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The Big Meow

Meow Wolf opened "The House of Eternal Return" with a roar and a bang last week.

We had a "small" (hoo hah) friends and family 'soft opening' on Wednesday. On Thursday was the Grand VIP Gala. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the doors opened to the public for the first time. Amanda Palmer, Jason Webley, and the Handsome Family played. Wonders were unveiled, caves and treehouses and haunted mansions and space gates explored, refrigerators opened...



The reviews, I am thrilled to say, were uniformly raves. Here's a few:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/21/t-magazine/mystery-house-santa-fe-george-rr-martin.html?_r=0

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/pasatiempo/art/museum_shows/forever-home-meow-wolf-opens-house-of-eternal-return/article_4f72acf1-b0be-52d4-ad87-d8c48192ca78.html

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/meow-wolf-s-long-anticipated-exhibit-debuts-it-s-awesome/article_5110812e-cc53-54cb-b216-b2cf61c3ea91.html

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/meow-wolf-s-long-anticipated-exhibit-debuts-it-s-awesome/article_5110812e-cc53-54cb-b216-b2cf61c3ea91.html


I am told that 5500 hundred people visited the House on its opening weekend. Most of them went away smiling... especially the kids, who loved the place... but there's plenty there for adults to enjoy as well.

Our hope is that Meow Wolf and the House of Eternal Return will be one of Santa Fe's premiere attractions for many, many years to come. Come visit when you're in town. I promise you, you've never seen anything quite like it.

Autographs! Autographs!!

Here are just a few of the large selection of books who can get SIGNED from the bookstore at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.



Lots of my own books are available too... along with more titles from Gabaldon, Gaiman, Lansdale, Stephenson, Andy Weir, Lisa See, Dennis Lehane... and even a few from Pat Conroy.

For the full list, go to http://www.jeancocteaubooks.com/

And YES, copies of OLD VENUS and OLD MARS are still on sale at 30% off, while the supplies last.

Season 6 Is Coming

GAME OF THRONES is coming back. Mark down Sunday, April 24 on your calendars.

HBO has released the first full-length trailer. Here's a taste:



And yes, it's true. After last year's unfortunate leak, HBO is not sending out any press screeners this year, to try and cut down on the piracy.

They have also eliminated all the regional premieres, including (sob) the one we had scheduled at my own Jean Cocteau Cinema. This year the only premiere will be the big one in LA at Grauman's Chinese.

The Jean Cocteau will, however, go ahead with our season 5 marathon. Admission is free, so watch our website and newsletter for show times.

And we'll all just have to wait to see what season 6 has in store.

Wild Cards Times Three

Some exciting news on the WILD CARDS front for fans of the world's longest running shared world anthology series.

HIGH STAKES will be out later this year, as previously announced. That's the third and concluding volume in what we've come to call our "mean streets and madness" triad, and the twenty-third volume in the overall series (which originally began way way back in 1987). It was also the last new volume under contract to Tor.



But no longer! Wild Cards will fight another day. Tor has just stepped up and signed us for three more originals. This set we will be calling (informally) "the USA Triad." But it won't really be a triad, more like three stand-alones, each with its own setting, cast, and tone.

The three new books are:
TEXAS HOLD 'EM
MISSISSIPPI ROLL
LOW CHICAGO


Details? Sorry. You'll need to wait for those. The ink on the contracts is not quite dry yet, so we're just getting up to steam (as in MISSISSIPPI... no, that would be telling).



This much I can tell you. I'll be editing the new volumes, natch. Melinda Snodgrass will continue as my assistant editor and right hand woman. And we'll be calling on the madman and wild women of the Wild Cards consortium for stories, as ever. Whenever we begin a new triad and a new contract, however, we like to reach out and recruit a few new writers. Fresh blood is just so tasty, and adding some new characters to the mix always helps to enliven things.

So let me introduce you to our Class of 2016. The newest inmates in the asylum are:
SALADIN AHMED
MAX GLADSTONE
MARKO KLOOS
DIANA ROWLAND


They're all insanely talented, and they claim they play well with others (we'll see). And no, I won't tell you about the new characters they've created for us... but we think you're going to like them.

WILD CARDS! From 1987 to forever....

((And if you have not caught the virus yet, there's still time. Head over to the Jean Cocteau Bookshop at http://www.jeancocteaubooks.com/ and you'll find all sorts of signed Wild Cards books on sale, some of them with multiple autographs from editors and writers both).



[[Comments welcome. On Wild Cards only, please. Stay on topic]].

The Wolf Meows... Soon

Things are getting exciting here in Santa Fe.

Fourteen months in the making, the House of Eternal Return opens this week!!

The big VIP Gala will launch things, on St. Patrick's Day, March 17.

And on the weekend of March 18/19, the doors will open to the public for the first time.

(Right now, I imagine, hundreds of artists are madly crawling over the place, finishing every little last detail).

Tickets are still available, if you're going to be in the neighborhood.

https://meowwolf.com/

Come join us! You've never seen anything like it.

Live to Fight Another Day

Many thanks to all you loyal friends of House Lannister and the Maid of Tarth. Thanks to you, Jaime and Brienne defeated Sabriel and the pussycat and lived to fight another day.

But fight they must! This time they are up against two characters I do not know, from a book I have not gotten to yet... but the novel's gotten good reviews, and the characters appear formidable, so we may need your help again.

http://suvudu.com/2016/03/cage-match-2016-round-2-sevro-and-darrow-vs-jaime-lannister-and-brienne-of-tarth.html

LATER: Uh-oh. Danger. Looks like Jaime and Brienne are in trouble this round.

Blow the warhorns!

Summon the banners!

Vote!
Ogre Jenni here—I am George's minion who helps out at his beautiful cinema and events venue in Santa Fe, the Jean Cocteau Cinema!

This Friday, March 11th, Jean Cocteau Cinema will screen Ran, Akira Kurosawa's epic story about an aging warlord, the man's scheming sons, and the fate of his divided fiefdom. If you happen to be in the area, specific showtimes can be found here!

Science fiction author John Jos. Miller is also a movie buff and film reviewer for the Cocteau! As we love both Akira Kurosawa and John Jos. Miller, we wanted to share Miller's thoughts about this incredible Kurosawa classic with you.

Enjoy!

John Jos. Miller: I CAN’T DIE YET– I HAVEN’T SEEN...

RAN (1985)



RAN (which means “chaos” or “revolt,” in Japan – among other things) is certainly one of director Akira Kurosawa’s top half dozen movies, so it’s safe to say that it’s one of the greatest films ever made. It was his fourth last, and at the time the most expensive Japanese movie ever, at a cost of $12 million dollars. Nowadays, of course, you can’t even get a lead actor for that much.

For twelve mil, Kurosawa delivered a brilliant historical epic about the Fate of the Ichimonji Clan after its warlord leader decides to call it a day and abdicate in favor of his oldest son. Not a good decision, as it turns out. The family is ripped apart by greed and pride, and the machinations of Lady Kaeda, the wife of the oldest brother, whom the warlord had named his successor. Kaeda is possibly the most cold-blooded, sinister female character in film history, and it is a somewhat queasy pleasure watching her exert her indomitable will over the two corrupt oldest brothers.



Kurosawa’s direction, his attention to detail in RAN, is nothing short of amazing. His use of color and sound are both particularly praiseworthy. Pay attention to the background sound. The imminent presence of Lady Kaeda, for example, is always announced by the sinister swishing noise (in effect kind of like nails on a chalkboard) made by her silken garments rubbing together. The battle for the Third Castle (the first big fight scene) plays out against a lush musical score with all ambient sound removed – until a critical moment in the proceedings – framing the horrific bloodshed with an almost balletic beauty and making it as darkly compelling as any Bosch-painted nightmare landscape. Simply brilliant.



Much has been written about RAN being Kurosawa’s adaptation of Shakespear’s KING LEAR, but the screenplay was actually well into development before Kurosawa knew about the play. He did include elements from the Bard’s plot, but he put his own spin on the story. For example, Lear has little back story in the play. In RAN, his lifestory is filled out. He’s a cruel warlord whose own ambition and overweening pride leads not only to his own destruction, but that of his family and his empire.

I‘m normally not a fan of unrelenting despair – and RAN is one hundred and sixty two minutes of uninterrupted gloom that concludes with one of the bleakest scenes I’ve seen on film – but a masterpiece is a masterpiece. Kurosawa was nominated for Best Director for RAN, and lost to a jumped-up romance, OUT OF AFRICA. Which is a nice bit of nihilistic despair, right there.



–THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER—

Not Dead Yet

While it is strangely moving to realize that so many people around the world care so deeply about my life and death, I have to go with Mark Twain and insist that the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

It was Sir George Martin, of Beatles fame, who has passed away. Not me.

He will be missed. I never met Sir George (I did meet Paul McCartney once, for about a minute, while waiting for the valet to bring my rental car up at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills), but like many millions of others, I loved the Beatles, and Martin's contribution to their music is worthy of recognition and honor.

In his memory:


As for me, I am still here, still writing, still editing, still going to movies and reading books, and I expect to hang around for quite a while yet, thank you very much.

But thank you all for caring.

Nomination Time

Hugo nominations are now open... but they will close at the end of the month. I finally received my PIN number from MidAmericon II, so I am busy filling out my ballot. If you're eligible to nominate, you should do the same. No good reason to put it off till the last day, even if you have not finished your reading. Fill in the things you know you want to nominate now, today, this minute. You can come back and add more, or delete, or replace, or change later on. As many times as you want. The nominations won't count until the ballot is closed.

As to what to nominate... your call entirely, of course.

I have been sharing my own thoughts and recommendations here in a series of blog posts, all of which you can find downstream by going back to "older posts." Been doing that category by category, wherever I had something to say. (Which does not include every category).

Today I wanted to say a few words about the three short fiction categories. Short Story, Novelette. Novella. Three of the oldest and most storied categories, with a distinguished lineage dating back to the days when the magazines were the heart of the field, and short fiction was still the place where the rising stars of SF and fantasy broke in and made their names, competing with the giants of previous generations for these prizes. That's less true now than it used to be... but there's still some validity to it, and the three short fiction categories remain, to my mind, among the most important and prestigious Hugos. (I should say right here that I cannot pretend to be objective about these categories, since I am a past winner of rockets in all three of them. It is only the Big One, the novel, that has eluded me).

Last year, however, these three categories were among those most impacted by Puppygate. The slates dominated all three, sweeping the board and shutting out all other work. In the novelette category, a disqualification allowed one non-Puppy nominee to squeeze onto the ballot, and that story ultimately won. In novella and short story, fans unhappy with the choices presented them voted No Award. Understandably, IMNSHO... still, it was not a happy ending. There was some wonderful and powerful work published in these categories in 2014, and it was a shame that none of it could be recognized. (I was proud and pleased to present Alfie Awards to Ursula Vernon for "Jackalope Wives" in short story, and to Patrick Rothfuss for "The Slow Regard of Silent Things" in novella... but we all know that an Alfie is not a Hugo, and in an ordinary year both Vernon and Rothfuss would surely have been contending for a rocket).

That's last year, however. No amount of rehashing can change what happened. The important thing is to see that it does not happen again. And to that end, it behooves all of us to nominate the short stories, novelettes, and novellas that we enjoyed most last year... to share our thoughts with our friends... to shout our recommendations from the rooftops. Let's make sure this year's shortlists truly represent the best of what was published in 2015.

As to my own recommendations...

Ah, there I hit a problem. I am not making any recommendations in these categories. Problem is, I have a conflict of interest. As a writer I did not publish any original short fiction in 2015, true. As an editor, however... well, Gardner Dozois and I co-edited an anthology called OLD VENUS that came out last year, and in my (admittedly less than objective) view, that book contained several stories that are worthy of Hugo nominations, and one that is so bloody brilliant that I think it stands right up there with any story that ever won the Hugo.



I really can't tell you which one it is, however. Or the names of the other stories in the book that I think worthy of consideration. Look, Gardner and I liked all the stories we included in OLD VENUS. If we hadn't, we would not have purchased them (and we do reject stories for every one of our anthologies). But we'd be lying if we said we liked all of them equally. There are stories Gardner liked more than I did; there are stories I liked more than Gardner did; there are stories both of us loved, loved, loved. As editors, however, it would be unethical for us to say which were which in public. Just as parents need to maintain devoutly that they love all their children equally and have no favorites, it behooves the ethical editor to take a similar stance toward the stories they purchase and publish.

So in the end all I can really say is that Gardner and I are both very proud of OLD VENUS, that we think there's some stuff in it worthy of your consideration, and that we hope you will agree.

For that, of course, you need to read the book. I can make that a little easier, at least. As it happens we have about forty (40) hardcover copies of OLD VENUS, autographed by both Gardner and myself, in stock at the Jean Cocteau Cinema bookstore. We also have some copies of the companion volume OLD MARS, though that was published a year earlier, so nothing in it is eligible for a Hugo. From now until the end of the month, we will offer a 30% discount off cover price on both OLD VENUS and OLD MARS. http://www.jeancocteaucinema.com/film/jean-cocteau-cinema-bookstore/



(And as long as I'm discounting, we'll also offer discounts on the hardcover WHEEL OF TIME COMPANION, signed by all its editors, and the trade paperback of THE MARTIAN, signed by Andy Weir. Weir is a leading candidate for the Campbell Award this year and THE MARTIAN is almost sure to be a nominee in Dramatic Presentation/ Long Form, while the WHEEL OF TIME book deserves a nomination in Best Related Work).

Returning once more to the Hugo Awards and the three short fiction categories... yes, of course, there was plenty of great stuff published last year outside of OLD VENUS. And there are plenty of recommendation lists available on the web where you can find lists of what other fans, pros, and critics thought outstanding.

The biggest and best of those is the LOCUS recommended reading list, which you can find here:
http://www.locusmag.com/News/2016/02/2015-locus-recommended-reading-list/

The Nebula Awards are often a precursor to the Hugos, as the Golden Globes are to the Oscars. You can find the Nebula nominees listed here:
https://www.sfwa.org/2016/02/2015-nebula-awards-nominees-announced/

The Sad Puppies do appear to be doing a recommended reading list rather than a slate this year. You can see what stories they most liked here:
http://sadpuppies4.org/sp4-recommendations-pages-and-faq/

There's also a site called Rocket Stack Rank that has been collecting and collating recommendations from other sources, here:
http://www.rocketstackrank.com/p/2016-hugo.html

And those are just a few places that the awards are being discussed on the web. As far as I am concerned, the more discussion, the better. So please feel free to talk about your own favorite short stories, novelettes, and novellas in the comments section here... whether those are from OLD VENUS, from other anthologies, from magazines, wherever...

Read. Discuss. And nominate, nominate, nominate.

Danger! Peril! Death!

Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth stand in mortal danger and only you can save them.

Suvudu is doing another one of their Cage Match tournaments. This time the theme is Dynamic Duos. Jaime (one-handed) and Brienne have been paired together. In the first round they are facing Garth Nix's Sabriel... and a pussycat.

http://suvudu.com/2016/03/cage-match-2016-round-1-jaime-lannister-and-brienne-of-tarth-vs-sabriel-and-mogget.html

In the first Cage Match, lo these many years ago, Jaime defeated Cthulhu (with a little help from Tyrion). Surely he cannot lose to a fluffy little ball o' fur (and fleas). Not with the mighty maid of Tarth by his side.

But lost they will, unless you guys all get over there to vote.

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