RIP: Kage Baker

We knew it was coming, but that doesn’t make it any less sad…

Green Man Review is reporting that Kage Baker passed away early this morning. They posted this update from Kathleen Bartholomew, Kage Baker’s sister and care giver:

She died at 1:15 this morning. She had begun to have difficulty breathing early this evening; I gave her atropine and morphine for the breathing problems and the pain, but by about 8 PM she slipped into unconsciousness. The last thing she requested was to have her pillows adjusted – she said she was more comfortable, and after that she said nothing else. She became unresponsive very shortly thereafter, and by her own request, no heroic efforts were made.

Her sister Anne and nieces Kate and Emma were up this weekend, and watched with me for most of the evening. . At about 1 AM her breathing got louder and lighter and more urgent, though her pupils were not responsive to light; there was a rush of bile from her mouth, and then she passed away very quietly in our arms.

Kage’s body will go to MedCure, a body donation program working on training surgery students. They will cremate it and return the ashes to me in about 3 weeks. Her ashes will then be scattered half from Catalina Island and half from Plaskett Creek beach near Big Sur.

She will be missed by many.

Also see remembrances and appreciations from:

[UPDATED] Amazon vs. Macmillan: A Battle Over eBook Prices

The Interwebs are ablaze with a disagreement between book publisher Macmillan and bookseller Amazon about the price of eBooks.

In short: Macmillan (who doesn’t want to undermine their print book business) allegedly wants Amazon to raise their Macmillan eBook prices from $10 to $15. In retaliation, Amazon (who wishes to promote their Kindle reading device, even if it means selling eBooks at a loss) stopped selling Macmillan titles altogether (except through 3rd parties).

[1/30/10 UPDATE: Amazon Concedes to Macmillan on E-Book pricing]

[2/4/10 UPDATE: Or did they?]

[2/4/10 UPDATE: New Message from Macmillan CEO John Sargent]

Interesting links abound:

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Clément Morin’s Amazing Animations

Check out these amazing animation from Clément Morin. I love the look of these…

Invasions

Second Souffle

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SF Tidbits for 1/31/10

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William Shatner Reads Edgar Allan Poe

And by “reads” I mean “over-acts”.

Bonus for the daring viewer who clicks play: Fred Travalena!

So..apparently that 6 and not 5 Disturbing Things I Didn’t Know About William Shatner.

SF Tidbits for 1/30/10

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Voice Of The Fans: Movies in 3D…Good Idea or Bad Idea?

[Voice Of The Fans is a weekly feature on SF Signal where we post an interesting item, handcrafted by the Secret Masters of Fandom, specifically for the fans of science fiction and fantasy to voice their opinions and be heard. If you have a topic (and incidentally be inducted into the SMOF via an embarrassing yet strangely compelling secret ceremony), drop us a line at voice (at) sfsignal (dot) com.]

James Cameron’s Avatar has certainly kicked off a new craze, in the studios at least, for movies to be shown in 3D. As Darth Duff explains on the Suvudu blog this is really a matter of money (as 3D/3D IMAX tickets cost more than regular tickets) rather than a matter of artistic vision. The list of big name movies that will be released in 3D, even though they weren’t shot that way, is impressive: Alice In Wonderland, Clash Of The Titans and The Death Hallows. I have to wonder what 3D brings to these movies if they weren’t shot with 3D in mind. I’m guessing nothing other than a blatant attempt to separate my money from my wallet. Thanks, but no.

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Free Fiction for 1/29/10

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Friday YouTube: Chakotay’s Rock

Now Chakotay vs. Pipe makes much more sense.

[via Poe TV]

SF Tidbits for 1/29/10

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Kage Baker Update

Kage Baker recently made public her battle with cancer.

Green Man Review has posted an update on Ms. Baker’s health from Kathleen Bartholomew, her sister and care giver:

Kage’s doctor has informed us she has reached the end of useful treatment. The cancer has slowed, but not stopped. It has continued to spread at an unnatural speed through her brain, her lungs and – now – reappeared in her abdomen. It is probably a matter of a few weeks, at most.

Kage has fought very hard, but this is just too aggressive and mean. She’s very, very tired now, and ready for her Long Sleep. She’s not afraid.

We’ve been in a motel the last week or so, in order to complete her therapy.I’ll have her home in her own bedroom by the weekend, though, so end of life care can take place in more comfortable surroundings.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her.

6 Reasons to Visit the Website of Serbian Artist Ivica Stevanovic

Here are 6 reasons why you should visit the online gallery of Serbian illustrator and designer Ivica Stevanovic.

See also: Ivica’s page at CGS Society.

TOC: Jim Baen’s Universe (Volume 4, Number 5, February 2010)

Volume 4, Issue 5 (February 2010) of Jim Baen’s Universe has been posted. Here are the contents:

Science Fiction Stories:

  • Tiny Elephants” by Gregory Benford
  • The Hunt” by Shauna Roberts
  • “Shuffle Up and Deal” by Denise McCune

Fantasy Stories: “Thrill of the Hunt” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Classic: “The Tongue Cannot Tell” by Manly Wade Wellman

Serials:

Introducing: “The Vessel Never Asks for More Wine” by Sandra M. Odell

Nonfiction: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Singularity? by Stephen Euin Cobb

Columns:

  • Chemo for Algernon by Mike Resnick
  • An Amazing Amount of Stuff by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • Merrily We Roll Along, or Funny, You Don’t Look Judith by Bud Webster
  • The Prince of Stasis by Barry N. Malzberg
  • Why Science Fiction? by Ben Bova
  • February 2010 by Stephen Euin Cobb

TOC: Running With the Pack edited by Ekaterina Sedia

Ekaterina Sedia’s new werewolf anthology, Running With the Pack, has a table of contents:

  1. “Wild Ride” by Carrie Vaughn
  2. “Side Effects May Include” by Steve Duffy
  3. “Comparison of Efficacy Rates for Seven Antipathetics as Employed Against Lycanthropes” by Marie Brennan
  4. “Beautiful Gelreesh” by Jeffrey Ford
  5. “Skin in the Game” by Samantha Henderson
  6. “Blended” by C.E. Murphy
  7. “Locked Doors” by Stephanie Burgis
  8. “Werelove” by Laura Anne Gilman
  9. “In Sheep’s Clothing” by Molly Tanzer
  10. “Royal Bloodlines” by Mike Resnick
  11. “Dire Wolf” by Genevieve Valentine
  12. “Take Back the Night” by Lawrence Schimel
  13. “Mongrel” by Maria Snyder
  14. “Deadfall” by Karen Everson
  15. “Red Riding Hood’s Child” by N.K. Jemisin
  16. “Are You A Vampire or A Goblin?” by Geoffrey Goodwin
  17. “The Pack and the Pickup Artist” by Mike Brotherton
  18. “The Garden, the Moon, the Wall” by Amanda Downum
  19. “Blamed For Trying To Live” by Jesse Bullington
  20. “The Barony At Rodal” by Peter Bell
  21. “Inside Out” by Erzbet Yellowboy
  22. “Gestella” by Susan Palwick

It will be available in March 2010

[via 14theditch]

SF Tidbits for 1/28/10

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MIND MELD: Who Should Be The Next Grand Master?

[This week’s topic comes from Lawrence Person]

Once a year, the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) names a recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award which is then presented at the annual Nebula Awards banquet. The next recipient (for 2009) is Joe Haldeman who joins an already-impressive list of authors.

We asked this week’s panelists:

Q: Who should be the next recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award? Why?

Read on to see their replies…

Adam Roberts
Adam Roberts was born two-thirds of the way through the last century; he presently lives a little way west of London, England, with a beautiful wife and two small children. He is a writer with a day-job (professor at Royal Holloway, University of London). The first of these two employments has resulted in eight published sf novels, the most recent being Splinter (Solaris 2007) and Land of the Headless (Victor Gollancz 2007). The second of these has occasioned such critical studies as The Palgrave History of Science Fiction (2006).

I’m staggered that Joanna Russ has never received this particular recognition — she’s a giant of the genre, the author of some of the most important SF of the 20th-century. She hasn’t published much recently (illness has prevented her, I understand), but nevertheless. Russ for 2010, I say: and for 2011 Christopher Priest.

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Godkiller on the Brain

In my review of episode 1 of Godkiller: Walk Among Us, the biggest complaint was that the 30-minute episode made it hard to get a handle on the story and thus left me wanting more. My questions may soon be answered as we recently received episode 2.

Here’s a preview for that episode…

SF Tidbits for 1/27/10

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[GUEST POST] Sarah A. Hoyt on The Death of Science Fiction: It Ain’t Over Till The Fat Droid Sings

Sarah A. Hoyt was born in Portugal and lives in Colorado. In between she acquired husband, sons and cats and has written and published around three dozen short stories and over a dozen novels in fantasy, mystery, historical fiction and science fiction. The most recent of those are Gentleman Takes A Chance; Dipped, Stripped and Dead (as Elise Hyatt); and Darkship Thieves. Upcoming are A French Polished Murder (also as Elise Hyatt) and No Other Will Than His (historical fiction under her own name.) She’s at work on sequels for her fantasy and science fiction novels.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat at a science fiction and fantasy panel where science fiction and fantasy writers are wringing their hands over “Why don’t the young read science fiction anymore? Why do they like fantasy more?” The answers range from accusations against school not teaching real science and not making science be cool to – from older science fiction writers – the comfortable assumption that them lawn-trampling kids just live in a world that has been made so way cool by their elders and betters that they have no need to dream of more advanced times.

Needless to say, I think both of those “reasons” are wrong.

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REVIEW: Other Earths edited by Nick Gevers and Jay Lake

REVIEW SUMMARY: An enjoyable blend of alternate history stories that offer a wide range of topics and styles.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An anthology of 11 alternate history stories.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Lucius Shepard’s excellent story, occupying 30% of the book, was the anthology’s centerpiece; Robert Charles Wilson’s story was also excellent; six other worthwhile stories.

CONS: Three stories were mediocre or worse – two of which were more literary experiment than fiction.

BOTTOM LINE: An enjoyable assortment of alternate history stories.

Alternate history is a sub-genre that continues to intrigue and surprise me. Long-feared because of the natural association with history – and the painful reminder of boring, force-fed history classes – it wasn’t until I started reading alternate history short fiction that I came to realize this need not be the case. What I found was that, in some cases, the fictional accounts of real-life events actually prompted research on a topic – quite the opposite reaction I had in school.

Other Earths edited by Nick Gevers and Jay Lake is an anthology of short fiction that presents 11 diverse alternate history stories. The diversity is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the reader is exposed to various authors and styles that broaden reading horizons; on the other there are likely to be some stories that are your cup of tea.

That is a truism for most anthologies, and so it is here. Of the three stories that worked the least, one was hindered by writing style and the other two felt like literary experiments. That said, two other stories were quite excellent: Robert Charles Wilson’s “This Peaceable Land, or, The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beacher Stowe” and “Dog-Earred Paperback of My Life” by Lucius Shepard. The latter of these is a novella occupying thirty percent of the entire anthology. This weighed heavily of the overall enjoyment of the anthology, which offered 6 other worthwhile stories.

Individual story reviews follow…

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