Pixel Scroll 1/8/18 Calculating Witticisms And Generating Sarcastic Comebacks At The Algorithm Round Table

(1) BRAM STOKER AWARDS. Horror Writers Association President Lisa Morton reminds members they have until January 15 to recommend works for the 2017 Bram Stoker Awards.

– ALL members may recommend works, including Supporting.
– ALL members may recommend works in ALL categories.
– If you’re trying to get your work considered, please review the Bram Stoker Awards etiquette page
– We’ve already seen a few examples of authors whose works appear on the Recommendations page claiming to be “nominated.” Please do NOT refer to your work as “nominated” unless you are listed on the Final Ballot.

The Bram Stoker Awards® Etiquette Rules begin with these general principles, then go into detail.

If there is a single thought to keep in mind here, it is the difference between promoting and soliciting.

Promoting (acceptable) is the business of spreading the word about your work and making sure anyone who wants to can read it.

Soliciting (unacceptable) is the practice of wheeling and dealing, whining and wheedling, in order to get yourself an award that you may not deserve.

Works that are truly worthy of the award tend to rise to the top without help if enough people read them. If you have to go out and beg for recommendations or votes, that says something rather uncomplimentary about both you and the work. So you’re doing yourself a service if you refrain.

(2) THE BDO. James Davis Nicoll provides “A Brief History of the Big Dumb Object Story in Science Fiction” at Tor.com.

I was recently reminded of the golden age of Big Dumb Object stories (hat tip to reviewer Roz Kaveny for coining the phrase). As this is not yet commonly accepted genre shorthand, perhaps a definition is in order.

Contrary to the name, BDOs are not necessarily dumb. In fact, most of them have rather sophisticated infrastructure working away off-stage preventing the story from being a Giant Agglomeration of Useless Scrap story. What they definitely are is large. To be a BDO, the Object needs to be world-sized, at least the volume of a moon and preferably much larger. BDOs are also artificial. Some…well, one that I can think of but probably there are others…skirt the issue by being living artifacts but even there, they exist because some being took steps to bring them into existence.

(3) INTERNET ARCHIVE INFRINGEMENT CHARGED. SFWA’s “Infringement Alert” warns —

The Internet Archive (Archive.org)  is carrying out a very large and growing program of scanning entire books and posting them on the public Internet. It is calling this project “Open Library,” but it is SFWA’s understanding that this is not library lending, but direct infringement of authors’ copyrights. We  suspect that this is the world’s largest ongoing project of unremunerated digital distribution of entire in-copyright books. An extensive, random assortment of books is available for e-lending—that is the “borrowing” of a digital (scanned) copy.  For those books that can be “borrowed,” Open Library allows users to download digital copies in a variety of formats to read using standard e-reader software. As with other e-lending services, the books are DRM-protected, and should become unreadable after the “loan” period. However, an unreadable copy of the book is saved on users’ devices (iPads, e-readers, computers, etc.) and can be made readable by stripping DRM protection. SFWA is still investigating the extent to which these downloadable copies can be pirated. Unlike e-lending from a regular library, Open Library is not serving up licensed, paid-for copies, but their own scans.

The post includes guidance about how writers can deal with infringement issues.

(4) FAWLTY REASONING. Doctor Strangemind’s Kim Huett sent a link to “Jack Vance & Fawlty Towers” with the warning: “I have to admit the logical progression of this installment is a little unexpected. I’m sure you’ll manage though. I have every confidence in you all.” The metaphor addresses William Atheling Jr.’s misguided review of a Jack Vance book, both written in the 1950s.

It’s with Vance’s next point however that we encounter what surely his Basil Fawlty moment. I’m willing to bet the restrained sarcasm Vance employed in order to agree with Atheling that the short stories contained in The Dying Earth collection made for a terrible novel is as nothing to how he felt when he first read Atheling’s complaint. As somebody who has read The Dying Earth collection, albeit many years ago, the thought that anybody could miss the assorted changes in plot, location, and characters is an astounding one. As the author of these assorted stories and thus more intimately involved with then than any reader could be the Atheling complaint was surely a source of intense frustration for Jack Vance. How do you deal with being told you have failed when the basis of the claim is as demonstrably wrong as this? There are things that should not need explanation, that are a chore, an undeserved burden to set right. If it had been me in Vance’s place the sheer frustration of Atheling’s comments would have had me curling up Basil Fawlty style.

(5) YOU’RE GRACE PARK. Io9’s Jill Pantozzi digs into The Magicians new season and asks “Could You Have an Entire Conversation in Pop Culture References? The Magicians Challenges Us All”.

Eliot’s entire conversation with Queen Margo is perfection but hits a high note by kicking things off referencing another Syfy series: Battlestar Galactica. Take a look (unless you want to go into the episode fresh, of course). And don’t worry if you’re not entirely versed in pop culture; there are helpful subtitles to explain some of the references.

 

(6) CALIFORNIA BOOK FAIR. The 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair will be held on February 9-11, 2018 at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Featuring the collections and rare treasures of over 200 booksellers from over 30 different countries the California International Antiquarian Book Fair is recognized as one of the world’s largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books. The California International Antiquarian Book Fair gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about, and purchase the finest in rare and valuable books, manuscripts, autographs, graphics, photographs, print ephemera, and much more.

(7) FOR THOSE SCORING AT HOME. Rocket Stack Rank’s Greg Hullender reports, “We’ve created the 2018 version of our page that helps people nominate for the Hugo Awards. In addition to our reviews, this incorporates feedback from six other prolific short-fiction reviewers to produce a sorted list of the best-reviewed short SFF of 2017.” — “2018 Hugo Awards”.

New this year: they have highlighted which stories were most recommended in different categories.

Hullender continues: “As in the past, the pages offer nomination help several different ways. The list of stories is helpful for readers looking for stories to read, but it’s also helpful to people who need help remembering the stories they’ve already read. The Campbell page identifies everyone eligible for the Campbell (based only on short stories we reviewed).”

(8) HUT CUISINE. New fiction from Mad Scientist Journal: “Excerpts from the Diary of Theodore Miro, Competitor on CryptoChefs Season 2”. The artwork makes it rather irresistible —

Here’s the opening paragraph:

May 6th

I understand that TV audiences want to see a little more showmanship than I’m used to providing on the line back at Lilette, but this is ridiculous. They trucked in a six-foot tall burlap sack with “HOUSE FEED” painted on the side, and we had to spend two hours getting shots of me and some crew pouring it out onto a giant plate. They kept having to refill the bag between takes, and I had nothing to do but sit around in the freezing-ass Russian afternoon. The only wifi reception out here is a 1980-looking suitcase laptop with one of those inch-thick rubber antennas. I think all it does is let Chaz keep in touch with the producers through some kinda HAM radio satellite or whatever. No apps or anything. I’d tried making small talk with him in between takes, but I think the only thing he’s ever actually read is liner notes from Smash Mouth albums. Album, singular? I don’t even know. He sure would though.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born January 8, 1862 — Frank Nelson Doubleday (publisher)
  • Born January 8, 1908 — The first Doctor Who. actor William Hartnell
  • Born January 8, 1942 – Stephen Hawking

(10) SEVEN CENTURIES OF CAPTAIN AMERICA. A Marvel comics milestone is approaching —

This spring, OUT OF TIME will culminate with the release of CAPTAIN AMERICA’s milestone 700th issue, concluding the arc in an oversized story from creators Mark Waid and Chris Samnee!

Frozen in time, awakened in a decimated future and once again a man out of his era, there is only one way for Steve Rogers to restore order and rebuild civilization—and that’s to rule it as King Captain America!

“No dream, no hoax, no lie, this IS Cap and this IS happening!” said SVP and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort. “Guest-starring the Thing and the Hulk (or as much as is left of them), it’s a celebration of 700 issues of star-spangled adventure! Plus, Mark Waid delivers an untold tale from Captain America’s past, featuring the classic artwork of Jack Kirby!”

(11) MILES MORALES. In “Jason Reynolds Is Revolutionizing the Art of Writing Characters”, Washington City Paper’s Kayla Randall profiles Jason Randall, an experienced African-American YA author whom Marvel picked to write Miles Morales: Spider-Man, a YA novel which appeared late in 2017.

When Marvel Comics calls, people answer. That seems to be a general rule. But local author Jason Reynolds was hesitant when he got his call. Marvel had plans to publish a young adult novel about Spider-Man, specifically Miles Morales, an immensely popular iteration of the character and the first black boy to don the spider suit in the comics. Reynolds was the author the bosses wanted.

That he would be on Marvel’s radar as it identified authors to write about a black Puerto Rican teenager coming of age in Brooklyn comes as no surprise. The Oxon Hill native, who now lives in Northeast D.C., has written nine books and become widely known over the past few years for writing complex young black characters, mostly boys. His book Ghost was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and As Brave As You was a 2017 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book.

“I’ve written a gazillion books about black boys in Brooklyn, so it was kind of like ‘Look dude, this is your wheelhouse, will you take this on?’” Reynolds says.

His initial answer was “I don’t know.” He was afraid the stranglehold of a corporation with huge intellectual properties to protect and monitor would stifle his writing. Then there was the immense pressure he’d feel to properly represent a beloved superhero in his own words.

(12) SMALL WORLD. Yahoo! shares “A portrait of Earth and the Moon from 3 million miles away”:

Sometimes you need to step back to see the big picture, and if your subjects are 249,000 miles apart, you need to step waaay back. Luckily, the spacecraft OSIRIS-REx is moving rapidly away from us and was recently just in the right position, around 3.1 million miles away, so it trained its MapCam instrument towards its former home and captured this poignant portrait of the Earth and the Moon.

(13) LESSON FROM AN EXPERT. Mad Genius Club’s Dave Freer, in “‘Hold-my-beer’ Precedent”, criticizes practices like —

‘De-platforming’ – Another precedent set and accepted and much beloved by the modern Left – those in power should be able to effectively silence any dissent, and isolate dissenters by denying them a public place – be that a convention, Twitter, or a book for sale to the public. The puppy-kickers and indeed SJW’s believe de-platforming an important and completely justified tool… in their hands. They’re in power and think it a great idea.

I know Dave can speak about de-platforming from experience, having banned me from MGC’s comments section.

And what explosive thing did I say to trigger him? My last comment there responded to their site redesign by asking them to make the bylines larger and more readable. No, no, this wasn’t concern trolling. It just seemed an obvious thing to fix as long as they were doing a makeover anyway.

(14) JON PINOCCHIO. Yesterday he was telling the world File 770 has no readers. In February he tweeted the figure below as a taunt. Which was true? Neither. Isn’t that a surprise. There has never been anything remotely like that number of outbound clicks from here to his site.

(15) JDA’S NEXT CHESSMOVE. Jon Del Arroz has posted “An Open Letter to Worldcon GoH Spider Robinson”.

In an unprecedented move, Worldcon pre-banned me, an action they haven’t taken since 1964 with Walter Breen, a convicted pedophile. Unlike Walter, I’m no criminal, just a family man and professional in the field. I’m an outspoken conservative and Christian, which sets me in the “other, not human” category for some people in science fiction writing, and I’ve been a target of a hate campaign because of my worldviews since coming on the scene. It’s about the opposite of what I imagined a loving, tolerant group would be.

I’ve been given no information to why I’m banned other than I “intend to violate the code of conduct” which I’ve stated several times I don’t. As a popular writer in the field, it seems a move solely based on hate and discrimination of people like me. I wish we could all get along despite differences like in Callahan’s, but it appears some in our world aren’t ready for that.

(16) GAME OVER. John C. Wright begins his January 8 post, “Love Crimes and Hate Crimes”, with this news –

Milo Yiannopoulos’ DANGEROUS website, for reasons, so they reassure me, that are no reflection on my writing, have suspended my column there, temporarily, or so they hope.

(17) INSPIRATION. There was a famous composer who answered the question “Where do you get your inspiration” with the remark, “When the check arrives.” Ridley Scott would like somebody to inspire him that way — “‘Blade Runner 2049’ Sequel: Ridley Scott Already Has Plans for a Third Chapter”.

Director Ridley Scott has an idea for a new “Blade Runner” film and is hoping to get it off the ground. Although he recently vocalized some strong opinions about why the second chapter, “Blade Runner 2049,” underperformed at the box office (“It’s slow. It’s slow. Long. Too long. I would have taken out half an hour,” Scott told Al Arabiya), he seems to be eager to return to the series.

When asked about continuing the saga, Scott told Digital Spy, “I hope so. I think there is another story. I’ve got another one ready to evolve and be developed, so there is certainly one to be done for sure.”

(18) A CHECK OF MONEY. Subterranean Press did inspire Harlan Ellison that way, and he allowed Jason Davise to put together the collection Blood’s A Rover. The Ellison-signed edition is already sold out ($500 a pop). Unsigned copies are available at $40.

Harlan Ellison introduced you to Vic and Blood in 1969’s Nebula Award-winning novella, “A Boy and His Dog.” You thrilled to their on-screen adventures in the 1975 Hugo Award-winning feature film adaptation billed as “a kinky tale of survival.” 1977 and 1980 brought brief reunions in “Eggsucker” and “Run, Spot, Run,” and the promise of another story—and a third solo, Spike, to make the Dystopian Duo a Tribulation Trio—but only audiobooks and comics followed, revisiting the same tales.

Now, nearly fifty years after they first set off across the blasted wasteland, Vic and Blood are back.

Harlan Ellison and his editor, Jason Davis, have painstakingly assembled the whole story of Vic and Blood and Spike from the author’s files, using revised-and-expanded versions of the novella and short stories, interstitial material developed for Richard Corben’s graphic adaptation, and—for the first time—never-before-published material from the aborted 1977 NBC television series Blood’s a Rover to tell the complete story of A Boy and His Dog, and a Girl who is tougher than the other two combined.

(19) IN HOC. Not genre, but too snarky to ignore — “New Latin State Mottoes for the 21st Century” from McSweeney’s. Examples:

Massachusetts
Tacete, scimus nos asperos esse
“Shut up, we know we are rude”

Ohio
Nostra flumina non iam ardent
“Our rivers no longer catch on fire”

(20) GOOD GOVERNMENT JOB. Seal of approval?: “SpaceX Rocket Launches Secret Government Payload Into Orbit”.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched a top secret U.S. government payload into orbit, while returning its first-stage booster to the ground for reuse.

The Falcon lifted off at 8 p.m. ET Sunday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As the first-stage of the Falcon returned to Earth for an upright landing, the upper stage lofted the mysterious Zuma, presumed to be a spy satellite or military communications satellite, into an undisclosed orbit.

(21) HEAVY METAL. Beating swords into stereos? “Headphones made from recycled firearms”.

Sweden’s Yevo Labs has unveiled a set of wireless headphones that incorporate metal made from seized illegal guns.

The charging case and a band on the headphones themselves are made of a material branded Humanium.

It is created by the Humanium Metal Initiative, also based in Sweden, and used by a number of Scandinavian manufacturers.

One analyst said the idea should help the headphones stand out in a crowded market.

(22) MIRROR, MIRROR. Cora Buhlert evaluates a popular episode of Black Mirror — “‘USS Callister’ and the Successful Mutiny Against Toxic Masculinity”.

…In the end, it turns out that “USS Callister”, the “Star Trek” episode of Black Mirror is only superficially about Star Trek. This shouldn’t really come as a huge surprise, since Black Mirror normally focusses on “five minutes into the future” tech dystopias and not far future space opera. And indeed, my initial reaction to the “USS Callister” scenes in the general season 4 trailer was, “Huh. Now that doesn’t look like Black Mirror at all.”

And indeed it quickly turns out that the scenes in the trailer of a day-glo 1960ish Star Trek type space adventure are just an immersive virtual reality game created by a programmer named Robert Daley, where he can forget his sad everyday existence and instead live in the world of his favourite TV show, a Star Trek clone called “Space Fleet”, as the heroic captain leading an adoring crew to explore the unknown. At first glance, this seems to be harmless enough, though it is notable that the crew of the USS Callister look very much like his co-workers. Things take a turn towards the seriously creepy when Daley steals the coffee cup of a new employee, swabs it for DNA and pushes a sample into a device attached to his computer…

(23) CW SUPERHEROES. The super season returns starting Monday, January 15 on The CW. Very amusing trailer.

[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

Pixel Scroll 11/14/17 The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Scrollbar And The Pixels From Mars

(1) PRO TIP FROM SFWA. SFWA Director Kate Baker issued this word to the wise —

(2) WINDYCON APOLOGY. At Windycon.org, the Windycon 44 statement regarding the Tutti Frutti Literature panel title and description from convention chair Daniel Gunderson.

Now that the convention is over, we have had the opportunity to read through the many posts and comments on the subject. We have taken to heart the hurt and anger caused by the poor choice of wording used in the title and description of this panel.

We are very sorry we offended. While this was not our intention, it was the result, and for this we sincerely apologize.

We will be working to ensure this does not happen in the future. These are some specific steps we will take moving forward.

We will push back the programming timeline significantly. This will allow for more careful choice in wording for panel titles and descriptions. This will also allow more time for oversight and review of titles and descriptions.

We will work to keep titles and descriptions clear and unambiguous. Panel titles should be sufficiently clear that the entire intent of the programming item can be understood from the title alone. Descriptions will be used to provide additional information about the panel, but will not be relied on to supplement an insufficient title.

We will make sure to run titles and descriptions past a larger group of individuals who were not involved in the generation process. This will provide the opportunity to have outside individuals point out potentially problematic phrasing that programing may not have been aware of, or may have been blinded to by already understanding the original intent.

As of this posting, we have removed the programming item from our online programing list, so we do not continue to offend.

Again, we deeply apologize for any pain this may have caused.

(3) HELP NEEDED. Long-time LASFSian Mike Donahue has started a GoFundMe appeal — Help Mike Donahue keep his home. He gives the full explanation at the link. It begins:

I’m in imminent danger of a bank sale on my house, which is in foreclosure. No date has yet been set. I’ve been given a pay up date of Dec 5 2017. They can move before that, I don’t know. And they don’t tell you the info you need.   Or how long after that they force the sale on the house. I was in an auto accident in January, which greatly strained my cash resources….

(4) SUPERPEDESTRIAN. In the early Seventies, Margaret Atwood wrote Kanadian Kulchur Komics under a pseudonym. She tells what it was like in — “Margaret Atwood reflects on the significance of her This Magazine comic strip”.

Yes, it’s a blast from the past! Or if not a blast, maybe a small firecracker?

Whose past? My past, obviously: I was Bart Gerrard, one of my noms de plume—the name of a then-forgotten and probably now more-forgotten Canadian newspaper caricaturist of the turn of the century.

…The central joke of the Survivalwoman comics was this: in 1972 I’d published a book called Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, which had made waves of a sort, not all of them friendly. This book was an attempt to distinguish what people wrote in Canada from what they wrote in the United States and the United Kingdom, in riposte to what we were so often told: that there wasn’t any Canadian literature, or if there was, it was a pale echo of things written in large, cosmopolitan, important places. Survival against the odds—both natural and human—I took to be one of the leitmotifs of such Canadian writing as I could get my hands on then, in the dark ages before the Internet, print-on-demand, and Abe Books.

Pair that leitmotif with the fact that, in the world of comix, Canada did not have a superhero of its own—Nelvana of the Northern Lights and Johnny Canuck and their bros and sisses having vanished with the demise of the wartime “Canadian Whites” in approximately 1946. (King of the Royal Mounted did not count, being American. Anyway, King had no superhuman features, unlike the present-day Wolverine.)

So what more appropriate than Survivalwoman: a superheroine with no discernable powers, who had a cape but could not fly—hey, it was Kanada, always lesser—and came equipped with snowshoes? The visual design was based on me—curly hair, short—as was part of the personality—earnest and somewhat clueless.

(5) BE ON THE LOOKOUT. If any of you have good celebrity connections, David Brin could use a hand getting invitations out to people he’d like to have involved in his 20th anniversary screening of The Postman.

I’m putting out a call! If any of you know genius cinematographer Stephen F. Windon, or genius cinematic composer James Newton Howard, I’m hoping to invite them to a special, 20th anniversary screening of The Postman at UCSD’s Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. Whatever its faults, the film is musically and visually one of the dozen or so most gorgeous films ever made. (With a small but growing cult following.)

I’d invite Kevin Costner – who certainly gets some credit for that beauty – and screenwriter Brian Helgeland too – (or any of the younger Costners in the film) because I think the flick had more heart that any other from that era. Alas, no method I’ve researched seems to penetrate the Hollywood protective barriers, not even for Mr. Windon. And Tom Petty is now beyond reach, alack.

(6) SPFBO FINALS. Mark Lawrence has set up a post to track the “Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off Finals”. At this stage, the 10 finalists will be chosen based on the scores of participating blogger-reviewers. They are: Bookworm Blues, Fantasy-Faction, Fantasy Book Critic, Lynn’s Books, The Qwillery, Pornokitsch, Ventureadlaxre, Fantasy Book Review, Booknest, and Kitty G video reviews.

There’s not much to see there yet, but it will become more interesting as the results are filled in.

Filers will be interested to know there are links to a large number of book reviews at the post for the first phase of the Blog-Off, in which 200 of the 300 works under consideration were eliminated.

(7) FRESH HORROR. Brett J. Talley, whose name has appeared in this blog before as a Bram Stoker nominee, is up for a federal court appointment. The Daily Beast has the story: “Before He Was Tapped By Donald Trump, Controversial Judicial Nominee Brett J. Talley Investigated Paranormal Activity”. There’s more at the link about his interest in Lovecraft.

Brett J. Talley, nominated by President Donald Trump to the Federal District Court in Montgomery, Alabama, has never tried a case, is married to a White House lawyer, and has been dubbed as unqualified by the American Bar Association.

… But ghost chasing wasn’t a quirky side-hobby. Indeed, before he became the embodiment of the Trump administration’s efforts to pack the courts with young, conservative, sometimes dubiously-credentialed judges, Halley wrote books about paranormal activities that earned him numerous plaudits. And not just within the horror fiction scene. Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s campaign manager in 2012, was a fan too.

“I find it hilarious that no one is writing about his horror writing. He has a cult following.” Stevens told The Daily Beast. “I have to say I wasn’t really aware he was a lawyer as my dealings with him were as a writer on campaign. He’s an interesting, smart guy. But so is Stephen King.”

(8) FIN DE CYCLE. James Davis Nicoll, in “Seasons Crying No Despair”, says it wasn’t easy, but David Axel Kurtz’ Northern Tier won him over.

Those reservations aside, I got drawn into Slip’s story, which is saying a lot when you consider how very much I dislike bicyclists as a group. Having been run over on numerous occasions by scofflaw bicyclists, I live for a future in which the use of bicycles is limited to the Marianas Trench, the Lunar farside, and the surface of the Sun, places I do not plan to visit any time soon. I am not the target market for thrilling tales of bicyclists and the increasingly vast armies who stalk them. Nevertheless, Slip won me over; she persisted.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • November 14, 1851 Moby Dick is published.
  • November 14, 1969 – Apollo 12 took off.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born November 14 – Cat Rambo
  • Born November 14 – Wolf Von Witting
  • Born November 14 — Moshe Feder
  • Born November 14 – Edd Vick
  • Born November 14 – Charles Mohapel

(11) FINAL FRONTIER. Fan-made Star Trek Continues released Part II of its last episode “To Boldly Go.” (Find Part I here.) Executive Producer Vic Mignogna (also the series’ “James T. Kirk”) told Facebook followers:

No vocabulary can express how much this production has meant to me. From the very beginning, all I knew was that I wanted to make one episode of Star Trek the way I remembered it. Would anyone like it? I didn’t know. Would I make another? I didn’t know. All I knew was that I wanted to pay tribute to Bill, Leonard, Gene and everyone who made the show that meant so much to me when I was a boy. I would use all the skills that TOS inspired me to try for the first time to make the best episode I could. I never imagined so many amazing people would do so much, and I’m deeply humbled by their involvement. I will be forever grateful to the cast, crew & volunteers who selflessly gave so much to make Star Trek Continues a reality. And to you, the viewers and fans, for your support and enthusiasm. With bittersweet joy, we present our final episode. Hopefully, it will be a long lasting tribute and historic ending to the most iconic television series in history.

 

(12) COMING SOON ON AMAZON. People are having a lot of fun with the idea of a new Lord of the Rings series on Amazon. This idea beats Dynasty and Dallas to pieces.

(13) PRE-RINGS CIRCUS. Nathaniel Ingraham tries to figure out what the Amazon series will be like in “Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel will need to forge its own identity”. One of his ideas comes from a video game:

Of course, Amazon new series won’t be the first new narrative set in Middle-earth. The most recent example is the 2014 video game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (and its newly-released sequel). The game drew players in by using the familiar setting of Mordor, a familiar timeframe (between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), iconic characters like Gollum and crucial elements like the Rings of Power. But it also starred entirely new characters, expanded Tolkien’s mythology and told an entirely new story.

It wasn’t perfect (that ending!), but Shadow of Mordor overall did an admirable job at taking a familiar setting and writing a new story around it. It’s the kind of product that could serve as a blueprint for how Amazon can create a new property that will hook loads of viewers while still paying service to longtime fans. Simply being able to reference The Lord of the Rings will be enough to bring in many viewers — millions have seen Jackson’s films and won’t care if the series is telling stories Tolkien himself didn’t dream up. Add in the fact that Game of Thrones will wrap up in 2018 or 2019 and it’s easy to imagine those viewers getting their fantasy methadone from Amazon’s new series.

Ultimately, the enduring popularity of Tolkien’s work is what Amazon is banking on here. Yes, there will absolutely be a cadre of fans who hate what Amazon produces, but that group will almost certainly be outnumbered by people enjoyed The Lord of the Rings at some point in their life and decide to give Amazon’s series a shot — if the show is good.

(14) MORDANT OF THE RINGS. Adam Whitehead engages in less serious – well, frankly hilarious – speculation about “Ideas for the new LORD OF THE RINGS TV series” at The Wertzone.

This Ent-focused conservation programme, voiced over by David Attenborough, will fuse almost-thrilling episodes where the Ents discuss a problem for hours on end with notes on the shameful deforestation of Fangorn Forest and destruction of the surrounding ecosystem.

(15) DARK VADER. Mark Hepworth sent this photo with his brew review: “I thought a beer item might enliven the scroll. I came across this in a local-ish pub and obviously had to try it. It was much more drinkable than I’d expected from a Sith Lord!”

(16) MARTIANS AND SIGOURNEY WEAVER. Mark Swed reviews “‘War of the Worlds’: Delirious opera rises from the death and destruction of L.A.” in the Los Angeles Times.

So here’s what you need to know about the heavily hyped “War of the Worlds” that [Yuval] Sharon mounted at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sunday afternoon for the L.A. Phil, in collaboration with his own massively disruptive opera company, the Industry, and the nonprofit Now Art L.A. A new opera and new kind of opera by Annie Gosfield, it does everything an opera’s supposed to. It does a lot opera’s not supposed to do. That includes immersive opera, one of Sharon’s specialties as the mastermind of “Hopscotch,” the celebrated opera in autos two years ago.

…On the most basic level, this is a fairly straightforward operatic adaption and update of Orson Welles’ famous 1938 radio broadcast, based on H.G. Wells’ science-fiction novel “The War of the Worlds.” At a time when radio broadcasts were beginning to be interrupted by news flashes, Welles treated the play as an ordinary dance-band radio program with increasingly frightening bulletins of an alien invasion.

The brilliantly theatrical night-before-Halloween prank caused panic among some gullible listeners, giving credence to Russian futurist Velimir Khlebnikov’s prediction that radio had the power to become the Great Sorcerer. Sharon sees the panic as an early-warning sign of the imposing threat of fake news.

Riffing on the radio show, this “War of the Worlds” begins as a symphony concert, albeit one with a celebrity host, Sigourney Weaver. The opera will eventually take over the concert, which is meant to include Gosfield’s new celestial orchestral cycle to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Holst’s “The Planets.”

…Weaver breaks in again and again on the first two movements with reports from outdoors, which are beamed into the hall (audio only, this is radio). Astronomy professor Pierson (actor Hugo Armstrong), standing on a parking lot, attempts to allay fear with his soothing British accent. Mrs. Martinez (mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán) offers a more feverish firsthand account of the scary machines and creatures somewhere on Main Street. Gen. Lansing (baritone Hadleigh Adams) haplessly leads the troops in attacking the aliens.

Before long the music creeps into the action. The Martians have an alien voice in soprano Hila Plitmann’s stratospherically supernatural coloratura (and she does look like she might have stepped out of an outtake of “Alien”), accompanied by theremin and otherworldly percussion. Sharon’s libretto follows Peter Koch’s original radio play fairly closely. L.A. doesn’t fare any better than New York City. Civic officials are of little help, although the mayor valiantly tries. There is political humor for all.

…Finally, there are those decommissioned sirens left over from the Second World War that still peek out from behind billboards and buildings around town, noticed primarily by history buffs. They’re the symbol of the production and were one of the motivating ideas for both Sharon and Gosfield, who was obsessed with them when she studied at CalArts in the 1980s.

In the end, they are about the least interesting thing visually, theatrically or sonically about the production. It is not that they aren’t marvelous in their mysteriously antiquated way; it is just that every other aspect of this opera and its sensational production and performance happens to be more marvelous.

(17) SECURE THE NOMINATION. Timothy the Talking Cat has picked up a new vice: “McEdifice Returns: Chapter Awards”.

“Ahem, here is what I was just writing:

Dear Mr or Mrs Pulitzer, Hello. As you may know I am one of the best writers in the world. You may have already read some parts of my latest book “McEdifice Returns” a psychological drama about one man’s struggles to come to terms with his past.

I guess you are probably thinking ‘We’d love to give Timothy one of our Pulitzer Prizes but people might think it is just a way of making our prize look more popular and relevant with the cool kids’. Fear not! That is exactly the right kind of move that will help the sadly faded and increasingly irrelevant Pulitzer Prize strike a chord with modern audiences who frankly a sick of all that liberal clap-trap and just want some good old fashioned entertainment.

So I hereby give you permission to award me a Pulitzer.

Yours,

Timothy the Talking Cat

PS This is like totally a nomination so you’ll understand that from now on I’ll be saying ‘The Pulitzer Prize nominated author Timothy the Talking Cat’. That’s great free publicity for your prize. No need to thank me – just trying to help you out.

“Hmmm, I see you have also written similar letters to ‘Mr Oscar and your friend Tony’ as well as ‘Ms or Mr Grammy'”

(18) MARVEL’S MULTIPLE AVENGERS. This cover art just jumps off the screen.

Avengers: Disassemble! The epic weekly takeover continues this February when Kim Jacinto takes the reigns to draw the second month of Marvel’s biggest team adventure, and Marvel is excited to reveal the covers for issues #679 – #682 of AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER by Mark Brooks.

“In month two of NO SURRENDER, the rubber hits the road as we learn what’s really going on and who is behind it,” says SVP and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort. “A couple different Avengers make the supreme sacrifice, the action grows ever more intense—and the stage is set for the return of a major player in the Marvel line-up of stars! Oh, and the origin of Voyager!”

Co-written by Mark Waid, Al Ewing and Jim Zub with art by Pepe Larraz, Kim Jacinto and Paco Medina, AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER unites the casts and creative teams of three titles into one weekly book of exciting action. It all starts with AVENGERS #675 this January, when the teams of THE AVENGERS, UNCANNY AVENGERS, and U.S. AVENGERS come together in a story as exciting and powerful as the Marvel Universe itself.

(19) FASHION JUSTICE. Ashley Boucher, in “‘Justice League’ Amazonian Bikinis Have Twitter in Uproar: ‘Men Ruin Everything’” in The Wrap, says that there are many tweets complaining that the Amazons in Justice League wear bikinis while those in Wonder Woman didn’t.

The costumes worn by the Amazon women are noticeably different than they were in “Wonder Woman,” and viewers are afire online with discussions about how the change represents differences in the male and female gaze.

In “Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins, the costumes were designed by Lindy Hemming, and covered the Amazons’ torsos with armor. In “Justice League,” directed by Zach Snyder, the costumes were designed by Michael Wilkinson. And while Wilkinson’s outfits keep a similar Gladiator vibe, they feature small bra tops and bottoms that some say more closely resemble bikinis than what you’d want to wear into battle.

 

(20) HISTORIC HOOCH. Back when the Little Old Winemaker was young: “‘World’s oldest wine’ found in 8,000-year-old jars in Georgia”.

Scientists say 8,000-year-old pottery fragments have revealed the earliest evidence of grape wine-making.

The earthenware jars containing residual wine compounds were found in two sites south of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, researchers said.

Some of the jars bore images of grape clusters and a man dancing.

Previously, the earliest evidence of wine-making was from pottery dating from about 7,000 years ago found in north-western Iran.

(21) COST CUTTING. Darth Vader has been discounted: “Star Wars game in U-turn after player anger”.

Games publisher EA has changed a rule in its Star Wars Battlefront II video game after a huge backlash.

During the game, players have to obtain credits – either by buying them or through long hours of game play – to unlock popular characters including Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

Many players said it was unfair as the gaming required worked out at around 40 hours per character, unless they paid.

EA says the number of credits required will now be reduced by 75%.

“Unlocking a hero is a great accomplishment in the game, something we want players to have fun earning,” said executive producer John Wasilczyk from the developer Dice, in a statement.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Dave Doering, David K.M.Klaus, Chip Hitchcock, rcade, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

2016 Bram Stoker Award Winners

The Horror Writers Association announced the winners of the 2016 Bram SToker Awards® on April 29 at StokerCon in Long Beach, CA.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Langan, John – The Fisherman (Word Horde)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Deady, Tom – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Alexander, Maria – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Chambers, James – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe (Moonstone)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Waggoner, Tim – The Winter Box (DarkFuse)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Oates, Joyce Carol – The Crawl Space (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Oates, Joyce Carol – The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Eggers, Robert – The VVitch (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Pulse Films, and Very Special Projects)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Monteleone, Thomas F. and Monteleone, Oliva F. – Borderlands 6 (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Franklin, Ruth – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright Publishing Corporation)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Brothel (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Other HWA Awards

Mentor of the Year Award

  • Linda Addison

Silver Hammer Award

  • James Chambers

Specialty Press Award

  • Kate Jonez of Omnium Gatherum

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Dennis Etchison
  • Thomas F. Monteleone

2016 Bram Stoker Shortlist

The Horror Writers Association has announced the nominees for the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards®.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Hand, Elizabeth – Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel (Minotaur Books)
  • Jones, Stephen Graham – Mongrels (William Morrow)
  • Langan, John – The Fisherman (Word Horde)
  • MacLeod, Bracken – Stranded: A Novel (Tor Books)
  • Tremblay, Paul – Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Barnett, Barbara – The Apothecary’s Curse (Pyr Books)
  • Chapman, Greg – Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum Media)
  • Deady, Tom – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)
  • Garza, Michelle and Lason, Melissa – Mayan Blue (Sinister Grin Press)
  • Wytovich, Stephanie – The Eighth (Dark Regions Press)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Alexander, Maria – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Brozek, Jennifer – Last Days of Salton Academy (Ragnarok Publishing)
  • Cosimano, Elle – Holding Smoke (Hyperion-Disney)
  • Roberts, Jeyn – When They Fade (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • Sirowy, Alexandra – The Telling (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Bunn, Cullen – Blood Feud (Oni Press)
  • Chambers, James – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe (Moonstone)
  • de Campi, Alex – No Mercy, Vol. 2 (Image Comics)
  • Kirkman, Robert – Outcast by Kirkman&Azaceta, Vol 3 This Little Light (Image Comics)
  • Miller, Mark Alan and Lansdale, Joe R. –The Steam Man (Dark Horse Books)
  • Moore, Alan – Providence, Act 1 (Avatar Press)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Cushing, Nicole – The Sadist’s Bible (01Publishing)
  • Edelman, Scott – That Perilous Stuff (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
  • LaValle, Victor – The Ballad of Black Tom (Tor.com)
  • Malerman, Josh – The Jupiter Drop (You, Human) (Dark Regions Press)
  • Waggoner, Tim – The Winter Box (DarkFuse)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Bailey, Michael – Time is a Face on the Water (Borderlands 6) (Borderlands Press)
  • Bodner, Hal – A Rift in Reflection (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
  • Golden, Christopher – The Bad Hour (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)
  • Mannetti, Lisa – ArbeitMacht Frei (Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Oates, Joyce Carol – The Crawl Space (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Barron, Laird – Swift to Chase (JournalStone)
  • Chizmar, Richard – A Long December (Subterranean Press)
  • Oates, Joyce Carol – The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)
  • O’Neill, Gene – Lethal Birds (Omnium Gatherum Media)
  • Schwaeble, Hank – American Nocturne (Cohesion Press)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Campbell, Josh, Chazelle, Damien, and Stuecken, Matthew – 10 Cloverfield Lane (Paramount Pictures)
  • Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Vanishing of Will Byers (Episode 01: Chapter One) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
  • Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Upside Down (Episode 01: Chapter Eight) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
  • Eggers, Robert – The VVitch (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Pulse Films, and Very Special Projects)
  • Logan, John – Penny Dreadful: A Blade of Grass (Episode 03:04) Showtime Presents in association with SKY, Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Bailey, Michael – Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – The Beauty of Death (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Monteleone, Thomas F. and Monteleone, Oliva F. – Borderlands 6 (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)
  • Mosiman, Billie Sue – Fright Mare-Women Write Horror (DM Publishing)
  • Murano, Doug and Ward, D. Alexander – Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Braudy, Leo – Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural(Yale University Press)
  • Franklin, Ruth – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
  • Olson, Danel P. – Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)
  • Poole, W. Scott – In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft (Soft Skull Press)
  • Skal, David J. – Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
  • Tibbetts, John – The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Boston, Bruce and Manzetti, Alessandro – Sacrificial Nights (KippleOfficinaLibraria)
  • Collings, Michael R. – Corona Obscura: Poems Dark and Elemental (self-published)
  • Gailey, Jeannine Hall – Field Guide to the End of the World: Poems (Moon City Press)
  • Simon, Marge – Small Spirits (Midnight Town Media)
  • Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Brothel (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

The Bram Stoker Awards® will be presented at StokerCon on April 29, 2017. The awards ceremonies will be live-streamed online.

The 2016 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot Announced

Bram Stoker Award trophy

Bram Stoker Award trophy

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has released the Preliminary Ballot for the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards®.

This is not the list of finalists, but the list which HWA members will choose among when they vote to determine the finalists. The final ballot will be revealed February 23. The Bram Stoker Award winners will be announced April 29 at StokerCon 2017 aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.

2016 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Fenn, J. Lincoln – Dead Souls (Gallery Books)
  • Hand, Elizabeth – Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel (Minotaur Books)
  • Heuvelt, Thomas Olde – Hex (Tor Books)
  • Jones, Stephen Graham – Mongrels (William Morrow)
  • Langan, John – The Fisherman (Word Horde)
  • Lombardi, Nicola – The Tank (Dunwich Edizioni)
  • MacLeod, Bracken – Stranded: A Novel (Tor Books)
  • Murray, Lee – Into the Mist (Cohesion Press)
  • Prentiss, Norman– Odd Adventures with your Other Father (Kindle Press)
  • Snyman, Monique – Muti Nation (Omnium Gatherum Media)
  • Tremblay, Paul – Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Barnett, Barbara – The Apothecary’s Curse (Pyr Books)
  • Chapman, Greg – Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum Media)
  • Deady, Tom – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)
  • Franks, Matthew – The Monster Underneath (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)
  • Garza, Michelle and Lason, Melissa – Mayan Blue (Sinister Grin Press)
  • Gorman, William – Blackwater Val (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Kilgore, Kari – Until Death (Spiral Publishing)
  • Labat, L.M. – The Sanguinarian ID (Night to Dawn Magazine & Books LLC)
  • Lewis, Beth – The Wolf Road (Crown Publishing)
  • Murphy, Jason – The Black Goat Motorcycle Club (Sinister Grin Press)
  • Woodrow, Jonathan – Wasteland Gods (Horrific Tales Publishing)
  • Wytovich, Stephanie – The Eighth (Dark Regions Press)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Alexander, Maria – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Brozek, Jennifer – Last Days of Salton Academy (Ragnarok Publishing)
  • Cosimano, Elle – Holding Smoke (Hyperion-Disney)
  • Ford, Michael Thomas – Lily (Lethe Press)
  • Kelley, Michael Brent – Keep Away From Psycho Joe (Omnium Gatherum Media)
  • Roberts, Jeyn – When They Fade (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • Sirowy, Alexandra – The Telling (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
  • Varley, Dax – Sinful: A Bleed Novel (Garden Gate Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Bunn, Cullen – Blood Feud (Oni Press)
  • Chambers, James – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe (Moonstone)
  • de Campi, Alex – No Mercy, Vol. 2 (Image Comics)
  • Miller, Mark Alan and Lansdale, Joe R. – The Steam Man (Dark Horse Books)
  • Moore, Alan – Providence, Act 1 (Avatar Press)
  • Quach, Ashley P – Weirdy (Sassquach Comics)
  • Kirkman, Robert – Outcast, Vol 3 This Little Light (Image Comics)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Anderson, Paul Michael – Bones Are Made to be Broken (Bones Are Made to be Broken) (Written Backwards)
  • Boden, John – Jedi Summer with the Magnetic Kid (Post Mortem Press)
  • Cushing, Aric – Vampire Boy (Grand & Archer)
  • Cushing, Nicole – The Sadist’s Bible (01Publishing)
  • Drinkwater, Karl – Harvest Festival (Organic Apocalypse)
  • Edelman, Scott – That Perilous Stuff (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
  • LaValle, Victor – The Ballad of Black Tom (Tor.com)
  • Malerman, Josh – The Jupiter Drop (You, Human) (Written Backwards)
  • Matthews, Mark – All Smoke Rises: Milk-Blood Redux (Wicked Run Press)
  • Shane, Simmons – Raw (Silent Screams: An Anthology of Socially Conscious Dark Fiction) (Serpent & Dove Speculative Fiction)
  • Waggoner, Tim – The Winter Box (Darkfuse)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Bailey, Michael – Time is a Face on the Water (Borderlands 6) (Borderlands Press)
  • Bodner, Hal – A Rift in Reflection (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
  • Golden, Christopher – The Bad Hour (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)
  • Hanson, Michael H. – Conqueror Worms (Dark Corners) (Iron Clad Press)
  • Hucklebridge, Dane – Ortolan (F(r)iction #5) (Tethered by Letters)
  • Kiste, Gwendolyn – Reasons I Hate My Big Sister (Nightscript Volume 2) (Chthonic Matter)
  • Mannetti, Lisa – Arbeit Macht Frei (Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – Long Hair’s Inferno (The Monster, the Bad, and the Ugly) (Kipple Officina Libraria)
  • Oates, Joyce Carol – The Crawl Space (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)
  • Smith, John Claude – The Wounded Table (The Wrath of Concrete and Steel) (Dunhams Manor Press)
  • Yap, Isabel – Only Unclench Your Hand (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Barron, Laird – Swift to Chase (JournalStone)
  • Braum, Daniel – The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales (Grey Matter Press)
  • Chizmar, Richard – A Long December (Subterranean Press)
  • Gavin, Richard – Sylvan Dread: Tales of Pastoral Darkness (Three Hands Press)
  • Oates, Joyce Carol – The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)
  • O’Neill, Gene – Lethal Birds (Omnium Gatherum Media)
  • Schaller, Eric – Meet Me in the Middle of the Air (Undertow Publications)
  • Schwaeble, Hank – American Nocturne (Cohesion Press)
  • Sutton, Pete – A Tiding of Magpies (Kensington Gore Publishing)
  • Wehunt, Michael – Greener Pastures (Shock Totem Publications)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Alvarez, Fede and Sayagues, Rodo – DON’T BREATHE (Ghost House Pictures, Good Universe)
  • Campbell, Josh, Chazelle, Damien, and Stuecken, Matthew – 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (Paramount Pictures)
  • Catlin, Sam, Rogen, Seth, and Goldberg, Evan – PREACHER: PILOT (Episode1:0) (AMC)
  • Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – STRANGER THINGS: THE VANISHING OF WILL BYERS (Episode 01: Chapter One) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
  • Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – STRANGER THINGS: THE UPSIDE DOWN (Episode 01: Chapter Eight) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
  • Eggers, Robert – THE VVITCH (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Pulse Films, and Very Special Projects)
  • Gimple, Scott M. – THE WALKING DEAD: THE DAY WILL COME WHEN YOU WON’T BE (Episode 07:01) (AMC)
  • Hayes, Carey, Hayes, Chad, Wan, James and Johnson, David – THE CONJURING 2 (New Line Cinema)
  • Logan, John – PENNY DREADFUL: A BLADE OF GRASS (Episode 03:04) Showtime Presents in association with SKY, Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions)
  • Nichols, Jeff – MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (Warner Bros.)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Bailey, Michael – Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards)
  • Bennett, T.C. and Carbone, Tracy L. – Cemetery Riots (Awol From Elysium Press)
  • Dabrowski, Lisa – Horror from the Inside Out (Whorror House)
  • Johnson, Eugene and Day, Charles – Drive-In Creature Feature (Evil Jester Press)
  • Kahle, Pete – Not Your Average Monster, Vol. 2: A Menagerie of Vile Beasts (Bloodshot Books)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – The Beauty of Death (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro and di Orazio, Paolo – The Monster, the Bad and the Ugly (Kipple Officina Libraria)
  • Monteleone, Thomas F. and Monteleone, Oliva F. – Borderlands 6 (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)
  • Mosiman, Billie Sue – Fright Mare-Women Write Horror (DM Publishing)
  • Murano, Doug and Ward, D. Alexander – Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Rivera, Anthony and Lawson, Sharon – Peel Back the Skin (Grey Matter Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Braudy, Leo. Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural (Yale University Press)
  • Franklin, Ruth – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
  • Ocker, J.W. A Season with the Witch (Countryman Press)
  • Olson, Danel P. – Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)
  • Poole, W. Scott. In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft (Soft Skull Press)
  • Skal, David J. – Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote
  • Dracula (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
  • Tibbetts, John. The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub (McFarland)
  • Towlson, Jon. The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films, 1931-1936 (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Betts, Matt – Underwater Fistfight (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Boston, Bruce and Manzetti, Alessandro – Sacrificial Nights (Kipple Officina Libraria)
  • Collings, Michael R. – Corona Obscura: Poems Dark and Elemental (self-published)
  • Cowen, David E. – The Seven Yards of Sorrow (Weasel Press)
  • DiLouie, Craig and Moon, Jonathan – Children of God: Poems, Dreams, and Nightmares from the Family of God Cult (ZING Communications, Inc., Jonathan Moon.)
  • Gailey, Jeannine Hall – Field Guide to the End of the World: Poems (Moon City Press)
  • Lepovetsky, Lisa – Voices from Empty Rooms (Alban Lake)
  • Lopez III, Aurelio Rico – Two Drinks Away from Chaos (Azoth Khem Publishing)
  • Simon, Marge. – Small Spirits (Midnight Town Media)
  • Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Brothel (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

[Thanks to Sean R. Kirk for the story.]

2015 Bram Stoker Awards

Bram Stoker Award trophy

Bram Stoker Award trophy

The Horror Writers Association announced the winners of the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards® tonight at StokerCon in Las Vegas.

(Another group that drives people insane — their website calls these the 2015 awards, the livestream calls them the 2016 awards. The HWA shortlist announcement in February said 2015, so I’m going with that.)

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Paul Tremblay – A Head Full of Ghosts (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Nicole Cushing – Mr. Suicide (Word Horde)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • John Dixon – Devil’s Pocket (Simon & Schuster)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Sam Weller, Mort Castle, Chris Ryall, & Carlos Guzman (editors) – Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (IDW Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Mercedes M. Yardley – Little Dead Red (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • John Palisano – Happy Joe’s Rest Stop (18 Wheels of Horror) (Big Time Books)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • David Robert Mitchell – It Follows (Northern Lights Films)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Michael Bailey – The Library of the Dead (Written Backwards)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Lucy A. Snyder – While the Black Stars Burn (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Stephen Jones – The Art of Horror (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Alessandro Manzetti – Eden Underground (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Other Awards: HWA’s Specialty Press Award was presented to Borderlands Press. The annual Specialty Press Award recognizes a publisher outside the mainstream New York City publishing community that specializes in dark-themed fiction.

The Richard Laymon President’s Award was given to Patrick Freivald and Andrew Wolter, moderators of HWA’s Facebook group. The award is named in honor of Richard Laymon, who died in 2000 while serving as the HWA’s president. It is given by the HWA’s sitting president. The Award is presented to a volunteer who has served in an especially exemplary manner and has shown extraordinary dedication to the organization.

HWA’s Silver Hammer Award went to Michael Knost. Knost provides one of HWA’s most beneficial opportunities to new members by chairing the organization’s Mentorship Program, which matches newer writers with experienced pros for a year-long intensive training.

The Mentor of the Year Award went to Tim Waggoner. The HWA’s Mentorship Program Chairperson and the Program’s Committee select the award’s recipient.

The Horror Writers Association recognized Alan Moore and George A. Romero with Lifetime Achievement Awards. HWA gives Lifetime Achievement awards to individuals whose work has substantially influenced the horror genre.

Watch the Bram Stoker Awards Tonight

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is livestreaming the Bram Stoker Awards® ceremony tonight.

The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. PDT on Saturday, May 14, 2016. It’s part of HWA’s inaugural StokerCon, which opened yesterday at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, and runs through Sunday. The ceremony will be emceed by Jeff Strand.

Live Stream Link: http://www.onlineevent.com/bramstokerawards2016/

Riley Off HWA Award Jury

Horror Writers of America President Lisa Morton announced on HWA’s Facebook page that David A. Riley is now off the award jury he’d been appointed to.

In regards to the situation involving David Riley, who announced on his blog that he would be serving on the Anthology jury: We’ve reached out to Mr. Riley, and both Mr. Riley and the HWA have agreed that it’s in the best interest of all for him to step down. Mr. Riley will be replaced on the jury immediately by Nicole Cushing. The HWA thanks Nicole for stepping up, and we would also like to thank everyone who has shared their opinion on this matter.

HWA on Bram Stoker Award Jury Controversy

Horror Writers of America President Lisa Morton responded on Facebook to the public controversy about a Bram Stoker Award jury member’s political views.

I have asked both HWA’s Board of Trustees and the chair of our Diverse Works Inclusion Committee to advise on a recent situation surrounding a member who is serving on a Bram Stoker Award jury who holds certain political views. After considerable discussion and research, here is the official response:

The HWA does not support discrimination of any kind, including discrimination based on political views. Not only is this form of discrimination specifically illegal in a number of U.S. states, HWA’s Board of Trustees also does not believe it’s in keeping with our principle of supporting and practicing freedom of expression. In specific regard to HWA’s Bram Stoker Award juries, the HWA will certainly act if/when a juror’s personal views have a provable impact/bias against a writer or his/her works.

Thank you to everyone who has voiced concern over this issue, especially those who have taken the time to contact me privately.

David A. Riley announced on his blog last week that he had joined the Bram Stoker Award Jury for anthologies. Some colleagues took issue, asserting Riley is a white supremacist who was once part of the UK’s National Front.

The HWA appointment became news at a point when questions were already being asked of Riley due to his involvement in the relaunch of Weirdbook. Riley reportedly answered in a no-longer-available Facebook thread. The davidandrewrileyisafascist Tumblr hosts a screeshot of the comment, which says in part:

I think I need to put the record straight. Yes, I was in the National Front for ten year from 1973 to the middle of 1983. During that time I never regarded the party as fascist, though it did have minority elements within it that undoubtedly were. …I have never regarded myself as a fascist, and certainly not a nazi. The term ‘white supremacist’ is one I don’t recognise and certainly repudiate. If you saw me associating with my ethnically diverse neighbours in Bulgaria you would not level that at me then. I know this will not convince some people, and, quite honestly, I accept that….

The relationship between Riley’s past political views and organizing activity, and his current views, and whether he should be serving on a HWA awards jury, are now subjects of intense discussion. HWA President Morton’s statement indicates no action will be taken unless “a juror’s personal views have a provable impact/bias against a writer or his/her works.”

Paul St. John Mackintosh’s take on Riley is less negative than most — “The other current genre controversy: The David A. Riley Feud” at TeleRead.

I chose some words carefully there because, as may be obvious, I think the most charitable interpretation that can be put on this is that Riley must have been exceptionally naive to conclude that the NF wasn’t racist or fascistic in its tendencies from the start. I certainly had no such illusions growing up in the UK in the 1970s. Even if there was definite infiltration by more extreme neo-Nazis during the 1970s, the party was founded with the aid of such delightful people as the Racial Preservation Society to oppose immigration and multiculturalism in Britain.

That said, Riley left the NF and is no longer associated with it – to my knowledge at least – or to any active right-wing group, and again, as far as I know, doesn’t project significantly racist views in his current work, even to whatever degree H.P. Lovecraft did in his. (Although for some possible past concerns, see here.) Quite a few significant writers of impeccable left-wing pedigree, including Samuel R. Delany and Charles Stross, are still his friends on Facebook. Maybe they’ll change their minds now, but we’ll see. I’m one too, for now, partly to keep track of what’s going on, but also because after what happened, I feel like making a stand on the issue of personal conscience here….

Plus, if Riley can’t turn around and repent his past follies, what hope is there for any of us? Maybe he hasn’t – but quite enough people seem to have concluded that once a fascist always a fascist, and damned him eternally. And Riley’s verdict on his own past may have been less than 100 percent convincing, but others obviously didn’t wait to read that before condemning him. And for opponents of virulent racism and poisonous attitudes, there are enough all-too-live and current targets to go after, without dredging up moribund and past ones.

Nick Mamatas classifies Riley as a fascist and contends he should be removed from the awards jury.

Some notes on the recent drama in the Horror Writers Association (of which I am no longer a member) and their appointment of fascist David A Riley to the award jury. This is a public post. My FB is not normally public….

1a. Liberals confuse this idea with a broader idea that unpleasant people are unpleasant and thus should be excluded from pleasant activities. This is the core of the slippery slope arguments around no-platforming. If the answer to “Where does it end?” isn’t “Where it begins; with fascism”, the argument to no-platform will never be consistently won, especially in groups like HWA, which have intrinsic and correct allegiances to freedom of expression and diversity of thought. The sad fact of this political juncture is that neither the mainstream liberal or conservative factions are interested in free expression—only the smarter elements of the far left and the less stupid bits of the libertarian right are. Fascism is a particular and singular exception, and even then, the state should not be involved in limiting speech—it’s up to activists to militantly defend creative milieux against fascism….

3. What’s the harm? Editors and publishers submit work to the jury. One need not be HWA members to submit work. I’ve submitted stories by Japanese authors, and my Japanese anthologies as a whole, in past years. Why would I do that if I know that one of the members considers Asians to be necessarily inferior? I was also published in an anthology called CALEDONIA DREAMIN’ with a theme of celebrating the Scots language, a few years ago—why submit work from that book to a juror who belongs to a group that believes that Scottish independence is a trick by EU “string-pullers” and “traitors” in Westminster, and that the Scots language is illegitimate? Fascists make bad jury members for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who ever noticed names like, oh, “Klein” on their bookshelves.

(Mamatas also feels people who quote his post should oblige by plugging his book The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools.)

Many writers have commented on Lisa Morton’s open Facebook thread. Usman Tanveer Malik and Kate Jonez thoughtfully expressed divergent viewpoints.

Usman Tanveer Malik:

The HWA is a supposedly professional For Writers entity, correct? How can an organization that professes non-discrimination ascertain that a person with a history of fascism will not be biased when it comes to making selections from works of potential merit? Like Nick Mamatas points out, why should I as a writer or editor submit my work to a jury that has doubled down on including and retaining a known white supremacist–esp. when any psychologist will tell you bias and human error creep into every operative system? The bigger the bias, the more unstable the operation and the more suspect the results. Moreover, by excusing the past history of a supremacist/fascist and allowing them a position of power, the message we’re sending is quite clear: we the organization are condoning such behavior and actors of such behavior.

Kate Jonez:

I am just a member so my opinion is just that. I am on the diversity committee and have volunteered for other jobs in the HWA I encourage others to join and work for what you think the organization should be. I would very much like to see a documented racist removed from the jury. I just don’t see how to do it.

Free speech is tricky territory. It always has been. To believe in it, a person has to hear a lot of crap that he or she would rather not. As a private organization the HWA could remove any member or juror they choose. As an HWA member I would very much like that all racists be out of the organization. I’d really like them to be removed from the US… the world.

Like many other organizations the HWA has chosen to support free speech. This forces them to accept situations that many members would prefer not to accept. The HWA can and has removed jurors who can be documented as instigating violence or making threats, but vetting jurors’ political background is outside the scope of a writers’ organization. Who else should be removed? Should the HWA remove people who’ve spoken out against Syrian refugees, anyone who has a negative position on Affirmative Action, anyone been accused or convicted of domestic violence, anyone who has voted against gay marriage? I personally would be happy never to hear opinions from people holding these views. I don’t think people who think this way are capable of making informed decisions any more that white supremacist/fascists are. I believe many HWA members feel the same way. Unfortunately, that’s not how free speech works. How do you get rid of abhorrent ideas and maintain intellectual freedom? I truly would like an answer to this.

2015 Bram Stoker Shortlist

The Horror Writers Association has announced the nominees for the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards®.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Clive Barker – The Scarlet Gospels (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Michaelbrent Collings – The Deep (self-published)
  • JG Faherty – The Cure (Samhain Publishing)
  • Patrick Freivald – Black Tide (JournalStone Publishing)
  • Paul Tremblay – A Head Full of Ghosts (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Courtney Alameda – Shutter (Feiwel & Friends)
  • Nicole Cushing – Mr. Suicide (Word Horde)
  • Brian Kirk – We Are Monsters (Samhain Publishing)
  • John McIlveen – Hannahwhere (Crossroad Press)
  • John Claude Smith – Riding the Centipede (Omnium Gatherum)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Jennifer Brozek – Never Let Me Sleep (Permuted Press)
  • Michaelbrent Collings – The Ridealong (self-published)
  • John Dixon – Devil’s Pocket (Simon & Schuster)
  • Tonya Hurley – Hallowed (Simon & Schuster)
  • Maureen Johnson – The Shadow Cabinet (Penguin)
  • Ian Welke – End Times at Ridgemont High (Omnium Gatherum)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Cullen Bunn – Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Victor Gischler – Hellbound (Dark Horse Books)
  • Robert Kirkman – Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder – Wytches, Vol. 1 (Image Comics)
  • Sam Weller, Mort Castle, Chris Ryall, & Carlos Guzman (editors) – Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (IDW Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Gary A. Braunbeck – Paper Cuts (Seize the Night) (Gallery Books)
  • Lisa Mannetti – The Box Jumper (Smart Rhino Publications)
  • Norman Partridge – Special Collections (The Library of the Dead) (Written Backwards)
  • Mercedes M. Yardley – Little Dead Red (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)
  • Scott Edelman – Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen (Dark Discoveries #30)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Kate Jonez – All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck (Black Static #47)
  • Gene O’Neill – The Algernon Effect (White Noise Press)
  • John Palisano – Happy Joe’s Rest Stop (18 Wheels of Horror) (Big Time Books)
  • Damien Angelica Walters – Sing Me Your Scars (Sing Me Your Scars) (Apex Publications)
  • Alyssa Wong – Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers (Nightmare Magazine #37)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Guillermo del Toro & Matthew Robbins – Crimson Peak (Legendary Pictures)
  • John Logan – Penny Dreadful: And Hell Itself My Only Foe (Showtime)
  • John Logan – Penny Dreadful: Nightcomers (Showtime)
  • David Robert Mitchell – It Follows (Northern Lights Films)
  • Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement – What We Do in the Shadows (Unison Films)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology 

  • Michael Bailey – The Library of the Dead (Written Backwards)
  • Ellen Datlow – The Doll Collection: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls (Tor Books)
  • Christopher Golden – Seize the Night (Gallery Books)
  • Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles – nEvermore! (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing)
  • Jonathan Maberry – The X-Files: Trust No One (IDW Publishing)
  • Joseph Nassise and Del Howison – Midian Unmade (Tor Books)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection 

  • Gary A. Braunbeck – Halfway Down the Stairs (JournalStone Publishing)
  • Nicole Cushing – The Mirrors (Cycatrix Press)
  • Taylor Grant – The Dark at the End of the Tunnel (Cemetery Dance Publications)
  • Gene O’Neill – The Hitchhiking Effect (Dark Renaissance Books)
  • Lucy A. Snyder – While the Black Stars Burn (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction 

  • Justin Everett and Jeffrey H. Shanks (ed.) – The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales: The Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers)
  • Stephen Jones – The Art of Horror (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
  • Michael Knost – Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth (Seventh Star Press)
  • Joe Mynhardt & Emma Audsley (editors) – Horror 201: The Silver Scream (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Danel Olson – Studies in the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (Centipede Press)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Bruce Boston – Resonance Dark and Light (Eldritch Press)
  • Alessandro Manzetti – Eden Underground (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Ann Schwader – Dark Energies (P’rea Press)
  • Marge Simon – Naughty Ladies (Eldritch Press)
  • Stephanie M. Wytovich – An Exorcism of Angels (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

The Bram Stoker Awards® will be presented during the inaugural StokerCon in Las Vegas on May 14. The awards presentation will also be live-streamed online.