eldritchhobbit: (Monty Python/autonomous)
I had been been waiting for enough time to post a comprehensive update, but I've determined that this is a lost cause, so I'm going sneak a moment here and there to post whatever I can. Take that, schedule! Progress continues with the Mysterious Project of Mystery.

In immediate news...

  • SofaCON is this Sunday. Woohoo! I hope you'll join us for this international, interaction online science fiction convention. We're going to have a great time.

    SofaCON 2013

  • Next Wednesday, the 300th episode of StarShipSofa will air. I'm delighted that I'll be part of this special milestone show. If you listen, I hope you enjoy! Thanks to everyone who has been a part of our family over the years.

In other news...

  • If you'd like to see the amazing place my sister works and the remarkable efforts underway there, check out this streaming video: Storm Central. Here's the description: Students and professionals come from all over the world to work in Norman at the National Weather Center; it is a unique environment where students can learn directly from the best forecasters in the world... Scientists and engineers in Norman are developing and testing a new type of radar that promises to dramatically increase the warning time for people in the path of the storm.

  • The crew at Goodreads sent a message to inform me that, of some twenty million members, I'm in the top 1% of book reviewers there. Really? Perhaps that's true, or perhaps they just say that to all the gals. *wink* At any rate, I do spend quite a lot of time there, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys books. It's a fantastic way to connect with fellow travelers, as well. Here I am, if you happen to be in the neighborhood. Consider yourself invited, if you're not already there!

  • Lenoir-Rhyne University has announced its 2013-2014 Visiting Writers Series guests. The series always brings impressive speakers, but this year's lineup is of particular interest to me. I especially look forward to seeing Jon Meachum (think the Pulitzer Prize-winning Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power), Dame A.S. Byatt (think the Booker Prize-winning Possession), and -- most importantly -- a very favorite author of mine, Sherman Alexie (think the National Book Award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian).

* Re: the post's title, I have M.T. Anderson's Feed on the brain today.
eldritchhobbit: (Tori/I was here)
As some of you know, my sister is a tornado chaser and meteorological scientist, and both her family and our parents live near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (I've received a number of messages asking after them. Thank you so much!)

The devastation from the series of tornadoes on Sunday and Monday has set new records, and my family is in shock. Sunday night's tornadoes came within three miles of my parents, and yesterday's destroyed areas and claimed many lives in what is essentially my sister's backyard. All of my family members are well and unhurt, but they are grieving with their neighbors for all who have been lost or injured, and especially for the children and school staff members for whom searches remain underway.

To put it all in perspective, my sister was excited about seeing Star Trek into Darkness this weekend. Now her favorite theater and the entire neighborhood in which it was located no longer exist.

Oklahoma National Guard

This community is smart, well informed, and prepared for the vagaries of spring weather in Tornado Alley, but the last two days have rewritten the history books in terms of severe weather. If you have good thoughts and positive vibes to spare, please send some in the direction of Moore in particular and the larger Oklahoma City area in general. Thank you, my friends!

ETA: To help, there's the Red Cross web site (or text REDCROSS to 90999). The Animal Resource Center of Oklahoma City has a link to a donation page for animal relief. And you can donate to Pet Food Pantry. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] marthawells.)

ETA 2: More links! There's The Salvation Army web site, with an option to donate specifically for Oklahoma Tornado Relief (or text STORM to 80888). In addition, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief is already mobilized and in Moore, and it guarantees 100% of donations will go directly to the relief efforts underway. The Tulsa Community Foundation in Tulsa, OK (my hometown) is accepting contributions to the new Moore & Shawnee Tornado Relief Fund here.
eldritchhobbit: (Waterhouse/heroines)
Last night my sister and her husband welcomed their firstborn into the world.

Our new niece, Kaitlyn Margret, is here! She's healthy, beautiful, and full of personality. The Force is strong in her. :D

Welcome, Baby Kaitlyn!

"To thee no star be dark. Both heaven and earth friend thee for ever."
Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen
eldritchhobbit: (Star Wars/Pre-Raphaelite)
Happy Tuesday!

* The first part of a two-part interview with me is now up here at Darkcargo, in which I talk about science fiction, classic novel/monster mashups, "further adventures of," and other literary subjects. The second half (about genre, Sherlock Holmes, and writing, among other things) will be up on Friday. Darkcargo is a terrific multi-authored blog about reading, book anticipation, con-going, and general genre-related fun, and I highly recommend checking out its other features!

* There's additional information online about this upcoming Saturday's PotterWatch 2011 Scholarly Conference on Harry Potter at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. My keynote talk will be "On Fairy-Stories, Readers, and the Potterverse." I hope to see some of you there!

* Happy belated birthday wishes to [livejournal.com profile] delenn1960, [livejournal.com profile] lbilover, [livejournal.com profile] shagungu, and [livejournal.com profile] xanath, and happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] curtana! May all of you enjoy a wonderful year to come!

* In personal news, three cheers for my baby sister, Margret!
-- Her first refereed scholarly article has been published! So next time you're reading the International Journal of Climatology (who doesn't?), be sure to look for her work: "Spatial Coherence of Rainfall Variations Using the Oklahoma Mesonet." Woohoo!
-- She has a brand new, shiny job (besides perpetual tornado chaser extraordinaire) with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. Yay!
-- She and my brother-in-law are expecting their first child. Huzzah! The whole family is excited about welcoming baby Kaitlyn in the spring.

And here's Virginia, doing her impersonation of my reaction to the new Star Wars blu-ray release:

Virginia feeling sleepy

"It's not that I expect Lucas to stop screwing with Star Wars. I imagine that he'll do so until he dies, and even then, he'll probably build a special robot that lives on after him with the sole purpose of finding things it doesn't like about Star Wars and 'fixing' them."
- A. Lee Martinez, "Why You Should Stop Telling Fans to 'Get Over It'"
eldritchhobbit: (Pretender/Wondering)
Happy birthday to my baby sister, Margret! (I posted a few pictures of us from her wedding in July here.) May you have a terrific one, Sis!

And happy early birthday to two other fabulous people, [livejournal.com profile] delenn1960 and [livejournal.com profile] lbilover. May you both have fantastic days and wonderful years to come!

A few notes:

* io9 poses a thought-provoking question: "Do You Really Want Science Fiction Books to be More Literary?"

* GeekDad has posted a list of "10 Favorite Actors from Geeky Movies and TV." It includes some of my personal favorites, including Sir Ian Holm, Lance Henriksen, Nathan Fillion, Clancy Brown, Alan Rickman, and of course The Chin himself, Bruce Campbell. What's not to love? (My one nitpick: I would have included Jeffrey Combs for both talent and geek cred.)

* Do we really want another Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book, now that Douglas Adams is gone? Eoin Colfer, the author of the Artemis Fowl series, is giving us one. The Times is unimpressed.

* Now that I have the 10th Anniversary Edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in hand, here is my revised/updated list of books coming out in the next few weeks/months that already are available for preorder and about which I'm quite excited: in October, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Tales from the Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien with illustrations by Alan Lee; in November, Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon by Melissa Anelli and Watermind by M.M. Buckner; in December, The Vorkosigan Companion by Lillian S. Carl and The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling; and in January, The Sharing Knife: Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold.

* It's not just infatuation: I'm officially in love with my brand new Zojirushi rice cooker. I've made several different kinds of rice already as well as Irish oatmeal. Next stop: couscous. If anyone has any special recommendations for vegetarian rice cooker recipes, please let me know. Thank you so much!

"It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination."
- Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
eldritchhobbit: (Qui-Gon/What U Cannot Do)
I'm back from an excellent conference at Hope College and a wonderful time in Holland, Michigan, just in time to wish [livejournal.com profile] janissa11 a very happy birthday tomorrow. May you have a fantastic day and many more to come, my friend!

A few quick items:

* First and foremost, I have a recommendation: [livejournal.com profile] potboy just wrote a most remarkable story for me, "Vigil," that fills in the missing "how Qui-Gon Jinn returns to Obi-Wan as a glowing ghost'" piece of the Star Wars canon puzzle. She is an outstanding author, and this exquisite tale braids the larger threads of the Star Wars tapestry together in a profound way. I cannot recommed it highly enough to anyone interested in Star Wars and/or the ideas of the Jedi and the Force. Read it now! And thank you, [livejournal.com profile] potboy.

* In other news, here are the winners of this year's Hugo and John W. Campbell Awards.

* And the latest iteration of The White List, the definitive listing of writers, editors, and other publishing professionals who have LiveJournals or LJ RSS feeds, is now available here.

* Last but not least, I finally have some pictures to share from my sister Margret's wedding in July:
Margret and Me Indoors
Family Portrait (With Margret and Her New Husband Michael, My Parents, and My Husband and Me)
Margret and Michael at the Church
Margret and Me Outdoors
Margret and Michael at the Reception

I look forward to catching up with everyone soon.

'Like a stained glass window' he had thought earlier and that comparison came back now with more force. Each single hair lay against the others in pen thin lines of light and dark. But this was no ink drawing. When he looked closer, each green line revealed moving shadows, golden summers, leafy glades. Every stroke opened a hair thin gap to somewhere else, and through each one there shone the infinitely deep and living light of a whole universe.
"What are you?" he said, awed but not entirely reassured.

- from "Vigil" by [livejournal.com profile] potboy
eldritchhobbit: (Equilibrium)
Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] sunshinedew! Best wishes for a wonderful day and year to come.

My husband and I just watched The Lives of Others, which won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and it is simply outstanding, one of the best films we've seen in ages. I highly recommend it!

I don't have pictures from my baby sister's wedding yet, but I do have Margret's bridal portrait. The veil is the same one our mother wore when she married our father nearly forty years ago.

Margret's bridal portrait )

"How sweet to move at summer's eve
By Clyde's meandering stream,
When Sol in joy is seen to leave
The earth with crimson beam;
When islands that wandered far
Above his sea couch lie,
And here and there some gem-like star
Re-opes its sparkling eye."
- Andrew Park
eldritchhobbit: (Hustle/Albie)
I'm back from Oklahoma! My sister's wedding was beautiful. Thanks to all who wished Margret and Michael well. They are now honeymooning in St. Croix. To my great relief, I managed not to drop my bouquet, her bouquet, or the ring during the ceremony, or faint or burst into tears, and so I count myself a success as the matron of honor. I was particularly pleased by the geek content of the event; the song played during the ceremony was a slightly-rewritten standard from Pete's Dragon, and the newly married couple arrived at their reception to the sounds of the Star Wars Main Title. I hope to have pictures to share soon.

In other news...

Blogging News

* The Liberty and Power Group Blog, to which I contribute, and which is a part of the History News Network at George Mason University, has been named one of The Top 100 Liberal Arts Professor Blogs. Yay team! It is syndicated for LJ as [livejournal.com profile] power_liberty.

Television News

* Jeremiah, an excellent post-apocalyptic science fiction series by J. Michael Straczynski (creator of Babylon 5), will begin airing in syndication on the SciFi Channel this Thursday, July 10. In my opinion, the first season is very good, but the second season is simply fantastic. I hope this worthy series gains many new viewers! I highly recommend it.

* It's also great to learn that there will indeed be a fifth season of the brilliant Hustle, which I have sorely missed.

Literary News

* R.I.P. Thomas M. Disch (1940-2008)
I was deeply saddened to read that science fiction author and critic Thomas M. Disch (1940-2008) took his own life on the 4th of July. Honored with one Hugo win and two Hugo nominations, nine Nebula nominations, the John W. Campbell and Rhysling awards, and two Seiun awards, Disch had a long and distinguished career. I will remember him especially for his 1969 novelization of The Prisoner and his 1972 dystopian novel 334, as well as his nonfiction books The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World and On SF.

* A discussion recently began here on [livejournal.com profile] sf_with_bite regarding readers' top ten favorite SF short stories. I am more of a fan of novels and novellas than short fiction, but off the top of my head, here is my list, in alphabetical order:
My Top Ten Favorite SF Short Stories )
What are yours?

"Because of his intellectual audacity, the chillingly distant mannerism of his narrative art, the austerity of the pleasures he affords, and the fine cruelty of his wit, Thomas M. Disch has been perhaps the most respected, least trusted, most envied and least read of all modern first-rank SF writers."
John Clute on Thomas M. Disch
eldritchhobbit: (Scully/Outer Space)
My baby sister Margret (see these posts for more about her) is getting married this weekend, so I'm off to Oklahoma to be the matron of honor in her wedding.

I will be online while I'm away, but I want to go ahead and wish all of you who celebrate it a happy Fourth of July. Also, happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] archaic_angel; may you have a fantastic day and wonderful year to come!

A few quick notes before I go:

* AMC has announced casting news for the six-part mini-series remake of The Prisoner (with ITV Productions and Granada International) slated for 2009.

* R.I.P. Don S. Davis (1942-2008), veteran of such genre series as Stargate SG-1 and Twin Peaks, who will always be Captain William Scully from The X-Files to me.

* The [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry fandom-sponsored auction starts today and closes on July 15. Items up for auction include autographed books by [livejournal.com profile] marthawells, Peg Kerr, Pamela Dean, and Steve Berman, fan fiction, original stories, handmade custom jewelry, knitted clothing, baked goods, original art, fan art, and story critique services, among other things.

* Thanks to new suggestions and discoveries, I have updated my working list of recommended young adult dystopias. (Please let me know if you know of other titles or series that I have missed that were written specifically for YA readers. Many thanks!) Those with asterisks I've already read and highly recommend. FYI!

Recommended Young Adult Dystopias )

"Live in each season as it passes: breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit."
– Henry David Thoreau
eldritchhobbit: (Inara/Tori by hey_lena)
First, regarding my sister Margret (she's the tornado chaser): I now have pictures from her recent college graduation (where she was a Phi Beta Kappa inductee and a Graduate With Distinction, adds the proud big sister). So I thought I might share a couple of photos, one of both of us with her undergraduate advisor, and one just of the two of us. In case you don't know me by sight, I'm the one who is - *ahem* - no longer twenty-two. :) I'm also known as the brunette one.

Now, an announcement that might be of interest to those of you who write and/or read fan fiction of any variety: [livejournal.com profile] fic_on_demand is a thriving LJ community for fan fiction. How does it work? Join, make a post there requesting a ficlet - any fandom, any pairing, any specs - as specific or vague as you want. Fic requests for all fandoms are welcome. You can only make one request per month. There's a promotion currently underway for the month of June that involves paid LJ time/shopping vouchers to anyone who fulfills at least one request per day throughout June. (They can be any length, so it's not impossible.) FYI!

A couple of random notes:

*Revolution Science Fiction has added two new features about what next season's genre television will bring: "2005-2006 Sci-Fi TV Preview: CancelQuest NBC" (a list of what's new, what's coming back, and what's gone on all of the major networks in terms of science fiction programming next season) and "2005-2006 Sci-Fi TV Preview: Sci-Fi Actors Not Yet Unemployed Again" (a list of what the new season means for actors who are famed for their sci-fi business).

*The site Star Wars Origins contains some interesting educated guesses about the inspirations George Lucas drew upon in making his saga. I hadn't listed this on my past posts re: Star Wars links, so I thought I would add it here.

And last, a quote for the day:

"This always-disappearing lake
is made of our appetites,
these movings-about,
this talking and listening.

The only offering you can make to God
is your increasing awareness..."

from "Four Questions" by Lalla, translated by Coleman Barks
eldritchhobbit: (Lupin/Tori by kragey)
FYI, "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet: An Interview with Steve Babb of Glass Hammer" is now available at Pop Thought. In this interview, lead Steve Babb tells me about Glass Hammer's forthcoming album The Inconsolable Secret (the title is inspired by a quote from C.S. Lewis), the band's upcoming concert at the "'Past Watchful Dragons': Fantasy and Faith in the World of C.S. Lewis" event, and his thoughts on the music business.

On a personal note, I want to offer hearty congratulations to Margret, who happens to be not only my little sister and my dear friend, but also the only genuine tornado chaser I know. Yesterday she was offered admission to the nation's premier graduate program in meteorology (at the University of Oklahoma) and, in concert with that, a full research assistantship with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. Way to go, gal! I am so happy for and proud of you.

To quote Tori Amos, she's "chasing tornadoes - I'm just waiting, calmly, chasing her."

And now, a quote for the day, from a book both Margret and I love:

“The Ministry of Magic,” Dumbledore continued, “does not wish me to tell you this. It is possible that some of your parents will be horrified that I have done so – either because they will not believe that Lord Voldemort has returned, or because they think I should not tell you so, young as you are. It is my belief, however, that the truth is generally preferable to lies, and that any attempt to pretend that Cedric died as the result of an accident, or some sort of blunder on his own, is an insult to his memory….

“Every guest in this Hall,” said Dumbledore, and his eyes lingered upon the Durmstrang students, “will be welcomed back here at any time, should they wish to come. I say to you all, once again – in the light of Lord Voldemort’s return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open….

“Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.”

from J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


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