Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MIT SF Writing Class

Today the paperwork rolled for me to become Visiting Wizard at MIT, and I met for the first time with Joe Haldeman's SF Writing class. (Actually, my title will be "temporary lecturer." But Visiting Wizard is so much more motivating, don't you think?) The class went well, considering that I jumped in midstream, and was trying to fill Joe's shoes without too much sense of disruption. The students pitched right in and participated, and I found them to be a bright, interesting, and likable bunch. Good insights, and a lot of enthusiasm. I enjoyed meeting them all and look forward to reading their work. I was helped immeasurably by the volunteer assistance of Antony Donovan, a former student who is now Joe's longtime friend and helper.

Meanwhile, Joe remains in intensive care in a hospital in Cincinnati, with his wife Gay right there surrounded by friends who are helping her in every way possible. He's been under sedation (unconscious, mostly) and on a ventilator for over a week now, following emergency surgery for twisted bowel and a severely inflamed pancreas. It seems to be the latter that's keeping him in stable critical condition with a steady fever. I don't know anyone in the SF field who doesn't love Joe and Gay, so we're all just waiting and hoping. He's got a lot of people sending thoughts and prayers his way.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Flashforward Flashes

It isn't often that any of us get to see our work turned into film or TV, and even less often that it's done well. When my friend Rob Sawyer sold his novel Flashforward to ABC for a new series, I was happy for him—but not necessarily optimistic about what the results would be. Well, so far, I call it a major success story!

We watched the first episode of Flashforward last night, and I thought it totally rocked. Well written, engrossing, good acting with likable characters. All told, I was left eager to see how this series will develop. This is one of Rob's books that I had never gotten around to reading, so I can't comment on how the show compares with the text, but from what I understand Rob is pleased with what they've done.

My only complaint: the credit that said "From the novel by Robert J. Sawyer" was in miniscule print at the end, and lasted for approximately a quarter of a second. Come on, ABC! You can do better than that to recognize the original author!

Otherwise, great job!

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pinch-hitting for Joe

In recent months life has thrown a fair number of curveballs, including some pretty nasty ones, to people close to me. I haven't written about it, mostly because it's personal to those folk (although I might mention that my wife loses her job this week—funding gone—so that one's close to home). The latest is that my friend and colleague Joe Haldeman—whose work I'm sure you know—great writer, great guy—was taken seriously ill last weekend. He's in the hospital in intensive care right now. (Prognosis good, I'm happy to say.) One spin on this particular curve ball is that Joe's SF writing class at MIT was left temporarily without a teacher. I got a call. And yes, I'll be filling in for Joe for however long it takes him to get back on his feet.

So, for at least some weeks, I'm going to be, sort of...part of the MIT faculty. There's a sobering thought. Doesn't MIT, like, run the world or something?

Ironically, I was just gearing up for the beginning of my own Ultimate SF Writing Workshop, which I co-lead with Craig Shaw Gardner. So it looks like I'll be working with student writers on Sunday nights (Ultimate SF) and Tuesday nights (MIT). I think it's going to be a busy next few months.

If you're in the Boston area and are looking for an intensive SF/F writing workshop, check us out! Registration is now open.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

Okay, I haven't posted in at least three weeks. Bad dog! I have no excuse, except for the fact that I just didn't feel like posting, and so I didn't. But now I repent, and to atone, I have three great videos. They might not all be new to all of you, but I just saw them for the first time. Not only do I love 'em, I didn't have to do a thing to make them! Kudos to those who did!

Now, I'm not a huge Dr. Horrible fan in the same the way that my daughter is, but when I saw "Dr. Horrible Takes Over the Emmys," I knew I had to post it here:

Dr. Horrible isn't the only mad scientist around. Pay attention to these researchers from CERN, giving us the Large Hadron Rap! You'll not only get your limbs going, you'll learn something...

And finally, just for a little political controversy, here's Will Ferrell, et al., for, explaining just why the proposed U.S. health care reform is a really bad idea!

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