Fifty years ago today, the TV show Star Trek was first broadcast in the United States.

Many other people will say much more relevant things than I can about the show. And anyone who knows me is aware of how much this one TV show influenced me. So instead of discussing its influence, I want to share my earliest memory of knowing about Star Trek.

When I was little, my mom had a book that she would read aloud to my younger brother Joshua and me. I wish I recall the title. It was about a little kid playing with toy cars, and on one page, as we were sitting in the living room, Mom read out the following words:

"Beep beep! Honk honk! Star Trek!"

We laughed. What had happened was that Mom knew that my older brother, Jonathan, liked to watch Star Trek, and she had just remembered that it was about to be shown. (This was when it was in syndication on WPIX, channel 11, in New York City.) So just as she finished the sentence "Beep beep! Honk honk!" from the book, she called out to Jonathan, "Star Trek!"

We joked about this for years.

Alas, I don't recall which episode I watched first, or what brought me in. I do recall buying Star Trek books and toys and being a major nerd about the show. As a kid, I owned a tribble. I listed to the Trek records that came with comic books. In high school, I even made one of my classmates put on Spock ears when I was put in charge of doing a play for a class; I had decided we should do a scene from Star Trek. (Mark, I apologize.)

But it all began because my parents knew to encourage our interests.

Live long and prosper, Star Trek. I can't wait to see what comes next.
I'm delighted to announce that in the July 2016 issue of Apex Magazine, released today, I have an interview with Andrew Fazekas, The Night Sky Guy, about his new book "Star Trek The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship Voyages." If you follow the first link above you can find out the rest of the contents and buy the issue for the incredibly low price of only $2.99.

(And you want this issue. I've already read some of the stories in here and they're most excellent.)
mabfan: (book-cover)
See that link below? That's a link to the ebook of "I Remember the Future" at drivethrufriction.com. Right now (Friday, May 13) the ebook is $4.99, but tomorrow starting around 11 am EDT the ebook will be their Deal of the Day at $2.50!

So...mark that link now, and grab it within 24 hours of the deal going live, in case you don't have it yet.

In observance of Yom HaShoah, I link to my short story "Kaddish for the Last Survivor." (Continued thanks to Apex Publications for continuing to keep it available for anyone to read on their site.)
mabfan: (book-cover)

March is the month in which Apex Publications has put the ebook of my collection I Remember the Future on sale for only 99 cents!

In case you don't have it yet and would like it.

Folks,

With only about $850 and 2 hours to go, the Pangaea II project needs you! Anyone who buys my second Tukcerization offer will get TWO names for the price of one!

Follow this link to back the project: Pangaea II.

Want to read what I said about this project when the Kickstarter started? See my blog post: Pangaea II - A New Kickstarter.
mabfan: (book-cover)
Take Me To Your Reader #36: I Remember the Future (Interview With Michael A. Burstein)

So, if you'd like to spend an hour and a half listening to me talk about the KAS Creations Film & Media production of "I Remember the Future" here's your chance! The folks at the podcast were really cool, and I had a blast doing the interview. Here's some of what I talked about, as noted on their website:


• Michael’s history as a writer and a science fiction fan
• The history of the I Remember the Future collection of Michael’s award-nominated fiction (featuring, naturally “I Remember the Future”)
• How to best preserve the legacy of the Big Three (Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein)
• High Energy Physics! (yes, we’re nerds)
• The vagaries of forgetting one’s had a story optioned for a film.

(That last one is actually amusing. I had forgotten that I had licensed the film to KAS Creations until [livejournal.com profile] 530nm330hz called me up and asked if I had granted a license to an Australian filmmaker. At first I said no, and then said, "Wait a minute! Yes!" And I'm very glad I did grant the license.)

If you do listen, enjoy.
Last year, I was part of an anthology called Pangaea edited by Michael Jan Friedman. As I recounted in the blog post Pangaea – The Anthology, Michael had come up with the idea of an alternate Earth in which the supercontinent had never broken apart. He invited a bunch of writers to contribute stories to this new shared world, and we were delighted to do so.

The anthology was so successful that Michael is doing it again. This time, there's a few new voices in the book, and we're working to share our characters with each other as well as the setting. Also, there's some new developments in the world of Pangaea, as can be inferred from the subtitle: "The Rise of Dominjaron." Who or what is Dominjaron? Well, you'll find out in the book...

Personally, I'm planning to continue the adventures of Betsi and Devora from "The World Together" and I'm excited to have them interact with the characters created by my fellow writers. And I'll be writing two new characters, both of whom will be named by people who support the project, as I've offered two new Tuckerizations. Better move fast, though, as the project went live over the weekend and the first of my two Tuckerizations has already been claimed!

The Kickstarter for Pangaea II can be foiund by clicking on the title. You can go there to get a full description of the book and the project, but here's the list of authors who have agreed to take part: Kirsten Beyer. Ilsa J. Bick. Michael A. Burstein. Peter David. Kevin Dilmore. Michael Jan Friedman. Robert Greenberger. Glenn Hauman. Paul Kupperberg. Ron Marz. Kelly Meding. Aaron Rosenberg. Lawrence M. Schoen. Geoffrey Thorne. Marie Vibbert.

Join us as we explore another world, a world that might have been.
A few years ago, when Disney announced their acquisition of Lucasfilm, buried deep in the press release was the announcement that there would be new Star Wars movies. This month, the culmination of that announcement is with us, as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be released in theatres later this week.

Back in 1999, when "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace" came out, the hype for Palpatine was so palpable you could cut it with a knife. While the hype for "The Force Awakens" has seemed somewhat more subdued, the excitement among the loyal fan base is unprecedented. People are anticipating once more visiting the Star Wars universe, and asking themselves yet again, will the film deliver?

The answer to that is a definitive yes. For anyone who was a child when they saw any of the other Star Wars films, and for anyone who felt that sense of wonder with the original trilogy or the prequels, "The Force Awakens" delivers. You will feel like that kid again, enjoying a story set in a universe of limitless possibilities.

And if somehow you never managed to see any of the other Star Wars movies, "The Force Awakens" serves as an introduction to a world you will want to visit again and again. If you are familiar with Star Wars already, it will be like coming home; but if you are not, it will be like discovering what your home actually was all along.

(For those of you asking yourselves how I am managing to post this review on the Sunday before its US release, when it hasn't even been screened for professional film critics yet, read the review again and ask yourself that question again.)

(Edited to Add: I may have been too subtle. There is nothing in this review that requires me to have seen the film already. That is, as long as I have faith that I will feel like a kid again. And frankly, that's how Episode I made me feel, even if I did realize in retrospect that it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be.)
Ladies and gentlemen:

It is my pleasure to inform you all that the KAS Creations Film & Media adaptation of my short story "I Remember the Future" is now available to view on Vimeo's Video on Demand. Click on the title to be taken to the film.

The film is eligible to be nominated for the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, and (if you're a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) for the 2016 Bradbury Award. (Nominations have already opened for the Bradbury.)

The film is NOT free to view. You can rent it for $2.99 and watch it within 24 hours, or you can pay $4.99 and purchase the film, which would allow you to download it and/or stream it anytime.

I'd like to thank the filmmaker, Klayton Aaron Stainer, for making the film available in this way, thus ensuring its eligibility for the Bradbury Award and a better chance at a Hugo nomination.
Today, for Back to the Future Day, I am... well, it's a regular Wednesday for me. I have to get the kids to school, work, and run errands. And tonight there's a Brookline Reads event at the library.

But somewhere in there I plan to invent time travel. So there's that.
mabfan: (book-cover)

I am delighted to announce that the Sasquan the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention Business Meeting voted to extend the Hugo eligibility for the KAS Creations film "I Remember the Future" for one more year. Thanks to Chris Barkley who spoke in favor and everyone else who voted to support the extension. (The category, as I'm sure I'll be reminding people again, is Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.)

If you're on site at Worldcon, the film is being shown TONIGHT at 7 pm local time. Enjoy.

mabfan: (book-cover)
Today is the 111th anniversary of the General Slocum fire, the worst one-day disaster in New York City before 9/11. For some reason, not many people learn about it when they study history. (On a personal note, it's the central event of my novella "Time Ablaze," which was nominated for the Hugo Award.)

Historian Ed O'Donnell, author of the book SHIP ABLAZE, has said this about the tragedy:

"Ask any New Yorker to name the city’s greatest disaster before September 11, 2001 and invariably they offer the same answer: the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911. That tragic event garnered international headlines as 146 young immigrant women lost their lives in an unsafe garment factory. Yet even though it is certainly Gotham’s most famous disaster, it runs a distant second to a much larger catastrophe which occurred only seven years earlier. On June 15, 1904, more than 1,000 people died when their steamship, the General Slocum, burst into flames while moving up the East River. It was the second-most deadly fire (after the Peshtigo fire of 1871) and most deadly peacetime maritime disaster in American history."

For more information about the tragedy, see the Wikipedia entry on the General Slocum.
mabfan: (book-cover)
As many of you should already be aware, in 2014 a short film of my story "I Remember the Future" was released and shown at a handful of film festivals. The film has won a few awards, and I suspect that many folks (beyond myself) would like the opportunity to consider it for the Hugo Award. Alas, due presumably in part to its limited release (and possible other factors) it did not make it onto the Hugo ballot in 2015. However, Wordcon does allow for a work's elegibility to be extended should the Business Meeting pass a motion to that effect.

Although I will not be present at Sasquan, the Business Meeting will be considering the motion below. I'd like to be able to show that the motion has support by listing members who are willing to sign onto this proposal. If you would like to see the film given a second chance at earning a Hugo nomination and you are a member of Worldcon who is willing to have your name attached to this motion, please let me know and I will add your name. And if you plan to attend Sasquan, if all goes according to plan, you'll have the chance to screen the film there.

You can find out more about the film and watch the trailer here:

I Remember the Future (KAS Creations)

MOTION:

Short Title: I Remember the Future

Moved, to extend the Hugo eligibility for the movie “I Remember the Future” due to extremely limited distribution, as provided for in Section 3.4.3 of the WSFS Constitution.

Proposed by:

[list of names here]

This motion extends eligibility for the Hugo Award and requires a 2/3 vote.

Commentary:

The film “I Remember the Future” (KAS Creations) is a short student film that was directed by Klayton Stainer, an Australian filmmaker. It premiered at the 2014 Worldfest-Houston on April 6, 2014, and in the rest of the calendar year it was screened at only two other venues: the San Jose Short Film Festival (October 12, 2014) and a special meeting of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society (November 15, 2014). Because of its limited release, very few members of Sasquan were actually able to screen the film before the deadline for nominating in the 2015 Hugo Awards. The film won a Grand Remi Award at Worldfest-Houston and has received other accolades since, which serve as testimony to the idea that the film would actually be worthy to be considered for a Hugo nomination.

In 2015, the film was screened at three science-fiction conventions (Arisia, Boskone, and Minicon) and more film festivals, thus giving it more exposure.

Furthermore, as of this writing the film has been submitted to Sasquan for the media program. We would like to give this film the chance it deserves to be considered by the members of MidAmericon II for the Hugo in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.

Disclosure: The initial proponent of this motion is the writer whose Nebula-nominated short story served as the basis for this film.
For the rest of my life, I will be reminded that Leonard Nimoy died as I was celebrating my birthday.

Condolences to his loved ones.

Today, over at the Pangaea Kickstarter, Michael Jan Friedman puts the spotlight on me:




Michael A. Burstein has spent much of the last several weeks digging his family out from blizzard after blizzard in Brookline, Massachusetts. However, he promises to emerge from winter’s frigid grasp in time to make his contribution to our Pangaea anthology.

For our readers, that’s a good thing.

Michael is one of the most compelling voices in science fiction. In 1997, he won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Since then, he has earned four Nebula nominations and no less than ten Hugo nominations for his short fiction. A short film based on Michael’s story I Remember The Future recently took top honors at an independent film festival…


And although we're halfway to our goal, my two Tuckerizations are still up for grabs! If you have $100 to pledge, I will name one of my story's characters afer you (as best as I can, given that this is an alternate world and our names will not be spelled the same way).

What's Pangaea about? Here's what I said two weeks ago.
A few days ago, a Kickstarter project launched that I'm proud to be a part of. Author and editor Michael Jan Friedman came up with the idea of an alternate version of Earth in which the Pangaea supercontinent never broke up, and invited a bunch of writers to contribute stories to this world. I found myself intrigued by the notion and signed up immediately.

I'm delighted to be a part of this anthology. I'm in the company of many worthy writers, including Adam-Troy Castro, Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Paul Kupperberg, Kelly Meding, Aaron Rosenberg, Lawrence M. Schoen, Geoffrey Thorne, Dayton Ward, and Kevin Dilmore.

Allow me to give you more details about the project. First let me quote directly from the Pangaea webpage and then I'll tell you a little bit about my own story further on - and the pledge rewards I've personally offered.

First the description:





At least four times in Earth’s history, the continents have come sliding together. Over millions of years, separate and distinct landmasses have crawled across the planet's surface on immense tectonic plates to form a single mass--a super-continent. Geologists have dubbed the most recent such formation Pangaea.

Of course, Pangaea broke up a long time ago, and because it did, mankind developed in drastically different climes and circumstances. But what if we twenty-first century types were living in one of the super-continental periods--those characterized by “lid tectonics” rather than “plate tectonics?” What would it be like if all of humanity was confined to a single landmass...and had been so confined for all of our recorded history?

That's the ever-so-tantalizing axis on which our Pangaea anthology turns.

It's an exciting and original idea, one that deserves the best world-building talent available. So to explore this world on your behalf, we've harnessed the word-smithing abilities of some of science fiction's most inventive writers.





Now, as to my story.

I can't give away too much, but I'm writing a story with the current working title "Beliefs and Challenges." It's actually a love story about two teenagers in an agrarian part of the world, and how world events affect their relationship and their religious beliefs, and finally leads one of the two to make a major, life-altering decision. As this is a shared-world anthology, my hope is that the other writers will decide to bring my characters into their own stories, like the writers who contributed to the Thieves' World stories or the Wild Card stories.

There are many levels at which you can pledge to support this project. For only $8 you can get the ebook. For $25 you can get a signed trade paperback as well. Or if you have $100 to contribute, you can be Tuckerized in my story, meaning that I will name one of my story's characters after you (as best as I can, given that this is an alternate world and our names will not be spelled the same way).

So please follow the link, take a look, and if you're so inclined, make a pledge to support Pangaea.

Thank you for reading.
mabfan: (book-cover)
Since a few people have asked and since there's room for confusion:

The KAS Creations film of "I Remember the Future" is in fact eligible to be nominated for the Hugo Award this year in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category. That is because the film festival showings that began in 2014 started the clock, and so it can be nominated in the Hugos for 2015.

Oddly, though, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has different rules for the Bradbury Award. They have ruled that it is not eligible for nomination until it gets a wider release. So if you're a member of SFWA, don't bother considering it for the Bradbury, but don't let that ruling affect how you fill out your Hugo ballot.

If you are a member of last year's, this year's, or next year's Worldcon, you are eligible to fill out a nominating ballot for the Hugos. As it so happens, tomorrow is the deadline to join this year's Worldcon in time to nominate for the Hugos, although the nominating deadline is in March. If you want to join Worldcon, visit https://sasquan.swoc.us/sasquan/reg.php. You can join online; current cost for a Supporting Membership is US$40. (It is likely that besides all Worldcon publications, this year's members will receive a packet of Hugo-nominated ebooks and other works once the ballot is set, well worth the cost of the membership.)

If you want to know more about the film "I Remember the Future," visit http://irtf.kascreations.com.au.
mabfan: (book-cover)
Great news for folks in the Baltimore, Maryland, USA area who are interested in seeing the "I Remember the Future" film! By special arrangement with KAS Creations, it will be screened at the Baltimore Science Fiction Society in November.


Details:
Saturday, November 15, 2014, at 7 pm
3310 E Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21224
Preceded by coming attractions and Balticon film festival items of interest.
Snacks and beverages. BYOB.


For more information, call (410) 563-2737


I'd like to thank KAS Creations for making this special screening available for fans in the Baltimore area.


Official trailer http://vimeo.com/84752786
Interview on File 770  http://file770.com/?p=16563
Another week, another bunch of posts to Facebook. (I wish LJ were as active as it once was.) So what was my week like?

On Sunday, I congratulated the winners of this year's Hugo Awards.

On Monday, I posted a picture of me with Harold Feld (also known as [livejournal.com profile] osewalrus.)

I also continued playing the game Nomi and I play of finding band names.

On Tuesday, I expressed my shock at the cost of the new Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook.

And I noted a conversation between me and Squeaker, which is either cute or morbid, depending on your mood.

On Thursday, I expressed my disappointment in the movie "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." And I also noted that my daughters are fans of both My Little Pony and Doctor Who.

And finally, I backed the Kickstarter for Chronosphere.

What did you do this week?

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