NEWSLETTER: DECEMBER 1999 Digital Papyrus newsletter

Digital Papyrus

"Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily"

Date: December 1999
Issue No. 3

Ponder of the Month
New Books
Movie Buzz
Con News
Space Babel
The Hook in the Book
Last Word

Ponder of the Month

Austria and Luxembourg have banned them. France currently has a moratorium. Great Britain is in a quandary. Studies suggest they could kill harmless butterflies and moths. Are they the new Public Enemy No. 1? Not really, they are GMOs, Genetically Modified Organisms, your breakfast, lunch and dinner, what anti-GMO proponents call "Frankenstein foods" and "X-foods." In a designer nutshell, genetically-engineered food. It's no longer the mad scientist, but the killer corn and the mad bovine. Does all this debate stem from that deep-seated suspicion of everything new, everything scientific, and everything that is fearfully unknown until time tells us otherwise? While the debate rages on, governments weigh the pros and cons, and you see "X-foods" grace your table, think: this is science fiction cooked to reality in your kitchen.

New SF books in December

Appleseed [Little, Brown/Orbit, UK] John Clute

Avalanche Soldier [Avon Eos, US] Susan R. Matthews

Change of Command [Baen, US] Elizabeth Moon

The Casebook of Constance and Charlie, Volume 1 [St. Martin's Griffin, US] Kate Wilhelm

Dragonholder [Ballantine Del Rey, US] Todd McCaffrey

Ender's Shadow [Little, Brown/Orbit, UK] Orson Scott Card

Flights of Fantasy [a, Daw, US] Martin H. Greenberg and Mercedes Lackey

Forever Free [Ace, US] Joe Haldeman

The Great Book of Amber: The Amber Chronicles 1-10 [Avon Eos, US] Roger Zelazny

Isaac Asimov's Solar System [Ace, US] Sheila Williams and Gardner Dozois

The Martian Race [Warner Aspect, US] Gregory Benford

The SFWA Grand Masters, Volume 2 [Tor, US] Frederik Pohl

Shores of Night [HarperPrism, US] Jack McDevitt

The Trigger [Bantam Spectra, US] Arthur C. Clarke

More in Forthcoming Books

"It is not impossible to begin here." John Clute on Gene Wolfe's ON BLUE'S WATERS Excessive Candour.

"We are breathing in the dark" John Clute on Vernon Vinge's A DEEPNESS IN THE SKY Excessive Candour -- A Deepness in the Sky

And learn more about the Jack Vance Integral Edition Vance Integral Edition

Movie and TV Buzz

Where is the good Doctor now? It seems that he and his faithful TARDIS are somewhere lost in time. Or maybe, he will re-appear in reruns. Do you know how many Doctors there were? Find out here BBC Online - Doctor Who - Homepage. Cast your vote on his favourite companion.

: : :

Casting news on DUNE the TV Show:

Alec Newman has been cast as Paul, with Oscar winner William Hurt as Paul's father, Duke Leto. Giancarlo Giannini (A WALK IN THE CLOUDS) has been signed to play Emperor Shaddam IV, Muriel Baumeister will play Princess Irulan, Uwe Ochsenknecht will play Stilgar, Ian McNeice will star as Baron Harkonnen and Barbara Kodetova will play Chani.

: : :

BICENTENNIAL MAN "One robot's 200 year journey to become an ordinary man." Learn more about the upcoming movie and view the trailer: Bicentennial Man (1999)

Con News

All quiet on the Con Front? Fancy a sci-fi sea cruise in the warm Caribbean seas? Sail right to The 1999 Sci-Fi Sea Cruise.

Celebrate the end of the world with style at ArmageddonCon. Guests of Honor will include Larry Niven, Joan Vinge, and Paul McAuley. The Toastmaster will be Ian Watson.

Where: Tel Aviv, Israel
When: December 27, 1999 until "BOOM" --------- ArmageddonCon - Introduction

The latest of NASA

COUNTDOWN TO MARS - put your heart in this link and follow the complete coverage. Days From Mars

Assuming Mars Polar Lander will land on December 3 (around the time this newsletter is published), one of its first tasks is to pick up the sounds of the distant world. Will it hear anything? No one is really sure. "It really is an instrument of discovery. We don't know what we will hear," said Lou Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society. Martian music, anyone? Listening to Mars

While NASA is busy at Mars and far-out corners of the Solar System, what is its counterpart doing? Apparently "Europe is going to the moon." For the latest at ESA: ESA Science.

Meanwhile, Hubble captures Galaxies in Collision. More about this and a "Rotten Egg" nebula in Space Telescope Science Institute Home Page.

The Hook in the Book

"Lessa wondered how she knew the golden dragon's name, and Ramoth replied: Why shouldn't she know her own name since it was hers and no one else's? And then Lessa was lost in the wonder of those magnificently expressive eyes.

Oblivious to the descending bronze dragons, oblivious to the presence of their riders, Lessa stood caressing the head of the most wonderful creature of all Pern, fully prescient of troubles and glories, but most immediately aware that Lessa of Pern was Weyrwoman to Ramoth the Golden for now and forever."


Last Word

"... as soon as genetic engineering at the creative level becomes practical, it will move from the laboratory ... into the entertainment industry. Toys and games are the fastest way to make any new technology popular and profitable. Computer technology did not grow explosively until it was incorporated into games. Genetic engineering will not grow explosively until it moves into toyshops and theme parks. Jurassic Park may be a fantasy, but the universal popularity of dinosaurs is real. Little genetically engineered dinosaurs may be as ubiquitous in the lives of our great-grandchildren as little plastic dinosaurs are in the lives of our children. Animal-rights activists may fight against the private ownership of dinosaurs, but it will be difficult to argue that giving a child a dinosaur is more cruel than giving a child a puppy."

Freeman Dyson
From one of his lectures given in May 1995 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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