... before that VarleyNews
© 1999-2012 by John Varley; all rights reserved
December, 2011:Movie Reviews: Richard III * The Long Kiss Goodnight * The Town * The Company Men * You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger * Good Night, Nurse * Bigger Than Life * It! The Terror from Beyond Space * X the Unknown * Win Win * Jane Eyre * A Day at the Races * A Night at the Opera * Stone * The Invisible Man * The Innocents * The Cameraman * Breakfast of Champions * Mother Night * In a Lonely Place * The Pink Panther Saga * Two Tars * You’re Darn Tootin’ * Putting Pants on Philip * Big Business * Habeas Corpus * The Prize * My Man Godfrey * I Married a Witch * The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011) * Noises Off * Bridesmaids * Matinee * Cedar Rapids * Kelly’s Heroes * Hugo * The Help
November, 2011:Movie Reviews: Dead of Night * The Adjustment Bureau * Rango * Welcome * El Dorado * Source Code * Tightrope * Rubber * The Best Man * Limitless * The Music Man * Under Siege * The Fighter * Three Kings * Unstoppable * Legally Blonde * Super 8 * New York, New York * A Place in the Sun * Men Behaving Badly, Series 2 * The White Ribbon * Monsters * How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog * The Three Penny Opera * Gaslight (1944) * 84 Charing Cross Road * Night Train to Munich * Airplane! * The Coen Brothers
October 27, 2011:The results are in, and they are … inconclusive. About half of you liked SLOW APOCALYPSE as the title for my upcoming book, and half preferred ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT. That’s those of you who had a preference. Some of you didn’t like either of them. A few thought either one was okay.
There were a few dozen suggestions for alternatives. Some of them were quite good, but none stood out as something I just HAD to use. That’s the way it goes with titles sometimes. Most of the time I KNOW what the title should be. There’s just no question in my mind. But every once in a while nothing really satisfies, and we go to press with something that I will never be happy with. That looks to be the case here.
I have a policy of answering all my email, except for those very infrequent rants from cranks and idiots. This time the volume of mail was such that I’d end up using most of the day writing emails, and I hope you would prefer me to spend that time continuing work on my next novel, DARK LIGHTNING, the fourth and final book in the THUNDER AND LIGHTNING series. So please forgive me, and accept this group mailing along with my thanks for your responses.
October 21, 2011:You Heard It Here First!!!!
Earlier this year I finished a novel that I titled ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT. I withheld announcing that here on the website because my editor had some concerns and said she might need some re-writes. And there was also the matter of the title. She didn’t like it, and to be frank, I wasn’t wild about it, either. It was just the best of a dozen unsatisfactory titles I came up with.
Today I was informed that she wants to call it SLOW APOCALYPSE. This makes sense, as the reason I wrote it is that she wanted a post-apocalyptic novel, a non-SF story (though all post-apocalyptic novels, by their nature, have SF elements) that she could push harder than the typical SF novel gets pushed. That sounded like a good idea to me, so I wrote a story about the development of a bacterium that turns crude oil into a useless, gooey mass. It gets loose, and suddenly we are faced overnight with the situation we all know is coming sooner or later: The end of the world’s oil supplies. How would this affect the world? Pretty badly, and pretty quickly, I felt. So, though the disaster is slow compared to an earthquake or a tsunami, it’s rapid enough to disrupt and then damn near destroy our accustomed way of life in months, not years. I hope you, my readers will buy it and enjoy it.
Publication will be in October … of next year. It takes time to plan the sort of roll-out and ad campaign I hope to see for this book. So please be patient. When I have an exact date, I will let you know here. You can also come here for a first look at the cover, when I get a copy. We’ll let you know.
So, purely to satisfy my curiosity, what do you think of the two titles? Love them both, but one slightly more? Love one, hate the other? Hate them both? Any suggestions? I warn you that suggestions are unlikely to be considered unless they are SO good they might propel me to the top of the bestseller lists. But I’d still like to see them.
October, 2011: Movie Reviews: Anaconda ● Fair Game ● Nowhere Boy ● Hannah and Her Sisters ● Blow-Up ● Get Low ● Welcome to the Rileys ● Me and Orson Welles ● Last Train Home ● Payment Deferred ● The Conspirator ● A Fish Called Wanda ● One Way Pendulum ● Paul ● Something Wild ● Made in Dagenham
September, 2011: Movie Reviews: Double Jeopardy ● Safety Last! ● Cat Ballou ● The Kids Are All Right ● WarGames ● The Illusionist (2010) ● The Tramp and the Dictator
August 31, 2011: R.I.P. Bill Trojan. On August 21st, in Reno, Nevada, on the last day of the 69th World Science Fiction Convention, our friend Bill Trojan died of a massive heart attack. He was 63. It was not unexpected (though it was too soon), it must have been quick, and I suspect that if Bill could have chosen the circumstances of his departure this would have been ideal to him. We used to see him a lot when we lived in Eugene, but only sporadically since then. Like a lot of others, we have been a bit surprised in reading his eulogies to discover just how generous a man he was. Apparently he was adamant about keeping his philanthropic side to himself and a few very close friends. I can say that I always respected him, and now I respect him even more. About half the writers I regularly read these days I discovered through a recommendation from Bill. He knew more about published science fiction and mysteries than all but a handful of his peers. He will be missed.
Here is a heartfelt remembrance (and a great picture) from one of his best friends, Dean Wesley Smith:Bill Trojan: Book Dealer
August, 2011: Movie Reviews: Christine ● The Most Dangerous Game ● Duplicity ● Winter’s Bone ● Harry Potter and the Deathly Half-Blood Secret Order of the Sorcerer’s Fiery Stone Goblet Azkabanian Phoenix Chamber (2001-2011) ● Date Night ● The Sea Wolf ● Lions For Lambs ● Sugar ● What’s Up, Doc? ● Secretariat ● Waking Sleeping Beauty ● Hearts of the West ● Annie Get Your Gun ● Ondine ● The Princess Diaries ● The Sundowners ● Royal Flash ● I Am Love (Io sono l'amore) ● That Evening Sun ● Duck Soup ● Inception ● The Four Feathers (1939) ● The Great Race ● Seven Days in May ● The Last Man on Earth ● The Fall of the House of Usher ● The Square
July, 2011: Movie Reviews: Casino Royale ● Chloe ● The Black Stallion ● A Foreign Affair ● Doc Martin, Series 1 ● Doc Martin, Series 2,3, and 4 ● Romance With a Double Bass ● Mary and Max ● Trouble in Paradise ● Destry Rides Again ● Kind Hearts and Coronets ● The Killing ● The Ritz ● Harry Brown ● The Gleaners and I (Les glaneurs et la glaneuse) ● Mrs. Miniver ● The Show-Off ● Gaslight (1940) ● Sahara (1943) ● The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms ● Major Barbara ● Out of the Past ● The Tuttles of Tahiti ● Blue Valentine ● Salt ● Witness for the Prosecution ● A Slight Case of Murder ● Buried ● Tangled ● Hanna ● The Man Who Would Be King ● Cars 2
June, 2011: Movie Reviews: The Man From Earth ● Topkapi ● Prime ● True Grit ● Our Gang Two-Reelers ● Please Give ● Tremors ● Tremors II: Aftershocks ● No Highway in the Sky ● Mad Dogs and Englishmen ● Bye Bye Birdie ● The Wizard of Oz (1925) ● Scrooge ● The Circus ● Micmacs ● Definitely, Maybe ● Megamind ● Tales From the Script ● The Lincoln Lawyer ● Darkman ● Captains Courageous ● The Runaways ● The Ghost Writer ● Frantic
May, 2011: Movie Reviews: Burlesque ● Laurel and Hardy Two-reelers ● The Fearless Vampire Killers ● The Titfield Thunderbolt ● The Detective ● A Summer in Genoa ● Black Swan ● The Seven-Ups ● Mother and Child ● Die Hard ● Die Hard 2 ● Despicable Me ● The King’s Speech ● Unknown ● The Social Network ● Lebanon ● Morning Glory ● Conviction ● Blow Out ● Terribly Happy ● The American ● Domino ● Hereafter ● Georgia O’Keeffe ● Howl ● Four Lions
December 6, 2010: Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ● The Girl Who Played With Fire ● The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
October 3, 2010: The War Is Over!!!! I think it’s time for a celebration. Today officially marks the end of the war, the end of the longest war in American history. Don’t you think that’s a cause to hit the streets? Don’t you think we should be painting our banners and hoisting our flags and getting drunk and dancing wildly in Times Square and on the Washington Mall and wherever your community gathers to celebrate long-awaited events?
August 9, 2010: Leaving LA - We have loved living in Los Angeles, in East Hollywood, in Little Armenia and Thai Town … without ever moving! And I have a feeling that we’ve packed more adventures into our almost 4 years here, seen more of the city and its metro area, than many people who have lived here their whole lives have done.
August 6, 2010: Road Movies: Road to Singapore ● Road to Zanzibar ● Road to Morocco ● Road to Utopia ● Road to Rio ● Road to Bali ● Road to Hong Kong ● The Road
July 28, 2010: Saturday Night at the Toons! Pocahontas ● The Hunchback of Notre Dame ● Hercules ● Mulan ● Tarzan ● Fantasia 2000 ● Dinosaur ● The Emperor's New Goove ● Atlantis: The Lost Empire ● Toy Story3 ● Treasure Planet ● Lilo and Stitch ● Brother Bear ● Home on the Range ● Chicken Little ● Meet the Robinsons ● Enchanted ● Bolt
June 21, 2010: At the Drive In - Robin Hood ● Green Zone ● Shrek Forever After ● Iron Man 2
May 30, 2010: Jeanne Robinson (March 30, 1948 - May 30, 2010) On the afternoon of May 30th Jeanne Robinson, beloved wife of my good friend Spider Robinson, died in a Vancouver BC hospital after an illness of about a year. Lee and I are two of many, many people who will miss her terribly. Jeanne was a Buddhist, and believed in reincarnation. I hope she’s right. I’m going to keep my eyes open, as she may pop up anywhere, possibly as the next Dalai Lama. She would be a great one. Please send your good wishes and hopeful vibes to Spider. As he has been unable to write during these last, trying days, sending money wouldn’t hurt, either.
May 13, 2010: Saturday Night at the Toons! Who Framed Roger Rabbit ● The Little Mermaid ● The Rescuers Down Under ● Beauty and the Beast ● Aladdin ● The Lion King ● The Princess and the Frog
April 29, 2010: At the Drive In: How to Train Your Dragon ● Alice in Wonderland (2010)
April 15, 2010: Saturday Night at the Toons! Robin Hood ● The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ● The Rescuers ● Pete's Dragon ● The Fox and the Hound ● The Black Cauldron ● The Great Mouse Detective ● Oliver and Company
April 14, 2010: Hollyweird: Dog Pound of the Stars. We’ve been toying with the idea of getting another dog. Just toying, nothing serious yet. So we decided to visit some of the area shelters to see what they had. We visited a shelter in Glendale and a very big one in Pasadena.
April 8, 2010: VarleyNews: Our Second Earthquake About seven years ago we were parked in an RV at Pismo Beach when a 6.6 earthquake struck the area, centered very close to San Simeon, about 60 miles north of us. The RV shook and we got outside and watched the trees swaying back and forth.
March 3, 2010: New Hollyweird: Shorts! 2009 Academy Award Short Film Nominees - Every year shortly before Oscar time the Academy holds a showing of all 10 Oscar-nominated short films at the Sam Goldwyn Theater on Wilshire in Beverly Hills.
March 2010: Movie Reviews - Bedknobs and Broomsticks ● 101 Dalmatians (1996) ● Coco Before Chanel (Coco avant Chanel) ● Funny Girl ● In the Loop ● Moon ● My One and Only ● Rhapsody in Blue ● Star! ● Thoroughly Modern Millie ● Wuthering Heights ● The Jungle Book ● The AristoCats ● Downhill Racer ● Shutter Island ● Up in the Air
February 2010: Movie Reviews - Mary Poppins ● Gold Diggers of 1933 ● The Lady in the Lake ● Phffft! ● Temple Grandin ● One Hundred and One Dalmatians ● The Sword in the Stone ● The Dam Busters ● Michael Palin: Great Railway Journeys ● New York: A Documentary Film ● Lady and the Tramp ● Sleeping Beauty ● Departures (Okuribito) ● Operation Mad Ball ● Wild Strawberries (Smultronstället) ● Alice in Wonderland ● Peter Pan (1953) ● Army of Shadows ● Broadway Melody of 1936 ● The Out-of-Towners
January 2010: Movie Reviews - Blockheads ● The Freshman (1925) ● Mr. Toad's Wild Ride ● Night Must Fall ● Under the Yum Yum Tree ● Cinderella ● Breezy ● The Hurt Locker ● A Thousand Clowns ● Vitus ● So Dear To My Heart ● The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad ● The Americanization of Emily ● Darling ● Home From the Hill ● The Informer ● The Major and the Minor ● Nine ● The Women (1939) ● World's Greatest Dad ● Fun and Fancy Free ● Melody Time ● It's Complicated ● The Twilight Sage: New Moon ● 2010 ● American Violet ● Little Dieter Needs to Fly ● The Women (2008)
December 2009: Movie Reviews - Song of the South ● Is Anybody There? ● Sherlock Holmes (2009) ● Invictus ● Avatar ● Sherlock Holmes ● The Ref ● Singin' in the Rain ● The Three Caballeros ● Make Mine Music ● A Woman in Berlin ● Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans ● An American in Paris ● Joe Versus the Volcano ● Bambi ● Saludos Amigos ● Victory Through Air Power ● Transsiberian ● The American Friend (Der amerikanische freund) ● In the Good Old Summertime ● The Shop Around the Corner ● You've Got Mail ● 12 ● A Christmas Tale (Un conte de Noël) ● The Navigator ● The Reluctant Dragon ● Dumbo ● Purple Noon (Plein soleil) ● Things to Come ● Fantasia ● The Blind Side ● The Box ● I Served the King of England (Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále) ● The International ● Pieces of April ● Trains, Planes, and Automobiles ● A Song Is Born
November 22, 2009: VarleyNews: Winners of the 2009 Robert A. Heinlein Award for "Outstanding body of work in the field of literature": John Varley and Joe Haldeman!
November 16, 2009: Saturday Night at the Toons! Lee and I have decided to make our way through my collection of every Walt Disney animated feature beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
November 7, 2009: WESTERCON 63: Lee and I have just bought our memberships to Westercon 63, and we plan to attend. Westercon is the oldest science fiction convention in the west, and is a lot of fun. It will be held at the Pasadena Hilton on July 1-4, 2010. See you there!
November 2009: Movie Reviews - Pinocchio ● 2012 ● Camille ● Helvetica ● Strike (Strajk - Die Heldin von Danzig) ● Ball of Fire ● Adventureland ● The Bad News Bears (2005) ● Mr. Baseball ● The Final Season ● The Scout ● Astro Boy ● A Christmas Carol (2009) ● The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) ● Assassination of a High School President ● O'Horton ● Sherlock Holmes ● Taking Woodstock ● Paranormal Activity ● Law Abiding Citizen ● Damn Yankees ● Eight Men Out ● Major League ● The Bad News Bears ● A League of Their Own ● Game 6
October 27, 2009: VarleyNews: IRONTOWN BLUES by John Varley is #3 on io9's list of 12 Unfinished SF Novels We Wish We Could Read
October 19, 2009: Hollyweird: Trailer Trash - When we went to see Julie & Julia, we were treated to the usual trailers before the movie.
October 2009: Movie Reviews - Bull Durham ● The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings ● Field of Dreams ● The War ● Every Little Step ● The Pride of the Yankees ● Bang the Drum Slowly ● Take Me Out to the Ball Game ● The Stepfather (2009) ● Zombieland ● Where the Wild Things Are ● The Invention of Lying ● The National Parks: America's Best Idea
September 8, 2009: VarleyYarn - Old Dogs I recently read a story about the death of what her owner had proclaimed to be the “World’s Oldest Dog.” She was a 21-year-old wire-haired dachshund named Chanel, and for a while she’d been quite the celebrity, awarded a certificate by Guinness, appearing on television shows, the subject of a large number of newspaper articles.
September 2009: Movie Reviews - Surrogates ● The Proposal ● All About Eve ● The Black Book (Zwartboek) ● Easy Virtue ● In Which We Serve ● Jennifer's Body ● Whiteout ● Near Dark ● Paris 36 (Faubourg 36) ● Red Road ● Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies ● The Last Picture Show ● Texasville ● The Soloist ● Thief ● Alien Trespass ● Bedazzled ● Sunshine Cleaning ● The Final Destination ● District 9 ● State of Play (2009) ● Final Destination ● Final Destination 2 ● Final Destination 3
August 2009: Movie Reviews - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ● My Sister's Keeper ● Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth ● The Mouse That Roared ● The Ugly Truth ● The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009) ● The Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite ) ● The Great Buck Howard ● Hail the Conquering Hero ● The Lady Eve ● Julie & Julia ● Coraline ● Dead Like Me: Life After Death ● Aliens in the Attic ● Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ● The Great McGinty ● Inkheart ● The Life of Birds ● Life in Cold Blood ● The Mikado, or The Town of Titipu ● The Two Jakes ● Hobson's Choice ● Big Man Japan ● Inglourious Basterds ● A Perfect Getaway ● The Garden ● Buck Privates ● Cabaret ● Houdini ● Some Like It Hot
August 3, 2009: Hollyweird: Jules Verne in the Last Remaining Seats
July 17, 2009: Movie Reviews - Son of Rambow ● The Terrorist (Theeviravaathi) ● Waltz With Bashir (Vals Im Bashir) ● Public Enemies ● The Hangover
July 12, 2009: We are really going to miss Charles N. Brown.
July 6, 2009: VarleyNews - How Shall We Honor Thee, O Michael?
June 2009: Movie Reviews - Juggernaut● Murder on the Orient Express ● The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford ● Imagine You and Me ● Outsourced ● O ● Othello ● Men in Black ● Ronin ● Seven Pounds ● Baraka ● Déjà Vu ● Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground ● The Celebration (Festen) ● The Party ● Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment ● The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) ● Titus ● Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and X-Men Origins: Wolverine ● Land of the Lost and Drag Me to Hell ● North by Northwest ● The Man on Lincoln's Nose ● Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round ● The Dish ● Taking Chance ● Up ● K-19: The Widowmaker ● The Counterfeiters (Die Fälscher) ● Defiance ● The Mouse on the Moon ● It's Trad, Dad! ● Charley Varrick ● Robin and Marian ● State of Play ● Forbidden Games (Jeux interdits) ● The President's Analyst ● Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ ● Ben-Hur ● The Birth of a Nation ● Hell's Angels ● Zack and Miri Make a Porno ● Last Chance Harvey
May 2009: At the Drive-In - Terminator Salvation and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past ● Angels & Demons ● Obsessed ● Star Trek (2009) ● Monsters vs. Aliens ● The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ● Destination Moon ● Nickelodeon ● Christmas in July ● The More The Merrier ● Project Moon Base ● Tell No One ● Walk, Don’t Run ● Frost/Nixon ● Silk Stockings
May 20, 2009: Dismal Thoughts: Part 2 - The Little Helicopters That Couldn't
April 30, 2009: VarleyYarn: Dismal Thoughts: Part 1. I started writing this two months ago, then I got distracted by other things … like writing my new novel! Hurray! But I’m done for the day, and have a little spare time here, so I thought I’d update it, and then post it.
April 2009: Movie Reviews: Nude on the Moon ● The Palm Beach Story ● Priceless ● The Reader ● Grey Gardens (2009) ● FTA ● I've Loved You So Long ● Ruthless People ● Sullivan's Travels ● In the Electric Mist ● The Miracle of Morgan's Creek ● Strictly Ballroom ● The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency ● Religulous ● When Worlds Collide (1951) ● Like Water for Chocolate
April 18, 2009: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, where I made my first sale way back in 1974, is celebrating its 60th year by reprinting some of the classic stories it has published over the years. In the June/July issue one of those stories is my novelette, "Retrograde Summer." While it sort of makes me wince to think of any of my stories as "classic" (I'm not that old, am I? Yes, you are ...), I'm honored. There is also a very complimentary introduction by Keith Kahla. Be sure to pick up a copy!
April 16, 2009: George Harrison Gets a Star. We figured the crowds might be rather large for this one...
April 15, 2009: The Miracles Get a Star. It was the 50th anniversary of Motown...
April 14, 2009: Ex-Spector-ated!!!! Finally, finally ...
The Descanso Gardens. Easter Sunday, and it felt like a sin to try to work. It was 70 degrees outside, the sun was shining, the sky was blue as an Easter egg.
March 2009: Movie Reviews: Burnt by the Sun ● Happy-Go-Lucky ● Knowing ● Taken ● How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying ● Body Heat ● Extras (2005) ● Flash of Genius ● Four Weddings and a Funeral ● Rachel Getting Married ● Synecdoche, New York ● Australia ● Extras ● The Hunting Party ● No Way Out ● West Side Story ● White Sands
February 25, 2009: The Alex. I seldom buy Los Angeles magazine. If you’re seeking a place where you can pay $100 for a plate of sushi, this slick mag rag is where to start looking.
Movie Reviews: The Philadelphia Story ● Changeling ● Frozen River
February 20, 2009: Shorts! Every year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a one-night-only showing of all the Oscar-nominated short subjects, animated and live action, a few days before the ceremony.
February 19, 2009: I have just sold the German rights to Red Thunder to Verlagsgruppe Random House GMBH, in München. If any of you out there like the book and sprechen sie Deutsch, I’d be happy to send you a copy if you’ll read it and tell me if it’s a good translation! I don’t know when that will be, but they are obligated to publish the book within two years.
7 Movie Reviews: Doubt ● The Duchess ● Milk ● Vicky Christina Barcelona ● The Visitor ● The Wrestler ● Ghost Town
February 18, 2009: 2 Movie Reviews: The Bank Job ● Sleuth (2007)
February 6, 2009: 6 Movie Reviews: Becoming Jane ● Long Way Round ● Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium ● Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman ● The Uninvited ● Valkyrie
January 2009: 5 Movie Reviews: Encounters at the End of the World ● The High Sign ● One Week ● The Saphead ● Slumdog Millionaire ● The Caine Mutiny ● Cassandra's Dream ● Eagle Eye ● Revolutionary Road ● Quick Change ● Go West ● The Happening ● The Paleface ● The Scarecrow ● Talk To Me ● Traitor ● The Diamond Arm ● Gran Torino ● Speed Racer ● Steelyard Blues ● Yes Man
December 2008: Movie Reviews: Burn After Reading ● Monty Python and the Holy Grail ● Run, Fatboy, Run ● Scrooged ● BURN-E ● Vanishing Point ● Without a Clue ● Trafic ● The Closet ● The Driver ● Hancock ● L.A. Story ● The Shop on Main Street ● CSNY Déjà Vu ● Expo: The Magic of the White City: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 ● Twilight ● Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa ● Clockwise ● Bolt ● Beverly Hills Chihuahua ● Cops and Robbers
December 23, 2008: John and Lee’s Guide to Disneyland - Last Disneyland
We decided to make one more visit to Disneyland before our passes expired. It will probably be our last one until some of the changes are made at California Adventure.
December 3, 2008: Headline at Boing Boing: Spider Robinson reads Varley's "Persistence of Vision"
Cory Doctorow: "Spider Robinson's latest podcast installment is a reading of John Varley's towering and brilliant 1979 novella, 'The Persistence of Vision,' winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. I'm a gigantic John Varley fan (especially of his short fiction) and this story may be the best of the lot."
November 21, 2008: Movie Reviews: Advise and Consent ● The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing ● Get Smart ● Quantum of Solace ● Passengers ● Our Town ● The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
November 13, 2008: A Hallowood Hollyween
We had a lot of fun last Halloween at the West Hollywood street party, which happens on about mile of Santa Monica Boulevard and features some of the wildest costumes you’ll ever see, some by make-up professionals, many by WH’s vast gay community.
Jay P. Francis sent us a photograph he took from Casa Lidia, the Bed and Breakfast in Oaxaca where he spent 8 days for Dias de los Muertos. Note the top three books on the left stack – Red Lightning, Rolling Thunder, and Red Thunder. Mammoth is on the bottom, right under The South Beach Diet. Wow!
Movie Reviews: Full Circle with Michael Palin ● Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure ● My Sister Maria (Meine Schwester Maria) ● The Savages ● Quarantine ● Lakeview Terrace
November 3, 2008: John and Lee’s Guide to Disneyland - Part 9
I guess I’m a wimp. It wasn’t actually that hot, mid to upper 80s. I used to be able to shrug that off. Heck, when I was in the 1st and 2nd grade in Fort Worth, I’d go out and play, and hunt for horned toads, when the thermometer was well over 100.
October 31, 2008:
Happy Halloween from John and Lee
October 20, 2008: Movie Reviews: Body of Lies ● Righteous Kill ● Smart People ● Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day ● Shine a Light ● Twilight
Miss P. is a governess down on her luck, and through comic misadventure and a bit of guile, she becomes the social secretary for an air-headed American actress-wannabe, Delysia Lafosse (real name, Sarah Grubb).... More reviews...
October 6, 2008: Movie Reviews: Confessions of a Superhero ● Hallelujah! ● Three Ages
One of the pleasures of living maybe a mile and a half from Grauman’s Chinese Theater is that we get to drive by that two-block tourist stretch quite often. There’s always something going on; in fact, that street is closed off about as much as it’s open, for one thing or another, for as much as 10 days at Oscar time. One of the things that is always happening is the costumed characters that haunt the place, to the despair of the Grauman’s owners. More reviews...
September 29, 2008: Paul and Me
A few days ago we lost a great American. Entrepreneur—seller of salad dressing, pasta sauce, lemonade, popcorn, salsa, and wine among many other things—philanthropist, devoted husband, father, and grandfather, race car driver, owner, and sponsor, founder of a dozen camps for severely ill children … and, oh yes, he acted a bit.
September 25, 2008: The Gaean Trilogy is now available at Audible.com
Just got an email from Allyson Johnson that she'd finished recording DEMON. Also available at Audible.com: The Persistence of Vision and Press Enter, narrated by Peter Ganim; and The Ophiuchi Hotline, narrated by Gabra Zackman.
September 17, 2008: SF Signal asked Varley (and others) two questions:
What makes a successful sf/f book adaptation? Why do adaptations sometimes fail? Varley's answer follows Jennifer Pelland's.
September 2008: Movie Reviews ● In Bruges ● Mad Hot Ballroom ● El Padrecito ● Woodstock ● Fosse ● Judgement at Nuremberg ● The Crusades
September 10, 2008: Kiss Your Ass Goodbye
The first time I went to see the end of the world was June 14, 1968. The asteroid Icarus was going to come within four million miles of the Earth … or so they would have us believe. Four million miles is a gnat’s whisker in cosmic terms. There were those who said it was actually going to collide with our planet, and “they” were keeping that information from us to avoid panic.
September 6, 2008: St. Francis Dam
William Mulholland was a colorful character. He was responsible for the Los Angeles Aqueduct, opened in 1913, which stole water from the Owens Valley, 233 miles to the north. It flows downhill all the way so it takes no power to operate.
September 2, 2008: Hollyweird -Rudolph Valentino
August 23 was the 81st anniversary of the death of Rudolfo Alfonzo Raffaelo Piero Filibert Guglielmi De Valentina D’Antonguolla, in New York City, of peritonitis following a perforated ulcer.
August 4, 2008: At the Drive In ● Hellboy II: The Golden Army ● Wanted
July 18, 2008: VarleyYarn - Hillside Cemetery
It’s been a while since we went on a celebrity body hunt, so when other business called us down to the lower reaches of Culver City, we decided to visit this graveyard, which is rich in famous bones. It’s also a Jewish cemetery, like Mount Sinai, which always affords a few surprises.
June 6, 2008: John and Lee’s Guide to Disneyland - Part 8: Walt Disney Treasures
In 2001 the Disney company released four sets of DVDs in metal boxes, called Walt Disney Treasures, and has been bringing them out yearly ever since, in what they refer to as “waves.” There are now seven waves.
June 2-3, 2008: VarleyYarn: Land of 10,000 Plates - Part 1 & Part 2
A few days ago we were driving around and I stopped at a red light behind a car with a South Carolina plate. In case you haven’t seen one, it is mostly light blue with a palmetto tree in the center (South Carolina is the Palmetto State). Across the top is this legend: “Smiling Faces. Beautiful Places.”
July 2, 2008 - RECORDING HAS BEGUN - Last week Audible.com began the recording of the books they bought from me. Titan, Wizard, and Demon will be read by Allyson Johnson. Read more
June 27, 2008 - Just got a copy of THE REEL STUFF (Expanded Edition) edited by Brian Thomsen and Martin H Greenberg. "You've seen the movies, now read the stories on which they're based - award-winning science fiction by such masters as: ... PHILIP K. DICK (MINORITY REPORT) WILLIAM GIBSON (JOHNNY MNEMONIC) CLIVE BARKER (CANDYMAN) GEORGE R.R. MARTIN (THE OUTER LIMITS: SANDKINGS) JOHN VARLEY (MILLENNIUM) BARRY LONGYEAR (ENEMY MINE)" Buy it
May 26, 2008 - I'm a Martian Citizen!
About an hour ago as I write this, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander successfully delivered my novella, "In the Hall of the Martian King," to a soft landing near the Martian north pole.
May 16, 2008 - Diary of a Male Fashion Model
Friday, May 2nd, 2008, 6 AM: Up early for the Americana shoot. Spend a hour in the shower. Does the beard need a trim? Nah.
April 28, 2008 - The BCAM at the LACMA
If the above acronym soup is confusing to you, let me translate: BCAM is the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, and LACMA is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (We Angelenos say it as “The Bee-cam at the Lackma.”) BCAM is a new building at LACMA, the first part of a three-phase expansion plan. It opened in February.
April 14, 2008 -The Shrub That Ate a House
The sleepy little town of Sierra Madre is off the beaten trail, wedged as it is between Arcadia, Monrovia, and Pasadena, at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. But not so very long ago it was at the center of a struggle for the very survival of humanity.
March 30, 2008 -ROLLING THUNDER now available at Diesel eBooks!
March 19, 2008:Hollyweird - St. Pat's Day at the Egyptian with the Rutles
They had the 30th reunion of the Rutles at the Egyptian Theater on St. Patrick's Day. All four of the lads from Liverpool, together again for the first time. You remember the Rutles, don’t you? The Pre-Fab Four? Dirk McQuickly, Barry Wom, Stig O’Hara, and Ron Nasty? Ring any bells?
March 11, 2008 -io9 Talks to John Varley about Climate Disaster and Space Opera
March 4, 2008 -ROLLING THUNDER in books stores!
February 27, 2008 -Oh, Shit! He's Running Again!
Will somebody please stuff Ralph Nadir into a stout box, nail the box shut, ship it to Borneo, and let him cavort amongst the orangutans until November 5, the day after the elections?
December 24, 2007 - Got an email from Jeanne Robinson
She's days away from "flying high on Zero-Gravity Corporation’s refitted 727 for the ride of a lifetime!" Read aboutThe Stardance Project on her blog.
July 17, 2007 - We’re pleased to announce that my trilogy of TITAN, WIZARD, and DEMON have all been optioned by a Canadian producer. His intention is to turn them into three mini-series for cable TV. (HBO was mentioned, though no particular company is involved yet.) This is extremely early times for this project. Development, which can last for years, begins now. Without mentioning this man’s name, I can tell you that he has a long career in the movie business, and seems to genuinely love the books. If you love the books, it is far too early to get your hopes up … but it wouldn’t hurt to cross your fingers. And be sure to check back at this site, as we will update you on any progress.
May 12, 2007 - Borderland Books, San Francisco. Celebration of the release of The Tiptree Memorial Award Anthology 3, published by Tachyon Publications (Saving the world ... one good book at a time.) Varley joined Debbie Norkin, Pat Murphy, and Tim Pratt on a panel discussion about expanding and exploring gender in science fiction and fantasy.
March 25, 2007 - On March 22nd I entrusted the manuscript of my new novel, ROLLING THUNDER, to the gentle hands of the US Postal Service, who sent it, by jet aeroplane, to New York City, where it is now in the hands of my editor. This is the third and (possibly) last of the series that began with RED THUNDER and continued with RED LIGHTNING. I say possibly because the end of this book left enough threads that I could easily write a fourth book. And I'm tempted, because writing these three has been the most fun I've had at the keyboard in ten years or so. Reader response has been good, too. So keep checking here if you want to know what I've decided.
If all goes according to plan, ROLLING THUNDER should be published in April of 2008. ROLLING THUNDER deals with the adventures and singing career of Podkayne, the daughter of Ray Strickland-Garcia and Evangeline Redmond, the main characters in RED LIGHTNING. Podkayne is the first Marsborn in this family. Ray, in turn, was the son of Manny Garcia and Kelly Strickland, who with some friends built and flew the first spaceship capable of reaching Mars and returning, as recounted by Manny in RED THUNDER. All three books were inspired by the brilliant "juvenile" novels of Robert A Heinlein from the 1950s and early 1960s, the books that are responsible for my career choice of writing science fiction. I hope you enjoy them.
February 1, 2007 - Yesterday a great American died. I'm speaking of Molly Ivins, perhaps the greatest enemy pompous windbags ever knew.
October 18, 2006 - We just got the news that The Planetary Society is including one of Varley's stories, "In the Hall of the Martian Kings," on a DVD to be sent to Mars on the Phoenix polar lander sometime next year. This is a project that was to originally have gone there on the Russian 1996 Mars mission, but the rocket failed dropping the whole thing in the drink.
Click here to see the letter from the Planetary Society.
July 1, 2006 - The Salt Lake County Library System has selected MAMMOTH as a nominee for their semi-annual Reader's Choice Award. "We want to include titles that are not a "best-sellers" but are so good you just can't put them down -- and when you do finish, you have to tell all your friends!"
June 8, 2006 - Ann Coulter - An apology
June 5, 2006 - Paperback MAMMOTH now available in bookstores and online!
May 30, 2006 - MAMMOTH comes out in paperback.
May 6, 2006 - Ace reissues OPHIUCHI HOTLINE.
April 6, 2006 - RED LIGHTNING in bookstores and online!
March 2, 2006 - Science Fiction Book Club buys RED LIGHTNING.
October 15, 2005 - Ace says YES! Susan Allison accepted RED LIGHTNING. Publication date: April 6, 2006.
October 5, 2005 - For readers in Russia, Varley recently signed a contact with AST Publisher's Russian language publications for TITAN, WIZARD and DEMON. No date yet.
русско-язычных читателей: Варлей недавно подписал
контракт с Российским издательством «АСТ» на публикацию
трилогии «Гея», включающие в себя «Титан», «Волшебник» и
«Демон»! Дата публикации оговаривается.
October 19, 2005. At 11:05 AM, PDT, the very last Titan missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base. This is a launch vehicle that goes all the way back to the Gemini Program in the 1960s. Lee and I were there, and it was quite a show.
September 27, 2005 - Varley express-mailed RED LIGHTNING to New York City!
September 16, 2005 - Varley finished the first draft of RED LIGHTNING, sequel to RED THUNDER, about the time he got the cover in the mail. Now he's busy reading and rewriting. Publication date is April 6, 2006.
July 24, 2005 - BORDERLANDS BOOKS in San Francisco. Varley read from MAMMOTH and signed books.
July 2, 2005 - WESTERCON 58. THE JOHN VARLEY READER wins Locus Award. Varley was honoured to accept the Locus Award for Best Collection at the 2005 Locus Awards Banquet. Many thanks to Charles, Liza and Marina for the wonderful time!
July 1 - 4, 2005 - WESTERCON 58 "Due North" in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We were there!
June 22, 2005 - Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego: Varley read from and signed MAMMOTH. Met some interesting people, including 9-year-old Harmony who's already following Heinlein's first rule for becoming a writer. Write.
Varley reading Mammoth ● Patrick ● Christine, Patrick, Gordon
May 6, 2005 - Email from Susan Allison, Editorial Director at Berkley Publishing Group: "GREAT FABULOUS EXCELLENT news is: MAMMOTH is getting a starred PW review." (That's Publishers Weekly: The International Voice for Book Publishing and Bookselling.) "Next week, I think. Congratulations!"
Review from Publishers Weekly
When eccentric megabillionaire Howard Christian commissions a hunt for a frozen mammoth in northern Manitoba to clone a new model in Varley's rollicking, bittersweet tale of time travel and ecology, he gets more than he bargained for: next to the 12,000-year-old beast his team unearths lies the body of a human being, wearing a wristwatch, with a metal box—a time machine?—nearby. Christian hires Matt Wright, Canada's top scientist on the physics of time, to fix the machine, and employs elephant vet Susan Morgan to oversee the cloning of a new mammoth. The machine hurls Matt and Susan back to the mammoth age, then forward again, along with a baby Columbian woolly mammoth, Fuzzy, whose engaging story cleverly alternates with Christian's indefatigable quest for personal fame. Varley's sparkling wit pulls one surprise after another out of this unconventional blend of science and social commentary with real people convincingly doing unreal things. Fuzzy, though, is the true hero, an irresistible 15-foot-tall reminder of the wonders of nature and imagination. The winner of numerous Hugo and Nebula awards, Varley (Millennium) should garner new laurels with this outstanding effort.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved
|San Francisco Chronicle|
March 2005 - The latest issue of Science Fiction Studies celebrates the Jules Verne Centenary. It features an excellent essay by SF writer/physicist Gregory Benford with the intriguing title: " Verne to Varley: Hard SF Evolves." There's a one year blackout on the website, so if you want to read it now (recommended), you can order a copy from your favorite bookstore or call 800 421-1561 Wesleyan University Press. [Disclosure: Varley knows Greg, frequently turns to him for his scientific expertise.]
December 3, 2004 – If you missed the October issue of Locus (Varley and Gunn Make Cover of Locus) with the Varley interview you can order it from Locus postage free (save $2.00) or get it completely free with a subscription!
September 4, 2004 - Now in Bookstores: THE JOHN VARLEY READER is a collection of 18 stories including five previously uncollected stories. Varley introduces each story with tales about where he was, what he was doing, and, retrospectively, who he was when he wrote them.
It is probably as close to an autobiography as I will ever get.
– John Varley
The short story is to science fiction what the seven-inch single was to rock: the most perfect yet the most mercilessly demanding form. My life-experience of John Varley’s stories has been that the great majority of them are quite literally unforgettable.
– William Gibson
Daily Camera Books Review Editor Clay Evans' review.