Convention weekend coming

In the madness of launching and trying to publicize the Kickstarter campaign for Release the Virgins (which, by the way, is at 25% of its goal: thanks! And please help us spread the word), I’ve neglected the fact that I’ve got a science fiction convention coming this weekend. Hope those of you on the East Coast will be joining me at Balticon. As usual, I’ll be tethered to the Fantastic Books table in the dealers’ room (that’s the dealers’ room, not all the people who look like dealers out in the atrium, for which I’m still grumpy at the convention) most of the weekend. But I’ll also be on several panels, so come check me out:

Saturday at 11am: “Stopping the Clocks: Time Travel in Writing” with Jack Clemons, Brian Groover, Andy Love, and Rosemary Claire Smith.

Saturday at 2pm: “Monarchy and Empire in Speculative Fiction” with John Appel, Jack Campbell, Gail Z. Martin, and John Robison.

Saturday at 8pm: “Turning the Starship of State: Government in SF” with Tom Doyle, C.S. Friedman, Larry Hodges, and John Robison.

Sunday at 11am: “Improving Your Pitch Workshop” – they don’t seem to have anyone else scheduled on this one, so it may be a solo.

Sunday at 3pm: “Ask Me Anything: Editors & Publishers” with Scott H. Andrews, Walt Boyes, Neil Clarke, and Jeff Young.

Hope to see lots of you there!

The virgins are coming

The Release the Virgins Kickstarter campaign has already raised nearly 17% of its goal (in just about a day running live), but of course we’re still begging our friends to share the word with their friends.

I’m thrilled with a very cool comment the campaign has already garnered: “The concept is… different… to say the least, but I really had no choice about backing, considering I’m a fan of pretty much every author involved! Good luck!”

And as of a few minutes ago, the web site ReleaseTheVirgins.com is now live. At the moment, it’s just a bare-bones description of the project, but it also includes a list of virgins. And I remain open to suggestions for other content to add to it. Thanks!

Release the Virgins

I’m thrilled, excited, trepidatious (?) to announce that Fantastic Books’ new anthology project, Release the Virgins, is now live as a Kickstarter campaign. Edited by Michael A. Ventrella, we have a slew of awesome authors lined up to participate, including:  David Gerrold, Lawrence Watt-Evans. Allen Steele, Jody Lynn Nye, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Gail Z. Martin, Shariann Lewitt, Alex Shvartsman, Cecilia Tan, Daniel M. Kimmel, Patrick Thomas, and Hildy Silverman. But there will be more slots in the book for more authors (possibly including you?). We’d be grateful if you’d help us spread the word. Thanks! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/667435382/release-the-virgins

White Wing Takes Flight Again

1515410366A press release from Fantastic Books:

In 1985, “Gordon Kendall” published White Wing, his first (and apparently only) novel, which Gordon R. Dickson called “A powerful story by a strong new talent.” The book garnered praise from Locus (“Kendall explores his characters’ dilemma in a clever, dynamic plot filled with intrigue, danger, and surprises.”), Amazing (“Emphasis is on the interplay of characters.… It’s an interesting book.”), Amazon readers (“I’ve loved this book for ages,” “one of the best Sci-fi books I’ve ever read,” “awesome and well done”), and GoodReads readers (“brilliant,” “one of my favorites,” “fantastic story line”).

Now Fantastic Books is thrilled to announce the identity of “Gordon Kendall,” and the fact that we are bringing this wonderful novel back into print. Gordon Kendall was a pseudonym shared by Shariann Lewitt and Susan Shwartz, who would each go on to write many kick-ass novels in their solo careers.

In White Wing, Earth has been destroyed, but the remnants of humanity fight on, in uneasy alliance with the Galactic League—their only purpose to avenge their world, their only pride the Honor of the Wing. But League politics will not tolerate pride in a refugee people, and the White Wing is under insidious attack. A powerful enemy attempts to brand one unit of the Wing as traitors, discrediting the entire human race.

Written at the height of the Cold War, the book has a surprising resonance with the world of today, and the prose stands the test of time.

Fantastic Books is honored to republish White Wing—featuring the original cover art by Janny Wurts—in a new trade paperback edition. Authors Shariann Lewitt and Susan Shwartz claim their proper credit for the book, which is now available.

White Wing by Shariann Lewitt and Susan Shwartz
Fantastic Books, 242 pages, $14.99. ISBN: 978-1-5154-1036-2.

White Wing—and all Fantastic Books titles—are distributed via Ingram, and available through all major online retailers and specialty sf shops via direct order from the publisher.

New Speaking Appearance

Just found out I’ll be a speaker at this summer’s American Mensa Annual Gathering (that’s in addition to the meetings and working as RVC1 there). On Saturday, July 7th, at 7:30 pm (just as everything is wrapping up and conflicting with the last-night festivities), I’ll be giving a talk entitled “John Kennedy’s grandma, Bill Clinton’s mother, and John Tyler’s grandchildren: Familial oddities of the Presidents of the United States”. Hope some of you are still alert enough to spend a little time with me before capping off the weekend with a bang!

First Lady Barbara Bush (1925-2018)

41bushbFirst Lady Barbara Bush died April 17, 2018, at the age of 92. Born June 8, 1925, she is the second woman to be both wife and mother of US Presidents, and the first to live long enough to see her son retired from the Presidency.

I’ll leave the longer obituaries to everyone else, and instead focus on the aspects of her life that impinge on the books I’ve written.

Barbara Pierce Bush is fifth on the list of longest-lived First Ladies, at the age of 92 years, 313 days. She is also fourth on the list of longest-lived Presidential mothers (she passed her mother-in-law on that list in October 2016).

She was part of the longest-married Presidential couple. Twenty-year-old World War II veteran George H.W. Bush married 19-year-old Barbara Pierce on January 6, 1945. They had six children between 1946 and 1959 (one of whom died as a child). George took office as President days after their 44th anniversary. Their eldest son, George W., took office as President twelve years later. They are only the second Presidential couple (the first to both live long enough) to see their son elected President. They are also only the second couple to live long enough to see their son retire from the Presidency (the first, Joseph and Rose Kennedy, lived through their son’s assassination in office). Number two on that list of long-married Presidential couples are Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who married 18 months after the Bushes. Number three on the list are Gerald and Betty Ford, who were married 58 years, 72 days.

Barbara Bush was the last living First Lady who was born in New York (there were nine: New York has supplied more First Ladies than any other state). She was the second oldest woman to become First Lady (she was 63 year 226 days old when she became First Lady).

Barbara Bush was the tenth woman to be both Second Lady and First Lady, but only the fifth whose husband was elected both Vice President and President, and the only one to be Second Lady for eight full years (the first Presidential term of office ran from April 1789 to March 1793).

She is survived by her husband, George H.W.; sons George W., Neil, Marvin, and Jeb; daughter, Dorothy Bush Koch; 17 grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum has set up this Barbara Pierce Bush Memorial Site.

Science fictional predictions

I posted this on Facebook, and got a gratifying number of responses, so I’m spreading it around even more.

What prompted this was that I was watching Star Trek II on television. In the movie, Khan mentions that the ship on which he was traveling, the Botany Bay, was launched in 1996. As those of us who lived through 1996 know, the DY100 class of starship has not yet been invented.

Further mulling reminded me of Back to the Future, Part 2, in which Marty and Doc travel to the future: October 2015. Well, that’s now more than two years in our past, and we still don’t have commercial hover-conversions.

And then I thought of 2001 and 2010 (although I don’t recall the dates being mentioned explicitly in the text of the books/movies; only in the titles).

So my question to you is what other speculative fiction includes explicit predictions of what the world will look like in the future (as of when the novel was written/film was filmed/etc.), which are set in a year that has (as of today) passed? Missed predictions are what I’m expecting, but I’d be thrilled with accurate predictions, too. Thanks!

Convention Weekend: Heliosphere

heliosphere_logo_wptheme5This weekend is Heliosphere, the second iteration of the new convention in Tarrytown (Westchester), New York. As always, I’ll be spending a lot of time in the dealers’ room (at the Fantastic Books table — the room is open Friday, 4-10pm; Saturday, 11am-6pm; and Sunday, 11am-3pm), but I’ll also be on three panels:

Friday, 5pm in Ballroom 4: “Solicited Advice: Editors Share Their Thoughts” with Bjorn Haessler, Mike McPhail, Alex Shvartsman, and Michael A. Ventrella.

Saturday, 11:30am in Ballroom 4: “Dealing with Rejection as a New (or Even Old) Writer)” with Keith R.A. DeCandido, John Grant, April Grey, Barbara Krasnoff, and Mark Oshiro.

Sunday, 12:30pm in Ballroom 2: “The Making of an Alternate History World” with Teel James Glenn, Carol Gyzander, and Elektra Hammond.

Hope to see some of you there!

Asimov’s likes Up The Rainbow

casper rainbow thumbnailPeter Heck’s “On Books” column (in the March/April 2018 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction) review Up the Rainbow: the Complete Short Fiction of Susan Casper. The review says, in part, “…the stories deliver a powerful kick; Casper had the ability to bring the stuff of dreams and nightmares vividly into contact with everyday life.… If you’re a lover of short fiction, this is one that belongs on your must-read list.… Michael Swanwick and Andy Duncan add perceptive appreciations. When reading the anthology, don’t skip these as they offer a deeper insight into both her personality and her art.”