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Saying Farewell

Last weekend Parris and I drove up to Denver to attend the memorial service for our friend Ed Bryant, who died in February.



It was a long drive and a sad occasion, but I'm glad we went. It's still hard to believe that Ed is gone. The last time I saw him was in November, in Tucson, when he was toastmaster and I was guest of honor at Tuscon. The first time... that must have been '73 or '74, as best as I can recall, at Harlan Ellison's house in Sherman Oaks. A lot of years, a lot of cons.

Connie Willis emceed the event, eliciting both laughter and tears from the large crowd that had gathered to say farewell, most of them in Hawaiian shirts and baseball caps.



Many others rose to speak as well, including me. Ed left a lot of friends.

Ed was a talented writer and a great workshopper, who mentored and encouraged many writers younger than himself and helped them on their way. He was one of my Wild Cards authors, creator of Sewer Jack and Wyungare. But most of all he was a sweet, kind man, with a warm smile and a gentle wit. Science fiction and fantasy will be poorer without him.

Memorials like this are not for the deceased so much as they are for those left behind, I believe. It was good to get together with so many others who cared about Ed, and to share our memories of him, with laughter and love.

Snod, on Rusty

A new post went up today on the Wild Cards blog, the latest installment in our series, "My Favorite Wild Cards Character (That I Did Not Create)."

This time it's Melinda Snodgrass, singing the praises of Wally Gunderson, better known as Rustbelt. Check it out at http://www.wildcardsworld.com/my-favorite-wild-cards-character-that-i-didnt-create-2/

Wild Cards fans, sound off... who is your favorite character from the series?

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A Poem, on Memorial Day

I have posted this before, but it comes to mind every year on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day.

Kipling said it better than I ever could.



Words to keep in mind.

Wild Carders Rule

It's awards season, and some of my Wild Cards writers have been covering themselves with glory.

David D. Levine, creator of the Cartoonist and the Recycler, just won SFWA's ANdre Norton Award for best YA novel, for ARABELLA OF MARS.

https://twitter.com/daviddlevine/status/866139052793352192/photo/1

Carrie Vaughn, creator of Curveball and Earth Witch and Wild Fox, took the Colorado Book Award for AMARYLLIS.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212187392741323&set=p.10212187392741323&type=3&theater

And one of our newest Wild Carders, Emma Newman (wait till you meet her character), made the shortlist for the UK's prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award, for her novel AFTER ATLAS.

http://spacedock.geekplanetonline.com/site-news/news/13527-emma-newman%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cafter-atlas%E2%80%9D-shortlisted-in-2017-arthur-c-clarke-awards

Congratulations, all. Well deserved.

Oh, and speaking of Carrie, check out her post on the Wild Cards blog site, a tribute to her favorite WC character (that she did not create herself), Doctor Tachyon.

http://www.wildcardsworld.com/

Merry Xmas to All, and to All a Good Max

Our week-long M-M-Maxathon concluded on Satuday night at the Jean Cocteau with a staged table reading of "Xmas," my thirty-year-old unproduced (until now) MAX HEADROOM script. And I have to say, we went out on a high note. We had a sold-out theatre, and the audience seemed to enjoy every moment of the performance, laughing and applauding at all the right places.

After thirty years, I was not at all sure how well my old script would hold up... especially with an audience of Max Headroom fanatics, many of whom had just sat through an entire week of Max, watching every one of the produced episodes. MAX HEADROOM was a really smart show, with some fine writing... tough acts to follow. But most of the viewers seemed to think "Xmas" was just as good as what had gone before, which gratified me no end.

One of the things that brought me back to books in the mid 90s, after ten years in television and film, was the sour taste that unproduced scripts left in my mouth... and in my soul. I was making good money during those years in "development hell," but I came to realize that a paycheck was not enough. I hated spending months or years writing and rewriting a script, creating a world, a story, and characters I inevitably came to love, only to have some network or studio decide to pass. I wanted my stories told, and I wanted my teleplays and screenplays performed. Scripts are not meant to be read; to come alive, they need to be staged, acted out...

"Xmas," written in 1987, was actually the first time in my short television career that I tasted the disappointment that so many screenwriters come to know so well. I had been writing for television for less than two years, after all, and up to "Xmas," I'd had a charmed career. My only previous gig had been on TWILIGHT ZONE, where I wrote five scripts, every one of which was greenlit, produced, and telecast (though, okay, "The Road Less Travelled" got butchered on the way). "Mister Meat" had been a stumble, but I never went to script on that one. With "Xmas," I went all the way, and the script had been delivered and slated, scheduled... only to have the show cancelled abruptly.

It's been said that a writer's characters are his children. If so, then unproduced scripts are a screenwriter's stillborn children, and I have far too many of them (for my taste, at least -- those who have worked longer in film and TV have many more). To have the oldest of those, "Xmas," brought to life at long last... to hear the lines spoken, to hear the audience laugh... well, it meant a lot to me.

My thanks go out to our wonderful cast of local actors, especially Elias Gallegos, who played the starring role of Edison Carter. And to Lenore Gallegos, who did such a splendid job of putting this all together and directing. And especially to Michael Cassutt, who made this all happen, to "Max Headroom's Daddy," Steve Roberts... and to the one and only Matt Frewer, who graced our stage at the Jean Cocteau and brought M-M-Max to life one last time, hilariously.

Everyone had a good time on Saturday night, I think. But no one had a better time than me.

Merry Xmas.

Something Cool

The Jean Cocteau Cinema is primarily is a movie theatre, to be sure. We also feature various live events: music, comedy, magic, burlesque, and of course author interviews and readings. And we're a bookstore as well, selling autographed copies of the titles from the various writers who have appeared here. If you're a regular reader of the Not A Blog, you know all this. I've talked about all this frequently enough.

One thing you may not know is that we're also an art gallery... well, kinda sorta. We have two walls in our lobby where we display the works of local and visiting artists, changing up every thirty days or so. I haven't talked about that aspect of the JCC nearly as much.

But this month we have something very cool and unusual on our walls, a really stunning display of glass swords by local Santa Fe artist G. Michael Smith.



I might not want to go into battle with a glass sword -- give me Valyrian steel -- but they sure are pretty to look at. Come by and see them in person if you get the chance.

Max Meows

Max Headroom visits Meow Wolf.

Could anything be cooler?

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Fun With Max Headroom





The fun continues tonight and tomorrow at the JCC... with me, Michael Cassutt, Steve Roberts, and Max Headroom himself, Matt Frewer.

Here's the Scoop on NIGHTFLYERS

Last week in the trades a couple of stories appeared about NIGHTFLYERS:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/george-rr-martin-novella-nightflyers-headed-tv-syfy-1001934

http://www.tor.com/2017/05/11/syfy-adapting-george-r-r-martins-novella-nightflyers-for-television/

There were a bunch more. Google and you'll find 'em. Needless to say, once those stories appeared I was deluged with requests for comment and clarification.

Here's the scoop.

In 1980 I wrote a novella called "Nightflyers." It was one of my SF/ horror hybrids, a 'haunted starship' story, set in my Thousand Worlds universe. ANALOG published the first version, which weighed in at 23,000 words and got a beautiful cover. "Nightflyers" was nominated for a Hugo Award as Best Novella, but lost out to Gordon R. Dickson's "Lost Dorsai" at Denvention. (That's me and Parris at Denvention in the icon picture).

Later on, at the urging of editor Jim Frenkel, I expanded the novella to 30,000 words, and it was teamed with Vernor Vinge's "True Names" as part of Dell's 'Binary Star' series, an attempt to revive the old 'Ace Double' concept. I liked the original 23,000 words version, but I liked the expanded version even better. The expansions gave me room to flesh out the characters more. (In the original version, most of the secondary characters did not even have names).

In 1984 I sold the film and television rights to "Nightflyers" to a writer/ producer named Robert Jaffe and his father Herb.

In 1985 "Nightflyers" was published again as the featured story in a collection of my short work called NIGHTFLYERS, a trade paperback from Bluejay Books.



IN 1986 the Jaffes picked up their option and principal photography began on the film version of NIGHTFLYERS, directed by Robert Collector and starring Catherine Mary Stewart and Michael Praed. It was released in 1987. Jaffe's screenplay, I think, was based on the 23,000 word version of the story rather than the expanded 30,000 word version, since all the secondary characters had new names, rather than the ones I'd given them for the Binary Star edition.



Which brings us to the present, and those news stories.

This new NIGHTFLYERS television series -- actually, it is just a pilot script at present, still several steps short of going on-air, but I am told that SyFy likes the script a lot -- was developed based on the 1987 movie, and the television rights conveyed in that old 1984 contract. Robert Jaffe is one of the producers, I see, but the pilot script is by Jeff Buhler. I haven't had the chance to meet him yet, but hope to do so in the near future.

Since I have an overall deal that makes me exclusive to HBO, I can't provide any writing or producing series to NIGHTFLYERS should it go to series... but of course, I wish Jaffe and Buhler and their team the best of luck. "Nightflyers" was one of my best SF stories, I always felt, and I'd love to see it succeed as a TV series (fingers crossed that it looks as good as THE EXPANSE).

And that's all I know just now.

Mister Meat At Last

Hiya, kids, hiya hiya. The fun continues tonight at the Jean Cocteau with the third night of our Max Headroom M-M-Maxathon. Michael Cassutt will be there once again to answer questions and shine his light into the darkness of thirty years ago, and we'll be screening episodes four and five of season one of the MAX HEADROOM show, "Security Systems" and "War."

But that's not all. For the real die-hards, we have a special treat. For the first (and probably last) time, I will be giving a public reading of the story treatment for my own, never-produced MAX HEADROOM episode, "Mister Meat."

"Mister Meat" was originally intended to be the fifth episode of the show. There's no script, however, and certainly no film. I delivered my treatment on November 5, 1986... and ABC promptly drove a spike through it. "Offensive" and "disgusting" were a few of the words I recall.

They didn't like it.

So if you're in Santa Fe tonight, come by the JCC and hear what ABC found too shocking to air in 1987. And if you're not in Santa Fe tonight... well, sorry, you're out of luck.

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