An ice shelf four times the size of Manhattan broke off Greenland’s Petermann Glacier on August 5th.

Ice Island calves off Petermann Glacier
Image by NASA Goddard Photo and Video via Flickr


Author Susan M. Garrett died today after a months-long battle with cancer. Aside from being a professional writer (Intimations of Mortality, 1997, Berkeley, ISBN: 978-1572973138), she also wrote several unpublished novels and was actively involved in the fan fiction community, where she had a sizable fan base.

At her heart, Susan M. Garret was a storyteller, “Officially, I’ve been writing fiction since I was eight years old,” she said in one of her biographies. “It all began with fan fiction–they didn’t make enough new episodes of my favorite Saturday morning cartoon and children’s shows and so I started writing my own.”

From there, her writing took off. She had been published hundreds of times in various fanzines, including works of non-fiction as well as original fiction and fan fiction. It’s in fan fiction circles where the name Susan M. Garret gained an iconic status; a guarantee that a first-rate yarn was in store for the reader, true to the original characters.

She developed quite a large fan base with her original works based on the worlds of The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne and Forever Knight. It was her reputation in the latter that led to her book deal with Berekely in the 1990s.

Aside from developing a fan base of her own, Susan was a die-hard fan herself, where her fan career began in earnest in 1976, when she was inducted as the first American female into the UK’s storied Doctor Who Appreciation Society. A life-long fan of the Doctor and his adventures in the TARDIS, she kept up with the series until the end.

A publisher of several fanzines through the years (see partial list below), she had a distinguished impact on fandom in general and was the co-creator of the satirical “Not The MediaWest*Con Program Book” with Ann Larimer, that was distributed at MediaWest for many years.

 

Between 1989 and 1992, she published The Handy Dandy Adzine Calendar and Address Guide for Fanzine Editors and Other Busy People, a bi-annual adzine for and about adzines that was distributed at fan conventions and via the mail.

She also was the creator of two publications regarding fan publishing: The Fantastically, Fundamentally Functional Guide to Fanzines for Readers & Contributors in 1989, and The Fantastically, Fundamentally Functional Guide to Fanzines for Editors & Publishers in 1990.

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She had a particular impact in science fiction and fantasy TV fandom as it came of age in the 1990s.

She was a top BNF (big-name fan) among Doctor Who (1970s-80s), Forever Knight (1990s), and most recently The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne (SAJV). It was her work in SAJV fandom that is still being felt today. She, along with a small team of dedicated fans, set up a multi-media network to save the show that had been cancelled by the SCIFI Channel – consisting of inter-linked websites,  PR campaigns to advertisers and DVD/video distributors, and very detail-oriented and precise attack plans and events at fan conventions made the industry and other fans stand up and take attention.

Although it was too late to save SAJV, others took notes and those same tactics were later used in other campaigns, including the successful effort after FOX cancelled the series Firefly, in which many tactics originally developed by SAJVers under the tutelage of Susan M. Garrett led to Universal movie studio making the feature film, Serenity.

By that time, Susan started devoting more of her time practicing her writing. Born and raised on the east coast, but always fascinated by the lure of Hollywood (she was an extra in a 1999 episode of Homicide: Life on the Street when it filmed in Baltimore) Susan jumped at the chance to switch coasts when the opportunity arose in 2002 to move to the Los Angeles-area and be room mates with fellow SAJVer and empty nester with a room to spare, Vicci Varner. There she lived and wrote in the foothills overlooking Los Angeles for the past 8 years.

But, after a routine medical procedure in April 2010 revealed that Susan M. Garrett had advanced Stage 3 colon/stomach cancer, she spent her last months fighting the disease in her adopted home; as usual, she lived at the Varner house as part of the family until the end – with the help and care of her long-time friend and room mate, Vicci Varner, and her brother, Shawn. Recently, she was transferred to the intensive care unit of Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills, where she spent her 49th birthday. Her battle with cancer ended three days later with her drifting off in her sleep, on Saturday, August 14, 2010.

LINKS

Although she has left us, Susan M. Garrett lives on in cyberspace. Below are a few links about her and her works:

Public Broadcasting Service

Image via Wikipedia

Starting this Labor Day, PBS stations will start airing a slice of fandom with the one-hour documentary, Four Days at DragonCon. Filmed by Atlanta- based documentarians, Jack Walsh and Gordon Ray during the 2009 con, the film is set to debut 9 p.m. (ET) Aug. 28 on WPBA PBS 30 in Atlanta and then roll out nationwide to other PBS member stations in the following months.

Dubbed in the media as “Woodstock for nerds,”  ”the ultimate pop culture convention” and “the South’s sci-fi fantasy Mardi Gras,” this is no small regional sparsely-attended fan convention as Dragon*Con has grown to become the largest fan-run science fiction and fantasy convention in the world with tens of thousands of attendees taking up more Atlanta hotel space than the 1996 Summer Olympics (true, ComiCon is larger and gets more attention – but it is put on by a large corporation, not volunteer fans – and it shows.)

Below is a sneak preview of “Four Days at DragonCon”

Radio counselor Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Dr Laura Schlesinger

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can.

When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

  1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
  2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
  3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
  4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
  5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
  6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
  7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
  8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
  9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
  10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14) I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

(Author unknown)

They had the nerve to come here – unwanted immigrants who moved in without asking permission or applying for visas

Immigrants entering the United States through ...
Image via Wikipedia

from the local American government; they spread diseases; squatted illegally on other people’s land; hurt the local economy; ignored local laws and traditions; stole crops; increased the murder, rape and crime rates wherever they went; and refused to learn the language of our country.
I call them my great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents who came here from the British Isles and other European countries from the 1600s to the 1800s.

As the great grandchildren of truly illegal immigrants, people like me do not have the moral authority (and should not have the legal authority) to judge or exclude others who seek a better life for themselves and their families in this land that was stolen by our European ancestors – at gunpoint – from the original owners – the Native Americans.

The difference between a “native American” and a “Mexican” is which European country slaughtered your ancestors, depending on what side of the river (or mountain range) you were born on.

But when you come right down to it…

We’re all African. Basically, we’re an out-of-control invasive species that wreaks havoc on local ecosystems and crowds out native fauna.

Leoben Conoy
BSG’s Callum Keith Rennie is set to guest star on the “Alphas” pilot. (Image by kmgsquidoo via Flickr)

The following press release is published as a service to the readership:

New York, New York – August 12, 2010 – Syfy has announced additional casting for its previously announced pilot Alphas, inking actress Azita Ghanizada to co-star in the wry action-adventure project from writers Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk) and Michael Karnow, it was announced today by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Syfy and Co-Head of Content for Universal Cable Productions, which is the studio for the project. She joins previously announced cast members David Strathairn, Ryan Cartwright, Malik Yoba, Warren Christie and Laura Mennell. Additionally, Callum Keith Rennie has been signed to guest star in the pilot.

Alphas is executive produced by Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein for BermanBraun Television and will be directed by Jack Bender (director and executive producer of Lost). Production is underway in Toronto.

Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. Taking the law into their own hands, the unlikely team, led by Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) investigates cases that suggest other Alpha activity to uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able or willing to solve. These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.

Azita Ghanizada plays Rachel who, from an early age, has been able to “hyper-intensify” her senses, one at a time – vision, hearing, taste, and smell. Her mother and father – who are conservative parents — thought she was cursed and discouraged this unique and amazing ability. Overly sensitive – literally – Rachel has always felt ashamed and rejected. With Dr. Rosen’s help and encouragement, she’s learning to appreciate her skill and grow increasingly confident and adventurous.

Ghanizada’s credits include appearances on the television series Castle, Ghost Whisperer, Entourage, How I Met Your Mother, Psych, The Closer, Numbers and The Wedding Bells. She is represented by Joel King of Pakula/King & Associates and managed by Katie Mason of Luber/Roklin Entertainment.

Callum Keith Rennie plays Don Wilson, a Washington bureaucrat, and Lee Rosen’s superior and contact inside the Pentagon.

Rennie is no stranger to Syfy having portrayed Leoben, a Cylon on the critically acclaimed series Battlestar Galatica throughout its four season-run on the channel. Other roles include memorable arcs on 24 and Flash Forward, Lew Ashby on Californication, and he was featured on Syfy’s Emmy-winning miniseries smash Tin Man. He is managed by Elizabeth Hodgson at Hodgson Management Group and represented by Agency for the Performing Arts (APA).

About BermanBraun

BermanBraun is an independent media company whose three divisions – television, feature film and digital media – create and exploit entertainment content and advertising solutions throughout the world. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based Company, founded by principals Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun in January 2007, has separate strategic global alliances with NBC and Microsoft to create and distribute creative content across all platforms. In February 2009, BermanBraun launched WONDERWALL – the primary celebrity destination on the MSN Network, ranking ahead of TMZ.com and People.com in traffic, with number one user engagement in the celebrity news space. In April 2010, partners BermanBraun, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. (HFM U.S.) and MSN launched GLO, a lifestyle destination site. BermanBraun is currently producing THE CAPE for NBC’s 2010/2011 television season. They are also producing DECODED for the History Channel for Fall 2010. BermanBraun also produces SWORDS for The Discovery Channel and IS SHE REALLY GOING OUT WITH HIM? on MTV.

About Universal Cable Productions

Universal Cable Productions creates quality content across multiple media platforms for USA, Syfy and other networks. A leader in innovative and critically acclaimed programming, UCP is the studio behind USA’s Royal Pains, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Psych, In Plain Sight, Covert Affairs and Facing Kate, along with Syfy’s Eureka, Warehouse 13 and Caprica. The studio also produced both long-running series Monk and Battlestar Galactica. UCP is a division of NBC Universal.

About Syfy

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in 95 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.).

The Syfy channel announced today that it has picked up Merlin for its third season with 13 new episodes planned for

List of Merlin characters
Bradley James as Prince Arthur on BBC/Syfy’s “Merlin.” (Image via Wikipedia)

spring 2011 after first airing on BBC One in the UK starting in September 2010.

“We are thrilled that Syfy will be broadcasting the third series of Merlin. The upcoming season will add an exciting new twist to Merlin’s ongoing struggle to protect Prince Arthur, as well as thrilling audiences with bigger and bolder action sequences, stunning CGI monsters, mysterious villains and comic fun for all the family,” Merlin creator and executive producer, Johnny Capps said in a written statement.

Syfy citing ratings as a prime reason for the announcement. Merlin almost doubled Syfy’s Friday 10 p.m. timeslot overr the previous year. “The enchanting imagination of Merlin proved very popular with our audience and we’re delighted to bring the series back for a third season on Syfy,” Chris Regina, Syfy VP of programming, said.

TV Guide published a list of the best-paid stars for the upcoming 2010-2011 television season, with Charlie Sheen

Actress Anna Paquin – Comic-Con 2009 -

Anna Paquin at DragonCon (Image via Wikipedia)

topping the list at $1.25 million an episode – outpacing the next-highest paid performer, Two and a Half Men, co-star Jon Cryer’s $550,000 per episode salary by almost a million dollars an episode.

Of the stars of genre TV, only four stars made TV Guide’s list, with Anna Paquin, of HBO’s Ture Blood, topping the list of returning stars at $75,000 per episode. Tied with her is Blair Underwood, star of the new NBC entry in genre TV, The Event. Next up is The Vampire Diary‘s Ian Somerhalder at $40,000 an episode. The last genre TV star is Selena Gomez, start of Disney Channel’s  veteran fantasy kid’s comedy, Wizards of Waverly Place.