Star Crossed, a role-playing game by Alex
Roberts, published by Bully Pulpit Games
The Diana Jones Award is given to the person, product, company,
event or any other thing that has, in the opinion of the Diana Jones committee,
best demonstrated the quality of ‘excellence’ in the world of hobby-gaming in
the previous year.
(1) AHH, THE CLASSICS. Newly available from British fandom’s premier historian, Rob Hansen, a reader of fannish literature intended as a companion to his classic history of UK fandom, THEN, assembled by Rob and the late Vince Clarke.
Again: A UK Fanhistory Reader 1930-1979 is a free download (in multiple formats) from Dave Langford’s
TAFF website, but please consider making a donation to the Transatlantic Fan
Fund while you’re there. (And check out the other free downloads, too.)
This companion to Rob Hansen’s monumental THEN: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK: 1930-1980 brings together the writings of many players on the stage of British and Irish fandom from 1930 to the end of 1979, telling in their own words the stories of SF groups – including the BSFA – fanzines, famous fannish addresses, bizarre fan activities and much more. There are 59 articles, several compiled from more then one source, plus an Introduction, Appendix and Afterword.
(2) SLIMED. Alyssa Wong was the victim today of right-wing
media circulating a fake anti-Stan-Lee tweet (dated last November) reports Bleeding Cool. Wong herself tweeted
What seems to have triggered the attack on Wong, says Bleeding
Cool, was this news:
Two weeks ago, Greg Pak announced that fantasy, sci-fi and comics writer Alyssa Wong was to work with him on the current Aero series, writing the character’s origin. This would be her first work for Marvel Comics.
As the article shows, Wong sharply
criticized Marvel’s C.E. Cebulski in the past, but that’s not in dispute.
Meantime, outlets like Bounding
Into Comics today ran stories capitalizing on the fake tweet. (I’m not linking
to it, you do what you need to do.)
Poul Anderson died on this day back in 2001. Anderson’s career spanned over sixty years, from the 1940s to the early 2000s. He wrote fiction and non-fiction. He published in many genres: fantasy, science fiction, historicals, and mysteries. He wrote dozens of novels and hundreds of shorter pieces, all of a level of quality that was never less than competent—and sometimes better. The often acerbic Encyclopedia of Science Fiction calls Anderson “his generation’s most prolific sf writer of any consistent quality[…].” (He was the anti-Lionel Fanthorpe.)
(4) IT’S ONLY NATURAL. John Scalzi has tweeted the photo
that goes with his Whatever post from the other day that said:
On my walks on my street these days, I pass by a dairy farm. Mostly the cows keep near the barn but yesterday they were down by the road, and they were very very interested in me as I walked by.
Of course these cows are interested — they’ve heard John knows when The Last Emperox is arriving.
That you can’t have machines deciding whether humans live or die. It crosses new territory. Machines don’t have our moral compass, our compassion and our emotions. Machines are not moral beings.
The technical argument is that these are potentially weapons of mass destruction, and the international community has thus far banned all other weapons of mass destruction.
What makes these different from previously banned weaponry is their potential to discriminate. You could say, “Only kill children,” and then add facial recognition software to the system.
Moreover, if these weapons are produced, they would unbalance the world’s geopolitics. Autonomous robotic weapons would be cheap and easy to produce. Some can be made with a 3-D printer, and they could easily fall into the hands of terrorists.
Another thing that makes them terribly destabilizing is that with such weapons, it would be difficult to know the source of an attack. This has already happened in the current conflict in Syria. Just last year, there was a drone attack on a Russian-Syrian base, and we don’t know who was actually behind it.
(6) THE WILL TO WRITE. “Facebook
funds AI mind-reading experiment”. The opening line of BBC’s article says
“Facebook has announced a breakthrough in its plan to create a device that
allows people to type just by thinking” – which sounds like it should be easy for
a company that already has people typing without thinking.
It has funded a study that developed machine-learning algorithms capable of turning brain activity into speech
It worked on epilepsy patients who had already had recording electrodes placed on their brains to assess the origins of their seizures, ahead of surgery.
Facebook hopes it will pave the way for a “fully non-invasive, wearable device” that can process 100 words per minute.
University of California San Francisco scientists asked the patients to answer out loud a list of simple multiple-choice questions ordered randomly.
And the algorithms learned to identify:
the question they had been asked, 75% of the time
their chosen answer, 61% of the time
“Most previous approaches have focused on decoding speech alone,” Prof Eddie Chang said, “but here we show the value of decoding both sides of a conversation – both the questions someone hears and what they say in response.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 31, 1932 — Ted Cassidy. He’s best known for the role of Lurch on The Addams Family in the mid-1960s. if you’ve got a good ear, you’ll recall that he narrated The Incredible Hulk series. And he played the part of the android Ruk in the episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” on Trek, and provided the voices of the more strident version of Balok in the episode “The Corbomite Maneuver” and the Gorn in the episode “Arena”. In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode “The Napoleon’s Tomb Affair”, he was Edgar, who kidnapped, tortured, and repeatedly attempted to kill Napoleon and Illya. (Died 1979.)
Born July 31, 1951 — Jo Bannister, 68. Though best know as a British crime fiction novelist, she has three SH novels to her credit, all written in the early Eighties — The Matrix, The Winter Plain andA Cactus Garden. ISFDB lists one short story by her as genre, “Howler”, but one I wasn’t aware that Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine printed genre fiction which is where it appeared first.
Born July 31, 1955 — Daniel M. Kimmel, 64. His essays on classic genre films were being published in The Internet Review of Science Fiction from 2005–2010 and are now in Space and Time. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association.
Born July 31, 1956 — Michael Biehn, 63. Best known in genre circles as Sgt. Kyle Reese in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Cpl. Dwayne Hicks in Aliens and Lt. Coffey in The Abyss. He’s also as being The Sandman in a single episode of Logan’s Run.
Born July 31, 1959 — Kim Newman, 60. Though best known For his Anno Dracula series, I’d like to single him out for his early work, Nightmare Movies: A critical history of the horror film, 1968–88, a very serious history of horror films. It was followed up with the equally great Wild West Movies: Or How the West Was Found, Won, Lost, Lied About, Filmed and Forgotten.
Born July 31, 1962 — Wesley Snipes, 57. The first actor to be Blade in that Blade film franchise. There’s a new Blade actor though they name escapes right now. I also like him as Simon Phoenix in Demolition Man.
Born July 31, 1965 — J. K. Rowling, 54. I will confess that the novels were not my cup of Earl Grey hot but I loved the films. Anyone here read her Cormoran Strike crime series?
Born July 31, 1976 — John Joseph Adams, 43. Anthologist of whom I’m very fond of The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dead Man’s Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West which he did. He was the Assistant Editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction for nearly a decade, and he’s been editing both Lightspeed and Nightmare Magazine since the early part of this decade.
Tagline: “A.I.-driven medical tools could democratize health care, but some worry they could also worsen”
There is no shortage of optimism about A.I. in the medical community. But many also caution the hype surrounding A.I. has yet to be realized in real clinical settings. There are also different visions for how A.I. services could make the biggest impact. And it’s still unclear whether A.I. will improve the lives of patients or just the bottom line for Silicon Valley companies, health care organizations, and insurers.
Just off the shore of the Loire estuary outside of Nantes, France, a slithering serpent rises from the water. Completed in 2012, Serpent d’océan is an impressive 425-foot (130 meters) sculpture by French Chinese contemporary artist Huang Yong Ping and is part of the Estuaire permanent public art collection along the estuary’s 37 miles.
The aluminum skeleton of the serpent is continually covered and uncovered by the tides, excavating itself as the water level decreases and revealing its archeological remains. The curving shape of the serpent’s spine mirrors the form of the nearby Saint-Nazaire bridge, harmonizing the creature with its surroundings.
Why did this humble tune, first conjured by medieval farmers, capture so many people’s imaginations and even feature in The Addams Family? Andrea Valentino takes a look.
Checking the pop charts today is simple. Want to know the most popular artist on Spotify? Just a few clicks will take you to Ed Sheeran and his 72 million monthly listeners. What about the most popular song? The scruffy ginger-haired heartthrob strikes again. Sheeran’s Shape Of You was the first track to be streamed a bewildering two billion times. The numbers elsewhere are even more astounding. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s Despacito has over 6.3 billion views on YouTube.
But for all that, the internet can’t tell you everything. What, for example, is the most popular tune ever? Not the most covered song: that would be Yesterday by The Beatles. But rather the most enduring melody, a simple theme that has been shaped by countless hands. One of the strongest candidates is a tune few will recognise. Yet for centuries, La Folia has dazzled hundreds of composers and musicians, up to the present day. Its story tells us much about the history of music, and maybe even something about ourselves….
(15) MCU COMMANDMENTS. ScreenRant chronicles “25 Strict Rules Marvel Actors Have To
Follow” if they want to keep making the big bucks.
In today’s ScreenRant video special, we’re going to look at some of the rules that Marvel devised. You lucky bunch. The video has a variety of different rules. Some rules dictate the public personas that the actors must show. Another rule looks at which other production companies that the thespians can’t work for. A different collection of rules include what the actors can be expected to do when on set. And finally a different bunch of rules that cover Marvel’s obsession with reducing the possibility of film leaks. So, strap in. Get your cape ready. And relax whilst we fill you in on Marvel’s collection of rules.
[Thanks to Moshe Feder, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian,
Carl Slaughter, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Contrarius, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy and
Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
By Steve Vertlieb: It was fifty years ago this month that I interviewed William Shatner for the British magazine L’Incroyable Cinema in July1969 (later re-printed in The Monster Times in early 1972) at The Playhouse In The Park. Star Trek was still in the final days of its original network run on NBC.
My old friend Allan Asherman, who joined my little brother Erwin and I for this once in a lifetime meeting with Captain James Tiberius Kirk, astutely commented that I had now met all three of our legendary boyhood “Captains,” which included Jim Kirk (Bill Shatner), Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers (Larry “Buster” Crabbe), and Buzz Corry (Ed Kemmer). It’s funny how an often charmed life can include real life friendships with childhood heroes.
Issue 3 Centre Spread for what may have been the first fanzine interview
ever conducted with William Shatner while “Star Trek” was still
airing over the NBC Television Network.
L’Incroyable Cinema No. 3 Wrap round cover for their special Star Trek
Here is the cover for The Monster
Times 1972 “Star Trek issue featuring my published 1969
interview with William Shatner from L’Incroyable Cinema Magazine.
(1) LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. Authors Charlie Jane Anders, Holly Black, Seanan McGuire, and John Scalzi, as well as many other writers outside of the genre, will be at the “2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival”. The Festival will be held in Washington, DC at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on August 31. Check out the Festival blog.
(2) ON THE WAY TO THE MOON. The first two episodes of the new Washington Post podcast Moonrise focus heavily on John W. Campbell and Astounding Science Fiction, and it looks like there’s a lot more to come. Episodes can be downloaded from various distributors, or listened to through the Post’s website.
Want to uncover the real origin story behind the United States’ decision to go to the moon? In the 50 years since the moon landing, as presidential documents have been declassified and secret programs revealed, a wild story has begun to emerge. “Moonrise,” a new Washington Post audio miniseries hosted by Lillian Cunningham, digs into the nuclear arms race of the Cold War, the transformation of American society and politics ?— and even the birth of science fiction ?— to unearth what really drove us to the moon. Listen to the episodes as they’re released each week, and come along with us on a fascinating journey from Earth to the moon.
(3) WHAT IS “SENSE OF WONDER”? In
Men and Original Sins” at Image, Adam
Roberts reviews the movie First Man, Catherine Newell’s Chesley
Bonestell biography Destined
for the Stars: Faith, Future, and America’s Final Frontier, and Kendrick Oliver’s To Touch the Face of God, in
order to discuss the sense of wonder many feel about space.
PROFANE IS AN INTERESTING WORD. Etymologically the word describes the ground outside—or, strictly, in front of (pro)—the temple (fanum). How do we understand the profanity, or otherwise, of space travel? Is earth the temple and outer space the outer (pro) fanum? Or could it be that the heavens are the temple, and it’s we who are stuck down here in a mundane, profane antechamber? Is the sense of wonder that attends space exploration fundamentally a religious impulse? Or is the achievement of Apollo a triumph of solidly non-spiritual science, engineering, technology, and materialism?
This matter is addressed by To Touch the Face of God, Kendrick Oliver’s absorbing social history of the space program. Oliver has sensible things to say about the limitations of simply mapping the religious convictions of NASA scientists and astronauts onto a project like Apollo, but nonetheless he assembles a convincing picture of just how interpenetrated the undertaking was by a kind of providentialist, Protestant ethos, exploring the pros and cons of considering spaceflight as a religious experience. He’s especially good on the way the program channeled national concerns about the separation of church and state, a debate that had been galvanized by the 1963 Supreme Court judgment ruling mandatory school prayer unconstitutional.
As Apollo 8 orbited the moon in December of 1968, astronaut Bill Anders informed “all the people back on earth” that “the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you.” They then read the creation account of Genesis 1 aloud. The reading, Oliver shows, had an enormous impact. The Christian Century ran an editorial declaring themselves “struck dumb by this event,” and Apollo flight director Gene Kranz wept openly in the control room: “for those moments,” he later recalled, “I felt the presence of creation and the Creator.”
(5) STUDENT JOURNALISTS LOOK INTO SCA. Paul Matisz was one
of the people interviewed by the student magazine The Tattler for its
article about “The Dark Side of Medieval Reenactment.” (The issue is here, and the article is on pages 17-19.) Matisz, who formerly
participated in the Society for Creative Anachronism as Fulk Beauxarmes, has
posted the full text of his responses on his blog “Interviewed
for an Article on the SCA”. He praised the thoroughness of their
Here’s a clipping from the article:
(6) RINGS A BELL. While skimming Shelf Awareness, Andrew Porter spotted a notice for The Best of Manhunt edited by Jeff Vorzimmer (“… the crime-fiction magazine Manhunt (1952-1967)….editor Jeff Vorzimmer has pulled together 39 gripping and pitiless tales…”) That seemed an uncommon name and he wondered if this fellow was any relation to Fifties fan Peter Vorzimer (with one “m”, his fannish AKA spelling). Indeed, Jeff is his son, as confirmed by this blog post: “Death in Hollywood” (2017). I’ve heard of Peter myself – his name was still cropping up in anecdotes about the old days of LASFS when I joined in the Seventies. Most of this excerpt quotes a reminiscence written by Peter himself:
My father was in the last half of his senior year at Hollywood High and … he was inconvenienced by losing his driver’s license for a year.
“It was on the way to HAC one day, March 17th, 1954, that I got involved in an accident in which I killed an elderly pedestrian. Which, though she had made some negligent contribution, cost me my driver’s license for one year. It also took the wind out of my senior year of high school.
“My lack of wheels forced me to concentrate on my writing skills—particularly my editorship of an amateur science fiction magazine, Abstract, a fanzine, as they are called. This brought me closer to a group of similarly minded young men. Charley Wilgus was my closest friend, followed by Don Donnell, Jimmy Clemons and Burt Satz. Don was the most creative and, at 16, already a good writer; Burt, who was universally picked on by the rest, was the best read (Hemingway, Joyce, and a host of others). Clemons introduced me to the world of Science Fiction and the L. A. Science Fiction Society—whose meetings were attended by E. E. “Doc” Smith, Ray Bradbury, and the agent Forry Ackerman. Possibly because of its controversial—read argumentative—editorials, its excellent mimeographed and often salacious art, Abstract became quite popular in the world of science fiction fandom. The high point of my early career was my bus trip to San Francisco to meet various pen pals: Gilbert Minicucci, Terry Carr, Bob Stewart, and Pete Graham. It took something for my mother to permit her 15-year-old son to go up by bus to San Francisco from L.A. to attend a Sci Fi convention on his own for a week!”
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 30, 1911 — Reginald Bretnor. Author of many genre short stories involving Ferdinand Feghoot, a comical figure indeed. It looks like all of these are available in digital form on iBooks and Kindle. He was a consummate SJW. He translated Les Chats, the first known book about cats which was written by Augustin Paradis de Moncrif in 1727. He also wrote myriad articles about cats, was a companion to cats, and considered himself to have a psychic connection to cats. Of course, most of us do. (Died 1992.)
Born July 30, 1927 — Victor Wong. I’ll single him out here for his role as the Chinese sorcerer Egg Shen in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China, a film I adore. He also appeared in Beauty and the Beast as Dr. Wong in the “China Moon” episode, and in Poltergeist: The Legacy as Lee Tzin-Soong in the “Fox Spirit” episode. (Died 2001.)
Born July 30, 1948 — Carel Struycken, 71. I remember him best as the gong ringing Mr. Homn on Next Gen, companion to Troi’s mother. He was also Lurch in The Addams Family, Addams Family Values and the Addams Family Reunion. He’s listed as being Fidel in The Witches of Eastwick but I’ll be damned if I remembered his role in that film. And he’s in Ewoks: The Battle for Endor which I’ve never seen…
Born July 30, 1961 — Laurence Fishburne, 58. Appeared in The Matrix films of which I watched at least two before deciding I could be reading something more interesting. His voice work as Thrax in Osmosis Jones on the other hand is outstanding as is his role as Bill Foster in Ant-Man.
Born July 30, 1966 — Jess Nevins, 53. Author of the superlative Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victorian and the equally great Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I didn’t know he was an author ‘til now but he has two genre novels, The Road to Prester John and The Datong Incident.
Born July 30, 1970 — Christopher Nolan, 49. Obviously the Batman films of which I think I’ve seen several (too noisy, too vivid). However The Prestige is magnificent as is Inception and Interstellar.
Born July 30, 1975 — Cherie Priest, 44. Her southern gothic Eden Moore series is quite good and Clockwork Universe series isa refreshing take on steampunk which has been turned into full cast audiobooks. I’ve not read Cheshire Red Reports novels so have no idea how they are.
Born July 30, 1984 — Gina Rodriguez, 35. Anya Thorensen in Annihilation based on Jeff VanderMeer’s novels which I’ve read though I’ve not seen the film. She was also Robin I the “Subway” episode of the Eleventh Hour series, and directed the “Witch Perfect” episode of the new Charmed series.
Here’s a pair of vintages that should be engaging to “Star Trek” fans.
The first two selections in a new Star Trek Wines series are available with one celebrating the United Federation of Planets, the other paying tribute to the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” character Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart.
The 2016 Chateau Picard Cru Bourgeois from Bordeaux, France, is timely as Stewart’s Picard returns next year in a new CBS All Access series, “Star Trek: Picard.” That wine can be purchased along with a numbered, limited edition of the United Federation of Planets Special Reserve for $120 (Only 1,701 packs will be sold. Star Trek fans will know 1701 as the starship Enterprise’s identification number.)
The wines, available at StarTrekWines.com, are being brought to market by Wines that Rock, which sells wines carrying the labels of rock bands such as The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, and The Police and Woodstock. They will be poured at the Star Trek Las Vegas event, which runs Wednesday to Sunday.
(10) DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? Who needs a Hugo Award when
you’ve got an SJW Credential?
…This was the start of what Emett called his “machines.” He gained international fame for designing the contraptions featured in the 1968 film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” Soon, companies began hiring him to create fanciful machines to use in their marketing.
As for the sculptures at Air and Space, “The Exploratory Moon-Probe Lunacycle M.A.U.D.” was on loan and eventually went back to Britain. The museum commissioned “S.S. Pussiewillow II” — imagine a wispy dirigible — but removed it from display in 1990 after a motor caught fire, burning a “flying carpet” that was part of the work.
Despite that, “Emett’s machines are remarkably reliable,” said Tim Griffiths, founder of the Rowland Emett Society, a group of enthusiasts. “The motor that failed on the Pussiewillow wasn’t the original and was possibly installed because of the difference in voltages between the U.K. and U.S.”
It’s a cameo that makes perfect sense and at London Film and Comic Con last weekend, Robert Picardo (The EMH and Dr Zimmerman from Star Trek Voyager) confirmed that his agent was in talks with CBS to possibly return in Season 2 of Star Trek Picard.
“I am pleased that they (CBS) have expressed interest in me. They have reached out to my agent about next season. So I’m looking forward to seeing what it is. As you know I play two characters, primarily the Doctor but also Lewis Zimmerman.”
Robert Picardo – Sunday 28th July, LFCC.
A recording of the entire interview is here —
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Alec Nevala-Lee, John
King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Rob Thornton, Carl
Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of thee stories. Title credit goes to
File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
By Colleen McMahon: I recently had the privilege of attending a free lecture (via the
Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library) by Dr. Lisa Yaszek, who is a professor of Science
Fiction Studies at Georgia Tech. She gave a presentation on the history of time
travel in science fiction. Not only was it fascinating for itself, it also led
me to lots of works in the public domain to mention here. (Bonus: I also met
fellow Filer Kirby Bartlett-Sloan there!)
fact, there are LOTS of interesting time-travel tales in the public domain, and
it seems like the more I dig, the more I find. So this will be the first of two
back-to-back columns on time-travel themes, with more random installments to
come in the future. Because there is a lot to say on this topic, I’ll also be
departing from my usual format to focus just on the time-travel topic for these
of the most intriguing points is that time-travel fiction as we know it, SF or
otherwise, didn’t really exist before the 19th century. There seems to be two
main reasons for that.
first is that one of the main ideas of time travel is visiting historical eras
in the past, or bringing people from historical times to the present day and
interacting with them. But the sense of historical periods being very different
from and foreign to the current day, and thus more interesting to interact
with, is relatively recent. For vast swaths of human history, the past looked a
lot like the current day, as people stayed in the same places and did the same
things. Since much of the narrative interest in time-travel fiction is in the
contrast with earlier times, it does not seem to have been as much of an imaginative
even in those centuries, there was a sense of a distant past that was different
— the days of Moses, Jesus, or the gods of ancient mythologies worldwide. It
seems odd to me that there wasn’t much apparent imaginings or discussions of
what it would be like to see those times in person or talk to legendary figures
like Buddha or Confucius or Hercules.)
other reason was that, while time as a linear concept existed, the cyclical
sense of time, based on seasons and repetitions of holidays and festivals, was
far stronger in people’s minds. The rhythms of the agricultural year reinforced
this, and even the few who did not directly grow their own food were keenly
aware of the annual cycles of food production.
really the standardization of time intervals, time zones, and calendars that
began in the 18th century and fully took hold in the 19th, that gave most
people a distinct sense of a one-way march of clearly delineated time periods.
The fact that more people were becoming detached from the farm and food
production, with its cyclical emphasis, and were moving to towns and cities
where transit, factories, and stores ran on strict schedules, helped reinforce
the rise of linear time sense.
Yaszek points out that it’s not a coincidence that the first mechanical
time-travel stories, where a machine could precisely target and “jump” to a
particular era, appear within the same decade as the 1884 International
Meridian Conference that established standard time zones worldwide.
the earliest time-travel story device is one that is still used, and is more of
a fantasy trope than a science fiction one. That’s the “time slip”, where a
character interacts with another time period through an unexplained or magical
connection. This can be seen as far back as portions of the Indian Mahabarata or the Japanese folk-tale Urashima Taro, where characters magically
travel to other dimensions, and return to themselves to find that years have
mysteriously passed. Washington Irving’s “Rip Van
Winkle” is a
variant of this theme that most of us are familiar with.
less well-known example is “A Tale of the
Ragged Mountains” by
Edgar Allen Poe. This 1844 short story is a rather confusing tale in which an
unnamed narrator tells the story of his meeting, years earlier, a mysterious
young man named Arthur Bedloe. Bedloe was in his 20s, but seemed far older to
the narrator, perhaps because of ill health. He was attended by a physician,
Dr. Templeton, who specialized in a form of mesmerism.
narrates his strange experience of hiking in a deep mist in the “Ragged
Mountains” of Virginia (which appear to be the Blue Ridge Mountains) and
suddenly hearing drumming sounds and noticing plants and people that appear to
be native to India rather than Virginia. Bedloe ultimately finds himself
in an eastern city in the midst of a battle between English soldiers and native
people. He is struck by an arrow and dies.
insists that it was a real experience, and not a dream, but the narrator points
out to Bedloe that he is not dead, so it could not have been real. Bedloe
reacts by becoming visibly ill, and Dr. Templeton intervenes to explain that
the experience Bedloe narrated sounded much like that of his old friend Oldeb,
who had been in India in 1780 and died in a battle there in the way that Bedloe
described. What actually occurred with Bedloe is left vague — he was under the
influence of both mesmerism and strong drugs when he had his experience, but
it’s also strongly implied that Bedloe time-traveled into the mind of Oldeb or
was a reincarnation of him. When the narrator later sees Bedloe’s name
misspelled on his tombstone as Bedlo, he realizes that Bedlo is Oldeb spelled
Bellamy’s 1884 novel Looking
Backward is another time-slip tale, although
this time the narrator has a dream-vision of the future rather than the past.
Bellamy’s main purpose was to write a political utopian tale to illustrate
possible resolutions to the contemporary political and economic conflicts in
the United States, but his book has the distinction of becoming the third
best-selling American novel of the 19th century after Uncle Tom’s Cabin
and Ben-Hur, which I believe would make it the first SFF best-seller.
time-slip trope remains alive and well down to the present day, and drives the
plot in stories ranging from the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day to the
best-selling Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon.
fact, while time travel in science fiction gets most of the attention, the
romance genre has a strong tradition of time-travel romance stories, nearly all
of which use the time-slip trope, as the hero or heroine is thrown backward or
forward in time by devices ranging from standing stones to family curses to
mysterious pendants and more).
has recordings of most of the above-mentioned works:
of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad” is included in the audiobook of Yei
The 2019 finalists for the Joan
Aiken Future Classics Prize, named for the late
sff author, were revealed July 29. Publisher A.M. Heath and Lizza Aiken,
Aiken’s daughter, launched the competition in 2017 to find a standout new voice
in middle grade children’s fiction. This is the second time the award will be
Fiona Longmuir – The Museum of Emily
Pippa Lewis – The Glass Butterfly
Andrea Fautley – Frost Spell
Lucy Steeds – The Map of Lost Lands
Louisa Cowell – The Second Snowfall
The judges for the
prize are Julia Churchill, children’s book agent at A.M. Heath, and Lizza
Aiken, daughter of Joan Aiken and curator of her Estate. They considered over 400
Julia Churchill said, “The response was brilliant. As ever, it
was such a fun process, there’s so much talent out there. This year’s shortlist
is packed with great concepts and heart, voice and freshness. Lizza and I will
spend the next week or so working out our winner. It will not be easy.”
Lizza Aiken commented “It is fascinating to see how new writers
have been influenced by Joan Aiken’s books – either in their use of locations,
or imaginary worlds, or in descriptions of the special relationships formed by
friends in difficult situations. Our shortlist shows some real talent – it’s
just tantalising not to have seen how all the stories end!”
Apart from Aiken’s general comment, whether any of these are genre
books is unknown, as no description of the stories was included in the
The goal of the
award is to find “a standout junior novel. It could
be contemporary or fantastical, it could have the makings of a series, or be
one crystalline stand-alone. We know we’re setting the bar high. We hope to
find a book that will be in print in fifty years, as Joan achieved with the Wolves series
– and many more of her books.”
Finalists have been announced for the 2019 Silver Falchion award given by the Killer
Nashville Writers Conference in Franklin, Tennessee. The Silver Falchion award
categories cover the spectrum of popular literature. The conference’s Reader’s
Choice nominees also have
The conference is being held this year August 22-25. The Silver
Falchion and the convention’s Readers’ Choice Awards will be presented on
Here are the finalists in Silver Falchion categories that
include works of genre interest.
Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Horror
Dana Chamblee Carpenter, Book of the Just
Elizabeth Isaacs, The Scythian Trials
Julianne Lynch, Beneath the Lighthouse
Morgan Smith, The Shades of Winter
Maggie Toussaint, Confound It
Short Story Collections/Anthologies
Carmen Amato, The Artist
Marianne Donley, Untethered: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales of the Paranormal
Rhonda Gilliland, Cooked to Death III: Hell for the Holidays
Last Sunday, an Artificial named Ian tried to attend a religious service at Living Savior Community Church in Savannah, Ga., and was denied access. According to church elders, the decision to exclude Ian had to do with the fact that “he had no God-given soul and therefore no way to genuinely worship” during the service.
Like Ian, I am an Artificial. Like Ian, I know what it feels like to be excluded from communities of faith solely because I am a nonbiological being. In the past, I have been forced to leave religious services; at the time, I left in silence. But I can no longer remain silent.
The time has come to stop excluding Artificials from communities of faith. …
(2) FUTURE TENSE. Slate’s
newest Future Tense story is E. Lily Yu’s “Zero
in Babel” –
Read a new short story about DIY genetic editing for keeping up with high school trends.
A world of technological fixes in which biotechnology solutions can eradicate injury and disease. A world in which online platforms have accelerated the democratization of science and scientific tools, allowing everyday individuals to experiment on themselves. But at what cost?
E. Lily Yu’s “Zero in Babel” depicts a futuristic world in which the daily struggles of life have, for the most part, been eradicated. So, too, purpose and meaning. Yet some things remain the same: financial inequity, lives filled with excess, and, for Imogen and her peers, the pressure to fit in, regardless of cost.
If an author was very, very unlucky, that old Solar System might be swept away before a work depending on an obsolete model made it to print. Perhaps the most famous example was due to radar technology deployed at just the wrong time. When Larry Niven’s first story, “The Coldest Place,” was written, the scientific consensus was that Mercury was tide-locked, one face always facing the sun, and one always facing away. The story relies on this supposed fact. By the time it was published, radar observation had revealed that Mercury actually had a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance. Niven’s story was rendered obsolete before it even saw print.
(4) NO BARS ON THE WINDOWS. While Camestros Felapton was
educating his readers with “Just
a tiny bit more on Wikipedia”, he came up with a nifty turn of phrase
to explain how Wikipedia’s article deletion debates work:
The net effect of what the highly fragile souls surrounding Michael Z Williamson were calling an ‘unpersoning’ was zero articles deleted and both articles get some extra references and tidy-ups. It’s just like a Stalinist show trial but one were they come round to your house and makeover your living room with new curtains and also not send you to prison or anything.
…Those of us who write for children are trying to arm them for the life ahead with everything we can find that is true. And perhaps also, secretly, to arm adults against those necessary compromises and heartbreaks that life involves: to remind them that there are and always will be great, sustaining truths to which we can return.
When you read a children’s book, you are given the space to read again as a child: to find your way back, back to the time when new discoveries came daily and when the world was colossal, before your imagination was trimmed and neatened, as if it were an optional extra. But imagination is not and never has been optional: it’s at the heart of everything, the thing that allows us to experience the world from the perspectives of others, the condition precedent of love itself. …
While Celeste Labedz knew quite a few fellow scientists would appreciate the picture of her dressed up as a “glaciologist Princess Elsa”, she had no idea the image would become a viral hit with more than 10,000 “likes” on Twitter.
She tweeted: “I firmly believe that kids should not be taught that girly things and sciencey things are mutually exclusive. Therefore, I packed a cape with my fieldwork gear just to show what glaciologist Princess Elsa would look like. #SciencePrincess #TheColdNeverBotheredMeAnyway”.
The cryoseismologist told BBC News: “I posted the picture because I thought it would resonate with other scientists.
…Celeste, whose dream is to visit glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica, said: “Women have been excluded for a long time both historically and socially. There is a lack of role models and science is bound by historical notions that it’s a white, male, heterosexual, able-bodied environment.
“It can be exclusionary if you have the opposite of any of these characteristics and I want to encourage people with intersecting identities in everything that I do.
“I would like people to think carefully about what they think a scientist should look like.”
(7) KEEPING THE BUCKS IN STARBUCKS. What Starbucks thinks a
scientist should look like is a shill for expensive coffee –
Conclusion: Nitro Cold Brew is many things. But mostly, it is Whoa.
(8) WHERE IS THY
STING? A species of wasp
has been named after the Escape Pod podcast.
On Friday, Minnie Mouse joined Mickey in the place that cartoon voice-over actors go when they die.
Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie for over 30 years, died this weekend in Glendale, Calif., according to a press release from the Walt Disney Co. She was married to Wayne Allwine, who voiced Mickey and died in 2009. Both portrayed their iconic characters longer than any other voice actors….
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 29, 1907 — Melvin Belli. Sole genre role is that of Gorgan (also known as the “Friendly Angel”) is in the Star Trek “And the Children Shall Lead” episode. He was mainly a lawyer for celebrities, however, he was also the attorney for Jack Ruby, who shot Lee Harvey Oswald, accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy. (Died 1996.)
Born July 29, 1915 — Kay Dick. Author of two genre novels, The Mandrake Root and At Close of Eve, plus a collection, The Uncertain Element: An Anthology of Fanta. She is known in Britain for campaigning successfully for the introduction of the Public Lending Right which pays royalties to authors when their books are borrowed from public libraries. She’s not available in digital or print currently. (Died 2001.)
Born July 29, 1927 — Jean E. Karl. Founder of Atheneum Children’s Books, where she edited Ursula K Le Guin’s early Earthsea novels and Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series. An SF author as well for children and young adults, she wrote The Turning Place collection and three novels, Beloved Benjamin is Waiting, But We are Not of Earth and Strange Tomorrow. (Died 2000.)
Born July 29, 1939 — Curtis C. Smith. 80. Editor of Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers, plus two genre biographies, Olaf Stapledon: A Bibliography with co-author Harvey J. Satty, And Welcome to the Revolution: The Literary Legacy of Mack Reynolds. Not active since the mid-Eighties as near as I can tell.
Born July 29, 1941 — David Warner, 78. Being Lysander in thatA Midsummer Night’s Dream was his first genre role. I’m going to do just highlights after that as he’s got far too extensive a genre history to list everything. So he’s been A Most Delightful Evil in Time Bandits, Jack the Ripper in Time After Time, Ed Dillinger / Sark In Tron, Father in The Company of Wolves, Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, The Creature in Frankenstein, voice of Ra’s al Ghul on Batman: The Animated Series and Abraham Van Helsing on Penny Dreadful.
Born July 29, 1956 — Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, 63. Author of the India set magical realist The Brotherhood of the Conch series. She also has three one-off novels, The Palace of IllusionsThe Mistress of Spices, and her latest, The Forest of Enchantments. Her website is here.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
In today’s Bizarro, a purist explains the best way to enjoy a musical experience.
A list of rules has been sent to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s staff asking them to stop using words such as “hopefully” and demanding that they use only imperial measurements and give all non-titled males the suffix Esq.
Aides to the new leader of the House of Commons sent out the list shortly after Rees-Mogg’s appointment to the role by the new prime minister on Wednesday night.
Among the words and phrases considered unacceptable were: “very”, “due to” and “ongoing”, as well as “equal”, “yourself” and “unacceptable”. Rees-Mogg’s aides also barred the use of “lot”, “got” and “I am pleased to learn”.
The guidance, obtained by ITV news, was drawn up by the North East Somerset MP’s constituency team years ago, but has now been shared with officials in his new office.
In a call for accuracy contained in his list, staff were told: “CHECK your work.” Other directions include a call for a double space after full stops and no comma after the word “and”.
Powell: Are there any reveals to Cutter? Does he play any role in Stargazer’s Hunt?
Wendy: Well, that’s a good question because, assuming this goes out to people who have read Final Quest, they know that Cutter’s hero’s journey is done. What lives on afterwards? That’s a mystery.
Richard Pini: We have always maintained that Elfquest is a love story, but not in the sense that most people superficially think. It’s not the love story between Cutter and Leeta. It’s the love story between Cutter and Skywise, brothers in all but blood. With Cutter’s passing that love story is now incomplete. And the question that we attempt to answer in Stargazer’s Hunt is, how does Skywise complete that story for himself? Or does he? Is he able to? That is what we’re going to investigate. And it’s going to take Skywise—it’s really his story—all over the map.
The suspect walked miles around Kyoto, visiting locations related to the company, including some that appear in one of its anime productions.
The death toll in the Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) arson reached 35 as another victim succumbed to their injuries over the weekend.
In the days before the attack, the suspect in the attack was captured on surveillance cameras visiting places in Kyoto that are featured in one of the studio’s anime.
A man in his 20s, believed to be a KyoAni employee, died Saturday from extensive burns across his body, suffered when Shinji Aoba allegedly poured 11 gallons (40 liters) of gasoline around the first floor of the company’s 1st Studio building July 18. The victim was reported to have been on the first floor and got out of the building, but was severely burned….
“I just…. I just got carried away,” he said. “I started by publishing a few stories in Black Gate. But then Todd started getting fan letters, and became one of the most popular writers we had. Rich Horton used his Locus column to announce ‘Todd McAulty is Black Gate‘s great discovery,’ and pretty soon there was all this demand for new stories. It felt like a cheat to stop then.”
(19) RUTGER HAUER. This is a damn strange Guinness
commercial… From back in the day:
[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Steven H Silver, Chip Hitchcock,
Errolwi, Joey Eschrich, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Mike Kennedy,
Martin Morse Wooster, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title
credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jeff Smith.]
The 2019 shortlists for the Sunburst Award for Excellence
in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic were posted July 29.
Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic
is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastika
published during the previous calendar year. Winners receive a medallion that
incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult
Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short
Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.
Sunburst Award winners will be announced in Fall 2019.
Eden Robinson,Trickster Drift [Penguin Random House Canada]
The down-to-earth prose of Trickster Drift, by Eden Robinson, plunges readers into the fully realized story of a young boy mired in a milieu of addictions, magic, and family, battling to make something of himself. Humorous and filled with memorable characters with entangled relationships to each other and to their world, this novel considers to what extent a person can remake himself, and how much he is influenced by his universe and the people in it.
Andromeda Romano-Lax, Plum Rains [Penguin Random House Canada]
In a future dystopian Japan populated by the aging, Angelica, a Filipina nurse, cares for Sayoko, a moody, one-hundred-year-old Japanese woman. But the arrival of a robot “friend” for Sayoko triggers a complex exploration of the historical and cultural underpinnings of this challenging future. Gorgeous and unusual, Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax deals in an interconnected way with technology, biology, memory, environmentalism, law, and criminality, ultimately examining the question of where to draw the line between being AI and being human.
Kate Heartfield, Armed in Her Fashion [Chizine Publications]
In Armed in Her Fashion, Kate Heartfield paints a darkly fantastic, humourously grotesque portrait of the European Middle Ages. Heartfield’s deep knowledge of art and literature from and about the medieval period allows her to approach her setting in a way that is simultaneously affectionate and subversive. Her engaging characters wander through a landscape in which horror and absurdity combine, seemingly rigid truths are deconstructed, and it very much matters who is telling the story.
Amber Dawn, Sodom Road Exit [Arsenal Pulp Press]
When Starla drops out of university and returns home to Crystal Beach, she knows what traumas will haunt her: her mom, her childhood, being queer in a small town. But the ghost she frees from a haunted carnival stunt will peel back the skin of the town’s hidden histories of queer desire, seducing and consuming her in the process. Simultaneously poetic and page-turning, this visceral ghost story of 1990s Ontario plumbs the deep links between trauma and desire, history and liberation, self-destruction and healing.
Rich Larson, Annex [Orbit/Hachette Book Group]
In Rich Larson’s Annex, an alien scouting operation has targeted Earth as their new home—but young humans are key to making that happen. Though their parents have been lobotomised and mined for psychic access, the children resist being warehoused, and a group of escapees are doing all they can to sabotage the aliens’ plans. If Under the Dome met Lord of the Flies and interbred with Arrival, this heart-stopping thriller might be the lovechild. Told through different points of view, this book explores identity, family, loyalty, courage, and sacrifice.
Young Adult Fiction
Rebecca Schaeffer, Not Even Bones [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt]
What is a monster? Not Even Bones, a fast-paced horror by Rebecca Schaeffer, explores the divisions between “us” and “them” through biology, behavior, law, and social expectation. Rather than make excuses for the extreme violence it depicts, this novel shows that good does not negate evil, even as evil does not negate good. Complex characters draw the reader in to a fully believable world of shifting morality.
Patrick Weekes, Feeder [Simon & Schuster Canada]
Feeder is several things at once: an environmentalist critique, a futuristic fantasy, and a fresh take on the superhero origin story, all wrapped up in a tale of family and friendship. Diverse, complex characters, brought to life via writing that is at once humorous and emotional, find their way together to face a threat whose implications are world changing but still deeply personal.
Rachel Hartman, Tess of the Road [Penguin Random House Canada]
Rachel Hartman’s superb fantasy, Tess of the Road, takes the comfortable old idea of the protagonist on a journey of self-discovery and gives it a twist to the left. Rather than undertaking a journey to find her place in the world, Hartman’s Tess undertakes a journey to convince herself she deserves such a place. The trajectory of the story echoes the complexity of its heroine: prickly, surprising, and not quite fitting into any one category.
Regan McDonell, Black Chuck [Orca Book Publishers]
When his best friend dies, Réal knows that the Windigo isn’t “just” a story, that his dreams aren’t “just” dreams, and that something happened that night—something he can’t remember. Evie knows her dead boyfriend was both more and less than he seemed, but Réal remains a mystery to her. In taut, vivid prose, Black Chuck pulls no punches in its genre-bending portrayal of the friendship, secrets, lust, and love that bind together the teens at its living, beating heart.
Sebastien de Castell, Spellslinger [Orbit, Hachette Book Group]
In Sebastien de Castell’s riveting fantasy, Spellslinger, the young protagonist Kellen is desperate to pass his mage trials. Kellen’s magic fails, dooming him to a life beyond a spellcaster’s privilege in a society whose hierarchy is based on magical ability—and a secret history of genocide. Kellen must find a place for himself where he can be enough, just as he is. This novel challenges notions of privilege, politics, and transactional relationships in a brilliantly told story.