Pixel Scroll 9/12/17 There Are As Yet Insufficient Pixels For A Meaningful Scroll

(1) ABRAMS BACK AT THE HELM. The Wrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven and Umberto Gonzalez, in “J.J. Abrams To Replace Colin Trevorrow on STAR WARS:  EPISODE IX”, say that Disney says that Abrams has been signed to direct this Star Wars film after Trevorrow, who has been attached to Episode IX since 2015, was given the boot.

 “With ‘The Force Awakens,’ J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy in a statement.

Abrams directed and produced “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015. He is also serving as an executive producer on the upcoming film “The Last Jedi,” out this December, which Rian Johnson is directing. Abrams will co-write “Episode IX” with Chris Terrio.

(2) A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. Time-lapse photography unexpectedly reveals that starships are built from wood.

(3) TOOTLE, PLUNK AND BOOM. And it’s time that the new series theme embarked on a shakedown cruise.

When it comes to Star Trek, a dynamic main title theme is key. In this behind-the-scenes video for Star Trek: Discovery, composer Jeff Russo leads a 60-piece orchestra in recording the new series theme.

 

(4) THANKS FROM THE CENTER. The Center for Bradbury Studies hit its fundraising goal.

THANK YOU! Because of your generous support, the #CenterforRayBradburyStudies exceeded its #fundraising goal to raise over $6,000! In May, the Center received a generous grant from the Indiana Historical Society with a matching requirement that you helped raise. Thanks to you, we will be able to move forward in our mission to preserve and advance #RayBradbury's amazing legacy. We promise to steward your investments wisely. We'll do our best to keep you up to date on what's happening at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and the impact of your support. For those who missed the opportunity, the Preserving the World of Ray Bradbury crowdfunding site is still open. The collection is huge and our preservation needs continue. Thank you again, great Bradbury supporters, including those of you who support us regularly!!! #RayBradbury @indianahistory https://iufoundation.fundly.com/preservingtheworldofraybradbury

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(5) VINTAGE TUBE. Echo Ishii has a new installment in her series of reviews of antique TV shows: “SF Obscure: The Tripods”

The Tripods TV series is a 1984-1985 YA SF series based on a series of books The Tripods by John Christopher. It ran for two seasons on the BBC. There are many changes from the books to the tv series though the basic concept remains the same.

The show begins in the future 2089. We see a pre-industrial version of England. Horse drawn carriages, family farms, etc. A young man in a suit is being congratulated by his friends and family for his “capping “ceremony. He takes off his hat to reveal his shaven head. Out of the sky comes a giant metal tripod, that lands in the lake and pulls the young man up inside.

(6) BELIEVERS IN THE MISANDRY CONSPIRACY. At the Emperor’s Notepad a blogger who writes books as Xavier Lastra is convinced he has come up with a more profound explanation for the anti-male bias claims Jon Del Arroz has been selling online this week: “‘Lit Bait’ and preferences/discrimination in genre literature”.

Because the artistic preferences of SF&F editors go way beyond a possible gender bias (which I’m sure exists in some places.) You could be a woman of color with an African-Asian name and a card-carrying member of the Communist Party that if you write a certain type of story, it will be ignored. If it gives off just a whiff of testosterone or sounds like an action-packed adventure yarn with a preference for honest and unironic drama and fun, without any pretense of being “mature,” it won’t be accepted. After all, they have an artistic image to maintain. They can’t just publish any pulpy trash!

And here’s where the feminine aspect comes into play. Obviously, women write all sort of stories, but there is a specific female subset that seems to be especially apt at writing the sort of sentimental Literary Bait, dripping with status anxiety and cheap progressive performances, that routinely gets awarded. It happens at all levels, from school contests to international literary awards. Call it “discrimination” or simply “preferences,” but it’s there.

(7) CAN YOU SAY, “ECOLOGICAL DISASTER”? I KNEW YOU COULD. The more I hear about these hippo books, the more intriguing they become. The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fic & Fantasy Blog’s Martin Cahill gives Sarah Gailey’s latest two tusks up: “The Hippo Mayhem Continues in Taste of Marrow.

Earlier this year, Sarah Gailey treated us to a book that made the phrase “alternate history western hippo caper” part of the vernacular. River of Teeth is a fun, nuanced tale of an alternate 19th century United States in which hippopotami were introduced into the environment to make up for a livestock shortage and soon overran their boundaries (something that really almost happened, save for a fateful vote in Congress).  It’s a novella chock full of what we love in a debut: memorable prose, a lush setting, precise worldbuilding, and a cast of diverse characters trying their best to pull off a caper, even with the odds against them.

If River of Teeth asked why and how this hippo-hunting posse formed up, sequel Taste of Marrow asks a different question: why do they stay together? Especially with the caper is in shambles, a key member of the crew dead, and another presumed dead at the hands of a pregnant assassin?

Several weeks after River of Teeth, the feral hippos once penned into the Mississippi have been let loose, and Archie and Houndstooth are fleeing to parts left un-feraled.

(8) WEIN REMEMBRANCE. NPR’s Glen Weldon paid tribute to the late Lein Wein on Morning Edition: “Comic Book Legend Len Wein Dies At 69”.

GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: Len Wein wrote and edited the adventures of many well-known superheroes over the course of his career – your Batmans, your Hulks. But he created Wolverine with artists John Romita Sr. and Herb Trimpe. Hugh Jackman played him on screen for years. With his extendible, razor-sharp, adamantium claws, he isn’t much of a talker.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCREAMING)

WELDON: He’s more of a grunter, and slasher and stabber.

(SOUNDBITE OF SLASHING)

WELDON: Wolverine was an innovative superhero in several ways. He was hotheaded. He was hyperviolent. He was Canadian. Most importantly, he was an antihero, one of an emerging breed of characters who strained against the good-guy-versus-bad-guy formula of old-school comics. As Wein explained in the 2016 PBS documentary, you couldn’t pin the guy down.

(9) TODAY’S DAY

Video Games Day

History of Video Games Day

The history of Video Games Day is really the history of the video game, and that history goes back much farther than most people imagine. The first game ever created is often thought to be Bertie the Brain, an artificial intelligence designed to play Tic-Tac-Toe. Considering that Bertie was a 4 meter high machine built on vacuum tube technology, you can imagine it didn’t get out much, in fact, it was disassembled after the Canadian National Exhibition it was revealed at, and never rebuilt. A year later a computer was built called Nimrod, Nimrod was a computer built and displayed at the Festival of Britain in 1951 and designed to play a game called Nim.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • September 12, 1958 The Blob premiered.
  • September 12, 1993 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman premiered on the small screen.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY POET

  • Born September 12, 1942 – Marge Simon, Grand Master of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association.

(12) HURRICANE HARVEY FALLOUT. The 100 Year Starship Symposium that was scheduled for this weekend in Santa Monica has been postponed til next year.

While we were busily and excitedly preparing for the debut of the NEXUS 2017 event in Santa Monica this month, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, the administrative, programming and operational headquarters of 100 Year Starship (100YSS).

As you know from all the news reporting, Hurricane Harvey effectively stopped Houston business, transportation, commerce and private activities at homes for five days or more.  All aspects of the work on NEXUS was severely disrupted.  And though the skies are clear in Houston now, the problems of catching up in the face of clean-up and remediation of this natural disaster — currently called the most severe in U.S. history – continue.  We tried diligently, but it has been impossible to overcome Harvey’s impact.

The NEXUS event team huddled and decided to postpone NEXUS so that it will be the type of wildly transformational, engaging and magical event planned.

Space. Radical. Vital. Down to Earth.

We are working to reschedule NEXUS for the first quarter of 2018 and should have new dates shortly.

However, one of the weekend’s scheduled events will still take place —

The 25 Strong! Celebration under the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the Oschin Pavilion of the California Science Center will take place in Los Angeles on Friday, September 15 as originally scheduled since most of the planning and logistics activities were handled there.  If you had planned to attend, are local or have safe travel plans, then please join us.

Patrick S. Tomlinson will be hosting 25 Strong.

(13) LAWS WERE BROKEN. In “Still A Harsh Mistress – Andy Weir: Artemis” at Spekulatív Zóna, Bence Pintér reviews the new novel by the author of The Martian.

Nevertheless, Jazz needs money. Very, very much. And that’s the point when one of her old clients, a Norwegian billionaire businessman comes up with a plan. It is complicated, but it’s a piece of cake for a woman as talented as Jazz. The job pays a lot of money. It is also illegal as hell. And as it turns out, it can really affect the future of Artemis. By the way: why everyone is suddenly crazy about the failing aluminium industry?

The start is a bit bumpy, but after we learn more about Jazz and her ways, the novel shifts to full throttle. The elements are almost the same as in The Martian: a lot of fun in the narration by the badass protagonist and loads of Moon-science instead of Mars-science. Also with some sparkling dialogues and one-liners, the Brazilian mafia, and a collection of misfit friends of Jazz. Jazz is doing a lot of illegal stuff, so forget about the heroism of Mark Watney. And also say goodbye to space potatoes: all you got in exchange is algae-based food called Gunk, which is awful by all accounts.

(14) 19TH-CENTURY RESISTANCE LEADER. GF Willmetts of SFCrowsnest has some iconoclastic things to say about “The Forgotten Genius Of Oliver Heaviside by Basil Mahon (book review)”.

Much of the formulas and his science, especially his legacy, are in the footnotes at the back of the book. It would have made more sense to have incorporated much of this into the main contents of the book. If readers couldn’t understand it, they can easily skip it but placing in notes brings it to secondary importance. I think even Heaviside would agree his maths is more important than his life.

(15) NOTE FROM THE DEAN. Crooked Timber’s John Holbo helps you visualize what happens when “Robert Heinlein writes letters to editors and librarians”.

Enough Lovecraft! Robert Heinlein! I’m reading Innocent Experiments:Childhood and the Culture of Popular Science in the United States, by Rebecca Onion. Chapter 4, “Space Cadets and Rocket Boys: Policing the Masculinity of Scientific Enthusiasms” has quite a bit of good stuff on Heinlein – well it would have to, wouldn’t it? If you’ve read some Heinlein you kind of know what Heinlein is like. But there’s good stuff here about his exchanges with editors. The guy was one serious SJW, insisting on his minority quotas. Of course, he always manages to make it weird in his cosmopolitan-but-All-American, messianic-rationalist-masculinist libertarian-disciplinarian anti-authoritarian-but-in-an-authoritarian-way way.

(16) GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY GAINS RECRUIT. Marvel says you can expect to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar space when the comic’s next issue appears.

The Guardians have been tasked with some wacky and big adventures while doing the Grandmaster’s bidding, which includes stealing from The Collector – and Star-Lord even accidently destroyed one of his favorite mix-tapes. Now, as they prepare for their Legacy arc THE INFINITY QUEST, they’ll have to team up with the group that has been on their tails – the Nova Corps – as well as one ex-Avenger if they want to keep the universe safe.

“We’re excited to have an Avenger joining the ranks of the Guardians…or is it the Nova Corps? Or both? Oh, you’ll see,” teased editor Jordan D. White. “Just know, he beat out some stiff competition, as you can tell by that cover of issue #12!”

Who exactly is this Avenger? One of the five Marvel superstars on this cover should give you a hint…

(17) HWA ANTHOLOGY. The Horror Writers Association’s Haunted Nights will be released October 3:

Sixteen never-before-published chilling tales that explore every aspect of our darkest holiday, Halloween, co-edited by Ellen Datlow, one of the most successful and respected genre editors, and Lisa Morton, a leading authority on Halloween.

In addition to stories about scheming jack-o’-lanterns, vengeful ghosts, otherworldly changelings, disturbingly realistic haunted attractions, masks that cover terrifying faces, murderous urban legends, parties gone bad, cult Halloween movies, and trick or treating in the future, Haunted Nights also offers terrifying and mind-bending explorations of related holidays like All Souls’ Day, Dia de los Muertos, and Devil’s Night.

  • “With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfbane Seeds” by Seanan McGuire
  • “Dirtmouth” by Stephen Graham Jones”
  • “A Small Taste of the Old Countr” by Jonathan Maberry
  • “Wick’s End” by Joanna Parypinski
  • “The Seventeen Year Itch” by Garth Nix
  • “A Flicker of Light on Devil’s Night” by Kate Jonez
  • “Witch-Hazel” by Jeffrey Ford
  • “Nos Galen Gaeaf” by Kelley Armstrong
  • “We’re Never Inviting Amber Again” by S. P. Miskowski
  • “Sisters” by Brian Evenson
  • “All Through the Night” by Elise Forier Edie
  • “A Kingdom of Sugar Skulls and Marigolds” by Eric J. Guignard
  • “The Turn” by Paul Kane
  • “Jack” by Pat Cadigan
  • “Lost in the Dark” by John Langan
  • “The First Lunar Halloween” by John R. Little

(18) NOPE. Madeleine E. Robins explains “No, I Won’t Put You in My Book” at Book View Café.

I have a lot of friends who tuckerize, or even kill off people who have hurt them in their fiction. Sometimes they auction off  naming for a character for charity. Sometimes a friend just works his/her way into a story. I found myself a member of the NYPD a few years ago, which was kind of interesting. I have nothing against having real-world names or real-world people showing up in fiction; I sometimes find it distracting, if it’s a real-world name or person I personally know, but that’s not enough reason to demand a practice be stopped. I don’t kill off my enemies (wait, I have enemies?) or exes in my work, but again–that’s me.

(19) CAT HERDERS. SJW symbols survive Irma: “Hurricane Irma: Rare animals survive devastating storm”.

As Hurricane Irma cut a devastating path through the Florida Keys islands, a colony of six-toed cats appears to have survived without a scratch.

The furry felines, descended from a pet owned by Ernest Hemingway, ignored orders to evacuate as the winds swept through the writer’s historic house.

Endangered deer native to the islands also appear to have survived the storm.

Florida Keys and western parts of the state bore the brunt of Irma in the US, with winds of up to 120mph (192km/h).

“Save the cats. Get all the cats in the car and take off!” the late Mr Hemingway’s granddaughter, Mariel, urged in a video posted on Friday.

Staff responsible for maintaining the Hemingway Home Museum in Key West, Florida, chose to ride out the storm over the weekend in the property with 54 of their feline friends.

(20) SJW CREDENTIALS – ALL ABOARD! Unfortunately I can’t get my computer to pick up an excerpt from “What It’s Like to Ride Japan’s Cat Café Train” at Atlas Obscura. You’ll love the photos.

(21) ALWAYS NEWS TO SOMEONE. To make up for it, I will run another SJW Credential story I missed when it came out in 2016: Seanan McGuire and the TSA.

(22) SCARES MORE THAN CROWS. “Giant Star Wars AT-AT model built in front garden” – video at the link.

A man has built a giant Star Wars model in his front garden.

The 20ft (6m) replica AT-AT – a combat vehicle in the Star Wars films – was built by Ian Mockett, 54, at his home in Harpole, Northamptonshire.

It took him and his friends a month to make it out of wood for the village’s annual scarecrow festival.

(23) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Burn Out. JJ has anointed this a “strong contender for the DP Short Form Hugo.”

Stella, a space mechanician, has broken down and ended on a desert planet. While she is in despair, a little girl appears out of nowhere. Following the child into a tunnel, in the depths of the planet, she discovers a big cave full of objects that belonged to her, reminding her the dreams she has left behind.

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Alan Baumler, Cat Eldridge, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

2016-17 Canopus Award Finalists

100 Year Starship has named the finalists in the 2016-17 Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Writing. The Canopus Award is an annual writing prize that recognizes “the finest fiction and non-fiction works that engage broad audiences and enhance the understanding excitement, and knowledge of interstellar space exploration and travel.”

Winners will be announced at the 100YSS Nexus on August 12 in Los Angeles.

Previously Published Long-Form Fiction (40,000 words or more):

  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager)
  • Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Tor)
  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (HarperCollins)
  • The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, Translated by Ken Liu (Tor)
  • Arkwright by Allen Steele (Tor)

Previously Published Short-Form Fiction (between 1,000 and 40,000 words)

  • “Slow Bullets” by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon Publications)
  • “The Long Vigil” by Rhett C. Bruno (Perihelion)
  • “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls” by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s Science Fiction)
  • “Wavefronts of History and Memory” by David D. Levine (Analog Science Fiction and Fact)
  • “The Four Thousand, The Eight Hundred” by Greg Egan (Subterranean Press)
  • “Whom He May Devour” by Alex Shvartsman (Nautilus)
  • “Love and Relativity” by Stewart C. Baker (Flash Fiction Online)

Previously Published Nonfiction (between 1,000 and 40,000 words):

  • “A Terrestrial Planet Candidate in a Temperate Orbit Around Proxima” by Guillem AngladaEscude, et al. (Nature)
  • “A Science Critique of Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson” by Stephen Baxter, James Benford, and Joseph Miller (Centauri Dreams)
  • Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet by Buzz Aldrin and Marianne Dyson (National Geographic)
  • “Let’s All Go to Mars” by John Lanchester (London Review of Books)
  • “Our Worldship Broke!” by Jim Beall (Baen Books)

Original Fiction (1,000-5,000 words):

  • “The Quest for New Cydonia” by Russell Hemmell
  • “Luminosity” by Adeene Denton
  • “Mission” by Yoshifumi Kakiuchi
  • “Envoy” by K. G. Jewell
  • “Sleeping Westward” by Lorraine Schein

Original Non-Fiction (1,000-5,000 words):

  • “Motivatingly Plausible Ways to Reach the Stars” by James Blodgett
  •  “Microbots—The Seeds of Interstellar Civilization” by Robert Buckalew
  • “An Anthropic Program for the Long-Term Survival of Humankind” by Roberto Paura
  • “Terraforming Planets, Geoengineering Earth” by James Fleming

Original College Writing (1,000-5,000 words):

  • “A Kingdom of Ends” by Ryan Burgess
  • “Ethics in Space” by Greg Becker

100 Year Starship Announces Second Annual Canopus Award

Canopus Award

Canopus Award

The 2016 Canopus Award for Interstellar Writing, established last year by 100 Year Starship, is open for nominations or submissions in seven categories through August 30, including two new categories for college work.

This year’s theme, “Near Steps to Interstellar,” explores what steps can or must be accomplished in the next five to 10 years to ensure successful human travel beyond our solar system to another star. Achieving the capabilities for a human interstellar journey by 2021 will demand discontinuous, radical advances. It also will require incremental progress be made in our knowledge of engineering, economics, social structures, biological systems, sustainability and commitment. Finally, the reality is that the vast majority of people and their descendants will remain on Earth. So, all along the way, how will the advances we make to get to the stars be exploited and impact life on Earth, our home planet?

Canopus Award Logo

The Award categories are:

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED WORKS

  • Long-form Fiction (Novel length – over 40,000 words – previously professionally published)
  • Short-form Fiction (Short Story, Flash Fiction – 1,000 to 40,000 words – previously professionally published)
  • Popular Non-Fiction (1,000 to 40,000 words – previously professionally published)

ORIGINAL WORKS

  • Original Short-form Fiction (1,000 to 6,000 words – must be original and NOT previously published – on the theme “Near Steps to Interstellar”)
  • Original Short-form Nonfiction (1,000 to 6,000 words – must be original and NOT previously published – on the theme “Near Steps to Interstellar”)
  • Original College Short-form Fiction (1,000 to 5,000 words – must be original and NOT previously published – on the theme “Near Steps to Interstellar”)
  • Original College Short-form Nonfiction (1,000 to 5,000 words – must be original and NOT previously published – on the theme “Near Steps to Interstellar”)

Award selection in the Previously Published Fiction and Non-fiction categories has two stages:

  • Open nomination. The public can nominate works here at canopus.100yss.org. The open period for nominations is June 27 through August 30, 2016.
  • Final judging. A judging panel selected of scientists, writers, cultural influencers, and experts will vote on the final winner in each of the two categories.

The Original and College Original Fiction and Non-fiction entries go through these two stages:

  • Open submission. The public can submit works via their website here at canopus.100yss.org. The open period for submissions is June 27 through August 30, 2016.
  • Review and finalists determination. The 100 Year Starship staff will review all submissions and a list of the best five in each of the two categories (short fiction and short non-fiction). Final judging. A judging panel selected of scientists, writers, cultural influencers, and experts will vote on the final winner in each of the two original submission categories.

Nominations for the Previously Professionally Published categories can be made here.

For the Previously Published categories, identification of a “distinguished publication” focuses on:

  • Excellence of execution
  • Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures;
  • Excellence of presentation of the concept of interstellar exploration or travel

Original work can be submitted here.

Submit original college work here.

The Original and College Original category works must be original, meet established standards of quality writing, and have a significant component of interstellar exploration, research, and/or travel with a focus on pushing radical leaps in knowledge and technology while pioneering and transforming breakthrough applications that enhance the quality of life for all on Earth.

The Original and College Original category work are also encouraged to focus on the pillars of 100 Year Starship’s mission: Audacious, Resilience, Inclusion, Enhancing Quality of Life, Discipline, Energy, and Knowledge.

100 Year Starship, led by former astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, is an independent initiative to ensure the capabilities for human interstellar travel exist within the next 100 years.

“Storytelling is essential to communicating and concretizing a vision. A story well told—fictional or non-fictional—pushes us to consider how, where, who and why we advance, stagnate or regress,” said Dr. Jemison. “The Canopus Award invites writers and journalists to join the adventure.”

Five finalists will be selected from each of the seven award categories and will be announced in September. Canopus judges will then select one winner from each list of finalists. Winners will be announced and honored during a special award ceremony at 100YSS’ annual public event.

Prizes include a crystal award, cash, publication, sponsorship to 100YSS special events and programs.

Pixel Scroll 11/4 The Pixellence Engine

(1) Nothing says the holiday season like this Kurt Adler 28” Star Wars Stormtrooper Light-Up Tinsel Lawn Decor

Holding a small, neatly-wrapped present for a festive twist, this soldier of the Galactic Empire is wearing his all-white uniform and armor.

Stormtrooper lawn decor

(2) “Sir David Attenborough and giant hedgehog launch new TV show Natural Curiosities”.

If Sonic is the first name that pops into your head when hearing the word “hedgehog,” British naturalist Sir David Attenborough wants to change your perceptions about the prickly creature.

A life-like hedgehog statue, measuring 7 feet tall and 12 feet long, covered in coconut fiber and over 2,000 wood spikes, was unveiled on Clapham Common in London to launch Attenborough’s new nature series, “Natural Curiosities” on UKTV this week….

A recent survey of 2,000 British adults revealed that because the “average Briton takes only 16 walks in the countryside each year, dramatically limiting their exposure to wildlife, a quarter of Britons say they have never seen a wild hedgehog, rabbit or fox, while 26 per cent claim never to have spotted a grey squirrel or frog, and 36 per cent say wild deer have eluded them,” according to the Daily Mail.

 

(3) Richard Davies discusses “Fragile Treasures: The World’ Most Valuable Paperbacks” at AbeBooks.

In terms of sheer numbers, collectible softcovers are vastly outnumbered by collectible hardcovers. However, many paperbacks – books with soft, not rigid, paper-based covers – sell for high prices. The reasons vary – authors self-publish, publishers lack the necessary budget or the desire to invest in a particular author (think of poets particularly) or simply softcover is the format of choice for the genre….

Published in German, Kafka’s Metamorphosis is the king of the collectible softcovers. Its famous front cover, designed by Ottomar Starke, shows a man recoiling in horror. Probably no more than a thousand copies of this novella were printed. It wasn’t printed in English until 1937. Today, this story of a salesman transformed into an insect is studied around the world.

 

Metamorphosis 1916

(4) Ethan Mills is observing Stoic Week at Examined Worlds. The second post in his series considers the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

Tuesday: What is in Our Control and the Reserve Clause Tuesday’s morning text is one of my favorite parts of the Meditations from Marcus Aurelius, one that has helped me get out of bed on more than one occasion!

Early in the morning, when you are finding it hard to wake up, hold this thought in your mind: ‘I am getting up to do the work of a human being. Do I still resent it, if I am going out to do what I was born for and for which I was brought into the world? Or was I framed for this, to lie under the bedclothes and keep myself warm?’ ‘But this is more pleasant’. So were you born for pleasure: in general were you born for feeling or for affection? Don’t you see the plants, the little sparrows, the ants, the spiders, the bees doing their own work, and playing their part in making up an ordered world. And then are you unwilling to do the work of a human being? Won’t you run to do what is in line with your nature?

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.1

Thinking about this through a science fiction lens invites questions about the work of a human being.  What are we like as a species?  Marcus compares humans with other terrestrial animals, but science fiction might extend the comparison to extraterrestrials as well.

Is it our nature, as Star Trek tells us, to “seek out new life and new civilizations”?  Is this what gets us out of bed in the morning?  Consider the theme of exploration in the recent book/movie, The Martian.  Is it inevitable that we long to leave our terrestrial bed?  Is our species at the beginning of a dawn of space exploration?  Or should we be wary of over-indulging this exploration drive, as Kim Stanley Robinson’s amazing novel, Aurora, seems to imply?

(5) This video has been reported in a comment on File 770, however, I may not have linked it in a Scroll.

Sasquan Guest of Honor Dr. Kjell Lindgren sends welcome from the International Space Station to members of the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention.

 

(6) Today In History

(7) This is billed as a Dalek relaxation tape by Devour.com.

(8) Lawrence Railey is skeptical about “The rise of the Self-Insertion fic” at According To Hoyt.

Diversity isn’t the goal. At best, it’s a side-effect. Good story-telling is the only purpose, and the Puppies believe that nothing should get in the way of that.

And, quite simply, this notion that one must share essential attributes with the main character in order to enjoy a story is patronizing, narcissistic, and stupid. A black man can enjoy a story about a white woman. And, in the case of the story I just finished reading a couple days ago, a conservative white man can enjoy a story about a transsexual robot named Merlin living on distant planet.

Books do not have to be self-insertion fics, and they do not need to push a socio-political agenda.

The fact that the Puppy Kickers don’t know any better is disappointing to say the least.

(9) Steven Harper Piziks advises writers show equine intestinal fortitude in “Writing Nowadays: The Anti-Waiting Game” at Book View Café.

How things have changed.  Now you’re as likely to get a giant email dump with a PDF in it and a frantic note from someone in the editorial food chain: “I know this is short notice, but we need you to go through these changes by Friday morning!”

Every author I know has gone through this. Demands that manuscripts be rewritten within two days, or over Christmas, or when the author is on vacation. There’s an idea out there that because email allows instant delivery, instant writing must follow.

Horse manure.

Just say no. Politely and firmly.

(10) An appreciation of the late French sf author Yan Ayerdhal by Jean-Daniel Breque at Europa SF.

French science fiction writer Yan Ayerdhal died Tuesday, October 27, 2015, after an intense bout with lung cancer.

Born Marc Soulier on January 26, 1959, in Lyons, he thrived on SF from an early age, since his father, Jacky Soulier, was a big-time fan and collector—he co-authored a few children and young adult SF books in the 1980s. Ayerdhal worked in several trades before becoming a full-time writer: he was a ski instructor, a professional soccer player, a teacher, he worked in marketing for L’Oréal, and so on….

Most notable among his novels are Demain, une oasis (“Tomorrow, an Oasis”, 1991), L’Histrion (“The Minstrel”, 1993), Parleur ou les Chroniques d’un rêve enclavé (“Speaker, or Chronicles of an Enclosed Dream”, 1997), Étoiles mourantes (“Dying Stars”, in collaboration with Jean-Claude Dunyach, 1999), and Transparences (“Transparencies”, 2004). Most of them were illustrated by Gilles Francescano. He was the recipient of several SF awards: the Tour Eiffel award, the Rosny aîné award (three times), the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire (twice) and many more. He had one story published in Interzone, “Flickerings” (May 2001 issue, original title: “Scintillements”, 1998, translated by Sheryl Curtis).

(11) Jesse at Speculiction rejects 100 Year Starship and its new award, in “Awards Like Stars In The Sky: The Canopus”.

What’s interesting to see on the Canopus award slate is Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, a cautionary tale that seems to draw focus away from space and back to Earth, and not Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, a masturbatory exercise in space gadgetry if ever there were. One would have almost expected Stephenson’s novel to be a shoo-in given the novel’s theme, but I’m not the award’s organizer.

Looking through the Science Fiction Awards Database, a person finds many a defunct award. The group were able to hold the ship together for a few years, sometimes even a decade or more, before the strings let loose (probably the purse strings) and the award slipped into the night of genre awareness (that vast space comprising the majority of material older than ten years).  I’m not pronouncing the Canopus’ doom, but with so many crises at hand on Earth, I think I’m in Aurora’s boat, not Seveneves. Shouldn’t we be solving Earth’s problems before tackling the riddle of space????

(12) A patent has been granted for a space elevator.

Patent granted to space elevator brings science fiction one step closer to reality

Canada-based Thoth Technology was recently granted U.S. and U.K. patents for a space elevator reaching 12.5 miles into the sky. The ThothX Tower is a proposed freestanding piece of futuristic, pneumatically pressurized architecture, designed to propel astronauts into the stratosphere. Then they can then be launched into space. The tower would also likely be used to generate wind energy, host communications technology and will be open to space tourists.

(13) And in the biological sciences the news is –

(14) Never bet against Einstein when general relativity is on the line!

Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity has been proven right again — and this time, physicists have pinned down just how precise it is: Any deviations from his theory of general relativity are so small that they would change calculations by just one part in 10,000 to one part in 100,000.

(15) Though not a genre film, Christmas Eve has Patrick Stewart in it.

[Thanks to rcade, Daniel Dern, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

First Annual Canopus Award Winners Announced

Canopus Award Logo100 Year Starship (100YSS) has announced the winners of the inaugural 2015 Canopus Award honoring excellence in interstellar writing.

Previously Published Long-Form Fiction 

  • InterstellarNet: Enigma, Edward M. Lerner (Published by FoxAcre)

Previously Published Short-Form Fiction 

  • “The Waves,” Ken Liu (Originally published in Asimov’s December 2012)

Original Fiction

  • “Everett’s Awakening,” Robert Buckalew writing as Ry Yelcho

Original Non-Fiction

  • “Finding Earth 2.0 from the Focus of the Solar Gravitational Lens,” Louis D. Friedman & Slava G. Turyshev

The winners were announced during Science Fiction Stories Night at 100YSS’s fourth annual public symposium in Santa Clara, CA.

Award judges included writer and 100YSS Creative and Editorial director Jason Batt; author and former Wall Street Journal reporter August Cole; Founder of International Speechwriting Associates Kathleen Colgan; teacher at the University of Edinburgh in the School of Education and Leadership, Janet DeVigne; editor Jaym Gates; 100YSS Principal and former astronaut Mae Jemison, M.D.; Chapman University creative writing student Alec Medén; Rutgers University Professor Ronke Olabisi, Ph.D.; faculty and advisor to the Singularity University David Orban; Georgia high school freshman Bailey Stanley; writer and anthropologist Juliette Wade, Ph.D.; Aeronautical and Astronautical engineer Paul Webber; journalist Sofia Webber;astrobiologist and creator of Yuri’s Night Loretta Whitesides; and,Major General Ken Wisian.

The full press release follows the jump.

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100 Year Starship Will Announce First Canopus Award Winners at “Science Fiction Stories Night”

Award-winning authors and social and physical science experts will gather at “Science Fiction Stories Night” and honor winners of the first annual Canopus Awards for Interstellar Writing on October 30 during 100 Year Starship’s® (100YSS®) fourth annual public symposium in Silicon Valley from October 29-November 1, at the Santa Clara Marriott in Santa Clara, California.

The rest of the press release follows the jump.

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100 Year Starship Announces Canopus Award Finalists

canopus-award100 Year Starship has announced the finalists in the inaugural Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Writing.

The Canopus Award is an annual writing prize that recognizes “the finest fiction and non-fiction works that contribute to the excitement, knowledge, and understanding of interstellar space exploration and travel.”

The winners will be revealed on October 30, during the 100 Year Starship 2015 Public Symposium in Santa Clara, California.

Previously Published Long-Form Fiction (40,000 words or more):

  • Slow Bullets  by Alastair Reynolds
  • Other Systems by Elizabeth Guizzetti
  • The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper
  • InterstellarNet: Enigma by Edward M. Lerner
  • Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Coming Home by Jack McDevitt

Previously Published Short-Form Fiction (between 1,000 and 40,000 words):

  • “Race for Arcadia” by Alex Shvartsman
  • “Stars that Make Dark Heaven Light” by Sharon Roest
  • “Homesick” by Debbie Urbanski
  • “Twenty Lights to the Land of Snow” by Michael Bishop
  • “Planet Lion” by Catherynne M. Valente
  • “The Waves” by Ken Liu
  • “Dreamboat” by Robin Wyatt Dunn

In the category of “Original Fiction” (1,000-5,000 words):

  • “Landfall” by Jon F. Zeigler
  • “Project Fermi” by Michael Turgeon
  • “Everett’s Awakening” by Yelcho
  • “Groundwork” by G. M. Nair
  • “His Holiness John XXIV about Father Angelo Baymasecchi’s Diary” by   Óscar Garrido González
  • “The Disease of Time” by Joseph Schmidt

Original Non-Fiction (1,000-5,000 words):

  • “Why Interstellar Travel?” by Jeffrey Nosanov
  • “Finding Earth 2.0 from the Focus of the Solar Gravitational Lens” by Louis Friedman and Slava Turyshev

Canopus Award Judges: Writer and 100YSS Creative and Editorial director Jason Batt; author and former Wall Street Journal reporter August Cole; Founder of International Speechwriting Associates Kathleen Colgan, Ph.D.; teacher at the University of Edinburgh in the School of Education and Leadership, Janet DeVigne; editor Jaym Gates, 100YSS Principal and former astronaut Mae Jemison, M.D., Chapman University creative writing student Alec Medén; Rutgers University Professor Ronke Olabisi. Ph.D.; faculty and advisor to the Singularity University David Orban, Georgia high school freshman Bailey Stanley, writer and anthropologist Juliette Wade, Ph.D.; Aeronautical and Astronautical engineer Paul Webber; journalist Sofia Webber; astrobiologist and creator of Yuri’s Night Loretta Whitesides; and Major General Ken Wisian.

Canopus Award Judges Named

canopus-award100 Year Starship today announced the first slate of judges for the 2015 Canopus Award, an annual writing prize recognizing fiction and non-fiction works “that contribute to the excitement, knowledge, and understanding of interstellar space exploration and travel.”

The judges include writer and 100YSS Creative and Editorial director Jason Batt, author and former Wall Street Journal reporter August Cole, editor Jaym Gates, 100YSS Principal and former astronaut Mae Jemison, M.D., Chapman University creative writing student Alec Medén, Rutgers University Professor Ronke Olabisi. Ph.D., Georgia high school freshman Bailey Stanley, and writer and anthropologist Juliette Wade, Ph.D.

100YSS is currently accepting submissions for original works and nominations for previously published works through August 31. The public is invited to nominate previously published works.

Winners will be announced during 100YSS’s annual public symposium, October 29-November 1 in Santa Clara, CA.

Canopus Award Accepting Entries

canopus-awardThe Canopus Award for Interstellar Writing has been established by 100 Year Starship. The award will recognize “the finest fiction and non-fiction works that contribute to the excitement, knowledge, and understanding of interstellar space exploration and travel.”

100 Year Starship, led by former astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, is an independent initiative to ensure the capabilities for human interstellar travel exist within the next 100 years.

“Imagination, varied perspectives and a well told story are critical to advancing civilizations.  In particular, beginning with the simple question ‘What if?’ pushes us to look beyond the world in front of us and to envision what could be, ought to be and other realities,” said Dr. Jemison.  “Both science fiction and exploratory non-fiction have inspired discovery, invention, policy, technology and exploration that has transformed our world.”

Canopus Awards will be made in two categories:

  • Previously Published Works of Fiction
    • Long Form (40,000 words or more) and
    • Short Form (between 1,000 and 40,000 words).
  • Original Works based on this year’s 100YSS Public Symposium theme “Finding Earth 2.0”.
    • Short Form Fiction (1,000-5,000 words) and
    • Short Form Non-fiction (1,000-5,000 words).

Submissions for original works and nominations for previously published works are being accepted through August 31, 2015.

The Public is invited to nominate previously published works via this link — https://100yss.wufoo.com/forms/the-100yss-canopus-award/

The 100 Year Starship staff will review all submissions and a list of the best five in each of the two categories (short fiction and short non-fiction). This determination period will last from September 1, 2015 through October 1, 2015.

A judging panel of scientists, writers, cultural influencers and experts will vote on the winner in each of the categories.

Winners will be announced and honored during 100YSS’s annual public symposium, October 29-November 1 in Santa Clara, California.

SF at 100 Year Starship 2014 Symposium

The 100 Year Starship 2014 Public Symposium boasts two explicitly science fictional programs. And don’t ask how that’s different from the rest of the conference — remember, the people going don’t think starships are fictional.

The Symposium takes place in Houston from September 18-21. At the end of Friday’s program attendees can unwind at Science Fiction Stories Night.

SciFi_Night COMP

Following a book signing featuring SF authors Yoon Ha Lee, Les Johnson, Nisi Shawl, and Edward M. Lerner there will be a screening of the original The Day the Earth Stood Still.

steampunk starship

Then during Saturday’s Deep Dive Workshop “Designing Interstellar Capabilities through Steampunk Technology,” Steampunk scholar Mike Pershon (Professor of Literature, Grant Macewan University) will guide participants through the opportunities steampunk presents on the interstellar journey –

Space is a very unforgiving environment and a deep space journey, which may take decades is one in which it may be impossible to carry every critical spare or replacement part needed, and that is where steampunk comes in.

The rest of the symposium has a purpose that is heavy on science and light on fiction —

We exist to make the capability of human travel beyond our solar system a reality within the next 100 years.

And Mae Jemison of the 100 Year Starship Trust knows why they picked 100 years.

If you said ten years — ‘Nah, we know that’s not long enough.’ If you said 500 years, people would say, ‘I can kick back for another two to three hundred years because I don’t have to worry about it.’ One hundred years is close enough.