Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tachyons Proven To No Longer Be Imaginary

According to Wikipedia:
A tachyon is a hypothetical particle that always moves faster than light. Most physicists think that such particles cannot exist because they are not consistent with the known laws of physics....Today, "tachyon" often refers instead to imaginary mass fields, which cannot exceed the speed of light and have come to play an important role in modern physics.

Sword and SorceryThis past week I visited the newly remodeled and greatly enlarged office of Tachyon Publications in San Francisco. Of course, the remodeled office was only new to me as I haven't visited in the past year due to familial issues, now resolved, which I previously blogged about. But my lateness doesn't detract from the beauty of the new office: the bay windows, the wood flooring, the unique cinder block walls toward the back half of the office space, the openness -- and the fact that the rear two-thirds of the office is tunneled into the side of a hill (thus the cinder blocks)!

I detest driving in the city of San Francisco, so I have to rely on public transportation. This means I take the CalTrain commuter from the San Jose station to the San Francisco 22nd Street station, whereupon I am then chauffeured to the office in the Tachyonmobile. Unlike tachyons, though, CalTrain does not move at superluminal speed. In fact, the trip each way takes approximately one and a half hours, with a myriad of mind-numbing stops in between. But before one can even consider boarding a train at the San Jose station, one must first find a parking space! I circled all three parking lots, and then re-circled the last parking lot to its very edges and found what I still believe to be the very last available slot in all of stationdom. Then, once a parking spot is found, one must pay tribute to the god of parking.

I was graciously met at the 22nd Street station by Jacob Weisman, editor and publisher, and Jill Roberts, managing editor. I communicate with Jill regularly via email, and Jacob and I chat occasionally on the telephone, so an opportunity to get together -- and also share a lunchtime meal -- is always welcome.

The day prior to my visit, cases of Tachyon's newest book, The Sword & Sorcery Anthology, edited by David G. Hartwell and Jacob Weisman, had arrived at the office; following our lunch, Jacob dutifully packed up review copies and comp copies, later to be shipped out. In fact, since I had worked on this book as well, I was able to take a couple comp copies home with me, thus saving Jacob a wee bit of packing time and postage.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sense of Wonder and Alien Contact

Alien ContactElias F. Combarro has recently posted his Alien Contact (publisher Night Shade Books) review and interview (conmigo) on his Spanish-language blog Sense of Wonder.

First, the review.

[Note: If Spanish is not your preferred language, Elias has graciously translated his review into English as well, which is the content from which I will be quoting. However, each page, English or Spanish, links at the bottom to the other version.]

On themed anthologies, Elias writes: "...I don't want to read the same story twenty times. I want to explore many different approaches to the same topic. I want to be surprised and amazed. I want to be shown something new, something that I didn't even imagine that could be done." He goes on to state:

I've recently had the pleasure of reading Alien Contact, an anthology edited by Marty Halpern. It is the perfect illustration of how to assemble a wonderful set of stories devoted to a fascinating theme. All the stories selected by the editor are excellent examples of human contact with alien races (not necessarily a first contact) but no two of them are alike.

[...]

This amazing variety of takes on a single theme is one of the strongest points of the anthology. Throughout all the stories included in the book, we explore, from different points of view, a fascinating topic: ourselves as seen by a stranger.

[...]

The stories of the book are complemented with an invaluable source of information: before Alien Contact was published Marty Halpern blogged about each and every individual tale, providing extremely interesting details and, in some cases, even the full text of some of the stories. While reading the book, I frequently revisited Halpern's notes and that certainly added a lot to the experience.

Monday, May 7, 2012

April Links & Things

This is my monthly wrap-up of April's Links & Things. You can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter: @martyhalpern; or Friending me on Facebook (FB). Note, however, that not all of my tweeted/FB links make it into these month-end posts. April was a very busy month, so there is a lot of content here; please return to this blog if necessary to take full advantage of all the links. Previous month-end posts are accessible via the "Links and Things" tag in the right column.

  • Philip K. Dick passed away shortly before the release of the Blade Runner movie. But, PKD did catch "his first glimpse of Blade Runner in a television segment," after which he wrote this wondrous letter to the Ladd Company, one of the film's production companies. The PKD Estate believes this is the first time the letter has been made public: "...I came to the conclusion that this indeed is not science fiction; it is not fantasy; it is exactly what Harrison said: futurism. The impact of BLADE RUNNER is simply going to be overwhelming, both on the public and on creative people -- and, I believe, on science fiction as a field." [all emphasis is PKD's] (@WordandFilm via @PantheonBooks)
  • Grim_Noir on the PopTards blog revisits George Alec Effinger's Maríd Audran series of books 30 years later: When Gravity Fails, A Fire in the Sun, The Exile Kiss, and Budayeen Nights (which I acquired and edited for Golden Gryphon Press; here is my lengthy blog post on the making of Budayeen Nights, part one of three on my edited GAE books). Grim_Noir writes: "THIS is what Blade Runner wants to be when it grows up. (And I say that with the upmost respect for Philip K. Dick, Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford AND Blade Runner.)...Thirty years after it was originally published, George Alec Effinger's Audran Sequence is STILL ahead of its time. The writing is sharp and goes straight at the gut, like a turbo-charged razorblade." (via Gordon Van Gelder's Facebook page)
  • After twenty-one years of teaching English Literature at Oakdale Community College in New Jersey, author Jeffrey Ford has retired from the teaching profession to write full time in upstate New York. One of Jeff's former students, Matthew Sorrento, pays tribute to his mentor, in this very personal post on Matthew's Identity Theory (@IdentityTheory) blog. For an instructor, it doesn't get any better than this.
  • On Amazon's Omnivoracious blog, Susan J. Morris (@susanjmorris) writes about "Engaging Readers on Page One" with a blog post entitled "Brilliant Beginnings." Susan covers the three most common "False Starts": Waking Up, Fight Scenes, and Origin Stories...of the Universe.
  • Speaking of first pages and opening lines: Glamour in Glass, the new novel by Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette), is missing its opening line. The sentence was there during the review of the page proofs, but then, shazam! -- it disappeared in the published edition. But not one to miss an opportunity, Mary has turned the missing line into a game, a t-shirt, and more.