Nothing says Christmas like a serial killer

Advent Calendar image

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German advent calendar for children has become a hot seller since word got out it has a picture of a notorious serial killer on it.

The cartoon calendar shows Fritz Haarmann, who murdered 24 young men and boys in the 1920s, lurking under a tree with a hatchet next to the door for December 1. Below him, Santa Claus hands out presents to children in a festive-looking Hanover.

How Creativity Is Being Strangled By The Law

Stanford professor Larry Lessing, one of our foremost authorities on copyright issues and the Chair of Creative Commons, intelligently and skillfully makes the case for creative freedom in today’s Internet. Using graphics, humor, and clarity, Lessing successfully sets the current controversies within a fascinating historical perspective.

Wilhelm Reich’s Revenge

An Orgone Accumulator

Scientist’s ideas on sex re-examined

By JERRY HARKAVY, Associated Press Writer
Tue Nov 6, 7:36 AM ET

RANGELEY, Maine – Physician-scientist Wilhelm Reich, best known for his claims of a cosmic life force associated with sexual orgasm, died in federal prison, and the government burned tons of his books and other publications and destroyed his equipment.

But half a century later, a small number of scientists and other believers are working to advance the European-born psychiatrist’s work on what he called “orgone energy” — a theory largely forgotten in the scientific mainstream.

Perhaps, it’s time to dust off my old Wilhelm Reich comic book idea.

Preaching to the converted

I noticed a lack of science fiction/fantasy/horror writers at the Texas Book Festival. There were a lot of crime writers. A quick glance of the attending authors offers only Neal Shusterman, young adult author of many popular books, and Matthew Sturges, who wrote the novel Midwinter (Clockwork Storybook) and published several short stories but is currently best know as the writer for several DC comics including Jack of Fables (with Bill Willingham), Shadowpact, Countdown to Mystery, and House of Mystery. And of course I’m aware the Joe Lansdale could be included in the sf/f/h category, but he tends to be just classified as Lansdale.

[Read more…]

The World Fantasy Award and Book Sales

The World Fantasy Awards winners were announced yesterday. I only make a note of the occasion since several close friends were nominated (none of whom won) and the accompanying convention is one of the reasons I’m blogging rather than Jeff. It’s not like the awards really mean anything in a real world money sense. There’s a joke/observation in the bookselling community that winning the World Fantasy Award dooms a book to an out of print status and relative obscurity.

Let’s look at the previous winners.

[Read more…]

Conversations with the Bookless: Chris Nakashima-Brown

As promised, I am continuing Jeff’s excellent Bookless series but with a Texas bent. Over the next two weeks, I will introduce you to three Texas short story writers, each with a unique perspective. As for what the series is about I think Jeff said it best.

In support of the short story, and specifically those talented writers who are currently “bookless,” which is to say those writers who are at that stage of their career where a collection or novel is a year or more away, I’m doing a new feature called Conversations with the Bookless, of which this is the fifth (2nd Texas) installment. (The first four were with Rachel Swirsky, Nathan Ballingrud, Paul Jessup, and Scott A. Cupp.) The fact is, if you don’t have a book out, it’s harder to get attention and it’s harder for reader attention to crystallize around you. I hope these interviews introduce readers to some of the great talent that, in the coming years, will be amazingly and bountifully bookful.

Beginning in 2002, Chris Nakashima-Brown exploded onto the gonzo slipstream short fiction scene energetically displaying bouts of both brilliance and confusion. His unique works have been compared favorably to Borges and Ballard, and been called “a cross between William Gibson and Mark Leyner” (Boing Boing) as well as “Neal Stephenson meets Hunter S. Thompson” (Cory Doctorow). Tales like “The Bunker of the Tikriti”, “Immaculate Perception”, and “Script-Doctoring the Apocalypse” cemented Chris Nakashima-Brown’s reputation as one of the most exciting new writers of the 21st century.

[Read more…]

Rampant Biblioholism

“My name is Peggy and I’m biblioholic…”

I’ve gladly called Peggy Hailey my friend for close to a decade and I believe it when she speaks those words. Luckily for Peggy, she can feed her habit as a buyer for Book People, the largest independent book store in Texas, and as the RevolutionSF fiction editor.

Peggy records her addictions with wit, intelligence, and insight at her new blog Rampant Biblioholism. She is one of the smartest book people I know. And even though Jeff is too busy to respond while he’s off hobnobbing with the important people in Paris and Saratoga Springs, I speak confidently that he would second my feelings about Peggy and her book knowledge.

When science reality collides with science fiction

Physicists Get Two Atoms to Communicate: First Step Toward the Quantum Internet

The University of Michigan researchers said their accomplishment marks an advance toward super-fast quantum computing and data transmission.

The scientists used light to establish what’s called “entanglement” between two atoms, which were trapped one meter apart in separate enclosures. They described entangling as similar to controlling the outcome of one coin flip with the outcome of a separate coin flip.

The Cosmic Baseball Association

I first encountered this oddity some ten years ago. And I freely admit that it still confounds me. Originally, the Cosmic Baseball Association featured teams made up of philosophers, politicians, scientists, writers, criminals, and others, both dead and alive. Players have included a variety of disparate individuals such as catcher Noam Chomsky, pitcher Socrates, pitcher Maria Montessori, pitcher Kasia Karazim, shortstop Andy Warhol (1995, 1996, 1997), pitcher William Burroughs (1996, 1997), infielder Philip K. Dick, pitcher Zelda Fitzgerald (but oddly not F. Scott), pitcher Wilhelm Reich, shortstop Alan Turing, left fielder Al Capone (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998), first baseman Scipio Africanus, second baseman Omar Bradley, pitcher Courtney Love, infielder Frederic Chopin, pitcher Pat Nixon, pitcher Che Guevara (1996, 1997), pitcher Chester Arthur, pitcher Mother Teresa, and pitcher Vanessa Williams. Later they added concepts such as astrological signs, fictional characters, domain names, planets, and Abbott & Costello.

[Read more…]

Forthcoming Conan Movie and other REH observations revealed the teaser poster for the forthcoming Conan feature film. While Millennium Films promises that the “new version will be more faithful to Howard’s original creation than were the Arnold Schwarzenegger films”, I am understandably dubious.

[Read more…]