Two things that put a smile on my face, albeit that the first one is a warm smile, and the second more of a wry one:
- The Fleas They Carried, an animal aid anthology edited by Jeff Richárd (note the accent aigu for pronunciation) has just been released through Lulu. All proceeds from this anthology will go towards reputable shelter and rescue groups, and will be matched dollar for dollar by the editor/publisher (within reason: if the antho sells like crazy then all you buyers will have outmatched the tireless editor, and that will be a great thing to happen). A caveat: I am one of the contributors to this anthology with my story “The Frog’s Pool” — which originally appeared in Nemonymous 4 — but have just ordered two (paper) copies — electronic ones are available, too — while, like the other contributors, not getting paid (apart from one electronic copy). The electronic copy looks great, and with fellow contributors like Eugie Foster and Mike Jasper this looks like a fine one (wish I wasn’t buried in slush, so I could read it quickly). Also, keep an eye on the Relief Anthology website: there are more projects coming up.
- What puts a wry smile on my face is the news that the Dutch entry to the Eurovision Song Festival didn’t even make it past the semi-finals. The tentative link to this very blog is that their song is called “Shine” (you can’t make such things up). Let’s say that the song isn’t exactly to my taste, and that the glittery suits that these ‘toppers’ were wearing just about signifies their style (tastes differ, and YMMV, of course*). The ‘toppers’ (literally translated: ‘those on top of the bill’; chart-toppers is about right) are hugely popular in Holland (not outside, because they sing mainly in Dutch), routinely selling out the Amsterdam Arena – home stadium of Ajax — several nights in a row. René Froger sold over 6 million albums in The Netherlands, and both Gordon (whose fortune is estimated at 8 million euros) and Jeroen van der Boom (two number one hitsingles in 2007) aren’t doing much worse, either. So pity is about the last thing we should feel for these ‘toppers’ not making the Eurovision final. The wry thing, though, is the fact that Gordon — a well-known homosexual**, who attends the Gay Pride Amsterdam — decided not to attend the Gay Pride in Moscow (which was banned), ‘for safety reasons’. And even if that gay pride rally was broken up by the Moscow riot police, it would have been a good opportunity to draw attention to Russia’s very poor record on gay rights, and humanitarian rights in general.
* = I don’t follow the Eurovision song festival at all, but the song title ‘Shine’ just caught my eye;
** = I don’t like his music, which is a matter of taste. I do enjoy listening to other homosexual singers like Freddy Mercury, Rob Halford and Doug Pinnick.
UPDATE: Andy Remic has just launched the Science Fiction and Fantasy Ethics blog, whose mission is — “to celebrate everything positive, funky and exciting in the Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror Universe!”
The SFFE is a core platform, a hub of authors who have banded together with the aim of celebrating all that is positive in genre fiction. We aim to leave cynicism and negativity at the door, and concentrate on what makes us smile, what entertains us, and what brings light and joy to our SF, fantasy and horror universe.
I’ll sure be keeping an eye on that one…;-)