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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 or that which lists all of our news pages.

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

29 December 2005
Howard's House Spared
With wildfires raging in parts of Texas, the town of Cross Plains, Texas, a community of about 1,000 people, lost fifty houses to the fire. Untouched, however, was the century-old house in which Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian, lived and committed suicide in 1936 . Howard's home is now a museum to the author.

28 December 2005
DeVore Still Hospitalized
Fan Howard DeVore, the fan guest of honor at the 2006 Worldcon in Los Angeles, was hospitalized on December 18 for blood clots in his legs. His caregiver had hoped DeVore would be released in time for Christmas, but he is still in the hospital and may face rehab rather than being released to home.

The Shatner Collection
William Shatner has announced that he will be running an SF DVD of the month club for and annual fee of $47.99. Members will receive DVDs of science fiction and fantasy films Shatner describes as "memorable and entertaining." Some of the initial offerings will include "Ginger Snaps," "Immortel ad Vitam," and "Dragon Storm." For more information, see

Europe Launched Galileo
The European Space Agency launched the first satellite of its Galileo navigational program on December 28. The satellite is the first of thirty navigational satellites which will end Europe's reliance on the GPS system run by the US military which currently serves as the only worldwide navigational system.

Actor Michael Vale (b.1922) died of complications from diabetes on December 24. Vale appeared in "The Marathon Man" and the short film "Psychic Parrot." He was best known, however, for his longtime role as Fred the Baker (1982-1997) in a series of commercials for Dunkin Donuts in which he woke up early announcing "Time to make the donuts."

27 December 2005
Genre Films Added to Registry
The National Film Registry has named twenty-five more films on its list of classics, bringing the total up to 425. This year's batch includes three films of genre interest: Miracle on 34th Street, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Toy Story. The films added this year range from 1906 through 1995.

26 December 2005
Actor Vincent Schiavelli (b.1948) died of lung cancer on December 26. Schiavelli, whose hang-dog looks were immediately recognizable, appeared in several genre films and television shows, including John O'Connor in "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension" and Uncle Enyos in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." In 1997, Vanity Fair named him one of the best character actors in America.

24 December 2005
Dodo Bones Found
A trove of bones belonging to the dodo has been found on the island of Mauritius. Scientists hope the bones, which likely include complete skeletons, will help explain the habits of the birds, which were last seen alive in 1663. No complete dodo skeleton has been found in a controlled archaeological excavation and the last stuffed dodo was destroyed in a fire in 1755.

Author and editor Kenneth Macksey (b.1923) died on November 30. Macksey published more than fifty books, among them several collections of alternate history speculation, such as Invasion and The Hitler Options. He fought in World War II and was injured in Normandy in 1944, at which time he was awarded the Military Cross.

22 December 2005
Hubble Discoveries
The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered two additional moons in orbit around the planet Uranus, bringing the number of moons to a total of 27. In addition, two additional faint rings were discovered, bringing the total to 13. The new moons have been named Mab and Cupid. Hubble also confirmed the existence of the moon Perdita. As with most of Uranus's moons, the names come from Shakespearean plays.

Lost Beagle Explanation
Scientists studying the area of Mars where the British Beagle 2 probe was scheduled to land on believe that December 25, 2003, believe that the craft hit the ground harder than planned because sandstorms had thinned the atmosphere around the landing site.

19 December 2005
Army Lt. Walter Haut (b.1922) died on December15 in Roswell, NM. In 1947, Haut issued a press release dictated by Colonel William Blanchard which stated that the army had recovered a flying saucer which had crashed in Roswell.

16 December 2005
2005 Aurealis Awards Finalists
The finalists for the Aurealis Awards have been announced. The awards, presented for the best Australian speculative fiction, will be given out in Brisbane on February 25 at the Queensland Conservatorium, South Bank.

Science Fiction Novels Finalists
Designated Targets, by John Birmingham
Eclipse, by KA Bedford
Crash Deluxe, by Marianne de Pierres
Geodesica: Ascent, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix

Science Fiction Short Stories Finalists
"The Interminable Sufferings of Mysterious Mr Woo," by Rjurik Davidson
"Skein Dogs," by Leanne Frahm
"Slow and Ache," by Trent Jamieson
"The Memory of Breathing," Lyn Triffit
"Terning tha Weel," by Kim Westwood

Science Fiction Short Story Highly Commended
"How Green Was Their Love," by Tess Williams

Fantasy Novel Finalists
Darkwitch Rising: The Troy Game Book 3, by Sara Douglass
Nightpeople, by Anthony Eaton
Surrender, by Sonya Hartnett
Blade of Fortriu: Book II The Bridei Chronicles, by Juliet Marillier
The Innocent Mage: Kingmaker Kingbreaker Book I, by Karen Miller

Fantasy Novel Highly Commended
Priestess of the White, by Trudi Canavan

Fantasy Short Story Finalists
"Heart of Saturday Night," by Adam Browne
"Ones and Zeros," by Terry Dartnall
"The Red Priest's Homecoming," by Dirk Flinthart
"The Greater Death of Saito Saku," by Richard Harland
"Once Giants Roamed the Earth," by Rosaleen Love

Horror Novel Finalists
No nominees nominated

Horror Novel Highly Commended
Nine Letters Long, by JC Burke

Horror Short Story Finalists
"Paterfamilias," by Lee Battersby
"Eight-Beat Bar," by Chuck McKenzie
"Doof, Doof, Doof," by Paul Haines
"The Ride," by James Cain
"Macciato Lane," by Cat Sparks

Horror Short Stories Highly Commended
"Dust," by Peter Barber

Young Adult Novel Finalists
Nightpeople, by Anthony Eaton
Magic or Madness, by Justine Larbalestier
Peeps, Scott Westerfeld
Uglies, Scott Westerfeld

Young Adult Novel Highly Commended
The Rat and the Raven, by Kerry Greenwood
Breathe, Penni Russon
Pretties, by Scott Westerfeld

Young Adult Short Story Finalists
"The Red Priest's Homecoming," by Dirk Flinthart
"Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case," by Garth Nix

Children's Long Fiction Finalists
Little Fur: The Legend Of Little Fur, by Isobel Carmody
Worm Story, by Morris Gleitzman
Sassycat: The Night of the Dead, by Richard Harland
Drowned Wednesday, by Garth Nix

Children's Long Fiction Highly Commended
Garden Of The Purple Dragon, by Carole Wilkinson
The Icebound Land (Ranger's Apprentice 3), by John Flanagan

Children's Short Fiction Finalists
"The Space Gypsies," by Goldie Alexander
"Piccolo & Annabel 2: The Disastrous Party," by Stephen Axelsen
"Piccolo & Annabel 3:The Stinky Cheese Gypsies," by Stephen Axelsen
"The Mystery of Eilean Mor," by Gary Crew & Jeremy Geddes

Ancient Tablets In Lawsuit
Ancient Iranian tablets on loan to the Oriental Institute in Chicago are in the middle of a lawsuit. According to a group of terrorism victims, the tablets, which date to 500 BC, should be handed over to them as part of a $71 million judgment against Iran for injuries suffered during a 1997 Iranian-linked suicide bombing in Jerusalem.

Hamoukar Raises Questions of Urban Development
Archaeologists working on the Syrian-Iraqi border have determined that the city of Hamoukar, which was founded as early as 8,000 years ago and destroyed 5,500 years ago, did not follow the accepted growth of a city. Hamoukar was not an outpost of Uruk, as previously expected and did not exist near a large river. Instead, Hamoukar represents a separate, previously undifferentiated, civilization.

Author Ken Bulmer (b.1921) died on December 16. Bulmer has used numerous pseudonyms over the course of his career, including Alan Burt Akers and Manning Norvil. His 53 book long Dray Prescott series was originally published as by Akers and later under the protagonists name. In addition to science fiction, Bulmer also wrote westerns and historical adventures.

14 December 2005
Earthsea in Anime
Studio Ghibli will be adapting Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle for release in July 2006. The anime film, entitled "Gedo Senki - Tales from Earthsea" (Record of the Gedo War - Tales from Earthsea) will be directed by Goro Miyazaki.

13 December 2005
Golden Globe Nominees
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced this year's nominees for the Golden Globe Awards, to be presented on January 16. Categories with nominees of genre interest are listed below.

Director - film:
Woody Allen, Match Point
Peter Jackson, King Kong
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck
Fernando Meirelles, The Constant Gardener
Steven Spielberg, Munich

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture -Musical Or Comedy
Joaquin Phoenix for "Walk the Line"
Cillian Murphy in "Breakfast on Pluto"
Nathan Lane in "The Producers"
Johnny Depp for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
Pierce Brosnan in "The Matador"
Jeff Daniels for "The Squid and The Whale"

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Alexandre Desplat, "Syriana"
James Newton Howard , "King Kong"
Gustavo Santaolalla, "Brokeback Mountain"
Harry Gregson-Williams, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"
John Williams, "Memoirs Of A Geisha"

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
"A Love That Will Never Grow Old," Brokeback Mountain
"Christmas In Love," Christmas In Love
"There's Nothing Like A Show On Broadway," The Producers
"Travelin' Thru," Transamerica
"Wunderkind," The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Best Television Series - Drama
Commander In Chief
Grey's Anatomy
Prison Break

Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series - Drama
Patricia Arquette, Medium
Glenn Close, The Shield
Geena Davis, Commander In Chief
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Polly Walker, Rome

Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series - Drama
Patrick Dempsey, Grey's Anatomy
Matthew Fox, Lost
Hugh Laurie, House
Wentworth Miller, Prison Break
Kiefer Sutherland, 24

Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Series, Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made For Television
Naveen Andrews, Lost
Paul Newman, Empire Falls
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Randy Quaid, Elvis
Donald Sutherland, Commander In Chief

New Kuiper Belt Object Found
Another new Kuiper Belt Object has been found which doesn't fit with other objects. Located 58 AU from the sun, the object, officially known as 2004 XR 190, but nicknamed Buffy, has an almost circular orbit inclined 47 from the ecliptic. The type of orbit Buffy is in has generally been explained as perturbations from Neptune, but since Buffy never comes within 50 AU, that explanation doesn't explain its orbit.

AFI Ten Best
The American Film Institute has announced its choice of the ten best films and television shows for 2005. In the film category, Peter Jackson's "King Kong" was the only genre work represented. In the television category, "Battlestar Galactica," "Lost," and "Veronica Mars" were selected.

Actor Gilbert Mack (b.1912) died on December 5. Mack did voice work on "Gigantor," "Astroboy" and the title character on "Johnny Jupiter." Before doing voice work, Mack had appeared on television and was a vaudevillian and a performer in the Yiddish theater. In the 1960s, he provided the voice for Hawkman on the Superman/Aquaman Hour.

Comic illustrator Bill Fraccio (b.1924) died in mid-November. Fraccio worked in collaboration with Tony Tallarico, who signed most of their work. In the mid-1960s, Fraccio worked on Charlton's superhero line, including a revival of The Blue Beetle. Some of their work was published over the name Tony Williamsune. Fraccio also worked for EC, Hillman and other publishers.

10 December 2005
Actor Richard Pryor (b.1940) died of a heart attack on December 10. Pryor, best known for his stand-up comedy and comedy films, many of which co-starred Gene Wilder, also appeared in "Superman III," "The Toy," and the title role in "The Wiz." He co-wrote Mel Brooks's "Blazing Saddles." Pryor suffered from multiple sclerosis since 1986.

9 December 2005
Author Robert Sheckley (b.1928) died in a Poughkeepsie hospital on December 9 following surgery for a brain aneurysm in late November. Earlier this year, Sheckley, the author of the novels Immortality, Inc., Dimension of Miracles, and Mindswap, was hospitalized in Ukraine. He was slated to be one of the guests of honor at this year's Worldcon, Interaction, but was unable to attend. His family stood in for him. Sheckley's story "The Seventh Victim" was made into the film "The Tenth Victim." From 1980-1981, he served as the editor of OMNI Magazine. In 2001, he was named Author Emeritus by the SFWA. He was awarded the Jupiter Award for "A Suppliant in Space" in 1974 and the Gallun Award in 1991.

Author J.N. Williamson (b.1932) died on December 8. Williamson, who also wrote as Julian Shock, was the editor of the Masques series of horror anthologies as well as the author of numerous novels and short stories. Williamson won the Balrog Award in 1985 for his editorial work on Masques and received a Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2003.

6 December 2005
Actor Jack Colvin (b.1934) died on December 1 in Hollywood of complications following a stroke. Colvin was best known for his work as reporter Jack McGee in the 1970s television series "The Incredible Hulk." Colvin also appeared on "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman."

Director Herbert L. Strock (b.1918) died on November 30 of heart failure following a car accident. Strock worked on numerous creature features in the 1950s, including "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein," "Blood of Dracula," and "How to Make a Monster." He also worked on the television series "Science Fiction Theater," "Sea Hunt" and "Men Into Space."

Producer Gregg Hoffman (b.1963) died suddenly on December 4 in Hollywood after being admitted to hospital with neck pain. Hoffman was the producer of the "Saw" films as well as "George of the Jungle 2."

Story Prize Nominees Announced
The nominees for the second annual Story Prize have been announced. The winner will receive $20,000 and an engraved silver bowl. The two runners up will receive $5,000. The winner will be announced on January 25.
The Summer He Didn't Die by Jim Harrison Mothers & Other Monsters by Maureen F. McHugh
The Hill Road by Patrick O'Keeffe

4 December 2005
SMOFCon 2006
SMOFCon 2006 will be held next December in Kansas City, Missouri. Registration is $50 through February. SMOFCon is the annual con-runners convention, being held this year in Portland, OR.

3 December 2005
Narnia Christian Allegory
Although many have long recognized C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia as a Christian allegory, Lewis's stepson, Douglas Gresham, recently stated "Churches in Britain and America are promoting the film as a Christian film, but it's not . . . and the Narnia books aren't Christian novels." However, a letter Lewis wrote to a fan in 1961 has offered the most direct indication of the series' allegorical basis. In the letter, Lewis wrote "The whole Narnian story is about Christ."

Howard Gotlieb (b.1926) died on December 1. Gotlieb was an archivist at Boston University whose claim to genre fame is that he convinced Isaac Asimov to donate his papers to the university. Prior to Gotlieb's intervention, Asimov often destroyed his papers as he didn't consider them important.

2 December 2005
Astronaut Returns to Space
Space Services, the firm which will be launching James Doohan's ashes into space next year, has announced that Mercury/Gemini astronaut L. Gordon Cooper's ashes will be on the same flight. Copper, who died in October 2004, was one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts and the first American astronaut to sleep in space when he flew the 6th and final Mercury mission in 1963. He also few in 1965 with Pete Conrad on the Gemini 5 flight. Cooper's ashes will be the first launch of an astronaut's remains into space.

1 December 2005
Buried Crater and Possible Water
Recent observations of Mars have discovered what may be a large buried impact crater beneath the northern Chryse Planitia lowlands. The crater is believed to be about 250 kilometers in diameter. Material in the crater shows indications of ice, although the results are far from conclusive.

Actress Wendie Jo Sperber (b.1958) died after an 8 year battle with breast cancer on November 29. Sperber portrayed Linda McFly in the first and third Back the the Future films. She also provided a voice in an episode of the television series "Dinosaurs." She may be best remembered, however, for her non-genre role in the Tom Hanks-Peter Scolari television series "Bosom Buddies."

Copyright © 2005 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a five-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings. He is the publisher of ISFiC Press. 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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