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Wild Cards Dealt

Gregory Noveck, executive producer on the Wild Cards television series in development at Universal, weighs in on his love of the series in a new post on the WC blog at:

http://www.wildcardsworld.com/

And over at Tor, you can weigh in yourself on ACES HIGH, the second volume of the series.

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Scalzi in Santa Fe

Bestseller, Hugo Award winner, former SFWA president, blogger, bon vivant, and the world's leading expert on taping bacon to cats... John Scalzi is a man of many parts.

He made a whirlwind visit to Santa Fe yesterday, and the Jean Cocteau was thrilled to host him.



He did not actually sing in the rain. But he did play a ukulele. And he talked. And laughed. Ate a churro and some carne adovada. And signed a LOT of books.



(That's me and Steve Gould with him in the picture)

If you couldn't be there, hey, no problem. We'll be putting up a video of our talk. And we made him sign stock before we let him go, so you can get your autographed copies of THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE, OLD MAN'S WAR, and REDSHIRTS (winner of The Big One) from the Jean Cocteau website.

http://jeancocteaucinema.com/

Next up: magician Francis Menotti.

Cool Times at the JCC

We had a great event on Saturday with John Nichols. Terrific writer and fascinating guy, whose work truly captures the sights, sounds, and spirit of Northern New Mexico. Lorene Mills did a wonderful job interviewing him. We should have the video up on the Jean Cocteau website soon.



And tonight, at 7pm, we have JOHN SCALZI flying in. John's touring for his new novel, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE, and we're thrilled to have him.



See you at the theatre!

EXPANSE Soars

Last night's episode of THE EXPANSE was really strong, I thought. And I was pleased to hear that the show has been renewed for a third season.

Jimmy Corey's books and the TV series based on them have both gotten a fair amount of acclaim -- awards attention and the like -- but not nearly enough, imnsho. The show had a good first season, but it's only gotten stronger in season two. If it keeps on at this level, it deserves to be ranked among the best SF shows of all time. Acting, directing, writing... and my god, the look of it. The space stuff, in particular.



BABYLON 5, FIREFLY, and the various STAR TREK successor shows were all spiffy looking in their day, but THE EXPANSE is to those shows as they were to the original TREK, and as the original TREK was to ROCKY JONES: SPACE RANGER.



Speaking of Rocky, though, that is the one thing EXPANSE lacks: Pinto Vortando.

Shame On You, United

I don't often comment on current events, but the story about the passenger that United Airlines beat bloody and dragged off a flight -- for no reason but to accomodate some of their own deadheading employees, and despite the fact that he had a ticket that he'd bought and paid for and was doing nothing but sitting peacefully in his assigned seat -- has me seeing red.

Jimmy Kimmel said it better than I could.



I stand with Jimmy, with Alan Grayson, and with millions of other ordinary Americans from coast to coast who were outraged by these videos, and by the mealy-mouthed corporate bullshit the United's CEO chose to offer afterwards.

One point Jimmy did not raise: in what world does an airline employee's need to get to his next flight take precedence over a doctor's need to return to his hospital?

The "police" who dragged the man off the plane and beat him do not deserve the name of police officers, and should be fired immediately. "They were just following orders" is no excuse.

The United CEO should also resign. He's a disgrace.

I am old enough to remember when airlines were regulated, and passengers had rights. But we deregulated the airlines, and now passengers are cattle. The present rule seems to be just what Kimmel says: do what we say, or else. You may have given us your money, but we owe you nothing.

And here's the cherry for your (bloody) sundae: United has also announced plans to begin charging passengers for carry-on luggage.

Authors on Video

We've been doing our author events at the Jean Cocteau Cinema since 2013, but until recently they've only been available to those who could attend in person.

This summer, however, in response to numerous requests, we've begun taping the events.

And now, for all of you who were not able to be there, we've uploaded some of the videos to the Jean Cocteau website. You can find them at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/exclusive-video/

There's some fun stuff there, including my talks with Carrie Vaughn and Stephen King, our HAP & LEONARD event with Joe Lansdale, and -- from last summer -- the big big WILD CARDS event where an all-star lineups of Wild Cards authors try to play their characters.

Check it out.

And for those of you who ARE in New Mexico, don't forget the events we have coming up this week: JOHN NICHOLS on April 15 and JOHN SCALZI on April 17. Reserve your books (and your seats) for those two early, if you haven't done so already. They're both filling up fast.



A Sense of Wonder

I've made my life in the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, and an awful lot of people helped me along the way. I wouldn't be where I am today without them. But if I may echo something that Robert A. Heinlein once said, you can never pay back the people who helped you when you were starting out... but you can pay forward, and give a hand to those coming after.

With that in mind, I'm pleased to announce that I will be funding a new scholarship for the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Workshop. Held every summer at the University of California San Diego under the auspices of the Clarion Foundation, the workshop's roots go back the 1960s and Clarion College in Pennsylvania, where it was founded by Robin Scott Wilson, Damon Knight, and Kate Wilhelm. Its alumni include more professional sf and fantasy writers than I can possibly hope to name, and the list of Clarion instructors over the years is a veritable Who's Who of our genre.



Many of the students at Clarion already receive financial aid through a variety of existing scholarships and grants that cover all or part of their expenses, but there's always need and there's never enough money, and it's my hope that this new scholarship will offer an opportunity to one more worthy applicant who might not otherwise have been able to afford the experience. It will be a full scholarship, given annually, and covering tuition, fees, and lodging for a single student for the full six weeks of intensive writing and criticism that is Clarion.

We'll be calling it the Sense of Wonder scholarship.

The award will not be limited by age, race, sex, religion, skin color, place of origin, or field of study. The only criteria will be literary.

The first science fiction novel I ever read was Heinlein's HAVE SPACE SUIT, WILL TRAVEL, a book that begins with a boy named Kip in a used spacesuit standing in his back yard, and goes on to take him (and us) to the moon, and Pluto, and the Lesser Magellanic Cloud, along the way encountering aliens both horrifying (the Wormfaces) and benevolent (the Mother Thing), as well as a girl named Peewee. In the end it's up to Kip and Peewee to defend the entire human race when Earth is put on trial. I had never read anything like it, and from the moment I finished I wanted more; more Heinlein, more science fiction, more aliens and spacesuits and starships... more of the vast interstellar vistas that had opened before me.

Since then I have read thousands of other science fiction novels, and written a few myself. Modern imaginative fiction is a house with many rooms, and I've visited most of them. Cyberpunk, New Wave, magic realism, slipstream, military SF, dystopias, utopias, urban fantasy, high fantasy, splatterpunk, the new weird, the new space opera, you name it. I've sampled all of it, and I'm glad it's all there, but when it comes right down it, the SF I love best is still the SF that gives me that sense of wonder I found in that Heinlein book almost sixty years ago, and afterwards in the works of Roger Zelazny, Jack Vance, Alfred Bester, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jack Vance, Andre Norton, the early Chip Delany, Jack Vance, Frank Herbert, Robert Silverberg, Jack Vance, Eric Frank Russell, Cordwainer Smith, Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, Arthur C. Clarke, Poul Anderson, and so many more. (Did I mention Jack Vance?) I love the aliens, be they threatening or benevolent, the more alien the better. I dream of starships, strange worlds beneath the light of distant suns. I want the sights and sounds and smells of times and places and cultures colorful and exotic. That was the sort of science fiction that I tried to write myself with the Thousand Worlds stories that made my name in the 70s, when I was just breaking in as a writer.

It's my hope that this new Clarion scholarship will help find and encourage young aspiring writers who dream the same sort of dreams, that it will give a small boost up to the next Roger Zelazny, the next Ursula Le Guin, the next Jack Vance.

One student will be selected every year. The recipient of the first award is LUCY SMITH, an English writer and recent student of archaeology who has been making stories for most of her life. She has just begun tweeting at @subterranape, and can usually be found in London. I have yet to meet her, but I hope that she enjoys her six weeks at Clarion, and that the lessons she learns there will help her develop her talent and master her craft. And in the years and books to come, I hope that Lucy Smith will take us to the stars, and show us wonders.

Sign of the Times

Watch out! Here there be dragons!

"Here" in this case refers to Camino Alire, and the former Desert Academy, which building I bought a couple of years back and converted to Dragonstone Studios, low-cost studios for aspiring artists.

It's taken longer than I thought (a lot of repair and restoration was needed first), but we finally got up a proper sign.



I love it, and hope you do as well.

The sign is the work of one of those aformentioned aspiring artists, the sculptor and metalworker TYLER EUGENE SMITH. Tyler is also the guy who makes the Alfies every year out of old hood ornaments, and who created the amazing Beast Head that welcomes patrons inside the door of the Jean Cocteau Cinema. And wait till you see what he's making next... it will blow your minds.

Meanwhile, drive down Camino Alire, and admire his latest.

Connie Is Coming! Again!!

That Willis Woman is descending on Santa Fe once again!

Yes, it's true. CONNIE WILLIS will be visiting the Jean Cocteau tomorrow (Sunday) night, to tell us all about her new novel, CROSSTALK. MELINDA SNODGRASS will be on hand as well, to interview her... and of course I'll be hanging around, to make faces at them from the audience.



CROSSTALK is Connie's romcom. She'll talk about the book, about romantic comedy in general, about her favorite romcoms, about the ones that didn't work. She'll may talk about the Hugo Awards as well, and Donald Trump, and how much fun it is to live in The Weed State, and... well, really, anything you ask her about. We'll be opening the floor for questions.

And then we make her sign. If you can't be there, you can get a signed book via mailorder.

And if you CAN be there, the fun starts at 7pm.

More Cool Wild Cards Stuff

A couple of cool new pieces about Wild Cards this morning.

The second installment of Katy Rask's Wild Cards reread is up today on Tor.com.

http://www.tor.com/2017/04/05/killer-space-yeast-attacks-wild-cards-ii-is-a-superpowered-love-letter-to-science-fiction/

This one is about volume two, ACES HIGH.



Go and join the fun and let your voice be heard. Authors have been known to drop by from time to time.

Meanwhile, over on the official Wild Cards website, we've added a new blog post by Mary Anne Mohanraj about the creation of her popular character, Natya the dancer.

http://www.wildcardsworld.com/the-origins-of-natya/

Oh, and I should also mention that Walter Jon's tribute to Roger Zelazny and Croyd Crenson, originally published on the WC website, is now available on Tor.com as well:

http://www.tor.com/2017/03/31/the-best-wild-cards-character-that-i-didnt-create-roger-zelaznys-the-sleeper/#comment-658746

Happy reading, aces.

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