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[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Jonathan Lethem signs up for Omega the Unknown[/font]
[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]Writer of Fortress of Solitude to reintroduce cult Marvel Comics super hero from the 1970s.[/font]

[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]Omega the Unknown, the enigmatic super hero first introduced by Marvel Comics in the 1970s, will be re-introduced early next year in an updated series written by Jonathan Lethem, the author best known for his novels “The Fortress of Solitude” and “Motherless Brooklyn,” which won a National Book Critics Circle Award.

The series will mark Jonathan Lethem’s first comic book writing effort. The initial storyline will center on a teenage prodigy from Washington Heights, and his relationship with Omega, a mysterious and silent Super Hero from another world. The 10-issue series will launch in early 2006.

Lethem is working with artist Farel Dalrymple and colorist Paul Hornschemeier on the series.

“I’m an enormous fan of Jonathan’s writing, especially his rich and emotional portrayal of Brooklyn,” said Joe Quesada, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics. “While Omega the Unknown was a relatively obscure series from the 70s, Jonathan remembers it vividly from his youth, and I know that his new exploration of this hero will delight traditional comic fans and definitely appeal to a whole new audience of fans drawn to his imaginative and powerful storytelling.”

Jonathan Lethem said, “"Omega the Unknown is a great character - a kind of archetypal super hero who's also a blank slate. The original story had an uncanny power over my imagination, and seemed potentially to have the intrigue and complexity of a great novel. I've always been drawn to comics as a medium and this chance to work with Marvel - and to revive this character and bring his story to fulfillment - is a kind of a dream-come-true for me." [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Sith Happens[/font]
[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]With just three days to go, here comes the last trailer download.[/font]

[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]Check it out over at [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Star Wars beats Trek in the card wars[/font]
[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]Yes, Star Wars is now officially the most popular movie trading card franchise produced. And all the others are science fiction and fantasy based too.[/font]

[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]When it comes to trading cards, the Force is with George Lucas' space epic.

According to trading card publisher Beckett Media, Star Wars cards are hands-down the most popular movie tie-in trading cards ever.

Over the past 28 years, 250 Star Wars trading card sets have been produced (including more than 40 from the Topps Co.) in 20 countries, encompassing nearly 10,000 cards.

The most sought-after Star Wars cards are the ultra-rare, one-of-one Sketch cards that were inserted into 2004 Topps Stars Wars Heritage and 2005 Topps Revenge of the Sith. Those cards feature original artwork from Star Wars artists. They often sell at sci-fi conventions and on the Internet for up to $150.

A Rookie Card (or in this case a "Wookie Card") of Darth Vader - the central character in the saga's latest installment, Revenge of the Sith - from the 1977 Topps set will cost you $5.

"Before Star Wars, trading cards for movies weren't big business," says Doug Kale, Beckett Entertainment editor and contributing editor of Beckett's Collectibles From A Galaxy Far, Far Away. "We based our list of top movie card franchises on several factors - overall sales, pricing on the secondary markets, total cards manufactured, numbers of countries in which the cards were distributed and, of course, demand. By just about any measure, Star Wars is light years ahead of the competition."

The Top Five most collectible movie-franchise trading cards ever according to Beckett are:

1. Star Wars
2. Star Trek
3. The Lord of the Rings
4. E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial
5. (tie) Indiana Jones/Batman

More on the rarer SFF trading cards over at [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]How do lightsabers work, mom?[/font]
[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]More web sites shamelessly cash in on the Star Wars craze.[/font]

[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]How Stuff Works is the latest in the long line of web sites to line up and cash in on the Star Wars hype being built up around Revenge of the Sith.

Yes, it's Star Wars week over on the How Stuff Works web site

On May 16th, they show what it would be like if Darth Vader appeared on the old game show This Is Your Life? Replete with true Vader facts from the Star Wars canon, the article calls upon bit players from the Star Wars saga to offer reminiscences about their brief brushes with the Sith Lord.

Star Wars Week will continue with new articles like The Sith Explained and Special Agent Eleventeen's Review of the Darth Vader Voice Changer.

Check them out over at these coordinates: [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Speculative Literature Foundation announces 2005 Fountain Award[/font]
[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]The Speculative Literature Foundation has announced the results of the second annual Fountain Award, which carries a cash prize of $1000.[/font]

[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]The winning story is "The Annals of Eelin-Ok" by Jeffrey Ford, first published in The Faery Reel, an anthology edited by Ellen Datlow.

Ten other stories received honourable mentions.

The Fountain Award is given to speculative short stories of exceptional literary quality. A jury judges the Fountains, and the works are chosen from nominations by magazine and anthology editors for the year in question.

The judges for the award this year (for stories published in 2004) were Matthew Cheney, Gavin Grant, Patricia McKillip, Vandana Singh, and Alison Smith.

More over at [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Astronauts guest star on last Star Trek[/font]
[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]NASA Astronauts Mike Fincke and Terry Virts recently suited up for a voyage in space without ever leaving Earth. In fact, their most recent space expedition was in an episode of Trek. [/font]

[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]While on vacation, the real-life space explorers traded in their spacesuits for make-believe future space garb as the two made a guest appearance on the upcoming season finale of the science fiction television series "Star Trek: Enterprise."

Fincke, who has a speaking role on the show, and Virts can be caught in the act on the series' final episode, "These are the Voyages," which airs Friday, 9 p.m. EST on UPN.

Scott Bakula, whose character on the show – Captain Archer – commands the Enterprise starship, had a chance to chat long-distance with Fincke, Expedition 9 flight engineer, while in orbit last year. Fincke viewed several episodes of the show while flying more than 200 miles above Earth during his stay on the Station.

With both feet back on the ground, Fincke and Virts were given an opportunity to perform among actors who take on their roles as space explorers on the screen. The astronauts play engineers of the 22nd century for the day, performing maintenance in an engine room aboard Enterprise NX-01.

"It was neat to see the magic of Hollywood make something cardboard and plastic look real," Fincke said. "I've spent my whole career learning switches and buttons. On the set, none of the switches or buttons does anything."

"This was my first time on a prime time TV show, and after seeing how talented the actors are, I think I will keep my day job," Virts said.

Fincke and Virts said, however, that science fiction like "Star Trek" and other tales of deep space travel captured their interest as children and influenced their careers.

"As a kid, I became interested in shows like the original Star Trek series and the first Star Trek feature movies," Virts said. "They definitely had an impact in motivating me to a career with NASA."

For decades, space has been a place of fantasy and reality. Both are tied by a common thread: the desire to explore uncharted territory.

"There's always been a link between science fiction and science fact," Fincke said. "Science fiction, in general, has inspired not just Astronauts but all humans by giving form to our dreams to explore."


Although some science fiction may seem out of this world, fiction has at times foretold the future, including the ingenuity and drama of space exploration.

Fincke, who lived in space for six months aboard the International Space Station last year, experienced firsthand science and technology at work in space.

During the mission, his schedule was full of scientific studies, including experiments in life and material sciences. While in space, Fincke led research aimed to learn more on how humans react in space, the effects of long-term weightlessness and how to counter those effects.

Fincke and ISS Commander Gennady Padalka took part in three spacewalks to repair the Station and ready it for future construction. Fincke also photographed from space an alphabet of hurricanes that stormed Earth’s oceans.

Today, the space frontier is expanding, and like the setting of "Star Trek: Enterprise," the nation's Vision for Space Exploration is at the brink of the early pioneering days of deep space exploration.

"It was interesting and fun to get a glimpse of how it's done in Hollywood, but there's nothing like the real thing," Fincke said. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Nominees announced for the 2005 SESFA Award[/font]
[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]SCIFIdimensions has just announced the nominees for the 2005 Southeastern Science Fiction Achievement Award (aka the SESFAs).[/font]

[font=verdana,arial,sans-serif]And they are ...

Best Novel of 2004

Beyond Infinity by Gregory Benford (Aspect) Camouflage by Joe Haldeman (Ace)

Coyote Rising by Allen Steele (Ace)

Viator by Lucius Shepard (Night Shade Books)

Best Short Fiction of 2004

"Alabama" by Kalamu ya Salaam (Crossroads, Tor)

"Christus Destitutus" by Bud Webster (Crossroads, Tor)

"Faces" by Joe Haldeman (Magazine of F&SF, June 2004)

"My Life Is Good" by Scott Edelman (Crossroads, Tor)

Lifetime Achievement in SF/F/H

Gregory Benford

Nelson Bond

Ben Bova

Orson Scott Card

William S. Gibson

Participants who pay a $7.00 membership fee may vote on the Nominees through June 30th, 2005. The winners will be announced no later than July 5th, 2005.

The SESFA Award, now in its fourth year, is designed to honor accomplishment in science fiction, fantasy or horror by individuals born or living in the Southern United States. The SESFA, a fan-based award selected by participants who pay a small membership fee, is administered under the auspices of the online science fiction magazine scifidimensions.

More over at [/font]

Deadline for Applications.
While SFM will continuely accept applications from the membership who would like to help out.. we are going to say that WEDNESDAY AT NOON (12 o'clock) is the deadline for those who wish to be considered for THIS ROUND staffing.

IF you apply after this deadline your application will remain on file for future consideration should an opening arise and remain there for 60 days. After that you'll have to reapply again.

You can find the application from the FORUM MENU -> Moderator Application. Or goto this URL:

Thanks to all those who have applied. We've gotten about 30 I think last count.

Decisions and changes will take effect on Saturday. (Unless something comes up)


CBR - The World's Top Destination For Comic, Movie & TV news.

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]BATMAN BEGINS[/font] [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Lots of news from Gotham City today. First up, The Movie Box has the new television spot for the film in glorious QuickTime. If you're not in the mood for all that, you can just read a fan's description of the commercial. Superhero Hype also has some new photos from the Christian Bale-fueled DC adaptation. Finally, Batman-on-Film is rumormongering that actor Liev Schreiber ("The Manchurian Candidate," "Scream") will be taking a sidebar as Gotham City's possibly doomed district attorney. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]FANTASTIC FOUR[/font] [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]There are some new photos on JMAZone from the New York city shoot. Superhero Hype reports that huge character-specific standees are popping up in multiplexes around the country. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]DICK TRACY[/font] [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Warren Beatty isn't the only cook in the kitchen -- according to Variety (subscription required), Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Outlaw Productions partners Bobby Newmyer and Scott Strauss have teamed in a deal with the Tribune Co. to resurrect Dick Tracy and make him the centerpiece of a TV series. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]SUPERMAN[/font] [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]USA Today has a story about special Superman logo dog tags being sold to benefit the Christopher Reeve Foundation. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]In other news, Jack Larson talked to the Superman Homepage, and found out about the role played by the actor and his experiences on set. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]SPIDER-MAN 3[/font] [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Now Playing magazine has posted the second half of their interview with director Sam Raimi, who said, "[Peter is] going to try to move to the next phase of his life, the next stage, young adulthood, and he's going to now be dealing with issues of self-esteem and how he can carry on a relationship, which is much more complex than having an occasional date with some woman and not revealing all of your secrets to her."[/font]

Charmed Will Charm Again

The WB announced that it has renewed its witch series Charmed for an eighth season, with Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs and Rose McGowan returning as the bewitching Halliwell sisters and Mark McGrath joining the cast for a large part of the season. The WB made the announcement as part of its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York City on May 17. The announcement caps weeks of uncertainty about whether the long-running series would come back.

"The decision to renew Charmed in many ways was a no-brainer, because we looked at its performance this season, and it has held its own incredibly against strict competition, especially with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," WB Entertainment president David Janollari told SCI FI Wire during a press conference following the announcement. "The performance is terrific, and we said, 'Why try to launch something new there when we know we're getting the numbers and our core audience in that time period?'"

McGrath, Janollari added, will be "a regular for at least most of the season, and we'll see how that goes." It's unclear what role will be played by McGrath, lead singer for the rock group Sugar Ray and current co-host of the entertainment news program Extra. "That [role] is being created right now," Janollari said. "But I am guessing it will be a romantic interest." The WB added that Charmed will retain its current timeslot, Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Tekken Heads For Big Screen

Steven Paul's Crystal Sky has teamed with Sony's Screen Gems to adapt the video game Tekken for the big screen, with plans to put the film into production in late fall with a budget of $50 million, Variety reported. Crystal Sky picked up the project, which was in turnaround at Dimension Films. (Crystal Sky also regained control of the Marvel Comics title Werewolf by Night, which Paul will produce with Marvel film chief Avi Arad.)

Tekken is based on the video game licensed from manufacturer Namco, centering on two childhood friends who enter a worldwide martial-arts tournament and uncover a secret concerning the mysterious Tekken Corp.

Longtime Tekken player Charles Stone (Mr. 3000) will direct. He's rewriting a script by Michael Colleary and Mike Werb (Face/Off).

Howl's Moving Castle


I’ve become a fan of the works of Diana Wynne Jones. She’s the author of more than forty young adult fantasy books and known especially for the Crestomanci series. She was first published in 1973 and a number of her books have been reprinted as a result of the halo effect of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I can’t think of an author more deserving of such an effect. Wynne Jones’ books are richly textured, highly imaginative, and just plain fun to read.

Consider the plotline of Howl’s Moving Castle. The story takes place in the magical land of Ingary, where Sophie is the eldest of three sisters, and bound for a life of failure. Ingary is an enchanted land and magical tradition dictates that in a family of three sisters, all three will strike out to seek their fortune, but only the youngest will succeed.

So Sophie settles down and takes up her father’s practise of making hats. Her’s is a lonely life, spent more talking to the hats than to other people, but her hats become popular when the clients who wear them tend to succeed. Suddenly, the evil Witch of the Waste arrives, accuses Sophie of challenging her, and curses her by changing her into an old woman. Sophie isn’t particularly upset by this. She figures that she’s had her bout of bad luck, and now she can be done with it. She strikes out into the countryside, until she runs into Howl’s Moving Castle.

Howl’s castle is as the term describes: a great steam-belching stone building that walks across the moors. Wizard Howl has a reputation of eating young girls’ hearts, but being an old woman, Sophie sees no risk in sidling herself into the castle as the self-appointed cleaning lady, and she soon finds that Howl is nowhere near as evil as his reputation suggests. He is maddeningly self-centred, and loves to woo the young girls until they fall in love with him at which point he loses interest (thus “eating” their hearts), and Sophie does not approve of that. But as Howl goes up against the Witch of the Waste, Sophie ends up helping him, and starts to lose her heart to him herself.

I’m barely scratching the surface of the plot here. Howl’s Moving Castle is richly textured, and populated with interesting — if somewhat self-centred — characters. There’s Michael, Howl’s apprentice, who’s in love with one of Sophie’s sisters; there’s Calcifer, the fire demon Howl keeps in his fireplace. There is Sophie’s sisters who, unlike Sophie, rebel against the magical expectations imposed on them. There’s Howl’s sister and her family, who lives in modern-day Wales. All of this is bound together in a compelling writing style that’s at times funny and frightening.

It’s no surprise to me that Hayao Miyazaki, the brilliant mind behind such anime classics as NausicaA, Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away, has decided to adapt Howl’s Moving Castle to the screen. The book is chalk full of imagery that would give an animator great delight to draw.

The story comes to a satisfying, albeit quick, resolution, as both Sophie and Howl face up to the inadequacies of their characters and change. I’m left wanting more. Miyazaki’s version of Howl’s Moving Castle will see limited release in American (and, hopefully, Canadian) theatres on June 10, 2005. And I’m eager to get reading Wynne Jones’ sequel, Castle in the Air.

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]by Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer[/font]
[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Posted: May 13, 2005[/font]
[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Official Press Release [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and a broad coalition representing the interests of booksellers, artists, writers and publishers have secured an important victory that strikes down South Carolina's Harmful to Minors Internet law as unconstitutional. Last Monday Judge Patrick Michael Duffy of the U.S. District Court in Charleston, South Carolina, issued a permanent injunction barring enforcement of the law, which would have restricted the rights of adults and older minors to access constitutionally-protected materials on the Internet. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]The Fund joined organizations that represent artists, writers, booksellers, and publishers who use the Internet to disseminate graphic arts, literature, and health-related information as a Plaintiff in this case. Plaintiffs argued that the Act would have prohibited their members from sending material with serious artistic and scientific value over the Internet. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Judge Duffy found that the law violated the First Amendment because it did not employ the least restrictive means for preventing minors from using the Internet to access harmful to minors material. In addition, as opposed to filtering technology, which can screen out sexually-oriented material from any place, Judge Duffy declared that South Carolina's law could do nothing to prevent minors from accessing material from outside the U.S. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Judge Duffy also found that the credit card-based age verification system that South Carolina had proposed to block minors from accessing harmful material would create a chilling effect on the speech of adults. Courts "have unanimously concluded that these measures are far too burdensome, and chill adults' ability to engage in, and garner access to, protected speech for a wealth of reasons." [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]"We applaud Judge Duffy's well reasoned decision in this case," CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein said. "We are pleased that it addressed the concerns raised in our defense of the rights of cartoonists and retailers who work online, and that those rights will not be curtailed by what was a very dangerous law." [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]At issue in the case was an amendment to South Carolina's Harmful to Minors statute that provided criminal sanctions for "disseminating harmful material to minors" online and which defined "material" to mean "pictures, drawings, video recordings, films, digital electronic files, or other visual depictions or representations but not material consisting entirely of written words." The statute ruled that a violation of this law (Section 16-15-375 of the S.C. Code) was a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of $5,000, or both. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]CBLDF and partner plaintiffs Southeast Booksellers Association, Print Studio South, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, and Families against Internet Censorship successfully argued that the law placed unconstitutional burdens upon the speech of creators and retailers online, both within the state of South Carolina, and across the United States. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]The plaintiffs were represented by David W. Odgen, Janis C. Kestenbaum, and Kenneth A. Bamberger of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, Washington, D.C.; Michael A. Bamberger of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, New York City; and Armand G. Derfner and D. Peters Wilborn, Jr. of Derfner, Wilborn & Altman, Charleston, S.C. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1986 as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of First Amendment rights for members of the comics community. Donations and inquiries should be directed to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund at P.O. Box 693, Northampton, MA 01061. [/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]For additional information, please visit [/font]

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