Greg Van Eekhout

Greg Van Eekhout

Conventions:

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.

Internet:

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.

Art:

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