Welcome: Shaun Farrell
Shaun Farrell interviews Ray Bradbury and Michael A. Stackpole
Introducing Our New Columnist. Welcome aboard, Shaun Farrell! Shaun starts his first month at Far Sector SFFH with a super-bang by delivering a fresh interview with the immortal Ray Bradbury, exclusive and direct to Far Sector SFFH.
Speaking as publisher and as author: along with the late Andre Norton, I could not be more delighted than to lead with this interview. Mr. Bradbury was a personal hero of mine when I was in my early teens, and remains an icon of imagination and vision. Great work, Shaun!
2022 Reno Note. I'll add a note here. In January 2008, a few years before his passing, Ray Bradbury sent me a personal rave for my dark holiday fantasy novel The Christmas Clock. Already ill and confined to bed at least part time, Ray wrote: "Read and loved your Clock. Bravo, John!" I had sent him a review copy, reminiscing about my teenage fan mail to him, and his kind reply to me then. In forwarding this novel, I opined that not only is The Christmas Clock my homage to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, but in fact that there is much of the tone and flavor of Bradbury in there, as in e.g. The October Country, Golden Apple of the Sun, and many others. It is worth mentioning that here as a living proof of our (Far Sector SFFH staff) connections to the overall world of SFFH, as well as our connectedness to world literature as an ongoing, organic cosmos of wonder. Now back in time from 2022 to 2005 with Shaun Farrell
Michael A. Stackpole< Shaun also delivers an exclusive and fresh interview with Michael A. Stackpole, hero of fantasy readers and game developers. It's a great start for our new columnist.
Launch Time: Shaun's Quadrant Not only has Shaun stepped into the mighty shoes of our friend A. L. Sirois (who is currently a columnist for Scifi.com and working on a new novel about ancient Egypt that I can't wait to read), but Shaun has offered so much enthusiasm and hard work that we decided to launch a separate page for his astounding efforts. Thus, on the one side he'll be doing a monthly review (Singularities) but we're going to launch a special page for Shaun's interviews, articles, and other features.
We're calling it Shaun's Quadrant. The choice of names seems a bit ironic. When Shaun suggested it, I assumed he was making a bit of a pun on the magazine's name (Far Sector SFFH); i.e., quadrants and sectors are old SF terms to refer to far away places in interstellar space. Interestingly, the word 'quadrant' also refers to a navigational aid developed during the age of exploration to help deep sea sailors the frightening void between tygers and sea dragons. Both usages of 'quadrant' seem well-appointed for the exploration journeys on which Shaun will take us. Without further ado, I'll turn us over to Shaun's administrations. Don't forget to read the outstanding media article by John K. Muir in this month's Transmissions.
My Andre Norton Reminiscence. I drifted away from juvenile reading into adult reading quite early (around 13) and left the wonderful worlds of Andre Norton behind in a universe of memory. I learned that one can never totally rekindle the extreme sense of wonder of a childhood spent reading SF, but there are adult venues with their own wonderful strangenessfor example, the work of Cordwainer Smith or Thomas Pynchon. One day in 1996, at The Haunted Village (which will be back on line soon), I received an email from a college student from Poland, who was living and working with Andre Norton as an interne at her High Hallack resource library. That led to a brief exchange of emails between myself and Andre Norton, after Brian, Al, and I had posted links...come to think of it, maybe it was 1998 and it was Deep Outside SFFH...anyway, her interne mentioned to me that she was feeling a bit sad, thinking her work was being forgotten.
We had just started up our POD publishing arm of Clocktower Books, and I offered to republish her books. At that moment, it seemed, she received word that several publishers were going to reissue her works, so our offer didn't need to be maintained. Andre Norton was very kind, accepting several of my POD works with a comment to the effect that "differently published" works of merit also belong in the collection of SF works. What a refreshingly forward looking outlook from a woman nearing 90, when many established, far younger authors hated and feared all things digital. She was truly a Futurian in the classic SF sense, when many far younger skiffians were boorish Backwardians. The Internet itself is the stuff of science fiction. Almost more than anything I have savored since the days when I was nuts about Galactic Derelict, the Web has brought back to me a genuine Sense of Wonder. Miss Norton, remaining ever young at heart and kind of soul, was a part of this brave new world also. What else could one expect of such a great person?
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Pennwriters, Inc. 2005 Conference will be held May 13-15 at the Wyndham Pittsburgh Airport Hotel. Click for details.
ComiCon International 2005 will be held July 14-17 in San Diego, California. Click for details.
Publisher's Note: The personal views of the publisher, expressed here, do not necessarily mirror those of other contributors to this magazine. This is strictly my personal rant.
My Life So Far by Jane Fonda (Random House, New York, ISBN 0-375-50710-8). An interesting and very revealing book well worth reading. I vaguely remember being at an appearance by the youthful Jane Fonda at Woolsey Hall in New Haven, CT, and I remember intensely disliking what I perceived to be a loud, egotistical, smug loose cannon. Speaking of cannons, even though I was a student activist passionately against the war for moral as well as intellectual reasons, I felt Ms. Fonda had gone too far and I wondered why she wouldn't, out of fairness, go to Pleiku and sit on an American howitzer there, making the same grins and gestures. My own feeling (both as an Army veteran and a long ago student protester) is this: Jane Fonda has apologized enough times. I don't think she should have to apologize any more, and I don't think she deserves to have some dimwitted, violent gargoyle spit on her. That's not to take anything away from the great pain that some veterans legitimately feel (and which they should direct at Mr. Nixon and Mr. Agnew, two Republican crooks who both had to resign from office rather than face criminal indictment, who were our leaders through much of that horrid conflict). In the broadest sense, Vietnam was one ugly battle in the Cold War, which we won. The enemy has been vanquished. It is time to move on, with charity for all and malice toward none.