My name is Steven Howell Wilson, and I do a lot of different things…

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I’ve written fan fiction and published fanzines. I’ve assumed the role of custodian for my friends who created a fanzine called Contact. I founded a convention called Farpoint, which has run for over two decades. I’ve been a comic book writer for DC Comics (Star Trek and Warlord) and a comic reviewer. I run Prometheus Radio Theatre, and we put out a (mostly) weekly podcast. I’m publisher for Firebringer Press, and a contributor to Crazy 8 Press. Finally, in the mundane world, I’m a recovering librarian, an IT Director and a consultant. And yes, I do all this because I’m allergic to work. I figure as long as I look busy, I won’t have to perform actual labor. It’s worked for nearly half a century so far…

I Did Not Know Leonard Nimoy

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Photo by Ethan H. WIlson

I didn’t. Never met the man. I once walked onto a stage where he’d just finished speaking, and picked up the mic he’d just put down; but we didn’t exchange any words, except perhaps, “hello.” Maybe we nodded to each other in passing. But I didn’t know Leonard, and he didn’t know me.

Why is that important? Two reasons. One, a lot of people are rushing right now to talk about knowing this man who just ended a long and productive life. I guess it helps them mourn his loss, makes them feel closer to him, despite his death, and provides them with validation. They knew someone famous, and that’s cool. Every fan wants to be able to claim that he’s best buds with his favorite celebrity, right? And what am I, if not a fan? Look at that picture up top. Who but a fan owns that many Mr. Spock figures?

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Review – The Age of Chivalry by Thomas Bulfinch

140119This book is better known as one third of a classic volume–Bulfinch’s Mythology, which includes The Age of Fable (published 1855), The Age of Chivalry, or Legends of King Arthur (published 1858) and Legends of Charlemagne. The whole collection was one of my constant companions through childhood. I wore out the copies at my elementary and middle school libraries, I’m sure. It’s a great reference book, and, indeed, a lot of libraries keep a copy in their non-circulating reference collection. Or used to. I don’t really know what libraries keep in their reference collections in these post-Internet days.

But I kept Bulfinch’s Mythology on hand, I confess, primarily for the sake of reading and re-reading The Age of Fable. Until this year, with the exception of occasionally reading a brief entry on some character from Arthurian lore for research, I’d never read the second two books in the compendium. So, over the course of the past few weeks, having nothing else to do (hah!), I tackled these tales of the Round Table, and their token coverage of Robin Hood, King Richard and a few other note-worthies of British folklore.

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The Winter Blahs… And Frozen Pipes!

Ordinarily, I do a con summary the weekend following a convention, but I’m not up to it tonight. Farpoint was a great success, a very well-run con this year. Our show, “The Maltese Vulcan” went off without a hitch on Friday night, and Tim Russ was, of course, brilliant in the lead role. But things happened that have left me very drained, and not just the hard work of running a con. I may (or may not) talk about those things in this space down the road.

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My Farpoint Schedule

Farpoint 2015 is this weekend! Guests include Colin Ferguson, Tim Russ, Timothy Zahn, and, of course, me.

I know I said I’d retired from Farpoint and all, but Renee and I stepped up this year to run the Art Show, so that our friends Cindy Woods and Heather Mikkelsen could take over Programming, where they’ve done a stellar job. So I’ll be in the Art Show room a lot this weekend.

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Review – The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill LePore

SHoWWI discovered Wonder Woman when I was about nine years old. The very first story I ever read was her first cover appearance in Sensation Comics #1. (Not the original issue, but a repro from the 1970s, when DC Comics cared about its history and took lots of opportunities to introduce new readers to old stories.) I quickly ordered a similar repro of Wonder Woman #1, and so I pretty much knew from the beginning that Wonder Woman’s creator, William Moulton Marston, who wrote under the name Charles Moulton, was a psychiatrist. I knew he was the inventor of the lie detector test (but, sadly, not the person who wound up with the patent for it), and that he had created his character intentionally to give comics readers an example of a strong female. (Not just, it turns out, as a role model for girls, either.)

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Review – When a Story Is Not a Story – Daniel F. Galouye’s The Infinite Man

175px-DanielFGalouye-InfiniteManTheThere’s nothing more disheartening for a writer than to read something published by a major house and think, “I can write better than this!” That’s especially true for a writer whose collection of rejection notices exceeds his collection of pay checks for work sold. (Isn’t that most of us, though?)

Oh, yeah, there is something more disheartening… having that work be authored by someone that one of your literary idols thought was a real talent.

I picked up a couple of books by Dan Galouye because he’s mentioned, in Robert A Heinlein: In Dialogue With His Century, as a writer whose work the Grandmaster really admired.

RAH must have read something by Galouye other than The Infinite Man.

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Review – Imitation of (a Very Sad) Life – The Imitation Game

THE IMITATION GAMEThis is the saddest film I’ve watched in a long time. Maybe ever. And, right up front, SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS. Yeah, that’s kinda strange to say, given that the movie chronicles real-life events that happened 70 years ago and more, but, if you want to be “surprised” by events you didn’t know about, stop reading now.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, arguably the inventor of the first electronic computer, and leader of the effort to break the Nazis’ top secret “Enigma” code during World War Two. Turing was a misfit from the word go. He was the smartest kid in his class, suffered, suggests the film, from OCD, and was gay at a time when homosexuality was an offense punishable by jail time or forced “chemical castration.”

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2014 – My Literary Year in Review

I wrote not one but two essays for the blog this week. Didn’t like either of them when they were done. That’s the kind of mood I’m in. Perhaps I’ll rework them and share them later. Perhaps I’ll file them away as pieces of journal therapy. At any rate, lacking substantive content, I thought it might be useful to review what I produced, and what I took in, literature wise, during this past year.

In addition to 59 blog posts, I shared the short stories “Call Me Sam” on Phil Giunta’s blog, and “Don’t Go in the Barn, Johnny” in the Firebringer anthology Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity. I did also write one radio play (first draft only), five short stories (one sold, yet to be published, two rejected, one pending, one slated for my podcast), a novella (thrice-rejected), a premise for a (non-SF) novel, a premise for a comic series, and a good deal of copy for work-related websites. Kind of a disappointing showing, all things considered. Let’s hope 2015 is better. I’ve already sold two essays sight-unseen to two books from a pretty prestigious publisher, so that’s good.

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Email is the Root of All Evil

Well, not really. I mean, I don’t believe that. But I hear it all the time:

“Email is the root of all evil.”

“Email is an inefficient method of communication.”

“I hate email! Just call me! Just come see me! It’s easier.”

Email has garnered a great deal of resentment in the workplace these last couple of decades. Someone said to me recently, “Well, when email started, we all thought it was just going to be a way to exchange quick messages. We didn’t expect it to become our principal means of communication.”

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Random Harvest – Sadness as a Story Device

38aI tend to watch Random Harvest every Christmas. Funny, as I don’t think it actually contains any Christmas scenes. It’s a story that’s probably considered trite today, with a plot device that seems contrived: a World War I Captain (Ronald Colman) gets amnesia after suffering a trauma in the trenches at Arras. He establishes a new identity as “John Smith,” falls in love, gets married, becomes a father… then slips in the mud in front of a taxi cab, gets bonked on the head, recovers his original identity… and forgets that he was John Smith, a man with a family. Now aware that he’s Charles Rainier, a wealthy industrialist, he spends years searching for his lost identity. Continue reading