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Scientology’s Lavish Annual Party for Pampered Sci-Fi Writers, This Sunday!

WritersOTF2013Last year, we noticed that some former winners of Scientology’s “Writers of the Future” awards were nervously wondering if they’d been had.

With so much bad publicity plaguing the church, was it really such a good thing to win an award from an organization becoming increasingly known for things like locking up its executives in a hellish office-prison?

The contest attracts very prestigious writers in the science fiction and fantasy realms to judge entries by new, unpublished writers for a big boost in their careers. There’s no doubt that it’s a great contest, and it’s awash in money, putting on a weeklong celebration in Hollywood.

But could all that glitz and glamor be tied directly to Scientology’s more nefarious activities? Last year, we proved that connection definitively.

Our investigation showed that Barbara Ruiz, the executive director of Author Services Inc., the Scientology entity that serves as L. Ron Hubbard’s literary agency and runs the contest, was seen by three witnesses in 2004 helping church leader David Miscavige run “The Hole,” the office-prison for church executives. Months later, both Miscavige and Ruiz attended that year’s contest gala. But some time after that Ruiz vanished, becoming yet another church official — like Miscavige’s own wife, Shelly — to become an unperson in the church.

According to former church spokesman Mike Rinder — who was a prisoner in The Hole and saw Ruiz running it — it was quite obvious to top church officials that the writers and illustrators contest was intended to promote Hubbard and Scientology, and that the contest directly benefited from church income, and not just from sales of Hubbard’s fiction, as contest participants are told.

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Despite that troubling history, we heard from only a few judges in the contest, who benefit from a lavish week of pampering at church expense. And this year promises to be no less posh. Here’s a press release which should give you some sense of the splendor that participants are going through this week, leading up to Sunday’s celebration…

 

MEDIA ALERT (As of 4/8/13)

CELEBRITY & VIP INTERVIEW & PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

Red Carpet Arrivals For The 29th ANNUAL

L. RON HUBBARD ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

FOR WINNERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL WRITERS &

ILLUSTRATORS OF THE FUTURE CONTESTS

Emceed by GUNHILD JACOBS,

Executive Director for Fiction Affairs, Author Services, Inc.

WILSHIRE EBELL THEATRE

743 S. LUCERNE BOULEVARD, LOS ANGELES, CA 90010

(On the corner of Wilshire Boulevard at Lucerne Boulevard)

Sunday, April 14, 2013; Press Check-In at 4:30 p.m.

Red Carpet Arrivals: 5:00 – 6:15 p.m., Event begins at 6:30 p.m.

Black-Tie Optional

 
WHO & WHAT: Author Services, Inc. will present The 29th Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards For Winners of the International Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests on Sunday, April 14, 2013 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. The FREE Black-Tie Optional Awards Show will feature live performers including, the dance troupe, DanceMakers, and Kimberley Locke (“American Idol,” Recording Artist) who will sing a brand new song she co-wrote especially for the occasion with songwriters Josh Skinner and Meliva Koch. The song is titled “Endless Possibilities.”

Celebrity Award Presenters, along with Leading Contest Judges in the Science Fiction and Fantasy world will be on hand to present awards to this year’s 24 writer and illustrator winners, as well as the grand prizes for the winner of each contest. The Awards Show will be followed by a party and book signing, to be held on the Wilshire Ebell Theatre grounds.

The 12 Writer winners include:

Alisa Alering (of Bloomington, IN); Eric Cline (of Bowie, MD); Tina Gower (writer’s pen name; Tina Smith, real name) (of Chino, CA); Marilyn Guttridge (of Estacada, OR) (She is the youngest writer winner in the history of the writer’s contest. She is currently 17-years-old.); Kodiak Julian (writer’s pen name; Leah Hieber, real name) (of Yakima, WA); Marina J. Lostetter (of Fayetteville, AZ); Shannon Peavey (of Kirkland, WA); Christopher Reynaga (of Moss Beach, CA); Stephen Sottong (of Eureka, CA); Andrea Stewart (of West Sacramento, CA); Brian Trent (of Prospect, CT); Alex Wilson (of Carrboro, N.C.)

In addition, writer Chrome Oxide, (writer’s pen name; Steven Libis, real name) (of Mission Hills, CA) will be honored as a published finalist, along with the 24 contest winners mentioned by having his work published in the book, “L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume XXIX.”

WHO & WHAT: The 12 Illustrator winners include:

Jackie Albano (of Miramar, FL); Sida Chen (of Syosset, NY; born in rural China); Lucas Durham (of Darien, IL); James J. Eads (of Garden Grove, CA); Tiffany England (of Los Angeles, CA); Jon Eno (of Bluff Dale, TX); Aldo Katayanagi (of Chicago, IL); Joshua Meehan (of Tucson, AZ); Luis Menacho (of Jackson Heights, NY); Daniel Reneau (of Denver, CO); Karsen Slater (of Glendora, CA); Olivia Xu (of Brooklyn, NY and Nanjing, China)

Event Speakers will include:

Gunhild Jacobs, Emcee and Executive Director for Fiction Affairs for Author Services, Inc.; John Goodwin, President and Publisher of Galaxy Press; Joni Labaqui, Contests Director, Author Services, Inc.; Brett Kennedy (Keynote Speaker), Supervisor of the Robotic Vehicles and Manipulators Group at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, the leading center for robotic exploration of the solar system for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Kennedy will be bringing to the event an inflatable replica from NASA of the Curiosity Rover currently on the planet Mars and a “Mobility Test Rover” which has eight wheels.; Jut Wynne, PhD, is a conservation biologist who has bushwhacked through the jungles of Belize, rappelled into the deepest volcanic pit in Hawaii, endured the world’s driest desert in northern Chile, searched for caves with cutting edge instruments aboard NASA aircraft, and traveled to the most remote inhabited place on earth, Easter Island.

Celebrity Award Presenters will include:

Nancy Cartwright (Emmy Awardâ Winner, The Voice of Bart Simpson on “The Simpsons” and Charles “Chuckie” Finster, Jr. on “Rugrats”); Aramis Knight (Bean in the Science Fiction movie, “Ender’s Game,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Crossing Over”); Marisol Nichols (“Vegas Vacation,” “Scream 2,” “GCB,” “The Gates,” “24”); Kylin Rhambo (Dink Meeker in the Science Fiction movie, “Ender’s Game,” “The First Family”)

WHO & WHAT: Distinguished Writer Judges and Award Presenters will include:

Kevin J. Anderson, Gregory Benford (who will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award), Eric Flint, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Dr. Yoji Kondo, Todd McCaffrey, Rebecca Moesta, Larry Niven, Nnedi Okorafor, Jerry Pournelle, Tim Powers, Mike Resnick, Robert J. Sawyer, Dave Wolverton

Distinguished Illustrator Judges and Award Presenters will include:

Laura Freas Beraha, Dave Dorman, Larry Elmore, Stephen Hickman, Ron Lindahn, Val Lakey Lindahn, Gary Meyer, Cliff Nielsen, Sergey Poyarkov (of Kiev, Ukraine)

WHEN: Sunday, April 14, 2013 from 6:30 – 11:00 p.m.

WHERE: Wilshire Ebell Theatre; 743 S. Lucerne Boulevard (on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard at Lucerne Boulevard); Los Angeles, CA 90010.

HOW: This Black-Tie Optional Awards Show is open to the General Public and is FREE of Charge, however RSVPs are required, and may be made by call Author Services, Inc. at 323-466-3310 or E-mailing contests@authorservicesinc.com. Complimentary Parking will be provided at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre for guests attending the event. For more information, on the Contests, please visit the website, www.writersofthefuture.com.

INFO: John Goodwin, President and Publisher of Galaxy Press, publishers of the fiction works of author L. Ron Hubbard, said: “This year’s live awards show will honor 24 outstanding up and coming writers and illustrators of the future. The show will be simultaneously broadcast to a worldwide audience via the Internet. Streaming will be live from www.writersofthefuture.com where a link will be set up. The airing time of the broadcast will vary depending on the time zone you are residing in.”

Joni Labaqui, Contests Director, Author Services, Inc., added: “This annual ceremony for new writers and illustrators of science fiction and fantasy is such a moving experience that we wanted all speculative fiction fans everywhere and the friends and families of this year’s winners to be able to witness it, whether in person at the theatre or online.”

—————————-

 
Hey, that’s some lineup.

We asked Rachel Denk for her thoughts on this year’s gala. She administrated the contest from 1986 to 1994, and then again from 1999 to 2004. Today she’s out of the church but remains a knowledgeable resource about the awards. She sent us the following observations…

There’s been a remarkable lack of advance PR on the part of Writers of the Future/Author Services/Galaxy Press on who is expected to attend the event and hand out awards, celebrity-wise. Probably because of your coverage last year. We really only know about the scientist guy from NASA.

I did find on Amazon.com that the anthology, Writers of the Future Vol 29, won’t be released until June of this year. That really makes no sense as the book is usually released at the Awards event. Sure, there were a couple of years it wasn’t — 2005 and 2006, I believe — but it’s been quite on track since then as far as I recall. (Of course, Amazon.com might not have the correct release date either.)

Of human interest: Dave Wolverton is Co-ordinating Judge of the Writers of the Future Contest, editor of the anthology, and writing workshop instructor, at least this year because of KD Wentworth’s untimely death last year. He’s the Grand Prize winner from 1987, and has gone on to quite a publishing history (his pen name for fantasy is Dave Farland).

Dave’s 16-year-old son Ben had a longboard accident on April 4th in Utah, where the Wolvertons live. He’s in critical condition with multiple injuries and in a hospital in Las Vegas. Uninsured. There’s been quite a lot about it on the Internet, including a “Book Bomb” yesterday to get Dave Wolverton’s book sales out the roof. Yes, I bought a book. And a GoFundMe site for donations — yes, I donated. You would be hard put to meet a nicer guy than Dave! I always enjoyed working with him and feel no end of compassion for this plight with his son.

That is tough. We can’t help wondering if something will be said about it at the ceremony Sunday night.

Speaking of which, we suppose we should live-blog the event. Last year’s was quite a hoot, even if Nancy Cartwright failed to show. And the interpretive dance pieces were…something. What do you say, gang, should we watch the streaming broadcast Sunday night?

 
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Jason Barclay’s Sea Org Escape: A Preview

From Karen de la Carriere’s YouTube channel, a teaser of what’s coming in a few days…

 

 
Finally this morning — is Bryan Seymour back? His old program, TodayTonight, has a story this morning that we had heard something about before — that Scientology front group CCHR had been encouraging Australian parents not to allow their kindergartners to get a benign federal “health check” because it said children would end up on psychiatric drugs. The government denies that and says the health check has nothing to do with psychiatry.

Highlight of the clip is Senator Nick Xenophon saying that Scientology’s promotion of human rights is a “cruel hoax.”

But does this mean Seymour is back from his government job and in the saddle again? We’ll try to find out, and we’ll also try to get an embeddable version of that video!

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on April 11, 2013 at 07:00

 

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