Marlee Jane Ward won the Down Under Fan Fund and will travel from Australia to Worldcon 76 this summer. DUFF co-administrator Paul Weimer has released the voting figures:
(1) WHEN TROLLS ATTACK. The London Film and Comic Con told readers how they responded to a trolling attack.
Now to an important activity that really did affect us last week and it did catch us out for a few hours until we worked out what was going down.
Two days before the most recent big announcement, 15 new accounts were created on our forum and equally, multiple new Facebook members with brand new accounts started following our Facebook page. Then, on the announcement night, the users of these accounts started to aggressively and negatively comment and undermine the guest announcement. This was the ONLY thing they were set up to achieve.
This was not noticed by us at first and it took some time to look into these Facebook accounts. As we started to look a little closer, it was clear that we’d attracted a small vocal minority with a real and cynical agenda to purely undermine the guest announcement and belittle any fans or attendees showing any type of excitement.
I’ve since learnt this is known as ‘TrollJacking’, where internet trolls post or comment on a piece of content or an announcement to drum up negativity or just to damage the purpose of the thread. What a lovely thing to do.
This is something very new to us and it really did catch us out, in fact so much so we left the comments up online – as we believe in freedom of speech and opinion and there’s always the odd bit of negativity with every update or announcement.
To all the true fans out there, regardless of whether you are happy about the announcement or not – I am sorry that we did not pick up on it sooner and allowed this minority to cause friction at a time that should have been a time for great excitement and discussion for everyone….
This announcement on Facebook about the appearance of Christopher Eccleston seems to have been the target.
(2) CORALINE MEANING. The Guardian interviews Gaiman about the opera based on his book: “Neil Gaiman on Coraline the terrifying opera: ‘Being brave means being scared'”.
The button eyes are a macabre touch that places Gaiman’s story firmly in the Grimms’ Fairy Tales tradition. And there’s more than a touch of Hansel and Gretel in Coraline’s themes of parental abandonment, an initially appealing but evil mother figure, and a brave child who conquers her fears to win the day. “I’d wanted to write a story for my daughters,” says Gaiman in the introduction to the 10th-anniversary edition, “that told them something I wished I’d known when I was a boy: that being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared. Being brave means you are scared, really scared, badly scared, and you do the right thing anyway.”
(3) A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. And The Guardian comments on the performance: “Coraline review – creepy adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s tale will turn kids on to opera”.
The Royal Opera have certainly done it proud. The supernatural rubs shoulders with the mundane in Aletta Collins’s production, in which the two worlds are placed back to back as mirror images on a revolving stage. Magic consultants Richard Wiseman and David Britland have been drafted in to provide the special effects, which drew gasps from the audience on occasion on opening night, though Collins also has a knack of suggesting unease by the simplest of means. The scene in which Kitty Whately’s Other Mother produces syringes and surgical needles in an attempt to sew buttons over the eyes of Mary Bevan’s Coraline (“just a little incision under your eyelids”) had me squirming in my seat.
(4) DUFF. SF Site News covered the Down Under Fan Fund result:
Marlee Jane Ward won DUFF (the Down Under Fan Fund) in an unopposed race. She will travel to the US to attend Worldcon 76, to be held in San Jose from August 16-20….
(5) ALPHABET SOUP. James Davis Nicoll returns with: “Fighting Erasure: Women SF Writers of the 1970s, Part IV”. This time letter letters I and J, which include –
Diana Wynne Jones
Diana Wynne Jones was prolific and talented, which makes singling out a particular work as a starting point especially problematic. The fact she’s the subject of one of my review projects doesn’t help, as it only expands the number of worthy candidates. Although it is a bit of a cheat, what I would recommend is not a single novel but an omnibus: 2003’s The Dalemark Quartet. It is composed of four early secondary-world fantasy novels that recount the history of troubled Dalemark, from its age of legends to a quasi-medieval period thousands of years later.
(6) MLK. On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, here is N. K. Jemisin’s contribution to CNN’s post “Who is Martin Luther King Jr. to us, 50 years later?”
N.K. Jemisin: I pray it won’t take another 50 years
In 1963, as Martin Luther King Jr. sat in solitary confinement in Birmingham, he lamented the failures of white moderates, who at the time seemed to prefer “a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”
It must have seemed clear to King that even white people who claim to support equality are unreliable allies — willing to talk the talk and walk a few steps, but only if their own anxieties are put first.
Which is why the civil rights movement made what progress it did by effectively shaming white moderates into doing the right thing. This makes me wonder what America is to do in 2018, when our society daily endures a shameless embarrassment of a President, abetted by his shameless party and the shameless media — and when, too often, some white liberals and moderates openly wonder if there’s some way to ease tension between themselves and … fascists.
I have no solutions to offer, other than to survive and to try and help as many others survive as possible. It saddens me that we’ve progressed so little in the 50 years since King’s death. I pray it won’t take another 50 years for all of us to know the presence of justice at last.
N.K. Jemisin is an author of speculative fiction. In 2016, she became the first black to win the Hugo Award for best novel for “The Fifth Season.” In 2017, she won Hugo for best novel again, for “The Obelisk Gate.”
(7) EXPANSE. The next Expanse novel will be out in December – Tiamat’s Wrath.
(8) THEY’LL BE BACK. The Hollywood Reporter brings word: “‘Riverdale,’ ‘Flash,’ ‘Supernatural’ Among 10 CW Renewals”.
The CW, fresh off news that it is expanding to a sixth night of originals for the 2018-19 broadcast season, has renewed nearly its entire lineup.
Returning for additional seasons are: Arrow, Black Lightning, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Legends of Tomorrow, Dynasty, The Flash, Jane the Virgin, Riverdale, Supergirl and Supernatural.
Still to be determined are the fates of midseason fare The 100, iZombie and Life Sentence and fall debut Valor. Official decisions on those four — as well as The CW’s new series orders — will be determined in May.
(9) FIGURING IT OUT. NPR’s Glen Weldon finds both style and substance in “‘Legion,’ Season 2: Welcome Back To The Weirdest Corner Of The Marvel Universe”.
Legion is the story of David Haller (a perpetually rumpled and vaguely confused Dan Stevens), the world’s most powerful mutant, who’s now free of the evil psychic parasite known only as the Shadow King, who last season assumed the form of his friend Lenny, played by Aubrey Plaza. David’s grown up believing himself to be schizophrenic, but came to realize his true nature when he was taken in by an organization seeking to train him — and to fight the Shadow King, who is in fact an ancient being known as Amahl Farouk (played, this season, by Navid Negahban).
(10) BEWARE SPOILERS. Martin Morse Wooster tells me, “Since you are having more troubles with computers I offer a show recap” —
Last night’s episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow began with a scene captioned ‘OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE–1979,” The camera zooms in on the back of an African-American student’s head. The student, suing an Olympia manual typewriter, dutifully types, “Obama.Political Science 100.” We know that this scence is about Barack Obama when he was a freshman in college. Obama looks out the window and sees a campus in springtime.
As the future president is typing, the window is smashed and a giant paw GRABS the president and holds him high in the air! It is Grodd the gorilla, and he’s on a mission.
‘IT’S TIME TO MAKE AMERICA GRODD AGAIN!,” the beast thunders,
Fortuntately the Legends of Tomorrow show up and Grodd drops Obama, who runs off. The Legends then blast the beast with flamethrowers, then shrink him and throw him in a Mason jar. The future president then decides to party with the Legends on their time ship. He holds out a hand to one of the women, saying, “Hi, my name is Barry.” “You should call yourself ‘Barack,’ ” she responds. Another woman swoons, “I miss you, Barry!”
I wish I could tell you how Obama gets back to California and somehow doesn’t remember how he was nearly killed by a giant talking ape and then partied with some time lords. But this is the first of a two-part episode, so we will learn these answers next week
(11) SKYE STOMPERS. Why are the : “Dinosaur tracks on Skye ‘globally important'”? They date to the Middle Jurassic, for which there’s relatively little data.
Most of the prints were made by long-necked sauropods – which stood up to 2m (6.5ft) tall – and by theropods, which were the older cousins of Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Researchers measured, photographed and analysed about 50 footprints in a tidal area at Brothers’ Point – Rubha nam Brathairean – a headland on Skye’s Trotternish peninsula.
The footprints were difficult to study owing to tidal conditions, the impact of weathering and changes to the landscape but the scientists identified two trackways in addition to many isolated footprints.
(12) SMUGGLE BY WIRE. TeleCrunch reports “Chinese police foil drone-flying phone smugglers at Hong Kong border”:
Dozens of high-tech phone smugglers have been apprehended by Chinese police, who twigged to the scheme to send refurbished iPhones into the country from Hong Kong via drone — but not the way you might think.
China’s Legal Daily reported the news (and Reuters noted shortly after) following a police press conference; it’s apparently the first cross-border drone-based smuggling case, so likely of considerable interest.
Although the methods used by the smugglers aren’t described, a picture emerges from the details. Critically, in addition to the drones themselves, which look like DJI models with dark coverings, police collected some long wires — more than 600 feet long.
…So here’s what you do:
Send the drone over once with all cable attached. Confederates on the other side attach the cable to a fixed point, say 10 or 15 feet off the ground. Drone flies back unraveling the cable, and lands some distance onto the Hong Kong side. Smugglers attach a package of 10 phones to the cable with a carabiner, and the drone flies straight up. When the cable reaches a certain tension, the package slides down the cable, clearing the fence. The drone descends, and you repeat.
I’ve created a highly professional diagram to illustrate this technique (feel free to reuse):
(13) READ BUHLERT. Cora Buhlert has some new work available — “A Triple New Release and Some Thoughts on Cozy Space Opera”.
I have an announcement of my own to make. And it’s a big announcement, because I have not one but three new In Love and War stories to announce, two short stories and one short novel.
The first of the two short stories isn’t quite that new, because it has been available as part of the anthology The Guardian for a while now. However, if you want a standalone edition, here is your chance.
Like Dreaming of the Stars and Graveyard Shift, Baptism of Fire is a prequel to the In Love and War series proper, though it is listed as Part 2 at most vendors, because they don’t support prequels very well.
(14) BLOOM. The singer of “F*** Me Ray Bradbury” continues her TV career as someone who is late.
Rachel Bloom of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fame will be heading over to another CW show when she guest stars on an upcoming episode of iZombie.
Bloom will be portraying a “pretentious theater actor” whose death is investigated by iZombie’s Liv (Rose McIver) and Clive (Malcolm Goodwin), TV Line reported.
(15) GOING GREEN. The 2019 Worldcon committee wishes to apprise you of the availability of the “Finest Public Toilet in Dublin”. Or “Where All the Big Lads Hang Out…” as the post’s author Pádraig Ó Méalóid says:
It’s the middle of August 2019, and you’re in Dublin for Worldcon – a Stranger, if not in a Strange Land, at least in a strange city. A strange city with many secrets, which sometimes only the locals truly know about. You’ve heard all about our native literary giants – George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, and Flann O’Brien, to name but three – but even they were only human, prey to the wants and needs that mortal flesh is heir to. It’s only natural that you’ll want to know where they would have gone, and where you could go, too. So let me introduce you to one of the hidden architectural gems of my native city: the beautiful public toilets in the National Library of Ireland….
(16) GOING PINK. You could win this outfit and fight cancer —
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Brian Z., Andrew Porter, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Josh Jasper.]
(1) DUFF DEADLINE. Down Under Fan Fund nominations for the 2018 race close January 31. If you’re interested, or have someone else lined up, hop to it!
Nominations are now open for a Down Under Fan Fund delegate from Australia or New Zealand to travel either to San Jose, California, USA for the 76th World Science Fiction Convention, 16–20 August 2018, or to other major conventions in North America in 2018.
(2) EARLY COSPLAY AND THE LA WORLDCON OF 1946. SyFy Wire’s Carol Pinchefsky goes beyond the Ackerman/Douglas collaboration in “Firsts: The first cosplay took place at the first-ever con… in 1939”, drawing on other anecdotes collected by John. L. Coker III, sf historian and editor of the nonfiction book Tales of the Time Travelers: The Adventures of Forrest J. Ackerman and Julius Schwartz:
Coker interviewed other First Fans for Tales of the Time Travelers. Author and fan Len J. Moffatt discussed yet another “first” … the first recorded cosplay fail, which took place at the fourth Worldcon, in 1946:
“[Fan] Dale Hart [pictured above] was an excellent Gray Lensman in a silver-gray form-fitting costume like the Astounding cover by Rogers. The problem was that it was so tight that he could not sit down or dare to bend over.”
Moffatt may also have created another “first” at Pacificon I, the first cosplay routine:
“While at Slan Shack on Bixel Street earlier, I had borrowed some of Myrtle’s green make-up, combed my hair over my ears and turned up my jacket collar to become a comical vampire. I made a better impression earlier when friends carried me into a meeting hall and deposited my rigid body on some lined-up folding chairs. I lay there a long time with eyes closed and hands folded on my chest listening to the wondering remarks of passers-by.”
(3) WRATHFUL SPEECH. Middle-Earth Reflections documents “His sharp tongue or Fëanor’s talent to insult”:
Fëanor the Spirit of Fire was the most gifted of all the Elves in linguistic lore. He could use language so well that his speeches affected those who heard them and inspired them to do different, though not always sensible, things. Thus, being gifted with words and able to use them potently, Finwë’s eldest son was also exceptionally good at insulting others.
(4) BESPOKE AWARD. Charles Payseur unveils he fifth and final category winners: “THE SIPPY AWARDS 2017! The “Where We’re Going We Won’t Need Categories” Sippy for Excellent I Don’t Know What in Short SFF”
The “Where We’re Going We Won’t Need Categories”
Sippy Awards for Excellent I Don’t Know What in Short SFF
What does it mean? Well, part of the point of this category is…I’m not sure. These are stories that defy conventional definitions and categorization. These are the ones that slip between genres and expectations. They’re…well, a lot of them are weird, but beautiful. Haunting, but fun. Deep and complex and brilliant in the ways they innovate and inspire. So without further delay…
(5) LEADING BY EXAMPLE. Lisa Goldstein’s tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin tells how much she meant to girls who wanted to write science fiction and fantasy:
…Her characters were so real and rounded they became people you wanted to know. She wrote beautifully, in a field where most writing ranged from serviceable to awkward. And she was not just smart but wise, someone who could get to the heart of a subject with a few well-chosen words. I was looking through my copy of The Language of the Night this week and found this: “Fantasy is true, of course. It isn’t factual, but it is true.”
So I began to think that I could actually do this science-fiction thing. After all, here was a woman who was, IMHO, doing it better than any male writer. (And around the same time there were also Joanna Russ and Kate Wilhelm and Carol Emshwiller — and James Tiptree, or course, but we didn’t know her secret then.) She gave me, and any number of other girls reading science fiction in those years, the courage to try….
(6) TV ARCHEOLOGY. Echo Ishii, in “SF Obscure: Planet of the Apes TV”, discusses two TV adaptations, one live, one animated.
The live action TV series has two new astronauts stranded on future/parallel earth. In this version, there are human villages-not quite as primitive as the original movies movies-ruled over by Apes as governors and guards. The two astronauts are assisted by another Ape who believes humans are capable of more. It’s a run of the mill action adventure with the planet of the apes spin. Entertaining, but not outstanding. It was, unfortunately, an expensive show and cancelled after 14 episodes.
(7) BEST OF 2016. Greg Hullender notes Rocket Stack Rank is continuing their analysis of the best science fiction and fantasy short fiction from 2016. In the latest installment, they turn their attention to —“2016 Best SF/F Short Fiction Authors”.
Out of 602 authors, fully 74% had only one story published in our survey of 887 stories, so we’re picking from a huge diversity of authors.
On the other hand, there’s remarkable consistency among our pool of recommenders: 72% of recommendations went to the top 20% of authors, and 40% got no recommendations at all. It’s true that different reviewers have different opinions, but it’s also true that there’s a sort of broad consensus around who the best authors are.
(8) WHOHIKER. Andrew Hickey reviews Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen, the book by James Goss based on a possible Doctor Who film script by Douglas Adams. It is a positive review with a caveat:
So you can be fairly sure that if you’re the kind of person who would even vaguely consider maybe reading a book like this, you’ll come away having read a book that at least matches your expectations, and maybe exceeds them.
(9) NOT APOLITICAL. How some people were spared persecution in WWII. The thread starts here –
This is a thread for those of you who say coders and developers should take no role in politics. Those of you who watched my #WCLDN talk last year already heard this story. You can hear it again.
This was Rene Carmille, and that is a punch card. pic.twitter.com/GJeWmFKIeH
— Heather Burns (@WebDevLaw) January 27, 2018
And here’s one of the reasons you’ll want to read it:
On #HolocaustMemorialDay , as the people in the data we collect and store and share face threats we never thought we would see again, you need to be prepared to go that far when the day comes when it is you handling the data.
You can, and you will.
— Heather Burns (@WebDevLaw) January 27, 2018
(10) SMITH OBIT. Mark E. Smith, the leader and singer/songwriter of influential British post-punk band The Fall, died January 24 at the age of 60. In his last interview a reporter for The Guardian asked whether he saw the most recent Blade Runner since he was a “big fan” of Philip K. Dick movies. As usual, Smith was not exactly diplomatic:
I think the original Blade Runner is the most obscene film ever made, I fucking hated it. The Man in the High Castle is one of my favourite books; how they fucked that TV show up I don’t know. It gets blander and blander. In the book the level of comprehension of that world is fucking astounding, in the show it’s just everybody going around normally except they’ve got swastika armbands on. The only good Philip K Dick film is Total Recall, it’s faithful to the book. Arnie gets it. I was physically sick watching A Scanner Darkly, it was like an episode of Cheers painted over except they all smoke dope and imagine women with no clothes on.
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
- January 28, 1986 — At 11:38 a.m. EST the space shuttle Challenger lifts off from Cape Canaveral, then explodes.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
- Born January 28, 1959 – Frank Darabont
- Born January 28, 1981 – Elijah Wood, who played Frodo in the Lord of the Rings movies.
(13) COMICS SECTION.
- Michael J. Walsh, Mike Kennedy, and John King Tarpinian all saw what happens when a young writer picks sf, in Non Sequitur.
- John King Tarpinian found a mock terrifying surprise in Lio.
(14) OKORAFOR SAGA. NPR’s Amal el-Mohtar says “Binti’s Story Is Finished — But Don’t Expect Completion”.
Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti trilogy is now complete: The Night Masquerade is the final instalment in a series she’s described as “African girl leaves home. African girl returns home. African girl becomes home.” It’s a beautiful proposed structure, a Hero’s Journey that rings truer for me than Joseph Campbell’s, resonating deeply with my experiences of diaspora, roots, and community. Binti left her Himba family on Earth in order to travel to Oomza University, far beyond the stars; she left Oomza in an attempt to manage her trauma and find herself again in the deserts of her home; and there, in the desert, she incorporated new revelations about her history into the anthology of herself, before being shocked into an awareness of impending doom.
(15) WHEN WILL YOU MAKE AN END? NPR’s Scott Tobias on “‘The Maze Runner: The Death Cure’: Nice Guy Finishes, At Last”:
The Maze Runner is the rare series that has improved with each installment, expanding beyond the organic pen of the first film into a bigger and more thrillingly realized science fiction sandbox. Though its young leads are mostly blah, the franchise has steadily accumulated character actors to liven things up, like Gillen, Esposito, and Pepper in the second film and now Walton Goggins in the third as the deformed leader of the Cranks. While Ball tries for too much in the needlessly protracted finale, he’s supremely confident in staging the action sequences, which usually rely on a meticulously orchestrated set of circumstances.
(16) IT’S NOT FICTION. BBC reports about “Of Mice and Old Men: Silicon Valley’s quest to beat ageing”.
To understand what’s happening in the tech world today, you need to look back to the mid-1800s, when a Frenchman named Paul Bert made a discovery that was as gruesome as it was fascinating.
In his experiment, rodents were quite literally stitched together in order to share bloodstreams. Soon after he found the older mice started showing signs of rejuvenation: better memory, improved agility, an ability to heal more quickly. In later years, researchers at institutions like Stanford would reinforce this work.
The extraordinary technique became known as parabiosis, and forms the basis of efforts at Alkahest, a California start-up that is banking on being able to apply those rejuvenative effects to people, rather than mice. It’s an idea so fantastical it wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Silicon Valley, the HBO send-up of the start-up scene.
(17) HELPING WATER TAKE SHAPE. An article about digital effects in The Shape of Water: “How visual effects studio Mr. X helped create ‘The Shape of Water’ and its lovable merman”.
It turns out that Jones’ impressive costume and makeup (and his equally impressive performance) only accounts for part of what we see on-screen. Trey Harrell, CG supervisor at visual effects house Mr. X, told me, “Every single shot of the film where you see the creature is a visual effects shot.”
After all, Harrell said that while “Doug is an amazing actor,” his face was also hidden under “an inch of and a half of foam latex.” So at the very least, Mr. X had to create the merman’s eye and face movements. In other instances, like when the merman was viewed swimming inside the lab’s capsule, Mr. X was responsible for the entire creature.
(18) ACCUSATION. Someone has made a claim about the source of the story — “Guillermo del Toro accused of stealing story of ‘Shape of Water’ from 1969 play” reports the New York Daily Post.
Guillermo del Toro has been accused of stealing the storyline of “Shape of Water” from Pulitzer-winning playwright Paul Zindel.
David Zindel, the son of the playwright, who died in 2003, claims del Toro’s story is taken from his father’s 1969 “Let Me Hear You Whisper,” about “a female janitor in a research laboratory who bonds with a captive dolphin and tries to rescue the creature.”
“We are shocked that a major studio could make a film so obviously derived from my late father’s work without anyone recognizing it and coming to us for the rights,” Zindel told the Guardian.
… Fox Searchlight denied that the “Shape of Water” storyline was stolen.
“Guillermo del Toro has never read nor seen Mr. Zindel’s play in any form. Mr. del Toro has had a 25 year career during which he has made 10 feature films and has always been very open about acknowledging his influences,” a spokesman told the Guardian.
(19) I’M FEELING BETTER! Scott Tilley was listening for something else when the unexpected happened: “Amateur astronomer discovers a revived NASA satellite”.
After years in darkness, a NASA satellite is phoning home.
Some 12 years since it was thought lost because of a systems failure, NASA’s Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) has been discovered, still broadcasting, by an amateur astronomer. The find, which he reported in a blog post this week, presents the possibility that NASA could revive the mission, which once provided unparalleled views of Earth’s magnetosphere.
The astronomer, Scott Tilley, spends his free time following the radio signals from spy satellites. On this occasion, he was searching in high-Earth orbit for evidence of Zuma, a classified U.S. satellite that’s believed to have failed after launch. But rather than discovering Zuma, Tilley picked up a signal from a satellite labeled “2000-017A,” which he knew corresponded to NASA’s IMAGE satellite. Launched in 2000 and then left for dead in December 2005, the $150 million mission was back broadcasting. It just needed someone to listen.
HEINLEIN, ROBERT A. The Day After Tomorrow. New York: Signet – New American Library, 1964. First Paperback Edition. Signed and inscribed by Robert A. Heinlein with a superb inscription to his publisher: “To Kurt Enoch, President of N.A.L. With books as with icebergs it is the unseen 7/8-s which permits the 1/8 to be seen. Thanks! Bob Heinlein”. Originally published as Sixth Column, this copy is enclosed in a custom cloth clamsell box. Paperbound, very good clean copy. From the library of Dr. Kurt Enoch (1895-1982) who was a noted German publisher, forced to flee the Nazis, landing in New York in 1940. In 1948, Dr. Enoch co-founded and became President of New American Library – Signet Books which became one of the successful and acclaimed post-war publishing houses. Enoch went on to become one of the most highly regarded figures in American book publishing.
(21) YOUR MOVE. The mention in yesterday’s Scroll about Richard Paolinelli asking someone to guess his chess ranking inspired this parody of “One Night in Bangkok” (from Chess) by Matthew Johnson (and the last two lines by Soon Lee):
Twitter’s gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than if you go
To San Jose for a cruddy old Hugo
I don’t see you guys making
The nine-dimensional move I’m contemplating
I’d let you watch, I would invite you
But our Gargoyles DVDs would not excite you
So you’d better go back to your Files, your SFWA forums,
Your cat cafes
One night in genre and worlds are your oyster
The Scrolls are Pixels and the comment’s free
My pups are friendly and their noses moister
No politics in SF history
I can feel Bob Heinlein walking next to me
His mistresses are harsh, and his lunch ain’t free.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Soon Lee, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Rob Thornton, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]
(1) MANIFESTO. Charles Payseur’s thought-provoking tweets about reviewing begin here —
I could retweet threads about reviewing all day, people. Here's a good one. https://t.co/ai2tr5HG3v
— Charles Payseur (@ClowderofTwo) December 6, 2017
Some of the points he makes include —
I try to write reviews that people who have read the story can enjoy, but also that people who have not read the story can enjoy. And even that people who have no intention of reading the story can enjoy.
— Charles Payseur (@ClowderofTwo) December 6, 2017
(2) THIS IS HORROR AWARDS. Public nominations are now open for the seventh annual This Is Horror Awards. Click on the link for eligibility and other information: “This Is Horror Awards 2017: Public Nominations Are Open”. Here are the categories:
- Novel of the Year
- Novella of the Year
- Short Story Collection of the Year
- Anthology of the Year
- Fiction Magazine of the Year
- Publisher of the Year
- Fiction Podcast of the Year
- Nonfiction Podcast of the Year
Public nominations close at 12:01 a.m. PST on 22 December 2017.
(3) DUFF. Yesterday’s announcement that they’re looking for Down Under Fan Fund candidates included a statement that the delegate will go to the Worldcon “or another major convention in North America in 2018.” I asked Paul Weimer, is that a change? Paul replied —
The intention for this is two fold–one to provide, in future years for situations in years where Worldcon is not in North America (if the 2020 NZ bid wins, for example, this will be an issue), and also to provide for the possibility that the winning delegate wants to focus on, say, Cancon, or another major SF con in the United States.
We expect that its almost certain that any winning delegate will want to go to Worldcon, but this provides flexibility in that regard.
(4) GREAT FANZINE. Australian faned Bruce Gillespie has released a new 90,000-word issue of SF Commentary. Download from eFanzines:
- Portrait edition: http://efanzines.com/SFC/SFC95P.pdf .
- Landscape edition: http://efanzines.com/SFC/SFC95L.pdf .
Cover by Ditmar (Dick Jenssen).
Major articles by John Litchen (the second part of ‘Fascinating Mars’) and Colin Steele (his usual book round up ‘The Field’), as well as articles by Tim Train and Yvonne Rousseau.
Major tribute to 2017 Chandler Award-winning Bill Wright by LynC and Dick Jenssen, and memories of Brian Aldiss, David J. Lake, Jack Wodhams, Randy Byers, Joyce Katz, among others.
Lots of lively conversations featuring such SFC correspondents as Michael Bishop, Leigh Edmonds, Robert Day, Patrick McGuire, Matthew Davis, Doug Barbour, Ray Wood, Larry Bigman, and many others.
(5) REZONING. The Twilight Zone is coming back. At The Verge, Andrew Liptak reports “Jordan Peele will resurrect The Twilight Zone for CBS All Access”.
The granddaddy of surreal, science fiction television anthologies is returning. CBS announced today that it has issued a series order for a revival of The Twilight Zone from Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and Simon Kinberg’s Genre Films for its All Access streaming service.
Peele and Kinberg, along with Marco Ramirez (Marvel’s The Defenders), will serve as executive producers on the show and will “collaborate on the premiere episode.” CBS has yet to announce a release date, casting, or any other writers attached to the project. Like Star Trek: Discovery, however, the show is destined as exclusive content for the network’s paid streaming service, CBS All Access.
(6) ON BOARD. How appropriate that The Traveler at Galactic Journey has found a way to kill time! “[December 6, 1962] How to Kill Friends and Influence People (The game, Diplomacy)”.
Ah, but here’s the tricky bit. Turns are divided into two segments. The latter is the one just described, where players write their marching orders. The former is a 15-minute diplomacy segment. This is the period in which players discuss their plans, try to hatch alliances, attempt to deceive about intentions. It is virtually impossible to win the game without help on the way up; it is completely impossible to win without eventually turning on your allies. Backstabbery is common, even necessary. Honesty is a vice.
Diplomacy is, thus, not a nice game. In fact, I suspect this game will strike rifts between even the best chums. So why play at all? Why suffer 4-12 hours of agony, especially when you might well be eliminated within the first few turns, left to watch the rest of your companions pick over your bones?
Well, it’s kind of fun.
(7) TREACHERY IN THE PRESENT. Meanwhile, here in 2017, holiday gift shoppers might want to pick up the “CLUE®: Game of Thrones™ Exclusive Expansion”.
Add more treachery and betrayal and create an all-new game play experience while solving the mysteries in Game of Thrones Clue with this special exclusive expansion that includes two additional character suspects and power cards as well as beautifully gold-finished weapons.
Really, though, for a genuine Game of Thrones experience it would have to be possible for all the suspects to be murdered in the same game.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
- December 6, 1979 — Star Trek: The Motion Picture premiered.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY COUNTRY
- Born December 6, 1917 — Finland
(10) COMICS SECTION. Brian Kesinger, a veteran visual artist for Disney and Marvel, has created Watterson-style mashups that merge The Force Awakens characters with Calvin and Hobbes. “Disney Illustrator Combines Star Wars And Calvin & Hobbes, And The Result Is Adorable” at Bored Panda.
(11) HAIR TODAY. Interesting how movie marketing works now. A trailer for the new Jurassic World sequel will be out Thursday, heralded by a 16-second teaser, and this behind-the-scenes featurette. SciFiNow.uk claims, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom featurette has loads of new footage and freaking out”.
Ahead of the trailer release tomorrow, a new featurette has arrived for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom which features lots of new footage and plenty of the cast and crew freaking out about how awesome the film is going to be. And Jeff Goldblum’s got a beard.
(12) GARY FISHER IN LAST JEDI, TOO. The cat is out of the bag, and so is the dog: “Carrie Fisher’s Beloved Dog, Gary, Will Appear in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi'”.
During the press tour for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Carrie Fisher’s therapy dog, Gary, became an internet sensation as the late actress took him everywhere for interviews and red carpets. Now, an eagle-eyed fan discovered that Gary will be making an Easter egg cameo in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which director Rian Johnson has confirmed.
Twitter user Clair Henry found a promotion still for the movie in which Finn (John Boyega) and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) face off at a galactic casino. On the left side of the screen, you can see a strange brown creature looking directly at the camera. That’s Gary, touched up with CGI to look like an alien pet.
— clair henry (@irishgeekgirl) December 6, 2017
(13) HELLO . A special wine collection is back in time for the season: “‘Hello Kitty’ Wine Returns In Time For The Holidays”. The five-bottle collection goes for around $150, but you can also buy individual bottles.
The Hello Kitty wines by Torti “L’Eleganza del Vino” returns to the U.S. with new supercute designs and two new blends. Now including an award-winning Pinot Noir, a “Sweet Pink” blend, Sparkling Rosé, Pinot Nero Vinified in White, as well as a special edition Sparkling Rosé with limited edition packaging.
For all #HelloKitty fans that are 21＋! The Hello Kitty wines by Torti “L’Eleganza del Vino” returns to the U.S. with new supercute designs and two new blends. Now including an award-winning Pinot Noir, a “Sweet Pink” blend, Sparkling Rosé, Pinot Nero Vinified in White, as well as a special edition Sparkling Rosé with limited edition packaging 💖 Available at select specialty wine & grocery stores and online (hellokitty.swvino.com). Use promo code: SUPERCUTE for free shipping! #HelloKittyWine
(14) CAN’T FACE IT. Forget Sad Puppies: “Sad poop emoji gets flushed after row”.
Plans to introduce a “frowning pile of poo” emoji have been flushed from the latest proposals by the group in charge of creating the symbols.
The symbol was floated as one of many to be introduced in 2018, but it angered typographers who said it was “embarrassing” to the group.
The Unicode Consortium pushes out a central list of emoji so that they show up properly on different devices.
It said changes to the “pile of poo” emoji had not been totally dumped.
Chip Hitchcock sent the link with a comment: “IME, the Unicode Consortium can be very random; around the time I started working with character storage, their principles sniffily declared that they were encoding only live characters, and would therefore not do Glagolitic (the alphabet that Cyril’s students developed into Cyrillic) — but they already had Tolkien’s Elvish alphabet(s?). They later relented, don’t ask me why.”
(15) ALL THEY’RE CRACKED UP TO BE. The BBC answers the question, “Why clowns paint their faces on eggs”. Pratchett fans may remember this was a plot point in at least one of his books.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of Faint’s collection, though, are the eggs. Each one is different, and represents the unique face design of its subject. Eggs like these are kept in only a handful of collections around the world, representing a kind of informal copyright – and much more.
(16) TREE SLEEPER. Older human: “Little Foot skeleton unveiled in South Africa”. 500,000 years older than Lucy — same species, different genus.
One of the oldest and most complete skeletons of humankind’s ancestors has been unveiled in South Africa.
A team spent more than 20 years excavating, cleaning and putting together the skeleton of Little Foot.
Its exact age is debated, but South African scientists say the remains are 3.67 million years old.
(17) BLACK MIRROR. Netflix has released a full trailer for Black Mirror Season 4. The release date is December 29.
(18) LE GUIN. At Electric Literature, “Ursula K. Le Guin Explains How to Build a New Kind of Utopia”:
…Good citizens of utopia consider the wilderness dangerous, hostile, unlivable; to an adventurous or rebellious dystopian it represents change and freedom. In this I see examples of the intermutability of the yang and yin: the dark mysterious wilderness surrounding a bright, safe place, the Bad Places?—?which then become the Good Place, the bright, open future surrounding a
dark, closed prison . . . Or vice versa.
In the last half century this pattern has been repeated perhaps to exhaustion, variations on the theme becoming more and more predictable, or merely arbitrary.
(19) SPACE COMMAND. Four days left in the Space Command: Redemption Kickstarter. Congratulations to Marc Zicree — they made their goal, and two stretch goals. To celebrate —
A scene from Space Command: Redemption in which Yusef (Robert Picardo) repairs a broken synthetic named For (Doug Jones). For more information about this new sci-fi series, follow this link:
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Rob Thornton, Cat Eldridge, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
By John Hertz: Having happened to enlighten Our Gracious Host about Pete Seeger’s “Wimoweh” (1957) and the Tokens’ hit “The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)” (1961), “wimoweh” a mis-hearing of Zulu “uyimbube” (“you’re a lion”), I thought further about how Paul Weimer heard it.
Weimer was this year’s Down Under Fan Fund delegate, and having been there and back again is now the North America Administrator for DUFF.
I was ecstatic to learn in August he’d promptly published his trip report.
After some commotion I got a copy from him, not by “downloading” but a realio trulio paper copy which I without citizenship in Electronicland could read. It was 300 pages, printed on one side only, to a great extent photographs (very beautiful, some of them) without labels, through which I searched agonizingly. So much for Michelangelo.
However the fact remains that I still haven’t published my own report from 2010, though I did send a note here.
Thus by way of applause we might sing:
Going down under, the Fan Fund Down Under,
Paul Weimer went tonight.
A Weimer went, a Weimer went,
A Weimer went, a Weimer went.
’Cross the ocean, the peaceful ocean,
Paul Weimer went tonight.
’Cross the ocean, the quiet ocean,
Paul Weimer went tonight.
A Weimer went, a Weimer went,
A Weimer went, a Weimer went.
“Three hundred pages!” the no-’Net man rages;
Paul Weimer’s back tonight.
A Weimer went, a Weimer went,
A Weimer went, a Weimer went.
Who’s from down under, who’s next from down under?
Paul Weimer went last time.
Who’ll go to Worldcon, the San Jose Worldcon?
Paul Weimer went last time.
Alas, though none of us three knew it, Mitch Margo (1947-2017), who was 14 when as one of the Tokens he recorded “The Lion”, had died on November 24th, age 70. R.I.P.
Paul Weimer’s 2017 Down Under Fan Fund report, detailing his adventures in New Zealand and Australia, is now available here for a donation to DUFF.
Paul Weimer details, with numerous pictures, his adventures in New Zealand and Australia as the 2017 Down Under Fan Fund delegate, as he visits Lexicon, Continuum 13, and more. All proceeds from the sale of this report support the Down Under Fan Fund.
Here’s the way Paul launched his report on Twitter.
Okay, well, now comes the time when I ask something of you, dear reader, especially if you have enjoyed my photography and genre stuff
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) August 1, 2017
as part of the remit of being the DUFF delegate, I am supposed to write a report on the experience.
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) August 1, 2017
The report is full of details and yes, chock full of photos from the cons, New Zealand and Australia.
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) August 1, 2017
You can now, for a $7 donation to DUFF, buy this report and I humbly ask that if you've enjoyed my stuff, that you do so.
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) August 1, 2017
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) August 1, 2017
(1) STAR WARS CARTOONS. In a Yahoo! Movies piece called “New ‘Star Wars’ Cartoon Shorts Debut Online, Bringing Female Heroes in Full Force”, Marcus Errico says that Disney is releasing sixteen three-minute cartoons online featuring female Star Wars heroes, The first, “Sands of Jakku” is online and has Daisy Ridley in it.
Lucasfilm Animation has produced an initial run of 16 shorts. New shorts will arrive daily at YouTube.com/Disney ahead of their broadcast premiere on the Disney Channel on July 9. Future episodes will center on Princess Leia, Padmé Amidala, Rogue One‘s Jyn Erso, The Clone Wars fan favorite Ahsoka Tano, and Sabine Wren from Star Wars Rebels, with each installment narrated by Maz Kanata and featuring John Williams’s seminal soundtrack.
In addition to Ridley, film stars John Boyega (Finn), Felicity Jones (Jyn) and Lupita Nyong’o (Maz) will reprise their roles, as will key talent from the TV series Clone Wars and Rebels, including Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka), Tiya Sicar (Sabine), and Vanessa Marshall (Hera Syndulla).
“The movies tell these epic heroes’ journeys, big pieces of mythology,” Carrie Beck, VP of Lucasfilm Story and Animation and a producer of Forces of Destiny, told Yahoo Movies earlier this year. “For this, we thought these stories could tell those moments of everyday heroism… the kind of stories that would be appropriate over two to three minutes.”
(2) UNHOLY ROAD TRIP. The LA Times questions “Neil Gaiman on the ‘American Gods’ season finale and what’s on tap for Season 2”.
The first season of Starz’s ambitious “American Gods” ended on the brink of a godly brawl. But Neil Gaiman, an executive producer of the series and author of the book from which it is adapted, teases that his divine road trip across the secret supernatural back roads of the United States is just beginning…
Did you have an emotional reaction to the end of the first season of “American Gods?”
I have all sorts of emotions.…I’m fascinated by how involved people are. How grumpy they are about the fact that, now they got their eight episodes, they have to wait for another season. I love watching the joy of having faces that plug into these characters who were names and descriptions in the book. I’m loving seeing how people argue online. There are people out there who think Laura [Moon, played by Emily Browning] is the best female character that they’ve ever seen on television.And there are people who would pay good money to make sure that she never appears on their screen ever again, but they love the whole series apart from her.
(3) GUESS WHO JOINED GAB. GAB is the new message platform popular with Vox Day, Jon Del Arroz, and others who find Twitter hasn’t always appreciated the way they exercise their freedom of speech.
And, unexpectedly, it now is someplace you can find Brianna Wu:
Why did I join Gab? Well, joining App.net early (another Twitter competitior) was amazing for my career. It was a networking goldmine. The other part is, I’m running for congress in a part of Massachusetts with many conservatives. Listening to the other side helps me be a better candidate.
(4) SOCIETY OF ILLUSTRATORS. Top fantastic illustrators Wayne Barlowe, Donato Giancola, Greg Manchess will demonstrate their skills and techniques in an open forum at the Society of Illustrators in New York on July 8 from Noon to 4 p.m.
Plus! Have your portfolios reviewed by renowned art directors Irene Gallo (Associate Publisher, Tor.com/ Creative Director, Tor Books) and Lauren Panepinto (Creative Director, Orbit Books/ Yen Press). 15 minutes reviews. Reservations required
Admission: $50 Non-members | $40 Members | $20 Students/ seniors (Undergrad with valid ID) Price includes the catalog from The Korshak Collection: Illustrations of Imaginative Literature.
(5) SPACE SALVATION. Sylvia Engdahl revives a philosophical debate in “Space colonization, faith, and Pascal’s Wager” at The Space Review.
In his essay “Escaping Earth: Human Spaceflight as Religion” published in the journal Astropolitics, historian Roger Launius argues that enthusiasm for space can be viewed as a religion. He focuses mainly on comparisons with the outer trappings of religion, many of which are apt, but in one place he reaches the heart of the issue. “Like those espousing the immortality of the human soul among the world’s great religions… statements of humanity’s salvation through spaceflight are fundamentally statements of faith predicated on no knowledge whatsoever.”
I think Launius may be somewhat too pessimistic in his assertion that we have no knowledge whatsoever about our ability to develop technology that will enable humans live in the hostile environment of space, but that is beside the point. It’s true that we have no assurance that the colonization of space will ensure the long-term survival of humankind. “Absent the discovery of an Earthlike habitable exoplanet to which humanity might migrate,” Launius continues, “this salvation ideology seems problematic, a statement of faith rather than knowledge or reason.” And the accessibility of such an exoplanet is questionable, since by current knowledge it will not be possible to cross interstellar space rapidly enough to achieve much migration.
It is indeed faith that underlies the conviction that traveling beyond our home world will prevent the extinction of the human race. But Launius’ presentation of this fact seems to imply that it lessens the significance of such a conviction, as if beliefs supported by mere faith were not to be taken seriously. That is far from the case, as the history of human civilization clearly shows. Most major advances have been made by people who had faith in what they envisioned before they were able to produce evidence; that was what made them keep working toward it. Having faith in the future, whether a personal future or that of one’s successors, has always been what inspires human action.
On what grounds can faith without evidence be justified? This issue was addressed by the 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal in what is known as Pascal’s Wager, now considered the first formal use of decision theory. Pascal was considering whether is rational to believe in God, but the principle he formulated has been applied to many other questions. In his words, “Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.” If on the other hand, you bet on it being false and it turns out to be true, you lose everything; thus to do so would be stupid if the stakes are high.
(6) NEXT AT KGB. “Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series” hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Karen Neuler and Genevieve Valentine on July 19 at the KGB Bar. The event starts at 7 p.m.
Karen Heuler’s stories have appeared in over 100 literary and speculative magazines and anthologies, from Conjunctions to Clarkesworld to Weird Tales, as well as a number of Best Of anthologies. She has received an O. Henry award, been a finalist for the Iowa short fiction award, the Bellwether award, the Shirley Jackson award for short fiction (twice), and a bunch of other near-misses. She has published four novels and three story collections, and this month Aqueduct Press released her novella, In Search of Lost Time, about a woman who can steal time.
Genevieve Valentine is an author and critic. Her most recent book is the near-future spy novel ICON; her short fiction has appeared in over a dozen Best of the Year anthologies. Her comics work includes Catwoman for DC Comics and the Attack on Titan anthology from Kodansha. Her criticism and reviews have appeared in several venues including the AV Club, the Atlantic, and The New York Times. Please ask her about the new King Arthur movie.
(7) AMBIENT TRIBUTE TO DUNE SERIES. April Larson, a Louisiana ambient/drone/noise musician, has released a tribute album to the original Dune trilogy and the other Dune-related novels on Bandcamp.
It is titled “You Stand in a Valley Between Dunes” and the album features tracks with names such as “The Fall of Ix (Core Instability Mix),” “Lady Jessica,” and “Guild Navigator (Junction).”
April Larson is the representative of a tribe of naga located along the coast of Louisiana. She translates music into sense- data… through a collection of three interlaced brains. She continues her research in oneironautic listening and regularly delivers lectures on relevant tone-clusters to beehives and ghosts.
(8) RYAN OBIT. YouTuber Stevie Ryan (1984-2017): American comedian, actress and writer; found dead by apparent suicide on 3 July, aged 33. She appeared as a version of herself in the experimental thriller John Doe: Diary of a Serial Killer (2015, but apparently never released).
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
- July 3, 1985 — Back to the Future released, features 1981 DeLorean DMC-12.
- July 3, 1985 — George Romero’s Day of the Dead is seen for the first time.
- July 3, 1996 – Independence Day was released.
(10) FACE IN A DUFF CROWD. Paul Weimer took this picture on his trip Down Under. I’ve interacted with Ian Mond online but I’ve never seen him before.
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) July 3, 2017
(11) SKIFFY AND FANTY POLL. Man, this is a hard one!
It's #PollMondays. Here we go!
Of the following movies, which one is the most excruciatingly terrible? Take the poll 🙂
— Skiffy and Fanty ? (@SkiffyandFanty) July 3, 2017
(12) BEWARE DOCTOR WHO SPOILER NEWS. You’ve been warned. Tariq Kyle, in “’Doctor Who’ season 10 finale explained: Yes, that is who you think it is” on Hypable, says that the mysterious guy in the end of the Season 10 finale of Doctor Who is in fact William Hartnell (played by David Bradley) and that Hartnell and Peter Capaldi will survive until this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, at which time Capaldi will regenerate.
Doctor Who season 10 just ended with a cliffhanger that none of us saw coming, and if you’re wondering who the mysterious new character is and where they are in the Doctor’s timeline, then check out our explanation!
Obviously, if you haven’t seen the season 10 finale of Doctor Who yet, beware of huge spoilers. If you continue on and you don’t want to be spoiled, then ¯\_(?)_/¯.
(13) CHILL FACTOR. Reason TV has put out a video called “Mark Hamill v. Autographed Memorabilia: The Revenge of the Dark Side,” which is mostly about Bill Petrocelli of the San Francisco-based chain Book Passage and how his company will be affected by the California autograph law. The impetus for the law was Mark Hamill’s complaining about fake Hamill autographs, which caught the ear of the legislator who had the law introduced.
(14) WHAT AUNT MAY HAS TO SAY. This is not your uncle’s Aunt May: “WATCH: Marisa Tomei on making Aunt May cooler than Peter in Spider-Man: Homecoming”.
What is different is Aunt May herself. Let’s face it, Tiger: May has never been cooler than she is now, as portrayed by Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei. She’s much younger than she’s ever been portrayed in the comics or any of the previous Spider-Man feature films. The fact that the age difference between Peter and May is much less adds a new dynamic to their relationship … but, thankfully, not even a hint of sexual tension. (Hey, the actress brought it up, not me!)
SYFY WIRE talked with Tomei about how her Aunt May still worries about Peter, primarily about the fact that he doesn’t seem to have a social life. We also talked about whether May trusts Tony Stark as Peter’s mentor and what she wants to see in an Aunt May action figure.
(15) WHAT’S MY LINE? Meanwhile, back in the Sunday funnies: “Spider-Man and His Inker: Wrists Still Going Strong a Half-Century Later”. Joe Sinnott in his studio; several photos.
Joe Sinnott says spider webs drive him crazy, even though he has been drawing them for over 50 years for one of the world’s most famous superheroes.
“They’ve got to be so accurate, and they’ve got to be the same all the time,’’ he said. “It takes me about three days to do two pages.”
At 90, Mr. Sinnott still brings to life the action tales spun by Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spider-Man, continuing a collaboration begun in 1950 when Mr. Sinnott first went to work for Mr. Lee at what later became Marvel Comics. “Imagine having the same boss for 67 years,” Mr. Sinnott said. He added that they should be in the Guinness World Records book.
With pen and brush, he keeps Spider-Man flying over New York City, soaring from skyscraper to skyscraper, in a never-ending battle against supervillains. “It just takes time putting all those lines, and the tiny spider on Spider-Man’s chest, in such a small space,” Mr. Sinnott said.
(16) WEB REVIEW. The BBC says the new Spider-Man is “fun”.
The makers of Spider-Man: Homecoming have remembered something that the makers of almost every other recent superhero film have forgotten. They’ve remembered that if you’re going to tell a story about someone in a skin-tight costume who can throw cars around like frisbees, then it should probably be fun for all the family. That’s not to say that superhero movies can’t be used to lecture us on the international arms trade, or to examine why allies fall out and turn against each other. But sometimes they should return to their comic-book roots, and offer snazzy, buoyant entertainment for children as well as for their parents – and that’s what the latest Spider-Man film does.
Chip Hitchcock sent the link with a comment: “The story complains that the ‘gauche, geekily enthusiastic youngster with a pubescent squeak of a voice’ isn’t true to the comics; does anyone remember what Parker was like in the very early comics, when he was still in high school (as in the movie)?”
(17) SUNK COST. A first-class ticket to see the Titanic: “The ‘merman’ facing a Titanic mission”
Next year he will be taking dozens of paying passengers down about 12,500ft (nearly 2.4 miles or 3.8km) to the wreck of the Titanic, 370 miles south-southeast of Newfoundland.
OceanGate, the US firm behind the dives, says more people have been into space or climbed Mount Everest than have visited the Titanic’s final resting place.
The firm stresses that it is a survey expedition and not a tourist trip.
Over six weeks from next May, David will make repeated dives in a new carbon fibre submersible called Cyclops 2, designed to withstand depths of up to 4,000m.
On each trip to the bottom of the ocean, he will take three “mission specialists” – passengers who are underwriting the expedition – and a “content expert” with a good working knowledge of the wreck
The expedition doesn’t come cheap. Each one of the 54 people who have signed up for the deep dive is paying $105,129 for the privilege.
(18) LINEUP, SIGN UP, AND RE-ENLIST TODAY. The Washington Post’s Steve Hendrix asks “There are already four-hour lines at Walt Disney World’s new ‘Avatar’-themed attraction. Does Pandora live up to the hype?” And he answers that the Avatar-based “Pandora” section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a “trippy, tropical” and “an authentically immersive land that soothes even as it dazzles,” but prepared to wait four hours to get on the two rides in the section.
The Disney iteration, though, takes place generations after the miners have been driven out (hopefully with ample job-retraining for these victims of the War on Unobtanium) and the peacefully gigantic blue Na’vi of Pandora are busy restoring it to space-age splendor. That ingenious conceit allowed planners to combine dystopian ruins (the colossal exo-armor battle suit from the movie’s climax sits rusting outside the gift shop) with lush streambeds and flowering vines.
(19) SUBTRACTION BY DIVISION. Lela E. Buis, in “Does the Hugo really represent fandom?”, totes up the racial and sexual minorities among this year’s Hugo-nominated fiction authors only to find a problem with this diversity. And what is that problem?
So, what are the chances that SFF fandom as a whole would elect this ballot? Remember that taste is never random, but with equal participation I’d expect the SFF readership demographics should roughly match the ballot for a popular award. Assuming that everyone participates, of course.
What does that mean? If the right people were voting for the Hugos the list of winners would look like the Dragon Awards? Is that what this is code for?
(20) APPROPRIATION V. EXCHANGE. K. Tempest Bradford wrote a commentary NPR that declares “Cultural Appropriation Is, In Fact, Indefensible”.
…Cultural appropriation can feel hard to get a handle on, because boiling it down to a two-sentence dictionary definition does no one any favors. Writer Maisha Z. Johnson offers an excellent starting point by describing it not only as the act of an individual, but an individual working within a “power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.”
That’s why appropriation and exchange are two different things, Johnson says — there’s no power imbalance involved in an exchange. And when artists appropriate, they can profit from what they take, while the oppressed group gets nothing.
I teach classes and seminars alongside author and editor Nisi Shawl on Writing the Other, and the foundation of our work is that authors should create characters from many different races, cultures, class backgrounds, physical abilities, and genders, even if — especially if — these don’t match their own. We are not alone in this. You won’t find many people advising authors to only create characters similar to themselves. You will find many who say: Don’t write characters from minority or marginalized identities if you are not going to put in the hard work to do it well and avoid cultural appropriation and other harmful outcomes. These are different messages. But writers often see or hear the latter and imagine that it means the former….
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for some of these stories and the fried chicken. Other story thanks goes to Rob Thornton, Dann, Steve Green, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, and Cat Eldridge. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]
(1) A LITTLE LIST. James Davis Nicoll returns with “Twenty Core Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Speculative Fiction Works Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves”.
As with the previous core lists, here are twenty Post-Apocalyptic Speculative Fiction Works chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field.
There are two filtering rules:
Only one work per author per list
Any given work can appear on only one list
(2) YOU’RE FROM THE SIXTIES! Sign up for video conference call from 1962 hosted by The Traveler from Galactic Journey.
Hello, friends and fellow travelers!
As some of you are aware, Galactic Journey is a frequent presenter at conventions around the country. In a mix of seminar and road show, the Journey brings the past to life with a personal appearance.
Well, this month, we’re going to take that to the next level — using Visi-phone technology developed for the 1962 Seattle World Fair, the Journey will be appearing live Coast to Coast (and beyond) at 11 a.m. [PDT] on June 17.
Tune in, and you’ll get a peek behind the scenes at the Journey, meeting the Traveler, himself, and potentially the Young Traveler and the Editor! We’ll show off some of our favorite vintage toys, answer your questions — and there will be prizes for the best ones!
RSVP for this no-charge event — The Traveler personally guarantees it’ll be worth every penny you spend!
(3) WORLDBUILDERS AND WORLDRUNNERS. Political lessons with John Scalzi, Charlie Jane Anders, Cory Doctorow, and Annalee Newitz at Inverse — “Here’s Why Sci-Fi Authors Will Always Tell You To Fuck Off”.
“People will visit my website or Twitter feed where apparently I have political opinions,” said Scalzi. “Then I get the sorrowful email that says, ‘I thought I was coming to you for entertainment, but you’re telling me how to think and regretfully I must not read your books anymore.’ They’re expecting me to say something like, ‘No, don’t leave.’ They’re not expecting the email I actually send, which is ‘Dear whomever: kiss my ass.”
(4) IF IGNORANCE IS BLISS. Discussions about cultural appropriation are not typically about the Irish, but they could be. Fantasy-Faction Brian O’Sullivan discusses “Wading in the Cultural Shallows: How Irish Mythology Became A Commodity for Fantasy”.
One night at a party I was introduced to a woman who proudly informed told me she’d named her baby daughter ‘Banshee’ in celebration of her Irish heritage. Even at the time I was pretty stunned by the announcement. For an Irish person (and I would have thought most people would have known this), this was the equivalent to naming her daughter — Death.
About two weeks later, at another party (I had a life back then!), I was cornered by a different woman demanding a translation for the chorus from Clannad’s haunting Theme Song from Harry’s Game. The Irish lyrics for the chorus had been written on her CD sleeve as ‘Fol dol de doh fol-de de day’!) which she thought was absolutely beautiful and must mean something mythically profound.’ Needless to say, she wasn’t particularly impressed when I translated it as ‘La, la la la, la la laaah!’
These are just two examples of the cultural disconnect between Irish people and those who dabble in Irish mythology. They are however only two of the hundreds I’ve personally experienced over the last twenty years or so and I know many other Irish people who’ve had similar experiences. It’s actually a source of continual bemusement to to see how bizarrely and inaccurately our culture’s been represented over that time.
…I don’t believe for a moment that it’s any author’s intention to be offensive when they use mythologies that aren’t their own. In fact, I’d suspect the vast majority of them would be dismayed if they knew their work was somehow considered offensive. Unfortunately, authors write stories based on their own experiences or what they’ve managed to learn and, frankly, sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. Different cultures aren’t easily transferable (although if you spend enough time living in them or studying them intensely you can certainly pick up a lot) and this makes wading in the mythological shallows that much more dangerous. This is particularly the case with Irish mythology as there’s so much misinformation already out there (many people, for example, through no fault of their own, still believe W. B. Yeats is a credible authority on Irish mythology!).
(5) WEIMER IN THE WILD. If this is what DUFF delegates get to do, everyone will be running next time. (Having lunch with Ian Mond and Likhain.)
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) June 7, 2017
Of course, some things you can do without traveling 12,000 miles:
Sadly, it's not all fabulous photos and crazy adventures on the Princejvstin show
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) June 7, 2017
(6) HERITAGE SPACE AUCTION RESULTS. Heritage Auctions released some sales figures from Space Exploration Auction #6173,which had total sales of $822,203 .
Vintage NASA photographs were strong, especially the nice Selection of “Red Number” Examples we were pleased to offer. The definite “star” of this category was the iconic Apollo 8 “Earthrise” Photo (NASA Image AS8-14-2383) of the earth above the moon’s horizon, taken by Bill Anders on Christmas Eve 1968 from lunar orbit. This is one of the most reproduced images of the twentieth century and one tenacious bidder laid claim to this early red number print for $10,625. Another exciting lot was a Collection of Sixteen Apollo 11 Photos (twelve red number and four blue number) which included an example of the famous Buzz Aldrin “visor” portrait. Six bidders competed for the group before one took it home for $7,812.
Robbins Medallions are always a popular category. In this auction, two examples made particularly strong showings. A beautiful Unflown Apollo 15 Medal partially minted with flown “treasure” silver from a 1715 Spanish treasure shipwreck ingot closed at $7,500. A rare Flown STS-6 Space Shuttle Challenger Medal (one of only sixty-seven carried on the mission) brought in $11,250. Of particular interest, a notarized presentation letter signed by the entire four-man crew accompanied this one. This was the first from this mission that Heritage has offered in ten years of Space auctions.
One-of-a-kind items are always difficult to estimate and there were a few in this sale that performed quite a bit better than our best guess. Project Mercury was represented in this category by a Capsule Flight Operations Manual that sold for $10,625. At what price would two sets of Gemini Spacecraft Crew Hatch Door Assembly Shingles and their associated blueprints be valued? The answer, supplied by six eager bidders, is $11,250.
(7) HELSINKI BOUND TRAVELER SEEKS ADVICE. Daniel Dern has asked me to put out his request for information, as in, “Seeking European SIM card suggestions for Helsinki Worldcon”.
I’m sure I’m not the only fan who’s not a frequent international (here, “not living in Finland”) traveler, trying to suss out a reasonable (as in “affordable” and “non-complex”) answer to having (moderate) cellular connectivity during and pre/post-Worldcon.
Here’s my particular constraints/deets (obviously, YMMV):
o Aside from Worldcon, looking at ~2 weeks in Denmark/Norway/Sweden.
o I’m in the US. However, since a) my carrier is AT&T, whose international rates are excessive, and/but b) not planning to bring my primary phone, so a) is moot. Yes, I know that being a T-Mobile’s customer would be a simple, goodly-priced answer, but that’s not an option here.
o I’ll be packing an unlocked Android phone. Probably my Moto G4, if I can find it. That’s what I’m looking for a pre-paid refillable SIM card for.
o Initial landing is Copenhagen.
o Main cellular uses: for brief local phone calls to restaurants, etc, and texting “where are you?” etc. Some data. Everything else can be done using Skype (and other VoiPs), etc over WiFi.
o Probably looking for a multi-country 30-day pass with 1 or 2GB data and some local phone, ideally unlimited texting.
Web search is turning up bunches of suggestions, but other than wading through comments, I have no clue. Experienced Eurotravellers, what say ye?
(8) TRIVIAL TRIVIA
There’s a lot to know about Forbidden Planet’s Robby the Robot/. Like, who was inside?
“One of the first things you do when you design a robot or monster,” [Art Director Robert] Kinoshita recalled in an interview, “is to try to confuse the audience as to where you put the guy inside. It’s difficult to completely fool an audience because they know there is someone inside. But if you make an effort to confuse them it can work in your favor and make the whole creation more believable. Robby was designed so that the man inside could see out of the voice box below the glass head.” Although many people were fooled by Robby’s disproportionate form, he was controlled by Frankie Darro from inside, and his voice was provided by talented actor and announcer Marvin Miller, who gave Robby that distinctive, sophisticated wit so loved and remembered by audiences everywhere.
(9) STALKING THE WILD GANACHE. Gourmet chocoholic Camestros Felapton gives Americans an advance look — “Review: Kinder Joy — eating refined sugar so you don’t have to”.
For those of us outside of the US, the Kinder Surprise egg is a familiar sight. A thin chocolate egg which encases a plastic capsule within which is a small toy. Often you have to assemble the toy and sometimes they are themed collectibles. The chocolate itself — well it’s is an acquired taste. Mass manufactured chocolate is one of those paradoxically regional things.
Americans have not had ready access to Kinder Surpises because of the dangers of them eating the encased toy accidentally. However, the more recent Kinder Joy egg has sidestepped the problem. It retains the egg shape but has two seperate halves — one with chocolate (sort of) in it and the other with a toy.
Wednesday I saw one in the wild and bought one and ate the bits you are supposed to eat. This is my story….
(10) INVISIBLE COVER REVEAL. Jim C. Hines and Mary Anne Mohanraj have revealed the cover and contributors list for Invisible 3, the third volume of collected stories shared by authors and fans “about the importance of representation in science fiction/fantasy.” See the image at the link.
The introduction is by K. Tempest Bradford. The contributors are Alex Conall, Alliah, Alyssa Hillary, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Brandon O’Brien, Carrie Sessarego, Chelsea Alejandro, Dawn Xiana Moon, Fran Wilde, Jaime O. Mayer, Jennifer Cross, Jeremy Sim, Jo Gerrard, Mari Kurisato, MT O’Shaughnessy, Rebecca Roanhorse, Sean Robinson, and T. S. Bazelli.
There isn’t an official release date yet. Hines says that will be coming very soon.
(11) TO INFINITY. Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s space opera collection Infinite Stars is available for pre-order. I thought the table of contents looked pretty interesting — it helps that Lois McMaster Bujold’s Borders of Infinity is one of my favorite sf stories.
Coming soon. Available now for preorders.
— Bryan Thomas Schmidt (@BryanThomasS) June 7, 2017
(12) BAD WRAP. Entertainment Weekly reports “The Mummy reboot slammed as ‘worst Tom Cruise movie ever’ by critics”. Quotes at the site.
After spending over three decades dazzling audiences across large-scale action-adventures on the big screen, Tom Cruise’s latest genre spectacle, The Mummy, is set to unravel in theaters this Friday. Movie critics, however, got a peek under wraps this week, as movie reviews for the blockbuster project debuted online Wednesday morning. The consensus? According to a vast majority of them, perhaps this romp should’ve remained buried.
(13) NAPOLEON DID SURRENDER. James Davis Nicoll sends along a link to The Watchtower restaurant website, a nerd-themed tavern in Waterloo, Ontario.
They have a fantasy-themed origin story.
Their plethora of monthly events includes Nerd Nite.
On the final Wednesday of every month, KW’s own Nerd Nite takes over the Watchtower. Join us for unique, informative, and entertaining presentations, trivia, and socializing in a fun, positive, and inclusive atmosphere. Presentations are done on a ton of nerdy topics!
They also have a series of YouTube videos of their barmaster making some of their signature drinks.
(14) ROLL THE BONES. One researcher says, “There is no Garden of Eden in Africa. Or if there is a Garden of Eden it’s the size of Africa. — “Oldest Homo sapiens fossils ever found push humanity’s birth back to 300,000 years” at USA Today.
Digging on a hilltop in the Sahara Desert, scientists have found the most ancient known members of our own species, undermining longstanding ideas about the origins of humanity.
The newfound Homo sapiens fossils — three young adults, one adolescent and a child of 7 or 8 — date back roughly 300,000 years, says a study in this week’s Nature. The next-oldest fossils of Homo sapiens, the scientific name for humans, are about 200,000 years old.
(15) NEST UNFEATHERED. The argument goes on: “Study casts doubt on the idea of ‘big fluffy T. rex'”
Primitive feathers have been identified in some members of the Tyrannosaur group, leading to speculation that the king of reptiles also sported feathers.
In the latest twist, researchers analysed skin impressions from a T.rex skeleton known as Wyrex, unearthed in Montana.
They also looked at relatives that roamed during the Late Cretaceous in Asia and other parts of North America, including Albertosaurus and Gorgosaurus.
Skin patches from the neck, pelvis and tail of Wyrex show scaly, reptilian-like skin, says a team led by Dr Phil Bell of the University of New England, Australia.
(16) BOND. 20 LB. BOND. Is your printer tattling on you? “Why printers add secret tracking dots”.
On 3 June, FBI agents arrived at the house of government contractor Reality Leigh Winner in Augusta, Georgia. They had spent the last two days investigating a top secret classified document that had allegedly been leaked to the press. In order to track down Winner, agents claim they had carefully studied copies of the document provided by online news site The Intercept and noticed creases suggesting that the pages had been printed and “hand-carried out of a secured space”.
In an affidavit, the FBI alleges that Winner admitted printing the National Security Agency (NSA) report and sending it to The Intercept. Shortly after a story about the leak was published, charges against Winner were made public.
At that point, experts began taking a closer look at the document, now publicly available on the web. They discovered something else of interest: yellow dots in a roughly rectangular pattern repeated throughout the page. They were barely visible to the naked eye, but formed a coded design. After some quick analysis, they seemed to reveal the exact date and time that the pages in question were printed: 06:20 on 9 May, 2017 — at least, this is likely to be the time on the printer’s internal clock at that moment. The dots also encode a serial number for the printer.
(17) A CLASSIC. Bruce Gillespie’s SF Commentary #94, 60,000 words of lively book talk and analysis, is available for download from eFanzines.com:
- Portrait (magazine-style) edition: http://efanzines.com/SFC/SFC94P.pdf
- Landscape (widescreen) edition: http://efanzines.com/SFC/SFC94L.pdf
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, David K.M. Klaus, Daniel Dern, Gideon Marcus, John King Tarpinian, Mark-kitteh, and James Davis Nicoll for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]
Paul Weimer’s DUFF trip took him to Lexicon in New Zealand this weekend, where he shot these photos of the 2017 Sir Julius Vogel Awards presentation.
- Back row: Dan Rabarts, Lee Murray, Octavia Cade, Keith Smith, Lynelle Howell, Publisher Marie Hodgkinson accepting for Emma Weakley, and AJ Fitzwater
- Front row: Jean Gilbert, Eileen Mueller, and Lynelle Howell’s daughter dressed as a “Living Sir Julius Vogel Award”.
Here are links to some more good photos in public posts on Facebook:
(1) SCORING WONDER WOMAN. Vox explains that Wonder Woman’s score/rating is 93% or 76%, depending on how you look at it, in “Why people are freaking out over Wonder Woman’s stellar Rotten Tomatoes score”
To be clear, a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating doesn’t mean that critics scored the movie at 97 on a scale of 1 to 100, or that Wonder Woman is a perfect movie — rather, it signifies that an overwhelming majority of critics have given the movie a positive review. The average critical rating for the movie is around a 7.6 out of 10 according to Rotten Tomatoes, and a 76 according to Metacritic, both of which take into account any actual score, like a star rating or a letter grade, that a critic gave the movie.
(2) WORD PROBLEM. Or, for those of you who find a verbal response more helpful that a number, Gary Westfahl offers “A Working Model for Superhero Films: A Review of Wonder Woman” at Locus Online.
One important lesson to learn seems obvious enough: since the DC superheroes first became popular because of their appearances in comic books, filmmakers should generally remain faithful to the contents and spirit of their original adventures. One of the irksome aspects of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was his willingness to tinker with Superman’s and Batman’s back stories and ignore facets of their established characters, so that one watches these films regularly thinking, “Superman would never do that,” or “Batman would never do that.” In contrast, though Snyder is co-credited with Wonder Woman‘s story, its other writers — Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs — must be primarily credited with a film that, with minor changes to be noted, is remarkably faithful to the longstanding traditions of Wonder Woman (even though she is never called Wonder Woman in the film), projecting a strong awareness and respect for the three aspects of the heroine that make her almost unique (and her gender, though relevant, is not the most significant issue).
(3) OMNI FOR SALE — BUT SHOULD IT BE? The entire run of Omni magazine is available for purchase from Amazon for $2.99/issue (or free if you have Kindle Unlimited.) — see Omni archive.
But SFWA President Cat Rambo points out there are unanswered questions about the rights to market the fiction in these issues:
Be aware that there’s some questions about those runs of Omni. While the nonfiction seems to have been often work for hire, I don’t believe that’s true of the fiction, and I also don’t think they’re paying the writers of that fiction. At least, they have not replied to repeated and increasingly pointed queries on my part about it. I’ve asked affected fiction writers to mail me if they know their work has been stolen by these folk.
(4) GET OUT THE KLEENEX. The New York Times debuted its feature New York Stories by getting some artists (including Tom Gauld) to draw header illustrations for selected articles.
First one I read was the lost dog story — “World (or at Least Brooklyn) Stops for Lost Dog” by reporter Andy Newman. Big tearjerker.
Bailey, a 2½-year-old goldendoodle, lived a placid, largely uneventful life on a block of handsome brownstones in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, until 7:15 on the morning of Oct. 24.
That was when her owner leashed her to a metal chair outside Henry’s Local, a coffee shop on Henry Street, and went in for an iced latte.
Another customer entered the cafe. Bailey, startled, jumped to the side. The chair crashed to the sidewalk. The noise spooked Bailey further.
She bolted — down Henry Street, dragging the clattering chair behind her, with her owner, Orna Le Pape, in pursuit, yelling: “Bailey, stop! No! No!”
The NYT allows ten free articles before you a paywall. But there are ways around that, as you probably know.
(5) HARRY POTTER FAN FILM. ScienceFiction.com interestingly reports, “Warner Bros. Okays ‘Harry Potter’ Fan Film ‘Voldemort: Origins Of The Heir’”. The spectacular-looking trailer was linked in the Scroll the other day — now it looks like the makers will be allowed to do their feature.
But considering that this borders on copyright infringement, this trend has caused studios much alarm and has even caused some to call in the lawyers. For example, CBS and Paramount went after a ’Star Trek’ fan film titled ‘Axanar’ and tied that production in litigation for over a year. Eventually, things settled down and the filmmakers were allowed to proceed with their project with certain conditions, but it set a precedent for studios and future fan films that have recently played out with Warner Bros. and a ‘Harry Potter’ fan film titled ‘Voldemort: Origins of the Heir’. Luckily, just as with the ‘Star Trek’ production, it would seem that the studio has given the fans their blessing to move forward with their labor of love.
While speaking with Polygon, ‘Origins of the Heir’ co-director Gianmaria Pezzato of Tryangle Films revealed that after WB had their Kickstarter campaign shut down in July 2016, the two parties came to some kind of agreement that would allow Pezzato, co-director Stefano Prestia, and the whole crew to continue their work. However, there were some conditions:
“We had a private and confidential discussion with Warner Bros who contacted us during the period of the crowdfunding campaign. The only thing we can say is that they let us proceed with the film, in a non profit way, obviously.”
With WB’s blessing, Tyrangle is back in business. It’s a good thing too because their film looks really awesome. I mean, when fans can create a House Elf as well as some of the best animators in the business, it would be a crime for a cease and desist to keep the movie from coming to fruition.
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY
- June 3, 1965 — Astronaut Edward H. White II was the first American to perform a “spacewalk” when he stepped outside of his spacecraft
(7) YESTERDAY IN HISTORY
- June 2, 1950 — Influential sci-fi film Rocketship X-M opens in theaters.
- June 2, 1989 — Nicolas Cage stars in horror comedy Vampire’s Kiss.
(8) YESTERDAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- Born June 2, 1915 — Lester del Rey
(9) WATCH FOR THE BLINK. Offering more participation than SETI@home: “Citizen Scientists Comb Images To Find An ‘Overexcited Planet'”.
“Maybe Mesklin is out there just waiting to be discovered,” comments Chip Hitchcock.
Professional astronomers have been turning to the public for help with their research. So far, these “citizen scientists” have helped characterize distant galaxies and discovered gravitation lenses.
Now you can add finding brown dwarfs to the list. An article just published in Astrophysical Journal Letters describes a brown dwarf discovered with the help of four volunteers through an online crowdsourced search.
(10) EARTH, THE FINAL FRONTIER. “This is exactly what Captain Kirk was portrayed as trying to do in the beginning scenes of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier,” David Klaus points out. “I didn’t think it actually was physically possible to do, and the ability to make such a climb was part of the fictional Star Trek future.” — “‘Free solo’ climber conquers El Capitan without rope, safety gear”
Alex Honnold, a celebrated 31-year-old rock climber, on Saturday became the first person to scale Yosemite’s El Capitan, a nearly 3,000-foot granite wall, without using ropes or other safety gear, according to National Geographic…
(11) DUFF DOINGS. Down Under Fan Fund delegate Paul Weimer tweets more highlights from the New Zealand leg of his trip.
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) June 3, 2017
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) June 3, 2017
Good morning from Taupo pic.twitter.com/ey9rwguyZ8
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) June 3, 2017
(12) WISCON. In “That was Wiscon!”, Sigrid Ellis has both favorable things to say about the con, and some other specific observations bracketed by the following excerpts.
Wiscon still has room for improvement in areas of social justice, but this year was certainly better than five years ago. I think it helps that a number of people No Longer Feel Welcome at Wiscon and have decided to go to OddCon instead. Which, is sad for people who liked OddCon, but good for Wiscon.€¦
(A note on Not Feeling Welcome at Wiscon: If you no longer feel welcome at Wiscon because people criticize you and tell you you are saying and doing bigoted things, perhaps you should examine that in your heart. Listen. Read up on the topic. Challenge your views. Think on it a while. Perhaps, apologize. Perhaps grow as a person. Or, you know, clutch your bigotry to your chest and flounce away on a cloud of hurt privilege and drama. That’s a choice you can make, sure, why not.)
(12) TO SEE THE UNSEEN. The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer discusses how children’s book author Marissa Moss decided to make her memoir of her husband’s death, Last Things, a graphic novel in order to best convey her emotions about her husband’s death: “In graphic memoir, children’s author aims to show adults what they don’t see about death”.
…Part of the problem, Moss said, is that American culture isolates death from everyday life, cordoning off the messy experiences of illness and grief in hospital rooms and nursing homes. Most people don’t see the ill or bereaved until they become the mourner themselves.
With her memoir “Last Things,” published last month, Moss becomes one of a growing group of writers attempting to expose these hidden yet universal processes. From tell-all bloggers posting about every stage of sickness and death, to Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s “Option B” published after her husband’s untimely death, Moss joins in to illustrate grief — in her case, quite literally.
A prolific children’s book writer best known for her popular “Amelia’s Notebook” series, Moss has been telling stories through a mix of words and pictures for decades. But when she first sat down to create a memoir of Harvey’s illness, she only wrote prose.
Publishers balked. …
(13) CLUB MEETING. The Hugo Award Book Club takes up a popular sequel in “A Closed And Common Orbit — Book Club Review”.
Generic Space Setting
Becky Chambers’ strength is not world building. Both of her books so far feature fungible aliens from central casting, off-the-shelf worlds, and a feel-good interstellar society not dissimilar from the United Federation of Planets.
But this is actually not a bad thing, since digging into the world doesn’t detract from what’s important in the book: the relationships and the characters. Numerous novels in recent years have been marred by too much focus on the universe, and not enough focus on the characters.
(14) WE’RE HERE. At The Bearded Trio Paul Gibbs studies the only Name of the Game episode anybody still cares about: “L.A. 2017: A look back at Steven Spielberg’s Early Sci-Fi Time Travel Movie”.
When I first [heard] two years ago that Steven Spielberg had directed a science fiction TV movie called L.A. 2017, I was puzzled. How could I not know about this? I pride myself on my extensive knowledge of Spielberg’s work, and even on the relative completeness of my personal collection (when people try to catch me by asking if the collection includes Duel, I smirk and reply it even includes the far lesser known Something Evil.). How could i not be aware of this one?
(15) TOY TIME. Forbes writer Ollie Barder is excited: “Bandai Unveils Its Perfect Grade Millennium Falcon Model Kit And It Is No Hunk Of Junk”.
For Star Wars fans, Bandai is now the go to resource for the best toys and model kits for the entire franchise. Its latest offering though is all kinds of epic; a massive 1/72 scale Perfect Grade Millennium Falcon kit.
If you are not familiar with the term “Perfect Grade“ that comes from Bandai’s Gundam model kit, or gunpla, line. It’s the highest grade in terms of complexity, gimmicks, detailing, scale and price. The results are usually incredibly though and I have availed myself of a few of these kits over the years, so I speak from experience here.
The size thing is a big point here, as this kit is massive. It’s also gimmick ridden and full of lights and a removable cockpit cover.
[Thanks to David K.M. Klaus, Chip Hitchcock, Joe H., Cat Rambo, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]