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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.

This Week at the JCC

We have a couple of interesting new films showing this week at the Jean Cocteau. They don't have the benefit of huge Hollywood advertising campaigns behind them, so let me give a small tease for them here.

WHITE LIES


THE WAVE


We have a few more showings of MAD MAX:FURY ROAD and BRIDGE OF SPIES on the schedule this week as well. Two amazing films.

See you at the movies!

RIP Pat Conroy

I was very sad to hear this morning that Pat Conroy had passed away.

The NEW YORK TIMES has his obituary:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/05/books/pat-conroy-who-wove-his-family-strife-into-novels-of-carolina-dies-at-70.html

Conroy was a brilliant man, and a great great writer. His PRINCE OF TIDES ranks among the greatest novels of the twentieth century, in my opinion, and many of his other titles were damned fine as well -- BEACH MUSIC, THE GREAT SANTINI, LORDS OF DISCIPLINE, THE WATER IS WIDE...

A number of them were made into films. Some better than others, but even the worst of the movies was pretty damned good, which not many writers can boast. The troubled relationship with his family, and his father in particular, was the emotional core of much of his best work. There has seldom been a clearer case of an artist transforming his own pain and suffering into something transcendent and beautiful. I do not think he was a happy man, sad to say, but he was a courageous and outspoken one, who left the world a better place than he found it.

I met Conroy only once, when I had the honor of hosting him for a booksigning at the Jean Cocteau.



It's a memory I will long treasure... and when Pat said how much he admired A GAME OF THRONES and its sequels, well... I could not have been more flattered if F. Scott Fitzgerald himself had returned from beyond the grave to say he liked my stuff.

Rest in peace, Pat. Your words will live.

Odds and Ends

Got back from MystiCon on Monday. It was a fun weekend, and did much to restore my spirits. After all the internet rancor that has dominated on-line discussion of late, it was good to be reminded of what cons are all about... and how warm, welcoming, and open fandom can be. The Roanoke crowd seemed like good folks. And it was great to see how many young people and first-timers were at the con (I asked for a show of hands on several occasions). All the alarums about the demise of traditional SF fandom may be somewhat premature, I'm thinking.

Back home, of course, I had the usual thousand new emails waiting in my inbox. But among them, at long long last, was my Hugo PIN from MidAmericon II. I can finally begin nominating for this year's awards. I urge all of you to do the same. (And will have a few more Hugo thoughts and recommendations in subsequent posts).

We had a great event at the JCC with Tony DiTerlizzi of THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES. And one last week, before I left, with Joe Lansdale and HAP & LEONARD. Plenty of signed books from Tony and Joe both are now available in the Cocteau bookstore. If you're an autograph hunter, strike now while the supply lasts.

We have more fun events coming up in the next few months as well. Magician Francis Menotti will be making a return appearance, with the trick that fooled Penn & Teller, and we have booksignings scheduled with Darynda Jones, Joe Hill, and Stephen Graham Jones. And a little further out, Neil Gaiman will be appearing with some gigantic Tasmanian cave spiders. Go to the JCC website and sign up for our email newsletter if you'd like more details on forthcoming events at the theatre.

Meow Wolf's opening comes closer every day. The gang down at Silva Lanes is working overtime right now, getting a little frantic as they labor to make sure everything is ready for opening weekend.

Oh, and GAME OF THRONES season six is drawing nigh as well. You may have heard. Before the season six debut on April 24, the JCC will be running a season five marathon. Weekly screenings, two hours per week, of the S5 episodes on our big medium-sized screen. And admission is FREE. First come, first seated.

I am sure there's more. Life is busy. Hope yours is too.
Hello from Ogre Jenni! I work at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe! Do visit us if you ever get the chance.

On February 23rd the Cocteau teamed up with Sundance TV to show the first episode of their new series, Hap & Leonard. The show premieres tonight at 10/9 Central! Don't miss it! The cast is spot-on: Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire) as Leonard, James Purefoy (Rome) as Hap, and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) as Trudy, not to mention all the other players in this wildly twisting and turning narrative.



The same evening we had the pleasure of hosting a live Q&A with Joe Lansdale, author of the Hap & Leonard stories. (If you missed the event, here are some pictures from the Sundance TV team). Joe was kind enough to sign copies of his latest titles from the Hap & Leonard series: Hap and Leonard and Honky Tonk Samurai. If you aren't familiar with his work, Joe writes some of the best character dialogue out there, complete with great Texan accents, perfect pacing, and killer humor. They are now available, along with some other Joe Lansdale titles, at our online bookstore.

ABOUT THE BOOKS:

Honky Tonk Samurai




Only Hap and Leonard would catch a cold case with hot cars, hot women, and ugly skinheads.

The story starts simply enough when Hap, a former 60s activist and self-proclaimed white trash rebel, and Leonard, a tough black, gay Vietnam vet and Republican with an addiction to Dr. Pepper, are working a freelance surveillance job in East Texas. The uneventful stakeout is coming to an end when the pair witness a man abusing his dog. Leonard takes matters into his own fists, and now the bruised dog abuser wants to press charges.

One week later, a woman named Lilly Buckner drops by their new PI office with a proposition: find her missing granddaughter, or she'll turn in a video of Leonard beating the dog abuser. The pair agrees to take on the cold case and soon discover that the used car dealership where her granddaughter worked is actually a front for a prostitution ring. What began as a missing-person case becomes one of blackmail and murder.

Filled with Lansdale's trademark whip-smart dialogue, relentless pacing, and unorthodox characters, Honky Tonk Samurai is a rambunctious thrill ride by one hell of a writer.

Buy it here!

Hap & Leonard



Hap and Leonard have never fit the profile. Hap Collins looks like a good ’ol boy, but his liberal politics don’t match. After a number of failed careers, Hap has found his calling: kicking ass.

Vietnam veteran Leonard Pine is even more complicated: black, conservative, gay...and an occasional arsonist. With Leonard on the job, small-time crooks all on the way on up to the Dixie Mafia had best be extremely nervous.

Joe R. Lansdale’s popular Texan crime-fighting duo are immortalized in this complete collection of Hap and Leonard short stories and tall tales. Additionally, you'll find one brand-new story and an original introduction by New York Times bestselling author Michael Koryta (So Cold the River).

Buy it here!

See you at the Cocteau!

—THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER—

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