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Hugo Ballot Announced

That Finnish Worldcon has announced this year's finalists for the Hugo Awards.



You can hear the nominees announced by Finns, here:



Alternatively, you could just go to LOCUS and read the list for yourself:
http://www.locusmag.com/News/2017/04/12103/

Congratulations to everyone who made the ballot, and condolences to those who didn't.

All in all, this is the best ballot we've had in several years, mostly because the impact of the slates has ebbed somewhat. Maybe it was EPH and the rules changes, or maybe they just got tired, but whatever the reason, not a single category this year was slated top to bottom. Yeah, there are some finalists that are plainly unworthy... but there's real choice in every category, and I doubt that the halls of Helsinki will be resounding to the sound of "No Award." I haven't read everything that's on the ballot -- that's one of the things the Hugo ballot has traditionally been good for, it makes a great reading list -- and when I do, I probably won't like everything. But I expect I will like something in every category, and that's all I really ask for.

Personally, I'm thrilled to see that two episodes of GAME OF THRONES were nominated in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: our two Emmy winners, as it happens, "Battle of the Bastards" and "The Door." I know David Benioff and Dan Weiss will be also been thrilled, along with our cast and crew and all the good people at HBO. Helsinki is a lot closer to Belfast than the US, so there's even a chance that David and Dan might fly in for the ceremony (shooting schedule permitting), as they did for Loncon. If they can't, the lovely Sibel Kekilli will help me represent GOT on the night, as Ron Donachie and Rory McCann did in prior years.

Of course, we face some hellacious tough competition. "Leviathan Wakes" has also been nominated, the finale of season one of THE EXPANSE, along with "San Junipero" from BLACK MIRROR, my favorite episode from that terrific show. And of course there's an episode of DR. WHO in there, as there always is, along with a sixth nominee that I'm unfamiliar with, as yet. As it happens, there were three episodes of GAME OF THRONES that got enough votes to make the final ballot, but this year a new rule went into effect, limiting each series to no more than two nominees. That's the DR. WHO rule. It's been needed for years, and I'm glad to see it in place, but it's one of life's little ironies that the first show it bites is not DR. WHO, but GAME OF THRONES. But one must not be greedy. It IS an honor just to be nominated, and a double honor to be nominated twice, so thanks to all the fans out there who gave us one of their votes.

Those who follow my Not A Blog regularly will know that I made recommendations in a number of different categories (though by no means all) during the nominating period. Some of them made the cut, and some did not. And that's fine, that's the way it goes, the way it always went before the advent of the slates. You make your picks, and sometimes your fellow fans agree and sometimes they don't, and that's why it's a horse race. Anyone who works in this field for long, as writer, artist, editor, or fan, will have their share of both celebrations and disappointments. I certainly have. But you know, you can even celebrate your disappointments; that's what the Hugo Losers Party is all about.

And yes, I will confess, I am very disappointed that WILD CARDS did not get a nod in the new Best Series category, it being our thirtieth anniversary and all. On the other hand, a number of my Wild Carders did very well. In that same Best Series category, Jimmy Corey and Max Gladstone are both finalists, Carrie Vaughn got a nomination in Short Story, and the Newmans are nominated in Best Fancast. No Alfie for them this year, they may have to make do with a Hugo. Oh, and speaking of that, I was also pleased to see how many Alfie winners made the ballot. Alyssa Wong has two nominations, Ursula Vernon is up in Short Story, Liz Gorinsky is nominated for Best Editor Long Form, John Joseph Adams for Best Editor Short Form, Julie Dillon for Best Pro Artist, and JOURNEY PLANET for Best Fanzine.

Which reminds me, now that the ballot is out, one of the things I'm doing to have to ponder is whether or not I need to give out Alfies this year. My first inclination is to say, hey, maybe not, doesn't look as though they're necessary. But they were fun, so let me mull that a while. I still have a lot of hood ornaments in the basement.

One thing I can say for sure about the Hugo Awards: this year, like every year, there will be more losers than winners. Which means we'll need another Hugo Losers Party.

I do hope Robert Silverberg wins. I would so look forward to seeing him in a conehead.

April Fools!

Okay, you caught me... well, some of you did, at least



Every April first, someone plunks my magic twanger and I can't help myself.

So, sadly, I must confess that Wild Cards is NOT coming to Broadway.

(But wouldn't it be swell if it did? After I finished writing that blog post, I was eager to see that show myself. And Kevin went ahead and wrote all the lyrics to one of the songs).

My thanks to Devilish Diana Rowland, who came up with the idea, and to Kevin Andrew Murphy and Christopher Rowe, who suggested some of the song titles.

And of course extra special thanks as well to John Hodgman, Sibel Kekilli, and the amazing Lin-Manuel Miranda, who went along with the gag and gave me permission to take their names in vain. (Though I think John really does want to play Dr. Tod. If there's anyone out there casting for a mad scientist, take note).

WILD CARDS Comes to Broadway!!

It was 1987 when Bantam Books released Wild Cards, the first volume of what would turn out to be the longest-running and best-selling shared world anthology of all time (though no one ever dreamed of that back then). The very first story in that very first volume, the one that kicked off all that was to follow, was “Thirty Minutes Over Broadway,” Howard Waldrop’s poignant and powerful tale of Jetboy’s last adventure.

It took thirty years instead of thirty minutes, but Howard had it right. Wild Cards is coming to Broadway in a lavish new musical production, scripted and produced by yours truly and the members of the Wild Cards consortium, in partnership with none other than the amazing, astonishing, incredible, multi-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda.



With twenty-three volumes in print, three more awaiting publication, and another four presently being written, the Wild Cards series contains far more material than could possibly be contained on any stage, even one on the Great White Way, so we’re only able to bring the beginnings of the epic to the stage: the tales of Dr. Tachyon and Dr. Tod and Jetboy, and the rise and fall of the Four Aces. And in the midst of all the action will be Croyd Crenson, Roger Zelazny’s iconic and immortal Sleeper, acting as narrator and commentator, as Che did in Evita.



The score (much of which is still being written) will be a daring and innovative blend of Hip-Hop, Blues, and period appropriate Big Band music. Wild Cards stalwarts Christopher Rowe, Diana Rowland, and Kevin Andrew Murphy have been assisting with some of the lyrics, working with Lin-Manuel.

Here’s just a few of the songs you’ll be whistling next year:
“I Can’t Die Yet” (Jetboy’s Song),
“Sleepless” (the Algebra Song),
“Jokertown Blues,”
“Coming Up Aces,” (the Four Aces),
“Names, Names” (Golden Boy’s song).

We’re still in the early stages of mounting the production, so casting is far from complete, but we have filled a few key roles, and I’m thrilled to be able to share those with you.

Lin-Manuel himself will star as Dr. Tachyon, the flamboyant alien from the planet Takis who tries, and fails, to prevent the release of the wild card virus on Earth.



The role of Dr. Tod, the half-faced mad scientist who attempts to use the alien virus to exact a fortune from President Truman, will be played by comedian John Hodgman, in his first all – singing all – dancing role.



Our leading lady will be the hauntingly beautiful Sibel Kekilli, playing Blythe Stanhope van Rennsaeler, the spoiled socialite transformed by the virus into the ace Brain Trust, the woman that Dr. Tachyon comes to love… and ultimately destroys.



As for the Sleeper, no one performer could ever capture the essence of Croyd Crenson, so Croyd will be portrayed by four different actors every night, from a revolving repertory cast that will change with every performance. Come on Saturday, and you’ll see four different Croyds from those who came Friday.



We’re still looking for the right performers to bring Golden Boy, Black Eagle, and the Envoy to life (your suggestions are welcome), though we do have some exciting possibilities that I cannot tell you about as yet.

Perhaps most critically, Lin-Manuel and I are still looking for our Jetboy… or should be it be Jetgirl? No, we haven’t made that change yet, but it is under serious consideration… along with the notion of replacing the JB-1 with a jetpack… but why don’t we let you folks decide? Let us know: which Jet-person would you prefer to see on stage?



Whether or not we go with Jetboy or Jetgirl, I can promise you one thing: the end of the first act will be a spectacular unlike anything ever seen before on Broadway, as Dr. Tod’s blimps float across the theatre raining down spores on the audience below. Ninety per cent of the theatre-goers will draw a black queen and “die,” to be sure… but a tenth of the audience (chosen at random) will be twisted and transformed into jokers, and one in a hundred will be designated as aces, and will join the cast on stage for the opening number of the second act.

So there we have it: Wild Cards: The Musical.

It’s going to be a night at the theatre that you’ll never forget, and tickets will be even harder to come by than for Hamilton.

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My Days With Beauty and the Beast

MAX HEADROOM was not the only show I wrote for back in the 1980s.

There was also a very different sort of series, no less iconic, called BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

With the recent release of the new Disney live-action remake of their old animated classic, interest in our show has suddenly kicked up a notch or three, and THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER rang me up to interview me about my time on B&B.

Here 'tis, for those who are interested in such things:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/george-r-r-martin-writing-tvs-beauty-beast-was-a-smart-show-986786

Max Headroom Returns

Remember Max Headroom?

Sure you do. If you're old enough.

M-M-Max was a king, once upon a time.



Twenty minutes into the future... thirty years into the past... it was 1987, and Max was the hottest television personality in the world, with the hottest television show. Actually, he had several shows. He started out in the Uk introducing music videos. Then he got his own talk show, also in the UK. And then a ground-breaking British television movie. New Coke made him their official spokesman. Then Max crossed the Atlantic to get his own sf show on ABC. He made the cover of NEWSWEEK, was parodied on the cover of MAD, did a guest appearance with David Letterman.



Alas, alack, Max Headroom's reign as the king of popular media proved as short lived as New Coke. His series on ABC was hailed as innovative, startling, ground-breaking, original... like nothing else on television... the first cyberpunk television show... but it proved to be way WAY ahead of its time, starting strong and falling fast, surviving for only two short semi-seasons, an initial run of six episodes, and a second season of seven. Then ABC pulled the plug, and Max vanished from the airwaves, surviving only in the hearts and minds of science fiction fans.

Thirty years have come and gone since that glorious year of 1987, and once again we're going twenty minutes into the future... in Santa Fe, at least. So mark the dates May 13 - May 20 down on your calendars, and be sure to swing by the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

That's the week we're having our M-M-M-MAXATHON!!!

Yes, that's right. We've having a whole week of Max, to celebrate his 30th anniversary. We'll be screening all fourteen episodes of his show: the original British pilot, "Twenty Minutes Into the Future," and the American remake of same, plus every one of the ABC hours that followed. You saw them once on your little-bitty 1987 tv set. Now see them again on the Cocteau's big medium-sized screen. With our world famous popcorn... and maybe we can even find some New Coke!

Some very special guests will be coming to Santa Fe to help us celebrate the anniversary. Head writer STEVE ROBERTS, who scripted the British pilot and crossed the pond to head the writing staff for the ABC show, will be flying in to join us, and MICHAEL CASSUTT, another of Max's writer producers will be with us start to finish. After thirty years, they're ready to spill all the secrets. But wait, there's more... Max himself is coming too. Yes, MATT FREWER, the one and only Max Headroom, will be on hand for the last three days of the M-M-M-Maxathon.

Oh, and one more thing. We'll also be featuring, for the very first time anywhere, two Max Headroom episodes that have never been seen or heard before anywhere, two episodes written by a guy you won't find listed anywhere in the credits for the show: me.

Yep. That's right. MAX HEADROOM is the great "what if" in my own television career.

For me, MAX came along after my stint on TWILIGHT ZONE and before BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. When ABC first greenlit the US show, they ordered six original scripts to follow the pilot, almost all of which ended up getting assigned to writers just coming off TZ. I was one of those. Mine was supposedly to be... hmmmmm, let me see now... the fourth episode of the series. My title was "Mister Meat." Now, TV writing in those days was a two-step process: "story with option to teleplay," they called it. You wrote a 'story,' a short plot outline with all the major beats and characters. Then, when the showrunners, studio, and network all approved it, you went on to write the teleplay.

"Mister Meat" never got that far, alas. The showrunners and my fellow Maxxies loved it, as I recall, but when ABC saw the story they reacted with horror. Way too disturbing and offensive, they announced, driving a spike firmly through my concept and sending me on my way. Which I why I never got hired onto MAX HEADROOM and wound up on staff on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST instead.

I got a second chance when MAX was picked up for a second season, however. As a freelancer, I got the choice assignment of writing the Christmas episode. And this time I went to town. Wrote the story, rewrote the story, wrote the teleplay, revised the teleplay. "Xmas" was the title of the episode, and it got as far as pre-production...

And then the show was cancelled. Rather suddenly and unceremoniously, I must say. America was spared from celebrating Xmas with Max.

Ah, but with strange aeons even death may die... and like all good writers, I never throw anything away. So as part of our Jean Cocteau M-M-M-Maxathon, the world will meet "Mister Meat" and "Xmas" for the first time. "Mister Meat" is just a short treatment, so I will be reading it myself on the third day of the marathon, in the slot it would have filled if it had been filmed. Come and hear the episode that ABC deemed too offensive and disgusting for Ronald Reagan's America.

As for "Xmas"... hell, we have a whole finished script of that one, so we're going to be performing it, live, on the tiny little stage at the Jean Cocteau. Lenore Gallegos will direct, and the parts of Edison Carter, Bryce, Theora, Blank Reg, Max himself, and all the rest of the gang from Network 23 and the ZikZak corporation will be performed by a fearless cast of local actors... whoever ends up playing Max will HAVE to fearless, to play the part with Matt Frewer in the audience.

May 20. Be there, or forever rue your absence.

Oh, and as usual, the screenings will all be FREE.

((But we will charge admission for the performance of "Xmas"))



May 13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20. Don't m-m-m-miss it.

Author, Author, Author, Author

We love writers at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, and April is going to be one of our biggest months ever for author events, with no less than four of them scheduled.

First up, on Sunday April 2, we'll be hosting the editors and contributors for the GUNS, an original anthology about... yes, you guessed it, guns. Editor Gerald Hausman will be joining us for the evening, together with writers Trent Zelazny, Jane Lindskold, M. Scott Momaday, Rebecca Godfrey Poe, Peter Lauritzen, Peter Eichstaedt, Jim Terr, and Alice Carney.



One week later, on Sunday April 9, we'll once again be hosting one of our favorite people, the one and only CONNIE WILLIS. Connie's got a new book out: CROSSTALK, her long-awaited romcom, and as usual it's a delight... as is she. Of course, we'll have her other books as well, the many Hugo- and Nebula-award winners, and the one or two that were only runners-up.



Just a few days later, on Saturday April 15, we will have the honor to host one of New Mexico's own treasures, JOHN NICHOLS, the author of THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR. There's never been a writer who captured the soul of northern New Mexico like Nichols, and the Jean Cocteau is thrilled to have him.



Last but not least, JOHN SCALZI will be hitting town on Monday, April 17, with his new novel THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE. (And rest assured, we'll have his older books on hand as well, including his Hugo award winning REDSHIRTS).



Remember, the Jean Cocteau has only 130 seats, and some of these events are already filling up fast. To reserve a book, and a seat, go to the Jean Cocteau website http://jeancocteaucinema.com/ and get in your order now.

See you at the movies... er... the booksignings.

The Martians Have Landed

Well, not really. But our friend Andy Weir did drop by this afternoon for lunch. And Andy, as you all know, is the author of THE MARTIAN. Andy is in the Land of Enchantment overseeing the filming of the pilot episode of MISSION CONTROL, his new series for CBS. Melinda Snodgrass and I had the opportunity to visit the set last week, and I have to say, it's looking great.

Of course, we couldn't let Andy escape our clutches without making him autograph some books. He was kind enough to sit down and scribble his name on forty hardcover copies of THE MARTIAN... which we can now offer for sale through the JCC website, while the supply lasts.



If you want one, move soon... last time Andy came by, we sold out all the autographed copies in a few weeks. It's first come, first served, as ever.

The Jean Cocteau has all sorts of other signed books for sale as well, for all the autograph hounds out there. Here are a few of them.



(And yes, we have a bunch of signed books by the Martin guy as well).

Happy reading.

Magic Times Three

If you're a fan of magic, we have some great shows in store for you these next few months, right here in River City Santa Fe.

First up, at the Jean Cocteau, the amazing FRANCIS MENOTTI will be returning for three more shows. Francis is the guy who stumped Penn & Teller, and he'll be performing the "stumper" for us as well, along with a host of other tricks, on Friday April 21 and Saturday, April 22.



Next up, all the way from Down Under, will be a pair of young Aussie lads who call themselves... yes... THE NAKED MAGICIANS! The Jean Cocteau is co-sponsoring this one with the Lensic, since our stage is way too small (and way too close) to hold an act as... revealing... as the Naked Magicians. The Lensic, with its big auditorium and huge stage, will do just fine.



The boys from down under will be in town for ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY on Tuesday, May 30. For tickets, you will need to go to the Lensic website at http://tickets.ticketssantafe.org/single/EventDetail.aspx?p=3965

Last, but far from least, one of our favorites returns to the Jean Cocteau for her third time: MISTY LEE, straight from LA's famous Magic Castle. Catch her at the JCC June 9-10, for three shows.



For this visit, Misty has promised to STAB an audience member!

Tickets for Misty Lee and Francis Menotti can be purchased from the Jean Cocteau Cinema website, at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/

Don't miss you, or we'll turn you into a toad!

Lovecraft in the Land of Enchantment

We had a great time last week when H.P. Lovecraft returned from the grave to visit us here in the Land of Yig Enchantment.

If you missed it -- shame on you -- well, it turns out that HPL recorded a couple of segments of his "Ask Lovecraft" YouTube series while he was here in town.





Seeing HPL at Meow Wolf was especially fun, since there are a couple of... ahem... decidedly Lovecraftian touches to be found in the House of Eternal Return.

If you ever get a chance to see Leeman Kessler perform as HPL, do catch him. It's the next best thing to a shuggoth on your doorstep.

Wild Cards Gets Wilder

A couple of cool new additions to our Wild Cards website went up today.

On the blog, John Jos. Miller talks about gaming in the Wild Cards universe... and his own life story. Check it out at: http://www.wildcardsworld.com/the-secret-origins-of-the-wild-card-universe/

And over in our video section, our own March Madness... in August. Which is to say, the highlights from the Wild Cards Cage Matches from MidAmericon II:

http://www.wildcardsworld.com/wild-cards-media/

((The Amazing Bubbles still insists that she was robbed)).

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