2017 Chesley Award Finalists

ASFA, the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists, has announced the nominees for the 2017 Chesley Awards. ASFA members have until May 14 to cast their votes for the winners.

The Chesley Awards were established in 1985 as ASFA’s peer awards to recognize individual works and achievements not otherwise recognized by the Hugo Awards, during a given year. The Chesleys were initially called the ASFA Awards, but were later renamed to honor famed astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell after his death in 1986. The awards are usually presented annually at the World Science Fiction Convention or at the North American Science Fiction Convention when the Worldcon is held outside of North America.

2017 Chesley Award Final Nomination List (for 2016 Works)

Best Cover Illustration: Hardcover

Album https://goo.gl/photos/Ms1RqFpsTQp6Pdpy6

  • Dan dos Santos  Fables: Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham  (Vertigo, September 2016)
  • Todd Lockwood Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood (DAW, May 2016)
  • Tran Nguyen Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (Subterranean Press, October 2016)
  • Cliff Nielsen Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (McElderry Books, March 2016)
  • David Palumbo Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson (Tor, November 2016)
  • John Picacio In the House of the Worm by George R.R. Martin (Baltimore Science Fiction Society, May 2016)

Best Cover Illustration: Paperback or Ebook

Album https://goo.gl/photos/n7rLm6WRQx8oE56h6

  • Tommy Arnold  A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing, October 2016)
  • Julie Dillon Beyond the Stars: At Galaxy’s Edge by Assorted Authors (Astral books Amazon Digital Services, August 2016)
  • Sarah Anne Langton Central Station by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon Publications, May 2016 )
  • Gene Mollica Breath of Earth by Beth Cato (Harper Voyager, August 2016)
  • Victo Ngai Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor, March 2016)

Best Cover Illustration: Magazine

Album https://goo.gl/photos/eTTAWtG7V4f8TLY68

  • Galen Dara Uncanny Issue 10, May/June 2016
  • Elizabeth Leggett  LIGHTSPEED #69, February 2016
  • David Palumbo Swallowed Whole, Aliens – Life and Death #1 (Dark Horse, September 2016)
  • Paolo Rivera Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1953 (Dark Horse, February 2016)
  • Jeremy Wilson Chimera Brigade #1 By Serge Lehman and Fabrice Colin  (Titan Comics, October 2016)

Best Interior Illustration

Album https://goo.gl/photos/7vJkVu63StdPWVqEA

  • Rovina Cai “Tom, Thom” by K.M. Ferebee (Tor.com, February 2016)
  • Kari Christensen Gethsemoni, Court of the Dead: Chronicle of the Underworld by Tom Gilliland (Sideshow Collectibles 2016)
  • Tran Nguyen Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (Subterranean Press 2016)
  • Greg Ruth “Freedom is Space for the Spirit” by Glen Hirshberg (Tor.com, April 2016)
  • Ivica Stevanovic The Bestiary edited by Ann Vandermeer (Centipede Press, March 2016)

Best Gaming Related Illustration

Album https://goo.gl/photos/1VqM4odHaXVHEmTt6

  • Mauricio Calle Encounter at Stygeon Prime- Star Wars: The Card Game (Fantasy Flight Games 2016)
  • Cliff Childs Long-Finned Skywhale Kaladesh card set (WotC, Sept. 2016)
  • Ryan Pancoast Inventor’s Apprentice Kaladesh card set  (WotC, Sept. 2016)
  • Matthew Stewart Mastertrinketeer Kaladesh card set (WotC, Sept. 2016)
  • Ryan Yee Die Young Kaladesh card set (WotC, Sept. 2016)

Best Product Illustration

Album https://goo.gl/photos/DkxYUiB5ASL4fnQy9

  • Donato Giancola  Portal Promotional art for Illuxcon
  • Clark Huggins Advertisement for RECKLESS DECK Imagine FX, February 2016
  • John Picacio La Corona (The Crown) Loteria Lone Boy
  • Cynthia Sheppard 2017 Llewellyn’s Astrological Calendar
  • Greg Spalenka banner art to promote Roxana Illuminated Perfume 2016

Best Color Work: Unpublished

Album https://goo.gl/photos/1wF16zG6GU9EE61P9

  • John Harris The Ark, Oil
  • Vanessa Lemen Holding On and Letting Go, Oil on canvas
  • Miranda Meeks December, Digital
  • Shreya Shetty The Dragon Charmer, Digital
  • Michael Whelan In a World of Her Own, Acrylic

Best Monochrome Work: Unpublished

Album https://goo.gl/photos/VVrMNjUUgdFwRKtZ8

  • Marcela Bolivar White Crown, Photoshop
  • Jana Heidersdorf Darkness  Acrylics, pencil and digital
  • Travis Lewis Soul Engine, Graphite
  • Ruth Sanderson Luna, Scratchboard
  • Allen Williams The Fall of Night, Pencil

Best Three Dimensional Art

Album https://goo.gl/photos/tVmpAewdX2bLbTS26

  • Akihito Ikeda Nephila, Mixed media
  • Thomas Kuebler Medusa, Mixed media
  • Forest Rogers La Belle Crustace, premier air-dry clay & washi paper
  • Virginie Ropars The Evil Eye, Mixed media
  • Lee Shamel “The Scepter of the Crystal Flame”, Mixed media

Best Art Director

  • Neil Clarke Clarkesworld Magazine
  • Irene Gallo Tor/tor.com
  • Sheila Gilbert & Betsy Wollheim DAW Books
  • Lauren Panepinto Orbit Books
  • Cynthia Sheppard Wizards of the Coast

Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award

  • Iain McCaig
  • Greg Manchess
  • Hayao Miyazaki
  • Wendy Pini
  • Drew Struzan
  • Berni Wrightson

Update: 04/25/2017: Made minor corrections provided by ASFA.

2017 Hugo Award Voting Opens

Online voting for the 2017 Hugo Awards is now available and will continue until July 15 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

Members of Worldcon 75 have been emailed personalized links to the final ballot. Voting by postal mail is also an option — a printable version of the Hugo ballot was included in Progress Report 4, which can be downloaded from the convention’s website.

Those voting online can make as many changes to their ballots as they want up to the deadline. A copy of their current ballot will be emailed to them an hour after they finish modifying it.

The Hugo Voter Packet will be available by May. An announcement will be made when it is ready.

The Hugos will be presented August 11.

Kelli Fitzpatrick, Breakthrough Author

Kelli Fitzpatrick

By Carl Slaughter: Remember Dean Wesley Smith’s Star Trek anthology series?  It’s back, minus Smith, and not coincidentally on the 50th anniversary.  New author and Michigan creative writing teacher Kelli Fitzpatrick broke in through Simon & Schuster’s Strange New Worlds contest.  Her story, “Sunwalkers,” is based on a Season 7 of Next Generation and is about Dr. Crusher dealing with the departure of her son while simultaneously responding to a medical crisis on an alien world.  Fitzpatrick followed this by writing a review of the Season 3 episode “Ensigns of Command” for the forthcoming Outside In anthology.

Carl Slaughter:  How did you get interested in Star Trek?

Kelli Fitzpatrick:  I grew up watching Voyager with my Dad. He also had boxes of Star Trek books which I loved reading (and still do). As an adult, I once went camping just so I could read Star Trek novels for three days straight, uninterrupted.

CS:  How did you get interested in writing science fiction?

KF:  Science fiction was the genre that captured my imagination when I was scouring libraries for reading material as a teen. There’s something inherently optimistic—and important—about looking to the future of our world and envisioning what might be. I enjoy inhabiting that creative space.

CS:  How did you find out about the Strange New Worlds contest?

KF:  I found out about Strange New Worlds by searching for writing contests online (I participate in quite a few of them). When I saw it was a Star Trek related contest from the official publisher of the franchise, I was in.

CS:  What were the submissions guidelines?

KF:  The submission guidelines were essentially to submit a story between 7,000 and 10,000 words based on any of the Star Trek TV series or films (minus the animated series and the new alternate timeline films). The contest encouraged creative, engaging stories that fill gaps in the existing narrative, that might easily fit into the universe as untold episodes.

CS:  What’s the gist of “The Sunwalkers”?

KF:  My winning story, “The Sunwalkers,” is set in late Season 7 of The Next Generation, picking up right after “Journey’s End.” At the end of that episode, Doctor Crusher must suddenly say goodbye to her son, Wesley, and I wanted to have her explore the emotional fallout from such a loss, which is never really dealt with in the series. In my story, she must also simultaneously deal with a medical crisis on an alien world. There’s some action and some touching moments—overall I really like the way the story turned out.

CS:  Didn’t Dean Wesley Smith do Strange New Worlds anthologies for a while?  Wasn’t that discontinued?  Is there a connection?

KF:  Yes, there were ten volumes of the Strange New Worlds anthologies issued by Pocket Books prior to this one. I own all ten of them—there are some fantastic stories from very talented writers in those pages, including my good friend Derek Attico who is featured in SNW 8 as well as in the current edition. The reason to relaunch the contest with slightly different guidelines was not specified by the publisher, although the release did coincide with Star Trek’s 50th anniversary.

CS:  What is Outside In: The Next Generation?

KF:  Outside In: The Next Generation is a forthcoming print anthology of episode reviews from ATB Publishing that will contain a review of every single episode of TNG, each written by a different writer. The reviews can be creative in format (such as recipes or log entries), with many being humorous, and all are meant to illuminate some significant or thought-provoking aspect of the episode. One of ATB’s previous volumes—Outside In Boldly Goes—which reviewed all episodes of TOS, was extremely fascinating to read and included contributors such as Larry Nemecek and Robert Greenberger.

CS:  What’s the gist of “Not Lost in Translation: The Ensigns of Command”?

KF:  I was honored to be invited to contribute to the Outside In: TNG anthology, and I chose to review the Season 3 episode “The Ensigns of Command,” in which Data must convince a group of human colonists to evacuate Tau Cygna V before the Sheliak arrive and take their planet back by force. The angle of my review focuses on analyzing the language theme of the episode, which manifests in several unexpected ways.

CS:  Do you write a lot of Star Trek fan fiction?

KF:  No. I loved writing my Strange New Worlds story, and hope to write more Trek stories in the future, but I would prefer to do so through officially licensed opportunities. In the meantime, I’m hard at work on original fiction and poetry.

CS:  What other type of Star Trek fan activity do you participate in?

KF:  I’m fairly active in online circles of Star Trek writers and commentators, who happen to be some of the most amazing, hilarious, kind-hearted professionals I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and learning from. I regularly attend conventions like ComicCon, and have just been scheduled as an Author Guest for Shore Leave 39.

CS:  How do you use Star Trek to teach writing to high school students?

KF:  Star Trek has informed and inspired my teaching in two capacities: providing great role models, and instilling in me an unquenchable thirst for exploration, which I strive to pass on to my students. Captain Janeway has always been a role model of mine in that she is a force to be reckoned with in her professionalism and drive, yet also has a big heart and a fiercely firm conscience. That is very much a description of how I run my classroom. Doctor Crusher inspired me to learn to work well under pressure, and to go above and beyond to help those in my care, which I believe is a necessary trait of any good educator. Learning is all about exploring unknown ideas, and there is no frontier so vast and teeming with new discoveries as the stars, or the blank page; that’s why my classroom library is space themed, with Hubble images hanging over my walls of books. I want my English students and the students in my writing club to yearn for understanding—of themselves and of the universe—and that is the core wonder Star Trek is built around.

CS:  Do you write any type of science fiction other than Star Trek?

KF:  Yes! I have written several science fiction short stories and flash fiction pieces, one of which—“To Stick a Star”—took 4th place in the international NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge this year. Several of my stories are currently under submission to sci-fi magazines, and I’m working on several more, as well as novels in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, and YA. While I have written in almost every genre imaginable, sci-fi will always be my first love, and I’m proud to have joined the ranks of writers who help shape the way humanity views our future and our place in the cosmos.




15th Annual Rondo Award Winners

This photo of Hatton in the 1946 film House of Horrors was an inspiration for the distinctive bust given to winners.

The voters’ choices for the 15th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards were announced April 23. More than 3,200 fans and professionals participated in the voting.

The Rondo Awards Ceremony will be held at WonderFest Convention in Louisville on June 4.






Runner-up: ASH VS. EVIL DEAD;





Honorable mentions: CAT PEOPLE (Criterion); CARRIE (Shout); CARNIVAL OF SOULS (Criterion); IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE 3-D (Kino)


  • FRANKENSTEIN: Complete Legacy Collection (Universal)

Runner-up: VINCENT PRICE COLLECTION III (Scream Factory)




Runner-up: SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (Universal)

Honorable mentions: CARNIVAL OF SOULS (Criterion); CARRIE (Shout)



Runner-up: STUART COHEN (The Thing, 1982)

Honorable mentions: TOM WEAVER (Undying Monster); DAVID DEL VALLE (Theater of Blood)


  • THE THING (Interviews with John Carpenter, Keith David, Wilfred Brimley, others)

Runner-up: EXORCIST III (‘Legion’ cut of the film);

Honorable mentions: CAT PEOPLE (French interview with director Jacques Tourneur); CARRIE (Interviews with Nancy Allen, others)


  • HUSH, directed by Mike Flanagan




  • H.P. LOVECRAFT’S THE BEAST IN THE CAVE, directed by Cameron McCasland




  • FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK, directed by Adam Spock




  • SOMETHING IN THE BLOOD: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula, by David J. Skal

Runner-up: BELA LUGOSI IN PERSON by Bill Kaffenberger and Gary Don Rhodes

Honorable mentions: FANTASTIQUE: Interviews with Horror, Sci_fi and Fantasy Filmmakers, by Tony Earnshaw; BEWARE THE MOON: The Story of An American Werewolf in London; SCORED TO DEATH: Conversations with Some of Horror’s Greatest Composers, by J. Blake Fichera








BEST ARTICLES (Two winners)

  1. ‘Dracula and the It Girl,’  by Andi Brooks, SCARY MONSTERS #100. (Lugosi and Clara Bow)
  2. ‘I Am the King of My Kind,’ by Constantine Nasr, LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #36.

Runners-up: ‘The Great American Werewolf Reunion,’ by David Weiner, FAMOUS MONSTERS #284; ‘A HorrorHound’s Guide to Documentaries,’ by Nathan Hanneman, HORRORHOUND #60.

Honorable mentions: Madness, Myth and the Modern Prometheus,’ by Dejan Ognjanovic, RUE MORGUE #171; ‘The Witch of North Bennington,’ by April Snellings, RUE MORGUE #170; ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre: Variations and Version Bllod,’ by Tim Lucas, VIDEO WATCHDOG #182; ‘Uncle Forry: A Century of Inspiration,’ by Cliff Robertson, SCARY MONSTERS #102.

BEST INTERVIEW (Award goes to interviewer)

  • Jason Hignite interviews Cassandra Peterson, HORRORHOUND #61

Runner-up: Mark Mawston’s expanded interview with Ray Harryhausen, SCARY MONSTERS #100

Honorable mentions :John Bowen interviews Don Coscarelli and David Hartman, RUE MORGUE #166; Preston Fassel interviews H.G. Lewis, RUE MORGUE #173 Trevor Parker interviews Barbara Crampton, DELIRIUM #11;


  • The Doctor Is In-Sane, by Dr. Gangrene (SCARY MONSTERS)

Runners-up: Larry Blamire’s Star Turn (VIDEO WATCHDOG); It Came from Bowen’s Basement, by John T. Bowen, RUE MORGUE

Honorable mentions: Rondo Remembers by Ron Adams (MONSTER BASH); They Came from the Crypt, by Jon Kitley, HORRORHOUND


  • FAMOUS MONSTERS #284 by Rick Baker

Runners-up: DIABOLIQUE #24 by Mark Spears

Honorable mentions: SCARY MONSTERS #102 by Scott Jackson; HORRORHOUND # 57 by Jason Edmiston



Runners-up: Dread Central; Blumhouse

Honorable mentions: Collinsport Historical Society; Dr, Gangrene’s Mad Blog; Vampire Over London; Better Days, Benner Nights



Runners-up: Shock Waves; The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price; Monster Kid Radio

Honorable mentions: Damn Dirty Geeks; Count Gore De Vol’s Creature Features; Between Light and Shadow: A Twilight Zone Podcast; Horror Happens



Runners-up: Monsterpalooza; HorrorHound Weekend

Honorable mentions: WonderFest; Chiller; G-FEST; Texas Frightmare


  • TRIBUTE TO BERNIE WRIGHTSON (Creature Features, Burbank)

Runner-up: Elvira inducted to Horror Host Hall of Fame (HorrorHound Weekend)

Honorable mentions: Guillermo Del Toro exhibit in L.A.; American Werewolves in Santa Rosa



Runner-up: Dr. Gangrene

Honorable mentions: ?Penny Dreadful; Count Gore De Vol; Lord Blood-Rah; Karlos Borloff


  • AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Francesco Francavilla)

Runners-up: John Carpenter’s Tales For a Halloween Night Vol. 2; Haunted Horrors

Honorable mentions: Creeps; Tales from the Acker-Mansion; Providence



Runners-up: John Carpenter’s Lost Themes II; H.P. Lovecraft; Midnight Syndicate: Zombies!



  • April Snellings

A true horror journalist, April Snellings has delved deeply intio the reality surrounding monsters and supernatural lore. from the secret history of opuija boards to a look at Shirley Jackson’s impact on horror, April is one of Rue Morgue’s most prolific staff writers. Recipient of a Society of Professional Journalists award, April also has ventured into radio drama with a well-received episode of Tales Beyond the Pale.

Runners-up: David Weiner, Nathan Hanneman, Larry Underwood, Tim Lucas, Tom Weaver, Tim Paxton


  • Mark Maddox

When it comes to monsters we’ve known and loved, the work of Mark Maddox is everywhere. Whether reawakening the familiar (Dracula, Rodan), or the obscure (Doctor Who aliens, Carmilla), Mark is a fan favorite and an editor’s delight. No wonder his work is nominated for several covers each year.

Runners-up: Daniel Horne, Scott Jackson, Gary Pullin, Frank Dietz, Jason Edmiston, L.J. Dopp, Peter Von Sholly, Mike Hill, Ama Lea, George Chastain

LINDA MILLER AWARD FOR FAN ARTIST OF THE YEAR (In memory of the late Linda Miller)

  • Malcolm Gittins

The art of Malcolm Gittins is raw and day-glo, taking observers back to the very essence of monster magazines, toys and fandom. Malcolm doesn’t go for hyper-realism but for the essence of what attracted kids, and Monster Kids, to the movies in the first place. In short, he paints what we used to see.

Runners-up: John Sargent, Jerrod Brown, Eric Swartz, Belle Dee.


  • Forrest J Ackerman square

Monster fans in L.A. had a dream — naming a square near Forrest J Ackerman’s favorite haunt, the House of Pies, after FJA himself. With the help of Los Feliz Councilman David Ryu, fans Joe Moe, Sean Fernald, Paul Davids and others made it happen. (And yes, the period after J has been removed!)


  • Pierre Fournier, Return to ‘Frankenstein Lake’

Frankenstein scholar Pierre Fournier  spearheaded the idea to hold a remarkable reunion in the Malibou Mountains last spring. That’s when Sara Karloff met Don Watkins, son of Marilyn Harris who played  ‘Little Maria,’ at the exact same spot where the Monster threw Watkins’ mother into the lake in the 1931 Frankenstein. ‘All is forgiven,’ Watkins told Sara, but the moment was surprisingly emotional, even 75 years later.


  • Don and Vicki Smeraldi

During a time when print magazines face ever more obstacles, Don and Vicki Smeraldi took on the challenge of keeping SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE alive. After publisher Dennis Druktenis’ retirement, the Smeraldis took over with #101, ensuring the ‘Only Real Monster Magazine’ will live on!



Bob Furmanek has spent a lifetime preserving, seeking and celebrating the lost classics, with a special eye to the third dimension. Bob founded the 3-D Film Archive in 1990, and helped restore films such as IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE and GOG to 3-D glory.


While he rarely dressed as a ghost, John Stanley was a true horror host, helming ‘Creature Features’ in San Francisco for six years after Bob Wilkins moved on. Erudite and playful, Stanley interviewed Vincent Price, Christopher Lee  and others. Now a writer, his movie guides recall the days before VHS, when monster movies ruled TV.


Critic and writer Richard Harland Smith has the rare gift of being able to explain the nuances of horror movies to those who know little about the genre. Richard’s Movie Morlocks blog at TCM found new audiences for some of the channel’s cult films. A writer for VIDEO WATCHDOG, a founder of the Mobius Home Video Forum and a frequent DVD commentator, RHS always bring a fresh take on the odd, or the familiar.


Podacsts often are hit-and-miss, odd schedules, flexible formats. Not so at B-Movie Cast, where the late Vince Rotolo, his wife and crew discussed B-movies every Sunday. The show influenced many, including Derek Koch of Monster Kid Radio who was a frequent  guest and called him a mentor.  Vince explained his passion this way: ‘Just because you grow old doesn’t mean you have to grow up.’


The late Mark Miller was a film historian who focused on British cinema and classic horror. His filmographies of  Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee,are the definitive references. A teacher for 30 years, he was a frequent contributor to monster magazines and books, and always a major presence at Cinevent in Ohio and the Fanex conventions in Maryland.

Pixel Scroll 4/23/17 Scroll White And The Seven Pixels

(1) BORN ON THE SEVENTH OF JULY. In “Spinning a high-tech web”, the LA Times provides an elaborate, photo-illustrated preview of Tony Stark’s upgrade to the new Spider-Man suit that will be seen in Spider-Man: Homecoming, due in theaters July 7.

(2) FILK HALL OF FAME. The 2017 inductees to the Filk Halll of Fame were announced at FilkOntario this weekend:

(3) FAHRENHEIT 451 TO SMALL SCREEN? The Bradbury novel is on the road to development once more. “HBO to Adapt Fahrenheit 451, starring Michael B. Jordan”  — BookRiot has the story.

Now, HBO is “moving toward a production commitment” (via Variety) on a feature-length adaptation of Bradbury’s 1953 novel starring Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Chronicle, Fantastic Four) as the protagonist Guy Montag and Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, Boardwalk Empire) as Montag’s boss, Captain Beatty.

The film will be directed by Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes, At Any Price), who is co-writing with Amir Naderi (99 Homes, The Runner). David Coatsworth (production manager on Underworld: Evolution, Ender’s Game, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) will serve as producer.

(4) THEY’RE HUUGE! “Black Holes Are Bigger Than You Thought” accuses Yahoo! News. (Just how big did you think they were? How did Yahoo! News find out?)

Now meet S5 0014+81.

It’s the largest black hole ever discovered and is heavier than our Sun by 40 billion times (40, 000, 000, 000) in the last observation.

If you plug in the equation above, you’ll find that this black hole has a Schwarzschild radius of about… 119 billion kilometers, along with a said diameter of about 236,39 billion km.

(5) THE TOUGHEST AROUND. Let Den of Geek point you at “17 really difficult LEGO sets”.

The Tower Of Orthanc

It may look simple enough on the box, but The Lord Of The Rings’ Tower Of Orthanc is actually a real tough cookie. Because most of its 2,359 pieces are jet black and slim, working out which bit goes where is the stuff of nightmares (in, um, a good way). The Treebeard that comes with it will make the struggle worth it… honest.

Buy The Tower Of Orthanc now for £348.07.


  • April 23 — World Book and Copyright Day

Pays tribute to authors and books and their social and cultural contribution to the world

(7) DID YOU KNOW? Last year the International Costumers’ Guild participated in a “friend of the court” brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, joining Public Knowledge, the American Library Association, and others, asking the Court to protect the rights of clothing designers and costumers to freely practice their craft.

(8) AT HOME. The Verge’s Andrew Liptak reports “Netflix will invest billions to shoot its original content in California”:

Netflix is betting that filming closer to home will produce better content. In 2015, the streaming giant has announced that it would be doubling its output of original content, and it is aiming to have original productions make up half of its of its streaming catalog in the coming years. The goal is to entice users to come to the service by providing content that can’t be found elsewhere, but that goal is proving to be a strain on the existing film studio infrastructure. To cope, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos announced that the company would be investing $6 billion to expand infrastructure in California, rather than chase tax incentives offered by states.

Sarandos explained to The Wrap that the company determined that going after the incentives leads to diminishing returns when it comes to their final products. Filming out of state is hard on the actors and crew of a project, and the move will help bring projects back home to California. That could prove to be costly for the company, even as California has increased its own tax incentive program in recent years. While remaining in the state will likely cost Netflix more, Sarandos seems to think that the extra cost will be worth spending.

(9) SQUEAK UP. YouTube’s TheBackyardScientist set up 10 megaphones end-to-end to see how loud a noise he could make.

The video, posted to YouTube by TheBackyardScientist, features Kevin Kohler explaining he was inspired by Bart Simpson‘s prank in the season 8 Simpsons episode The Secret War of Lisa Simpson to place 10 megaphones end-to-end and test the results.

Bart’s experiment led to a shock wave that shattered all of the windows in town — as well as Homer’s fridge full of beer — but Kohler quickly ran into a problem Bart didn’t face: a feedback loop.


(10) BITE ON. The number of people who give their smartphones to dogs as chew toys is probably smaller than the number of men who have walked on the moon, but for them — “There’s an anti-dog label inside the Galaxy S8 — here’s what it means”. Let The Verge explain it to you.

Basically, you don’t want Fido in a situation where a battery could hiss and explode in its mouth. It’s obviously possible that a child could bite through the battery as well, but the likelihood of him / her piercing through the battery is lower.

(11) ARTIFICIAL DOG INTELLIGENCE. Amazing. How is it mine doesn’t do that?

(12) FIX THE SLATING PROBLEM FOREVER. That’s what Greg Hullender would like to do. At Rocket Stack Rank he summarizes his views about the effectiveness of 3SV, EPH(+) and their combination. He says, “I  think it makes it really clear that we need both 3SV and either EPH or EPH+. Otherwise, even small slates (100 to 200 people) will be able to control a significant amount of the final ballot, including adding embarrassing nominees.”

For each year, we produced two theoretical maximum graphs. A “finalist graph,” which shows what percentage of finalists a slate could have captured for a given number of slate voters, and a “sweeps” graph, which shows what percentage of entire categories a slate could have captured.

Looking at those four pairs of graphs (2.1-2.4 below), we will draw the following conclusions;

  • Std (5/6) by itself is far too weak.
  • EPH doesn’t protect enough finalists, but it is excellent at preventing sweeps.
  • EPH+ is an improvement on EPH, but it’s still not enough by itself.
  • 3SV is much stronger for protecting finalists, especially for modest numbers of slate voters, but it’s vulnerable to sweeps, and it breaks down for slates above about 300 people.
  • The 3SV/EPH and 3SV/EPH+ combinations are far, far stronger than either component alone. Either combination is probably sufficient, but the second one is stronger.

Accordingly, we conclude that the Business Meeting should ratify both EPH+ and 3SV. That should protect the Hugos from slating interference for the nonce.

(13) DREAM CASTING. Enjoy “Miles To Go” hosted at Archive of Our Own. Note – Password = Vorkosigan (as it says at the post).

There once was a man who dreamt of the stars…

A fanvid based on the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold.

…Obviously, it’s not so easy to make a feast for a fandom with no existing visual source. But where there’s a will, or in my case an enormous and driving folly, there’s a way. It was always going to be an ensemble vid, with Miles as the star, but the question was how to cast it. I did eventually solve that problem, and I won’t discuss my solution in detail here because… spoilers.

[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Robin Reid, JJ, Doctor Science, Greg Hullender, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]

International Costumers’ Guild Lifetime Achievement Awards

Sue Kulinyi and Eric Cannon

Eric Cannon and Sue Kulinyi were honored with the International Costumers’ Guild’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Awards this weekend at Costume-Con 35 in Mississauga, Ontario.

The ICG Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a body of achievement in the costuming art and service to the costuming community. Candidates for the award:

  • Shall have been active in the costuming community for at least 10 years.
  • Shall have achieved significant recognition for their costuming skills, which may be in the form of, but not restricted to, competitive awards, professional accomplishments, teaching of skills, and/or media recognition.
  • Shall have made significant contributions in service to the costuming community.

The husband and wife team of Eric Cannon and Sue Kulinyi are well-known videographers.

Their award citation says —

[They] make it their mission to make costumers look good onstage for future generations to view, as well as providing DVDs for participants to take home to show off, mere hours after the convention has closed.

As official videographers to many costuming conventions, Eric and Sue use their own equipment and usually have to drive to convention sites, and spend considerable time setting up multiple cameras and attending technical rehearsals because they know how important this will be to the costumers and to the archival process.

They are also active in procuring old videos of past convention masquerades and have preserved this footage, making it available through their company, Rare Recorded Videos. Given the frailty of video tape, much of our costuming past was in danger of being lost forever had it not been for their efforts to collect this footage and donate copies to the ICG Kennedy Archives.

In 2014, Eric undertook to further our history by lobbying the Library of Congress to accept our masquerade DVDs into their archive. Because of his efforts, costuming in all its forms has been “recognized as a legitimate art form.”

Sue sometimes steps in as Stage Manager, a role that includes organizing and coordinating the operation of the main stage, and the operation of lighting and sound for the masquerade contestants. Eric occasionally finds time to participate in masquerades, sitting in the audience in costume to record, then running backstage at the last minute to join a costume group and carefully resuming his position behind the camera when the entry is finished.

Eric and Sue have made a major contributions to the continuation of our hobby and art form. They do this with consummate professionalism and good humour.

A year ago Lisa Ashton was presented the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award at Costume-Con 34 in Madison, WI.

Lisa Ashton

Her citation reads:

Lisa Ashton has been active in the costuming community since 1989 when she attended her first Worldcon. She has been recognized as a Master Costumer who is renowned for her workmanship, especially in beading.

Known as an expert in 19th century historical costuming, Lisa founded the ICG’s first Special Intrest Group, “Miss Lizzy’s Traveling Historical Fashion Show,” which exhibits selections from her extensive collection of historic clothing, jewelry, photographs, books, and journals about 19th century American dress and domestic life.

Lisa is also is a tireless volunteer in the community, serving on convention committees, presenting on panels at conventions, teaching workshops to share her knowledge and skills, and serving as a presentation and workmanship judge for several dozen Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Historic masquerades.


Group photo of ICG Lifetime Achievement Award winners taken in 2016. Left to right: Sandy Pettinger, Nora Mai. Pierre Pettinger, Kevin Roche, Jacqueline Ward, Tina Connell, Ricky Dick, Lisa Ashton, Bruce Mai, Ann Catelli, Dawn McKechnie, Dana MacDermott, Bruce MacDermott, Byron Connell, Karen Schnaubelt. Photo: Scott Johnson. ©2016 Realtime Portrait Studio.

Steve Stiles Replaces Alex Garner on Hugo Ballot

The Worldcon 75 Hugo Administrators have removed Best Fan Artist nominee Alex Garner from the Hugo ballot after being informed by him that the entirety of his published 2016 work was professional and not fan art.

Nicholas Whyte, lead administrator, said, “With regret, we have no alternative but to disqualify him as a finalist for Best Fan Artist. We very much appreciate his candor in dealing with this awkward situation, and respect his integrity in bringing the matter to our attention.”

Alex Garner’s name appeared on Vox Day’s 2017 Rabid Puppies slate, therefore removing him has also changed the calculus of the “Measuring the Rabid Puppies Effect on the 2017 Hugo Ballot” post, which has been updated.

Garner’s place on the ballot for Best Fan Artist has been taken by the next available candidate, Steve Stiles.

Whyte adds, “Paper Hugo ballots will be reprinted and the online Hugo ballot (which will go live shortly) will be amended accordingly.”

The full press release follows the jump.

Continue reading

Your Flying Car

By Carl Slaughter:  (1) Larry Page’s secret flying car project: “Welcome to Larry Page’s Secret Flying-Car Factories”.

In the handful of news articles that ensued, all the startup would say was that it wasn’t affiliated with Google or any other technology company. Then it stopped answering media inquiries altogether. Employees say they were even given wallet-size cards with instructions on how to deflect questions from reporters. After that, the only information that trickled out came from amateur pilots, who occasionally posted pictures of a strange-looking plane taking off from a nearby airport.

Turns out, Zee.Aero doesn’t belong to Google or its holding company, Alphabet. It belongs to Larry Page, Google’s co-founder. Page has personally funded Zee.Aero since its launch in 2010 while demanding that his involvement stay hidden from the public, according to 10 people with intimate knowledge of the company. Zee.Aero, however, is just one part of Page’s plan to usher in an age of personalized air travel, free from gridlocked streets and the cramped indignities of modern flight. Like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, Page is using his personal fortune to build the future of his childhood dreams.

Previously known patents registered by Zee.Aero show a craft that matches this description, with a thin central fuselage and twin rows of propellors like outriggers. The patent, filed in 2012, says the aircraft is capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and is described as a “safe, quiet, easy to control, efficient and compact aircraft.” Not quite a flying car, then, but certainly a vision of personal aviation.

The other startup Page has been investing in, Kitty Hawk, has reportedly been building its own craft “that resembles a giant version of a quadcopter drone,” according to Bloomberg‘s sources. The startup is smaller than Zee.Aero, and kept separate from its older rival. Some of its engineers come from AeroVelo — a firm that previously won the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize in 2013 for building a human-powered helicopter that can stay aloft for more than a minute (see the video below). And Kitty Hawk wouldn’t be the first firm to design a quadcopter-inspired aircraft; similar concepts have been floated by Chinese firm Ehang and even built by lone engineers.

(2) Uber hires NASA engineer to develop flying car — “Uber hires NASA veteran to help it figure out flying cars”.

Mark Moore, a 30-year veteran of NASA, has left the aeronautics agency for a seemingly more terrestrial business: ride-hailing giant Uber. But Moore won’t be working on anything as boring as expanding Uber’s ground operation. According to Bloomberg, he will be working on the company’s nascent on-demand aviation service, also known as Uber’s flying car project.

To be sure, Moore won’t be building a flying car for Uber — at least not yet. Last October, the company released a white paper that envisioned a flying taxi service as a network of lightweight, electric aircraft that take off and land vertically from preexisting urban heliports and skyscraper rooftops. These VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing, pronounced vee-tol) aircraft would operate using fixed wings with tilt prop-rotors.

(3) Europeans take flight in cars. “Flying cars take off on French Riviera”.

Bratislava-based Aeromobil, whose first prototype presented two years ago suffered an accident, is back with a “new generation” of flying vehicle named after the firm which makes it.

“We are taking reservations from today for deliveries expected in 2020, after the process of (regulatory) approvals is completed,” the Slovak firm’s spokesman Stefan Vadocz told AFP.

The Aeromobil vehicle, six metres long and with a fully-deployed span of nine metres, is a normal four-wheeled car which can unfold its wings to transform itself into a plane able to fly two passengers at a cruising speed of 260 km/h for up to 750 kilometres.

Flying cars, that perennial dream for futurists that always seem to be at least five years away, may be a little closer to reality than we realize. A lot of prototypes have been showcased recently, and a lot of money is being tossed around. More people than ever seem to buy into the crazy notion that in the near future we’ll be buzzing between rooftops in private, autonomous drones. Today, Munich-based Lilium Aviation announced an important milestone: the first test flight of its all-electric, two-seater, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) prototype.

In a video provided by the Munich-based startup, the aircraft can be seen taking off vertically like a helicopter, and then accelerating into forward flight using wing-borne lift.


(4) China does passenger drones. “Passenger-Carrying EHang 184 Drone Unveiled At CES”

Imagine dressing for work, grabbing your lunch, and then hopping in a drone for your commute.

That is what Chinese company EHang imagines life could be like with its man-sized drone — although the company is light so far on evidence that it can actually pull it off.

(5) Forget flying cars, passenger drones are the future. “Forget Flying Cars: Passenger Drones May Be Hovering Soon at a Location Near You”

At first blush, human-carrying drones sound no more realistic than flying cars. Until recently inventors had never been able to marry automobiles and aircraft in a practical way. Yet a few companies have kept at it: Woburn, Mass.–based Terrafugia, for example, has since 2006 been developing Transition, a “roadable aircraft” that resembles a small airplane that can fold its wings and drive on roads. A personal flying car in every garage has proved to be a tough sell, however, and there are serious safety concerns about asking the average commuter to train for a pilot’s license and take to the skies.

Passenger drones, by contrast, would operate autonomously and leave the “roadable” part behind in favor of larger versions of aircraft that already exist. Chinese start-up EHANG last month announced it would debut its passenger drone service in Dubai in July. The EHANG184 autonomous aerial vehicle resembles an overgrown quadcopter with a passenger cab perched on top. Last October ride-hailing service Uber publicized its Elevate program for urban air transportation and announced support for companies building vehicles similar to the 184. Uber recently bolstered its plans by hiring Mark Moore, an aircraft engineer at NASA Langley Research Center and pioneer in vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft designs. Several other companies, including Joby Aviation and Silicon Valley start-ups Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk—the latter two backed by Google co-founder Larry Page—are racing to develop electric-powered VTOL aircraft that could help make Elevate a reality. Terrafugia likewise plans to eventually offer a VTOL flying vehicle—the TF-X—in addition to the Transition.

(6) Hover golf cart.  See a video report — “The Amazing Hovering Golf Cart of the Future”.

(7) Yes, but will it come with a parachute? “Flying cars may be poised to take off, but survey shows Americans want a parachute “.

As for takeoff and landing, most respondents — 83% — would prefer vertical launch to taking flight runway-style. (The survey didn’t ask, but earth-bound cars and truck drivers may feel even more strongly about it.)

Nearly 80% said a parachute would be “very” or “extremely” important.

Last Friday, the AeroMobil 3.0 prototype, recently featured in Popular Science’s 2015 Invention Awards, crashed during a flight test in Slovakia. When the flying car ran into trouble, its pilot, company co-founder Štefan Klein, deployed a whole-aircraft parachute, which slowed the descent and saved Klein’s life. But the impact on the ground seems to have destroyed the craft itself.

(8) Yes, but does it meet FAA standards? “FAA Gives Flying Car Prototype the Go-Ahead as a Light Sport Aircraft”.

The Terrafugia Transition is a prototype automobile-aircraft that is about the closest thing to a flying car that we have. It’s street legal and it can fly, and now the FAA has granted the Woburn, Massachusetts-based company exemption from weight and stall-speed limits so the Transition flying car can be certified as a light sport aircraft (LSA), according to Aviation Week.

(9) Never happen. “Man will never walk on the Moon.”  “Man will never have flying taxis.” “Uber’s Flying Car Ambitions Are Lofty And Ridiculous”.

So Uber is mostly skipping the car part, instead making a plane that takes off and lands like a helicopter, and designing it to fly from helipads. Helicopters–an existing, proven technology–already meet most of the needs for Uber’s planned flying machine, but they’re too slow for the commuter flights of 20 minutes or less that Uber wants from urban hubs to residential suburbs (or the downtown hubs of suburban areas). To meet this, Uber wants an aircraft that can fly between 150 mph and 200 mph. That’s speedier than all but the most cutting edge military helicopters, but within the range of VTOL aircraft–which is why Uber wants it to switch to flying like a plane once it’s off the ground. On top of all that, the company wants the vehicle to be all-electric, to keep down noise and emissions.

Remembering Yvonne Monlaur (1939-2017)

Yvonne Monlaur, left, Steve Vertlieb, center, Veronica Carlson, right

By Steve Vertlieb: Yvonne Monlaur was the young, fabulously lovely, sweetly innocent French actress who co-starred with Peter Cushing in Hammer Films’ classic vampire thriller Brides Of Dracula (1960), directed by Terence Fisher, and appeared opposite Christopher Lee in Hammer’s Terror of the Tongs (1961).

She was a sweet, gentle lady who cherished her fans, and was ever grateful for the opportunities that she’d been given. Yvonne, and dear friend Veronica Carlson introduced me from the stage when I presented the posthumous “Laemmle” life achievement award to Bernard Herrmann (accepted by his daughter, Dorothy) at the wonderful Fanex monster film convention in Crystal City, Virginia in 2000.

She was always the most gracious, kind, and humble actress that you’d ever wish to meet. Yvonne passed away, sadly, this past week on Tuesday, April 18th, at age 77. Her gentle presence will be missed by all of us who frequented these events, but her radiant beauty and generosity of spirit will live on in her many screen appearances, as well as in the joyful memories of those of us fortunate enough to have met, and known her. May God rest her tender soul.

Erin Moran (1960-2017)

By Steve Green: Erin Moran: US actress, died April 22, aged 56. Best known for playing Joanie in Happy Days and several spin-off shows, she starred in the 1981 movie Galaxy of Terror and had a small role in Not Another B Movie (2010), her final screen appearance.