PW recommends On Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren

perf6.000x9.000.inddI’ve mentioned before that Fantastic Books will be publishing a massive non-fiction volume dedicated to Samuel R. Delany’s classic novel, called On Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren. The book doesn’t arrive until September, but the first of the reviews is now available. Publishers Weekly says, among other things, “Samuel R. Delany’s influential and divisive 1975 novel Dhalgren gets a full critical treatment in this immersive and comprehensive collection,” and “Fans of Delaney’s classic will want to snap this up.” To read the full review, see this link. And to read the full book, keep your eyes open for the September 9th publication date.

Gimme Sanctuary

Fantastic Books is excited to be publishing three-time Hugo Award-winner Allen Steele’s new novel, Sanctuary, in November.

Imagine a world without plastic.

Imagine a world where something in the environment eats plastic.

Imagine arriving on such a world in a space ship.

The human colonists in Allen Steele’s Sanctuary don’t have to imagine it—they have to survive it.

After traveling light years to the Earth-like planet of Tau Ceti-e, they have only minutes to abandon ship before the native plastic-eating organism turns their space ship into a death trap of orbiting debris.

Now they’ll have to survive an 18th-century way of life with the forbearance of the not-exactly hostile—but definitely not friendly—natives.

Why do the native Cetans keep humanity confined to one poor island? Why do they so hate and mistrust the humans? What is going on?

Private eye Jeremy Crowe finds himself caught up in the underground search for the truth, stuck on a middling rung in the modern caste system, and struggling to not make humanity’s desperate situation any worse. Fighting for his life may turn out to be the easy part.

Fantastic Books will publish three-time Hugo Award-winner Allen Steele’s new novel, Sanctuary, on November 2, 2021. The book will appear in simultaneous hardcover and trade paperback formats.
Hardcover: 308 pages, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-5154-4773-3
Trade Paperback: 308 pages, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-5154-4774-0

Sanctuary—and all Fantastic Books books—are distributed via Ingram. Review copies are available upon request.

Tough Trivia, 7/19/21

640px-Oxygen480-emotes-face-sad.svgFriday’s question a throw-back to the previous Friday’s question, about world cities’ former names: Let’s continue the theme a little closer to (my) home. Here are some former cities’ names. By what names are they known today: Marthasville, Georgia; Gum Pond (or Gumpond), Mississippi; Lancaster, Nebraska; Hot Springs, New Mexico; New Amsterdam, New York; Losantiville, Ohio; and Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania.

The answers are:

Built for the Western and Atlantic Railroad, the settlement of Terminus was renamed Marthasville, Georgia, and incorporated on December 23, 1843. Two years later, the chief engineer of the Georgia Railroad suggested renaming the town Atlantica-Pacifica, which was quickly shortened to Atlanta, and the name change was approved by the Georgia General Assembly on December 26, 1845.

Settled in the 1830s and named for the tupelo trees, known as “blackgum,” Gum Pond was renamed in the 1860s, and Tupelo was incorporated in 1866.

The village of Lancaster was founded in 1856, and became the county seat of the newly created Lancaster County in 1859. On April 1, 1869, Lancaster was incorporated as the city of Lincoln, in honor of the recently assassinated president.

Hot Springs was founded in the late 1800s, due to its hot springs. In March 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the popular NBC Radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program on its tenth anniversary from the first town that renamed itself after the show; Hot Springs officially changed its name on March 31, 1950, and the program was broadcast from there the following evening.

New Amsterdam was a 17th century Dutch settlement at the southern tip of Manhattan island. In 1664, the English took over New Amsterdam, and renamed it New York City, after the Duke of York (who would later be King James II of England and Ireland & James VII of Scotland).

In 1788, Mathias Denman, Israel Ludlow, and Col. Robert Patterson, landed at a spot on the northern bank of the Ohio River, opposite the mouth of the Licking, and decided to settle there. Surveyor John Filson named it Losantiville. On January 4, 1790, Northwest Territory Governor Arthur St. Clair changed the name of the settlement to Cincinnati, in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati.

Mauch Chunk was founded in 1818. The name was derived from the native Munsee-Lenape Delaware language, which called it Mawsch Unk (Bear Place). Across the river, East Mauch Chunk developed. In 1953, 65-year-old Olympian Jim Thorpe died, and in 1954, the two Mauch Chunks merged, and renamed their new municipality Jim Thorpe, in honor of the athlete whose sports career had begun nearby, when he was a student at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

***

Tough Trivia has been an interesting experiment. But, due to the whelming response, and the fact that I’m going to be traveling through the end of the month, Tough Trivia is going on hiatus. Thank you, everyone, for reading along, playing along, participating to whatever extent you did. And keep watching this blog; it may be back in some other form in the near future. But when and whether Tough Trivia returns, I will continue to be here, so keep reading (although, as I said, I’ll be traveling for the next week and a half, so I may be a bit more quiet here… or there may be a new book announcement later today). And thanks!

Tough Trivia, 7/16/21

Last week’s Grab Bag (Friday) question was about world cities’ former names. Let’s continue the theme a little closer to (my) home. Here are some former cities’ names. By what names are they known today?

  • Marthasville, Georgia
  • Gum Pond (or Gumpond), Mississippi
  • Lancaster, Nebraska
  • Hot Springs, New Mexico
  • New Amsterdam, New York
  • Losantiville, Ohio
  • Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania

***

Ed Sullivan ShowYesterday’s question was:

The Korean War ran from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953, just over three years. M*A*S*H, the medical sitcom set during the Korean War, ran from 1972 to 1983, eleven years. Put these television shows in order by the length of their runs (number of episodes). Bonus points if you remember the actual number of episodes (within 10) of each/any: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet; The Big Bang Theory; Bonanza; Dallas; E.R.; The Ed Sullivan Show; Gunsmoke; Happy Days; Law & Order (the original); M*A*S*H; Star Trek: The Next Generation; Supernatural.

M_A_S_H_TV_title_screenThe answers:

  1. The Ed Sullivan Show: 1,087 episodes — 23 years
  2. Gunsmoke (not including the precursor radio series): 635 episodes — 20 seasons
  3. Law & Order (the Original): 456 episodes — 20 seasons
  4. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet: 435 episodes — 14 years
  5. Bonanza: 431 episodes — 14 years
  6. Dallas: 357 episodes — 14 years
  7. ER: 331 episodes — 15 years
  8. Supernatural: 327 episodes — 15 years
  9. The Big Bang Theory: 279 episodes — 12 years
  10. M*A*S*H: 256 episodes — 11 seasons
  11. Happy Days: 255 episodes — 11 seasons
  12. Star Trek: The Next Generation: 178 episodes — 7 seasons

***

Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.

A wonderfully horrific day!

Proof-IanHorrorToday is publication day, and Fantastic Books is horrified to announce the arrival of Horror for the Throne, the third in the popular series of genre-specific anthologies of short fiction.

After an interminable delay brought about by the horror of the pandemic, Fantastic Books is getting back into gear in a big way with this thrilling collection of short stories guaranteed to scare… it right out of you. Editors James D. Macdonald, Tom Easton, and Judith K. Dial have selected forty little gems that’ll get your blood pumping and tickle the tiny hairs on the back of your neck.

You’ll probably want to read it with the lights on.

Amazing Stories said the first volume (Science Fiction for the Throne) is “not a book to try and read in one sitting (as I largely did). It is what I sometimes refer to as ‘a dipping book:’ for maximum effect, you should read a story or two here, a story or two there, a story or two somewhere else.” Hugo-winner Allen Steele said “For the bathroom, for the bedroom, for the bus to work, for that chair in the department store where bored spouses sit while their wives or husbands try on new clothes… this is a perfect way to entertain yourself during idle moments in a way that won’t rot your mind. Read this and have fun.”

Asimov’s Science Fiction said the second volume, Fantasy for the Throne, is “a fun collection, exactly right for those moments when you have just a few minutes to read.” While Analog Science Fiction and Fact called it “a little gem. Or rather, here are 40 little gems by as many authors, all packaged in one sweet volume.”

Horror for the Throne is now available in trade paperback and hardcover formats—and will soon be available as an e-book—through all your major online retailers. It is distributed to all physical book stores through Ingram: just ask!

With an introduction by Bruce Coville, Horror for the Throne features the horrific stylings of: E.C. Ambrose, Colleen Anderson, Kevin David Anderson, Diane Arrelle, Stewart C. Baker, T.L. Barrett, James Blakey, Bruce Boston, Michael Bracken, Tiffany Michelle Brown, Elliot Capon, Jeff C. Carter, Gregg Chamberlain, Brenda Clough, Ian Creasey, Randee Dawn, Steve Dillon, Stephanie Ellis, Kevin M. Folliard, Eric J. Guignard, Liam Hogan, Emma Johnson-Rivard, Daniel M. Kimmel, Chris Kuriata, Geoffrey A. Landis, Sharon Lee, Gordon Linzner, Nicola Lombardi, Linda Silverman McMullen, Gregory Nicoll, Brian Rappatta, Gary L. Robbe, Chuck Rothman, Steve Rasnic Tem, Mark Towse, Mary A. Turzillo, Douglas A. Van Belle, Marie Vibbert, Dawn Vogel, and Marcia Wilson.

Get it now, before it gets you!

Horror for the Throne: One-Sitting Reads
edited by James D. Macdonald, Tom Easton, and Judith K. Dial
introduction by Bruce Coville
Fantastic Books. 176 pages.
trade paperback: $14.99. ISBN: 978-1-5154-2409-3.
case laminate hardcover: $22.99. ISBN: 978-1-5154-2410-9.

Tough Trivia, 7/15/21

The Korean War ran from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953, just over three years. M*A*S*H, the medical sitcom set during the Korean War, ran from 1972 to 1983, eleven years. Put these television shows in order by the length of their runs (number of episodes). Bonus points if you remember the actual number of episodes (within 10) of each/any.

  • The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Bonanza
  • Dallas
  • E.R.
  • The Ed Sullivan Show
  • Gunsmoke
  • Happy Days
  • Law & Order (the original)
  • M*A*S*H
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Supernatural

***

1280px-Solar_sys8Yesterday’s question was: The planets’ orbits around the Sun are ellipses. Nearly circular, but not quite. Nevertheless, we usually quote a single number for the distance from the Sun to, say, Earth. It’s usually quoted in miles or kilometers.

The speed of light is quite nearly 3 x 10^8 meters per second, or 186,000 miles per second. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year. Similarly, a light-minute, light-second, and so on. So your challenge today: how far is each of the planets from the Sun, in light-minutes. (And yes, we’ll accept miles or kilometers instead.)

The answers:

  1. Mercury: 36.1 million miles (57.9 million kilometers) = just over 3 light minutes
  2. Venus: 67.6 million mi (108.2 million km) = 6 light minutes
  3. Earth: 93 million mi (149.6 million km) = 8 light minutes
  4. Mars: 142.5 million mi(228.0 million km) = 12 and a half light minutes
  5. Jupiter: 484 million mi (781 million km) = 43 light minutes
  6. Saturn: 891 million mi (1,437 million km) = 80 light minutes
  7. Uranus: 1,787 million mi (2,883 million km) = 160 light minutes
  8. Neptune: 2,797 million mi (4,511 million km) = 251 light minutes. In other words, it takes light four hours and eleven minutes to reach Neptune from the Sun. So if the Sun suddenly turned off, Neptune wouldn’t know about it for more than four hours.
  9. Pluto: Pluto has a highly elliptical orbit. At it’s closest to the Sun, it is inside Neptune’s orbit, 2,758 million miles from the Sun (4,449 million kilometers), or about 247 light minutes. But at it’s farthest from the Sun, Pluto is about 4,585 million miles (7,396 million kilometers) from the Sun: 411 light minutes.

***

Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.

Tough Trivia, 7/14/21

The planets’ orbits around the Sun are ellipses. Nearly circular, but not quite. Nevertheless, we usually quote a single number for the distance from the Sun to, say, Earth. It’s usually quoted in miles or kilometers.

The speed of light is quite nearly 3 x 10^8 meters per second, or 186,000 miles per second. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year. Similarly, a light-minute, light-second, and so on. So your challenge today: how far is each of the planets from the Sun, in light-minutes. (And yes, we’ll accept miles or kilometers instead.)

***

800px-Bakst_NizhinskyYesterday’s question was to match the ballets with their composers. The answers are:

Afternoon of a Faun — Claude Debussy
Appalachian Spring — Aaron Copland
The Firebird — Igor Stravinsky
The Four Seasons — Giuseppe Verdi
Midnight Sun — Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
The Nutcracker — Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
The Rite of Spring — Igor Stravinsky
Romeo and Juliet — Sergei Prokofiev
The Sleeping Beauty — Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Swan Lake — Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

MatthewBournesSwanLake***

Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.

Tough Trivia, 7/13/21

Match the famous ballets to their composers:

Ballets:

  1. Afternoon of a Faun
  2. Appalachian Spring
  3. The Firebird
  4. The Four Seasons
  5. Midnight Sun
  6. The Nutcracker
  7. The Rite of Spring
  8. Romeo and Juliet
  9. The Sleeping Beauty
  10. Swan Lake

Composers:

  • Aaron Copland
  • Claude Debussy
  • Aaron Copland
  • Sergei Prokofiev
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Igor Stravinsky
  • Igor Stravinsky
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Giuseppe Verdi

***

U.S._Military_Academy_Coat_of_Arms.svgYesterday’s question was:

The US military academies, give their names, dates of founding, locations, and which services they serve.

The answers are:

The United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, was established on March 16, 1802, in West Point, New York. West Point is the training academy for the US Army

The United States Naval Academy, also known as Annapolis, was established on October 10, 1845, in Annapolis, Maryland.

The United States Coast Guard Academy was established in 1876 in New London, Connecticut.

The United States Merchant Marine Academy was established in 1943 in Kings Point, New York.

The United States Air Force Academy was established on April 1, 1954, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

***

Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.

Tough Trivia, 7/12/21

Today’s question: The US military academies, give their names, dates of founding, locations, and which services they serve.

***

They_Might_Be_Giants_-_Istanbul_(Not_Constantinople)Friday’s question: On the 500th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans, Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon wrote “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” which was released by The Four Lads in 1953. That gives away one of the answers, but today’s question regards old names of world cities. How many of the current city names do you recall? (Some other time, we’ll do US cities.): Ikosium, Stuart, Bytown, Lutetia, Batavia, Edo, Leningrad, Byzantium, Londinium.

The answers are:

  • Ikosium / Icosium became Algiers, Algeria, when the present city was founded in 944CE.
  • Stuart, the third largest town in Australia’s Northern Territory, was renamed Alice Springs on August 31, 1933.
  • Bytown, founded in 1826, was incorporated as Ottawa (the current capital of Canada) in 1855.
  • Lutetia was a part of the Roman Empire. By the end of the empire, the city had been renamed Paris, taken from the Parisii, a Celtic tribe who lived there from the 3rd century BCE.
  • Batavia was the capital of the Dutch East Indies, founded in 1619. In 1942, the name was changed to Djakarta, and in 1972, to the present spelling of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
  • Edo became the de facto capital of Japan in 1603, as the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate. In 1869, with the overthrow of the shogunate, the Emperor Meiji moved to Edo and renamed it Tokyo (meaning Eastern Capital).
  • In the 1600s, Swedish colonists built the fortress Nyenskans on the Neva River. In 1703, Peter the Great captured it, and built the Peter and Paul Fortress, which was the center of the city that became known as Saint Petersburg. In 1712, Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. In 1914, to remove German-sounding parts of the name, the city was renamed Petrograd. On January 26, 1924, under the Soviet Union, the city was renamed Leningrad (after Lenin, who had died five days earlier). That name remained until the fall of the USSR. On June 12, 1991, the city name reverted to Saint Petersburg, Russia.
  • Byzantium was colonized by the Greeks in 657 BCE. In 324 CE, it was renamed New Rome, and then, on May 11, 330, renamed Constantinople in honor of Emperor Constantine the Great. In 1930, the name was officially changed to Istanbul, which had been a colloquial Greek name for the city since the eleventh century.
  • Londinium was established around the year 50 CE, but it was abandoned some 400 years later. Two hundred years later, the settlement of Lundenwic was founded there, and then Alfred the Great “refounded” London in 886 CE. It is the capital of the United Kingdom.

***

Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.

Tough Trivia, 7/9/21

On the 500th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans, Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon wrote “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” which was released by The Four Lads in 1953. That gives away one of the answers, but today’s question regards old names of world cities. How many of the current city names do you recall? (Some other time, we’ll do US cities.): Ikosium, Stuart, Bytown, Lutetia, Batavia, Edo, Leningrad, Byzantium, Londinium.

***

logo_scrabbleYesterday’s question was: The word game of Scrabble was created in the 1930s and 1940s, with the distribution and point values of the letter tiles determined by frequency analysis. Thus, the highest-scoring letters were those which were exceedingly difficult to use. In later years, however, with the growth of Scrabble tournaments, and the expansions of acceptable words beyond “a standard English dictionary,” those difficult-to-use letters became much easier to use, but their values were not adjusted. Today’s question: for how many of the 26 English letters do you know the Scrabble point values?

The answers:
10 points: Q and Z
8 points: J and X
5 points: K
4 points: F, H, V, W, and Y
3 points: B, C, M, and P
2 points: D and G
1 point: A, E, I, L, N, O, R, S, T, and U

***

Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.