The gray/white guy is Niko, the tan/white lady is Bella.
Photos of other felines napping on genre works are welcome. Send to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com
The gray/white guy is Niko, the tan/white lady is Bella.
Photos of other felines napping on genre works are welcome. Send to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com
(1) PRONOUNS AND ROCKET STACK RANK. Bogi Takács wrote a series of tweets criticizing Greg Hullender’s statements in reviews about the usage of pronouns for non-binary characters in stories reviewed at Rocket Stack Rank, adding many screenshots of examples. Takács also pointed out the reviews are given a certain implied authority because Rocket Stack Rank is linked from the official The Hugo Awards site as a “Third Party Recommendation Site.”
Get into the thread here:
I will say it again in my main feed because this is important.
If a reviewer repeatedly states that nonbinary pronouns in a story are an automatic -1 star, that reviewer does NOT get to claim to be a trans ally.
That's not how any of this works.
— Bogi Takács PERSON (@bogiperson) November 26, 2017
The Hugo connection is illustrated here:
I would not bother if this was a random dude who spouts random dudedom.
This is a site EXPLICITLY promoted by the Hugo award website.
I highlighted it for you: pic.twitter.com/uMzq1DJFxN
— Bogi Takács PERSON (@bogiperson) November 26, 2017
The comments on the Hugo linkage include one from Patrick Nielsen Hayden:
I did not know that the official Hugo Awards site links to a tiny selection of "third party recommendation sites." Now that I do, I've written to the site administrators to opine that this is a terrible idea.
— P Nielsen Hayden (@pnh) November 26, 2017
For those who are unfamiliar, here is Bogi Takács’ brief bio from Patreon:
I’m Bogi Takács, a Hungarian Jewish agender trans person (e/em/eir/emself or singular they pronouns) currently living in the US as a resident alien. I write speculative fiction and poetry – I have had work published in various professional venues like Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Apex and Strange Horizons.
Other comments on RSR, Hullender’s views, and their impact included —
Second of all, @bogiperson's long thread shows this is not new. This is not a case of "I messed up, whoops" but an ongoing trend of using an increasingly important platform to consistently downgrade stories that correctly use non-binary pronouns for non-binary characters
— Razorblade Snowflake (@Keffy) November 26, 2017
(2) COCO CASHES IN. On opening weekend in the U.S., “Pixar’s ‘Coco’ feasts on ‘Justice League’ at box office”.
Pixar’s “Coco” sang its way to the fourth best Thanksgiving weekend ever with an estimated $71.2 million over the five-day weekend, a total that easily toppled Warner Bros.’ “Justice League.”
“Coco” rode strong reviews and an A-plus CinemaScore from audiences to the top spot at the domestic box office. According to studio estimates Sunday, it grossed $49 million from Friday to Sunday. Centered on the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), “Coco” has already set box office records in Mexico, where it has made $53.4 million in three weeks.
(3) BSFA AWARDS. The British Science Fiction Association invites members to “Nominate for the BSFA Awards” between now and December 31:
The BSFA awards are presented annually by the British Science Fiction Association, based on a vote of BSFA members and – in recent years – members of the British national science fiction convention Eastercon. They are fan awards that not only seek to honour the most worthy examples in each category, but to promote the genre of science fiction, and get people reading, talking about and enjoying all that contemporary science fiction has to offer.
…Nominations are open until 31st December. This will be the first round. Then from 1st January to 30th January the opportunity for members to vote for their shortlist from the collated suggestions will be provided. This will be the second round.
To nominate in the first round, fill in the form here: http://tinyurl.com/BSFA2017nominations
or email your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. A form and process for the second round will be made available on this page after the first round has closed.
(4) FLORIDA EXPANDS RIGHT TO CHALLENGE TEXTBOOKS. The Associated Press has the story: “New Florida law expected to increase textbook challenges”.
A parent in Florida is citing profanity and violence in trying to get the local school to ban Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” — itself a cautionary tale on the banning of books. Another wants to remove Walter Dean Myers’ “Bad Boy” for using the word “penis” and a homophobic slur.
Elsewhere in Florida, some say global warming and evolution are a hoax and should not be taught in textbooks unopposed. Others say their local school’s textbooks shortchange Islam’s role in the world, while their opponents argue it’s the danger posed by Muslim terrorists that’s underexposed.
Under a bill passed by the Florida Legislature this year, any district resident — regardless of whether they have a child in school — can now challenge material as pornographic, biased, inaccurate or a violation of state law and get a hearing before an outside mediator.
The mediator advises the local school board, whose decision is final. Previously, challenges could only be made by parents to the school or district. There was also no mediator and fewer mandates. Districts must now also post online a list of all new books and material by grade level to make monitoring easier.
(5) THANKSGIVING AT THE ISS. A day like any other day, only turkey was there: “Happy Space Thanksgiving: How the Food-Stuffed Holiday Went Orbital”.
One Thanksgiving party will literally look down upon them all, as the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) continues its longstanding tradition of observing the festive harvest holiday from orbit. This year’s menu includes irradiated smoked turkey, rehydratable cornbread dressing, green beans and mushrooms, broccoli au gratin, mashed potatoes, candied yams, sweet tea, and thermostabilized cherry blueberry cobbler for dessert.
“They don’t actually have the day off on Thursday,” NASA spokesman Dan Huot told Space.com in an email, adding that the crew has “a lot of cargo-unloading tasks to complete” with the Cygnus spacecraft that arrived last Tuesday (Nov. 14). However, the astronauts will at least have Friday off, Huot said.
Along with over 7,700 lbs. (3,500 kilograms) of supplies and science equipment, the Cygnus cargo craft delivered the crew their Thanksgiving dinner and some other tasty treats, like pizza and ice cream. Holiday gifts and care packages from the astronauts’ families also shipped with Cygnus. With that trove of holiday goodies just waiting to be unpacked, the astronauts have plenty of incentives for working through the holiday
(6) AFTER THE STUFFING. Here’s how it looks from the Batcave:
— Heavy Metal Magazine (@HeavyMetalInk) November 24, 2017
(7) ANTHOLOGY APPEARANCE. Cora Buhlert highlights her recently-published story: “New science fiction anthology with a new “In Love and War” story available: The Guardian, edited by Alasdair Shaw”.
The Guardian includes eleven science fiction stories by international authors, all featuring guardians of some kind. My own story in the anthology, “Baptism of Fire” is a prequel story to my In Love and War space opera romance series, so all you fans of Anjali and Mikhail (come on, I know there are some of you out there) rejoice.
(8) ALAS, POOR ALANTIM. Motherboard invites you to “Watch a Robot Eulogize Its ‘Brother’ at Moscow’s New Cemetery for Dead Machines”; video at the link.
The sad news is that this Alantim could not be revived after the attack. But the silver lining is that its death inspired Olga Budnik, a spokesperson for the Muscovite tech hub Phystechpark, to create the world’s first dedicated robot cemetery.
“Alantim was a really good robot,” Budnik told me in an email. “It was supportive, always polite, always happy to see you. You know, like a pet. And [the cemetery] was an idea to bury it like a pet. Not disassemble or carry it to the trash. To say good-bye.”
On October 31, Alantim’s Earthly remains were placed at the Phystechpark cemetery site next to a box for collecting other dead robots. He was eulogized by another Alantim, who honored his dearly departed “brother” for being “very useful to your people and Russian science,” according to a Russian-to-English translation of the ceremony as seen at the top of this article.
(9) COURT IS IN SESSION. Lauren Davis briefs io9 readers about “Six Strange Cases of Science Fiction Trademarks”.
Ownership Claimed by: The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate
The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate owns numerous trademarks based on Tolkien’s works, as well as registered trademarks on Tolkien’s name. Last year, a fellow who sold buttons reading “While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion” through Zazzle was contacted by Zazzle, who said that they were removing the buttons at the Tolkien Estate’s request. Later, Zazzle restored the buttons, saying that they had been removed erroneously due to a miscommunication, but it shined a light on the estate’s ownership of Tolkien’s name and left lots of folks wondering where the line was. When are you invoking Tolkien the brand and when are you referring to Tolkien the man?
The estate also owns the right to publicity for Tolkien’s name and image, which they used to challenge the publication of Steve Hillard’s historical fiction book, Mirkwood: A Novel About JRR Tolkien. Eventually Hillard and the estate settled, with Hillard agreeing to make some changes to the book’s appearance to make it look less like one of Tolkien’s novels. A Mirkwood movie is in the works.
Bonus Round: Like any other trademark holder, the Tolkien Estate has to be vigilant about enforcing their trademarks. But some are stranger than others. In 2004, the estate issued a cease and desist letter to the owner of the domain Shiremail.com, claiming the estate owned the trademark on the word “shire.” The word “shire,” which means an administrative subdivision, such as a county, has been around since the 12th century.
(10) BOARDMAN OBIT. Perdita Boardman (1931-2017) died November 26 after a long illness. Mark Blackman writes:
Perdita was best-known in Northeast Fandom for hosting Lunarians meetings and running the Lunacon Con Suite for many years, and with her husband, John, hosting a monthly fannish gathering called First Saturday. For their long service, she and John were voted Honorary Members of the Lunarians.
Her younger daughter, Deirdre, shared the following on Facebook:
I wanted to share with family (& friends) about the passing of my mom this morning peacefully in her sleep.
Many know she has been suffering from severe dementia well over a decade now, but she became very sick about two weeks ago and moved to hospice care.
Born Dec 27, 1931 in Baxter Springs, KS she grew up outside of Detroit, bounced around a bit living in Chicago, San Francisco, Virginia and finally settling in New York City about 1960, first in Manhattan, then Park Slope and finally her well known home in Flatbush. She spent her final years in Frederick, MD to be closer to Karina & I.
She has loved science fiction & fantasy (as well as mysteries & regency romances) novels since the 50s and was an avid reader.
She was a talented artist, master seamstress and knitted the most amazing sweaters!
I could go on all.
One of her funny quotes from the other day after being annoyed by nurses prodding her was, “I am Perdita Ann Lilly Nelson Boardman and I am going to sleep”
Good night mom.
(11) LE GUIN AS CRITIC. Ursula K. Le Guin reviews “You Should Come With Me Now by M John Harrison – stories “for the uncommon reader” in The Guardian:
One of these brilliantly told stories, “The Walls”, begins: “A man, let’s call him D, is seen digging his way out through the wall of his cell. To help in this project, D has only the thinnest and least reliable tools: two dessert spoons (one stainless steel, one electro-plated nickel silver); half of a pair of curved nail scissors; some domestic knives lacking handles; and so on. The cell wall, constructed from grey, squarish cinder blocks about a foot on a side has been carelessly mortared and laid without much attention to detail. But this lack of artifice makes no difference; none of the knives is long enough to reach the last half inch of mortar at the back of each block, and the more D uses them the shorter they get. Each block must, eventually, be loosened and removed by hand, a task which can take several months, and which leaves him exhausted.”
A close attention to detail characterises this story and contributes much to its effectiveness, and yet, like the careless mortaring of the cinder blocks, it makes no difference in the end. Why and how does D have two dessert spoons? What does he live on during these months (which become years)? Who brings it to his cell? We have nothing with which to fill in unstated facts, as we’re used to doing when reading fiction, because the story is consistent only in pulling the carpet out from under its own feet. It is a play of imagination in a void. Its power is that of a dream, in this case a bad one, the kind that keeps repeating itself with variations in an endless loop of frustration.
This holds for all the stories collected in You Should Come With Me Now. Some of them are surrealistic, some are spoofs, some are fables; many are funny, all are inventive; none entirely escapes the loop….
(12) 25 WAYS TO RUB YOUR LAMP. A Yahoo! Movies piece, “Disney’s ‘Aladdin’: 25 magical fun facts for 25th anniversary”, has lots of trivia about Aladdin, including how Patrick Stewart nearly played Jafar but couldn’t get out of his Star Trek: The Next Generation commitments and how there is a hidden Aladdin reference in Hamilton.
The animators crafted the Genie around Williams’s rapid-fire improv. Co-director Ron Musker said Williams did 25 takes for the movie’s first scene, “and they were all different.” The entertainer would stick to the script for the first few takes, “then he would riff.” Musker said Williams recorded 16 hours’ worth of material, forcing the creative team to piece the character together “like a ransom note.”
(13) COMICS SECTION.
(14) HE’S DEAD ED. The Smithsonian covers nine theories about “The (Still) Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe” (2014 article.)
On September 27  —almost a week earlier—Poe had left Richmond, Virginia bound for Philadelphia to edit a collection of poems for Mrs. St. Leon Loud, a minor figure in American poetry at the time. When Walker found Poe in delirious disarray outside of the polling place, it was the first anyone had heard or seen of the poet since his departure from Richmond. Poe never made it to Philadelphia to attend to his editing business. Nor did he ever make it back to New York, where he had been living, to escort his aunt back to Richmond for his impending wedding. Poe was never to leave Baltimore, where he launched his career in the early 19th- century, again—and in the four days between Walker finding Poe outside the public house and Poe’s death on October 7, he never regained enough consciousness to explain how he had come to be found, in soiled clothes not his own, incoherent on the streets. Instead, Poe spent his final days wavering between fits of delirium, gripped by visual hallucinations. The night before his death, according to his attending physician Dr. John J. Moran, Poe repeatedly called out for “Reynolds”—a figure who, to this day, remains a mystery.
(15) MISSING FROM THE MARQUEE. The project loses some name cachet as “Adam Nimoy Steps Down From Directing Deep Space Nine Doc, Release Pushed Back” – story at TrekMovie.com.
On Saturday there were two announcements from What We Left Behind, the upcoming crowd-funded Star Trek: Deep Space Nine documentary. Adam Nimoy, while remaining involved, will no longer be directing, and the release date is likely being pushed back.
Nimoy stepping back
In a statement posted on Facebook Saturday, Adam Nimoy revealed he was stepping down as director for What We left Behind, but he will continue to be a producer and advisor on the doc. The reason given for the change was that he needed more time to focus on other responsibilities. From the statement:
“The real creative force behind the DS9 documentary was well in place before I came along. I was happy to lend them support and guidance to push the project along so that it could be completed in time for the 25th anniversary of the show which is coming up in 2018. I wish the creative team all good things as they Boldly Go!”
(16) WINDOW ON THE UNIVERSE. Motherboard’s article about the “Casting of a Giant Mirror for the First Extremely Large Telescope” has a good infographic comparing the relative sizes of all the existing large telescopes, as well.
(17) HARD SF. Down these mean starlanes a man must go…. A Twitter conversation begins here:
there are so many dumb hard sf bros in my mentions. y'all hard sf is fine. I got no beef with it. "soft" sf just isn't an actual useful category descriptor.
— dongwon (@dongwon) November 26, 2017
(18) COMPLETE HORSESHOE. Here’s another statistic I never knew anyone kept – the record for world’s largest horseshoe sculpture: “Camberley artist’s dragon ‘could obliterate’ world record”.
Mr Poolman’s sculpture is described as “not just a dragon but a tableau”, telling the story of a village bringing a dragon from the sky with arrows and stones.
“It’s partly collapsed,” Mr Powell said, “brought to the ground, in its death throes.”
Tens of thousands of old horseshoes were provided by farriers in Hampshire – some of them were used whole and others cut into smaller pieces.
“A complete horseshoe is quite limiting in what it can be made into,” Mr Poolman said.
(19) NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. Brandon Sanderson isn’t just on the list, he’s #1 —
I'm humbled and honored to say that because of all you wonderful readers out there, Oathbringer is the #1 New York Times bestselling hardcover book on the 12/03 list. I hope you've enjoyed reading it! pic.twitter.com/MLnLQcwv7I
— Brandon Sanderson (@BrandSanderson) November 22, 2017
(20) UNDER THE TREE. We continue our cavalcade of holiday presents with –
perfect holiday gift is here! HANDSOME HOLIDAY SWEATER great for proving love and getting hard by the fireside with a bud. also good for big time sweater parties where you want to be the talk of the dang town https://t.co/EY0T6l4ZtG pic.twitter.com/xAC4y735MB
— Chuck Tingle (@ChuckTingle) November 24, 2017
(21) MULTITASKING. It’s a Jedi thing: “Elle UK Interviews Daisy Ridley While She Builds A Lego Millennium Falcon”.
She’s talented and beautiful and she plays Luke Skywalker’s new padawan, Rey, in one of the most anticipated “Star Wars” films of all time, but now comes the true test: Can Daisy Ridley build the Millennium Falcon with Legos?
Elle UK interviewed the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” actress, asking her things like when was the last time she cried, what color her lightsaber would be, and if her father still prefers “Star Trek” (ouch) ? all while she’s tasked with building the Millennium Falcon out of Legos.
(22) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Happiness by Steve Cutts is a cartoon on Vimeo about rats trying to survive the rat race as commuters, consumers, and at work. I’m having trouble getting it to embed, so here’s the link — https://vimeo.com/groups/motion/videos/244405542
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, DMS, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mark Blackman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
By David Doering: Over 1300 fans turned out for the Oathbringer Midnight Release Party in Provo, Utah on November 13. To be accurate, Brandon Sanderson interpreted “midnight ” as meaning midnight at Tor in NYC. So he started distributing books right at 10 p.m. Mountain Time
This was partly to give himself a break, as he figured the autograph line of 1200 would take till 5 a.m. to finish even with a 10 p.m. release.
Interestingly, there’s a cottage industry surrounding Brandon and his works. There were four or five dealers in the hallways selling shirts, jewelry, henna tattoos, and a variety of artists who’ve done illustrations in his works.
When Brandon spoke, he said he would rather have his novels as TV shows and not movies. He is worried what Hollywood would do to get even one of his novels into two hours.
He told that when his first Wheel of Time succeeded so well, Tom Doherty readily, eagerly agreed to taking Brandon ‘s own novel with lots of illustrations inside and maps on the endpapers. (Brandon says if kids’ books can have lots of illos why can’t adult books?) Only Tom bemoaned later about taking on such expense…
For me, the best part was the reminiscences he had of trying to get started as a writer, stalking editors at World Fantasy.
Best technique? Don’t tell an editor you want to discuss your novel. That’s a quick way to the exit.
Instead, tell the editor that “I have this friend who wants to be an editor.”
Guaranteed face time for an hour.
Then pitch your novel.
SF and fantasy are heavily represented across the entire spectrum of 2017 Audie Awards categories. The shortlist of the best audiobooks of the year was announced February 8.
The audiobooks in the Science Fiction and Fantasy categories are shown below. In addition —
Winners will be revealed at the Audie Awards® Gala on June 1, 2017. A roll-call of all the nominees, many with samples you can listen to, appears here.
The Audie Awards generated extra attention this year by having guest presenters tweet each set of finalists — genre participants included Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi, Marissa Mayer, Neil Gaiman, Colson Whitehead, and Locus Magazine.
Audiobook fans: the Audio Publishers Association is announcing #Audies2017 finalists today via your favorite authors, narrators, & critics
— AudioFile Magazine (@AudioFileMag) February 8, 2017
— Paula Poundstone (@paulapoundstone) February 8, 2017
— Michael Connelly (@Connellybooks) February 8, 2017
— Library Journal (@LibraryJournal) February 8, 2017
— Ruta Sepetys (@RutaSepetys) February 8, 2017
— AudioFile Magazine (@AudioFileMag) February 8, 2017
LITERARY FICTION & CLASSICS
— Tavia Gilbert (@taviagilbert) February 8, 2017
BEST FEMALE NARRATOR
— Awesomely Luvvie (@Luvvie) February 8, 2017
BEST MALE NARRATOR
— James Patterson (@JP_Books) February 8, 2017
INSPIRATIONAL FAITH-BASED FICTION
— Simon Vance (@SimVan) February 8, 2017
INSPIRATIONAL FAITH-BASED NONFICTION
— carminegallo (@carminegallo) February 8, 2017
— AudioFile Magazine (@AudioFileMag) February 8, 2017
LITERARY FICTION & CLASSICS
— Tavia Gilbert (@taviagilbert) February 8, 2017
— Locus Magazine (@locusmag) February 8, 2017
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) February 8, 2017
— Marissa Meyer (@marissa_meyer) February 8, 2017
NARRATION BY THE AUTHOR
— Maggie Stiefvater (@mstiefvater) February 8, 2017
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) February 8, 2017
— Audiobook Community (@Audiobook_Comm) February 8, 2017
— Brandon Sanderson (@BrandSanderson) February 8, 2017
— colson whitehead (@colsonwhitehead) February 8, 2017
— Ron Charles (@RonCharles) February 8, 2017
— LA Review of Books (@LAReviewofBooks) February 8, 2017
— Elizabeth Hoyt (@ElizabethHoyt) February 8, 2017
— Katherine Kellgren (@katykellgren) February 8, 2017
— BethFishReads (@BethFishReads) February 8, 2017
— Amie Kaufman (@AmieKaufman) February 8, 2017
— Jennifer Conner (@LitHousewife) February 8, 2017
(1) WHEATON COSPLAYS HIMSELF. Wil Wheaton was about to leave the house for Rogue One when an idea occurred to him — “ICYMI: A tiny bit of trolling”.
It was raining and what passes for cold, here in Los Angeles, so I went to my closet to grab a scarf, and I realized that I could do a tiny bit of silly trolling, inspired by the Big Bang Theory version of myself:
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) December 17, 2016
One guy walked up to me and said, “that’s the wrong franchise, buddy,” to which I replied, “Oh … is it?”
(2) YAKKETY CAT. Something in the air has caused Camestros Felapton to bring us “The Cat Equations”.
Camestros was not alone.
There was nothing to indicate the fact but the small alert tab in the corner of his customised Tiffany iPad. The drawing room was empty but for himself; there was no sound other than the murmur of the drives — but the alert tab was flashing. It had been showing nothing but a reminder of the upcoming village fete when the little drawing room had been launched from the surface of the planet; now, an hour later, it was modestly attempting to get his attention. There was something in the broom closet across the room, it was saying, some kind of a body that radiated heat.
It could be but one kind of a body — a living, talking, cat body….
(3) LEAVING CALIFORNIA ROLL BEHIND. Learn from the best: “A sushi master alights in Redondo Beach” is Richard Foss’ latest culinary profile.
In 1996 Kuri-san was looking for new challenges just as a genius was looking for staff. Nobu Matsuhisa emigrated from Japan to Peru in the early 1970s and when he couldn’t find Japanese ingredients he substituted what was available. Over time he created a new style of sushi that became hugely popular and was widely imitated. He opened his restaurant Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills in 1977 and it became a celebrity hangout. Matsuhisa was one of the hottest places in LA in the ‘90s, and a friend of Kuri-san’s let him know that a coveted position was just about to become available because one of Nobu’s chefs was leaving to start his own restaurant. Kuri-san applied, was accepted, and found himself in a different world.
“He was using all these things I had never seen on sushi before, jalapeno, cilantro, wow. There was something different every day,” he remembered. “At first I didn’t like some things, the flavor of cilantro, but it was very interesting and certainly I was learning. Japanese people and Americans both came in and I had to explain things to them. Americans didn’t want to try sea urchin and things Japanese people think is normal, Japanese didn’t want to try jalapenos.”
American customers see Kuri-san cutting fish and think that’s the most important part of his skill. It is at least as important that he procure the best quality seafood, and much of his day is spent doing exactly that. Some species he buys through specialty seafood companies that he has developed a relationship with, but others require a trip to the downtown LA fish market. He needs to see the large fish like tuna, to look at the eye to see how clear it is, a certain sign of freshness. At other times he deals with fish brokers face-to-face and interrogates them about exactly when and where their products were caught. There are many liars in the seafood industry who try to pass of inferior fish as wild, but Kuri-san is one of the few who knows the look and scent of the authentic fish and can detect the fakers.
(4) NOT QUITE THE END OF THE WORLD…YET. Michael Stipe and Stephen Colbert recapped 2016’s most depressing moments with a parody of R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
Colbert sang a hilarious spoof of year’s biggest, worst headlines, like: “Oh, great, it starts with an outbreak, Zika, and Harambe,” mimicking Stipe’s trademark rapid fire delivery.
(5) HUGH CASEY FUNDRAISER. Philadelphia fans will hold HughCon on January 29 to raise money and will help cancer patient Hugh Casey defray his expenses.
Hugh Casey has given a lot to the Philly fan community over the years, and now it’s time to give something back, now that he needs it the most as he recoveres from cancer surgery. Thus came the idea for “HughCon”. The Rotunda has donated their space, Star Trek-themed band The Roddenberries have donated their time and talent, a number of makers and vendors have donated items for our silent auction, and a lots of people have donated their time and effort in order to bring to you a celebration of fandom and geekiness. Any revenue raised will be donated directly to Hugh to help him with his expenses. So come support Hugh, as he’s supported us for all these years! $15 online, $20 at door.
TICKETS AVAILABLE AT http://hughcon.brownpapertickets.com/
This is an all-ages show, but minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian. This also means no alcohol on the premises, but there are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area that you can go to
(6) HOLIDAY GOODIES. Puns are a necessary ingredient for the Orbit Books Bake-off.
Orbit bake-off! We like wordplay. pic.twitter.com/cqKArSjFqf
— Ellen Brady Wright (@ellenbwright) December 12, 2016
(7) HINES BENEFIT AUCTION #19. The nineteenth of Jim C. Hines’ 24 Transgender Michigan Fundraiser auctions is for an autographed set of the three Necromancer Chronicles books by Amanda Downum, along with either a print or audio book of DREAMS OF SHREDS & TATTERS.
About THE DROWNING CITY (Book one of the Necromancer Chronicles):
Symir — the Drowning City. home to exiles and expatriates, pirates and smugglers. And violent revolutionaries who will stop at nothing to overthrow the corrupt Imperial government.
For Isyllt Iskaldur, necromancer and spy, the brewing revolution is a chance to prove herself to her crown. All she has to do is find and finance the revolutionaries, and help topple the palaces of Symir. But she is torn between her new friends and her duties, and the longer she stays in this monsoon-drenched city, the more intrigue she uncovers — even the dead are plotting.
As the waters rise and the dams crack, Isyllt must choose between her mission and the city she came to save.
(8) THE EXPANSE, SEASON 2. Here’s trailer #3.
Earth. Mars. The Asteroid Belt. It’s time to pick a side. The Expanse returns February 1st on Syfy. More about ‘The Expanse’: This hour-long, ten episode series is based on the popular New York Times bestselling book series collectively known as The Expanse, written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (under the pen name James S. A. Corey). Abraham and Franck will be show producers. The multi-installment, best-selling book series is published in 17 countries, including China, France, Japan, Australia, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. One in the series, Leviathan Wakes, was nominated for a Hugo Award as well as a Locus Award, while “Caliban’s War” was nominated for a Locus Award.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL
(11) TOUGH TRIVIA. Playbuzz presents “The Ultimate 2016 SFF Quiz from Orbit Books”. Note: this is mostly a TV, film, and video game quiz.
I scored 17 out of 40 – and three of the ones I got right were random guesses. Surely you can do better!
(12) A BIDDER IN MOTION TENDS TO REMAIN IN MOTION. The Smithsonian says at auction this book wildly exceeded its predicted sale price — “Most Expensive Science Book Sells for $3.7 Million”.
There are plenty of awesome, new science books to keep geeks happy this Christmas. But one anonymous science-lover recently received the ultimate stocking stuffer—Laura Geggel at LiveScience reports that the most expensive printed science book was recently sold at Christie’s in New York. An anonymous buyer purchased a rare first edition of Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica for $3.7 million.
According to Jasper Jackson at The Guardian, the auction house believed the book would sell for $1 to $1.5 million. The most recent sale surpasses an English-language edition of the Principia which was presented to King James II which sold in 2013 for $2.5 million.
If there’s any science book that deserves to set a sales record, it’s the Principia. Published in 1687, the book sets out for the first time Newton’s three laws of motion, which shaped the course of modern physics. Geggel reports that Einstein called the book “perhaps the greatest intellectual stride that it has ever been granted to any man to make.”
(13) REMEMBER THE VIRTUAL GOLDFISH? This seems like a logical (if potentially creepy) extrapolation of the Siri concept — Azuma Hikari, the “Virtual Home Robot”, your waifu in a bottle.
Right now, only a Japanese-speaking version is available:
Q : Will Azuma Hikari be able to speak English? Or will she be able to speak English in the future?
A : Azuma Hikari can only speak Japanese. For other languages, we are still studying it based on the status of the current limited pre-order.
(14) A DEEPNESS IN THE SKY. Space.com hosts a gallery of “26 Cosmic Photos from the Hubble Space Telescope’s Ultra Deep Field”.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope holds the world record for peering farther into deep space than any other telescope of its time. It has imaged some of the most distant galaxies ever observed, allowing the telescope to look back in time to when the universe was in its infancy. This image, called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, offers a core sample of the deep universe with diverse galaxies of various ages, sizes, shapes and colors.
(15) MAGIC BOOKS. Adrian Liang interviews Brandon Sanderson for Omnivoracious, the Amazon Book Review.
Amazon Book Review: Tell me about your latest book.
Brandon Sanderson: My latest book is Arcanum Unbounded. Arcanum Unbounded is a collection of my short fiction from the shared universe that all my fantasy books take place in. About half of the stories are expansions on the books. I’ll often take a character and do a side story with them that just didn’t fit in the book, but I knew what happened with them and I write that out. About half of the stories are standalone stories on new worlds with new magics, exploring what it’s like to live in the Cosmere. One of the stories won a Hugo. They’ve all been, individually, bestsellers on their own, and this is the opportunity to get them all together, with a new Stormlight Archive story that is a big chunk of the book. We’ve tried to make it super nice. For people who already have the stories, we’ve tried to make this hardcover be the book you have on your shelf and that you loan to your friends. The hardcover has illustrations too for each story; one is a map of the solar system—it’s an old Da Vinci-style drawing of someone imagining what the solar system is like. Each story also has an in-world foreword by a character who is studying each of the planets, and an afterword by me—not in-world—about how I wrote it and why.
(16) AD ASTRA. New York’s Hayden Planetarium will present the Frontiers Lecture: Can We Reach The Stars? on January 23.
Professor of physics Greg Matloff discusses recent developments that have advanced the possibility of interstellar travel for robots and humans, from the discovery of a potentially habitable planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the star closest to the Sun, to the announcement of an interstellar probe called Project Starshot. Learn how advances in photon sailing, nano-spacecrafts, and high-powered lasers may bring the stars within reach.
(17) DON GLUT’S MONSTER MUSEUM. Don Glut guides you on a video tour of his Monster Museum – just watch out when he offers to shake hands.
Karlos Borloff pays a visit to Donald F Glut’s home Monster museum in Burbank, Ca. for a guided tour of his vintage & rare artifacts & creations !! As seen on TV !!
(18) WHO IS NUMBER ONE? Here is Rolling Stone’s selection of the “40 Best Science Fiction TV Shows of All Time”. Babylon 5 is only #20. The Twilight Zone is #2. Who is #1? (Not The Prisoner – he’s #5…)
It’s odd to think that, once upon a time, a TV show set in space — one that declared, in its opening narration, as the cosmos being the “final frontier” — was considered the pop-cultural equivalent of an unwanted party-crasher. Yes, a concept like Star Trek was both of its time and clearly ahead of it; history has more than vindicated Gene Rodenberry’s notion of boldly going where no man had gone before. But given the number of top-notch shows set in the far reaches of the galaxy and that used genre for pulpy and profound purposes over the last 30 or so years, it seems crazy to think that one of the most groundbreaking SF series was a network pariah and a ratings dud. Today, there’s an entire cable network devoted to this kind of programming. You can’t turn on your TV/Roku/cut-cord viewing device without bumping into spaceships, alien invasion and wonky sci-fi food-for-thought.
Science fiction has been around in one form or another since the early-ish days of television, both here and abroad, and its legacy now looms larger than ever. So what better time to count down the 40 best sci-fi TV shows of all time? From anime classics to outer-space soap operas, spooky British anthology shows to worst-case-scenario postapocalyptic dramas, primetime pop hits to obscure but beloved cult classics, here are our choices for the best the television genre has to offer — submitted, for your approval.
(19) FRITZ LANG REBOOT. According to The Verge, “The creator of Mr. Robot is adapting sci-fi masterpiece Metropolis as a miniseries”.
Sam Esmail, the celebrated auteur behind the cybersecurity drama Mr. Robot, is working to adapt the 1927 Fritz Lang film Metropolis as a miniseries, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. The project is in the very early stages of development, the report says, and it’s unclear what role Esmail will play in the finished project. It’s not expected to hit screens for another two or three years, which likely means Esmail will first finish out his four- to five-season roadmap for Mr. Robot before turning his focus on the adaptation. Season three of Mr. Robot is set to debut some time in 2017
(20) SWEET EMOTION. Hum stars a robot and a hummingbird and a sink full of dirty dishes.
A solitary dish washing robot living out his life in the back room of a restaurant is enlightened to the world that exists beyond his four walls, with the help of a small friend he breaks free of confinement to pursue his dream of exploration.
Hum was the film we created for our junior year advanced production class in 2015 while attending Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. The film was created over one semester (February 2015 – May 2015) with a budget of $2000. We hope you enjoy the film and are compelled to share it with your friends and family, you are what motivates to continue telling stories.
[Thanks to Mark-kitteh, Andrew Porter, Dawn Incognito, JJ, Camestros Felapton, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]
(1) YOUR ONE-MAN WIKI. Remember, Camestros Felapton is reading Infogalactic so you don’t have to – “Say, Camestros what’s your new fave Voxopedia page? [Update]”.
Why, I’m glad you asked that question, disembodied voice that writes the blogpost titles. My new favourite Voxopediapage is:
LIST OF ASIAN MEN’S INVENTIONS: …
And that’s not all – Elsewhere on Voxopedia more women have gone missing:
Kitty Joyner is the lead picture for ‘engineer’ on the Wikipedia page
Look, she has a slide rule and everything! Sadly her presence was just too confusing for the poor folks at Voxopedia. Maybe that big circular gizmo in the background didn’t look pi=4 enough. So, to prevent fainting and to protect sensitive dispositions, Joyner has been replaced by Oliver Heaviside.
(2) BIG BRAIN THEOREM. TV Guide’s Liam Matthews ranks “The 11 Smartest People Who Have Appeared on The Big Bang Theory“.
The Big Bang Theory is a show about scientists, and it bolsters its academic credibility by bringing in guest stars from the world (galaxy?) of science to play themselves, as well as casting actors with graduate degrees to play characters on the show.
I’m not qualified to rank these guest stars on smarts, because I failed physics in high school. But as a professional clickbaiter, I am qualified to rank them based on how annoying I find their public persona. So without further ado, here are the 11 smartest people who have appeared on The Big Bang Theory, ranked from most to least annoying.
(3) KELLY FREAS. The Space:1970 blog posted “Kelly Freas STAR TREK Portfolio (1976)”.
In 1976, legendary science fiction illustrator, Frank Kelly Freas, published the Star Trek Portfolio, featuring gorgeous charcoal portraits of the officers of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Needless to say, it’s a highly-desired collectible these days.
JJ says, “I think that Spock bears a strong resemblance to Tommy Lee Jones! Of course, in 1976, Tommy Lee Jones looked like this…”
(4) VERBAL ENGINEER. Popular Science interviews Ken Liu:
In your Dandelion Dynasty series, you reimagine transportation, military hardware and the rest of the technological landscape in a style you’ve come to call “silkpunk.” How did you come up with that approach?
In creating the silkpunk aesthetic, I was influenced by the ideas of W. Brian Arthur, who articulates a vision of technology as a language. The task of the engineer is much like that of a poet in that the engineer must creatively combine existing elements of technology to solve novel problems, thereby devising artifacts that are new expressions in the technical language.
In the silkpunk world of my novels, this view of technology dominates. The vocabulary of the technology language relies on materials of historical importance to the people of East Asia and the Pacific islands: bamboo, shells, coral, paper, silk, feathers, sinew, etc. And the grammar of the language puts more emphasis on biomimetics?—?the airships regulate their lift by analogy with the swim bladders of fish, and the submarines move like whales through the water.
(5) FABULOUS OLD STUFF. Marcin Wichary recommends the Museu de la Tècnica de l’Empordà in Figueres, Spain.
AND THEN I SEE THIS. I don’t actually have a good photo, but the third floor is five rooms filled with HUNDREDS of typewriters. pic.twitter.com/X4SdYvMUq1
— Marcin Wichary (@mwichary) October 27, 2016
(6) WHERE’S THE BEEF? Episode 21 of Scott Edelman’s podcast Eating the Fantastic features Alyssa Wong and one of Kansas City’s famous barbecue joints.
Listen in as we chow down on BBQ and talk about what franchise inspired her to write fanfic, the exciting moment when she first encountered a character who looked like her, where she hopes to be 10 years down the road, how she encountered Faceless Ghost Grandma, why she said, “I hate being bored and I don’t like rules,” and more.
(7) EUROCON LIVESTREAM. The 2016 Eurocon in Barcelona, Spain will be livestreamed on November 4, 5 and 6 — http://kosmopolis.cccb.org/bcneurocon/.
Their trilingual dictionary may come in handy —
(8) NAME THE YA AWARD. Lew Wolkoff of the Young Adult SF/F Award Committee asks fans to participate in their survey.
As you know, the World Science Fiction Society is in the process of creating a Campbell-like award for Best Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Award. The motion passed at Kansas City and was passed on to Helsinki for, hopefully, final approval.
One of the matters that has yet to be settled is the name of the award. The Young Adult SF/F Award Committee is currently doing an online survey to get suggestions on what that name will be. This survey ends on November 15. The results will be tabulated, and a second survey of members of the World Science Fiction Society will be taken to get a recommended name (or names) for the 2017 Business Meeting.
Each year the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) gives out the Hugo and Campbell awards at its annual convention, Worldcon. The awards highlight the best science fiction and fantasy works of the previous year, and they are presented for best novel, short story, graphic story, editor, artist, and a number of other categories. Thus far there has been no award to recognize young adult (YA) books.
In response to this, the Young Adult Award Committee was created to study the viability of an award recognizing excellence in YA science fiction and fantasy at Worldcon. WSFS has since supported the creation of an award for YA fiction, and the committee’s task now turns to naming it.
We are looking for an award name that is especially evocative. We hope to capture the transformative, transportational, and captivating power of books for young adults.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRLS
(10) KEEPING YOUR UNIQUE VOICE. Credit where it is due – Dave Pascoe had a good column of writing advice today at Mad Genius Club.
One significant trick I learned from Dean Wesley Smith is focusing on a specific writing technique for a story. Make sure you get the sensory information into every page. Whether it’s a mention of the odors you characters smell, or the vivid colors around them (or drab, if that’s the way you roll, you dystopianist, you), or the moan of the chill wind between the weathered slats of the abandoned homestead in which your people are sheltering for the night, give the reader anchors for their imagination. And then, let the reader know the character’s reactions. That low moan, that sends a prickle up the spine of your hero, that recalls the hunting cat that terrified him as a child.
(11) TEXT TO SCREEN. Those who have been participating in the adaptation discussion here will want to eyeball Violette Malan’s “My Top Ten Novel-to-Movie Adaptations” at Black Gate.
I want to begin by saying that I’m making no judgments (well, hardly any) on which is the better version, the book or the movie. I’m only saying I thought the adaptations were good. Anyway, in no particular order, here are my top ten film adaptations (at least for this week) with the screenwriter, the source material, and the director identified.
The Princess Bride William Goldman from his own novel, directed by Rob Reiner I can’t think of anything new to say, at least not today, about what is probably my favourite movie of all time.
The Shawshank Redemption Frank Darabont adapted and directed from the Stephen King novella (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption)
The single greatest change from novella to movie was casting the Red character as a black man. Whether that was done because they wanted Morgan Freeman, or whether it was done beforehand, I don’t think matters. A couple of other things were changed (the kid whose testimony could have freed Andy Duschesne wasn’t murdered in the original) but in each case it was done to underline some aspect of character or plot that the conciseness of screenwriting (see above) necessitated.
(12) A VIKING FUNERAL. Anne C. Perry witnesses “The Extinction Event: The Beginning of the End” at Pornokitsch.
Five years later, Jurassic has published almost fifty books. That’s thousands upon thousands of pages of stories by over a hundred authors, with art by a dozen artists, which have (so far) raised more than £8,000 for charity along the way, which is a hell of a history. Especially given that Jurassic London lost fully half of its staff after the first year, when one of the two of us (me!) leveraged her experience founding a small press to get a job in traditional publishing.
If, five years ago, we could have chosen how we’d end Jurassic, The Extinction Event is exactly what we would have wanted: it’s big, bold, brilliant and beautiful. It contains 33 stories, some from previous publications and some which are entirely original, and features new art from nine artists. In Extinction you’ll find apocalypse, bombast, lightning and lava. You’ll also fine joy and sorrow and laughter and misery, cowboys and werewolves and mummies and spaceships… and, for some reason, rather a lot of spiders.
(13) TUCKERIZING RAISES BONANZA. Monster Hunter Nation came through in a big way to help pay someone’s medical bills. Larry Correia reports:
Earlier this week I posted about taking donations to help out my buddy Mitch with his medical bills, and that we’d be taking donations in exchange for me using your name in a book.
So many of you jumped in that we had to close it the next day. We raised over $20,000 in a day and a half….
Logistically speaking, that many names is going to take me a long time and several books to work through. There are a few spots in Monster Hunter Siege I will be able to use for charity red shirts, but this is going to take years.
I tell you, once I run through these names, and I’m doing this again for some other cause several years down the road, I’m totally going to jack up the price on you guys. 🙂
The important thing is that you are awesome, and you did something amazing for a good man. Mitch is already using this money to pay bills. Once again the Monster Hunter Nation has come through. I love you guys.
(14) SCHADENFREUDE. If you like seeing someone dish it out, Michaele Jordan’s “MidAmeriCon II: Con Report” at Amazing Stories is for you. She flays the programming division, MidAmeriCon’s version of LonCon’s Fan Village, Dave Truesdale, and Charlie Lippincott.
This programming bias came back to bite them in the butt. When [Charles] Lippincott saw that MidAmericon II was planning a Star Wars day, he decided this was his chance to cash in. He prepared his own ‘MidAmericon II’ program. (We know he prepared it in advance because 4-page, 10 x 14, glossy fliers with full color illustrations do NOT happen overnight.) It was to be an all-day media event, hawking autographs ($50.00 apiece) and featuring talks, slideshows and Q&A (conflicting with numerous other con functions, including the masquerade, and again not free). He did NOT consult with the con about this program.
Having laid his plans, he proceeded to escalate his demands to MidAmericon II, demanding more money, more publicity, more perks, etc. (As I was working the press room, I saw some of his emails myself, and can personally verify that he took a high-handed ‘gimme-gimme’ approach to what we will laughingly call negotiations.) When the con failed to meet some of his new demands, he canceled on the day before the con.
He then proceeded to hold his own stream of events anyway, just across the street — without removing MidAmericon II’s name from his glossy flyer — while bad-mouthing the con at every opportunity. He stood by his plan to charge high prices for attendance at his events. I mean, really. Would YOU pay $50.00 for Charles Lippincott’s autograph? Or another $50.00 to see a slide show of scenes from movies you already know well?
Well, turnabout is fair play. The Lippincott counter-con was a disaster.
(15) THE BIRD. Why, no, Stubby, I didn’t know these authors were acquainted! “When Charles Dickens & Edgar Allan Poe Met, and Dickens’ Pet Raven Inspired Poe’s Poem ‘The Raven’”.
“There comes Poe with his raven,” wrote the poet James Russell Lowell in 1848, “like Barnaby Rudge, / Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge.” Barnaby Rudge, as you may know, is a novel by Charles Dickens, published serially in 1841. Set during the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of 1780, the book stands as Dickens’ first historical novel and a prelude of sorts to A Tale of Two Cities. But what, you may wonder, does it have to do with Poe and “his raven”?
… It chanced the following year the two literary greats would meet, when Poe learned of Dickens’ trip to the U.S.; he wrote to the novelist, and the two briefly exchanged letters (which you can read here). Along with Dickens on his six-month journey were his wife Catherine, his children, and Grip, his pet raven. When the two writers met in person, writes Lucinda Hawksley at the BBC, Poe “was enchanted to discover [Grip, the character] was based on Dickens’s own bird.”
(16) SANDERSON HITS JACKPOT. “DMG Nabs Rights to Brandon Sanderson’s ‘Cosmere’ Book Universe in Massive Deal” reports Variety.
DMG Entertainment has nabbed film and licensing rights to “Cosmere,” Brandon Sanderson’s acclaimed series of interconnected fantasy novels. The entertainment and media company has committed to spending $270 million, which will cover half of the money needed to back the first three movies made from Sanderson’s canon. That makes it one of the largest literary deals of the year. DMG beat out several interested parties for rights to the series. As part of the pact, insiders say Sanderson will receive a minimum guarantee on each film that is produced, as well as a rich backend, allowing the author to make millions.
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, and Scott Edelman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Wright.]
Since Thomas A. Mays decided to withdraw his Hugo-nominated short story as his way of dealing with its having been on the Rabid Puppies slate, some Hugo and Campbell nominees in the same position have made statements to explain why they are not withdrawing. Alyssa Wong and Alastair Reynolds posted theirs today, and Brandon Sanderson yesterday. Also included is a quote from Lois McMaster Bujold — made prior to Mays’ withdrawal — addressing her story’s presence on the slate.
Alyssa Wong says she is staying, in “Toe the Line:” On Being a 2016 John W. Campbell Award Finalist.
There is no way in hell I’m withdrawing. The fact is, in spite of the Rabid Puppies attempts to lock people like me out of the finalists list through slate voting, some truly deserving folks and their works who weren’t on their slate slipped onto the list anyway….
And that’s the crux of it. If you are on this list despite the Rabid Puppies’ slate voting, it means you absolutely, absolutely deserve it. It means that enough SFF fans appreciated your work and contributed their individual voices to overwhelm a slate being pushed by an organized mob of malicious people determined to “leave a big smoking hole where the Hugo Awards were.” And to withdraw is to let them win.
The author posted “Slow Bullets on the Hugo Ballot” at Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon.
…I’d had high hopes for Slow Bullets, after all. I considered it a strong story, and it had picked up enough positive reviews and recommendations throughout the year that it didn’t seem beyond the bounds of possibility that it might make the ballot. That’s not to say I was confident, but that just that the omens were about as good for that story as they had been for any of my recent pieces.
The adminstrators, quite reasonably, wanted a clearer, less ambiguous commitment from me. After a friendly and productive transatlantic phone call, I came around to the view that I’d not only accept the nomination, but take whatever came after it.
As several commentators have noted, the eventual ballots are quite strongly biassed in favour of Rabid Puppy choices. The unpalatable conclusion to be drawn from this is that my story, good as its chances were, probably wouldn’t have made the cut were it not for the RP block vote. However, I didn’t ask for those votes and in fact I expressly requested that my story not be slated. Kate Paulk (of the Sads) and Vox Day (of the Rabids) both declined my requests.
Since the announcement of the ballots, there’s been quite a lot of discussion about the rights and wrongs of the finalists withdrawing their stories. Quite honestly, I’m very sympathetic to both sides of the debate. If I knew then what I know now, I’d probably have declined the initial nomination. But I didn’t, and beyond that I made a commitment to the administrators not to withdraw at a later stage. On that basis alone, therefore, I’m keeping “Slow Bullets” on the ballot. I can’t say I’m exactly over-joyed about this decision, though – from my point of view it just feels like the least worst choice of a very bad hand. Compare and contrast to the situation when my only other nomination happened, for “Troika”, and my mood couldn’t be more different.
Let’s hope things are better next year….
Brandon Sanderson, author of a slated Hugo finalist, the novella Perfect State, says he is staying on the ballot and urges other nominees to do the same. This excerpt is just part of his lengthy post, which also describes what he tried to achieve behind-the-scenes during last year’s puppy travails. Oddly, while he mentions the Sad Puppies he never names the Rabid Puppies, obviously the “list” under discussion here —
If I’d known I was on this list, I would have asked to be taken off of it. This year, their list seems to include some people (I can’t know if I’m one) who are mainstream. People liked in the community, or likely to get a nomination anyway. They’ve done this, I presume, in order to see whether these people too would get “No Award.”
I can’t know how much the nomination of my novella was helped by this group, and even contemplating the idea is distasteful to me. This puts me in the position of having to decide whether or not to withdraw my nomination. It wouldn’t be heartbreaking for me to do so. I’ve won a Hugo in this category before, during the pre-Puppy years. I think my story is strong, but I will write other, stronger stories in the future. I’d be fine sitting it out this year.
I think that would be bad for fandom, and the award. Though I agree with those who withdrew nominations last year, I think we’re entering into a dangerous area. If we withdraw anytime someone like this person puts us on a slate, that gives them an enormous amount of power over us and the award. In addition, if we vote something under No Award anytime someone we don’t like advocates for it, then that’s the same as letting that person win the award whenever they want. Either way, we’re just being pushed around by a troll.
I’d like to think that we’ve learned from last year, and I have decided not to withdraw my nomination. I realize I’m setting myself up for being part of a potential blanket “No Award” voting slate this year. I will accept that, if it happens. But I don’t think letting a troll dictate my actions is going to work out better for me. And I certainly don’t want to insult the fans who nominated my work in good faith.
Therefore, I will stand by what I’ve always said: Nominate and vote for me only if you think the story itself deserves the recognition. Don’t vote for (or against) any person or their ideas. Vote for or against the story. Even when the nomination rules change next year (assuming the proposal gets enough votes again this year), we’re still likely to have a candidate in every category that was nominated in by certain elements.
In many cases, I feel it’s going to be impossible to separate which nominees are the result of trolls throwing rocks at us and which are the result of passionate fans who simply have different views from the mainstream. We’re going to have to do better than counter-voting, a point which many voices in the community, including Scalzi and GRRM, made last year.
I request that my fellow nominees consider not withdrawing. And I request that voters continue to look at the individual stories, artists, and editors, and judge based on the nominee themselves—rather than judging based on who is advocating for them.
LOIS MCMASTER BUJOLD
On the day the nominees were announced, Lois McMaster Bujold also posted a brief statement — “Penric’s Demon” is a Hugo nominee – about the slate:
…(As a point of information, “Penric’s Demon” was conscripted onto the “Rabid Puppies” slate without my notification or permission, and my request that it be removed was refused.)
[Thanks to Mark-kitteh and Greg Hullender for the links.]
By David Doering: LTUE—affectionately pronounced “lootee” despite the spelling, is a great hybrid of con, symposium, and workshop. Author Dan Wells calls it “the learning con” to differentiate it from the “spectator cons” like the Comic Con-type.
Here’s the logo—notice the ingenious design combining SF, Fantasy, and the fannish feline “Luna” in the negative space. Neat, huh?
This year set new records:
LTUE continues to be the largest writers and creators conference in the Intermountain West.
Attendees from around the globe—as far as Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Guests of honor were Kevin J Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, and Shannon Hale. Other notables were the Writing Excuses team: Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and Mary Robinette Kowal (our Toastmaster); L.E. Modesitt, Dave Farland, Larry Correia, editors Stacy Whitman and Lisa Mangum, artist Brian Hailes, Eric James Stone, and Michaelbrent Collins.
United Airlines needed 3 planes to get GoHs Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta to Salt Lake from Denver…Not only does United break guitars but it also breaks planes. Two had mechanical issues half way and had to turn back. (Wait. If you’re half way and have to turn around, wouldn’t it just be easier to fly the rest of the way to Salt Lake than turn around?? It’s only 400 air miles.)
(Despite this, KJA had a kind word to summarize his visit to LTUE:
Kevin J Anderson also introduced a new measurement for writer productivity: the “Sanderson”. Based on Brandon’s 10K average word count of writing a week, Kevin jocularly says he only does about .1 Sanderson a week. (Which makes me feel like I only do like .005 sandersons.)
[Another term I heard for the first time, but likely is common amongst fantasy writers, was “horse dragon”—a dragon you can ride. Dd]
KJA’s main address was his life story on becoming a writer. Afterwards, Kevin complimented the LTUE audience as attentive and appreciative. “I give this talk at comic cons and the audience does politely laugh at the right parts. Here it was like I was speaking to a roomful of people like me 30 years ago eager to become writers.”
Todd Gallowglass, probably the finest professional live storyteller in fandom, gave a wonderful 15 tale of Scottish bravery to the LTUE banquet on Saturday night. (Yes, we still do a banquet to meet the hotel’s request for a food function.) After Todd’s storytelling with active audience participation, he thanked everyone because everyone really _wanted_ to participate when he signed to have them do cheers, oohs and aahs.
A real highlight was Shannon Hale’s main address on diversity. Shannon, though, didn’t stand up and be a firebrand to castigate. Instead, she noted how few boys come to her autograph sessions and, if they do, they say “well, my sister really likes your books”. She says she writes her books for human beings, so why does her being female or the title have “princess” in it make boys uncomfortable? Even young boys. Where does this start? This should be something we can fix today.
The most egregious example was of one school (of the 100 or so she visits each year) which said that boys didn’t need to attend her assembly—overtly indicating that either her books or her as an author would not be of interest to boys.
Mary Robinette Kowal’s toastmaster speech at the banquet was a sidesplitting recounting of her working with a malfunctioning marionette during a live performance of Sleeping Beauty(?) with recorded dialog. The ambiguous dialog suggested a whole different meaning to the scene when the maiden encounters the witch where the witch could only perform one action: a stroking movement with her hand.
Programming at LTUE primarily focuses on creators—writers, screenwriters, or artists—but there’s plenty of serious academic content. I loved the last presentation on Saturday “Time Travel” presented by surprisingly enough Salt Lake Comic Con’s own Bryan Brandenburg (who serves as their head of marketing). This was an intense, Einsteinian discussion with lots of “meat”:
Okay, yes, that was one of his slides, but the rest of the content was in fact very scientific:
Einstein’s well accepted relativity physics states that time travel is possible, when one object is traveling faster than another object, especially as one object approaches the speed of light, relative to the other.
The earth and all of its inhabitants are traveling near the speed of light relative to a number of other objects in the universe. So has our future already happened, relative to some other observer in the universe?
HIGHLIGHTS (And Lowlights)
Here’s a dreadful picture of me during setup. Looks like the baby’s due in about three months. Egads. Smile’s pretty good. And the t-shirt with the Steve Keele-designed logo for Westercon 67 looks great! (Some are still available!)
Here’s Shannon Hale, author of fantasy series like the Princess Academy books, doing her main address. Note one of our mascot “Douglas” the dragon on the podium. (Wonder why LTUE would choose the name “Douglas”?)
Here’s some of the main guests discussing writing natural dialog. Notice how Brandon doesn’t need to have a nameplate. (Yes, we did record some events with permission to share on our Youtube channel.)
Here’s the Writing Excuses podcast recording six sessions live at LTUE. Another super great event, and sadly one I didn’t get to hear or see. So I don’t know what the headbands are all about.
Yes, there’s gaming at LTUE. And with Brandon Sanderson involved, it’s quite a tournament!
Expanded dealers room—like most cons, its books with some jewelry and a massage parlor. More unusual is that Barnes and Noble has four tables full of hardcovers and paperbacks and do a brisk business. Great support from our local B&N.
Even our libation station got kudos!
I missed this one. Dang, our first “official” after party too. (Keeping with fannish tradition, it was held the first night of the con.)
New this year is a full Professional Development track. LOTS of great feedback on this!
Something very unique to Utah cons:
Another unique aspect at LTUE? Actual full rooms for 9AM panels:
9am panel, first day of LTUE, and there's a great turnout. pic.twitter.com/Mag8VeTiMq
— Eric James Stone (@EricJamesStone) February 11, 2016
Other good wrap-ups:
I was able to hang out my dearest friends for three days and talk the craft of writing – what else does a boy need? If you get the opportunity to go next year, please do so – you will not regret it.
LTUE 2016 was, as each LTUE before it, well worth attending. Over the years I’ve started to see it as the writing convention to attend, and I have no reservations in saying that if you want to attend a convention to help with your writing, this one should be it. Dozens of high-profile, A-list authors, all offering as much advice as they can while still having fun.
Me? I’m definitely signing up for next year. I learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and had an absolute blast.
Kevin J. Anderson offered a really great analogy with respect to writing…there are a couple of ways to make popcorn: you can take a clean pan, put it on the oven burner, add exactly 1 tablespoon of oil and evenly spread the oil across the entire surface of the pan. You then turn the burner up to get the pan to exactly the right temperature – no more, no less. Then you select the perfect kernel of popcorn from your container of popcorn, and place it in the exact center of the pan where the heat is perfect. Then wait as the ripples form, and then (hopefully) when the kernel pops you immediately remove it to a paper towel to soak up the excess oil. Then you turn off the burner, let the pan cool, and then wash it and clean it so the pan is in pristine condition. Then you repeat the entire process all over again.
Or, of course, you can just dump all the popcorn in, not really be able to predict in advance which kernel will pop or which direction it will pop. In the end, you’ll have a whole bowl full of popcorn either way, but in the first case you may starve to death before you get there.
How about that. I never thought they’d make a fourth Star Wars movie.
— P Nielsen Hayden (@pnh) December 19, 2015
(2) NO SERVICE. Geek Bar Chicago has posted an announcement that anyone discussing Star Wars spoilers before Christmas will be asked to leave.
The folks at Geek Bar have been extremely stoked about the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” even offering customers a discount if they show their ticket stubs. But that’s also forced the bar to instill a strict no-spoilers policy, so strict that they’ll boot fans out of the bar if they ruin the movie for other customers. They even posted a sign on the bar’s front door as a warning to guests who blab about important plot lines.
(3) TOLKIEN’S LANGUAGES. John Garth observed on Facebook:
Among this quarter’s crop of additions to the Oxford English Dictionary is “waybread” – a coinage by Tolkien, whose first civilian job was as an assistant lexicography at the Dictionary. Never mind inventing Elvish languages: he’s still helping to invent the English one.
Around 500 new words, phrases, and senses have entered the Oxford English Dictionary this quarter, including phablet, waybread, and bank of mom and dad. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Jonathan Dent, Senior Assistant Editor of the OED
(4) FREEDOM. David Brin does threat analysis in “Who Controls the Internet” at Contrarian Brin.
The End of the Internet Dream? Ever since Congress passed Al Gore’s bill, around 1990, setting the Internet free to pervade the world and empower billions, repressive governments have complained, seeing their despotic methods undermined. And yes, democratic governments have often muttered: “Why’d we go and do that?” as their citizens became increasingly rambunctious, knowing and independent-minded!
As we’ll see below, the ruling classes in undemocratic lands have been striving to adapt, and showing real signs of success. So frets Jennifer Granick who was keynote speaker at Black Hat 2015 – a hacker’s conference. “In 20 years, the Web might complete its shift from liberator to oppressor. It’s up to us to prevent that.”
(5) RECOMMENDATIONS. Rocket Stack Rank has published a consolidated list of short-fiction recommendations for the 2016 Hugo Awards.
These are divided by category (Novella, Novelette, and Short Story) and result from combining the recommendations of eight different reviewers.
In email, Gregory N. Hullender answered the obvious question head on:
So is it a slate? I don’t think so. The buckets are alphabetical by title, and none of the top few totals to exactly five. Also, we’ve gone out of our way to show people how to (legally) get copies of all these stories; no one can accuse us of urging anyone to vote without reading.
(6) AUTOMATED CODE WRITING. Platinum Rule, The Code of Conduct builder supplies appropriate language based on the user’s answers to basic questions.
However, I found it would quit working when I reached the question about sponsors, which means it’s more a curiosity than anything else.
(7) BEAR INTERVIEW. Suvudu interviews Elizabeth Bear, co-author of An Apprentice to Elves.
SUVUDU: Elizabeth, it’s a pleasure to have an opportunity to talk with you. You and Sarah Monette wrote one of my favorite short stories, “Boojum”, which I’ve raved about for years. Stumbling upon the Iskryne series was a real treat. How did the two of you meet, and what is it that first got you working together?
Elizabeth Bear: We were introduced by a mutual friend on livejournal because we were both interested in Elizabethan Theatre. I was working on the book that eventually came to be called Ink and Steel, and she was writing her dissertation. We kind of stuck, and we started writing some collaborations to blow off steam from our allegedly real work.
(8) THE BLUE MARBLE REDUX. NASA has released a new high-resolution Earthrise image.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured a unique view of Earth from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the moon.
“The image is simply stunning,” said Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for LRO at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The image of the Earth evokes the famous ‘Blue Marble’ image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture.”
(9) LOCAL STAR WARS. The BBC explores the question “Could a war in space really happen?”
In the past the nuclear balance between the US and the USSR helped to prevent war in space. The modern world is more complex and already some 60 countries are active in space. So is a war involving attacks on satellites now becoming more likely?
Millions have been enjoying the Hollywood version of conflict in distant parts of the universe as the new Star Wars film is released. It’s enjoyable escapism – space conflict is, after all, nothing to do with reality. Or is it? According to military analyst Peter Singer of the New America Foundation, “the idea of… fighting in space was once science fiction and now it’s real”.
Space wars may not involve intergalactic empires or spacecraft zapping each other. If they occur they are likely to be focused on things that matter hugely to all of us – satellites.
(10) LASERS AT WAR. “US Air Force planes armed with laser guns soon and maybe shields too” asserts Marie Singer at Market Business News.
US Air Force planes could be armed with Star Wars type laser guns by the end of this decade, and maybe shields that protect aircraft from incoming missiles and bullets, says the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), which is scheduled to demonstrate the technology by 2020.
Larger aircraft are already able to carry laser weapons fit for their size. However, developing effective and usable laser technology for the smaller warplanes is more challenging. Apart from being small enough not to undermine the fighter jet’s agility, they need to be accurate and effective when travelling at supersonic speeds.
(11) Today In History
(12) Today’s Birthday Boy
(13) FORWARDING ADDRESS. Jeffrey A. Carver has moved his blog Pushing a Snake Up a Hill. Click the link and you’ll discover where.
(14) BANDERSNATCH REVIEW. Sherwood Smith reviews Diana Pavlac Glyer’s new book in “Bandersnatch—writing and writers’ groups” at Book View Café.
In The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community, (which I talked about here) Diana Pavlac Glyer established herself among the foremost Inklings scholars. It’s one of those rarities, a deeply academic book that is also immensely readable.
That book proved that the Inklings really were a collaborative group, and not a bunch of lone geniuses who got together regularly to read bits then retreated to their man caves for more solitary labor.
In Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings, she shows how they did it. I reviewed the book specifically over at Goodreads, but in this post I’d like to use the book as a springboard to write up some thoughts about writing groups and different meanings of collaboration, as this is a subject (or net of subjects) that I always like discussing.
(15) THE BOOK OF PUPPY. Matthew Foster’s Welcome to the Doomsphere: Sad Puppies, Hugos, and Politics was released in Kindle form on December 17.
After several years of unrest in science fiction fandom, a gang of authors under the banners Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies came to town to change the Hugo awards and perhaps publishing, and to turn over a few tables. Regular fandom responded, with many of the major names in F&SF literature being drawn into the brawl. What followed was cheating, lies, insults, rape and death threats, challenges to duel, letters to the police, harassment, boycotts, racial slurs, accusations of censorship, and according to one major Pup author, sodomy…so much sodomy.
For nearly six months, the best authors of our generation stopped writing books and started arguing. Was it the culture wars entering literary science fiction? Was it mainly White, mainly male fans trying to turn back the clock? Was it an attack on freedom of speech? Was it revenge for past slights or a cunning plan to sell a lot of books?
Foster told his Facebook followers the book has already received the first of what he predicts will be many one-star reviews.
(16) THE DOCTOR. I didn’t know any Antonelli apologists before Dr. Mauser raised his hand in “The Antonelli Affair” at Shoplifting in the Marketplace of Ideas.
If one takes the position that Gerrold is merely an internet blowhard, and that he doesn’t actually mean any of it to take place outside of his fevered imagination, then contacting the police over an internet crank was probably taking things too far. And to Lou’s credit, he did what any proper gentleman should have done, he admitted his mistake (such as it was) and apologized.
His apology fit all of the criteria I’ve spelled out before for what makes up a proper apology. He laid out exactly what he had done, owned it, admitted that his actions were inappropriate, made it right by retracting his police complaint, and promised to not do it again. He did not try to justify it by saying anything about what Gerrold had said that concerned him enough to think a police report was necessary. That would be trying to shift blame, and not proper for a true apology.
Mr. Gerrold graciously accepted the apology, and in any civilized society, this would be the end of the issue.
Of course, this is not a civilized society we’re talking about, this is Fandom.
In any case, the SJW side of fandom rose in coordinated furor over this revelation, making all kinds of demands for Lou’s head, literally and figuratively.
Dr. Mauser finds fault with everyone else’s behavior but Antonelli’s, who immediately abandoned the self-imposed penance he announced at the time: “I need to ponder the hurt I have caused. To give me time to think, after Sasquan I am taking a half-year hiatus from attending any conventions and/or submitting any fiction.”
(17) THE LONGEST DAY. Robert Kerr shot this picture at the Hollywood and Highland Metro Red Line station on the way home from seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday.
John King Tarpinian’s caption: “After a hard day at Padawan school even Jedi need to take the subway back to Coruscant.”
(18) POINT AND SHOOT. Grim humor from Cheezburger – a comic “That Wouldn’t Be a Long Movie – Sean Bean as 007 in….“
[Thanks to Will R., Iphinome, Michael J. Walsh, Soon Lee, Steven H Silver, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]
The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has announced the 2015 Audie Awards finalists. The Audies are given in 30 categories for spoken word entertainment.
Here follow the genre category finalists, and other categories containing names of interest to genre fans.
CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES 8-12
CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES UP TO 8
SOLO NARRATION — MALE
Finalists for two special awards, Distinguished Achievement in Production and Audiobook of the Year will be announced in April. The winners will be announced May 28.