(2) DELANY. The New Republic devotes an article to “Samuel R. Delany’s Life of Contradictions”.
The first volume, In Search of Silence, begins in 1957, when the author was just fifteen, a student at the academically exclusive (and very white) Bronx High School of Science. It ends in 1969, when he was already a successful novelist, about to leave for San Francisco to spend arduous years crafting the novel Dhalgren, his masterpiece. Traversing Delany’s youth, we see a precocious mind grappling with his own talent. Remarkably absent are extended reflections on the difficult circumstances of his outer life: At the time, Delany was navigating through the racism and homophobia of his era, and struggling with poverty, an early marriage, and his own disability. In light of this, the diaries’ portrayal of his serenely intellectual inner life is startling.
(3) COMING TO GRIPS. “On convention hugging” by Sigrid Ellis is a rational model for solving a social dilemma.
It’s SF/F convention season again, and once more we are all presented with the conundrum —
Do I hug this person hello and goodbye, or not?
Social hugging! It’s a thing! Yet, it is MOST DEFINITELY NOT A THING for a lot of people.
Here is how I, personally, navigate these situations. While this may not work perfectly for you, feel free to modify it for your own use….
(3) EMERGING INDIGENOUS VOICES. Silvia Moreno-Garcia says:
We are in touch with the Indigenous Studies Association (ILSA) and it seems this [award] will become a reality. Therefore you can find an IndieGoGo to funnel money via: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/emerging-indigenous-voices#/. My name doesn’t appear on that page, it says Robin Parker, but I am in touch with Robin so don’t worry.
Through today, $70,485 has been pledged. Moreno-Garcia’s latest update has further information:
The Indigenous organization in question will reveal details about how the money will be handled once some logistics are determined, but they are a trustworthy group so don’t be afraid, the money will reach a good place.
There are many other place you could support: Indian and Cowboy, Red Rising Magazine. There’s the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Native Earth Performing Arts, and last but not least Full Circle, which supports the development of Indigenous playwrights.
There are other ways to support Indigenous creators. Read, share and discuss their books. This should not be a one-time occurrence, guilt should not be the vector that guides your actions, virtue-signaling should not be your driver.
(4) APPERTAINMENT AT THE NEBULA CONFERENCE. They couldn’t slip a blatant typo like this past the pros:
I choose bear.
To be fair, the hotel made these, not SFWA pic.twitter.com/aigwjOM1RR
— clarkesworld (@clarkesworld) May 18, 2017
— Elizabeth Bear ? (@matociquala) May 18, 2017
(5) KAREN DAVIDSON OBIT. Karen Lynn Davidson, wife of Amazing Stories’ Steve Davidson, passed away today after a long battle with cancer. Steve said on Facebook, “Goodbye baby doll. I hope you got where you wanted to go.”
He also wanted everyone to know how much credit Karen deserved for the existence of Amazing Stories.
It is very important for me to be sure that everyone knows the following:
Behind the scenes, Karen made Amazing Stories happen.
Before we were married, Karen became well acquainted with my love for science fiction. She was not as interested (preferring Stephen King), but she happily indulged my passion…including all of my books.
When I discovered that the Amazing Stories trademarks had lapsed, Karen was the one who double checked me and confirmed that unbelievable fact.
When it came time to register new trademarks for the name, Karen was the one who agreed to spend some of our (very limited) cash reserves to fund the project.
When our investors dried up, Karen agreed to go back to work and allow me to try to bootstrap the magazine.
Whenever I was unsure what direction to take, Karen always provided valuable insight.
Whatever you may think of Amazing Stories, please know that without Karen, none of it would have happened.
This makes me wonder how many other non-fan supporters are owed a big debt by fandom and the genre for that support.
I’m taking the time now to thank Karen for this very special thing she did for me. If you know someone like her, it might be a good idea for you to do the same.
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY
- May 19, 1928 — First Jumping Frog Jubilee in Calaveras County, California.
- May 19, 2011 — HP Lovecraft’s The Whisperer in Darkness opens in Los Angeles.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- Born May 19, 1920 — Claude Degler
(8) NATAL YEAR FLIX. Thrillist invites you to check out “The Biggest Movie From the Year You Were Born”. It’s no surprise that I was considered old enough to see the “biggest” picture long before the “Best Picture” winner.
If you were born in 1953…
The BIGGEST movie was The Robe , which grossed $17.5 million in the United States.
The Best Picture winner was From Here to Eternity, which also won Oscars for Best Director (Fred Zinnemann), Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed), Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Film Editing, Best Sound
But the best movie was Tokyo Story. A delicate, heart-crushing view into the lives of two grandparents reaching out to their narcissistic children for support and finding none — marked by director Ozu Yasujiro’s pristine attention to detail and framing.
(9) A HUNK OF BURNING LOVE. Add this to the list of things I’ve never heard about before: “China claims breakthrough in mining ‘flammable ice'”.
The catchy phrase describes a frozen mixture of water and gas.
“It looks like ice crystals but if you zoom in to a molecular level, you see that the methane molecules are caged in by the water molecules,” Associate Professor Praveen Linga from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the National University of Singapore told the BBC.
Officially known as methane clathrates or hydrates, they are formed at very low temperatures and under high pressure. They can be found in sediments under the ocean floor as well as underneath permafrost on land.
Despite the low temperature, these hydrates are flammable. If you hold a lighter to them, the gas encapsulated in the ice will catch fire. Hence, they are also known as “fire ice” or “flammable ice”.
Chip Hitchcock suggests, “Filers may remember a sudden release of hydrated methane starting off a John Barnes(?) novel.”
(10) ICE HOUSE. Meanwhile, in the land of the midnight blog, Jon Del Arroz trolls the Worldcon.
— Shadilay Jon D (@jondelarroz) May 15, 2017
— Shadilay Jon D (@jondelarroz) May 18, 2017
(11) MEMORY VERSE. Carl Slaughter thought I should know this:
“I do not aim with my hand,
I aim with my eyes.
I do not shoot with my hand,
I shoot with my mind.
I do not kill with my gun,
I kill with my heart.” – The Gunslinger
The Dark Tower
(12) TRAGIC TROPE. Steven Harper Piziks tells “Why I Won’t See Alien: Covenant” — and he hopes everyone else will give it a miss, too. BEWARE SPOILERS.
I will not see this movie. I will not rent the DVD. I will not support this movie. And here’s why.
SPOILERS (you are warned)
According to various on-line sources, the sins of the same-sex relationship portrayal are the standard ones we’ve come to expect. First, although there were several initial shots to the contrary, there is little or no indication of a marriage–or any kind of relationship–between the two men throughout the film. They don’t touch. They don’t exchange endearments. There was apparently a brief moment of hugging between them in a preview, but that scene has been cut from the film, and that preview has been removed from the Internet. In other words, gay people are still invisible. No LGBT characters are actually in the spotlight. No LGBT protagonists. Just a couple of background guys who may or may not be in a relationship.
But the worst sin comes early in the second act. Hallett, one of the (so far probably) gay men, becomes infected with the alien infection, and a baby alien bursts out of his face. (Not his chest, like in the other movies, but out of his freakin’ face. He’s probably gay, so we have to up the nastiness.) While the ship’s captain leans in to murmur quiet apologies, Lope, the other probably gay guy, whispers, “I love you” and then is forced to walk away.
One more time, we have the gay tragedy….
(13) CRACKED CORNERSTONE. Critics gave the movie that launched the franchise a cool reception (for different reasons) — “‘Alien’: Why Critics in 1979 Hated It”. (I liked it a lot, myself.)
“Don’t race to [Alien] expecting the wit of Star Wars or the metaphysical pretentions of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” wrote Vincent Canby of The New York Times. A better comparison, he wrote, would be Howard Hawks‘ 1951 monster movie The Thing from Another World, all suspense and jump scares. Canby wasn’t the only critic to associate Alien with the kinds of horror flicks that played at 1950s drive-ins. Variety compared the film to It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958), and The Guardian’s Derek Malcolm to The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). To these critics, Scott’s film was a throwback to a less sophisticated era of filmmaking. That’s why The Chicago Sun-Times’ Roger Ebert dismissed Alien as “basically just an intergalactic haunted-house thriller,” while Chicago Reader‘s Dave Kehr described the film’s conceit as “a rubber monster running amok in a spaceship.”
(14) PRIZE-WINNING ADS. Adweek reports “Graham, the Human Redesigned to Survive Car Crashes, Wins Best of Show at New York Festivals”. “Field Trip to Mars” and “Gravity Cat” also received awards.
Clemenger BBDO Melbourne has won Best of Show at New York Festivals for “Meet Graham,” the PSA campaign for Australia’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) that involved the model creation of a human designed to withstand car-crash forces.
Automobiles have evolved much faster than humans. Graham was created by artist Patricia Piccinini, with help from a trauma surgeon and an accident research engineer, after she was commissioned to study the effects of road trauma on the human body. As the only “human” developed to withstand trauma on our roads, Graham is meant to make people stop and think about their own vulnerability, Clemenger says.
Two other campaigns received two Grand Prize Awards each: Lockheed Martin’s “The Field Trip to Mars” by McCann New York, in Activation & Engagement and Outdoor/Out of Home Marketing; and Sony Interactive Entertainment/Gravity Daze 2’s “Gravity Cat” by Hakuhodo Tokyo, in Branded Entertainment and Film–Cinema/Online/TV.
[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, Mark-kitteh, Cat Eldridge. Steve Davidson, Carl Slaughter, John King Tarpinian, and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. A little bit short today because I’m fighting a terrible cold. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]