Jul. 24th, 2014

10:39 am - Story Sale

It has been a long time since I've published anything here, but yesterday brought news of a story sale, "Eternal Serenity" (I'm not fond of the title), a story of an Armenian monk, to Genius Loci, edited by Jaym Gates. There's a lot of good company in the table of contents, too.

Santa Cruz–Andy Duncan
And the Trees Were Happy—Scott Edelman
Blackthorn—B. Morris Allen
Ouroboros in Orbit—Jason Batt
Reef—Kathleen Miller
Scab Land—Wendy Wagner
The Forgetting Field—Caroline Ratajski
The Town the Forest Ate—Haralambi Markov
Imperator Noster—Sonya Taaffe
The Other Shore—Rebecca Campbell
The South China Sea—Z.M. Quynh
Iron Feliks—Anatoly Belilovsky
Forest For the Trees—Steven S. Long
Drowning Again—Ken Scholes and Katie McCord
The Grudge—Thoraiya Dyer
Twilight State—Gemma Files
Coaltown—Heather Clitheroe
In the Water, Underneath—Damien Angelica Walters
Afterparty—Chaz Brenchly
The Gramadevi’s Lament—Sunil Patel
Blue & Grey and Black & Green—Alethea Kontis
Heartbeat—Laura Anne Gilman
Long Way Down—Seanan McGuire
The Snow Train—Ken Liu
The City–Vivienne Pustell
The Crooked Smile Killers—James Lowder
Threadbare Magician—Cat Rambo
Serenity Eternal–Steven Silver
Beer and Pennies—Rich Dansky
The Sleck–Keris MacDonald
The Transplant Specialist–Sarah Goslee

Apr. 27th, 2013

08:52 am - Murray Leinster on CBS Sunday Morning

Tomorrow, CBS Sunday Morning will be doing an article on "the history of the future." One of their producers contacted me yesterday about getting a photo of Murray Leinster they could use during a discussion of "A Logic Named Joe," so the piece might be interesting to watch.

Feb. 5th, 2013

10:16 am - Capricon Schedule

Elaine and various girl scouts will be selling Girl Scout cookies in the dealer's room from 2-6 on Sunday.

If you want to find me this weekend for Capricon, here's where I'll be:

Higgins and Silver Talk - Friday, 02-08-2013 - 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm - Birch A
Bill Higgins and Steven Silver discovered a joint affection for Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, a collection explaining the background of common sayings. In this wide-ranging discussion, the two use randomly selected entries to guide their conversation.
Bill Higgins, Steven H Silver

Geek Blind Spots: I Should've Read/Seen/Played That - Friday, 02-08-2013 - 8:30 pm to 10:00 pm - Birch A
Have you heard a GASP when you told your friends that you've never read The Lord of the Rings? Have you never gotten around to watching Blade Runner or an episode of The Twilight Zones? These panelists talk about their blind spots. Please don't judge them.
Rich Horton, Helen Montgomery, Steven H Silver (M), Lynne M. Thomas

Chicon 7 Thank You Party - Friday, 02-08-2013 - 9:30 pm to 1:00 am - 16th Floor Lounge

The Next Phase in Chicago Fandom - Saturday, 02-09-2013 - 11:30 am to 1:00 pm - Birch A
With Chicon 7 a thing of the past, where does Chicago fandom go from here? Is there a grand unified event we can look to?
Dave McCarty, Helen Montgomery, Steven H Silver

ISFiC Board Meeting - Saturday, 02-09-2013 - 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm - Birch A
An open meeting for ISFiC, the parent organization that runs Windycon, Picnicon, ISFiC Press, and the ISFiC Writer's Contest. If you attended Windycon, then you are a member of ISFiC, so please stop by and give us your input on how we are doing and what you would like to see.

Trivia for Chocolate - Saturday, 02-09-2013 - 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm - Birch A
Steven (and assistants) once again comes armed with chocolate missiles to lob in your direction. Come for the chocolate, answer the questions.
Elaine Silver*, Melanie S. Silver, Robin Silver, Steven H Silver (M)
*Elaine will probably be replaced by Pat Sayre McCoy due to aforementioned cookie sales, and only one of the girls is likely to be there.

Judging a Book by Page 119 - Saturday, 02-09-2013 - 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm - Birch A
We're baaaack! No escaping this panel! They say that you can't judge a book by its cover. Can you judge it by what's on Page 119?
Rich Horton, Helen Montgomery (M), Steven H Silver, Kelly Strait

Writing Nonfiction - Sunday, 02-10-2013 - 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm - Birch B
When people think of writing, they often think of fiction. And yet, most of the published works in the world are nonfiction. These panelists will discuss the research and techniques necessary to create nonfictional works.
Tim Akers, Jody Lynn Nye, Steven H Silver (M), Daniel H. Wilson

Jun. 6th, 2012

09:39 am - Ray Bradbury

I only met Ray Bradbury once, but I spoke to him a few more times.

At the American Booksellers Association in 1997, I stood in one of the longest autograph lines I've ever stood in for the chance to get Ray Bradbury's autograph and say a few words to him. It may have been one of the most uncomfortable waits of my life, for I was standing next to an author I had never met before, but when I introduced myself, he got a thoughtful look on his face and said, "Ah, you just reviewed my book." I spent the next hour or more trying to remember what I said about his book.

A few years later, I was informed that Ray might be interested in attending Windycon. I got his phone number and called, being very surprised that when someone answered the phone, it was Ray Bradbury. I mean, he's Ray Bradbury, if anyone had an assistance to answer the phone, it would have to be him. We talked for a little while and he said he'd get back to me. And he did. He called the house. His hoped-for visit to Windycon didn't pan out, but when I hung up the phone I turned to my daughters and said, "That was Ray Bradbury. You know how I talk with authors all the time? Remember this call, because you're going to study him in school."

At the beginning of this school year, my wife and I went to curriculum night at R.'s school. That is the night where we get to meet all the teachers and learn what the kids will be learning. In R.'s English class, the teacher saw me looking at a poster of the cover to Fahrenheit 451 and as we got up to leave she commented, "R. said Ray Bradbury called your house." The way she said it made it sound like she thought R. was stretching the truth, but we confirmed the call took place. And inside I thought, "Wow! She really does listen to what I say!"

At the end of the year, R. was assigned to read Bradbury's story "The Veldt" in class. After reading it, she asked if I had ever read it and I told her I had, and I also provided her with an audiotape of Bradbury reading the story himself.

There's not much more to say. I was lucky enough to have a few encounters with Ray Bradbury one-on-one. And I can encounter him any time I was by pulling any of a number of collections and novels from my bookshelves and reading his words.

May. 2nd, 2012

12:50 pm - Story Published: In the Shadow of Broadway

My short story, "In the Shadow of Broadway" appears in the current episode of the Podcast StarShipSofa.

09:39 am - Celebrating Ten Years of News

Ten years ago today, I began posting the news over on SF Site. Not sure how many stories I've reported in those ten years, but it is at least several thousand.

To commemorate the anniversary, I've reposted the news from May 2, 2002, which included the announcement of the launch of 3SF, plans to reopen Andromeda Bookstore, David Truesdale's resignation at the editor of the SFWA Bulletin, SFWA election results and Nebula winners, and obituaries for Henry Slesar, Jon Gustafson, Damon Knight, Joan Harrison, George Alec Effinger, and Richard Cowper.

Apr. 11th, 2012

09:26 am - Golden Bear

On March 29, a local restaurant, Woodfire Chicken, closed, in part, perhaps even in large part, due to on-going construction on Lake-Cook Road. We've been going to the restaurant for years, although usually my family refers to it by a different name, which really annoys Elaine, since it is a name that hasn't been on the restaurant since 1984.

Sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s, the building the restaurant stood in was built to house a Golden Bear Pancake House. This was a chain of 17 restaurants (there is another one in Niles, currently occupied by Goodi's Reastaurant) based out of Mount Prospect and founded in 1961. In 1973, the chain was bought by Montgomery Ward's, which was bought by Mobil Oil a year later.

Although Golden Bear was mostly a breakfast restaurant, they also served lunch and dinner. Their napkins included the words to a jingle, "Golden Bear, Golden Bear, it’s a honey of a place where food is fun," along with a picture of their mascot (a golden bear with a stack of pancakes, clever, right?).

In 1984, Mobil divested themselves of Golden Bear by selling the chain, then 45 restaurants strong, to Pizza Hut, because that's just what Chicago needs, more chain pizza parlors. Even in 1984 when the restaurant rebranded itself, I wondered why I would want to buy a chain pizza when I could easily get pizza from Nancy's, or Jake's, or any of numerous other local pizzerias that actually serve one of the three varieties of Chicago pizza. (Good, Better, and Best, for those keeping track).*

I'm not sure how long the Pizza Hut existed on Lake Cook Road. It is the only incarnation of that building I didn't frequent. Eventually, they closed and reopened as Full Slab Ribs, which my family always referred to as "That Restaurant, Where Golden Bear Used to Be." The owners eventually decided to expand their menu and changed the name to "Woodfire Chicken," which was always simply "Let's go to Golden Bear."**

And now it is a vacant building again. According to the landlord, there are two (unnamed) restaurants interested in moving into the spot. I hope one of them does. I hope it is a locally owned place. And I know that when it opens, I'll refer to it as Golden Bear.

*Pizza hut converted the Golden Bears, just as they did to the Sambo's restaurants they had also acquired.

**Elaine is also annoyed that I refer to Baker's Square, where I used to work, as Poppin' Fresh Pies, even though the name changed before I worked there. And the Aon Building, which is her company, although she doesn't work in the building, as the Standard Oil Building or Big Stan. I don't like name changes.

Feb. 8th, 2012

07:14 am - Capricon Starts Tomorrow: My Schedule

Tomorrow is the beginning of the four days of Capricon, where I will be one of the guests of honor. Below is my schedule, or where to find me. In addition, my daughters will be selling Girl Scout cookies on Saturday afternoon.

Trivia for Chocolate - Thursday, 02-09-2012 - 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm - Ravinia B (Teen Lounge)
What it says on the tin. The traditional Steven H Silver trivia contest. Answer trivia questions correctly, get chocolate. The person with the most chocolate on hand at the end wins! (Try not to eat your stash.)

Opening Ceremonies - Thursday, 02-09-2012 - 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm - River AB (Programming - Media)
Welcome to Capricon 32: Amazing Adventures. Join us as we kick off this year's event and get some idea of what to expect and to meet our GoHs and the people who make it all possible.

The Thin Line Between Fan and Pro - Friday, 02-10-2012 - 10:00 am to 11:30 am - Elm
The line between being a fan and a professional is often thin and permeable. Are the two categories mutually exclusive? Can you be both?
Eileen Maksym, Paul McComas, Steven H Silver (M)

Alternate History that Doesn’t Involve WW2 or the Civil War - Friday, 02-10-2012 - 11:30 am to 1:00 pm - Birch B
As any judge for the Sidewise Awards knows, hundreds of Alternate History stories come out each year. Though many of them seem to fixate on World War II and the Civil War, some find more unique points in history for a divergence. What are some of the best Alternate History stories that explore underutilized periods in history?
Walt Boyes (M), Dale Cozort, Mark Huston, Jim Rittenhouse, Steven H Silver

Pluto Is Still a Planet in Illinois - Friday, 02-10-2012 - 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm - Birch A
Pluto got demoted. (We blame Neil DeGrasse Tyson). But here in Illinois, it's still a planet. Why are we still so invested in the classification of this distant object?
Br. Guy Consolmagno, Bill Higgins (M), Jim Plaxco, Steven H Silver

ISFiC Open Meeting - Saturday, 02-11-2012 - 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm - Elm
An open meeting for ISFiC, the parent organization that runs Windycon, Picnicon, ISFiC Press, and the ISFiC Writer's Contest. If you attended Windycon, then you are a member of ISFiC, so please stop by and give us your input on how we are doing and what you would like to see.

Chicon 7: The 2012 Worldcon Open Meeting - Saturday, 02-11-2012 - 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm - Birch A
Chicago is hosting the 2012 World Science Fiction Convention! Come find out what we're planning and how you can be involved in the fun!
Dave McCarty (M), Helen Montgomery, Steven H Silver

The History of SF/F in Chicago - Saturday, 02-11-2012 - 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm - Willow
Did you know that Fritz Leiber, James Tiptree Jr., and Fred Saberhagen all once lived in Chicago? Have you ever heard about the secret trips made by some of the Chicon 3 attending authors to the Playboy headquarters during the 20th WorldCon? Chicago has a rich SF/F history. Please join some of Chicago's most preeminent fans and scholars as they share tales from our fandom's marvelous history. (Alice Bentley will be joining us via Skype.)
Alice Bentley, Barry Lyn-Waitsman, Steven H Silver (M), Leah Zeldes Smith

The Politics of Glory: SF/F Awards - Sunday, 02-12-2012 - 10:00 am to 11:30 am - Birch A
The Hugo, Nebula, Tiptree, World Fantasy, and Sidewise Awards are some of the major Science Fiction and Fantasy awards. Let's look at the different awards and discuss the unique way each is selected, and why sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.
Richard Chwedyk, John Scalzi, Steven H Silver (M), Lynne M. Thomas

Fanzines for Fun and Non-Profit - Sunday, 02-12-2012 - 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm - Elm
Join us as we explore the vibrant world of fanzines. One of Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom's oldest means of communication, analysis, and community building, fanzines continue to flourish as they adapt to our changing times.
James Bacon, Bill Higgins, Steven H Silver, Dick Smith, delphyne woods, Leah Zeldes Smith (M)

Fan Artists You Should Know - Sunday, 02-12-2012 - 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm - Elm
There's a whole world of art and artists outside of what is considered "professional." What's going on outside of the professional Science Fiction and Fantasy art communities? Where can you find these artists and their art?
Steven H Silver (M), Dick Smith, delphyne woods

Jan. 27th, 2012

05:03 pm - Chicago Con Project

I'm working on compiling a list of Chicago cons, past and present, and I find I'm missing a lot of data. If anyone could provide accurate information, I'd appreciate it. Below is a listing of what I'm currently missing

Bouchercon: Locations for 1975, 1978, 2005
Capricon: 1982-1985, 1987-1990, 1994 (specific dates needed)
Chicago Comicon: 1976-1996 (specific dates needed)
Codcon: 1996-2003 (specific dates needed)
Concentric: 1996, 2007, 2008 (specific dates and location needed)
Conception: 2003-2008 (specific dates needed)
Congenial: 1991-2006 (specific dates, guests, and location needed)
DucKon: 1-5, 19-20 (chairs needed)
Invention: (was this held other than in 1989, if so, dates, locations, and Guests needed)
Midgicon: 1943 (specific dates and location needed)
Nostalgia: 1974-1975 (specific dates needed)
OPCon: 1990-2011 (specific dates needed)
Otherwhere (was this held other than in 1990, if so, dates, locations, and Guests needed)
Picnicon: 1986-2004 (specific dates and locations needed), dates only needed for 1998-2001, 2008
Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention: 2001-2004, 2006 (specific dates and location needed)
Wizard World Chicago: 1997-2011 (specific dates needed, locations from 1997-2004 needed)

I believe I have complete information (dates, locations, Guests) for the following:

2BeContinued, Anime Central, Chicago TARDIS, All Chicons, CostumeCon, Cyphan, Dorsai Thing, Kollision Con, Midwest Construction, Midwest Furfest, MuseCon, MYTHCon, Nebula Weekends, SFRA Conferences, SMOFCon, Terminus, Think Galacticon, Visions, Windycon, WOLFCon, World Fantasy Con, and World Horror Con.

Actually, my full listing currently includes 64 different events with a total of 409 instances.

Jan. 19th, 2012

04:00 pm - A Math Problem

My older daughter has a math problem: An island has a bunny population of 24. If the population triples each year, how many bunnies will there be after 22 years?

My answer: 0, after five years a tidal wave wiped out the entire bunny population on the island.

That's known as quality parenting.

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