The European Science Fiction Society presented the 2017 ESFS Awards at the 39th Eurocon in Dortmund, Germany on June 17.
(1) DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE. Decided this weekend, the 2019 Eurocon will be hosted by TitanCon 2019 in Belfast, NI. The con is scheduled to complement the dates of the expected Dublin Worldcon.
Our proposed dates are Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 August 2019. That is the weekend after the proposed WorldCon (currently being bid for and running unopposed) to be held in Dublin, Ireland on Thursday 15 to Monday 19 August 2019.
We will also be running our traditional TitanCon Coach Tour on Sunday 25 August visiting beautiful locations around Northern Ireland that have been used as filming locations in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
(2) PHONE CALL FROM THE PAST. Today Galactic Journey had its inaugural video conference call from 1962. Sartorially splendid in his white dress shirt and narrow black tie, The Traveler, Gideon Marcus, shared the split screen with Janice Marcus (his editor), and Professor Elliott (whose blog promises to “Document the obscure”).
He started with a recap of significant genre news, including the new issue of F&SF with Truman Capote and Zenna Henderson on the cover, and developments in film, music, and gaming, like Avalon Hill’s recently released Waterloo.
The Traveler masterfully rolled clips like the technical director in those control booth scenes from My Favorite Year, showing us a performance by the band The Shadows (some of them smoking onscreen) and the trailer for Journey to the Seventh Planet (which surprisingly did not end John Agar’s movie career on the spot).
The trio also took questions from the audience — there were about 18 of us on the call — and gave us 1962’s perspective on dogs in space and something called the Radar Range.
If you’d like to take your own trip 55 years back in time, the session was recorded — here’s the link.
(3) FAUX DINO. The Nerdist admires Neil deGrasse Tyson despite his earnestness about certain topics. “GODZILLA Gets Debunked by Neil deGrasse Tyson”.
But, let’s face it, sometimes the good Dr. Tyson is kind of a killjoy. Especially when it comes to debunking the scientific possibility of your favorite science-fiction franchises. He loves to be that guy, the one to tell you how Superman couldn’t really exist, or how this or that sci-fi movie got it wrong, etc. He loves to be Captain Buzzkill sometimes.
The latest example of Neil deGrasse Tyson telling us how one of our favorite science fiction icons simply could never be real happened on his Star Talk radio podcast. According to Tyson, beloved kaiju Godzilla simply could not exist in the real world, because the laws of physics could not allow for it to happen. A giant creature the size of Godzilla would be way too heavy for his limbs, and would therefore collapse under his own weight. Tyson kills your dreams of Godzilla ever emerging from the oceans in this clip from his Star Talk Radio podcast, which you can watch down below….
(4) MIND IN A VACUUM. Or maybe we would find a little of Tyson’s earnestness useful here — “Is the Universe Conscious?”
For centuries, modern science has been shrinking the gap between humans and the rest of the universe, from Isaac Newton showing that one set of laws applies equally to falling apples and orbiting moons to Carl Sagan intoning that “we are made of star stuff” — that the atoms of our bodies were literally forged in the nuclear furnaces of other stars.
Even in that context, Gregory Matloff’s ideas are shocking. The veteran physicist at New York City College of Technology recently published a paper arguing that humans may be like the rest of the universe in substance and in spirit. A “proto-consciousness field” could extend through all of space, he argues. Stars may be thinking entities that deliberately control their paths. Put more bluntly, the entire cosmos may be self-aware.
The notion of a conscious universe sounds more like the stuff of late night TV than academic journals. Called by its formal academic name, though, “panpsychism” turns out to have prominent supporters in a variety of fields
(5) WTF? That was my first thought upon reading in Variety that YouTube personality Lilly Singh has been cast in HBO’s adaptation of Fahrenheit 451.
Based on Ray Bradbury’s classic novel of the same name, the show depicts a future where media is an opiate, history is outlawed, and “firemen” burn books — Montag, a young fireman, forsakes his world, battles his mentor, and struggles to regain his humanity.
Singh will play Raven, a tabloid vlogger who works with the fire department to spread the ministry’s propaganda by broadcasting their book-burning raids to fans. She joins an A-list cast that includes Michael B. Jordan, Michael Shannon, and “The Mummy” star Sofia Boutella.
I’ve watched a lot of her comedy videos — my daughter is a fan — and she’s talented and funny. This sounds like she’s being given a dramatic role, so we’ll have to see how well that works. I don’t automatically assume Ray Bradbury would be unhappy with the choice — after all, he seemed to like Rachel Bloom’s YouTube act well enough.
(6) MORE RAY TO SHARE. BBC’s Radio 3 program The Essay ends a five-part series with “Ray Bradbury’s The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit”.
Five writers recall clothes and accessories that resonate vividly in works of art: The series started with a white dress and ends with a pristine white suit …
Author and journalist John Walsh describes the transformative powers of a ‘two-piece’, worn in turn by a motley bunch of blokes in Los Angeles and celebrated in Ray Bradbury’s story ‘The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit’.
(7) TOUPONCE OBIT. Ray Bradbury scholar William F. Touponce (1948-2017) died of a heart attack on June 15, His colleague at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, Jonathan Eller, has posted a thorough and heartfelt appreciation.
Our good colleague, steadfast friend, and long-time Ray Bradbury scholar William F. Touponce passed away from a sudden heart attack on 15 June 2017. Bill joined the faculty of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts in Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 1985, and attained the academic rank of Professor of English and adjunct Professor of American Studies during his twenty-seven years with the school. In 2007 Bill co-founded the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and became the Center’s first director. During his four-year tenure as director, he established The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury and a scholarly annual, The New Ray Bradbury Review. He retired from the faculty in 2012, but continued to pursue his scholarly interests as Professor Emeritus right up until his passing.
…During the first decade of the new century Bill wrote introductions and volume essays for seven special limited press editions of Bradbury’s works; these included an edition of the pre-production text of Ray Bradbury’s screenplay for the 1956 Warner Brothers production of Moby Dick (2008). In 2007, we co-founded the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies within the Institute for American Thought, and Bill agreed to take on the direction of this new and exciting enterprise. During his four-year tenure as director, he established The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury multi-volume series, and a scholarly journal, The New Ray Bradbury Review.
(8) FURST OBIT. Stephen Furst, best known to fans as Vir Cotto on Babylon 5 has passed away. The LA Times obituary sums up his career.
Furst’s breakout role was as Dorfman in the 1978 film “Animal House,” which also marked the film debut of “Saturday Night Live” star John Belushi.
…He was later a regular on “Babylon 5” and “St. Elsewhere.”
In addition to his acting career, Furst directed several low-budget films, and was a producer on the 2009 drama “My Sister’s Keeper,” starring Cameron Diaz.
(9) TODAY’S FANNISH ANNIVERSARY
- June 17, 1977 — David D. Levine attends his first science fiction convention.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
- Born June 17, 1931 — Dean Ing
- Born June 17, 1953 — Phyllis Weinberg
(11) CARRIE FISHER REPORT. An Associated Press story by Anthony McCartney, “Coroner Releases Results of Carrie Fisher Death Inquiry”, says the coroner determined that Fisher died from a variety of causes, one of which was sleep apnea, “but investigators haven’t been able to pinpoint an exact cause.”
Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnea and a combination of other factors, but investigators were not able to pinpoint an exact cause, coroner’s officials said Friday.
Among the factors that contributed to Fisher’s death was buildup of fatty tissue in the walls of her arteries, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said in a news release late Friday. The release states that the “Star Wars” actress showed signs of having taken multiple drugs, but investigators could not determine whether they contributed to her death in December.
Her manner of death would be listed as undetermined, the agency said.
(12) FOLLOW THE MONEY. Kara Dennison returns with “CONVENTIONS: Where Does Your Money Go?”
Artists and vendors, this is for you. This is a whole other concept of paying for cons.
I’ve worked both as a seller in Artist Alley and an AA head, so I’ve seen a lot of sides of this. Tables at events can go for anywhere from $40 to (apparently now) $300, all for a six-foot table with a hotel tablecloth and two chairs. And seriously what the heck.
Here’s what the heck.
For starters, renting those tables actually costs the cons money. Yeah. To take them out of storage and use them for three days, the con has to pay the hotel. That’s a part of the contract. Each hotel chain will have their own version of pricing for that, but that fits into your fee.
Beyond that, the price is reflective of the fee to rent the space the Alley is in, as well as the sort of business the con believes you can expect to do. Not a guarantee, but an estimate. If you shell out $100 for a table, that’s in essence the con saying “A good vendor doing their part can expect to take home at least $100 this weekend.”
To be fair, some cons out there really overestimate themselves. The best way to make sure a price is fair is to talk to regular vendors at the event (in your medium, if possible) and see if it evens out. I’m describing to you how a scrupulous Artist Alley works — if something seems off, do your homework.
That said, there are some cons that know they are too small to bring the goods and will actually cut their prices or waive the table rental fee. If a table is extremely low-priced at an event, it’s not because all tables should be that cheap — it’s because the staff is aware of their attendance size and trying to be fair to artists. Artist Alley fees should be judged against their con, not against each other.
(13) THE X-PERSON FRANCHISE. The word from Vanity Fair — ” Sophie Turner Is Now Officially the Future of the X-Men Franchise”.
Fox today confirmed a number of suspicions that had been swirling around the next installment of the central X-Men franchise. For the foreseeable future, just like Cyclops, the mutants will be seeing red as Jessica Chastain joins Sophie Turner at the center of X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Doubling down on the investment the studio made in Turner as head of the new class of mutants in X-Men: Apocalypse, the sequel is now, Deadline reports, officially subtitled Dark Phoenix–a reference to a famous comic storyline involving her powerful character, Jean Grey, breaking bad. It’s the same storyline X-Men explored with Famke Janssen as Jean Grey in the weakest installment of the franchise: The Last Stand. To lean in on a storyline from the least-loved X-Men film and draft Turner, whose debut in the franchise certainly didn’t make Apocalypse any better, is a risky choice. But Fox is full of gambles that pay off these days (see: Deadpool, Logan) and will shore up this foray into bold, new (yet familiar) territory with a trio of returning stars.
(14) SECURITY. China launches a quantum comsat.
The term “spy satellite” has taken on a new meaning with the successful test of a novel Chinese spacecraft.
The mission can provide unbreakable secret communications channels, in principle, using the laws of quantum science.
Called Micius, the satellite is the first of its kind and was launched from the Gobi desert last August.
It is all part of a push towards a new kind of internet that would be far more secure than the one we use now.
The experimental Micius, with its delicate optical equipment, continues to circle the Earth, transmitting to two mountain-top Earth bases separated by 1,200km.
(15) GLOWBOT. Swimming robot to investigate Fukushima: “‘Little sunfish’ robot to swim in to Fukushima reactor”.
It’ll be a tough journey – previous robots sent in to the ruined nuclear reactor didn’t make it back.
(16) A PIXAR FRANCHISE KEEPS ROLLING. NPR likes Cars 3: “‘Cars 3’ Comes Roaring Back With A Swapped-Out (Story) Engine”
The multi-billion-dollar success of Pixar’s Cars series can be chalked up to a great many things, but don’t discount the little vroom-vroom frowns the cars make with their dashboard eyes when they want to go fast. When Lightning McQueen, the Owen Wilson-voiced stock car with the bright flames decal, guns for pole position, he squints so much that any human who might be driving him wouldn’t be able to see the road. But of course there are no humans in this world, unless you count the invisible giant kids who must be steering the racers with their hands and making the motor sounds themselves.
That enduring childhood (typically but by no means exclusively boyhood) fascination with moving vehicles has propped up this franchise for the backseat set, seeing it through three feature-length films, a spin-off Planes series, and countless toy tie-ins.
(17) IAMBIC TWO-AND-A-HALF-METER. The Science Fiction Poetry Association is having a half-price sale on their t-shirts.
(18) FEWER NAUGHTY BITS. Row over cleaned-up movies: “Sony sanitising films row – the story so far”.
If you’ve been on a long-haul flight recently, you might have noticed the films being shown were a bit different from their cinematic release.
They’re usually a bit shorter as they’ve been made family-friendly for any young eyes who can see your screen.
Earlier this month Sony decided to make these sanitised versions available to download at home, choosing 24 titles including Ghostbusters and Easy A.
But now they’ve had to backtrack after filmmakers complained about the move.
(19) SUBCONTINENTAL SUBCREATOR. “India’s Tolkien”: “Amish Tripathi: ‘India’s Tolkien’ of Hindu mythology”. I wonder, has he been introduced to “America’s Tolkien”?
Meet best-selling Indian author Amish Tripathi who has just released his much anticipated fifth book, Sita: Warrior of Mithila, that re-imagines the life of the Hindu goddess from the epic Ramayan.
With four million copies in print, the former banker, who has successfully turned centuries-old mythological tales into bestselling works of fiction, is one of the highest selling Indian authors writing in English.
Chip Hitchcock says “India has snobs just like the west: ‘Although critics say his books lack any literary merit, they admire him for his ability to “create completely new stories from old ones”.’“
(20) PIONEERING. Oregon breaks new legal ground in personal identification — “Male, female or X? Oregon adds third option to driver’s licenses”.
Oregon on Thursday became the first U.S. state to allow residents to identify as neither male nor female on state driver’s licenses, a decision that transgender advocates called a victory for civil rights.
Under a policy unanimously adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission, residents can choose to have an “X,” for non-specified, displayed on their driver’s license or identification cards rather than an “M” for male or “F” for female.
The policy change was cheered by supporters as a major step in expanding legal recognition and civil rights for people who do not identify as male or female. This includes individuals with both male and female anatomies, people without a gender identity and those who identify as a different gender than listed on their birth certificate.
(21) BRONZE AGE. Is this the style of armor Patroclus wore? “Dendra panoply, the oldest body Armour from the Mycenaean era”.
The earliest sample of a full body armor in Greece was found at the Dendra archeological site, located in the Argolis area. Discovered in May 1960 by Swedish archaeologists, the discovered breastplate, and backplate made of bronze, date to the 15th century BC. These pieces are part of the Dendra full-body armor, composed of fifteen pieces, including leg protectors, arm-guards, helmet and the parts mentioned above. The pieces were held together with leather lacing, covering the entire body of the soldier.
The breastplate and backplate are linked on the left side by a hinge, and together with the large shoulder protectors, these pieces consisted the upper body armor. Two triangular-shaped plates are attached to the shoulder protectors, providing protection for the armpits. The armor also includes a neck protection plate. Three pairs of curved shields hang from the waist, giving protection to the groin and the thighs. This artifact is unique for its armguard, and as for the leg protectors, it is assumed that they were made of linen and are a standard piece of armor seen in illustrations from the Mycenaean age.
(22) EMISSION IMPOSSIBLE. Speaking of Homeric — what about Our Wombat!
ME: ohshit ohshit turtle in traffic
ANKLE: You do what you gotta do.
ANKLE: I know what I signed up for.
ME: I love you, man
— The Wombat Resists (@UrsulaV) June 16, 2017
Turtle is safely on the other side of the highway, adrenaline wearing off, I am in a pretty damn fine amount of pain, but ankle did good.
— The Wombat Resists (@UrsulaV) June 16, 2017
Also I'm covered in turtle urine, but that probably goes without saying.
— The Wombat Resists (@UrsulaV) June 16, 2017
[Thanks to Joe H., Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Rich Lynch, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, and rcade for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
I am sad to announce that I won’t be appearing at the upcoming Odysseycon. I feel a debt of conscience to guests of this con and to others whose complaints of harassment (and worse) at gatherings in our field have gone unheard and unresolved.
At the same time it seems to me and Deb that the issues are complicated and a lot of people must be having a very miserable time right now. We don’t want to contribute to the heat, and hope that things can be improved for everyone in the future. Odysseycon have been straightforward in their dealings with us, and gracious when we withdrew. I wish to extend my apologies to any members of the convention who will be disappointed by my not attending.
(2) TOOLMAKING. And today, Monica Valentinelli is looking for knowledge to make cons safer.
How can we…
- …teach people not to harass?
- …teach allies what to watch out for?
- …foster healthy and safe communication about harassment?
- …teach people how best to enforce harassment policies?
- …address safety concerns that are not part of an official claim?
- …share experiences between conventions so each con doesn’t live in a silo?
- …implement better documentation policies so materials aren’t lost?
- …help allies understand how to support victims?
- …help victims have the confidence to come forward?
- …guarantee that personal e-mails will not be posted publicly?
- …help victims/allies mitigate the losses that come from making hard decisions?
- …teach con goers how we take their safety seriously?
- …teach con goers what to do next if something should happen?
- …address what proper resolutions are and how they should be implemented?
- …leverage our social communities better to review our convention attendance?
- …help con runners decide how to implement training for their staff?
- …help con runners understand how important it is to have the right people on staff to handle this?
I am 100% certain there are other questions I am missing, as I am speaking through the lens of my experiences. Regardless, I feel that the first step is to ask questions like these before they can be answered. Then, we need to have those hard discussions to take additional steps.
(3) TALKIN’ ABOUT M-MY REGENERATION. Beware, this will make your head spin — a video of every Doctor Who regeneration at Yahoo! TV. (The only bad part is you have to watch at least 30 seconds of a commercial before the video begins.)
(4) CARRIE FISHER. Is there anybody who hasn’t seen the Star Wars tribute to Carrie Fisher yet? Or who doesn’t want to watch it a couple more times?
(5) ROLLING IN THE GREEN. You might have said that’s a lot of lettuce to ask for a 50 pence coin, but the Royal Mint’s offering of a Peter Rabbit 2017 UK 50p BU Coin for £10 has sold out.
The Mint also put out a set of coins in 2016 to celebrate Potters’ 150th anniversary –
Features four coins depicting some of her best-loved characters: Peter Rabbit, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck and Squirrel Nutkin
(6) PKD FILM FEST. The fifth annual Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival takes place May 25-30 in New York City.
The program showcases over 100 films, premieres, panels, virtual reality demonstrations and celebratory gatherings as the festival continues its salute to the master of science fiction, Philip K. Dick.
Highlights include the world premieres of Maryanne Bilham-Knight’s A Life Gone Wild (2016) and Jean-Philippe Lopez’s III (2016), North American premiere of Adam Stern’s FTL (2017), USA premieres of Caroline Cory’s Gods Among Us: The Science of Contact (2016), Rasmus Tirzitis’s Vilsen (2016) and Ove Valeskog’s Huldra: Lady of the Forest (2016), east coast premieres of Niall Doran/Justin Smith’s Sixteen Legs (2016) and Renchao Wang’s The End of the Lonely Island (2016) and NYC premiere of Bruce Wemple’s The Tomorrow Paradox (2016).
The festival will also launch PKD Talks: Conversations with Luminaries, Visionaries and Mavericks, a new panel series discussing scientific, inspirational and world changing themes with industry professionals including author and physicist Dr. Ronald Mallett, acclaimed directors Maryanne Bilham-Knight and Caroline Cory, web host Joe Cerletti, astrophysicist Rudy Schild, computer scientist Jacques Vallee and more distinguished guests.
Check out the full schedule here.
(7) ATWOOD STORY ON TV. The Verge has seen the first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale and gives the show an enthusiastic endorsement.
But The Handmaid’s Tale is more than a political jab. In the first three episodes provided to reviewers, it’s a dystopia that manages to stand out in a television landscape already full of apocalypses and oppressive imaginary societies. It’s a colorful TV series about a woman negotiating domestic drama, and judging from its initial installments — all three of which will be released simultaneously on April 26th — it might be one of the darkest shows on television this year.
(8) THE EVENING NEWS. Problems with a furry convention have made it onto TV. That’s not surprising anymore, is it? But this is still a story that makes a fan’s hair (or fur) stand on end — “Amid allegations of unpaid taxes, neo-Nazism, and sex offender, Denver furry convention canceled”.
Head of company that operates RMFC exposed
But the letter was not signed by an attorney, nor did it contain language or punctuation consistent with those typically used by lawyers. But it did contain a red thumb print, sometimes associated with a movement the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies as extremists.
And Kendal Emery, the man who signed the letter and the self-identified “Chief Executive Contract Law Officer” for Midwest Anthropomorphic Arts Corporation, is a convicted sex offender.
The Arvada man pleaded no contest to three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in 1993 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, near his native Carlsbad. New Mexico court records show he served at least probation and underwent out-patient counseling as part of his sentence.
But that isn’t the end of Emery’s issues: though he registered Mid America Anthropomorphic and Art Corporation in Colorado in 2005 at an Aurora address and also with the IRS, the IRS revoked the company’s status in May 2011 and has not reinstated it
(9) WHAT MAKES A WRITER REAL. Sarah A. Hoyt’s inspirational column “You’re real” ends:
A contract won’t make you real. Writing more will make you real. Indie and traditional both thrive on content. The more you write the more you’ll make. And in indie, this is all in your hands. You don’t need anyone to give you permission.
Go write and publish. Stop obsessing about being real. I say you’re real, and in proof thereof, I’ve made the following certificate, which you can download, fill in and print at your convenience.
STOP GIVING AWAY part of you income for nothing, particularly to small presses of dubious value. Write. Publish. Repeat. Become a professional.
(10) EUROCON NEWS. The first announcement with details of 2017 ESFS Business Meeting has been made available on the European SF Society website.
The ESFS General Meeting for 2017 will take place at U-Con, the Dortmund (Germany) Eurocon, on June 16-18.
(11) TODAY’S DAY
By far the best way to celebrate Scrabble Day is with Oxyphenbutazone. That’s right, Oxyphenbutazone is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug – you already knew that – but it’s also the word that, in a single play, can give the highest possible score on a Scrabble board. The chances of it ever coming up are similar to the chances of winning this week’s lottery, as you’d need to join all seven of your tiles with eight already on the board across three triple word scores. Still, it’d be worth waiting for, scoring 1,778 points. You’d almost certainly win the game with that.
(12) TODAY IN ALTERNATE HISTORY
April 13, 1967 — In another reality, 50 years ago today would have been the end of Star Trek. The final new first-season episode, “Operation — Annihilate!,” aired April 13, 1967. Only an unprecedented letter-writing campaign, spearheaded by Bjo Trimble and other science-fiction writers and fans, got the show renewed for a second season.
(13) TODAY IN REGULAR OLD HISTORY
April 13, 1970 — …disaster strikes 200,000 miles from Earth when oxygen tank No. 2 blows up on Apollo 13, the third manned lunar landing mission. Astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, and Fred W. Haise had left Earth two days before for the Fra Mauro highlands of the moon but were forced to turn their attention to simply making it home alive.
(14) MATH OF KHAN. Why, this is heresy! Space.com says “Redshirts Aren’t Likeliest to Die – and Other ‘Star Trek’ Math Lessons”.
Grime first focused on an age-old assertion: that crewmembers wearing red shirts in the original “Star Trek” series, which denote working in engineering or security, are far more likely to be killed off than any other shirt color.
That claim, in fact, is false — more “redshirts” died on-screen than any other crew type (10 gold-shirted, which are command personnel; eight blue-shirted, who are scientists; and 25 red-shirted, Grime said), but that calculation fails to take into account that there are far more redshirts on the ship to start with than any other crew type.
In other words, we’re looking at the probability that you are a redshirt if you die (58 percent) — what we want to know is the probability that you die if you’re a redshirt, Grime said.
Grime used the “Star Trek” technical manual to find out how many of each crew type there were, which painted a different picture: out of 239 redshirts, 25 died, which is 10 percent. Out of 55 goldshirts, 10 died, which is 18 percent! So you are more likely to die as a goldshirt, Grime said.
Oh, so it’s actually true – this is just a lawyerly exercise in lying with statistics.
If you have a little time on your hands I commend this excellent Strange Horizons article by Erin Horakova on our changing (and inaccurate) perception of the character of Captain Kirk…
Regardless of the quality of the individual episodes, though, I quickly found myself wondering when this legendary bad Shatner was going to turn up, because all I was seeing – right from the outset – was an efficient and convincing portrayal of a man in a complex, demanding position of authority. Shatner isn’t just much better at playing Kirk than the popular myth would have it, but the character itself is also much more plausibly drawn than the supposed brash womaniser of the insidious meme.
Erin Horakova dismantles this false Kirk in expert fashion, while lobbing a few well-earned potshots at the reboot films.
(16) THE NEW NUMBER SIX. John Scalzi continues Reader Request Week with “#6: Reading as Performance”.
- Recognize it is a performance. Which is to say that you can’t just go in front of a room, mumble your way through fifteen minutes of text, answer a couple of questions and go home (I mean, you can, but it won’t turn out the way you want it to). You actually have to be up and on, from the moment you get to the event until the moment you’re done. Which is draining, but can also be fun. When you read, don’t just read the text, act it. When you’re answering questions, don’t answer quickly, answer completely. When you’re signing, work to make it so the person you’re signing for feels like that those 30 seconds with you is a pretty good 30 seconds of their life. Know all this going in, and prepare.
(17) WAITRESSING FOR GODOT. Ann Leckie was prompted by Scalzi’s post to add her own thoughts – “On Performance and Sincerity”.
Now as it happens, I have a tiny bit of theater experience, along with that music degree, so I’m actually pretty comfortable onstage. But you know what else I think has helped me–years of waiting tables. I am a serious introvert, but working at waiting tables gave me practice interacting with lots of strangers for hours at a time, keeping my demeanor pleasant and mostly cheerful. It’s practice that has stood me in good stead for a lot of my non-writing-related life, actually. In a lot of ways waiting tables can be a really miserable job, but that aspect of it, learning how to be “on” very pleasantly and confidently, has been super valuable to me.
(18) WHAT GOES UP… Just don’t ask for an explanation: “Mysterious X37-B ‘space plane’ stays in orbit for 677 days – and no one knows why”.
A mysterious robotic ‘space plane’ has now been in orbit for a record 677 days – and America is remaining silent about what it’s doing up there.
Observers have speculated that the Space Shuttle-esque vehicle might be designed to destroy satellites – or work as a ‘movable’ satellite itself.
(19) LOST BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. Evidently, Scotland’s witch prosecution records leave something to be desired. Atlas Obscura has the story — “Maggie Wall’s Memorial”.
A mysterious monument where a woman who records say never existed was burnt alive for being a witch.
…Outside of a small village of Dunning, nestled in the former parklands of Duncrub Castle, lies a monument. It’s a collection of stones about 20 feet high, topped with a cross and decorated with gifts left by visitors—pennies, feathers, shells, fluffy stuffed animals, and tiny tea candles. The stones bear the words in stark white lettering: “Maggie Wall burnt here 1657 as a witch.”
Scotland was home to nearly 3,800 people accused of witchcraft between 1500s and 1700s, the vast majority of whom were women. In the end, about 1,500 were murdered as a result of witch hunt inquisitions. However, mysteriously, there is no record of a woman named Maggie Wall being tried as a witch. What’s more, there’s no record of the monument itself until 1866, though a forest surrounding the monument called Maggie Walls Wood was documented as of 1829.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Michael J. Walsh, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Steven H Silver, and David Doering for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contirbuting editor of the day Rev. Bob.]
The European Science Fiction Society presented its 2016 Awards at Eurocon in Barcelona.
HALL OF FAME
BEST AUTHOR: Tom Crosshill (Latvia)
BEST ARTIST: Stephan Martinère (France)
BEST MAGAZINE: Bifrost (France)
BEST PUBLISHER: Ediciones B (Spain)
BEST PROMOTER: (Three-way tie) James Bacon (Ireland), Roberto Quaglia (Italy), Organizers of Archipelacon (Finland & Sweden)
BEST TRANSLATOR: Andrew Bromfield (United Kingdom)
- Orshulya Farynyak – Ukraine
- Felicidad Martínez – Spain
- Mark E. Pocha – Slovakia
- Alexandru Lamba – Romania
- Jan Hlávka and Jana Vybíralová- Czech Republic
- Maria Gyuzeleva – Bulgaria
- Kuschuj Nepoma – Russia
- Rui Ramos- Portugal
- Melanie Vogeltanz – Austria
- Juraj Beloševic – Croatia
- Maria Boyle- Ireland
SPIRIT OF DEDICATION AWARDS
BEST AUTHOR: Guillem López – (Spain)
BEST ARTIST: Kristina Bilota Toxicpanda (Croatia)
BEST FANZINE: SuperSonic (Spain)
BEST WEBSITE: Risingshadow (Finland)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION: (Tie) El Ministerio Del Tiempo/The Ministry of Time (Spain), The Shaman (Austria)
BEST CREATOR OF CHILDREN’S SCIENCE FICTION OR FANTASY BOOKS: Sofia Rhei (Spain)
HONORARY AWARD EUROPEAN GRAND MASTER: Herbert W. Franke (Austria)
A French bid, running unopposed, was voted the right to host the 2018 event at the Barcelona Eurocon this weekend.
Nemo 2018 will be held in Amiens, France, July 19-22, 2018.
Rates rise tomorrow, November 7, from €30 to €35.
[Thanks to Dave Langford and Karl-Johan Norén for the story.]
(1) YOUR ONE-MAN WIKI. Remember, Camestros Felapton is reading Infogalactic so you don’t have to – “Say, Camestros what’s your new fave Voxopedia page? [Update]”.
Why, I’m glad you asked that question, disembodied voice that writes the blogpost titles. My new favourite Voxopediapage is:
LIST OF ASIAN MEN’S INVENTIONS: …
And that’s not all – Elsewhere on Voxopedia more women have gone missing:
Kitty Joyner is the lead picture for ‘engineer’ on the Wikipedia page
Look, she has a slide rule and everything! Sadly her presence was just too confusing for the poor folks at Voxopedia. Maybe that big circular gizmo in the background didn’t look pi=4 enough. So, to prevent fainting and to protect sensitive dispositions, Joyner has been replaced by Oliver Heaviside.
(2) BIG BRAIN THEOREM. TV Guide’s Liam Matthews ranks “The 11 Smartest People Who Have Appeared on The Big Bang Theory“.
The Big Bang Theory is a show about scientists, and it bolsters its academic credibility by bringing in guest stars from the world (galaxy?) of science to play themselves, as well as casting actors with graduate degrees to play characters on the show.
I’m not qualified to rank these guest stars on smarts, because I failed physics in high school. But as a professional clickbaiter, I am qualified to rank them based on how annoying I find their public persona. So without further ado, here are the 11 smartest people who have appeared on The Big Bang Theory, ranked from most to least annoying.
(3) KELLY FREAS. The Space:1970 blog posted “Kelly Freas STAR TREK Portfolio (1976)”.
In 1976, legendary science fiction illustrator, Frank Kelly Freas, published the Star Trek Portfolio, featuring gorgeous charcoal portraits of the officers of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Needless to say, it’s a highly-desired collectible these days.
JJ says, “I think that Spock bears a strong resemblance to Tommy Lee Jones! Of course, in 1976, Tommy Lee Jones looked like this…”
(4) VERBAL ENGINEER. Popular Science interviews Ken Liu:
In your Dandelion Dynasty series, you reimagine transportation, military hardware and the rest of the technological landscape in a style you’ve come to call “silkpunk.” How did you come up with that approach?
In creating the silkpunk aesthetic, I was influenced by the ideas of W. Brian Arthur, who articulates a vision of technology as a language. The task of the engineer is much like that of a poet in that the engineer must creatively combine existing elements of technology to solve novel problems, thereby devising artifacts that are new expressions in the technical language.
In the silkpunk world of my novels, this view of technology dominates. The vocabulary of the technology language relies on materials of historical importance to the people of East Asia and the Pacific islands: bamboo, shells, coral, paper, silk, feathers, sinew, etc. And the grammar of the language puts more emphasis on biomimetics?—?the airships regulate their lift by analogy with the swim bladders of fish, and the submarines move like whales through the water.
(5) FABULOUS OLD STUFF. Marcin Wichary recommends the Museu de la Tècnica de l’Empordà in Figueres, Spain.
AND THEN I SEE THIS. I don’t actually have a good photo, but the third floor is five rooms filled with HUNDREDS of typewriters. pic.twitter.com/X4SdYvMUq1
— Marcin Wichary (@mwichary) October 27, 2016
(6) WHERE’S THE BEEF? Episode 21 of Scott Edelman’s podcast Eating the Fantastic features Alyssa Wong and one of Kansas City’s famous barbecue joints.
Listen in as we chow down on BBQ and talk about what franchise inspired her to write fanfic, the exciting moment when she first encountered a character who looked like her, where she hopes to be 10 years down the road, how she encountered Faceless Ghost Grandma, why she said, “I hate being bored and I don’t like rules,” and more.
(7) EUROCON LIVESTREAM. The 2016 Eurocon in Barcelona, Spain will be livestreamed on November 4, 5 and 6 — http://kosmopolis.cccb.org/bcneurocon/.
Their trilingual dictionary may come in handy —
(8) NAME THE YA AWARD. Lew Wolkoff of the Young Adult SF/F Award Committee asks fans to participate in their survey.
As you know, the World Science Fiction Society is in the process of creating a Campbell-like award for Best Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Award. The motion passed at Kansas City and was passed on to Helsinki for, hopefully, final approval.
One of the matters that has yet to be settled is the name of the award. The Young Adult SF/F Award Committee is currently doing an online survey to get suggestions on what that name will be. This survey ends on November 15. The results will be tabulated, and a second survey of members of the World Science Fiction Society will be taken to get a recommended name (or names) for the 2017 Business Meeting.
Each year the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) gives out the Hugo and Campbell awards at its annual convention, Worldcon. The awards highlight the best science fiction and fantasy works of the previous year, and they are presented for best novel, short story, graphic story, editor, artist, and a number of other categories. Thus far there has been no award to recognize young adult (YA) books.
In response to this, the Young Adult Award Committee was created to study the viability of an award recognizing excellence in YA science fiction and fantasy at Worldcon. WSFS has since supported the creation of an award for YA fiction, and the committee’s task now turns to naming it.
We are looking for an award name that is especially evocative. We hope to capture the transformative, transportational, and captivating power of books for young adults.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRLS
- Born October 28, 1902 – Elsa Lanchester, Frankie’s bride.
- Born October 28, 1952 — Annie Potts. When you decide who ya gonna call, she answers the phone.
(10) KEEPING YOUR UNIQUE VOICE. Credit where it is due – Dave Pascoe had a good column of writing advice today at Mad Genius Club.
One significant trick I learned from Dean Wesley Smith is focusing on a specific writing technique for a story. Make sure you get the sensory information into every page. Whether it’s a mention of the odors you characters smell, or the vivid colors around them (or drab, if that’s the way you roll, you dystopianist, you), or the moan of the chill wind between the weathered slats of the abandoned homestead in which your people are sheltering for the night, give the reader anchors for their imagination. And then, let the reader know the character’s reactions. That low moan, that sends a prickle up the spine of your hero, that recalls the hunting cat that terrified him as a child.
(11) TEXT TO SCREEN. Those who have been participating in the adaptation discussion here will want to eyeball Violette Malan’s “My Top Ten Novel-to-Movie Adaptations” at Black Gate.
I want to begin by saying that I’m making no judgments (well, hardly any) on which is the better version, the book or the movie. I’m only saying I thought the adaptations were good. Anyway, in no particular order, here are my top ten film adaptations (at least for this week) with the screenwriter, the source material, and the director identified.
The Princess Bride William Goldman from his own novel, directed by Rob Reiner I can’t think of anything new to say, at least not today, about what is probably my favourite movie of all time.
The Shawshank Redemption Frank Darabont adapted and directed from the Stephen King novella (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption)
The single greatest change from novella to movie was casting the Red character as a black man. Whether that was done because they wanted Morgan Freeman, or whether it was done beforehand, I don’t think matters. A couple of other things were changed (the kid whose testimony could have freed Andy Duschesne wasn’t murdered in the original) but in each case it was done to underline some aspect of character or plot that the conciseness of screenwriting (see above) necessitated.
(12) A VIKING FUNERAL. Anne C. Perry witnesses “The Extinction Event: The Beginning of the End” at Pornokitsch.
Five years later, Jurassic has published almost fifty books. That’s thousands upon thousands of pages of stories by over a hundred authors, with art by a dozen artists, which have (so far) raised more than £8,000 for charity along the way, which is a hell of a history. Especially given that Jurassic London lost fully half of its staff after the first year, when one of the two of us (me!) leveraged her experience founding a small press to get a job in traditional publishing.
If, five years ago, we could have chosen how we’d end Jurassic, The Extinction Event is exactly what we would have wanted: it’s big, bold, brilliant and beautiful. It contains 33 stories, some from previous publications and some which are entirely original, and features new art from nine artists. In Extinction you’ll find apocalypse, bombast, lightning and lava. You’ll also fine joy and sorrow and laughter and misery, cowboys and werewolves and mummies and spaceships… and, for some reason, rather a lot of spiders.
(13) TUCKERIZING RAISES BONANZA. Monster Hunter Nation came through in a big way to help pay someone’s medical bills. Larry Correia reports:
Earlier this week I posted about taking donations to help out my buddy Mitch with his medical bills, and that we’d be taking donations in exchange for me using your name in a book.
So many of you jumped in that we had to close it the next day. We raised over $20,000 in a day and a half….
Logistically speaking, that many names is going to take me a long time and several books to work through. There are a few spots in Monster Hunter Siege I will be able to use for charity red shirts, but this is going to take years.
I tell you, once I run through these names, and I’m doing this again for some other cause several years down the road, I’m totally going to jack up the price on you guys. 🙂
The important thing is that you are awesome, and you did something amazing for a good man. Mitch is already using this money to pay bills. Once again the Monster Hunter Nation has come through. I love you guys.
(14) SCHADENFREUDE. If you like seeing someone dish it out, Michaele Jordan’s “MidAmeriCon II: Con Report” at Amazing Stories is for you. She flays the programming division, MidAmeriCon’s version of LonCon’s Fan Village, Dave Truesdale, and Charlie Lippincott.
This programming bias came back to bite them in the butt. When [Charles] Lippincott saw that MidAmericon II was planning a Star Wars day, he decided this was his chance to cash in. He prepared his own ‘MidAmericon II’ program. (We know he prepared it in advance because 4-page, 10 x 14, glossy fliers with full color illustrations do NOT happen overnight.) It was to be an all-day media event, hawking autographs ($50.00 apiece) and featuring talks, slideshows and Q&A (conflicting with numerous other con functions, including the masquerade, and again not free). He did NOT consult with the con about this program.
Having laid his plans, he proceeded to escalate his demands to MidAmericon II, demanding more money, more publicity, more perks, etc. (As I was working the press room, I saw some of his emails myself, and can personally verify that he took a high-handed ‘gimme-gimme’ approach to what we will laughingly call negotiations.) When the con failed to meet some of his new demands, he canceled on the day before the con.
He then proceeded to hold his own stream of events anyway, just across the street — without removing MidAmericon II’s name from his glossy flyer — while bad-mouthing the con at every opportunity. He stood by his plan to charge high prices for attendance at his events. I mean, really. Would YOU pay $50.00 for Charles Lippincott’s autograph? Or another $50.00 to see a slide show of scenes from movies you already know well?
Well, turnabout is fair play. The Lippincott counter-con was a disaster.
(15) THE BIRD. Why, no, Stubby, I didn’t know these authors were acquainted! “When Charles Dickens & Edgar Allan Poe Met, and Dickens’ Pet Raven Inspired Poe’s Poem ‘The Raven’”.
“There comes Poe with his raven,” wrote the poet James Russell Lowell in 1848, “like Barnaby Rudge, / Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge.” Barnaby Rudge, as you may know, is a novel by Charles Dickens, published serially in 1841. Set during the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of 1780, the book stands as Dickens’ first historical novel and a prelude of sorts to A Tale of Two Cities. But what, you may wonder, does it have to do with Poe and “his raven”?
… It chanced the following year the two literary greats would meet, when Poe learned of Dickens’ trip to the U.S.; he wrote to the novelist, and the two briefly exchanged letters (which you can read here). Along with Dickens on his six-month journey were his wife Catherine, his children, and Grip, his pet raven. When the two writers met in person, writes Lucinda Hawksley at the BBC, Poe “was enchanted to discover [Grip, the character] was based on Dickens’s own bird.”
(16) SANDERSON HITS JACKPOT. “DMG Nabs Rights to Brandon Sanderson’s ‘Cosmere’ Book Universe in Massive Deal” reports Variety.
DMG Entertainment has nabbed film and licensing rights to “Cosmere,” Brandon Sanderson’s acclaimed series of interconnected fantasy novels. The entertainment and media company has committed to spending $270 million, which will cover half of the money needed to back the first three movies made from Sanderson’s canon. That makes it one of the largest literary deals of the year. DMG beat out several interested parties for rights to the series. As part of the pact, insiders say Sanderson will receive a minimum guarantee on each film that is produced, as well as a rich backend, allowing the author to make millions.
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, and Scott Edelman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Wright.]
Dublin’s bid for the 2019 Worldcon is unopposed, with less than a year til site selection voting takes place in Helsinki at Worldcon 75. Dublin’s proposed dates are Thursday, August 15 through Monday, August 19, 2019.
Dave Lally notes there also is a bid to have Belfast’s annual Titancon host the 2019 Eurocon. Its dates would be the week following Worldcon: Thursday, August 22-Monday, August 26, 2019. Titancon, a Game of Thrones themed convention, is the only Eurocon 2019 bid.
Lally says that if both Cons and Irish cities (100miles/160Km apart) win their respective bids, approaches will then be made to Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Rail) and to Translink (NI Railways) who jointly run the service, a train known as THE ENTERPRISE, and to CBS (who owns the Star Trek rights) to rename it for the duration of the two cons – THE ENTERPRISE: NGC 1701.
The Enterprise is an express train that runs between Dublin and Belfast eight times Monday through Saturday, and five times on Sunday. Lally says it’s had that name since August 1947 (long, long before Roddenberry, Shatner and Stewart et al).
The Dublin 2019 Worldcon bid team has been asked whether they also intend to bid for Eurocon in 2019. The answer is no, as explained in a new release:
Statement from the Dublin 2019 Worldcon bid
We are happy to clarify our position on Eurocon. We do not intend to combine our Worldcon bid with a bid to be the Eurocon in 2019.
We fully support the idea of international SF cons which encourage fans from different cultures and countries to meet and participate together.
As an Irish based Worldcon bid, we are keen to see fans from across Europe attend the Worldcon where they can meet fans from around the world.
The previous UK Worldcon in 2014 worked closely in support and partnership with the Eurocon that year and we aspire to likewise work with the Eurocon in 2019.
We are conscious of the different bidding cycles of Eurocons and Worldcons, which makes it important that our intention be clear early enough for other bids to be able to plan well.
Having seen the close work between a Worldcon and Eurocon in 2014 striving to increase the European engagement and involvement with both conventions, the Dublin 2019 bid is confident that we can work to achieve similar positive outcomes in 2019 if we win our bid.
If we win the Worldcon bid we will be happy to work to promote participation in science fiction across Europe with whoever wins the Eurocon bids for 2018 and 2019.
We may also in due course apply for Euroconference status for a Dublin Worldcon.
Eurocon Barcelona (2016) has announced its eighth guest of honor, Rhianna Pratchett, citing her experience as “games creator and one of the most respected writers and narrative designers in her field, not to mention film work and comics.”
The convention’s other GoH’s are authors Aliette de Bodard (France), Richard Morgan (UK), Andrzej Sapkowski (Poland), Johanna Sinisalo (Finland), Rosa Montero (Spain), editor and fan organizer Jun Miyazaki (Hungary), and comics artist and illustrator Enrique Corominas (Spain).
The U-Con committee is an experienced group that has already run DORT.con, a regional literary sf convention, seven times, drawing 270 in 2013. They have a track record of offering English-language programming. Even this U-Con website is in English.