Tag Archive: literature

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

By now I’m sure most everyone knows this, but Ray Bradbury is no longer among us. The exceptionally talented sci-fi writer passed away this morning in Los Angeles. He was 91 years old.

Ray Bradbury is best known as the author of classic novels such as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. The Martian Chronicles was my first adult science fiction that I read, back around the age of 7 to 9, if I remember right. The truth is that I haven’t read it again as an actual adult, but what I do remember is being absolutely fascinated by it. I had become hooked on Star Wars some time prior to this point and was yearning for more science fiction. I think it was my father who gave me The Martian Chronicles and pushed me further along the path to science fiction nerdom, but again the sad truth is that I have an extremely limited memory of my life prior to twelve; just little blurbs and facts here and there.

The point I’m trying to make, but failing miserably at, is that Ray Bradbury touched my life in ways that I probably don’t even realize. If you’re a fan of science fiction in any form he probably touched you as well in some way. You probably don’t even know how.

With that I say farewell to one of nerd culture’s greatest icons. *Insert something poetic here, because I’m too sad and tired.*

Photo credit AP.

Shut Up and Take Our Money! Spellbound Magazine

Another Tuesday, another day to yell unto the internets and demand that they take our reasonably hard-earned money. Every Tuesday I scour the internet (or more accurately click the first link I find that looks appealing) to find awesome and possibly amazing things that we should be spending money on. This can be a really cool item from ThinkGeek or a badass t-shirt featured on TeeFury or Threadless. More than likely a lot of stuff featured will be assorted Kickstarters, seeing as my bookmark folder is filled to the brim with campaigns ending every few days over the next two months.

Today will be a SUATOM! of the latter, as we feature and interesting campaign focused around a new children’s fantasy e-zine called Spellbound Magazine. I first became aware of Spellbound Magazine through a tweet from the amazing fantasy author and overall badass, Neil Gaiman. Your should know who Neil Gaiman is if you’re one of our regular readers, or if you have even a partially functioning brain so I’ll leave off the rest of the gushing over the man’s amazingness.

Continuing on, this isn’t about Mr. Gaiman, but about the awesome magazine he alerted me to. Spellbound Magazine was once upon a time a quarterly children’s fantasy magazine that was published from 1999-2003. Due to budgetary concerns they were forced to shut down, but now they’re back and looking to crowd source their way into the competitive world of e-zine publication. The new Spellbound Magazine will continue the original’s quarterly release schedule and they already have up a planned line-up for it’s first year as well as subscription information:

We will be publishing four issues per year in ePub format. Issues will be available from Amazon, B&N and Smashwords for $5.00 each. Subscriptions will be available with issues being e-mailed to subscribers. Subscriptions will be $20.00 a year. We will continue to center each issue around a specific fantasy creature with the first year’s line up being:
• Winter 2012 – Rings and Other Magic Things
• Spring 2013 – Changelings and Doppelgangers
• Summer 2013 – Dragons
• Fall 2013 – Creatures of the Deep Dark Woods
If we get the funding the first issue (Winter 2012) will be published December 2012.

The rewards for funding the project are fairly straightforward: for donating $5 and up to $30 you can get ever-increasing rewards of magazine issues, subscriptions, and a thank you in the inaugural issue. That doesn’t mean you have to stop at the $30 mark of course, but it’s good to know what you’ll get. In the end though, and excuse the schmaltz I’m about to lay down, the best reward is knowing that you helped in resurrecting and spawning a new generation of children’s fantasy magazine.

If this looks like a magazine that you would likely subscribe to, then you should consider donating at least $25 so that they can get on their feet and so you can get a subscription to their magazine. The project only has another 11 days left with just under half their goal of $4000 remaining. Check them out and help bring about another place for fantasy authors and readers to find up and coming work.

If you have or know of a Kickstarter that you would like to see posted in a future issue of SUATOM! you can let us know in the comments, or email us!

Tomorrow we bring you our first issue of Ultimate Back Issue our name still in progress column about comics and my reading of them.

An Adventure in Sports Ball

There are many cultures and subcultures in America, and while I belong to a few there is one that I have never really identified with; the sports culture. I had earlier this evening the chance to attend a basketball game. Being out of my element I took this as a learning experience, expanding upon my training as an anthropologist I will attempt to extrapolate the significance of this foreign group of people. Arriving at a large gathering, resembling the colosseum of Ancient Rome, two teams are pitted against each other in a contest of skill. It appears that these teams are representative and the embodiment of different cities. Donning garments in the traditional colours of their native city, the greatest warriors appear to fight over points by gaining possession of the ball and attempting to throw, or “shoot” it into a steel circle called the “basket”. The distance at which they successfully make it into this “basket” is determinate of the amount of points awarded to the “scoring” team. The game is also officiated by referees to ensure that the mutually established rules are not violated, or the opposing team get what is know as a “free throw” to the “basket”.

While battles of skill are not the alien to nerd culture, as we participate in them quite often, the behaviour of those watching is the truly intriguing part to me. It appears that those in attendance to the ritual feel a personal connection with those whom are actively competing. Going in, I assumed that this was a mere contest of abilities, quickly discovering much more pride in one’s “home team”. Those in attendance seem to be so determined to have their team win that they stoop the point of berating the positive, well played or points scoring actions of the other team. This to me felt like a shakespearean actor yelling in protest to a wonderfully performed broadway musical, an RPG gamer throwing tomatoes at someone who just won a FPS competition. It would be different if they protested a horrible action, such as I do over the “Twilight” franchise being a reader of what I personally consider good literature, but I won’t get up in arms for J.R. Tolken’s Lord of the Rings just because I also enjoyed Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

My last bit of commentary on the crowd would be the chanting. Those in attendance would begin ritual chance for “defence”, or to “beat L.A.” in unison in an attempt to what I can only assume rally the resolve of their own team. This appears to be in vain, however as the game progressed, the crowd became more rambunctious. This energetic and boisterous state may be attributed to the copious amounts of alcohol consumed in these arenas, which somehow makes the game more enjoyable for those in attendance whether the team is winning or losing. This is understandable, for while I did not consume this beverage of choice at the event, I have imbibed before and remember the euphoric state induced by its inhibition.
In closing, the aptly named “sports-ball” culture may not be for me, but it has a very loyal and interesting following. I however, will stick with my conventions, film openings, and festivals.