Rick Riordan’s Matching Pledge for Rosarium Fundraiser

indiegogo rosarium publishing

Rick Riordan, author of YA series like Percy Jackson & the Olympians and The Kane Chronicles, announced he is matching donations to Rosarium Publishing’s Indiegogo fundraising appeal. He has challenged his readers to Support a Great Publisher Who Values Diversity. Riordan will match all donations up to $10,000.

Okay, folks. I have now read two great books from Rosarium, a small press that is trying to bring quality diverse voices into the world of publishing, which as we all know is very, very white. I have been REALLY impressed with both works — the short story collection The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria and the graphic novel DayBlack.

This is the kind of business we need to support, in the same way we support independent bookstores, if we value a world of reading that is not boring and monolithic but fully representative of all the amazing life experiences in the world.

One way I can do that personally is to read and review and celebrate the books publishers like Rosarium produce. But Rosarium is also holding a fundraiser to expand their list and keep their books coming. I am donating and I challenge you to join me.

We have only a few days left for Rosarium to meet their goal. From today, Monday, through the rest of their fundraiser, I will match all donations up to a total of $10,000. Make your money go twice as far and support excellent diverse publishing of science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels and more. Please join me at whatever level you are able, and let Rosarium know we support what they are doing!

The appeal has received pledges for $20,538 towards its $40,000 goal with 2 days remaining.

2015 Shirley Jackson Awards Nominees

The shortlist for the 2015 Shirley Jackson Awards has been released. The awards recognize outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic, and are voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics.

The awards will be presented on Sunday, July 10, 2016, at Readercon 27 in Quincy, Massachusetts.

NOVEL

  • Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin Press)
  • Experimental Film, Gemma Files (ChiZine Publications)
  • The Glittering World, Robert Levy (Gallery)
  • Lord Byron’s Prophecy, Sean Eads (Lethe Press)
  • When We Were Animals, Joshua Gaylord (Mulholland Books)

NOVELLA

  • The Box Jumper, Lisa Mannetti (Smart Rhino)
  • In the Lovecraft Museum, Steve Tem (PS Publishing)
  • Unusual Concentrations, S.J. Spurrier (Simon Spurrier)
  • The Visible Filth, Nathan Ballingrud (This Is Horror)
  • Wylding Hall, Elizabeth Hand (PS Publishing-UK/Open Road Media-US)

NOVELETTE

  • “The Briskwater Mare,” Deborah Kalin (Cherry Crow Children, Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Deepwater Bride,” Tamsyn Muir (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July-August 2015)
  • “Even Clean Hands Can Do Damage,” Steve Duffy (Supernatural Tales #30, Autumn)
  • “Fabulous Beasts,” Priya Sharma (Tor.com, July 2015)
  • “The Thyme Fiend,” Jeffrey Ford (Tor.com, March 2015)

SHORT FICTION

  • “A Beautiful Memory,” Shannon Peavey (Apex Magazine)
  • “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” Alyssa Wong (Nightmare)
  • “Seven Minutes in Heaven,” Nadia Bulkin (Aickman’s Heirs)
  • “The Dying Season,” Lynda E. Rucker (Aickman’s Heirs)
  • “Wilderness,” Letitia Trent (Exigencies)

SINGLE-AUTHOR COLLECTION

  • The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Stephen King (Scribner)
  • The End of the End of Everything, Dale Bailey (Arche Press)
  • Get in Trouble, Kelly Link (Random House)
  • Gutshot, Amelia Gray (FSG Originals)
  • The Nameless Dark – A Collection, T.E. Grau (Lethe Press)
  • You Have Never Been Here, Mary Rickert (Small Beer Press)

EDITED ANTHOLOGY

  • Aickman’s Heirs, edited by Simon Strantzas (Undertow Publications)
  • Black Wings IV, edited by S.T. Joshi (PS Publishing)
  • The Doll Collection, edited by Ellen Datlow (Tor)
  • Exigencies, edited by Richard Thomas (Dark House Press)
  • Seize the Night, edited by Christopher Golden (Gallery)

Free Comic Book Day Is May 7

On Free Comic Book Day, May 7, participating comic book stores across North America and the world will be giving away comic books to visitors in their shops. Use the locator on the website to search for a store near you.

Click here to see the covers of 50 comics being handed out free – some of the links include preview pages,

There’s also current info on Facebook.

Get a briefing from this video:

And a string of comics creators promote Free Comic Book Day in this video:

London in 2080 at Clarke Center

London in 2080

The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination in conjunction with The Bartlett School of Architecture are jointly hosting “Science Fiction Meets Architecture: London in 2080”, a two-part transatlantic lecture series on designing for the future, free and open to the public.

Event One: RISING SEA LEVELS

May 4th, 10:30am-12:00pm at Atkinson Hall Auditorium, UC San Diego

Responding to the rising sea level-a design for the waterfront/riverfront of London in 2080. Current estimates are that the Thames will rise a meter by 2080, though some estimates put the rise considerably higher. Speakers design a response and discuss.

Kim Stanley Robinson is an American writer of speculative science-fiction and winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the World Fantasy Award. He has published over twenty books of science fiction, translated into 24 languages, including the award-winning Mars trilogy. Time magazine named him a “Hero of the Environment” in 2008, and in 2012 his novel 2312 was a New York Times bestseller. His most recent novel is Aurora.

Usman Haque is founding partner of Umbrellium and Thingful, a search engine for the Internet of Things. Earlier, he launched the Internet of Things data infrastructure and community platform Pachube.com, which was acquired by LogMeIn in 2011. Trained as an architect, he has created responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices, and dozens of mass-participation initiatives throughout the world. He received the 2008 Design of the Year Award (interactive) from the Design Museum, UK, a 2009 World Technology Award (art), the Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence prize, and the Asia Digital Art Award Grand Prize.

Event Two: MEGAMALLS

May 25th, 10:30am-12:00pm at Atkinson Hall Auditorium, UC San Diego

Speakers design and discuss a mega mall in London, 2080. Size is negotiable. Speakers assume the singularity has not yet arrived but sensors, AI, and robots are ubiquitous. 

Vernor Vinge has won five Hugo Awards, including one for each of his last three novels, Upon the Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999), and Rainbow’s End (2006). Known for his rigorous hard-science approach to his science fiction, he became an iconic figure among cybernetic scientists with the publication in 1981 of his novella “True Names,” which is considered a seminal, visionary work of Internet fiction and cyberspace. Dr. Vinge is Emeritus professor of mathematics and computer science and also noted, among other things, for introducing the term “the singularity.”

Marjan Colletti is an architect, educator, researcher, and author. He is currently an Associate Professor in Architecture and Post-digital Practice and Director of Computing at The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL London, Chair Professor of Building Design and Construction, founder of REX|LAB, Head of the Institute of Experimental Architecture at Innsbruck University, and co-founder and co-principal of the studio marcosandmarjan in London. He has published various books on design-research, including Digital Poetics: An Open Theory of Design-Research in Architecture and the 80th anniversary edition of AD, titled Exuberance: New Virtuosity in Contemporary Architecture.

Pixel Scroll 5/1/16 Baying and Nothingness

(1) BLACK GATE OUT. Black Gate has withdrawn as a Hugo nominee. Editor John O’Neill explained the decision:

Why did we decline? While we won’t know the exact number of nominating ballots until the stats are released (after the Hugos are awarded), it’s clear that Black Gate largely benefited from Vox Day’s Rabid Puppy Hugo slate. As we reported Wednesday, roughly 80% of this year’s Hugo ballot was dictated by that slate — it swept six categories, including Short Story, Graphic Story, and Fanzine. Our choice to withdraw was informed by many of the same factors that led us to make the same decision last year.

(2) REACTIONS. George R.R. Martin analyzed Black Gate’s “Hugo Withdrawal” at Not A Blog.

This is the second year that BLACK GATE has refused a nomination, so one certainly has to admire them for their consistency. And no one can deny that this is a very difficult decision for those, like BLACK GATE, that were put on the ballot by the Rabids without their consent (it is an easy decision for the Rabids themselves and their allies, of course, most of whom are squealing as happily as pigs in shit).

Since I’m on record as urging the “hostages” to stand their ground, I can’t applaud this decision. But I will not criticize it either. They had a tough call and they made it, consistent with their own politics and principles.

I will quibble, however, about one of their assertions: that even if BLACK GATE had elected to remain on the ballot, they had no chance of winning. I am not going to go so far as to say they were the favorite… but I think they would have had a shot. All five of this year’s nominees were on the Rabid Slate, yes. But two of the five — BLACK GATE and FILE 770 — are clearly hostages, slated without their consent. Despite the success of No Award in last year’s voting, I think the presence of so many hostages this year changes the equation. My hope is that fewer fans will resort to the Nuclear Option. If so, I think FILE 770 will win here… but BLACK GATE would have given Glyer’s zine its strongest competition. Oh, and yes, No Award will be contending too. TANGENT might have a very slim outside chance.

(3) THE 100% SOLUTION. What could be simpler? Send this tweet to the Hugo Administrators forthwith!

(4) SANDIFER. Phil Sandifer asserts “Vox Day Put A Child Pornographer On The Hugo Ballot”.

For obvious reasons, I will not be providing links here, however I am happy to provide them privately to anyone with a legitimate interest in the information, including law enforcement.

It was brought to my attention today that “kukuruyo,” one of the artists that Vox Day put on the Rabid Puppies slate in Best Fan Artist and that made it onto the Hugo Ballot recently posted to his blog a commissioned drawing of comic book character Ms. Marvel in which her genitalia is clearly visible and provocatively displayed. Ms. Marvel – whose comic won last year’s Hugo for Best Graphic Story – is a sixteen-year-old girl in the comics. Under US law, this would seem to legally be child pornography.

Although the drawing post-dates Day’s placement of the artist on his slate, the hypocrisy of Vox Day endorsing the work of a child pornographer is particularly glaring given that he continues to throw childish insults like this around…

(5) DAY SAYS NAY. Vox Day says it ain’t so:

A few relevant points that collectively demonstrate the utter absurdity of Pedophil’s libel:

  • Kukuruyo has stated that he didn’t know the fictitious age of the Marvel cartoon character, Ms Marvel, and drew her as a 20-year-old.
  • I am reliably informed that Ms Marvel was 16 when she was introduced in 2013. That makes her at least 18 now, possibly 19.
  • The age of consent in Spain is 16. Kukuruyo is Spanish, lives in Spain, and US law is not relevant to his activities.
  • The drawing cannot be child pornography regardless of what age the fictitious character is supposed to be. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that drawings and computer representations are not child pornography.
  • Phil Sandifer has admitted that he was aware of the Supreme Court ruling when he made the accusation.
  • The Ms Marvel drawing was drawn and posted well after I recommended Kukuruyo, who draws GamerGate Life, for the Hugo Award.

SJWs always project. This is more than a little alarming in this particular case.

(5) ARISTOTLE. Vox Day announced he has banned Camestros Felapton from commenting at Vox Popoli, in a lengthy post titled “Of enthymemes and false erudition”.

In other words, Felapton has confused Aristotle’s admonition to use rhetoric in the service of the truth with Aristotle’s definitions of what rhetoric is as well as with his instructions on how to use rhetoric effectively. In fact, Aristotle makes it clear that both dialectic and rhetoric can be used impartially on either side of an argument, although it is much easier to identify the deceptive use of dialectic due to its reliance on complete syllogisms and strict logic than it is the deceptive use of rhetoric due to its incomplete structure and its reliance on apparent truths that are accepted by the audience.

What Felapton calls “bollocks” and “bullshit” is nothing more than what Aristotle calls “apparent truth”. But, as we have seen, rhetoric can rely upon these apparent truths just as readily as upon actual truths. And in this particular application, my rhetoric, even structurally reliant as it is upon apparent truth rather than actual truth, is more persuasive, and therefore more effective, than Slate’s rhetoric, in part for the obvious reason that it is absolutely true.

(5) BANNED FROM ARGO. Camestros Felapton’s attitude was, “Cool! Banned by Vox!”.

My claim is that I can’t reward obnoxious behavior by Castalia House. Nothing to do with the genetic fallacy. Vox concedes that I raise one valid point, which is that “there is no way of separating what is published by Castalia from how Castalia promotes itself and its published works.” That is the ethical basis of my position and Vox concedes that it is valid and not fallacious.

What is more interesting is Vox losing his cool. That is a major departure from his play book and poor tactics. He is actually rattled? Surely not by me, so I assume it must be by Philip Sandifer’s campaign.

(6) FELAPTON AMERICA. As part of our all-Felapton-all-the-time coverage, we must also mention his “Review: Captain America: Civil War”.

Films in a sequence or series that have a job to do (i.e. get the plot from A to B, join one film to another etc) can often be weak. Films with obvious required plot beats can be dull. Films that are obliged to shoe-horn in characters (particularly superhero movies that have to fit in a required number of villains or heroes) can be boring and over stuffed.

I think, on balance, Civil War manages to just avoid each of these obstacles. It isn’t as tense and tight as Winter Soldier but it feels a lot more plot driven and focused than Age of Ultron. It is arguably the most dark and bleak of the current crop of Marvel films, with substantially less humor.

(7) CATHOUSE. Camestros Felapton’s cat, Timothy, is also demanding a share of the attention. Timothy is going into publishing: “New From Cattimothy House”.

There will be WALRUS COMP

This is the sort of development for which the cry “Mayday!” was invented…

(8) OTHER PEOPLE’S FILES. Jeff VanderMeer wonders “What to Do With 30-Plus Years of Papers, Drafts, Correspondence, Projects?”

One project for this year is to get a handle on 30-plus years of papers, correspondence, rough drafts, and what I would call “project histories.” This includes a lot of material from before email and the internet, which means sometimes quite long letters with other writers and people in publishing, some of them well-known at the time and some of them now quite well-known but obscure then. It also includes all of my wife Ann VanderMeer’s correspondence and history with projects like her indie press mag The Silver Web (fiction and art) and from her five-year stint at Weird Tales. And because we were active in small press in the 1980s-90s, there’s a treasure trove of old issues of horror and fantasy magazines not only now defunct but also not much mentioned on the internet, because they existed pre-internet or just on the cusp.

(9) ASTERISKS. Kary English points out her exchange in comments on David Gerrold’s recent Facebook post about the Sasquan asterisks.

Kary English: I was hurt by the asterisks. They were displayed on a table at the pre-Hugo reception, and I walked by the table without taking one. I was approached by a couple of people during the reception who wanted to make sure I got mine. Some of them were well-meaning and probably didn’t know who I was, and some of them seemed to want to make sure I got mine in a not so nice way. After several instances of saying “no, thank you,” I finally accepted one because it was clear that not holding one was making me a target for further attempts to get me to take one. To be honest, the whole thing felt like that creepy guy who maneuvers you into a situation where you have to choose between letting him give you a completely inappropriate hug or making a scene in public. I would also like to push back against the idea that those of us who were hurt went there looking to be hurt, or that those of us who were hurt deserved to be hurt (said by someone in a recent File 770 roundup). This is victim blaming, and it is not OK.

David Gerrold replied:

I apologize. I feel bad about causing you pain. That was never the intention and it saddens me to hear that you were hurt. You are a talented Hugo-worthy writer. I thought your story Totaled deserved to be on the ballot, and I thought it was worthy of the trophy. I also liked Shattered Vessels in a recent issue of Galaxy’s Edge, so I look forward to seeing your next outing. I expect you will have more opportunities in the future to take home a Hugo. You have my best wishes, as well as my admiration for work well done

Kary English accepted the apology:

Thank you, David. Apology accepted, and that’s very gracious of you to say.

(10) ANIMAL RESCUE. Burt Ward, Robin the Boy Wonder from the 1960s Batman TV series, and his wife Tracy, say their nonprofit Gentle Giant Rescue has rescued more than 14,000 dogs in the last 18 years.

(11) THIS ANIMAL RESCUED ITSELF. io9 in “Read Alien, retold from the cat’s perspective”, excerpts a no-longer-published work.

Only one character in Alien has the wits and wherewithal to survive to the end of the movie at Ripley’s side: Jones the cat. While everyone else on Nostromo was screaming like chickens with their chests ripped open, Jones exhibited the cool becoming a cat. Now Jones finally gets to tell his side of the story, one filled with naps, food, and yes, the occasional alien.

Novelist and film critic Anne Billson wrote “My Day by Jonesy,” a recap of the first Alien film from Jones’ point of view. Apparently, Jones spent most of the film fretting over his food and being annoyed that the humans (or “can openers” as he calls them) keep waking him up from his naps…

(12) SEEKING EMPLOYMENT. Jen Yamato of The Daily Beast speculates “Why the Original Darth Vader Is Now ‘Persona Non Grata’ at Star Wars Events”.

Forty years ago on a soundstage just across the pond, British actor David Prowse donned a shiny black helmet and became the most iconic movie villain in history—until Star Wars director George Lucas overdubbed his performance as Darth Vader with the dulcet, booming voice of James Earl Jones.

Prowse, now 80 years old, still hasn’t gotten over the snub that simultaneously made his career. But there’s a bigger disturbance between the O.G. Vader and the architect of the Star Wars universe.

In the new documentary Elstree 1976—about the hopes, dreams, and rather mundane real lives of the supporting actors and background extras cast in the original Star Wars—Prowse sounds off on the beef with Lucas that’s made him “persona non grata” at the billion dollar franchise’s biggest annual conventions.

Interviewed at his home two years ago for the film, Prowse says he has no idea why he has been “barred” from Star Wars Celebration—the biggest Star Wars event on the fan convention circuit where he, like many former cast members and celebs of yesteryear, now makes much of his income.

“Unfortunately I’ve been barred for some obscure reason—also [from] Disney Star Wars Weekends. Ask Mr. Lucas,” he adds with a bittersweet shrug. “I’ve obviously upset him at some stage or another. And they just feel I’m persona non grata at those two shows.” …

[Thanks to JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

Black Gate Withdraws From Hugo Ballot

Black Gate’s editor John O’Neill announced May 1 that he has withdrawn his online fanzine from the 2016 Hugo ballot — see “Black Gate Declines Hugo Nomination”.

As O’Neill explained the decision:

Why did we decline? While we won’t know the exact number of nominating ballots until the stats are released (after the Hugos are awarded), it’s clear that Black Gate largely benefited from Vox Day’s Rabid Puppy Hugo slate. As we reported Wednesday, roughly 80% of this year’s Hugo ballot was dictated by that slate — it swept six categories, including Short Story, Graphic Story, and Fanzine. Our choice to withdraw was informed by many of the same factors that led us to make the same decision last year.

It also seems fairly obvious that we cannot win. Of the 61 nominees the Puppy ballots placed on the Hugo ballot last year, only one, Guardians of the Galaxy, received an award. The Rabid Puppy brand, which BG is now unwillingly associated with, is so toxic that it’s virtually impossible to overcome that association without the equivalent of a $100 million advertising campaign. Those nominees who stubbornly argued otherwise last year, and attended the Hugo ceremony with high hopes, learned that the hard way, unceremoniously losing out to No Award in a painful rout across virtually every category. (Incidentally, I also voted No Award for most of the ballot.)

[Thanks to Steven H Silver for the story.]

Review of Glen Weldon’s “The Caped Crusade”

the-caped-crusade-9781476756691_lgBy Martin Morse Wooster: It’s a Saturday afternoon, and you’ve just finished watching Batman v. Superman.  You’ve watched 2 ½ hours of punching, kicking, explosions, crushing, and snarling—lots and lots of snarling.

The music of Junker XL throbs through your brain like a migraine, and you hope that for the Justice League movie, Zack Snyder would choose someone more soothing—Junker L, perhaps.

Your brain is filled with questions. For example:  Bruce Wayne can have stubble, because, well, he’s a billionaire, and he can dress any way he wants.  But why can’t Alfred look professional?  Did Zack Snyder go to Jesse Eisenberg and say, “I loved your work as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.  Now give us the insane version.”

You sit through the credits and there’s a special set of acknowledgments—Mort Weisinger. Gardner Fox.  Len Wein.  You ask:  Who are these guys?[1]

In The Caped Crusade, Glen Weldon will tell you.

Weldon, who writes and comments about comics a lot and who has previously written a book about Superman, has written an entertaining and very readable history of Batman. If you want to know more about Batman’s history, this is a good book.

It should be noted that Weldon is gay, and loves to speculate about the decades when Batman was gay and the decades when he was really gay.  He also very much enjoys a typo in  the 1940 comic that introduced Robin that gays will find hilarious but which I won’t repeat because, well, it’s his joke.

But Weldon’s assignment is to tell Batman’s history, and this he does very well. He explains that Batman is a “nonpowered super hero,” the one comic book character people can daydream about being.  He also shows that the creation of Batman was a collective effort.

Bob Kane argued that he created Batman by himself, but Weldon shows that many comic book writers and artists added their part.  Bill Finger was the most important collaborator, designing Batman’s uniform (dark, to make him a creature of the night), and, most importantly, writing the issue of Detective Comics which shows the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne and young Bruce Wayne’s vow to spend his life “warring on all criminals.”  Gardner Fox (who also wrote a lot of heroic fantasy) created much of the Gothic background of Gotham City.  While Bob Kane thought up the idea of a boy sidekick for Batman, it was Jerry Robinson who named him Robin the Boy Wonder, because as a child Robinson loved N.C. Wyeth’s illustrations for Robin Hood.  Finally, National Comics editor Whit Ellsworth decreed that Batman would never use a gun.

But despite this collective effort, Bob Kane’s supremacy still lingers: while Superman is officially credited to “Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster,” the Batman credit, for what I am told are complicated legal reasons, is “Bob Kane with Bill Finger.”

Weldon carefully shows Batman’s continuing evolution. Batman is the one DC superhero besides Superman to be drawn continuously for 75 years.  Most DC superheroes were suspended in between the late 1940s and 1956 in favor of sf adventure stories.  Batman in the 1950s fought robots and aliens, accompanied by Ace the Bat-Hound and Mogo the Bat-Ape.  Most of these sf elements were discarded by 1960.

In the comic books, Weldon shows Batman’s evolution. In the 1970s, the books produced by Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil reintroduced the darkness of the classic Batman.  Many comic book fans consider the Adams/O’Neil period the best Batman series.  In the 1980s and 1990s Frank Miller made Batman nasty.  Finally, between 2006-09, Grant Morrison had a “massive, slowly unfolding, meta-mega narrative” in which all of Batman’s adventures, including his ones where his battles with the Bat-Mite and the ones where he teleported to distant planets, were all true.

Weldon spends about half of his book discussing Batman on television and the movies. He credits four actors with excellent work in Batman films and TV shows.

The 1960s Batman TV series, he thinks, works primarily because of the voice work of Adam West.  Go to YouTube and look at Adam West and Lyle Waggoner’s screen tests and you’ll see that West has the rare skill of being authoritative and goofy simultaneously.  That’s a very rare skill—Leslie Nielsen and Patrick Warburton can do it, and I can’t think of anyone else.  But West’s excellent voice skill is the reason why, in his eighties, Seth Macfarlane gives West plenty of work on Family Guy.

In Weldon’s view, the 1990’s cartoon show Batman: The Animated Series is the best version of Batman ever.  The reason, he believes, is the voice work of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker.

Finally, Weldon says that Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight was a “unique and unforgettable cinematic creation” thanks to “Ledger’s tiny , highly specific choices.”  Most of the time the Joker is the ultimate extrovert, who proves the timeless rule that clowns are always laughing on the outside and crying on the inside.  Ledger makes the Joker as an introvert, and subtly conveys that everything the Joker says is a lie.  Weldon thinks Ledger’s Oscar was well deserved.

The subtitle of The Caped Crusade is “Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture,” and Weldon discusses fandom at length.  In the 1960s the producers of the Batman TV series courted the editors of comics fanzines, telling them that many of the scripts for early episodes (but not later ones) came from the comic books.  Fannish pummeling of Joel Schumacher’s egregious Batman and Robin (1997) made Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News one of the web’s first superstars.  Weldon’s discussion of this period reminds me of a joke I once heard—that the most terrifying words in the English language were “a film by Joel Schumacher.”  Today, fans interact with Batman in all sorts of ways, including cosplay and fan fiction.

The Caped Crusade is a well-written, highly entertaining look at Batman which I very much enjoyed reading.

[1] Mort Weisinger, who sold sf fiction in the 1930s and was editor of Thrilling Wonder Stories between 1936-41, was editor of the Batman comics in the 1940s and 1950s.  Len Wein wrote Batman between 1979-86, when he introduced Lucius Fox (played by Morgan Freeman in the Christopher Nolan Batman films) as Batman’s first black character.

Top 10 Posts For April 2016

Sure, the Hugos were the biggest story in April, and the impact of the slates was the biggest Hugo story. However, the new Dragon Awards, and David A. Riley’s reasons for leaving a Horror Writers of America awards jury, were pretty big news too.

Here are dual Top 10 lists – the leading Pixel Scrolls, and the best-read news posts.

Top 10 News Posts

  1. Measuring The Rabid Puppies Slate’s Impact on the Final Hugo Ballot
  2. Dragon Con Launches Its Own SF Awards
  3. Thomas A. Mays Withdraws His Hugo-Nominated Story
  4. SFWA Mass Autographing May 13
  5. Riley Off HWA Award Jury
  6. 2016 Deutscher Science Fiction Preis Shortlist
  7. No Time For Yeomen (Don’t Tell Janice Rand)
  8. HWA on Bram Stoker Award Jury Controversy
  9. What Did You Nominate for the 2016 Hugos?
  10. Status Report

Top Ten Scrolls

  1. Pixel Scroll 4/28/16 All My Hugos
  2. Pixel Scroll 4/6/2016 I Saw A Scroll Drinking A Pina Colada At Trader Vic’s, His Pixel Was Perfect
  3. Pixel Scroll 4/18/16 It’s Better To Pixel Out, Than To Scroll Away
  4. Pixel Scroll 4/8/16 “…And He Built A Crooked Mouse.”
  5. Pixel Scroll 4/27/16 One Pup, Two Pup, Mad Pup, Sad Pup.
  6. Pixel Scroll 4/9/16 Little Old Lady Got Nominated Late Last Night
  7. Pixel Scroll 4/20/16 Through the Scrolling-Glass
  8. Pixel Scroll 4/29/16 Dr. Strangelist
  9. Pixel Scroll 4/7/16 Pixels On Earth, Fifth To All Mankind
  10. Pixel Scroll 4/17/16 Hives of Light

 

 

Were-anthology Table of Contents Released

Cover by Justin Adams.

Cover by Justin Adams.

Joshua Palmatier has announced the table of contents for the Were-anthology coming out in August 2016. The book was funded as part of last year’s Alien Artifacts & Were- SF&F Themed Anthologies Kickstarter.

The cover art is by Justin Adams.

The tentative back cover copy reads —

Werewolves rule the night in urban fantasy, but everyone knows there are other were-creatures out there just as dangerous and deadly, if not as common, each with their own issues as they struggle to fit into—or prey upon—society. What about the were-goats? The were-crows and were-wasps?

Here are seventeen stories of urban fantasy by today’s leading science fiction and fantasy authors that introduce you to some of those other were-creatures, the ones hiding in the dark background shadows, waiting to bite. Join us as they take you into the hidden corners of our world to see some lesser known were-creatures. You may want to bring along some silver . . . just in case.

Table of Contents;

  • Introduction by Joshua Palmatier
  • “Best In Show” by Seanan McGuire
  • “We Dig” by Ashley McConnell
  • “Eyes Like Pearls” by Susan Jett
  • “Among the Grapevines, Growing” by Eliora Smith
  • “A Party For Bailey” by David B. Coe
  • “Cry Murder” by April Steenburgh
  • “Missy the Were-Pomeranian vs. the Masters of Mediocre Doom” by Gini Koch
  • “Paper Wasp” by Mike Barretta
  • “Point Five” by Elizabeth Kite
  • “The Promise of Death” by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
  • “The Five Bean Solution” by Jean Marie Ward
  • “Witness Report” by Katharine Kerr
  • “Attack of the Were-Zombie Friendship With Benefits” by Sarah Brand
  • “The Whale” by Anneliese Belmond
  • “Anzu, Duba, Beast” by Faith Hunter
  • “Shiftr” by Patricia Bray
  • “Sniff For Your Life” by Phyllis Ames

Those who preorder the paperback of the anthology will get a special Kickstarter edition of the book and will be able to read it early, before the general public. Likewise for those that preorder the ebook. Preorder at the Zombies Need Brains Online Store.

[Thanks to JJ for the story.]

Mark Twain Pixel Scroll 4/30/16 Never Mind The Scrollocks, Here’s The Sex Pixels

One hundred percent pure Scroll.

(1) NOT QUITE FAILURE TO LAUNCH. “Nail-biting start for Russia’s new Vostochny space centre” – BBC has the story.

“Oh please, darling, fly!”

A technician standing behind me was really nervous during the launch countdown at Vostochny, a new space centre in Russia’s Far East.

It was the second launch attempt – a day after the previous one had been aborted at the last minute.

I noticed that some of the technician’s colleagues also had pale faces and had crossed their fingers.

It emerged later that a cable malfunction had led to the postponement of Wednesday’s launch.

This time there was relief for Russia’s federal space agency, Roscosmos, as the Soyuz rocket, carrying three satellites, blasted off and the booster stage separated.

President Vladimir Putin had travelled 5,500km (3,500 miles) to watch the launch and was in a black mood after Wednesday’s cancellation, berating Vostochny’s managers for the financial scandals that have blighted this prestige project.

(2) DEAD TO RIGHTS. For a collision between the real world and fantasy, see “Gucci warns Hong Kong shops on paper fakes for funerals”. Gucci is trying to prevent people from selling paper mockups (of their products) to be burned in placate-ones-ancestors ceremonies.

Italian luxury goods maker Gucci has sent warning letters to Hong Kong shops selling paper versions of its products as offerings to the dead.

Paper replicas of items like mansions, cars, iPads and luxury bags are burnt in the belief that deceased relatives can use them in the afterlife.

Demand for these products is highest during the Qingming “tomb-sweeping” festival, which happened last month.

The shops were sent letters but there was no suggestion of legal action.

(3) NEAL STEPHENSON CONNECTION. Kevin Kelly writes “The Untold Story of Magic Leap, the World’s Most Secretive Startup” in the May issue of Wired, about mega-mysterious virtual reality company Magic Leap.

Among the first people (CEO Rony) Abovitz hired at Magic Leap was Neal Stephenson, author of the other seminal VR anticipation, Snow Crash.  He wanted Stephenson to be Magic Leap’s chief futurist because ‘he has an engineer’s mind fused with that of a great writer.’  Abovitz wanted him to lead a small team developing new forms of narrative.  Again, the myth maker would be making the myths real.

The hero in Snow Crash wielded a sword in the virtual world.  To woo Stephenson, four emissaries from Magic Leap showed up at Stephenson’s home with Orcrist–the ‘Goblin-cleaver’ sword from The Hobbit trilogy.  It was a reproduction of the prop handcrafted by a master wordsmith.  That is, it was a false version of the real thing used in the unreal film world–a clever bit of recursiveness custom-made for mixed reality.  Stephenson was intrigued.  ‘It’s not every day that someone turns up at your house bearing a mythic sword, and so I did what anyone who has read a lot of fantasy novels would:  I let them in and gave them beer,’ he wrote on Magic Leap’s blog.  ‘True to form, hey invited me on a quest and invited me to sign a contract (well, an NDA actually).’ Stephenson accepted the job.  ‘We’ve maxed out what we can do on 2-D screens, he says.  ‘Now it’s time to unleash what is possible in 3-D, and that means redefining the medium from the ground up.  We can’t do that in small steps.’  He compared the challenge of VR to crossing a treacherous valley to reach new heights.  He admires Abovitz because he is willing to ‘slog through that valley.'”

Magic Leap has also hired Ernest Cline as a consultant.

(4) REYNOLDS RAP. The Traveler at Galactic Journey has kind words for a prozine in “[April 30, 1961] Travel Stories (June 1961 Galaxy)”.

My nephew, David, has been on an Israeli Kibbutz for a month now.  We get letters from him every few days, mostly about the hard work, the monotony of the diet, and the isolation from the world.  The other day, he sent a letter to my brother, Lou, who read it to me over the phone.  Apparently, David went into the big port-town of Haifa and bought copies of Life, Time, and Newsweek.  He was not impressed with the literary quality of any of them, but he did find Time particularly useful.

You see, Israeli bathrooms generally don’t stock toilet paper…

Which segues nicely into the first fiction review of the month.  I’m happy to report I have absolutely nothing against the June 1961 Galaxy – including my backside.  In fact, this magazine is quite good, at least so far.  As usual, since this is a double-sized magazine, I’ll review it in two parts.

First up is Mack Reynolds’ unique novelette, Farmer.  Set thirty years from now in the replanted forests of the Western Sahara, it’s an interesting tale of intrigue and politics the likes of which I’ve not seen before.  Reynolds has got a good grasp of the international scene, as evidenced by his spate of recent stories of the future Cold War.  If this story has a failing, it is its somewhat smug and one-sided tone.  Geopolitics should be a bit more ambiguous.  It’s also too good a setting for such a short story.  Three stars.

(5) POHL PIONEERED. In a piece on The Atlantic by Michael Lapointe, ”Chernobyl’s Literary Legacy, Thirty Years Later”, the author credits Fred Pohl with writing the first novel about Chernobyl and says that Pohl’s 1987 Chernobyl “is done on an epic scale.”

(6) INDIE NOVELTY. Cedar Sanderson tells how she self-published a coloring book in “Non-Traditional Books” at Mad Genius Club.

So why am I telling you about this? Well, it’s different. Someone reading this may be a terrific artist (I’m not, by the way. I doodle really well) and this might be a great way for them to get a product on the market. I figure you can learn along with me, or from my mistakes, so you don’t have to make the ones I did.

Ingredients for a Coloring Book: 

  • Pens, pencils, and paper
  • A thematic idea (mine was adorable dragons and flowers)
  • Line-Art (this from the pen and paper, or you could create it digitally, which would be even better)
  • A good scanner
  • Graphics software: Gimp will work, Photoshop is actually better for this
  • Wordprocessing software: I laid the book out in Microsoft Word. You could use InDesign if you have it and are comfortable with it.
  • Patience

Cost? Well, not counting the cost of pens, ink, paper (I had all of those at the beginning, although I did invest some in upgrades) I spent about $12 on Inktail’s final production stages. That was $10 for a Createspace ISBN and $2 for stock art elements to put on the cover. Time? Well, now, that’s a horse of a different color.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

Born April 30, 1938 — Larry Niven.

(8) TO THE LITTLE SCREEN. ScreenRant reports “Wheel of Time Book Series to Become TV Show”.

Fans of the best-selling American fantasy novel series Wheel of Time, created by Vietnam War veteran and prolific genre fiction writer Robert Jordan, are no doubt well familiar with the epic, fourteen-novel long series for its many well-detailed narrative elements and Hugo award-winning reputation. Drawing from European and Asian mythology, Jordan (who was born James Oliver Rigney Jr.) saw fit to create a fantasy realm and spiritual mythos that borrows elements from Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity. The resulting overarching narrative accordingly featured an overarching thematic concern with the forces of light and dark, mirroring the metaphysical concepts of balance and duality in kind.

As an answer to British novelist and former Oxford University professor J.R.R. Tolkien’s likeminded The Lord of the Rings, Jordan made a name for himself until the time of his death in 2007 as the chief successor to the throne of bestselling imaginative fantasy. The legacy that Wheel of Time has since left in the wake of its author’s death still holds a certain reverence for his grandly orchestrated fiction – and now that special place the series holds in the hearts of many fans looks to be fit for future production as a major network TV series.

Posting to the official Google+ account for the Wheel of Time franchise and intellectual property, Jordan’s widow, Harriet McDougal, was pleased to let fans of the series know that a late legal dispute with Red Eagle Entertainment has been resolved, meaning that the production of an official TV series based on her late husband’s masterwork will soon be announced. Speaking on behalf of Jordan’s estate, McDougal posted the following:

“Wanted to share with you exciting news about The Wheel of Time. Legal issues have been resolved. The Wheel of Time will become a cutting edge TV series! I couldn’t be more pleased. Look for the official announcement coming soon from a major studio.”

(9) MONSTERPALOOZA. Lisa Napoli explains that “Halloween is a $7.5 billion year-round industry”.

Here among the crowds of freakily dressed people at Monsterpalooza at the Pasadena Convention Center, Yvonne Solomon stands out. Not because of the red dress she’s wearing, with a plunging neckline. It’s the large old-fashioned baby carriage she’s pushing. In it are four distinctive creatures:  “These are my were-pups,” she said. “They’re silicone, handmade little pieces of art.”

Were-pups.  Baby were-wolves. Solomon paid an artist $650 a piece for these creepy-looking critters. At this gathering of fellow monster fans, she’s assured a sympathetic reception for her investment. Horror fests like Wizard World and Shuddercon take place every weekend, all around the country. People happily fork over pricey admission fees for the chance to mingle with like-minded mutants and monsters.

“You’re in a big hall with a bunch of people you don’t have to explain yourself to,” Keith Rainville said, who is here selling vintage Mexican and Japanese horror tchotchkes. “We’re all from the same mothership that dropped us off in this weird world.”

Rainville is one of 200 vendors here, selling one-of-a-kind pieces, like what Paul Lazo brought from his little shop of collectibles in New York: “He is a severed head with a bloody pan and he’s damn handsome.”

(10) INKSTAINED WRETCHES ON DISPLAY. Shelf Awareness catches a vision of the American Writers Museum.

The American Writers Museum, the first in the United States to focus exclusively on American writers, “past and present,” will open in March 2017 in downtown Chicago, Ill. Located at 180 North Michigan Avenue, the museum expects to draw up to 120,000 visitors each year and is working with more than 50 authors’ homes and museums around the country to build its exhibitions. Among the planned attractions are re-creations of writers’ homes and fictional locales (including Tara, Cannery Row and the House of Seven Gables), interactive exhibits about writers’ lives and methodologies (including “travels” with Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck, for example), and ample space for film screenings, talks, readings and presentations. The museum aims to hold exhibitions on a range of subjects. Roberta Rubin, the former longtime owner of the Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka, Ill., is co-chairman of the museum’s board of directors.

(11) VIRTUOSO. Hear the Star Trek: Voyager (Theme) “Metal cover” done by YouTube guitarist Captain Meatshield.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Will R., and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]