Pixel Scroll 2/29/16 Leap Scroll

Your host will be on the road for a couple days attending Nic Farey’s wedding to Jennifer AlLee on February 29. I have prepared a couple of Scrolls in advance.

(1) A RINGING ENDORSEMENT. Tor.com has the story – “Star Trek’s Best Writer/Director EVER Has Joined the Crew of CBS’ New Star Trek TV Show”.

Star Trek fans of every shade just received the best news: writer/director Nicholas Meyer is joining CBS’ new Star Trek television show, which is set to debut in 2017 with Bryan Fuller producing.

Not sure who Nicholas Meyer is? He’s the guy who saved Star Trek from obscurity and made it smarter than you ever realized. Here’s why this is possibly the best geek-related news of the past 20 years.

(2) AUTUN PURSER. See Autun Purser Illustration, the online gallery, portfolio and shop for a gifted part-time illustrator and full-time deep sea ecologist.

I am a lifelong science fiction fan and I have enjoyed some success with my series of travel posters, advertising travel to destinations from unusual fiction — the ‘Fantastic Travel Destinations’. The majority of these are available for print purchase direct, or from various bookshops and conventions.

Click to see the artist’s fantastic travel posters – first up, Arrakis. Purser also did the cover and some of the interiors for the 24th issue of the Hugo-winning Journey Planet, plus artwork for Gollancz covers, and numerous other works.

(3) DELANY. Here’s a one-hour interview with Samuel R. Delany at the University of Pennsylvania on February 16.

(4) ELIZABETH EISENSTEIN OBIT. Elizabeth Eisenstein died January 31 at the age of 92 reports the New York Times.

A retired faculty member of the University of Michigan, Professor Eisenstein was renowned for “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Europe,” first published in 1979. Spanning two volumes and nearly 800 pages, the work has been translated into many languages and remains in print…..

“It’s quite unusual for an academic book to achieve its 25th anniversary and still be vital to the discourse in the field,” Professor Baron, a historian at the University of Maryland, said. “Her book continues to be reviewed as if it just came out.”

In “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change,” Professor Eisenstein argued that the development of movable type by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century helped inaugurate a set of sweeping social changes thanks to the authoritative, widely tangible dissemination of information it allowed.

“What printing did was to standardize texts,” Professor Baron explained. “So you would have numerous people all over Europe reading exactly the same thing. Information had a much greater reach, a much wider audience, a much greater impact.”

(5) TERRI WINDLING’S QUIET MORNING. Artist Terri Windling, in “A Quiet Morning in the Studio”, uses a compelling 1974 essay by Ursula K. Le Guin as the frame for some fine dragon and unicorn pencil drawings, and a couple of dog photographs.

(6) NEXT COMPANION. Screen Rant speculates about 12 actors whose selection as the next companion would be a Doctor Who dream cast. Number 6 —

Eleanor Tomlinson is known for a variety of roles, most recently that of Georgiana Darcy in the BBC Miniseries Death Comes to Pemberley and currently as Demelza Poldark in Poldark. Still relatively young and establishing her place in the British acting world, a companion role on Doctor Who would serve not only to bring awareness to her talent, but also help guide her in refining her skills.

Tomlinson’s sweet, young and endearing nature would allow audiences to relate to her and set her up to become a fan favorite. But much like Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), youth would give younger Whovians a reason to connect with her and be impressed by the talent she brings to the role. Tomlinson would play off Capaldi’s Doctor extremely well.

(7) NOT ENTIRELY ALTERNATE HISTORY. Destination Planet Negro by Kevin Wilmott (co-writer of Spike Lee’s Chiraq). Release date May 20, 2016.

“Three brave explorers in search of a better place… instead found Kansas City…”

I’m not making this up! But the trailer has a review quote from Ray Bradbury, so somebody’s making it up…

(8) MAYBE THERE’S STILL SOME LUCK IN IT. During Heritage Auction’s Rare Books Signature Auction on April 6 the public will have a chance to bid on assorted Harry Potter items – including the very chair used by J.K. Rowling as she wrote the first two books of the Harry potter series.

In 2002, she decorated one of the chairs from her welfare days—taking care to paint “I wrote Harry Potter while sitting in this chair” on the seat’s apron—and donated it to a private charity auction for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Her philanthropy inspired her fans as well who used their own communities to bring awareness to social causes, including the non-profit organization The Harry Potter Alliance.

(9) CTHULHU BREW. Narragansett has introduced I Am Providence Imperial Red Ale.

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Taste & Enjoy:  I Am Providence pours a mysterious dark red with a complex amalgam of flavors. The blend of malts lead to flavors of biscuits and sweet caramel, and the Warrior and Citra hops bring aromas of pine and citrus that meld on the palate to create an intriguing balance.

The History: The latest chapter in the Lovecraft Series pays tribute to Lovecraft’s adoration for his hometown by heralding his famous words – “I Am Providence.” Later inscribed on his gravestone in 1977, this resonant phrase lives on as a tribute to Lovecraft and anyone who has ever called Providence home.

(10) ANOTHER TOLKIEN. Simon Tolkien, grandson of J. R. R. Tolkien, and the eldest child of Christopher Tolkien, is keeping up a family tradition. From Publisher’s Lunch:

Simon Tolkien’s NO MAN’S LAND, the story of a boy who grows up between the turbulent years of 1909 to 1919, starting life as an impoverished child in London who moves to a hard-living coal mining community and is subsequently adopted by the wealthy owner of an Edwardian country house, where he and the owner’s younger son become fierce rivals for the same girl, a rivalry that leads them to develop a murderous hatred for one another which affects all the characters around them, in a novel of faith, class, and war including the horrors of the Battle of the Somme which has profound effects on them all, [sold] to Nan Talese at Nan A. Talese, in a pre-empt, by [agent] Marly Rusoff at Marly Rusoff & Associates (NA).

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Will R., and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

Pixel Scroll 2/28/16 Little Old Lady Got Mutilated Late Last Night, Pixels Of London, Again

Your host will be on the road for a couple days attending Nic Farey’s wedding to Jennifer AlLee on February 29. I have prepared a couple of Scrolls in advance.

(1) CAN’T WE JUST ALL GET ALONG? Roz Kaveny tills the unsatisfactory middle ground between five recent studies of “Tolkien’s English Mythology” in the Times Literary Supplement.

In a sense, of course, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are offcuts from Tolkien’s principal and in the end unfinished and unfinishable work, parts of it published after his death as The Silmarillion, others as the Unfinished Tales. Although he was a Christian who absolutely believed in the literal and metaphysical truth of that body of stories, Tolkien was impressed enough by Elias Lönnrot’s assemblage of Finnish myths and legends as the Kalevala that he wanted to assemble, even forge in both senses of the word, a specifically English mythology that owed nothing to the Celtic or Norse pantheons, or to the Arthurian cycle (he also wrote his own version of that, as he did of Lönnrot’s story of Kullervo). Tolkien wanted to reclaim elves and Faerie from mere decorative prettiness and embed them in a narrative of fall and redemption that functioned as a secondary world; this was a spiritual as well as a creative enterprise, an attempt to understand God by doing imperfectly what He had done.

The success or failure of such an enterprise is in a sense irrelevant; what he produced in the main body of his legendarium is a heap of glorious moments rather than anything entirely achieved. Along the way, however, he wrote a children’s book called The Hobbit which might have been just another light work like Farmer Giles of Ham but turned out to be his gateway into a more approachable version of the legendarium, something that included a voice of the ordinary among gods, monsters and tyrants. In due course, his publishers’s and admirers’ desire for a sequel led to something considerably more ambitious but still puny by the standards of what he intended; one of the most attractive things about Tolkien is how he coped with being famous for something less than his lifelong ambition, not least because it achieved and exemplified some of his aims on a smaller scale.

This is why some of the complaints against him are beside the point – he had planned something compared to which Paradise Lost or the Prophetic Books of Blake would look modest, but if people wanted a superior adventure story, he would give them a superior adventure story with enough of his greater intention embedded in it to make itself visible in sudden vistas down narrative corridors. Whatever Tolkien thought about the literature of his time – not much, since he regarded, or affected to regard, everything that had been written in English after the late Middle Ages as a colossal mistake – he has a lot more in common with, say, T. S. Eliot than he or Patrick Curry would have been comfortable acknowledging.

(2) CCUBED. Those interested in gathering to talk about running conventions should look into ConComCon 2016, which will be held June 10-12, 2016 in Portland, OR at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel.

Marah Searle-Kovacevic  says, “The theme will be ‘Building Bridges’ between different types of conventions, the convention and the hotel, convention staff and members, and other bridges. There will also be the usual discussions on hotel contracts, crisis management, parties and hospitality. There will also be a time Saturday afternoon for choosing topics that you want to talk about as programming items.”

You can also buy a membership or book a hotel room at the con web site.

Also, SWOC (founded as the Seattle Westercon Organizing Committee) is offering a scholarship to each convention for one person to attend CCubed. We would like this to be for someone who has not attended a CCubed before. If your convention is interested please contact Searle-Kovacevic through info@concomcon.com.

(3) CONTRASTING BLOODLINES. Doris V. Sutherland continues her comparison of non-slated with slated Hugo categories in “2014 Hugos Versus 2015 Sad Puppies: Related Works” at Women Write About Comics.

Sad Puppies founder Larry Correia presumably had this book in mind when he quipped that “the usual [Related Work] nominees are things like Transsexual WereSeals Love Dr. Who.” This seems unfair, as Queers Dig Time Lords has entertainment value—and that, after all, is something that the Sad Puppies are supposed to be fighting for. That said, I will have to admit that the book is closer to a fan blog than to a Hugo-worthy piece of media criticism…..

Given the book’s jack-of-all-trades approach, it is hardly surprising that Letters from Gardner is something of a mixed bag. To be honest, the fourteen-year career outlined here is simply too uneventful to make a particularly gripping biography. It is somewhat novel to see such an in-depth look at the beginning of a writer’s creative period—I can imagine Letters from Gardner inspiring many of its readers to try their hands at fiction themselves, with Antonelli making the process look easy—but too often the book gets bogged down in irrelevant details. The low point is when Antonelli spends multiple paragraphs waxing nostalgic about those Bic ballpoint pens with orange shafts, which are apparently hard to find in America these days.

(4) A NUANCED THEORY. Douglas Milewski explains “Why the Puppies Bid for the Hugos Failed”.

I’m not sure who taught Conservatives that SJWs only succeed because they browbeat everyone else. (Correct me if I’m mis-characterizing.) That’s the sort of information that sets you up to lose. SJWs win by building coalitions from the ground up, and they’ll take decades to do it. Most of this is done quietly, not because of secrecy, but because that sort of projects just takes time. This coalition building isn’t just a fanciful notion, but the cornerstone of their power. The number one weapon of the SJW is the narrative, building a story that holds the coalition together. A good narrative wins the battle. (Gay marriage is a fine example of this.) So who joined the SJW coalition when the fight got started? The best SF&F writers in the world joined, that’s who. They wrote the SJW narrative. That’s the sort of opposition that you must absolutely respond to, and the Puppies did not adapt.

One more analyst proves with geometric logic that writers, not fans, determined the outcome of their own award.

(5) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • Feburary 28, 1996 Tromeo and Juliet premieres.

(6) LIGHTS, CAMERA, MISSING-IN-ACTION. CinemaBlend says he is “The Indiana Jones Actor Who Refused To Come Back For Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull”.

John Rhys-Davies portrayed Sallah in the first and third entries of the Indiana Jones franchise. It turns out, he was asked to make an appearance in the fourth as well, but declined because they only wanted him there for a cameo. What’s worse, he tells Digital Spy that he wouldn’t even have been interacting with any of the other characters.

I was asked to be in the last one, but they wanted me to do a bit of green-screen – walk in, sit down and clap – and they were going to cut that into the wedding scene at the end. I turned it down because it seemed to me that that would be a bit of a betrayal of the audience’s expectations. Sallah is a popular character – there’s a greatness of soul about him that we all love and admire…

(7) H8TERS GONNA H8. In “How real is that Atlas robot video?”, The Guardian pooh-poohs a viral video I linked to the other day.

The Google-owned company’s most recent video shows the latest version of Atlas opening fire doors, prancing about through snow, being abused by an evil scientist wielding a hockey stick, and doing an uncanny impersonation of an Amazon warehouse worker. It looks incredibly impressive, but how much of it can we take at face value?

(8) THEY’RE TEASING. The Spaceballs 2 teaser poster has arrived….

(9) BY POPULAR DEMAND. Here is bloodstone75’s take on Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s Cradle.”

Pup’s in the Manger

A man wrote some books the other day
With Monsters and Guns in the usual way
And they attained some scratch, and won some praise
New writer win? They said “Not today”

And when he didn’t nab a Hugo, his anger grew.
He said “It’s ‘cause I’m not like you, right?
I’m never gonna be like you!”

And the Pup’s in the manger, and he’s venting spleen,
Larry boy’s blue, and it’s making him mean

When you giving up, Lar’
“I won’t say ‘when’; but I’m gonna vex the Fen;
You know I’m gonna vex those Fen.”

A year went by, Larry couldn’t wait
He said “This time it’s mine, yeah, my story’s great.”
But he wanted revenge — they just had to pay!
“I got to make them cry,” he said. “Meet Vox Day
And he, he carved a slate, and his smile was so grim,
And said “They’re gonna choke on him, yeah.
They’re really gonna choke on him.”

CH

Well, he passed his banner to another guy
So much like himself he just had to smile
And he scored a nom, but then he turned it down
He shook his head and said “I’m no clown.
All I really want now is to torment the lefties.
Won’t be happy ‘til they’re on their knees.”

CH

So though he’d “retired”, he still mixed it up
He built a slate with the other Pups
He said “You made us do it; you rigged the vote.
I got my own cabal, now you can watch us gloat.”
But the Pox was ascendant, and the shit hit the fan.
And the backlash sign-ups began, yeah,
The fan enrollment began.
And as they read out the votes it occurred to him
Their rocket hopes were dim
His hopes were just so dim

CH

(10) ALICE SEQUEL. Coming May 27, Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass.

In Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” an all-new spectacular adventure featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories, Alice returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. Directed by James Bobin, who brings his own unique vision to the spectacular world Tim Burton created on screen in 2010 with “Alice in Wonderland,” the film is written by Linda Woolverton based on characters created by Lewis Carroll and produced by Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd and Tim Burton with John G. Scotti serving as executive producer. “Alice Through the Looking Glass” reunites the all-star cast from the worldwide blockbuster phenomenon, including: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter along with the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall. We are also introduced to several new characters: Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans), the Mad Hatter’s father and Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), a peculiar creature who is part human, part clock.

 

(11) INTERFACE. Kill Command opens May 16.

Set in a near future, technology-reliant society that pits man against killing machines.

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Will R., Andrew Porter, and Woodwindy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

2016 Razzie Awards Winners

Razzie Golden RaspberryThe winners of the 36th Annual Razzie Awards were announced February 27. They are a sendup of what Razzie Awards founder John Wilson called “Tinsel Town’s annual glut of self congratulatory awards.”

Worst Picture 2015 (tie)

Fantastic Four
Fifty Shades of Grey

Worst Actor 2015

Jamie Dornan
Fifty Shades of Grey

Worst Actress 2015

Dakota Johnson
Fifty Shades of Grey

Worst Director 2015

Josh Trank (& Alan Smithee?)
Fantastic Four

Worst Screenplay 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey
Screenplay by Kelly Marcel
Based on the Novel by E.L. James

Worst Supporting Actor 2015

Eddie Redmayne
Jupiter Ascending

Worst Supporting Actress 2015

Kayley Cuoco-Sweeting
Alvin & The Chipmunks: Road Chip [Voice Only]
& The Wedding Ringer

Worst Remake, Rip-Off

Fantastic Four

Worst Screen Combo 2015

Jamie Dornan & Dakota Johnson
Fifty Shades of Grey

Razzie Redeemer Award 2015

Sylvester Stallone, from All-Time Razzie Champ
to 2015 Award Contender for Creed

Uncanny Magazine Issue 9 Launches March 1

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The ninth issue of Uncanny Magazine will be available on March 1.

The entire contents can be purchased in the eBook version on the day of release.

Uncanny’s free online content will be released in two stages, half on March 1 and half on April 5.

EBook subscriptions are available from Weightless Books and Amazon. They also take support on Patreon.

Cover

  • “Strange Companions” by Katy Shuttleworth

Editorial

  • “The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas (3/1)

Fiction

  • “Love Is Never Still” by Rachel Swirsky (3/1)
  • “The Shadow Collector” by Shveta Thakrar (3/1)
  • “Big Thrull and the Askin’ Man” by Max Gladstone (4/5)
  • “The Wolf and the Tower Unwoven” by Kelly Sandoval (4/5)
  • “The Artificial Bees” by Simon Guerrier (4/5)

Reprint

  • “Just Another Future Song” by Daryl Gregory (3/1)

Nonfiction

  • “Men of Their Times” by Jim C. Hines (3/1)
  • “Furry Fandom” by Kyell Gold (3/1)
  • “The Transmigration of George R. R. Martin” by Javier Grillo–Marxuach (4/5)
  • “Closing the Gap: The Blurring of Fan and Professional” by Mark Oshiro (4/5)

Poetry

  • “Fox Girl Cycle 1” by C. S. E. Cooney (3/1)
  • “The Book of Forgetting” by Jennifer Crow (4/5)
  • “god–date” by Brandon O’Brien (4/5)

Interviews

  • Rachel Swirsky interviewed by Deborah Stanish (3/1)
  • Simon Guerrier interviewed by Deborah Stanish (4/5)

Podcast 9A (3/1)

  • “The Shadow Collector” by Shveta Thakrar, as read by Amal El-Mohtar
  • “Fox Girl Cycle 1” by C. S. E. Cooney, as read by Erika Ensign
  • Deborah Stanish interviews Shveta Thakra

Podcast 9B (4/5)

  • “Big Thrull and the Askin’ Man” by Max Gladstone, as read by Heath Miller
  • “The Book of Forgetting” by Jennifer Crow, as read by Erika Ensign
  • Deborah Stanish interviews Max Gladstone

The Lost Childhood’s End: A Tale of Phil DeGuere, The Late 1970s, and Arthur C. Clarke’s Classic Novel

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By James H. Burns: Recently, a television mini-series based on Arthur C. Clarke’s classic novel, Childhood’s End, debuted internationally.  But if the vagaries and fortunes of Hollywood had been just a bit different, there could have been such a production, or a theatrical feature film, far sooner, from Universal Studios–

As discussed in this interview I conducted over thirtyfive years ago with the earlier project’s writer/producer, Phillip DeGuere Jr.

DeGuere began his career at Universal in the late 1960s, writing for such shows as Run For Your Life, and one of my all-time favorite series, The Name of the Game (“A Hard Case of the Blues.”)  He went on to write for Alias Smith And Jones, Baretta, City of Angles and for such genre efforts as The Invisible Man, on NBC, and The Bionic Woman (and most notably, perhaps, writing and directing, and serving as the executive producer for, the 1978 Dr. Strange pilot on CBS, based on Steve Ditko’s and Stan Lee’s Marvel Comics character).

(When we met, DeGuere also told me he had devoted a great deal of time to what was hoped to be a major documentary/concert film with the Grateful Dead music group.  He also had just worked on a new project with actor Robert Blake.  He had been expecting the worst, having heard that Blake could be difficult to deal with, but was happily surprised that the actor/producer was concerned entirely with the quality of the endeavor’s writing.)

DeGuere’s career after the Childhood’s End endeavor explored here was even more notable:  creating the television series Whiz Kids; working on the 1985 Twilight Zone revival, and creating and producing Simon and Simon.  He was also a consulting producer for some episodes of NCIS and JAG.

DeGuere was only sixty years old, when he passed in July of 2005.

Intriguingly, his unproduced adaptation of Clarke’s book probably did wind up having a huge influence on 1980s television science fiction. His script had been around Universal for years, when V — the hit mini-series about an alien takeover of Earth — debuted in 1983.

The program’s opening sequences — and a key marketing image — of alien ships hovering in the skies over the world, are almost identical to those in Clarke’s epic.

“The power of Childhood’s End remains undiminished as the years go by,” says Phil DeGuere, a Universal Studios producer-director-writer (Black Sheep Squadron, Dr. Strange).  “The real reason for making the picture is because the story is worth telling to a large number of people.  It fills you with a sense of wonder and enlightenment.  Childhood’s End is one of the few science fiction novels that even people who don’t like science fiction enjoy.  But, unfortunately, people in this business tend to be shy of innovation.” Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End was first published in 1953 and has since become one of the genre’s most influential and bestselling novels.  The book concerns man’s encounter of an apparently superior race named the Overlords and the future development of mankind. What Phil DeGuere is hinting at in his opening statement is that for the past year, his telefilm production of Childhood’s End (originally announced in the late 1970s), has been stalled due to various legal and financial entanglements.  Perhaps DeGuere shouldn’t be surprised at this stasis, however, considering Childhood’s End‘s bizarre past as a film project.

 

Kicking around Hollywood as a viable movie property since the middle ‘fifties, Childhood’s End resurfaced for celluloid potential in 1975 when the late Gene Kearney, one of Universal’s best writers and producers (Night Gallery, Kojak, Games), realized that his studio owned the novel’s option.

“That was two years before Star Wars, so I think it’s safe to say that nobody had a very good idea of what was involved in bringing a picture like Childhood’s End to the screen,” DeGuere remembers.  “When Gene left Universal in 1977, I kind of inherited the idea of trying to develop Childhood’s End.”

Phil soon discovered that the novel was in “turnaround” to producer George Litto, a former Universal staffer, who had been interested in Childhood’s End while still with the company.  This meant that while Universal technically owned the book’s rights, Litto was enabled to sell the project to another company.

“It wasn’t until Star Wars came out — which is typical of the studios — that all of a sudden everyone wanted to jump on that particular bandwagon.  Then Universal became actively concerned and took the necessary steps to bring Childhood’s End back.”

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Childhood’s End was initially going to be produced as a six-hour mini-series for CBS. When that fell through, ABC told Universal that they wanted the property as a two- or three-hour feature.

“That was the summer of 1978,” DeGuere recalls. “We would have proceeded aggressively on trying to pull the project off, but then it became known that the contracts that had originally been written with Arthur Clarke were so old–some of them dating back to 1957–that several of them had expired.  It took a month-and-a-half just to get a lawyer to dig up the contracts and read them in order to verify that we had lost the rights to some aspects of Childhood’s End.  It took another nine months to resolve the stalemate between the lawyers representing Universal and Arthur’s people.  That was the major delay once we actually had a go-ahead from the network.  The new contracts stipulate that Universal retains all rights in the galaxy or the universe.  They’re thinking fairly down the line…”

During that nine month period, DeGuere wrote a seventy-page treatment for the film in which he feels that he solved many of the problems inherent to adapting the novel to celluloid. The only major change Phil instituted was promoting Jan Rodericks, the black youth who becomes the only human the Overlords permit to watch man’s evolution, to a character that appears throughout the entire story.

“That was done to unify the film,” DeGuere explains, “because except for Korella, the events and characters in the first half of the book are not related to the elements and characters in the second half of the book.  That could have been the telefeature’s only fault.  It doesn’t feel right to ask an audience to sit for an hour-and-a-half and get to know some characters and a story and then suddenly jump twenty-five to fifty years in the future and start a whole new story. You need some kind of satisfactory link to work as a framework.  Having Jan Rodericks not only finish the story but start it as well seems to work beautifully.”

The legal difficulties were finally settled around January of 1979.  Phil began writing a full screenplay and commenced pre-production. One of DeGuere’s first moves was to hire Neal Adams, the noted comic book artist (also known for his Tarzan paperback covers, and involvement with the science fiction theatrical play, Warp), as a production designer.

“I think that comic artists are particularly adept at condensing single story elements into single pictures,” says DeGuere.  “Neal Adams has always been one of my absolute favorite artists and it was one of those happy coincidences that I was able to get him. Neal has a unique ability to take a scene, read it, interpret it, understand it and figure out a way to make it look right in a painting.  It is a hell of a lot easier to have a single drawing or painting that you can take around to the technical people in the movie business, and say, ‘This is what I want to see on the screen,’ than to write a page of description in the screenplay and have various people interpret that and do it whatever way they like.  We also had a couple of pieces of artwork done by an amazing visionary named Anthony Scott Thom.  There’s an incredible range of artists in this country who have become fascinated with fantastic themes.  They make a talent pool that you naturally want to tap into when you do a picture like Childhood’s End.”

DeGuere also began exploring how Childhood’s End ‘s special effects requirements would be effectively executed.

“My concern has always been for adequate resources,” DeGuere comments. “I’m confident that Universal will let me film a faithful adaptation of the novel, but we need enough money to do it right. There aren’t too many people around who can do the kind of special effects and makeup required for Childhood’s End.

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“Some of the effects might require slightly changing the story. I don’t think,. for example, that we could realistically show the Overlords’ spaceships coming over New York City during the day.  As soon as you start dealing with blue skies and clouds, you run into horrendous effects problems.  It may be a lot smarter for me to have a spaceship coming in at night, hang over the city and flash some lights and then go into orbit–at which point I don’t have to deal with the problem of matting the spaceship against a blue sky.  I’, compromising, but even with a forty million dollar budget, you might not be able to successfully put the ships against a blue sky.  For me, this type of film has to be done right, or not at all.”

DeGuere also established contact with Arthur C. Clarke, to insure the property’s integrity.

“What little we talked about seemed to meet with his approval at the time,” DeGuere says with a  smile, “but it was hard to get too many specifics talking to a man I had never met at 1:30 in the morning my time.”  (There is an eleven-and-a-half hour difference between California and Sri Lanka.) “He approved of my boosting Jan Rodericks’ role in the story and also my elimination  of the kidnapping of Stormgren.  Arthur revealed to me that the abduction had been an element that existed in an earlier novella that he had incorporated into Childhood’s End and that it didn’t really pay off as far as the overall structure of the book is concerned.

“More recently, I wrote him a letter explaining that the production’s been held up for a while, which I think he might have suspected was going to happen.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a hall of a lot to say to him.  I told him that I was really embarrassed by the situation, but I guess Arthur’s been through this before with other projects.  When the film gets going again, I’ll hopefully be able to meet with Arthur and get as much input from him as possible.”

 

Childhood’s End ‘s limbo telefilm status is somewhat difficult for DeGuere to understand.  He had originally thought that Universal was simply waiting to make sure that Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Black Hole would both be relatively successful before proceeding into production.

“Maybe now they’re waiting to see how Dino DeLaurentiis’ Flash Gordon will do,” DeGuere speculates.  “Certainly, if that film is successful, it would be a good impetus to reactivate Childhood’s End.  The novel really doesn’t fit the kinds of categories that SF films and television have always done.  You almost have to look at filmed science fiction as a completely separate phenomenon from written science fiction.  It’s very rare that it’s made an adequate transition.  Science fiction movies have always fundamentally been exploitation films.  There really isn’t much precedent for trying to adapt a science fiction novel as a work of literature.”

If Universal and ABC find Childhood’s End ‘s cost prohibitive for television (DeGuere estimates the picture’s budget at roughly ten million dollars), could the novel find life as a theatrical release?

“Universal has recognized Childhood’s End ‘s potential as a feature film presentation,” DeGuere replies.  “As I understand, however, it’s somewhat more attractive for them to consider making pictures of this nature where their financial involvement is limited, like on Flash Gordon.  That may change, but there are other factors, from the studio’s point of view, the story doesn’t have the elements that are time tested for theatricals.  Childhood’s End doesn’t have a clearly etched battle between good and evil, a group of people running around shooting at each other, a great deal of jeopardy, or a life and death situation as far as the characters are concerned.  I’m inclined to think that a feature film would  be a crossover situation, where adults would see it because of the story and kids would want to see it because of the aliens and spaceships.  The merchandising prospects of the Overlords are certainly intriguing.

“The major audience for movies might have to mature before we can do a feature,” DeGuere continues. “Presently, the target audience for motion pictures is teenagers.  The majority of films are therefore designed for an even lower common denominator than television.  But I think that there’s a kind of demographic change taking place.  The age of the largest segment of the country’s population is rising for the first time in over thirty years.  All this translates into my mind as meaning that little by little the target audience for motion pictures will have to grow older.  Films will have to reflect the mass’ matured tastes.  It’s possible that the fundamental factor for Childhood’s End ‘s future really involves a change in which this industry makes it decisions.”

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Another possibility is that an independent producer could approach Universal and either buy the rights to Childhood’s End or offer a co-financing agreement.

“That might be the way it has to happen,” DeGuere admits, “because in order for this picture to get made at Universal, somebody in a high decision making position is going to have to make a personal commitment to go ahead with the project.  It requires that kind of courage which is not necessarily the long suit of this industry’s executives.”

If another studio does buy the rights to Childhood’s End, would DeGuere try to become involved with the new production?

“I probably wouldn’t have to do that,” says DeGuere, “because if somebody were to buy the rights from Universal, they’d get a copy of my script as part of the sale.  Naturally, I don’t think anybody’s going to come up with a better script.  Anybody sensible enough to know what they were buying would read all the available material.  Hopefully, they’ll realize that they had a good adaptation in my screenplay.”

The events surrounding Universal’s development of Childhood’s End could help explain why there aren’t more capable producers handling television science fiction.  Like several producers before him, DeGuere has run into so many delays that he might be understandably wary of initiating future science fiction oriented productions.

“I don’t think that that’s going to be the case,” says DeGuere.  “There are so many frustrations and roadblocks that you run into naturally in films and TV that I don’t think it’s likely that any of us are going to get that discouraged.”

DeGuere has already completed a pilot script for ABC which he described as “The Six Million Dollar Man meets Carrie,” and also maintains hopes for a mini-series based on Larry Niven’s and Jerry Pournelle’s Lucifer’s Hammer.  At the moment, Childhood’s End is basically ready to start rolling.  Once the telefeature gets a go-ahead, it would still be a year away from actual production, but “ninety percent of the problem is solved,” in that the book is adapted and DeGuere has a completed script.

If Childhood’s End lays on the shelf, Arthur C. Clarke’s brainchild might appear in other media.  Broadway producers have shown interest in bringing the story to the stage and, at the very least, some publisher might release a special edition of Childhood’s End utilizing Neal Adams’ preproduction paintings and sketches.

But Phil DeGuere isn’t content to watch Childhood’s End “appear in other venues.”

“Most producers have in the back of their desks those one or two very special projects that they have always wanted to make and never forget,” says DeGuere.  “In my case, Childhood’s End is one of them.  If I were suddenly catapulted into a position of great clout in the business and was given a blank check, it’s very likely that I would immediately get Childhood’s End launched.

“The other thing is that, fortunately, it doesn’t necessarily require me to reach that position.  I get a lot of phone calls every week from people all around the world showing interest in the project. I would like nothing better than for somebody to come along and get the film made.

“I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s inevitable that Childhood’s End gets made.  At one point, it’s bound to happen…”

Original Article ©  Copyright 1980 James Burns

Revised Version © Copyright 2016 James H. Burns

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Pixel Scroll 2/27/16 Hivers Against Humanity

(1) DRAGON HATCHERY. Naomi Novik is interviewed on NPR, “A Writer-Engineer’s Historical Fiction Hack: Add Dragons”.

Almost a decade after she first went online, she says she was working as a programmer for a computer game “and something about that whole process of building the structure of that game turned into a real kind of light-bulb moment for me as a writer.” At the time, her fan fiction at was inspired by swashbuckling adventure novels set in the Napoleonic era. But something started happening to her stories — they were getting longer and more complex.

“Then all of a sudden I sort of started to feel that I was constrained by the characters, as opposed to enjoying them,” she says. “And that remains for me to this day the line … where it’s like: OK, you’re not writing fan fiction anymore.”

She also had an idea she wanted to run with: “What could make the Napoleonic wars more exciting? Dragons!” And one dragon in particular: Temeraire. He’s central in her 9-book “Temeraire” series, which opens with the dragon becoming the responsibility of Will Laurence, a naval captain fighting for the British against Napoleon. Laurence is chivalrous with a keen sense of duty, but he embraces the 19th-century conventions that Novik paints in faithful detail — even some that are distasteful to 21st-century readers, like class hierarchies and the roles of women. Temeraire, on the other hand, is newly hatched; he provides a more critical, modern voice.

(2) SUIT & NERD & TIE. AnimeCon.org CEO Ryan Kopf sued Nerd & Tie blogger Trae Dorn in December, claiming Dorn had defamed him. Now Dorn has amended his suit to include Dorn’s podcast co-host Pher Sturz.

So many of you already know that in December AnimeCon.org CEO Ryan Kopf filed a lawsuit in the state of Iowa against me for articles I published here on Nerd & Tie about his organization. After I was served, I quickly went public — starting a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for my legal defense (because, y’know, lawyers are expensive).

Pher Sturz, who co-hosts the podcast with me (and came up with the name for it — which is where the name of this site comes from), was very vocal in his public support for me. Pher did this because he’s a good friend, and wasn’t really any more inflammatory (and in most cases significantly less so) than most other people sharing the link.

….To make this worse, Pher, frankly, doesn’t make a lot of money. And I know he won’t point this out himself, but he has a young daughter as well. Lawyers are really, really expensive and he needs to hire one fast. His original attempt to secure aid fell through, so now we’re reaching out to you — the Nerd & Tie readers.

Pher has launched a GoFundMe campaign (Titled ‘The Ryan Kopf is Suing Me Too! Fund‘) to try and get money together to hire someone, and I hope you’ll consider contributing. He’s asking for $3000 right now because (after fees) that’s effectively what he’ll need to get started.

(3) BITES THE DUST. SF Site News reports “Samhain Publishing Closing”.

Samhain Publishing has announced that they will be closing. According to Samhain, the main cause of their decision is changes with their terms with Amazon. They are planning a controlled shut down and will continue to pay royalties to their authors and will be returning rights on a schedule.

More here.

(4) OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE. Deborah J. Ross knows about “Rejection, Discouragement, and How a Few Loyal Readers Can Save an Author”.

Being discouraged is part and parcel of a working writer’s life. Negative reviews, ditto. Some of us are naturally more thick-skinned about them than others, and most of us develop coping strategies over the years. This is where networking with other writers can be very helpful.

…. Reviews, ah reviews, and in this category I include feedback from critique groups and beta readers. So much has already been said about the power of a caustic review or harsh feedback of a work in progress that I won’t belabor the point here. Suffice it to say that the natural human desire for praise (for our creative “children”) leaves us vulnerable to interpreting criticism of the work with condemnation of ourselves. Or, having torn off our emotional armor to write from the heart, we’ve also ripped off any defenses against sarcasm, etc. I’m among those who, having received scathing feedback, went home, and cried. I never considered giving up (although on more than one occasion, I contemplated getting even and thankfully resisted the temptation). But some writers have.

Negative feedback, if consistent and prolonged, can have a devastating effect on a writer’s self-confidence and ability to work. Support and encouragement from our fellow writers can be our greatest asset in setting aside the nasty things people have written about our stories. A hiatus from reading reviews is highly recommended.

(5) THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES. Since Steve Davidson found a stash of mimeographed File 770’s on a freebie table at Boskone he’s been thinking how Ye Olden Times in fandom compare with Today. Steve distills those thoughts in “Ode to File 770 (and a note on our changing culture)”:

File 770 what kind of people cover wade gilbreath CROP

I then met Mike in person for the first (and last) time at Iguanacon in 1978.  Where I had the disappointing task of having to inform him that the only part of Contact:SF (which by then had gone semi-pro) that I could show him was a tear sheet of the cover.  (American Airlines lost every single copy I was shipping to the con, which ended up financially killing it.)  Mike had offered to spread the news within the pages of his own (eventual Hugo Award winning) zine (after having a look of course) and I had been looking forward to a rapid climb within the world of fanzine fandom.  A Hugo award was not that far away in my mind at the time.  (Still isn’t, but I’ve got a warped sense of time.)

(6) MAGAZINE KICKSTARTER. Three days left in Richard Thomas’ Kickstarter appeal to fund “Gamut Magazine: Neo-noir, speculative, literary fiction”. It’s raised $45,764 of its $52,000 goal to date.

Gamut will be a website (and eBook) with a wide range of voices—genre-bending stories utilizing the best of genre and literary fiction….

So I’m open to:

  • Fantasy
  • Science fiction
  • Horror
  • Neo-noir, crime, mystery, thrillers
  • Magical realism
  • Transgressive
  • Southern gothic
  • Literary fiction
  • Weird / bizarro
  • Poetry

Anything done with innovation, heart and emotion—that’s what I want. Everything I enjoy reading and writing typically leans toward the dark side, but I have been known to embrace lighter work, and humor, now and then.

(7) GOING VIRAL. Ernest Hogan’s High Aztech sounds intriguing. It’s available on Amazon.

AZTECH

High Aztech takes place in 21st century Mexico, Tenochtitlán, the metropolis formerly known as Mexico City, is the most exciting place on Earth. Stainless steel pyramids pierce the smoggy sky. Human sacrifice is coming back into fashion, especially on the new Aztechan TV channels, and everyone wants an artificial heart. Xolotl Zapata, celebrated poet, skeptic and journalist, starts receiving death threats from a cult he’s lampooned in a comic book. But soon he will have much worse problems and be running for his life. The government, the Mafia, street gangs, cults, terrorists, even garbage collectors will be after him. Why? He has been infected with a technological development that will changing human life as we know it Zapata is carrying a virus that can download religious beliefs into the human brain – a highly contagious virus that is converting everyone he meets, and everyone they meet, to the Aztec religion. This is Witnessing with a PUNCH! Since he’s a virulent carrier he infects a large part of the city all by himself, and the masses, filled with visions and portents, await the End of the World.

Decide how it sounds to you – Hogan’s reading of the first chapter can be heard on this video:

(8) HOMELESS GNOMES. NPR reports “Popular Gnomes Seek New Home”

Officials at Little Buffalo State Park in Pennsylvania decided that dozens of tiny gnome homes tucked in trees around the park were a nuisance. The gnome homes were too popular, so they were evicted.

….Steve Hoke, with permission from the park, crafted teeny-weeny doors on hollow logs and built pint-size cottages on mossy tree stumps to the delight of children in the area, not to mention the families who drove hours to see them. The idea was to get kids out of the house, away from the electronics and go for a walk, Mr. Hoke told the media. But with so many visitors, state officials declared the itsy-bitsy abodes a nuisance and ordered them banished. So earlier this week, Steve Hoke carted off his Lilliputian village in his garden wagon. The evictions have angered many, hundreds have signed petitions to bring back the magic, and it appears there has been a reprieve for the homeless elves. Two neighboring towns have offered to take in the gnomes and their homes.

Full story in the New York Times

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Little Buffalo told Mr. Hoke he had until Monday to clear out the gnome houses. Four days ago, he went to the park with a wagon and collected the dwellings scattered along about two and a half miles of trails.

“It was very emotional,” he said.

As he was leaving, he encountered a man and his daughter. They told him the girl had just finished her final round of chemotherapy and that her father had asked her what she wanted to do.

She said she wanted to go see the gnome houses.

“If I wasn’t so cold and wet, I probably would have stood there and wept,” Mr. Hoke said.

“That’s the part that the people who made this decision don’t get to see,” he added. “It was a mystery for the kids. It was magical.”

(9) THE CUSTOMERS MUST BE CRAZY. Gods Of Egypt received the not-especially-coveted “I’ve seen worse” rating from this reviewer at Birth. Movies. Death.

The most surprising thing about Gods Of Egypt was that I didn’t outright hate it. I have already seen worse movies this year, and I may yet see something even more abominable in the near future. The conceptual insanity of the movie could be the one selling point to it all, but the truth is unless you haven’t played a modern action-adventure game in the past ten years or so, this overbearing maelstrom of CGI bombast is rote and played out. I felt neither disdain nor schadenfreude during it, only boredom and a slight headache afterwards. I can’t even recommend “hate watching” this or checking it out for the morbid curiosity, since instead of being mesmerized by cinematic atrocity, you’ll be constantly reminded of fonder experiences you’ve had with other games and movies.

(10) SOME SATURN AWARDS COVERAGE. Blastr had this comment

As usual, the Saturns are so expansive and inclusive that we have to wonder at some of the nominees — like financial drama 99 Homes

India media reacts: “Baahubali to compete with Hollywood biggies” at Wishesh.

It is really a proud moment for the Indian movie audience, to know that even Baahubali was part of the nominations of these awards, that too in five categories – Best Fantasy Film, Best Supporting Actress (Tamannaah), Best Music (Keeravani), Best Production Design (Sabu Cyril) and Best Costume Design (Rama Rajamouli and Prashanthi Tipirineni).

India’s proudest epic and blockbuster, Baahubali-The beginning will compete with the popular Hollywood big films like Jurrasic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Hateful Eight and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

On the other side, Baahubali – The conclusion, is currently in the shooting stage and aiming the next Sankranthi release. After that, the makers are even planning for Baahubali 3, which does not include Prabhas, Satya Raj and most of the key cast of Baahubali 1 and 2 parts, as declared earlier.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Will R., Brian Z., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day IanP.]

2016 Saturn Award Nominees

saturn-awardsThe Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films has announced the 2016 nominees for the Saturn Awards. (The full list follows the jump.)

The productions with the highest tallies of nominations are:

Film: Star Wars: The Force Awakens received 15 Saturn Awards nominations. Mad Max: Fury Road and Crimson Peak have nine each.

TV: Walking Dead got seven nominations. HBO’s Game of Thrones netted five.

Click on the link to see the full list of nominations.

Continue reading

Pixel Scroll 2/26/16 The Prisoner of Shadowban

(1) SHORTLIST TRUTHS. At The Hysterical Hamster Ian Mond asks “What Are Award Shortlists For? No… really… please tell me… I want to know….”

What are award shortlists for?

Obviously their main purpose is to recognize and celebrate the best works published in a specific timeframe and a given context.  That celebratory aspect, in particular, is reflected in my Facebook and Twitter feeds moments after a shortlist is announced as friends, rightly, congratulate the nominees.

But once people have provided virtual pats on the back to the finalists, once the glow of platitude and praise has dimmed, what purpose does an award shortlist serve?  Is it there to be read?  Is it there to spark conversation?  Is it there to further the debate – what there is of it – about the genre?

I ask because this week the Kitschies, one of my favorite awards, announced its list of nominees.  When I reported this on my blog earlier in the week I applauded the diversity on the list – both in terms of gender and race – and the fact that there was a distinct lack of multi-series books present (a particular peccadillo of mine).  I also made the throwaway remark that given the winners are announced on March 7 I wouldn’t have the time to read the nominees

(2) THE LATEST AND EARLIEST NEWS ABOUT ELLISON. Mary Reinholz’ interview in the Pasadena Weekly covers “‘Fire-bringing’ Harlan Ellison, one of America’s greatest short story writers, on protecting his work, L. Ron Hubbard, Octavia Butler, and why he will never stop writing.”

“Since the stroke, my right side is still paralyzed, but I can still type with two fingers,” he says during a recent call to his hillside home off Mulholland Drive. “I still get around. I get up and get into the wheelchair. I went to a [science fiction] convention in St. Louis and they all seemed to take it well. No one stoned me, even though I have this reputation of being a tough old bagel that’s hard to chew. A couple of times, I’ve done (spoken word) recordings. But mostly I lie in bed and watch the ceiling.”

…Ellison also remains deeply wedded to his work. December saw the hardcover publication of “Can & Can’tankerous,” which includes previously uncollected short stories and a tribute to Ray Bradbury, and in September the ninth edition of “Ellison Wonderland” was released; the collection was first published 52 years ago.

A third Ellison biography is expected to be published next year. It’s an authorized one written by Nat Segaloff, who has penned several books about Hollywood royalty, the latest on director John Huston. In “Dreams with Sharp Teeth,” a 2008 documentary directed by Erik Nelson, there are interviews with Ellison who admits he once sent a dead gopher to a publisher in the mail and others with his deceased crony Robin Williams, who committed suicide in 2014.

…Ellison, whom the Washington Post has called “one of America’s greatest living short story writers,” joined the bloody 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He was a friend and mentor of the late African-American novelist Octavia E. Butler, the first black woman to achieve international prominence within the largely white male bastion of science fiction writing. She grew up in a racially mixed neighborhood of Pasadena. Ellison was one of three people to whom Butler dedicated her 1994 book “Mind of My Mind.”

Butler, who died in 2006 at 58, was an unknown young writer when she first met Ellison at a workshop. “She was one of my students and came to me as part of a (program) the Writers Guild had decided to put together to bring in Latino and black female outsiders,” he recalls. “She came to me with a story. I took a look at it and knew how good it was. We talked about it and workshopped it and it went on from there. I was just one step on her way up. She did it all herself. She was a stalwart woman.”

(3) FREDRICKSON OBIT. Star Trek scenic and graphic artist Anthony Richard Fredrickson died February 15 of a heart attack. Doug Drexler paid tribute to him on Facebook.

So Anthony and I would go to school together, run science fiction stores together, edit sci fi magazines together, live through car crashes and earthquakes together, do makeup effects together, make movie monsters together, help redefine science fiction graphic design together, create spaceships for Star Trek together, and win an Academy Award together. We conquered Hollywood together. And we should never forget that it all began with baby mice dipped in honey.

(4) FIGHTING IN YEARS TO COME. Learn more about the “Narrative of the future developed at Science Fiction Futures workshop” hosted February 3 by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab (MCWF) and the Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare Project and taught by Max Brooks, August Cole and Charles E. Gannon. The article is posted at Marine Corps Base Quantico.

The Marine Corps of 2035 will fight in megacities in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, deploying from an arid United States that has retreated to a defensive posture and directs little funding to the military.

The enemies of the future will be internal terrorists from both the extreme right and left, international mega-corporations that control the desalination of water, the Chinese mafia, and other established states with stable governments protecting their interests.

The weapons and equipment of the future will be autonomous robots, miniature electromagnetic pulse weapons, powered exosuits, and a proliferation of area denial weapons that limit access to trade routes.

But while the future Marines will be fighting in a different place, against a different enemy, and with different technology than they do now, they’ll still have a “boots on the ground” element and will still have to be flexible and think outside the box. And even in 2035, they’ll probably still be using masks from 2022.

(5) SFWA-SUPPORTED KICKSTARTER. “Star Project 3” at the SFWA Blog tells about the latest non-member Kickstarter project the organization is helping.

Projects are selected by the Self Publishing Committee, coordinated by volunteer Rob Balder. Selections are based on the project’s resonance with SFWA’s exempt purposes, and special preference will be given to book-publishing projects in the appropriate genres.

SFWA is delighted to announce support for our latest Star Project: The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror #6. We hope you will consider funding it as well.

From the project’s Kickstarter campaign:

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror is over 150,000 words of the best fantasy and horror fiction written by Australians (and New Zealanders) and published all over the world in 2015. We’ve already done this five times for the years 2010-2014, and we’d like to do it again.

In addition to the reprinted fiction, The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror series features an extensive introductory essay on the annual state of the genre, obituaries, a recommended reading list, and a list of Australian and New Zealand award recipients.

It is the only volume of its kind being published in Australia at present.

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 26, 1920 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari premieres in Berlin.
  • February 26, 1963 — NASA announced that Venus is about 800 degrees F

(7) GUARDIANS ADDS FRAKES. Jonathan Frakes joins Guardians of the Galaxy animated seriesBleeding Cool has the story.

Marvel has tapped Star Trek’s own Will RikerJonathan Frakes… to voice J’Son, King of the Spartax in the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series. USA Today is reporting bringing the veteran actor on board to play the father of Peter Quill (Will Friedle). Frakes has spent more time behind the camera than in front over the last few years becoming a highly respected television director.

J’Son is Star-Lord’s father in the comics as well as in the animated series, but the live-action movie is going a different direction according to director James Gunn and it is believed that Kurt Russell will be playing that version of Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father.

(8) RABID SLATE. Vox Day has announced his slate for – “Rabid Puppies: Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form”.

The preliminary list of recommendations for the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category:

  • Grimm, Season 4 Episode 21, “Headache”
  • Tales from the Borderlands Episode 5, “The Vault of the Traveller”
  • Life is Strange, Episode 1
  • My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic, Season 5, Episodes 1-2, “The Cutie Map”
  • A Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 8, “Hardhome”

(9) MYTHING HORSE REPORT. “Runaway Unicorn Leads Highway Patrol on Wild Chase” at Time.

A white pony dressed as a unicorn ran through the streets of Madera County, Calif., for over three hours on Wednesday night before she was caught by police. The costumed pony, named Juliet, first escaped from a child’s birthday party at about 2:30 p.m., but was soon recaptured. However, she got loose again around 5:30 p.m. and proceeded to lead California Highway Patrol on a long chase as she wove in and out of traffic. “We got a call of a unicorn running in the roadway on 12th avenue near Road 32,” Officer Justin Perry told KTUL. “I’ve been doing this for 14 years and this is my first call for a unicorn.”

(10) PIN POEM. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little broke out in verse when she received her Hugo voting PIN…

On the evergreen topic of MAC II, and in honor of the completely unprompted email I got from Hugo Administration yesterday morning (I’m not patient, I’m just lazy and never got around to emailing them), I give you…

Pup’s in the Manger (TtTO)

My PIN arrived just the other day
With a letter saying “Friend, come and have your say:
Did you read a thing that just blew you away?
Are your socks now orbiting the Milky Way?”

Well I said, hooray! time to nominate–
We don’t want to have no slates, friends,
My vote’s not about those slates

And the pup’s in the manger with a bad review
And little boy Larry wants a rocket to the moon
Are we all gonna go to K. C., then?
We’ll get together then, friends, You know we’ll have a good time then

[Thanks to Will R., JJ, Andrew Porter, David K.M. Klaus, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

One Day Left in Matching Challenge To Help WisCon Member Assistance Fund

The WisCon Member Assistance Fund provides financial aid for people to attend the con.

Depending on the number of nominations and the amount of donations, the committee will try to help out as many people as possible who would like to come to WisCon but need some support to do so.

The fund is supported by donations, and until midnight February 27 (Central time) longtime WisCon attendee Jed Hartman is multiplying others’ contributions by matching them

Here’s the deal:  For donations made to WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund from now until Saturday night (11:59pm Central Time), i will match every dollar up to $500 — TWICE.  So if you donate $5 to WMAF this week, i’ll donate $10.  If we all pull together, this could mean another $1,500 to help bring people to WisCon 40 this May.

Also, for every membership donated to the Fund, I’ll donate another one.  If you’re interested in donating a membership, please email treasurer@sf3.org.

On Sunday, the SF3 Treasurer and i will tally it all up, i’ll PayPal some monies over to WisCon, and we’ll announce here just how much damage we did to my tax refund.

WisCon 40 takes place May 27-30, 2016.

[Thanks to Will R. for the story.]

2016 Salt Lake FantasyCon Cancelled

fantasycon_logoThe first – and so far only — FantasyCon was held in Salt Lake City in 2014 — coincidentally across the street from Westercon 67 on the same weekend. The chairs of the two events came to an understanding, which included reciprocating members’ access to each others’ conventions. Fantasycon drew over 58,000 attendees, Westercon… well, not as many.

FantasyCon founder Joshua B. Patel believed he was launching an annual event. However, even the con’s projected move to a more modest venue was not enough to keep the 2015 con from being postponed “to allow sufficient time for the logistics and creating of original art, including a 25-foot-wide, 15-foot-tall bronze water feature. ‘There was just not enough time … to maintain that unique vision,’ said Patel about attempting to schedule a 2015 convention.”

Now Patel has found it necessary to cancel the 2016 event as well. And last month he wrote a long letter appealing to fans to help “Fight for FantasyCon”.

Many people are asking what the status is for 2016. I’ve made sure to be completely honest with you from day one, so here is EXACTLY where FantasyCon stands as of today.

FantasyCon 2016 is not going to happen. The reason this comes to you now and not sooner, is I wanted to be certain and not go back and forth. I didn’t learn the financial backing would officially not be available until January 2016. My first thought the moment I learned the funds wouldn’t be available for 2016 was, “I need to tell our FantasyCon Family.” I’ve been working on this letter since then.

A little explanation: We built amazing creatures, creations, battle arenas, archery ranges, and experiences for all of our FantasyCon adventure seekers. We invited celebrities, Vegas performers, fire dancers, fire breathers, blacksmiths, glassblowers, aerialists, ballet dancers, musicians, full symphony orchestras, and the list goes on and on.

All of these amazing things came at a cost. The first event cost over 3.5 million dollars to put on….

We spent over 6 years researching and creating FantasyCon and everything was built to be a Nationwide and World touring convention. EVERYTHING is engineered to fit in semi trucks and on shipping containers to bring the magic of FantasyCon to a city near you!

Simply put, there’s not enough funds to hold another FantasyCon without additional capital investment. The investor that was going to help FantasyCon after the first event in 2014 doesn’t know if there is a big enough demand to hold it again. There have been other investors, but they want to destroy the magic, family focus, affordability, and charity aspects of FantasyCon. This much I had to refuse, as the heart and soul of FantasyCon is helping others through charity and providing affordable prices, so not just the wealthy, but EVERYONE can join the adventure!

My wife and I put our life savings into the first FantasyCon and the many charity events associated with it. We have NO regrets as we were a small part in helping tens of thousands of individuals and families ‘join us on an adventure!’ For us, FantasyCon’s Night of Dreams with the thousands of special needs guests and terminally ill children was the greatest part of the adventure.

I was teary-eyed (which you can ask my Sweetheart, never happens) as I watched countless children and families have experiences and adventures together that they would normally never be able to afford in this life. For some, this was the greatest and only adventure they were able to experience before passing on. I’m forever blessed and thank God for the opportunity to be a part of the many miracles that took place that night. It has changed me forever and is one of the main reasons I WILL NOT sell out to capitalists that only are in it for the money and not the people….

Patel outlines two strategies for gaining the necessary financial support .

If by September 2016 he can get 250,000 names/email addresses together, he believes FantasyCon can be crowdfunded.

We can fund the next FantasyCon without any investors required. We will launch a Crowd Funding campaign where we the fans can own and maintain control of the FantasyCon world. This also allows us to keep ticket prices low, keep all the amazing charity events, and finish making a beautiful Fantasy World for us all to enjoy. We can do it together!

Or with only 100,000 names, he could show the interested investors that people want FantasyCon to happen again.

The investors have already agreed to fund FantasyCon if we show this demand. The only down side is the investors will want controlling interest and will no longer allow the Night of Dreams charity night.

Those willing to help are directed to fill out the form on http://fantasycon.com/fight-for-fantasycon.html, and to follow the con on Facebook and Twitter.

[Thanks to David Doering for the story.]