(1) PHOENIX COMICON SUSPECT NAMED. Phoenix’s 12News, in “Phoenix Comicon suspect said things would get bloody, according to court papers”, reports the suspect’s name is Mathew Sterling.
The man Phoenix police arrested Thursday for carrying four loaded guns inside the Phoenix Convention Center during Phoenix Comicon has been booked for attempted murder and several more charges. A judge set his bond at $1 million on Friday.
Police said 31-year-old Mathew Sterling made threats to harm a performer at the event. Police also believe he intended to attack officers as well.
According to court documents, Phoenix police received a call from the Hawthorne Police Department in California. Hawthorne police said a witness reported reading Facebook messages from Sterling who was posting pictures of Phoenix officers and threatening to shoot them.
Sterling resisted when approached by police at Phoenix Comicon and even ripped off an officer’s police patch on his uniform, according to court paperwork. He was eventually overpowered and taken into custody.
Police say Sterling was armed with a shotgun and three handguns that were all fully loaded. He was also carrying a combat knife, pepper spray and throwing stars. Police said he was wearing body armor.
Signs posted throughout the Phoenix Convention Center prohibit these kind of items at the event. Sterling avoided the stations where prop weapons are secured and marked, according to court records.
He later told police in an interview that he believed the signs and law prohibiting weapons at the venue did not apply to him, according to court paperwork.
Court documents show Sterling admitted to carrying the weapons into the venue and told police he was the Punisher — a popular Marvel comic book character. Sterling said if he deemed the officers to be what he called “Aphrodite officers” or “bad” officers, he would shoot them. He said these types of officers can hide behind kind faces and police badges.
According to court documents, Sterling purchased a four-day pass to the event and told police he believed with the person dead, the person’s wife and child would be happy.
Sterling appeared in court for his initial appearance Friday. He did not say a word and is being held on a $1 million bond.
Sterling was also booked for three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, wearing body armor during the commission of a felony, resisting arrest and carrying a weapon in a prohibited place.
After yesterday’s incident, Phoenix Comicon Director Matthew Solberg announced radical changes to attendee screening at the entrances to the event.
In light of recent events, Phoenix Comicon, in cooperation with the Phoenix Convention Center and the Phoenix Police Department, will be implementing enhanced screening to ensure the safety of all our attendees. This screening includes three dedicated access points, no longer allowing costume props within our convention or the Convention Center, and other methods as determined in conjunction with the Convention Center and Phoenix Police Department. We anticipate some delays as you are entering the building and we encourage you to carry as little as possible to make the process easier. …Costume props will no longer be allowed on-site. All costume props should be left at home, in your car, or in your hotel room. This includes costume props for staff, crew, costuming groups, panelists, and participants in the masquerade ball…. Convention staff is also trying to bring some relief to those stuck in line.
(2) CHEESECAKE UPDATE. The crowdfunding appeal to raise $500K for charity as an inducement for Neil Gaiman to do a reading of the Cheesecake Factory menu, reported in May 22’s Scroll, has raised $59,017 in the first four days.
(3) ENOUGH ABOUT YOU. Felicity Harley is catching heat for her narcissistic “interview” with N.K. Jemisin, “Science Fiction Author Felicity Harley talks to Hugo Award Winning Author NK Jemisin” (links to Internet Archive), where Harley spends half the time talking about herself.
…Jemisin says that she writes not to educate or convey her political views but to entertain. I questioned her on her social and political views, and since her books are speculative, I wouldn’t say she deliberately addresses these head on. Rather I think she tends to use allegory and metaphor to introduce them into her stories.
I’m a different kind of writer — I come out of a strong background of political and social activism. For instance, my current book deals specifically with corporate plutocrats and how they are exacerbating climate change, and also some of the moral and ethical dilemmas that we face as we develop highly intelligent, human forms of artificial intelligence. I’m also more of a hard core science writer — I have a three or four page glossary of scientific terms at the back of my book. I’m like an Andy Weir if you like, who I’ll be chatting with later on in this series.
I would say however, after reading her work, that Jemisin is by far the superior artist of the two of us. She writes from her colorful imagination and her Jungian dreams, weaving her political ideas like subtle silver threads throughout her narrative….
Jemisin let loose a hail of tweets about the interview and how it will reshape her policy for dealing with interview requests henceforth. (Her complete comments are available at Storify.)
(4) NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME POSTER. Tommy Lee Edwards tells The Verge: “What went wrong with the Spider-Man Homecoming poster: a veteran film artist explains”.
Not long after a pair of excellent new trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming landed online, Sony and Marvel unveiled a poster for the film, showcasing nearly everyone in the principal cast. It is, to say the least, crowded. Peter Parker, Tony Stark, and the Vulture appear twice; poor Marisa Tomei is a tiny floating head at the bottom right; and the background features fireworks, lasers, the Manhattan skyline and the Washington Monument.
It didn’t take long for fans and critics to roast the poster on Twitter…
(5) A SHORE THING. Scott Edelman invites everyone to gobble glass noodles with the legendary William F. Nolan in Episode 38 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.
Welcome to the permanently moored Queen Mary, which sailed the seas from 1936 to 1967, but which is now a retired ocean liner turned hotel in Long Beach, California — and last month the home of the second annual StokerCon. My guest for this episode snuck away with me from the con for some peace and quiet in my room — and to share take-out food delivered from nearby Thai Silk….
William F. Nolan. Photo by Scott Edelman.
We discussed how Ray Bradbury helped him sell his first short story in 1954, the way a slush pile sale to Playboy convinced him to abandon a successful career as a commercial artist, why his Twilight Zone episode was never filmed, the difference between the real truth and Charles Beaumont’s “greater truth,” why he only acted in only one movie (and got punched by William Shatner), how Stan Freberg pranked diners aboard the Queen Mary and made them think the ship was sinking, which novel he thinks is his best (and it’s not Logan’s Run), and more.
(6) OXYGEN. On behalf of writers everywhere, Dawn Witzke pleads for your Amazon reviews: “Review the KISS Way”.
Imagine walking blindfolded into a room. You tell a story and at the end there is silence.
Feeling a bit worried? Well, that is what it’s like for authors.
We know you have our books. We know some of you have even read them. But, without reviews, it’s like that silent room.
Don’t write reviews because:
“I would, but I don’t know what to say.”
“I don’t like doing reviews, it takes so much time.”
“I didn’t like the book. I don’t want to be mean.”
I’ll admit it, I have said those things before.
However, writers depend on reviews. Reviews not only lets the author know how they’re doing their job, it helps others decide whether to buy the book or move along to another book….
(7) SUSTAINABLE SPACE. Authors argue a new vision for economically-viable space stations: “Towards an Economically Viable roadmap to large scale space colonization”.
Al Globus and Joe Strout have an analysis that space settlements in low (~500 km) Earth equatorial orbits may not require any radiation shielding at all. This is based on a careful analysis of requirements and extensive simulation of radiation effects. This radically reduces system mass and has profound implications for space settlement, as extraterrestrial mining and manufacturing are no longer on the critical path to the first settlements, although they will be essential in later stages. It also means the first settlements can evolve from space stations, hotels, and retirement communities in relatively small steps.
(8) TEMPORARY GRAFITTI. Last night stfnal creatures were illuminated on the outside of the Sydney Opera House. Here are two examples — more on Twitter.
(9) SPIT TAKE. Another unexpected consequence of tech (or maybe it was to be expected, given lawyers): Ancestry.com‘s license-in-perpetuity. The BBC has the story: “The company’s terms and conditions have stated that users grant the company a “perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide, sublicensable, transferable license’ to their DNA data, for purposes including ‘personalised products and services'”
A leading genealogy service, Ancestry.com, has denied exploiting users’ DNA following criticism of its terms and conditions.
The US company’s DNA testing service has included a right to grant Ancestry a “perpetual” licence to use customers’ genetic material.
A New York data protection lawyer spotted the clause and published a blog warning about privacy implications.
Ancestry told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours its terms were being changed.
Headquartered in Utah, Ancestry is among the world’s largest for-profit genealogy firms, with a DNA testing service available in more than 30 countries.
The company, which uses customers’ saliva samples to predict their genetic ethnicity and find new family connections, claims to have more than 4 million DNA profiles in its database.
Ancestry also stores the profiles forever, unless users ask for them to be destroyed.
The company’s terms and conditions have stated that users grant the company a “perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide, sublicensable, transferable license” to their DNA data, for purposes including “personalised products and services”.
In a statement to You and Yours, an Ancestry spokesperson said the company “never takes ownership of a customer’s data” and would “remove the perpetuity clause”.
(10) STACEY BERG PROFILE. Here is Carl Slaughter’s overview of Stacey Berg.
ECHO HUNTER 367 SERIES
by Stacey Berg
Harper Voyager Impulse
For four hundred years, the Church has led the remnants of humanity as they struggle for survival in the last inhabited city. Echo Hunter 367 is exactly what the Church created her to be: loyal, obedient, lethal. A clone who shouldn’t care about anything but her duty. Who shouldn’t be able to.
When rebellious citizens challenge the Church’s authority, it is Echo’s duty to hunt them down before civil war can tumble the city back into the dark. But Echo hides a deadly secret: doubt. And when Echo’s mission leads her to Lia, a rebel leader who has a secret of her own, Echo is forced to face that doubt. For Lia holds the key to the city’s survival, and Echo must choose between the woman she loves and the purpose she was born to fulfill.
Protected by the Church for four hundred years, the people of the City are the last of humanity — or so they thought. Echo Hunter 367, made to be faithful to the Church and its Saint at all costs, embarks on what she’s sure is a suicide mission into the harsh desert beyond the City. Then, at the end of all hope, she stumbles on a miracle: another enclave of survivors, a lush, peaceful sanctuary completely opposite of anything Echo has ever known.
But the Preserve has dark secrets of its own, and uncovering them may cost Echo more than just her life. She fears her discoveries will trigger a final, disastrous war. But if Echo can stop the Church and Preservers from destroying each other, she might have a chance to achieve her most impossible dream — saving the woman she loves.
PRAISE FOR REGENERATION
- “Echo Hunter 367 may be a clone and callous killer, but she’s one with true heart and soul. Regeneration is a thrilling conclusion to Berg’s dystopia duology.” — Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger series
- “Regeneration by Stacey Berg is a paean to resistance, hope, and love, a Canticle for Leibowitz that passes the Bechdel Test and then some. This post-apocalyptic clash of values and technology demonstrates beautifully that physical bravery can only take you so far; real change only happens when we have the courage to listen.” – Nicola Griffith, author of Hild
STACEY BERG BIO
Stacey Berg is a medical researcher who writes speculative fiction. Her work as a physician-scientist provides the inspiration for many of her stories. She lives in Houston and is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas. When she’s not writing, she practices kung fu and runs half marathons.
(11) FOLLOW THE MONEY. Lela E. Buis ponders “Why Are Literary Awards so Popular?”
A recent article by Deborah Cohen cites James English The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value. According to English, the number of literary awards has more than doubled in the UK since 1988 and tripled in the US since 1976. Not all these are for SFF, of course. Some of them are big competitions for national recognition and some are only small prizes for local authors. Still, there’s been that explosion. So why are awards so popular?
The answer appears to be economics, which is the answer to a lot of questions about human behavior, i.e. there’s money tied up in the awards process. First of all, many of the prizes charge an entry fee, which means it’s a money-making proposition for the organization offering the award. The Newbery is free. The Pulitzer charges $50. But other smaller contests often have higher fees. The Florida Authors and Publishers Association, for example, charges $75 for members and $85 for non-members to enter their contest. These small organizations tend to cater to independent publishers and authors who hope to gain some of the advantages a literary award can offer, meaning you can add “prize-winning author” to your bio.
(12) DIETARY LAWS OF THE AMAZONS. Speaking of following the money, here’s another entry in the Wonder Woman nutrition sweepstakes.
(13) GREATCOATS. At Fantasy Literature, Bill Capossere does a mock dialog involving Sebastien De Castell and his characters as a salute to “Tyrant’s Throne: A near-perfect close to a great series”.
De Castell turned to Kest. “How would you rate our chances?”
Kest rifled through the manuscript. “We’ll get four and five-star reviews and show up on a dozen Best of the Year lists, after which you’ll get one, no two, major nominations. People will be very sad it’s over and will repeatedly beg you for more. Falcio will appear on five or six €˜Best Characters in a Series’ lists, which won’t do much for his humility, I hate to say.”
“I’ll have you know I have the best humility of anyone.”
“My point exactly. I’ll get a Top 10 mention on a list of Best Swordsperson in a fantasy work, but poor Brasti will almost certainly be forgotten, unless someone makes a list of €˜Characters Who You Only Remember as €˜That Other Guy.’”
Brasti glanced up from polishing his bow.
Falcio raised a finger before Brasti could speak. “Please tell me that isn’t a euphemism. I really€”“
De Castell interrupted. “Don’t break perspective, Falcio. And yes, we all hope it isn’t a euphemism.” …
(14) HISTORY OF FINLAND. Here’s an artistic byproduct of DNA-community research: “Genomes tell their story in a stamp celebrating the 100th anniversary of Finland”.
This year, in Finland, we are celebrating the first one hundred years as an independent country. Our history books tell many details of the past decades that have shaped the present day Finland. With modern technology we can complement the written history by another readable source that has literally travelled with our ancestors throughout millenia. This readable source is, of course, the human genome that we are studying at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) of University of Helsinki. A figure of our population genetic analysis based on the FINRISK study of the National Institute for Health and Welfare ended up in a special stamp designed by Pekka Piippo to celebrate Finland’s 100th anniversary. It is a bit fancy stamp with a price tag of 10 euros and you can see our contribution in it only in UV-light!
(15) HONORING THOSE WHO DIED IN WW2. Robert Kennedy suggests that as we begin Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S. we increase our appreciation of the cost of war by viewing The Fallen.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, JJ, Robert Kennedy, Mark-kitteh, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]