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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

28 October 2008
Change the Date
The 2009 World Fantasy Convention has announced a date change. The new dates will be one week earlier than previously announced, from October 29-November 1 2009. The convention will take place at the same location, the Fairmont San Jose. Any members who have already purchased memberships for the November 5-8 dates will have the opportunity for a full refund.

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Finding King Solomon's Mines
Archaeologists working in Khirbat en-Nahas in Jordan have discovered that a copper mine believed to have dated back to the seventh century BCE was actually in use at least three hundred years earlier, to the time of the reign of King Solomon. Although the researchers are not linking the mine directly to the Israelite monarch, their work provides a "confluence between the archaeological and scientific data and the Bible," according to Thomas Levy, one of the discoverers.

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Gulliver Travel Winner
The Speculative Literature Foundation (SLF) has announced the winner of the 2008 Gulliver Travel Research Grant. The grant of $800 allows an author cover airfare, lodging, and/or other expenses relating to the research for a project of speculative fiction. This year's winner, Alaya Dawn Johnson, will travel to Mexico City and other historical sites in Mexico to research a novel. Johnson has previously been published in Fantasy, Interzone, and Strange Horizons. Her first novel, Racing the Dark, was published in 2007 and she has a sequel expected in 2009.

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Author Tony Hillerman (b.1925) died on October 26. Hillerman is best known for his mysteries with a Southwestern and Native American vibe, frequently included traditional tribal beliefs and custom in his writing, giving them a sense of the fantastic. In 1991, Hillerman was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.

16 October 2008
Doctor Who Reunion
All seven surviving actors who have portrayed Doctor Who are scheduled to appear together for the 2008 Children-in-Need Christmas program. In the past, skits have included multiple actors, such as last year's "Timecrash," featuring current Doctor David Tennant and fifth Doctor Peter Davison. The two would be joined this year by Tom Baker, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, and Christopher Eccleston.

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Composer Neal Hefti (b.1922) died on October 11. Hefti contributed the theme songs for many television series, including the twelve-bar blues used as the theme to "Batman." Other credits include "The Odd Couple" and "Barefoot in the Park."

Author Barrington J. Bayley (b.1937) died on October 14. Bayley was active in promoting the New Wave in the 1960s and began publishing in 1954 with the story "Combat's End." He wrote more than a dozen novels and collaborated with Michael Moorcock using the pseudonym Michael Barrington.

14 October 2008
Actor Gil Stratton (b.1922) died on October 11. Stratton was best known as a sportscaster and for his role as Cookie, the narrator, in "Stalag 17," but he also appeared in several genre works, including episodes of "Galactica 1980," "Wonder Woman," and "The Cat from Outer Space."

13 October 2008
In the Footsteps of the Father
Richard Garriott, who made his fortune as a game designer, became a space tourist on October 12 with the launch of a Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft. Garriott, whose father was astronaut Owen Garriott, one of the Skylab astronauts in the 1970s, is the first second generation space traveler. Garriott is bringing samples of celebrity DNA to store at the space station. The launch, which included Garriott, Mike Fincke, and Yuri Lonchakov marks the 100th manned Soyuz launch.

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Director David Jones (b.1934) died on September 18. Jones has directed numerous films and television episodes, including episodes of "Early Edition," the reimagined "Fantasy Island," A Christmas Carol, and "The Ghost Whisperer." Although not genre-related, fans may also be familiar with his adaptation of 84 Charing Cross Road.

10 October 2008
Norton Suit Settled... For Now
A Tennessee Court of Appeals has reversed the decision of a lower court, granting copyrights and royalties to Andre Norton's works to Sue Stewart, Norton's long-time caregiver. A lower court had awarded the rights to fan Victor Horadam. In the new ruling, Stewart will control copyrights of all works published during Norton's lifetime as well as royalties on reprints. Horandam will receive royalties on works published after Norton's 2005 death. Horandam has the option of appealing the case to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

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Actress Irene Dailey (b.1920) died on September 24. Best known for her lengthy appearance in soap operas, Dailey also appeared in the television show "The Twilight Zone" episode "Mute" and as Aunt Helena in the film "The Amityville Horror."

Actor Kim Chan (b.1917) died on October 5. Chan appeared in more than fifty films, including "Robot in the Family," "The Fifth Element," and the television show "The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne."

6 October 2008
Small Beer Goes Political
Gavin Grant and Kelly Link of Small Beer Press have announced an October sale, with books on sale. In addition, Small Beer is offering packages of all their books published and all books published in 2008 at a discount. 20% of the proceeds from this sale will be donated to the Presidential campaign of Barack Obama. The 2008 books published by Small Beer include John Kessel's The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories, Benjamin Rosenbaum's The Ant King and Other Stories, Geoff Ryman's The King's Last Song: a novel, Joan Aiken's The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Familty Stories, and Benjamin Parzybok's Couch: a novel.

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Mercurial Flyby
The MESSENGER spacecraft began its second fly-by of the planet Mercury on October 6, approaching to within 200 km of the planet's surface. MESSENGER previously approached Mercury in January and will eventually settle into orbit around the planet on March 18, 2011. MESSENGER is the flight to Mercury since the two Mariner missions. Along with those missions, Mercury's surface is now approximately 80% mapped.

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Australian fan Clive Newell died on October 1 following a three-year battle with idiopathic pulminary fibrosis. Newell was the president of the Australian Science Fiction Foundation. He is survived by his wife, Lyn, and two children.

2 October 2008
Saving Superman's Birthplace
While Krypton may be long gone, a crusade by Brad Meltzer to raise $50,000 to help preserve the childhood home of Superman's creator Jerry Siegel has succeeded in raising more than twice that amount. Meltzer visited Siegel's former home in Cleveland, Ohio while research his novel Book of Lies and was upset at the state the house was in. Renovation will begin on October 2 with the removal of the roof.

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The 2008 GUFF Race to bring a fan from Australia-New Zealand to Europe has begun. Any fan active prior to June 2006 can vote by filling out a ballot and sending it with GBP5 or AUS$10 (or equivalent) to one of the GUFF administrators. This year's candidates for GUFF are listed below and the ballot and their platforms can be read at the GUFF web site.
Sue Ann Barber and Trevor Clark
Norah Ding
Alisa Krasnostein

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Fan in hospital
Minneapolis fan Joyce Scrivener went into the hospital for surgery on September 24, but experienced complications during her recovery. She has been moved out of the ICU, but is still in the hospital and faces additional rehabilitation before being allowed to go home.

Author James Killus (b.1950) died on September 23 following a battle with cancer. Killus published his first novel, Book of Shadows, in 1983, two years after his first short story, a collaboration, was published in Asimov's. Killus was active until his death, with his final story appearing in the October 2008 issue of Helix.

Copyright © 2008 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a seven-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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