Month: February 2013

jan howard finder “The Wombat”

jan howard finder “The Wombat”

I got the news via email this morning. jan passed away in the hospital.

jan finder new everybody. He would talk a mile a minute, or even faster. He was always cheerful, always generous — and never dull.

It was jan who thrust The Warrior’s Apprentice into my hands and said, “You have to read this.” He pulled the book out again to thumb through to a particular passage, commanding, “Read that.”

Of course, we’re talking about the book and the author (Lois McMaster Bujold) who has gone to win more awards than anyone aside from (maybe) Locus Magazine. jan had the eye for a good writer and was enthusiastic in promoting them.

He was also a manic when it came to everything Tolkien and a great promoter. I was always amazed (though I shouldn’t be) whenever I found yet another person who knew jan or who was introduced to science fiction and fantasy by jan.

He was in love with Route 66 and would travel it whenever he could, appearing miraculously in Los Angeles to collect everyone together for “Roast Mongolians” (as he preferred to call Mongolian BBQ).

He’d been fighting with prostate cancer for a long while. At first it looked like he’d managed to dodge the bullet but that didn’t work. He maintained his good humor even as he suffered through chemo. Apparently he had a bad reaction to his latest bout and went back to the hospital but, at 73, the stress was too much and his systems started shutting down.

It was a pleasure to have known you, jan.

Interested in 3D modelling? Check this out!

Interested in 3D modelling? Check this out!

On and off I’ve mentioned my love of modo, the great 3D modelling software.

I may have mentioned the Los Angeles modo User’s Group (LAmUG) and the incredibly brilliant people that hang out there (people who, among others, produce the special effects for many of the films we see today).

Well, if you’re interested and you can get to LA the weekend of March 16 and 17, you can learn from pros how to use this great product (and get a 25% discount on the purchase price of modo).

For more information check out Scott Robertson Workshops.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

I ran across this book and its sequels, The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, A Red Herring Without Mustard (and there are two more: I Am Half-Sick of Shadows and Speaking from Among the Bones) by reading an article in the The New York Times on the author who started writing when he was in his 70s. His character is an 11 year-old girl growing up on the family estate in England after the second world war, so the date is 1950 — quite a ways ago.

I was interested because Alan Bradley (the author) explained that Flavia just appeared in the middle of another book and demanded that he write her books. Good characters are like that although I will also give kudos to her perfectly dreadful older sisters.

Anyway, if you like murder mysteries and 11 year-old girls who are intrigued with poisons, then you won’t go wrong with Flavia de Luce!

Letter from Paul

Letter from Paul

Hi Todd

I have been a fan of your Mum’s Pern books since I was 18. Its been a while since I read any Pern books and have, in recent years, pretty much stopped reading. Being a single foster dad to a lively 9 year old tends to give you very little time to yourself to do enjoyable quiet stuff like reading.

I just wanted to say that I borrowed Dragonsblood from the local library on a whim the other day and devoured it in no time. Since then I have read both Dragonheart and Dragongirl. And seriously loved every minute. I have Dragon’s Heart already to read next.

Sorry for waffling, I just wanted you to know that I am so glad you have taken up your Mum’s mantle and are continuing her legacy. Thanks for the new Pern novels and I hope that there will be many more to come as I feel that Pern is in the safest and most trusted of hands. I will definitely be in line to get them. (I think I will buy my own copies though because my Pern collection would not be complete.)



PS I was sorry to hear about the loss of your Mum. I remember about 10 years ago exchanging several emails with her about the Pern books and getting a better insight into the workings of a weyr. She was a very special lady, which I am sure you already know.

Hi Paul,

Well, I’m glad to hear that, tickled pink, in fact!

You might want to try, Dragon’s Kin, Dragon’s Fire, and Dragon Harper which are all prequels to Dragonsblood and Dragonheart and, of course, after Dragon’s Time you’ve got Sky Dragons yet to enjoy — and all of those are collaborations with Mum.

Congratulations also on being a foster Dad, particularly a single one at that! (That, by the way, gives you every right to waffle as much as you want <g>).


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