Stu Shiffman Has Setback

After enjoying gradual but sustained improvement since his 2012 stroke, fan artist Stu Shiffman is again having serious problems. A week ago he had a fall, and Tom Whitmore reported on Stu’s CaringBridge page that he did not regain consciousness after surgery. Doctors think there has been more damage. Stu is in the Neurological ICU at Harborview in Seattle.

This was quite unexpected, as Stu had recovered to the point that just a week earlier he’d been able to use a powered wheelchair for the first time since his stroke.

Disneyland’s Bradbury Tree

The pumpkins on the Tree were not mere pumpkins. Each had a face sliced in it. Each face was different. Every eye was a stranger eye. Every nose was a weirder nose. Every mouth smiled hideously in some new way.

There must have been a thousand pumpkins on this tree, hung high and on every branch….

Ray Bradbury thought a Halloween Tree was just the thing to celebrate this particular holiday, and Disneyland agrees. Every year they pay tribute to Bradbury’s 1972 novel The Halloween Tree with a decorated tree on Main Street. (For a quick summary of the book, click here ).

And given File 770’s proclivity for reporting all things Bradbury, there could be no more appropriate topic for today’s first post.

SF&F Translation Awards Ended

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards series has come to an end. Cheryl Morgan, a director of the Association for the Recognition of Excellence in SF & F Translation (ARESFFT) which administered the award, announced October 29 the organization is being dissolved.

There are many reasons for this, but mostly they are to do with the time and effort required to run the awards on an amateur basis. It has become increasingly difficult to find people willing to act as jurors. Several of the existing Directors have had major changes in their lives that have left them with far less free time than they had previously. And all attempts to find new Directors have failed to produce any volunteers.

The members of the Board of Directors were Gary K. Wolfe, President, Kevin Standlee, Secretary-Treasurer, Melissa Conway, Rob Latham, Cheryl Morgan and Nalo Hopkinson.

The SF&F Translation Awards were given from 2011-2013.

Freberg Fete at the Egyptian 11/2

Stan Freberg, in the days when he voiced puppet characters on "Time for Beany."

Stan Freberg, in the days when he voiced puppet characters on “Time for Beany.”

American Cinematheque will host “The Genius of Stan Freberg: Celebrating 70 Years of Creative Entertainment” at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on November 2 beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Celebrate 70 hilarious years of creative entertainment with the great Stan Freberg, the legendary comedian, satirist and cultural pioneer who has made a lasting impact on the worlds of comedy recording (“Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America” and creator of the word “Grammy”), animation (over 400 voiceovers for Warner Bros.), television (“Time for Beany,” “The Chun King Comedy Hour”), and advertising (father of the funny commercial and winner of 21 Clio Awards).

Harry Shearer (The Simpsons, Le Show) will emcee and there will tributes and live performances from “Weird Al” Yankovic, Micky Dolenz, Jerry Beck and Eric Goldberg, among others, along with rare clips from Freberg’s body of work. An on-stage conversation between Stan and Hunter Freberg will conclude the evening.

My Mileage Varied

logo darkWhen I think of Nantes I think of Omnes Omnibus and Scaramouche. Apparently I ought to be thinking about Utopiales, a science fiction con that starts there today, October 29, and runs through November 3.

Europa SF contributor Cristin Tamas confidently assures his readers this is the biggest SF convention anywhere:

Last year, Utopiales’s attendance was over 60.000 participants, making the Festival the biggest Earth’s science fiction event.

Utopiales is not only the biggest European SF Festival, it’s the largest SF event on Earth.

As a comparison, the “World” Anglophone conventions have between 6 to 8,000 participants at maximum.

A 60,000-person convention is nothing to sneeze at. But “the largest SF event on Earth”?

I thought Tamas, perhaps, was making some fine point. A purely literary sf convention drawing 60,000 would be unheard of. Something we Anglophonies with our so-called “World” conventions can’t imagine. And still can’t, for as Tamas explains –

The Utopiales Festival is celebrating and exploring all means of expression of science fiction, literature, film (international competition and European contest of short films), theater, comics (best album contest, exhibitions), art exhibitions, concerts, games videos, a role playing site, plus panels, discussions and debates on scientific topics.

Utopiales is a big tent sf-in-all-media convention. As big as it is, it’s not in the same league as the MCM London Comic Con (101,600 attendees) or San Diego Comic-Con International (over 130,000) — and then there’s Comiket, the semiannual Tokyo comic book fair which draws over half-a-million and is so big you could slice it into three San Diego Comic-Cons and have enough fans left over for two Dragon*Cons.

Prix Utopiales Jeunesse 2014 Nominees

The winner of the 2014 Prix Utopiales Jeunesse will be announced this weekend at Utopiales, the Nantes International Festival of Science Fiction in France. The award recognizes European authors of “the genre called ‘literature of the imagination.’”

The shortlist was selected by a committee consisting of a librarian, a bookseller, a librarian and a translator. The winner will be picked by a jury of 13-to-15-year-olds, Emilie Auffret, Barbara Chotard, Ronan Nourrisson, Emma Poignan-Choemet, Eliott Pratz, Paola Raoul and Doman Tavernier.

The name of the award is translated by one writer as “European Youth Prize,” but it seems to be an award for juvenile fiction, similar to the YA category.

The finalists are:

  • Bazmaru et la fille du vent de Maëlle Fierpied, L’école des loisirs, 11/13
  • Les substituts de Johan Heliot, Seuil, 04/14
  • Dresseur de fantômes de Camille Brissot, L’Atalante, 05/14
  • La symphonie des abysses Livre 1 de Carina Rozenfeld, Robert Laffont, 02/14
  • Pixel noir de Jeanne-A Debats, Syros, 03/14
  • Automne de Jan Henrik Nielsen (traduit par Aude Pasquier), Albin Michel, 01/14

The Drink Tank Takes on GamerGate

Chris Garcia and James Bacon devote the latest issue of Drink Tank to a discussion of GamerGate. 

James says, “It is not good, and we shall not pretend it is not happening or ignore it, for it is already attacking things and people that matter.”

What was ostensibly an alleged scandal about integrity in journalism, turned out to be a lie, and evolved into a machine of hatred and abuse of women.

Chris Garcia and myself realised that this was rampaging amongst people we knew, cared for and who would not ever be expected to tolerate the things that have been said.

Can you imagine a Worldcon Area Head be told to: ”Go commit suicide’ or ‘Can’t you take a joke you stupid whore?’ – of course not, because there is a code of conduct, and people seem to be able to behave in public, yet with the anonymity of the internet, hatred, abuse, and threats have flourished.

To get the issue click here [PDF file].

2014 Nova Awards Voting Open

Eligible fans can vote for the Nova Awards online through Saturday, November 1, or in person at Novacon, which begins November 14.

The Nova Awards celebrate achievement in UK and Irish fanzines. Voting is open to all Novacon members and any fan resident in the UK or Eire who has read at least six of the eligible titles (many of which are available via eFanzines).

[Thanks to Steve Green for the story.]

Marvel and DC Plan 19 Thru ‘20

Marvel Studios has set release dates for nine movies, including Captain America: Civil War in which Cap will face off against Iron Man.

Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans participated in the announcement at Hollywood’s El Capitan theater on October 28. The movie also will feature Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman.

At its own event two weeks ago DC Entertainment publicized 10 films based on its franchises that are due by 2020, many previously unannounced.

Here’s what the future holds in store.

Marvel Studios

Captain America: Civil War — May 6, 2016
Doctor Strange — Nov. 4, 2016
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 — May 5, 2017
Thor: Ragnarok — July 28, 2017
Black Panther — Nov. 3, 2017
Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Part 2 — May 2018, May 2019
Captain Marvel — July 6, 2018
Inhumans – Nov. 2, 2018

DC Entertainment

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — 2016
Suicide Squad — 2016
Wonder Woman — 2017
Justice League Part One — 2017
The Flash — 2018
Aquaman — 2018
Shazam — 2019
Justice League Part Two — 2019
Cyborg — 2020
Green Lantern — 2020

William Gibson Reads in LA 11/1

William Gibson

William Gibson

Skylight Books will host William Gibson on November 1, reading from his new novel The Peripheral. The event begins at 5:00 p.m.

Where Flynne and her brother Burton live, jobs outside the drug business are rare. Fortunately, Burton has his veteran’s benefits, for neural damage he suffered from implants during his time in the USMC’s elite Haptic Recon force. Then one night Burton has to go out, but there’s a job he’s supposed to do—a job Flynne didn’t know he had. Beta-testing part of a new game, he tells her. The job seems to be simple: work a perimeter around the image of a tower building. Little buglike things turn up. He’s supposed to get in their way, edge them back. That’s all there is to it. He’s offering Flynne a good price to take over for him. What she sees, though, isn’t what Burton told her to expect. It might be a game, but it might also be murder.

The reading is free and open to the public (first come, first served).

Those who want Gibson to sign will need to purchase a copy of The Peripheral  at Skylight Books in order to get a ticket for the line. Tickets can be obtained either in-store or by ordering online and leaving a ticket request in the “Order Comments” field.  The store will also hold a ticket for someone who orders and pays for a book over the phone.

Skylight Books is at 1818 N. Vermont in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles.