By Chris M. Barkley: As
I write these musings on the day before the opening of the 2019 Baseball Season,
there seems to be a great deal of concern about whether
or not the venerable sport has any future at all.
at games have seen a significant decline in the past five years and the games
seem to be just as long as ever. In this fast-paced world of short attention
spans and increasing competition from all sorts media and other activities,
team owners and baseball executives are certainly right to be worried that
baseball may be on the verge of a real decline of interest from fans.
solution? Speed up the sport to make it more interesting and the games more
compelling. The most recent proposals include, introducing the designated
hitter to the National League enforcing a 20 second count between pitches and
placing a runner on second base at the beginning of extra innings to help
settle games faster.
what if more radical changes were introduced to make the games faster, but MORE
compelling for all of the teams playing? And in doing so, make EVERY SINGLE
GAME COUNT in the standings not matter which team was playing?
what I have learned over a lifetime as an avid baseball, over forty years in
fandom and the past twenty years of WSFS Business Meetings, incessant tweeting,
fannish flame wars and Facebook postings, I have come up with a series of
provocative, yet thoughtful insights on what Major League Baseball should do to
thrive in the Twenty-First Century…
Proposal One: Make the game shorter by two
innings, seven, with a maximum of two extra innings. If the game is still tied
after the end of the ninth, the game ends in a tie. What, a tie? What the hell,
you might ask? I’ll explain this further along down the line…
Proposal Two: Another problem baseball has had
is the extended at bat for any player who is skilled enough to foul off
pitches. More often than not, this tires out the pitcher and bores whomever is
viewing the game. Having played in slow pitch softball leagues with a limited
number of fields and the time to play on them, the most recent league I played with
had a rule variation where the second foul
after a two strikes count was an out on the batter. This forces both the
batter and the pitcher to either put the ball in play or force a walk. And the
game moves along nicely as well.
Proposal Three: No Designated Hitter: I realize
that the game could be still played with a DH but, as a purist at heart, I have
hated it with a passion since the American League instituted it in 1973.
Pitchers should be FULLY involved in the game at every level. That includes going
up to the plate and contributing. If pitchers can’t hit, they should LEARN how
to hit, or to least bunt efficiently. Slackers…
Proposal Four: Abolish all regional divisions in
favor of a two league table. Until 1969, each league was divided up this way
and the top two teams meeting in the World Series. Divisions have fostered some
fierce rivalries over the decades but the effect has been, in my humble
opinion, diluted by the number of weak teams playing stronger teams in house
AND the number inter-league games played each season. While my preference would
be to not have ANY games between the two leagues until the World Series, they
have been very popular with fans (and team owners) since 1997. So, if we are
going to have inter-league games, why not make it more interesting; mandate
that all of the teams, on an alternating basis each year, play a three game
home and away series with half of the teams (15 at the moment) from each league
every year. Each team should be no more than 45 inter-league games each season.
Proposal Five: Drop the number of regular season
games to 145 (100 within the league, 45 inter-league games). Why? So glad you
Proposal Six: The League Playoffs should
consist of the top eight teams of each division. What would make a compelling
pennant race in each league? A change in how the standings are scored.
Proposal Seven: Currently, besides wins and
losses, the standing of a team is determined by its winning percentage. I
propose that baseball adopt international football league standings; each win
will be worth three points, a tie (remember, from Proposal One?) will be worth
a point and a loss could be either nothing or, more interestingly, wait for
it…minus THREE POINTS! So, suddenly, losing a game in August and September
becomes a big freaking deal and some of the so called ‘weaker teams” have more
incentive to throw a monkey wrench into the chances of “stronger teams”. In
fact, this incentivizes all of the teams in the league to make each team better
as the season progresses, possibly enough claw their way into an 8th place in
the standings and into the playoffs. If there are any ties for the eighth
place, a one game playoff will will determine who advances.
playoffs would be structured as such: Top seeds play the low seeded number 8,
number 2 plays number 7, number 3 plays number 6, and number 4 plays
first round: the best 2 out of three games. Second Round: best 3 out of five
games. World Series: the traditional best of seven games. A reduced number of
regular season games from 162 to 145 can accommodate such a playoff schedule.
Proposal Eight: The All Star Game should be
played AFTER the the conclusion of the World Series. Instead of a mid-season
break, the game should be played as a celebration of the season that has just
past and we have conclusive answers as to who are the BEST players are in each
league. All of the season’s awards should surround the event as well, which
will give baseball a nice, bright spotlight in the midst of the American
so lucky to call Cincinnati, Ohio my home. It is home of the very first openly
all professional baseball team, the Red Stockings, who went 57-0 in their
inaugural season of 1869. This upcoming season will mark the 150th season of
the Cincinnati Reds. Our Opening Day Parade is world renown and the whole city
celebrates as though it was Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years’ Eve all
rolled into one day.
the past five years, if the Reds happen to be playing in town during our fan
club’s annual convention, Midwestcon, in June, I try to organize a group of
fans to catch a game at Great American Ballpark, which is right on the banks of
the Ohio River.
is great game with a historic and revered past. If a few of the somewhat crazy
ideas (or someone else’s crazy ideas) I’ve presented are implemented, I hope
Baseball will somehow survive well into our future.
(This column is dedicated to Marty Brennaman, the Hall of Fame announcer of the Cincinnati Reds, who is retiring after this season after 46 years in the broadcast booth on radio and television. The fans across the country know and respect him but we, in the Cincinnati area, hold him in the highest regard. It is astounding to think that he has been involved nearly a third of all the games the Reds have played in their entire history. And we are so very lucky to have such an acerbic, thoughtful, knowledgeable and witty guide all those seasons. Thank You Marty and no matter what happens, THIS SEASON BELONGS TO YOU…)
provides a for travel, accommodation, and membership in HWA’s StokerCon™ — held
this year from May 9-12 in Grand Rapids, MI — where the winner participates in
Horror University, a series of intensive writing workshops taught by top
Hell applicants submit a 250-word essay discussing how they
think the scholarship would improve their skills as a writer; the winner is chosen by the convention’s chairs.
“Although our StokerCon™ Committee reviewed dozens of
applicants, Thomas’s essay had just what we’re looking for in our winning
writer,” said HWA President Lisa Morton. “In 250 beautifully-crafted words, he
discussed his commitment to writing, to the horror genre, and to his fellow
Husband, father, and member of the Denver Horror Collective,
Thomas C. Mavroudis hosts a horror literary event (nearly) every last Sunday of
the month called Frights and Flights at Denver BookBar. He has an MFA from the
University of California, Riverside-Palm Desert. His stories have appeared in Turn to Ash, Terror in 16-Bits, Year’s Best
Body Horror, and forthcoming in Weirdbook,
Tales from Gehenna and the anthology Behold
the Undead of Dracula: Lurid Tales of Cinematic Gothic Horror.
A New Jersey high school has found itself the unexpected recipient of online acclaim and viral attention for its recent stage production of “Alien,” the 1979 science-fiction thriller.
“Alien: The Play,” presented last weekend by the drama club of North Bergen High School, starred a cast of eight students in the film roles originally played by Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt and Ian Holm.
In October 2014, Mark Kelegian got lucky. Really lucky.
He was browsing BizBuySell.com, a public business sales website, when he stumbled across a listing for an unnamed restaurant. There were no details except that it was well-known and originally built in the 1960s.
Kelegian, a retired lawyer, assumed it was one of L.A.’s old school Jewish deli’s, maybe Canter’s or Langer’s. He dialed the number on the listing and a young broker picked up. She said the mystery restaurant was Randy’s, the 24-hour drive-through donut shop that also happens to be one of the most recognizable landmarks in Los Angeles.
He bought it on the spot. At $2 million, it was a steal.
For the next three months, Kelegian says his office received over 100 phone calls from angry investors.
“Everyone in L.A. wanted to buy Randy’s first,” he says. “Most of the calls went something like, ‘Son of a bitch!'”
Born March 27, 1914 — Richard Denning, He made appearances in such Fifties genre films as Creature From The Black Lagoon,Creature With The Atom Brain, The Black Scorpion and The Day the World Ended. (Died 1998.)
Born March 27, 1942 — Michael York, 77. I remember him in the Babylon 5 episode “A Late Delivery from Avalon” as a man who believed himself to be King Arthur returned. Very chilling. I also enjoyed him as D’Artagnan in the Musketeers films and remember him as Logan 5 in Logan’s Run. So what in his genre list really impresses you?
Born March 27, 1969 — Pauley Perrette, 50. Though she’s best known for playing Abby Sciuto on NCIS, she does have some genre roles. She was Ramona in The Singularity Is Near, a film based off Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. Next up is the most excellent Superman vs. The Elite in which she voices Lois Lane. Let’s see… she had a recurring role on Special Unit 2 as Alice Cramer but I never watched that series so I’ve no I idea what it was.
Born March 27, 1971 — Nathan Fillion, 48. Certainly best known for being Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds in Firefly verse. An interesting case of just how much of a character comes from the actor. In his case, I’d say most of it. He portrayed Green Lantern/Hal Jordan in Justice League: Doom, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen. Oh and he appeared in a recurring role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Caleb
Born March 27, 1953 — Patricia Wrede, 66. She is a founding member of The Scribblies, along with Pamela Dean, Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, Steven Brust and Nate Bucklin. Not to be confused with the Pre-Joycean Fellowship which overlaps in membership. Outside of her work for the the Liavek shared-world anthology created and edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly, there are several series she has running including Lyra (Shadow Magic), Enchanted Forest Chronicles and Cecelia and Kate (co-written with Caroline Stevermer). She’s also written the novelizations of several Star Wars films including Star Wars, Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Star Wars, Episode II – Attack of the Clones in what are listed as ‘Jr. Novelizations’.
Born March 27, 1950 — John Edward Allen. One of the forgotten dwarfs of Hollywood, he stood but three feet and ten inches tall. English by birth and English in death as he went back there after an impressive career in Hollywood to die on his native soil. How impressive? Well given how hard it was for dwarfs to find work, pretty good as he appeared in Snow White Live, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Side Show (circus horror film), Under the Rainbow (see Iimdb link here), Tales from the Darkside (as a goblin), Swamp Thing series (love that series), Superboy (as a carnival dwarf) and Snow White: A Tale of Terror. (Died 1999.)
This maneuver—which I saw on my mom’s clinic’s Facebook page (she’s a veterinarian)—is quite clever. Old keyboards are super cheap—find them at Goodwill or any thrift store with an electronic section—and having one on hand lets your cat do what it enjoys (be super in the way) without actually being in the way. Heck, I might buy a couple to place in various locations around my apartment, just to see what sticks.
Of course, this presumes you writers aren’t secretly hoping for feline work interruptions.
US Vice-President Mike Pence has said he wants Nasa to return astronauts to the Moon within five years.
Referencing China’s recent successful robotic mission to the far side, he said: “We’re in a space race today, just as we were in the 1960s.”
Nasa had already been planning to return to the Moon, but Mr Pence’s announcement accelerates the timeline.
He was speaking at a meeting of the National Space Council in Huntsville, Alabama.
“It is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return American astronauts to the Moon within the next five years,” Mr Pence told the audience.
“Just as the United States was the first nation to reach the Moon in the 20th Century, so too, we will be the first nation to return astronauts to the Moon in the 21st Century.”
(9) CLUES. “Three-unique-words
‘map’ used to rescue mother and child” – discover how. Chip Hitchcock
sent the link with a note, “Good tech details further down. Not covered:
whether there are non-English wordmaps for non-English speakers — who are a
major part of the intended beneficiaries.”
Three seemingly unconnected words have helped rescue a mother and daughter after a car crash in remote rural Somerset.
The “coordinates” – “weekend”, “foggy” and “earphones” – allowed police to exactly pinpoint their location.
An algorithm developed by start-up what3words divides the world into 57 trillion nine-sq-m (97-sq-ft) areas and gives each a unique three-word address.
The technology has been adopted by a number of emergency services in the UK.
It was originally devised to help the millions of people in remote and impoverished areas who do not have a postcode gain an address for the first time. In turn that would allow them to apply for services and goods.
But the location system has also gained the attention of emergency services and has recently been adopted by Avon and Somerset, Humberside and West Yorkshire police services, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire fire and rescue services and the British Transport Police.
Google has launched a global advisory council to offer guidance on ethical issues relating to artificial intelligence, automation and related technologies.
The panel consists of eight people and includes former US deputy secretary of state, and a University of Bath associate professor.
The group will “consider some of Google’s most complex challenges”, the firm said.
The panel was announced at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Digital, a conference organised the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Google has come under intense criticism – internally and externally – over how it plans to use emerging technologies.
In June 2018 the company said it would not renew a contract it had with the Pentagon to develop AI technology to control drones. Project Maven, as it was known, was unpopular among Google’s staff, and prompted some resignations.
In response, Google published a set of AI “principles” it said it would abide by. They included pledges to be “socially beneficial’ and “accountable to people”.
[Thanks to John King
Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Gregory Benford, Martin Morse Wooster,
Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Daniel Dern, and Andrew
Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
Last weekend’s SPFBO FB group announcement that a reviewer accused of harassing behavior had been dropped attracted comments raising a similar issue about Ed McDonald (not mentioned in the File 770 story). Today several bloggers issued public statements saying they now are convinced the charges against McDonald were fabricated — including two who did much to publicize them.
Fantasy Book Critic has now seen irrefutable evidence that the allegations against Ed McDonald have been falsified.
We are now aware that Ed McDonald has been targeted for online harassment and abuse, and there is also irrefutable evidence of this. The evidence proves beyond all doubt that one or two individuals have utilized multiple social accounts with the express purpose of spreading malicious rhetoric against Ed McDonald, and making it appear that ‘reports’ are coming from numerous sources, where in fact they all come from a single source. This source has never met Ed McDonald….
I am writing to publicly retract any allegations that I have been party to against Ed McDonald, and to offer my apologies to him for any distress this has caused him. Myself and another member of the community were sent allegations against Ed McDonald by a number of social media accounts. These allegations made their way onto the internet and social media.I have been provided with hard evidence that proves beyond doubt that the allegations were falsified.
…With this knowledge, for the purpose of the investigation, I was expressly instructed to behave as normal, continue to show public and if necessary, private support for the individual being investigated. I was to allow public conversations about Ed McDonald to continue and to allow and encourage the individual behind the allegations to feel emboldened by public support for them as evidence was gathered….
…Ed McDonald also provided me with this statement that I may share with you:
“The hurt that was done to me, and the attempt to attack my career and persona has been incredibly hard to bear, but I am glad that the truth has finally come to light. Where people have been deceived and lied to, I ask that they be treated with sympathy, and it be acknowledged that given the extreme nature of the levels of deceit, falsehood and misrepresentation that have been plotted carefully over the period of a year on a scale that nobody could possibly have imagined until the evidence came to light, I bear no ill will to those that were deceived in this way. Please be kind to one another and continue to promote a message of positivity.”
Esme at The Weatherwax
Report, who had solicited #MeToo stories from readers, explains in ”About Ed
McDonald” why she was deceived:
I was led to believe over a long period of time that Ed McDonald had repeatedly preyed on women he perceived as vulnerable, then discarded them and defamed them afterward. I believed this in its entirety because I was told this over, and over, and over again from seemingly different accounts from totally separate people. They had family histories. They had different profile pics. They had different personas and webpages dedicated to them. They were active accounts that truly appeared to be different entities. I was contacted by a third party investigator several days ago and after listening to what they had to say, I decided to cooperate and hand over evidence I had of these allegations. I no longer believe I was contacted by multiple women, and the feeling it gives me is horror.
The person who’s done this has made a mockery of real victims. One of the HARDEST parts about getting justice for those who have been victimized is just how emotionally straining it is for those who have been hurt to come forward and name someone. When BookWol and myself sent out that tweet asking for your stories, we weren’t inundated with dozens of names with just one or two accusers each. We had two names. With many, many people behind each name. It looked so genuine. One was real. The other was not. This does such terrible, terrible damage to the image of people coming forward. The fact that it was so elaborate and over such a long period of time is nothing short of mind-blowing….
Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off founder Mark Lawrence, gave the news a signal boost on Reddit, but also cautioned —
It’s also important not to let the fact that this was a hoax make us deaf to others who speak up about such things in the future.
Esme added there that she will be shuttering her blog for awhile in anticipation of being doxxed, and concerns about her personal safety.
I’ve actually just made my public statement that I’ll be closing down for at least a few months, possibly permanently.
From what I understand Ed’s involvement with this person was only 3 weeks of online talk… and they took years out of their lives building this web of lies around him. I can only imagine wtf they will try and do to Wol and myself for exposing it all.
I’ve made the statement on my blog about having the financial means to take them to court if they try anything – and I will also pay for Wols legal fees if she needs any assistance. It would be very unwise if they tried anything but I’ve been told that someone is sniffing around for our real names. We are both preparing for a doxxing event. I’ve been advised it would be wise to lay low for a while, and so I shall. In a few months, maybe after the summer passes, I’ll decide if it’s “safe” for me to pop back up.
(1) HORROR FAN. Tananarive Due was interviewed in the Washington
Post in a story by Elahe Izadi about
how people terrified by horror movies psychologically prepare themselves for
seeing a quality horror film like A Quiet
Place or Us. Due is the executive
producer of Horror Noire and teaches
a course at UCLA on Get Out. “Horror
is a must-see genre again. What’s a scaredy-cat to do?”
Due loved horror as a child, when watching it was a fun way to be scared within a safe context; with age, it became a therapeutic method to deal with heavier anxieties. It’s a lesson she gleaned from her mother, the late civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due, who was a horror fan; the genre served as an outlet for the racial trauma she endured.
“Headlines scare me. True crime stories scare me. .?.?. Real, human monstrosity is not fun for me to watch,” Due says. “When those people are supernatural or when there’s a fantasy element, when there’s a monster, now I’m ready to watch because the monster in a horror movie can be a stand-in for real-life monstrosity that lets me engage with it from a distance, but also leech out that trauma and expel it in a way that can feel fun.”
(2) WE LOST. New featurette from Marvel Studios’ Avengers Endgame, in theaters in one month.
(3) FUTURE TENSE. This month’s entry in the Future Tense Fiction series is “The Arisen” by Louisa Hall, author of the novels Speak
“Once upon a time,” Jim said, “in a country called Acirema—”
“Acirema,” I said. “How imaginative, it’s—”
“Do you want me to tell this story or not?” Jim said. His tone was suddenly harsh.
Yes, it’s true that there are no true stories. Human beings are story-making creatures, but no story can possibly be better that an edited, digested, spin-doctored version of events in we might still call the real world. The real story makers, the ones who give us our professed fictions, know that well and take full advantage of the techniques and the conveniences of their craft, the better to point us toward thoughts we would not come to so easily otherwise.
Total cost of the shoot, including cast and crew (I’m not taking any salary myself) will be $15,000.
Time is of the essence — we’d like to shoot as soon as possible — and it would mean so much for all of us to be able to make this happen.
(5) WHEN YOU OUTGROW THE
GOLDEN AGE OF SF. John Scalzi gave this example of how his perspective has
changed over time:
He brought back my memory of Harlan Ellison standing in the lobby after a 1977 Star Wars pre-screening, verbally assailing the movie he had just seen. However, the main thrust of Harlan’s complaints were that the story, a throwback to the serials, didn’t represent state-of-the-art science fiction. Likewise, he when he wrote about the movie in Harlan Ellison’s Watching he continued the same theme – that it was superficial, “the human heart is never touched.”
It sounds simple, but it’s not. Sometimes it helps to glance through all the edits, then just close the file. Come back the next day, if you can. Then consider, why did the editor make this suggestion? Don’t dismiss anything, and don’t hold anything too sacred to be changed.
Rule #2: Only make changes you like
It sounds simple, but it’s not. If the editor’s version is smoother, or more correct, or whatever, but you don’t like it, then don’t do it. You’ll be the one answering to readers if it reads funny, but that’s your call. It’s your story. It’s your art. You’re the one who knows what you meant.
(7) GAHAN WILSON. The GoFundMe for Gahan
Wilson has received contributions from 1,180 people amounting to $55,547 of
its $100,000 goal after 23 days. The most recent update said:
Gahan was interviewed today for a newspaper piece that will probably go out nationwide. The people on the reporting team were very sweet and sensitive to Gahan.
Gahan was on his game…speaking about his life and other things.
(8) PUGMIRE OBIT. The horror writer W.H. “Wilum” Pugmire died today, aged 67. The major influence upon his writing was H P Lovecraft, of course, and S T Joshi described him in 2010 as “perhaps the leading Lovecraftian author writing today.” Scott Edelman tweeted the photo below – Pugmire’s on the right.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 26, 1850 — Edward Bellamy. Looking Backward: 2000–1887 is really the only work that he’s remembered for today. He wrote two other largely forgotten works, Dr. Heidenhoff’s Process and Miss Ludington’s Sister: A Romance of Immortality. (Died 1898.)
Born March 26, 1931 — Leonard Nimoy. I really don’t need to say who he played on Trek, do I? Did you know his first role was as a zombie in Zombies of the Stratosphere? Or that he did a a lot of Westerns ranging from Broken Arrow in which he played various Indians to The Tall Man in which at least his character had a name, Deputy Sheriff Johnny Swift. His other great genre role was on Mission: Impossible as The Great Paris, a character whose real name was never revealed, who was a retired magician. It was his first post-Trek series. He of course showed up on the usual other genre outings such as The Twilight Zone, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Outer Limits, Night Gallery and Get Smart. And then there’s the matter of “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”. (Died 2015.)
Born March 26, 1942 — Erica Jong, 77. Witches, which was has amazing illustrations by Joseph A. Smiths, is still worth your time nearly forty years later. ISFDB also lists Shylock’s Daughter: A Novel of Love in Venice which is a time travel story but it soul does more like a romance novel to me. And Sappho’s Leap which they also list just seems soft core lesbian porn with a slight genre twist.
Born March 26, 1950 — K. W. Jeter, 69. Farewell Horizontal may or may be punk of any manner but it’s a great read. Though I generally loathe such things, Morlock Night, his sequel to The Time Machine , is well-worth reading reading. I’ve heard good things about his Blade Runner sequels but haven’t read them. Opinions?
Born March 26, 1953 — Christopher Fowler, 65. I started reading him when I encountered his Bryant & May series which though explicitly not genre does feature a couple of protagonists who are suspiciously old. Possibly a century or more now. The mysteries may or may not have genre aspects but are wonderfully weird. Other novels by him are I’d recommend are Roofworld and Rune which really are genre, and Hell Train which is quite delicious horror.
Born March 26, 1960 — Brenda Strong, 59. First film genre appearance was on Spaceballs as Nurse Gretchen. The role you probably remember her was on Starship Troopers as Captain Deladier though post-death she shows up in Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation as Sergeant Dede Rake. She showed up on Next Gen as a character named Rashella in the “When the Bough Breaks” episode and she’s been a regular on Supergirl as Lillian Luthor.
Born March 26, 1966 — Michael Imperioli, 53. Detective Len Fenerman in Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones and Detective Ray Carling, the lead in Life on Mars and Rosencrantz in a recent Hamlet.
Born March 26, 1985 — Keira Knightley, 34. To my surprise and this definitely shows I’m not a Star Wars geek, she was Sabé (Decoy Queen). Next up for her is Princess of Thieves, a loose adaptation of the Robin Hood legend. Now I didn’t see that but I did see her in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl as Elizabeth Swann though I’ll be damned if I remember her role. (She’s in several more of these films. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.) we saw Herve we saw as Guinevere, an odd Guinevere indeed, in King Arthur. Her last role I must note I must note is The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in which she was the Sugar Plum Fairy!
(10) TO SET THE RECORD
STRAIGHT. We got a pair of big things wrong in Andrew Porter’s birthday
listing the other day.
“Science Fiction Chronicle which he founded in May 1980…”
The first issue appeared Labor Day weekend, 1979, at the
Louisville NASFiC, cover dated October 1979.
“Algol now known as Starship lasted less than five years…”
Algol started in
1963; the last issue of Algol/Starship,
#44, appeared in 1984.
(12) VOICES DISSENT. Anime News Network speculates about the
potential for litigation in its story “Kameha
Con Responds to Recent Guest Cancellations”. Several guests bailed
after the con added Vic Mignogna to its lineup. An unnamed lawyer consulted by ANN says they may be in violation of
their contracts if they don’t attend.
The staff of the upcoming Kameha Con in Irving, Texas issued a statement via Facebook and Twitter on Monday regarding recent guest cancellations due to the addition of voice actorVic Mignogna as a guest. Mignogna was added to the convention’s guest roster on March 22 following a previous cancellation by con staff on February 2. Since the announcement, five voice actors have announced they will no longer attend the convention along with multiple panelists.
…“The Right Stuff” tells the true story of the seven military pilots who were selected for the NASA project to launch the first ever manned spaceflight. In a similar way, Carol, an Air Force test pilot, ends up soaring farther than she could have ever expected when she travels into space and becomes a member of the Kree and, later, one of Earth’s superheroes.
In “Us,” that same VHS tape is much easier to miss, and is used in a possibly more ironic and darker context. You can find “The Right Stuff” among the VHS tapes that flank the TV displaying the Hands Across America commercial in the opening scene.
(14) LIVE THEATER. Marjorie Prime, a 2015 Pulitzer Prize nominee, set in a future
of “beneficial AI,” will be staged in Norwich, CT the next two weekends.
The special feature of the first two performances — March 29 and 31 – will be post-performance
discussions led by sff writers Carlos Hernandez and Paul Di Filippo.
Additional performances Saturday April 6 at 7:30 pm and Sunday April 7 at 3 pm
Tickets are $10 in advance or seniors; $12 at door Cash or Check only—no credit cards
Open Seating—limited to 70 attendees
House Opens at 7 pm Friday and Saturday; 2:30 pm Sunday
United Congregational Church Hall 87 Broadway, Norwich CT. (Note: This address brings you to the church’s main door—do NOT enter there. Make first right on Willow Street, right turn into lower level of covered parking deck. A few stairs here. Level entrance and handicapped permit parking available at 11-39 Chestnut Street)
Friday March 29, 7:30 pm
Featuring. . . .a talkback led by Carlos Hernandez. Carlos Hernandez is the author of the critically acclaimed short story collection The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria (Rosarium 2016) and most recently, as part of the Rick Riordan Presents imprint of Disney Hyperion, the novel Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (2019). By day, Carlos is a mild-manned reporter associate professor of English at the City University of New York, with appointments at BMCC and the Graduate Center, and a game designer and enthusiast. Catch him on Twitter @writeteachplay.
Sunday March 31, 3 pm
Featuring. . .a talkback led by Paul Di Filippo, who has been publishing professionally for over 40 years. He has continued to reside in Providence throughout his career, with over 200 stories published and many novels. Beginning with The Steampunk Trilogy: (1995), which remains his most widely known title, this shorter material has been assembled in twenty substantial collections. Di Filippo also reviews widely, online and in print.
Ahead of its time when it was released 20 years ago, The Matrix is a monument to Generation X self-pity that is out of step with today, writes Nicholas Barber.
The Matrix was way ahead of its time. The Wachowskis’ tech-noir mind-bender came out in 1999 – 20 years ago – which meant that it reinvented big-screen superhero action a year before X-Men was released and showcased Hong Kong-style ‘wire-fu’ fight choreography a year before Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Its ‘bullet-time’ effects have been copied by blockbusters ever since, and its thoughts about virtual reality and artificial intelligence have been mimicked just as often. Despite all this, though, in some crucial respects The Matrix has dated so badly that it now seems to be a relic. It is a film that, like the human race in the Wachowskis’ story, is trapped forever in the 1990s.
…It’s a fantastic premise, but it does have its flaws. Twenty years on, it’s embarrassing to see a white male saviour with two sidekicks – one black, one female – whose primary task is to assure him how gifted he is. The female sidekick, Trinity, even falls in love with him for no reason except, I suppose, that he looks like Keanu Reeves. And, in general, Anderson/Neo is one of those uninspiring heroes who do next to nothing to earn their hero status. He becomes an unbeatable martial artist not by training for years, but by being plugged into a teaching program for a few hours. And he becomes omnipotent in the Matrix not because he is particularly brave, noble or clever, but because, as Morpheus says, he is willing “to believe”.
The largest solar farm east of the Rocky Mountains could soon be built in Virginia and, depending on whom you ask, it would be either a dangerous eyesore that will destroy the area’s rural character or a win-win, boosting the local economy and the environment. The solar panels would be spread across 10 square miles — 1.8 million panels soaking up the sun’s rays.
The project is planned for Spotsylvania County, about 60 miles south of Washington, D.C. Amid the county’s Civil War battlefields, farms and timberland, a fight is raging over the future of energy in Virginia, and in the Eastern U.S.
The heart of the solar resistance is in a gated community called Fawn Lake, built around a golf course and man-made lake.
“I mean we live at a resort, essentially,” says Dave Walsh, one of the many Fawn Lake residents organizing against the planned solar farm. One corner of the massive project would butt up against the back of the gated community. Walsh says he supports solar, in theory, but not here.
[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, Steve Green, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Joey Eschrich, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
two years The
International Flann O’Brien Society presents
the International Flann O’Brien Society Awards, otherwise known as the Father
Kurt Fahrt, S.J. Memorial Prizes. There are two awards, for the best
book-length and best article length-work on a Flann O’Brien theme. These awards
are affectionately known to members of the society as The Big Fahrt and The
Small Fahrt, and are presented Flann O’Brien conference which the society
the nomination process begins, a number of Fan-written works are nominable in
both the Big Fahrt and Small Fahrt categories, and have been long-listed.
Bacon explains. “Last year we published A Half Pint of Flann as
issue 44 of Journey
edited by Michael Carroll, Chris Garcia, Pádraig Ó Méalóid and myself, and it’s
been long listed for the Big Fahrt. This is an amazing honour, as it sees us on
the same list as Maebh Long’s Letters of Flann O’Brien, which is a
“Works published in the zine have
also been long-listed for the Small Fahrt and these include; ‘Mise agus Myles,’
by Johan Anglemark, ‘The Case for John Shamus O’Donnell,’ By Jack Fennell,
‘Extractum Ó Bhark i bPrágrais (A Flann O’Brien A to Z): Interim Version II,’
‘Object Found in a Book – I: An Béal Bocht Publisher’s Note; II: The Brochure,’
and ‘The Cardinal and/or the Corpse: An Exegesis of Rumour or The Revelation of
Stephen Blakesley,’ all by Pádraig Ó Méalóid, and ‘Introduction,’ by myself
(James Bacon) and Pádraig.
also very proud to have had my own two articles, ‘Off the Rails: Flann on
Track,’ and ‘Single Narrow Gold Band: Flann’s Pen,’ on the long list,” added
decided to pursue investigating the railway elements in Flann’s Cruiskeen Lawn
columns in the Irish Times last year, and I’ve since had a paper for the Dublin
Flann O’Brien Conference at University College Dublin accepted. It’s
entitled Off the Rails: Flann – An Expert Community Advocate for Rail
Transport. My esteemed colleague Pádraig Ó Méalóid will also be presenting
a panel at the conference, on Flann’s Column Bawn columns in the Sunday
Dispatch in the early fifties.
conference, entitled “Palimpsests: The Fifth International Flann O’Brien
Society Conference,” is taking place on the 16th to 19th July in Dublin, and is
already looking quite impressive for Flanneurs and/or Mylesians.
The organizers have just added acclaimed authors Joanna Walsh and Gavin Corbett to the line-up of keynote speakers and writers, which already included Anne Enright, Patrick McCabe, Maebh Long, Louis de Paor, Katherine Ebury, Blindboy Boatclub (from the Rubberbandits), Lisa McInerney, Erika Mihálycsa, David, Eddie, and Joanna O’Kane, as well as a special exhibition of items from the holdings of Burns Library’s Special Flann O’Brien Collection.
on how to attend the conference will be published shortly.
the International Flann O’Brien Society is free. Members also receive issues of
the Parish Review, the society’s regularly irregular electronic publication.
Will Kevin Standlee realize his dream to bring Westercon to
Fresh off hosting the 2018 Worldcon, San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. has filed a bid to host the 2021 West Coast Science Fantasy Conference (Westercon 74) in Tonopah, Nevada. With Kevin Standlee as the bid chair, and Bruce Farr as treasurer, they propose to hold the con from July 2-5 at the Tonopah Convention Center and nearby hotels.
In case there are any doubts that they mean business, they reassure everyone:
Tonopah is a serious bid. While the town itself is somewhat smaller than the typical Westercon site, the town has expressed its enthusiasm for hosting us, and we think it has the right mix of facilities to accommodate a small but entertaining and affordable Westercon.
We have filed our bid with Westercon 72 (SpikeCon) in Layton, Utah. You can read our complete filing here.
With site selection voting to take place less than three months from now at SpikeCon (Westercon 72), Tonopah isn’t selling “pre-supporting” memberships — but donations are welcomed.
The bid’s web site is here. Not only is there a wealth of detail about the facilities and local attractions, you’ll find your time repaid by the amusing fanwriting. For example, the myriad transportation options include horse rental (price quoted!), or for those driving, an attractive alternative route:
The primary access to Tonopah is by highways US-95 and US-6; however, there are interesting alternative routes and side trips along the way
From Las Vegas and points south: US-95 north, or take the alternative route via US-93 and the Extraterrestrial Highway and stop by the Little A’Le’Inn. (Convention not responsible for alien abductions or misadventures at Area 51.)
For many years, various publishers in the Americas and Europe have had their books printed in China as a cost-saving measure (including many in the RPG field). Often the primary downside of this has simply been the time taken for the books to arrive, but it appears there can also be another problem, as the publishers of The Sassoon Files (a Cthulhu-based RPG supplement) have announced that all print copies of their book have been destroyed by the Chinese Government – for unspecified reasons.
The Sassoon Files is a collection of Cthulhu Mythos scenarios and campaign resources set in 1920s Shanghai (for both Call of Cthulhu and Gumshoe systems) and was Kickstarted back in September 2018, raising some $24,000 USD from more than 500 backers. The volume was due to ship from the printers very shortly. As a result of this recent turn of events, the publishers, Sons of the Singularity, have released a video statement. …
DISSECTION. Abigail Nussbaum analyzes
Jordan Peele’s “Us”
at Asking the Wrong Questions.
…If Get Out was an arrow aimed straight for the heart, Us is firing in all directions. This doesn’t make it a bad film—it is, in fact, a rich and heady stew, anchored by a stunning double performance from Lupita Nyong’o. But it does make it messy, in a way that a director who wasn’t riding high off a genre-defining success like Get Out probably wouldn’t be able to get away with. I found myself thinking that Us might have worked better as a miniseries, not only to give its various storylines and characters room to breathe, but so that it could do more work to spin out and elaborate on the various symbols and recurring images it keeps dropping into the narrative.
(3) PACKAGING ISSUE EXPLAINED. Greg Machlin gives readers a good handle on the reasons for the current tension between Hollywood writers and agents. Thread starts here.
…If, on the other hand, you are my brother or sister in the Writers Guild of America — East or West, it matters not when we stand in solitarity — or conversely, if you are a grasping, fuckfailing greedhead with the Association of Talent Agents, then you might wanna hang around for this:
Here is the story of how as a novice to this industry, I was grifted by my agents and how I learned everything I ever needed to know about packaging. And here is why I am a solid yes-vote on anything my union puts before me that attacks the incredible ethical affront of this paradigm. Packaging is a racket. It’s corrupt. It is without any basis in either integrity or honor. This little narrative will make that clear. And because I still have a reportorial soul and a journalistic God resides in the details, I will name a name wherever I can.
… Why bother to fight for 10 percent of a few dollars more for this story editor or that co-executive producer of some actor or director when to NOT do so means less freight on the operating budgets of the projects that you yourself hope to profit from? Why serve your clients as representatives with a fiduciary responsibility and get the last possible dollar for them, when you stand to profit by splitting the proceeds of a production not with labor, but with management — the studios who are cutting you in on the back end? Why put your client’s interest in direct opposition to your own?
This post is to inform everyone about James Tivendale’s removal as a blogger from Fantasy Book Review as well as from the SPFBO judging group. James has been accused by over a dozen people of harassment in several forms. This wasn’t something that was done spur of the moment but thanks to Esme Weatherwax & Book Wol’s efforts, several folks came forward to report James’ behavior (inappropriate touching, intimidation, etc.)”
Many of these folks didn’t want their names published as they feared reprisal for their books or careers. These accusations were sent to Lee David Sibbald (the owner of Fantasy Book Review) and special thanks to Ryan Lawler for helping coordinate these efforts. Ultimately Lee took this decision keeping everyone’s safety in mind. Mark Lawrence has also been alerted about this. For the remaining part of this SPFBO edition, Fantasy Book Review will be managed by Adam & Emma. For the future, the decision will be taken by Lee and the rest of the team.
I along with Esme, Wol, Lee & a few others wanted to make this public so everyone knows what happened exactly without any confusion or rumor-mongering. If you have ever been harrased by James in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact Esme or me. I want to reiterate that while James is a gifted blogger and I considered him my friend. His behavior wasn’t excusable and neither were his health issues. We all hope that he gets the help he needs. If you have any queries or wish to clarify anything. I’m more than happy to resolve them.
has since shut down his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
(5) SHAZAM! The Hollywood Reporter’s Frank Scheck says the movie benefits from
terrific performances: “‘Shazam!’:
The DC Comics universe has definitely taken to heart the criticism that its movies have been too dark and foreboding. The more lighthearted approach worked beautifully with Wonder Woman and was carried to a wackier level with Aquaman. Now comes their latest effort, based on a relatively little-known comic book character, that proves so determinedly ebullient you begin to think they’re pumping laughing gas into the auditorium. The most kid-friendly DC movie so far, Shazam! is thoroughly entertaining. But much like its central character, a 14-year-old boy able to transform himself into a superhero by uttering the titular incantation, often the pic gives the impression of a kid playing in the adult leagues.
The sci-fi author Charlie Stross once posited a future in which spam becomes so good at mimicking human interaction it becomes self-aware –the ‘Spamularity.’ Is that what awaits us if the phones don’t shut up?
Welcome once again to the oncoming wave that is a new season of anime barrelling in our direction. It’s smaller than usual, owing to a drop in the overall number of new shows and an unusually low percentage of them being sf. (If you’re wondering what hot trends you’re missing out on, they’re baseball shows and comedies about high school students who are bad at studying.) As always, click on the titles to go to the official sites to see promo videos and more!
(8) IMMERSIVE PLAY. It’s called Escape Hunt.
Escape Hunt noun Def: The name given to 60 minutes of pure, unadulterated excitement, during which you and your teammates lose yourselves in an incredible experience, working together to follow a series of fiendishly clever clues and escape a locked room.
The pressure’s on, the clock’s ticking, the adrenaline’s pumping. Escape Hunt isn’t something you watch, it’s something you experience from the heart of the action. After the buzz of Escape Hunt, other entertainment just feels flat.
The Doctor needs you: a tear in space and time has been detected, and the Cybermen are about to break through!
Step into the future. Enter the offices of ChronosCorp HQ, where eccentric billionaire Alastair Montague’s efforts to develop commercial time travel have caused a tear in the fabric of space and time. The Cybermen are ready to take advantage and attack Earth.
You, the Doctor’s friends, must investigate the incident. The remains of Montague, his prototype time engine and the extensive collection of time-related artefacts acquired over the course of his experiments, are all that you have to work with.
(9) PALLADINI OBIT. Artist David Palladini (1946-2019) died March 13. Jane Yolen wrote on Facebook:
I have just heard that David Palladini, that brilliant artist who illustrated my first three fairy tale collections, has died. RIP dear David. He also did many record jackets, Stephen King’s only middle grade novel, a tarot deck much prized by many who love them. RIP dear David.
The death notice in the New York Times begins:
David Palladini, widely renowned artist and illustrator, and regarded as one of the country’s most recognized astrological art illustrators, passed away on March 13, 2019 after a long illness at his home in Corona Del Mar, California at the age of 72. Some of his most widely held work includes the illustrations from Stephen King’s best-selling book, “Eyes of the Dragon”, and numerous children’s books, including the Jane Yolen series. His iconic astrological Aquarian & Palladini Tarot card art decks remain the most frequently preferred tarot card decks worldwide.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
March 25, 1989 — Quantum Leap premiered.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 25, 1916 — Jean Rogers. Rogers is best remembered for playing Dale Arden in the science fiction serials Flash Gordon and Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars, both released in the Thirties. Kage Baker would’ve have loved them as she was a great fan of such cinema and wrote a series of essays for Tor.com that turned into Ancient Rockets: Treasures and Trainwrecks of the Silent Screen. (Link for review of Ancient Rockets.) (Rogers died 1991.)
Born March 25, 1920 — Patrick Troughton. The Second Doctor of who I’ll confess I’m not the most ardent fan of. The Fourth Doctor is my Doctor. Troughton had a long genre resume starting with Hamlet and Treasure Island early on before preceding to such works as Scars of Dracula and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell later on. Tellie wise, I see him on R.U.R. Radius playing a robot, on a Fifties Robin Hood show being that character, and on The Feathered Serpent. This is children’s series set in pre-Columbian Mexico and starring Patrick Troughton as the scheming High Priest Nasca. H’h. (Died 1987.)
Born March 25, 1939 — D. C. Fontana, 80. Though best known for her work on the first Trek series, she was a story editor and associate producer on the animated series as well. During the 70s, she was staff for such series as Six Million Dollar Man, Logan’s Run and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. She later wrote for the fanfic Star Trek: New Voyages series.
Born March 25, 1947 — Elton John, 72. He appeared in Tommy, UK version as the Pinball Wizard, a perfect role for him. I see he appeared on The Muppet Show as the guest of the week and showed in Kingsman: The Golden Circle as himself.
Born March 25, 1950 — Robert O’Reilly, 69. Best known I’d say for his appearance in the Trek franchise for a decade in his recurring role on Next Gen and DS9 as Chancellor Gowron, the leader of the Klingon Empire. He made one further appearance in the Trek verse as Kago-Darr in the Enterprise “Bounty” episode. Other genre series he appeared in include Fantasy Island, Knight Rider, Incredible Hulk, MacGyver, Max Headroom and the first version of The Flash. I’ll let y’all tell me your favorite films with him as cast.
Born March 25, 1964 — Kate DiCamillo, 55. She is just being one of six people to win two Newbery Medals, noting the wonderfulness of The Tale of Despereaux and Flora & Ulysses. The first I’ve encountered, the tale of a swords mouse in making, the latter I’ve not. Her Mercy Watson series is about the adventures of a fictional pig, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.
(12) A LITTLE TINGLE. Chuck
Tingle has expanded his repertoire to short videos.
…Arkady Martine gives us an impressive sci-fi debut, with intricate worldbuilding and a compelling plot. Court intrigue and political manoeuvring play a large role and Martine writes these elements very well. You never fully know who to trust and the way Martine slowly unveils information creates a wonderfully suspenseful atmosphere. It does take a little while for the story to get going but stick with it as it does pick up after a couple of chapters. Once I was fully invested, I didn’t want to put it down.
December 21 to January 21: You are Aqua-Goat! The very quickly cancelled 1980’s cartoon superhero who was a wise-cracking sea goat who solved sea-mysteries with his gang of friends who lived on a boat. Your friends were a cheap knock-off of the Scooby gang and the Archies. Your catchphrase was ‘Time to solve this sea mystery Aqua-Goat style!’ That sounds a bit sad but unlike all these other signs at least you HAVE friends even if one of them is a badly drawn version of Jughead mixed with Shaggy.
(15) TOMORROW’S NOT THAT
FAR AWAY. CW released its midseason trailer for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
The Legends continue their new mission to protect the timeline from temporal aberrations – unusual changes to history that spawn potentially catastrophic consequences. When Nate, the grandson of J.S.A. member Commander Steel, unexpectedly finds himself with powers, he must overcome his own insecurities and find the hero within himself. Ultimately, the Legends will clash with foes both past and present, to save the world from a mysterious new threat.
A Harry Potter superfan has managed to “Slytherin” to the record books after collecting thousands of pieces of memorabilia.
Victoria Maclean, of Tonna, Neath Port Talbot, has 3,686 individual JK Rowling-related items.
This earned her the Wizarding World Collection world record – which includes the Fantastic Beasts series.
YouTuber Mrs Maclean, 38, said: “I screamed a lot – it was so incredible after all these months.”
She was presented with her world record certificate by Guinness World Records on Wednesday.
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “The Man Sitting Next To You”
on Vimeo, Ali Ali tells us why going to the movies can be a nightmare.
John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Peer, Dann, Mike Kennedy, Chip
Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for
some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the
day Kurt Busiek.]