Ninth Planet found??

From this morning’s Montreal Gazette:

Astronomers from the California Institute of Technology believe they have discovered a ninth planet in the farthest reaches of our solar system. They have not observed it directly but instead inferred its existence from the way it disrupts the orbits of other objects in the icy zone known as the Kuiper Belt. As a result, they have dubbed it a “massive perturber.”


David G Hartwell, 1941-2016

David Hartwell has passed away. He was always a good friend to Con*Cept and many here will remember him being the editor GoH at Anticipation. Who could forget the rack of outlandish ties?  I’m sure I have pictures of it somewhere, but cannot find it.

HI wife, Kathryn Cramer, posted a very touching tribute on her blog.

I just awoke from this horrible dream that David Hartwell, my husband, had fallen down the stairs and died. And now that I am fully awake, it is still true, and I am still a widow. Read more

Wonderful tributes pouring in at Making Light, comments. including a poem from Jo Walton, which I partly quote below:

What’s left is all you did and made, and we
So shaken at the gap where you belong
Counting your loss against eternity.

MonSFFA newsletter, Impulse, now available

The MonSFFA newsletter, IMPULSE, is now available from Dragon and Robot copyour website; Click here to download.

Please note, concerning the schedule for the 24 of January meeting, there is a strong possibility that the planning session will be at noon as we had originally planned.  My schedule conflict might be resolved, but I cannot confirm just now. I’ll let members know tomorrow by email, and will post also here and facebook.



Remote Sensors

Remote sensors have detected:
  • X-Files: Still want to believe?
  • See 5 planets at once
  • Dr Who Spin-off series
  • Scottish National party wants to establish Europe’s first spaceport in the UK
  • In 2002, the FBI closed the X-Files and our investigations ceased, but my personal obsession did not.” Mulder

Sunday, CTV, Fox, at 10PM.  Watch the timing if you are recording, it’s scheduled to follow the  NFC Championship Game.  Looks like all the main cast characters are back in their roles. has a trailer.

  • A treat for early risersSee 5 planets at once this week.   You need a really clear horizon to the SE to see Mercury, but the other four planets and the stars Spica and Antares should be obvious even from the city.

5 planets

  • Doctor Whospinoff series “Class” will air stateside in 2016 on BBC America, it was announced Friday at Television Critics Association in Pasadena, Calif.

    The eight-part series is from young-adult author Patrick Ness, who is known for writing the “A Monster Calls” books. The series is exec produced by “Doctor Who’s” Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin and is a co-production between BBC America and BBC Cymru Wales. It is filmed in Cardiff in the U.K.

  • The SNP MP Philippa Whitford led a debate in the House of Commons on Thursday on the future of the UK space industry, which she concluded by giving the Vulcan salute. The MP made the case for a spaceport to be established in her constituency of Central Ayrshire. Great mimic of Scotty fretting over the Dilithium crystals.  Watch video.

Looking UP!

Robot looks up

Remote Sensors focus on space

  • the brightest supernova ever seen
  • how to photograph a black hole
  • a rare kind of galaxy discovered by an amateur
  • Chris Hadfield explains how to play a guitar when neither the guitar nor the player have any weight.


From Astronomy Magazine: Brightest supernova ever seen pushes theoretical models to the edge

In June 2015, a supernova appeared in the sky over the Southern Hemisphere, and astronomers believe it could mark the death throes of a very unusual star.The supernova, named ASASSN-15lh, was 20 times brighter at its peak than the combined light of the Milky Way galaxy’s 100 billion stars, making it the brightest supernova ever observed. In fact, it’s twice as bright as the previous record-holder. READ MORE

Also from Astronomy Magazine’s website: Photographing a Black Hole. The loudest nearby black hole (by some measurements, at least) is the Milky Way’s own central supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A* (“A-star”). And we might be about to get a real picture of its heart.

Feryal Ozel from the University of Arizona is part of the Event Horizon Telescope, and she presented its capabilities on the second day of the American Astronomical Society’s meeting in Kissimee, Florida. This telescope will take a picture of the innermost region of a black hole: its event horizon, where material passes the “point of no return” on its way toward being consumed.

But even for Sgr A*, the closest black hole, trying to image this area is like trying to resolve a DVD on the surface of the Moon. To do so would require building a telescope the size of the entire Earth. But luckily, Ozel and her team can do just that. READ MORE

From the Sky & Telescope magazine website: An amateur discovers a rare galaxy.

Comet approaching, CME sideswiping Earth

COMET CATALINA (C/2013 US10) Robot looks upis making its closest approach to Earth, only 67 million miles away. The beautiful green comet is only barely visible to the naked eye, but it is an easy target for backyard telescopes and digital cameras as it passes through the handle of the Big Dipper.

This is Comet Catalina’s first visit to the inner solar system–and its last. The comet’s close encounter with the sun in mid-November has placed it on a slingshot trajectory toward interstellar space. Enjoy it now. Once it recedes from Earth, we may never see it again

Visit for photos and finder charts.

MINOR STORM WARNING: NOAA forecasters say there is a 45% chance of minor geomagnetic storms on Jan. 19th when a CME is expected to sideswipe Earth’s magnetic field. Aurora alerts are available from (text) and (voice).”

WARP 3,1–lost and found!

CoverOur thanks to former member Nicole Pigeon who found and scanned WARP 3,1. You can now find it on our website here, as WARP 3.

We are now missing only two issues to complete our archives on line. They are probably labelled as 3,3 & 3,4, even though they are in actual fact the 5th and 6th issues of WARP.  Long story made short–the warp speed refers to the month of publication.


Remote Sensors: Pubbing the ish

Sensors received the November issue of the BCSFAzine. It’s a bit late, but what else is new in fandom? Contrary to common belief, we do have lives! Edited by Felicity Walker, this is the clubzine for the British Columbia Science Fiction Association,  Includes report on the October meeting and the first part of a review of VCON. Lots of LoCs, a funny one from Taral Wayne.

Very remote sensors–had to send a probe out to  search e-fanzines –found that Dale Spiers of Calgary has published Opuntia 331. Back in the Good Ol’ Days, Opuntia and WARP traded paper copies. His new look is quite glitzy–great pictures of New Year’s Eve in Calgary. Coyboy Santa?

The remote probe also ran across Broken Toys 45, the Christmas Issue, by Taral Wayne, Toronto.  I only meant to scan it, but ended up reading it all. He’s a wonderful writer. He reminisces on Christmases past, and follows this up with a Fraggle Rock story: Rock and Yule.

Recently, our sensors picked up a transmission from well-known Canadian fan-ed, R. Graeme Cameron outlining his plans for publishing a semi-pro zine that would put the spotlight on  new Canadian authors.  (

Graeme has now got a Go Fund Me campaign underway to finance the first issue. The name has (thankfully) been changed from Polar Yites! to Polar Boreal. “I realise the title of my proposed zine “POLAR YITES!” was essentially a self-indulgent in-joke, and not at all professional, but I figured it would get people talking till I came up with something better”

If you like the idea of helping writers new to the genre get their first sale, not to mention funding an old phart’s crazy hobby, please donate whenever you feel like it. The more issues I can publish, the greater the number of beginning writers who can get their first break. Sound like a great idea? I like to think so.

I think so, too, and sent a few bucks his way. The cover is by Jean Pierre Normand.

Remote Sensors: We shall not see their like again…

For the SF/F fans, 2016 started with a series of losses. I guess it goes with the greying of fandom, that we also see the passing of people who touched us along the way.


  • Hungarian-born cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, winner of an Oscar for his achievements on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and a nominee for “The Deer Hunter,” “The River” (1984) and the “The Black Dahlia” (2006),  died January 1st, aged 85. Read obituary in Variety.

And I’m floating
in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today….

Gates McFadden (Dr Crusher on Star Trek TNG) choreographed Labyrinth.  Watch McFadden working with actors on dance sequences for Labyrinth, with commentary by Jim Henson.

By Grabthar’s hammer… by the Suns of Worvan…


Remote Sensors

Way back, the first issues of WARP had a column facetiously named “Trumours” . As the name suggests, the column was a collection of news and rumours collected from magazines and the fannish grapevine. By WARP 11, the name had changed to “Sensors”, a name which fit nicely with WARP, a term from Star Trek.

As WARP started publishing less frequently, from monthly to every second month, to quarterly, the column became redundant. By the time the issue appeared, everyone had already heard the news. Indeed, we often were well ahead of the curve, especially when the Internet came along.

Now that I edit a (more or less) daily blog, as well as WARP, Sensors could be more relevant. As it happens, all our members are on the computer, but few have the time to browse through all the fanzines sent to MonSFFA.  I think it is time to revive “Sensors”.

“Remote Sensors” would collect the little bits and bobs that float around fandom.  It would be easier for me, sometimes I post more than one blog a day, and really not everything merits so much attention. Easier for the reader as well! Essentially, “Remote Sensors” would be mostly the headlines with links to the originating sites so that readers could follow up on those items they find interesting.

Remote Sensors will likely begin tomorrow, assuming I get over this stupid cold that will not go away! (And now you know why the blog has been sort of quiet lately. Not to mention that news lately has been depressing, too many obituaries. )


PS: it’s also a bit of a rip-off of File 770’s Pixel Scroll.

Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association