Pixel Scroll 4/6/17 Dr. Pixuel Johnson’s Right About Scrollson Johnson Being Right!

(1) WERE THEY UNDER ATTACK? Chuck Wendig launches “The Great Ewok Defense of 2017”. Make sure you never find yourself standing between Chuck’s Ewoks and a stormtrooper…

(2) DRAGONS FROM OUT OF TOWN. Aliette de Bodard tells about “My Favourite Dragons and How I Designed Mine” at The Book Smugglers.

It will probably not be a surprise that I love dragons — a lot of fantasy and SF readers also do! There’s something intrinsically fascinating, for me, about flying, graceful reptiles with magical powers.

You’ll notice I don’t say “reptiles that breathe fire”, and the main reason for that is that the first dragons I encountered weren’t the Western ones that needed to be killed by the likes of Saint George, but the r?ng, the Vietnamese dragons, who tend to live underwater, have deers’ antlers and a long serpentine body but generally no wings, and who are generally benevolent entities who dispense rain (or catastrophic floods if angered).

(3) REACHING FOR THE SHELF. Nicholas Whyte created a quick introduction to the Hugo Awards, which he administers for Worldcon 75.

(4) A SINGULAR SENSATION. I wasn’t able to help Jason Kehe when he asked me about Chuck Tingle – you know as much as I do — while Vox Day said on his blog he simply refused to answer questions from the media. But Tingle himself was happy to offer a quote for WIRED.com’s article “The Hidden, Wildly NSFW Scandal of the Hugo Nominations”.

Hiscock’s nomination is the work of the Rabid Puppies, a community of reactionary sci-fi/fantasy writers and fans who in 2015 sought to derail the Hugos’ big-tent evolution by stuffing the notoriously gameable ballot box with what they saw as criminally overlooked white male nominees. After the Rabid Puppies found huge success—they placed more than 50 recommendations—predecessors the Sad Puppies smuggled in a 2016 Best Short Story nominee they hoped would really tank the proceedings: Space Raptor Butt Invasion, an erotic gay sci-fi tale self-published by an unknown named Chuck Tingle.

Incredibly, though, the plan backfired. Tingle turned out to be a ridiculously lovable, possibly insane ally—or at least a very shrewd performance artist—who used his new platform to speak out against exclusion and bigotry in all their forms. In the intervening year-plus, he’s emerged as something of a cult icon, pumping out ebook after skewering ebook of wildly NSFW prose. His latest, Pounded In The Butt By My Second Hugo Award Nomination, refers to the recognition he got this year, on his own, in the Best Fan Writer category.

Here’s what the man of the hour had to say:

Chuck Tingle: hello buckaroo name of JASON thank you for writing and thank you for congrats on this way! i believe this author is put on the nominees by THE BAD DOGS BLUES as a way to prank the hugos like when they thought author name of chuck was some goof they could push around (no way buddy not this buckaroo). so it seems to be same idea as last year dont know much about it. thing is you cant just nominate some reverse twin of chuck there is only one chuck on this timeline and he is nominated as BEST FAN WRITER all by his own! this is a good way i am so proud! so long story short i hope this new author is not a reverse twin of the void but who knows i have not seen the end of this timeline branch yet.

(5) TOUGHEST CHALLENGE. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog , Ross Johnson contends “The Best Series Hugo Is the Hardest Decision on the Ballot”.

A Best Series award makes perfect sense: when a book is part of a larger story, no matter how mind-blowing, it can be tough to judge it on its own merits—so why not take a look at series as a whole? After all, we all know SFF loves its trilogies (and its 10- to 14-book epic sagas). This is a great way to recognize a body of work, especially when the nth book of an excellent series generally has little chance of being nominated (let alone winning), but is still worthy of recognition. No one was quite sure how the nominations would shake out (could the entire Star Wars Extended Universe be considered as a singular series?), but there’s no arguing that the books on this inaugural ballot don’t seem to be entirely in the spirit of the award. There’s a wide-range of serious talent on the list, venerable classics alongside burgeoning favorites, all displaying the kind of character- and worldbuilding that can only be accomplished across multiple books.

(6) GOING TO THE WORLDCON. The Shimmer Program announced that the winners of the Worldcon 75 Attending Funding for Chinese fans offered by Storycom are Yang Sumin and Zhang Jialin (Colin). Each will get RMB 10,000 for use in attending and staffing the con. They are expected to gain experience in the Worldcon organizational work and help with future Chinese bids.

Jukka Halme, Chair of Worldcon 75 and Xia Jia, Chinese science fiction writer, selected the winners from five finalists.

There are photos and introductions to the two winners at the link.

(7) ISLAND NEWS Download Progress Report #1 for NorthAmeriCon’17, to be held in San Juan, PR from July 6-9. Lots of areas where they’re looking for staff and volunteers.

(8) FIRST CLUB. Joshua Sky sold this article to Mayim Bialik of Big Bang Theory for her site, Grok Nation. It’s about the origins of science fiction fandom: “The Scienceers: Where Science Fiction Clubs Began”.

All my life I’ve been a fan of science fiction, but I never knew much about the history of the field, nor did the majority of die-hard fans that I encountered. How could we – who could instantly recall every detail from our favorite comic books and every line of dialogue from Star Wars or Back to the Future – love something so much and know so little about its origins?

Last year, I found the answer when I was given a handful of wonderful out-of-print books chronicling the rich history of science fiction and fandom, including The Way the Future Was by Frederik Pohl, The Futurians by Damon Knight and The Immortal Storm by Sam Moskowitz. In their pages, I learned about the fascinating beginnings of fandom, which was mired in political warfare between overzealous teenagers, where clubs would form and disintegrate overnight. What I found most interesting, was an account of the first science fiction club ever established, called The Scienceers. It was founded in New York, on December 11th, 1929. Nearly 90 years ago. The first president of the club was a young African-American man named Warren Fitzgerald, and the first club meetings were held in his home….

File 770 took a look at that topic in 2014 from a different angle — “Early Science Fiction Clubs: Your Mileage May Vary” and “The Planet: One Last Landing” – and The Scienceers won the verdict of “first club” then, too.

(9) ALLIANCE FINALISTS. Realm Makers has announced the shortlist for the 2017 Alliance Award, the site’s new Readers Choice award for speculative fiction novel by a Christian author.

 

A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold Anne Elisabeth Stengl
A Time To Rise Nadine Brandes
‘sccelerant Ronie Kendig
Bellanok Ralene  Burke
Black Tiger Sara Baysinger
Darkened Hope J. L. Mbewe
Defy Tricia Mingerink
Domino Kia Heavey
King’s Folly Jill Williamson
New Name A.C. Williams
Rebirth Amy Brock McNew
Saint Death Mike Duran
Samara’s Peril Jaye L. Knight
Scarlet Moon S.D. Grimm
Siren’s Song Mary Weber
Songkeeper Gillian Bronte Adams
Star Realms: Rescue Run Jon Del Arroz
Tainted Morgan Busse
The Shattered Vigil Patrick W. Carr
Unblemished Sara Ella

(10) HEALTH SETBACK. Eric Flint told about his latest medical problems in a public Facebook post.

Well, there’s been a glitch in my serene and inexorable progress toward eradicating my cancer. I developed an abscess at the site where the pancreas drain came out of my abdomen from the splenectomy. (Nasty damn thing! Painful as hell, too.) So I had to go back into the hospital for five days while the doctors drained it and pumped me full of antibiotics. I’m now on a home IV antibiotic regimen.

In the meantime, my oncologists suspended the chemotherapy regimen until the 20th. Chemo depresses the immune system so you really don’t want to pile it on top of an active infection. (That’s probably why I developed the abscess in the first place, in fact.) I’d just finished the third cycle, so what’s essentially happening is that we’re suspending one cycle and will resume the fourth cycle right when the fifth one would have originally started…

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 6, 1968 — Stanley’s Kubrick’s science-fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey makes its debut in movie theaters.

Trivial Trivia:  In Kubrick’s next movie, Clockwork Orange, there is a scene in the record store where the LP for 2001 is displayed.

(12) RICKLES OBIT. Famous comedian Don Rickles (1926-2017) passed away today at the age of 90. His genre work included The Twilight Zone, “Mr. Dingle, the Strong” (1961), X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, both The Addams Family and The Munsters, The Wild, Wild, West, I Dream of Jeannie, and Tales from the Crypt. Late in life he voiced Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story film series.

(13) DO YOU HAVE THESE? James Davis Nicoll is back with “Twenty Core Epic Fantasies Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves”

As with the two previous core lists, here are twenty epic fantasies chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field. No implication is intended that these are the only twenty books you should consider.

I agree that was wise to say, since he omits the first three authors whose names I’d expect to see on such a list. On the other hand, if not for Nicoll’s list I would have remained unaware that Kara Dalkey (someone I knew at LASFS 40 years ago) has written a well-regarded fantasy.

(14) WHITEWASHING. Steven Barnes shares “Ten Thoughts on Whitewashing”. Here are the first five.

The whitewashing controversy is pretty simple at its core:

  1. if a character’s race is changed toward yours, you will tend to be sanguine with it. If it is changed away from yours, you will tend to object. If you have control of the property, you will choose changes toward you, on average.
  2. To this end, if you are group X, you will put X’s into makeup to resemble Y’s so you can control the image systems and keep the money circulating in your own communities. When that stops working, you’ll change the back-stories. It all achieves the same result, and other X’s will support any change you make.
  3. The changers will not be honest about the fact that they simply preferred the change. They will blame the audience, the lack of actors, the material, another country. Anything but themselves.
  4. The audience prefers it too, but also will not take responsibility. It is the creators, the material, other people. Never them.
  5. As this is what is really going on, and everybody does it, you can remove this entire issue from the table and ask instead: what kind of world do we want? I can answer this for myself: I want a world where art reflects the world as it is. Not “politically correct” but “demographically correct” which, we can see, translates into “economically correct.” But #1 continues to dominate far too often, corrupting the creative process (thank God!) and creating under-performing movies and television and outright bombs.

(15) TOR LOVE. The xkcd cartoon “Security Advice” became the most-clicked link from File 770 yesterday after Darren Garrison commented, “Well, it looks like Randal Monroe is part of the Tor cabal.” Read it and you’ll understand why.

(16) ALL ABOARD. Jump on Matt Lambros’  “Los Angeles Lost Theatre Tour”.

On Saturday July 1, I’ll be co-leading tours through seven of Los Angeles’s Lost Theatres as part of the Afterglow event at the Theatre Historical Society of America’s 2017 Conclave.

Starting at 10AM, we’ll be going to The Variety Arts, the Leimert/Vision, the Rialto, the Raymond, the Uptown and the Westlake. Photography is allowed, and I’ll be conducting short demonstrations and answering any questions you may have about architectural photography.

(17) BATGIRL. “Hope Larson discusses and signs Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside (Rebirth)” at Vroman’s in Pasadena on April 12.

Spinning out of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH comes the newest adventures of Batgirl in BATGIRL VOL. 1: BEYOND BURNSIDENew York Times best-selling creators Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time) takes one of Gotham’s greatest heroes on a whirlwind world tour in BATGIRL VOL. 1: BEYOND BURNSIDE. Barbara Gordon’s heart belongs to Burnside, the ultra-hip Gotham City neighborhood. But some threats are bigger than Burnside. And when those threats come calling, Batgirl will answer!  When Babs plans a trip to train with the greatest fighters in the Far East, she has no idea her vigilante life will follow her. Lethal warriors are out to take her down, each bearing the mysterious mark of “The Student.” And where there are Students, there must also be…a Teacher. As part of the epic Rebirth launch, Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside is a perfect jumping-on point to start reading about Batgirl and her action-packed, crime-fighting adventures!  (DC Comics)

(18) BESTER TV EPISODE. “Mr. Lucifer,” story and teleplay by Alfred Bester, can be seen on YouTube. Broadcast in glorious b&w in four parts on ALCOA Premiere Theater, starring Fred Astaire and Elizabeth Montgomery, on November 1, 1962.

In addition to “Mr. Lucifer,” Astaire played several other characters. Music by a much younger John “Johnny” Williams.

Links to parts 2-4 listed on upper right side of page.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Darrah Chavey, Darren Garrison, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day m.c. simon milligan.]

Worldcon 75 Developments

Karen Lord. (Photo by Marlon James.)

Karen Lord. (Photo by Marlon James.)

(1) Karen R.A. Lord has been named Worldcon 75’s Toastmistress.

(2) Worldcon 75 has released Progress Report 3. Download it free here.

If you have paid for paper publications, you will also receive a printed PR3 in the post early next month. If you have not paid for paper publications, you are still welcome to print out this PR3 and savor its wisdom and knowledge in a nice warm sauna or elsewhere, or to enjoy its pixels directly on your screen.

(2) PR3 contains articles on:

  • Words of Wisdom from our Guests of Honour
  • We introduce our Toastmistress!
  • Hugo Nomination information and ballot
  • Finnish foods and where to find them
  • A brief history of Finnish fandom, part 2
  • and much more!

(4) Storycom will provide support for two Chinese fans to attend Worldcon 75 who are willing to work this year’s con and help with a future Chinese Worldcon bid. Here is the bilingual link for the funding: http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/DN8UO45YFxeANe_IReUExQ

Worldcon 75 Attending Funding for Chinese Fans

In order to encourage Chinese fans to take active part in Worldcons and enhance the communication between Chinese and international fandom, Storycom sets up this Worldcon 75 Attending Funding. 2 active Chinese fans will be selected and granted RMB 10,000 each, for their attendance in and work for Worldcon 75, which will be held in Helsinki in August 2017. The beneficiaries should buy attending memberships for Worldcon 75, book their flights and hotels, as well as apply for visa by themselves, with the help of Storycom. The beneficiaries should also volunteer to work for Worldcon 75 and promise to take active part in attending and organizing both domestic and international science fiction activities in the future.

1. The applicant must be a Chinese citizen and live in mainland China.
2. The applicant must be a science fiction fan and have experience in organizing science fiction activities.
3. The applicant must be available during August 9-13, 2017 and can attend Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland. He/she should also volunteer to work for Worldcon 75 before the con actually takes place.
4. The applicant should promise that he/she will help with future Chinese Worldcon bid if there is any.
5. The applicant’s English proficiency should meet the requirements of working for Worldcon 75.

Applications will be judged by:

  • Xia Jia, science fiction writer, Associate Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University
  • Jukka Halme, Chair of Worldcon 75

Crystal Huff Resigns as Co-Chair of Worldcon 75

Crystal Huff, who spent years working to bring the Worldcon to Helsinki and, after they won the bid for 2017, became co-chair of Worldcon 75, resigned today citing the need to give family and career priority. She will continue working on the con in another role.

The committee responded on Twitter:

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh for the story.]

Worldcon 75 Apologizes for ‘Grave Mishandling’ of Weingart Firing

A growing controversy over Dave Weingart’s termination as Music department head, fanned to life by his explanation and complaint on LiveJournal, and the 2017 Helsinki Worldcon committee’s effort to explain and justify their actions on Facebook, now has been defused by the Worldcon 75 issuing an apology and taking down its Facebook thread about the matter. Weingart says he has also received a verbal apology from one of the chairs.

Worldcon 75 would like to apologise for the grave mishandling of a personnel issue over the past few weeks, in particular regarding communication, the delays in our responses, and for our role in escalating the situation. Specifically, we would like to apologise to both our current and former staffers, who are now experiencing harassment from various parties. We would also like to apologise to our staff and to the Worldcon community at large for the lack of transparency in how this issue was handled and for our missteps in communication about it.

In order to prevent issues like this from recurring, we are taking steps to improve our internal hiring practices, our staff services communications, and our public-facing communications.

  1. Worldcon 75 will no longer discuss this personnel matter with the public. We have deleted the earlier statement on this topic with the full knowledge and blessing of the current and former staffers involved.
  2. We will ensure that our staff services and social media teams are well-versed in compassionate communications across cultural differences and have a range of solutions available to them when issues arise.
  3. All senior staff will receive further management training and information.
  4. Communications with staff about behaviour and conduct expectations will be timely and explicit. All staff will have an opportunity to discuss any expectation placed on them with staff services and the chairs.
  5. Worldcon 75 will publish our Code of Conduct on 31 October 2016. We have a draft in review and are working with all our staff to make sure that it clearly communicates the values of Worldcon 75.
  6. An internal conflict-resolution policy will be formulated and published to staff by 1 December 2016.
  7. We reaffirm our commitment to making this convention a fun and safe experience for all our staff and members through clever, competent, and kind management.

… Thank you, Jukka Halme, Crystal Huff, and the Staff Services Division of Worldcon 75

Weingart had already made private his LiveJournal posts about the controversy in reaction to Vox Day linking to them from Vox Popoli:

Because Vox Day and his miserable crew of people have glommed onto my disagreement with Worldcon 75 I have made my DW/LJ posts mentioning any other party private. I’ve done likewise with my FB posts.

After Worldcon 75 took down its Facebook thread, Weingart responded:

The wording of Worldcon’s posted apology is something I agreed to verbally on the phone with one of the co-chairs on 2016-10-10, when I was also given a verbal apology. Worldcon’s deleting their other post on this subject (on the Worldcon 75 page) was done with my explicit permission as well.

Whatever the disagreement, neither Worldcon 75 nor I want Vox Day to have anything to do with this.

[Thanks to Karl-Johan Norén and Dave Langford for the story.]

Worldcon 75 Chair Responds

Jukka Halme

Jukka Halme

[There’s been quite a bit of discussion here about accommodations for the Helsinki Worldcon, the relative convenience of getting back and forth to the 2017 Worldcon site, and whether voters were aware of the facts. Chair Jukka Halme left a response in comments, and it seemed a good idea to make it a post so more will see it.]

Hello, Worldcon 75 Co-Chair Jukka Halme here.

I’d like to thank Terhi (and others) for addressing a number of issues here and giving answers we should have on our website. We have every intention of adding more information there about Helsinki, hotels, traveling, eating, parties etc. This will take time and effort, but I believe we’ll have more than a fair amount of this info available before the end of 2016. Comments and questions are always welcomed, especially if they come directly to us, via email (info@worldcon.fi) or various SoMe channels.

We apologise for any miscommunication, but I’m afraid I have to beg to differ with, or at least comment on, some of the claims raised here.

When bidding, we did mention that there was a hotel attached to the Helsinki Exhibition and Congress Center Messukeskus. We were always clear to point out, however, that it is the only hotel close to Messukeskus and that most people would have to find accommodation somewhere else, namely Downtown area. This fact was never hidden, obfuscated or covered up. We apologise that this information did not reach everyone, but the bid never hid this fact.

As to traveling to the convention site from the centre of Helsinki, I cannot even remember how many times we explained the various ways of reaching Messukeskus. It takes five minutes to travel by train from the Helsinki Central Railway station to Pasila, and back. And those trains leave every other minute during day.

Trams are slower, but will make the same trip in 20-25 minutes or so. Adding walking time from and to the hotel makes it more or less what Terhi states in one of her many messages. As we said on our bid FAQ: “There are about 40 hotels within 20 minutes’ travel by public transport”.

On Twitter, Mark Gerrits made this nice map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1Iiu0EwyuGmmRYsmNY-IlnDJ5T4k Helsinki does have a fair number of other hotels besdes the ones shown here, but these should be the ones we have blocked rooms.

Walking distance from the Central Railway station to Messukeskus is 2,5 miles or 4 kilometers. It would take me forever, or about 45 minutes and I’m a slow walker.

I understand that not everyone is Finnish, or even European, and have ways different from us. I know, shocking. “Si fueris Romae” and all that.

It’s a big world, and we really would like to bring a piece of that world to Worldcon with our little convention here in Helsinki next year. I welcome you all: Tervetuloa!

Pixel Scroll 3/27/16 (I’ll Never Be Your) Star Beast of Burden

(1) DANGER WILL ROBINSON! “’Lost in Space’ robot saved from Valley Village fire” reports Daily News.

TV and movie props that included a robot reportedly from TV’s “Lost in Space” were saved from destruction late Wednesday in Valley Village due to the efforts of Los Angeles firefighters.

The LAFD responded about 11:30 p.m. to a garage fire in the 5100 block of Whitsett Avenue. Firefighters attacked the blaze, which was electrical in nature, a fire department spokesman told a photographer at the scene.

The home belongs to a prop designer and special effects artist who was out of town at the time, according to a caretaker who woke to the smell of smoke.

(2) JOCULARITY. Two Easter hams are heard from.

(3) HEARSAY. Mark Evanier’s friend has convinced him this weekend’s blockbuster is “Not the World’s Finest” – as he explains at News From ME.

I don’t have a whole lot of interest in seeing the new Batman Vs. Superman movie, a film which has achieved something I didn’t think was possible. It actually caused my dear friend Leonard Maltin to use the word “sucks” in his review. Even Rob Schneider never managed that and lord, how he tried.

(4) PARAGRAPH FROM A FUTURE TRIP REPORT. GUFF delegate Jukka Halme outlined how he spent the day.

Sunday at Contact 2016 has been a small whirlwind. Moderated my first panel (Through New Eyes), which went really well. Chatted way too long at the Fan Fund table with the Usual Suspects. Bought books. Just a few. Waited ages for my Pad Thai at the hotel restaurant, that was brimming with people and not too many employees, Presented a Ditmar, with a little bit of Bob Silverberg routine (VERY little) to Galactic Suburbia. Held an auction for fan funds, which went smashingly well. And missed the bar, since this is a dry state and while it is apparently OK to sell alcohol during Easter Sunday, places either close up really early, or everybody had left the bar.

(5) AN AUTHOR’S USE OF NAVAJO CULTURE. “Utah author features Navajo characters, history in new science fiction thriller” in Deseret News.

After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, Robison Wells, who lives in Holladay, fell in love with both the area and the people he served. When he wrote his newest book, “Dark Energy” (HarperTeen, $17.99, ages 13 and up), which features several Native American characters and is scheduled to be released March 29, he worried about portraying them in the correct way.

“I wanted to show respect for the culture,” he said. “I didn’t want to appropriate their culture or their traditions.”

He sent his manuscript out to a lot of Navajo readers to get their reactions and tried to adjust his book accordingly. He knew writing a story centering on Native American characters and history would be a difficult and controversial thing to do, but he felt that it was such a compelling story that he had to tell it.

(6) ADDRESS FOR HAMNER CONDOLENCES. Anyone wishing to send a letter or card to the family may do so at the address below.

Jane Hamner
P.O. Box 220038
Newhall, CA 91322

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born March 27, 1963 — Quentin Tarantino

(8) TODAY’S BLOOD-PRESSURE BOOSTER. Jason Sanford says “The Retro Hugo Awards must be fixed”.

If any particular Worldcon wants to give out Retro Hugos, then e-book and/or online anthologies of eligible authors and stories must be made available to those nominating for the awards. And that must include works which are not in the public domain. Yes, it would take time to do this but I imagine most publishers and/or author estates would be willing to make the stories available for members at no cost.

But even if voters have access to stories from decades ago, it’s still unlikely that as many people will take part in the Retro Hugo nominating process as takes part in nominating for the regular Hugos. This, unfortunately, leaves the Retro Hugos open to missing important works and to being gamed.

To fix this here’s my next suggestion: Use a combination of juries and regular Worldcon members to nominate works for the Retro Hugos. 

I know juries seem like the ultimate insider power play, but when you’re dealing with stories published 75 or 100 years ago it can be useful to have experts in that genre time period also nominating stories. Perhaps the jury could nominate two of the five works in each category, and Worldcon members could nominate three of five. This also seems like a sensible way to make sure the nominated stories are truly the best that year has to offer.

(9) CAN MUSK AFFORD A MARTIAN ODYSSEY? “Neil deGrasse Tyson to Elon Musk: SpaceX Is ‘Delusional’ About Mars”. A writer at The Motley Fool explains Tyson’s reasons.

In less than 10 years from now, SpaceX may or may not beat NASA in the race to Mars. Astrophysicist, Hayden Planetarium director, and host of the National Geographic Channel’s StarTalk Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is placing his bet on “not.”

“The delusion is thinking that SpaceX is going to lead the space frontier. That’s just not going to happen…” Tyson said in an interview with The Verge. Tyson laid out his arguments for why fans of a solo SpaceX trip to Mars suffer from a “delusion.” According to Tyson, there are three main reasons SpaceX cannot go to Mars on its own.

Reason 1: Cost

“So if you’re going to bring in investors or venture capitalists and say, ‘Hey, I have an idea, I want to put the first humans on Mars.’ They’ll ask, ‘How much will it cost?’ You say, ‘A lot,'” Tyson said in the interview.

Tyson says it’s “very expensive” to go to Mars. How expensive? Some estimate $30 billion, but a bill of $160 billion isn’t out of the question, and critics in Congress charge that the total cost could reach $500 billion….

(10) CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE? Camestros Felapton is away traveling for a month. During their absence, Timothy the Talking Cat has taken over the blog, and has been busy posting such literary gems as “Timothy retells Dune”.

…Now there was this posh elitist liberal progressive family called the Artyfarties. They like super sucked at making money. The dad was a real wimp and the mum was in some sort of feminist cult. The son looked like the crazy guy in Agents of Shield but younger and more wimpy. The kid Artyfarties thought he was so much smarter than everybody but was a big wimp.

Now Boss Harkonen took pity on the Artyfarties. Big mistake! But he had a kind heart and he hated to see the Artyfarties suck so badly at businessing. So Boss Harkonen says to Dad Artyfarties: “You can run this planet for me. It is the only place you get Old Spice Magic which makes people young and makes spaceships run. It’s a classic monopoly, you can’t go wrong. Just don’t screw it up!” ….

(11) MEASURING SUCTION. Which is worse? Timothy the Cat’s retelling, or David Lynch’s? It’s close. Here’s Jonathan K. Dick’s evaluation of the movie at A.V Club, Dune can’t capture the novel’s incalculable brilliance”.

So what the hell is wrong with Lynch’s Dune? Before the collective “everything” echoes through the internet, it’s important to understand that the phrase itself “Lynch’s Dune” should already throw up the kind of red flags usually reserved for impending, air-raid level danger. Four years removed from his time behind the chair as director for the spirit-lifting biopic The Elephant Man and its eight Academy Award nominations, Lynch received the go-ahead from producer Raffaella De Laurentiis to direct the film adaption of Dune. This after 20 years, no less than 10 directors, producers, screenwriters, scripts, and general filmmaking anxiety that included the likes of Ridley Scott, Rudy Wurlitzer, Robert Greenhut, and of course the brilliantly documented attempt by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

(12) FIRST SEASON FLINTSONES COSPLAY? The Traveler from Galactic Journey amusingly interprets cosplay at this weekend’s WonderCon in terms of what fans knew in 1961 — “[March 27, 1961] What A Wonder! (WonderCon)”.

These are generally smallish affairs compared to their business-oriented cousins, with attendance running into the hundreds.  But for the fan who normally has a local community of just a half-dozen fellows (and perhaps many more as pen pals), going to a convention is like a pilgrimage to Mecca.  One meets people with completely different experiences, different perspectives.  There is the opportunity to get news from far and wide on exciting new projects, both fan and professional.  And the carousing is second to none, both in the heights of enthusiasm and creativity.

Take a look at my newly developed roll of shots from “WonderCon”, a sizeable affair held last weekend in Los Angeles.  These are some dedicated fans, some fabulous costumes, and some terrific times!

First off, a few attendees who came in street clothes: …

(13) MILESTONES ABOVE THE SKY. Motherboard advises that “‘In Space We Trust’ is a Beautiful History of Exploration”

In the timeline (which for all its beauty will entirely monopolize your CPU usage) you navigate the history of space as a young cosmonaut. The timeline begins with the October 4, 1957 launch of Sputnik and takes the user through all the major space milestones: first spacecraft, journeys to other planets, landings on celestial bodies.

Each milestone is accompanied by a series of stunning animations, a brief description of the event and a link to a Wikipedia page on the topic in case you want to read more. Your journey is orchestrated with an ethereal soundtrack that is overlaid with sounds from space like cosmonauts on a radio or rocket engines igniting.

 

 [Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Adventure Interruptus

Jukka Halme’s GUFF travel schedule looked like it might be shot to hell on the very first day.

My goodness! Where has the time gone? It’s already the 19th of March and I’ll be taking off in less than 10 hours! Kääk! I have so many things I need to do.

While I’m tripping the Australia fantastic, I’ll try to be more active with this blog, my Facebook page and Twitter, but all that will depend on my chances of getting online. Here’s hoping.

My Australian schedule looks something like this:

21.3. Arriving in Sydney at 6:50AM

Flight delayed due to broken windshield. Will miss my connecting flight from Singapore to Sydney. Everything will be revealed when we get to Chengi. I hope.

Finnair shows his flight is still en route at this writing.

He also told his Facebook friends —

Not only did they replace the windshield, but they found an malfunctioning antenna in the fuselages that added the repair time. Added excitement!

Follow developments on Twitter, @jukkahoo, and his blog, Eating Muffins in an Agitated Manner.

Update 03/20/2016: Halme has made it to Singapore and expects to reach Sydney about four hours later than originally scheduled. // Halme has arrived —

Jukka Halme Wins GUFF

Jukka Halme

Jukka Halme

It should not come as a surprise that Jukka Halme from Finland, the only announced candidate for GUFF, has been officially confirmed as the winner, although one of the administrators makes it sound as if there was some suspense. Instead of giving a vote total she jokes, “Stats forthcoming after Mihaela has her math lesson.”

Jukka Halme will travel to Brisbane for Contact, the 2016 Australian Natcon, to be held March 25-28.

Voting Opens for 2016 GUFF Delegate

GUFF voting has begun and will continue until September 30. Known as the Get Up-and-over Fan Fund or the Going Under Fan Fund, depending on which direction it’s running, GUFF exists to provide funds to enable well-known fans from Europe and Australasia to visit each other’s national conventions.

It’s a one-horse race this time –

Jukka Halme

Model 1967 recovering illustrator, editor, writer, reviewer, con runner, fanzine-fan etc, who is currently part of a bid to bring Worldcon to my hometown of Helsinki. Chaired three Finncons, been involved with a number of other conventions since 1989. Besides doing pretty much everything there is program-wise, does also mean quizzes at cons. Married, with two small dogs and an apartment filled with books. Never been to Australasia, but would love to see the place and meet the fandom. And have a pint or two with you. I might be persuaded NOT to bring Finnish candy with me!

Jukka’s nominators are Bellis, Cheryl Morgan, James Shields, Damien Warman & Juliette Woods jointly, and Sue Ann Barber.

Halme will attend Contact 2016 in Brisbane, Australia if elected.

Voting eligibility and other rules are explained here.

Finland Bids for Worldcon in 2017

The Helsinki in 2017 committee has published more details about its composition and goals.

Eemeli Aro will chair the bid with Karoliina Leikomaa as the bid’s Project Manager. Currently, the other bid committee members are Crystal Huff, Jukka Halme and Hanna Hakkarainen.

The proposed venue is the Messukeskus, Expo and Convention Centre Helsinki. They propose to hold the convention to in August.

The announcement is signed by Eemeli Aro, Juha Autero, Tuomas Colliander, Hanna Hakkarainen, Jukka Halme, Benedict Hirvi, Crystal Huff, Tomi Junnila, Pasi Karppanen, Sanna Kellokoski, Harri Kiiskinen, Karo Leikomaa, Susanna Leppälahti, Mika Loponen, Hanne Martelius, Mitja “WuMing” Mieskolainen, Sini Neuvonen, Sari Polvinen, Ben Roimola, Mikko Seppänen, Vesa Sisättö, Shimo Suntila, Vilgot Strömsholm, Jukka Särkijärvi, and Elisa Wiik.

Presently the http://helsinkiin2017.org/ URL just leads to a Google doc of the announcement. They’re also on Twitter @helsinkiin2017.