(1) Here are three science fiction and fantasy birthdays to celebrate on September 25.
Born 1951: Mark Hamill
Born 1930: Shel Silverstein
Born 1952: Christopher Reeve
(2) Plans are afoot to launch a San Juan in 2017 NASFiC bid at DeepSouthCon, which will be held next weekend. Source: committee member Warren Buff, who is working on the facilities. The website is mostly private at the moment.
(3) “NASA to Announce Mars Mystery Solved” on September 28, promises the press release.
NASA will detail a major science finding from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars during a news briefing at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, Sept. 28 at the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Taking part in the news conference will be Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters; Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters; graduate student Lujendra Ojha of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta; Mary Beth Wilhelm of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California and the Georgia Institute of Technology; and Alfred McEwen, principal investigator for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
I don’t see Mark Watney’s name in there anywhere…
(4) On April 7, 2016, LASFS will welcome Hugo, Nebula, and Aurora winning author Robert J. Sawyer who will read from his new novel, Quantum Night. The book will be published by Ace Books on March 1. Kudos to President Matthew B. Tepper for lining up the engagement.
(5) Today in History
September 25, 1959 Hammer Films’ take on The Mummy premieres in England.
(6) The Nerdist alerts fans to updates in German artist Dirk Löchel’s online poster featuring hundreds of science fictional star ships ranging from Star Trek to Mass Effect.
A high-res version can be downloaded from the artist’s Deviant Art site, where he also discusses the updates in detail including such frequently asked questions as…
Q: Why isn’t the Death Star/CSO Carrier/V’Ger/other large ship on the chart?
A: For reasons of image quality and chart organisation, only ships between a minimum of 100 meters and 24000 meters are applicable for this chart, sorry. Arbitrary? Yes! But I had to draw the line somewhere.
Q: And where’s TARDIS?
A: It’s both too large and too small for the chart.
(7) J. C. Carlton in “How To Create Your Own Monsters” appeals for people to sympathize with Vox Day, linking to a long list of insulting things people have said about Vox over the years. Because, Carlton thinks, what Vox has orchestrated with the Hugo Awards is all their fault.
The puppy kickers had every opportunity to put a hand out and create some sort of consensus with Larry and the rest of the Sad Puppies. They could have listened to what the puppies were saying and taken a more even handed stance. Above all they could have avoided the fiasco of no awarding the Hugo Awards. Instead they treated the puppies with abuse and disparagement, conducting yet another campaign of destruction. But they aren’t hitting Vox the Count working against them. All they have managed to do is create yet more Counts and hasten their own destruction.
(8) Al Harron explains why he is now a former contributor to The Cimmerian blog in “Matters of Importance” on A Wilderness of Peace.
[Leo Grin on The Cimmerian] “The Cimmerian Blog has been defunct for half a decade, but now that one of our former bloggers has been exposed as an SJW, we feel impelled to rise from our slumber to declare that we stand 100% against SJWs and their travelling freakshow of interlocking fetishes and predatory abuses.
As a now-confirmed SJW, Barbara Barrett is hereby EXPELLED from this blog. We have struck her prose from every post, and her face from every picture. Let her name be unheard and unspoken among us, erased from the memory of our august fellowship, for all time. So let it be written. So let it be done.“
Barbara Barrett is a friend, a colleague, and an erudite scholar. I wrote to Leo stating, in no uncertain terms, that if anyone on The Cimmerian was to be expelled, their prose struck, their faces scored out, their very names unheard and unspoken, for the “crime” of criticism, then they must do exactly the same to me.
I campaign for Scottish independence. I took great pride in our movement’s peaceful, positive message in the face of immense opposition. That opposition had the might of the entire UK Establishment at its back, seeking to crush anything that could threaten their dominion over these isles and their resources. Everyone in the movement has a story about being intimidated, being abused, being threatened. My mother has been physically assaulted three times in the past few years. The car was trashed, the windshield cracked, property vandalised and stolen. Grown men and women have screamed obscenities in my face, my mother’s, the children in my family. I have been called every name under the sun: “Nazi,” “Fascist,” “Taliban,” “Racist,” “Scum,” “Evil.” I do not need to have my name associated with the likes of Vox Day.
Yet I put up with the intimidation and abuse and threats, because some things are worth the struggle. Some things are that important. And frankly, I had spent too long being silent on the matters of Gamergate and Rabid Puppies, because I didn’t feel it was my place. I didn’t want to stick my neck out. But after three years campaigning for independence and facing down all the power of Westminster, I find myself completely unafraid and resolutely unphased by the schisms of fandoms – and it makes choosing sides a lot easier. What fear, what power, could they hold over me, given what I have just experienced?
So, to remove any doubt: I advocate the cause of social justice. I denounce the activities of Vox Day and his supporters. And I publicly express my support, unequivocally and without reservation, for my friend and fellow Robert E. Howard scholar, Barbara Barrett.
(9) Steve Davidson has posted “The 1941 Retro Hugo Awards (Part 7 Novels)” at Amazing Stories.
Final Blackout is generally considered both a golden age classic and perhaps the best story Hubbard turned out. Typewriter In the Sky is an early example of alternate realities and the “author as god” concept.
Absent the reading I still need to do, I think the stand-outs in this list are Slan, Gray Lensman and If This Goes On… (though I’ve only read that in the fix-up Revolt in 2100).
(10) Bravo to Lauowolf for the impromptu filk “Filers of London”
I saw a Filer with a Kindle in his hand
Walking through the West End in the rain.
He was looking for a place called the Odeon Leicester Square.
Gonna go see The Martian on screen.
Filers of London!
If you see him reading on a train,
Better not ask its name.
Little old lady downloaded a jillion ebooks in shame.
Filers of London again.
Filers of London!
He’s bleary-eyed alright, cause he’s blogging all the night.
And lately he’s been reading in the shower.
Better stay away from him
Or he’ll list some more books, Jim
But look at that tbr tower!
Filers of London!
(11) First a Hugo rocket, now a LEGO astronaut – see what’s floating in the window now at the International Space Station.
(12) The cast of Agent Carter promote the show with some Hayley Atwell and Dominic Cooper pranks.
(13) At Fast Company — “Take A Long Look At The Amazing Nic Cages/Tim Burton Superman That Almost Was”. (They say that like missing it was a bad thing…)
It’s a plot worthy of a comic book. In some alternative universe, Nicolas Cage might have have been Superman.
Back in the ’90s, Warner Bros had greenlit Superman Lives, a moodier take on the Man of Steel mythos to be produced by Jon Peters, directed by Tim Burton, and starring Cage, then hot off an Oscar win for Leaving Las Vegas. The team caught the fascination of the comic zeitgeist, until an unfortunately-timed shot of a droopy-eyed Cage in superhero garb leaked and fan support soured. Two years, three scriptwriters, and a slew of concept art and costume tests later, the project was dead.
(14) J. W. Ocker, curator of OddThingsIveSeen.com, knows the harvest season is at hand, and that File 770 believes in “All Bradbury all the time.” Check out “Strange Stuff From My Study, Episode 4: Ray Bradbury’s Halloween Decorations”.
For this fourth episode of Strange Stuff From My Study, I dig into my collection to show you a pair of extremely special and extremely relevant-to-the-season items: Halloween decorations that once belonged to the Great Scribe of Halloween himself, Ray Bradbury.
Appropriate for any season is the author’s Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe:
My latest book is Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe, in which I visited every Poe site on the East Coast and across the Atlantic, meeting and talking to those men and women who are upholding the dark poet’s physical legacy. It’s a weird book, but it won the 2015 Edgar Award for Best Critical/Biography.
(15) And while we’re in this eldritch neighborhood, The Last Witch Hunter trailer looks fairly horrifying.
(16) Did Ridley Scott just pull the rug out from under Neill Blomkamp’s Alien sequel? A September 24 news report says Scott just revealed the title of Prometheus 2 to reporters – and it’s not Prometheus 2.
During an interview with HeyUGuys, the 77-year-old filmmaker – and director of the original ground-breaking ‘Alien’ movie – revealed the rather surprising title.
“Actually, really it’s going to be called Alien: Paradise Lost,” he said. “So Prometheus 2 is not really what it’s going to be… it’s going to be Alien: Paradise Lost.”
Alien: Paradise Lost heads to cinemas on May 30 2017.
(17) A 7-minute video, To Scale: The Solar System, shows how “On a dry lakebed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: a true illustration of our place in the universe.”
[Thanks to J.W. Ocker, JJ, Mark-with-no-last-name, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]