I've been quite busy with a sick Virginia, so I'm a bit behind. Happy belated birthday to chorale, nakeisha, poenari, ebonange, frodosweetstuff, primroseburrows, gbsteve, eowynmaiar, and sally_maria. Happy early bithday to magicwondershow, groovekittie, eveningblue, peadarog, thehornedgod, baylorsr, lin4gondor, and caitri. May all of you enjoy a fantastic year to come!
* My latest "Looking Back on Genre History" segment for StarShipSofa, which is a review of the collection Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction (and serves as a follow-up to my earlier segment on Native American genre fiction), is now up at StarShipSofa. You can listen or download it here. An updated list of all of my podcast appearances (with links) is available here.
* My experience last weekend at ConCarolinas was fantastic. So much SF goodness! I was hoping to write up a proper report, but for the moment, here are a few highlights (in no particular order)...
-- I am now more excited than ever about D.B. Jackson's Thieftaker, which will be out next month, and which promises to be fantastic. (Psst! The first several chapters, as well as a short story in the same 'verse, are available for free download at Jackson's site. A narration of the story by the author is also available.)
-- I had great fun at Jonah Knight's concert of paranormal modern folk. Wonderfully Lovecraftian! You should check out his website and listen to his songs. Here's a video of one of his live performances at the con.
-- Thanks to DarkCargo's fabulous Elizabeth Campbell, I shared a fascinating lunch with some truly brilliant folks, including Elizabeth herself, Duncan Langlois, Theresa Bane, and Paula S. Jordan, the latter of whom made a lovely post about the gathering.
-- I had the opportunity to talk at length about some of the subjects nearest and dearest to my heart (Edgar Allan Poe, vintage science fiction literature, and history, among other things) with media guest Jeffrey Combs, who happens to be one of my favorite actors, genre or otherwise. (You may also recall that years ago he ranked highly in my now-woefully-outdated "SF Hunks" feature.) It wasn't my first time to meet him, but I'd never had the chance to visit with him as I did this time, and it was a great delight. He's well read and well spoken as well as charming, and his genuine appreciation for his fans and their support is lovely to see.
-- After having the privilege of meeting, speaking at some length with, and appearing on panels beside Jack McDevitt several times now, I simply must say this: Mr. McDevitt is the kind of person I'd like to be when I "grow up" (or just be, since it's doubtful I'll ever grow up). Yes, he's won the Nebula Award and Philip K. Dick Award and many other honors during his decades-long science fiction career, but more impressive still is the unfailing respect and kindness he shows people, be they his colleagues, fans, or complete strangers. I've met plenty of individuals whose work I admire who seem to be quite lovely, and a few who didn't, but Mr. McDevitt's humility, grace, and general decency are inspirational. "Gentleman" is perhaps the best word for him, and for my money he's one of science fiction's great living treasures.
-- There was much Sherlock and Arthur Conan Doyle goodness at the con. Our Sherlockian panel was packed. Audience members claimed every chair and square space of floor, and finally the door was shut, because not one more person could squeeze into the room. A terrific conversation followed. Furthermore, all about the hotel you could see Holmesian shirts, deerstalkers, posters, and, of course, flyers: