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Items: reading, writing, art


Very loosely themed collection this time:

  • R.I.P. Frank Kelly Freas, who died yesterday morning at age 82. He was renowned as a science fiction artist for over fifty years; among many other distinctions, Freas appeared this past fall on both the 2004 Best Pro Artist ballot and the Retro Hugo 1953 Best Pro Artist ballot. (He didn't win either category, but it was still impressive.) See SFWA's obituary for more.
  • Science fiction author Jack L. Chalker had surgery a couple weeks ago for congestive heart failure. He's "permanently disabled but not fully retired," but his most recent published book may be his last, according to the news page on his site.
  • Movie-List has a trailer for the Sin City movie, based on the Frank Miller comic book. I was never that fond of the comic, but I haven't read much of it, and the trailer has a great quasi-black-and-white noir look to it. Features Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke (who looks remarkably like the comic-book character), Benicio del Toro, Elijah Wood, et alia.
  • Short story competition: We Burned So Bright: Energy/Culture Transition. They're looking for short stories up to 3000 words set in a near future in which "oil is becoming—or has become—too expensive for everyday use." Submit via email (!); first prize is £50, with two £25 runners-up.
  • Matt Cheney of Mumpsimus has posted a list of stories he liked from 2004 (including three from SH), plus some general observations. (And I'm pleased to see that more than a third of the authors of the stories he lists are people we've published.) I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't read a bunch of the stories on the list—but at least three of the ones I've read (aside from the SH stories) would go on my favorite-stories-of-2004 list too, were I to make such a list.
  • Origami Yoda. 'Nuff said.
  • My own recent reading has included finishing Ethan of Athos (which I thought was interesting, and fun in places, but mildly disappointing; still, I'm glad to have read it, 'cause some day I still hope to put together a comprehensive survey of sf about single-sex societies) and Guys and Dolls: The Stories of Damon Runyon (a collection of assorted Runyon stories; some okay, some excellent, most at least mildly entertaining). Am nearly halfway through Dark Matter: Reading the Bones. Oh, and I read the first draft of Mary Anne's novel, which I like a lot; looking forward to the final version.


There's a sharper version of the Sin City trailer available for viewing here.

The first Sin City storyline, featuring Marv, was the best by far, in my opinion. None of the ones that followed matched its ferocity. (But I'll definitely see the movie.)

I started reading Ethan of Athos but put it down about a quarter of the way through, once I was sure that “Planet of the Amazon Women” didn’t resemble it in any way. It was . . . fluffy.

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