Bits & Pieces

New Hampshire Natterings.

We’re moving.

Not only are Karen, Bo and I moving, the company is moving too.  As is my book collection, Karen’s antiques, Bo’s toy collection and everything else.  We’ve purchased a nice ranch house (fewer steps to negotiate!) not too far from where we are presently living and I’m exhausted.  Moving was a lot easier when I was twenty years younger.

The upside is:  no more laundromat, no more washing dishes by hand, a yard for Bo, more room for everyone and a custom facility for Amazing Stories.

The former amenities are going to save me a lot of time (living in a science fiction world does have its benefits), but I am naturally most excited about the office/library/studio/meeting room/lounge/writer’s retreat.

There’ll be built in shelving and I will, after nearly a decade, be able to display my collection (and reference library – that’s what we call pulp magazines around here – reference works) in its entirety.  There’ll be some unhappiness associated with that as the full extent of whatever damage has been done over the years will also be on display (last year’s war with the mice cost me a few titles) and I’ll be in for several rounds of looking for replacements.  But for the most part this will be a joyous occasion.

korea-sentry-turretss-l225I’ll also be painting a section of the room with green screen paint and setting up a camera for ‘casts of some kind;  there’ll be lounge seating, a table for gaming, plenty of posters and other SF mementos strategically arranged and an electronic lock on the door.  Twin autoguns will guard the entrance and will pump 100,000 rounds per second into anyone or anything trying to enter when the Do Not Disturb – Genius At Work light is on (it came labelled that way, honest!).  (Yep, living in a science fiction world has its benefits!)

This move comes right in the middle of various important developments:  we finally managed to acquire the www.AmazingStories.com url.  Eventually we’ll be splitting the website into blog and magazine.

Speaking of the magazine – our SFWA judges have made their final selections for the Gernsback Writing Contest and we will be announcing them this coming Wednesday, September 30th!  (Contestants, you’ll be hearing from me before then!)

We’re going to be switching our comments over to be handled by Disqus, which will allow visitors to comment using FB and other social networking IDs (less need to log in to leave a comment).

We’re also probably going to be using a content service which will greatly increase the speed of the site.

But the biggest change/addition – remains something I still can’t talk about.  I’ve teased bits and pieces here and elsewhere;  it involves a licensing deal, one that will greatly impact our web-presence for the better and one that will fund our ability to regularly purchase fiction at professional rates.  Which in turn will be supporting the magazine’s return to print. About which deponent sayeth no more.

1926But speaking of print:  FuturesPast Editions has just sent me the table of contents for THE BEST OF AMAZING STORIES, THE 1940 ANTHOLOGY.  They’ve been working on a while series of year-by-year anthologies that draw from the magazine’s early days.  The 1926 volume is currently available, 1927 is on the way, 1928 is at the copy editor, but we interrupted the sequence in order to get 1940, the year under consideration for next year’s Retro Hugo Awards, out the door as quickly as possible.  There’s some great stuff in Amazing Stories, 1940, and now you won’t have to hunt down individual issues of the magazine to read them. (There’s also replica issues, forgotten classic novels and anniversary collections to be had.)

We’re doing a whole series on the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards that will be presented at MidAmeriCon II in 2016.  We’ve indexed the posts here.  (Hugo awards are given out for the preceding year, so the 1941 awards are given to works published in 1940.  The 1941 convention – Denvention – was held 75 years ago in Denver, Colorado and did not award Hugos, which makes it eligible for the Retro Hugos.  In case you were wondering.)

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Did you hear?  The Happy Birthday Song has now been freed from the chains of copyright.  That’s right.  The people who owned the rights to the song, the folks who were making an estimated minimum two million bucks in fees every year by charging television shows, movies, restaurants and every toddler they managed to catch in the act have been cut back, the court ruling that only certain particular piano arrangements fall under control of the rights they hold.

Whew!  I’ll finally be able to sing that song with a clear conscience.  (I’ve been lip-syncing up till now.)

One wonders how this supremely socialist act is going to affect things like Mickey Mouse.  Socialist act?  Well yeah.  The “activist” courts have taken the economic rights of a single corporation and simply handed them over to the mob.  That poor capitalist company is now probably ruined.  Without that two million a year, its doubtful that they’ll have any incentive to come up with improvements, cost reductions.  Lord knows they’ll certainly stop creating jobs…and then there goes the neighborhood.  No more trickle down benefits for the peasants.  Serves ’em right.  See what happens when social justice wins?

Whenever I hear stuff like the above, I’m reminded of what Neil deGrasse Tyson had to say about political parties, recently.  It echoes what I’ve been saying about labels. “I never associate myself with a political party. If you ask me I can tell you how I’d vote, but I don’t start by saying ‘oh, I am [a political party]’.  No.  I am a human being.  I’m a trained scientist.  I’m a male.  I’m a father. I’m a husband.  There are things that I am and that’s not up to somebody’s debate.  But intellectual issues?  I’m not going to attach myself to some movement that is defined by other people who are telling me what it is I should or should not believe.” (full interview here.)

Fandom fell into “political parties” last year over the Hugo Awards and a lot of people joined movements that were defined by other people who tried to tell us what we should or should not believe.  Most of the rhetoric was addressed to labels – SJW, puppy, conservative, liberal, whatever.  Meaningless sounds that did nothing but increase anger, frustration and divisiveness within our community.

We can do better when talking among ourselves.  Keep two things in mind:  Labels stifle debate. Ideas are not the person.  That last is how we manage to remain friends with people who have  views and opinions that we don’t agree with.

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