WWWednesday: September 19, 2018

Greg Van Eekhout

Greg Van Eekhout


Hector Gonzalez was one of the recipients of the MexicanX Initiative this year at WorldCon. The Artist Guest of Honor created MexicanX to empower more Mexicanx people to attend the convention. Now, those, participants are writing about their experiences and what the stipend meant to them. Hector is the first to do so.

Mercedes Lackey was briefly hospitalized while attending GenCon in Indiana, apparently in reaction to exposure to fumes and outgassing from new hotel carpets and furniture. Lackey was soon released and is doing well.

Giveaway and Author Event:

This item has few links. On Friday, September 14, Greg van Eekhout appeared at the Petaluma Copperfield’s Books, the flagship store of an independent bookstore chain in the north San Francisco Bay area. Van Eekhout was there to promote his middle-grade novel Voyage of the Dogs, which I reviewed here. I got a signed book for myself and a signed book for one random commenter with a USA address.

Copperfields Books decorated its window with a Voyage of the Dogs Theme.

Copperfields Books decorated its window with a Voyage of the Dogs Theme.

The small crowd was well-attended by children, and by dogs! Cinnamon, a “chiweenie” (chihuahua and dachshund mix) showed up in a space suite briefly. She was a good sport about the costume but seemed much happier when it fell off and her human couldn’t get it back on easily. Henry was a one-year-old chocolate lab who was just excited to be there. Trixie was a surprisingly sedate Dalmatian. Van Eekhout welcomed all the dogs as well as the humans.

He spoke about his inspiration for the book, his desire to spend several months of “head space” (the time it takes to write a middle-grand novel) “having fun adventures with good dogs.” His love of space, he said, came partly from meeting astronaut Tom Stafford when he was eleven, and being in awe of people who had gone into space.

Van Eekhout said that he had not learned Morse code for the book. He used a website that translated words into code (one like this). He, however, had to translate the code into “arfs” and “woofs,” so that the Barkonauts could send their coded messages. He said he made a mistake in the book, and an eagle-eyed copy editor caught it.

This was a fun event and the positive canine energy was a bonus.

Books and Writing:

Artist David Lupton talks about illustrating Ursula LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness for the new Folio Society edition. (I want this book!) Thanks to File 770.

Fantasy Faction announced Agent Week, starting September 24. During that week you will be able to ask questions directly of four agents who represent speculative fiction.

On Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, Lauren C. Teffeau talks about her “everything including the kitchen sink” approach to her latest novel Implanted, published by Angry Robot.

Here is a strange and beautiful story by Premee Mohamed. If you aren’t already reading her short fiction you want to start, so that when her novel comes out you can be one of the cool kids and say, “Oh, of course I’ve been reading her work for years.”

New Releases:

Joe R. Lansdale, Lawrence McNaughton and Charles Stross have new releases coming out in October, and I’m looking forward to all of them. Check out our New Release page for even more items to add to your TBR list.

TV and Movies:

BBC plants to adapt Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

Beer (It gets its own heading):

Scientists may have found the oldest brewery, a cave in Israel, with residue of 13,000 year-old beer. I guess that would be a microbrew. In other beer news, beer could help us out when we colonize Mars. (“Why, yes, traveler from earth, our aerogel dome is made from a by-product of beer. Funny you should ask!”)

Science and Tech:

IceSAT2 will be able to provide earthbound scientists precise measurements of ice volumes in Antarctica, Greenland and free-floating arctic ice.


John Scalzi is using the month of September to look back on twenty years of his blog The Whatever. (It’s the blog’s twentieth anniversary month.) Largely, Scalzi’s columns highlight differences in key factors from then to now. One of his categories was music, and he included this video, which was simply too good not to steal.

Here is the link to the entire column, which has some other nice videos.


Mark Frederickson did the charming cover of Voyage of the Dogs. You can see more of his art here.

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Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town. You can read her blog at deedsandwords.com, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

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  1. My son would love this!

  2. Noneofyourbusiness /

    I’m glad Mercedes Lackey is doing well. She and Larry Dixon were great at the 2016 World Fantasy Convention.

  3. The Distinguished Professor /

    Agent Week sounds like it could be interesting.

  4. Lady Morar /

    Thank you for all this roundup!

  5. Mary Henaghen /

    I am so glad Mercedes Lackey is doing well. Thanks for the roundup.

  6. John Smith /

    I love the cover of “Voyage of the Dogs”! …I expect the BBC will do a much better version of “His Dark Materials” than the Nicole Kidman movie. I liked the Kidman movie OK, but I was glad I had the chance to watch the movie online, at an obscure Website that streamed all sorts of movies, all with study approval, to be sure!

    • I liked the theatrical-release movie too, but I thought they pulled their punches in some ways, and of course I wanted the rest of the story! The BBC is giving itself the time, and I think that makes an important difference.

  7. No doubt my son would love this.

  8. I put Voyage of the Dogs on my to read list because of FanLit (you guys probably count for at least a quarter of the titles that go on that list). I find it hard to resist dog books and space dog books are even harder to resist.

    One of the things I love about middle-grade books is that while they may deal with serious situations, they always have hope and light. I find that reading those books that are too grim and dark and gloomy depress me too much – which is one of the reasons I got into trouble in my high school English classes because I refused to read the books I was supposed to because as a teenager, I did not need more reasons to be depressed. So I can completely understand the author’s need for a middle grade book to clear his head.

  9. Noneofyour Business, if you live in the USA, you win a copy of VOYAGE OF THE DOGS!
    Please contact me (Marion) with your US address and I’ll have the book sent right away. Happy reading!

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