Janet Kagan, the Hugo award-winning author of three novels and quite a number of short stories, died February 29, 2008. Her site remains up, and reflects her lively personality, as well as providing information about who she was—and wasn't.
"The Board of Directors of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. is pleased to announce that writer and editor Michael Moorcock has been named Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master for 2008." Unfortunately, SFWA does not seem to have the full text of their announcement up on their site yet. Moorcock has worked as both author and editor, covering all angles from spin-offs of other author's works, to retellings of tales and legends, to literary works of his own, and he has also permitted other authors to work in his universes. Most of his oeuvre is solidly rooted in genre fiction. He has strong opinions on the work of other writers—liking Peake and disliking Tolkien—as well a political agenda. Moorcock is an anarchist, and this is reflected many or even most of his works; he is quick to point out other agendas in other authors' works.
Apparently, after a flurry of rumors, statements from the author, and letters from lawyers in July 2007, there's an update on what J. K. Rowling herself intends to with the universe she is reluctant to work in and reluctant to leave. An official Encyclopedia may be on the way. This seems a little hard on fans who assembled their own and/or maintained websites that Rowling herself says she used. But Potter tie-ins are valuable property.
Novelist Stephen Marlowe February 22, age 79. The author of over 50 novels, Marlowe began his career as a writer of pulp and science fiction. His genre writing included at least seven novels—he used a number of pen names—plus the collection, Drum Beat. He was editor of the anthology, Looking Forward. He will probably be most remembered for the latter part of career, when he wrote mystery and crime novels, but way back he got his start in genre, and his most recent works were historical fiction, including 1997's The Lighthouse at the End of the World, which had Edgar Allen Poe as a main character.
In what was not exactly a surprise move, Reed Business Information announced it was suspending support for the Quills. The awards, which started in October of 2005, never seem to boost readers' interest and book sales, despite black tie presentation ceremonies on NBC. Foundation funds will be distributed to First Book and to Literacy Partners. Despite support from a number of other industry-related organizations, it's assumed this is the end of the awards.
According to a blog leak, apparently David Yates is holding off on directing The Giver, in the expectation he will be directing the final Harry Potter film. Warner Bros., which will be making the decision, says nothing is final and we'll hear next week. The Giver, by Lois Lowry, won a Newbery Medal in 1994.
A renga is constructed by people adding new lines in rotation. So although the poem is credited—or at least cataloged—under Bashō, it is in fact the work of many hands, as is the forty minute animation. It's probably a little obscure to most of us what Bashō is doing: searching his cloak for vermin and cracking them with his nails. Chikusai, who is an imaginary itinerant doctor and holy fool, has been listening to the trees with his medical horn, usually used for listening to patients' hearts and lungs. He is amused to find the poet in a worse state than he, himself, and trades hats. Then the fool lets his hat go and is free, while Bashō goes on, holding the better one on his head. A temple bell tolls to remind us of the frivolity of earthly concerns.
The complete film is only available in two Japanese releases and one Korean release.
Fox is financing Amazon's first film project, based on Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child, inspired in part by a poem by Yeats. Amazon's contribution will be heavy online promotion of the type they have been developing, including blogs and interviews, and probably also film clips and exclusive material. Donohue's Amazon blog seems polite but not especially individual. At the moment he's clearly using a marketing tool, rather than developing a unique online presence. Meanwhile, if you're curious what he's like and how he developed the new story in his debut novel, the NPR interview is revealing.
Leonardo DiCaprio will produce a live-action version of anime classic Akira with release planned in 2009. The original 1988 film was a ground-breaking full-length anime film, featuring lip synchronization—dialogue was recorded before drawing as in many classic animated films—and "super-fluid" motion. While the original film, with a script based on manga, was set in New Tokyo, the live version is to be set in New Manhattan, a futuristic city build with Japanese financing. Here's an English language trailer for the anime film, which gives you an idea what it's all about: