Asimov’s likes Time On My Hands

1515400522The November/December 2017 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine includes Peter Heck’s review of Time On My Hands by Daniel M. Kimmel (which Fantastic Books published earlier this year). Peter says, in part, “Kimmel offers an engaging often humorous time-travel story that manages to hit most of the expected themes of the genre while retaining a fresh feeling.… Kimmel offers an engaging often humorous time-travel story that manages to hit most of the expected themes of the genre while retaining a fresh feeling. In addition to the plot, Kimmel mixes in some interesting speculations on the ethics of time travel—for example, the whole question of altering history by deliberately changing some action in the past, or the problem of meeting an earlier (or later) version of yourself during your travels. His solutions are original.… This one’s a fun read, with fresh takes on classic SF material.… You may not find Time on My Hands at a local bookseller, but you can order it directly from the publisher at www.FantasticBooks.biz or from most online booksellers. You won’t regret it.”

Convention weekend

Here comes another convention weekend! This time, it’s Boston Mensa‘s Wicked Good Regional Gathering, in Fitchburg, MA.

My pre-scheduled programming duties include:

Saturday, 10:45-11:45 am in the Gray Wolf Room, I’ll be giving a talk entitled “CSA Wins; Nixon Defeats Kennedy; Leonov First Man on Moon: Rewriting the World with Alternate History”.

Saturday, 1:30-2:30pm in the Foyer: I’ll be taking part in the mass Book Signings session.

Saturday, 2:45-3:45pm in the Red Wolf Room, I’ll be running the “RVC Meet and Greet” session, talking about Mensa business.

Other than those, I’ll be there for the whole weekend, and I’ve already got one one-on-one meeting scheduled with a concerned member. But it’s an RG, and it’s Boston Mensa, so I know I’ll be having a wonderful time! Hope to see all you Mensans there.

Presidential Data Point

41bushSorry I missed posting this one a week and a half ago: As of October 11, 2017, George H.W. Bush has surpassed Ronald Reagan as the second-longest-lived President. Born on June 12, 1924, Bush broke Reagan’s record of 93 years, 120 days (which was the longest any President had lived, until Gerald Ford broke his record in 2006). Bush is poised to become the longest-lived President on November 25, 2017 (currently, that record belongs to Gerald Ford: 93 years, 166 days).

Jimmy Carter—the longest-retired President—is 111 days younger than Bush.

#presidents #georgehwbush #geraldford #ronaldreagan #jimmycarter

“Always Say Yes”

The Melancholy of Lost Opportunities — brought about by going through and throwing out boxes of old letters and papers — has been firming up my new life philosophy:

Embarrassment lasts a moment; regret lasts a lifetime. So take chances, take opportunities; try it, you’ll like it. Still needs a catch phrase. The best I can come up with is “Always Say Yes,” but a lot of those missed opportunities are of the “should have asked,” rather than “should have answered ‘yes’” type.

Yoji Kondo (1933-2017)

strockkondoI’ve just found out that my friend Yoji Kondo died on Monday. We hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, but his wife, Ursula, is still a fixture at Balticon.

Yoji was born in Japan in 1933, emigrated to the US and earned his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. He worked at several NASA centers as a project manager and in various other positions. He also taught at a number of universities. He took us on a wonderful private tour of the Goddard Space Flight Center when he was the Director of the NASA International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) satellite observatory.

He wrote science fiction as Eric Kotani, including a half-dozen novels (mostly co-authorships) and a bunch of short fiction. He also wrote non-fiction for science fictional publications, including SF Age and Analog. And I had the pleasure of publishing one of his pieces, “You Can See Forever from the Moon,” in the second issue of Artemis Magazine. Actually, that one piece has the distinction of having the greatest number of co-authors of anything I published in that magazine: he co-wrote the article with Ronald J. Oliversen, Wendell W. Mendell, Peter Chen, and Yervant Terzian.

In addition to his intellectual pursuits, he was a teacher of judo and aikido, with sixth-degree black belts in both.

He is survived by his wife, Ursula, their three daughters, and three grandchildren.

(The attached picture is a not-very-good shot of me accepting Stanley Schmidt’s Robert A. Heinlein Award from Yoji in 2012.)

SFWA obituary: http://www.sfwa.org/2017/10/memoriam-dr-yoji-kondo-k-eric-kotani/

Locus obituary: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2017/10/yoji-kondo-aka-eric-kotani-1933-2017/

Yoji’s isfdb bibliography: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?670

{Edited October 14th to add:} Link to his full obituary (read it; he was truly a fascinating man): https://obittree.com/obituary/us/maryland/glen-burnie/simplicity-cremation–funeral-services-thomas-allen-pa/yoji-kondo/3210082/

Sceince Fiction for the (Electronic) Throne

A press release from Fantastic Books:

1515410250In July of this year, Fantastic Books was thrilled to publish Science Fiction for the Throne: One-Sitting Reads, an anthology edited by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial. The anthology was borne of what I can only assume was a joke, which turned into an idea, and then a project, and finally a book. It is filled with fantastic science fiction stories, from some of the biggest names in the field, as well as from some of the newest rising stars.

Since the book’s release this summer, Andrew Andrews at True Review said “I thoroughly enjoyed this premise: supershort stories you can enjoy while taking care of very personal business.” Ira Nayman at Amazing Stories said “The stories are expertly crafted, highly entertaining and perfect for the stated purpose…. Science Fiction for the Throne: One-Sitting Reads 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.”

Now Fantastic Books is excited to announce that Science Fiction for the Throne is available in a variety of electronic formats from your favorite ebook retailers. Same great content, different format, still (as Tom Easton said) “Just remember—one sitting, one read! Others are waiting!”

Science Fiction for the Throne: One-Sitting Reads
edited by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial
ebook: $7.99
trade paperback: $14.99 (ISBN: 978-1-5154-1025-6)

The authors in this book have earned a combined 10 Nebula Awards (from 60 nominations) and 10 Hugo Awards (from 118 nominations). Stories by: Gregory Benford, Lloyd Biggle, David Brin, Michael A. Burstein, James L. Cambias, Brenda Cooper, Dave Creek, Robert Dawson, Paul Di Filippo, S.B. Divya, Brendan DuBois, Marianne Dyson, Michael F. Flynn, Jeff Hecht, Liam Hogan, Daniel M. Kimmel, Nancy Kress, Edward M. Lerner, Paul Levinson, J. D. MacDonald & Debra Doyle, Leslie Starr O’Hara, Steven Popkes, Cat Rambo, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Don Sakers, James Sallis, Stanley Schmidt, Holly Schofield, H. Paul Shuch, Alex Shvartsman, Steven H Silver, Bud Sparhawk, Douglas Van Belle, James Van Pelt, Jo Walton, Gerald Warfield, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Lee Weinstein & Darrell Schweitzer, Jay Werkheiser, and Fran Wilde.

Convention weekend

This weekend, it’s Capclave, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which I always enjoy. As usual, you’ll be able to find me much of the weekend at the Fantastic Books table in the dealers’ room (scheduled to be open Friday from 4 to 7pm, Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and Sunday from 11am to 2pm). And I’ll be on programming. At the moment, I’m scheduled for five panels (as always, things may change between now and the convention, so check there for the latest updates):

Friday, 6pm in Salon A: “How Not To Get Published” with Neil Clarke, Mike McPhail, Hildy Silverman, and Michael A. Ventrella.

Saturday, 10am in Frederick: “Does Hard Science Fiction Have to be Opaque to Non-Techies?” with John G. Hemry, Mike McPhail, Nalin A. Ratnayake, and David Walton.

Saturday, 12n in Rockville/ Potomac: “Small Press Publishing in 2018” with Neil Clarke, Shahid Mahmud, Joshua Palmatier, Lezli Robyn, and Sean Wallace.

Saturday, 11pm in Bethesda: “Eye of Argon” with Hildy Silverman, Michael A. Ventrella, and perhaps a special mystery guest. Also, a brand new feature sure to delight even those who’ve suffered through “The Eye of Argon” before.

Sunday, 10am in Rockville/ Potomac: “Abusing Authors” with Sarah Avery, Scott Edelman, Will McIntosh, Lawrence M. Schoen, and Michael A. Ventrella.

Hope to see a bunch of you there.

Upcoming Appearance

On January 20, 2018, I’ll be a presenter at the 5th Annual Pocono Writers’ Conference, sponsored by The Pocono Liars Club, and you’re welcome to attend!

The day-long conference will feature presentations on “Building character” by author Damon Suede, “Why you need an agent” by agent William Reeve, “Marketing made simple” by author Kate Moretti, and my own talk on deciding whether to go the traditional publishing route, seek a small press publisher, or self-publishing your book manuscript. The day will end with a panel discussion featuring all four of us and moderated by author and editor Michael A. Ventrella.

In addition to the presentations, each of the four of us will be holding smaller workshop sessions offering individual critiques and comments.

The conference is free to attend, and will be held at the Hughes Library in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Advance registration is required. For more information, details, and how to register, see this page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/5th-pocono-writers-conference-tickets-38153894325 . And for more information on the host Pocono Liars Club, see https://poconoliarsclub.wordpress.com/ .

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Non-convention appearance

This is a new concept (at least, for this blog, though I’ve done it before I had a blog): I’m leaving town tomorrow morning for the weekend, but not for an actual convention. I’m headed to Texas for an American Mensa Committee meeting (that is, American Mensa’s Board of Directors). So, no panels or lectures, no dealers’ table, no meet-the-pros party. It’ll be a working weekend, but I’ll be traveling to a convention city for it.

Should I vote for someone who typos her own name?

In today’s mail, I received a mailing from Nicole Malliotakis for Mayor. The mailing—an 8.5″ x 11″ letter and a 4″ x 9″ card—was addressed to me as a voter who is not enrolled in a political party, urging me to go to the polls on Tuesday, because unaffiliated voters apparently are allowed to vote in the Reform Party’s primary. Nicole Malliotakis is looking for write-in votes in her campaign to get on the ballot, because it appears that the only candidate currently on the ballot is Sal Albanese.

I applauded the concept of the mailing. I’ve long had a problem with the two-party stranglehold on political power in the United States, since neither the Republicans nor the Democrats completely represent my views, so anything (like this) which may put a wedge into that firmly closed door barring other parties gets my stamp of approval.

Unfortunately, then I actually read the mailing. Toward the bottom of the letter, she urges readers to visit her web site… and then typos the url! Yep, the body of the letter directs me to http://www.NiccoleforMayor2017.com [sic]. Unfortunately, her name (and the url) are spelled with one “c”, not two.

Then, on the card which shows how to mark my ballot and how to vote, in two separate places (once on each side), she tells me I am “elligible” to vote in the Reform Party Primary. Again, a doubled letter where there shouldn’t be.

Finally, in the instructions for marking my ballot, number 4 reads “Any other mark or writing, or any erasure made on this for voting will void this entire than there are vacancies to be filled, your ballot will be void for that public office or party position.” That’s a letter-for-letter transcription of the card, and yes, there are definitely some words missing in the middle of that sentence.

So what do I do? I really like the idea of a write-in candidate campaigning for votes. (However, in the spirit of full disclosure, she’s also running in the Republican primary against Rocky De La Fuente and someone who didn’t submit any information to the New York City voters’ guide.) On the other hand, I think someone spending this much money for this mailing, who wants me to vote for her for mayor of New York City, ought to have at least hired a freelance editor to look over these few words, to make sure they were correct.

Edited September 9th to add: Credit where credit is due. I emailed the above to Nicole’s campaign headquarters, and received the following response: “Thank you for your feedback, Ian. We now have an opening on the team for a proof reader since we terminated the one who worked on this mailing. I hope you will give us a second chance to make a good impression.”

#malliotakis #election2017 #nycmayor #editing