2017 Parsec Awards Finalists

The 2017 Parsec Awards finalists were announced October 12.

The juried award recognizes excellence in speculative fiction podcasting. The winners will be honored during a ceremony to be livestreamed in November.

Best Speculative Fiction Comedy/Parody Podcast

  • Kakos Industries by Conrad Miszuk
  • Are You Scared of These Stories? by Robert Hibbs, Robbie Owens, & Josh Jenkins
  • Wynabego Warrior The Tale of John Waynnabe by Audioblivious Productions
  • Nerdy Show: Nerdcasting the Multiverse: Thanksgiving Special by The Nerdy Show Network
  • GnomeMatter: Cadavorue & Macoy in 2016 by Susan C. Tolly & Cary Michael Ayers
  • Star Wars Best in Galaxy Season 3 by Mark Restuccia & Patch Hyde

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation

  • Two Gay Geeks by Keith Lane & Ben Ragunton
  • Lightning Dogs: The Official Paw’dcast by The Nerdy Show Network
  • Audio Drama Production Podcast by Fiona Thraille & Sarah Golding
  • Stage Nine by Mike Schindler & John Mills
  • Calliope Writing Coach Podcast by Angie Fenimore & Michael Sheen (Dandelion Productions)

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (Specific)

  • Trek Geeks: A Star Trek Podcast by Dan Davidson & Bill Smith
  • Back to the Future Minute by Scott Carelli & Nick Jimenez
  • Beyond Westworld by Aaron Peterson & Troy Heinritz
  • Aggressive Negotiations: A Star Wars Podcast by John Mills & Matt Rushing
  • Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast by John Champion & Ken Ray

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

  • Seminar by Pendant Productions
  • The Theatre of Tomorrow by Travis McMaster & Mark Whitten
  • Escape Pod by Escape Artists
  • Brick Moon Fiction published by Jason T. Reed
  • The Wicked Library by Daniel Foytik & Nelson W. Pyles

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (General)

  • Nutty Bites by Nuchtchas
  • Piper’s Picks TV by Piper Reese & Adam Feinsilver
  • The 602 Club by Matthew Rushing
  • The Faculty of Horror by Andrea Subissati & Alexandra West
  • MegaPodTastic by Krazy Joe

Best Fact Behind the Fiction Podcast

  • Universe Today’s Guide to Space by Fraser Cain
  • Planetary Radio by Mat Kaplan, The Planetary Society
  • Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast by Zachary Fruhling & Mike Morrison
  • Talk Nerdy by Cara Santa Maria
  • decipherSciFi by Christopher Peterson & Lee Colbert

Best Speculative Fiction Video Story

  • Grant’s Advent Calendar by Grant Baciocco
  • The Uncle Interloper Show by Grant Baciocco
  • Country Bear Collector Show by Grant Baciocco

Best New Speculative Fiction Podcaster/Team

  • Beyond Westworld by Aaron Peterson and Troy Heinritz
  • MarsCorp by Definitely Human
  • Synesthesia Theatre by Burning Brigid Media
  • Lesser Gods by Colleen Scriven
  • Aural Traditions: Crosswired by Straight Talk Entertainment

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form)

  • The Byron Chronicles by Eric L. Busby
  • MarsCorp by Definitely Human
  • Radio Icebox Season 02: Rise of the Sirens by Jeffrey Adams
  • We’re Alive: Lockdown by Wayland Productions
  • Uncanny County by Todd Faulkner, Alison Crane, & Nicole Greevy
  • Our Fair City by Clayton Feits

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast (Short Form)

  • Return Home – “Hooves in the Dirt” by Jeff Heimbuch
  • Return Home – “Genie” by Maia Brown-Jackson
  • The Voice of Free Planet X – “A Good Guy With A Magic Sword” by Jared Axelrod
  • Suspense – “The Black Madonna” by John C. Alsedek & Dana Perry-Hayes, from the short story by Harold Lawlor
  • Suspense – “Jinx of the Jellicoe Jasper” by John C. Alsedek & Dana Perry-Hayes

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Long Form)

  • The Black: Outbreak by Paul Elard Cooley
  • The Adventures of Elizabeth Crowne – “The Woman in the Sky” by Robert Isenberg
  • The Raven and the Writing Desk – “Things Unseen” by Chris Lester
  • Sable by Lane Lloyd
  • The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian by Jonathan Messinger

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form)

  • The Lift – “The Lost Library” by K. B. Goddard
  • Seminar – “True Horror” by Jeffrey Bridges
  • The Junto Presents – “The Jack Of Lanterns” by David Parkin
  • The Wicked Library – “Shadows” by K. B. Goddard
  • The Junto Presents – “The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve: Tiny Tim” by David Parkin

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Novella Form)

  • Six Stories, Told at Night by KT Bryski
  • The Gray Area by Edward Champion
  • The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian by Typedrawer Media

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Short Form)

  • Punch It: Writing in Pop Culture – “The Last Will Be First” by Tristan Riddell & The Girl
  • The Theater in Your Mind – “Anything Helps” by Jon Holland
  • The Junto Presents – “Driver For The Dead” by David Parkin
  • Campfire Radio Theater – “Abduction at Willow Woods” by John Ballentine
  • Campfire Radio Theater – “Woods Ferry” by John Ballentine

Pixel Scroll 6/15/17 Go Ahead, Make My Pixel

(1) THINKING INSIDE THE BOX. “This was amazing,” says James Bacon about a special feature of Lazlar Lyricon 3, a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy convention held last weekend. “I was on the committee and it was an incredible endeavour.”

It’s all about Chris Tregenza and Jess Bennett and “The Secret of Box 42”.

Idea, Idea, A Kingdom for an Idea

Even with our self-imposed restrictions we struggled to think of anything at first. Every idea was discarded as being too profligate, too big, too small or simply impractical.

Then, bouncing around ideas with the aid of a bottle of wine (or two), our conversation drifted onto computer games and how in games like Skyrim there are treasure chests scattered around from which the player can take loot. In any particular game, all the treasure chests have an identical appearance and the player quickly associates that graphic with a reward even though sometimes the chests are empty. This led the conversation into Pavlovian conditioning and Skinner’s pigeon experiments and then bang! We asked ourselves a question.

What happens if we applied the same psychology in the real world by scattering boxes containing treasure around a convention? ….

What’s In The Box

Our first step was to brainstorm lots of ideas for box contents which we then loosely organised into different types. After some refinement we ended up with five classes of boxes inspired by the five levels of Maslow’s hierarchy: rewards, treasures, activities, quests and meta. Each of the types had a different purpose and place in the overall game.

Reward boxes were primarily a simple psychological conditioner. Inside these boxes were sweets or other gifts along with instructions to €˜help yourself’. These boxes were designed to build a positive association with opening boxes. Treasures were like rewards except they only contained a single valuable item which anyone could take if they chose. This introduced rarity and encouraged people to look in the boxes quickly before someone else took the item. Activity boxes instructed the opener to do something such as play a game or challenge someone to a duel. In these boxes were appropriate things (like a deck of cards or toy guns) but unlike the reward boxes, the instructions only suggested the box opener used them, not keep them. Meta-boxes contained nothing except a quote from the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. The chosen quotes were amusing in their own right but also all related to the theme of hunting for the meaning of life.

(2) DITCHING THE RECEIVED WISDOM. Jason Sanford breaks the rules! gisp “Oh writing advice which I loathe, let me count the ways I’ve ignored you”. Sanford confesses eight violations.

Thinking about all the writing advice I don’t follow. This should mean I’m a literary failure. Instead, my stories are published around the world.

So what writing advice have I failed to follow? Let’s count down the greatest hits of advice I’ve ignored.

  1. “Write what you know.” Didn’t do that. I write science fiction and fantasy set in imaginary worlds I’ve never known. I create what I know!

(3) SOLAR TREK. From Space.com, Intergalactic Travel Agents rate the “Solar System’s Best and Worst Vacation Destinations (Video)”.

Part of the purpose of this interview is to promote Olivia Koski’s and Jana Grcevich’s book, Vacation Guide to the Solar System, which plans vacations using current astronomical knowledge.

(4) WHAT MUSIC THEY MAKE. Seanan McGuire recently had a special encounter with some children in an airport. The Twitter stream here is well worth a gander.

(5) KICKSTARTER REACHES GOAL. The 2017 Fantastic Fiction at KGB Kickstarter is a huge success, reports co-host Matthew Kressel, providing enough funds to keep the series running for at least six more years. The Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series Kickstarter ran from May 17 through June 14 and raised $9,771 (before Kickstarter and credit card processing fees)€¦. Dozens of rewards were chosen by 196 different backers.

Why We Needed Financial Support Each month we give the authors a small stipend, we tip the bartenders (who always give the authors free drinks), and we take the authors and their partners/spouses out for dinner after the reading. Since it typically costs us around $120 per month, we need $1500 per year to maintain the series. We were looking to raise $4500, which would allow us to keep the series running for another three years. Each additional $1500 let us run for an additional year. Fantastic Fiction has been a bright light in the speculative fiction community for nearly two decades, and because of your help we will continue for many more years to come. Thank you!

(6) DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING. Today Mary Robinette Kowal give her platform to Jon Del Arroz: “My Favorite Bit: Jon Del Arroz talks about FOR STEAM AND COUNTRY” .

(7) OH BOTHER. Goodbye Christopher Robin is the “based on a true story” movie about A.A. Milne, his son, and the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.

(8) HARRYHAUSEN ART. Tate Britain will host an exhibition of The Art of Ray Harryhausen from June 26 through November 19.

Explore drawings and models by Ray Harryhausen with some of the art that inspired him

The American-born Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013) is one of the most influential figures in cinema history. In a succession of innovative, effects-laden movies, from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms 1952 to Clash of the Titans 1981, Harryhausen created fantastic worlds and creatures that have inspired generations. He is acknowledged as the master of stop-motion animation techniques, involving models being moved and filmed one frame at a time to create the illusion of movement.

Harryhausen attended art classes as a young man, and readily acknowledged his debt to earlier painters and illustrators. The epic scenery and towering architecture of 19th century artists Gustave Dore, and John Martin were especially important to him, and he collected prints and paintings by both artists.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • June 15, 1973 The Battle for the Planet of the Apes premiered

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born June 15, 1941 — Graphic artist Neal Adams.

Adams has worked hard in the comics industry bringing to life such fascinating characters as Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern, The Spectre, Thor, The X-Men, and countless others. For those wanting to know about the man and his career, you can check out his website right here. Adams was born on this day in 1941.

(11) THIS JUST IN. AND OUT. The New York Post reports “Sex in space is a ‘real concern’ that science needs to figure out”.

Romping in space is a “real concern” for astronauts, a top university professor has warned.

It’s something we know little about — but it’s crucial if we ever want to colonize other planets like Mars.

During a recent Atlantic Live panel, Kris Lehnhardt, an assistant professor at George Washington University, said the topic needs to be addressed immediately.

He said: “It’s a real concern — something we really don’t know about is human reproduction in space.”

“If we actually want to go places and stay there, there’s a key component and that’s having babies,” he added.

(12) MIGRATION. Richard Curtis, President of Richard Curtis Associates, Inc. broadcast this information:

Our curtisagency.com server crashed, and as it’s been happening a little too often lately I’m going to switch to gmail. So please use rcurtisagency@gmail.com going forward.

(13) PARSEC DEADLINE. Podcasters who have been nominated for a Parsec Award must submit their judging sample by July 16.

Podcast material released between May 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017 is eligible for the 2017 awards.

Material released needs to be free for download and released via a mechanism that allows for subscriptions (RSS Feed, iTunes, YouTube…). More rules and guidelines are posted at our website.

(14) EXTRA CREDITS. Top 10 Marvel post-credit scenes. Carl Slaughter says, “Notice this is an Avengers heavy list. Also, there is a conspicuous X-Men and Guardians absence.”

[Thanks to James Bacon, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Rose Embolism, Jon Del Arroz, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Darrah Chavey.]

Parsec Awards Leave Dragon Con

The ceremony for the Parsec Awards for podcasts has been hosted by Dragon Con for a decade, but the organizers recently announced plans to begin holding a livestreamed virtual ceremony instead sometime in November (date TBA).

They raised the idea a few months ago and surveyed award supporters for their reaction.

By dissociating the awards with Dragon*Con, we feel that more of our community will be able to participate. No longer will travel to Atlanta be a prerequisite for presenters, entertainers or recipients. Many of those who attended Dragon*Con even found their schedules did not allow their attendance at the awards. We also feel that we can have a better chance of securing judges’ time when we are not smack in the middle of Con season as we can now have some flexibility in scheduling the awards.

One commenter asked why not do both – livestream a ceremony held at the con – and was answered “We have tried streaming the awards at D*C and have always had unreliable service and a poor experience for remote participants.”

Meantime, nominations for the Parsec Award are open and will continue through June 1, 2017. There are 15 award categories. Eligible nominees must fit this definition:

What is a “podcast”?

For the purposes of the Parsec Awards, we consider a podcast to be audio or video (“vidcasts”) delivered as part of a syndicated series streamed online or can be downloaded, via RSS feeds, podcast aggregators, or services such as YouTube or SoundCloud. Listeners or viewers must be able to subscribe to updates that are either delivered automatically or are made available to the subscriber in some aggregated format, free of charge during our eligibility period (May 1, 2016- April 30, 2017).

Pixel Scroll 2/21/17 Troll, Troll, Where’s My Scroll? Gone To The Pixel, Lol Lol Lol!

(1) SPIRIT QUEST. The Society of Illustrators in New York City will host a Will Eisner centennial exhibit from March 1-June 3.

  • An opening reception will be held at the Society of Illustrators on the evening of March 10, from 7:30 – 11:00pm. Suggested donation of $20 helps support our programming and exhibitions. Cash bar will be open until midnight.
  • On April 22, there will be a gallery talk led by curators Denis Kitchen and John Lind.
  • A panel discussion on Will Eisner is scheduled for May 9.

The lasting legacy that Will Eisner (1917–2005) has in sequential art cannot be overstated—he is known as the Champion of the Graphic Novel. His innovative storytelling, layouts, and art on his newspaper series The Spirit inspired a generation of cartoonists, and his turn toward an acclaimed run of graphic novels, beginning in 1978 with A Contract with God, helped pioneer the form. Among the honors bestowed upon Eisner are the Reuben Award, the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award, the Yellow Kid Award, and multiple Harvey Awards and Eisner Awards—the latter of which were named in his honor.

This two-floor retrospective—the largest Eisner exhibition ever in the United States—curated by Denis Kitchen and John Lind, comprises over 150 pieces including original artwork from Smash Comics (1939), key sequences from his graphic novels including A Contract with God (1978), Life on Another Planet (1983), A Life Force (1988), To the Heart of the Storm (1991), and over 40 pages of originals from The Spirit (1940–1952) newspaper section.

SI is located at 128 East 63rd Street between Lexington and Park Avenue in New York City.

(2) DRAGON CON LOSING AWARD? SF Site News carried the Parsec Awards announcement that they are surveying fans about their receptivity to a virtual awards ceremony in place of the annual presentations at Dragon Con. The Parsec Awards “celebrate speculative fiction podcasting.” From the awards site —

This is not something we take lightly. Over the years the awards ceremony has been an opportunity for us to share laughs, music, triumph and tragedy as a community. You, who have supported us and each other, are the reason the awards exist and we would be remiss if we didn’t attempt to serve you in the best way possible.

We feel that a virtual awards ceremony may help us do that.

By dissociating the awards with Dragon*Con, we feel that more of our community will be able to participate. No longer will travel to Atlanta be a prerequisite for presenters, entertainers or recipients. Many of those who attended Dragon*Con even found their schedules did not allow their attendance at the awards. We also feel that we can have a better chance of securing judges’ time when we are not smack in the middle of Con season as we can now have some flexibility in scheduling the awards.

So far 73% of the respondents to the survey favor moving to a virtual awards ceremony.

(3) ONE STOP. Marco Zennaro has organized a cover gallery for the “2016 Nebula Award Nominees” plus a synopsis of each work and links where to buy or find them for free.

(4) PRAISE FOR RAMBO. Rich Horton comments on “Nebula Nominees”.

Three stories that showed up on my list of potential Hugo nominees. (“Red in Tooth and Cog” was on my Short Story list (my word count for it is 7000, making it technically a Short Story but eligible for nomination as a Novelette).) The other two are “Blood Grains Speak Through Memories” and The Jewel and Her Lapidary. (Curious that in length those three stories are at the very bottom end of novelette, right in the middle, and at the very top end.) The remaining three stories are decent work that I didn’t have listed among my favorites of the year, but none of them strike me as poor stories. So, again, a pretty strong shortlist, with my personal inclinations favoring either Cat Rambo’s story or Jason Sanford’s story; with Fran Wilde’s a close third — a win for any of those would make me happy.

UPDATE: Apparently there is no deadband for Nebula nominations, and “Red in Tooth and Cog” has been declared too short for novelette. It would have been nominated as a Short Story, but Cat Rambo graciously declined the nomination.

This is a shame from my point of view — Rambo’s story is (to my taste) definitely one of the best couple of stories on either the short story or novelette list, and so the shortlist is diminished by its absence. (“The Orangery”, the replacement novelette, is a fine story, to be sure, but not as good as “Red in Tooth and Cog” (in my opinion).)

This also makes the overall shortlist even more Fantasy-heavy (vs. SF), which is of course totally allowed, but to my taste again a bit to be regretted. I do think the Nebulas recently are tending to lean a bit heavily to the Fantasy side.

(5) NOW READ THE STORY FREE. You can find “Red in Tooth and Cog” in its entirety online at at Cat Rambo’s website.

(6) GONE WITH THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. In a piece called “Warfighter: Toad Hall”, The Angry Staff Officer reimagines The Wind in the Willows as if it were a wargame for military strategists to analyze, complete with the use of animal intelligence or AMINT.

How Wind in the Willows can teach us about small unit actions in warfare.

That sound? Oh, that’s just the clunking of heads hitting desks, as people react to their beloved childhood book being brought under the scrutiny of the military microscope. But really, we’d be doing an injustice to that mighty asymmetric warfighter, the Badger, if we neglected to share his courageous story with an entirely new generation of military strategists. Wind in the Willows is not a military work by any means. But the Battle for Toad Hall bears noting, because Kenneth Grahame unwittingly factored in some key elements of small unit warfare.

(7) BELLE CHIMES IN. Emma Watson sings in this new Beauty and the Beast clip.

(8) SUCH A DEAL. Director Alfred Hitchcock paid $9,000 anonymously for the film rights to Robert Bloch’s novel Psycho.

(9) SAVAGELAND. The award-winning Savageland from Terror Films will be released online February 24.

Terror Films has locked in a U.S. release date for the multi-award winning film, Savageland. To celebrate the film’s February launch, a “Dead Alive” clip is available, now!

The film is centered on the night of June 2, 2011. On this date, the largest mass murder in American history occurs in the off-the-grid border town of Sangre de Cristo, Arizona, just a few miles north of Mexico. The entire population of fifty-seven disappears overnight and the next morning nothing is left but blood trails leading into the desert.

 

(10) LENGTHENING SHADOW. The final three Shadow Clarke jury members introduce themselves, followed by the first shortlist post.

In the world of translation lit-blogging, I also discovered the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (now Man Booker International Prize) shadow jury. The idea was that a group of bloggers would read the Prize longlist; write about and discuss the books; create their own shortlist; and choose their own winner. It sounded great fun, so I asked to join – and it was.

I’ve had such wonderful times as a shadow juror, it has become a highlight of my reading year. I’m delighted that Nina Allan has adapted the idea for the Clarke Award, and excited to be participating in the project. I look forward to new conversations about science fiction, new insights, thoughts and perspectives.

These days I would describe myself as a reader on the outer edge of the sf genre; a frequent dipper of toes but a dipper nonetheless. I say that in context. I read 100 fiction books last year, of which just under a quarter could be characterised as science fiction or fantasy.  That’s quite a significant proportion I suppose, and if asked I would identify sf as something I’m interested in.  But I know that in some parts of the reading universe that’s not a great deal, and that what I’ve read doesn’t qualify me as an expert in any shape or form. At the most basic level I think of my role in the shadow judging process in this way: I’m the kind of person who uses the Clarke Award as a litmus test of quality and a steer to sf books to look out for.  I’m looking for ways to supplement the limits of my expertise and this is one of them.  As a reader of predominantly ‘literary’ and historical fiction I’d like to think the Clarke shortlist is a shortcut to the most critically challenging, engaging and powerful fiction in the field in any given year.

Even as I grew to recognise science fiction as a specific branch of literature, I remained wholly ignorant, for a long time, of the culture surrounding it. I had no idea there was such a thing as SF fandom and, most likely because I knew no one else who read SF or even knew about it beyond the Doctor Who or Star Wars level, I rather think I cherished the idea that novels like The Time Machine and The Day of the Triffids had been written especially for me. How could it be otherwise, when these books contained everything I might hope to find in a story: mystery, adventure, that fabled sense of wonder and that secret silver seam of something else, something that tastes like fear but is closer to awe.

[Before I start, I would like to state for the record that for the purposes of the shadow jury I am pretending that The Gradual – written by my partner Christopher Priest – does not exist. As such I will not be considering it for inclusion in my personal shortlist, or talking about it in this post.] 

So here we are again – the submissions list for the 2017 Clarke Award has just been posted, and the speculation about the runners and riders can officially begin. I’ve been playing this game by myself for a number of years now, poring over the list, winnowing the wheat from the chaff, trying to arrive at a list of six books that I would consider my ‘ideal’ shortlist. It’s never easy. Out of the thirty to forty novels I would personally consider as genuine contenders – and for me that would be books that aren’t zombie/vampire/horror/fantasy novels with no science fictional sensibility or run-of-the-mill commercial SF – there are always around eight to ten I could pick quite happily, with the result that I usually end up feeling I’ve short-changed one book or another by not including it in my reckoning.

(11) MONSTER ARTIST. A Guardian interview: “Emil Ferris: ‘I didn’t want to be a woman – being a monster was the best solution’”.

There has never been a debut graphic novel quite like Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. The 55-year-old artist’s first published work, which came out last week, is a sweeping 60s-era murder mystery set in the cartoonist’s native Chicago. It’s composed of ballpoint pen drawings on wide-ruled notebook paper and is the first half of the story with the second volume out in October. Before she began work on Monsters, Ferris paid the bills with freelance work as an illustrator and a toy designer, making figurines for McDonald’s – she sculpted the Mulan line of Happy Meal prizes for one of the fast food behemoth’s subcontractors – and for Tokyo toymaker Tomy, for whom she worked making the Tea Bunnies line of dolls.

But in 2001, Ferris contracted West Nile virus. At the time a 40-year-old single mother, Ferris’s work was all freelance, she said – with the effects of west Nile hindering the use of three of her limbs, her work dried up, and she looked for another outlet, in part for her creative output, and in part to exercise a dominant hand damaged by the effects of the disease. She went back to school and produced My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, which draws on her own childhood and on the experiences of family and friends who survived the Holocaust. But when her book was finished the Chinese company shipping the copies from the printer in South Korea to the United States went bankrupt and the whole print run was held hostage at the Panama Canal by the shipping company’s creditors along with the rest of the cargo on the ship carrying it.

Now, it is finally here.

(12) LOADED SF. Joshua Sky tells Tor.com readers about “Collecting Philip K. Dick: Science Fiction’s Most Powerful Gateway Drug”.

Philip K. Dick has a way of taking the reader there. Each of his novels presents a whole new experience in of itself; a totally different world that is both new yet enticingly familiar. The reader, upon finishing the book, finds that they’re no longer the same person who started it. As I’ve said, his work is perception-altering.

By age 22, I landed my first job out of college at Marvel Entertainment—it was just as the crash of 2008 was happening, so I was relieved to find something full-time. In my department was a Japanese fellow, Teru, who also collected PKD’s work and we bonded over that, swapping books and chatting about our interpretations of his stuff. Teru suggested that I also read Alfred Bester and J.G. Ballard. Another friend and co-worker during this time was a Brooklynite named Eric. We’d met at Brooklyn College and would discuss Dick’s work and make up different word games–my personal favorite was coming up with bad titles for PKD novels (since Dick himself had some deeply strange titles for his books, such as The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, to cite just two examples.)

The more I read, the more I learned about PKD himself. Turns out, most of what he wrote was first draft material with just a bit of polishing. He’d probably laugh at how most of the universities have trained an entire generation of writers to be self conscious and to over-rewrite, probably one of the most detrimental things a writer can do.

(13) LIBERATED JEDI. FANAC.org has added to its YouTube channel the video of MidAmeriCon’s (1976) audience Q&A session with the producer and leading man from the yet-to-be-released movie Star Wars.

Right out of the gate, some fan questions Princess Leia’s costume choice, and asks haven’t they seen covers of Amazing?

Gary Kurtz answers, “And we’ve got to remember women’s liberation. At this time we can’t be, we aren’t sexually selling females or males in this film.”

You didn’t know that, did you?

MidAmeriCon, the 34th World Science Fiction Convention, was held in Kansas City in 1976. Before the film was released, before Star Wars and George Lucas were household names, producer Gary Kurtz, star Mark Hamill and marketing director Charles Lippincott came to MidAmeriCon to promote Star Wars. This Q&A session is full of fascinating background information about the film, the filming and the attitudes of the Star Wars team. For example, listen to Kurtz talk about the massive $18M gate they would need to break even. This is brought to you by the FANAC Fan History Project, with video from the Video Archeology project (coordinated by Geri Sullivan, with technical work by David Dyer-Bennet).

 

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, JJ, Darrah Chavey, Mark-kitteh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Stoic Cynic.]

2016 Parsec Awards

Parsec Awards logoThe 2016 winners of the Parsec Awards for excellence in speculative fiction podcasting were presented at Dragon Con on September 4.

Best Speculative Fiction Comedy/Parody Podcast

  • Improvised Star Trek -“The Voyages of the USS Sisyphus” by Christopher Rathjen and the USS Sisyphus Cast & Crew (Improvised)

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation

  • The Journeyman Writer by Alastair Stephens

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (Specific)

  • Verity Podcast  by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, Tansy Rayner Roberts

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

  • The Uncanny Magazine Podcast  by Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, Erika Ensign,  & Steven Schapansky

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (General)

  • The Incomparable  by Jason Snell

Best Fact Behind the Fiction Podcast

  • Universe Today’s Guide to Space  hosted by Fraser Cain

Best Speculative Fiction Video Story

  • The Ultimate Nerd-ament  by Grant Baciocco & Russ Walko

Best New Speculative Fiction Podcaster/Team

  • Uncanny County  by Todd Faulkner & Alison Crane

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form)

  • Uncanny County  by Todd Faulkner & Alison Crane

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast (Long Form)

  • Reading Out Loud -“Property Damage Claim #1-1403986” by Ryan P. Duke

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Long Form)

  • After the Plague by Mike Bennett

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form)

  • Tales to Terrify -“Graves” by Justin Cawthorne

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast (Short Form)

  • The Voice of Free Planet X  -“Oddfellows Local” by Jared Axelrod

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Short Form)

  • The Galaxy Quest Restoration Project -“Balance of Darkness” by David A. Mackenzie

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh for the story.]

Nominations Open for 2016 Parsec Awards

Parsec Awards logoThe Parsec Awards recognize the best in speculative fiction podcasting.

Shows are nominated by fans, finalists are chosen by a steering committee, and the winners are voted on by an independent panel of judges. The winners are announced each year at Dragon*Con.

Nominations are open through May 31, 2016.

What is a “podcast”?

For the purposes of the Parsec Awards, we consider a podcast to be  audio or video delivered as part of a syndicated series can be downloaded or streamed online. Listeners or viewers must be able to subscribe to updates that are either delivered automatically or are made available to the subscriber in some aggregated format.

Click here for category descriptions. And here for the list of podcasts that have already been nominated — a podcast only needs to be nominated once to be screened for the awards.

When you are ready to nominate, click here.

2015 Parsec Award Winners

Parsec Awards logoThe winners of the 2015 Parsec Awards were announced at Dragon Con on September 6. All of the following information is copied from the Parsec Awards Twitter feed.

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form)

  • “O’Malley’s Media Storm” by V.C. Morrison, Seminar

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Short Form)

  • Aaron’s World by Mike Meraz & Aaron Meraz

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast (Short Form)

  • “Last Contact” by Rish Outfield and Bigg Anklevich

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Novella & Long Form)

  • The Black, by Paul E. Cooley

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form)

  • “The Sinister Secret of StarNasty” OR “A Mike in the Mechanics” by by Michael McQuilkin and Richard Wentworth

Best New Speculative Fiction Podcaster/Team

  • PleasureTown

Best Speculative Fiction Video Story

  • Mario Warfare

Best Fact Behind the Fiction Podcast

  • Universe Today’s Guide to Space by Fraser Cain

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (General)

  • The Incomparable

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

  • Seminar: An Original Anthology Show

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (Specific)

  • The Scot and the Sassenach by Lani Diane Rich and Alastair Stephens

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation

  • The Journeyman Writer

Best Speculative Fiction Comedy/Parody Podcast

  • [1] New Message by Jamie Gower

Update: Two items originally announced as finalists by the Steering Committee in the Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form) were subsequently ruled ineligible. “While a portion of the episodes in which they appeared are available for free, the stories themselves are behind a paywall.”

2015 Parsec Awards Finalists

Parsec Awards logoThe shortlist for the 2015 Parsec Awards has been released. The award is given for excellence in science fiction podcasting. The winners will be announced at Dragon Con.

So far as I can tell, none of the Hugo nominated fancasts made the Parsec Award shortlist.

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form)

  • “The Greater Good,” by Edwin Crowe
  • “A Story to Scare My Son,” by R. D. Ovenfriend
  • “Madness Above the Clouds,” by Michael Marks
  • “Shimmer,” by Amanda Davis
  • “Singing with All my Skin and Bone,” by Sunny Moraine

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Long Form)

  • The Secret World Chronicles
  • The Black
  • “Eater of Bone,” by Robert Reed
  • Bear Spirit
  • The Ghost Train of New Orleans

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast (Short Form)

  • “Last Contact,” by Rish Outfield and Bigg Anklevich
  • “Monster!” by V. C. Morrison
  • “Super-Baby-Moms Group Saves the Day,” by Tina Connolly
  • “The Screwfly Solution,” by James Tiptree, Jr.
  • “Red Legacy,” by Eneasz Brodski
  • “Say UNcle,” by Rish Outfield

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Short Form)

  • “The Philadelphia Xperiment,” by John Ballentine
  • “Ghosts of Flannan Lighthouse,” by John Ballentine
  • “A Prophet’s Guide,” by Matthew J. Boudreau
  • “Space Casey Season 2,” by Christiana Ellis
  • “Aaron’s World,” by Mike Meraz and Aaron Meraz
  • “Alba Salix, Royal Physician,” by Eli McIlveen

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form)

  • The Once and Future Nerd
  • Star Trek: Outpost
  • Balancing Act, by Mike Murphy
  • The Sinister Secret of StarNasty, or, A Mike in the Mechanics, by Michael McQuilkin and Richard Wentworth
  • Transference, by Sydney Leigh

Best Speculative Fiction Video Story

  • Mario Warfare
  • Princess Scientist’s Advent Calendar
  • The Ultimate Nerd-ament with Stanley & JAX
  • Grant’s Advent Calendar Video Podcast

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

  • Cast of Wonders
  • Pseudopod
  • Seminar: An Original Anthology Show
  • The Uncanny Podcast
  • The NoSleep Podcast

Best New Speculative Fiction Podcaster/Team

  • PleasureTown
  • Audtio Drama Production Podcast
  • Women at Warp – A Star Trek Podcast
  • Lost in Williamsburg
  • The Ultimate Nerd-ament with Stanley and JAX

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (Specific)

  • The Ready Room
  • Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast
  • Arrow Squad
  • Dusted: A Buffy Podcast
  • Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men
  • The Scot and the Sassenach

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (General)

  • The Incomperable
  • Anomaly Podcast
  • The 602 Club
  • The Scifi Diner Podcast
  • Geek Radio Daily

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation

  • Literary Treks
  • Axanar: The Official Podcast
  • Continuing Mission
  • The Journeyman Writer
  • The Roundtable Podcast

Best Fact Behind the Fiction Podcast

  • Blurry Photos
  • Faculty of Horror
  • Weird Things
  • Hubblecast
  • Universe Today’s Guide to Space

Best Speculative Fiction Comedy/Parody Podcast

  • Blastropodcast
  • Comedy4Cast
  • [1] New Message
  • Rude Alchemy
  • I Remembered It…Better

[Via SF Site News.]

Nominations Sought for 2015 Parsec Awards

The Parsec Awards recognize the best in speculative fiction podcasting.

Shows are nominated by fans, finalists are chosen by a steering committee, and the winners are voted on by an independent panel of judges. The winners are announced each year at Dragon*Con.

Click here for the category descriptions. And here for the list of podcasts that have already been nominated — a podcast only needs to be nominated once to be screened for the awards.

When you’re ready to nominate, click here.

[Via SF Site News.]

2014 Parsec Award Winners

Parsec Awards logoThe winners of the 2014 Parsec Awards were announced at Dragon*Con on August 31.

The Parsecs recognize the best in speculative fiction podcasting. Shows are nominated by fans, finalists are chosen by a steering committee, and the winners are voted on by an independent panel of judges.

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Novella Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast (Short Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Long Form

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Short Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Video Story

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

Best New Speculative Fiction Podcaster/Team

  • Richard Wentworth, Michael McQuilkin, Lisa McQuilkin, and Michael Atkinson of Hadron Gospel Hour

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (Specific)

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (General)

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation

Best Fact Behind the Fiction Podcast

Best Speculative Fiction Comedy/Parody Podcast