November newsletter: Kelly Link, Bill Nye, and The Wheel of Time Companion; publishing news; Bull Spec Turns Six; and more

Vol 5 No 8. Wednesday, November 18, 2015: It’s been a fantastic fall for events already, with HonorCon in Raleigh and Welcome to Night Vale in Chapel Hill, readings from Julia Elliott, A.G. Riddle, and Clay and Susan Griffith, and James Maxey continues to be a fantastic ambassador for all things speculative fiction in his many appearances as Piedmont Laureate.

And even coming off a fantastic weekend with both a star-studded NC Comicon and an absolutely fantastic event with Adam Christopher and Mur Lafferty in conversation, there’s plenty still to come this month even before next weekend is over, as the Triangle will host Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, and Locus Award winning author Kelly Link (NC State, Wednesday November 18, 7:30 pm), scientist Bill Nye (McIntyre’s Books, Friday November 20, 6:30 pm), and The Wheel of Time Companion tour with editor Harriet McDougal (Quail Ridge Books, Saturday November 21, 4 pm). Not a bad week ahead, eh?

  November 21 (Saturday) 4 pm -- Quail Ridge Books hosts an epic The Wheel of Time Companion event, with editor Harriet McDougal and editorial assistants Maria Simons and Alan Romanczuk.

Then things do get a bit quieter, though I do have one December reading on my own must-see calendar — Durham’s Atomic Empire is hosting Okla Elliott and Raul Clement, co-authors of The Doors You Mark Are Your Own, on December 22 — and November also has a few events for kids (Lucy Rozier’s Jackrabbit McCabe and the Electric Telegraph) and teens (Leon Capetanos’ The Time Box), as well as a few intriguing looking stage productions (Peter and the Starcatcher put on by the PlayMakers Repertory Company, and Jesse Knight’s Eurydice Descended at the Cordoba Center for the Arts, which is funding via Indiegogo through tonight). Read the rest of this entry »


Raise money for the SFWA medical fund, send John Kessel to watch “The Hobbit”

Nebula Award winning author and NCSU professor John Kessel, who grew up enjoying picking up L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz books as they were published at the beginning of the last century and was of an, er, “advanced” age by the time Tolkien finally got to work, off-handedly quipped that “I know the world does not care, but nobody could pay me enough money to go see ‘The Hobbit.’ Well, maybe someone could, but nobody is going to.” Well… Brent Winter suggested an eBay auction and Kij Johnson a Kickstarter, adding that to work, it would have to be collected for a charity, and John offered that the SFWA Medical Fund would do just fine. So! Let’s do this.

NOTE: I am not an agent of SFWA and am not collecting any money. Only pledges. Pledgers please use the SFWA form to donate to the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund. (And then come back here and add your pledge, so we know your donation is meant to spur on this effort!)

How is this going to work? We’re going to collect pledges for donations to the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund. Once pledges reach certain levels, additional “scenarios” are unlocked. Here are the tiers as agreed to by Prof. Kessel:

  • $250 — Prof. Kessel goes to see The Hobbit (the upcoming Peter Jackson version, in a movie theater before the end of the year, no cop-out home screenings of the Bass-Rankin animated classic) — REACHED (Brent Winter)
  • $500 — Prof. Kessel will write 500 words on the film — REACHED (Jason Erik Lunbderg)
  • NEW: $750 — Prof. Kessel will either before or after the film eat Denny’s The Hobbit-themed Ring BurgerREACHED (Mark Mzyk)
  • $1000 — Prof. Kessel will dress as Gandalf when watching the film — REACHED (Karen Anderson)
  • NEW: $1500 — Prof. Kessel will watch the entire Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings trilogy and write 500 words on this experience — REACHED (Anonymous #3)
  • NEW: $2000 — Prof. Kessel will channel his inner Leonard Nimoy and perform 30 seconds (on video, of course) of “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” — REACHED (Anonymous #3)
  • $2500 — Prof. Kessel will dress as Galadriel when watching the film (and yes there will be documentary evidence) — REACHED (Anonymous #3)
    • BONUS: If we reach $2500, there’s also a “Dial-a-Rant” offer from Melinda Thielbar for the biggest pledge

As to whether or not Prof. Kessel can “pull off” Gandalf? Witness:

Kessel as Wizard

I’ll keep pledges and totals updated here, until/if we get a bigger/better place on board to do this. OK. Let’s go! If you want to pledge publicly, just comment here on the post, or mention @bullspec on Twitter, etc. Privately/anonymously, email me at — happy pledging! It’s a short turn around time, but let’s have all pledges in by the end of Monday December 17 — so John knows what to wear and whether or not to skip second breakfast (or at least elevensies) to save room for that Ring Burger! (And to give us some time to prepare the correct costume…)

UPDATE: 18 December 2012, 10:40 AM EST: TOTAL: $2500 from 65 pledgers:

  1. William Badger, $10
  2. Tom Caswell, $10
  3. Sam M-B, $10
  4. Laura Haywood-Cory, $10
  5. Kij Johnson, $10 $20
  6. Vivian Lee, $10
  7. Paul Celmer, $10
  8. Anonymous #1, $50
  9. John Kessel, $20
  10. Jim Kelly, $20
  11. Christie Yant, $20
  12. Anonymous #2, $25
  13. TL Stinson, $10
  14. Matt Wimberly, $10
  15. Brent Winter, $20 (Film)
  16. Emily Howson, $10
  17. Melinda Thielbar and Richard Dansky, $50
  18. Alex Ronke, $15
  19. Diane Kurilecz, $10
  20. Shelly Rae Clift, $25
  21. Susan Katz, $10
  22. John Morillo, $10
  23. Tony Harrison, $20
  24. Barbara J. Webb, $20
  25. Stacie H., $5
  26. Julie Day, $15
  27. Carrie Cuinn, $20
  28. Jason Erik Lundberg, $25 (Essay)
  29. Dee Lalley, $20
  30. Rebecca Wright, $10
  31. Elizabeth Bourne, $100
  32. Steve Burnett, $50
  33. janetl, $25
  34. John Bowker, $20
  35. Meagen Voss, $10
  36. Mark Mzyk, $20 (Ring Burger)
  37. P Nielsen Hayden, $20
  38. Karen Burnham, $25
  39. Arian Hormozi, $30
  40. Marti Dell, $20
  41. Kevin McNeil, $100
  42. Dario Ciriello, $10
  43. Ada Milenkovic Brown, $10
  44. Juliette Wade, $20
  45. Karen Anderson, $29.90 (Gandalf)
  46. Fuzzy Gerdes, $25.10
  47. Elise Mattheson, $20
  48. Pat Knuth, $20
  49. Madison Roberts and Richard McLane, $20
  50. Madeleine Robins, $25
  51. Bandit, $10
  52. Nicholas Stoute, $10
  53. Jeff Kapustka, $25
  54. Kate Maddalena, $5
  55. Kevin J. Maroney, $25
  56. Warren Buff, $20
  57. Simon Goldenberg, $20
  58. David Afsharirad, $20
  59. C.C. Finlay, $25
  60. Mia Nutick, $50
  61. Tina Black, $25
  62. Nightowl Pictures, $20
  63. Brooke Wonders, $15
  64. Nathaniel Williams, $10
  65. Anonymous #3, $1090 (LOTR, BALLAD, GALADRIEL)

UPDATE: THANKS EVERYBODY! Thanks especially to our Nth hour anonymous donor who contacted me and asked how much was left, and indeed, pledged it all. Unbelievable. New post soon, check for the tag KesselHobbit for photos and video to come. Now we have some work to do on wardrobe…

UPDATE: From John: “I just came back from choosing the gown I will wear as Galadriel tomorrow afternoon at Denny’s, and then at the 4:15 or 4:30 showing of The Hobbit at the North Hills theater. I need to thank all of the people who pledged to the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund in order to make this humiliation possible. You have done some real good for a worthy cause, and you should be proud of yourselves when you are not feeling ashamed for putting me through this. There will be photos and videos, I am told, and I must say with all due modesty that I am stunning in white. Review to follow.”

Release Day: The Collected Kessel

When Baen associate editor Laura Haywood-Cory sent me the following, my first response was an expletive. Not only has Baen re-released John Kessel’s novels in DRM-free ebook formats, which would be noteworthy enough, they’ve also just published a huge collection of Kessel’s short fiction, The Collected Kessel, comprising 42 of Kessel’s stories including Nebula winners “Another Orphan” (novella, 1982) and “Pride and Prometheus” (novelette, 2008), and brand new story notes. My favorite of these so far comes from his notes on “Pride and Prometheus”, which after giving the germination of the idea behind the Austen/Shelley mashup novelette, also says something quite interesting: “My career, in retrospect, has been to cross the sensibilities of literary fiction with those of pulp fiction, and this story is one way in which that impulse has expressed itself.” Well, here are 42 stories (and the novels, too) which are the career, so far, of one of our American writing treasures. Cheers, John, and one of these days I’ll get somebody to give me a little warning when something like this is coming…

Here’s the press release from Baen: Read the rest of this entry »