, he was thrown from a horse and suffered paralysis. He turned his attention to health activism and had tremendous personal achievements of his own. He recently appeared on the Superman-based television show "Smallville."

NASA engineer Max Faget (b.1921) died on October 9. Faget was one of the original 35 engineers selected to work on Mercury in 1958 and conceived and designed the Mercury capsule. He has worked on every manned American spacecraft up through the shuttle fleet. Faget left NASA in 1981 to found one of the first private space companies, Space Industries, Inc.

7 October 2004
EF Eridanus
A new type of stellar object was identified in the binary system EF Eridanus. Gravity from the larger star has stripped away enough material from the smaller star that the smaller companion can no longer sustain nuclear fusion in its core. Nevertheless, the smaller object's composition does not match that of a brown dwarf, nor is it a planet. Scientists believe the larger star stopped stripping away material from the smaller star about eight years ago.

Author Honored
Robert J. Sawyer received the "Civic Award of Recognition" from the city of Mississauga, Ontario on October 7 in honor of his international success in science fiction. Two Olympic athletes from Mississauga were also recognized.

Scholarship Changed
SFSFC has announced that Wolfgang Coe, the winner of a $500 scholarship to attend this year's SMOFcon in Washington, D.C., has had to withdraw for medical reasons. SFSFC has elected to give the scholarship to Deirdre Saoirse Moen, who will join Tomoko Shintani Stocksiek, also a scholarship winner, at SMOFcon. The awards are funded by ConJosé surplus funds.

Chicago area fan Bill Krucek (b.1955) died on October 6. Krucek has worked on Windycon for a quarter of a century, much of the time heading logistics and operations. For Chicon 2000, Krucek was the director of Convention Services. Shortly after Chicon, he was diagnosed with diabetes and has health problems ever since. He slipped into a coma in late September and was removed from a ventilator on October 6.

6 October 2004
New Editors at Paizo
Paizo Publishing has named Erik Mona editor-in-chief of Dragon magazine. Mona is currently editor-in-chief of Dungeon magazine and will now oversee both publications simultaneously. Former editor-in-chief Matthew Sernett left the company for a position at Wizards of the Coast. At the same time, Jeff Berkwits has been named the editor-in-chief of Amazing Stories following the departure of David Gross. The company also named Jason Bulmahn, former campaign coordinator for the Dungeons & Dragons organization Living Greyhawk, as associate editor of Dragon magazine.

Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire
The results of the Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire have been announced. The awards will be presented during the Utopiales Festival.
French novel: Transparences, by Ayerdhal
Translated novel: Perdido Street Station, by China Miéville
French short story: Serpentine, a collection by Mélanie Fazi
Translated short story: "Sisyphe et l'Etranger" ("Sisyphus and the Stranger"), by Paul Di Filippo
Children's or YA Book: Mosa Wosa, by Nathalie Le Gendre
Translation: Nathalie Mège, for her translation of Perdido Street Station
Graphic Work : L'Art de Jean-Claude Forest ("The Art of Jean-Claude Forest"), by Philippe Lefèvre-Vakana
Essay : L'Histoire revisitée (2e édition) ("History Revisited", 2nd edition), by Eric Henriet
Special Award: NooSFere ( )
European Award: Andreas Eschbach, for his European anthology in German, One Trillion Euro

TAFF Nominations Open
Nominations are now open for the 2005 North-America-to Europe TAFF race. The winner will attend Interaction, the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention, to be held August 4-8, 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland. To become a candidate for this race you must provide:
Five nominations from known fans, three of whom must be North American and two European (nominators should send a signed nomination via snailmail OR if sending the nomination by e-mail, include a phone number for verification);
A written platform, not to exceed 101 words;
A $20 bond and a pledge that you will take the trip if you win. (Send via snailmail; make checks payable to "Randy Byers".) All nominations, platforms, pledges, and $20 bonds must reach me at the address(es) below by midnight, November 20, 2004. So long as at least two prospective candidates have satisfied these requirements by that date, distribution of ballots, in both electronic and paper form, will begin immediately thereafter. Randy Byers North American TAFF Administrator 1013 N. 36th St. Seattle WA 98103 USA

GUFF Balloting Open
Voting is now open for an Australasian fan to attend Interaction, the 63rd Worldcon, in Glasgow, Scotland, 4-8 August 2005. Candidates are Sue Ann Barber Alison Barton David Cake Damien Warman and Juliette Woods

SESFA Awards
The winners of the South Eastern Science Fiction Association Award have been announced. The SESFA Award is designed to honor achievement in SF/F/H by individuals born or living in the Southern United States. The SESFA is administered under the auspices of the online science fiction magazine scifidimensions, and is made possible in part by the sponsorship of Biting Dog Press and Dan Henderson.
Best Novel: "Hyperthought," by M. M. Buckner
Best Short Fiction: "The Door Gunner, by Michael Bishop
Lifetime Achievement: Joe Haldeman

4 October 2004
X-Prize Won
SpaceShipOne completed its second flight in less than a week, flying to an altitude of 368,000 feet, 40,000 feet more than required, to win the prize. This flight was piloted by Brian Binnie rather than Mike Melvill, who flew the craft on each of its two previous flights to space. Although the ship rolled, it did not repeat the 29 rolls Melvill experienced last week. Binnie was the pilot of SpaceShipOne's first powered flight. With this flight, the SpaceShipOne team wins the $10,000,000 Ansari X-Prize.

Rhode Island fan Sue Anderson has died from a kidney and liver infection. She lapsed into a coma before dying. Anderson was a member of the APA Apaloosa in the 1970s and wrote several science fictional musicals with Mark Keller, including "Mik Ado About Nothing" and "The Decomposers." These musicals were collected in book form by NESFA Press in 2003. Anderson also published a couple of stories in the small press 'zine Threads.

Actress Janet Leigh (b.1927) died on October 3. Leigh is best known for her Oscar-nominated performance as Marion Crane in "Psycho." Leigh also appeared in genre films "Angels in the Outfield" and "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later." In the latter film, she costarred with her daughter, Jaime Lee Curtis.

Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr. (b.1927) died on October 4. Cooper was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts and the last to fly on a Mercury mission, "Faith 7." After the Mercury project ended, Cooper stayed with NASA and flew on the Gemini 5 mission as Command Pilot with Charles "Pete" Conrad. He was backup pilot for Gemini 12 and Apollo 10. He retired from NASA in 1970. Cooper died on the same day the X Prize was won by SpaceShipOne and on the 47th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik.

1 October 2004
Fan in Hospital
Bill Krucek, who has run operations at several Chicago area cons, including Chicon 2000, has lapsed into a coma after his heart stopped and was restarted. Doctors are unsure how long his heart was stopped and fear that he may have suffered some brain damage.

Author's Suicide Really Murder
The reported suicide of SF author Paul Smit (a.k.a. Paul Harland) has been declared a murder and his husband has been found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison. According to Dutch authorities, the husband, identified as T.D. from Tiel, staged the suicide, possibly because he feared a loss of residency permit. Smit was killed on June 17, 2003.

British Fantasy Award Winners
The winners of the British Fantasy Award were announced at Walsall over the weekend of September 27.
Best Novel: Full Dark House, by Christopher Fowler
Best Short Fiction: "American Waitress," by Christopher Fowler
Best Anthology: The Mammoth Book of New Horror: Volume 14, edited by Stephen Jones
Best Collection: Told by the Dead, by Ramsey Campbell
Best Artist: Les Edwards
Best Small Press: PS Publishing
Karl Edward Wagner Special Award: Peter Jackson for his film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.

SpaceShipOne Flight
SpaceShipOne made its second flight on September 29, reaching a reported altitude of 73 miles, about ten miles higher than its maiden flight. This flight included the pilot, Michael Melvill, who flew on the first flight, and weights to simulate two passengers. In order to win the X-Prize, SpaceShipOne must reach a height of 62.9 miles again before October 13. Shortly before automatic engine shutdown, the spacecraft went into a series of rolls which only ended when Melvill manually shut down the engines.

Harvard professor and UFO expert John E. Mack (b.1929) was killed in England on September 27 when he was struck by a car. Mack published two books about UFO abduction, Abduction (1994) and Passport to the Cosmos (1999). He won a Pulitzer Prize for A Prince of Disorder (1977), a biography of T.E. Lawrence.

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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