Sunburst Awards

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastika published during the previous calendar year. Winners receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

http://www.sunburstaward.org

We are proud to announce the longlists for the 2017 SUNBURST AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN CANADIAN LITERATURE OF THE FANTASTIC.

Toronto, Ontario (May 29, 2017): The Sunburst Award Committee is pleased to announce the 2017 longlist for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. This year’s lists are comprised of a mixture of established authors, talented newcomers, and several past nominees.

Below are the works longlisted by the jury, with links to their publishers, books and stories (where possible).

The Sunburst Award official shortlist will be announced in late June. Sunburst Award winners will be announced in Fall 2017.

The jurors for the 2017 award are Nancy Baker, Michel Basilières, Rebecca Bradley, Dominick Grace, and Sean Moreland.

 

WARP 98 is now on line!!

Yes, indeed, WARP 98 is now available for download!

I know, you are all shocked and astonished! So is your editor! With everything I had going on this month, I was sure WARP would be delayed to July!

DOWNLOAD WARP 98 NOW

Adobe reader is available free from: http://get.adobe.com/reader/

 

The Table of Contents is linked to the articles, graphics at the end of articles will bring you back to the ToC. The mouse will reveal other links!

A few printed copies will be available for members at the June 4th meeting. There might not be the usual 20 copies–it depends on how long my black ink cartridge lasts!! so come early to ensure you get your copy hot off the press. (Keith has a great cinema matinee lined up–all dragons!)

If you need WARP mailed to you, contact Keith Braithwaite.

A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL OUR CONTRIBUTORS!

  • Joe Aspler
  • Keith Braithwaite
  • Lindsay Brown
  • Leyble Botwinik
  • Lloyd Penny
  • Barbara Silverman
  • Sylvain St-Pierre
  • and Marquise for that fabulous cover!

Dragons on the menu for June 4 meeting!

Wear your dragon t-shirts, socks, and caps! Bring your “pets” in for display!

 

NOON: The SF Cinema Matinee, hosted by Keith, will feature DRAGONS!

14H Here there be Dragons! We examine the legends surrounding fantasy’s supreme beastie while highlighting some of the Genre’s most memorable dragons! A presentation by Paula and Fern.

 

Note: The raffle will include hand crafted wooden dragon puzzles.

15:30h The Dragon Slayer: A discussion moderated by Cathy–Defining the role and character of a hero. Who in SF/F best embodies our vision of the hero?

Trailers: GoT, Valerian, Spiderman

Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres 7.16.17 on HBO

Luc Besson’s new film arrives in theatres July 21.

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is the visually spectacular new adventure film from Luc Besson, the legendary director of The Professional, The Fifth Element and Lucy, based on the ground-breaking comic book series which inspired a generation of artists, writers and filmmakers.

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Trailer 3

Next mission: figuring out how all web shooter combinations work. Watch the new “Spider-Man: Homecoming” trailer now – in theatres July 7. ► Subscribe to Marvel: http://bit.ly/WeO3YJ

After three decades, Astro Books faces dire financial challenge

Comic Book store at 1844 Ste.Catherine St.W, near Guy, in danger of closing.   http://astrolib.com/

Astro Books is one of the largest retailers of new, used and collectible comics in Canada

Montreal Gazette, RENÉ BRUEMMER rbruemmer@postmedia.com twitter.com/renebruemmer

DAVE SIDAWAY Astro Books has launched a crowdfunding campaign in the hope that its loyal clientele can help offset a $20,000-plus tax bill. “If we can get through this year, I think we can make it,” says 71-year-old co-owner Betty Stock.

Love, comic books and addiction have colluded to keep Astro Books alive for more than three decades. But of late, Montreal’s rising commercial tax rates, construction and the indignities of age are conspiring against it.

After 33 years mainly in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce on Sherbrooke St., and downtown on Ste-Catherine St. a bit west of Guy, one of the largest comic-book retailers in the country is appealing to its local community with a crowdfunding campaign to help cover its $20,000-plus share of the landlord’s tax bill.

After a slow winter in which drivers who fear construction detours were reluctant to venture downtown while other customers chose cocooning over browsing, owners Paul and Betty Stock were unable to save for the tax hit. The financial situation for the siblings, for whom the store is both a lifeline and a way of life, is tight.

“If the money doesn’t come in, I think we will have to close. I think so,” says Betty, 71, who deals with customers and staff with a seasoned grumpiness offset by the twinkle in her eye. “And that’s hard.”

On top of the tax bill, Astro Books (or Librairie Astro, as the awning reads) has to deal with rent north of $3,500 a month, rising hydro and water meter bills and salaries for four employees.

The store’s dog-eared appearance and a window display featuring used books ranging from Shakespeare’s Othello to a dated copy of Lonely Planet’s guide to India belies a well-organized enterprise that sells in the range of 100,000 comic books a year, as well as CDs, videos, graphic novels, collectible cards and used books of the popular fiction variety.

Key to the comics sales is a reserve system for 400 clients (it used to be 600) for whom Astro puts aside new orders as deliveries come in each week. Most customers pick them up, while some orders are mailed out as far as Taiwan. Some clients order dozens of titles — one pays $125 a week for his comic fix — but most are in the $10-to-$15-a-week range.

It has made Astro one of the largest retailers of new, used and collectible comics in Canada, with loyal customers dating back more than 20 years. They shifted their focus to comics and closed their N.D.G. store about 15 years ago when the book market slumped.

Stock says she’s seeing a shift back toward print, both for books and comics, that is also evidenced in growing sales of printed books worldwide as the popularity of Kindle and other e-readers declines.

“If we can get through this year, I think we can make it,” she said. “Book sales are getting better, and comic book sales, which had bottomed out, are climbing. People are seeking that tactile experience.”

As customers who grew up on superhero fare have matured and evolved, so have comic books, branching out to a wide variety of genres that include murder mysteries and romantic comedies. Ms. Marvel, about a New Jersey high school girl of Pakistani descent who suddenly attains superhero powers, is the first comic to have a Muslim headliner; it was a smash hit, indicative of publishers’ willingness to reflect a more diverse society, noted store clerk David Villeneuve. Acclaimed writers like Margaret Atwood and Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk have entered the graphic-novel genre.

For customers like Sean Gallagher, it’s the ambience and the availability of new genres, many chosen for him by store employees, that have kept him coming back for 20 years.

“I like the convenience, and the atmosphere,” says Gallagher, a 42-year-old computer designer who fell in love with comics at the age of nine.

Gallagher is also picking up titles like Looney Tunes and Teen Titans for his seven-year-old son, aiding in the store’s marketing strategy of “getting them addicted.” Because comic books are written as serial novels, with storylines spanning multiple editions, once a reader has read one, they want to see how it ends.

“They find a used comic at $1 — it gets them hooked,” Stock says. Soon, hopefully, they’re following a few titles a month.

For Von Allan, both a customer and a comic-book creator and graphic novelist, much of the store’s charm lies in its willingness to support and promote lesserknown titles outside of the mainstream, including his own.

“A store that is willing to lend a hand and help rookies get started is rare,” Allan said. “And Paul’s been doing that for decades. I can’t stress that enough. For a young artist starting out, it means the world. We need more stores like this, and I’m saying that as a friend, customer and comic creator.”

The last few years have been hard on the Stocks. Betty walks with two canes, but still comes in daily. Paul, 67, got past a bout of flesh-eating disease several years ago, then suffered a stroke about five years back that left him partially paralyzed. He still comes in for a few hours a day, and works from home.

“If this store closes, he would turn into a vegetable,” Betty says. “So will I. I’m not looking for that.”

Across the street at Capitaine Québec, neither is owner Charlie Vaccaro. With three comic stores in a three-block radius downtown, the close-knit competition is good for business, he said, bringing in customers from all over Montreal.

“If Astro closes, it might be short-term gain for me in terms of getting a few reserve-list customers, but … it would be long-term pain,” he said.

After half a lifetime serving book lovers and comic-book addicts, Betty says it’s the fun she would miss.

“Generally, the comic-books community is a very nice community,” she said. “We’re nice, and a bit weird.”

A link to Astro Books’ crowdfunding page is available at their website, astrolib.com.

A store that is willing to lend a hand and help rookies get started is rare. And Paul’s been doing that for decades. I can’t stress that enough.

man armed with multiple guns at Phoenix Comicon

And there were fans angry with me for enforcing a weapons policy at Con*Cept.  The Phoenix Comicom is now enforcing an even stricter policy after someone dressed as Rambo showed up with real weapons.

  • No weapons, prop weapons of any kind allowed
  • Added security screening
  •  More officers present

Prior to the ban, event organizers allowed the items at the event, provided they were inspected and peace-bonded by security upon entry.  I know for a fact that this policy does not work. The security at a con I attended allowed all sorts of props, replicas, and even live steel because  1) we know these guys 2) we can’t afford to piss off the Stargate fans.   Another con told me they did not allow any weaponry, even props, but they had no one to enforce it and lots of fans were wearing replica weapons.  No one cared until the SWAT showed up to confiscate weaponry from a dealer.

Story below, but do click the link below to see the video news clip from the news channel.

Times have changed, I would not want to try running a convention these days, just reading some of the codes of conduct would scare me off.   –CPL

http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/armed-man-struggles-with-police-arrested-at-phoenix-comicon

PHOENIX – A man armed with multiple guns at Phoenix Comicon is now in police custody.

Police say 31-year-old Mathew Sterling was taken into custody Thursday afternoon for allegedly posting on social media that he planned to kill Phoenix police officers and a performer at the event.

According to officials, the post included pictures of officers that the suspect took at Comicon.

When officers located the suspect inside of the Phoenix Convention Center, he had three handguns, a shotgun, knives and ammunition on his person, officials said. He was also wearing body armor.

According to officials, the man was taking pictures of officers and was found at Comicon with three handguns and one shotgun. He also had knives and ammunition.

Police say the man was inside the Phoenix Convention Center and struggled with officers before he was detained.

Sterling has been booked on the following charges: attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, wearing body armor during the commission of a felony, resisting arrest and carrying a weapon in a prohibited place.

During a Thursday afternoon press conference, Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said Phoenix police will be updating security at the facility, including additional screening, as well as fewer accessible entrances to the building.

The most notable one is that no weapons of any kind will be allowed into the convention. That includes costume props, no matter what it is made out of.

Related: 4 Phoenix Comicon changes you need to know about

Big security changes for @PhoenixComicon:
– No weapons, prop weapons of any kind allowed
– Added security screening
– More officers present

— Josh Frigerio, ABC15 (@JoshFrigerio) May 25, 2017Phoenix Comicon released a statement late Thursday on the incident, including changes to “Con on 3rd” and where to pick up registration station badges.

No injuries were reported in the incident.


Fun is in evidence at CSI exhibit

If you have watched any police procedural show you have most certainly heard of IBIS, but did you know it was developed here in Montreal? I had no idea until I read this article (scroll down) in the Gazette by Bill Brownstein. —CPL 
 In the early 1990s, Forensic Technology, located atop a Montreal Urban Community police station across from the Cavendish Mall in Côte-St-Luc, created the groundbreaking, automated Integrated Ballistics Identification System, better known as IBIS.
 From Wikipedia:
Automated firearms identification is now a universally accepted technology. As the system with the largest installed base, IBIS has become the de facto world standard.

The emergence of a world standard enables law enforcement agencies worldwide to share ballistic data. This capability is now being leveraged as a tool for international collaboration among law enforcement agencies worldwide. Countries have begun to link up their IBIS systems. Europe already has EURO-IBIS, while the United States recently concluded an agreement to link their NIBIN system with Canada’s.

INTERPOL

In early 2009, INTERPOL signed an agreement with Forensic Technology, wherein the latter will install and maintain an IBIS correlation server at INTERPOL headquarters in Lyon, France. To facilitate ballistic information sharing among INTERPOL member-countries in Asia, a second IBIS Correlation Server was installed at the INTERPOL Centre for Global Innovation in Singapore in 2015.

Forensics analyst tackles crime display at Science Centre

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI Bob Walsh of Forensic Technology reviews a mock crime scene for clues at an exhibit called A House Collided, part of the CSI: The Experience program, currently running at the Montreal Science Centre.

CSI chief Gil Grissom, via a video monitor, instructs a group of aspiring sleuths to look carefully at the evidence left behind at the crime scene and then wishes them luck in solving a messy murder case.

Among the would-be detectives is the dapper Bob Walsh, sporting a turned-up, Columbostyle trench coat and looking very much like Central Casting’s notion of a TV gumshoe.

With pencil and notepad in hand, Walsh, like the others, proceeds to check out a crime referred to as “A House Collided,” wherein a vehicle is lodged halfway into the living room of a home, and behind the wheel is a banged-up and bloodied dead man. All manner of evidence — from a slipper to a pizza carton — is strewn about the scene.

Welcome to CSI: The Experience at the Montreal Science Centre in the Old Port, where budding investigators, from schoolchildren to nonagenarians, have been converging to attempt to solve three different cases inspired by the CSI TV series.

This interactive exhibition not only (somewhat graphically) depicts murder scenes, but also allows sleuths the opportunity to carry out scientific testing in labs and to examine (facsimiles of ) corpses in an autopsy room before compiling a final report as to who committed this heinous deed and for what reason.

A computer then informs the would-be investigators whether they have correctly solved the case or if they would be better off delivering pizzas than embarking on a career in crime-detection.

Walsh, who is here at my request, is more familiar than most with crime detection. In the early 1990s, his company Forensic Technology, located atop a Montreal Urban Community police station across from the Cavendish Mall in Côte-StLuc, created the groundbreaking, automated Integrated Ballistics Identification System, better known as IBIS.

Simply put, this technology accurately proves that every fired bullet and cartridge casing tells its own story. That’s because every firearm, from handguns to howitzers, has unique characteristics — the equivalent of human fingerprints — that are transferred to the bullets and casings when shot.

Forensic labs — including the RCMP, INTERPOL, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in the U.S. — in more than 70 countries employ this ammo-identification system (now available in 3D-HD), which has been credited with getting convictions, and has been featured in the TV crime labs of the various CSI and Law & Order series, as well as numerous films.

Continue reading Fun is in evidence at CSI exhibit

Let’s capitalize on AI revolution

Montreal is welcoming leading technologists to the city this week for the C2 (commerce/creativity) conference, just as the city could be on the verge of becoming an international hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. Capitalizing on this brewing revolution will require governments to drastically alter traditional modus operandi, loosening their grip on the entrepreneurial class and suppressing nationalistic impulses.

Advocating for massive government spending with little restraint admittedly deviates from the tenor of these columns, but the AI business is unlike any other before it. Having leaders acting as fervent advocates for the industry is crucial; resisting the coming technological tide is, as the Borg would say, futile.

The roughly 250 AI researchers who call Montreal home are not simply part of a niche industry. Quebec’s francophone character and Montreal’s multilingual citizenry are certainly factors favouring the development of language technology, but there’s ample opportunity for endeavours with broader applications.

AI isn’t simply a technological breakthrough; it is the technological revolution. In the coming decades, modern computing will transform all industries, eliminating human inefficiencies and maximizing opportunities for innovation and growth — regardless of the ethical dilemmas that will inevitably arise.

“By 2020, we’ll have computers that are powerful enough to simulate the human brain,” said (in 2009) futurist Ray Kurzweil, author of The Singularity Is Near, a seminal 2006 book that has inspired a generation of AI technologists. Kurzweil’s projections are not science fiction but perhaps conservative, as some forms of AI already effectively replace many human cognitive functions. “By 2045, we’ll have expanded the intelligence of our human-machine civilization a billion-fold. That will be the singularity.”

Continue reading Let’s capitalize on AI revolution

Montreal to become world centre of AI

Montreal is positioning itself to become a world centre of artificial intelligence with impressive amounts of cash flowing into academia, public-private partnerships, research labs and startups. Bertrand Marotte reports on some of the big brains behind the suddenly hot trend.

PHOTOS: JOHN MAHONEY Jean-François Gagné is co-founder and chief executive officer of Element AI, an artificial intelligence startup factory launched in Montreal last year. “We want to be part of that conversation — shaping what AI is going to look like,” he says.

It might seem like an ambitious goal, but key players in Montreal’s rapidly growing artificial intelligence sector are intent on transforming the city into a Silicon Valley of AI.

Certainly, the flurry of activity these days indicates that AI in the city is on a roll. Impressive amounts of cash have been flowing into academia, public-private partnerships, research labs and startups active in AI in the Montreal area.

And hopes are high that a threeday conference starting May 24 — AI Forum — will help burnish Montreal’s reputation as one of the world’s emerging AI advanced research centres and top talent pools in the suddenly very hot tech trend.

Topics and issues on the agenda include the evolution of AI in Montreal and the transformative impact AI can have on business, industry and the economy.

For example, researchers at Microsoft Corp. have successfully developed a computing system able to decipher conversational speech as accurately as humans do. The technology makes the same, or fewer, errors than professional transcribers and could be a huge boon to major users of transcription services like law firms and the courts.

Setting the goal of attaining the critical mass of a Silicon Valley is “a nice point of reference,” said tech entrepreneur Jean-François Gagné, co-founder and chief executive officer of Element AI, an artificial intelligence startup factory launched last year.

“It’s ambitious,” allowed Gagné, one of the keynote speakers at the AI Forum, held in partnership with the annual C2 Montréal international gabfest.

The idea is to create a “fluid, dynamic ecosystem” in Montreal where AI research, startup, investment and commercialization activities all mesh productively together, said Gagné, who founded Element with researcher Nicolas Chapados and Université de Montréal deep learning pioneer Yoshua Bengio.

Continue reading Montreal to become world centre of AI

2016 Nebula Awards

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. has announced the recipients of the Nebula Awards®.

The Nebula Awards® are voted on and presented by the active members of SFWA for outstanding science fiction and fantasy published in 2016.

THE RECIPIENTS OF THE 2016 NEBULA AWARDS

NOVEL

  • All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)

NOVELLA

  • Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)

NOVELETTE

  • “The Long Fall Up”, William Ledbetter (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)

SHORT STORY

  • “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)

RAY BRADBURY AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING DRAMATIC PRESENTATION

  • Arrival, Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer, 21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films/Xenolinguistic

ANDRE NORTON AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY BOOK

  • Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)

2017 DAMON KNIGHT GRAND MASTER AWARD

  • Jane Yolen

SOLSTICE AWARD

  • Peggy Rae Sapienza (Posthumous)
  • Toni Weisskopf

KEVIN O’DONNELL JR. SERVICE TO SFWA AWARD

  • Jim Fiscus

Toastmaster Dr. Kjell Lindgren.