John Hertz: Spikecon was held on July 4-7, 2019, at Layton,
Utah, combining Westercon LXXII (yearly; regional), the 13th NASFiC (North
America Science Fiction Convention, held when the Worldcon is not in North
America), Manticon 2019 (yearly; fans of David Weber’s Honor Harrington series and its Royal Manticoran Navy, i.e. Space
navy), 1632 Minicon (yearly; fans of
Eric Flint’s 1632 series).
Attendance about 800. Art Show sales about $20,000 by about 60
Art Show director, Bruce Miller. Judges, Peri Charlifu, Ctein, and me.
There was also a People’s Choice
Ctein felt strongly that judges
who also happened to be exhibiting should not be considered for awards. Brother Charlifu and I went along with this.
Best of Show, also People’s Choice
Devon Dorrity, “Queen of the Sea”; bronze
1st: Jessica Douglas, “Ghost Leviathan”;
3rd: Theresa Mather, “White Tiger
Angel”; acrylic on feather with onyx, tanzanite, sapphires
1st: Mark Roland, “Persistence of
2nd: Elizabeth Fellows, “Always”;
3rd: Bjo Trimble, “Aslan”; stone
1st: Elizabeth Berrien, “Cloud
2nd: Vincent Villafranca, “Bane
of Thieves”; bronze
3rd: Melanie Unruh, “Nebula”; ceramic
Dragon Dronet, “Enemy Mine Skull”
Jacob & Wayne Fowler, “Grey
Ghost”; wood scroll-saw
Kat Trimble, “Mariposa”; zinc
is pronounced “k’TINE”; that’s his full name; not “Mr. Ctein” or “Ctein Jones”
or “Bill Ctein”, just Ctein. There
should be a circumflex over the “j” in “Bjo”, an Esperantism indicating
(1) CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS. Christopher
J. Garcia and Chuck Serface are co-editing an issue of The Drink Tank
dedicated to science-fiction comics of the 1950s and 1960s! Any critical
articles, fanfic, personal remembrances, artwork, and any media we can publish
in a fanzine are welcome.
Chuck Serface says, “Consideration of materials from any comic publisher of the time is fair game: Atlas/Marvel, DC, Gold Key, Charlton, Warren, EC, ones I’m forgetting at the moment — all of them.”
The deadline’s October 14, 2019. They’ll have it out
by the end of the calendar year. Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(2) COLSON WHITEHEAD Q&A. His new book is not sff, but some of his answers are about genre in “Powell’s Interview: Colson Whitehead, Author of ‘The Nickel Boys’”.
Rhianna: You’ve mentioned in other interviews being an avid reader of horror, and your novel Zone One is a zombie horror story. You’re very skilled at depicting violence. I was wondering if the horror genre has stylistically influenced the way that you depict historical atrocities, like those in The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys.
Whitehead: Again, I think the story determines how you tell it. The violence in Zone One is gorier. It’s more flamboyant than some of the stuff in The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys. In those two books, I think the horrific brutality that they experience speaks for itself. They don’t have to be dramatized.
This kind of language, I borrowed from reading the slave narratives. You don’t have to dramatize or sell to the listener or the reader how terrible everything is that is happening because it speaks for itself. If the violence is speaking for itself, I can concentrate more on the characters and what they’re feeling.
San Diego’s Comic-Con International starts Wednesday night, which makes this the perfect time to talk about Bad Weekend, a noir set against the backdrop of a fictionalized version of the now famous comics convention.
Writer Ed Brubaker described the graphic novel — with art by Brubaker’s longtime collaborator Sean Phillips and colors by Phillips’ son Jacob — as a weird love letter to comics, being a fan, and the strangeness of the comic book industry.
…Bad Weekend is the product of filing away stories he’s heard around the comic book industry for the past 20 to 30 years, according to Brubaker — stories of who screwed over whom, of success not bringing happiness, and of comic companies getting rich off their work with movies and TV shows without the creators sharing in that wealth.
(4) OP-EDS. [Item by Olav Rokne.] If, like me, you’ve been enjoying the New
York Times’ series of science fictional op-eds, they’ve just created a landing
page with all the articles in the series now organized in one place: “Op-Eds
From the Future”
It’s worth checking back every second Monday to
see the latest installment, as they’ve been excellent so far.
(5) FILER NAMED FGOH. Chris Barkley shared on
Facebook: “I am pleased to
report that I was asked and accepted to be the Fan GoH at the 2021 Astronomicon
in Rochester, NY along with my good friend (and Identical twin) Robert
I have taken this past week to ponder a response to Neil Clarke and Taiyo Fujii’s objections to the viability of a Hugo Award category for Best Translated Novel. And frankly, their objections puzzle me.
I ask this of Mr. Fujii and to Mr. Clarke; if the three Hugos awarded to translated works are the awakening of fandom to translated literature, why haven’t more of those works been nominated in their wake? In the past three years of nominations; only 2017’s Death’s End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu, has been included in the Best Novel category, all of the other nominees in the category have all been decidedly anglocentric.
The truth of the matter we think that the Worldcon and the Hugo Awards have been overwhelmingly perceived for quite a while as an English speakers only party since a majority of the conventions have been held in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Mr. Clarke and Mr. Fujii may see the proposed award as either unnecessary, pandering or condescending to authors and fans but all Ms. Cordasco, my co-sponsors and I only want to do is shine a spotlight to fervently call attention to and honor authors and their translators. Speaking for myself, had there been three, four or five nominees on the final ballot since those historic awards, I would not have contemplated initiating and offering this proposal for an open debate…
Horizon still could have gotten the case to trial, but it then needed to show an inference of copying through the similarity of the works. Specifically, Horizon argued the two works were “strikingly similar,” with reliance on an expert report discussing anatomical structures, faces and heads, and camera views.
The judge responds that the expert report is “equivocating” on some of the noteworthy similarities by addressing features on careful viewing and not going quite so far to rule out any reasonable possibility of independent creation. Plus, the judge adds, “there remain enough differences between the two works,” nodding to Marvel’s pointing out differences in pose, differing placement of blue lights, and significantly different overall coloring.
(8) SEE READERCON 30. Ellen Datlow has posted 89 photos
taken at ReaderCon 30 in a Flickr
A nationally representative sample of 2,200 adults carried out between July 8 and 10 revealed that, when it comes to genre properties, Marvel is far and away the most successful, with 63 percent of those surveyed considering themselves fans. The next most popular property was Marvel’s Disney sibling, Star Wars, with a 60 percent fandom, and DC followed with 59 percent.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
July 17, 1955 — Disneyland Park opened in Anaheim, California.
July 17, 1987 — Robocop premiered on this day.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 17, 1858 — Florence Balcombe Stoker. She was the wife and literary executor of Bram Stoker. She’s best remembered for her extended legal dispute with the makers of Nosferatu, an unauthorized film blatantly based on her husband’s novel Dracula. (Died 1937.)
Born July 17, 1889 — Erle Stanley Gardner. Though best known for the Perry Mason series of detective stories, he did write a handful of SF stories, all of which are collected in The Human Zero: The Science Fiction Stories of Erle Stanley Gardner. (Died 1970.)
Born July 17, 1944 — Thomas A. Easton, 75. SF critic and author who wrote the book review column in Analog from 1979 – 2009. His Organic Future series is quite entertaining and I’m reasonably certain I read Sparrowhawk when it was serialized in Analog.
Born July 17, 1952 — Robert R. McCammon, 67. Horror writer whose Michael Gallatin books, The Wolf’s Hour and The Hunter from the Woods, Alllied WWII werewolf agent and his adventures, I strongly recommend. His “Nightcrawlers” short story was adapted into an episode of the Twilight Zone.
Born July 17, 1954 — J. Michael Straczynski, 65. Best known rather obviously for creating and writing most of Babylon 5 and its short-lived sequel Crusade. He’s also responsible for as well as the Jeremiah and Sense8 series. On the commit sides, he’s written The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor and Fantastic Four. Over at DC, he did the Superman: Earth One trilogy of graphic novels, and has also written Superman, Wonder Woman, and Before Watchmen titles.
Born July 17, 1967 — Kelly Robson, 52. I just got done reading her brilliant “Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach”. Right now, it appears only this plus “A Human Stain” and “Waters of Versailles” are available on iBooks and Kindle for reading as she has no collection out yet. And no novel as far as I can tell.
Born July 17, 1971 — Cory Doctorow, 48. I’ll admit that I’ve mixed feelings about his work. I enjoyed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, his first novel, and thought The Rapture of the Nerds had potential but really failed to live to that potential to great. Everything else is ‘Meh’. His activism is oft times that of an overeager puppy trying to get attention for himself.
Born July 17, 1976 — Brian K. Vaughan, 43. Wow. Author of Ex Machina, Pride of Baghdad, Runaways, Saga, Y: The Last Man, and his newest affair, Paper Girls. And yes, he’s won Hugo Awards. You could spend an entire summer just reading those series. In his spare time, he was a writer, story editor and producer of the television series Lost during seasons three through five. And was the showrunner and executive producer of the Under the Dome series.
From its inception, Comic-Con had intergalactic ambitions.
The initial show, then called San Diego’ Golden State Comic Con, featured science fiction writers Ray Bradbury and A.E. Van Vogt; Jack Kirby, creator of Captain America, X-Men and other iconic superheroes; vintage films; an art auction; and dozens of dealers peddling mountains of new and used comics.
An unforgettable event — for the 300 attendees. Few others noticed and even they dismissed this as a juvenile jamboree. For instance:
On the show’s first day, Aug. 1, 1970, the author of “Fahrenheit 451″ and “The Martian Chronicles” granted an interview to The San Diego Union. Yet Bradbury’s spirited defense of comics was buried on page B-11, under articles about a flower show, the repainting of the White House East Room and a medical brief with the headline “Fat Men More Tipsy.”
… Neil Kendricks is a writer, filmmaker and teacher who recently led a San Diego State course on comics and sequential art. In the early 1980s, though, he was a high school student at his first Comic-Con. In the dealer’s room, he bumped into a white-haired gentleman flipping through the cardboard boxes full of used comics.
“Mr. Bradbury,” he stammered, “will you be here for awhile?”
When Ray Bradbury nodded yes, Kendricks dashed out of Golden Hall and ran the half-mile to Wahrenbrock’s Book House.
“I went upstairs to the science fiction section and bought as many of his books and I could find. Then I ran all the way back and he signed them. That,” Kendricks said, “could never happen now.”
…At a presentation at the California Academy of Sciences, hastily announced via Twitter and beginning a half hour late, Musk presented the first product from his company Neuralink. It’s a tiny computer chip attached to ultrafine, electrode-studded wires, stitched into living brains by a clever robot. And depending on which part of the two-hour presentation you caught, it’s either a state-of-the-art tool for understanding the brain, a clinical advance for people with neurological disorders, or the next step in human evolution.
The chip is custom-built to receive and process the electrical action potentials—“spikes”—that signal activity in the interconnected neurons that make up the brain. The wires embed into brain tissue and receive those spikes. And the robotic sewing machine places those wires with enviable precision, a “neural lace” straight out of science fiction that dodges the delicate blood vessels spreading across the brain’s surface like ivy.
…And, sure, there’s more. A public records request from WIRED in April 2019 found that Neuralink is licensed to have hundreds of rats and mice in its research facilities. In a seemingly unplanned moment at the Cal Academy, Musk also acknowledged that Neuralink’s research had progressed beyond rodents to non-human primates. It’s only because of a records request filed by Gizmodo that Neuralink’s affiliation with the primate research center at UC Davis is public knowledge. That affiliation has apparently progressed: “A monkey has been able to control a computer with its brain, just FYI,” Musk said during the Q and A after the presentation.
His team seemed as surprised and discombobulated by the announcement as the audience. “I didn’t know we were running that result today, but there it goes,” said Max Hodak, president of the company, on stage next to Musk. (Monkeys have controlled computers via BCIs before, though presumably this would be the first time one used Neuralink.)
One small holograph for man, one giant holograph for the Washington Monument.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with a life-size projection of the Saturn V rocket on the Washington Monument on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The Saturn V rocket is now iconic for carrying the Apollo 11 crew to the moon in 1969. The projection-mapping artwork will occupy 363 of the monument’s 555 vertical feet.
As the 17th century’s most famous Italian astronomer surveyed the heavens, he likely never dreamed a rocket shooting fire would one day power people up among the stars he eyed through his telescope, or that his work would help guide a ship to the moon.
But Galileo Galilei’s observations would become a key link in the chain of scientific research and discovery fundamental to our understanding of the universe and our drive to explore it.
That scientific continuum is at the heart of a new Houghton Library exhibit connecting early celestial calculations to the Apollo 11 mission that put two American astronauts on the lunar surface 50 years ago this July. “Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty” features gems from Harvard’s collection of rare books and manuscripts as well as NASA artifacts from an anonymous lender and Harvard alumnus, many of which were aboard the spaceship that left Earth’s orbit in 1969.
Not all of the equipment carried into space was cutting edge and expensive. Some of the more humble odds and ends even prevented disaster.
…25: Length of duct tape rolls carried to the Moon, in feet
If there’s one saviour time and again of American space missions over the past 50 years, it’s a roll of duct tape. During Apollo missions, it was used for everything from taping down switches and attaching equipment inside the spacecraft, to fixing a tear on a spacesuit and, during Apollo 17, a fender on the lunar rover.
…Esquire was not expecting much from Neil Armstrong.
“While the space program is poised on the brink of a truly epoch-making triumph of engineering, it is also headed for a rhetorical train wreck,” the story said.
“The principal danger is not that we will lose the life of an astronaut on the Moon, but that the astronauts will murder English up there . . . . That they are likely to litter the intergalactic void with gibberish and twaddle.”
The smugness is rather remarkable, because despite the talent of the people it enlisted, Esquire got not a single decent line from any of them.
It got, in fact, a lot of gibberish and twaddle.
…With that as your benchmark, here’s a sampling of what Esquire’s best and brightest came up with:
John Kenneth Galbraith, the Harvard economist: “We will hafta pave the damn thing.”
Ayn Rand, libertarian thinker and novelist: “What hath man wrought!”
…Leonard Nimoy, the actor, then in his third season as Spock on the new TV series Star Trek: “I’d say to Earth, from here you are a peaceful, beautiful ball and I only wish everyone could see it with that perspective and unity.”
(17) A KING WILL BE CROWNED. Looper fills us in
about The Most Anticipated Sci
Fi Movies Of 2020.
2020 might feel far away, but Hollywood’s major studios are already planning ahead with some legit super hits on the horizon. And if you’re a fan of sci-fi flicks, then 2020’s looking like an especially good year for you. These are just a few of the most anticipated sci-fi blockbusters on their way to a big screen near you. Film fans will finally get the answer to an age-old question in 2020, when Godzilla and King Kong face off on the big screen. Director Adam Wingard has already assured fans that his take on the two monsters will crown a definitive winner, unlike the 1962 film that first pit the two characters against each other. This will be the fourth entry in Legendary’s MonsterVerse, first established in 2014’s Godzilla and further explored in Kong: Skull Island.
[Thanks to Olav Rokne, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Chip
Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Carl
Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to
File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
By Colleen McMahon: This week I found a likely forgotten gem that might be of use for
anyone interested in tracking down and reading or collecting stories published
in old magazines: An Index on the
Weird and Fantastica in Magazines. This is an index and checklist on weird fiction published in
magazines from the beginning of the pulp era in the late 19th century through
the date of publication (1953).
Day compiled this index, though his introduction acknowledges several earlier
indexers whose lists he incorporated into this work.
addition to thoroughly covering Weird Tales from its beginnings in 1923
through the then-present day, there are partial listings for a bunch of other
magazines. Even more valuable, I think, are the listings of “fantastic fiction”
stories that appeared in mostly mainstream story magazines like Argosy, Blue
Book, Munsey’s and others. This saves the weird fiction fan from
having to sift through the western, adventure, mystery, and romance tales that
were the main material in those magazines.
many of the stories are likely still under copyright, there are plenty that
were published before 1924, which puts them solidly in the public domain. This
index provides a lovely treasure map for anyone interested in seeking them
out. Plenty of the issues are collected on Internet
well, so you can easily end up spending an afternoon flipping through the index
and then seeing what you can find right there on the same site (ask me how I
(1916-2004), the creator of this index, also compiled a number of indexes and
guides to early science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories and novels at a
time when almost no one was cataloging publications in the field as a whole. In
fact, the Science Fiction
describes him as “US sf collector and book-dealer whose bibliographical work
was one of the foundations on which modern sf scholarship has been
published An Index on Weird and Fantastica and several other checklists
in the early 1950s, and then updated and republished them periodically into the
1990s. The early editions all appear to be hand typed and mimeographed or
photocopied, so these were truly labors of love.
addition to the overall indexes, Day also compiled and published bibliographies
for some of the early individual authors, including H. Rider Haggard, Talbot
Mundy, Sax Rohmer, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and others.
(1923- ) is one of just a handful of authors I have written about here who is
still alive, and he celebrated his 96th birthday on July 12th. In addition to
his own fiction writing, he was one of the first academics to specialize in
teaching science fiction. He founded the Gunn Center for
the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas. The Center is the home base for the
Speculative Fiction Writer’s Workshop, the Campbell Conference (an annual
academic conference on science fiction), and the Campbell and Sturgeon awards.
Gunn is a past president of SFWA and was named a Grand Master in 2007.
novella and a short story are in the public domain:
three stories have been recorded in short science fiction collections at Librivox.
was a pseudonym for Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, who in his “day job” was a
scholar on East Asia and an expert on psychological warfare. Only one of his science
fiction stories is available through Project Gutenberg, but several of his
nonfiction scholarly works are also available. His book on psychological
warfare looks particularly interesting.
Before Sam Spade chased the black bird in The Maltese Falcon and Nick
and Nora Charles stirred their first martinis in The Thin Man, the
Continental Op walked early twentieth century San Francisco’s mean streets
for the Continental Detective Agency. Dashiell Hammett used his own
experiences as a Pinkerton operative to lend realistic detail to this
creation. These first five stories were published in Black Mask magazine
(Note: I know that this falls outside the SFF arena, but Hammett has a
lot of fans and it’s exciting to see some of his earliest works becoming
available! I was the prooflistener for this project and I can attest that
the stories are fun and the reader is very good.)
Armenians trace their history back to before the time of the
Babylonians and earliest recorded history – in fact, to Togarmah, a
grandson of Japhet, Noah’s son, who settled in Armenia after the Ark came
to rest on Mount Ararat. Armenia was also the first State in the world to
adopt Christianity as their official religion, around the 3rd Century AD.
This book contains many wonderful folk and fairy tales culled from this
long history of the Armenian country people, to whom all nature is full of
stories, by the scholar and storyteller Mr. A. G. Seklemian.
Four Science Fiction stories published in Science Fiction Adventures
Magazine and Galaxy Science Fiction, written by Alan Edward Nourse. He was
an American science fiction writer and physician. He wrote both juvenile
and adult science fiction, as well as nonfiction works about medicine and
science. His SF works sometimes focused on medicine and/or psionics.
Booktube is the segment of YouTube dominated by booklovers who
use the platform to discuss and share our love of reading. SFF stands for
Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the BooktubeSFF community are those of us
within Booktube who focus our reading on those genres. The BooktubeSFF
community isn’t just limited to people who make videos, it’s everyone who
watches, comments, and loves SFF!
The BooktubeSFF Awards were created in 2015.
The judges and public voted separately on the shortlist, and if they picked different books in a given category, two winners were crowned.
Winner of Popular Vote
Circe by Madeleine Miller.
Winner of Judges Vote
Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence.
Best Science Fiction
Winner of both Judges and Popular Vote
Record of a Spaceborn Few by
Best Young Adult Novel
Winner of Popular Vote
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson.
Winner of Judges Vote
Muse of Nightmares by Laini
Best Middle Grade Novel
Winner of both Judges and Popular Vote
Wundersmith: The Calling of
Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend.
Best Debut Novel
Winner of Popular Vote
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang.
Winner of Judges Vote
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca
Best Graphic Work
Winner of both Judges and Popular Vote
Monstress Vol 3: Haven by
Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda.
The following excerpt is taken from an email conversation with friends about some online reactions to a screed someone had posted about how kids these days should get off of their lawn with their “fandoms” with an s and their fanwriters who are not oldphart fans, among other things. I was trying to explain to my friends how one particular misunderstanding involving the usage of “fandom” versus the usage of “fandoms” was making things so much worse, and how I had had very little luck explaining the particular connotations involved to either group of the fans involved.
Please note that the following has been edited for clarity, but I’m not guaranteeing I actually reached that destination….
(2) DIVE INTO WORLDBUILDING. Juliette Wade’s new Diving
Into Worldbuilding introduces readers to Cadwell Turnbull and interviews him
about how he devised the background for his novel: “Cadwell
Turnbull and The Lesson“. Read the synopsis at the link, and/or watch the video:
We were all really excited to meet Cadwell Turnbull and talk to him about his new novel, The Lesson. This is a first contact novel featuring aliens in the Virgin Islands. It takes place five years after the alien Ynaa integrated with humans, and examines the tensions and conflicts between humans and Ynaa. Cadwell told us it deals with the murky relationship between the two groups, and the social, personal, and cultural effects of having highly advanced aliens living here.
Cadwell explained that the Ynaa have one basic technology. “Reefs” are intelligent cells that manage body health and also change the Ynaa’s physiology so they can fit in. They can also be used for technology, ships, cities, and other things. The reefs can build themselves. This technology can also be used to kill people.
This list sprung from a short question: What is a song you feel best represents Afrofuturism? From that starting point, a number of artists, academics, authors, curators and creative minds contributed selections that reflect both canon and alternate cuts. This list is necessarily limited: The expansive applications of Afrofuturist thought means anything definitive remains out of reach. But wherever and however Afrofuturism travels, it remains a space of utmost creative freedom and expressive possibility.
The titles on the home page are linked to short articles about
I gave my fans a chance to “buy” a novel via Kickstarter I would ordinarily have backburnered and they decided they wanted it. The Kickstarter is still running but they’ve already hit my 10K goal (and in less than five days).
I continue to think it’s cool that we live in an age where fans can fund the books they want that authors would otherwise not have been able to afford. 🙂
The fundraising is not just about the book as a whole
— Hogarth has set up an interesting menu of almost 20 different scenarios or
character interactions that people can contribute toward having included in the
(6) SPACEWAR. MIT
Technology Review news editor Nial Firth penned an article warning that
war in space isn’t just a concern for science fiction writers, suggesting that
the first skirmishes may already be occurring — “How to fight a war in space (and get away with it)”
– behind a paywall at Technology Review. As Firth writes:
“The major spacefaring nations ratified the treaty [against militarization
of space] long ago, but the ambitions of the treaty to codify peaceful uses of
space seem increasingly distant, as hawkish rhetoric and actions grow more
In March, India became only the fourth country in the world—after Russia, the US, and China—to successfully destroy a satellite in orbit. Mission Shakti, as it was called, was a demonstration of a direct-ascent anti-satellite weapon (ASAT)—or in plain English, a missile launched from the ground. Typically this type of ASAT has a “kill vehicle,” essentially a chunk of metal with its own guidance system, mounted on top of a ballistic missile. Shortly after the missile leaves the atmosphere, the kill vehicle detaches from it and makes small course corrections as it approaches the target. No explosives are needed; at orbital speeds, kinetic energy does the damage.
…In a Yang presidency, election results would be verified through blockchain (an encryption system best known for shoring up cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin), quantum computing research would be better funded, and a Legion of Builders and Destroyers would have the power to overrule local zoning and land-use decisions for the greater infrastructure good. He is definitely the only presidential candidate talking seriously about fighting climate change with giant space mirrors….
Greg Hullender opines, “In point of fact, his platform
is pretty long. I’m not so sure it’s a good candidate for Best Related Work,
although it does have its moments.” – “Yang 2020 – Our Policies”
– “And how can you not like a guy whose response to pink MAGA caps is blue MATH
(8) A NICK LARTER UPDATE: Nick Larter, quoted in yesterday’s
Scroll as opposed
to a U.S Worldcon (immigration policies, difficulties), has been getting a crash
course in site selection rules and today added this statement to his post:
Yesterday I sent an email to the address provided for the Dublin Worldcon Business Meeting, enquiring how I should proceed. I have so far heard nothing back. But others have kindly informed me online that the Business Meeting has no control over the voting process. I have now looked at the relevant ballot paper. It seems that if a majority of voters select the None of the Above option for the 2021 Worldcon location, then the Business Meeting is supposed to decide where it should be located. On this basis, I’ll be voting None of the Above in Dublin.
(9) JACOB OBIT. Charlee Jacob (1952-2019) died July
14. The native Texan specializing in horror fiction,
dark fantasy, and poetry won the Bram
Stoker Award twice. Her novel Dread in the Beast
tied for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel of 2005, and her poetry
collection Sineater won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Poetry Collection
in 2005 as well. Her first novel This Symbiotic Fascination (Necro
Publications, 1997) was nominated for the International Horror Guild Award.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
July 16, 1952 — Zombies of the Stratosphere premiered.
July 16, 1969 — Apollo 11 launched.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 16, 1882 — Felix Locher. He is considered the oldest Star Trek actor of all time by birth year, appearing in “The Deadly Years” episode. 0ther genre appearances included Curse of the Faceless Man, The Twilight Zone, Frankenstein’s Daughter, The Munsters, House of the Damned, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mission Impossible. His entire acting career was from 1957 to 1969. (Died 1969.)
Born July 16, 1928 — Robert Sheckley. I knew that his short story “Seventh Victim” was the basis of The 10th Victim film but I hadn’t known ‘til now that Freejack was sort of based of his Immortality, Inc. novel. I’ve read a lot by him with Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming (written with Zelazny) and Babylon 5: A Call to Arms being my favorite works by him. Sheckley is very well stocked on the Kindle store but not in the iBook store. H’h. (Died 2005.)
Born July 16, 1929 — Sheri Tepper. I think I’m going to single out her Marianne Trilogy (Marianne, the Magus and the Manticore; Marianne, the Madam and the Momentary Gods; Marianne, the Matchbox and the Malachite Mouse) as her best work. Both the setting and the characters are unique, the story fascinating. (Died 2016.)
Born July 16, 1951 — Esther Friesner, 68. She’s won the Nebula Awards for Best Short Story, both “Death and the Librarian” and “A Birthday”. I’m particularly fond of The Sherwood Game and E.Godz which she did with Robert Asprin. She’s better better stocked in the Kindle store than in the iBooks Store.
Born July 16, 1956 — Jerry Doyle. Now this one was depressing. Dead of acute alcoholism at sixty, his character Michael Garibaldi was portrayed as an alcoholic, sometimes recovering and sometimes not on Babylon 5. Damn. (Died 2016.)
Born July 16, 1963 — Phoebe Cates, 56. Ok, her entire genre appearance credit is as Kate Beringer in Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch. It’s two films that I have an inordinate fondness for that the Suck Fairy cannot have any effect upon.
Born July 16, 1967 — Will Ferrell, 52. His last film was Holmes & Watson in which he played Holmes. It won Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screen Combo and, my absolute favorite Award, Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel. Wow. He was also in Land of the Lost which, errrr, also got negative reviews. Elf however got a great response from viewers and critics alike.
I write to you from the past—knowing you’re presently asleep while I’m awake, three hours’ worth of time zone between us—to talk about ideas. It’s tricky to know where to begin; when the most succinct description we can manage of our book clocks in at “epistolary spy vs. spy novella across time and space,” the ideas crowd and clutter.
But I think it all ultimately begins and ends with us. The two of us, becoming friends, and writing each other letters.
Do you remember when we first decided to write something together? I know the fact of it, but I don’t remember the hour, the words—only that we loved each other’s work, wanted to work together, wanted to set a sensible boundary of how and when and for how long to work together….
Thanks to the exploits of 19th-century archaeologists (many of them no better than Indiana Jones, digging for statues and jewelry while ignoring evidence of daily life), lost civilizations were common features of 19th-century adventure stories. The trope was imported wholesale into early SFF. Do you remember your first SFF lost civilization? I remember mine, which was thanks to Scholastic Books: the enthusiastically pulp-ish Stranger from the Depths, by Gerry Turner.
A mysterious relic reveals to humanity that there was an ancient civilization that arose before modern humans evolved in Africa. “Was”…or “is”? Ancient does not always mean vanished. These ancient aliens have, in fact, survived(!!!) in well-concealed refugia. Humans have now stumbled across them. Will humans survive the discovery?
It’s that rare time of year when the Life Plan presentation comes through the Los Angeles Habitable Zone! Tired of struggling in underground shelters and fleeing from mutated dumpster dogs? Life Plan is the answer! You can live out your dream life and you can experience true fulfillment, but only if you come to one of our five Life Plan Presentations this June. This is your last chance of 2068, so don’t miss out!
Life Plan is immersive satirical sci-fi — you’re live at a timeshare sales pitch from our dystopian future. Fulfillment is the offer. Salvation is the opportunity. Will you cash out? Will you buy in?
The play is written by Matthew Latkiewicz of You Can Do Better on truTV and former The Onion managing editor Brian Janosch. There are more details here.
The Parks and Recreation actor Alison Becker raves about the play on her Instagram wall, “I’ve seen A LOT of theater. And this was one of the best shows I’ve seen in my entire life. Wow. It’s like a weird mind fuck that stays in your head for weeks afterwards. It’s been extended for one night only (July 20th) so don’t say I didn’t tell you. I am NOT involved in this play. I am just telling you as a public service announcement — GO SEE THE BEST PIECE OF THEATER OF THE YEAR.”
You’ve worked as a video game journalist. How has gaming influenced your prose? What do you think writers could learn from successful video games?
I think analyzing video games actually helped me understand world-building a bit better. I try to treat every character, no matter how small their role, as an NPC (non-playable character). Every NPC in a video game should have a clear purpose, not just to propel the main characters on their quest, but to better flesh out the world around them. NPCs in games offer advice and opinions, sometimes drop hints that, if missed, can really screw over the player, or at least make their quest more difficult. In that way, they can make the story interactive. NPCs basically can reward a player for exploration. If you remove them, maybe the overall story won’t be affected, per se, but it will feel less rich.
CBS has so many Star Trek projects going on, it chose to dump them all into one panel! “Enter the Star Trek Universe” will share news about several Star Trek projects—including the animated show Lower Decks, from the guys behind Rick and Morty, and Sir Patrick Stewart’s highly anticipated return as Jean-Luc Picard. We can’t wait, especially for the dog.
When and where: Hall H on Saturday, July 20 at 11:30 a.m.
Who will be there:
Star Trek: Discovery—Sonequa Martin-Green, Tig Notaro, and executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Michelle Paradise, and Heather Kadin.
Star Trek: Lower Decks—co-creator Mike McMahan
Star Trek: Picard—Sir Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Isa Biones, Santiago Cabrera, Harry Treadaway, showrunner Michael Chabon, and executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, and Heather Kadin.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, rcade, Carl
Slaughter, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Alan Baumler, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Greg
Hullender, Olav Rokne, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title
credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]
By John Hertz: WOOF (World Order of Faneditors) is the apa collated annually, since 1976, at the World Science Fiction Convention.
It’s another Bruce Pelz invention. As Suford Lewis said, he had a fruitful imagination.
Legend says he called it his second dumbest idea. But what did he know?
I’m well aware that actually answering this question would be an elephantine task.
An apa (amateur press, or publishing, association) is – among us – in origin a device for distributing fanzines.
Russell Chauvenet coined the word “fanzine” in the 1940s. Analog, Asimov’s,The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and like that, are prozines. Our fanzines are amateur publications by fans, for fans. Pros sometimes contribute. Some people are both.
We borrowed apas from Amateur Journalism (sometimes “ayjay” for short). NAPA the National Amateur Press Association, founded 1876 and still ongoing – its 144th annual convention was 11-13 Jul 19 at Lansing, Michigan, U.S.A. – says it is
dedicated to the furtherance of Amateur Journalism as a hobby. Although deeply rooted in the “Black Art” of letterpress printing, all of the associated arts of writing, editing, publishing, and illustration are equally important to NAPA members. Each month’s bundle of papers, mailed to all members, will contain the work of printers, some who do not write, and writers and poets, and some who also print. Some edit and publish the work of others, leaving the craft of printing to yet others.
You can look it up.
Our fandom is younger, but was well along in 1937 when John Michel and Don Wollheim founded FAPA the Fantasy Amateur Press Association – also still ongoing.
It occurred to Michel and Wollheim – each of whom has much to answer for (historical present tense; JM 1917-1968, DW 1914-1990) – that fanziners could send copies of their zines to a central officer who would then collate and distribute them. From this came copy counts, membership rosters, waiting lists, and things too fierce to mention.
Since then we’ve had dozens of apas. They come and go, each with its own rules, customs, and jokes. Most of our apas have been quarterly or monthly. I’m in one that’s weekly.
The central and only officer of WOOF is the Official Editor. Some have held that position for years – Pelz himself, and Victoria Smith, to name two – but this too comes and goes.
The OE for WOOF in 2019 is Kees van Toorn, who among much else chaired the 48th Worldcon, at the Hague.
This year’s collation will be WOOF 44 (the number, like much else, is subject to controversy but there you are; possibly pertinent, but I insist it isn’t, atomic element 44 is one of the rarest metals on Earth, and has no biological role).
Sue Mason, some of whose artwork was collected by Alison Scott in No Moose Today, Thanks, will do a cover.
Would you like to contribute? There’s no formal membership.
This year’s Worldcon will be at Dublin, Republic of Ireland. At the moment WOOF seeks a convenient place for depositing and collecting contributions on paper. Electronic contributions will be printed and collated in.
The result will be (1) sent by paper or electronic mail to each contributor, as each may arrange with the OE; (2) sent to people who do not contribute, if any so arrange; (3) given to members of the Worldcon who seem interested, as resources may permit – including some way of covering the OE’s costs, with Dutch letters of exchange – that may not be right – hmm — or PayPal, or something.
Stay tuned for more details (“Slans! This is a Porgrave thought-broadcaster,” A.E. Van Vogt, Slan ch. 14, as the electronic may see here).
Meanwhile if you wish you can write or call me, 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409, Los Angeles, CA 90057, U.S.A.; (213)384-6622 (Pacific Time zone).
Why me – when I’ve never been in WOOF? Well, Lord Melbourne (William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, 1779-1848), when told he was a pillar of the Church, said “I don’t think I can be a pillar of the Church. I must be a buttress. I support it from outside.”
Among much else he wrote and translated under the name Rei Kozumi. Some of us rendered this as “Mr. Kozumi”, not recognizing his Japanification – while in Japanese style the last name shall be first, the Japanese are punsters far beyond even the likes of me (and I wish I’d invented “Black Art”, though ink comes in other colors too) – of “cosmic ray”. He was great in fandom and prodom.
Game of Thrones set a new record for most nominations received by a show in a single year (32) when the 71st Emmy Awards nominees were announced today.
Game of Thrones was nominated for Best Drama Series, a category it has won four times before, and cast members Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Alfie Allen, Lena Headey, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Gwendoline Christie and guest star Carice van Houten also landed Emmy nominations.
Other nominees of genre interest
include — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series:
Kumail Nanjiani (The Twilight Zone), Bradley Whitford (The Handmaid’s
Tale); Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Jessica Lange (American
Horror Story: Apocalypse), Cherry Jones (The Handmaid’s Tale); Outstanding
Writing for a Drama Series: The Handmaid’s Tale “Holly”; Outstanding
Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Maya Rudolph (The Good Place); Outstanding
Television Movie: Bandersnatch (Black Mirror).
If you wonder why
there are no nominations for Stranger Things, the
explanation is that season 3 dropped July 4 — more than a month
after the eligibility period closed — it doesn’t qualify for submissions this
The 2019 Primetime
Emmy Awards will be presented September 22 in a live telecast from Los Angeles.
By Tracy Townsend: As coordinator of the Illinois
Science Fiction in Chicago (ISFiC) Writers Contest for 2019, it’s my pleasure
to announce we are open for submissions!
If you are a writer currently living in Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Kentucky, or Ohio, or were a
Windycon 2018 attendee, and if you have not yet been paid to publish your
fiction, you’re eligible to submit your work! Please review the complete contest guidelines here.
The ISFiC Writers Contest began in 1986 and has helped many
authors begin their careers in publishing. All authors retain the rights to
their stories and are free to publish them elsewhere after the contest, with
the winning story making its debut in the Windycon 2019 program.
Winners will enjoy a $300 cash award and the opportunity to
attend Windycon 2019 with a complimentary
membership badge and double room at the convention hotel. Honorable mentions
will receive a commemorative 1oz American silver coin.
Please submit all stories in .rtf format to email@example.com by
September 1, 2019. Questions about the contest may be directed to the email
address above. Good luck, and write well!