Pampered Cat stretching

Pampered Cat

Today’s word for Wednesday is pamperdom, a noun, (rare, archaic) for a state of luxury or a state of being pampered. Kind of obvious, I know, but kind of cute. In modern times, the use of this word is probably most frequently applied to cats.

Contests and Awards:

The Baen Fantasy Adventure contest opens on January 15, 2017, and will remain open until April 1, 2017. The limit for original fantasy adventure is 8,000 words. The winner gets their work published on the Baen website and a Baen shopping spree; second and third place get Baen shopping sprees plus bragging rights. The winners will be announced at GenCon in August of this year. Why not go for it?

Robert Stack provides a table of writers eligible for the Campbell Award, which is given out with the Hugos. This format does not work for me but it probably will for lots of you, so, enjoy. (Thanks to File 770.)

Editors and Predators is hosting its annual Reader’s Poll through January 14. You can go here to vote for your favorite novel, writer or (shameless plug) review site.

The Hugo nominations for WorldCon 75 are open. (Hugos, already? Wasn’t that just, like, a couple of months ago?) We humbly offer up our Favorites of 2016, as well as our SHORTS column, as resources to refresh your memory about the best writing of last year. (Shamelss plug) we are eligible in the Fanzine category.

Books and Writing:

I don’t think of a copy of the 1995 Canadian Tax Code as exciting reading, but every book in Jama’a Ali’s collection represents comfort for Sudanese refugees. This is an inspiring story about a man who opened a bookstore in a refugee camp.

SFWA: Mary Robinette Kowal is running for President. Oh, wait, no, she’s not! Kowal withdrew for the most practical of reasons; Cat Rambo is running again and she and Kowal in complete political alignment. SFWA has been working for years to find a way to offer health care for its members, and 2017 seems destined to make that quest even more challenging. I continue to watch with interest.

Theodora Goss has been chosen for the Ursula K LeGuin fellowship award.

The Verge shares SFF books that are due out in January.

If you’re an Outlander fan you might enjoy this 45-minute interview with Diana Gabaldon.

Fiyah is a new online science fiction magazine that features speculative fiction written by black writers. Its first issue came out earlier this month. I’ve been seeing a lot about it on Twitter and it looks exciting. The fact that the editor is using the Harlem Renaissance as the inspiration is only the beginning.

The Queen of Pamperdom. Cat with tiara

The Queen of Pamperdom

I link to John Scalzi a lot here, but it’s because he’s so darned linkable. In this article for the LA Times, he talks about self-care for creatives during the Trump Era. This is a practical essay that goes beyond cute cat pictures on the Internet. (Wait; didn’t I just do cute cat pictures? **Hangs head.**)


Marvelous Nerd Year’s Eve, a convention held over the New Year’s weekend in Dallas, was, to put it mildly, unsuccessful. To put it more bluntly, it was a financial disaster, as guests did not get paid and the hotel was stiffed. The company is alleged to have short-changed its guest of honor Stan Lee. (This guy knows Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk. Do you want to owe him money?) There are several articles. The first is from File 770. ComicsBeat addresses the poor timing of this gig (a major family-based holiday weekend in what can be traditionally bad weather) and an over-reach; 40 “A-list” guests, as well as other miscalculations.

The next is an article about the company, GeekExpo, from Bleeding Cool. It sounds like launching a new con is a tough, risky business.

TV and Movies:

NBC’s new fantasy serial, Emerald City, premiered after Grimm this week. I’ve read about eye-candy. Emerald City is seven-layer-chocolate-mousse-cake for the eyes. That said, I don’t know if it was completely successful, although I was caught up in it. Collider liked it (plainly this reviewer has seen more episodes than I have.)

Variety didn’t like it. I noticed two things about the Variety review. One is that Variety doesn’t really get fantasy and it often shows in their reviews. The other is that this reviewer doesn’t seem to be aware that Frank Baum wrote more than one LAND OF OZ book. If you don’t know that, the subplot in the second episode, with the little boy, will make no sense.  The New York Times reviewer, however, did some homework and understands what the show is trying to do.

To finish up, here is a little background on the show, and, again courtesy of Collider, some costumes.

Ryan Griffen, the creator of the Australian superhero series Cleverman, talks about his inspiration in this article from last May, in the UK Guardian. The show airs on Sundance. It features an Aboriginal main character and a cast that is about 80% Aboriginal, with a futuristic, science fictional slant.

Here is a short interview with Hunter Page-Lochard who plays Koen, from the Sundance Channel.

IO9 offers a short article on Guillermo del Toro’s new film, The Shape of Water.

It looks like The Dark Tower is going to be different from the books in more than one way.

Here is a link to the Wonder Woman trailer. The film is due out June, 2017.

And here is a teaser for the trailer, just because.

Axanar; The Lawsuit Returns. This week, a Los Angeles Judge refused to issue a summary judgment in the case of Paramount & CBS versus the creators of the Star Trek “prequel” Axanar. From the quotes here, I must say that the judge knows a bit about Star Trek, and decided to have some fun. As someone who writes a column based on links, I feel like I owe the Axanar folks a thank-you card, since I’ve been using stories about them since 2015. They are the Nonexistent Movie That Will Not Die.

Warning; spoilers. Netflix baffled and intrigued everyone with its new show called The OA. I kept seeing comments about “The OA” and I didn’t know what it stood for. Well, I was not alone. This article in Vulture shares viewer theories about where everyone’s latest obsession is going.


Polygon announces a Mass Effect; Andromeda release date.

It’s Super Mario Brothers, but it’s not a video game. Kotaku shares a first-hand review of this game, which looks a lot like the old game of Mousetrap (and the reviewer mentions that.)

Here is something for you Dungeons and Dragons fans, courtesy of Bill.


We don’t think this is official at all, but in the “wishful thinking” department, we thoroughly enjoyed this teaser for an animated version of Firefly. (Thanks to Ryan.)

This is a sad, but sort of interesting story about a blog-platform company that is scaling back and laying off people. Many of those people may be managerial/executive. It raises interesting questions about Medium’s business model.

Cat on a Cruise

Cat on a Cruise


NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is celebrating its 50th birthday with a free downloadable calendar. (Thanks to File 770.)

And here, NASA talks about the discovery of bowl-shaped depressions called “penitentes” on Pluto. Why they named them after people seeking atonement/penance I have no idea.

Welcome to Metal World! Gizmodo reports that NASA is planning a mission to Phoebe, an asteroid in the solar system, three times farther from the sun than Earth is, that is nearly entirely nickel and iron.

Outside our solar system… fast radio bursts? One fast radio burst that is a repeat? Wow, this is getting interesting.


Atlas Obscura conjures the ghost of Buffalo’s glorious Art Deco train terminal, now abandoned and languishing.

Here is our home planet, as seen from Mars. This is a view you don’t get every day.

And here are members of the Halifax Maritime Bhangran group, celebrating a snow day. Here is a link to their Facebook Page. (and at the of the video is a polite request for a donation to the ALS Society.)


Today pictures are courtesy of the internet, and depict cats in pamperdom.


  • Marion Deeds

    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.