World's Biggest Bookstore pushes Hominids
Toronto's World's Biggest Bookstore is promoting Hominids in the latest issue of their online newsletter, as you can see here: World's Biggest Bookstore's Sci-Fi Fan Letter: Sci-Fi Fan Letter Issue 14.
Library Journal on Wake: "Sawyer's erudition, eclecticism, and masterly storytelling make this a choice selection."
... and it shows!
One really does have to wonder what's going through the minds of the people at Von Holtzbrink -- parent company of Tor, Forge, and St. Martin's Press -- when it comes to ebooks.
[Mary Vaughan would] miss many things about Sudbury. She'd miss the lack of traffic congestion. She'd miss the friends she'd made here, including Reuben Montego and, yes, even Louise Benoît. She'd miss the relaxed atmosphere of tiny Laurentian University, where she'd done her mitochondrial DNA studies that had proven Ponter Boddit was indeed a Neanderthal.
But, most of all, she realized, as she stood at the side of the country road looking up at the clear night sky, she'd miss this. She'd miss seeing stars in a profusion beyond counting. She'd miss seeing the Andromeda galaxy, which Ponter had identified for her. She'd miss seeing the Milky Way, arching overhead.
She'd especially miss this: the aurora borealis, flickering and weaving across the northern sky, pale green sheets of light, ghostly curtains.
Mary had indeed hoped to catch another glimpse of the aurora tonight. She'd been on her way back from Reuben Montego's place out in Lively (hah!), where she'd had a final barbecue dinner with him and Louise, and she'd pulled over at the side of the road specifically to look up at the night sky.
The heavens were cooperating. The aurora was breathtaking.
She'd forever associate the northern lights with Ponter. The only other time she'd seen them had been with him. She felt an odd sensation in her chest, the expanding feeling that went with awe battling the contracting sensation that accompanied sadness.
The lights were beautiful.
He was gone.
A cool green glow bathed the landscape as the aurora continued to flicker and dance, aspens and birches silhouetted in front of the spectacle, their branches waving slightly in the gentle August breeze.
Mary had made it to her current age of thirty-eight before seeing the aurora, and she didn't anticipate any reason to come back to Northern Ontario, so tonight, she knew, might well be the last time she'd ever see the undulating northern lights.
She drank in the view.
Some things were the same on both versions of Earth, Ponter had said: the gross details of geography, most of the animal and plant species (although the Neanderthals, never having indulged in overkilling, still had mammoths and moas in their world), the broad strokes of the climate. But Mary was a scientist: she understood all about chaos theory, about how the beating of a butterfly's wing was enough to affect weather systems half a world away. Surely just because there was a clear sky here on this Earth didn't mean the same was true on Ponter's world.
But if the weather did happen to coincide, perhaps Ponter was also looking up at the night sky now.
And perhaps he was thinking of Mary.
Ponter would, of course, be seeing precisely the same constellations, even if he gave them different names -- nothing terrestrial could possibly have disturbed the distant stars. But would the auroras be the same? Did butterflies or people have any effect on the choreography of the northern lights? Perhaps she and Ponter were looking at the exact same spectacle -- a curtain of illumination waving back and forth, the seven bright stars of the Big Dipper (or, as he would call it, the Head of the Mammoth) stretching out above.
Why, he might even right now be seeing the same shimmying to the right, the same shimmying to the left, the same --
Mary felt her jaw drop.
The auroral curtain was splitting down the middle, like aquamarine tissue paper being torn by an invisible hand. The fissure grew longer, wider, starting at the top and moving toward the horizon. Mary had seen nothing like that on the first night she'd looked up at the northern lights.
The sheet finally separated into two halves, parting like the Red Sea before Moses. A few -- they looked like sparks, but could they really be that? -- arced between the halves, briefly bridging the gap. And then the half on the right seemed to roll up from the bottom, like a window blind being wound onto its dowel, and, as it did so, it changed colors, now green, now blue, now violet, now orange, now turquoise.
And then in a flash -- a spectral burst of light -- that part of the aurora disappeared.
The remaining sheet of light was swirling now, as if it were being sucked down a drain in the firmament. As it spun more and more rapidly, it flung off gouts of cool green fire, a pinwheel against the night.
Mary watched, transfixed. Even if this was only her second night actually observing an aurora, she'd seen countless pictures of the northern lights over the years in books and magazines. She'd known those still images hadn't done justice to the spectacle; she'd read how the aurora rippled and fluttered.
But nothing had prepared her for this.
The vortex continued to contract, growing brighter as it did so, until finally, with -- did she really hear it? -- with what sounded like a pop, it vanished.
Mary staggered backward, bumping up against the cold metal of her rented Dodge Neon. She was suddenly aware that the forest sounds around her -- insects and frogs, owls and bats -- had fallen silent, as if every living thing was looking up in wonder.
Mary's heart was pounding, and one thought kept echoing through her head as she climbed into the safety of her car.
I wonder if it's supposed to do that ...
In honour of my last few days living just down the road from Jack London's cabin in Dawson, Yukon, a pointer to a review I did of Jack's book Before Adam; the review was published in 2005 in the glossy newsstand magazine Archaeology.
Today begins my final week at the Berton House writers' retreat in Dawson City, Yukon; one week from today, on Wednesday, September 26, Carolyn and I depart for Whitehorse (the territorial capital); we'll have a day of sightseeing there, plus me doing a reading at the public library, then on Friday, September 28, we'll at last be back home in Mississauga.
... used for the second and third 90-minute Six Million Dollar Man TV movies in the fall of 1973, before the 60-minute series began. Dusty Springfield sings; lyrics by Glen A. Larson. (YouTube video)
Nick DiChario has sold second novel Valley of Day-Glo to Rob Sawyer at Robert J. Sawyer Books, for February 2008 publication, via Christine Cohen of the Virginia Kidd Agency; Nancy Kress has been commissioned to write an introduction to the novel.
Benson, Arizona, blew warm wind through your hairEveryone who remembers the low-budget 1974 John Carpenter SF film Dark Star also remembers it as one of the very few SF films ever to have a country-and-western theme song.
My body flies the galaxy, my heart longs to be there
Benson, Arizona, the same stars in the sky
But they seemed so much kinder when we watched them, you and I
Over at Yahoo! Questions, someone asked, "What do YOU think science fiction is? Do you think it could be a prediction of the future?"
This query, with attached manuscript, showed up in my email box today, and, yes, it was in all-caps:
DEAR SIR/MADAMWhat did our hapless wannabe do wrong?
I AM A MEMBER OF WINNING WRITERS , USA.
I PICKED YOUR CONTACT DETAILS FROM ONE OF THE WIINING WRITERS WEBSITES RECENTLY..
Cathy Palmer-Lister, the chair of Con*Cept, the Montreal regional SF convention, agreed several days ago to having on-site voting for the Auroras this year at Con*Cept (in addition to the on-site voting at VCon in Vancouver, the actual venue for the Aurora ceremony this year).
So, now there's a rumor that a fan saw me in Kyoto around the time of the Worldcon in Yokohama.
After two weeks in China, Carolyn and I are struggling mightily with Jet-lag. It's 15 hours earlier here in Dawson than it is in Beijing, and our internal clocks are not adjusting. We finally got to sleep at 7:00 a.m. this morning and got up at almost 2:00 this afternoon -- which would have been perfectly normal in China (being 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., respectively, there).
It looks like Astronomicon, the wonderful little SF con in Rochester, New York, has been canceled for this year. It was to have been November 9-11, 2007, but that info is gone from their website, which now says "Our next convention will be held in November, 2008."
Carolyn and I have made it safe and sound to Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon. Tomorrow at 7:00 a.m., we take the final flight from Whitehorse to Dawson, and return to Berton House. All is well, but we're exhausted.
A Call for On-Site Aurora Voting at Con*Cept
Yup, that's right: Dennis promised -- his word -- that he'd FINALLY have the Aurora Ballot done by Labor Day. But apparently that's not to be; the promise has disappeared from the Aurora website, to be replaced with: "Apologies for the delays. 2007 voting ballot will become available later this week. As well as mail-in voting, there will be on-site voting at VCON on Saturday, October 20, ending at 6pm."
Today, Sunday, September 2, was our last full day in Beijing. Once again, the wonderful Juana and Dede were our guides. We started with shopping (well, the women shopped -- I parked myself in the English-language bookstore and browsed). Then it was off to lunch at a restaurant Juana recommended -- terrific.
Yesterday (Saturday, September 1, 2007) Carolyn and I were met at our hotel (the Park Plaza Beijing) by Juana, a lovely woman who had worked as a translator at the Chengdu SF conference, and her friend Dede -- and also by a wonderful guide we'd hired for the day who used the western name Remington. We piled into two cabs and headed off to the glorious Summer Palace
For Rob's June 2009 response to Amy J. Ransom, see here.