(1) ELLISON KICKSTARTER FULLY FUNDED. The Harlan Ellison Books Preservation Project Kickstarter has blown past its $100,000 goal. The total raises at this time is $102,409, with four days to go.
(2) TELL ME YOU’RE KIDDING. CinemaBlend says Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may give us more Howard the Duck.
In case you’ve somehow forgotten about Howard the Duck’s surreal appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, he was briefly spotted in a display case during the main movie as part of The Collector’s…well, collection. Later in the post-credits scene when The Collector sat by his destroyed museum, Howard (voiced by Seth Green) sat nearby and criticized the eccentric entity for letting Cosmo the Spacedog lick his face. Funny enough, James Gunn didn’t originally plan on including Howard the Duck in Guardians of the Galaxy because the original post-credits scene was supposed to tease Avengers: Age of Ultron. When Captain America: The Winter Soldier “stole” that, Gunn and editor Frank Raskin noticed in their existing footage that Beneicio del Toro looked to the side at a box, thus providing a way to sneak Howard in and redeem the character a little bit for that movie of his that still occasionally haunts our dreams.
With or without Howard the Duck’s participation, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters on May 5, 2017.
(3) BRUCE SCHNEIER. What’s he been doing since he worked on E Pluribus Hugo? The Daily Dot reports on his recent testimony before Congress — “Bruce Schneier: ‘The Internet era of fun and games is over’”
Internet pioneer Bruce Schneier issued a dire proclamation in front of the House of Representatives’ Energy & Commerce Committee Wednesday: “It might be that the internet era of fun and games is over, because the internet is now dangerous.”
The meeting, which focused on the security vulnerabilities created by smart devices, came in the wake of the Oct. 21 cyberattack on Dyn that knocked Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, and other major web services offline….
Here’s how he framed the Internet of Things, or what he later called the “world of dangerous things”:
As the chairman pointed out, there are now computers in everything. But I want to suggest another way of thinking about it in that everything is now a computer: This is not a phone. It’s a computer that makes phone calls. A refrigerator is a computer that keeps things cold. ATM machine is a computer with money inside. Your car is not a mechanical device with a computer. It’s a computer with four wheels and an engine… And this is the Internet of Things, and this is what caused the DDoS attack we’re talking about.
He then outlined four truths he’s learned from the world of computer security, which he said is “now everything security.”
1) ‘Attack is easier than defense’
Complexity is the worst enemy of security. Complex systems are hard to secure for an hours’ worth of reasons, and this is especially true for computers and the internet. The internet is the most complex machine man has ever built by a lot, and it’s hard to secure. Attackers have the advantage.
2) ‘There are new vulnerabilities in the interconnections’
The more we connect things to each other, the more vulnerabilities in one thing affect other things. We’re talking about vulnerabilities in digital video recorders and webcams that allowed hackers to take websites. … There was one story of a vulnerability in an Amazon account [that] allowed hackers to get to an Apple account, which allowed them to get to a Gmail account, which allowed them to get to a Twitter account. Target corporation, remember that attack? That was a vulnerability in their HVAC contractor that allowed the attackers to get into Target. And vulnerabilities like this are hard to fix. No one system might be at fault. There might be two secure systems that come together to create insecurity.
3) ‘The internet empowers attackers’
4) ‘The economics don’t trickle down’
The engineers at Google, Apple, Microsoft spent a lot of time on this. But that doesn’t happen for these cheaper devices. … These devices are a lower price margin, they’re offshore, there’s no teams. And a lot of them cannot be patched. Those DVRs are going to be vulnerable until someone throws them away. And that takes a while. We get security [for phones] because I get a new one every 18 months. Your DVR lasts for five years, your car for 10, your refrigerator for 25. I’m going to replace my thermostat approximately never. So the market really can’t fix this.
Schneier then laid out his argument for why the government should be a part of the solution, and the danger of prioritizing surveillance over security.
We’re now at the point where we need to start making more ethical and political decisions about how these things work. When it didn’t matter—when it was Facebook, when it was Twitter, when it was email—it was OK to let programmers, to give them the special right to code the world as they saw fit. We were able to do that. But now that it’s the world of dangerous things—and it’s cars and planes and medical devices and everything else—maybe we can’t do that anymore.
That’s not necessarily what Schneier wants, but he recognizes its necessity
(4) BIG DATA. Mark R. Kelly spent a busy day updating the Science Fiction Awards Database, that indispensable research tool —
— posted Saturday 26 November 2016 @ 5:33 pm PST
More 2016 results: the readers’ polls from Analog and Asimov’s magazines, and the Dell Magazine Undergrad Awards, reported in Asimov’s magazine.
AnLab: 93 new and updated pages
Note the Analog readers’ poll now has a poetry category. Also, first page in this index for Alvaro Zinos-Amaro.
Dell Magazines Awards: 37 new and updated pages
Note these awards have a new dedicated website: http://www.dellaward.com/
Asimov’s Reader Awards: 91 new and updated pages.
Also updated: 2016 Results
— posted Saturday 26 November 2016 @ 3:37 pm PST
(5) REACHING A MILESTONE. Adam Whitehead celebrates a decade of blogging in “10 Years of the Wertzone: Listing the Classics”.
Occasionally I award a particularly special book, video game, movie or TV show the honour of being a “Wertzone Classic”. To be a classic, the work has to both be excellent and also to have withstood the test of time and emerged as a true defining work in its field. The following is a complete list of all works to be awarded a “Classic” award since the start of the blog in 2006. I would strongly recommend all of these works to anyone interested in science fiction and fantasy, be it in print or on screen.
The list includes 30 books.
(6) VISITS WITH ROBERT SILVERBERG. At Locus Online, “Russell Letson reviews Alvaro Zinos-Amaro”.
Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood Press 978-1-933846-63-7, $16.99, 274pp, tp) August 2016. Cover by Patrick Swenson.
Robert Silverberg’s career has spanned more than half the history of modern American science fiction: he began reading SF magazines in 1948, during the ‘‘Golden Age,’’ and by 1954 was writing for the pulps, producing the first entries in a bibliography that now runs to 600-plus items of fiction and booklength nonfiction alone. Between receiving a Hugo Award for ‘‘Most Promising New Author’’ in 1956 and attaining SFWA Grand Master status in 2004, Silverberg has been in a position to meet nearly everyone of consequence in the SF field, sell to nearly every editor (and do plenty of editing himself), and explore nearly every market niche, while also (for a while) carrying out parallel careers turning out carefully-researched nonfiction and pseudonymous, non-SF yard-goods.
(7) A THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” — W. Somerset Maugham
(8) BOB FELICE OBIT. Cynthia Felice told her Facebook readers, “My beloved and much-loved husband of 55 years, Bob Felice Sr. died yesterday. While his death was sudden and swift, it was not unexpected, not even by him.”
Cat Rambo says of Cynthia, “[She] is an SF writer and was the SFWA ombudsman (currently the position’s held by the amazing Gay Haldeman) for years, solving member problems with serenity and grace.”
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
- November 26, 1862 — Oxford mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson sends a handwritten manuscript called Alice’s Adventures Under Ground to 10-year-old Alice Liddell.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS
- Born November 26, 1909 — Eugene Ionesco
- Born November 26, 1922 — Charles Schulz
- November 26, 1926 – Poul Anderson
- Born November 26, 1853 — William “Bat” Masterson. (John King Tarpinian sent this one in because, “The theme song from the TV show still reverberates between my ears.”)
(11) ANIMAL ASTRONAUTS. The art is irresistible and the story is cute. Krypton Radio tonight will air an interview with STEM children’s book author Andrew Rader.
Buckle up, space fans, for an intriguing conversation with Andrew Rader, author of the upcoming children’s book Mars Rover Rescue, and its predecessor, MC Longneck’s Epic Space Adventure. Andrew has a PhD in human space flight from MIT, and works professionally as an aerospace engineer. This gives him a unique perspective when it comes to creating educational children’s books that can ignite the imaginations of young budding future scientists. The new book has already blown past its goal on Kickstarter, and now the second book about the self-assured “giraffestronaut” is well into stretch goal territory….
Tune in this evening at 9 pm PT / Midnight ET for the first broadcast of this fascinating interview with Andrew Rader. Your hosts this evening are Susan Fox and Gene Turnbow….
(12) NEXT STEPS. Cat Rambo begins her blog post “Nattering Social Justice Cook: Prepare to Ride, My People” with a list of links to disturbing post-election news, then tells how she plans to move forward.
The world is broken. Love isn’t enough to fix it. It will take time and effort and blood and sweat and tears. It will stretch some of us almost to the breaking point and others past it. We must help each other in the struggle, must be patient and kind, and above all hopeful. We must speak out even when we are frightened or sad or weary to the bone….
In my opinion. You may disagree, and that’s fine. This is what I think and what’s driving my actions over the next four years. I am going to speak up and object and point things out. I am going to support institutions that help the groups like the homeless, LGBT youth, and others whose voting rights have been stolen and whose already too-scant and under threat resources are being methodically stripped away.
I am going to continue to insist that honesty, tolerance, and a responsibility for one’s own words are part of our proud American heritage, the thing that has often led us along the path where, although there have been plenty of mistakes, there have been actions that advanced the human race, that battled the forces of ignorance and intolerance, and that served as a model for the world. That “liberty and justice for all” are not hollow words, but a lamp lifted to inspire us and light our way in that direction.
I will continue to love in the face of hate, to do what Jesus meant when he said hate the sin while loving the sinner. I will continue to teach, formally and by setting an example of what a leader, a woman, a good human being should do, acknowledging my own imperfections so I can address them and keep growing and getting better at this human existence thing. If I see a fellow being in need, I will act, even if it means moving outside my usual paths.
(13) DOGGONE IT. Adam-Troy Castro sees no reason for feudin’ and fussin’ over awards:
I have won a few significant (if in prestige second-tier) awards at this gig, and on those occasions, I won because some folks thought that I had written the best story, and by God, that is less complicated, and more satisfying than AGITATING FIGHTING COMPLAINING CAMPAIGNING FRETTING RAGING AND DECLARING ENEMIES FOR MONTHS ON END could possibly be. It certainly was. I don’t have a Hugo or a Nebula or a Stoker, and may never get one, but by God I came close a bunch of times, and each time it was without the help of a carefully-managed campaign by hundreds of yahoos screaming bile. It was just me, putting words down, getting what acclaim I got all on my own, and that was *it*. Again, it feels better.
Since Gustav Gloom, I have gotten that feeling just being beamed at by kids.
And on top of that? Typing THE END at the close of work of fiction, and knowing, *knowing*, that it’s a superior piece of work, is where that great feeling comes first.
(14) CANCEL THE CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS. Now we know what the Sad Puppies are waiting on –
Every time more than half a crowd doesn't like me I console myself with the thought that I killed with the Electoral Audience.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) November 26, 2016
(15) IT’S ON THE BAG. Fan artist Jose Sanchez – who provided the back covers of my past two paperzines – announces his online shop http://www.shopvida.com/collections/jose77sanchez, which he touts as a place “where you can find my artwork on new apparel products that can make great gifts-especially now in the holidays!”
(16) RON GLASS’ TWILIGHT ZONE EPISODE. You can watch “I of Newton” on YouTube. Teleplay by Alan Brennert based on a short story by Joe Haldeman.
[Thanks to Steve Green, Cat Rambo, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]