Archive for August, 2015

Gene Wolfe, Pringles, Mental Floss and Me

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Mental Floss is one of those sites that does a lot of lists (“10 Celebrities That Played Chess,” etc.). Oddly enough, this week I turned up in the 12 Crispy Facts About Pringles list, touching on Gene Wolfe’s involvement in designing the machine that makes Pringles potato chips.

Funny the things you actually get remembered for…

(Hat tip Bill Crider.)

For Shoegazer Sunday, How About An Entire Slowdive Concert?

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Here’s an entire hour-long Slowdive concert that took place less than two weeks ago at the Paredes de Coura festival in Portugal. Evidently this went out on Portuguese radio (in mono), and includes nice versions of “Catch the Breeze” and “Machine Gun.”

And just as soon as Slowdive puts out a live album from the current tour I’ll be in full “shut up and take my money” mode…

The Salt Lick Sues The Salt Lick

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Dispatch from the BBQ Wars:

Salt Lick BBQ is picking a legal fight with a Georgia company it claims is infringing on its name and reputation.

In a lawsuit filed in Texas’ Western District U.S. Court, the Driftwood restaurant chain claims that the Salt Lick Sausage Co. of Cordele, Georgia, is violating the Central Texas company’s trademark by offering barbecue products for sale via its website, which is similar in nature to

Salt Lick claims the Georgia company is using marks and iconography that are similar to its own, and that Salt Lick Sausage stands to benefit from the international reputation and publicity enjoyed by Salt Lick.

The ironic thing, of course, is that the sausage is far and away the least impressive of the Driftwood Salt Lick’s signature meats.

But here’s a revealing tidbit:

“The Austin-area company generated more than $25 million in revenue and served more than 650,000 customers at its main restaurant in Driftwood.”

Having been there fairly recently, I can believe it…

John Clute’s Library Going to Telluride Institute

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

I had no idea when I posted that tardy donation news for Allen Lewis’ library yesterday that this would be Great SF Collections Ending Up In Libraries Week.

Critic John Clute’s considerable SF library is ending up at the Telluride Institute, where Clute is a trustee.

Allen Lewis Donates His Entire Collection to The University of Iowa

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Well, how did I miss this news? Science fiction collector Allen Lewis donated his entire collection of science fiction first editions to the University of Iowa. Here’s another story on the donation, with a few more quotes and pictures of Al in front of his library. (Sadly, the pictures are not large enough to read the titles.)

I’ve sold many a book of Al over the years (and bought one or two from him). Al was famous for hauling a minivan’s worth of books to get signed at SF conventions. He would frequently get a dealer’s table, less to sell a few extras, but to have a base to store his own books from which to hit the autographing lines.

It would be nice to browse through the list of what he donated, if they ever get it online…

Shoegazer Sunday: The Big Sleep’s “Sleepykid Waltz”

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

Yep, another Waltzy bit of Shoegaze, this one from Brooklyn’s The Big Sleep.

Photos from Worldcon Part 2 (The 2014 London Worldcon, That Is)

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

And here’s Part 2 of those London Worldcon pics.

Note that some pictures are labeled “…and company.” This is code for “I’m slightly less embarrassed about not remembering your name a year later than I would be about getting it wrong.”


The lovely and talented Gail Garriger contemplates her next cup of tea.


It’s only a matter of time until leopard-skin gloves are all the rage…


Tobias Buckell, straight from his performance in Hipsters of the Caribbean.


I’m 99% sure this is Martin Hoare with David Langford. After all, it’s Worldcon. How many bearded, gray-haired men with glasses could there be?


Apropos of nothing in particular, here’s Mike Walsh.


John Kessel.


John Kessel in jacket.


John Kessel in jacket and the shoes he stole from Lew Shiner.


Michael Bulmlein.


Jo Walton contemplates the five kilometer hike to her next panel.


Your Humble Narrator and Ian McDonald.


Stephen Baxter, taking a short break from 100,000 words of galaxy smashing.


The ageless Ben Yalow. He stays the same while the original painting for Confessions of a Crap Artist gets older.


Signs of the horrific mental degeneration that comes from being a science fiction bookseller…


Just ask George Locke!


Charlie Stross, caught in the middle of a very geeky plan for world domination.


Ben Bova.


Ben Bova and Your Humble Narrator.


Lawrence Watt-Evans.


Lawrence Watt-Evans and company.


Lawrence and Lawrence, coming this fall to Fox!


Matthew Hughes


Ann VanderMeer


Jeff and Ann VanderMeer.


Stephen Jones.


Joe Haldeman, Gay Haldeman and Jim Burns.


John Douglas.


Michael Swanwick, yet again.


“Come, Mrs. Peel, we’re needed!”


Henry Wessels, rocking the seersucker.


John Clute and company.


Teddy Harvia fooling around with a married woman known only as “Mrs. Thayer.”


Robert Jackson Bennett, who I somehow had to travel 5,000 miles to see.


Andrew Porter.


Scott Edelman.


Jeff Orth, one of the three chairs of the 2016 Kansas City Worldcon. Expect him to look approximately 30 years older 380 days from now.


James Patrick Kelly, of the Gets-photographed-a-lot-at-Worldcons Patrick Kellys.


Has anyone seen Jack Dann and Russell Blackford in the same room at the same time?


Janeen Webb.


Betsy Mitchell.

Photos from Worldcon Part 1 (The 2014 London Worldcon, That Is)

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

So this year’s Worldcon is this week, and you’re posting photos from last year’s Worldcon?


And didn’t you already post some of these photos?


So why do it again?

Last year at Worldcon, I uploaded these photos in a big bunch to Facebook, then linked to the Facebook photos from this blog. However, Facebook, evidently hating the idea that people outside their walled garden of changing preferences and sunglasses spam might see said photos, keeps changing their URLs, thus breaking links to them. So the photos themselves disappeared from the old post. These I’m uploading directly to my blog.

Also, I didn’t blog all the images I meant to, so there will be some new ones in Part 2.

So without further adieu…


Leigh Kennedy, who I had lunch and dinner with, along with Nick Austin, the Monday before the con. We have loads of common friends, but knew them at different times, so there was a lot of trading stories…


In profile.


Cory Doctorow, exhibiting his unique sense of style…


…and with an actual top to his head.


John J. Miller of Wild Cards fame, with Gail Gerstner-Miller.


Kim Newman, in his usual natty, multilayered attire. Wear this in Texas in August and you’re asking for heatstroke.


Jonathan Strahan and David Hartwell.


Pat Murphy, all scarfed-up.


Lavie Tidhar, who used to do reviews for me back in the Nova Express days.


Ian Watson and Lavie Tidhar, signing books at the PS Publishing table in the dealer’s room. I asked Watson what the genesis of the Watson-Aldiss feud was. “I’ve gotten to the age when I’m not sure I remember it properly anymore…”


Connie Willis.


Liz Hand.


And looking slightly less crazed.


Ellen Datlow and Liz Hand fan themselves and look down upon the peasantry.


Elle Datlow solo.


Guest of honor John Clute.


Adam Roberts.


Geoff Ryman peers at me suspiciously.


Gary K. Wolfe.


Andy Duncan.


Didn’t get all the names, but this is something like 75% of the Israeli SF publishing industry.


Kim Stanley Robinson.


John Gibbons.


Michael Swanwick, Geoff Ryman, and Ellen Datlow.


Michael Swanwick and Gordon Van Gelder, looking way too befuddled for the first day of the con.


Lisa Tuttle, who I had lunch with, joined by…


…George R. R. Martin.


George R. R. Martin and the Spanish George R. R. Martin.


Michael Swanwick and George R. R. Martin, enjoying fine dining in an atmosphere of unpretentious ambiance.


Parris McBride Martin.


Alastair Reynolds.


Pat Cadigan.


Pat Cadigan in green.


Pat Cadigan with fan-drawn cyberpunk.


Finally, Pat Cadigan with her spiffy Doc Martin boots.


The elusive Richard Calder.


Michael Swanwick showing off his outfit. “This shirt is bespoke! Bespoke, I tell you!”


Finally, Michael Swanwick showing off the t-shirt for MidAmericon II, the 2016 Kansas City Worldcon he’s Guest of Honor at. (Pat Cadigan is Toastmistress.)

Library Addition: Kirk Hammett’s Too Much Horror Business

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett is one of the world’s premiere collectors of horror movie posters and memorabilia (toys, games, masks, etc.). After reading about the Hammett collection in Heritage Auction’s Intelligent Collector magazine, I’d been interested in the book documenting it, so I picked one up from the Cold Tonnage 40% off sale.

Hammett, Kirk. Too Much Horror Business. Abrams, 2012. First edition oversized hardback, a Fine- copy with wear at points, sans dust jacket, as issued. (Note: The wear on the front cover lettering is faux-wear, as you can tell from the same faux-wear on the title and half-title page.) Hammett has a truly amazing poster collection, possibly on par with that of Robert V. Borst (documented in Graven Images), whose range of collection included more science fiction and fantasy than Hammett. Bought for £12 marked down from £20.



Here’s a video on the book and Hammett’s collection:

Shoegazer Sunday: School of Seven Bells’ “Windstorm”

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

For your Sunday dose of Shoegaze, here’s “Windstorm,” a nice song from earlier in School of Seven Bells’ career.