the Kessel Run nominees for 2010

parsec, a cc by-nc-nd image from kurt_eh on Flickr
parsec, a cc by-nc-nd image from kurt_eh on Flickr

It is of interest that the shortlist nominees for the 2010 Parsec Awards were released today:

Best Speculative Fiction Story (Short Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Story (Novella Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Story (Long Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Short Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Video Story

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

Best New Speculative Fiction Podcaster/Team

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (Specific)

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (General)

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation

Best Fact Behind the Fiction Podcast

Best Speculative Fiction Comedy/Parody Podcast

Hearty congratulations to all the nominees, and much luck! While my jaunt to Worldcon means I’ll be unable to reprise my emcee duties from years previous, I have it on good authority that things will be in good hands. And I’ll be watching… oh, yes, I shall.

in which “PKD” somehow stands for “Free Hawesome Comics”

Mercury and the Murd: the Cosplay Order of Doom, from PKDmedia.com
Mercury and the Murd: the Cosplay Order of Doom, from PKDmedia.com

I’ve been out of the comic book subscription game for quite some time.

This is a good thing in some ways, as it’s saved me a nice bit of money, and allows me to focus the precious free time I have into other geeky pursuits. That said, I do sometimes regret… nay, CRAVE… getting a regular dose of comics goodness.

With the advent of the iPad (and Laura’s purchasing of one), the idea of sliding back into the comics scene from a digital angle is rather tempting. In addition to Marvel and DC’s forays into the digital realm, many independent publishers have embraced electronic formats for both distribution and promotion, resulting in an amazing selection of awesome creativity available on the cheap… and sometimes, for free.

Shawn Pryor’s PKD Media is a immensely talented and growing company with several titles to its credit, and until September 1st, has four full books available for free from mydigitalcomics.com. On their PKD Media publisher page, you’ll find free graphic novels of Mercury & the Murd, Agents of COLT, Exo-1 and the Rocksolid Steelbots, and Wasted Wonderland that serve as great introductions to PKD’s work. And if the over-the-top titles and the “free” price haven’t enticed you to check them out yet, all you need to know is that in the Mercury & the Murd tale, a cop uses his costume afro to store weaponry to foil the plot of a cosplay gorilla gangster fight club. If that doesn’t entice you, then my diagnosis is that you have no soul.

More info can be found both on PKD Media’s site and at mydigitalcomics.com. And while you’re at it, be sure to catch an episode of the always excellent PKD Black Box show – it’s a true gem in the world comic geek podcasts, and one of the few shows of any type I truly look forward to listening to.

weekly rounds

Matt Wallace and Mur Lafferty, cc by-nc-sa image from nlowell on Flickr
Matt Wallace and Mur Lafferty, cc by-nc-sa image from nlowell on Flickr
  • That shift in the universe you felt this past weekend? Yup. That was reality taking a moment to revere the birth-anniversaries of Matt and Mur, as is only right and proper.
  • Even though Balticon feels like it ended only a few days ago, ReConStruction and Aussiecon 4 loom ever closer. I must prepare. You may tremble if you choose… it is recommended.

you do not mention if your academic curriculum involves cultivating a supervirus

Bearded, a cc by image from kyknoord on Flickr
Bearded, a cc by image from kyknoord on Flickr

A staple of my regular webcomics consumption is the always amusing Wondermark, which regularly features men sporting crackling virility hedges and Gax from the planet Gax. I was highly entertained by this recent Ask a Gaxian post, wherein Gax is sought for advice on various life-topics.

What do you claim your problems are? According to your letter, you are fat and creatively dissatisfied, with a diseased car and a horrible house. Rivers have carved this deep canyon in you over time, and it is not as simple as saying “Go back uphill, river.”

Combining eccentric, character-based humor with actual profound wisdom is a challenging task, and Malki pulls it off damn well. I think Gax needs to be my professional mentor…

patient protection and affordable care and let freedom ring

Burn Fireworks, Burn, cc by image by Orin Zebest on Flickr
Burn Fireworks, Burn, cc by image by Orin Zebest on Flickr

I was reminded today, while inadvertently seeing a horrible “interview news” segment on television as I passed through the physician’s lounge for a bagel, that I had meant to link to the now several-months-passed healthcare reform legislation. Even this far after its passage, I continue to be amazed at how many people use this law as a prop to argue for and against various medical and economic issues without, you know, having actually read it.

Although the full text is a legalese-swollen 906 pages, I still recommend it as a must-read for every US citizen, whatever your political bent is. At the very least, there are some excellent (and far more easily digestible) summaries of the key points on the site.

To all Americans, I wish you a happy 4th of July weekend! It’s a time to reflect on the good of the freedoms we enjoy in this country… and note the bad that becoming complacent in said freedoms can result in, as typified by the content of, and the “democratic” process that resulted in, this legislation.

Also, be careful with the fireworks and the adult beverages this weekend, lest you find yourself acutely needing the health care system this is attempting to reform… Enjoy!

and here, I thought the day was going so well…

Sardar Patel Medical College, cc by-sa image by colros on Flickr
Sardar Patel Medical College, cc by-sa image by colros on Flickr

In perusing the latest post on Small Things Considered, I was reminded by Dr. Bassler of “three ominous curses of dubious ancient origin”:

  1. May you live in interesting times.
  2. May you come to the attention of those in authority.
  3. May you find what you are seeking.

All of these happened to me this morning in specific, unsettling ways. As such, I will rid myself of their power by passing them on to you, good reader – why should I be the only person to have all the fun? 😉