Yesterday's 7.9 earthquake in China struck near Chengdu, where the International Science Fiction Conference was held last year and where the offices of Science Fiction World, China's premier SF magazine and book publisher, are located. The translator I was assigned at that conference, Xu Haiyan, has become a friend. She lives in Singapore, and yesterday I emailed her to see if she knew what had happened to the staff at SF World. Haiyan said she'd received a text message from a friend that everyone at the magazine was safe. No phone calls were possible, since the lines and towers are all down.
As of this morning, news media were reporting no word from the Sichuan giant-panda breeding facility, where I so happily held a panda, got lost in the rain with Neil Gaiman, and admired the gorgeous grounds. Keep your fingers crossed.
LATER UPDATE: The pandas at the Chengdu facility are safe, but still no word on those at the Wolong Nature Center.