* The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has released the 2006 Nebula Awards Preliminary Ballot. I'm particularly pleased that the Dr. Who episode "The Girl in the Fireplace" made the short list for Best Script.
* FYI, anyone in/near/planning to visit Tulsa, Oklahoma: I will be giving a series of lectures for educators and students in the Broken Arrow Public Schools at the end of the month, and I'll also be speaking and signing books at an "Evening with the Author" event that is open to the public at no charge.
Where: Broken Arrow Senior High School
When: Monday, January 29, 6:30pm
What: Harry Potter is a Hobbit: The Tolkien Solution to the Rowling Problem
Synopsis: J.K Rowling draws fire from cultural critics and laypersons alike: her works rank among the most challenged books of the last decade due to their supposedly mature content, and yet highly visible reviewers consistently poke fun at their allegedly juvenile nature. A question emerges from these disparate but repeated lines of attack: if children cannot handle dark and serious issues such as death, and adults should not enjoy such childish and light pleasures as fantasy stories, who if anyone is the proper audience for the Harry Potter series? According to J.R.R. Tolkien, the solution to this dilemma lies not in discovering a new category of readers, but rather in dismissing the false assumptions about childhood, adulthood, and the nature of fantasy that inform the question. Join Dr. Amy H. Sturgis as she uses Tolkien's insights to propose a solution to Rowling’s problem of readership and a lasting answer to her critics.
Texts to be Signed: The Magic Ring and Apex Science Fiction and Fantasy Digest (flyers available for The Trail of Tears and Indian Removal)
I can provide additional details if needed.
The trees down the boulevard stand naked in thought,
Their abundant summery wordage silenced, caught
In the grim undertow; naked the trees confront
Implacable winter's long, cross-questioning brunt.
- D.H. Lawrence, "Winter in the Boulevard," 1916