A bit under the weather, so a short Scroll today.
(1) GOES OVER THE TOP. Good news about the Constelación Magazine Kickstarter:
The biggest news we have to share is that our Kickstarter has fully funded! Thank you so much to all of you who have supported us either by backing or by sharing. We are so grateful!
We’re well on our way to our first stretch goal, which increases the pay for our translators by 50%. If you can, please spread the word and help us close strong.
(2) AS CLEAR AS IS THE SUMMER SUN. “Timothy Explains The Electoral College” at Camestros Felapton.
…However, an electoral college is a university where you study to pick the leader of your republic. Like any university it has a library and over-priced places to eat which the students avoid because they can’t afford to eat on campus but that’s OK because all their lectures are online now and they can eat toast at home. In America, the electoral college is in a big tree all covered in ivy and so probably doesn’t have a lot of room for over-priced places to eat, maybe only a gift shop selling t-shirts with the university name on them.
Copyright law is supposed to promote creativity, not stamp out criticism. Too often, copyright owners forget that – especially when they have a convenient takedown tool like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
EFF is happy to remind them – as we did this month on behalf of Internet creator Lindsay Ellis. Ellis had posted a video about a copyright dispute between authors in a very particular fandom niche: the Omegaverse realm of wolf-kink erotica. The video tells the story of that dispute in gory and hilarious detail, while breaking down the legal issues and proceedings along the way. Techdirt called it “truly amazing.” We agree. But feel free to watch “Into the Omegaverse: How a Fanfic Trope Landed in Federal Court,” and decide for yourself.
The dispute described in the video began with a series of takedown notices to online platforms with highly dubious allegations of copyright infringement. According to these, one Omegaverse author, Zoey Ellis (no relation) had infringed the copyright of another, Addison Cain, by copying common thematic aspects of characters in the Omegaverse genre, i.e., tropes. As Ellis’ video explains, these themes not only predate Cain’s works, but are uncopyrightable as a matter of law. Further litigation ensued, and Ellis’ video explains what happened and the opinions she formed based on the publicly available records of those proceedings. Some of those opinions are scathingly critical of Ms. Cain. But the First Amendment protects scathing criticism. So does copyright law: criticism and parody are classic examples of fair use that are authorized by law. Still, as we have written many times, DMCA abuse targeting such fair uses remains a pervasive and persistent problem…
(4) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born October 30, 1919 – Walt A. Willis. One of our finest fanwriters. The success of “WAW with the Crew in ’52”, bringing him from Belfast to Chicago for Chicon II the 10th Worldcon, laid the foundation for TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund), of which he was the first Administrator. Fanzines Hyphen, Slant. Two Hugos (Outstanding Actifan i.e. active fan, 1958; Best Fanzine, for Slant, Retrospective Hugo, 2004). Fan Guest of Honor at MagiCon the 50th Worldcon (Orlando). See more here. (Died 1999) [JH]
- Born October 30, 1923 — William Campbell. In “The Squire of Gothos” on Trek — a proper Halloween episode even if it wasn’t broadcast then — he was Trelane and in “The Trouble With Tribbles”, he played the Klingon Koloth, a role revisited on Deep Space Nine in “Blood Oath”. He appeared in several horror films including Blood Bath, Night of Evil, and Dementia 13. He started a fan convention which ran for several years, Fantasticon, which celebrated the achievements of production staffers in genre films and TV shows and raised funds for the Motion Picture & Television Fund, a charitable organization which provides assistance and care to those in the motion picture industry with limited or no resources, when struck with infirmity and/or in retirement age. (Died 2011.) (CE)
- Born October 30, 1935 – Don A. Thompson. Pioneer of comics fandom. With Dick Lupoff, co-edited All in Color for a Dime and The Comic-Book Book. With wife Maggie Thompson, wrote “Beautiful Balloons” column for The Buyer’s Guide for Comic Fandom, and edited the Guide after it changed hands in 1983; with her, an Inkpot, a Kirby, an Eisner, Diamond Lifetime Fan Award (1991). DT & MT were Fan Guests of Honor at Penulticon ’79. (Died 1994) [JH]
- Born October 30, 1947 –Tim Kirk, 73. One of our finest fanartists; five Hugos. His Master’s thesis illustrated The Lord of The Rings, still among the best; Ballantine published thirteen images as the 1975 Tolkien calendar. Senior designer for Tokyo DisneySea. Designed Paul Allen’s SF Museum (Seattle). Here is an interior from Science Fiction Review. Here is the May 74 Algol. Here is “The Riddle Game”. Here is a drawing used for Loscon 46. Here is Not All a Dream. [JH]
- Born October 30, 1951 — P. Craig Russell, 69. Comic illustrator whose work has won multiple Harvey and Eisner Awards. His work on Killraven, a future version of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, collaborating with writer Don McGregor, was lauded by readers and critics alike. Next up was mainstream work at DC with I think his work on Batman, particularly with Jim Starlin. He also inked Mike Mignola’s pencils on the Phantom Stranger series. He would segue into working on several Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné projects. Worth noting is his work on a number of Gaiman projects including a Coraline graphic novel. Wayne Alan Harold Productions published the P. Craig Russell Sketchbook Archives, a 250+-page hardcover art book featuring the best of his personal sketchbooks.
- Born October 30, 1951 — Harry Hamlin, 69. His first role of genre interest was Perseus on Clash of The Titans. He plays himself in Maxie, and briefly shows up in Harper’s Island. He was Astronaut John Pope in the genre adjacent Space miniseries. On the stage, he’s been Faust in Dr. Faustus. (CE)
- Born October 30, 1958 — Max McCoy, 62. Here for a quartet of novels (Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Sphinx, Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth, Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs and Indiana Jones and the Philosopher’s Stone) which flesh out the back story and immerse him in a pulp reality. He’s also writing Wylde’s West, a paranormal mystery series. (CE)
- Born October 30, 1962 – Lisa Major, 58. Co-editor with husband Joseph of the fanzine Alexiad. Fan of horse races, including trotting, pacing. From October 2020 (Alexiad 113): “September is International Month. Normally we of the libraries get assigned a country in order that we may display books … and have programs…. This year … not open to the public … I decide that I will have my own…. a bakery owned by a woman from Uganda … has a marvelous display…. I walk out with … a decorated little bowl … gives me something of the … serenity I got … when my library was assigned Japan.” [JH]
- Born October 30, 1972 – Tammy Coxen, 48. Chaired Detcon the 11th NASFiC (North America SF Con, since 1975 held when the Worldcon is overseas). Hugo Administrator for CoNZealand the 78th Worldcon. Wrote this guide “So You Want to Bid for a Worldcon”. Cocktail enthusiast and Chief Tasting Officer of Tammy’s Tastings. [JH]
- Born October 30, 1972 — Jessica Hynes, 48. Playing Joan Redfern, she shows up on two of the most excellent Tenth Doctor stories, “Human Nature” and “ The Family of Blood”. She’d play another character, Verity Newman in a meeting of the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, “The End of Time, Part Two”. Her other genre role was as Felia Siderova on Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) in the “Mental Apparition Disorder” and “Drop Dead” episodes. (CE)
- Born October 30, 1974 – Libia Brenda, 46. Part of the Mexicanx Initiative Experience at the 76th Worldcon and thus a Hugo finalist for Best Related Work. “Sea Wings” (in English) in the Jul 19 Argonaut. Two anthologies, A Larger Reality being speculative fiction “from the bicultural margins”, and A Timeline in Which We Don’t Go Extinct being A Larger Reality 2.0, each in English and Spanish. [JH]
(5) SHINY. If Santa ever has to give Rudolph the year off, how about adding a monotreme to the team? “As If the Platypus Couldn’t Get Any Weirder” in Gizmodo.
…It’s not enough to be a mammal who lays eggs, sports a duck-like bill and webbed feet, hunts using electroreception, and wields venomous spurs. The platypus also glows green under ultraviolet light. Because of course it does. Details of this unexpected discovery were published earlier this month in the science journal Mammalia.
The platypus now joins a very exclusive club, as it’s one of only three known biofluorescent mammals, the other two being opossums and flying squirrels. That said, the platypus does stand alone as the only known monotreme, or egg-laying mammal, capable of pulling off this trick (the only other extant monotremes are four species of echidna). Of course, biofluorescence is seen in many other organisms, such as fungi, fish, phytoplankton, reptiles, amphibians, and at least one species of tardigrade.
But wait – if they’re delivering in sunlight they still won’t need one, will they….
(6) BUY IT AGAIN. [Item by Daniel Dern.] So the Amazon Shopping app on my phone just recommended (Samuel R Delany’s) BABEL-17, including via Kindle Unlimited.
Given some of my browsing I guess that’s not completely out of the blue, although it feels like I’d been doing some (research) lookups for Heinlein but not Delany.
If Amazon were a person, I’d respond with a picture of my $0.50 Ace paperback with the “Nebula winner” sticker on the cover design. I’m not sure if I have any older copies. If I have an autographed one, it’s in a different stack, not worth fishing for just for an item. So there, Mr Bezos — you may know what I look up online, but you don’t (yet) know what is one my shelves. (If I ever scan for inventorying, no doubt that will change.)
(7) CAT TREK. Somebody must need this – maybe it’s you! you can get a cardboard figure of Grudge the Cat. “Star Trek: Discovery Grudge Standee” at Star Trek Shop.
(8) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Dr. Sanjay Gupta Rates Halloween Masks – a segment on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Halloween is coming up and with the coronavirus, it’s more important than ever for everyone to stay safe. That’s why CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is here to make sure your Halloween masks are as safe as your regular mask!
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Ben Bird Person, Danny Sichel, Michael Toman, JJ, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]