Have Scarf Will Travel – Party Time at Capricon

Dublin 2019 chair James Bacon and scarf.

By James Bacon: The party scene is big part of Capricon.

Although I first encountered parties at Worldcon in 1995, the idea of a 1,000-person con having two floors of suites with large rooms, some much bigger than places I have lived, all hosting parties was mind-blowing.

Friendly and welcoming, going from room to room enjoying the hospitality and of course refreshments, I have yet to attend a convention where the party scene was better. Although I have heard amazing things about Norwescon and have loved great parties at both Arisia and Boskone.

Thursday night may be a quieter night, but it doesn’t feel quiet, and there are a number of parties taking place. I end up helping a couple of them prepare, moving furniture around and so on.

Tammys cocktails

Tammy Coxen is doing an amazing Tammy cocktail party with a series of drinks representing Worldcons and Worldcon bids.

Dublin 2019 is well represented here with a fresh take on the traditional whiskey and red lemonade. Tammy is serving the Whiskey with lemon juice, grenadine and club soda.

I have managed to bring some red lemonade from Europe, this uniquely Irish soft drink goes very well with Whiskey, so fans enjoy it, and we have some regular whiskeys, Bushmills, Red Bush, Powers to taste it with. I tell everyone it is the most popular way to have whiskey in Ireland, although I admit I read that online, but Red Lemonade is always available in Irish Pubs and in Dublin a Jammie and Red is very common drink.

The range of regular whiskey  is bolstered with the locally bought ‘Clontarf’ whiskey which I call ‘Clondalkin’ whiskey, which while very affordable at $18 a litre and possibly frowned upon by the connoisseur, is quite smooth with a stronger bourbon or caramel hint from it. It is great with the Red Lemonade.

DC in 2021 has a vermouth-based drink on Tammy’s menu, but Bill Lawhorn, Co-Chair of the bid, like myself deviates from the menu and produces a ‘DC Neapolitan,’  consisting of Baileys, chocolate liqueur and tequila rosa, incredibly tasty sweet creamy alcoholic shots that go down well.

Although unrepresented on the menu due to no bid, I have a Down East Cider from Boston.

Dave, Helen, and an Irish hand.

Helen Montgomery and Dave McCarthy are throwing a party for the Chicago 2022 bid. They have some great food, a creamy meatball thing, and a space theme to their drinks. ‘Take it to the Stars’ is their tag line, and I am offered a vodka and orange tang cocktail mix. I soon learn that the orange drink is the stuff of astronauts, and it goes down easy along with that other well know space drink, Earl Grey tea with scotch and honey. Also a few cases of Space Station Middle Finger, an American pale ale, from the Three Flyodds Brewing Company. The space theme is really nice, and there is a lot of buzz here for 2022.

I head to Rook Books, where Deanna Sjolander and Blake Hausladen are hosting an excellent Books and Beer party, where there is a wide variety of very interesting drinks. I go to the Rock Band party, and engine room parties, and eventually have a short snooze on a couch at around 2 a.m. in Tammys. It has slightly caught up with me, but it is a good night, and I eventually get to the bed by 4 a.m. after causing some consternation by drinking Balvenie 12-year-old single malt scotch, with red lemonade.

Books and Beer

Friday and Saturday will have a range of other parties. Barfleet are having a UBS Abandon 10-year celebration, there will be a ‘For the Love of Comics’ party, Minneapolis in 2073, more Books and Beer and a list of others, all to look forward to.

I admit that I am a bit conflicted as Erin Underwood has arranged a Dublin 2019 meet up at Boskone on Saturday night, in the Galleria at from 10:30 p.m.-12:00 midnight, with Irish snacks, drinks, and some Irish music and one of our GOH’s. Meanwhile over in Ireland, members of the Dublin 2019 team have also been making their way to Leprecon 39 at Goldsmith Hall in Trinity College Dublin. https://leprecon.ie/

Panels start at 10 a.m. for me, so time for sleep.

2018 Sir Julius Vogel Award Finalists

The finalists for the 2018 Sir Julius Vogel Awards have been announced. The awards recognize excellence in science fiction, fantasy and horror by New Zealanders.

The winners will be decided by a vote of the members of SFFANZ, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand Inc., and of the national convention, Conclave 3, to be held March 30-April 2.

PROFESSIONAL AWARDS

Best Novel

  • In the Earth’s Embrace, by J.C. Hart (Etherhart Press)
  • Bastet’s Daughters, by Lyn McConchie (Wildside Press)
  • Tyche’s Flight, by Richard Parry (Independent)
  • Hounds of the Underworld, by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Starlight’s Children, by Darian Smith (Wooden Tiger Press)

Best Youth Novel

  • Earthcore, Book 1: RotoVegas, by Grace Bridges (Splashdown Books)
  • The Locksmith, by Barbara Howe (IFWG Publishing)
  • A Dash of Belladonna, by J. Rackham (Lemon Ink)
  • The Kahutahuta, by Douglas A. Van Belle (Intergalactic Media Group)
  • The Traitor and the Thief, by Gareth Ward (Walker Books Australia)

Best Novella/Novelette

  • The Meiosis of Cells and Exile, by Octavia Cade, published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2017 edition
  • Standard Hollywood Depravity, by Adam Christopher (Tor)
  • Beautiful Abomination, by Frances Duncan
  • Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body, by Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
  • Blood Money, by Chris Underwood

Best Short Story

  • Earthcore: Initiation” by Grace Bridges, published on http://www.gracebridges.kiwi.
  • Syren Song” by A.C Buchanan, published in Kaleidotrope.
  • The Stone Weta” by Octavia Cade, published in Clarkesworld, issue 131.
  • From the Womb of the Land, Our Bones Entwined” by A.J. Fitzwater, published in Pacific Monsters anthology (Fox Spirit Books).
  • Crimson Birds of Small Miracles” by Sean Monaghan, published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Jan/Feb 2017.

Best Collected Work

  • Mariah’s Prologues, by Grace Bridges
  • Once Upon a Southern Star: A Collection of Retold Fairy Tales, edited by Shelley Chappell

Best Production/Publication

Best Artwork

  • Earthcore: Initiation, story poster by Grace Bridges
  • Cover for Teleport, by Kate Strawbridge
  • Cover for Beneath Broken Waves, by Kate Strawbridge
  • Cover for The Madman’s Bridge, by Patrick McDonald
  • Cover for In the Earth’s Embrace, by Kate Strawbridge

Best Dramatic Presentation

  • The Changeover, directed by Stuart McKenzie and Miranda Harcourt, produced by Emma Slade (Firefly Films)
  • The Cul de Sac, season 2, (Greenstone TV)
  • One Thousand Ropes, directed by Tusi Tamasese (Blueskin Films)

Best New Talent
(Platform descriptions for the nominees will be provided in the official list on the SFFANZ web site.)

  • Barbara Howe
  • Mark Johnson
  • J. Rackham
  • Gareth Ward

FAN AWARDS

Best Fan Artwork

  • John Toon, for cartoons in Phoenixine and 2017 LexiCon convention booklet.

Best Fan Production/Publication

  • Phoenixine, edited by John and Lynelle Howell
  • Lexicon convention booklet, produced by Darusha Wehm
  • Summer Star Trek – Journey to Babel, Enterprise Entertainment

Best Fan Writing

  • Alex Lindsay for SITREP (produced in Phoenixine)
  • Jo Toon for Pass the Rules (produced in Phoenixine)

Services to Fandom
(Platform descriptions for the nominees will be provided in the official list on the SFFANZ web site.)

  • Jan Butterworth

Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror
(Platform descriptions for the nominees will be provided in the official list on the SFFANZ web site.)

  • Andi Buchanan
  • Darian Smith

2018 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity

Leon: Protector of the Playground, written and illustrated by Jamar Nicholas (Kids Love Comics) is the winner of the 2018 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity.

The Dwayne McDuffie Award celebrates diversity in comics and comic creative teams.

The complete list of finalists was –

  • Chimera, written and illustrated by Tyler Ellis (Comicker)
  • Full Circle,written by Taneka Stotts, art by Christianne Goudreau (Published online)
  • Leon: Protector of the Playground, written and illustrated by Jamar Nicholas (Kids Love Comics)
  • The Once & Future Queen, written by Adam P. Knave & D.J. Kirkbride, art by Nick Brokenshire (Dark Horse)
  • Quince, written by Sebastian Kadlecik and Kit Steinkellner, art by Emma Steinkellner (Fanbase Press)

Nominees were chosen by the judging panel which included Mark D. Bright, Jennifer de Guzman,  Joan Hilty, Jamal Igle, Mikki Kendall, Kevin Rubio, Gail Simone, Will J. Watkins and Heidi MacDonald.a

Pixel Scroll 2/16/18 There Are Six Pixels On This Scroll: Two At The Rear, Two At The Front And Two Over The Tick Box

(1) 2017 HUGO VIDEO. Worldcon 75 Hugo Ceremony video has been posted. Due to technical difficulties, it omits the first 15 minutes of the event and the first winner presented (Best Fan Artist). They did capture the remaining two-plus hours of the ceremonies. (Oor Wombat’s “Whalefall” acceptance speech begins at 1:48.)

(2) INSPIRED.SPECPO catches up with a longtime poet — “Fairy Tales and Finding Poetic Inspiration: An interview with Ruth Berman”.

Ruth Berman

How did you get started as a writer?
When I was about five, the family took a train trip to Florida during winter vacation.  Looking out the train window at the full moon shining on a lagoon, I felt that it was so beautiful that had to compose a poem about it. As I did not know how to write, I dictated the result to my oldest brother to write down for me so that I could keep it until I could read. (No, I won’t quote it. Five-year-olds don’t compose very good poetry.)

Who are some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy influences?
The members of the Twin Cities Sf Poetry writing group and of the Aaardvaark writing group. Anthony Boucher, Poul Anderson, Ursula K. LeGuin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones, Avram Davidson, Terry Pratchett, Fritz Leiber, L. Frank Baum, Lewis Carroll.

What keeps you going as a writer?
Sometimes nothing does. But at some point when I haven’t had any ideas for a long time, something will set me off again, so I try not to worry during the dry spells. I read a lot of non-fiction in the fields of mythology, folktales, history, and science, looking for ideas — sometimes find some in the process, sometimes not. Also sometimes get ideas from other people’s fiction, especially if I disagree with a story. Sometimes, if the situation calls for characters to have coats of arms, it helps to stop and ask myself what a character’s coat of arms is — which I seem to find more helpful than the more usual prompts of asking what music the character likes or hates, what foods, books, clothes — that sort of thing.

(3) LE GUIN TRIBUTE IN PORTLAND. Ursula K. Le Guin’s family says a public tribute is being planned, date to be determined.

Dear readers and friends,

We are deeply honored by the outpouring of affection and admiration for Ursula and her life’s work.

Many have asked whether we are planning a public event to commemorate and honor Ursula; others have asked where one could direct donations in her name.

We are working with Literary Arts to plan a tribute, to be held in April or May 2018 in Portland, free and open to the public.

(4) NO BOOM. The LA Review of Books considers an atomic scientist’s spec-fic story: “Listening to the Dolphins: Leo Szilard on Nuclear War”.

LEO SZILARD’S short story “The Voice of the Dolphins,” published in 1961, imagines a history of the world written in 1990. The story begins with the sentence, “On several occasions between 1960 and 1985, the world narrowly escaped an all-out atomic war.” One of the 20th century’s greatest physicists, Szilard knew whereof he spoke: along with Enrico Fermi, he was responsible for creating the first nuclear chain reaction in 1942. Szilard understood very well the history, physics, and destructive power of the Bomb. He could have chosen to write a tense record of the 1945 explosion at Hiroshima, along the lines of John Hersey’s classic study, or he might have related the history of the Bomb’s invention à la Richard Rhodes. Instead, he chose to write a piece of fiction — dry almost to the point of tedium — about the geopolitical future of the Atomic Age.

His choice is fascinating, not least because it suggests that Szilard’s interests as a man of science extended far beyond the domain of physics into the social and political spheres. His actions belie the sort of caricature of scientists found in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle (1963) and other midcentury texts — an autistic tinkerer who leads the world to the brink of destruction by solving a military problem without any thought for the consequences. On the contrary, Szilard’s fiction is a serious attempt to grapple with the ethico-political impact of the epochal invention he in large part helped to author.

(5) CLAIM TO FAME. Kim Huett says, “Time to take it down a notch after writing such a serious post last week. You will note that I am the first person to ever combine Walt Willis and Mystery Science Theater 3000. (I’m possibly the only person who could.)”

Can Huett live up to this boast? Read “The Notorious Bert I. Gordon” and see.

Okay, so now we all know that MST3K is a TV show that revolves around showing a movie of dubious quality and providing a humorous commentary which, in this, the future world of today, is a little thing we like to call riffing. I doubt riffing is a new or revolutionary practise, I imagine people have been moved to talk back to the screen ever since the very first bad movie was shown in front of an audience. I even have evidence of a primitive form of movie riffing happening at a British science fiction convention. Consider this quote from Walt Willis writing about the Loncon in Quandry #22 (edited by Lee Hoffman, August 1952). This particular Loncon (there has been more than one SF convention called this) was held 31 May & 1 June, 1952 and in London of all places:

The final event was a showing of Metropolis, which in a way was the best part of the official programme. This was because there was no incidental music to drown fan comment on the action, some of which was brilliant. Dan Morgan shone especially. When the hero suddenly mimed exaggerated alarm the way they do in silent films and dashed madly for the door Dan remarked “FIRST ON THE RIGHT”. That started it and the whole worthy but rather dull film was enlivened by a ruining commentary from the audience which I wish I had space to quote…

(6) LAST RESTING PLACE. Atlas Obscura has photo features of a number of gravesites, including those of two Inklings —

The bones of C.S. Lewis, one of the 20th century’s literary greats, rest within a peaceful cemetery. Nearby, an etched glass window bearing characters from his most famous fantasy world adds a whimsical touch of childhood magic to the churchyard….

The grave of C.S. Lewis lies within the cemetery of the Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry just outside of Oxford. He was buried there in November of 1963, and even today it’s common to find flowers placed atop his tombstone.

The names Lúthien and Beren can be found inscribed on the shared grave of the famous writer and his beloved wife and muse.

The final resting place of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892–1973) and Edith Mary Tolkien (1889-1971) is covered in an abundance flowers, plants, and offerings from fans in the verdant cemetery of Wolvercote in Northern Oxford. They are buried together in a single grave in the Catholic section of the cemetery.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 16, 1923 — In Thebes, Egypt, English archaeologist Howard Carter enters the sealed burial chamber of the ancient Egyptian ruler King Tutankhamen.

(8) THE HORROR. Gizmodo may have violated the Geneva Convention by posting this online — “Man Redefines Horror By Building a Singing Furby Organ”.

(9) AMUSING CONCEIT. Here’s the Black Panther trailer done as an 8-bit game video:

(10) SUPERHEROES LIKE ME. The Washington Post’s David Betancourt interviews Ryan Coogler, who talks about how he has loved comics since he was a kid and how he was brought into the MCU by Nate Moore, Marvel’s only African-American producer: “‘Black Panther’s’ Ryan Coogler has always been searching for superheroes who look like him”.

“I went to the comic book shop that was by my school and asked if they had any black characters,” Coogler recalled.

That was the moment Coogler discovered the Black Panther.

While in film school at University of Southern California, where he graduated in 2011, that love of comics remained — and after Marvel Studios started its connected cinematic universe with 2008’s box office hit “Iron Man,” Coogler began imagining that one day he might direct a superhero movie.

Betancourt has another article about how he is half African-American and half Puerto Rican and is excited about a superhero movie featuring people who look like him: “I’m a 37-year-old Afro-Latino comic nerd. I’ve waited a lifetime for ‘Black Panther.’”

Imagine waiting a lifetime for a hero, at times thinking he’ll never come. Imagine being there when he finally shows up.

That’s the feeling for many of us — fans of color who love superhero culture — as we anticipate the live-action movie debut of the Black Panther, indisputably the greatest black superhero of all time.

In Marvel Cinematic Universe years, it’s only been a decade since 2008’s “Iron Man” introduced a new era of epic, interconnected storytelling on-screen. But for those of us who discovered Black Panther in the comics — the character first appeared in 1966 — the wait has been much longer.

(11) SETI SLOWDOWN. First they need to find intelligent life on earth – the BBC reports “Crypto-currency craze ‘hinders search for alien life'”.

Scientists listening out for broadcasts by extra-terrestrials are struggling to get the computer hardware they need, thanks to the crypto-currency mining craze, a radio-astronomer has said.

Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) researchers want to expand operations at two observatories.

However, they have found that key computer chips are in short supply.

“We’d like to use the latest GPUs [graphics processing units]… and we can’t get ’em,” said Dan Werthimer.

Demand for GPUs has soared recently thanks to crypto-currency mining.

“That’s limiting our search for extra-terrestrials, to try to answer the question, ‘Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?’,” Dr Werthimer told the BBC.

“This is a new problem, it’s only happened on orders we’ve been trying to make in the last couple of months.”

Mining a currency such as Bitcoin or Ethereum involves connecting computers to a global network and using them to solve complex mathematical puzzles.

Here’s an even more direct measure of the impact of this currency mining — “Bitcoin energy use in Iceland set to overtake homes, says local firm”.

Iceland is facing an “exponential” rise in Bitcoin mining that is gobbling up power resources, a spokesman for Icelandic energy firm HS Orka has said.

This year, electricity use at Bitcoin mining data centres is likely to exceed that of all Iceland’s homes, according to Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson.

He said many potential customers were keen to get in on the act.

(12) SEVENTH DOCTOR WHO RETURNS. BBC Worldwide Americas and Titan Comics are bringing back the Seventh Doctor for a new three-part comic series stars the Seventh Doctor, as played by Sylvester McCoy, alongside classic companion Ace (Sophie Aldred).

Hitting stores and digital platforms in June 2018 with a double-sized first issue, DOCTOR WHO: THE SEVENTH DOCTOR #1, written by Seventh Doctor script editor and showrunner Andrew Cartmel, and writer Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London). Doctor Who: The Seventh Doctor expands Titan Comics’ hugely popular and critically acclaimed Doctor Who comics line.

Actor Sylvester McCoy starred as the Seventh Doctor from 1987 to 1989 anchoring hundreds of novels and comic strips before regenerating in the 1996 TV movie. As well as this new comic, the Seventh Doctor’s era lives on in a tremendously successful series of audios from Big Finish. McCoy’s portrayal as the Doctor was, at first, a light-hearted eccentric who darkened into a secretive, mysterious, and cunning planner across the course of his tenure.

In Titan Comics’ new mini-series, an unknown alien intelligence in orbit around the Earth. Astronauts under attack. A terrifying, mysterious landing in the Australian interior. The future of the world itself at stake. Counter Measures activated. The Seventh Doctor and Ace are slap bang in the middle of it all! This is OPERATION VOLCANO!

(13) EVIL EMPIRE. Eric Chesterton, in the MLB.com piece  “The Yankees Will Give Away An Aaron Judge Jedi Bobblehead For Star Wars Night,”  have a picture of the Coveted Collectible that all Filers who are Yankees fans will have to have!

(14) DESPITE POPULAR DEMAND. The irresistible charm of exactly what? explains why “Michael Fassbender is starring in a feature-length sequel to Kung Fury”.

The retro ’80s mash-up short Kung Fury made the improbable leap from kitschy Kickstarter project to the Cannes Film Festival, and now it will be getting a feature-length sequel starring Prometheus and Steve Jobs star Michael Fassbender. Variety reports that the creator and star of the original Kung Fury, David Sandberg, is also set to appear in the movie as the titular hero. David Hasselhoff, who had a role in the short, is also expected to return.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Will R., Rev. Bob, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, Kim Huett, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]

Barkley — So Glad You (Didn’t) Ask: A Column of Unsolicited Opinions — #24

File 770’s Black History Month, Part One: Black Panther

By Chris M. Barkley:

Black Panther (2018, ****) with Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Winston Duke, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman. Written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, based on characters created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, Directed by Ryan Coogler.

Bechdel Test: PASS!!!!!

Ever since Marvel Studios first announced in 2014 it was developing a film version of the iconic black superhero, Black Panther, a great deal of hype and anticipation has surrounded its production. And now, I can tell you, without any hesitation, that this film has exceeded all my expectations.

Set shortly after the assassination of the King T’Chaka of Wakanda in Captain America: Civil War, heir apparent Prince T’Challa (a magnificently ripped Chadwick Boseman) is to be crowned the new King. But although T’Challa has trained and studied for this moment for a majority of his life, he feels as though he is unready and can never be the equal of his father.

T’Challa has bigger problems; the path to the crown does not go unchallenged. M’Baku (Winston Duke), the powerful leader of the agrarian northern tribe tries to depose him, a master criminal, Ulyssess Klaue (Andy Serkis) is at large peddling vibranium, the precious metal that fuels Wakanda’s existence and is distracted by his ex-lover by his concern over the safety of (Lupita Nyong’o), who spends most of her time outside the kingdom as a secret service agent.

But the sudden emergence of Erik Stevens (Michael B. Jordan), a previously unknown heir to the throne suddenly appears to pose the biggest threat to T’Challa and his kingdom. A trained killer, he aids Klaue’s activities and seeks to take Wakandan weapons and technology to “liberate” the oppressed minorities of the world in order to dominate the world for himself.

The Black Panther debuted June 1966 in Fantastic Four # 52 and 53 by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. It is only natural to expect Marvel Comics, the innovative group of creators that gave us angst driven teenage heroes (Spider-Man and the X-Men) heroes and villains with anger issues (The Hulk, Namor, the Sub-Mariner and Doctor Doom) and physical disabilities (Daredevil) would bring the world the very first, true black superhero. I personally believe that they created the Black Panther out of their observations of the civil rights movement and seeing the potential of building bridges to the youthful African-American audience hungry for heroes they can identify with.

(In October of that year, Bobby Seale and Huey Newton created the influential revolutionary group, The Black Panthers for Self Defense as a reactionary counterpart of Martin Luther King’s non-violent movement. Neither man confirmed that the group was named after Marvel’s hero but just calling it merely a coincidence is a bit of stretch.)

I have had the privilege of watching the character of the Black Panther evolve over the decades to come to this particular moment in black cultural history.

There are several reasons why this particular film is important right now:

A) As the 17th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, writer-director Ryan Coogler has assembled of the largest and most diverse casts of black actors, both of American and international origins, in recent memory.

B) The story provides a different, but important slice of the Marvel Universe that many readers of comics were familiar with but most moviegoers were probably unaware of.

C) It also shows a fictionalized region of Africa that has never been colonized, despoiled or exploited by any outside forces, an idealized place where love of country goes hand in hand with advanced technology.

But beneath there are clearly cracks in Wakanda’s utopian vision here; much of the country’s internal success has come from a traditional intense sense of secrecy that does not allow any other points of view. When Erik “Killmonger” Stevens arrives to make his play for Wankandan crown, he finds a fertile ground to sow his nefarious plot. And what should be nagging in the back of every viewer’s mind is could there be a kernel of truth in what he’s seeking.

T’Challa may have a suit of vibranium and advanced weapons at his disposal but he knows he cannot prevail on his own. He is blessed with some serious backup; covert operator Nakia, the fearsome Okoye (Danai Gurira), the head of his all female special forces unit, his beloved mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett), a frenemy CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and his spunky and techno-genius sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) who steals practically every scene she’s in.

Ryan Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole deserve an enormous amount of credit in balancing everyone’s role so the movie feels like a beautifully infectious fever dream of action, adventure and personal tragedy.

The advanced ticket sales of Black Panther have ensured its financial success, both here in America and overseas. But its cultural impact can only be measured by the number of new projects featuring racially and sexually diverse cast will made in the near future. I, along with you and many others, can only watch and wait.

ONWARD, WAKANDA!

Horror Writers Association’s 2017 Service Awards

The Horror Writers Association has announced the winners of the 2017 Mentor of the Year Award, the Silver Hammer Award, and the Richard Laymon President’s Award. The awards will be presented at StokerCon™ 2018, March 1-4.

MENTOR OF THE YEAR. The Mentor of the Year Award was established in 2016 to recognize a writer who has offered extraordinary service to the HWA’s Mentor Program, which pairs newer writers with more established writers. This year, Mentor Program Chair, Brian Hatcher, has chosen Angel Leigh McCoy as the 2017 Mentor of the Year.

Angel Leigh McCoy is a writer, audiobook narrator, editor, video game designer, and the HWA webmaster. Her novelette, “Charlie Darwin, or the Trine of 1809” was published by Nevermet Press, and she has had short stories appear in Strange Aeons, Necrotic Tissue, and Ravens in the Library by QuietThunder. As a game writer, she has worked on Guild Wars 2, various Microsoft game projects, White Wolf’s World of Darkness, and Forgotten Realms among many others. Aside from a storied twenty-five-year career, she makes time for her cats, Boo, Simon, and Lappyloo, who make her world cozy.

SILVER HAMMER AWARD. The HWA presents the Silver Hammer Award in recognition of extraordinary volunteerism by a member who dedicates valuable time and effort to the organization. The award is determined by HWA’s Board of Trustees.

This year’s recipient is Kenneth W. Cain, who serves as a key member of HWA’s Membership Committee. His duties include officially welcoming and assisting new members, and consulting on membership approval and qualification issues, tasks which he has performed for several years.

Kenneth W. Cain is the author of four novels, The Saga of I trilogy and United States of the Dead, and four short story collections, These Old Tales, Fresh Cut Tales, Embers, and the forthcoming Darker Days. He is also the editor for Crystal Lake Publishing’s Tales From The Lake Volume 5. Early on, shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and One Step Beyond created a sense of wonder for the unknown that continues to fuel his writing today. He resides in Chester County, Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.

RICHARD LAYMON PRESIDENT’S AWARD. The Richard Laymon President’s Award is named in honor of Richard Laymon, who died in 2001 while serving as the HWA’s President. As the name implies, it is given by the HWA’s sitting President. The award is presented to a volunteer who has served HWA in an especially exemplary manner and has shown extraordinary dedication to the organization.

HWA President Lisa Morton has chosen Greg Chapman to receive the 2017 Richard Laymon Award. As a graphic designer, Chapman has served the HWA for many years, providing everything from book covers to website graphics to convention banners. “Greg’s extraordinary gifts as a graphic artist have been crucial in bringing HWA into the 21st century in terms of our visual impact and overall branding,” said Morton. “His skills as a writer ensure that his art always tells a compelling story. We’re very lucky to have such a talented – and fast! – craftsman in our ranks.”

Greg Chapman is a horror author from Australia. He is the author of the Bram Stoker Award®-nominated and Australian Shadows Award-nominated novel Hollow House, the novel The Noctuary: Pandemonium and the novellas: Torment, Vaudeville, The Last Night of October and The Eschatologist. He is also an artist and illustrated the Bram Stoker Award®-winning graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, written by Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton.

[Based on a press release.]

51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair

Oh yes, Frankie was the guest of honor at the show.

By John King Tarpinian: This past weekend was the “pay your mortgage before you attend” Antiquarian Book Fair.  Dealers come from all over the US, plus Australia, Germany, Argentina, France & England encompassing over 200 booksellers.

Even if you leave your wallet at home it can be a great way to spend a few hours.  SFF is very well represented at these shows.  First editions are at every turn, from a first edition of Alice in Wonderland to Dune to Stranger in a Strange Land to Fahrenheit 451.  The pulps are also well represented.

Rather than owning an OOP t-shirt of Le Petit Prince you could have bought a first edition of it for your granddaughter.  (Guess what I did?)  Next show she will get a signed first of The Cat in the Hat.

For me the event is also a social one.  Over the years I have made friends with a number of dealers.  Either because of my relationship with Ray Bradbury or that a few of the vendors come to the LA Vintage Paperback Show, for which I am the show organizer.

For those of you on the Eastern Seaboard the show will move to NYC in a few weeks: New York Antiquarian Book Fair.

A New Twist On Balderdash

By Danny Sichel: Recently, I devised a game for fans that can be played at cons and club meetings. It requires only paper, pencils, and at least four people, of whom one has a broad knowledge of SF and/or is willing to do research beforehand. At the February 2018 meeting of MONSFFA (the Montreal Science Fiction / Fantasy Association), we playtested it.

As I described it at the beginning of the game:

You may have noticed that the meeting program says we’ll be playing Balderdash. This is not the case. To start with, I’ll explain the rules of Balderdash, which we will not be playing.

If we were playing Balderdash – which we are not – I would have a deck of vocabulary cards, which would all have strange weird peculiar uncommon words. I would read you one of the words, but not the definition; you would all invent definitions, write them down, hand them in to me. I would read them all out loud – including the real one. Each of you would then pick which one you think is real. If you choose the right answer, you get a point – and if you choose someone else’s answer, they get a point. So you’re incentivized to be not just creative and insightful, but also plausible.

Or, at least, that would be the case if we were playing Balderdash. Which we’re not. Because rather than obscure words… we are using the titles of science fiction and fantasy stories. I’ll give you the title, and you have to write down a synopsis of what you think that story is about.

Remember, stories can be about the weirdest damn things… and the meanings of the titles are not always obvious. But then again, sometimes they are.

One of the fun parts of this game is the prep work: going through decades worth of anthologies and magazines and picking out stories based on their titles, and knowing the stories well enough that you can boil them down into a single sentence…. and then keep boiling. Go beyond simple, into simplistic. Describe something so blandly that pathos becomes bathos. Spoil the ending. Focus on a single minor aspect, to a ridiculous extent. Make something deep and serious sound trivial and silly.

How many stories can you identify among the crowds of impostors?

Results from our first game are on the MONSFFA site — “A Game that wasn’t Balderdash!”

2018 David Gemmell Awards Longlists

Longlists for The David Gemmell Awards For Fantasy — the Legend, Morningstar, and Ravenheart Awards — have been posted. The awards recognize the best in fantasy fiction and artwork. Open voting to determine the finalists has begun and will continue until midnight on March 30.

Next, voting on the shortlist will open midday on April 20 and close at midnight on June 1. The awards will be presented July 14 at Edge-Lit 7 in Derby, UK.

LEGEND AWARD (Longlist)

The Legend Award is presented to the fantasy title judged the year’s best by open vote.

  • Mageborn, Book One of The Age of Dread by Stephen Aryan
  • The Unholy Consult, The Aspect Emperor Book Four by R. Scott Bakker
  • The Stone in the Skull, Book 1 of the Lotus Kingsoms by Elizabeth Bear
  • With Blood Upon the Sand, Book Two of The Song of the Shattered Sands by Bradley Beaulieu
  • City of Miracles, Book 3 of the Divine Cities by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • The Core, Book 5 of The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett
  • Firebrand, Green Rider Book 6 by Kristen Britain
  • The Black Elfstone, Book 1 of the Fall of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  • The Fall of Dragons, Traitor Son Cycle Book Five by Miles Cameron
  • Successor’s Promise, Millennium’s Rule Book Three by Trudi Canavan
  • Coldmaker by Daniel A. Cohen
  • 1Shadowborn, Seraphim Book Three by David Dalglish
  • The Amber Arrow, Book 2 of Wulf’s Saga by Tony Daniel
  • The House of Binding Thorns, Dominion of The Fallen Book 2 by Aliette de Bodard
  • Tyrant’s Throne, Book 4 of The Greatcoats by Sebastien de Castell
  • Among the Fallen, Book 2 of the Godserfs Series by NS Dolkart
  • Seventh Decimate, The Great God’s War Book 1 by Stephen Donaldson
  • Death’s Mistress, Book 1 of The Nicci Chronicles by Terry Goodkind
  • Empress of the Fall, Book 1 of The Sunsurge Quintet by David Hair
  • A Plague of Giants, Book 1 of The Seven Kennings by Kevin Hearne
  • Assassin’s Fate, Book 3 of Fitz and The Fool by Robin Hobb
  • The Gates of Tagmeth, Book 5 of the Kencyrath Series by P.C. Hodgell
  • The Dragon Lords: False Idols, Book 2 of The Dragon Lords by Jon Hollins
  • Heartland, Book 2 of the Worldmaker Trilogy by Lucy Hounsom
  • Firestorm, Book 3 of the Worldmaker Trilogy by Lucy Hounsom
  • Dark Immolation, Book Two of the Chaos Queen Quintet by Christopher Husberg
  • The Fatal Gate, Book Two of The Gates of Good and Evil by Ian Irvine
  • An Echo of Things to Come, Book Two of the Licanius Trilogy by James Islington
  • Infernal Machines, The Incorruptibles Book 3 by John Hornor Jacobs
  • The Stone Sky, Book 3 of The Broken Earth by NK Jemisin
  • Throne of the Bastards, The sequel to King of the Bastards by Brian Keene and Steven L. Shrewsbury
  • Godsgrave, The Nevernight Chronicle Book 2 by Jay Kristoff
  • Red Sister, Book 1 of The Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence
  • Princess of Blood, Book Two of The God Fragments by Tom Lloyd
  • A War in Crimson Embers, Book Three of the Crimson Empire by Alex Marshall
  • Scourge, A Darkhurst Novel by Gail Z. Martin
  • The Fallen Kingdom, Book Three of The Falconer by Elizabeth May
  • Sins of Empire, Book 1 of Gods of Blood and Powder by Brian McClellan
  • Scorched Shadows, The Hellequin Chronicles Book 7 by Steve McHugh
  • The Last Sacrifice, Book 1 of The Tides of War by James A. Moore
  • The Seven, Book 3 of The Vagrant Trilogy by Peter Newman
  • A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden
  • The Two of Swords, Volume One of The Two of Swords by K.J. Parker
  • Lightbringers, The Age of Myth and Legends by David Price
  • Eight Lamentations: Spear of Shadows, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar by Josh Reynolds
  • Legion of Flame, The Draconis Memoria Book Two by Anthony Ryan
  • Oathbringer, The Stormlight Archive Book 3 by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Lady of the Lake, The Witcher Saga Book 5 by Andrzej Sapkowski
  • Bane of Shadow, The Empire of Storms Book Two by Jon Skovron
  • Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
  • God’s Last Breath, Bring Down Heaven Book 3 by Sam Sykes
  • Strange the Dreamer, Strange the Dreamer Book 1 by Laini Taylor
  • The Bear and The Serpent, Book 2 of Echoes of the Fall by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • You Die When You Die by Angus Watson
  • Overlords of the Iron Dragon, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar by CL Werner
  • The Ninth Rain, Book One of The Winnowing Flame Trilogy by Jen Williams
  • The Witchwood Crown, Book One of The Last King of Osten Ard by Tad Williams
  • Destiny’s Conflict, Book Ten of the Wars of Light and Shadow by Janny Wurts

MORNINGSTAR AWARD (Longlist)

The Morningstar Award honors the author judged to have made the year’s best debut in fantasy fiction.

  • Age of Assassins, Book 1 of The Wounded Kingdom by RJ Barker
  • The Waking Land by Callie Bates
  • Witchy Eye by D.J. Butler
  • Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott
  • The Tethered Mage, Book 1 of The Swords and Fire Trilogy by Melissa Caruso
  • The Last Namsara, Iskari Book One by Kristen Ciccarelli
  • Kings of the Wyld, Book 1 of The Band by Nicholas Eames
  • Darien: Empire of Salt by C.F. Iggulden
  • The Last Myon by Rudi Jennings
  • The Bloodprint, Book 1 of The Khorasan Archives by Ausma Zehanat Khan
  • One Cog Turning by Anthony Laken
  • Jade City, Book 1 of The Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee
  • The Fifth Ward: First Watch, Book 1 of The Fifth Ward by Dale Lucas
  • Soul of the World, Book 1 of The Ascension Cycle by David Mealing
  • Blackwing, Book 1 of The Raven’s Mark by Ed McDonald
  • Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng
  • Cold Counsel by Chris Sharp
  • The Court of Broken Knives, Book 1 of The Empires of Dust by Anna Smith-Spark
  • Godblind, Book 1 of The Godblind Trilogy by Anna Stephens
  • The Dragon’s Legacy, Book 1 of The Dragon’s Legacy Saga by Deborah A. Wolf

RAVENHEART AWARD (Longlist)

The Ravenheart Award is given to the creator of the year’s best fantasy book cover art.

  • Richard Anderson for The Stone in The Skull by Elizabeth Bear
  • Richard Anderson for Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
  • Arcangel Images (Crystal Ben) for The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
  • Arcangel Images for The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin
  • Arcangel Images for The Soul of the World by David Mealing
  • Arcangel Images for God’s Last Breath by Sam Sykes
  • Arcangel and Shutterstock for Mageborn by Stephen Aryan
  • Tommy Arnold for Shadowborn by David Dalglish
  • Kerem Beyit for The Fall of Dragons by Miles Cameron
  • Christian Bravery for The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan
  • Laura Brett for Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley Beaulieu
  • Mike Bryan for The Black Elfstone by Terry Brooks
  • www.buerosued.de for Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien De Castell
  • Alejandro Colucci for The Last Sacrifice by James A Moore
  • Alejandro Colucci for The Lady of the Lake by Andrzej Sapkowski
  • John Coulthart for Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng
  • Das Illustrat, Ervin Usman and Dan Smith for The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
  • Bastien Lecouffe Deharme for Bane and Shadow by Jon Skovron
  • Adam Doyle for The Witch of Torinia by Clifford Beal
  • Terrence Drysdale (Trevillion Images) and Joana Kruse for The Waking Land by Callie Bates
  • Getty Images and Shutterstock for Jade City by Fonda Lee
  • Sam Green for Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
  • Johan Grenier for Overlords of the Iron Dragon by C.L. Werner
  • Gill Heeley and Larry Rostant for Darien: Empire of Salt by C.F. Iggulden
  • Jaime Jones for The Seven by Peter Newman
  • Rory Kee for City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Rory Kee for Empress of the Fall by David Hair
  • Patrick Knowles for Infernal Machines by John Hornor Jacobs
  • Jon McCoy for Princess of Blood by Tom Lloyd
  • Gene Mollica for A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
  • Gene Mollica for The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May
  • Jackie Morris and Stephen Raw for Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb
  • Stephen Mulcahey for Coldmaker by Daniel A Cohen
  • Nekro for Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson
  • Leo Nickols for Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott
  • Dave Palumbo for Cold Counsel by Chris Sharp
  • Lauren Panepinto for A War in Crimson Embers by Alex Marshall
  • the-parish.com (Tom Sanderson) for Age of Assassins by RJ Barker
  • plainpicture (Dieter Reichelt) for Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
  • Kerby Rosanes for Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
  • Larry Rostant for You Die When You Die by Angus Watson
  • Larry Rostant and Millennium FX Ltd for The Core by Peter V Brett
  • Daniel Dos Santos for Witchy Eye by DJ Butler
  • Daniel Dos Santos for The Amber Arrow by Tony Daniel
  • Dominick Saponaro for An Echo of Things to Come by James Islington
  • April Schumacher for Firebrand by Kristen Britain
  • Shutterstock (Kiselev Andrey Valerevich) for The Unholy Consult by R. Scott Bakker
  • Shutterstock for The House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard
  • Shutterstock for Death’s Mistress by Terry Goodkind
  • Shutterstock for Firestorm by Lucy Hounsom
  • Shutterstock for Heartland by Lucy Hounsom
  • Shutterstock for The Fatal Gate by Ian Irvine
  • Shutterstock for The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan
  • Shutterstock for The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith-Spark
  • Shutterstock for Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
  • Shutterstock for Godblind by Anna Stephens
  • Shutterstock for The Bear and the Serpent by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Shutterstock and depositphotos for Blackwing by Ed McDonald
  • Duncan Spilling and Shutterstock for Successor’s Promise by Trudi Canavan
  • Crystal Sully for The Dragon Lords: False Idols by Jon Hollins
  • Thom Tenery for Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan
  • Trevillion Images for The Two of Swords: Volume One by K.J. Parker
  • Michael Whelan for The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams
  • Eric Williams for The Gates of Tagmeth by P.C. Hodgell
  • Janny Wurts for Destiny’s Conflict by Janny Wurts
  • Sammy Yuen for The Fifth Ward: First Watch by Dale Lucas
  • Jantine Zandbergen for Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth for the story.]