Table of Contents for After, A YA Dystopian Anthology by Ellen Datlow

Ellen Datlow has released the table of contents for her Young Adult anthology of dystopian stories, After, and I’m proud to be part of it.  Here’s the full list (Ellen tells me the “gorgeous” cover photo is coming soon):

  • The Segment by Genevieve Valentine
  • After the Cure by Carrie Ryan
  • Valedictorian by N.K. Jemisin
  • Visiting Nelson by Katherine Langrish
  • All I Know of Freedom by Carol Emshwiller
  • The Other Elder by Beth Revis
  • The Great Game at the End of the World by Matthew Kressel
  • Reunion by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  • Faint Heart by Sarah Rees Brennan
  • Blood Drive by Jeffrey Ford
  • Reality Girl by Richard Bowes
  • Hw th’Irth Wint Wrong by Hapless Joey @ homeskool.guv by Gregory Maguire
  • Rust With Wings by Steven Gould
  • The Easthound by Nalo Hopkinson
  • Gray by Jane Yolen
  • Before by Carolyn Dunn
  • Fake Plastic Trees by Caitlin R. Kiernan
  • You Won’t Feel a Thing by Garth Nix
  • The Marker by Cecil Castellucci

The anthology is set to come out in 2012.

Ridleyvision

Ridley Scott & Rutger HauerA lot of people have emailed me about the recent Blade Runner news.  If you haven’t heard, Ridley Scott has signed on to do a prequel or sequel of the seminal film.  Many of you know that’s my favorite film, and I’ve seen it over a hundred times.

People also want to know what I think about this.  The short answer.  I don’t think it sucks.  I’m actually quite excited.  I’ll admit, when I first heard about Purefold several years back, how it was to be used as a vehicle for advertising, I cringed and wrote my feelings about it here.  When, a few months ago, I’d heard Alcon Entertainment acquired the rights to the Blade Runner franchise and would make a new film, I rolled my eyes.  We all know how Hollywood can take a brilliant concept and add so many cooks that the end result is pablum.  I was skeptical, to say the least.

But then I heard Ridley Scott is coming on board.  All over Facebook today, people are red with rage and skepticism.  But despite my doubts about Hollywood, I still believe good films can be made.  And let’s face it, Ridley is a great director.  I like to believe he understands the huge reverence fans have for his film, that he would treat any sequel with the same reverence.  And let’s remember, it’s his film.  We all know that Hampton Francher’s & David People’s script was brilliant, but it wouldn’t have been the immersive and haunting Blade Runner film we love without Ridley, who threw himself fully into the production of the film to escape the pain from the death of his brother.  Of course, we don’t wish any such pain on Ridley again.  But if anyone can make this prequel/sequel a good film, it will be him.

Mazel Tov!

The EclipticSo in my ongoing research for my ongoing (and going and going) novel, I discovered a little history of the phrase ‘Mazel Tov!’  The phrase is often uttered as a congratulatory exultation by Jews of European descent.  Wife just had a baby?  Mazel tov!  Just got married? Mazel tov!  It’s even uttered in a popular dance tune.  The phrase is often translated as “Good luck.”  The word “tov” means “good” in Hebrew, and “mazel” is generally assumed to mean “luck” or “fortune.”

But upon my reading of the Book of Job, I came across this passage. (Job:31-32)

Canst thou bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season? Or canst thou guide the Bear with her sons?

The Pleiades and Orion are well-known constellations across many cultures.  The Bear is most likely Ursula Major, the Great Bear, also known as the Big Dipper.  But what, I wondered, is Mazzaroth?  The annotated text I was reading from said the true meaning was unknown.  But surely in this day of instant information, someone had an opinion on it, right?  A very similar word, I soon discovered via Google & Wikipedia, occurs in the book of Kings (23:3-5), where it is translated as “constellations.”

The consensus I found after some research is that Mazzaroth is an ancient word for “Zodiac,” the belt of stars on the ecliptic and the constellations therein.  It’s also supposed that the word “mazel” in “mazel tov” was derived from this word, Mazzaroth.  So you could say that “mazel tov!” really means, “good constellations!”  And since to the ancient (and modern) astrologers, a good constellation means good fortune, the phrase “mazel tov” came into use as a way to congratulate people on their good fortune.

 

World Fantasy Award Nomination

Yesterday, while checking my email at work (where I was busily removing a virus from an infected PC), Rajan Khanna emailed the members of my writers group to congratulate us on our World Fantasy Award nominations.  My jaw dropped when I saw the names.  Not one, but three members of Altered Fluid were nominated in various categories.  N.K. Jemisin for Best Novel, Mercurio D. Rivera for Best Short Fiction, and — holy crap! — myself for Special Award, Non-Professional for my work on Sybil’s Garage and Senses Five Press.  It was a pretty intense moment, not only because it took me completely by surprise, but because I then had to go back to work and try not to beam like a madman.

I’m so proud of my friends, Nora & Mercurio for making this list.  Both work so hard and it’s nice to see them getting their well-deserved attention.

There are also many fine nominees in the Special Award, Non-Professional categories, and I’m very flattered to be included among this list.  Also, I want to send my huge congrats to all the nominees!  I wish you all good luck.  Can’t wait to see everyone at WFC.

You can see the full list of nominees here.

My Readercon Schedule (revised)

Here’s my hopefully final Readercon schedule.  I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Thursday July 14th

7pm – Naked City Reading (Off-site!)Ellen Datlow, editor of Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy will host a reading/signing on 07/14/2011 7:00 pm at Porter Square Books, 25 White Street, Cambridge, MA, 617-491-2220, http://www.portersquarebooks.com/.  The readers for this event will be Jeffrey Ford, Kit Reed,  Matthew Kressel, John Crowley, Ellen Kushner, & Caitlín R. Kiernan.

Friday July 15

5:00 PM NH    Steam-powered I & II group reading. Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Matthew Kressel, Shira Lipkin, Sonya Taaffe, JoSelle Vanderhooft. Contributors to Steam-powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories and Steam-powered II: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories read selections from their work.

7:30 PM VT    Reading. Matthew Kressel. Kressel reads a new short story.

8:00 PM ME    Dybbuks, Golems, Demons, Oy Vey!: Jewish Mythology and Folklore in Speculative Fiction. Steve Berman, Barbara Krasnoff, Matthew Kressel (leader), Shira Lipkin, Chris Moriarty, Faye Ringel. From Rabbi Loew’s golem of Prague to Peter Beagle’s dybbuk of Brooklyn, the literature of Jewish supernatural and fantastic has been a long and rich one. In Jane Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic and Lisa Goldstein’s The Red Magician, the authors use magic and myth to comment on the horrors of the Holocaust and the meaning of tradition. In Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, in alternate-history Alaska, a heroin junkie might be the long-awaited Messiah. We’ll discuss the stories of Rachel Pollack, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Lavie Tidhar, Neil Gaiman, Sonya Taaffe and other writers of Jewish-themed fiction. What is it about Jewish stories of demons, golems, dybbuks and angels, many of them non-canonical, that appeals to writers of speculative fiction? What obscure Jewish myths, like the gargantuan bird Ziz or the minuscule stone-cutting worm Shamir, have yet to be mined (pun intended)?

Saturday July 16

2:30 PM NH    Beneath Ceaseless Skies group reading. Scott H. Andrews, Michael J. DeLuca, Matthew Kressel, Margaret Ronald. Contributors to Beneath Ceaseless Skies read selections from their work