Francis Menotti was at the Jean Cocteau over the weekend, and amazed us all. This is the third time we've had Francis at the JCC, and he always does a great show. He performed the trick that stumped Penn & Teller, of course, along with a lot of other tricks that stumped the rest of us, including me. Always a fun time when Menotti is in time.
Alas, alack, a couple of the other magic acts that we've been looking forward to -- the ones I blogged about here http://grrm.livejournal.com/528565.html -- have vanished from our schedule, at least temporarily.
The astonishing Misty Lee, one of our faves, was scheduled to return on June 9-10, but she's run into a scheduling conflict with a television appearance, so we're having to push her visit back until September. And the Naked Magicians, scheduled for May 30, are gone as well. We lost our venue and partner for that one, and the Aussies are too big for our tiny JCC stage and auditorium. We still want to bring them to Santa Fe, but right now we cannot say when and where. Watch this space.
So... there's a bit less magic on our schedule, for the none, but we still have some amzing special events coming up at the JCC. TERRY BROOKS will be here for an author event on June 17, and RICHARD KADREY on July 13. July 7 - 9 we have the GAME OF THRONES season 6 marathon.
But much soon, do not forget, Max Headroom will be coming for our M-M-M-MAXATHON! That's May 13 - 20, with Michael Cassutt, Steve Roberts, and Matt Frewer... and my own, never before seen or heard, Max Headroom episodes. Don't miss it.
More Author Videos
We've added two more videos from recent author events at the Jean Cocteau to the JCC website:
CONNIE WILLIS, interviewed by Melinda M. Snodgrass
JOHN NICHOLS, interviewed by Lorene Mills
If you weren't able to be with us in person, you can check them out at
Connie and I have known each other for decades, of course, and she's always a delight. John Nichols, however, I've only met once or twice previously, and the last time was probably twenty years ago at an event up in Colorado organized by Ed Bryant. Nichols is a fascinating man, however, and he had a lot to say. Even if you don't know his work, you should find him interesting.
The video of my own talk with John Scalzi is not ready yet, but should be up soon.
Autographed books by Connie Willis, Melinda Snodgrass, John Nichols, John Scalzi, and myself are all available from the JCC website, of course. Along with lots more from other authors.
A recent comment from a "fan" said, in rather strong words, that he was not interested in the Jean Cocteau or anything that went on there. Fair enough. No one said you had to be. Maybe you should skip the posts with the JCC icon on top.
Thing is, though, that Santa Fe cares about the Jean Cocteau... I've had many people tell me that they love our little theatre... and more to the point, I care as well. The Jean Cocteau doesn't bring me big wheelbarrows of money. Far from it. If we ever manage to get it into the black, I may die of shock. It is, however, a source of joy... for our patrons, for our city, and certainly for myself. And in the end, we all need some joy in our lives.
Wild Cards Dealt
Gregory Noveck, executive producer on the Wild Cards television series in development at Universal, weighs in on his love of the series in a new post on the WC blog at:
And over at Tor, you can weigh in yourself on ACES HIGH, the second volume of the series.
Scalzi in Santa Fe
Bestseller, Hugo Award winner, former SFWA president, blogger, bon vivant, and the world's leading expert on taping bacon to cats... John Scalzi is a man of many parts.
He made a whirlwind visit to Santa Fe yesterday, and the Jean Cocteau was thrilled to host him.
He did not actually sing in the rain. But he did play a ukulele. And he talked. And laughed. Ate a churro and some carne adovada. And signed a LOT of books.
(That's me and Steve Gould with him in the picture)
If you couldn't be there, hey, no problem. We'll be putting up a video of our talk. And we made him sign stock before we let him go, so you can get your autographed copies of THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE, OLD MAN'S WAR, and REDSHIRTS (winner of The Big One) from the Jean Cocteau website.
Next up: magician Francis Menotti.
Cool Times at the JCC
We had a great event on Saturday with John Nichols. Terrific writer and fascinating guy, whose work truly captures the sights, sounds, and spirit of Northern New Mexico. Lorene Mills did a wonderful job interviewing him. We should have the video up on the Jean Cocteau website soon.
And tonight, at 7pm, we have JOHN SCALZI flying in. John's touring for his new novel, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE, and we're thrilled to have him.
See you at the theatre!
Last night's episode of THE EXPANSE was really strong, I thought. And I was pleased to hear that the show has been renewed for a third season.
Jimmy Corey's books and the TV series based on them have both gotten a fair amount of acclaim -- awards attention and the like -- but not nearly enough, imnsho. The show had a good first season, but it's only gotten stronger in season two. If it keeps on at this level, it deserves to be ranked among the best SF shows of all time. Acting, directing, writing... and my god, the look of it. The space stuff, in particular.
BABYLON 5, FIREFLY, and the various STAR TREK successor shows were all spiffy looking in their day, but THE EXPANSE is to those shows as they were to the original TREK, and as the original TREK was to ROCKY JONES: SPACE RANGER.
Speaking of Rocky, though, that is the one thing EXPANSE lacks: Pinto Vortando.
April Autograph Special
The bookshop at the Jean Cocteau Cinema is having a special for the rest of the month on autographed copies of HIGH STAKES, the latest volume in the Wild Cards series.
HIGH STAKES normally retails for $27.99, but for the rest of the month we're cutting five dollars off and offering it for $22.99... while the supply lasts.
These are first edition hardcovers... all with four autographs. They're signed by yours truly, and by three of my participating writers, Melinda M. Snodgrass, John Jos. Miller, and Ian Tregillis. (You'll have to collect the rest of the signatures yourself).
ALL of the books at the JCC are autographed, fwiw. You can check out the full list on our website at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/author/
Shame On You, United
I don't often comment on current events, but the story about the passenger that United Airlines beat bloody and dragged off a flight -- for no reason but to accomodate some of their own deadheading employees, and despite the fact that he had a ticket that he'd bought and paid for and was doing nothing but sitting peacefully in his assigned seat -- has me seeing red.
Jimmy Kimmel said it better than I could.
I stand with Jimmy, with Alan Grayson, and with millions of other ordinary Americans from coast to coast who were outraged by these videos, and by the mealy-mouthed corporate bullshit the United's CEO chose to offer afterwards.
One point Jimmy did not raise: in what world does an airline employee's need to get to his next flight take precedence over a doctor's need to return to his hospital?
The "police" who dragged the man off the plane and beat him do not deserve the name of police officers, and should be fired immediately. "They were just following orders" is no excuse.
The United CEO should also resign. He's a disgrace.
I am old enough to remember when airlines were regulated, and passengers had rights. But we deregulated the airlines, and now passengers are cattle. The present rule seems to be just what Kimmel says: do what we say, or else. You may have given us your money, but we owe you nothing.
And here's the cherry for your (bloody) sundae: United has also announced plans to begin charging passengers for carry-on luggage.
Authors on Video
We've been doing our author events at the Jean Cocteau Cinema since 2013, but until recently they've only been available to those who could attend in person.
This summer, however, in response to numerous requests, we've begun taping the events.
And now, for all of you who were not able to be there, we've uploaded some of the videos to the Jean Cocteau website. You can find them at http://jeancocteaucinema.com/exclusive-video/
There's some fun stuff there, including my talks with Carrie Vaughn and Stephen King, our HAP & LEONARD event with Joe Lansdale, and -- from last summer -- the big big WILD CARDS event where an all-star lineups of Wild Cards authors try to play their characters.
Check it out.
And for those of you who ARE in New Mexico, don't forget the events we have coming up this week: JOHN NICHOLS on April 15 and JOHN SCALZI on April 17. Reserve your books (and your seats) for those two early, if you haven't done so already. They're both filling up fast.
A Sense of Wonder
I've made my life in the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, and an awful lot of people helped me along the way. I wouldn't be where I am today without them. But if I may echo something that Robert A. Heinlein once said, you can never pay back the people who helped you when you were starting out... but you can pay forward, and give a hand to those coming after.
With that in mind, I'm pleased to announce that I will be funding a new scholarship for the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Workshop. Held every summer at the University of California San Diego under the auspices of the Clarion Foundation, the workshop's roots go back the 1960s and Clarion College in Pennsylvania, where it was founded by Robin Scott Wilson, Damon Knight, and Kate Wilhelm. Its alumni include more professional sf and fantasy writers than I can possibly hope to name, and the list of Clarion instructors over the years is a veritable Who's Who of our genre.
Many of the students at Clarion already receive financial aid through a variety of existing scholarships and grants that cover all or part of their expenses, but there's always need and there's never enough money, and it's my hope that this new scholarship will offer an opportunity to one more worthy applicant who might not otherwise have been able to afford the experience. It will be a full scholarship, given annually, and covering tuition, fees, and lodging for a single student for the full six weeks of intensive writing and criticism that is Clarion.
We'll be calling it the Sense of Wonder scholarship.
The award will not be limited by age, race, sex, religion, skin color, place of origin, or field of study. The only criteria will be literary.
The first science fiction novel I ever read was Heinlein's HAVE SPACE SUIT, WILL TRAVEL, a book that begins with a boy named Kip in a used spacesuit standing in his back yard, and goes on to take him (and us) to the moon, and Pluto, and the Lesser Magellanic Cloud, along the way encountering aliens both horrifying (the Wormfaces) and benevolent (the Mother Thing), as well as a girl named Peewee. In the end it's up to Kip and Peewee to defend the entire human race when Earth is put on trial. I had never read anything like it, and from the moment I finished I wanted more; more Heinlein, more science fiction, more aliens and spacesuits and starships... more of the vast interstellar vistas that had opened before me.
Since then I have read thousands of other science fiction novels, and written a few myself. Modern imaginative fiction is a house with many rooms, and I've visited most of them. Cyberpunk, New Wave, magic realism, slipstream, military SF, dystopias, utopias, urban fantasy, high fantasy, splatterpunk, the new weird, the new space opera, you name it. I've sampled all of it, and I'm glad it's all there, but when it comes right down it, the SF I love best is still the SF that gives me that sense of wonder I found in that Heinlein book almost sixty years ago, and afterwards in the works of Roger Zelazny, Jack Vance, Alfred Bester, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jack Vance, Andre Norton, the early Chip Delany, Jack Vance, Frank Herbert, Robert Silverberg, Jack Vance, Eric Frank Russell, Cordwainer Smith, Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, Arthur C. Clarke, Poul Anderson, and so many more. (Did I mention Jack Vance?) I love the aliens, be they threatening or benevolent, the more alien the better. I dream of starships, strange worlds beneath the light of distant suns. I want the sights and sounds and smells of times and places and cultures colorful and exotic. That was the sort of science fiction that I tried to write myself with the Thousand Worlds stories that made my name in the 70s, when I was just breaking in as a writer.
It's my hope that this new Clarion scholarship will help find and encourage young aspiring writers who dream the same sort of dreams, that it will give a small boost up to the next Roger Zelazny, the next Ursula Le Guin, the next Jack Vance.
One student will be selected every year. The recipient of the first award is LUCY SMITH, an English writer and recent student of archaeology who has been making stories for most of her life. She has just begun tweeting at @subterranape, and can usually be found in London. I have yet to meet her, but I hope that she enjoys her six weeks at Clarion, and that the lessons she learns there will help her develop her talent and master her craft. And in the years and books to come, I hope that Lucy Smith will take us to the stars, and show us wonders.