By Mark Blackman: On the damp, almost-almost summer
evening of Wednesday, June 19th, the monthly Fantastic Fiction
Readings Series hosted authors Keith R.A. DeCandido and Chuck Wendig at its
venue, the aptly-named Red Room at the 2nd floor KGB Bar in
Manhattan’s East Village.
The event opened, as customary, with Series co-host Matthew
Kressel’s exhortation to support the Bar by buying a drink and tipping the
bartenders who help hydrate, and announcing upcoming readers:
July 17: Cadwell Turnbull, Theodora Goss
August 21: Lara Elena Donnelly, Paul
September 18: Sarah Beth Durst, Sarah
October 16: Nicole Kornher-Stace, Barbara
dates are the third Wednesday of the month. Details and lineup well into 2019
and the dawn of 2020 are available at the Series website.) He concluded by
introducing the evening’s first reader, Keith R.A. DeCandido (who is used to his name being misspelled or
Keith, whom I know from way, way back and who is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his fiction writing career, is perhaps best known for his media tie-in work across “33 different universes, from Alien to Zorro” (one of his releases this year is Alien: Isolation, based on the classic movie series), which earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and even inspired one fan to cosplay him. His original work includes a fantasy police procedural series – the latest is Mermaid Precinct – and A Furnace Sealed, launching a new urban fantasy series set in the Bronx (a borough sorely neglected by urban fantasy, he feels), where he currently lives. He read from Chapter 5 of the latter novel.
Gold, MD, is, in his other profession, a courser, an agent for the Wardena, who
is in charge of all magic in the area, monitoring and, where necessary,
restricting it. While facing the pseudo-Haitian Madame Verité (“Mrs. Truth”),
he discovers that something is interfering with spells. (We meanwhile learn
that “unicorns are nasty” and, in detail, how difficult it is to drive and park
in the Bronx, even on Sunday.)
After an intermission, Series co-host Ellen Datlow took the podium
and introduced the second reader of the night.
Chuck Wendig was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His body of work includes the bestselling Star Wars: Aftermath, (like DeCandido, he is no stranger to media tie-in novels), the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, Zer0es/Invasive, and Wanderers (coming in July); he has also written comics, games, films and more, and served as the co-writer of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. He is also known for his blog, terribleminds.com, and books about writing, such as Damn Fine Story.
His offering was the opening of Wanderers. In the wake of Comet Sakomoto (which became as famous as Halley’s and Hale-Bopp), a plague of sleepwalkers (more than a dozin’, sorry) have joined together and cross the country, accompanied by followers. Shana is the sister of Nessie, one of the sleepwalkers.
The familiar bookstore was not set up at the back of the room
(therefore they don’t get a plug here), but DeCandido had copies of some of his
Prior to the readings, as is customary, Datlow wended through the
audience, snapping away; her photos of the event may be seen at the Series
In response to my previous newsletter on dealing with jealousy for the career successes of friends and colleagues, I’ve had a couple of conversations about how one might deal with an even more difficult form of jealousy: jealousy for the successes of people you just can’t stand—or, even worse, who have done you some personal harm. Sometimes abusers, toxic exes, harassers, or people who got you fired go on to have brilliant careers and amass great amounts of personal power.
And that’s a hard thing to take. Especially if, every time you go to an industry event, somebody is telling you how awesome that person is.
If there’s one thing that the #MeToo movement has made evident, it’s that this isn’t a problem unique to publishing. It’s a terrible situation to be in—triggering, traumatizing, and grief-provoking. It can make you doubt your own experience, memories, and senses. It can prove a constant reminder of violation.
It’s also (if there’s another thing the #MeToo movement has made evident) a depressingly common situation.
So how does one deal with it, when one finds one’s self in a situation like that?
(2) BECOMING SUPERMAN. J. Michael Straczynski previews his
forthcoming autobiography. Thread starts here.
… When the first volume of the series was published in the United States, in 2014, the models for Trisolaris and Earth were immediately apparent. For the Chinese, achieving parity with the West is a long-cherished goal, envisaged as a restoration of greatness after the humiliation of Western occupations and the self-inflicted wounds of the Mao era. As Liu told the Times, “China is on the path of rapid modernization and progress, kind of like the U.S. during the golden age of science fiction.” The future, he went on, would be “full of threats and challenges,” and “very fertile soil” for speculative fiction.
In the past few years, those threats and challenges have escalated, as China’s global ambitions, especially in the field of technology, have begun to impinge upon America’s preëminence.
…As the standoff has intensified, Liu has become wary of touting the geopolitical underpinnings of his work. In November, when I accompanied him on a trip to Washington, D.C.—he was picking up the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation’s Award for Imagination in Service to Society—he briskly dismissed the idea that fiction could serve as commentary on history or on current affairs. “The whole point is to escape the real world!” he said. Still, the kind of reader he attracts suggests otherwise: Chinese tech entrepreneurs discuss the Hobbesian vision of the trilogy as a metaphor for cutthroat competition in the corporate world; other fans include Barack Obama, who met Liu in Beijing two years ago, and Mark Zuckerberg. Liu’s international career has become a source of national pride. In 2015, China’s then Vice-President, Li Yuanchao, invited Liu to Zhongnanhai—an off-limits complex of government accommodation sometimes compared to the Kremlin—to discuss the books and showed Liu his own copies, which were dense with highlights and annotations.
There’s another potential explanation as to why Men in Black: International has failed to click with audiences, and it has to do with spectacle. Spectacle has long been a key part of the draw of big-budget Hollywood films. And for a long time, spectacle in terms of what films were using the most cutting-edge technology — had the most lifelike monsters, the most extensive battle sequences and so on — quite often corresponded with what films did well.
Think of a film like Avatar (2009). No one was writing home about the story. In spite of the various box office records it broke, the actual content of the film has left little lasting impression on popular culture in comparison to other comparable box office successes. While Jaws lives on in references like, “you’re gonna need a bigger boat” and the characters of the Star Wars films or the Marvel Cinematic Universe are household names, a lot of people would have a far more difficult time recalling any characters or lines of dialogue from Avatar. And this is because Avatar is the sort of film that reached the heights it did by merit of technical spectacle — immersing the audience in what, for many, was a compellingly photorealistic alien world.
(5) AUDIO FURNITURE. The new Two Chairs
Talking podcast, in which David Grigg and Perry Middlemiss talk
about sff books and movies, takes its name from the pair’s history as Worldcon
Chairs — David: Aussiecon Two; and Perry: Aussiecon Three and co-chair of
The fifth episode, “Episode 5: An Incomplete History of Serious Events”, features guest Leigh Edmonds talking about how he became a historian, and about his project to write a history of science fiction fandom in Australia. It also features Perry on Greg Egan, and David, as he says, “talking probably for too long about the tv series A Series of Unfortunate Events.
(6) CALLING DOUGHNUT CONTROL. Krispy Kreme is cashing in on the 50th anniversary of the
first moon landing by launching a new type of doughnut. (John
King Tarpinian, who sent the link, promises he’ll be sticking to his
traditional Moon Pie.)
One small bite for man. One giant leap for doughnut-kind! As America prepares for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Krispy Kreme is making a giant leap for doughnut-kind by introducing a whole NEW interpretation of the brand’s iconic Original Glazed. This will be the FIRST TIME Krispy Kreme has offered another version of the Original Glazed Doughnut on the menu PERMANENTLY.
(7) GOAL EXCEEDED. The Dennis Etchison Memorial
Fund at GoFundMe raised $5,445 to help Kristina Etchison with costs incurred to have Dennis
laid to rest. (The target amount was $4,000.)
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
June 19, 1954 — Them! released on this day.
June 19, 1964 — The Twilight Zone aired its series finale: “The Bewitchin’ Pool”, penned by Earl Hamner.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 19, 1915 — Julius Schwartz. He’s best known as a longtime editor at DC Comics, where at various times he was primary editor for the Superman and Batman lines. Just as interestingly, he founded the Solar Sales Service literary agency (1934–1944) where Schwartz represented such writers as Bradbury, Bester, Bloch, Weinbaum, and Lovecraft which including some of Bradbury’s very first published work and Lovecraft’s last such work. He also published Time Traveller, one of the first fanzines along with Mort Weisinger and Forrest J Ackerman. (Died 2004.)
Born June 19, 1921 — Louis Jourdan. Fear No Evil and Ritual of Evil, two tv horror films in the late Sixties, appear to be his first venture into our realm. He’d play Count Dracula in, errr, Count Dracula a few years later. And then comes the role you most likely remember him for, Dr. Anton Arcane in Swamp Thing which he reprised in The Return of Swamp Thing. Definitely popcorn films. Oh, and let’s not forget he was Kamal Khan, the villain in Octopussy! (Died 2015.)
Born June 19, 1926 — Josef Nesvadba. A Czech writer, best known for his SF short stories, many of which have appeared in English translation. ISFDB lists a number of stories as appearing in English and two collections of his translated stories were published, In The Footsteps of the Abominable Snowman: Stories of Science and Fantasy and Vampires Ltd. : Stories of Science and Fantasy. Neither’s available in digital format. (Died 2005.)
Born June 19, 1947 — Salman Rushdie, 72. Everything he does has some elements of magic realism in it. (Let the arguments begin on that statement.) So which of his novels are really genre? I’d say The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Grimus (his first and largely forgotten sf novel), Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights and Haroun and the Sea of Stories. If you’ve not read anything by him, I’d start with The Ground Beneath Her Feet which is by far both one of his best works and one of his most understandable ones as well.
Born June 19, 1953 — Virginia Hey, 66. Best known for her role as Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan in the fabulous Farscape, series and playing the Warrior Woman in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. She’s also Rubavitch, the mistress of KGB Head, General Pushkin, in The Living Daylights. She also had a brief appearance as a beautician in The Return of Captain Invincible, an Australian musical comedy superhero film.
Born June 19, 1954 — Kathleen Turner, 65. One of her earliest roles was in The Man with Two Brains as Dolores Benedict. Somewhat of a Fifties retro feel with that title. Of course, she voiced sultry Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, one of my favorite all time films. I still haven’t seen all of the Roger Rabbit short films that were done. She voiced Constance in Monster House a few years later, and was in Cinderella, a television film where she was the lead of the Wicked Stepmother Claudette.
Born June 19, 1957 — Jean Rabe, 62. She’s a genre author and editor who has worked on the Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Rogue Angel and BattleTech series, as well as many others. Ok, I admit to a degree of fascination with such writers as I’m a devotee of the Rogue Angel audiobooks that GraphicAudio does and she’s written according to ISFDB five of the source novels under the house name of Alex Archer.
Born June 19, 1978 — Zoe Saldana, 41, born with the lovely birth name of Zoë Yadira Saldaña Nazario. First genre role was Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. She’s Nyota Uhura in the new Trek series and she’s also Neytiri in the Avatar franchise. She portrays Gamora in the MCU, beginning with Guardians of the Galaxy, a truly great film.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
This Off the Mark could be the pilot for CSI: Springfield, if you know what I mean.
(11) SIGHTING. The commemorative Moon Landing Oreos have hit
the markets. John King Tarpinian snapped this photo in a Target store.
(12) HUGH JACKMAN. Ahead of his live show in Houston, Hugh Jackman visited NASA,
something he’s been dreaming about doing since childhood:
in the opening number of the second act of his show, channeling Peter Allen, he
brought a NASA salsa dance instructor up on stage with him. Who
even knew NASA had salsa dance instructors? It’s a real thing
don’t know about you guys! I’m going to Mars!” … “I’m gonna sign up
to be an astronaut tomorrow!”
Yesterday, as the video game industry’s attention was focused squarely on the final day of the E3 convention in Los Angeles, Amazon’s video game division quietly laid off dozens of employees.
Amazon Game Studios, which is currently developing the online games Crucible and New World, told affected employees on Thursday morning that they would have 60 days to look for new positions within Amazon, according to one person who was laid off. At the end of that buffer period, if they fail to find employment, they will receive severance packages.
Amazon also canceled some unannounced games, that person told Kotaku.
Over the past year, from Bermuda and the Bahamas to Ireland and Orkney, hundreds of pairs of unworn shoes have washed up on beaches. But how did they get there, and why are scientists so interested in where they are being found?
…The source of all these shoes is believed to be a single ship.
“Through the research I have done,” Mr Ribeiro says, “everything indicates they may have been from some of the 70 to 76 containers that fell overboard from the Maersk Shanghai.”
…Despite the environmental damage, scientists can salvage something from such incidents – a better understanding of our oceans and the currents that drive them.
While many of the shoes from the Maersk Shanghai have been washing up on beaches, far more are likely to be doing laps of the North Atlantic ocean, stuck in a network of powerful currents.
…Even more enlightening, Dr Ebbesmeyer says, is how the shape of the shoes seems to dictate where they end up.
“The left and the right sneakers float with different orientation to the wind,” he explains. “So when the wind blows on them they will go to different places. So on some beaches you tend to get the left sneakers and on others you get the right.”
…This book is a cool mixture of puzzle-solving, personal story and world-changing events.
What strikes me the most about it though is the choice of having this particular type of protagonist because April? Not exactly a super great person. She is kinda of a jerk, she is flawed, full of contradictions, she well and truly fucks up on numerous occasions. She loves AND hates all the attention and fame she receives – especially in a world that mirrors our own in terms of how social media shapes the lives of people. There is good in it, but there is also bad and there is certainly the ugly too and at different times April embodies all of these possibilities.
In her debut novel Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse introduced readers to a compelling future in which climate change and wars have wrecked North America, resulting in some fantastical transformations to the country. Native American gods walk alongside mortal humans, some of whom have developed fantastical clan powers, and magical walls have grown around the traditional Navajo homeland Dinétah. In her next adventure, Storm of Locusts, Roanhorse ups the stakes for her characters and the world….
Hey, you. Did you really like A Canticle For Leibowitz but think it needed more robot hookers and a talking goat? Then FKA USA is the book for you.
Did you think The Road suffered by not having enough gunfights with Mormons? Do you have a fondness for The Wizard Of Oz but believe, deep in your weird little heart, that it suffered a crippling lack of footnotes, bad language and fart jokes? Yeah, me, too. Which is (maybe) why I liked FKA USA so much.
For a limited time, the first episode of Savage Builds—in which Adam Savage (late of Mythbusters) constructs and tests an Iron Man suit—is available free on the Discovery Channel website.
Adam Savage became a household name as the cohost of Mythbusters, and now, he’s returned to the Discovery Channel with a new show: Savage Builds. In each episode of the series, Savage goes out and builds something, consulting with other experts and builders. The series just began airing on Discovery, and the first episode, in which he builds a flying Iron Man costume, is available for free online (at least in the US) for the next two weeks.
Think of it like a builder’s version of Mythbusters: take a thing from pop culture or history, and make a version that functions as closely as possible to its on-screen counterpart. In the show’s first episode, Savage sets out to build a real, flying Iron Man costume that’s also bulletproof.
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Woke Up Looking” on Vimeo is a love song Gideon
Irving sings to his robot.
[Thanks to Kat, Irwin Hirsh, Contrarius, Andrew Porter, Carl
Slaughter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse
Wooster, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File
770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
By John Hertz: Thanks to Colleen McMahon for taking note, in a recent post, of E. Everett Evans “Triple-E” and the Big Heart Award.
Triple- E was great.
The Big Heart is the highest service award in the SF
community, as the Hugos are the highest achievement award.
It is given annually, at the World Science Fiction
Convention, for good work and great spirit long contributed. McMahon quoted that phrase from Fancyclopedia
III, which correctly says it is “the words of one recent recipient”. That recipient is myself.
The Big Heart should not be thought a fan award (a
point on which Fancy 3 is mistaken).
The Science Fiction Awards Database, maintained by
Mark Kelly and the Locus magazine Science Fiction Foundation, correctly
The Big Heart Award, highest service award in the SF community … one of few presented during the preliminaries of the annual Hugo Awards ceremony…. may go to a fan or a pro – as has been noted, some people are both.
Recognition for something else is not a disqualification
for the Big Heart. For example, two of
the recipients McMahon named, Robert Silverberg and Our Gracious Host, have won
Hugos. Mike Glyer has chaired a
Worldcon, and at another was Fan Guest of Honour (so spelled, it was in
Canada). They were given the Big Heart neither because of, nor in spite of,
their recognition for other things.
It shouldn’t be surprising that many who have earned
the Big Heart have been fans. The heart
of fandom is participation.
(1) KLOOS SIGNS OFF TWITTER. Marko Kloos left Facebook
seven months ago, and today deleted his Twitter account, too. He explains why
in “Writing and the
I have to come to realize that over the last few years, the Internet has had a profoundly corrosive effect on my professional output and occasionally even my emotional health.
This effect has been especially severe in two areas: social media and email, both of which basically constituted my consent to being easily and directly available to contact by anyone with an Internet connection. In Twitter’s case, that contact has also been fully public, which means that anyone with a Twitter account has been able to see and share any conversation I’ve had with people outside of direct messages.
As of today, I am withdrawing that consent by getting off social media and curtailing my availability via email.
Late last year, I got so tired of the constant necessity to curate my Facebook feed and the drama resulting from pruning my Friends list that I pulled the plug for good and deleted my account. In the seven months since then, I have not missed it, and beyond a few concerned messages from long-time Facebook acquaintances, my absence has been inconsequential to the world and a lot less aggravation and anxiety in my life. Last night, I deleted my Twitter account as well, for slightly different reasons that boil down to the strong feeling that it will have a similar life-improving consequence….
… To put it bluntly: I can no longer allow anyone with a smartphone and a data plan the potential ability to darken my day or interrupt my work by trying to pick an argument or fill my Twitter feed with aggravating stuff. Most emails and Twitter interactions with fans have been fun and positive, but there have been exceptions. And even the well-meaning emails from happy readers take a slice out of my writing time.
… And hoo boy, their expectations were met. That inaugural installment of Jessica Jones was a true humdinger. It was distinctive without being flashy, mature without being ponderous, ambitious without being self-satisfied, sexy without being exploitative, and just … good. I can’t tell you how much of a revelation a good superhero show was at that time. We were used to spandex outings that were inane, formulaic, and utterly uninterested in pushing a single envelope. But here was a tale that seemed like it was going to grapple with everything from PTSD to queerness and do it all with style. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg and star Krysten Ritter genuinely seemed to be elevating the game. As soon as the screening was done, I rushed to the lobby to get reception and email my editor like an old-timey reporter clamoring for a pay phone just after getting a hot scoop. I have seen the future of superheroes, I thought, and it is Marvel Netflix.
If it ever was the future, it is now the past. This week sees the barely ballyhooed release of the third and final season of Jessica Jones, which is itself the final season of Marvel’s four-year Netflix experiment. Its death has been agonizingly and humiliatingly gradual: Over the course of the past few months, each of the five ongoing series that made it up has been given the ax, one after another. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher; their fans saw them all go the way of the dodo — without fanfare….
(3) ENDS WITH A BANG. Fast Company’s article “The most expensive hyphen in history” unpacks an historic incident in the U.S. space program (that inspired a scene in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Calculating Stars.)
Mariner 1 was launched atop a 103-foot-tall Atlas-Agena rocket at 5:21 a.m. EDT. For 3 minutes and 32 seconds, it rose perfectly, accelerating to the edge of space, nearly 100 miles up.
But at that moment, Mariner 1 started to veer in odd, unplanned ways, first aiming northwest, then pointing nose down. The rocket was out of control and headed for the shipping lanes of the North Atlantic. Four minutes and 50 seconds into flight, a range safety officer at Cape Canaveral—in an effort to prevent the rocket from hitting people or land—flipped two switches, and explosives in the Atlas blew the rocket apart in a spectacular cascade of fireworks visible back in Florida.
… A single handwritten line, the length of a hyphen, doomed the most elaborate spaceship the U.S. had until then designed, along with its launch rocket. Or rather, the absence of that bar doomed it. The error cost $18.5 million ($156 million today).
(4) BATMAN AT 80. The Society of Illustrators is opening several momentous Batman exhibits at its New York museum.
Join us for a celebration of three momentous exhibits:
Starting out with Dirk Gently, Adams breaks away from the science-fiction/comedy genre a bit, creating a “ghost-horror-detective-time travel-romantic comedy epic” as the promotional copy on the hardback release claims. It does combine several divergent plotlines that mostly come together at the end. The main characters include a computer programmer, a mysterious detective, and an eccentric professor along with an Electric Monk, and an ancient ghost (as well as a more recent one). Part of the plot line of the book is similar to the Doctor Who story “City Of Death” with the main characters involved with an alien being from the past and using a time travel machine to defeat it. The time travelling done in Dirk Gently seems to be done by TARDIS. The professor in the book is Professor Chronotis from the Doctor Who story Shada that was written by Douglas Adams but was never completed. The setting of Cambridge, is also the same. Overall, it is an enjoyable book, although a bit hard to follow at times.
With the release of the HHG Companion book, even more links with Doctor Who are made known. Neil Gaiman has done a good job chronicling the history of the Hitchhiker’s Guide along with the rest of Douglas Adams career to date.
(6) CHANDLER AWARD. This is what the 2019 A. Bertram Chandler Award looks like – Edwina Harvey posted the photo.
The Lorax would be devastated to hear that the tree that inspired Dr. Seuss’ 1971 children’s book has fallen.
The Monterey Cypress tree was at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla, California, the seaside community where author Theodor Seuss Geisel lived from 1948 until his death in 1991.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
June 18, 1964 — The Twilight Zone aired its series finale: “The Bewitchin’ Pool”.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 18, 1908 — Bud Collyer. He was voiced both the Man of Steel and Clark Kent on The Adventures Of Superman radio show in the Forties on the Mutual Broadcasting System. He also voiced them in the animated The New Adventures of Superman which was a Filmation production. Joan Alexander voiced Lois Lane in both shows. (Died 1969.)
Born June 18, 1917 — Richard Boone. You likely know him as Paladin on Have Gun – Will Travel, but he does have some genre appearances including on The Last Dinosaur as Maston Thrust Jr. and in Rankin Bass’s The Hobbit the voice of Smaug. He also played Robert Kraft in I Bury the Living, a horror flick that I think has zombies and more zombies. (Died 1981.)
Born June 18, 1931 — Dick Spelman. He was a fan who was a legendary book dealer that really hated being called a huckster. He was active at SF conventions from the late 1970s through the early 1990s. He was guest of honor at ICON (Iowa) 12. Fancyclopedia 3 says it was themed “money-grubbing capitalist con” in his honor. (Died 2012.)
Born June 18, 1942 — Paul McCartney, 77. Well, I could include him for the Magical Mystery Tour which might be genre, but I’m not. He actually has a cameo in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales as a character named Uncle Jack in a cell playing poker singing “Maggie May”. A shortened version of the song is on the Let It Be album.
Born June 18, 1945 — Redmond Simonsen. Coined term ‘games designer’. Best remembered for his design of the Seventies games Starforce: Alpha Centauri, Battlefleet Mars and Sorcerer. He cofounded Simulations Publications Inc (SPI) with James Dunnigan. (Died 2005.)
Born June 18, 1947 — Linda Thorson, 72. Best known for playing Tara King in The Avengers. For her role in that series, she received a special BAFTA at the 2000 BAFTA TV Awards along with the other three actresses from the series, Honor Blackman, Joanna Lumley and Diana Rigg. She’s also been in Return of the Saint, Tales from the Darkside, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, F/X: The Series and Monsters.
Born June 18, 1949 — Chris Van Allsburg, 70. He won two Caldecott Medals for U.S. picture book illustration, for Jumanji and ThePolar Express, both of which were made into films. Guess which one I like? He illustrated A City in Winter by Mark Helprin which won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella.
Born June 18, 1958 — Jody Lee, 61. Illustrator with a long career in genre work. Her first cover art was Jo Clayton’s Changer’s Moon for Daw Books in 1985. Her latest was Michelle West’s First Born that came out this year on Daw Books which seems to be her primary client. Her rather excellent website is here.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
Close To Home is there when diplomas are handed out at the Academy of Paranormal Studies.
A star of Avengers: Endgame, one of the biggest movies of all time, was completely excised from a modified pirated version of the film — along with everything else in the film seen as feminist or gay.
An anonymous fan edited out shots, scenes and characters in a “defeminized” version circulating now on an illegal streaming site. As well as losing Larson’s character, Captain Marvel, the defeminized edit is missing a scene where Hawkeye teaches his daughter to shoot. (“Young women should learn skills to become good wives and mothers and leave the fighting to men,” the editor opined in an accompanying document.) The role of Black Panther is minimized. (“He’s really not that important.”) Spider-Man doesn’t get rescued by women characters anymore. (“No need to.”) And male characters no longer hug.
(15) PITCH MEETING. Step
inside the pitch meeting that led to the final season of Game of Thrones!
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, JJ,
Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for
some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the
The prize acknowledges contributions to the fairy-tale field in Australia. Robyn is an expert on Australian fairy tales, exploring the history and impact of their publication, with her PhD thesis and blog, Early Australian Fairy Tales: “Early Australian fairy tales”
She’s served on the organization’s Committee, frequently contributed to its Ezine, and presented seminars.
Below is the Award’s frog sculpture created by Spike Deane, a fairy tale artist at Canberra Glassworks.
Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones scored
big at the 2019
MTV Movie & TV Awards on June 18. Here are the winners of genre
Game of Thrones
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A SHOW
Elisabeth Moss (June
Osborne/Offred) – The Handmaid’s Tale
Robert Downey Jr.
(Tony Stark/Iron Man) – Avengers:
Josh Brolin (Thanos)
– Avengers: Endgame
Captain Marvel – Captain Marvel vs. Minn-Erva
MOST FRIGHTENED PERFORMANCE
(Malorie) – Bird Box
Finally – in the Best Musical Moment category A Star Is Born’s “Shallow”
continued its uninterrupted dominance of the awards season against a field
where five of the eight nominees were sff, including Captain Marvel, “Just A Girl”; Chilling
Adventures of Sabrina, “Masquerade”; Riverdale,
“Seventeen”; Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse,
“Sunflower”; and The Umbrella Academy, “I Think We’re
The winners of the CILIP
Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards were revealed June 18 in
at a ceremony at The British Library. The debut novel from
Dominican-American author and slam poetry champion Elizabeth Acevedo clinched
the CILIP Carnegie Medal, while British illustrator Jackie Morris earned her CILIP
Kate Greenaway Medal with ‘cultural phenomenon’ The Lost Words. Acevedo
and Morris also won the first ever Shadowers’ Choice Awards, chosen by
thousands of schoolchildren
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (Electric Monkey)
The Poet X explores themes of identity, freedom, first love and finding your own voice. A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. “I fell in love at slam poetry. This one will stay with you a long time.” – Angie Thomas, author of the bestselling The Hate You Give.
Elizabeth Acevedo was born and raised in New York City and her poetry is infused with Dominican bolero and her beloved city’s tough grit. Acevedo is a National Slam Champion, Beltway Grand Slam Champion, and the 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam representative for Washington D.C, USA, where she lives and works.
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2019: The Lost Words illustrated by Jackie Morris, written by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton)
The Lost Words is a spell book that seeks to conjure the near-lost magic, beauty and strangeness of the nature that surrounds us, for readers both young and old. Taking the form of twenty ‘lost’ words, each word becomes a spell which summons the image and the word back into being, making this a book of enchantment in more than one sense.
Jackie Morris grew up in the Vale of Evesham and studied at Hereford College of Arts and at Bath Academy. She has illustrated for the New Statesman, Independent and Guardian, has collaborated with Ted Hughes, and has written and illustrated over 40 books children’s books. She lives in Pembrokeshire, UK.
The Carnegie and Greenaway winners were selected by 14 volunteer Youth Librarians, from over 254
nominations this year, as the very best in children’s writing and illustration
published in the UK.
The winners will each receive £500 worth of books to donate to a
library of their choice, a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 Colin
Mears Award cash prize.
It is the first time in the Medals history that both winning
titles have been written in verse: in The Poet X, in verse influenced by
slam poetry; in The Lost Words, in the form of spells. Only one verse
novel has previously won the Carnegie Medal: Sarah Crossan’s One, in
In both cases, the books use verse to create space for forgotten
or marginalised voices and words. Acevedo conceived The Poet X whilst
working as an English teacher at a secondary school in Maryland, USA. The
daughter of Dominican immigrants, she realised that most of the books she had
been teaching didn’t contain characters of colour that reflected the pupils she
worked with, and that this feeling of being unseen consequently led to a marked
disinterest in reading.
In her speech, Elizabeth Acevedo paid credit to a particular student who inspired her to
write the book: “I felt like this student had given me a challenge, or at least
permission to grab the baton. She gave me permission to write a story about
young people who take up space, who do not make themselves small, who learn the
power of their own words.” Closing her speech with an empowering poem
celebrating girls of colour, Acevedo said: “I think we should have poetry in
every room as much as possible, and because I fundamentally believe in Dr.
Rudine Sims Bishop’s words that children’s literature should be a mirror and a
The Lost Words was born in
response to the removal of everyday nature words, such as ‘acorn’, ‘bluebell’,
‘kingfisher’ and ‘wren’, from a widely used children’s dictionary on the basis
that they were not being used enough by children to merit inclusion. Since its
publication in 2017, The Lost Words has gone on to become a ‘cultural
phenomenon’ (Guardian) and adopted by environmental activists, most
recently during the Extinction Rebellion protests in London, with actress Dame
Emma Thompson reading one of the poems to crowds alongside Morris’s composition,
‘Letter to the
Earth’. A proportion of the proceeds from each
book are donated to youth charity, Action for Conservation.
In her speech, Jackie Morris, said: “The times ahead are challenging. It seems to me
that artists, writers, musicians have one job at the moment – to help to tell
the truth about what is happening to this small and fragile world we inhabit,
to re-engage with the natural world, to inspire and to imagine better ways to
live. Because there is no Planet B and we are at a turning point. And because
in order to make anything happen it first needs to be imagined. And as writers
and illustrators for children we grow the readers and thinkers of the future.
“I’m learning so much as I watch our young people call politicians
to account. Together we can make a change. And we must. While politicians nod
and pretend to listen to Greta Thunberg, declare Climate Emergencies, then
continue with ‘business as usual’ finding money always for bombs and seldom for
books we need to stand beside these children and hold our deceitful leaders to
In a first for the Medals, the winners of The Shadowers’
Choice Award – voted for and awarded by members of the 4,500 school reading
groups who shadow the Medals – were also announced at the ceremony. The
shadowing groups’ choices matched those of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway
judging panel. Jackie Morris and Elizabeth Acevedo took home the Shadowers’
Choice Award for the Kate Greenaway and Carnegie categories respectively.
This new award has evolved out of CILIP’s recent Diversity
Review, which identified opportunities to empower and celebrate the young
people involved in the Medals through the shadowing scheme by giving them a
more significant voice and visible presence in the process and prize giving.
Dominican-American slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo has become the first ever writer of colour to win the UK’s most prestigious children’s books award, the Carnegie medal, which has a history stretching back to 1936 and includes Arthur Ransome, CS Lewis and Neil Gaiman among its former winners.
… Acevedo’s win comes two years after the prize instigated an independent review into its historical lack of racial diversity, following widespread anger at 2017’s 20-book, entirely white longlist. After interviews with more than 600 people, from librarians to children, the review concluded that the UK’s overwhelmingly white librarian workforce, who nominate books for the medal, were mostly unaware of titles by writers of colour. It also found a dearth of books by writers of colour were being published in the UK.
By Colleen McMahon: E. Everett Evans (1893-1958) is one of those names
I had never heard of before getting involved with Librivox. Based in the Los
Angeles area, he was a long-time science fiction fan and minor author with a
handful of short stories and novels to his name.
I stumbled onto him because one of Librivox’s current recording projects is The Planet Mappers, a YA novel from 1955. In this story, a family of space explorers (mom, dad and two teenage sons) are out in the galaxy attempting to independently map and explore a newly discovered solar system. Dad has taken loans to finance the expedition, so failure is potentially ruinous. Unfortunately, he takes a bad fall on the journey and his injuries put him out of commission. The two boys have to take the lead and complete their mission (Mom, of course, isn’t much use for anything but worrying and making hot meals).
The bits that I skimmed made me curious about Evans’ other public domain books available through Project Gutenberg. It turns out that there are three other novels. Man of Many Minds and Alien Minds star the same protagonist, a psychic secret agent taking part in interplanetary intrigue for the unfortunately-abbreviated S.S. (Secret Service!).
Masters of Spaceis probably Evan’s best known book, as it was co-written with E.E. “Doc” Smith. Masters of Space is the only Evans book available through Librivox, but The Planet Mappers should wrap up in the next couple of months.
writing career only spanned the last decade or so of his life, but he was
well-established in fandom through that period. After his death in 1958,
Forrest J. Ackerman established the Big Heart award in Evans’ memory. The award
is given annually at Worldcon to a fan who “embodies ‘good work and great
spirit long contributed’” according to the Fancyclopedia website. Over the years the Big
Heart award has been renamed twice, in 2006 in memory of Ackerman and in 2018
in memory of David A. Kyle.
it’s an award for fans rather than authors or SFF “celebrities”, there are some
well-known names on the list of recipients over the years, including Robert
Bloch, Bjo Trimble, and Julius Schwartz. And of course, our own Mike Glyer was
recognized with the award in 2018!
fun fact I discovered while reading up on Mr. Evans: based on his initials, his
nickname was Triple-E, or Tripoli. It speaks to my nerdiness that I think that
is pretty cool.
recent birthday celebrants:
John Russell Fearn (1908-1960) was a British pulp writer who was one of the first to
cross over to U.S. publications. He wrote under his own name and various
pseudonyms. Most of his stories appeared between the late 1930s and mid 1950s.
Unfortunately, Project Gutenberg does not have any of his works, but The Faded
Page, based in Canada, has several of
available through its site. As they note, public domain status outside of
Canada is not confirmed. Internet Archive’s Pulp Magazine Archive also has several
magazines containing Fearn’s writings, but again, public domain status is uncertain. It’s worth a click
just to take a peek at the insanely awesome cover art in this selection,
(1915-1980) has one novel and six stories available on Project Gutenberg:
Simon’s new source of power promised a new era for Mankind. But what
happens to world economy when anyone can manufacture it in the kitchen
oven?… Here’s one answer!
Fairy Tales by William
Elliot Griffis (1843-1928)
Everywhere on earth the fairy world of each country is older and perhaps
more enduring than the one we see and feel and tread upon. So I tell in
this book the folk lore of the Korean people, and of the behavior of the
particular kind of fairies that inhabit the Land of Morning Splendor.
An accident during a polar expedition leads the crew of the Polar King
to the discovery of an entire world within the earth. Within the interior
realm lies a vast ocean with continents and civilisations unknown to the
outside world. The societies within possess new technologies and magics
unknown to the outside world and these are lovingly described in great
detail by the author. The crew proceed to explore and in true Victorian
fashion then conquer the new world. An extraordinary feat of imagination
and inventiveness by this obscure author.