2018 Rondo Awards Nominees

Online voting has begun for the 16th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. You’re invited to vote for your favorites in any or all 29 categories. Click the link for instructions and the complete ballot. The deadline to participate is midnight April 8.

As teaser, here are the Best Movie, Best Television Presentation, and Best Article finalists.

BEST MOVIE OF 2017

  • ALIEN: COVENANT
  • ANNABELLE: CREATION
  • THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER
  • BLADE RUNNER 2049
  • COLOSSAL
  • CULT OF CHUCKY
  • A CURE FOR WELLNESS
  • GET OUT
  • GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2
  • HAPPY DEATH DAY
  • Stephen King’s IT
  • IT COMES AT NIGHT
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE
  • KONG SKULL ISLAND
  • LIFE
  • LOGAN
  • MOTHER!
  • THE MUMMY
  • THE SHAPE OF WATER
  • STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
  • SUPER DARK TIMES
  • THOR RAGNAROK
  • WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
  • WONDER WOMAN

BEST TELEVISION PRESENTATION OF 2017

  • AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT, ’11/9.’ 9.26.17, FX. Election results spark a murderous cult from both sides. ‘Take pain in one hand and anger in another. Use them.’
  • BLACK MIRROR, ‘USS Callister,’ 12.29.17, NETFLIX. A creepy take on fandom and Star Trek. ‘But then you threw my son out of an airlock.’
  • DOCTOR WHO, ‘Twice Upon a Time,’ 12.25.17, BBC America. The Twelfth Doctor, refusing to regenerate, meets the First Doctor. ‘There’s a few false starts, but you get there in the end.’
  • THE EXORCIST, ‘Darling Nikki,’ 11.10.17, FOX. An attempt to draw the Demon out of hiding. ‘After they’ve gone, we’ll start putting this house together again.’
  • FEUD, ‘You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends?’ 4.23.17, FX. The Bette Davis-Joan Crawford finale includes recreation of Crawford filming TROG. ‘My mother told me to never speak ill of the dead, only good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good.’
  • GAME OF THRONES, ‘The Spoils of War,’ 8.6.17. A spectacular battle of fire and ice. Dragons, too. ‘I will fight for you. I will fight for the North. When you bend the knee.’
  • THE HANDMAID’S TALE, ‘A Woman’s Place,’ 5.17.17, HULU. An ambassador brings short-lived hope. ‘We let them forget their real purpose. We won’t let that happen again.’
  • THE ORVILLE, ‘Pria’ 10.5.17, FOX. Charlize Theron guests as an alien from the future. ‘When we get to my century, I’ll introduce you to Amelia Earhart.’
  • STAN AGAINST EVIL, ‘Girl’s Night,’ 11.8.17, IFC. Jeffrey Combs guest stars as Impish Man. ‘Answer the door. Then step outside and lock it, and everything will be great.’
  • STRANGER THINGS, ‘The Gate,’ 10.27.17, NETFLIX. Eleven and others confront beasts from the Upside Down. ‘I never gave up on you. I called you every night.’
  • THE WALKING DEAD, ‘Bury Me Here,” 3.12.17 AMC. Carol rejoins the fight after a delivery to the Saviors goes bad. ‘We have to fight. We do. But not today..’

BEST ARTICLE

  • ‘Battle of the Monster Makers: The Science Behind Henry and Victor Frankenstein,’ by Mark C Glassy, PhD, SCARY MONSTERS #103. The science behind Universal and Hammer’s dueling mad doctors.
  • ‘Boris Karloff: Host of NBC’s Thriller,’ by Dr. Robert J. Kiss, CLASSIC IMAGES #507. How the horror icon held viewers spellbound.
  • ‘Caltiki: The Name Written in Tripe,’ by Tim Lucas. SCREEM #33. The rediscovery of Mario Bava’s role in his Italian monster movie.
  • ‘Robert Bloch: The Clown at Midnight,’ by Steve Vertlieb, THETHUNDERCHILD.COM. Recalling a 25-year friendship with the author of Psycho.
  • ‘Could the Zombo Show Be Successful Today?’, by Mike DeMesa (art by Rob Costello), SCARY MONSTERS #103. A wistful look at the Munsters short-lived horror host.
  • ‘The Epic Untold Saga Behind Frankenstein: The True Story,’ by Sam Irvin, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #38. More than 100 pages on the 1973 NBC miniseries that brought elegance and star-power to Mary Shelley’s monster.
  • ‘Fan Therapy: Subscription Boxes,’ by Nathan Hanneman, HORRORHOUND #63. What do you actually get in those horror mystery boxes? HH opens them up.
  • ‘The Future of Horror: Directing a New Generation,’ by Nathan Hanneman and staff, HORRORHOUND #68. A look at directors who will be taking the genre in scary new directions.
  • ‘The Great and Secret Showman,’ by Sean Plummer, RUE MORGUE #176. The myths and truths behind Satanist Anton Lavey.
  • ”How Do You Solve a Problem Like Carmilla, Part Two,’ by John-Paul Checkett, VIDEO WATCHDOG #184. More surp[rising films based on LeFanu’s novella.
  • ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ by Nige Burton, CLASSIC MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES #9. An in-depth look at the 1939 all-time classic.
  • ‘James Whale,’ a three-part article by Neil Pettigrew, DARK SIDE #183, 188, 189. Visits to Whale’s birthplace and stage career offer insights to his Universal monsters.
  • ‘Less Is More: on the Need to Return to Generic Horror,’ by Preston Fassel, HeardTell.com. A prescription for change.
  • ‘The Mummy: 85 Years of Stalking,’ by Jon Kitley with Jason Jink Jenkins, HORRORHOUND # A museum-full of mummified films, toys, games and artifacts.
  • ‘Music to our Fears,’ by Jamie Jones, CLASSIC MONSTERS OF THE MOVIES #6. Dissecting the horror themes that made so many films so memorable.
  • ‘The Night of the Eagle Revisited,’ by Clive Dawson, DARK SIDE #181. The many incarnations of Burn Witch Burn.
  • ‘The Obscure Cinematic Lore of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,’ by Steve Joyce, the Journal of Stevenson Studies, Vol. 13. Exploring the many silent-film takes on one of literature’s original monsters.
  • ‘The Old Dark House, Fixed Up Good as New,’ by Tom Weaver, CLASSIC IMAGES #509. Interviews and tons of facts about the newly restored James Whale classic.
  • ‘Paul Blaisdell: The Strange Creature of Topanga Canyon,’ by Vincent di Fate, SCARY MONSTERS #104-105. The low-budget triumphs and career heartbreak of a master monster maker.
  • ‘Paul Naschy,’ by Rod Barnett, SCREEM #34. An expert examines the latest Naschy resurgence.
  • ‘Phyllis Coates, or Loosing Lois Lane in New York,’ by Bruce Dettman, FILMFAX #150. A first-person account of escorting the Superman star to a Manhattan convention.
  • ‘The Production of Universal’s Invisible Man Returns,’ by Greg Mank, MONSTER BASH #29. How Vincent Price went invisible.
  • ‘Regarding the Incomparable Acting Career of Peter Lorre,’ by Lucas Paris, MONDOCULT.com. The performances are the thing in this look at one of horror’s most singular presences.
  • “The Road to Hell: The Making of To the Devil a Daughter and the Unmaking of Hammer,’ by David Taylor, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #39. How Hammer blew a last chance to stay afloat.
  • ‘Supernatural Folklore in the Japanese Ghost Film,’ by Kat Ellinger, DIABOLIQUE #26. Tracing the cultural roots of apparitions and demons.
  • ‘Triple Threat: Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster,’ by Martin Arlt, MAD SCIENTIST #32. Everything, and more, you need to know about Godzilla’s arch-nemesis.
  • ’20 Years of Monsters,’ by Michael Ramsey and Deborah Painter, MONSTER BASH #30. A look back at two decades of fandom’s most monster-friendly convention.

Filer Steve Vertlieb’s article “Robert Bloch: The Clown at Midnight” is up for a “Best Article” Rondo Award, and he’d be glad to have you read and consider voting for it. Anyone can vote – simply send an e-mail to David Colton (taraco@aol.com) with their name, e-mail, and the nominees they’re voting for. Everyone may vote just once. Voting ends Sunday night, April 8, 2018, at midnight.

U.S. Black History Month

By John Hertz: (reprinted from Vanamonde 1289) Lena Horne (1917-2010) was in the Cotton Club chorus line at sixteen; she replaced Dinah Shore (1916-1994) as the featured vocalist on NBC Radio’s Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street — which was jazz, and a spoof – and had made Shore’s career – but after six months was hired away for a club on Sunset Strip.  She sang the title song in Stormy Weather (A. Stine dir. 1943) in a role invented for her.  Back in nightclubs she sang at the Sands(Las Vegas), the Cocoanut Grove (L.A.), the Waldorf Astoria (New York); her 1957 live Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria was RCA Victor’s best-selling record by a woman artist up to that time (LOC 1028; now e.g. Hallmark B00DI4HSPK 2013); see its fine review in W. Friedwald, The Great Jazz & Pop Vocal Albums pp. 184-89 (2017).  During World War II she wouldn’t sing for segregated audiences, famously leaving a stage for the row where the black troops were.  She was in the 1963 March on Washington. Tom Lehrer put her in “National Brotherhood Week” (1965) – which, incidentally, it is, just now.  In 1980 she said she was retiring, then mounted a one-woman show The Lady and Her Music that ran three hundred performances on Broadway, toured the United States and Canada, played a month in London, and ended in Stockholm.  She won four Grammys (two for The Lady and Her Music, one for Lifetime Achievement), a Tony, and the Spingarn Medal. She was on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show; she was Glinda in The Wiz (S. Lumet dir. 1978) – in case you were waiting to hear what particular interest all this had for us.  She is on the 2018 U.S. Postal Service Black  Heritage stamp. In fact she never was retiring.

Pixel Scroll 2/21/18 I Picked The Wrong Week To Quit Scrollin’ Pixels

(1) THE SOURCE. Paste Magazine tells readers “If You Love Black Panther, You Have to Read Nnedi Okorafor’s Books”.

…Okorafor, who’s about to wrap up a run on Marvel’s Black Panther: Long Live the King comic series, boasts an enthralling catalogue of novels steeped in afrofuturism. So if you’re looking for more stories featuring kickass women and inventive tech on the African continent, Okorafor has you covered.

Here are Paste’s top five picks to get you started:

Black Panther: Long Live the King

The obvious first title on this list is Marvel’s six-issue Long Live the King series, in which Okorafor wrote issues one, two and five. With art by André Lima Araújo and colors by Chris O’Halloran, Okorafor’s vision for Wakanda delivers a captivating narrative that breathes new life into the Black Panther canon.

Okorafor also wrote issue six, a one-shot story about Ngozi illustrated by Tana Ford, due out on February 28th. You might recognize Ngozi—an original Okorafor creation—from her first appearance in Venomverse: War Stories. And if the character is new to you, you’ll love the Nigerian woman who bonded with the Venom symbiote and became a hero….

(2) OKORAFOR FREE READ. Slate agrees that the work of Nnedi Okorafor is the place to start, and has timely released “Mother of Invention”, “a new short story by the author of Marvel’s Black Panther: Long Live The King.”

(3) DOUBLE UP. Yes, one reason Black Panther had a record weekend is because patrons failed to get away with stunts like this! “Two kids dressed as a tall man to get into “Black Panther” were caught on video”. Rare has the story:

Two kids decided they wanted to go to the new Marvel superhero film “Black Panther,” but they didn’t want to pay for two movie tickets, so they tried to dupe the movie theater’s manager.

The duo went to the theater disguised as one “tall man” under a trench coat, but unsurprisingly, their plan didn’t work. However, despite their unsuccessful attempt to save on movie tickets, they have gone viral on Twitter thanks to their hilarious antics.

 

(4) ANTIHARASSMENT DONOR. The Independent reports “Emma Watson donates £1m to help fund for sexual harassment victims”.

The donation from the Harry Potter star to the UK Justice and Equality Fund comes as nearly 200 female British and Irish stars signed an open letter calling for an end to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Watson is one of the first donors to the fund, which was set up by the 190 women who signed the open letter, along with a group of 160 academics, activists and charity workers.

Emma Thompson, Carey Mulligan, Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Chan, Keira Knightley and Watson are among the actors to sign the letter, which was published in The Observer.

(5) THE CULTURE MEETS THE VAST WASTELAND. Engadget reports “Amazon’s answer to ‘Altered Carbon’ is Iain M. Banks’ space opera”.

…Amazon Studios will adapt the first novel, Consider Phlebas, for television.

Dennis Kelly will adapt the sci-fi drama for Plan B Entertainment (World War Z). The Iain Banks’s estate will serve as an executive producer for the series. “Iain Banks has long been a hero of mine, and his innate warmth, humor and humanism shines through these novels,” said Kelly, who previously adapted Matilda for the stage. “Far from being the dystopian nightmares that we are used to, Banks creates a kind of flawed paradise, a society truly worth fighting for — rather than a warning from the future, his books are a beckoning.”

(6) DIAL M. Upon hearing the news about Banks’ novel, Damien G. Walter immediately warned all in hearing that the sky is falling — “5 things that can go HORRIBLY wrong adapting The Culture”.

I don’t consider myself a true fan of many things, but I am an unapologetic Iain (M) Banks fanboy.

Which is an easy thing to be. Banks is a brilliant, brilliant writer. A storyteller in the class of Neil Gaiman, with the muscular prose abilities of J G Ballard, and the conceptual imagination of an Asimov or Le Guin. I read his Culture books in my teens, his literary novels in my twenties, and re-read nearly all of them in my thirties. Just this year I’ve been working my way through Peter Kenny’s spot on audio adaptations.

So, like all true fans, I’m a little worried by news of a tv adaptation. Banks was fairly outspoken about his decision not to allow movie or tv adaptations of the Culture novels. I totally respect any decision his estate makes on this, and nobody doubts Amazon have the cash to make it happen? But do they have the skill, creativity and imagination?

How many ways could a Culture tv adaptation go wrong? Let us count the ways….

(7) WHAT ADA PALMER AND JOHN HERTZ HAVE IN COMMON. Patrick McGuire writes: “I just received my Winter issue of the alumni University of Chicago Magazine. Bundled with it was The Core, a semiannual supplement magazine devoted to the College. (U.C. is primarily a graduate institution, so the undergraduate school is decidedly the tail, not the dog.) The Winter 2018 Core has a profile of sf writer and history professor Ada Palmer. It is fairly insightful and informative, even if it does refer to Sassafras as a ‘folk band.’ The current issue of The Core is, at least as I write, not at the URL where it is supposed to be per the print issue, but after considerable poking around I found the Palmer article here — ‘Renaissance-woman’. The profile does discuss her sf novels and it has photographs of Ada and others in costume. She also gets the magazine cover.”

“Curiously, the mother-ship University of Chicago Magazine for Winter itself has a letter from prominent fan John Hertz. John primarily discusses non-sfnal topics, but does include a plug for Benford’s The Berlin Project.

(8) BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS. New York bookstore The Strand would be delighted to sell you a copy of every single one: “Best Selling Author of Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer, Shares His Top 50 Books”.

(9) BEST EDITOR HUGO RECOMMENDATIONS. Lee Harris doesn’t want British sff editors overlooked, and assembled a get-acquainted thread. Jump aboard here —

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 21, 1966  — Raquel Welch in a Stone Age bikini starred in One Million Years B.C. which premiered theatrically on this date.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY DROID

  • Born February 21, 1946 — Anthony Daniels, who plays C3PO.

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian found a Yoda joke that really works in Half Full.
  • On the other hand, John is right to call this stfnal pun a real groaner – The Argyle Sweater.

(13) WHAT’S THAT HE SAID? At age 54, a Doctor Who reviver finally gets to play Macbeth: “Christopher Eccleston: Northern accent ‘held me back'”.

The actor star says there is a perception in the industry that “people like me can’t be classical”.

Eccleston was born into a working class family on a council estate in Salford in Lancashire in 1964.

He will appear as Macbeth in a new production at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford Upon Avon, but he had to ask for the role.

Unfortunately, Billie Piper is not playing Lady Macbeth.

(14) SECOND BREAKFAST. Did you ever do a movie marathon drinking game? Well, this is an eating game for the LotR trilogy – whatever food is eaten on screen, they cook and eat too!

(15) TANK GIRL TO RETURN. Titan Comics will bring the Tank Girl franchise back to life in 2018.

It’s been 30 years since the dynamic partnership of Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett (Gorillaz) unleashed Tank Girl upon the world! To celebrate Tank Girl’s 30th Anniversary, Titan Comics is launching the ‘Year of Tank Girl’ in 2018 – a year-long celebration with new comics, graphic novels and special events, including a global Tank Girl Day event on Saturday, October 20.

Originally published in 1988 as a black and white comic strip in UK magazine Deadline, Tank Girl has gone on to become a cult icon in the 30 years since her first appearance, with numerous comics and graphic novels, and even her own feature film in 1995, which boasted an all-star cast including Lori Petty, Naomi Watts, Malcolm McDowell, Ice-T, and Iggy Pop, and directed by Doctor Who’s Rachel Talalay.

As Tank Girl prepares to celebrate 30 riotous years in 2018, Titan Comics is proud to announce its ‘Year of Tank Girl’ campaign.

Celebrations kick off in April 2018 with Tank Girl: Full Color Classics 1988-1989 – the first of six prestige editions presenting those original seminal strips from Deadline in glorious color, just as Hewlett and Martin envisaged them three decades ago. Colored by Tracy Bailey (Fighting American) and Sofie Dodgson (Tank Girl: Bad Wind Rising), this is a new take on the classic strips. Plus, it includes rare and unseen artwork, as well as photos from the early days of the Martin and Hewlett partnership.

(16) #!&@! MY DAD SAYS. Bradford Betz, in a Fox News story “William Shatner Shames Texas Dem From Using His Photo in Campaign Newsletter”, says that Shat told Brandy Chambers, running for the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat, to stop using a photo she took at a Comic-Con with him because it seemed like he endorsed her, which he hasn’t.

The image circulated until it reached Shatner on Saturday. The 86-year-old actor tweeted at Chambers that her use of the convention photo misleadingly suggests an “endorsement” on his part. He then told her to “remove my photo” and “destroy all copies of whatever this is immediately.”

(17) BOXING DAY. According to ULTRAGOTHA, “Spurius Ennius Nasica is Rocky Balboa put through a Roman name generator.” The connection between Rocky and Rome is this discovery — “Rare Roman boxing gloves uncovered near Hadrian’s Wall in ‘astonishing’ find”.

Roman boxing gloves believed to be the only surviving example from the period have gone on display after being discovered near Hadrian’s Wall.

The gloves were found last summer during an excavation at Vindolanda, near Hexham in Northumberland.

Other items were unearthed in the dig, including swords, horse gear and writing tablets.

The gloves – which date from around 120 AD – are made of leather and have the appearance of a protective guard. They are designed to fit snugly over the knuckles, protecting them from impact.

(18) QUANTUM LEAP LEFTOVERS. Io9 investigates the tantalizing question “Did a Fan Just Find Proof of Quantum Leap’s Secret Lost Ending?” 

…The series finale of Quantum Leap was bleak (to put it mildly), with the final title card confirming that Scott Bakula’s character, Sam Beckett, remained lost in time. However, one video claims a long-rumored alternate ending was actually real, one which would’ve made it possible for Sam to make that final leap home.

YouTuber Allison Pregler has released a video sharing what she says are negatives for an alternate ending to the fifth season of Quantum Leap. How did she get her hands on such a historical item? Pregler bought a bunch of Quantum Leap negatives on eBay.

“When I was looking at the film strips to try and guess what episodes or scenes they were, it took me a second to really grasp what I had. I thought it really looked like that alternate ending I’d read before, but no one knew it was filmed so I couldn’t believe it,” Pregler told io9. “I’m still having trouble believing it.”…

(19) LOST AGAIN. Netflix reboot of Lost in Space premieres April 13.

The Robinson family, part of a highly trained mission to establish a new colony in space, is unexpectedly pulled off course forcing them to crash land on a lost planet.

 

(20) REPEL BUYERS! Tabletop Tribe is not kidding — “The Worst Board Game Box Art Ever”. Man, are these awful! Just look at #19 —

  1. Guildhall (2012?—?Alderac Entertainment Group)

“Meet the wife. I luv ‘er more than any pig, and that’s sayin’ summat.”

Indeed sir. For a pig farmer you appear to be punching way above your weight.

It’s not that the characters are badly rendered (although it does appear that it’s simply photo overpainting at work here), or the inconsistent lighting and flat boring background. It’s just a bizarre motley collection and a piglet with a nose four sizes too big.

[Thanks to Joel Zakem, JJ, Mix Mat, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, John King Tarpinian, ULTRAGOTHA, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Mark Hepworth, Patrick McGuire, Hampus Eckerman, Michael J. Walsh, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bruce Diamond.]

2018 Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire First Round Nominations

The nominations for the 2018 Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire have been announced. This is in effect a longlist, and in a few weeks the jurors will issue their shorter second round of nominees. The awards will be presented on May 20 at the Étonnants Voyageurs festival in Saint-Malo, France.

The jurors for the award are Joëlle Wintrebert (president), Jean-Luc Rivera (vice-president), Bruno Para (assistant secretary), Jean-Claude Dunyach (treasurer), Sylvie Allouche , François Angelier , Sandrine Brugot-Maillard , Olivier Legendre , Danielle Martinigol, Jean-Claude Vantroyen. The Secretary (not a member of the jury) is Pascal Patoz.

Roman francophone / Novel in French

  • La Désolation de Pierre Bordage (Bragelonne)
  • Toxoplasma de Calvo (La Volte)
  • Le Temps de Palanquine de Thierry Di Rollo (Le Bélial’)
  • Pornarina de Raphaël Eymery (Denoël, Lunes d’encre)
  • Les Seigneurs de Bohen d’Estelle Faye (Critic)
  • Spire, tomes 1 & 2 de Laurent Genefort (Critic)
  • La Société des faux visages de Xavier Mauméjean (Alma)
  • Paris-Capitale de Feldrik Rivat (L’Homme sans nom)
  • Moi, Peter Pan de Michael Roch (mü éditions)
  • Pierre-Fendre de Brice Tarvel (Les moutons électriques)

Roman étranger / Foreign Novel

  • La Bibliothèque de Mount Char de Scott Hawkins (Denoël, Lunes d’encre)
  • Bagdad, la grande évasion ! de Saad Z. Hossain (Agullo)
  • La Cinquième Saison de N.K. Jemisin (Nouveaux Millénaires)
  • Une histoire des abeilles de Maja Lunde (Presses de la Cité)
  • L’Arche de Darwin de James Morrow (Au diable vauvert)
  • Version officielle de James Renner (Super 8)
  • 2312 de Kim Stanley Robinson (Actes Sud, Exofictions)
  • L’Alchimie de la pierre d’Ekaterina Sedia (Le Bélial’)

Nouvelle francophone / Short Fiction in French

  • La Route des Orsadoles de Célia Chalfoun (in Galaxies n°45)
  • Célestopol d’Emmanuel Chastellière (Éditions de l’Instant)
  • Serf-Made-Man ? ou la créativité discutable de Nolan Peskine d’Alain Damasio (in Au bal des actifs, La Volte)
  • L’Empire électrique de Victor Fleury (Bragelonne)
  • Carnaval, l’Aire Tripartite de Laurent Genefort (in Bifrost n°86)
  • Point du jour de Léo Henry (Scylla)
  • Few of us de luvan (Dystopia)
  • In Google we trust de Jean-Marc Sire (in Galaxies n°49)
  • Terre de Brume de Cindy Van Wilder (in Galaxies n°47)

Nouvelle étrangère / Foreign Short Fiction

  • Qui t’attendra sur le pas de la porte ? de Lesley Nneka Arimah (in Galaxies n°46)
  • La Reine en jaune d’Anders Fager (Mirobole)
  • Danses aériennes de Nancy Kress (Le Bélial’ & Quarante-Deux)
  • Le Sultan des nuages de Geoffrey A. Landis (Le Bélial’)
  • Certains ont disparu et d’autres sont tombés de Joel Lane (Dreampress)
  • Avec ses yeux de Cixin Liu (in Bifrost n°87)
  • Des vampires dans la citronneraie de Karen Russell (Albin Michel)
  • 24 vues du Mont Fuji par Hokusai de Roger Zelazny (Le Bélial’)

Roman jeunesse francophone / Novels for youth in French

  • Sang maudit d’Ange (Castelmore)
  • Seconde nature d’Emmanuel Ardichvili (Le Lamantin)
  • La Maison des reflets de Camille Brissot (Syros)
  • La Mémoire de Babel de Christelle Dabos (Gallimard jeunesse)
  • Phobos, tomes 1 à 4, de Victor Dixen (Robert Laffont)
  • Power Club, tomes 1 & 2, d’Alain Gagnol (Syros)
  • Les Mystères de Larispem, tomes 1 & 2 de Lucie Pierrat-Pajot (Gallimard jeunesse)
  • E.V.E. de Carina Rozenfeld (Syros)
  • Roslend, tomes 1 & 2, de Nathalie Somers (Didier jeunesse)
  • La Mort du temps d’Aurélie Wellenstein (Scrineo)

Roman jeunesse étranger / Foreign novels for youth

  • La Fille qui avait bu la lune de Kelly Barnhill (Anne Carrière)
  • Robot sauvage de Peter Brown (Gallimard jeunesse)
  • Le Défi des étoiles de Claudia Gray (Castelmore)
  • Les Cartographes, tomes 1 à 3 de S.E. Grove (Nathan)
  • Esclaves de Vic James (Nathan)
  • Diabolic – Protéger ou mourir de S.J. Kincaid (Bayard)
  • La Belle Sauvage de Philip Pullman (Gallimard jeunesse)
  • La Faucheuse de Neal Shusterman (Robert Laffont)
  • Le Monstrologue de Rick Yancey (Robert Laffont)

Prix Jacques Chambon de la traduction / Jacques Chambon Translation Prize

  • Jean-Daniel Brèque pour Certains ont disparu et d’autres sont tombés de Joel Lane (Dreampress), La Bibliothèque de Mount Char de Scott Hawkins (Denoël, Lunes d’encre) et Apex de Ramez Naam (Presses de la Cité)
  • Michelle Charrier pour La Cinquième Saison de N.K. Jemisin (Nouveaux Millénaires)
  • Anne Coldefy-Faucard pour Telluria de Vladimir Sorokine (Actes Sud)
  • Mathias De Breyne pour Kalpa Impérial de Angélica Gorodischer (La Volte)
  • Pierre-Paul Durastanti pour les inédits de Danses aériennes de Nancy Kress (Le Bélial’ & Quarante-Deux)
  • Gilles Goullet pour Autorité de Jeff VanderMeer (Au diable vauvert)
  • Jean-François Le Ruyet pour Bagdad, la grande évasion ! de Saad Z. Hossain (Agullo)
  • Valérie Malfoy pour Des vampires dans la citronneraie de Karen Russell (Albin Michel)
  • Théophile Sersiron pour The Only Ones de Carola Dibbell (Le Nouvel Attila)

Prix Wojtek Siudmak du graphisme / Wojtek Siudmak Graphic Design prize

  • Melchior Ascaride pour Tout au milieu du monde de Julien Bétan & Mathieu Rivero (Les moutons électriques)
  • François Baranger pour L’Appel de Cthulhu de H.P. Lovecraft (Bragelonne)
  • Peter Brown pour Robot sauvage de Peter Brown (Gallimard jeunesse)
  • Daniel Egneus pour American Gods et Le Monarque de la vallée de Neil Gaiman (Au diable vauvert)
  • Philippe Gady pour Capitaine Futur, tomes 1 & 2, d’Edmond Hamilton (Le Bélial’)
  • Taï-Marc Le Thanh pour Roslend, tomes 1 & 2, de Nathalie Somers (Didier jeunesse)
  • Donatien Mary pour Les Mystères de Larispem, tomes 1 & 2 de Lucie Pierrat-Pajot (Gallimard jeunesse)
  • Stéphane Perger pour Point du jour de Léo Henry (Scylla) et Few of us de luvan (Dystopia)
  • Aurélien Police pour ses couvertures de la collection Une heure-lumière (Le Bélial’)

Essai / Essay

  • Images et mots de l’horreur, tomes 1 & 2, de Guy Astic (Rouge profond)
  • Lovecraft au prisme de l’image de Christophe Gelly et Gilles Menegaldo (Le Visage vert)
  • Heavy Metal, l’autre Métal Hurlant de Nicolas Labarre (Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux)
  • Étoiles rouges. La littérature de science-fiction soviétique de Viktoriya Lajoye et Patrice Lajoye (Piranha)
  • Logique de la science-fiction. De Hegel à Philip K. Dick de Jean-Clet Martin (Les Impressions nouvelles)
  • George A. Romero : Révolutions, zombies et chevalerie de Julien Sévéon (Popcorn)
  • La Greffe de tête. Entre science et fiction de Philippe St-Germain (Liber)
  • Petit guide de la science-fiction au Québec de Jean-Louis Trudel (Alire)

Prix special

  • Les éditions Armada pour leur collection « Carnets de croquis »
  • Les éditions Le Bélial’ et Dystopia pour l’intégrale du Rêve du démiurge de Francis Berthelot
  • Les éditions Books éditions pour la publication de En l’an 2017
  • Les éditions Callidor pour leur travail “archéologique” et la qualité de leurs parutions
  • La revue Gandahar, avec mention spéciale pour le n°8 sur Robert F. Young
  • Ellen Herzfeld et Dominique Martel pour leur travail au service de la science-fiction depuis plus de 30 ans, dont le site internet Quarante-Deux et les recueils de la collection Quarante-Deux aux éditions du Bélial’
  • Lapsus Clavis de Terry Pratchett (L’Atalante)
  • Les éditions Mnémos pour L’Intégrale de Clark Ashton Smith
  • Les éditions Omnibus pour la réédition en fac-similé de La Guerre des Mondes de H.G. Wells avec les illustrations d’Alvim Corrêa

Laura Resnick: Genres Unlimited

Laura Resnick

By Carl Slaughter: Laura Resnick broke into writing through the romance genre, switched to sci-fi short fiction, did an urban fantasy trilogy, and then a series of comedy-horror-detective novels.  The first 7 in the series were recently produced as high quality full cast audio.  Now Resnick is offering a humorous take on Lovecraft in Alex Schvartsman’s latest humor anthology.

CARL SLAUGHTER: What was the appeal of writing Lovecraft type horror?

LAURA RESNICK: Well, we didn’t write horror in the recently released anthology, The Cackle of Cthulhu (ed. Alex Shvartsman) from Baen Books, we wrote humor.

Lovecraft’s fiction seems to be going through another period of revival, where people discover or rediscover it. Cthulhu is a Lovecraft creation which, in addition to being popular with fans, has entered mainstream consciousness (ex. “Cthulhu for President” as an internet meme in 2016). Even people who’ve never heard of Lovecraft, or who’ve heard of him but have never read his work, are aware of Cthulhu these days. Also, Lovecraft’s prose style is tempting to satirize. So when Alex Shvartsman came up with the idea for the anthology, Baen Books was immediately interested, since Cthulhu is commercial and a Lovecraft humor anthology is unusual.

(The Baen Free Radio Hour on January 26 did a podcast interview with some of the contributors — Alex, me, Esther Friesner, Jody Lynn Nye, and Gini Koch.)

Part of the appeal for me was also that it was a good reason to read some Lovecraft, which I had never gotten around to doing. When Alex invited me into The Cackle of Cthulhu, I was completely unfamiliar with Lovecraft’s work (apart from the Cthulhu memes)—a fact I did not share with Alex until we did a podcast interview to promote the anthology’s release!

CS: Describe the research you did into Lovecraft and what did you discover along the way?

LAURA RESNICK: I normally turn down any invitation to write a story inspired by works that I don’t know (ex. a series of novels I haven’t read, or a TV series I haven’t watched, etc.), since I can’t spare the time to dive into that much material for a random short story. But one thing I did know about Lovecraft was that he focused on short fiction, so I could get a good feel for his writing and themes, and particularly for the “Cthulhu mythos,” in just a couple of evenings.

So I read The Call of Cthulhu, At the Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror, and a few others. The story I liked best happens to have nothing to do with Cthulhu; in “Imprisoned With the Pharaohs,” the great Harry Houdini gets abducted while visiting Egypt and has to escape from mysterious ancient underground caverns where Strange Things Happen.

I found Lovecraft’s stories very imaginative and colorful and pretty creepy. It’s easy to see why his work influenced people. The language is rich and interesting, but it’s also melodramatic; as someone else said, it often seems like a thesaurus vomited on the page. His writing also evinces fastidiousness (or sometimes revulsion) about anyone who isn’t a white Anglo-Saxon protestant.

CS: Describe studying and writing about Cthulhu.

LAURA RESNICK: Well, the assignment was to write a funny Lovecraftian story, and reading the stories had got me thinking in pulp fiction mode. I am a fan of noir crime story motifs and hard-boiled detective tropes (or, okay, clichés). So I reimagined Cthulhu as a traditional private eye, writhing tentacles and all. In my story, “Cthulhu, P.I.,” the cruise ship industry has discovered R’lyeh and corporate culture has taken over. Cthulhu, who got terrible legal advice, signed such a bad contract with a marketing company that he can’t be seen anywhere near R’lyeh without violating the licensing rights for his own image. So he has relocated to Innsmouth and reinvented himself as a private detective. The story begins when a long-legged blonde walks in the door, needing his help to deal with a blackmailer, but things aren’t quite what they seem… Also, there are some Airplane-style jokes.

CS: You’ve conquered several genres.  How do you go from inexperienced to master in such a short time?

LAURA RESNICK: I would say I’ve “worked in” several genres, not “conquered” them. And there hasn’t been anything “short” about the time!

I broke into the business very young, writing “category” or “series” romance novels for Silhouette Books, a division of Harlequin. Back then, Silhouette was a good place to start a writing career. My editors there worked closely with me and taught me a lot, and Silhouette in those days was buying books as fast as their authors could write them. You learn by doing, and I learned a lot by delivering a dozen books in 5 years (as well as by writing a lot of proposals during those years that got rejected).

A few years into my career, I also started writing sf/f short fiction, and that was a case of learn-by-doing, too. I wrote stories for about half a dozen anthologies per year back then (when the late great anthology packager Martin H. Greenberg was at his peak), and even though some of my early efforts weren’t that good, you’re bound to get better if you’re delivering a short story every couple of months for 3-4 years.

When I started writing book-length sf/f, I wrote a number of book proposals I couldn’t sell, before I finally came up with a viable project (on my third or fourth complete overhaul of the idea). And then after I sold it, it took me about a year to write the first book, In Legend Born, in that trilogy (and longer to write the next two books).

It also took, overall, more than ten years to get my urban fantasy series, the Esther Diamond novels, from proposal to publication. These days, I’m contracted through the 10th Esther Diamond novel, so it has worked out well; but it was a long road to get here—a road that was cluttered with agents who told me the project wasn’t marketable and wouldn’t sell (which is just one example, among many, of why I stopped working with literary agents).

At any rate, anyone who writes as much as I’ve been writing ever since the early days of my career has very little excuse not to keep improving at it.

CS: Any other genres in your future?

LAURA RESNICK: I have learned to avoid predictions, since nothing ever goes the way I expect! That said, I really enjoy mysteries and romantic suspense, so I can certainly see myself trying something in that vein eventually.

CS: Your Esther Diamond series is part horror, part fantasy, part detective, part romance.  How do you juggle all those genres in one story?

LAURA RESNICK: Artist Dan Dos Santos, who does the extraordinary covers for the Esther Diamond books, once said to me that the challenge of creating those images is coming up with the right balance of menace, comedy, and sexiness that characterize the novels.

And the word he chose—balance—is also what I strive for when writing the books, what I have to get right to make the stories work. The books are comedy, and whenever working on the humor aspect, the stakes still need to be compelling. I keep my eye on that ball, so that the comedy doesn’t descend into aimless schtick. Similarly, when following the plot-driven aspects of the story (usually the “detective” part), I need to make sure I don’t neglect the humor. The balance I look for in Esther’s chaotic love life is that she’s not just “hot” for her love interest, her heart is at stake. And when working on the horror/fantasy aspect of the stories, I remember that whatever scary stuff I write has to be able to balance with the comedy aspects of the books. So, for example, murder in an Esther Diamond novel often happens offstage, and it typically happens to characters we never meet, barely see, or really dislike; and it does not happen in these books to children or to characters we love.

CS: Give us the inside story on full cast audio.

LAURA RESNICK: The first seven Esther Diamond novels (which is how many have been published so far) were all adapted last year by Graphic Audio, which company describes its format as “a movie in your mind.”

These are full-cast audio recordings, including sound effects and music. They’re halfway between a traditional audiobook and a radio play. Each character is played by a different actor (and the casting maintains continuity, using the same actors from book to book for the continuing characters in the series). The novel is the basis of the script, but Graphic Audio adapts it to the format. So, for example, instead of the narrator reading, “he whispered” or “she sounded angry,” you hear the actor or actress playing that character whispering the dialogue or sounding angry when speaking. Instead of the narration telling you someone laughed, you hear the laughter. If a scene takes place on the city streets, you hear traffic and footsteps; if there’s action, you hear it happening.

Actress Colleen Delany plays Esther Diamond, who is the protagonist and the first-person narrator of the novels. Delany also directs the productions. I think she’s done a terrific job, and I’ve been delighted with these recordings. They really capture the tone and feel of the stories, and the voices are well cast. There are even some actors whose interpretations I like so much, it’s influenced me to put those characters in upcoming books, in hopes of hearing those actors play them again in the Graphic Audio adaptations.

Here’s a quick 3-minute sample that gives you a taste of the series and what Graphic Audio is doing with it. Enjoy!

How to Get Cheap Steampunk Cosplay Goggles

By Joanna Davies: If you are crazy about steampunk, then it is already clear that a good amount of your budget will be sinking in getting good steampunk cosplay goggles to go with your costumes. But, you don’t always have to spend a fortune of getting great goggles especially when you have the time to look around the options that re available.

If you have an upcoming steampunk event and you want to grab some attention a good pair of cosplay steampunk goggles will go a long way in making that dream come true. But, you might be concerned about the cost of making that happen. Here are a couple of tips that will help you make the most out of your budget and save you some money.

Make it yourself

If you have the tools and the DIY talent why not make the goggles yourself? The internet is awash with great guides on how you can make steampunk goggles from scratch and you could use them to come up with your own pair.

If you are worried about the level of complexity, you don’t have to. Steampunk is about creativity and you can use simple items around the house to come up with a great pair of steampunk goggle for your event. Additionally, there are also some guides that are perfect for beginners so you shouldn’t worry about not hacking the build.

Look for discounts

The steampunk cosplay goggles market is growing by the day. There are plenty of websites that are now selling the goggles online. The growing competition is great for all steampunk lovers because that means more competitive pricing, better diversity and the best part is the discounts and sales.

With some luck and plenty of digging, you can get yourself a great pair of steampunk cosplay goggles for half your budget on online steampunk stores that are having clearance sales and discounts. Because of the thoroughly creative nature of steampunk, it is never a good idea to hold on to stock for too long so you will always find a sale somewhere. You just have to be patient enough to look through it.

Thrift shops and hand me down stores

This is going to be a lot of work and you will have to be riding on a lot of luck to find a good pair. Most steampunk lovers like remaining relevant and usually, they might not want to have the same pair of goggles for a long time. There are also those that might not know the value of what they have and might want to dispose them. Yard sales, thrift shops and hand me down stores are a great place to scavenge for steampunk items not only steampunk cosplay goggles but even hats and other items that you can use to improve your look.

There are plenty of ways to get your steampunk look on the cheap as long as you have the time and are willing to put in the effort to try and get the best deals. However, if you would rather have the goggles now, you have no other option but to pick the first option you find and there is a fair chance that you might end up paying way more than is needed for it.

Pixel Scroll 2/20/18 Not All Pixels Scroll Up In Value. Some May Scroll Down

(1) NEW DOCTOR WHO LOGO. Merchandise with the Thirteenth Doctor’s new logo is on sale starting today.

(2) MEDICAL MARVEL. Pat Cadigan reports some good news in her latest update: “I Have Cancer But Cancer Doesn’t Have Me”.

The level of cancer in my body has fallen again. The hormones I’m taking are still killing off cancer cells.

Today I saw a new members of my oncologist’s team. It was all I could do not to start dancing around her office. Although who knows—she might have danced with me. She looked amazed when she checked the results of my blood test.

On our way out, Chris and I ran into a few fellow-travellers who said they liked my lucky short—i.e., the one that says, I’m Making Cancer My Bitch. I love my lucky shirt.

(3) HEDGEHOG DAY. Daniel P. Dern has been keeping an eye on superhero TV and provided this update for the Scroll:

In last night’s Legends of Tomorrow (B-lister superheroes travelling through time and space to fix history hiccups usually using the Dr “House” method of first making things much much worse…) Season 3 Episode 11, ”Here I Go Again” — “Zari [not from our time period] finds her place on the team when she gets caught in a time loop that results in the Waverider blowing up over and over again.”

The fun part is that when she realizes what’s happening, she tries describing it, one of the from-our-time heroes says “OK, on the next cycle, find me and say, ‘Groundhog Day.'” (which, of course, on the first try, she instead says ‘Hedgehog Day.’)

(And another of the from-our-time heroes counters with a Star Trek time loop citation…)

Fun episode, marred only IMHO by (SPOILER ROT13ed) znxvat vg ghea bhg gb or n pbzchgre-vaqhprq plorefcnpr rkcrevrapr engure guna npghny Tebhaqubt Qnl ybbcvat. Cuhv.

(Just like bar bs gur yngre Beivyyr rcvfbqrf univat ~3/4 bs gur rcvfbqr erirnyrq gb or orra n “Jr’ir unq lbh va n ubybqrpx fpranevb sbe cflpubgurencl” znthssva, sru.)

Like one of the recent episodes of The Magicians (scrolled recently), it’s gratifying to see characters from our time period exhibit familiarity with sf pop culture enough to use them as information shortcuts.

(4) A TRUTH UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED. Robin Reid says, “I just finished John Kessel’s latest, Pride and Prometheus (Mary Bennett from Pride and Prejudice meets Victor Frankenstein and his Creature)” and recommends Liz Bourke’s review “Literary Fusion: Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel” at Tor.com.

There are three main points of view in Pride and Prometheus. The most interesting, by my lights, is Mary Bennett, younger sister of Elizabeth Bennett. Several years have passed since the end of Pride and Prejudice, and Mary has passed thirty years of age and is entering into spinsterhood. She has an interest in natural philosophy, especially fossils, and feels as though she should find a man to marry, but does not feel as though there is a man who will marry her. When she encounters Victor Frankenstein, a young man haunted by some secret of his past, she finds herself oddly compelled by his presence. Mary’s part of the narrative is told in the third person, unlike the other two narrators, who recount their parts of the story in the first person. This matches the approach of the original narratives.

(5) KEEP ON TRUCKING. Time to celebrate: “NASA’s Opportunity rover sees its 5,000th day on Mars”.

This weekend, NASA’s Opportunity rover spent its 5,000th day on Mars. While that is a feat in and of itself, it’s even more impressive when you consider that it was only planned to last 90 Martian days, or sols. Both Opportunity and its companion rover Spirit were launched towards Mars in 2003, landing on two different parts of the planet in January 2004. Neither were expected to make it through Mars’ harsh winter though, which lasts about twice as long as ours and is severely lacking in light, but NASA’s team discovered that pointing the rovers towards the north and towards the sun was enough to keep them powered through the winter. Further, making sure the rovers were on north-facing slopes each winter helped to keep them going for years longer than they were ever intended to function.

(6) HEROIC EFFORT. The Nielsen Haydens’ Making Light suffered a server problem and at the moment the latest post displayed is dated 2008. I wish them the best of luck and a complete return to the internet of all their text and comments.

(7) MORE GENRE FROM THE TOY FAIRE. See photos of toys hyped at the NYC Toy Fair at the link.

With new installments of Star Wars, Jurassic Worldand the Avengers headed our way this summer, movie fans have plenty to cheer about. The same goes for toy lovers, who can look forward to action figures, play sets, board games, and other playthings based on 2018’s biggest blockbusters and hottest television shows. Yahoo Entertainment spent the past weekend at New York City’s annual festival for toys, Toy Fair, where we got to see both the new and retro movie- and TV-related toys that everyone will be talking about this year. Scroll through the gallery and start getting your holiday wish lists ready now.

They include —

Lego ‘Star Wars’ Kessel Run Millennium Falcon

It took Han Solo only 12 parsecs to make his famous run through the Kessel Mines. See if you can lap that record as you assemble this 1,414-piece Lego Millennium Falcon, which comes complete with laser turrets and a Dejarik board

Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie

It’s the Star Wars answer to Teddy Ruxpin: an interactive Chewbacca doll who talks, uh, growls on command and can also be rocked to sleep or tickled into a laughing fit. Warning: Kids might have to compete with their parents for cuddle time with this adorable Wookiee.

(8) APES AT 50. Mark Kermode talks about the 50th anniversary of Planet of the Apes release and wonders if Star Wars will look as good at the same age.

“Of course,” says IanP, “Star Wars isn’t growing old as gracefully with all its repeated facelifts …”

(9) ALMOST ERASED. Vulture interviews “The Man Who Made Black Panther Cool”:

Christopher Priest broke the color barrier at Marvel and reinvented a classic character. Why was he nearly written out of comics history?

“I’m an asshole. I’m abrasive. I am so sure that I’m right about virtually everything. I can sing you an aria of reasons to not like me,” says comics writer Christopher Priest, his bass voice rising to the brink of anger but never quite tipping over. “Not liking me because I’m black is so juvenile and immature, because there’s many reasons to not like me.” He’s speaking, as he often does, about the racism — both overt and structural — that he’s faced in the comics industry over his 40-year career. But that set of attributes, seen from another angle, can apply to the reasons to like him, or at least admire him — he’s unwaveringly outspoken, endearingly opinionated, as well as a pioneer in the comics industry. He’s also likely the only comics writer to have taken breaks from his career at various times to toil as a musician, pastor, and bus driver.

(10) NEBULA TOOL. Now that the Nebula finalists are out, Rocket Stack Rank has prepared an annotated version with links to the stories (where possible), synopses, reviews, etc. — “2017 Annotated Nebula Award Finalists”

Greg Hullender explains, “By sorting the list according to how many different sources of recommendation each one got, we make it easier to see where the Nebulas are acknowledging broadly popular stories and where the SFWA members have a unique perspective.”

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 20, 1962  — Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born February 20,  1926 Richard Matheson (links to SyFy Wire’s commemorative article.)

(13) COMICS SECTION.

  • Daniel P. Dern got the Amazon reference in Grimmy.
  • Chip Hitchcock noticed something super about Arlo and Janis.

(14) A LITTLE MISTAKE. If either of us had actually gone to a copyediting school, I’d wonder if RedWombat and I graduated from the same one:

(15) INTERNET VISUALIZED. Looking back: “The Father Of The Internet Sees His Invention Reflected Back Through A ‘Black Mirror'” contrasts idealistic inventor Vint Cerf with William Gibson’s what-will-really-happen.

While Cerf and his colleagues were busy inventing, the young aspiring science fiction writer William Gibson was looking for a place to set his first novel. Gibson was living in Seattle, and he had friends who worked in the budding tech industry. They told him about computers and the Internet, “and I was sitting with a yellow legal pad trying to come up with trippy names for a new arena in which science fiction could be staged.”

The name Gibson came up with: cyberspace. And for a guy who had never seen it, he did a great job describing it in that 1984 book, Neuromancer: “A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding.”

(16) GOODLIFE. The scum of the Earth has been around longer than they thought: “Origins of land plants pushed back in time”.

A seminal event in the Earth’s history – when plants appeared on land – may have happened 100 million years earlier than previously thought.

Land plants evolved from “pond scum” about 500 million years ago, according to new research.

These early moss-like plants greened the continents, creating habitats for land animals.

The study, based on analysing the genes of living plants, overturns theories based purely on fossil plant evidence.

“Land plants emerged on land half a billion years ago, tens of millions of years older than the fossil record alone suggests,” said study author, Dr Philip Donoghue of the department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol.

(17) AFROFUTURISM. The Washington Post’s Sonia Rao, in the wake of Black Panther, gives an overview of Afrofuturism and discusses forthcoming Afrofuturist projects, including Janelle Monae’s new album Dirty Computer and a forthcoming TV production of Octavia Butler’s Dawn directed by Ava DuVernay.“The resurgence of Afrofuturism goes beyond ‘Black Panther,’ to Janelle Monáe, Jay-Z and more “.

Monáe released a trailer on Friday for “Dirty Computer,” a new album with an accompanying narrative film. The 30-second teaser, set to air ahead of some “Black Panther” showings, presents clips of a dystopian world set to guitar feedback and snapping fingers. Monáe’s co-star Tessa Thompson is abducted by a man dressed in military gear. We cut to the two embracing on a beach. Seconds later, Monáe lies on an examination table while someone strokes a mysterious tattoo on her arm.

“They drained us of our dirt, and all the things that made us special,” she narrates. “And then you were lost. Sleeping. And you didn’t remember anything at all.”

Monáe’s work has exhibited Afrofuturist influences for years — the Quietus, an online British magazine, proclaimed back in 2010 that she “brandishes the acetylene torch for radical Afrofuturism.” In her multi-album “Metropolis” saga, the singer’s alter ego, Cindi Mayweather, is a messianic android who was sent back in time to lead a protest movement against an oppressive regime.

 

(18) CORRECTING AN OMISSION. Yesterday’s Scroll quoted K. Tempest Bradford’s tweet contrasting her own fundraiser to JDA’s, but she didn’t get all the benefit from that she might have because the tweet didn’t link to her YouCaring page — “Send K. T. Bradford To Egypt! (For Research)”. She had reached $3,135 of her $5,000 goal, but earlier today a couple of large donations put her over the top. Congratulations!

(19) THE FRANCHISE. With six you get Sharknado Bloody Disguting has the details:

Not surprisingly, Sharknado 6 is coming this Summer, and the first plot details, along with an early piece of poster art, have come to us out of EFM today.

In the sixth installment…

“All is lost, or is it? Fin unlocks the time-traveling power of the SHARKNADOS in order to save the world and resurrect his family. In his quest, Fin fights Nazis, dinosaurs, knights, and even takes a ride on Noah’s Ark. This time, it’s not how to stop the sharknados, it’s when.”

Tara Reid, Ian Ziering and Cassie Scerbo return.

Sharknado 6 will premiere on July 25, 2018.

(20) BIG BANG’S BILLIONAIRE GUEST. Supposedly Sheldon has already met him: “Bill Gates to Guest Star on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ — But Remember When He Punched Sheldon in the Face?!”

Bill Gates is headed to The Big Bang Theory!

ET has learned that Gates will be guest starring as himself in an upcoming March episode of the hit CBS comedy. The famed Microsoft founder will be stopping by Penny’s work and when this news reaches Sheldon, Leonard and the rest of our geektastic gang, the guys do everything in their power for a chance to meet him.

But here’s a Big Bang fun fact for you: Sheldon has actually already met the infamous tech billionaire on the CBS comedy and let’s just say their first interaction did not go very well. In fact, Gates punched Sheldon in the face!

(21) SUGGESTION BOX. Here’s a fan video proposing the way to begin Jodie Whittaker’s first episode as Doctor Who.

There are many great stories, but none as great as this. This is the story of the girl who fell from the stars. And this is how it begins… Without the Tardis and without hope, the Doctor is sent plummeting towards the planet below. The Doctor must come to terms with her new body quickly and escape her incoming demise. Here is a concept scene I’ve created for the upcoming debut episode for the Thirteenth Doctor! Just a bit of fun really but actually turned relatively believable. I have this theory in my mind that the Tardis would materialise underneath the Doctor as she’s falling and catches her. I’ve tried to imagine this as best as possible in this video!

 

[Thanks to Dave Langford, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, IanP, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Daniel P. Dern, Alan Baumler, Robin A. Reid, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

Where To Find The 2017 Nebula Finalists For Free Online

By JJ: The Nebula Finalists have just been announced, and if you’d like to check them out to see whether you think they’d be good contenders for your Hugo ballot, you can use this handy guide to find material which is available for free online.

Where available in their entirety, works are linked (most of the Novelettes and Short Stories are free). If not available for free, an Amazon link is provided. If a free excerpt is available online, it has been linked.

Fair notice: All Amazon links are referrer URLs which benefit fan site Worlds Without End.

Novel

Novella

Novelette

Short Story

The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book

Roundup of Reactions to Star Trek: Discovery’s First Season

By Standback: Twelve years after the last Enterprise episode; eight years since JJ Abrams rebooted Trek with a new movie series, Star Trek: Discovery has been greeted with gargantuan portions of excitement, suspicion, and discussion.

Now that Discovery’s first season has concluded, here’s a round-up of reviews, discussions, and observations throughout the web.

CONTAINS SPOILERS for all of Season One.

(1) THE GOOD.

(1A) Matt Zoller Seitz, at Vulture, writes that Discovery Just Pulled Off An Incredibly Good Season:

The season’s final run of episodes was also very affecting for the way that it brought Michael’s story full circle. The symmetry and sense of balance were evident while still emotionally messy. (…) I can’t think of another Trek series, TV or theatrical, that went as deep into trauma and irresolvable despair, or as often.

(1B) Matthew Allen recaps production history in Discovering Star Trek, lauding Discovery as having “the best first season of any Star Trek show.” His commentary on Discovery specifically begin here.

Humanity in this future mirrors how many of us feel in our society right now: some big advances have been made, but the biggest challenges still remain, and it feels like things are coming apart. Discovery gives the hopeful vision of the future as a moral adventure that Star Trek has always offered, enhanced by a deeper sense than any previous series of how much failure, tragedy, hard work, trauma, and redemption are integral parts of human progress. Discovery gets that empathy and relationships are also forms of technology that need advancing?—?and that’s exactly what Star Trek needs to be doing right now.

(2) THE BAD.

(2A) Angelica Jade Bastién, in Vulture, explains Why Discovery Needs to Evolve:

In many ways, Discovery has imported the worst habits from modern television: brutal violence and casual deaths that make it seem any character could be killed at any moment; rape scenes; bold twists that mask ramshackle stories; and juvenile vulgarity that masquerades as intriguing world-building. But the greatest failing of Discovery that undercuts the appearance of trailblazing progressivism is its poor character development, seen most acutely in Michael and Ash.

(2B) Daniel Cooper, at Engadget argues that the show Failed To Do What Good Sci-Fi Does:

Discovery gave me 15 episodes of serialized storytelling that, as Alex Kurtzman admitted to TrekMovie, was worked out backwards. Now, lots of TV shows are plotted in this manner, but with this series it led to incidents and character development that took place because the storyline demanded it. I doubt even he could explain, in a single sentence, what Discovery’s overarching theme was, or if it had one at all.

(2C) Zack Handlen, at the Onion AV Club, rips into the finale, although he does feel the season concludes With A Promise To Do Better:

If “Will You Take My Hand?” works, it works because it does a confident job of convincing the audience it’s seeing something meaningful. It hits the notes it assumes we want it to hit. I can respect that to an extent—it’s certainly entertaining—but I still can’t forget this is all built on a hollow foundation.

The more you pick at this, the worse it gets.

(3) THE MIXED.

(3A) The season ends with both “A Bang (and a Whimper),” writes Annalee Newitz, at Ars Technica:

This season of Star Trek: Discovery has been wobbling between awesomeness and toxic muck, and last night’s finale didn’t tip the balance. (…)

Over the season, we’ve had standout, brilliant episodes mixed in with 60-minute clunkers. Burnham’s character arc has been consistently fascinating, but characters like Lorca and Voq/Tyler have slowly eroded from multi-dimensional people into mere plot devices. Most of the show’s worst problems cropped up in the second half of the season, when we took a long detour into the Mirror Universe. Though finale “Will You Take My Hand” tied up any number of loose threads, often in ways that were rich and satisfying, the episode also doubled down on some of the series’ biggest mistakes.

(3B) The IGN Scorecard, by Witney Seibold, recognizes Discovery for its characters, and for its tech and visuals. Demerits are awarded for tone and for storytelling.

(4) MULTIPLE IDENTITIES. Abigail Nussbaum, “Through a Mirror, Darkly”:

Here we are, nearly a week after the finale, and I’m no closer to a conclusion.  Neither, it seems, is the rest of fandom, which often feels like it’s watching and reacting to several different shows.  And no one, no matter their opinion, seems very clear on what Discovery is.  Is it a bold reinvention of the franchise for the Peak TV era, or a shallow action-adventure whose ambitions often outstrip its capacity to execute them?  Is it the spiritual successor of the reboot movies, reveling in Star Trek tropes and fanservice without understanding the franchise’s meaning, or is it a genuine attempt to grapple with the core ideas of Star Trek fifty years after its inception?  Is it, in short, Star Trek?

(5) MINIMALLY INVASIVE STORYTELLING. Gerry Canavan suggests Discovery has “No Follow-Through” in his piece at the LA Review of Books:

Stories have beginnings, middles, and ends, but Discovery is all beginnings, constantly rebooting itself over and over again without allowing its narrative to develop or to reach an organic conclusion. In that sense it is the exemplary Star Trek series for our time, the latest in a series of prequels and reboots that continually retell the beginning of the story and then peter out before they find their own identity or a way to put a unique spin on the franchise. From Enterprise to the Abramsverse films to Discovery, Star Trek seems paralyzed by the idea of doing the one thing the fans of the series actually want: telling new stories that take place in the Prime Universe after the end of Voyager.

(6) CRUDE MORALITY. Crude Reviews highlights The Moral Lesson of ‘Discovery’: We Should Use Super Weapons To Install Despots In Foreign Nations.

With all of that history behind us, what do the writers have our so-called heroes choose as their heroic, principled solution to a war in space?

They hand a weapon of mass destruction to a religious extremist, and install her as a dictator over her own people.

(7) YOU’RE DEAD, JIM. From Genevieve Valentine, at Vox: How ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and ‘The Good Place’ find humanity in hell. SPOILERS for both shows.

Though they couldn’t be more tonally different, each show is deeply concerned with how one person making moral decisions — or compromising them — can change a world. And those complexities of subjective morality, utilitarianism, and acceptable collateral damage are all tied into stomach-sinking revelations: The characters in these stories are trapped in horrible places, the utopia they’ve been sold is a lie, and it’s a surprisingly small jump from that supposed utopia to their horrible reality.

The central question of each show is whether their protagonists will be defined by the hell they’re in, or whether they’ll be able to redefine it.

(8) FILERS CAN DISCO. Lots of discussion of the finale, and Discovery in general, at Camestros Felapton’s blog post “Star Trek Discovery: Finale!” which opens:

What an odd episode. What an odd show.

Cora Buhlert offers some in-depth thoughts on the finale, on the seedy Orion camp, on the cliffhanger, and on the show in general, in “The Star Trek Discovery Season Finale or ‘Hey, we finally remembered we’re making Star Trek and not Game of Thrones in Space.’”:

So can Star Trek Discovery become a good Star Trek show after all? It’s certainly possible and the production team have done their best to tie up the messy first season to give themselves as clean a start as possible. And Star Trek is rather infamous for weak first seasons. However, this is one area where Discovery‘s serialised structure really harms the show. For while it is perfectly possible to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation and skip over dreadful early episodes and pretend they never happened, it’s not nearly so easy to ignore the bad episodes of Discovery‘s first season and watch only the handful of good ones, because the serialised structure means that the episodes don’t stand alone well.

(9) BREAKDOWN. At Consequence of Sound, Andrew Bloom and Clint Worthington pick highlights, lowlights, and moments of note from the season in their Season One Breakdown. They try to identify major elements of the show’s story — and of fans’ reactions.

(10) FIVE THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU. Chris Taylor, on Mashable, wrote a listicle explaining Why ‘Discovery’ is a Cosmic Dud.

The bizarre mid-season finale, with its scenes of Klingon rape and a twist that saw Discovery jumping into an entirely different universe altogether, left me cautious but hopeful: okay, let’s see where this thing is going.

But by the time Season 1 ended on Sunday, however, I had no defenses left. My shields were down as the show fired photon torpedoes of poor choices at any desire to care about the characters or keep watching.

(11) WE CAN REBUILD HIM. Crude Reviews, a vocal critic of Discovery, has embarked on “Re/Discovery” — “a personal project to re-write the series from the bottom up.” First installment is here; tag for all posts is here.

The first post explains:

I’ve set myself a few rules – first, that most of the premises set up by the show are maintained. Specifically:

  • Burnham is a disgraced officer who threw away her career with some really poor judgement, precipitating a war with the Klingons.
  • The Discovery is a ship with an experimental spore drive.
  • Lorca is a mirror-universe impostor with a hidden, wicked agenda.
  • Ash Tyler is a sleeper agent, with Voq’s memories and personality suppressed.

I will also be keeping almost all of the same characters and settings, where possible, and will do my best to hit the same plot milestones as the show.

This is entirely self-indulgent, and I make no apologies. I certainly have no shame.

(12) THE ENDING AND AFTER. “What Does The Ending Mean?” poses eight questions about where the finale has left the show, and what to look forward to: