Where was Harlan Ellison, his fans wanted to know after watching
last night’s Academy Awards “In Memoriam” segment. Ellison biographer Nat
Segaloff says, “We tried. We sent AMPAS information and color photos months
ago. Who knows why.”
As usual, who got left out is generating infinitely more
discussion than who got included – although Marvel’s Stan Lee, Superman actress Margot Kidder, and The Princess Bride author and
screenwriter William Goldman all made it in.
…Gary Kurtz, who produced “American Graffiti” and “Star Wars,” got no mention.
Also overlooked were Aretha Franklin, actress Julie Adams, actor R. Lee Ermey, “Spongebob Squarepants” creator Stephen Hillenburg, actor John Mahoney, actor Al Matthews, actor Dick Miller, comedian Brody Stevens and actor Verne Troyer. And there are likely others who were omitted as well….
Julie Adams had a wide-ranging acting career, however, her most iconic role was in Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Dick Miller had roles in a large number of Roger Corman sff/horror
movies, including Not of This Earth, A
Bucket of Blood, and The Little Shop of
Horrors. He also appeared in Twilight
Zone: The Movie, and The Howling.
And in The Terminator he was the pawn
shop owner blown away by Arnold Schwarzenegger after selling him a gun.
Al Matthews played Sgt Apone in Aliens
He is well-remembered as “Mini-Me” from the Austin Powers movies.
Black Panther claimed three Oscars at tonight’s 91st Academy Awards ceremony, for Production Design, Original Score, and Costume Design. First Man took the Visual Effects category. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was named the Best Animated Feature.
NASA has redesignated its Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia, as the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility, in honor of the West Virginia native and NASA “hidden figure.”
“I am thrilled we are honoring Katherine Johnson in this way as she is a true American icon who overcame incredible obstacles and inspired so many,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “It’s a fitting tribute to name the facility that carries on her legacy of mission-critical computations in her honor.”
… Born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, in 1918, Johnson’s intense curiosity and brilliance with numbers led her to a distinguished career — spanning more than three decades — with NASA and its predecessor agency, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Among her professional accomplishments, Johnson calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 mission in 1961. The following year, Johnson performed the work for which she would become best known when she was asked to verify the results made by electronic computers to calculate the orbit for John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission. She went on to provide calculations for NASA throughout her career, including for several Apollo missions.
At a time when racial segregation was prevalent throughout the southern United States, Johnson and fellow African American mathematicians Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — who was later promoted to engineer — broke through racial barriers to achieve success in their careers at NASA and helped pave the way for the diversity that currently extends across all levels of agency’s workforce and leadership. Their story became the basis of the 2017 film “Hidden Figures,” based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly.
(2) THE ART OF SIGNING. CoNZealand (2020 Worldcon) GoH Larry Dixon shares some wisdom in a Twitter thread that begins here.
…I’m acquainted with Cristiane Serruya. She was part of the Kindle Scout program, having won an advance, 50% royalties, and publication for at least one of her works from Amazon’s imprint Kindle Press. Two of my books are also in the program. We chatted numerous times on the Kindle Scout Winners Facebook group and we even traded critiques. She read the first two books in my Masked Man of Cairo mystery series and I read Damaged Love, which turns out to contain plagiarized passages too. At the time I was surprised she would want me to be a beta reader on a romance novel, a genre she knew I didn’t read and knew nothing about. Now I know why.
…It’s true that some unscrupulous people are hiring teams of underpaid ghostwriters to churn out dreck in order to game Amazon’s algorithms, which tilt in favor of newly publishing titles and prolific authors.
Unfortunately, professional ghostwriters like me are being lumped in with the hacks. There is a place for a professional ghostwriter in indie publishing, and it is a valid one.
Ghostwriting has been around since the days of the dime novel. It was strong throughout the pulp era and the post-war paperback boom. In the modern world, house names such as Don Pendleton (The Executioner) and Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew) have been used by pools of ghostwriters to make some of the most popular series around.
Ghostwriting is my day job. To date, I have ghostwritten 18 novels, 7 novellas, and one short story for various clients, and am currently contracted for another series of novels. The clients are generally independent publishers who put out work under a variety of pen names. I get one or two pen names, and other ghostwriters get other ones. Thus each pen name keeps the specific tone of a particular writer. I have worked for one guy who used several ghostwriters writing for the same house name, but we all were given strict instructions as to tone, style, etc. None of my clients put their real name on their books, and all of them were looking for quality work….
(4) UP THE AMAZON. Nora
Roberts expands on what she’s been learning about the environment for indie
authors at Amazon: “Let Me Address This”.
A Broken System.Then came the scammers, and with the methods discussed in previous blogs, who flooded the market with 99 cent books. What a bargain! Readers couldn’t know these books were stolen or copied or written by ghostfarms. Couldn’t know about the clickfarms, the scam reviews.
At this price, the author receives only 30% (there’s a price point cut off on royalty rate). So all those out of pocket expenses may or may not be covered.
The legit indie saw her sales suffer, her numbers tank, her placement on lists vanish. To try to compete, many had to struggle to write faster, to heavily discount their work. Some had to give up writing altogether.
One other scamming method is to list a book–forever–as free. Not as a promotion, or incentive, but to toss up hordes or free books, so the reader wants–and often demands–free. They make their money off the scores of cheap and stolen books, and destroy the legit writer. Why pay when there are scores of free books at your fingertips?
(6) FANHISTORY. Here’s a link to Archive.org footage from the 1975 Star Trek convention in New York. William Shatner’s appearance takes up the first few minutes – you can see Ben Yalow among his escorts at the 30-second mark. The latter half of the film shows a woman in front of art show panels – I think I should recognize her, but I can’t come up with a name. Maybe you can. [Update: Adrienne Martine-Barnes, maybe?] [Now identified as Jacqueline Lichtenberg.]
(7) TRIVIAL TRIVIA.
On November 1, 1884 Bat Masterson published his first newspaper article in Dodge City. The newspaper was called Vox Populi.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 24, 1786 — Wilhelm Grimm. Here for two reasons, the first being the he and his brother were the first to systematically collect folktales from the peasantry of any European culture and write them down. Second is that the number of genre novels and short stories that used the Grimms’ Fairy Tales as their source for source material is, well, if not infinite certainly a really high number. I’d wager that even taking just those stories in Snow White, Blood Red series that Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow co-edited would get quite a number based the tales collected by these bothers. (Died 1859.)
Born February 24, 1909 — August Derleth. He’s best known as the first book publisher of H. P. Lovecraft, and for his own fictional contributions to the Cthulhu Mythos (a term that S. T. Joshi does not like), not to overlook being the founder of Arkham House which alas is now defunct. I’m rather fond of his detective fiction with Solar Pons of Praed Street being a rather inspired riff off the Great Detective. (Died 1971.)
Born February 24, 1933 — Verlyn Flieger, 86. Well known Tolkien specialist. Her best-known books are Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World, A Question of Time: J. R. R. Tolkien’s Road to Faerie, which won a Mythopoeic Award, Tolkien’s Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth (her second Mythopoeic Award) and Green Suns and Faërie: Essays on J.R.R. Tolkien (her third Mythopoeic Award). She has written a VA fantasy, Pig Tale, and some short stories.
Born February 24, 1942 — Sam J. Lundwall, 77. Swedish writer, translator and publisher. He first started writing for Häpna!, an SF Zine in the 50s. In the late 60s, he was a producer for Sveriges Radio and made a SF series. He published his book, Science Fiction: Från begynnelsen till våra dagar (Science Fiction: What It’s All About) which landed his first job as an SF Editor. After leaving that publisher in the 80s, he would start his own company, Sam J. Lundwall Fakta & Fantasi. Lundwall was also the editor of the science fiction magazine Jules Verne-Magasinet between 1972 and 2009. He has been active in fandom as he organised conventions in Stockholm six times in the 60s and 70s. And I see he’s written a number of novels, some released here, though not recently.
Born February 24, 1947 — Edward James Olmos, 72. Reasonably sure the first thing I saw him in was as Detective Gaff in Blade Runner, but I see he was Eddie Holt In Wolfen a year earlier which was his genre debut. Though I didn’t realise it as I skipped watching the entire film, he was in The Green Hornet as Michael Axford. (I did try watching it, I gave up after maybe fifteen minutes. Shudder.) he has a cameo as Gaff in the new Blade Runner film. And he’s William Adama on the new Battlestar Galactica. He was made appearances on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Eureka.
Born February 24, 1966 — Ben Miller, 53. He first shows up in our corner of things on The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones in the “Daredevils of the Desert” episode as an unnamed French Officer. His main genre role was on Primeval, a series I highly recommend as a lot of fun, as James Lester. He later shows up as the Sheriff of Nottingham in a Twelfth Doctor episode entitled “Robot of Sherwood”.
Born February 24, 1968 — Martin Day, 51. I don’t usually deal with writers of licensed works but he’s a good reminder that shows such as Doctor Who spawn vast secondary fiction universes. He’s been writing such novels first for Virgin Books and now for BBC Books for over twenty years. In addition, he’s doing Doctor Who audiobooks for Big Finish Productions and other companies as well. He’s also written several unofficial books to television series such as the X Files, the Next Generation and the Avengers.
…Then “Big Bang” executive producer and co-creator Bill Prady offered him the ideal role. Would he be interested in playing, well, Wil Wheaton . . . an evil Wil Wheaton?
“If they had actually wanted me to play myself, I don’t think I would have been interested,” he said. “First, it would have felt like a cheat. So what? Show up and be yourself? There’s no challenge in that. But when Bill said, ‘We want you to play an evil version of yourself,’ I immediately got and loved that idea.”
Westercon 72, NAFIC 2019, 1632 Minicon, and Manticon 2019 are together inviting submissions of academic papers for presentation at Spikecon to be held on July 4th-7th, 2019 in Layton, Utah. We are seeking 30 minute papers which raise the level of dialogue and discussion in the Science Fiction/Fantasy community and seek to empower fans as well as creators.
Topics of Interest Include:
Literary analysis/criticism of science fiction or fantasy works
including those of our Spikecon Guests of Honor
Historical events impacting science fiction and/or fantasy works
Let’s hear it for cleverness! Sometimes a few modest, well-thought-out ideas can add up to an artistic creation as impactful as — and even more appealing than — the weightiest projects. That’s the case with Chronin, Alison Wilgus’ new graphic novel. Like a miniaturist or scrimshaw engraver, Wilgus has a keen appreciation for the power of constraints. By setting careful limits on what her book will look like and what kind of story it will tell, she’s achieved an aesthetic balance that’s a thing of beauty in itself.
Chronin is lighthearted but not frivolous, simple but not simplistic. Since it’s set in 19th-century Japan, you could compare it to a netsuke: A tiny sculpture whose beauty lies in what it does with so little. Chronin’s narrative and visual themes are rather basic, but it explores them in a way that’s precise, insightful — and supremely clever.
Wilgus has experimented with artistic constraints before. A Stray in the Woods, published in 2013, originated as a Tumblr webcomic driven by suggestions from readers. And, of course, much of her work has been shaped by the will of her employers, including DC and the Cartoon Network. Plenty of creators try to blow the doors off with their first solo graphic novels, but Wilgus takes the opportunity to go small. Chronin’s story of a time-travel screw-up is familiar, even a bit of a chestnut. Protagonist Mirai Yoshida, a New York City college student in 2042, travels with some classmates back to 1864 Japan to conduct research. An accident leaves her trapped there, so she masquerades as a male — and as a member of the warrior class — for safety while she tries to figure out a way back.
I was skeptical about this award from the start, and I don’t think its history helps it. I’m really bothered by the way adding one short story to a very old series, for example, makes it again eligible (as with Earthsea, objectively by far the most worthy and influential eligible series, but does “Firelight”, beautiful as it absolutely is, really mean we should give it an award now?) Also, the endless parsing of “series” vs. “sub-series”. The way an award can be for, really, semi-random assemblages of related works. I could go on and on.
(15) TWEETING HISTORY. Myke Cole is running a giveaway, and has been retweeting some of the choicer quotes people are submitting. For example:
“The idea is to place enough backups in enough places around the solar system, on an ongoing basis, that our precious knowledge and biological heritage can never be lost,” the nonprofit’s co-founder Nova Spivack told [CNET] via email.
It should have been physically impossible. Millions of years ago, a white dwarf—the fading cinder of a sunlike star—was locked in a dizzying dance with a bright companion star. The two had circled each other for eons, connected by a bridge of gas that flowed from the companion onto the white dwarf allowing it to grow heavier and heavier until it could no longer support the extra weight. At this point, the white dwarf should have exploded—blowing itself to smithereens and producing a supernova that briefly shone brighter than all the stars in the Milky Way combined. Then once the supernova faded and the white dwarf’s innards were dispersed across the galaxy, there would quite literally be nothing left save for its companion star. But against all odds, the explosion did not fully rupture the white dwarf. Instead, it survived.
…Raddi’s team made these discoveries after combing through data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft, which is particularly well suited for finding high-speed stars—an important characteristic of ones like LP 40-365 (because a supernova explosion has the power to slingshot stars across the galaxy). Two are destined to escape the Milky Way entirely, and one is orbiting “backward” against the usual rotation of stars in our galaxy. Additionally they all boast large radii, presumably because they were puffed up by the extra energy they received from the failed explosion. And yet they possess relatively small masses, likely due to the loss of much of their material during the explosion. But perhaps the most compelling evidence these stars are supernova survivors is that they brim with heavier elements. Whereas typical white dwarfs comprise carbon and oxygen, these stars are mostly composed of neon. “That’s absurd,” Hermes says. “That’s like some barroom beer sign just flying through the galaxy.” The stars’ second-most common element is oxygen, followed by a sprinkling of even heavier elements such as magnesium, sodium and aluminum. “This is about as weird as it gets,” Hermes says…
(18) IT’S A THEORY. Orville’s season 1 Rotten Tomatoes critics score was
23%. Season 2 is holding at 100%. Nerdrotic theorizes that the explanation is Disney’s purchase of
(19) BLADE RUNNER COMICS. Launching this summer, Titan Comics’ new Blade Runner 2019 series will be set
during the exact timeframe of the original Blade Runner film, and feature a (mostly) new set of
characters and situations.
Titan also confirmed that noted artist Andres
League Dark, Captain America)
will be joining acclaimed Blade
Runner 2049 screenwriter
Michael Green (Logan) and veteran collaborator Mike Johnson (Star Trek,
to breathe life into their all-new Blade Runner comic books.
In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics). Note that these lists are inherently not exhaustive. They are a list of five examples (occasionally I’ll be nice and toss in a sixth). So no instance is “missing” if it is not listed. It’s just not one of the five examples that I chose.
Today, we look at the less legendary LLs in Superman’s life.
Unless you hate me and all that I stand for, you know that Superman has an inordinate amount of notable people in his life whose names are double Ls.
Names (etc.) mentioned in the 2-page article include:
Just like it did during the Golden Globes, HBO has released another mega-trailer featuring new footage from all of its new and returning shows airing this year. Of course, the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones was among the shows included in the tantalizing teaser.
[…] Game of Thrones Season 8 debuts on HBO Sunday, April 14. There’s no set premiere date for Watchmen just yet, but it will arrive sometime this year.
(22) FROM THE BEEB TO THE
BO. BBC released a trailer of His
Dark Materials, which will air on HBO in the U.S.
We’re keeping our daemons close. Here’s an early sneak peek of His Dark Materials. Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, Clarke Peters and Lin-Manuel Miranda star in this thrilling new series. Adaptation of Sir Philip Pullman’s acclaimed series of novels.
Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Your
Supreme Awesome Royal Majesty Highnessness JJ, John King
Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew
Porter. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
By Daniel Dern: Boskone 56, held
Friday, February 15 through Sunday, February 17, 2019 at Boston’s Westin
Waterfront Hotel, was a fun con — good guests, fun interesting sessions, good
readings… and good (for Boston winter) weather — bearably cold, and no snow
or rain coming down or on the streets or walkways.
us still have memories of 2015’s Boskone when the MBTA (locally aka “the
T”) pre-emptively announced, mid-Saturday, that due to the impending
blizzard, they were
shutting down the T starting 7PM Saturday, through Sunday.)
Boskone 56 were:
Guest of Honor: Elizabeth Hand
Special Guest: Christopher Golden
Official Artist: Jim Burns
Young Adult Fiction Guest: Cindy Pon
Hal Clement Science Speaker: Vandana Singh
unfortunately, was unable to make it, due to a last-minute emergency; however,
his art was still on display.)
always gets a good bunch of writers, artists, editors and other sf pros. This
year’s 150+ program
participants included (drawing mostly on people I know/names I
recognize) Ellen Asher, James Cambias, John Chu, Brenda W. Clough, John Clute, Br. Guy
Consolmagno, C. S. E. Cooney, Bruce Coville, Vincent Docherty, Sarah Beth
Durst, Kate Elliot, Greer Gillman, KJ Kabza,
James Patrick Kelly, Justin Key, Dan Kimmel, Mur Lafferty, Patrick &
Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Errick Nunnally,
Suzanne Palmer, Julia Rios, Erin Roberts, Michael Swanwick, Catherynne M. Valente, Jane Yolen, and
note: I just came back from the library with the 2018 “Year’s Best Science
Fiction and Fantasy” edited by Rich Horton – and there’s a good handful of authors
whose names might not have recognized a week ago, but, thanks to Boskone, I
recognize many more names and know I saw several panelize/read.)
of as 11AM Sunday, according to the con’s Helmuth newsletter, came in at 1,382
total members, 1,061 “warm body count,” and 270
“at-the-door” registrations — pretty consistent with the past few
as always, no shortage of things to do.
items spanned classic through current sf/fantasy people, titles and
topics, from the serious through silly, plus a range of media-oriented
discussions including comics, Star Wars, and Star Trek, along with a number of
sessions aimed at new authors and artists. Plus readings, kaffeeklatsches, and
a room for movies/anime and other videos, also filking, board-gaming, the Art
Show, the Dealers Room, noshing in the Con Suite area (which was, sadly, due to
new hotel regulations, limited only to individual-portion-packaged,
no-refrigeration-needed snacks’n’such). And a few evening parties, plus NESFA’s
Saturday evening chocoholics-delight schmorgasbord.
non-program items like “meet new people, schmooze with friends” and
“be a volunteer.”
Friday afternoon sessions were free — a nice way to help let potential
first-timers get a sense of the con (particularly, I suspect, for people who
have never attended a con). (ReaderCon has been doing this, too, for the past
several years, with its Thursday evening programming.) Free-to-public panel
topics included “The new Dr. Who,” gaming tournament
demos/rules/Q&A, “Welcome to Boskone,” “Laundering Your
Fairy Tales,” along with media/TV-themed sessions, and useful panels for
show had good stuff to look at (I’ve used up my quota of wall space, so I’m
just looking, these days), although it seemed slightly smaller than last year.
Dealers Room was mostly booksellers, including publishers and groups like Broad
Universe, along with a handful of single-author tables. (My bookshelf space is,
like my wall space, mostly full, although I did buy a few books… plus
snarfing up about a foot of read-and-pass-on magazines and books from the Free
between books and magazines, I had no trouble spending thirty or forty bucks on
additions to my Mount To-Be-Read (referring, of course, to that pile of books,
often near the bed). Of course, by the end of the con, I had a vision of
foothills forming around my Mount TBR of yet more books and authors to pursue,
hopefully as library borrows.
Morris Keesan once remarked (possibly at one of the monthly RISFA-North sf fan
gatherings), when somebody mentioned to him their stack of TBR’s, he responded,
more or less, “Stack? I’ve got a bookshelf.”)
chatted with was having fun — schmoozing with friends, going to sessions,
getting autographs, more schmoozing, etc.
Me, I had
One of the things I did this year was go to
more readings, including well-known’s like Jane Yolen, John Chu, Fran Wilder
and Bruce Coville, as well as some newer and lesser-known authors and groups of
authors. All were good, and helped add to my “authors and books to look
Also, kaffeeklatsches, in particular, Jane
Yolen and (her son) Adam Stemple), and Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Teresa
Nielsen Hayden. (I still wish Boskone could find a less noisy space for the
‘klatches rather than the public area in between the Art Show and the “Con
I got a Press ribbon, to point at as I was
I wasn’t originally on the program (not a
complaint, I’ve had my “turn at bat” at Boskone plenty of times, in
main and DragonsLair programming), but while I was buying my membership, I
inquired at Program Ops, and was given an empty-as-of-then slot in the Readings
track. (I had come prepared with a handful of my short-short stories.)
Equally nice, when I went to see if there were
any open slots for the Flash Fiction Slam competition — with points deducted
if you run over three minutes — I discovered I was already signed up! So I
read my newest shortie, “Vampire, T.Rex Bite Robot, Chomp! Gnash!
One of my
favorite Boskone Program Items is Mark & Priscilla Olson’s “Trivia For
Chocolate” contest — SF trivia, of course, from way back when through
current stuff, where speed matters as much as correctness, with the
green-rectangle chocolate Thin Mints used as point counters totaled up at the
end (emptied wrappers don’t count).
I tied with Bob Devney for 4th place, with 23 points. Karen von Haam thirded
with 30 points, Kimball Rudeen came in second with 35, and Rich Horton ate all
our lunches with 60 points.
browse through past Helmuths
(“Helmith”?) confirms my sense that Devney and I often place in the
top five, e.g.:
Boskone 55: Bob Devney 52, Daniel Dern 44, Tim
Liebe 27. Peter Turi 23.
Boskone 54: Kim Rudeen 65, Tom Galloway 45,
Jordin Kare 45, Bob Devney 32, Daniel Dern 29.
(Boskone 53: I wasn’t there.)
Boskone 52: Kimball Rudeen 51, Karen Von Hamm
44, Bob Devney 16, Naomi Hinchen 15, Daniel Dern 12.
Boskone 50: Bob Devney 54, Athena Martin 30,
Zev Sero & Peter Trei: 16
Boskone 49: Jordin Kare 69, Bob Devney 48,
Christopher Davis 40, Daniel Dern 35, Team of Burton, Klein-Burton, Wall &
(1) MCINTYRE HEALTH UPDATE.
Vonda McIntyre, one of sff’s most loved figures, is seriously ill. A Caringbridge page has been started: “Vonda N.’s
Vonda spent much of Seattle’s snow week at Swedish Hospital with jaundice and some vertigo, having many tests. The test results are in now, and the news is not good. The diagnosis is inoperable metastatic pancreatic cancer. Her doctor said it isn’t stupid to hope for a year, but it could be less. She’ll probably be getting treatment that may or may not slow things down, no way to know for sure.
(2) #COPYPASTECRIS. Nora
Roberts tells some things she’s learned about plagiarists and people scamming
Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited author revenue system in “Not a Rant,
but a promise”.
The count of my books lifted from is now five. And the count of writers victimized has gone up.
I’m getting one hell of an education on the sick, greedy, opportunistic culture that games Amazon’s absurdly weak system. And everything I learn enrages me.
There are black hat teams, working together, who routinely hire ghosts on the cheap, have them throw books together, push them out–many and fast–to make money, to smother out competition from those self-pubbed writers who do their own work. Those who do their own work can’t possibly keep up with the volume these teams produce by these fraudulent tactics.
They tutor others how to scam the system….
(3) A WHIRLWIND OF FANAC. Joe Siclari of Fanac.org reports “We’ve been getting a lot done, and last weekend we had a
particularly productive Boskone.”
At Boskone, the FANAC scanning station scanned almost 2000 pages of material. Scanning by Mark Olson, Edie Stern and Joe Siclari. History-minded fans stopped by and provided material (thanks Geri Sullivan!), and promised more. We have promises of photos and fanzines, and have already received a historical recording from Fred Lerner, and new scanning hardware too.
The zines scanned at Boskone will be so marked in the index pages of the title, so you can see what we did. So far, we have put online about 850 pages of it. So far from the Boston scanning we’ve put up issues of George Locke’s Smoke, Richard Bergeron’s Warhoon, Charles Lee Riddle’s Peon, Don Miller’s WSFA Journal, the Coulsons’ Yandro and brown and Katz’s Focal Point.
Last fall, as Hurricane Michael was swirling toward the Florida panhandle, NOAA officials say it was carrying something in addition to rain and wind — the ashes of long-time hurricane researcher, Michael Black. Black was a research meteorologist who worked at the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory on Virginia Key, just across the bridge from downtown Miami.
He was a pioneer in the use of dropwindsondes — small measuring devices dropped from airplanes that record wind speed, air pressure, temperature and humidity.
In 1997, on a mission flying through Hurricane Guillermo in the Pacific, he had an audacious idea. Why not drop some dropwindsondes — sometimes called dropsondes — directly into the eyewall of a hurricane?
NOAA research meteorologist Stan Goldenberg, who worked with Michael Black for more than two decades, recalls that flight with Black 21 years ago: “I remember the excitement we felt at seeing these winds and knowing these ‘sondes’ could handle it.” Black’s idea suddenly provided hurricane researchers with an important new data tool.
(5) PARSEC AWARDS. Bruce Press will step down as chair of the Parsec Awards Committee if he can find somebody to take his place. The sff podcast awards organizers have been reeling since December, when four 2018 Parsec Awards winners declined because the committee sustained the decision to give an award an alleged harasser. Today Press sent this statement to his distribution list:
After a pretty grueling 2018 for the committee, we were taking a bit of a breather to get our collective heads together.
We very much want to get trophies out to winners who want them, but we are without funds having done absolutely no fundraising in 2018. Our lack of resources is due to lack of resources. So, that’s item 1.
Item 2 is our perennial problem of manpower and leadership. The committee is severely short-staffed. We hoped to grow by creating sub-committee’s like ceremony and fundraising. However, it turns out that takes leadership and we only had me.
Item 3 is me. While item 2 might have been enough reason alone, I have some really good personal reasons to step down as committee chair. The timing of this is not ideal, but life rarely operates on a convenient schedule. Like previous chairs, I am not immediately leaving the committee.
So, here’s what I’m asking. If you think you have what it takes to lead. If you have a plan and can execute it. Whether overall, ceremony or fundraising. Send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TODAY IN HISTORY.
February 23, 1896 –Tootsie Roll introduced
February 23, 1935 — The Phantom Empire starred Gene Autry, it was an SF musical western.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 23, 1564 — Christopher Marlowe. Author of Doctor Faustus (or The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus. Look, ISFDB lists him, so he must be genre. More to the point Elizabeth Bear made him a character in her Stratford Man series which is Ink and Steel and Hell and Earth novels which is highly recommended. If you’ve not read them, the Green Man review is here. (Died 1593.)
Born February 23, 1930 — Gerry Davis. Mid-Sixties Story Editor on Doctor Who where he created companion Jamie McCrimmon and co-created the Cybermen along with unofficial scientific adviser Dr. Kit Pedler. They would create the Doomwatch series in the Sixties on BBC. Davis briefly returned to writing for Doctor Who, penning the first script for Revenge of the Cybermen though his script was largely abandoned by editor Robert Holmes. In 1989 he and Terry Nation who created the Daleks made a failed bid to take over production of the series and reformat it for the American market. (Died 1991.)
Born February 23, 1932 — Majel Barrett. No doubt best remembered for being Nurse Christine Chapel and Lwaxana Troi as well as for being the voice of most ship computer interfaces throughout the Star Trek series. I’ll note that she was originally cast as Number One in the unused (TOS) Pilot but the male studio heads hated the idea of a female in that role. Early Puppies obviously. (Died 2008.)
Born February 23, 1965 — Jacob Weisman, 54. Founder, Tachyon Publications which you really should go look at as they’ve published every great author I’d care to read. Seriously Tidhar, Beagle and Yolen are among their newest releases! He also edited (with Beagle) The New Voices of Fantasy which I highly recommend as most excellent reading.
Born February 23, 1970 — Marie-Josée Croze, 49. Bibiane Champagne In Maelström which is genre if only because it’s narrated by a talking fish. In Canada movie theatres, she was in Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 as Mara. Yeah, that film with a long title. Doubt it improved it. It looks like her first genre acting was on The Hunger in two episodes, in “A Matter of Style” as Dominique and in “I’m Dangerous Tonight” as Mimi. Oh, and she had the lead as Pregnant Woman in Ascension which just looks weird.
Born February 23, 1994 — Dakota Fanning, 25. Genre roles include Sally Walden in The Cat in the Hat which is on my worst films of all time list, Katie In Hansel and Gretel, Rachel Ferrier In War of the Worlds which, errr, is on the same list, and as the voice of Fern Arable In Charlotte’s Web which is brilliant.
Born February 23, 2002 — Emilia Jones, 17. I’m reasonably sure this is the youngest Birthday I’ve done. At nine years of age, she’s made her acting debut in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as English Girl. She’s Young Beth in the horror film Ghostland. She shows up on Doctor Who as Merry Gejelh in the “The Rings of Akhaten”, an Eleventh Doctor story. She’s currently in Residue, an SF horror series you can find on Netflix.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
Free Range shows the monstrous side of photography.
(10) CRITICAL FAVORITES. On
the Strange at Ecbatan blog Rich
Horton is working through his Hugo recommendations.
Of these stories – none of which would disappoint me if they won the Hugo – my four favorites, in no particular order, are…
2. David Gerrold and Ctein, “Bubble and Squeak” – About a gay couple, hoping to get married, who have their plans interrupted by a tsunami heading to Los Angeles, and who have to find a way to get to higher ground – and, as it turns out, help a bunch of others as well. It’s simply terrifically exciting, involving a plausible mix of heroism, foolishness, brutality, luck, and intelligence, on their part and others, as they struggle to find a way to a safe place, and as various options are closed off over time.
4. Kelly Robson, “Intervention” (Infinity’s End) — A very intelligent story about child rearing in a heavily inhabited future Solar System. The narrator is from Luna, where creche work is socially frowned upon, so she leaves to work on an asteroid-based creche – and then later gets a chance to work on a bid to reform Luna’s failing creche system. This is just really interesting social speculation; and the characters are also very solidly portrayed, very honest.
5. Karen Russell, “Orange World” (The New Yorker, 6/4/18) – An older first time mother is driven to make a deal with a literal devil to save the life of her child, and only the intervention of her support group allows her to cope … Really well written, really convincing.
(12) DOLLARS AND SENSE. Alasdair
Full Lid for February 22 includes a wryly-named commentary on cancelled
cable sff shows – “Boulevard of Broken Streams.”
Netflix have done what Thanos couldn’t; wiped out an entire section of the Marvel universe. It was announced this week that The Punisher is done with season 2 and Jessica Jones with season 3. That will air later this year and be the swan song for a five (and a half) show mini-universe.
My feelings about this are, to mis-quote the best line in the entire Mission: Impossible franchise, complicated.
For a start there’s the Rat King of fan speculation and business practice to try and untie. We can all clap as loud as we want, the shows were never going to the Disney streaming platform because that platform has to aim for the widest possible audience. It’s also almost certainly what raised the renewal costs for the shows beyond practical. So, rationally, this all makes sense. It’s annoying, but it does make sense….
What if we told you that you could learn a lot about handling adversity from the life of a bug? In their explorations of humans and how we interact with the world around us, the team that makes NPR’s Invisibilia stumbled on a surprising fact about the insect world — one that could inspire a new way of looking at ourselves.
The epic destruction wrought by swarms of locusts is downright biblical. Exodus tells of a plague that left nothing green in all of Egypt, and we’ve seen these harbingers of destruction at work in modern day Australia, Argentina and Israel, just to name a few. But for centuries, one essential piece of information about these strange insects eluded scientists: Where do they come from?
These massive swarms just seemed to pop up out of nowhere, decimate everything and then vanish.
Microsoft workers are calling on the giant tech company to cancel its nearly $480 million U.S. Army contract, saying the deal has “crossed the line” into weapons development by Microsoft for the first time. They say the use of the company’s HoloLens augmented reality technology under the contract “is designed to help people kill.”
In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith, the workers also say the company is failing to inform its engineers “on the intent of the software they are building.”
The November contract is for what’s called an Integrated Visual Augmentation System.
“The contract’s stated objective is to ‘rapidly develop, test, and manufacture a single platform that Soldiers can use to Fight, Rehearse, and Train that provides increased lethality, mobility, and situational awareness necessary to achieve overmatch against our current and future adversaries,’ ” the letter said.
• Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, gave a talk to a members-only event at the Yale Club in New York on Tuesday.
• During the 30-minute lecture, Bezos said his private aerospace company, Blue Origin, would launch its first people into space aboard a New Shepard rocket in 2019.
• Bezos also questioned the capabilities of a space tourism competitor, Virgin Galactic, and criticized the goal of Elon Musk and SpaceX to settle Mars with humans.
• Ultimately, Bezos said he wants Blue Origin to enable a space-faring civilization where “a Mark Zuckerberg of space” and “1,000 Mozarts and 1,000 Einsteins” can flourish.
• Bezos advised the crowd to hold a powerful, personal long-term vision, but to devote “the vast majority of your energy and attention” on shorter-term activities and those ranging up to 2- or 3-year timeframes.
(16) THE WEST END ZONE. In the February 16 Financial Times (behind a paywall), Matt Trueman profiles Anne
Washburn, whose play based on The
Twilight Zone is opening March 4 at The Ambassador
Theatre in London.
“Her stage version of The Twilight Zone transfers into town next month. On the surface, it’s a straightforward celebration of Rod Serling’s cult TV series. Having watched all 156 episodes,she selected those stories that stuck in America’s psyche. ‘I was polling anyone I ran into: What Twilight Zone episode traumatized you as a small child? People would answer immediately. That’s where it lives in our culture.”
“In April, The Twilight Zone‘s getting a high profile reboot by Get Out director Jordan Peele, but Washburn’s incarnation celebrates its loveable, low-fi 1950s charm. Its schlockiness, essentially.’It’s morality,comedy, and horror at the same time,’ beams Washburn. ‘That’s very appealing.’ The show sends up its arched-eyebrowed asides and cheap cardboard cut-outs. ‘Where things are less adept, you can see right to its heart. That’s always moving.’
“Insightful, too, as Washburn unpeels The Twilight Zone‘s skin to show us a glimpse of America’s soul in its recurring images: alien invasions and nuclear oblivion. ‘The Twilight Zone is about America dreaming–or America’s nightmare.'”
Sony Pictures has released a new poster promoting the Japanese release of the upcoming Marvel film Spider-Man: Far From Home, and it’s really awesome.
This exceptionally creative poster features a typographic image of Spider-Man’s mask composed almost entirely of bold, red Japanese text. The words and phrases used to create Spidey’s face mostly reference different aspects of the film, with the text repeating “summer vacation.” There are also numerous references to Nick Fury. Moreover, where Spider-Man’s mouth ought to be, there is a QR code that links to Spider-Man: Far From Home‘s Japanese trailer, which is the same as the international trailer.
(18) PUMP, BROTHERS. Food Network advises, “Throw Away Your Peanut Butter Knife!” This clearly
isn’t genre, but it is a “great” “scientific” advance. Or it is you can’t
resist both peanut butter and silly gadgets.
Who knew the world was clamoring for a better – or at least different – way to prepare a peanut butter sandwich?
One week after a Burbank, California, inventor/entrepreneur named Andrew Scherer launched an Indiegogo page to raise funds for his new Peanut Butter Pump, promising a way to eat “Peanut Butter Without the Knife,” the project has raised $46,955 (from more than 1,220 backers) and counting – more than twice its $20,000 goal.
[…] It’s basically a jar top – made to fit onto your standard 40-ounce grocery-store or name-brand peanut butter jar – with a pump top and a plunger inside that presses down the peanut butter, leaving the sides of the jar clean as it goes, and dispensing the peanut butter out the top and directly onto your bread or celery stick or wherever you’re aiming it.
Earlier this month, Colorado-based startup Valyant AI announced the launch of a voice-based AI customer service platform, which is now taking customer orders at the drive-thru at Denver’s Good Times Burgers and Frozen Custard.
“We’re excited to deliver a customer service experience unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before,” Valyant AI CEO Rob Carpenter said in a press release.
Chip Hitchcock, Emperox JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, James
Davis Nicoll, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for
some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the
day Tom Becker.]
The winner of the scholarship will receive travel to and from
StokerCon 2019 in Grand Rapids, MI, May 9-12, as well as accommodation,
convention membership, and entry to all classes in the convention’s Horror
University programming. Open to residents of the 48 contiguous United States.
Razzie Awards for the worst films of the year were presented February 23,
the day before the Oscar ceremony as is the custom. Genre works were almost
entirely absent from the list – which is good, right? – unless you count Sherlock
Holmes parodies as genre, in which case genre won nearly everything….
Holmes & Watson
Etan Cohen, Holmes &
Donald Trump, Death of a
Nation and Fahrenheit 11/9
Melissa McCarthy, The Happytime
Murders and Life of the Party
Worst Supporting Actor
John C Reilly, Holmes &
Worst Supporting Actress
Kellyanne Conway, Fahrenheit
Worst Screen Combo
Donald Trump and his self-perpetuating pettiness, Death of a Nation and Fahrenheit
Horror Writers Association announced the 2018
Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot on February 23. “This year’s nominees
demonstrate a continued lineup of quality work in the horror genre,” said
Lisa Morton, HWA President. “Our members and awards juries have again
chosen truly outstanding works of literature, cinema, non-fiction, and
The HWA is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals
around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of
those who write it.
presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards® will occur at StokerCon on May 11. The
awards presentation will also be live-streamed online via the website.
Superior Achievement in a Novel
Katsu, Alma – The Hunger (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Maberry, Jonathan – Glimpse (St. Martin’s Press)
Malerman, Josh – Unbury Carol (Del Rey)
Stoker, Dacre and Barker, J.D. – Dracul (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Tremblay, Paul – The Cabin at the End of the World (William Morrow)
Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Fine, Julia – What Should Be Wild (Harper)
Grau, T.E. – I Am the River (Lethe Press)
Kiste, Gwendolyn – The Rust Maidens (Trepidatio Publishing)
Stage, Zoje – Baby Teeth (St. Martin’s Press)
Tremblay, Tony – The Moore House (Twisted Publishing)
Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Ireland, Justina – Dread Nation (Balzer + Bray)
Legrand, Claire – Sawkill Girls (Katherine Tegen Books)
Maberry, Jonathan – Broken Lands (Simon & Schuster)
Snyman, Monique – The Night Weaver (Gigi Publishing)
White, Kiersten – The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Delacorte Press)
Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Ahmed, Saladin – Abbott (BOOM! Studios)
Azzarello, Brian – Moonshine Vol. 2: Misery Train (Image Comics)
Bunn, Cullen – Bone Parish (BOOM! Studios)
LaValle, Victor – Victor LaValle’s Destroyer (BOOM! Studios)
By John Hertz: Trying to catch up with your fanzine reading,
for Hugo Awards nomination or otherwise?
Lloyd Penney, who sees lots of fanzines and sends letters of
comment widely, made a chart of fanzines he saw and locced (as we sometimes
say) in 2018, and sent it to the 2019 administrator of the Fannish Activity
Achievement (FAAn) Awards. You can see it at p. 3 of this year’s
Instructions, which you can find here (PDF). Many fanzines he notes are available
electronically. The FAAn Awards are
managed (if that word may be used) by the annual fanziners’ convention Corflu; the Instructions have
various reference-jokes and like that.
(1) RETRO HUGO FAN CATEGORY
RESOURCE. Joe Siclari and the FANAC Fan History
Project are providing support to Dublin 2019 Retro Hugo voters:
The nomination forms have gone out for Dublin 2019’s Retro Hugo awards for works published in 1943. It’s often very difficult to find materials relevant to the Fan Categories for the Retros, but we have a solution! FANAC.ORG has assembled the list of fanzines published in 1943, with links to those available on line. We’ve made several hundred fanzines available, and more will be added if they become available at http://fanac.org/fanzines/Retro_Hugos1943.html .
Here you’ll find fanzines from 4sj, Doc Lowndes, J. Michael Rosenblum, Bob Tucker, Jack Speer, Larry Shaw, F. T. Laney and other stalwarts of 1943 fandom (and also Claude Degler). There are genzines, FAPAzines, newszines, and letterzines. There is fannish artwork, and fannish poetry. There’s even the first publication of Lovecraft’s “Funghi From Yuggoth”. Fanzines which meet the issue requirements for Best Fanzine are so marked.
I am sad to report that Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show will be pulling up stakes in June 2019. I’ve been a reader since the first issue, and on the staff since 2009. My kids have grown up with the magazine in their lives, and I am fiercely proud of all that we’ve accomplished.
I am also very, very pleased with the state of science fiction and fantasy in general today. When IGMS first rolled onto the scene, online magazines were few and far between. Now the main mode of consumption of short SFF literature is online in one form or another (podcasts, e-issues, webpages, etc). And the voices of SFF today are vibrant, strident, beckoning, beseeching, screeching, awesome myriads. We have been a part of that polysymphonic wonder. We were one of the first to tell our truest lies on the brave digital frontier.
Ah, ravens. They’re smart, they’re beaky, they come in murders, and many in our world are better Londoners than I am. They’re also the subject of more than their share of both folklore and, through that, fantasy interest. Whether they’re harbingers of death, guides to the spirit world, speakers of prophecy and truth or otherworldly tricksters, there’s a lot of mileage in these feathery next-level dinosaurs. Now, in Ann Leckie’s first novel-length foray into fantasy, a raven god is front and centre, alongside a cast whose human members often play second fiddle to their divine counterparts.
Ruthanna Emrys is best known for the H. P. Lovecraft-inspired Innsmouth Legacy series, which so far includes the 2014 novella “The Litany of Earth,” followed up by the novels Winter Tide in 2017 and Deep Roots in 2018. Her fiction has also appeared in such magazines as Strange Horizons and Analog Science Fiction and Fact, plus anthologies such as Timelines: Stories Inspired by H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine and The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu: New Lovecraftian Fiction.
We discussed the ways in which her first exposure to Lovecraft was through pop culture references rather than the original texts, the reasons for the recent rise of Lovecraft recontextualisation, how tea with Jo Walton convinced her she was right to go ahead and write her first Innsmouth Legacy novel, why she ascribes to the tenets of the burgeoning Hopepunk movement, her love of writing X-Men fanfic and her hatred of gastropods, how she recovered from a college professor’s unconstructive criticism, the time George Takei was nice to her at age 8 after she attended her first con in costume on the wrong day, and much more.
(5) NEW AWARD HONORS SUE GRAFTON.
Mystery Writers of America has established the
Sue Grafton Memorial Award for the best novel in a series with a female
protagonist. (Do I hear Puppies howling?) The announcement is here.
Thirty-five years ago, Sue Grafton launched one of the most acclaimed and celebrated mystery series of all time with A is for Alibi, and with it created the model of the modern female detective with Kinsey Millhone, a feisty, whip-smart woman who is not above breaking the rules to solve a case or save a life. Like her fictional alter ego, Grafton was a true original, a model for every woman who has ever struck out on her own independent way.
Sue Grafton passed away on December 28, 2017, but she and Kinsey will be remembered as international icons and treasured by millions of readers across the world. Sue was adored throughout the reading world, the publishing industry, and was a longtime and beloved member of MWA, serving as MWA President in 1994 and was the recipient of three Edgar nominations as well as the Grand Master Award in 2009. G.P. Putnam’s Sons is partnering with MWA to create the Sue Grafton Memorial Award honoring the Best Novel in a Series featuring a female protagonist in a series that also has the hallmarks of Sue’s writing and Kinsey’s character: a woman with quirks but also with a sense of herself, with empathy but also with savvy, intelligence, and wit.
The inaugural Sue Grafton Memorial
Award will be presented at the Edgar Awards on April 25. The nominees are:
Lisa Black, Perish – Kensington
Sara Paretsky, Shell Game, HarperCollins – William Morrow
Victoria Thompson, City of Secrets, Penguin Random House – Berkley
Charles Todd, A Forgotten Place, HarperCollins – William Morrow
Jacqueline Winspear, To Die But Once, HarperCollins – Harper
(6) A VANCE MYSTERY. At
Criminal Element, Hector Dejean
Man in the Cage by John Holbrook Vance, better known as Jack Vance,
which won the 1961 Edgar Award for the best first mystery novel, even though it
wasn’t his first novel in either genre: “Jack Vance’s Edgar Award: A Mystery Novel Wrapped
in an Enigma”.
Vance was extremely talented and prolific, publishing his first book, The Dying Earth, in 1950, and his last work of fiction, Lurulu, in 2004. In 1957, he published his first mystery novel, Take My Face, using the pen name Peter Held. Later that year, he published another novel, titled either Isle of Peril or Bird Island, under the name Alan Wade. (Different versions exist, and according to some Vance-ologists the book doesn’t really qualify as a crime novel.) A year later, he wrote his first mystery to be published under his full name, John Holbrook Vance. That book’s title, according to sources on the Internet, was Strange People, Queer Notions.
This is where things get odd. Following a trip to Morocco—Vance was as impressive a traveler as he was a writer—Vance wrote a mystery set in North Africa; John Holbrook Vance was the name on this one as well. The book was The Man in the Cage, and it’s quite good—I would even say it’s a standout book, especially for readers curious about Vance who might not care for the conventions of sci-fi and fantasy. The MWA agreed, and in 1961 they gave it an award, making Vance’s awards-shelf one of the more diverse of any American author.
Awarding Vance isn’t the weird part. It’s that the book won the Best First Novel by an American Author award, even though it was not Vance’s first book, nor even his first mystery….
Dejean then goes on to laud the merits of the story itself.
(7) CONTRASTING EDGARS AND
HUGOS. Criminal Element is also
doing a retrospective of all Edgar Award winners for best novel: “The Edgar Awards Revisited”.
Cora Buhlert sent the link with a comment: “It’s an interesting project and I
was struck by how many women won Edgar Awards in the early years (the first
five winners are four women and Raymond Chandler), which is very different from
the early years of the Hugos.”
(8) CRIMEMASTER AWARD. The
Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance has awarded its 2019
CrimeMaster Award to Lisa Gardner.
Storied crime author Lisa Gardner writes award-winning novels that are addictive. Thankfully for us, there are more than 30 of them, with some 22 million copies in print. That’s more copies than the entire population of New England, where she and her family live.
(9) TAKE COVER. Regarding the #CopyPasteCris plagiarism scandal, Nora Roberts is one of the authors whose work was appropriated, and as Kristine Kathryn Rusch phrased it —
…I personally don’t believe fiction writers should use ghosts. Celebrity auto-biographies and such, that’s the job. If a fiction writer uses a ghost to help flesh out a book, or hires a book doctor to whip a book into shape, I strongly believe that person should be acknowledged–on the book.
The reader deserves honesty. The reader’s entitled to know she’s buying the author’s–the one whose name’s on the book–work, not somebody that writer hired for speed or convenience. And I’ll state here as I have before. If a book has my name on it, I wrote it. Every word of it.
I do not, never have, never will comprehend how someone can feel any pride claiming a book they didn’t write.
…A creature like Serruyo can have a decent run, make some money–make some best-seller lists–before she (or he, or they, who knows?) is found out. And the pain, the scars, the emotional turmoil this causes to the victims of plagiarism never ends.
Serruyo won’t be the only one using that underbelly, exploiting the lack of real guardrails on Amazon and other sites for a few bucks.
I’ll have a lot more to say about this, all of this. I’m not nearly done. Because the culture that fosters this ugly behavior has to be pulled out into the light and burned to cinders. Then we’re going to salt the freaking earth….
Born February 22, 1925 — Edward Gorey. I reasonably sure that his animated introduction to the PBS series Mystery! Was my first encounter with him. I will recommend Gorey Cats, The Haunted Tea-Cosy: A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas and The Doubtful Guest. Ok he’s not genre but damn if he’s fun and delightfully weird. Oh, and do go read Elephant House: Or, the Home of Edward Gorey, with superb photographs and text by Kevin McDermott. (Died 2000.)
Born February 22, 1929 — James Hong, 90. Though not genre, became known to audiences through starring in The New Adventures of Charlie Chan in the late Fifties. Genre wise, his first role was in Godzilla, King of the Monsters! voicing Ogata/Serizawa. He then pops up in The Satan Bug as Dr. Yang and next is seen playing Ho Lee In Destination Inner Space. You’ll no doubt recognize him in Colossus: The Forbin Project, he’s Dr. Chin, but I’ll bet you’ve never heard of, oh wait you have, Blade Runner in which he’s Hannibal Chew and Big Trouble In Little China which I love in which he’s wizard David Lo Pan. its back to obscure films after that with next up being Shadowzone where he’s Dr. Van Fleet and Dragonfight where he’s Asawa. He’s next in The Shadow as Li Peng but I’ll be damned if I can remember his role and the same holds true for him as Che’tsai In Tank Girl too. He’s Mr. Wu in the very loose adaption of the classic The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Born February 22, 1930 — Edward Hoch. The lines between detective fiction and genre fiction can be awfully blurry at times. ISFDB listed him but I was damned if I could figure out why considering he’s known as a writer of detective fiction who wrote several novels and close to a thousand short stories. It was his Simon Ark character who was the protagonist of Hoch’s first published story and who was ultimately featured in thirty-nine of his stories that made him a genre writer as Ark is the cursed by God immortal doomed to wander forevermore and solved crimes. (Died 2008.)
Born February 22, 1937 — Joanna Russ. Is it fair to say she’s known as much for her feminist literary criticism as her SF writings? That The Female Man is her best-known work suggests my question really isn’t relevant as there may be no difference between the two. She was for a long time an influential reviewer for the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction where I think it would fair to say that you knew clearly what she thought of a given work. (Died 2011)
Born February 22, 1944 — Tucker Smallwood, 75. Space: Above and Beyond as Commodore Ross is by far my favorite genre role by him. I think his first genre appearance was as President Mazabuka on Get Smart followed by one-offs on Babylon 5, Bio-Dome, X-Files, Contact, Millennium, NightMan, Voyager, Seven Days, The Others, The Invisible Man, The Chronicle, Mirror Man and Spectres. After that he landed a role on Enterprise playingXindi-Primate Councilor for an extended period of one season.
Born February 22, 1956 — Philip Kerr. Though better known for his Bernie Gunther series of historical thrillers set in Germany and elsewhere during the 1930s, his write several genre friendly works. A Philosophical Investigation is set in a near future UK where it is possible to test for violent sociopathy and the consequences of that. The other is Children of the Lamp, a more upbeat YA series set in London involving djinns and rather obviously young children. (Died 2018.)
Born February 22, 1959 — Kyle MacLachlan, 60. Genre-wise known for his role as Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks and its weird film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Paul Atreides in Dune, Lloyd Gallagher in The Hidden, Clifford Vandercave In The Flintstones, Calvin Zabo in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Jeffrey Beaumont in Blue Velvet (OK not genre, just weird).
Born February 22, 1968 — Jeri Ryan, 51. Seven of Nine of course but she’s had other genre roles including being Juliet Stewart in Dark Skies, an UFO conspiracy theory series. She’s showed up in briefly roles in Warehouse 13, The Sentinel, Helix and had recently showed up in the Arrowverse.
Born February 22, 1972 — Duane Swierczynski,47. Though a mystery writer by trade, he’s also worked as a writer at both DC and Marvel on some very impressive projects. He did writing duties on the second volume of time traveling soldier Cable, penned the Birds of Prey as part of The New 52 relaunch and wrote an excellent Punisher one-off, “Force of Nature”.
For children’s books in particular it was an era of quantity over quality, an unremitting glut. In those pre–Harry Potter days, a typical “series” meant hundreds of books churned out on a monthly basis by teams of frantic ghostwriters. You could order them by the pound. Often they came with a free bracelet or trinket, as if resorting to bribery. There were 181 Sweet Valley High books, 233 Goosebumps books, and so many Baby-Sitters Club books that their publisher, Scholastic, has never made the full number public (by my count it was at least 345 if you include all the spin-offs)—and they were all, to a certain degree, disposable crap.
The fifth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was published in the summer of 2003, by which point Harry was fifteen and those of us growing up along with him had discovered sex. The Harry Potter years also happened to coincide with the Wild West era of the internet and the rise of abstinence-only sex education; as a result, for better or for worse, erotic Harry Potter fan fiction played a major and under-discussed role in millennial sexual development. This was especially true if you were queer—or, not to put too fine a point on it, if you were me—and had picked up on the secret gay love story that existed between the lines of Rowling’s text.
I refer, of course, to Sirius and Lupin….
(14) THEY’RE MADE OF MEAT. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] A team from Sweden’s Lund University is searching for
the elusive Borkborkborkino particle, which would be proof that the Chef field
exists. Or at least I guess that’s what they were doing at this year’s
“Stupid Hackathon Sweden” event. Gizmodo has the story: “Particle Physicists Build a Meatball
A team of particle physicists wanted “to unveil the deepest secrets of the Universe—and of Swedish cuisine.” So, naturally, they built a Swedish meatball collider.
The MEAL, or MEatball AcceLerator collaboration, could answer important questions such as why we’re made of meatballs, rather than anti-meatballs, or whether we can create dark meatballs. The proof-of-concept experiment was a success.
[…] they’ve got lofty goals for their next steps, according to the project’s slides: “Get funding for a meatball—anti-meatball collider that has the circumference of the solar system and meatballs the size of the Earth.”
A Virgin Galactic rocket plane on Friday soared to the edge of space with a test passenger successfully for the first time, nudging British billionaire Richard Branson’s company closer to its goal of suborbital flights for space tourists.
An Israeli spacecraft blasted off this evening, aiming to land on the moon. And if the mission is successful, it would make Israel the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface – after the U.S., the former Soviet Union and China.
It would also be the first privately initiated project to do so, although it was assisted by government partners, as Nature notes. “The feat seems set to kick off a new era of lunar exploration – one in which national space agencies work alongside private industries to investigate and exploit the moon and its resources,” Nature added.
The spacecraft, which is called Beresheet (Hebrew for “in the beginning”), was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
It was initially conceived as part of Google’s challenge called the Google Lunar XPRIZE for a private company to complete a soft landing on the moon. The Israeli non-profit SpaceIL was one of five international teams in the running for the $20 million grand prize; Google announced last year that the contest would end with no winner because no team was prepared to launch by the deadline. Still, the Israeli engineers at SpaceIL continued to work toward landing a spacecraft on the moon.
(17) A SCALZI CONSPIRACY
FONDLY REMEMBERED. John Scalzi’s classic prank showed up in the background
of a recent Big Bang Theory episode.
Wil and I both grew up on camera, and we also are geeky nerds who share a passion for discussing our mental illness struggles publicly. We are very similar, and it’s so refreshing to work with him.
The set that was used as his living room was really special because it contained actual items from Wil’s real life house. I was so delighted to see artwork, fan art, and memorabilia from his life—and I was so delighted that I photographed all of it and asked him to describe each item.
Without knowing that I needed a reminder not to take this stuff so seriously, without knowing – in April, when the wheels were set into motion – that around the beginning of August I’d be feeling pretty lousy about getting cut from the show I look forward to attending every year, John did what good friends do: pick you up when you’re down, and provide reality checks when you need them the most.
5. What’s one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?
John Christopher got under my skin as a child and has never let me go. Kids’ books like The Prince in Waiting fed me those nostalgic and valedictory notes you need if you’re going to write into the British fantasy tradition. Much, much later I discovered the man had teeth: Death of Grass is a sort of John-Wyndham-without-the-apology tale about how personal virtue actually works in a disintegrating culture. Kindness is not a virtue. It is a sentiment. There, I’ve said it. But JC said it first.
(19) OSCAR-WORTHY FX. Here
are three BBC posts with behind-the-scenes info about movie special effects.
Robert Rodriguez’s latest stint as director is on the sci-fi blockbuster Alita: Battle Angel.
The film was written and produced by James Cameron, who originally planned to direct it.
Rodriguez says he made the movie for half the price Cameron would have, but with a reported budget of $200m (£154m), it still cost considerably more than your average indie-flick.
BBC Click’s Marc Cieslak speaks to the director and cast of the film, to find out more.
John King Tarpinian, Cora Buhlert, Jason, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl
Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Andrew Porter, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan
Cowie, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs
to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]