(1) PAST WORLDCON CHAIRS PHOTO. In the video, they all state their names and the cons they chaired. The photo session starts to shape up at about the 35-minute mark.
Here’s the final result:
— Worldcon 75 (@worldcon75) August 12, 2017
(2) HUGO RULINGS OF 2017. Here’s a unique document – a report of all the rulings and decisions made by the 2017 Hugo administrators. I don’t think that’s ever been done before. In fact, past Hugo administrators have been very reluctant to share how the sausage was made.
Questions were raised directly with us both by email and social media enquiries, both from members of the Worldcon 75 team and from other interested parties. We do not disclose the source of individual queries below, nor do we comment on questions that were not brought directly to our attention.
(3) HAUTALA GETS A BOOST. The late author received a helping hand to start his career: “Stephen King’s letter introducing Rick Hautala”.
Thanks to Gerald Winters of Gerald Winters and Son Rare Books in Bangor, ME, here’s an amazing find: a letter that Stephen King wrote to publisher Coward, McCann, and Geoghegan recommending a new in-progress book by a new writer named Rick Hautala! The book, The Dark Brother, was retitled Moondeath when it was finally published by Zebra Books in 1980.
I’m writing in hopes that you will read a manuscript in progress. It is a novel called THE DARK BROTHER by a young man named Rick Hautala. Rick works in the South Portland Walden bookstore, and a few months ago he asked me if I’d look at this script.
Gerald wrote, “After Putnam Publishers acquired CM&G, this letter was kept on their files until it was eventually acquired by the previous owner.
“Now it is back in Bangor where it will stay for anyone wishing to view.”
There’s a readable image of the letter at the site.
Cat Eldridge sent the link with a comment, “Rick died of a massive heart attack four years back while out on a walk with his wife. Like all too many genre writers, he made very little money. And yes I knew him, a really nice person.”
(4) TODAY IN HISTORY
- August 12, 1943 — Arthur Lubin’s Phantom of the Opera premiered. Universal originally planned this film as a comedy for Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
- August 12, 1977 — Space shuttle Enterprise completed its first free-flight test.
(5) YESTERDAY IN HISTORY
- August 11, 1962 — Haruo Nakajima takes on the Eighth Wonder in King Kong vs. Godzilla.
- August 11, 1963 — Haruo Nakajima plays the title role in Matango, opening this day in Japan.
(6) COMICS SECTION.
- Mike Kennedy noticed Superman made an appearance on Non Sequitur.
- And that in Over the Hedge the neighborhood animals have come up with their own definition of science fiction
- Meanwhile, John King Tarpinian discovered sff is the cause of marital disharmony in Close To Home.
(7) LOOK, UP IN THE SKY. Pilots have their name stenciled on their planes – still, people are surprised that “Batman’s Plane in ‘Justice League’ Totally Gives Away His Secret Identity”.
On Thursday, Entertainment Weekly released concept art of Batman’s plane, the Flying Fox. And, fans were quick to note a surprising detail: Thanks to a Wayne Enterprises decal, Batman’s real name, “Wayne,” is written on the side. Gotta have brand awareness, I guess.
The Justice League Comic-Con sneak peak made it seem like a big deal when Cyborg dropped into Batman’s plane, hacked it, and said, “Relax, Alfred, I’ll take it from here.” While pretty much the entire Justice League will know Batman’s identity at this point in the film — Wonder Woman and the soon-to-return Superman learned it in Batman v Superman, and we already knew that Bruce Wayne would reveal that he was Batman to Barry Allen/The Flash when he was recruiting him — it was still a big moment, and a showcase of Cyborg’s impressive skillset. Within seconds, he was able to hack into a plane that was “password-protected” by the Batman, and determine his identity. Apparently, though, he could just as easily have read it off the side of the plane.
(8) QUANTUM OF SOLACE. From the BBC: “Chinese satellite sends ‘hack-proof’ message”.
China has successfully sent “hack-proof” messages from a satellite to Earth for the first time.
The Micius satellite beamed messages to two mountain-top receiving stations 645 km (400 miles) and 1,200 km away.
The message was protected by exploiting quantum physics, which says any attempt to eavesdrop on it would make detectable changes.
Using satellites avoids some limitations that ground-based systems introduce into quantum communication.
(9) EVERYTHING BUT THE OINK. Genetically modified pigs “take step toward being organ donors”.
The most genetically modified animals in existence have been created to help end a shortage of organs for transplant, say US researchers.
The scientists successfully rid 37 pigs of viruses hiding in their DNA, overcoming one of the big barriers to transplanting pig organs to people.
The team at eGenesis admits preventing pig organs from being rejected by the human body remains a huge challenge
But experts said it was a promising and exciting first step.
The study, published in the journal Science, started with skin cells from a pig.
(10) AWARD REPAIRMAN. Camestros Felapton says “Fixing the Dragon Awards isn’t my problem”, but he really can’t resist trying.
As things have turned out, the Dragons are claiming to be the big populist award, are mainly get nominations that are a rightwing-indy award, are an epitome of cliques and have found themselves to be even more political by trying to avoid being political.
How did they get into this mess? Partly by ignoring the disconnect between why the puppies disliked the Hugos and what the puppies said was structurally wrong about the Hugos. Specifically:
- The Hugos are membership based.
- There is a cost involved.
- There is only one novel category.
- There is no video game category.
- There are voting systems and rules
So the Dragons did the opposite:
- Any one can vote.
- There is no cost.
- There are multiple subgenre categories.
- There is a specific video game category.
- The voting is a simple tally.
The issue is that none of those approaches really get the Dragons to what they want. Just because anybody CAN vote doesn’t mean anybody WILL vote. No cost and no membership requirement makes stacking the vote trivial. The multiple categories are confusing for fans to know where to nominate things and encourage category shopping for vote campaigns.
(11) MESSAGE FICTION. People prefer their own ideas, and so have to be constantly reminded about Ray Bradbury’s real message in Fahrenheit 451. Open Road takes a turn: “Ray Bradbury Reveals the True Meaning of Fahrenheit 451: It’s Not About Censorship, But People ‘Being Turned Into Morons by TV’”.
Even those of us who’ve never read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 know it as a searing indictment of government censorship. Or at least we think we know it, and besides, what else could the story of a dystopian future where America has outlawed books whose main character burns the few remaining, secreted-away volumes to earn his living be about? It turns out that Bradbury himself had other ideas about the meaning of his best-known novel, and in the last years of his life he tried publicly to correct the prevailing interpretation — and to his mind, the incorrect one.
“Fahrenheit 451 is not, he says firmly, a story about government censorship,” wrote the Los Angeles Weekly‘s Amy E. Boyle Johnson in 2007. “Nor was it a response to Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose investigations had already instilled fear and stifled the creativity of thousands.” Rather, he meant his 1953 novel as “a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature.” It’s about, as he puts it above, people “being turned into morons by TV.”
(12) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Martin Morse Wooster, in recommending “Helium Beer Test–Short Version With English Subtitles,” says it’s “a video on YouTube in which two German guys end up drinking ‘helium beer.’ It’s really funny and in my view fannish but it is a spoof.” Apparently it was originally posted on April 1 a couple years ago.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ky.]